Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How My "Patrick Stewart Hotel Amenity Algorithm" Saved Our Weekend.

"This doesn't look like our kind of hotel," my ten year old son 'Zarf' said on Friday. "This place is fancy. We are not fancy people."

(I didn't take this photo of our fancy hotel.)

We were standing on the front steps of The Fairmont Palliser Hotel in Calgary waiting for 'Mr Wrath' to get to the front of the valet parking line so we could check-in to our room and head over to the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo.

(We were on the stairs to the left side of this photo of the Palliser entrance.)

Zarf had a point. I'd chosen the Palliser because my 'Patrick Stewart Hotel Amenity Algorithm' indicated that it was the hotel most likely to host the celebrities attending the Calgary Expo. I was about to explain this to Zarf and his 8-year old brother 'Klaxon' when I glanced over my shoulder.

"Levar Burton is standing right behind us. He played Geordi on The Next Generation." I half-whispered to the boys.

"Which one is he?" asked Zarf.

I opened my mouth to say "What the hell is wrong with you? How can you not recognize Levar Burton? You've watched Star Trek: The Next Generation hundreds of times, and the only actor you wanted to see at the Expo was Levar Burton.  Here's a hint: he's the black guy -- the ONLY black guy standing on the street."

I deserve a lot of credit for censoring myself. No. Not credit. I deserve a breeding pair of unicorns, whose offspring I would sell for millions of dollars and then I'd just move into the Palliser Hotel full-time. Of course, it was self-serving to stifle that response. Firstly, because Mr  Levar Burton is American and might not know that "black" is the term Canadians still use to describe people of African descent. If he overheard me, Mr Burton might be offended. Secondly, Zarf is verbose and logical and if I'd used the term "African-American" I'd have spent the next three-days explaining the history of American slavery and the etymology of terms used to describe all racial or ethnic groups in the whole world. By that time, it would be highly unlikely that Mr Burton would still standing 2 meters away from us.

While I formulated a more politic response (in my defence we'd driven 1400 mind-numbing kilometers and I was not at the top of my game),  Mr Levar Burton stepped onto the side walk and turned toward the big-ass, luxury, shiny SUV in the valet parking lane (parked in front of our big-ass, not-luxury, 8-year old SUV). As he passed, he made eye contact with both of the boys, gave them a wave, smiled at me and said, "Hi there!" and climbed into the SUV.

Before I could melt into a puddle of 39-year old fan-girl goo, I locked eyes with the man following Mr Burton into the car.

"GOOD AFTERNOON TO YOU!" said Brent Spiner in a very loud, very cheerful -- but admittedly random -- British accent.

The third person into the waiting vehicle?

Marina Sirtis.

She popped into the car, then stuck her head back out, "Denise, are you coming with us? There's plenty of room." That's when I noticed that Denise Crosby was standing next to me. How long had she been there? I don't know!

Ms Crosby demurred as she'd been told to wait for the next car.

"Stay here." I said to the boys and dashed over to our car. "Don't you dare rear-end the vehicle in front of you." I said to Mr Wrath. "Half the cast of The Next Generation is in there. If you harm one hair on their collective heads all of Geekdom will come after you for their pound of flesh."

I returned to the boys (who'd watched several non-celebrities offer to give up their seats in the SUV so Denise Crosby could ride with Marina Sirtis et al over to the BMO Centre -- it was so very Canadian).

By this time a parking valet was getting the bags out of our vehicle and taking the keys. Mr Wrath bounded out of the car to join us. My husband is an extremely competent, self-sufficient, manly fellow. He knows about chemical reactions. He whips up gourmet meals out of next to nothing. He uses power tools. He does crossword puzzles in pen. He navigates whitewater in a canoe (provided I'm not screeching "OHMIGOD! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!" in his ear). But the sexiest, most masculine thing Mr Wrath has ever done is cut-off Michael Dorn. YES! Mr Wrath stepped in front of Micheal Dorn as he exited the hotel.  MICHAEL DORN broke his stride because of MY HUSBAND. Rawr!

And as he watched Mr Dorn join the others, Zarf announced loudly "Okay, now I know why you booked this fancy hotel."

"YES! It's because I'm a genius." I said with 100% accuracy and 0% humility.

By the way, this was not the only time my 'Patrick Stewart Hotel Amenity Algorithm' prevented me from Hulk Smashing all of Calgary after the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo screwed up.

Stay tuned...


  1. I'm so jealous right now that you were there. I had a ticket but my job scheduled me despite repeated request I be off. God damn, I hate having to work for a living. You are so lucky on so many levels.

  2. How exciting! I'm still about your previous story. The one where your tickets didn't get you back in. That made me mad.

    But celebrities! That is very exciting. The only thing I could've maybe said to help my kids in that situation is, "You know, the guy from Reading Rainbow!"

    1. Super sad secret: I have never seen Reading Rainbow. But for some reason I know the words to the theme song! WHY?!!?

  3. Michael Dorn! !!MICHAEL DORN!!

    Stop telling this story in installments, woman, you're killing me.

  4. What an adventure! Can't wait to hear the rest.

  5. Can't.....type....hyperventilating........

  6. Your brain amuses mine.

  7. Oh my god oh my god oh my god! You have no idea how simultaneously laughing hysterically and super duper excited I am about all of this because that is so unbelievably fucking cool AND funny AND oh my god....