Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I’ve been accosted multiple times on facebook, and Mama D has voiced her displeasure, so I feel like I should blog again.

The snow in Montreal has been ruthless until today when it decided that a heaving of rain is the only way to make everyday travel even worse. It actually went snow to hail to rain, making everything a slushy icy mess. Quebec has a law that all cars must have snow tires as of December. Apparently to not apply to cars rented in the last week of November. Avis seems less than concerned with my safety.

The under-undercard

Speaking of safety (as in, me safely watching from my seat), I got the chance to step into the octagon (figuratively) and work (again, figuratively) at the Bud Light Zone at UFC 124 : GSP vs Koschek 2. The work was figurative because it turned out they had more than enough help and the only responsibility I had in the Bud Light Zone was to stay well hydrated. I performed admirably.


The fight was incredible, GSP dismantled this poor guy. And Montreal had George’s back. The crowd was electric. It was by far the best sports environment I’ve ever been a part of: 23,000 people going absolutely bonkers. These fighters are in incredible shape, total behemoths. I wonder what their candy regimen is…

Here’s a tip if you ever decide to go to a UFC fight: take your time getting there.

Hey Joe Rogan!

Doors opened at 6pm. The pay-per-view portion of the night didn’t start until 10, and GSP-Koschek wasn’t until midnight. There were 11 fights on the card (11!). No one cares about 8 of these fights, and only Joe Rogan cares about the 9th fight. For the record, Joe Rogan was very excited about pretty much everything.  Just go when the PPV starts. It’s all you’ll remember anyways (thank you, Bud Light Zone).

Last week in Montreal coming up! Then back to Ontario for a very merry anglophonic Christmas.

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Brother Gotta Eat: My Breakfast with the Ambev Board

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is never more true than when you are eating breakfast sitting between the CEO and CFO of the multi-national company that employs you (in retrospect it really made my street-meat lunch and airport bar dinner seem insignificant). This was the situation I was in last Wednesday as I flew back to Toronto for a day to meet the Ambev board of Directors.

Ambev is the company that technically owns Labatt. It is based out of Brazil and is the product of more than a few mergers. Ambev is a holdover from the ambev-interbrew merger (making Inbev) and soon after the merger with Anheuser-Busch (making AB Inbev). It’s kind of confusing, but basically the board of directors of Ambev are some pretty important people, and it includes the current CEO and CFO of AB Inbev. The majority of the board are self-made Brazilian beer millionaires.

Sounds like my kind of crowd.

The other GMTs and I were asked if we would like to participate in a quick meet-and-greet breakfast with the board. They had a few tables set up and we would sit down and the board would rotate through. It was kind of like Brazilian millionaire speed dating. That is, if a bunch of Brazilian millionaires decided to slum it REAL hard.

Overall it was an amazing experience. It was really cool to get a chance to ask some questions to the guys who are steering the ship. While my career couldn’t have been made by meeting these guys, it most certainly could have been ended, and since I avoided that unfortunate circumstance I’m calling it a win.

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A Balmy Edmontonian Autumn

I’ve just finished my second week in sales training in Edmonton, and could probably direct you to the nearest Liquor store regardless of where you are in the Greater Edmonton Area. Alberta is all wonky because liquor is privatized, so you can’t walk two blocks without having your thirst quenched.

The sales side of the business covers basically makes sure our beer is in stores and restaurants and provides support for bar/liquor store owners (promos, sales, limited-time-offers, etc). That means there has to be someone who is willing to go into bar after bar, chatting up bartenders, waitresses, and managers to make sure their beer needs are being met.

I’m willing to be this person.

Here Comes the Party

I spent the last week shadowing the people who do this. We drove around town in the sales rep’s Bud Light branded Dodge Journey, stopping at bars, clubs, and stores along the way. We dropped of a Budweiser fridge at the Palace Casino, met with “Kokanee on Campus” reps at the University of Alberta trying to figure out how many free T-shirts it would take to get a bunch of med students to hold their annual bar crawls at Labatt accounts, and delivered branded coasters to Boston Pizzas for their newly installed province-wide Keith’s taps.

On a totally unrelated note: Predictions

  1. The Bills go 3-13 this season, just good enough to not get the first overall pick.

    You and me both, Trent...

  2. Ryan Fitzpatrick plays just well enough to make Bills management think that they don’t need to draft a franchise quarterback.
  3. The Bills end up with the 2nd overall pick, and trade down for a washed up defensive end and a sack of leftover picks.
  4. Steve will be very sad.
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Younger, Richer, Better

This story takes place in a casino. Normally, I wouldn’t write about my doings in a casino in my employer-mandated blog. I mulled this one over for a bit before decided to write it because of two factors:

1. I really like the story.

2. I am the biggest wimp gambler of all time. I only play roulette because the different colours and spinning wheel excite me. I park myself down at that table and lose my money as slow as is possible.

So anyways, I’m at the Baccarat Casino in Edmonton. This casino is about the size of a high school portable, but it’s right downtown so it’s an easy place to float to. I’m parked at the table, making bets that “all the numbers have a good time” and junk like that. When all of a sudden two young men walk up to the table and buy in. These two young men happen to be Edmonton Oilers first overall pick Taylor Hall and “Canadian Hero” Jordan Eberle.

Now by no means am I so cool that this didn’t get me stupidly excited, but I at least had the composure to contain myself. The elderly Asian man beside me took a different tact. This man was all over the place. He must have known who they were, but the fact that he kept saying, “Good Bet Tyler!” made me think he could have known more.

The best part was that it seemed like Hall and Eberle didn’t really know what to do with their money. It was like If I Had a Million Dollars “We wouldn’t have to eat Kraft Dinner….but we would eat Kraft dinner….of course we would, we’d just eat more” kind of moment. He was putting down 15 bucks on red per spin. I know for a fact you just banked a monster signing bonus, let’s see some splash! But that’s not how it happened. Hall and Eberle would sweat it out on every spin.

The event culminated with T-Hall tossing down 100 (a hundo, if you will) on red. The dealer gave the wheel a spin and it landed on red, Hall thrust his hands into the air like he just scored his first nhl goal (still waiting on that one), grabbed his money and said (word for word), “Okay, I’m even, let’s get out of here.” And off they went, as quickly as they came. You forget sometimes that pro sports rookies can be as young as 18-19. Makes me feel better when they are clearly richer, stronger, faster, often taller, and overall better than I am.

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A Dinner Revolution (Simply Supper/Delightful)

This job makes setting up living arrangements difficult. We’re only in each spot for 5 weeks, so we live out of a suitcase and rack up some serious frequent flier miles. But the hardest part (until now! [we’ll get to that later]) is buying food. You have to manage to buy enough food for exactly 5 weeks because you can’t take it with you. Buying in bulk is impossible, so it buying spices, and don’t even get me started on condiments.

But these are all worries of a more confusing time.

Enter: Simply Supper (with grandeur)

Simply Supper is a store in Edmonton where you make your own food.

This must be how the pilgrims felt.

Before you go to the store, you go online and look at their menu and pick 6 or 12 meals from the list they have. When you go to the store there are kitchen counters everywhere with ingredients for all the meals on the menu. In the course of an hour, you go to each counter (corresponding with the meal you chose) and combine all the ingredients into plastic Ziploc bags. Then you go home and toss all the bags into the freezer. Each bag is equipped with detailed instructions on how to cook the contents of the bag. All of a sudden you have 12 meals!!

And the best part? The meals are big enough to get me a lunch for the next day too (Dinner just eliminated Lunch! You’re next, breakfast). 24 meals! You can throw that up on the big board. The meals are all simple ingredients and there are no preservatives or weird stuff you usually get with frozen food.

Now all this is good and fine, but the key question: How does the food taste?

Clearly you didn’t try the Chicken and Spinach Gnocchi (with Sundried Tomatoes) I had yesterday, or you wouldn’t have asked such an audacious question. (It tastes outstanding).

Here are the rest of the meals: Maui Meatballs (tonight!), Taco Stew, Sirloin Roast, Sirloin Kabobs, Bruschetta Chicken, Butter Chicken, Chicken and Chorizo Pasta, Chicken Fajita Lasagna, and Miso Salmon.

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More North than I’ve ever Northed Before (this may or may not be true)

Goodbye Montreal, Hello Edmonton.

This week I started my 2nd rotation in the program in the beautiful city of Edmonton (which I believe is an old, old wooden ship). As I flew in the pilot mentioned that Edmonton had “a local temperature of about 2 C and a bit of drizzle and snow.” This was September 19. Mamma mia.

So far I haven’t seen any actual snow! What have I seen?

Figure 1. Rabbit.

Rabbits. Lots and lots of rabbits (see figure 1). They’re everywhere, and they’re monstrous (again, see figure 1), but people here don’t seem to acknowledge their existence. Either there are secretly cuddly and wonderful (only shown slightly in figure 1), or the entire city is in a blinding state of denial. “Rabbits? I don’t know anything about rabbits…”

In other news, the GMT football pool rages onwards, Kokanee Gold has made an entrance, and the West Edmonton Mall looms in the distance. Here’s a shot of the power-squad to tide you over:

Dressed for Success

Dressed for Success

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Beeeeeeeeeeeeer Responsible!

Time flies when you’re making beer. It’s also pretty swift when you’re drinking beer.

I’ve had my nose to the grindstone here in Montreal wrapping up projects and garbling the French language. The language has been tricky, but the staff here really likes it when you try. I have a sneaking suspicion that they would like it more if I had a greater communicative capacity than a large breed dog. At least I’m friendly. And enjoy treats.

Yesterday was AB InBev’s global “Be(er) Responsible Day” (Beeeeeeeeeresponsible), a global Responsible Drinking campaign that sent us out into the field to give some information to consumers and bar/restaurant/store owners. I was out on the road with fellow GMT Sarah and account acquisitions rep Jean-Francois (So he’s the guy that turns Molson bars into Labatt bars [and dreams into reality]).

We went to around 7 downtown establishments spreading the good word. Met a lot of bar owners, was referred to as a “young professional,” forgot my lunch at home. Overall I think I came out even.

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