Fri 25 Jan 2008
Fresh off a pyrrhic victory in the “entertainment/cultural blog” category in round one of the Canadian Blog Awards, Food Court Lunch has decided to cash in on its newfound cultural credibility by sending one of its intrepid cultural beat reporters to Monster Jam 2008 in Toronto to soak up the cultural crapulence of this microcosm of the North American way of life. Monster Jam is the premier monster truck circuit in the world, and it deserves the highhanded, sweeping dismissal that only an established blog like Food Court Lunch can provide. What follows is Blue Menu’s exclusive live-blog* of this storied event.
*ed. note: “Live” probably isn’t the right word here.
[1:40pm]: [Stuck in traffic.] Traffic into downtown Toronto is at a standstill, which is odd for a Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. I haven’t seen this many pickup trucks clogging the roads since the province of Saskatchewan invaded during the Grey Cup of 2007. Cultural awakening, here I come!
[1:50pm]: As I line up to make my way into the Rogers Centre (nee Skydome), I can’t help but notice that I’m underdressed. I mean, if there’s a dress code, then the ticket should clearly say so. As it is, I can’t even begin to think of where I would get a Polaris jacket and sweatpants at this hour anyway.
[2:00pm]: I find my seat about halfway up the 200 level, wedged between two 50-year-old+ men, both wearing Gravedigger(tm) hats. Naively, I had assumed that the monster truck crowd would be largely limited to pre-teen boys and their parents, but there are quite a few childless adults (who, ultimately, should know better) and even adult men with girlfriends/wives in tow. Which makes me wonder: how much would you have to hate your wife to force her to sit through a monster truck show?
[2:15pm]: I visit the concession stand before the show begins. No surprise here: It looks like it’s going to be a Bud Light day. The girl working the stand looked confused when I asked for a Stella Artois.
[2:20pm]: The announcer’s voice booms over the PA, signalling the beginning of the ‘Jam. Strange; I had expected the announcer to sound like Boomhauer from King of the Hill. Another preconceived notion shattered!
[2:25pm]: [suddenly dejected; introspective] How did I end up here? I felt like my life was on the right track. I used to feel like a useful member of society, but now I’m live-blogging a goddamn monster truck rally for a blog that nobody reads and doesn’t make any money! So this is the appropriate venue for my journalism skills? I mean, a monster truck rally. I get it, already: the trucks have really big wheels. I’m sorry, but I might as well be reporting on how my dog just took a dump in the middle of my backyard. What a load of…
[Suddenly, the crowd erupts as Rap Attack, Taz, Gravedigger, Safe Auto Minimizer, Superman and Monster Mutt speed into the stadium. The sound of the 1500 horspower engines roaring is deafening.]
[2:26pm]: [excited yelling] HOLY SHIT!!! DID YOU SEE THAT? DID YOU SEE THAT? THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING THING I HAVE EVER SEEN!!!!!! I MEAN, THESE TRUCKS ARE HUGE! AND LOOK AT THAT! THERE’S FLAMES COMING OUT OF THAT TRUCK’S TAILPIPES! THIS IS AMAZING!
[2:28pm]: Okay, okay. Calm down. You’ve got a job to do here. Here goes: My heart is pounding as the first round of action begins. Taz, fresh off a triumphant return to the Monster Jam Europe circuit, takes on Safe Auto Minimizer in head-to-head competition. And they’re off… OH MY GOD! THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!!! WHAT? THEY CAN DO THAT? TAZ JUST DROVE OVER (OVER!) A STACK OF CARS! NOW SAFE AUTO MINIMIZER IS AIRBORNE! YES! High fives all around as Safe Auto Minimizer takes the first round.
[2:32pm]: I’m on the edge of my seat. Why, you ask? Because we’re about to see the moment everybody’s been waiting for: Gravedigger takes on Superman in head-to-head action. The light turns green and… NO WAY! I DON’T KNOW IF IT’S POSSIBLE, BUT GRAVEDIGGER IS EVEN MORE AWESOME THAN I IMAGINED!!!! WAIT – DID YOU SEE THAT? HIS REAR WHEELS TURN TOO! I AM WITNESSING THE MOST POWERFUL MONSTER TRUCK IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!!! FUCK BIGFOOT!
[2:45pm]: Okay. I had to leave my seat briefly, but only because my heart’s ready to explode. I need an Ambien.
[2:50pm]: I’m back. And not a moment too soon: to nobody’s surprise, Gravedigger and Superman are matched up in the final. Does it get any better? The undisputed heavyweight of the monster truck world against a truck fashioned after Superman? It has a cape, for God’s sake!!! And it’s driven by former pro wrestler Chad Fortune!
[2:55pm]: DISASTER STRIKES! GRAVEDIGGER, PUSHING THE LIMIT, BLOWS A TIRE AND TAKES THE OUTSIDE CORNER WIDE, KNOCKING OVER TWO OF THE DIRECTION PYLONS! SUPERMAN CAPITALIZES AND SCOOPS IN FOR THE WIN!!! THE CROWD GOES WILD!!!!
[3:09pm]: [Turning excitedly to seat neighbours] What? What did you just say? Are you telling me that the very same monster trucks who just dazzled us in head-to-head action will now compete to see who can land the most incredible jumps??? AWESOME!!!!
[3:20pm]: I CAN’T BELIEVE WHAT I AM SEEING!!!! TAZ JUST FLIPPED END OVER END! THERE’S OIL FLYING OUT EVERYWHERE! THEY HAD TO BRING IN A DIGGER JUST TO RE-RIGHT HIM!
[3:31pm]: SAFE AUTO MINIMIZER JUST LOST A WHEEL! SAFE AUTO MINIMIZER JUST LOST A WHEEL! HE IS LITERALLY SPINNING AROUND ON THREE WHEELS!!!
[3:50PM]: You’re not going to believe this, but Gravedigger just tried to jump clear over the schoolbus in the middle of the stadium, and COMPLETELY FLIPPED OVER WHEN HE LANDED!!! THE CROWD IS ON ITS FEET!!!
[4:06pm]: A new freestyle champion is named, and it’s one for the ages: Safe Auto Minimizer! Nothing safe about this freestyle routine, let me tell you…
[4:30pm]: The show comes to an end, but not before converting this jaded member of the blogerati into a devoted monster truck fan. I saw something today that I have never seen before: pure, unadulterated power in its most awesome form. To wit, the monster truck. I’m convinced that the monster truck is an allegory for all those brave souls who fight against the dying of the light, for all those who refuse to see a stack of mangled cars as an obstacle, but rather an opportunity to elevate and reach for the skies. No; today, I debunked the myth of Sisyphus: Any obstacle, be it a schoolbus or a flaming truck-a-saurus, can be overcome. All it takes is the right amount of dedication and a whole lot of cubic inches.