Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Consider your wish...

...granted!

Vin was asking about my tree this year. Well, here it is. Naturally, posting a mere picture would be a tad too ordinary for me. I've elected instead to give you a taste of the possibilities your digital camera may offer.*

I usually tell my friends to slap it into 'auto', make sure your flash is ready and then shoot. It is a pretty solid methodology which usually yields fine results for someone who can't be bothered to figure out all the buttons and menus on their camera. It will give you the most good shots the most often. But sometimes, as you will see, 'auto' needs to be put in its place.

*digital camera mileage may vary by brand/model

As you can see, this picture is full auto - with flash. And if that were a jumping 4-year old opening a present in a dimly lit room on x-mas morning, that would be the correct settings for your camera. We can barely see that the lights are on. No wonder or beauty. A great way to count your decorations though.

Realizing our mistake, we simply turn off the flash for the picture on the right. The camera tries to compensate, and if you were holding the camera in your hands and nothing to steady yourself this might be the best you could do to avoid blur. Now the only thing we can see are the lights. Plenty of mystery, but maybe just a bit too much.

"But, I don't have a tripod," you might be tempted to whine. Use a table, the TV or a stack of books. The minute to set up the shot is so worth it.

I moved away from the 'auto' setting and manually changed my exposure to 8 seconds and the f-stop to 5. My preview told me that that should be plenty of light. Even with a tripod or other support, when you do a long exposure it is best not to just 'click' the shot -- Even a tiny shudder will make your final image blurry. Just set timer (I know your digital camera has one, so don't open your mouth) for the shortest time you have (mine was set for 2 sec delay).
Now we have captured the essence which, hopefully, Christmas trees held for us as children. Glowing light, mysterious shadows and magical possibility.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

update

Yawn! Things have been busy lately. That seems all to usual around here, but I really have an excuse this time. I've started working my hours as a 'casual' in the public library system and am still driving my bus route before and after school. The library hours are all call-in-as-needed, and the bus provides charters during non-school hours. The result is the ability to be as busy as I really want right now while still being able to take care of house and home.

Many of you knew that I was 'paging' at the Cliff Wright branch library during the summer. Casual is something else entirely. I try to sum it up thusly; Casuals get paid more to work less. At least, that's how it seems right now. Paging was a lot of lifting, bending, carrying, etc... Casual work is much more with the standing, talking and typing. I'm not complaining, and as you can guess, the amount of learning required is higher, but all the same, I feel somewhat smug in my new position. Besides, it is just plain fun. As a page I was discouraged from interacting with patrons unless approached and even then I was to defer to other staff whenever possible. Now talking to people is a major part of my job description.

Anyway the above is just by way of keeping you up to date with the business tycoon part of my life. What I really wanted to talk about was this Sunday's breakfast. Specifically, breakfast in bed!



Those of you who are acquainted with my Jr. Questers (tm) know that breakfast in bed is not a new thing. It has already happened a handful of times and each time it gets just a little more palatable. On this occasion, the were trying to impress Wendy. As such, they made the pancakes in her favorite colour, green. It wasn't really her preferred shade, but we won't quibble.



You might have trouble guessing some of this, so I'll fill in the details. They were topped with Whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate chips, mandarin orange segments and, of course, syrup. To be fair, all but the syrup was to be served as a dessert 'parfait', but we thought this would be easier on the taste buds.

The most exciting thing about breakfast was their claim to have cleaned the kitchen "except for a couple of things in the sink."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

What is the Job dejour?

If you like driving at all, driving a bus is just as fun as you think it might be. It feels powerful and just a wee bit scary. I have a lot of buttons to push and dials to observe. Aside from a minor incident involving a poorly placed street light (IMHO), things are going great. I love driving all the little kids and have immense fun chatting with them about their days and what interests little people (which is nearly everything that adults don't have time for). It really seems ideally suited to my time needs right now. It will take a little adjusting for Wen and I to be making less money. It is substantially more than I was making paging for the library, but still about $(insert undisclosed sum) short of what I would have pulled in with the daycare (although it is hard to measure accurately because of income tax, daycare expenses, etc...). Whatever the case, when I have recovered from my wisdom teeth being removed and the cold that I am trying to shake, I shall see what I can make of the extra time in my day.

My Bus
Yes, Clickity Clickity

Friday, September 28, 2007

Hitchcock's Hideaway

Many of you have seen these pictures already, but I realize that there are some of you out there, whom I love, but may not have sent the link to view them. Therefore I present to you our latest family trip.
Hitchcock's Hideaway
yes, I'm a link...click...NOW!
Wen has been attending this debate camp since she was in high-school and is now something of a guru/legend to the people who gather there. It used to be called "Camp Raynor", but has since been renamed the more alliterative, "Hitchcock's Hideaway". Same deal -- students and teachers of debate from across the province meet to practice their craft and socialize with others who are as socially awkward as they are. As a dad, I go along to enjoy the scenery and help give us just a little family time on a weekend where Wen works from 7am until 11pm with only scant breaks to eat the catered meals provided by the staff of this beautiful prairie retreat.

I'm not going to say much about the trip. I think the pictures (you have looked, right?) speak for themselves. It is loads of fun, relaxing, educational, wet and dirty. Which is to say in Mike-speak, "very Questy."

The one thing I will mention is our in-trip entertainment. The drive is a couple of hours, so I set up my laptop in the back and piped the sound through the stereo. What did they watch (and I listen to)? We have been obsessing over a wonderful show called Avatar: The Last Airbender* (www.nick.com). We were inducted into its mysteries via the children of my brother James. They own the first season on DVD and after hearing the girls going on and on and on about it, we borrowed them from Molly and promptly watched the entire season in about 3 days. We have proceeded to rent/borrow all of the second season from any video store or library that has them. It is excellent family entertainment and has a lot to offer to children and adults alike. No, I don't own any Avatar stocks.

*Several seemingly cryptic comments in the
pictures from this trip are Avatar related

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fall-ing for insects

It has been getting cold here in Saskatoon. Anybody else notice that? Got our first frost last night, and I increasingly am finding inside projects on which to work and I find that I don't want to bother watering the plants anymore because... well... they're gonna be on my compost pile in a few weeks anyway!

There was a very nice warm day recently, though. It had me outside and excited. The bugs thought it was great too. This spider has been hanging out under our deck for a month and I finally caught him out sunning.

Across the yard, one of his brethren was out for a walk... where he had an unfortunate run-in with local law enforcement. Let me just say that he resisted arrest and was dealt with harshly.


However, the large clematis out back was the real hub of activity for the hungry -- perhaps second only to the great compost pile, itself. You can click the image below to see a few more pictures and my witty captions...


Bugs

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Suprise Dinner

What I am doing here is letting someone do all the work and then passing on the finished product to you. One of my favorite kinds of jobs.

A couple of weeks ago, Anna and Ian offered to look after Leora and Anwyn for the day. Anna picked up the girls at 9am and told us we could come and get them after 6pm and we could have supper with them. It sounded like a good deal. Wen and I had a lovely day of doing not much and hanging out together. It may have been that day that we officially declared the bathroom renovation 'almost mostly done.' When we went to their house for supper, we were under prepared for the splendor of it all.

I'm not going to go into too much detail about the food. Anna does that nicely. And who can blame her. The food was fantastic.

While focusing on the food, she neglects a couple of highlights: Each of these tastes from around the globe was prefaced by a flag the kids had coloured as an introduction to the country of origin. While we were eating said dish, one or both of the girls would come in and sing a song or play a piano piece (often matching the area the food was from). Near the end, Anna came in and played a lovely rendition of Moonlight Sonata.

The overall impact was that we felt very lucky and spoiled. It is nice to have a fuss made over you and even better when it is accomplished with such skill.

When dessert was served, our hosts came into the dining area and shared the treats with us. I felt a little awkward as I said my thanks. So much effort was involved, I felt unworthy of the gift. I still ate everything that was thrown my way, however.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Meadow Lake

Went to the lake for our annual pilgrimage. We shared a campsite with our good friends Rene, Devin and Abbie Cannon. We saw a host of wild beasties and taught the girls how to paddle the canoe. Other than that it was your average wilderness bliss. I missed the northern forest and kept needling Wendy to let us move back there.

I'm in a rush so you will have to suffer with a short post and a link to my pics.

Meadow Lake Camping

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Saskatoon

The berries, that is. Wen and the girls and I went to the Strawberry Ranch today and spent an hour picking before I went to work. We came away with 12 litres of berries for a total of $22 (plus gas and a little manual labour), which you will know as a fantastic deal if you have ever paid $4-6 for a pint (about 1/2 litre) of them at the supermarket.

Off to work I went... Oh, did I mention that I'm working at the Cliff Wright library? I can't remember if I've told you or not. Anyway, I am. I'm hoping for a casual position for the fall, but in the meantime, I'm working in the back as a page. It is great fun. Handling books all day really lifts my spirits and I feel like I am part of an enormous and beneficial machine for human betterment. Enough of that...

Home I came and the twelve litres of berries washed and gazing dumbly at me. Their seedy little stares daring me to do something. Before they could muster a defense, the four of us rushed to make a base of flour and fat (crust for those following in the text-book) and in short order, we had manufactured 7 Saskatoon pies with formidable lattice crusts to keep the pesky buggers at bay. We baked 4 and set the other 3 straight to the freezer. Damn! I neglected to take pictures. What kind of blogger am I, anyway? Just as well, I suppose. My treatment of those poor berries would make the Afghanistan detainee scandal look like a trip to Club Med. Oh, well. Onward.

After putting the girls to bed, Wen and I launched a surprise attack on the second battalion of our foes. Using cleverly disguised lemon zest as bait, Litre 2 fell to my vicious machinations and they were summarily turned into jam. No sooner had I sealed the last jar, when I discovered my clever wife had managed to coerce the last of the stragglers, spirits quite broken, into freezer bags, thus sealing their fate. Feeling quite smug by this point, we celebrated with a piece of still warm pie a la mode.

City Quest 2007

I had a lot of trouble sleeping the night before I was to embark on this years circumnavigation attempt. At 4am it was storming fiercely with high winds, lightning, rain, and hail. In a fit of depression, I phoned Jim K and called the walk on account of the weather and went back to bed. By 5am it was obvious that the storm had passed and I had failed. Failed the test of the weather. By 7:30am I was sulking something fierce and Ms. Orange told me to just get off my duff and go -- late or not.

(Sadly, to no avail) I left a message on Jim's cell and headed out the door around 8:30am. And to everyone who wished that we could start at a more reasonable hour... IT WAS TOO LATE! Too Late to finish (for me, anyhow), but not too late to have a fantastic day.

I walked a little over 12 1/2 hrs. I haven't mapped it yet, but I'll go on a limb and estimate about 40 km. I had a lapse in my mental game when I realized that it would certainly be after midnight before I could finish and called it quits over a cup of coffee in the Silver Springs vicinity.

I've been quite sore for a couple of days now. On reflection, it is hard to call such an event a failure. I think any time I can get out the door and make such a serious attempt, get some great air and take such cool photos. It is a win. I'll add on top that Kyro was a fantastic walking apprentice and a real asset to the trip. My heartiest congratulations on a job well done, sir.

Here are many of the photos from the trip. My favorite moments were trekking through the swampy washed out road and eating the best food I've ever tasted when Ms. Orange and Trouble2 brought a fantastic feast to the river park.

City Quest

Check out the new "map view". It's pretty cool, except it doesn't seem to integrate with the other maps I've done in googlemaps. Grrr.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Saturday looking good

The weather for the next few days looks crazy hot, but Saturday still looks reasonable. You should consider only light activity for the next few days. You will want to feel as fresh and strong as you can. Get such sleep as you can given your twisted and painful lives.

On the evening before, you will want to pack a bag. Make it a smallish backpack. Here is what I will have on me and in mine...

I will wear comfortable, snug, broken-in shoes with two pairs of socks. Put Vaseline on your feet before you don said socks. Just get some on your fingers and smear it around. It is a trick I learned when prepping for my marathon. It will help prevent blisters which are likely to be your greatest enemy!

I will begin the day in light long pants, long-sleeve shirt over wife-beater followed by a windbreaker, shedding layers and putting on shorts as it gets hot. A wide brimmed hat and sunglasses would be wise.

In my pack will be a camera (you are welcome to all my photos, but may be expected to shoot a few for me), energy/granola bars (I'll bring a dozen for myself), two litres of water and/or Powerade (in refillable containers. You can freeze them 1/2 full and then fill the rest of the way for extra cool goodness), gum, a pack of Kleenex, chapstick, a local map, a small book and pen, bug repellent and sun screen (we can share), my cell phone, and a few multi-tool/pocket knife type items.

We will have at least one great picnic lunch and some cold drinks brought to us during the day and if you bring some extra socks or a fresh shirt, she can drop those off mid-way. If you think that is cheating, you can just sit by yourself and nibble some pemmican. I find the morale boost is really nice. If you friends/significant others want to be involved, they can contact Wendy to team up, or just call on someone's cell to find us.

I won't bring music, but feel free.

Right now the plan is still to meet at my house at 4-4:10am and depart by 4:30am. Call or post if you have questions.

Liquid Metal

There is an inevitable conflict between finding the time to do really cool things in your spare time and then managing to tell everyone who might be interested about it. When you take the time to make a fire in excess of 660.32 °C (1220.58 °F)(wikipedia) and tell me about it the same day, you can berate me soundly. Below is a link to the best of the pictures with a few comments.
Liquid Metal (linky link linkerton)

Here is a short video of some of the second pour that we did.
--edit January 13, 2013. Sorry. Discovered video is gone. Google! I didn't migrate it to youtube. I may add it later after I re-upload it. Mike--

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Why do you do it?

Blogging, that is. Or for that matter, posting in a forum, or commenting on someone's comment. Why are you uttering (spoken or otherwise) your thoughts?

Kyro did up this post last night. I was really impressed. The detailed and personal descriptions of how the game made him feel, the annotations on the pictures, provided the necessary details to allow you to see a real solid chunk of what makes him a person. Knowing him, I felt like I shared a bit of his evening with him... the part without his "johnson," that is ;)

I vastly prefer this sort of commentary to the usual, "Hey, check out this great link(boobies) I found doodz!!!" No offense intended to boobies, but what are you trying to say with that? I'm sorry to offend any of you great people that post such drivel. BUT, it is the chud in the sewer from which I am trying to escape. It is the "hydro" in my hydrogenated margarine. Do you get the picture?

Now, don't get me wrong (ha!). I make posts like that sometimes. Well, not quite like that, but things that others, no doubt, consider meaningless filler. Sometimes I have a third piece of pie at supper too. I'm weak. What you need to ask yourself is, "who am I trying to share this with?" and "what am I saying to those who are listening?" If you aren't trying to make a connection with someone, then why are you talking*? And, if you are trying to connect, then share something about yourself.

Maybe (and sadly) finding the boobies link was the highlight of your day -- the thing, of all things, that you chose to share with the world (or the eleven people who constitute our microcosm). Fine. Even something about what type of coffee you were drinking when you found this great link would be an improvement. Let me know you are a human and not a link-posting robot.

This is not a dismissal of sharing links between interested parties, or sharing your personal sense of style or humor. A link is not enough for me . Bones admits his limits, "Damn it, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer." I have limitations too... "I'm a human, not a link aggregator."


*so, I'm gonna use words like "talking," to stand in for "typing," "communicating," etc.., which although they may be more appropriate for internet discourse, sound too formal for the tone which I am trying to strike**.

**yeah, I'll just use footnotes instead. That ought to do the trick!

P.S. I'm drinking Starbucks' Blend purchased from a big box store and then I'm going to run 10K to get ready for the city walk on the 7th. I hope everyone who is still my friend will be joining me at 4:15am on that morning.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bloomsday


ExpectationReality
2 attendees: Vin and MeVin, Me, January, James,
Jay-Pep, Chantelle
good food availableFood was fantastic
Irish beer and ordinary coffee
to drink
Several Irish beers, Irish-style coffee,
Barley water w/lemon and honey!
listen to Irish-based rock musicSeveral Irish Artists, James played
guitar and he and I sang 2hrs
of U2, Sinead, Spirit of the West, and others
moderated to annoying amounts of
Joyce analysis
check! Actually, I found it quite subtle
and cleverly (hope, hope) integrated
into conversation about society and (hu)*man

All in all, a fantastic time was had by yours truly. This is definitely an event to repeat next year!

* in case Lucky is reading along...
I don't want you to get the wrong
idea about my gender-bias

Friday, June 15, 2007

Great new teaser

Some of you may recall a little dramatic flick I was in surrounding events in the Winter War(wikipedia). James Klenz has done another piece covering the same conflict but with a serious comic twist. The trailer is only 35 seconds, which I deem to be too short. I hope I am invited to a screening. It looks like a hoot.




Jim, if you can hear me, post more details for your adoring public. I have a readership of somewhere in the ball park of three.

Friday, June 08, 2007

City Questing

I am hereby announcing my intention of doing another trek around the city of Saskatoon this summer. My proposed date is Saturday July 7th (4am-ish). I'm pretty solid on that date, but I would be willing to negotiate with anyone who is actually serious about coming along for the trip.

There are two things I have learned from my previous attempts:
  1. Prepare. That is mentally and physically. If you aren't running, or at least walking (a lot) yet... START! With construction and all, we could be looking at 65 km or more. For perspective, that's coming up on 1.5 marathons.
  2. Involve such family as you have. People walking stretches with me and meeting for picnic lunches, etc... were both encouraging (trust me, it's a long day) and just plain fun. Wendy will be heading up my support committee. If you are going to come along you should have your people talk to my people.

Here are the links to my trip from last year.
lead-in, ramblings and pictures

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Police Tour: Day 4 - The Concert

O.K., I know I haven't posted details of day 3 yet, but I am surprised at how when you get back to the real world there isn't 2hrs a day to come up with the perfect description of your day and crop, size and place to perfection the photos that go along with it. Instead of making everyone (especially me) wait, I am putting up what I consider to be the most important post next -- even though it will destroy the verisimilitude. I will post the details of day 3 if and when I have time (My apologies to Vij's restaurant and the wonderful company we had while there for the delays).

You will notice that there are no pictures. I was not among the many who were gutsy/rude enough to take in their recording devices. I make no apologies for respecting the establishment in this one respect.

Without further adieu...

The concert was fantastic. Sting's son is in the band – Fiction Plane -- which opened for The Police (hmmmm...) Yeah, well, they were actually pretty great as unknown openers go. It was frightfully distracting how much like his father Jr. was, but it only added to the entertainment value. Fiction Plane played for 45min (which Ian predicted to the ½ minute). They played about 8 songs and I quite liked 2 of them, was pleasantly surprised by 4 others and could have passed on the other 2.They left the stage to polite cheers and I think they can pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

The roadies took over and cleared the stage of Fiction Plane's detritus with it's regular size drum-kit and corded guitar and bass. They replaced it with several cordless wonders, an assortment of whistles/pipes for Sting to play and the center-piece, Stuart Copeland's custom kit and a special elevator-wrap-around kit of chimes, spinning cymbals, a dozen other things I can't name and a Mac Powerbook. We're not sure exactly what he did with the Mac, but it made Ian feel like a proud father to see it out on centre stage. This plus the obligatory beer-buzz time (which I'm sure is well documented to increase fan appreciation of the headliners) was 45 minutes more.

Oh, did I forget to mention the man-sized gong? I wasn't convinced that Copeland was going to manage to lift the mallet to strike it, but with only a minor loss of balance, he announced the start of their world tour.

SET LIST

Message in a Bottle -- Punchy and fun, like the original, but with enough difference to keep me on the edge of my seat.

Synchronicity II -- A long time personal favorite. I was pleased to see it so early in the evening (I wasn't sure it would make the cut at all)

Spirits in the Material World

Voices Inside My Head/When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around

Don't Stand So Close to Me -- This was a compromise between the original and the '86 remake. I like it both ways, but have come to appreciate more the originals energy. I think they should have taken it back to the old way.

Driven to Tears

Walking on the Moon

Truth Hits Everybody

Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

Wrapped Around Your Finger – Perhaps my favorite on the night. The electronic pings and swoops were gone and replaced by a more honest, creative and organic sounding selection from Stuart's special kit.

The Bed's Too Big Without You -- I really enjoyed this one. Sting really took his time with the lyrics and I really believed what he was saying. The band made a great connection with this one.

Murder by Numbers -- Sting made some smart-ass comments about Jimmy Swaggart before this piece. I couldn't quite make it out, but it seemed biting towards someone who had just died. Given todays political climate, this song took on an even more ominous tone than the happy-go-lucky original.

De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da -- unless you want to dispute the songs meaning, you really can't go wrong with this one.

Invisible Sun

Walking in Your Footsteps – Nice use of scrim. The second number which made heavy use of the specialize percussion kit.

Can't Stand Losing You

Roxanne -- I've heard Do a version very similar to this before and I think it is also very close to the one they performed at the Grammy's.

ENCORE:

King of Pain

So Lonely

Every Breath You Take – pretty much the expected treatment for what must be their biggest single of all time. No franchise risking move here.

SECOND ENCORE

Next to You

All considered, it was a fantastic event.

The Police Tour - Day 3

I'm starting to think that waking up broken might just be the way I'm meant to feel. 5 hours sleep. I know I've got to to better if I am going to drive all night after the concert tomorrow. Though I am feeling very tired, I am also invigorated. There is nothing like having all work beyond your reach to make you feel like playing all day long. While Anna headed out for coffee, I sneak the phone outside and give Wendy a call while Ian sleeps. The time difference makes communication via regular phone difficult. It seems by the time I am up, Wen and the girls are gone for the day and once I am back for the night, they are asleep. As today is Sunday, I get lucky and manage to speak to her for a bit.

Ian rises from his stupor as soon as the coffee comes in the room. "I could quit if I actually wanted to," has become my favorite phrase to parrot back to him anytime he mentions needing a coffee. I can tell he regrets ever having mentioned it. We agree that we over did things with the amount of walking we had done the previous day and we resolve to do better this day. We stay in the hotel until mid-morning, reading news, blogging and just being companionable.

Anna REALLY like this earring that I found in Stanley Park, so I wore it just for her.



We set off at a more moderate pace, but I just couldn't resist the allure of climbing this building. It was just like a ladder.

The start to our days travels was not auspicious. We caught our bus with no difficulties, but when we stopped on our pass through airport terminal the driver apologized and told us we had to get off. I didn't catch why, but it seemed as though there might be mechanical problems with the bus. Perhaps my companions heard better and can post in the comments. Another bus was only minutes behind, but I was unwilling to fight for a spot in the line (can you hear the mooing and bleating?) The result was that we had a pleasant wait at the terminal which, at least had the benefit of lots of nice shrubs and flowers. A third bus did eventually show up, but as you may guess, it was extremely full after the least aggressive members of the previous bus pushed on. We were amused on our trip to Granville Island by the stylings of our bus driver. He must have been practicing for his stand-up routine in the comedy clubs during the evening cause this guy didn't shut up for 25 minutes. He pretended to be an airline pilot, a gameshow host and a stewardess. He also told a series of very topical 'crowded bus' jokes. I guess it could have been a lot worse. We could have been on the crowded bus behind us with no entertainment.

We were at the Island in time for an early lunch, and Anna was really interested in this place on the wharf called Go Fish (which is now added to my map if you have been following along). A line was already forming, though they would not open for 15 minutes, so Ian and I sat and took in the view of the boats and nearby condo's. I spotted a cool window with an antique bicycle for pedestrian viewing pleasure.

The fish was declared a huge winner. Ian cast his 'peace' vote for the fries, even though they were not certified "freedom."

After sitting through Anna's meal, I was ready to eat a horse, er, vegitari -- oh, forget it. I bought and consumed an entire pound of cherries and a slice of foccacia bread topped with tomato and Parmesan. 'Twas good.

As we ate out on the commons, there was entertainment again this day. Instead of pan-flutes and songs about pigeons, we were treated to the comedic acrobatics of Stacey and Tracey. They were from Australia and really quite funny. And who can't listen to a great accent all day long?

From there we went for a coffee and eventually met up with Tennille, an actor who is a good friend of the McQuillans. With her we shared espresso and iced-tea. Hopped up on caffeine, we walked to Vij's Resturant. It is supposedly one of the premier Indian dining experiences in the country. Someone forgot to tell this guy about the appropriate mode of dress :)

I will declare that the food was well presented and absolutely delicious. I thought the decor made the Taj Mahal look like a Saskatchewan country kitchen. It was beautiful and I waxed quite eloquently on the refinement of the bathroom. I was too cowardly to take pictures of it lest I be labeled more of a freak than everyone thought me already.


Here we are with our fully satisfied Vij's bellies. You'd look happy too! Notice how one is supposed to dress.

Following is the sad part where we had to say goodbye to the super-charming Tennille and make the long trek back to our hotel. More blogging and pictures, etc... zzzzzzz...

Police Tour: Day 2 -- ... the beyond part

But first, a little bookkeeping. I've added a few panoramas to my pictures. I put them in the rough order they occurred, so if you've been following along, you may want to go back. They are a nice shot of Granville Island from above, Anna hugging the giant tree, and the Pacific Drum store. They won't display worth a damn online as the image you see is only a thumbnail, so if you would like to see really detailed versions you will need to download the pics and zoom in. I guess it's only for people who are literally driven to tears (or boredom). But, as I always say, when the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around.

We walked (o.k. limped) along Denman street to see if there was anywhere to eat for supper. Anna had read about a place in her guide book called Legendary Noodle House. It was nothing to look at, but it did sell noodles. Anna's blog will have the pics and meal details, but all I can say is "J'aurais toujours faim de toi." It was one of 'those' places. Emily's off Broadway used to be like that in the beginning. You could get great food for way less than you'd expect. We all ate until we couldn't eat anymore, had drinks and with tip included it came to $33. Not impressive perhaps... for a McDonald's, but the food was fantastic. We traded around our appetizers and different noodle styles and so got a bit of everything. The Value for money was unanimously agreed upon and spawned a new saying "Noodles Crazy." You may use it anytime value vastly exceeds expectations or common sense. You can go ahead and use it right now -- "Reading CaptainOrange is noodles crazy!" Oh, I forgot the best part. This was my view as we waited for our meals to be prepared.

We caught the bus back to the airport terminal and walked the final stretch until we fell, exhausted into our beds. Then, rather than sleep, I took all the pictures off of my camera, loaded them onto the computer, cropped and touched them up, uploaded them to the internet, added captions, and spent a bit of time typing up the details so as to not forget them. Then I was able to sleep the sleep of the dead. Except it only lasted about 6hrs :(

Monday, May 28, 2007

Police Tour: Day 2 -- to Stanley Park...and beyond!

After sampling the mouthwatering food and suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous entertainment we brushed the pigeon dropping from our shoulders, shouldered our equipment and set off on the next leg of our journey.

Most of this day will center on the region referred to as the 'West End'(wikip). We walked from Granville "Island" (tsk, tsk, (click my added icons for some extra basic geography)) down Davie st.(wikip) I thought it all happened as a happy coincidence, but with Anna at the planning helm of our vacation 'Enterprise', I have no idea which courses were plotted and which were the result of unstable wormholes. In short it was (for me) a happy coincidence to find myself strolling along such fertile valley of humanity. Q says that our race "is always suffering and dying", but Davie Village points out quite clearly that there are a number of things Q failed to mention ;)

It was there that Anna got in touch with her sensitive side. Well, of her feet anyway. We stopped in at a London Drugs and got her some nice insole inserts. We had to twist her wrist to spend the $15 and on the day, the reviews were mixed. But today, she claims that they were "a good buy."

We hobbled onward and managed to make it to Stanley Park. Memories flooded back into my mind -- yes Vin, I know it doesn't work that way. It is a figure of speech -- and whether or not it ever happened, I believe I remember being there when we came to Vancouver as kids.

Anyhow, though there were lots of these heron/crane thingys, they very rarely did anything cool
like this...Or this...

Mostly, they just stared and wished that the humans would leave the harbor forever and that the few remaining fish would lose that humany/petroleum aftertaste. I think Ian really captured their pain in this excerpt from the dramatic retelling of A day in the life of Vancouver Sealife. I don't know if he will tour it outside Vancouver, but it might be worth pre-ordering a DVD in case he doesn't make it to your town.

We were too late to go to Vancouver's famous aquarium, so we consoled ourselves with some coffee. After all, I had a great day... I climbed some rocks and trees and things best left from the eyes of prying law-keepers... Next... Supper on day. Is this taking too long?

Police Tour: Day 3 -- Pics w/comments added

Police Tour

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Police Tour: Day 2 -- Coffee and Breakfast

4 hrs of sleep (8:30am (SK time)... ugh. My eyes feel very much like sandpaper. And not good sandpaper either, but rather the kind that you start using and immediately all of the sand crumbles off the sheet and dribbles all down your hands. It is a good thing that can't really happen to my eyes. One reason to be happy this morning.'

Anna drove out to a nearby Tim's and got us a wake-up call, while I read some news and tried not to wake Ian. Anna said he could not be woken by the apocalypse itself, but as it happened, he was vaguely aware that all was not right in what should have been a pleasant land of slumbery bliss. After coffee and some news/blogging on our two laptops, we set out on our second day of this adventure.

10:45am we leave the hotel on foot. Anna has done extensive reading and planning on the bus schedules, pricing and frequency. It looks like we can ride on the weekends for $2.25 with a pass that lasts 90min. Considering how many buses and the frequency, this seems like one sweet deal. Why doesn't Saskatoon have something like this? Don't answer that, I know why, I just wish is all. Oh, for those who wonder, the yellow thing on the front of the bus hold patrons bicycles.

11:38am we saw this wall of posters in a construction area. I swear that I never said a word and Anna (hellion that she is) ran across the street and riped one of the posters down, folded it and shoved it in my backpack! What a bad seed. I'm sort of confused about the posters actually. The were printed with "sold out" on them, so they must have only been put up to boast about being sold out. A lot of money to brag to people who can't see the show. Perhaps it was so people who actually had tickets could feel good about spending $100 or more to see the band.

11:52am Vancouver is beautiful.
I may have been the first person to ever notice that ;) The one really super cool thing about Vancouver dwellings is the prevalence of roof gardening. It appears to be primarily ornamental, but I like to imagine that much of it is spices and vegetable gardens that are just out of range of my 12X zoom.

Here is where we had brunch. I don't have good pictures of the markets themselves, but we are going back on day 3 and I will try to rectify that. The food ranged from simple to decadent, but all of the presentations were amazing. I bought an organic coffee, a raisin scone, coffee/mocha fudge (for breakfast!) and whole grain bread with swiss cheese.

While we sat and ate, the pigeons put on a terrific air show and were a constant entertainment to all the little children who were scuttling about. There were entertainers about as well and we were treated to some haunting pan-flute and some other singer who was haunting in a whole different way. He was 40-50 and wore a pinstripe suit with what I will describe as a dixie-land hat. His singing was goofy. Out of another era is probably fair to say. If you remember the song, One more kiss, dear(lyricsfreak), from Bladerunner, then you will get the idea, only mix in some whistling and bird calling?!?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Police Tour: Start Day 2

This my recounting from my journal of the events of day one... For now, you can guess where most of the photos fit in. If I feel generous or REALLY bored at some point, I may "in-line" them for you. The photo link is at the end of this post.

About 6:07am (my watch) Anna, Ian and I hit the road from my house.

6:30am we start listening to our first music. I have decided to put an entire playlist (as sanity allows) on the blog to help establish a time-line. (thanks to wikipedia for all the cut and paste playlists)
  • "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" (Sting) – 4:30
  • "Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)" (Sting) – 5:11
  • "Fields of Gold" (Sting) – 3:42
  • "Heavy Cloud No Rain" (Sting) – 3:39
  • "She's Too Good for Me" (Sting) – 2:30
  • "Seven Days" (Sting) – 4:40
  • "Saint Augustine in Hell" (Sting) – 5:05
  • "It's Probably Me" (Sting, Eric Clapton, Michael Kamen) – 4:57
  • "Shape of My Heart" (Sting, Dominic Miller) – 4:38
  • "Something the Boy Said" (Sting) – 5:13
  • "Epilogue (Nothing 'Bout Me)" (Sting) – 3:39
at 7:30am we get to North Battleford, stop at the Tim Horton's etc... We have already begun to dissect Ten Summoner's Tales and talk about the meanings of the songs and some of Sting and the Polices big themes.

  • "Fallout" (Stewart Copeland)* – 2:04
  • "Nothing Achieving" (Copeland)* – 1:56
  • "Dead End Job" (Sting, Copeland, Andy Summers)* – 3:35
  • "Next to You" (Sting) – 2:50
  • "So Lonely" (Sting) – 4:49
  • "Roxanne" (Sting) – 3:12
  • "Hole in My Life" (Sting) – 4:52
  • "Peanuts" (Copeland, Sting) – 3:58
  • "Can't Stand Losing You" (Sting) – 2:58
  • "Truth Hits Everybody" (Sting) – 2:53
Anna (who is driving at this time) begins to obsess about a car that is following us regardless of whether we speed up or slow down. After much discussion, Anna convinces me not to give the driver the finger and instead I satisfy myself with taking 50 reflection pictures until I exhaust the exercise. I'll bet you' re all glad that I threw out most of them.

  • "Born in the 50's" (Sting) – 3:40
  • "Be My Girl - Sally" (Sting, Summers) – 3:22
  • "Masoko Tanga" (Sting) – 5:40
  • "Landlord" (Live) (Sting, Copeland) * – 2:36
  • "Next to You" (Live) (Sting)* – 3:11
  • "Landlord" (Sting, Copeland) * – 3:09
  • "Message in a Bottle" (Sting) – 4:51
  • "Reggatta de Blanc" (Copeland, Sting, Summers) – 3:06
  • "It's Alright for You" (Copeland, Sting) – 3:13
  • "Bring on the Night" (Sting) – 4:16
9:10am picture by the Alberta sign.

  • "Deathwish" (Copeland, Sting, Summers) – 4:13
  • "How Stupid Mr. Bates" (Sting, Summers, Copeland) * – 2:41
  • "A Kind of Loving" (Sting, Summers, Copeland) * – 2:03
  • "Synchronicity I" (Sting) – 3:23
  • Walking in Your Footsteps" (Sting) – 3:36
  • "O My God" – 4:02
  • "Mother" (Summers) – 3:05
  • "Miss Gradenko" (Copeland) – 1:59
  • "Synchronicity II" (Sting) – 5:02
  • "Every Breath You Take" (Sting) – 4:13
  • "King of Pain" (Sting) – 4:59
  • "Wrapped Around Your Finger" (Sting) – 5:13
  • "Tea in the Sahara" (Sting) – 4:19
  • "Murder by Numbers" (Sting, Summers) – 4:36
  • "Man in a Suitcase" (Live) (Sting) * – 2:17
  • "Someone to Talk To" (Summers) * – 3:08
  • "Message in a Bottle" (Live) (Sting) * – 4:51
  • "I Burn for You" * – 4:49
  • "Once Upon a Daydream" (Sting, Summers) * – 3:31
  • "Tea in the Sahara" (Live) (Sting)* – 5:06
  • "Don't Stand So Close to Me '86" (Sting)* – 6:24
  • "The Boy In the Bubble"
  • "Graceland"
  • "I Know What I Know"
  • "Gumboots"
  • "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes"
  • "You Can Call Me Al"
  • "Under African Skies"
  • "Homeless
  • "Crazy Love Vol II"
  • "That Was Your Mother"
11:05am Road King

  • "All Around The World or The Myth Of Fingerprints"
We take a break from music at this point.
At 11:50am we put on some Great Big Sea.

  • "Donkey Riding"
  • "When I'm Up (I Can't Get Down)"
  • "Everything Shines"
  • "Goin Up" (Doyle)
  • "Boston and St.John's" (Doyle)
  • "The Night Pat Murphy Died"
  • "Consequence Free" (Doyle/McCann)
  • "Captain Wedderburn"
12:20pm After some pictures (the lake and me dunking my head the first time) we lunch. If not already, you will soon (next day or two) be able to read all about our meals on Anna's Blog. She will do a better job of it than I would. That and I guess I feel that I have enough to type already.

I start driving when we finish eating.

  • "The Old Black Rum"
  • "General Taylor"
  • "Lukey"
  • "Feel It Turn" (McCann)
  • "I'm A Rover"
  • "Fast As I Can" (Doyle)
  • "Jack Hinks"
  • "Mari-Mac"
  • "Ordinary Day" (Doyle/McCann)
  • "Excursion Around the Bay"
  • "Hangin Johnny"
  • The Hounds of Winter – 5:27
  • I Hung My Head – 4:40
  • Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot – 6:41
  • I Was Brought to My Senses – 5:48
  • You Still Touch Me – 3:46
  • I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying – 3:56
  • All Four Seasons – 4:28
  • La Belle Dame Sans Regrets – 5:17
  • Valparaiso – 5:27
  • Lithium Sunset – 2:38
I finished my driving tour of duty@7:15pm. @7:35pm we start up the music again.

  • "A Sermon" (Copeland) * – 2:33
  • "Driven to Tears" (Live)(Sting) * – 3:29
  • "Shambelle" (Summers) * – 5:00
  • "Spirits in the Material World" (Sting) – 2:59
  • "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (Sting) – 4:22
7:45pm spotted black bears but no place to stop on the highway and there was a large truck coming down the mountain right behind us.

  • "Invisible Sun" (Sting) – 3:44
  • "Hungry for You (J'aurais Toujours Faim de Toi)" (Sting) – 2:53
  • "Demolition Man" (Sting) – 5:57
  • "Too Much Information" (Sting) – 3:43
  • "Rehumanize Yourself" (Copeland, Sting) – 3:10
  • "One World (Not Three)" (Sting) – 4:47
  • "Ī©megaman" (Summers) – 2:48
  • "Secret Journey" (Sting) – 3:34
  • "Darkness" (Copeland) – 3:14
  • "Flexible Strategies" (Sting, Summers, Copeland) * – 3:43
  • "Low Life" * (Sting) – 3:45

at 9:40pm we finally get near Kamloops. Close enough for a cell call to Wendy. The girls are (long) in bed so I catch Wen up on my day and say goodbye.

10pm we stop at a Tim's in Kamloops and I switch into the drivers seat again and drive for the remainder of the trip. By this point we have just made it out of the winding mountain trails with wild things around every bend and onto the broad and screaming Coquihalla. Too bad for me that it was pitch dark and the painted lines on the road faded and then gradually disappeared entirely. It was a harrowing experience to be sure. Much like driving in a snow storm in terms of visibility. After we paid the toll at the top of the pass, they decided to put new paint on the road and even reasonable lights. Too late, I was already frustrated and bug-eyed.

Anna and Ian both stayed up to keep me company, which was good cause I needed the support and directions from Anna in particular as we neared Vancouver and our hotel. With only one real directional misstep, we finally made it, as I suppose you can guess.

Now that you sat through all that...
Here is my picture link with all the to date pictures (now including "day 2")
Police Tour

Police Tour: End of Day 1

Really tired. It's 3:47am. I'll post details tomorrow. The really important stuff is here
Police Tour
LINK

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Police Tour

It is set to begin tomorrow morning at 6am. Anna and Ian are coming to pick me up. We plan to make a quick stop at Tim Horton's on Idylwyld and thence away... away, ere break of day, to seek the pale enchanted... er... musicians. Here is a link to a quick Google map of some of our projected destinations.

My travel materials includes:
  • Meals: Breakfast of Bagels w/cream cheese, watermelon and coffee. Lunch and Supper will be composed of some French bread that I made last night spread with fiery red pesto and dressed with an assortment of cheeses and cucumber, etc... At Wen's behest, I am taking a cooler with 1/2 dozen diet Coke w/lime. The junk food will be Miss Vickey's Black Pepper with Lime, Sour Patch Kids, Goodies and assorted flavours of gum.
  • Clothing: You don't care and I don't want to tell you. Suffice to say that it is largely black and I am paying close attention to the potentially rainy conditions on the coast.
  • Tech: Laptop, Cellular/Treo, Camera (check on the extra batteries), Clie (with Ulysses on board)
  • Misc: a passel of CAA maps and some printed Google maps. A book for writing and drawing (also for NOT writing and drawing...multipurpose!)
The availability of wifi and my current patience/boredom will determine the frequency of posting (if any).

"I guess this is our last goodbye,
and you don't care, so I won't cry.
And you'll be sorry when I'm dead,
and all this guilt will be on your head..."
link to lyricsfreak.com

Monday, May 14, 2007

Planting pinches, kisses and plants

I woke up at 6:20am on Sunday. Leora wanted to get a head start her mother's day prep and Anwyn was just not waking up. "...so then I had to pinch her awake," was Leora's explanation for the noise that brought me upstairs in a rush. After comforting Anwyn for a bit, we began our labours. This year was great. The girls are getting big enough that my task was confined to advice and clean-up. The pancakes, sauces, flowers and presents were all managed with only the most minimal input from me. Washing dishes was another matter entirely...

A little later, it was time to deal with my own mother. We went to Calories for brunch and had a really great time. I can't really speak for Mom, though. We did an excellent job of not discussing video games, but there was an air of discontent about and much of the conversation was dedicated to the woes of the education system and how teachers (not so subtly) act as corporate filters to sort people into their future jobs rather than prepare them for a future of setting goals and getting the most from their lives.

Sigh!

The food was almost distracting enough to keep me from such discouraging thoughts. That and Mom's fantastic sparkling spider brooch. I imagined that it might just leap from below her shoulder and quickly scavenge the bright orange salmon caviar that adorned James' Pea Bolinii. For me, the star of the meal was the fantastic sour cherry and cream cheese scone served with Saskatoon-berry jam.
Oh, did I forget the plants part?
From Mother's Day ...
4 hours of this yielded the satisfaction it always does and the humming hands that threatened to vibrate right off my body. Next weekend the garden should be all in.



Thursday, May 03, 2007

Killer Instinct

For those out of the loop, C.C. (short for Cookies and Cream) is our new cat. We fetched her from the S.P.C.A.'s "detention level" for Anwyn's b-day in March. C.C. is about 5 months old now and, Like Luke, she was almost "too old to begin the training." With my trusty X-wing still up on blocks, we have had to forgo the trip to Dagobah and make due with less suitable environs. Instead we settle for regular visits out to my compost pile which teems with life nearly as hideous for most of three seasons. In the spring, the mainstay of my pile seems to be mice. I don't think they are particularly good for the compost itself, but the reverse is clearly true.
Yesterday was her "first catch of the day" and I can only speculate that she will continue to round up the "rebel scum" until she manages to eliminate them from our little corner of the galaxy.

Hex Kids

The girls orchestrated a fabulous event for we parents on Tuesday. Leora did the fabulous backdrop (a heart skull and crossbones) and sang vocals. Anwyn played lead guitar and helped the boys make and distribute tickets and they both trained Eric and Anthony to take tickets, sell plastic concession food, do sound and lighting, and provide the audience with cues for when to clap. The set was planned as 4 songs from the "Scooby-doo and the Witche's Ghost"(wikipedia) soundtrack. It was a 3-seat sellout!

The girls (and possibly their dad) have been obsessed with the hex girls (hex girls coven) for several years now, ever since we first saw the movie. If you are a Scooby-doo fan, or just into Wiccan, goth/vampire, chick bands, you should definitely check them out(youtube). Leora and Anwyn have done air-bands to them sooo many times, I thought it was time to blog about it.