Monday, November 25, 2013

Upstairs and Downstairs and in my Lady's chamber

Strange Angles in the Peterson Bldg.
Not quite the Mendel
Okay, the bit about the "lady's chamber" was an outright fabrication, but you're here... so that's good.

Before I get into the pictures, a quick update on my stair running. This week I've bested my records at both the 5T and 10T times (where T=11 floors up and down). 5T stands at 15m08s and 10T is 32m30s. 10T took me about 55 minutes the first time.

On with the photos...

Picked a freakishly cold day to do some more stair explorations. Neither my trusty, if aging, Pentax K-x, nor my trusty, if aging, body had an easy time with the -30C wind chill. After getting politely kicked out of the Agri-Food Canada Research building (I had been inside looking at maps for several minutes without "checking in" at the security desk),  Found +Kent Pollard,s Peterson Bldg. I must say, the staff was a whole lot nicer there.

A bit off the beaten path but, the stairs were unusual as promised! Got quite a few comments while laying on my back in the small entryway. Also, doors were In a pretty bad place for tripod work. Fortunately, it was plenty bright. Never would have gone in there without the tip off. I was told by a wonderful maintenance woman that there had once been talk of the stairs being completely refinished, but it had been decided against due to the prohibitive cost. Too bad. The brass inlay on the landings would've been fantastic completely re-burnished.

I've now talked to no less than four maintenance people while working on this project. Each one of them has expressed an apology over the dirty state of the stairs and assured me that they normally look much nicer. I've always been careful to express that I think the stairs look absolutely beautiful in their natural state. That usually elicits a furrowed set of eyebrows followed by them awkwardly blushing and glancing away.

Agriculture's stairs and elevators co-habitating. So wrong!
I love the commons area in The Agriculture Building. It is an open and inviting place for people to meet. The architecture is interesting and there is art and light everywhere. My only complaint is that the central stairwell only goes from the 1st to 2nd floor. If you want to go higher, it's the elevators or a closed off side stairwell.
Engineering - C Wing
Favorite stairwell of the day goes to Engineering (C-wing, I think). Nice hardwood rails and a good quality of light. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Going Staircrazy

Health Sciences Entrance. With all the reflections and directionality, it feels Escher-esque to me.
Winter is settling in slowly this year. No rush. As one of the millions on the Canadian prairie who wondered last year where all the sun was, it was quite a thrill to be walking around mid November with just a t-shirt, a tripod and my camera.

New Wing of Dentistry
Old Dentistry/ Health Sciences
You would think that I would be sick to death of stairs right now, but the truth is that my fascination is growing ever deeper. When I did up my last post I spent some time looking through old photos that I had of campus stairs to include. It reminded me two things: firstly, despite the simple going up and down thing they have going, there is great variety in stair design and secondly, my photographic eye has come a long way in a few years.

So, I decided to revisit some of my favourites and see how many ways I could skin the same cat, so to speak. Stairs are stairs after all, but with all the architectural variety surrounding and suffusing them, perhaps I could elevate (smirk) their basic utility into something more artistic.

The contrasts are quite startling. These first three staircases are all in the same building complex. Indeed, the floating glass and granite stairs and the ancient peeling paint staircase are only about a 10 second walk apart.

Some staircases are pretty boring when taken at face value. The stairs exiting the Arts Tunnel are quite humdrum, but the photo below is helped out by a cool split rail that dominates the scene and gives it a sense of action. I chose to make this photo black and white because of all the competing colours in student apparel were pulling focus from the important subject ;)
Stairs which replace the old Arts Escalators (which were broken half the time anyway)
Main Library with art on the walls
Utilitarian, Dark with a wicked Echo...o...o...

Just down the tunnel from the above picture is The Murray Building which functions as the main library for the U of S. There, too, were 3 distinct types of stairs. A broad, high traffic, central stairwell, a spartan "fire exit" stairwell, and an oddly shaped spiral that ascends the North Wing.

Triangular Spiral
Bright light is CRITICAL to my success
The fabled (yet quite unattractive) 11th floor
I suppose it would be an oversight not to include at least a couple of photos from the stairwell that I am forever Sisyphus-ing my way up. You've read this far, so here you go.

This stair business is far from over. I have plans to traverse the campus finding great variety in staircases wherever I go. You can count on me. The best news about it is that wherever I go, you go. Aren't you just lucky ;)

Here is my Stair Photo Album. I'll keep you updated as I add to it.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Climbing a Stairway to...

Arts Tower from basement level
I had some great reaction to my last post about stairs. Alas, I don't have any mysterious wilds into which I can trek nor vast unexplored ranges of mountains. However, obsessively climbing stairs seem to be sufficiently strange for people to engage me with questions (and concerns) on the topic. This is not going to be an FAQ, but I am going to share a bit of my process with you in hopes that it will answer some common queries.

Most of this post was inspired by my friend, Dave. He wasn't the first one to ask me what I thought about when I spend an hour and a half climbing the same set of stairs, but he did cause me to think most deeply about it. He is no stranger to feats of endurance. I was in the process of formulating a short one paragraph answer, when I realized that I couldn't honestly do that. Answering in one paragraph I could've come up with some inspiring snippet of honesty about why I do it and the effect it has on my life. I guess I think you guys are interested in more than that. I think we're capable of actually getting into the details here... (hint: this is your last chance to escape).

A typical climb...

I try and always listen to music. The level of monotony is very high so I choose driving, inspirational songs. I have a dedicated mix for running in general, but not stairs in specific.

1st ascent: I always run this one full out. my thoughts are all about optimizing my turns, breathing at the right time and pushing myself to accelerate. I visualize my quads and calf muscles bunching and extending. Because I am working at an anaerobic level here, I am hyperventilating by the top as my lung struggle to rid themselves of excess CO2. I stop for 30 seconds at the top to enter my time in the web form with shaky fingers. If my time is sub 55 seconds I am elated. Slower and I will be briefly disappointed.

I run down 2 steps at a time, being mindful to catch my very ragged breath. I try to imagine I'm rappelling down a long wall and my feet are just tapping the steps keeping me from colliding with it. At each turn I push off the opposite wall and grab the handrail, letting momentum propel me around the corner. I strive to land with light steps. I know that a lot of jarring wastes energy and will weaken my climbing later. I pick up my camel pack or water bottle at the bottom where it was hidden under the steps and carry it for the remainder of the effort.

Stairs in Thorvaldson. Nice to visit, but I'd never climb there
2nd ascent: One of the toughest mentally. I'm more tired in the legs than I will be for the next 10-12 ascents as my muscles try to shed the lactic acid they built up during my all out sprint. My breathing is still in gulps. I force my breath to become slow and steady. I will alternate running several flights and then two-step walking. I always make sure to run the last flight. I call it the "zombie level," imagining that if I don't run, I will be caught and eaten :)

3rd ascent: I've recovered from my sprint and become rhythmical. I listen to my music and let the lyrics push me -- Citius, Altius, Fortius. I can't think terribly deep thoughts here or allow my mind to wander. I stay focused on the physical motions or I find that I'm walking too much. As soon as my breath normalizes, I run 2-5 more flights. I think about +david aschim and hope my diligence on the stairs will keep me fit for the next time we can climb a mountain together.

10+: My thoughts drift. I start to imagine that I'm Lawrence of Arabia, going back to the desert one more time or Frodo, borne down by the weight of the ring as I climb Mt. Doom. I've been dripping sweat since tower 5. Every time I turn a corner, droplets shake loose from my hair and nose. I wonder if I could climb enough times to cause a slipping hazard.

I talk to myself--a lot; keeping count of my tally and how many floors are left until I can go down again. Losing count is demoralizing and significant effort goes into keeping track. Recently I've started using my stopwatch's lap counter and that helps immensely, but I still make mistakes once I stop thinking clearly.

I walk more than run. 4 out of 11 by this point is Herculean. I try and look determined and stable when I pass people who work or study in the building. I don't want them to call security because of the sweaty mad man careening down the stairwell. Still run the zombie level, though. They will never get me ;)

I nurse each descent (now in single steps because I'm too shaky to risk the speed) and try to gather myself mentally to want to climb one more time and then one more time and...

...eventually, I stop.

This is what I will say...

If I'm ever asked for a quote by a media outlet. You will have to decide for yourself which description is most accurate.

Climbing inspires me. I rush upwards towards the clouds thinking about staying physically and mentally healthy for my wife and two teenage daughters. I come back down to earth because, for now, they still need me here.
Coming back to Earth

Friday, November 01, 2013

Stairs of the World II -- The Revenge

This post is mostly for me. As, I suppose, all of them are. I like to have a specific record of my exercise when I am trying improve on something difficult. I find that it really helps me to focus on the little things necessary to improve. When I share that with you, it gives makes the goal seem more real and somehow more important to achieve.

Anyway, yes, I took a break from stair climbing during my healing process. But, I've been back at it pretty hard in the last little while. I thought an update was in order. In case you missed the first post on stairs.

What's new? Below is my tower activity since injuring my ribs. I fill in a web form each time I run the tower and it updates a spreadsheet for me. As you may care to notice, I took some heart rate measurements at several points today (last row, right hand column). Times (usually) follow the format of hh:mm:ss.tenthsec

15/09/2013 10:04:30Arts Tower run17:31.55x u/d. 1st time on the stairs since my rib injury. Speed was lousy, but endurance was pretty good.
22/09/2013 15:10:10Arts Tower run00:57.17
22/09/2013 15:28:38Arts Tower run17:38.85xu/d
26/09/2013 08:23:49Arts Tower run16:57.85xu/d
27/09/2013 19:39:17Arts Tower run00:55.66
03/10/2013 10:36:57Arts Tower run1:01.79
03/10/2013 11:16:34Arts Tower run39:47.2610xu/d
03/10/2013 12:08:35Arts Tower run01h26m29s20xu/d (15x=1:03:10.79)
06/10/2013 14:29:44Arts Tower run00:54.0
13/10/2013 13:40:51Arts Tower run00:49.63
16/10/2013 19:37:39Arts Tower run16:56.115x U/D
18/10/2013 14:52:06Arts Tower run00:52.51
18/10/2013 15:37:54Arts Tower run19:17.25x U/D
20/10/2013 16:31:39Arts Tower run00:54.66
24/10/2013 13:40:53Arts Tower run00:54.79
24/10/2013 14:26:30Arts Tower run43:06.0610x U/D
28/10/2013 10:25:55Arts Tower run01:00.81
28/10/2013 10:44:44Arts Tower run17:14.215xu/d
31/10/2013 09:35:08Arts Tower run00:53.75
31/10/2013 09:52:09Arts Tower run16:50.775xu/d
31/10/2013 10:14:10Arts Tower run36:56.2810xu/d
01/11/2013 12:30:17Arts Tower run53:00.0010xu/d -- doing random things such as: running, walking, hopping, walking backwards, spin moves…

last night's heart rate just before bed -- 60bpm
"cruising" heart rate 150bpm -- 8th time up
180bpm -- after 5 floors at a dead run on 9th time up
10 min after finish -- 102bpm
60 min after finish -- 78bpm

Worth getting excited about for me are a couple of dates. On October 3rd, I managed 20x up and down the tower for a total of 220 flights in 86 minutes. While doing it, I could have watched My Neighbor Totoro :) Maybe next time. That multiplies out to 800m. I wish I had done the math before beginning my assault. That leaves me 29m short of the peak of the Burj! Sigh. There is some hope. A careful measuring of the inside of the tower could reveal that it's taller than I think. Don't hold your breath.

Also notable is Oct 13th. It marks the 1st time since 2009 that I've achieved a time under 50 seconds. It's a feat I've managed 11 times out of the nearly 70 speed attempts I've recorded.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Laid Low

19-yr-old Mike, clinging to the Tyrell building
"Do something."

"We're not computers, Sebastian. We're physical."

"I think, therefore I am."

"Very good, Pris. Now, show him why."

I've been thinking about Blade Runner quite a bit during the past couple of days weeks months (really need to publish this blog more often). If you haven't seen this movie, you really should. In the quoted scene, Pris goes on to demonstrate a few of the physical things that she can do as a replicant. Phenomenal strength, quickness and durability. Physical acumen that Sebastian will never know.

I've always empathized with the replicants rather than the humans in this movie. I'm not an olympic athlete by any stretch, but in general, I am stronger, faster and more durable than most of the people I meet. From the sound of it, moving to Canmore would probably help with that. BTW, don't worry, I've been called arrogant before ;) The point is not whether I am stronger than you or Mark Tewksbury or Rutger Hauer... or anyone. The point is that I feel powerful... usually.

Exhibit A -- Mad climbing skills
That is until...

Kent finally relented and allowed Wendy, Anwyn and me to come over and pick the delicious Evans Cherries that yearly drip in tantalizing handfuls from his tree. So eager was I for a repeat of last year's bounty (11-12 litres) that I practically ran straight up the ladder that was waiting for me beneath the branches of said tree.

I had been picking for all of 2 minutes. The ground underneath the ladder didn't feel like it was even. I jiggled the ladder slightly from side to side to try and get it repositioned. Better.

Always check your ladder, boys and girls. All the crazy stuff I've done. The buildings and trees, mountains and art I've climbed and I fall off a ladder--the one thing built specifically for CLIMBING!

There was a strange shift beneath me and the A-frame ladder collapsed. I grabbed at a branch earning me some crushed cherries and a handful of juicy leaves. Twisting in the air with cat-like grace bestowed upon me by years of training and practice, I managed to position my body perfectly to land square on my back atop a hard, large (did I mention hard?) landscaping brick. I have never experienced such pain.

Exhibit B -- Top of the world... check!
Anwyn told me later that she knew something was really wrong when she saw me pancake to the ground.
"What was your first clue?"
"Any time you stub your toe or hurt yourself you always shout 'FUCK' really loud. This time you didn't say anything."

I'll be back in a moment. I think I hear the guy at the door delivering my father of the year trophy.

There I was, laying on the ground. I had rolled once and my face was pressed in the dirt. I could barely breathe for several long minutes. Time slowed, as it is wont to do, and I recalled the last serious fall I experienced. I had been climbing some rocks in northern Saskatchewan (so I couldn't have been too high) and some rock crumbled in my hand. Down I went. Wendy's 1st responder training kicked in. She rolled me over, sat directly on my diaphragm and began firing questions at me while inspecting my pupils for signs of concussion. "Are you okay? How many fingers? Why aren't you speaking? Does your throat hurt?"

Exhibit C -- trees
Back in the present, I gasped into the dirt, "No, I am NOT okay," as I feebly flipped my hand in the universal sign for 'get away from me, I'm dying and need space in which to twitch out my last moments and I most certainly don't require you to check my pupils for dilation.' Luck was with me and Wendy decided instead to marshal the troops. She arranged for Kent to come out with water and a triple dose of extra strength ibuprofen. While she checked on the location of the nearest clinics and hospitals, Anwyn snuck my iPhone from my pocket and began snapping pictures of the deepening bruise on my back.
"What are you doing?"
"Remember that time when I gashed my knee at school and we were waiting for stitches and you said, 'look at the subcutaneous fat--isn't that fascinating'--"
"Yes, I remember..."
"And remember that other time when I was a baby and fell out of the trailer onto wet, salty gravel? You brought me home but before you washed me off you took a picture. Then there was--"
"I don't--"
"Dad! I'm distracting you so you'll forget how much it hurts. That and I know you'll want the pictures later."
Did I help raise this child? Wow. The pain wasn't enough to make me cry, but feeling all the years of parenting choices coming back in this really odd, yet totally supportive moment was almost more than I could take.

By this point Wendy was ready to get me to the doctor as quickly as possible.
"Not yet. Wait... until I can breathe a bit better."
"No, we should go right now. Anwyn get on the other side and help your father."
Anwyn's voice came from somewhere behind me and to the left, "Just a couple more pictures."
"But, we came all this way," I rasped
"What are you talking about?!?"
"The cherries!!! I really want these cherries. After my muscles stiffen up we'll never make it back here this year. You should pick some. I'll just sit--ouch... er, lean--eeyaaugh... I'll hunch here until you're done. Then I'll go to see a doctor."
"Anwyn, grab your bucket. Get picking."

I don't know how I won that argument. You probably know that isn't common even at the best of times. I can only assume that Wendy was as convinced of my imminent death as I was. She was granting my last request of cherries before I shuffled off this mortal coil.

The doctors analysis was two broken ribs. I was prescribed a powerful pain-killer and unable to do anything but sit in throbbing, aching pain for entire days at a time. It was a serious challenge just to get into and out of bed. I'm told it involved a LOT of whining. The ache (and an extra "knuckle" on my ribs) still lingers. I hate it. To a certain degree, this incapacity also happens when I am sick, but then my brain is usually fevered, or I am exhausted. My mind and body are on the same mediocre page. But this really left me feeling trapped in my own body... and I didn't like it. It's made me think about the people that I know that have to live every day of their lives in the same or worse condition. Then there are the millions of people whose struggles I don't know at all. It has helped me to check my complaints at the door (well, except for this blog). As frustrating as it seems now, I'll get strong again and I'll make the most of what I have.

Exhibit D -- public art with pointy bits
Thanks to everyone who came to help me water the garden, clean my house, bring me treats or just commiserate.

***editors note***
I wrote this blog months ago but didn't publish it. I was pretty mad about being responsible for injuring myself and just generally angry. I'm mostly healthy again now and have removed some of the most inflammatory or self indulgent pieces of the post as well as adding all of the funny bits.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Not the Perseids

I hauled myself out of a warm bed at 1:30am. The Perseid Meteor Shower reached it's peak sometime early this morning...
Not the Perseids
I saw quite a few nice meteors, but I had no luck capturing one with my camera. A wider angle lens would have helped as I was only able to photograph a tiny slice of the sky at any one moment. Consequently, I only saved one of my dozens of photos. I spent most of my time staring at Capella (part of Auriga and the brightest dot-left 1/3) and the Pleiades (or the 7 sisters-right 4/5). Perseus (where the Perseids appear to radiate from) is basically the center of the top of this photograph.

The above photo illustrates the main two contributing factors that made capturing a meteor difficult on this, my first solid attempt. Perseus is in the north-east part of the sky. It was only really dark for a few hours. At this time of year the sun doesn't get too far below the horizon. Made for a really long sunrise, though. Also, it was overcast during much of the prime darkness.

Something about lemons and lemonade... blah, blah... so...
Had a great time, but WOW! Was I ever tired this morning?

Yes, I was.

I tried a few different angles and camera settings during the sunrise. Not sure which ones to keep.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Glacier National Park, MT

We have just arrived home from our family vacation to Glacier National Park, Montana. As you have come to expect... there are pictures ;)

We didn't get too far on our first day. A friend of Wendy's was having a surprise wedding in Regina and we decided we could spare a day of our trip to attend. We booked in at the Travel Lodge because they claimed to have the largest waterslide in Regina. Anwyn had her heart set on another awesome water park like we found last year at Lost Island, but she had to settle for quite a bit less. The slide was good looking, but sucked for 13 and 14 7/8 year olds.

The wedding was low key. It was nice to see Karen so happy and I took some pictures for her. The most notable thing for me was that the external flash for my camera "popped". That's pretty much the sound it made as the bulb inside exploded. Needless to say, it somewhat limited my lighting options during the rest of the trip.

On day 2 we made a bee-line for British Columbia. Just this side of Swift Current is when the second "pop" happened. My first ever tire blow out. It was also a fine time for the van's jack to malfunction. I was able to get the tire changed, but only just barely. It was a Sunday and my options of where to buy a new tire were limited. In the end I reluctantly allowed Walmart to come to my aid.

The girls didn't mind. They took the diversion as an opportunity to mess around as I changed the tire, purchased new tires for the rear, bought a new tire jack and generally fussed around.

For this trip I had challenged the rest of the family to a photo contest and Anwyn really did her best for a couple of days to try and contribute (handily winning the first day). She is really developing an eye for story-telling.
Leo's Favourite Boots on Fence
We ran into some bad weather on the highway but, when the sun broke through the clouds for a moment, it gave me a chance to catch some really dramatic lighting in this field.
By the end of this cursed day, we made it to Fernie, BC. We stayed at a wonderful place called the Lizard Creek Lodge. Wendy and I enjoyed the outdoor hot tub with mountain view and the girls reveled in each having their own queen sized bed in their loft.
The border crossing was uneventful and after much road construction we made it to the park and our campground, Apgar. We arrived at the same time as Brad and Simona made short work of our site setup.
The first evening had a fun sunset and Wen and I walked the beach and took some great pictures.
Wendy photobombing an Ansel Adams picture
Another Quest book cover. Should probably write something then...
Our next day we went into town for coffee and headed to Big Mountain and the Whitefish Mountain Resort. There are plenty of things to do in the summer and we spent the whole day hiking and playing.

There was a gondola ride to the top of one mountain. The others rode up and I decided to put my stair training to use and run up. It was pretty ambitious and I was exhausted, but I had a great time (figuratively speaking).

Title:Danny On memorial hiking trail (2013-07-30 11:48:12AM)
Date:2013-07-30 11:48:12 AM CST
Distance:6.23 km
Average Speed:5.3 km/h
Max Speed:12.0 km/h
Ascent:756.01 m
Min/Max Altitude:1,417.79 m, 2,056.99 m

You can download a .kml file of my route on the Danny On Memorial Trail and open it in Google Earth if you like. Or, I could save you time and post a Google map. I was on the aqua line. My competitors on the red. They beat me with time to spare for lunch and a museum tour.

View Danny On Memorial Hiking Trail in a larger map

After a 10 minute breather, I accompanied everyone on a hike back down. Wendy said I should always run up a mountain before doing something physical with others. Apparently it makes me easier to deal with ;)
The Hills Are Alive...
Leo gets all Laura Croft on the race track

Our major activity on the next day was white water rafting. None of us fell in, but there were several peaceful stretches where we were allowed to dive in for a cool down. It's a good thing it was hot out because the water was COLD!
On our last full day the girls explored Apgar village, Brad, Wendy and I relaxed around the campsite while Simona attempted to take a shuttle bus up Going to Sun Road. It was low key and much more like what Wendy prefers in her camping.

In the afternoon I discovered that I could rent a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). Despite threatening clouds, I took the risk and rented it overnight so we could use it during the best times of day for the lake: evening and morning. The evening was perfect weather and we all took turns learning a new balancing skill. Everyone was very careful and managed to not fall in. I was less careful and fell in repeatedly.

We all enjoyed the SUP but, Wendy absolutely loved it. It really gets you close to the water and she felt that it was a very natural way to be on the lake. I just thought it was fun, so I did a headstand. 

It rained that night and the following morning. The SUP was just as fun in the rain. After returning it, we broke camp and drove home. It was a looong drive and we consumed awful road food. We were rewarded with a pretty awesome prairie sunset. I really miss those when I'm away.

100+ photos await the chronically bored.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Blogger Comments

Made a change to the blog today that will affect those of you who comment. I've enabled G+ commenting, which (as you may have guessed) means that Google+ now handles the comments. It has several benefits:
  • you will automatically get notifications when your comments are commented on -- no pesky check boxes or "subscribe" options.
  • If you share a post via G+ your share will appear on the blog (probably won't affect anyone here)
  • you control who can or can't see your comments--including me--(assuming that concerns you). If you are familiar with G+ Circles you will be aware that you can easily specify who can see your comments. It's interesting that an entire conversation could happen on a post that the blog author wouldn't see. So make sure you post "public" or at least to a circle that I'm in :)
  • you can edit or delete your comments
  • like most Google data, it can be downloaded via Google Takeout. Good info for this on Data Liberation.
There is some quick analysis on +Alex Chitu's Google Operating System blog.

Downside (you knew there was one):

  • you have to enable/opt-in G+. Not to read the blog, but to comment on it. This should help +david aschim's commenting woes (I hope), but will likely mean that I don't hear from Vin anymore (sniff). Perhaps with +Robert Diakuw and +Gale Diakuw signed up, he will relent. I'm not holding my breath.
My goal here is to try and facilitate a bit more multi-direction conversation. Guess I'll see how that works.
Taken in 2007, I offer this roof-top picture as a sort of social bribe. Shameless...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stairs of the World

With the extended winter that we have felt this year in Saskatchewan (yes, yes... and many other places too) I have been in a bit of a funk. Trying to get over it usually involves pushing myself to some physical extreme. At Quest New Year, The Doctor mentioned that his brother had embarked on a mission to do his age in chin-ups, of all things. Checking my records... I see that my maximum ever was 16 in a row (currently at 10). That gives me a ways to go, but I have decided to work on it. At the same time, so my lower body doesn't atrophy, I have been attacking the Arts Tower with renewed vigor.

The tower is approximately 50.22m and I'll throw a little history lesson (dates of construction etc...) in for good measure. For now, I'd love to make the assumption that the total height of the building, 50m, roughly equals the distance I run from the basement to the top floor. Sadly, for me, in 1996 I measured the height of a single stair at 18cm. My own internal measurements come out to be about 40m vertical change on the inside.

So now, I ran and walked to the top 11 times in 57 minutes. If I had to estimate, I would be generous and say that 40% of that was something approximating a run. On the way down, I jogged probably 80%. The rest I walked. The walking sounds restful, but really it looks and sounds a lot like a 41 year old man about to collapse and die :)

Burj Khalifa (Dubai)-- 163 floors, 585m (top floor), 829m (roof)
Arts Tower (Saskatoon)-- 11 floors (x11)= 121, 440m (top floor)
World Trade Center (RIP)-- 110 floors, 411m (top floor), 417m (roof)
First Canadian Place (tallest in Canada)-- 72 floors, 290m (top floor)

Obviously I need to get to the top of the Burj Khalifa. The top floor first and the the roof! As an intermediate (yet still distant) goal, I would like to be able to run up all the floors in the tallest building in Canada. No walking... Yikes!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

City Ice Quest

There aren't a lot of melt days during February in Saskatchewan. When it does happen, given my proclivity for being down in the dumps this time of year, I usually sprint for the door. In this case it ended with supper not being ready on time for the hungry hordes. But, it also ended with some awesome pictures of icicles. They are edible too, you know. Well... some of them are.

On the left is the modest fellow that was clinging to my eavestrough. At 18 inches, not much to get excited about, but the sun was hitting it just right. It was enough to make me grab my camera.

As I was driving Wendy to her office, she suggested that I stop by our old rental home. On the right, 518 Albert Avenue. Despite it's several rounds of renovations, it continues to have fabulous ice "problems" (if that's what you call it) in the winter. Unfortunately, the sun was too low on the horizon to give me the look I was going for.
Downtown, the store fronts were clear of ice, but there was an excellent icy sludge on the roadways. I decided to head for the alleyways.

This is the kind of ice you probably wouldn't consider turning into an impromptu popsicle. I think this would have been a fabulous spectacle, if it hadn't been right above some business manager's parking entrance.

There was definite culling taking place :(

Farther along in the same alley...

The ice on the left was pretty boring ,but the melt water combined with the fire escape really sealed the deal for me.

In case of fire, break ice.

The reverse angle on the stairs also worked for me thanks to some venting warm air to created a little of T.S. Eliot's fog from The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock (

Eventually, as G+ers already know, I hit the motherlode I was probably at this site for an entire hour, hoping that a large chunk of ice would fall just as I was shutter ready.

It didn't pan out that way and with no tripod handy, I couldn't manage the breaking/fall and photo at the same time--and believe me I tried to justify several scenarios where I wouldn't kill myself beneath hundreds of pounds of ice.

For those that haven't seen enough this winter... there are a few more pictures here--including a winter classic, "laced shoes on power-line"