Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back to the Status Quo.

I get to the kennel to get Kjell, they didn't do his exam or his checks yet, WTF!! They've had him since the 17th. He is happy to see me, but boy does he hate the carrier.  I get him settled into the flat and I head into the office. 

Things at the office were quiet.  Get my battle plan about the next few days together and that's a wrap.

More Later....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Quiet Day

I spend the day decompressing, I miss Kjell, he is still at the kenel until the 29th. I get some coffee and some za and watch football, just not the same as watching futbol in mexico.  I caught a couple of the premiership matches while I was in mexico,  what a difference in the commentators.

I catch up on my email and call it a night.

More Later .....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Day 10 -- México 2008 -- SLP -> YEG

I was expecting everyone around 9h30, but surprise the plans were changed.  I hear a knock on the door just as I'm getting out of the shower.  Everyone is downstairs.... EARLY!!! It turns out that Nevlin Grande is giving me the ride to the airport, instead of mama and Cristina.  I hurriedly dress myself and pop downstairs and say my fairwells to Mama, Estef, Cristina and Nelvin.  I settle up my hotel tab (~1500 pesos), load my stuff in Nelvin Grande's truck and airport bound I go.


I arrive at the airport ~10h00 and no one is at the Continental Gate.  I press the button, nope.  I'm finally told they are just finishing their morning coffee and will be out in a couple moments.  10h15 there was a swarm of activity and they setup inspection tables etc.  They inspect my checked bag that I had so carefully packed and in the process of helping the girl close my bag I caught my finger nail on the zipper and torn part of it off .... OWWWWWW!!!!.... I get a concha (a yummy sweet bun) and a double espresso, and go into the secured area.

They inspect all my carryons and confiscate 4 AA batteries that I had in my fanny pack...WTF, the fanny pack cleared Canadian and American Customs as is .... ahh well.  I grab a can of mineral water while I'm waiting in the gate area.  Finally the Imigration booth opens and I get cleared and now just have to wait for my boarding call. I notice in one of the papers they were questioning the cost of the festival of lights (~20million pesos) compared to the benifits of tourism.  I didn't read the article since I'm just not that useful in spanish.  There are a whack of kids under 10 running around screaming at the top of their lungs, please god don't let them be on my flight.

Boarding time and they re-open all my carry ons?! WTF!! I get boarded, DAMN, the kids are on the plane, this is gonna be a long loud flight I can feel it.  The plane is an Embraer 145, same as plane comming down, and it's full but atleast I'm in the row of singles.  There was the cutie on the plan be she was a couple rows ahead of me and engrossed in her magazines.  About an hour into the flight this 5 or 6 year old starts screaming at the top of her lungs trying to get her dads attention, and it continues until we land an IAH, wheres my dramamine.  I thought the babies were going to be the issue nope, was the yard apes.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Day 9 -- México 2008 -- Tripitas

Today is Marcela and Issac's last day with us, so I get to the house early and say my farewells. I do a first photo pass of the house, but the results are vetoed. Estef and Cristina have a siesta, so mama, Nelvin and I head to a major park for a bit of sight seeing.

On route to the park I see a mamey vendor, I shout mamey, take note of the location but we didn't stop, D'OH!!! We make our way to Tangamanga Park.

Tangamanga Park, is San Luis' equivalent of Central Park, or Stanley Park etc. People running, an RC Plane/Car area, BMX Track, tennis courts etc. It's mostly irrigated so it's an nice green oasis in the middle of the mexican desert. They also have a botanical garden of the native flora of the state. We stroll around the garden, and then head out, we get a couple of frozen fruit bars (I forget which type, something we normally don't see here ... sniff.) Now to find that mamey cart. Nope, gone, no sign of him, I'm left wanting. I'm still kicking myself, I should have bought more mamey that first time.

We get back to the house enjoy our fruit bar and then clean the house. Out we go, for lunch, mariscos y tostadas. Yummy, A large seafood cocktail with a splash of salsa and advocado. Sooo goood. Why can't we get food like this backhome. MickeyDees or BurgerKing is just not the same. Fastfood that is fast and flavourful and nutritious.

A little more cleaning, now as each room meets mama's approval I snap off the photos.Unfortunately we never got mama's room upto scratch... ahhh welll. Supper time and the quest for Tripitas, tripe tacos. We find the place, yeaaaaahhhh!! So Good, Nelvin and I need seconds. I've noticed the sodas I've been drinking here in Mexico are much less sweet than stuff in Canada and the US. Come to think of it the cereal I ate as well. Stupid yanks and the high fructose corn syrup ( watch King Corn.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Day 8 -- México 2008 -- Navidad

Feliz Navidad!! Feliz Navidad!! You know the song.  I made my way back to Cristina's__ Hey! I'm getting the hang of this cab thing, I'm actually getting to the door without pulling my hair out.  We eat left overs, the bacalao like any sauce is better the next day; I conviced people to eat the bacalao as a sauce for the pasta yummy. 

I do photos of Marcela, Nevlin, and Cristina as well as Estefania in the park across the street.  It's great to see Cristina with her family.

Back to the kitchen I prepare potato pancakes with capers, smoked salmon, sour cream, minced onion and parsley.  Mama had sent her skillet back to Monterrey, D'OH!!  We find a smaller skillet in the house, and manage to make do, it just takes longer to cook all of the pancakes. Everyone loved them so it was worth the work. 

Most of the group heads to the festival of lights, while I baby sit Estef. 

Another great day, too bad my time is comming to an end.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day 7 -- México 2008 -- Comidas

I get to Cristina's early, and decide I will make french toast for breakfast.  Mama gives me a lift back to Sorianas, and we get what I need.  French toast lightly buttered and dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon, with stewed fruit topping.  Other than the stove is very slow, I was happy with the results.

We clean up from breakfast and it's time to make the bacalao.  I get the basic tomato sauce going and then enlist the help of Isaac to be my sous-chef.  Shredding the salt cod takes a long time, but we do it. It simmers for a while, then we shut off the heat.  I head back to the hotel to get cleaned up for the evening. 

When I return, the pork is on and the house smells amazing.   While everyone else is doing their thing I head over to another mercado and picked up a pointsettia.    Luis arrives with his family, and now we get supper on the fire.  I takes forever to get the water boiling to make the spaghetti, but we get it.  Mama makes, this amazing punch with poached fruit.  Supper was spaghetti with garlic butter, Apple salad, bacalao, bollitos, and slow roasted pork with a parsley. 

After supper, we did a gift exchange.  They got me a cookbook of typical mexican cuisine (in spanish) it will take me a while to make my way through it.  It's a cool book, and has some history of food in mexico as well. 

Overall another amazing day....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day 6 -- México 2008

Back to the house I go, I'm having a tough time getting the directions correct for the cabbies.  As long as the get me with a block or so I'll just walk the last bit.  More time with the family.  Cristina, Isaac and I head off to the main mercado.  There might be a possibility for me to get some "rat stew."

As the cabbie takes us to the mercado Cristina asks him about rat stew.  He was less than enthusiastic, if the locals aren't up for it, it's probably not good for me and my tender tummy.  I get some "Queso de Tuna",  basically fruit leather made from cactus fruit.  I like it, Cristina's not such a big fan.  I finally find some souvenirs for people.  We walk to the next mercado, it's full of homeopathic stuff, and I find a couple more souvenirs.   One of the merchants had a couple of pet horned lizards.  We walk out and hit the street mercado that I was at yesterday.  After picking up a couple of odds-and-sods we cab it back to the house.

I head back to the Sorianas to get everything I need for Bacalao, I end up with canned tomatoes since I didn't like any of the fresh ones.  I also get what I need for making some potato pancakes.

Isaac prepared a couple of potatoe fritatas that are typical spanish fair, one onions, the other ham and tuna.  They were very nice, I'll have to make them at home for myself.

Back to the hotel, tomorrow will be a busy day.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day 5 -- México 2008 -- Camino

Today I decide to be adventurous.  I gab an instant coffee, load my back pack, put on my runners (should have worn my boots D'OH!), and head out.  I start walking towards some of the church spires I had seen on my numerous car rides between Cristina's and the Hotel.  I stop at the OXXO (sort of a 7-11 or Macs store) grab a couple of protein bars, some gatorade and some water, and keep on trekin'.  I pass the industrial area, and get to a more residential zone.  The streets are fairly narrow, and the light isn't great.  I don't really see anything that inspire my photographic interests.

An hour and a half in, I get to the church I used as a landmark.  Unfortunately there was a wedding in progress when I arrived, so I didn't spend too much time.  I try to take a couple of HDR sequences since the church is in shadow and backlight by the midday sun.  I head off to the next.  Again I tried a few HDR sequences, and off on my way.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day 4 -- México 2008 -- Tranquilo

Got up and called the house to get the address, Cristina had me give the phone to the desk girl to write down the actual directions to the house.  Flagged a cab, and gave the guy the piece of paper and we got in the neighbourhood, but I had to call the house, and Cristina had to rescue me.

Today is a quiet day, we ate left overs from the yesterdays fiesta, and then spent the day socializing, as a family.  We played some cards, and wrap the day up. 

Today my tummy is a little soft, but nothing to get worried about, I'll just add an additional acidophilus cap to my regiment.

I love this place, and I love these people ....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Day 3 -- México 2008 -- Bautizo

Today is the main focus of the trip, the baptism (bautizo) of Estefania.  I get up and I'm supposed to meet more of Cristina's family in the lobby of the hotel and catch a lift to the house.  I'm in the lobby at quarter to twelve, camera gear cleaned and ready to go.  Bzzzt!!! Cristina's aunt is anything but ready.  D'OH!

OK, I'll just hang in the lobby, there is a lady with a cute little 5 month old, so I amuse myself.  I was thinking, should I run to the taqueira for a snack, or locate something other than instant coffee, but I fear, my ride will be waiting for me and we will be late.  Turns out someone decided to get her hair done starting at noon.... about 13h00 I start getting concerned since I really don't know all the plans for the day since I just do and follow what I'm told.

Finally, one of Cristina's cousins and I hop a cab and book it to the church.  I totally missed everyone getting gussied up, but I made it to the church with 5 minutes to spare... grumble.  There are a number of families there and more or less it's an assembly line.  There is the church photographer following the priest, a nice older chap shooting film, and the assorted people from each of the other families.  Things were a bit crowded but I managed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day 2 -- México 2008 -- Posada

The day started with a knock on the door. I ignored the first couple raps since, I thought it was people bothering others. Then I heard "Greg, my daughter sent me to get you." OK, It's for me! I hurridly get cleanup and dressed and I meet Nelvin Grande in the lobby. He drives us to his job site where he is building a new group of houses, and they were having some issues with the grade of the road. So, I watch the various trades performing their tasks and reflecting how different construction jobs in Canada are, and yet how the same. I walk outside of the gate and took a quick tour of the neighbourhood.

After about 20 minutes, or so we make our way to the house. I finally meet Marcella, and her beau Issac. Cristina laughs at me and asks how do I know I wouldn't be kidnapped. I tolder what her dad said and the door, we both laughed. They then laughed at me for carrying my passport around my neck, like I did in Ecuador. So they took it and put it some place safe and we were off running errands. Off to the mercado looking for flower center pieces for the tables for the fiesta. At the mercado, first thing up xoconostle, a super acidic cactus fruit, splash of lime, and a splash of chili powder, yummy. As we stroll around the mercado, we see a couple different flower vendors. I also see a tortilla press in action, a couple different butchers, so I see arrachera, and yup I got the right cut of meat, but it is difficult to get here. Next up enchiladas potosina, yummy, fresh handmade tortillas con chili, with a nice flavourful filling.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 1 -- México 2008 -- Yeg to SLP


It's -21 and far too early, I forget there is a second 5:00 durring the day.  My bags are packed and I've called for a cab to get me to the airport.  I waited for 15 minutes and the cab finally arrived.  It's dark and there was an abundance of ice crystals in the air.  The cabbie is happy for an airport run to start the day ( ~$50 CAD fare.)  We start heading down Calgary Trail and he suggests a detour to 91st claiming issues on further south -- in retrospect I think he was just trying to pad the meter -- so we cut over to 91st via the Whitemud, the streets were in ok winter conditions but the dude is driving a little more conservative that I expected, but ok.  Then we had to stop for gas, freaking moron.  My 90 minute buffer is quickly eroding as this idiot is fussing around.

I finally get to the Edmonton International (YEG) and check in, the flight is full because weather on each of the coasts has caused issues, NWA was picking up the slack so the flight was full.  The A319 was a cattle car and I got stuck in a middle seat and was sitting beside the African Lady on route to who knows where ( I suspect NYC and then ??)  Unfortunately she didn't speak English, or French, or Spanish, Swedish so communication was very difficult between her, myself and the airline staff.  I'm barely functional in any language either, but I can ask a few questions and get myself food or drink in a couple ways.  Eventually through a mixture of mime and charades the lady and I were able to at least get her beverages etc.  She was wearing the most exquisite gold jewelry, and I wish I had unpacked my camera from the overhead bins... hindsight... ahh well.

We arrive in St. Paul on time it's 10F (-12C) a perfectly respectable December day by my standards, and not that horrible by Minnesota standards either.  Bright sun, clear sky what more could you ask for?  I grab a coffee and a scone from Starbucks while I wait for my next hop.  I'm watching the news, there is 3" (7.5cm) of snow in Los Vegas.  I guess hell was freezing over, I'm on my second international trip in 2 years, and there is snow in Vegas.  That's gotta make a mess of air traffic all over. 
I hop onto my next A319, again a middle seat (sigh.....) There is the cute little Carribean girl with a rainbow of colours of berettes in her hair and her dad in the row in front of me.  My aislemates, some younger dude, and the old rancher. 

The Rancher was very interesting, I looked at his mitts and said "Those look like the hands of a rancher."  He got this big grin on his face and said they sure are. So we spent then next couple of hours chatting.  He was from Montana and on his way to visit his kids.  His ranch was 70miles west of Great Falls, but he has long since retired (he was in his late 80s).  His wife was from Banff (smallish world eh!?)  Before he converted to raising Angus, he sold his Simmental herd to a rancher near High Prairie, so he was no stranger to Albertans.  He also tried a small herd of Canchim, but ultimately ended up raising Angus.

My other aislemate slept until ~25 minutes out of IAH so didn't interact with him much.  Unfortunately for me there was this poor woman behind me with a little snot machine that kept freaking out durring the trip. 


It was 71F (~22C) in Houtson, but the humidity, OMG!!! I'm hungry and my ears hurt and now I'm uncomfortable.  I stroll around and decide to eat at the Chilis, my god was it slow, everyone moving at quarter speed.  Maybe I'll get lucky and get to sit in the section with the amazingly cute latina waitress.  Nope!! Some slow, muffin top, white chick. I finally manage to order and a lady with her dog carryon was sitting across from me so I chatted with her for a couple moments.  All said and done, I noticed half a dozen dogs as carryons in Houston.  Travelling with pets seems to be pretty popular.  IAH was a zoo, snow in vegas, heavy fog in Houston, and a handful of issues on the east coast had people backed up and cranky.

I don't understand why people are freaking out against the poor CSRs standing at the desks.  They are going as fast as they can, and it's not the CSRs fault the weather messed up your flight or connection.  Get a grip, if you are nice to them they will help you.  I learned this when I got snow delayed comming back from Quito.  I was nice to the CSR, I worked with them to find a solution without freaking out, and they upgraded me to First Class for being so cooperative.

While sitting in IAH I tried using one of the WiFi kiosks but the supid credit card proccessing engine didn't ask me for me CCV2 code so I could validate my Mastercard and use the wifi.  A four hour lay over without internet sucked.  There were theese carts helping people get around and there was this one older black lady "'Scuse cart please, 'scuse cart please" was just too funny.  Because of all the delays there were far too many ugly crying babies in the chaos of the gate.  I'm sorry, a shave monkey screetching at the top of it's lungs just grates on my nervs, and parents seem to be desensitised against it.  I'm not!! I was ready to find a bunch of dramamine, and just dose the kids to shut them the hell up.

Finally get boarded, an Embraer ERJ-145, little thing with no head room, and full.  Our flight attendant was a blast.  He made the flight quite enjoyable.  One of the crying babies from the gate was in the aisle in front of me.  But I managed to make him laugh and the parents were so sorry, but I saw they were making an effort so I was able to cut them some slack. 

I clear customs and Nelvin gave me ride to the hotel.  I was staying at the "Hotel California" but not the one of Eagle's Fame in Cabo, I don't even think this is actually affiliated with that hotel in anyway. I drop my bags off, and we head out for tacos.  I have a couple types of tacos, with a couple different kinds of meats.  I'm so happy with my attempt at tacos el pastor now that I've had the real deal. 

It's official I'm in México.... my adventure begins.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Women Warriors

  • Lozen of the Chiricahua
  • Joan of Arc
  • 花木蘭 — Hua Mulan
  • Boudica
Just of a few of the random names of important women from various places and times in history.  Until recently I had not heard of Lozen.  I caught a series on Discovery Civilization on Women Warriors, and this specific episode was about Lozen of the Chiricahua (a member of the apache Nation) sister of Chief Victorio.  She was a warrior and medicine woman, and was part of the last apache stand with Geronimo. 

I will have to do some more research, but it was very interesting, and tragic since the Chiricahua were basically rounded up from New Mexico and shipped to a prison in Florida. 

More Later....

The Week In Review

While I'm trying to do something every day to every other day, I've been a little swamped as I'm getting ready for my vacation.  I'm going to a baptism/christening in San Luis Potosí, México. So I'm going to do a quick summary of my irks from the week and may come back to elaborate on the general themes when time permits.

Government Stupidity

The Prime Minister of Canada prorogued parliament.  Basically, because he tried to bully the opposition parties, they began to fight back by trying to form a coalition.  The coalition would have been able to over throw the government.  So the Prime Minister suspended parliament, rather than face a non-confidence vote, only 1 week into the post election session.


With the general economic conditions around the world, Canada's Central Bank finally said the "R" word, and dropped interest rates.  I will have to wait until later to cuss on this topic.


We went from 10°C above seasonal to 10°C below seasonal in 24 hours.  I don't mind -25°C weather but only after I've had a couple days at -10°C and a couple at -15°C.  Also, on the night of the moon perigee, we had overcast blowing crap as the weather fronts moved through. So I didn't get a chance to try the obligatory full moon pix and now have to wait for another ~16 years. I forgot about the perigee until I started scanning articles on New Scientist  web site.

When the weather was above seasonal, it was messy and slushy outside, so I wasn't super amused.  I want snow, but I want it to be -10°C with 30cm of snow, not +1°C with freezing rain, and then a melting mess. I guess I'm just never satisfied.

More Later....

PS: as I'm writing this post, it is -30°C with the effective temperature hovering around -38°C (-36°F), it should be -15°C (~5°F).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Reviewing Old Photos..

I've been going through my old pics because I'm contemplating retiring my self-hosted gallery.  Now I'm hosting most of my stuff currently on flickr.  I've definitely grown as a photographer since 2003, when I got my digital rebel.  I don't shoot as many frames, nor do  I like as many of the frames I've shot.  I've become more critical, and my goals as a photographer have changed.

When I started, I was on my high-horse about don't edit,  don't adjust, don't enhance blah blah blah. What a prat, I've gotten over myself.  I now think of my RAWs as a digital negative (as they are intended), and an unrefined image. Now, my job is to take the raw image and create the best photograph possible from that image.  If I need to do some colour correction, or enhancements, so be it. Crop it, rotate it, I don't care, just get the best quality final piece of art possible. Find the photograph that is hiding in the picture. 

More Later ....

NB: 2010/06/21, I have retired my self-hosted stuff, but not by choice.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas At Rock-Away Rest

'Twas the night before Christmas at Rock-Away Rest,
and all of us seniors were looking our best.
Our glasses, how sparkly, our wrinkles, how merry;
Our punchbowl held prune juice plus three drops of sherry.
A bedsock was taped to each walker, in hope
That Santa would bring us soft candy and soap.
We surely were lucky to be there with friends,
Secure in this residence and in our Depends.
Our grandkids had sent us some Christmasy crafts,
Like angels in snowsuits and penguins on rafts.
The dental assistant had borrowed our teeth,
And from them she'd crafted a holiday wreath.
The bed pans, so shiny, all stood in a row,
Reflecting our candle's magnificent glow.
Our supper so festive -- the joy wouldn't stop --
Was creamy warm oatmeal with sprinkles on top.
Our salad was Jell-O, so jiggly and great,
Then puree of fruitcake was spooned on each plate.
The social director then had us play games,
Like "Where Are You Living?" and "What Are Your Names?"
Old Grandfather Looper was feeling his oats,
Proclaiming that reindeer were nothing but goats.
Our resident wand'rer was tied to her chair,
In hopes that at bedtime she still would be there.
Security lights on the new fallen snow
Made outdoors seem noon to the old folks below.
Then out on the porch there arose quite a clatter
(But we are so deaf that it just didn't matter).
A strange little fellow flew in through the door,
Then tripped on the sill and fell flat on the floor.
'Twas just our director, all togged out in red.
He jiggled and chuckled and patted each head.
We knew from the way that he strutted and jived
Our social- security checks had arrived.
We sang -- how we sang -- in our monotone croak,
Till the clock tinkled out its soft eight-p.m. stroke.
And soon we were snuggling deep in our beds,
While nurses distributed nocturnal meds.
And so ends our Christmas at Rock-Away Rest.
'fore long you'll be with us, We wish you the best!


More Later......

Friday, December 5, 2008

Edmonton Drivers....

It's snowing again, and surprise surprise, people of Edmonton forgot how to drive on snow!!! People, we have snow 6 months a year, WTF!!! Get a clue!!!  Now I realize, during our boom times, people from places without snow, say Mexico came here to work, but anything East of the Rockies and West of the Atlantic Ocean and North of the 49th parallel should know how to drive on snow. (People in Vancouver and Victoria get a pass since they are almost snow free).

More Later...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cry of Freedom... and Others....

Over past few weeks, I've been recalling some historical that I've watched
Both directed by Richard Attenborough.  I don't know why I've been thinking about them, just have.  I recall the first time I saw Gandhi in the theatre with my mom, there was an intermission because of the length of the film.  I don't know if they would even consider such a thing now, granted I don't recall many 3 hour movies either, each of the LoTR movies are om the ball park, but they didn't have an intermission.   Even more strange is why I was thinking about Cry of Freedom it is mostly about Donald Woods, a newspaper editor that had to flee South Africa durring apartheid.  It is in passing about Bantu Stephen Biko, a black activist that died in custody while in a South African prison.  At somepoint I want to read the Donald Woods book Biko -- Cry of Freedom.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

V2 explosion

Thinking about the hobby store reminded me of a frustrating adventure back home.  I had purchased an estes semi-scale V2 model rocket. Not the V2-Max (though I did have one of those as well), but the smaller one.  It was the first model rocket I was proud of.  Spent a couple weeks in dad's shop building it and perfecting the body. YES weeks.  Then, another couple of weeks on the perfect, authentic camo paint job.  It was a work of art.  A few friends and I (Jason and Ryan Fink, and Richard Kleinbrink) went to Gyro Park to launch it.  We setup the launch pad, I loaded it with the largest C motor I could put my mitts on, a C6-7 I think, and launched it.

I was out of the fiber glass wadding, so I used a couple of old polyester socks, I was young and wasn't thinking of the thermal properties of polyester, my concern was the plastic parachute.

It was an unusually calm day, we counted down, swooosh, and off it went.  The rocket hit the coasting phase, things were looking good.  All of a sudden boom.  My rocket exploded on its maiden flight.  I think the polyester socks fused to the body and the pressure of the ejection charge was too much.  I didn't have the heart to launch any of my other rockets ever since. We ended up doing much more dangerous things with the leftover motors...picture die-cast cars, duct tape and long empty allies.... or action figure du jour and duct tape and long empty allies ....

I think I should get back into rocketry again we can get the larger motors now and some of the stuff is just too cool for school....

More Later....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's snowing :)

It's snowing!! Not sure about the accumulation yet, but it's more than a wisp. It's also cooling off so I finally had to close the windows and the balcony door of my flat.  Kjell is much more affectionate since the flat is a little cooler that he likes.  He is not the same as my previous companion Meisha, but he is still a good cat.  He is less of a 'fraidy cat than he was, but he is still pretty skiddish.

More Later ....

Memory Lane

Seeing all the rural little schools as I'm bombing down some of the back roads, reminds me of the McNally School back home. I use to frequent an hobby store in Lethbridge when I was growing up. I don't recall the exact circumstances, but the hobby store moved from one of the strip malls on the north side out to the care takers garage of the McNally School. So we would have to hop on our bikes and peddle out to the school in order to get paints, rocket motors, etc.

More Later ....

Monday, December 1, 2008

Government and Media Stupidity

Over the past ~72 hours the Canadian Government has been playing politics, and it's frosting me something fierce.  Currently, Canada has a minority government, and parliament has only been in session for a whole week.  The Government tried to stick to all of the opposition parties right from the get go.  The issue that is causing the most grief for everyone, is that the government wants to quit subsidizing all the federal political parties.  While this is not an issue for the party that is the minority government, they have a great fund raising capability.  The others, not so much.

Now there is a distinct possibility of another election, far too soon for the Canadian public.  There may also be a possibility of a coalition government, but we see how well those work in say Italy or Israel.

It doesn't help that people have to via for media attention, and since we are now in the age of the sound byte, and everyone is seeking their 15 megabytes of fame.  So now the playground bully mentality wins so that people can make their point and get their media spotlight.

More Later....

A Weekend of Diversity

The weekend was full of hits and misses.  Saturday I experimented with some GPS software for my blackberry.  It WORKED!! I was able to create a map of the route for the day and was able to geoencode my photos, and upload them to flickr.  Sunday Bzzzzt!! I'm not sure if I mis-entered the config info for the trip, I have a couple of way points of places I wanted to come back to, but no track, no info to do geoencoding.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Word Du Jour.... Mondegreen.

A couple months back, I was doing one of my regular weekend drives, and I caught an episode of Randy's Vinyl Tap on CBC radio. Great show, hosted by Randy Bachman, where he is providing his insights and commentaries on assorted music past and present.  The topic of the specific show was Mondegreens.  A Mondegreen is lyrics of  a song that we mishear. There were a lot of funny ones, listen to podcast.

If you want a couple hours of good music and great musical insight you should also just listen to the program. 

More Later...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Acedia, A Long Lost Word.

A couple weeks back I was listening to Words at Large on CBC Radio it was but the subject of acedia came up.  Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life By Kathleen Norris was the book under discussion.  The author brought up an interesting point, she talked about the Deadly Thoughts instead of Deadly Sins, and acedia fell into the category of deadly thoughts.  Was very interesting and the podcast is worth listening to.

More Later .....

Think Positive About No Snow!

Well there is an upside to no snow. Snow owls are more easily seen. I had been bombing up and down some of my usual haunts.  I spotted this guy, and was able to pop a couple of frames off, before he got out of range.  I really wish I had some longer glass I would have been able to spend more time with birds like this one. 

While I'm not unhappy with my 100-400, a 400 f/2.8 would make it so I could use my teleconverters and get little more reach.  Ideally a 600 f/4, or even a 800 f/5.6 would be cool.  This was cropped out of a shot at 400mm. I was maybe 10m from him and managed to get this frame just as he had enough of me a headed for some peace and quiet.

More Later ....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Back To The Weather.

I managed to sneak out for a couple hours on Sunday and checked the back country.  Well, there is a touch more snow, but nothing of consequence.  It also seems it's been below zero enough that most of the standing water is frozen.  On a couple of the range roads I was on, there were even icy patches big enough to remind me it's time to re-learn my winter driving skills. (Note to self: don't park the car in a ditch this season)

I was able to do a drive by of Astotin Lake in Elk Island National Park.  OMG, the water levels, they are non-existent.  While I can't exactly walk to a couple of the "islands", mostly because the ground is still fairly saturated, once the frost sets in, definitely.  So depressing, you don't have water fowl without water. It won't be too long and we will end up having a big old alkali flat. Reminds me of Pakowki Lake, in Southern Alberta.  A large intermittent lake that we tried to visit a number of times in my childhood without success.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snoooowwwww.....

More Later....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Random Acts Of Violence

Random Acts of Violence is the name my friend and I have for, the unprovoked re-education of co-workers and subordinates in the workplace.  This continues the theme of the work place being a Sopranos episode started in Life in the business world.  The basic premise is: randomly pick someone, belittle them, berate them, or punish them in someway for no reason other than to show you are in charge.  Basically you are being the school yard bully.  If possible you should share your exercise in dominance with a peer or superior.  Also, you make your random act of violence public so everyone else has a calculated fear of you.

This is against everything I personally believe in, but seems to be an important survival skill and strategy in larger organizations. My friend has many many stories on this subject but I will leave their telling to him.

More Later....

Jeff Dunham....

One of my fave comedians, Jeff Dunham Christmas special was on.... love his ventriloquism...  and of course his side kicks
  • Peanut
  • Walter
  • José Jalapeño
He has some others but these are my favorites.

The Christmas special had a set by Jeff himself, then with Walter, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, Bubba J... and of course Peanut with José Jalapeño.

Life In the Business World.

The more I take my head of out the sand the more I realize life is really more like living in a Soprano's Episode.  A friend of mine and I often have been having these conversations about the criminality and the sense of entitlement that so many CEOs of various public companies have and engage in.  AIG and their $400+k beach retreat, after receiving their bailout package.  What about the GM executive digging a hole while testifying to congress.  I will explore and rant about this further, but my gawd .... where is the honesty and integrity that we were supposed to practice.

I realize, that in Canada, we don't have as many undisclosed financial transactions as part of our daily life compared to some places.  Bribes are more common here than people think, but we have our blinders on, and think that it's only a practice of the few.  Many of my foreign friends laugh at our naivety, undisclosed commissions are an expected part of doing business and life is so many places.  I've begun to accept it, and the more I open my eyes, the worse everthing really appears.

More Later.....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Still Waiting ....

Well I'm still waiting, with no real precip insight.  We had a whisp in the morning, but again all gone... We are running approximately 10°C above seasonal and no end in sight..... it's hard to find animal tracks in the hard pack, more importantly, most of the sloughs I frequent are dry.  Some have even been tilled by the land owner. 

More later.....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bran Muffins

They reached the pearly gates, and St. Peter escorted them inside. He took them to a beautiful mansion, furnished in gold and fine silks, with a fully stocked kitchen and a waterfall in the master bath.

A maid could be seen hanging their favourite clothes in the closet.

They gasped in astonishment when he said, 'Welcome to Heaven. This will be your home now.'

The old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost.

'Why, nothing,' Peter replied, 'remember, this is your reward in Heaven.'

The old man looked out the window and right there he saw a championship golf course, finer and more beautiful than any ever built on Earth.

'What are the greens fees?,' grumbled the old man.

'This is heaven,' St. Peter replied. You can play for free, every day.'

Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with every imaginable cuisine laid out before them, from seafood to steaks to exotic deserts, free flowing beverages.

'Don't even ask,' said St. Peter to the man. This is Heaven, it is all free for you to enjoy.'

The old man looked around and glanced nervously at his wife.

'Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods, and the decaffeinated tea?,' he asked.

'That's the best part,' St. Peter replied. 'You can eat and drink as much as you like of whatever you like, and you will never get fat or sick. This is Heaven!'

The old man pushed, 'No gym to work out at?' 'Not unless you want to,' was the answer. 'No testing my sugar or blood pressure or...'

'Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself.'

The old man glared at his wife and said, 'You and your bran muffins. We could have been here ten years ago!'

Monday, November 17, 2008

Still no snow :(

We had a wisp of snow, and a couple of drops of freezing rain, but nope .... no real snow :'( and it's still unseasonably warm.

More Later....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Let It Snow, Let It Snow.

When I was walking home from work today, I saw the first flakes of snow.... FINALLY.  In my travels around the country side far too many of my favorite sloughs are dry. We need several inches of rain, or several feet of snow.  Something.  Anything. How can you take pics of puddle ducks, if there are no puddles!!

More Later

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why Do We Malign My Beloved Wolves?

I was watching another movie, The Golden Compass I think, and here we go again, wolves were the animals of the bad guys.  WHY? At some point in our history, we loved wolves enough to domesticate them.  Wolves are social, strong, full of endurance, and take you head on.  No sneaking around and ambushing you.  Oh well.....

More later...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Where Is The Neighbourhood

Another trip down memory lane had me pondering the neighbourhood I grew up in.  I just don't see the groups of kids hanging and playing like I use to.  Where I grew up, public school was geography based, you lived in region x you will attend school y.  The upside is, if there were any number of kids in an area, you eventual all crossed paths and interacted.  Junior high school (grades 7, 8, and 9) even more so.

About junior high age, when we were sufficiently independent from mom and dad to dodge homework, chores, and just about everything else, there was a number of us in a 10 block radius that started to really hangout.  We would congregate near the center of the region and we would often spend hours playing kick the can (a fancy version of hide-and-seek).  Most of the neighbours were pretty cool about having a number of kids hopping fences, cutting through yards and being kids.  There was the odd yard that was off limits, for various reasons, but most of the people didn't give us too much hassel. A game would start after supper and would last until after dark (unless someone's mom called).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Into The Wild

Finally saw Into the Wild.  Very intersting movie, and an interesting concept.  It was too bad for the main character that the Dick Proenneke Alone in the Wilderness wasn't available yet, he might have survived. You can read the IMDB summaries of either of the movies.  When the Proenneke documentary is on PBS I will watch it without fail.  There is of course also Never Cry Wolf and Call of the Wild

Now my real point, I've been at a cross road for awhile, when my mind is unsettled I run to the outdoors. Nothing like the power and tranquility of nature.  Sitting on a bluff, or a ridge, hilltop or mountain top.  My bush craft isn't up to the point that I could just drop off the face of civilization and disappear into the woods and walk a lifetime in Proenneke's footsteps.  I need to practice starting a fire with a bow drill.  I would have to decide to actually hunt, instead of just stalk for photos.  Most importantly, I need to learn plant and mushroom identification.  In the Into the Wild movie the dood mistook Inedible wild sweet pea, hedysarum mackenzii, with Edible Wild potatoe, hedysarum alpinum.  I have far too much to learn on the plant and mushroom front to survive without a garden, or a super market.  At some point, I also need to learn how to better dress meat, then smoke or dry it.  While I understand how to dress most game, it has just been far too long since I last tried that, I would probably spoil more meat than I could butcher, again like the d00d in the movie.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Music Carrying Me Down Memory Lane

For quite awhile the lyrics for a song have been haunting my mind "Stars the glisten, lips for kissin' honey listen it's true".  I always knew it was from the Rex Smith movie "Sooner or Later", which most people can remember the song "You take my breath away".  For the life of me I couldn't remember the other song.  Finally I decided to google it and found it...."Simply Jesse".

Ya, some days I'll get the drively ballads pumpin' through my brain, please give me some insulin, but some days I like 'em.

I can tell you the story of my life via ballads.  Or if I hear a ballad, I can recount many more memories of yesteryear.  Another set of keys to unlock my mind.  Now to go flush my brain with some Yngwie Malmsteen, or Metallica, possibly some Brecker Brothers, and follow it up with a nice dose of my fave, Frank Zappa or possibly some David Bowie.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Canadian Election Stupidity

It's election time here in Canada, no real surprise.  I heard some of the campaign rhetoric from one of our major parties and just about died laughing.  The NDP want's to allow municipalities to be able to ban hand guns.  MY GOD!!!  Do these morons think, that the people who have the hand guns (which are pretty much illegal as is) give a rats ass about the law?!  Do these morons think that the people packin' heat to a dope deal, or for a gang retaliation give to flying @)#(*)@#( about the legality of a fire arm!!  While I applaud the concept, the reality is just too funny for words.

How do you get tougher on crime I don't have an easy or simple answers, but people that are going to blatantly skirt the law, are not going to give a damn about a tougher law.  Ultimately people with legal firearms just won't be allowed to have them, and the criminals will still be armed to the hilt.

More Later....

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cars (Part II)

Baby Blue

This early 70's navy blue Toyota Corolla was the other part of the replacement of the Olds.  The wagon was a big boat, and really didn't handle well.  Dad normally drove the mickey mouse truck, so this was mom's car.  2 Door and compact this little 4 speed was the car of most of our errands.  Soccer, music lessons, trips through the Burger Baron Drive through, or the A&W Drive in with the tray hanging on the window (yummy frost mug of root beer, better still a root beer float).  So many miles.  This is the car both myself and my bro learned to drive in.  Engine Rebuilds, bearings repacked, regular oil changes, was a great little car. 

Green Bean

The wagon, and the mickey mouse truck got replaced.  Chev 3/4 ton Crew Cab, Scottsdale 20 with a topper.  This was dad's transport, or special occasion transport, and of course the vacation mobile.  You could comfortably seat 6 in the cab, but 4 was much more comfortable.  We put a foldout bed in the box and things were good.  Little bro and I would bounce between the back seat and the box.  Parent would sleep in the box on the flip-flop (foldout bed), little bro got the drivers seat, I go the passenger seat.  Life was good.  Lots of miles in the mountains, to Northern BC, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Eventually we got rid of the topper, and installed a Fifth-Wheel hitch.  That became our weekend and vacation home. Installed a 100 gallon gas tank and we could for what seemed like ever.

Had my first serious (in my world) accident in the green bean while learning to drive.  I had mastered baby blue, and my dad was feeling generous.  We were camping in the castle falls camp ground and we needed to make a water run.  Dad tossed me the keys.  I was nervous.  Down the hill, picking up speed.  I didn't adjust the seat or the wheel for me it was still setup for my dad.  I couldn't quite brake hard enough and on the dirt loop was going too fast.  Bang into the trees.  I keep going, and my dad freaked.  I side swiped half of the forest (or at least that what it felt like).  Was another couple of years before I would get handed the keys again. 

Finally it got converted to propane.  So many road trips (on my own or with the family).  So many miles driving to job sites.  Green bean served us well. 

Cars do seem to carry a lot of keys to your memories. Unlock them, enjoy them, maybe even share them. 

More Later....


Often when I'm bombing around the back roads, looking for some inspiration for a photo, I often end up listening to CBC Radio. Yesterday on DNTO, they were talking about cars and lifestyle.  That in itself wasn't a big deal, but one of the guests, I'll have to go back and listen to the podcast to recall her name.  She used cars as a key to unlock memories for seniors, or even writing.  It made me Ponder.

Old Brown Pontiac

This was the first car of my parents I remember.  I vividly remember my parents putting down a piece of plywood in the backseat making it a bed for my little bro and I.  We would bounce and play on the plywood, and then it made the seat deep enough that we could both lie down. Made cross country trips, or trips to the Drive-In possible.

Mickey Mouse Truck

Old 53 Chev Truck with a set of lights on the roof that made it look like it had  mouse ears.  Riding in the box on trips to the dump, or the lumber yard.  This old baby blue guy with 3 in the tree, starter peddle on the floor, no seat belts, brought no end of amusement.  I recall one trip, returning home from hockey practice, I was still in full kit.  My jersey hooked on to the door handle, my dad hit a bump and whoooosh, out I went.  My hockey equipment took the brunt of the road rash, but I still have a little scar on my wrist where the gloves didn't fully protect me. 

I also recall an adventure where dad ran into the lumber yard. My brother and I managed to pop it out of gear, and had to steer it to saftey approximately half a block down the road.  Dad freaked.  But the best to me was riding in the box.  Damn uptight insurance people and government taking away my fun. 

Brown, Simulated Wood, Ford Station Wagon

This replaced the old Pontiac, my bro and I were getting bigger.  Bouncing from the back seat to our toys in the very ample back of the station wagon.  This was the Vacation Vehicle or the special occasion vehicle.  4 Door, bench seats and the back ment there was lots of room for adults and kids. 

My biggest memory from the wagon was the first trip through the Okanogan, the main fruit growing region in Western Canada.  My little bro and I had gorged ourselves on fresh fruit.  It was hot.  The roads are very curvy and in the mountains.  Lots of opportunity to be car sick.  I don't recall for how long, but my little bro and I spent a number of miles hanging our heads out the back of the wagon puking our guts out. We actually peeled the paint off the back bumper, we had puked so much. Mostly cherries, but I think there were some apricots and peaches in the mix.  Then at one of the orchards, someones dog licking all the vomit off the back bumper.  Good times.

More later.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Young Chuck moved to Texas and bought a donkey from a farmer for $100.00. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day. The next day he drove up and said, "Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died."

Chuck replied, "Well, then, just give me my money back."

The farmer said, "Can't do that  I've spent it already."

Chuck said, "Ok, then, just bring me the donkey."

The farmer asked, "What ya gonna do with him?"

Chuck said, "I'm going to raffle him off."

The farmer said, "You can't raffle off a dead donkey!"

Chuck said, "Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead."

A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey"

Chuck said, "I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars a piece and made a profit of $998.00."

The farmer said, "Didn't anyone complain?"

Chuck said, "Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back."

Chuck grew up and works for the government.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Dog's Purpose

As a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, 6-years old, were all very attached to Belker; and they were hoping for a miracle.

I found Belker was dying of cancer and told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, but offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it might be good for Shane to observe the procedure to learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said,"People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?"

Shane continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that; so they don't have to stay as long."

  • Live simply.
  • Love generously.
  • Care deeply.
  • Speak kindly.

If a dog were our teacher, we'd learn things like:

  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
  • Take naps.
  • Stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp, and play daily.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
  • When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you're not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Count Down To Hockey Begins.

Get ready folks, the 2008-2009 Edmonton Oilers Hockey Season is upon us.
  • 2008/09/21 - Joey Moss Cup
  • 2008/09/22 - Edmonton Oilers Preseason Vs Canucks
  • 2008/09/24 - Edmonton Oilers Preseason Vs Panthers
  • 2008/09/25 - Edmonton Oilers Preseason Vs Panthers
  • 2008/09/30 - Edmonton Oilers Preseason Vs Flames
  • 2008/10/12 - Edmonton Oilers Home Opener vs Avalanche.
Just to give a run up, for the full schedule check the oilers website.

My cameras are at the ready, and I hope to have a good season of shooting for

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Story of Adam & Eve's Pets

Adam and Eve said, 'Lord, when we were in the garden, you walked with us every day. Now we do not see you any more. We are lonesome here, and it is difficult for us to remember how much you love us.'

And God said, I will create a companion for you that will be with you and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourselves.'

And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam and Eve.

And it was a good animal.

And God was pleased.

And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and Eve and he wagged his tail.

And Adam said, 'Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and I cannot think of a name for this new animal.'

And God said, 'I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG.'

And Dog lived with Adam and Eve and was a companion to them and loved them.

And they were comforted.

And God was pleased.

And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

After a while, it came to pass that an angel came to the Lord and said, 'Lord, Adam and Eve have become filled with pride. They strut and preen like peacocks and they believe they are worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught them that they are loved, but perhaps too well.'

And God said, I will create for them a companion who will be with them and who will see them as they are.

The companion will remind them of their limitations, so they will know that they are not always worthy of adoration..'

And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam and Eve.

And Cat would not obey them. And when Adam and Eve gazed into Cat's eyes, they were reminded that they were not the supreme beings.

And Adam and Eve learned humility.

And they were greatly improved.

And God was pleased.

And Dog was happy. . . . .

And Cat didn't give a shit one way or other....

Monday, September 1, 2008

So I asked my Doctor

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... Don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables ?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable ). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! . Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO -- Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember:

'Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO HOO, What a Ride!'
AND . . .

For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.
  1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Taking A Women To Bed.

What is the difference between girls/woman aged: 8, 18, 28, 38, 48, 58.
68, and 78?

At 8 -- You take her to bed and tell her a story.

At 18 -- You tell her a story and take her to bed.

At 28 -- You don't need to tell her a story to take her to bed.

At 38 -- She tells you a story and takes you to bed.

At 48 -- She tells you a story to avoid going to bed.

At 58 -- You stay in bed to avoid her story.

At 68 -- If you take her to bed, that'll be a story!

At 78 -- What story??? What bed??? Who the hell are you???

Sunday, April 20, 2008

April Snow Brings.......

The April weather in Alberta is suspect at best.  I usually don't get too bent outta shape until after the May Long weekend ( there is a 50-50 chance of snow for the official start of the summer festivities).   We've had two major storms each of the weekends that I haven't been working.

I tried going out durring the first one, and well, I parked my car in the ditch, and no photos to show for the adventure.

This weekend, the roads in the area where I would be eagle spotting, were closed.  The eagles, follow the bird migrations, and so the window of oportunity to catch them is small.  I was too late last year, only a couple of "look what I saw" pix, nothing that I would now deem as usable.  A few years ago maybe, but not now. 

If April showers bring May flowers, what do April blizaards bring?  I don't care about the cold, and the snow is great.  just not when the hiways have zero visiblity.  It looks like snow all week as well... maybe next weekend, and hopefully the eagles are still around, and I can find them....

They were around Calgary area, a couple weeks back, so I may already be too late for the spring migrations.... but there is always fall....

More Later....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

So Long Creative Minds.....

Over the passed couple of weeks, we've have lost a couple of creative minds
  • Dungeons and Dragons Creator -- Gary Gygax
  • Author and Scientist -- Arthur C. Clarke
I derived many many hours of enjoyment, losing myself to the creations of these two minds.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I finally got my Canon 1D Mark III.  What a difference it makes over my 20D and 30D.  WOW! What a difference in performance.  I now have to decide should I do a 40D as my backup, or hold out for a second Mark III. I may have to contemplate a 5D or it's replacement as a full frame back up instead of the 40D, but that is a little ways out.

I also need to contemplate a couple of long primes 200f/2, 400f/2.8, 600f/4, 800f/5.6.  The 200 and 400 being my prime candidates.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I Owe My Mother

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE .
 "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
 "You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL .
"If you don't straighten up, I' m going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

 4. My mother taught me LOGIC.
" Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
"If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My mother taught me IRONY .
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS .
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.
"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA .
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11 My mother taught me about WEATHER.
"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
"Stop acting like your father!"

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait until we get home."

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING .
"You are going to get it when you get home!"

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
 "If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."

19 My mother taught me ESP.
"Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

20. My mother taught me HUMOR.
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT .
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
"You're just like your father."

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Shut that door behind you.  Do you think you were born in a barn?"

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

25. And my favorite: My mother taught me about JUSTICE .
"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you"


New Rule 1:
No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for weddings. Now it's for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab. Picking out the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn't gift giving, it's the white people version of looting.

New Rule 2:
Stop giving me that pop-up ad for! There's a reason you don't talk to people for 25 years. Because you don't particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the football team is doing these days --- mowing my lawn.

New Rule 3:
Don't eat anything that's served to you out a window unless you're a seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a bowl of Wendy's chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar. What did you expect it to contain? Lobster?

New Rule 4:
Stop saying that teenage boys who have sex with their hot, blonde teachers are permanently damaged. I have a better description for these kids: "Lucky bastards."

New Rule 5:
If you need to shave and you still collect baseball cards, you're a dope. If you're a kid, the cards are keepsakes of your idols. If you're a grown man, they're pictures of men.

New Rule 6:
Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here's how much men care about your eyebrows: Do you have two of them? Good. We're done.

New Rule 7:
There's no such thing as flavored water. There's a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket -water, but without that watery taste. Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored water? Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt. That's your flavored water.

New Rule 8:
Stop screwing with old people. Target is introducing a redesigned pill bottle that's square, with a bigger label. And the top is now the bottom. And by the time grandpa figures out how to open it, his ass will be in the morgue. Congratulations, Target, you just solved the Social Security crisis.

New Rule 9:
The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the asshole. If you walk into a Starbucks and order a 'decaf grandee, half-soy, half-low fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n'-Low, and One NutraSweet, 'ooooh, you're a huge asshole.

New Rule 10:
I'm not the cashier! By the time I look up from sliding my card, entering My PIN number, pressing 'Enter,' verifying the amount, deciding, no, I don't want Cash back, and pressing 'Enter' again, the kid who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my Almond Joy.

New Rule 11:
Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you spiritual. It's right above the crack of your ass. And it translates as 'beef with broccoli. 'The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren't pregnant. You're not spiritual. You're just high.

New Rule 12:
Competitive eating isn't a sport. It's one of the seven deadly sins. ESPN recently televised the U.S. Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those athletes at the poker table was just too damned exciting. What's next, competitive farting? Oh wait, they're already doing that. It's called "The Howard Stern Show."

New Rule 13:
I don't need a bigger "mega" M&Ms. If I'm extra hungry for M&Ms, I'll go nuts and eat two.

New Rule 14:
If you're going to insist on making movies based on crappy old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a remote so we can see what's playing on the other screens. Let's remember the reason something was a television show in the first place is that the idea wasn't good enough to be a movie.

New Rule 15:
And this one is long overdue: No more bathroom attendants. After I zip up, some guy is offering me a towel and a mint like I just had sex with George Michael. I can't even tell if he's supposed to be there, or just some freak with a fetish. I don't want to be on your webcam, Dude. I just want to wash my hands.

New Rule 16:
If you ever hope to be a credible adult and want a job that pays better than minimum wage, then for God's sake don't pierce or tattoo every available piece of flesh. If so, then plan your future around saying, "Do you want fries with that?"

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy New Year!!

Well it has been far too long since I graced the pages of my blog, or updated my photo gallery.  Well that is about to change (at least I hope).

On the photo front, I've broken down and have a new laptop (a Dell XPS), and most importantly Adobe PhotoShop and Adobe Ligthroom.  Let me start off with saying Lightroom rocks. No knock to gimp and dcraw, but I never quite got the juju for messing with RAW files on my FreeBSD boxes. Additionally not have any real colour management has been an issue.  Now that I've been shooting RAW and comparing to the JPEG output, it's making me kick my ass that I didn't shoot RAW all the time.  To use a photographer pun

Now I've seen the light!!