Near Misses

This spring I installed the latest Mac OS (Snow Leopard) and my rather old version of Final Cut (video editing software) did not run well on it. I researched online for a few weeks and was prepared to dish out some money to buy the latest version of Final Cut Pro ($1199). As I was shopping around on eBay and Kijiji and online I decided to take another look at patches for FCP and OS 10.6. And there it was, a simple, free fix saving me over $1000.

In June, I got a flat tire on my road bike. Didn't bother repairing it for a couple weeks because of non-stop rain and then the sunday before the last week of exams I decided to patch a bunch of tubs and clean the rear gears really well. I ended up messing up something inside my rear wheel which I had fixed, and as I put the rear wheel back on I saw that it was rubbing on my frame and brakes. I brought the bike into M.E.C. (who now deals their own bike) on my way to the south end of Calgary and the techs there showed me how my frame was bent and how it was going to be impossible to fix. I should go to Bow Cycle who deals Cannondale and see if they can get me a crash replacement deal on a new frame. That's what I did and when they got back to me I was faced with a $950 frame (simple aluminum road bike frame from Cannondale). I decided to pursue the used bike world on Kijiji and found a great 15-yr-old Specialized bike that suited my purposes. I asked if I could try my wheels on it and my rear wheel was rubbing against this other bike too. I didn't buy the $600 bike. Yesterday I brought my bike and wheel back to Bow Cycle. After trying a good wheel on my "bent" frame, I discovered my frame was just fine. My rear wheel is getting redished toward the drive side and the axle is getting an overhaul: $30.

What do you do when

you come back from the bathroom and Hitler has taken your seat?


Since first touting this microbrewery pub in Regina when I met him 2 1/2 years ago, Chris finally had the opportunity to take me to visit the legend in the flesh. Monday night, our last night in Regina, I spent 3 or 4 hours at the Bushwakker Brewpub.

Brian bought us a sampler tray which consisted of 17 five oz glasses featuring all of the Bushwakker brews currently on tap. Between 4 of us, it was only 1 1/4 pints each, but we felt it before we got our meals. The ones that stick out in my memory are the Palliser Porter, Black and Tan, Bombay India Pale Ale, and the Regina Pale Ale.

Chris was super happy his regular waitress was on duty. She was very helpful, even when I wanted to show the cooks how many raw onions they had put in my "salad."

Graham worked with us at the camp all week. It was good to hear about his near death experiences.

Brian is a teacher too. We spent much of the evening discussing his personal life.

Cheers! If you're in Regina - this is a must! Plus they are one of the only pubs in Canada to serve The Duchesse of Bourgogne.


Qu'Appelle Valley, SK

The Qu'Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan was once the political centre of the province and the milieu for many of the treaties signed with First Nations in the 19th Century. The valley itself was carved out of the prairie by glacier some time back and it is made up of a string of lakes connected by a river.

We were invited to spend a week at Katepwa Baptist Kamp (KBK) by Chris and Christy where I was the guest speaker for Junior Camp 2. As I mentioned in the previous entry, upon arrival I was recruited to be the videographer too. Chris is the executive director of the camp and a good friend of mine (ain't nepotism great?).

One of the volunteer caretakers at the camp, Ryan, invited Blaise to fish off the dock with him. Ryan caught a perch in about 5 seconds with a tiny hook and a bit of worm. Blaise followed suit by catching 12 fish in the next 45 minutes and another 4 over the following days.

Before leaving, Ryan made a fishing pole for Blaise. I finally caught a couple too on the second to last day.

The camp is right on the shore of Katepwa Lake which is the centre of activity there too. After the campers left on midday Saturday, we had run of the camp with Chris and Christy so we packed some snacks and buzzed into the middle of the lake on the Malibu for some sunning, swimming, tubing and skiing.

Program Director Graham demonstrated his superior skills for us.

I had to demonstrate my old school waterski skills (I was able to both smile and ski at the same time!!).

We feasted Saturday night and then went out on the lake again Sunday morning. Lots of sun!


Film Making Blitzerama

So I'm the speaker at this camp (KBK) and I also was given the opportunity to do the cabin videos as the video guy is off this week. Cabin videos involve making a short film (1-3 minutes each) with their cabin. So, from Tuesday afternoon through to Friday afternoon I have filmed (about 1 hour each cabin) and then edited with sound effects, titling and music seven short films (2-7 minutes each).
1. The Brothers of Ramses (think Nacho Libre)
2. The Hunt for Lee S. (the maintenance guy who eats children)
3. The Took (the camp's legendary child abductor)
4. American Idol
5. The Bachelor
6. The Bachelorette 2010 Twilight Saga
7. Survivor
I found this pretty funny correlation: 
Girls make movies based on TV Shows.
Guys make violent movies.
I wish I could post them to YouTube, but privacy issues etc. prevent me from doing so. If you come to my house I can present you with some of the best!


Epic Hikes

Since I like to make lists and I was thinking of them when I was hiking the Blue Lakes on Monday, I thought I would draw up a list of some of the memorable hikes I've enjoyed over the years.
  • Kootenay Plains, AB; 1987
  • Wood Bison Trail, Elk Island, AB; 1987
  • Siffleur Falls, AB; 1988, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2005
  • Cape Blomidon, NS; 1992
  • Mount Carleton, NB; 1992 & 1994
  • Mount Washington, BC; 1995
  • Cape Scott, BC; 1995
  • Huftarøy, Norway; 1997
  • Mont Salève, France; 1997
  • Shoreline Trail, Elk Island, AB; 2001
  • Moss Lake Trail, Elk Island, AB; 2002
  • The Chief, BC; 2005
  • Los Tablones, Guatemala; 2006
  • Salto de Chilascó, Guatemala; 2006, 2007, 2008
  • Mountain in Purulhá, Guatemala; 2007
  • Blue Lakes, BC; 2010
My plan is to hike the Appalachian Trail with Blaise when he's 12/13 in 2018 as a rite of passage into manhood (for him, not me). This summer Amber and I are going to do a couple hikes in Waterton. One of my life goals is to summit mountains in 20 countries (so far I have Canada, Norway, and France). I'd also like to hike the West Coast Trail one day.


Calgary Transit

$2.75 to ride the train or bus in Calgary. Not a terrible rate really.

Our family used the transit system for the first time in Calgary on July 1st to go to Prince's Island Park for the festivities and to avoid the parking chaos. I brought change in case the machines didn't take credit card (which they didn't). So, I walked up to the ticket machine to buy Amber and I a ticket to discover that it requires exact change and that it only sells one ticket at a time. My two toonies, one loonie, and two quarters could not purchase two tickets.

Really Calgary? You can't get machines high tech enough to spit out change or sell tickets with a credit card or more than one ticket at a time. Really?


Blue Lakes

Since I first visited Smithers in 1997, Amber has promised to take me to Blue Lakes, near Hazelton, BC. It's a 40 minute drive and then a 14 km hike (round trip) to the second lake. This year, our schedule allowed it and we had child care (thanks Judy).

This is the first one.

This is the second one.

The forest flowers were stupendous - here are a few:

Dogwood is BC's official flower, much to the chagrin of Amber who finds them very plain. I like them plenty.

We trudged uphill from the car which made it only half way up the 4 km road to the beginning of the trail. The 5 km hike is great as it climbs through forest, meadow, mountain side, rock slides, across rushing streams, and ferns.

You come upon lake number two all of a sudden and it is at eye level. It was really cold and windy up there, so we huddled behind some spruce and ate our lunch at around 1 pm. About 10 minutes into lunch it began to hail. Lots of hail. We were sopping wet and cold all the way down the mountain. My knees!

So, thanks Amber. I look forward to hiking in Waterton on August 2 with you.


Military Exercises

I'm up with the kids this morning at my sister's place in So. Cooking Lake. We slept in their camper and I have the kids in the car to get their sandals on when a military armoured vehicle drives by and stops at the stop sign (the house is on the corner). Behind the armoured vehicle, three Suburbans follow. They sit at the stop sign for 5 minutes. They drive away.

CFB Wainwright or CFB Edmonton? They didn't say.


World Cup Memories

I've been really enjoying the FIFA World Cup Finals this summer even though the team I was cheering for (for no other reason than heritage) didn't make it out of their group.

My first exposure to the Soccer World Cup were on international stamps that I collected back in the mid-1980s. I remember thinking Brazil and Spain must have been the unbeatable teams since they had so many stamps dedicated to the World Cup.

When I lived in Edmonton, I got to attend the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship. It was the most compelling sports event I had ever attended. Since the tickets were so cheap, we went to four double-headers at Commonwealth Stadium. Every game was even more and more packed until the sold-out final game.

The Canadian team did super well too, beating the Brazilian team (who played so dirty - the coach would even go behind the Canadian goal keeper's net and harass her) in the semi-final and then losing a tense match against the United States in the final.

(scoring a penalty shot win against Brazil)

The previous two World Cups, I was in Guatemala where soccer is a religion. In 2002, I woke up in Guatemala City after flying in the night before to cheers from seminary students at Seteca. Brazil was playing Germany in the final and RRRRonaldo scored the two goooooaaaals for Brazil to win the cup.

In 2006 we were living in Tactic, Guatemala and we got to see the build up to the Cup Finals for the months leading to the month of madness. People bought up televisions like they had just been invented. People got cable. Stores had flat screens installed. It was a frenzy. Then the games started and any time a latino country was playing, there was no one on the street.

The 2006 final was awesome, though disappointing as I was cheering for France. Zinedine Zidane's headbutt at the end of the match will stand as one of the greatest moments in sports history for me.

Garage Saling in the PM's Neighbourhood

This will likely become a yearly event - Garage Sale Day in Tuscany, Calgary, Alberta, which is the Prime Minister's neighbourhood and just a couple subdivisions over from where we live.

Everything but the girl for $95. The best deal (and the bulk of the cost) were crosscountry skis w/boots and a near new set of snow shoes for $50. I also picked up a cool German coffee maker, some picture frames, some CDs and a book on birds. Amber got some stuff too, but not as interesting as my stuff.

Meet the Duchesse de Bourgogne

A couple weeks ago a friend of mine dropped by for a couple days and brought some fancy beers. The best was a Flanders Red Ale called Duchesse de Bourgogne from the Brouwerij Verhaeghe brewery in Belgium.

It has a slightly sour taste, but a dynamite fruit tone and smooth aftertaste. Absolutely the best beer I have ever had!

I thought the name Bourgogne was a familiar name, so I did a quick search on my family tree and . . .

  • Zaak Robichaud (1976)
  • son of Ronald Robichaud (1950)
  • son of Uldège Robichaud (1923)
  • son of Alban Robichaud (1895)
  • son of Louis Robichaud (1857)
  • son of Anselme Robichaud (1821)
  • son of Anselme Robichaud (1780)
  • son of François Robichaud (1752)
  • son of Marie LeBorgne de Belleisle (1717)
  • daughter of Alexandre LeBorgne de Belleisle (1692)
  • son of Marie Saint-Étienne de la Tour (1654)
  • daughter of Charles-Amadour Saint-Étienne de la Tour (1593)
  • son of Marye de Salazar (1560)
  • daughter of Hector de Salazar (1530)
  • son of Christian de Salazar (1500)
  • son of Hector de Salazar (1450)
  • son of Marguerite St. Fargeau de la Tremouille (1425)
  • daughter of Georges de la Tremouille (1386)
  • son of Marie de Sully heiress de Craon (1360)
  • daughter of Louis de Sully I (1330)
  • son of Marguerite de Bourbon (1300)
  • daughter of Louis de Bourbon I (1279)
  • son of Beatrice de Bourbon-Bourgogne (1260)
  • daughter of Seigneur Jean de Bourgogne Bourbon (1231)
  • son of Hugh Thessalonica IV, Duke of Bourgogne and his wife Yolande de Dreux (1212) who would have been the Duchesse de Bourgogne.
Only 25 generations back! No wonder I have such a strong affinity for this kind beverage.


Dean Jones is Done

Edmonton's Shine FM DJ and employee for the past 9 years, Dean Jones has been retired. He devoted his life to radio during this time and has been a central fixture to this station since he was brought on for an internship in 2001. He has also served Shine FM in nearly every capacity available and therefore understands radio inside and out.

He posted a retirement message on the station blog, but it was removed by the managers (I can't figure out). I am posting it here since I thought it to be heartfelt, from June 21:
I'm officially retiring from radio at the ripe age of 34. My jersey will be hung up in the rafters. It's been a great run and I have no regrets. There were so many great moments while a worked at Shine. The ones that stand out for me were playing for the Shine FM hockey and baseball teams. Those were great times! I want to thank Corri Allan (former PD for AM 930 The Light) for taking a chance on me 9 years ago. I want to thank the past and present staff of Touch Canada Broacasting who have been so entertaining over the years. But most of all I want to thank the listeners, cause that's why we do what we do. Now what? I'm going back to school in September to become an Ultra Sound or X-Ray tech. The next page in life begins right now..............Dean Jones
Congrats, brother, on completing a career successfully.

Rowling Reveals her Religion

Chris told me about a fascinating MTV interview (click on USA when the pop-up pops) that J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, did back in the fall of 2007.

I've not read the books and I've not seen the films, but I have heard the North American Christian uprising against the books because of the content of sorcery. Potter books have been banned from Christian schools. Rowling has been accused of corrupting the youth and leading them to the magic arts. Etc.

But Rowling is a practicing Christian.
"To me [the religious parallels have] always been obvious," she said. "But I never wanted to talk too openly about it because I thought it might show people who just wanted the story where we were going."
In her final book she quotes almost verbatim from Matthew 6:19 and 1 Corinthians 15:26 and she claims that the books entire theme is death and resurrection - a central tenet of the Christian faith.

So, why couldn't so many Christians see past the magical allegory? I contend that Christians have a predisposition to Greek dualism, the belief that there is a heavenly ideal and everything here on earth is corrupt and should therefore be exorcised from our lives as we strive for perfection. This leads to the categorization of everything into sacred and secular where there is nothing good in the secular. Jewish thought is very different - God's fingerprints are everywhere in his creation and we should therefore consider everything sacred from traveling, eating, working, relating to others, and to our very own creations - including the writing of books.

Plus, The Lord of the Rings is readily embraced by Christians today despite its very high content of wizardry and magic.

Wooden Toy Trains

The kids and I built a big track with their hodge-podge of wooden train tracks (courtesy of Grandma's yardsaling, Jeff's donation, and a Christmas gift, Blaise has quite a large collection). Then Blaise went looking for his camera. I got mine too.

Alignment of the Sports

Every four years at the beginning of July three great things happen:
  • Fifa World Cup Soccer Finals
  • Wimbledon Tennis Tournament
  • Tour de France Cycling Race
It's a marvelous time to have a PVR.