Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Personal Rundown of the 00's: From School To Becoming a Ski Bum

Well 2010 and a new decade is upon us ... good Lord, time flies doesn't it? Seems like yesterday that the World and myself were ringing in the new Millennium, and thankfully putting the rifle down since the Y2K apocolypse rumours didn't come to pass (note: I didn't ACTUALLY have a rifle, lol)

From there to today, a look at the decade that was in my personal life:

2000-2001: Continue living the sweet (i.e. college) life ... ran for sports rep at Aitken House, and won! Huge thrill, and it marked a huge milestone in opening up socially

2002: Won the Man of Aitken Award ... to this day, it is still one of the most humbling experiences in my life.

2003: Graduate from UNB with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degree ... Janet is able to make it up to my grad after I made it to hers the week before ... the most intense two weeks of celebration and partying in my life to this day!

Late 2003 - Spring 2004: First gig out of uni was working for an occupational therapy firm as a contract kinesiologist ... it was a learning experience, but for all the wrong reasons, went in promised $40/hr (rate was high due low hours of work in a given month), was reduced to $30/hr (!) at signing, asked no questions and blindly accepted. Work was thinner than expected and spaced out way too far over a 6 month period of employment.

Went in with caviar dreams, whereas I barely broke even after living on a shoestring over that period.

Rest of 2004: Rollercoaster. Searched for work all Spring from my home in Havre Boucher, which yielded nothing but a vandalized car window over 2 months (I had lived in the Crime Capital of Atlantic Canada for a half a year and nothing happened, but one month home and this happens ... lol rural crime!)

Then a big break ... my contacts put me in touch with the biggest ergonomics consulting firm in North America, Humantech. I got interviewed for a position as an intern ... and I was accepted later that afternoon ... stoked!

A cruel twist of fate struck the next month (August) ... four days before I was to leave for Michigan, I got axed due to souring economic conditions! Talk about a sucker punch to the gut!

I was just about to resign myself to the depressing career choice known as telemarketing, but I made a phone call in Oct 2004 on a hunch to Humantech to ask about intern hiring for the winter of 2005 ... turns out they were hiring and they asked if I wanted to come out to Michigan ... snap call, imo.

Jan 2005 - September 2005: Move to Michigan with the blue rocket (my Cavalier, which I still own btw) ... almost get stranded in a blizzard in NS the very first day of travel ... not a good start! I arrive alive though, settle in and turn heads with my work ethic. Days off consist of exploring Ann Arbor, and life in another country.

I find out Americans aren't the pompous jerks the Canadian media likes to make them out to be ... Midwesterners are friendly, honest and hardworking, and most would give you the shirt off their backs if you needed it. Also, the tax regime (despite the condition of the roads, crime outside A2, etc) rocks! First pay $500 gross ... after taxes $480 ... weeeee!!

I enjoy watching Michigan college sports when they are playing (hockey,baseball, football). Michigan hockey fans are vicious to the opposing team, they put us polite Canadians to shame ... oh and about Football ... I was part of the 4th largest crowd at the Big House ... 111,000 fans ... now that's a crowd!

Rest of 2005: Visited home for a month or so. Partied with the Aitken bros, then hanged at home to decide my next step ... Alberta it was! Untapped market for ergonomics, imo!

Head across the USA on an epic road trip with Dad, enroute to Calgary (the destination). Stayed at a posh hotel in Ann Arbor, saw the Great Plains, Mount Rushmore, great times!

Then I saw the Rockies for the first time in Montana; my soul has never been the same since.

I settle in at my sis' place in Cowtown. I try to search for a career in ergo ... I get leads, but no success. It's like my drive suddenly evaporated; at the time, I had no clue what could have caused it.

I get a Sunshine/Marmot card for Xmas from Janet ... we went skiing a few days later, and I was filled with a joy I hadn't known for 7 years (the last time I went skiing, in high school). I had to do it again, ASAP.

Winter 2006: Alas, it didn't materialize ... $$$ (isn't always about the $$$?) I continued to grind a retail job while I searched for that elusive ergo opportunity. Miraculously, I catch wind of a research opp based out of Edmonton. I jump at the chance, and zoom up the QE2 (aka the AlbertaBahn) to E-Town to set up shop.

May 2006 ... so far so good. I put together a research proposal for Mr. Gordon Lamont, the owner of a startup based out of Lloydminister, Alberta. Now, we just have to wait for the funding, and off to the races we go! ...

September 2006: meeting at NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology). Funding denied. F$#%. Now what?

I drift along in a job that is paying the bills and then some, but it quite hazardous. I work for an environmental cleanup company. We cleaned up a lake in the Spring that was polluted with crude oil, which was fulfilling, but then I worked with cleaning lead and asbestos in the Summer and Fall respectively. Money was good, and I was enjoying life on the weekends (Summer in Edmonton is sweeet, dry heat and long long evenings!), but I was starting to worry at night about the long term damage I was doing to myself.

2007: The dam breaks. I nearly get into a head-on collision with a semi during a storm; my old laptop melts down and catches fire at 3am in my bedroom. Two close calls in a month lead me to seriously question my direction in life for the first time ... by the end of Janaury, I had quit the environmental job.

By the end of February, I took a union job in a steel plant in Refinery Row. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but looking back, it was simply more of the same that led to my quarter life crisis ... but with benefits (life insurance, dennal plan, etc)!!!

Made some strides in my personal life though ... did something I meant to do since high school, I took up hockey (full gear, not pond/floor). Went from totally inept to playing well and contributing in my Aitken Alumni game one year later.

All winter/spring I battled to help save Aitken House from the Forces of Evil (i.e. Res Admin) ... with Aitken safe, we would have a 50th reunion to go to!!

In summer, I travelled to BC for the first time ... my love of mountains/hiking/being outdoors was cemented for good after this trip. The seed had been planted in my head and soul.

2008: Aitken Reunion. Ohmygod what an epic time! If I had felt disconnected to my Aitken family after being out of school for 5 years, this event re-strengthened the connection by a thousand times! Can't wait for 2013!!

Started to get restless in my steel plant job, despite rapidly escalating pay. I make more, but I don't save money, what's up with that? I start searching for a way out. MLM was my first attempt ... didn't work. Started up my ergo consulting business ... despite a small amount of success, I was spinning my wheels, getting nowhere.

Trapped in a dirty job that was not my calling in life. Trying to run a business that I didn't care about.

Eventually, the dam broke again.

I snap quit my job one Monday in August in a wave of emotion. This was it. Either ergonomics/kinesiology was going to work or it wasn't. Crunch time.

By the time late October rolled around, same old story. "Thanks for your interest. We think you're an outstanding candidate, but we have selected somebody else for the position." It would be easy to chalk this up to bad luck, but looking back, a lack of passion was present despite overabundant preparation and optimal performance at any of the 5 job interviews I had.

By now, the stock market had tanked and everybody was running around with their hair on fire screaming "The Sky is Falling!!!" No time for dreams. Back to Any Old Job.

I took a job with a paper recycling facility. But one month in, poking my eyes out with a dull pencil seemed to be more attractive option than heading in to work. This place was Hell, plain and simple. Instead of snap quitting though, I decided to turn this situation into an experiment. I was going to use this "Hell" to push myself into the life I truly wanted to lead. No comfort in this place, unlike the cushy Union gig that I had left 2 months prior.

2009: I needed a vacation from Dante's Inferno. Off to Jasper for 2 days/nights of skiing in mid January. Jasper in January (name of festival)? More like Jasper in April! Temperatures in the 5-10c range made for lousy snow, but the warmth made up for it! Sitting in the hot tub on top of the Whistler's Inn that night, I made up my mind: I was going to live here, come Hell or high water!

I dallied around though for the next 2-3 months though: what about the monnnnnneeeeyyyy?!! Having made $15+/hr over the last 3-4 years, I had a poverty complex to overcome first. As it turned out, most of my current expenses were essentially frivolous lifestyle BS. Secondly, the cost of living out there was much lower than my bloated Edmonton existence. Cost of rent + utilities in Edmonton? Close to $1000/mth! In Jasper, with staff accom? Around $400!

I finally started looking for work in Jasper in Early April, and to raise the stakes and commit myself, I put in my 2 weeks notice at Lucifer's Castle. First night of searching was in a hostel ... met lots of cool peeps from overseas, drank beer and swapped stories until 1 AM. Liking this already!

I continued the search via the net from home, having it complicated by my motherboard in my ACER laptop failing mid-month (!). Despite these difficulties, I land an interview with Becker's Chalets for a housekeeper position ... 5 minute call, and they hire me on the spot ... sweet! But I have an interview with Maligne Lake the next day ... if I succeed, I get to drive a boat for the summer and give tours. The next day, I get hired ... whoohoo!

I start disassembling my Edmonton life, passing the time by watching this new show I came across on OLN called Departures. After watching all of Season 2 twice over, I pledge that I will travel overseas once I save the $$$ needed to make it happen.

I arrive in Jasper, get settled, and begin the summer of a lifetime. 6 weeks of intense, stressful training later, I'm a boat captain (official Master limited certificate holder) ... who would have seen this coming 6 months prior??

Through the summer, I hike almost every bit of Frontcountry that Jasper National Park has to offer ... some time in Late July I had summited the Bald Hills and when I gazed upon the hidden valley on the other side, I was overcome with emotion; only it was positive instead of negative this time. I had went from a personal Hell to Heaven in less than one year.

To close out the decade, I am spending the winter working as a Food and Beverage employee at Marmot Basin (Jasper's ski resort). I am enjoying life as a ski bum, as I have gone from a marginal recreational blue skiier to a technically proficient skier comfortable skiing most black diamond runs. I am halfway to the minimum amount of $$$ needed to go on my overseas trip (South Korea, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand are on the menu), and I have never been happier.

What lies in store for me in the 10's? Online business (being an entrepreneur and location independence are essential to me), regular travel, and a home base in Canadian Rockies (Golden, Revelstoke, Canmore are potential settling spots presently) are some of the things that spring to mind.

In general however, I will be pursuing anything that excites me and creates happiness in my life and those I care about.

Happy 2010 everyone.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Master and Commander of the HMCS Ta Lana

Well, after 2 stressful weeks, it's official ... I am now a Master (limited), certified by Transport Canada to pilot boats over 5 tonnes! This means I am a sea (err... lake) captain ... now I just need to find a pointy hat and a fake parrot and I'm set!

Friday, June 05, 2009

A Day In The Life Of A Newly Indocrinated Jasperite

Since my last post, I have arrived in Jasper and have begun training at my new job. I will be conducting tours and driving boats for Maligne Tours this summer, on beautiful (now 99% ice-free!) Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park. It's been an intense 3 1/2 weeks thus far, learning about marine terminology, emergency procedures, how to actually drive the boat (doing that right now, steering it is a totally different experience than from driving a car!), and all about tour topics (history/ecology/geology/geography/etc).

Amid this, I've been living the Jasper Dream; to illustrate, I will run through my day yesterday:

7:45am: Just started my work schedule for the year, which means that today is my final day off before 4 workdays in a row. I'm up early on this day though to go have brunch at the Jasper Inn with co-workers (subsidized by Maligne, only have to pay $5) before they head off to the Lake.

8:15am: Have brunch. Brooke and company are wearing the company uni, which I also had received the day before (the pants are sweet, and so are the jackets!) Filled my boots with sausage, bacon, pancakes, fruit, etc etc....

9:00am: Head back to Cavell (my apartment building), fire up the laptop. Pour over e-mail and Facebook, then enter 4 0.25 cent poker tournaments on Pokerstars. Cash in two of them (4th and 2nd out of 45 runners) for a tidy $4 profit.

1:00pm: Head out for the afternoon, having lunch at the North Face Pizzaeria (bacon and onion pizza + pop for $9!). On the way, some Aussie tourists, not suspecting sprinklers due to a watering ban back home, cross a median, only to be accosted by the Automated Sprinkler System Of Death (hidden throughout municipal land in Jasper), looooool...!

2:25pm: Begin the mega-hike of the day ... Old Fort Point to Lake Annette. Ventured through the thinned forest (underway the past few years for fire safety) to Lac Beauvert, whereupon I ventured past the lush fairways and greens of the Jasper Park Lodge (JPL) golf course to the Lodge itself.

3:00pm: Wander through the Beauvert Promenade, the haute couture mall in the basement of JPL. I'm sure any decent shopping spree would finish off my bank account in about an hour. Nice stuff though...

3:30pm: Speaking of bank account depletion, I buy an ice cream sandwich (Oreo) at JPL ... for $4. Yay Jasper inflation!!

4:20pm: Make it to Lake Annette after hiking through more thinned forest. My God, what a sweet place! Lake is spring-fed, not glacial, and it's shallow, making it delightfully warm. Beach is short, but not narrow like other Alberta beaches, and the view of Pyramid Mtn, Whistler's Mtn, and Mount Edith Cavell made it a beach unlike any other that I've experienced.

5:30pm: Make it back home after re-aggravating my knee descending a steep slope (it's fine today). Start dinner, end up making an amazing pork chop with fried sweet onion/corn garnish, with a side of chicken-broth flavoured rice.

8:30pm: Go shoot hoops at the community park to rectify brutal performance playing 21 against friends that day before. I'll be back guys, look out for me!!!

9:45pm: Study my boat/tour manual, surf the net and hit the hay....

6 months ago, I would have never believed I would be living this well, yet here I am! If you want to change up your living environment, just do it. I did, and my life is day compared to the night of the previous year....!

Monday, April 27, 2009

For Those Who Haven't Heard...

... I am moving to Jasper to work as a boat tour guide this summer, from Mid-May to Mid-October.  I'm doing this as (1) I need a change of scenery in my life and (2) I'm looking to get into outdoor recreation as a career, as I have a great degree of passion for it, something that was missing with regard to ergonomics, or working as a kinesiologist in a clinic.

Should be fun, I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Jasper in January ... Or Is That April??

Last weekend, I went skiing at Marmot Basin in Jasper.  It was the first day of the Jasper in January festival, so while prices were cheap ($92 to stay @ Whistler's Inn in the heart of Jasper!), the crowds were out in force!  It took me 1 hour and 15 minutes to pick up my rental (note to self: get rental in town next time!). 

Once I got out on the hill though, it was all good though ... temps were well above zero (probably near +4 or +5 at the base by afternoon), and the snow was FAST!  It was a little icy in the shadows, but that added to the challenge, and it made the experience alot more fun for myself.

Overall, aside from hitting the green runs to warm up the legs at the start of the day, I was primarily on the blues all weekend, including a couple shots at the Knob chair (highest and considered to be the hardest lift @ Marmot, as evidenced by the NO BEGINNERS sandwich board sign at the base of the lift).

As usual, the mountain scenery was breathtaking (shame that I forgot my camera at home, blah); I gotta find a way to make the mountains my backyard sometime in the near future, as leaving Jasper (and Banff, and BC, etc) tugs at my heart everytime I do it...

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Year ... New Possibilities

Hope everybody had a great holiday season .... a new year is upon us, and as such, hope for the future springs eternal.  I intend to make waves this year, in spite of all the pessimism that you hear about in the media...


- Turn my flat stomach into a ripped stomach

- Eat healthier (i.e. more vegetables/fruits, less fast food)

- Continue to test out internet business ideas until one of them takes off and becomes self-sustaining (meaning I can live off the proceeds without having to have a day job)

- Get better at poker, get sufficiently rolled to play $1/$2 NL on Pokerstars by the end of the year, and also play in some major tourneys in town (via satellite tourney win if need be)

-In general, pursue what makes me happy, both in my work and in my life!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Employer: "You're So Smart And You Got An Impressive Background, So We've Decided To Hire Someone Else..." Me: "Que?"

So as far as my career goes this year, I have been trying acquire employment with a Physiotherapy climic; I have had 4 interviews, with zero success thus far, despite being told I have a great skill set, and that I am a really nice guy.  I try to get constructive feedback, but they either skirt the question, or they have ignored me completely.

This begs the question:  Are employers getting so afraid of hurting the feelings of people, that even constructive criticism is now off the menu?

How are you supposed to improve your hard/soft job skills, when you can't get the crucial perspective of an outsider?  No matter how honest you are about your strengths and shortcomings, you are inherently biased about certain aspects of your character; these are things that only another person can pick up on.

I guess I'll have to make some blind guesses about where I'm coming up short, and see if it changes anything, but if there's any advice I would have for hiring managers/business owners out there, it would be this:  Don't mistake being assertive with being aggressive.  Offering up contructive criticism of somebody's skills isn't equal to berating or bullying them (especially if they are asking for it explicitly!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Home for the Holidays!

Well, I just booked my flight home for the holidays ... arriving in Halifax December 24th at 10:20am, and returning to Edmonton December 28th!  Gonna be great to be home, if only for a short time!

Saturday, November 08, 2008


So I hear that a recession is coming, or it's already here.  How do I know this?  Because everyday, the newspaper and the TV is filled with predictions of doom; they're even dubbing it "Great Depression 2.0" ... good grief!

To all the folks in the media ... YES WE GET IT, times are more economically challenging than they were at this time last year, due to the market crashing (never mind that it happened in 1998, 1987, and in 1974, and the world didn't descend into the apocalypse) and credit freezing up temporarily.  There is no need to regurgitate that which we already know, or to speculate endlessly on nightmare scenarios, while ignoring inspirational stories of economic triumph that point the way out of our economic woes.

The point is, bellyaching about the state of the economy will NOT cure it ... promoting success stories that provide lessons on how ingenuity and perseverance overcome challenges just might!

Cliff Notes:  Whiners almost never achieve success, doers eventually will, in good times and bad times!    

Monday, November 03, 2008

Obama Landslide? I Hope So!

It's the eve of the U.S Election, and Obama is up between 6-12% over McCain .... whoo-hoo!

All you folks down in the States, get out and vote tomorrow, the Dems won't win unless you make it so!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Back Again...

I've ignored this blog for too long, as Facebook kinda filled the "what's going on in my life?" niche for a while.  But recently, I've come to realize that I miss the process of writing, so I'm going to start posting on here again ... besides, it adds depth that status updates can't provide!

Coming up this week, I'll let you know what's changed in my professional and personal life ... stay tuned!

Monday, November 19, 2007

"I'm So Sick Of Waiting! 2007 Is Going To Be The Year I'm Going To Go For It...!"

Over the last several months, I have been catapulted into a series of life-changing events:

  • My old laptop burst into flames in the middle of night in January, nearly incinerating me in my bedroom, leading me to question my direction in life.

  • I switched jobs to a stable, night-shift job, which allowed me to focus on starting to draft my career plans, as there are next to no distractions during the day (except for cute kittens jumping on your lap!)

  • I went out and got full gear, and started playing hockey once per week, just like I have always wanted to do since high school!

  • I picked up "Start Late, Finish Rich" by David Bach and proceeded to banish debt from my life and get started on building a nest egg. I sleep much better now!

  • I went on a week's vacation to BC, perservering through battery failures, locking my keys in my car, and badly misjudging distances. The soul-humbling scenery will keep me coming back for years to come!

  • I bought the book "The 4 hour work week" by Timothy Ferriss, and it has set me on the path to cutting out all the unimportant crap out of my life, setting up sources of passive income, and generally taking control of time in my career so I can realize my potential as a human being. A must read for anyone!

  • I got pushed into doing what I've been putting off for so long: starting up the consulting business I've always wanted to have. I presented on office ergonomics to management of my current job, and I will know by the end of the month whether I've got my very first client as a freelancer. Very exciting stuff!

I said to myself on New Year's Eve last year that 2007 was going to be the year that I was going to finally make it happen for myself, and look what's happened? In addition to my own ambition, it looks like The Big Guy Upstairs is looking out for me...

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I don't know what the heck's going on, but I've been a magnet for sickness this year. I am currently suffering through cold #4 on the year, and I got sick for two days following my flu shot last week. I guess the lunch room at my place of work is just like the 'ol dorm at college: a petri dish for germs of all kinds... :(

Monday, October 08, 2007

Post #250: Brought To You By Your Local Russian Mob Syndicate Posing As Russian Borscht Joint!

For post #250, I got this: If you have strong stomach and don't mind pointy objects getting jabbed into people unthinkably sickening ways, go see Eastern Promises at your local movieplex. It's a movie about the Russian mafia in London, and ... I'm not spoiling it anymore than I already have.

Just be aware that it's rated 18A for a very good reason. Having said that, um, enjoy!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Gas Pains

The natural gas people were here today to re-align gas lines and move our meter outside. In that process, they have left a huge hole in our backyard ... that's gotta make Scott (my roommate who maintains the garden and yard) happy, eh?

When I have time this weekend, I'll write about my career trajectory to date, as I haven't blogged on that in a long while...

Monday, October 01, 2007

October = Late Fall in Alberta

Today I'm booking a car appointment to fix the air in my car (dead air sucks more than you'll ever know, even when it's not hot out) and to get winter tires put on my car. A little early you say, laughing? Not here in Northern Alberta. It snowed for the first time last year on October 28th, and the snow stuck around until April!

Global Warming? What's that??

(just kidding, I actually do care about Global Warming, just tryin' to be funny...!)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Team Jimmy 2008 - Now With 57% Less Injuries ... I Hope

Well, I just picked a team full of ringers at my friend's Trooper's hockey pool today. Kopitar and Visnovsky have already got three points on the season - awesome start!

If I can somehow manage to get through the last two months of the season without half my roster going on the DL, I might just win this year!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blustery Start to Fall

Man it's windy today. Trash is blowing all over the street, what a mess! Oh well, it's not my problem...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More pics coming soon...but first, a text post!

Hey everybody. Just dropping a note saying that I plan on writing here much more often, like every other day or so (you in the back, stop laughing!). I freed up a bunch of time by ridding myself of wasteful or important tasks, so I actually have room to breath now. It feels great!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

BC Vacation Day 3

Day 3 of my BC Vacation was all about challenging my physical limits, by tackling the famous Grouse Grind, and the Sea to Sky highway, which holds some of the most spectacular mountain scenery that I have ever seen! Your guide to the pictures above lies below:

Pic 1: In North Vancouver on the way to Grouse Mountain to challenge the Grouse Grind.

Pic 2: Looking down at fellow climbers. The Grouse Grind is a 3.5km trail that challenges the statima of even very fit people. There is 2900 + feet of elevation change, or just shy of 1 km, almost straight up!

Pic 3: This is a picture of myself and Joesph, a guy from Atlanta, Georgia that I met at the 1/4 mark. His wife took the tram up the mountain (probably smart), so like me, he was doing it alone. We talked about a bunch of stuff heading up the mountain, which helped to take our minds off the punishment that the Grind was dishing out to us!

Pic 4: The view from the tram line, looking down on Vancouver (what I could see anyway).

Pic 5: Between Vancouver and Squamish, BC on the Sea to Sky Highway.

Pic 6: Squamish, BC, incredible cliffs! I think it may be The Chief, a cliff face famous among rock climbers...

Pic 7: Whistler, BC. If you look closely at the side of the mountain you can see the chair lifts for Whistler mountain!

Pic 8: Between Whistler and Pemberton, BC. Did I mention it was raining that day?!

Pic 9: Near D'Arcy, BC. I missed the turnoff to Lilooet, BC, so I ended up losing 1 1/2 hours driving to the former community. Nice scenery though!

Pic 10: This picture does not convey the incredibleness of this mountain stream!

Pic 11: Unbelievable...

Pic 12: In Lilooet, BC. Look carefully, that's a mountain rising up very high into the clouds. After I took this picture, I realized I locked my keys in my car. Dinged for another $35!

Monday, August 27, 2007

BC Vacation -- Day 2

This day started in Kelowna, and ended with me meeting up with a good friend of mine from college, Dunc. All comments on pics below refer to pics from the top down, as usual...

Pic 1: Nice hotel in Downtown Merritt. Good to see Mairitimers representing in this town (note the flags)!

Pic 2: Sprinklers on farmland in Merritt. With no AC in the car, I comtemplated stopping and running through them...!

Pic 3: Mountains on the Coquihalla Highway between Merritt and Hope. The Cascade Range is really beautiful, and ranks up there with the Rocky and Coast Mountains.

Pic 4: The lonnnnng descent to the Lower Mainland. I think my ears almost exploded, lol!

Pic 5: Almost to the Lower Mainland, one of the mountains in the Coast range come into view.

Pic 6-7: Downtown Vancouver. Very imposing and modern, but the next pic...

Pic 8: ... is just weird for the sake of weird!

Pic 9: An awe-inspiring view of North Vancouver from Downtown. This sight will live in my soul forever...

Pic 10: The spread of nachos and the Atlantic Trap and Gill on Robson Street in Vancouver, as I enjoy a bite.

Pic 11: Dunc and I after polishing off a pitcher and a few pints. It was easily the most fun I had during my trip to BC!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

BC Vacation, Day 1

Preceding this, I ran into a pretty bad snag on my way down to Calgary for the last weekend of the Stampede -- my battery died in Red Deer. Since this happened just as every mechanic in town was getting off for the day (it was a Saturday), I had to miss a pub crawl I signed up for in Calgary, but I ended up spending the night with Curtis and Phil, two college buddies of mine. We went and saw the Transformers movie, which was OK (though it smacked of an ad for GM). I made it down to Calgary on Sunday, and spent the last night on the Stampede playing poker and hitting the Roadhouse bar with two other fellow Aitken Rangers, the Baxter brothers, Trent and Trevor!

The pictures above are from the first official day of my BC vacation (although a good part of the first day was spent in Banff National Park). Refer to the key below (and in all other posts on my BC adventures) for comments on the aforementioned pictures:

Pics 1 -3: Lake Minnewaka, Banff National Park.

Pic 4: Kicking Horse Pass, Yoho National Park. This road passed by one of the most ambitious engineering projects ever (the Spiral Tunnels, that trains use to make it through the pass safely) and a very difficult one in the present day (the twinning of the Trans Canada through Kicking Horse Pass to Golden, BC)

Pic 5: A snowshed tunnel in Rogers Pass. There were about five of these tunnels, of which some were not lit. This took me by surprise, even though there was a sign warning about it!

Pic 6: View of the Kootenay Mountain Range from Revelstoke, BC. Lots of snow in the mountains even in mid-July (!). I stopped here for some baked goods (including that BC staple, Namaimo Bars, hahah) to wake me up, as I was starting to zone out a little from all that driving (5 hours at that point). BC is not a small province!

Pic 7: A houseboat on the shores of Okanagan Lake in Kelowna, BC. Definitely gotta get some of guys and gals together and do this sometime in the near future!

Monday, April 30, 2007

My New House in Rio Terrace, West Edmonton

In order from the top: Front yard, back yard, backside of the house, kitchen, dining room.
Not bad for $600 a month eh (my room and my office are still in a state of flux, therefore you will have to wait to see them :P )

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River Valley Walk

Edmonton's River Valley, as pictured on a walk this weekend. It is this feature that makes Edmonton one of Canada's best kept secrets!

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Alberta Legislature Grounds

After crossing the High Level Bridge from the southside, you are literally at the doorstep of Alberta politics -- the Legislature Grounds. But even if you have no interest in politics whatsoever, the myriad of impressive fountains, reflecting pools, and gardens will act as a major draw. People wade in the pools throughout the summer, and ice vendors are located on site to provide an alternative cool down method for those who do not wish to venture into the water.

Pic 1: The most impressive fountain I've seen in my life to date. I've nicknamed it "the atom smasher"; notice the thin trail of mist sailing upwards from the immense collisions of water occuring below.

Pic 2: The reflecting pools behind the Legislature.

Pic 3: The pool at the back of the extensive system of fountains and pools at the legislature grounds. A great place to lay back and think about life...

Pic 4: The front of the Alberta Legislature.

Edmonton's Most Underappreciated Attraction: The High Level Bridge

The above three pictures were taken from Edmonton's landmark bridge, the High Level Bridge. It spans the river valley gorge between the north and south banks of the North Saskatchewan River. The height from the walking deck to the river below is greater than the vertical drop of Niagara Falls, if you can believe it!

Pic 1: Downtown Edmonton as viewed from the High Level Bridge.

Pic 2: Looking towards the (much lower) Walterdale Bridge further East.

Pic 3: Kinsmen Park as seen from the bridge. Football/Soccer/Ultimate players look like ants from up here!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Text Post? Without Pictures? Am I Hallucinating?

It's been a hectic December thus far, with much going on. To start the week off, my car and my roommate's SUV got broken into. Nothing was taken from my car, even though they passed over my new Dave Matthews and Green Day CD! Whew! The next day, we went and saw a house in a nice neighbourhood called Rio Terrace, in West Edmonton. The owner was so impressed with our responsible, mature attitudes, that he rented it to us on the spot; not an easy feat, considering the cutthroat rental market in this city right now.

The new neighbourhood has virtually no crime, which is comforting, especially since the neighbours came over yesterday to ask me if I had seen anything suspicious, as their house was robbed in broad daylight. Yowsa! Good thing we're getting the heck outta here soon!

As for Christmas plans, I am flying home redeye-style on the night of the 19th - 20th of December, and I will be home until the 27th, flying back out West on the 28th in the morning.

Can't wait for some good times in the Maritimes!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sorry Meghan, But The Name Of This Street Is ....

... Lavigne Rd! One of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in the city, Riverdale had to fight the city back in the 60's on the matter of expropriation of its land for use as parkland as part of the River Valley. Successful in resisting this proposal, this street of upscale homes sits surrounded by a sea of greenery and wilderness in the middle of a city of a million. Incredible place to live, with a killer view of downtown (see first pic) ...

Condo Towers Aplenty!

With the sheer nautral beauty, and the many opportunities for recreational activities in Edmonton's River Valley, condo towers line the the edges of the North Saskatchewan River ravine for miles on end. Many professionals live in these prized pieces of real estate, including members of the Edmonton Oilers, according to my roommate.