My thirtieth trip around the sun was market on the calendar for last week.

Despite my desire for a lack of drama, my automobile would not have anything of the sort. The cold snap on Monday prevented some normally functioning part from performing its duties. The land yacht encountered some type of transmission problems, and would require twice as many rotations per minute from the engine to get the same speed out of the wheels. I engaged Ninth Ave Auto to find me a vehicle and they did not disappoint. Delivered on my birthday proper was a silver 2003 Nissan Pathfinder. So far it has met or exceeded all expectations, including how much fuel it consumes. This summer, more offroadish camping adventures await in Bragg Creek, and I'm very happy to have something with four wheel drive again.

My celebratory occasion in time was not without some windfall. Sonja bought Rockband for us, and it is the most fun I've had in a long time. The drums, I imagine, are everyone's favorite, as they are a great break from the general idea of a video game. I've lost myself a few times bashing away at the electronic pads, trying frantically to put together the little rhythm that I have to get through some songs. If you think I'm crazy, then you haven't tried it.

I also received some credit at some of my favorite stores. Although I haven't unloaded on electronics, or outdoor gear YET; however, I did have to pull the trigger on some dead tree carcass. I couldn't help but wonder, as I stood surrounded by wonderful pieces of fiction, great literary history, personal biographies, compilations of comics and more reference than one can comprehend why I would pick up the equivalent of a text book. Again, I realized that the last bit of fiction that I consumed was a good book devoured in a single sitting. When I handed over the massive tome, I had to wonder if many people spend their windfall on what others would consider torturous.


Weekend of Ups and Downs

From the Springs

The end of the work week brought a trip to Banff. We set up base at the Banff Rocky Mountain Resort, arriving in the dark of night. The room was a bit tight, but it had everything we would need for the next few nights. A voyage to the hot tub and sauna finished off an incredibly long day, and started off a much needed night of rest.

The next morning was a slow rolling start, enjoying some coffee in the room, before heading up Mount Sulfur for my first ever trip to a spa. The soak in the hot springs was as expected, and an excellent way to relax before another first for me: a massage.

I've never had a professional massage before this experience, and now I can see why so many people actively pursue them. My masseuse pulled out fingers of steel, fists and even long hard elbows to work out what felt like every tight spot on my body. Not only did every muscle in my body sign with relaxation, but my skin was incredibly soft and moisturized. They definitely know how to treat you right, keeping the outside chaotic world at bay and providing a very comfortable time. It was a nice precursor to our dinner out.

Sonja and I went for dinner at Le Beaujolais. I figured it was going to be finer dining when we found out that suit and tie were optional. It was the best service I have had in a very long time, one of the best five meals I have had in my entire life, and the most expensive I can ever recall. The wait staff were all very attentive, discrete and even decked out in cuff links and bow ties. It was the kind of meal that takes hours to eat. Courses were served to us through the evening, and each flying around our mouths with flavour. I started with salmon prepared three ways, followed by an indulgence of foie gras with my main entrée consisting of vegetables and veal tenderloin. The whole day was quite a treat.

We returned to Calgary late in the afternoon, after doing some window shopping in Banff. The rest of the evening was consumed with providing free technical support, which hid the cold that was slowly taking over Calgary.

This morning Sonja and I both found ourselves trapped at the house. Not really taking the weekend into account, my car had been sitting since I drove home on Thursday night. Sonja was the first out, and when she informed me that she couldn't get her car started, I immediately thought of how we would be able to manage the rest of our day using only one vehicle. I had been planning on some climbing which would be awkward with only one vehicle at the end of the work day, but those thoughts vaporised when I tried to start my own car.

A slow lazy rorw-rorw-rorw let us know that we weren't going to be getting to work on time. A lot of wasted time was wasted cranking the already taxed battery before we started coming up with some better plans. Our initial plan was to warm up the batteries, and what resulted was a comedy of errors stumbling though service companies, electric heaters, borrowed transportation, propane torches and their blasted left handed thread, much broken plastic and a lot of time spent in the cold outdoors. Calgary usually only sees days this cold five or so times a year but ordinarily when the arctic air takes over there isn't 30km/h winds. In the end I prevailed, and tomorrow should be a lot easier on the fingers and nose.


PhotoFriday: The Machine


It has been a very, very long time since I put up some photography for public ridicule. More and more my thoughts are coming back to Photography, and most often these thoughts carry the desire to engage the hobby more. As a result, I hope to spend some time this weekend meandering and photographing interesting subjects. At the moment, I'm resurrecting my submissions to the weekly photofriday contest.

This photo was taken in the exotics section of the Calgary Auto Show. Colour was only balanced, and I did some clever photo editing to remove the people standing about the car, and in the background. All and all, a very fine machine.


Short Weekend


It has almost become expected for me to complain about the weekend being over, and I wouldn't want to disappoint. This weekend was especially short, being that the restful portion of the weekend was only a single day.

I've been attending classes for a Master's Certificate in Project Management which is put on by the University of Lethbridge. The course is very enlightening, and after only two sessions I have already learned a great deal about how to properly run a project. The difficulty around the course is that to accommodate working professionals and weekend lovers, the course straddles weekdays and weekends. So until June, every second weekend is going to be a little shorter.

The course didn't stop me from getting out and enjoying myself. On Friday night, the usual crew attended the Roughnecks game at the Saddledome. We were hosting the Toronto Rock, and they beat us down quite bad at the start, and our come-back wasn't there resulting in a 12-9 score in their favor. At the time I was quite dissapointed, but it turns out that we beat them on their home turf to a final score of 17-13.

Saturday night Sonja and I attended a fund raising benefit for a young man who has been found to have terminal cancer. His wish is to take an Alaskan cruise with his family, so the benefit was to raise funds to have the best damn cruise ever. A silent auction, a long drive contest some appetizers and a Flames game on the big screen all come together at Schank's north for a rather nice evening.

Sunday was my only day off, and I spent most of it getting through my list of things to do. I fixed the house's downspouts so my backyard will no longer be a skating rink, I changed my oil, and replaced some bulbs in the Buick. If you think that changing bulbs is a trivial task, try changing the rear low beams on a 2000 Buick. I wish you all the best. After the outdoors stuff was done, I had Sonja help me out with some Photography, then I edited some pictures while plowing through a massive chunk of laundry. After everything was completed, it was almost time for bed. Just enough time to squeeze in a viewing of Office Space