December 26, 2004

How did four months go by? oops...

Maybe my new years resolution should be to visit my blog on a more regular than quarterly basis...

It's boxing day, and I am way too broke to be bothering with shopping and fighting with the crowds. Well, I went out to pick up some Mach III razors, but with exception of that, I could but look at price tags on discount items and weep.

Christmas day was very nice around here. The snow started falling on queue at midnight, Christmas morning as we emerged from the late Christmas eve service at our church in "downtown" Kamloops. That was my sister's wish for Christmas, being that they don't get a whole lot of snow (or any) in England, from which she is home for the holidays. My brother, the firefighter, got his wish too... a house fire to go battle. Not a good thing on Christmas eve I suppose, but one man's misery is another's joy, perhaps?

I myself didn't have any particular big wishes for the holidays, so automatically I got more than I asked for :) It's just easier that way.

As a family we did get some bad news about our family pooch, Cassie. She has developed a nasty case of Lymphatic Sarcoma (sp?), so with a cancer like that, she's not likely going to make it. She has some lumps at the moment and a loss of appetite (for which she is on pills at the moment, and now not only has her normal appetite back, but she eats the garbage now too), and it's not bad for the moment, but it's going to get worse, so we don't know how much time is left. Worst of all for my mum of all of us, I think, as Cassie is her walking companion and the only kid she has left at home.

Ouch, downer man. Time to make myself happy again.I think I'll look at my school transcripts...

...usually, that wouldn't make me feel better about anything, but this semester, I've done very well for myself! I must be getting older and more mature or something, I don't exactly know what to attribute it to :) I am back to school on January 4th, 2005 taking up the second sememster in the third year of a journalism degree. Hopefully there will be time enough to play outside in the North shore mountains, too, as I got a new pair of skate ski boots for Christmas. Looking forward to hitting the trails!

Okay, I could go on forever with this since I have been so poor at updating the ol' blog, but I will ed it hear, with the promise to be better about posting stuff!!!

Ta for now! Enjoy the rest of the holidays, peoples, and happy new year!

August 26, 2004

I haven't been on a BC ferry in three years... I was most pleased to find myself on one on Tuesday, making my way to the island to visit my friend Shalome for an over-nighter.

There is something I have always enjoyed about the ferry. Not quite sure what it is, but riding in the belly of one of the big boats has always been rather calming. Having only been over as part of a family vacation on perhaps two occasions, I otherwise frequented the ferries while my first girlfriend Kate was living in victoria, and I in vancouver. I also went over on the team bus a few times while playing volleyball in highschool and college, and then there were trips to nanaimo with the kayaking team.

It can be a time consuming venture--take yesterday, for example, on my return back from my island visit. I arrived at the terminal at 5 pm, well in time for the 5:45 sailing, or so I figured. as it was, the boat filled up with just four other cars sitting in front of me, which meant I had to wait for the 8:15 sailing instead. so add that to a 2 hour sailing and a half hour drive home at the other end, and you've got a bit of a long stretch to cover less thatn 50 Km's.

But more often than not, when I get on that ferry, a calm washes over me. I love water, for one thing, and being surrounded by it is fantastic. On more than one occasion, I have seen a fantastic west coast sunset as the island peaks swallow up the sun as the ferry heads back to the mainland. The occasional dolphin or whale sighting happens as well...

...On this particular trip to the island, the weather is a flat gray--giving the day the same appearance from sunup to sundown. The ferry cuts through the waters, inky black, coated with a seemingly molten silver layer. on the sunnier days, i am hard pressed to be found inside the boat, choosing instead to wander the decks, taking in some nice ocean air, sun and wind on my face. Today is not an outside day. I choose a seat at the windows of the bow, in the corner a bit so I can see out the front and the side. I read my book for a time, then opt to buy a nice hot cup of earl grey tea, another little tradition of each and everyone of my crossings. people come and go in the seats nearby, chattering away, but I fail to notice it. Vancouver island slithers out across the horizon, slowly emerging from the blanket of fog that makes it invisible from the mainland. tugboats and barges, sailboats, tankers, and speed boats chug by us as we make our way up island...

being on the ferry, and waiting for one, can perhaps be seen as akin to catching a plane ( I also love to fly), but instead of being restricted to your seat for most of a flight, and even still, restricted by the size of the plane when you are not seated, a ferry gives you the chance to roam about freely and enjoy the sights. My return trip to the mainland was much the same as the initial trip to the island in terms of conditions. clouds socked in, rain drizzling incessantly (it rained for the entire time I was on the island, too. Shalome and I made forays in the old growth forests, visited shawnigan lake and cowichan bay, as well as traisped around her town of Chemainus, picking blackberries and looking at the murals for which the sleepy tourist town is known--all under the presence of drizzle or pouring rain). But my return trip was done mainly in the dark. the sun was setting as we left port at duke point, the clouds hanging low and thick enough to deny the sunset its full glory of colour, save a few shafts of pink light that found their way through the gloom.

and so, for the next two hours, we slip silently through the straight, and then back into vancouverat tswassen's ferry port. I drove away wondering when my next ferry trip might be. sure, I can drink tea anytime I like at home, but how often do you get to drink tea in the presence of schools of salmon, seals, and perhaps the occasional whale or dolphin pod?

tomorrow I am off to whislter for an equal amount of time up in the hills as I was on the island, then I( will drive the canyon route back to kamlooops for a few nights. talk to you soon!

August 18, 2004

the big reason leaving edmonton will be tough!

**just an inserted note to begin.... suzanne will feel bad when she reads, this, as she reemed me out for not including her in my last blog... little did she know :) ***

so here I am, on my last day of work, with the last day in a whil e that I might have internet access. I'll post this when I get to Vancouver some time. For some reason, i want to post it when I'm gone. I dunno. just let it be.

anyway, as anyone who knows me well enough to have a slice of my history under their belt, I came to edmonton for a girl. I will be leaving edmonton with a girl on my mind, too. But not the same one I came there for in the first place.

I first met suzanne when I tried out for the EPCOR volleyball team, back in the Spring of 2003. We've been good friends since then, and more recently have tried out the whole 'romantic involvement concept.' I've been scared of it, having come out of a relationship far more recently than her, and having never really been single since I was 17. She was a bit scared of it too, as she's never had 'feelings' for a freind before, and knew well enough that I was leaving town, as well.

despite all of these things, we've found our lives interwoven a fair bit over these past months, and things are good. We've both managed to teach each other some things about relationships, I think, and about life in general.

She came along at a time in edmonton when I was at a low. winter, post-break up, school, work, and not really knowing anyone else outside of the circle of friends that I shared with my now-ex... whom I found myself unable to talk to anymore! In swooped suzanne, and she took me on a 'pity date' to see a movie, with her friend Lori as well.

Well, since then there have been a lot more movies, a lot more time spent hanging out, a few things that could be classified as 'real dates' instead of 'pity dates', and in general we have become two people that know a crap load more about each other than we did 6 months ago. And maybe even some more about ourselves, too.

So as I get set to leave 'deadmonton', I have to give thanks, both to God for making a wrong thing He always does...and of course to suzanne, the best friend I found up in the snowy North, and a great friend that I will take with me as I head back down to Beautiful BC. Though I may not be sure of how things should end up, I sure am glad for how they have gone thus far :)

Love ya!

August 13, 2004


Well everyone, it has come time to make my leave of this place!

To my co-workers, this is probably for the best... if screw-ups and botched orders were candy, I'd be Willy Wonka. EPCOR is better off without me! I leave the rest of you and your capable selves to clean up the messes left in my wake! ...It has been a pleasure to work with all of you!

To the paddlers and volleyballers, thanks for keeping me in shape over the last few years! You've been a great bunch and I thank you for letting me tag along. Rene, pass my email on to your mom please! Wouldn’t mind some paddling pictures!

To all and to the rest, It's been no secret that Edmonton has never been my favorite place, much as I tried sometimes to like it! In any case, thanks to you people it was not just a place to live, it was home. Should any of you find yourselves in Vancouver at any point, please look me up! You'll be more than welcome to crash at my place or at least stop by for a visit :)

what I will miss about edmonton:
canola fields against stormy skies, hay bales in pasture like a bowl of mini-wheats that God spilled (frosted mini-wheats in winter), the river valley, warm and long summer days, watching the Oilers get knocked out of playoffs, yet again, and of course... only 7 % sales tax

What I won't miss about edmonton:
-43 in february, snow in june, tornados, floods and hail storms in july. painfully flat landscape and lakes no where to be found--real ones anyway, not within an hours drive, and rednecks whining about the price of gas--usually ralph kline...

Well, that's the gist of it. I put down a poem and some song lyrics (careful, it’s country...) that fit nicely with this occasion. That means it gets artsy from here, so if you aren't into that, stop reading! One might say these are the two halves of my brain! The 'sad to go' side, and the 'get me the hell outta here!' side! Enjoy!
So goodbye, adieu, adios, adeus, aufwiedersehn, sayonara, etc! You've all been great and I...I... oh dammit, here come the waterworks. I told myself I wasn't gonna cry...
cheque please!

where is stu?
48 E 12th Ave
Vancouver BC
Or email me!

LEAVING—Paul Brandt
C'mon hurry, ain't no time for worryingGotta go-
Move on
Just leave the lights onGrab some clothes set those sights on that4 lane road,
I'm gone

In a truck, in a train, in a car, in a busChange my luck, can't stay, going far, in a rushGot that getaway feeling
I'm Leavin'Trust me,
something better's
gotta be right around

Gonna be just fine,
toss the map, don't look behind,
push that pedal down-

In a truck, in a train, in a car, in a bus
Change my luck, can't stay, going far, in a rushGot that getaway feeling
I'm Leavin' Hey!Here I goLeavin' Ohhh
In a truck, in a train, in a car, in a busChange my luck, can't stay, going far, in a rushWhite lines, exit signs, can't fly fast enoughBlack top, rail way, spinning wheelsDon't stop

Got that getaway feelingGot that getaway feeling
I'm Leavin'Wheels don't stopI'm Leavin'...

We leave ghosts of ourselves
In the places we have been
From one spot to the next that we go
A whisper of our soul gets left behind

But in exchange for this
We take with us
To replace the pieces missing

Be they hazy and blue-gray
Or brilliant and hard outlined
We leave not empty handed

Some thoughts and scenes would
Feel better left behind—reclaim
A lost bit of you instead

But it is not without reason, this exchange of soul and suffering

The better memories and lessons
Learned from the bad ones;
These things outshine the rest
Fill you up, make you once again
Spirit you away to your next destination

The people you connect with
The places you go to find them
You have them with you
And they have you with them.

July 24, 2004

k-days etc

well, I am in Kamloops today--for the second time in three weekends... I am here to visit with my sister, Kari, who is back in our neck of the woods for a few weeks after a year of teaching in England. I am only in town until Monday, so this time around the trip was made via flying metallic bird. suz kindly drove me to the airport this morning, and Kari met me at the Kelowna "international" airport, and we drove back to the 'Loops. Now I say 'international' airport mockingly, becuase any airport with like, only four gates is not international. Any airport that you have to get out of the plane and cross the tarmac before going in the building is not international. Any airport where half the planes that land are crop dusters, is not international.

Aaannnway, I'm back in kamloops now. yesterday, I spent the better part of the day at Klondike days. Ricky, Nicky, Stoo and Suz took to the fair. Unfortunately, the fair didn't take to Suz, and within 3 rides, she was feeling ill. She claims to have been a real trooper in years gone by, but now I just think she's all talk ;) ... after some downtime, eating, sitting in the shade, and wasting our money at the casino, she was feeling better, and we hit the ride circuit again. One one occasion, we waited in line for the better part of an hour, only to have the operators announce the ride was closed beofre we had the chance to get on. d'oh! not to worry, I soon drowned my sorrows in a lime flavoured sno-cone.

While at the fair, we also had the chance to see some cirque du soleil for free---they were putting on a few shows a day, a portion of their current piece, 'Charme'.

The rest of the day was filled with people watching (pre-teens wearing too much makeup and not enough clothing being the majority of our observations. This just in: you're 12. you needn't grow up so fast. And you need NEVER dress like that! ), eating corn dogs and ice cream, and refilling the water bottle a few dozen times in order to stay ahead of the heat. Good times had by all!

So that's about all I have to say for now! I'll be here in Kamloops for a few days yet, as mentioned. I already started making some apricot fruit leather, the fruit thanks to our overproductive trees here at home. I plan to pick a few more pounds beofre I leave on Monday as well.

Oh wait, I'm supposed to be at work on Monday. and I was yesterday, too. I mean... cough, cough... I don't feel so good...

July 22, 2004

this and that

Ever been kicked in the junk before?

Okay, now that I have your attention, I’ll explain. A bunch of us were taking advantage of a fine summer Sunday in the park. All the usual suspects were there. Football, Frisbee, volleyball. And Suzanne, jumping on my back.
"Don’t spin me around!" she said

So naturally, I spun.

And lost my own balance, let alone making her dizzy. Down we go.
The trip down would have been uneventful, were it not for Suzanne’s knee sticking up at in opportune angles, which connected with my jewels with alarming force. I writhed around on the ground for a few minutes… fast forward to five days later, it still hurts. I went to the clinic yesterday (always a good place to go when something isn’t right with your bits). He figures a bit of bruising in there, and give ita few more days and I should be right as rain. Until then, I grin and bear it.

I should not have spun Suz.

What else is new… lets see…. Won some Klondike days all day ride passes off the radio the other day, I expect to be putting those to good use! Klondike days, for those of you not in the know, is an archaic excuse to bring the fair to town on an annual basis. There isn’t much left to it nowadays that is ‘Klondikey’, from what I’m told, but hey, any excuse to be tossed around and around and upside down on the rides and stuff myself with mini donuts to the point of barfing.

My landlord moved out of the house last weekend, movin’ on up to a place on the 10th green of the Millwoods golf course. I volunteered to help.
Hindsight is 20/20.
How so much stuff could be crammed into one house and garage, I will never know.
A full, full-sized moving truck. A rented U-haul, filled twice over. Two pick-up trucks, one filled once, one filled twice. We started at 10 am or so, 7 of us. The drop-outs started around 1:00 pm. By the end of it, 5 still remained, though all moving considerably slower than in the morning. Throw 30 degrees and humidity into the mix, and you had one sweaty, tired bunch. Total disarray, not like we actually organized anything that was moved, it was just from point A to B, that was it. But Ruth, my landlord, very generously paid for the services, something not normally expected when one volunteers, so that made it worth while!

Other than that, I’ve just been working away, mooching food and movies off of Suzanne, now that my house is void of TV and internet, and is in a general shambles as I and my roommate prepare ourselves for our own move-outs in a few weeks.

Oh, by the way, if anyone else wants to volunteer to feed me, I wouldn’t say no :)

July 15, 2004

bank on the ranch

Back in Edmonton and back to work after a nice 10 day break.

The drive from Kamloops to Edmonton, was—shockingly enough—completely event free! Many thanks go to my truck, The Gipper, who pulled through with flying colours. The weather was warm and sunny basically the whole drive back, with exception of some cloud cover from Valemount to Jasper. I didn’t hit any birds this time, either! There was a black bear that darted across my path on the east side of Jasper National, but he fared much better than the bird, loping across the highway without incident. I am sure my truck would’ve ended up the worse for wear should we have connected anyway, so it was all for the best!

So other than that, my windshield was an insect graveyard, and that was that. The nasty part about bugs is I like to drive with the window down, and if one of them splatters close enough to the edge of the driver side of the windshield, I get some bug juice flying back inside as the shrapnel gets caught in the wind and drawn inside. Yech!

You ever wonder if bugs commit suicide? I realize they have tiny ganglion and their synaptic firings—if there are any—probably don’t work fast enough to make them realize their about to slam into a windshield… but what if?! Can’t you just see it? Some fed up worker bee, hanging out in the nest ? “Dang it, I can’t take it anymore! It’s the same thing, day in, day out. Collecting pollen. Bah! I was made for more in this world, I just can’t seem to get ahead. I feel like such a drone here! And my wife left me for a king bee…There’s no such thing, that two timing hussy! I’m gonna end it all! Where’s the highway?!”

Anyway, I digress. More to discuss about the trip! Previous to my departure in Kamloops, I got an email from my supposed former new roommate in Vancouver. I say former, because as it turns out, I was at their house dropping off a rent cheque with one roomie, while the other was out closing the rental deal with a friend of theirs… who apparently got priority. So, I’m still homeless! I suppose it just means that something better is supposed to come along, right? right!

Speaking of which, I had better find some more rental ads…
24 more working days until I leave!

July 9, 2004

travel diaries part two:

Travel diary... kamloops to vancouver and back again...

Headed to Vancouver back on Sunday July 4th in search of a place to live come August, and to meet up with my faculty at my new school in Richmond. Of course, enjoy the sights and sounds of the coast as well!

Drive down on the fourth was marred by holdups. Four stops for construction, a big slow down for holiday traffic trying to squeeze through the Coquihala toll booth, and two accidents. It should be explained to you all that my curse in life is line ups and long waits. For my sister, it's extreme clumsiness. For my brother, one might argue that it's car issues. For me, it's long line ups. Grocery store, movies, in the car, where ever. Pretty minor on the grand scale of things, and luckily, I'm laid back enough to accept my fate and wait in line.

So, sunday evening I rolled into town. First stop, Simon Fraser University. Stayed with Doug. We had the chance to do some catching up, have some barbecue, watch a movie--Super Troopers, a fantastic show for all those interested! Monday morning we went to the gym, had a bit of a run workout on the Terry Fox field up at SFU. I pretend to be a real university student for a few minutes. We all know I'm too dumb to actually make it into one of those schools, But hey, I can fake it for a while...

anyway, house hunting started on monday. And kept going, and going, and going... Turns out not much available to meet my needs! Closer to my school is good, and cheap rent is even better! By the end of the week, after looking through the multitudes of crappy apartments / basements suites / shared accommodations that are currently available for under $600.00 / month, I settled on a place at Main and 12th.

I'll be living in a two story character house, on the second floor. Nice view out my window across the city to the mountains, nice paint job, a couple of decent roomies. Old but charming, shall we say?

As for the rest of the week, I did this and that. Had a chance to catch up with friend Erica. We donated blood, then foolishly went to play soccer for a few hours in a pick-up game with some of her friends. That got whatever blood was left in my body a-pumpin! I spent some time at the beach, and visiting with an old roommate of mine, Sam.

It's been a few years since I've had a good look around vancouver! For example. I had some film to develop. I parked down on Broadway next to the McDonalds, which is now a hole in the ground, making way for some new condos. I took my film to First Foto, which is now down the block form where it was, then while I waited the half hour for my film (it's fast and cheap! And you get a free 6 x 9 enlargement! I recommend it!...product plug ending in 3...2...1), I headed down to Tokyo Joe's for some sushi, which isn't Tokyo Joe's anymore. Luckily, the Miso soup still kicks ass :)

For the nights I wasn't staying at Doug's, I crashed at UBC in my sister in law's--Dina--campus townhouse. ( moving from one school to the other with such callous disregard for tradition would surely make any self respecting UBC thunderbird cringe, and inversely make and SFU Clan fan want to spit on my grave, but whatever...) We had the chance to hang around, go for Mario's Gelati here, grab a bit to eat there, go for a walk, etc. Good times. I also had the chance to get to my campus and find out more about my program, and meet my director. Seems like it'll be a challenging few years, but good ones none the less! The campus is a bit of a high school, but oh well, function over style I guess!

Anywho, I am back in Kamloops now, Dina and I having both come up in my truck. The curse struck us before we left town--an eight car pile-up on the port mann held us in line for a while, but from there it was smooth sailing. So, I have a new place to live, waiting for me in August when I get out of edmonton, and I had the chance to reacquaint myself with an old flame called Vancouver :)

Two more days in Kamloops, then it's back to edmonton! Ta for now!

July 3, 2004

Travel diary: day one-- Edmonton to Kamloops.

Star date, july 2nd, 2004

12:25: depart Edmonton with load of my stuff getting dropped off with my Parents in Kamloops.

1:16: call to Kamloops on my cell with the obligatory 'All systems go, on the road' message.

1:20: crack into first of road munchies-- chips, sour patch kids candies, bottle of coke... you know, the really healthy stuff. Sun is shining, music is loud. Mood, good.

2:05: pass by one of those buffalo pastures. Marvel at the wonder of their size, resilience in face of human conquest. Nice work mother nature.

3:05: severe thunder storm. Tarp covering my bed boxspring on the roof of my truck comes loose. Ropes snap. Tarp turns into a parachute. Wind resistance becomes too much to bear. Pull over.

3:10-3:35: re-tying of tarp with remaining rope. Rain and wind continue to pound me. Semi-trucks whizz by, snapping gusts of water against me and my cargo.

3:36: Not very impressed with mother nature or truck drivers.

4:10: pull into Jasper for some gas, and to beg for extra rope. Thanks be to guy at Esso station.

4:20 still a little peeved. Though the splendor of the mountains and all the creatures that roam in it's ranges awe me, I order fries and Buffalo meat burger to go, just out of spite. Stoo, 1. Mother nature, zero.

From here, things go rather smoothly. Granted, the wind and rain persist, and I get stuck behind my fair share of big trucks, but other than that, the CD player keeps me company, and my truck, which previously has failed to make this drive successfully without SOMETHING breaking down, is doing well. But then...

5:45: Look in rearview mirror just in time to see the bedraggled boxspring break free of its bonds and go flying. All slow motion-like, a John Woo movie action sequence or something. don't really know how it happened, tarp still completely tied down.

5:50-6:15: reattach boxspring, this time for good, come Hell or high water. Rain ceases long enough to allow me to do re-tie. Thanks mother nature!

6:45: stop in blue river for gas instead of Valemount on suggestion of mother; it may be cheaper there. Valemount: 84.5 cents/ liter. Blue River: 92.9 cents/liter. D'oh!

7:20: time for a math problem. If stoo is traveling south bound on the #5 hwy. at 112 km/ hr, and a robin leaves its curb-side perch just in time to align itself with the front grill on my truck, how many bones of that bird are broken upon impact? Sorry about that, mother nature...

8:30: after driving through burned out mountains; forests left see-through by the fires that stripped the trees the previous summer, I have conversation with my dash-board bobblehead hula girl about the grandeur yet general fragility of the natural world. Hula girl nods in agreement.

And from there, the rest of the drive is pretty uneventful. The road wound it's way along the Thompson River, the sun finally appeared round about Heffley creek, though by then it was sinking behind the hills anyway. Leaving rainbows in my rearview mirror, I trundled on to the homestead, where mum had a plate of food waiting for me. So here I am in Kamloops for a day or two, and then it's off to vancouver for the week. Talk to you later!

June 22, 2004

what a coinkydink!

It’s a small world eh? (Insert the tinny sounds of animatronic figures singing songs in that nauseatingly repetitive Disneyland ride…)

It’s a small world. I’ve been hearing that a lot lately, and experiencing it, too. Take this past week as an example. Got an email from Kate. ‘Archie’s in Edmonton’, she tells me. Who’s Archie you ask? An old roommate of Kate’s from her days in Victoria. I got to know Archie through her. Who’s Kate, some of you ask? An Ex girl friend-stayed-best friend. Anyway, at the time of their going to school, it seems to me that he was taking anthropology or some program like that. I was in Journalism school in Vancouver during this period.
Well, turns out Archie veered off the career path somewhere along the line and ended up in the J-school ditch himself. Unlike me, though, he managed to get a job out of the deal! And that is what has brought him to Edmonton.
‘He works at the Edmonton Journal’, says Kate.
The Journal?! And where would the journal be? Right across the road from EPCOR, where I work! So I emailed him with the address passed along to me by Kate. We figure we’ll try and connect up at some point. Turned out that point was today, as I was out on my lunch break, and saw Archie at a crosswalk. So we had a chance to sit for a few and catch up on a detail or two…

Small world, I tell ya.

And this past weekend, I was down on the North Saskatchewan River instructing a learn-to-kayak class. One of the girls, Karla, was wearing a basketball shirt, so we got to talking about basketball, where she played, etc. turns out she’s a former national team member, played some time in Europe at the pro level. You know, chump change kinda stuff …

I asked her if she played in the Hoop it Up tournament the previous weekend (being such a baller as myself… I was there…umm… watching., but I was there… ). For those of you who don’t know, the NBA sponsored event travels from city to city, and sees a local parking lot filled up with half courts, and people of all ages and skill levels show up to play their hearts out. So anywho, not only did she and her team play, they won their category. I said, ‘Hey, I know the guys that won the top gun division down in Calgary. They get to go to Toronto!’. To which she replies, really? Who? Sandy?!’
By association, I knew Sandy’s teammate, Rob. And met Sandy through Rob. She continued on that she was at Sandy’s house for a party on the previous Saturday night, at the mid-way point of the tournament.
I myself was at that party, getting inebriated and debaucherous with about… I have no idea how many other people… it was a very full house though! Neither of us has any recollection of seeing the other at the house, but here we were, a week later, me about to instruct her on how to kayak!

Small world, I tell ya. Small world. See you in Disneyland!

June 9, 2004

Where in the world is Stoo??

Due to high volume of questions regarding my whereabouts over the next while, I present to you: WHERE IN THE WORLD IS STOO?! The chart below should give you a voyeuristic look at exactly where I'll be over the next few months. Feel free to peruse!

July 1st In Edmonton for Canada day
July 2nd In transit to Kamloops
July 2-4 Kamloops
July 5-9 Vancouver (with maybe a day up at whistlerĂ‚…)
trying to find a place to live
July 10-12 Back in Kamloops
July 13th In transit to Edmonton
July 14-23 Edmonton
July 24-26 Flying back to Kamloops, visiting with Kari who is
visiting from England!
July 27-Aug 13 Back in Edmonton for a few more weeks of work. (blah)
Aug 14/15 Last weekend in Edmonton
August 16th BC OR BUST! Tear of the rear view mirror, never
look back

August 17/18 KamloopsĂ‚…again
August 19th-> Vancouver!!! School starts September 2nd

June 4, 2004

weekend adventures: part deux.

See! I told you I’d be back!

Just a note further about my previous blog, I also went out to dinner on the Sunday night before my parents left, at the Moose Factory (picture large forest-dwelling creatures wearing hardhats) for Buffet. It’s actually a pretty classy joint. In any case, stuffed myself that night…
…fast forward to next weekend, and we plopped ourselves down in the natural habitat of the Moose… well, more so the Elk where we were: Jasper National Park, Whistler’s campground. What do you get when you take three tents, Four Edmontonians, and two Texans, and a dog? A small but dedicated group of campers, determined to sit around a fire and do nothing but eat and/ or drink even though it was supposed to rain all weekend.
Suzanne and I arrived first, setting up an overhead tarp to protect us from the rain, and then the tent underneath that. Shortly after, Neil, Erin, Melissa and Michael showed up to make camp. By then the rain had stopped, and the ground had already sucked up the water (and that was basically all the rain we saw all weekend… unlike them city folk back in Edmonton, getting drenched… hee hee hee). We settled in for some grub: burgers cooked over an open flame… okay, it was a brand new camps stove that was borrowed from friends, but you get the picture. And the burgers were pan-fried. Whatever. We brought out the butter to grease up the pan.
“Suzanne, could you please get the butter so we can grease the pan a bit”
“Sure… ewww, there’s dirt on it.”
Now, at this juncture, most would logically assess the situation, get a knife, and scrape the offending foreign object off the surface of the butter. Not Suzanne… she noted the speck of whateveritwas, and proceeded to turn the butter dish upside down to shake off the speck. Needless to say, our weekend’s supply of butter was now in an intimate relationship with the dirt at our feet.
Nice girl. Not too bright, but a nice girl 
Despite rocky beginnings, the rest of the meal worked out well enough. From there, the weekend was nice and relaxed, sitting around the fire partaking in a beverage or two, doing a bit of hiking at local lakes, wandering through the town of Jasper, and trying to stay away from the calving elk that spotted the campgrounds.
The nights were reasonably warm, and though the rain held up, it was overcast. The sun did break through on occasion to bathe us though, so that was nice. Especially for the Texans.
“Y’all, its 90 degrees back home. And you wonder why I’m wearing my wooly hat and three pairs of socks?” ( I admit, I wore sweats to bed… It’s just comfy, dagnabit!)
“Uhhh, we call that a toque. And that drink in your hand? That’s real beer, with real alcoholic content. Those things there? Those are mountains.”
So, by Sunday midday we all smelled sufficiently of campfire smoke and the great outdoors, and we’d all had our fill of R&R and plenty of food. Suzanne and I were the last to leave, we had a big chicken salad at Jasper Pizza on our way out; Neil and his entourage had left earlier. They had another family barbecue / drinking engagement to attend back in the city.

Little tip for long car rides… play a game called “top three”, where you come up with questions like “what are your top three movies of all time?” or, “what are the top three car games to play on a long drive?”  It’s a good way to kill off time, and you learn some interesting stuff about the people strapped in next to you ;)

June 3, 2004

weekend adventures: part one

Once again I have failed to update my blog in any reasonable amount of time. I think I should just stop making promises to myself and others that I’ll be good about this, and just do whatever I damn well please!

A few weeks have gone by now since I last wrote. My parents were up for the Victoria day long weekend (Victoria being our long-dead Queen from a time of monarchy in Canada also long since passed…but hey, it’s a day off work!) We had a chance to tour around to some of the unique Edmonton sites that I have lived amongst for nearly two years now. And the tour took about thirty seconds, since there is so little that is actually uniquely Edmonton. Okay, I exaggerate. There is West Edmonton Mall, after all, and Fort Edmonton Park, both of which we did.

The May long weekend marked the last day of Howard the Dolphins’ final checkout from his stay as the Mall’s largest living-in-captivity attraction. He got sent down south to live in a real park. I’d say just release him into the wild, but he’d probably end up as flakes in my tuna before long.
So, we traipsed around the mall for a while, noting the empty dolphin tank, and took in Shrek 2 while we were there at the silver city. As good if not better than the original, if I do say so myself! Earlier in the day, we had been to the Strathcona farmer’s market, where my parents were generous enough to by me a crap load of veggies to fill my fridge! We had made an attempt at Fort Edmonton Park on the Saturday, only to discover that it was not open for the season until Sunday. This was a problem easily enough avoided, as dear Suzanne pointed out--who was along with us all weekend--had I only called ahead to find out the park hours. Oops.
So the Park was open the next day, and we reconvened at its entrance, this time, with the ability to actually pass through it. We spent several hours in there, my mother flexing her school teacher knowledge in the old Hudson’s Bay trading post, and Dad reminiscing about his youth as we stepped aboard an old Toronto Transit street car for a tour through ‘town’. There is one house within Fort Edmonton with a Ghost story attached to it—the spirit of a young boy is said to inhabit one of his childhood dolls (saw it on a CTV special…Creepy Canada…). The restless spirit is not much of an issue, apparently, unless someone tries to move the doll from the boy’s room. Then ‘things’ start to happen. Suzanne and I got into the habit of asking the workers if they knew anything about it. Finally, a guy dressed up like Mr. Rutherford… a famous local guy from the 1900’s, I won’t bore you with the details… gave us the scoop. It was the house right next to his.
So, we piled in, and went up the stairs to the bedrooms. And lemmee tell ya, there were some creepy dolls up there, inhabited by ghosts and otherwise. You know those kind with the eyes that roll? Shudder… I'm sure chucky would be right into this set up. as for the rest of us... just creepy.
Anyway, we managed to scare some other tourists by telling them the story, and the second floor was quickly vacated. Nothing moved through the air on it’s own or grabbed our legs or appeared as a vision before us… maybe if I go again I’ll reach over the ropes and start messing with the dolls. Stir things up a little 
Okay, ‘nuff typing for today. I’ll come back tomorrow and talk about the camping trip I had last weekend!

May 17, 2004

Bit of a slow day today….

The call center is surprisingly quiet today. The less people bitching about their bills, the better, I say! To fill my time, I’m working feverishly through a mind-bending harry potter word search, and partaking in far off imaginings about sitting in the sun that has made its appearance today. Highs of 22 degrees today! Hiyo! For the most part, Mondays are generally quite lachrymose, but since the sun is out and I only work until 4:15 today, I am willing to give up my staunch unhappiness about this place for a while 

I will be headed down to the river side after work (insert Raffi songs. Or Sharon, Lois and Bram…whoever sung that ‘down by the riverside’ song…) to help my canoe and kayak club get our docks back in the water. Back in the Fall, we made the mistake of waiting mere days too long to take the docks out of the water… we had a big dump of snow, and we had to chip the booms out of the frozen river’s edge. It was a good workout I suppose, and hey, who really needs feeling in their lower extremities anyway, right? But I digress… not sure if I’ll actually go on the water for a paddle tonight as well or not. I want to paddle this year, but I’m not going to bother with racing. I’m too old, slow, and most importantly, broke, to make a go of it this season! I think my membership should be mostly paid for, as I work a whole bunch of bingo’s throughout the winter as a fundraiser for my athlete’s account, but I still can’t be bothered to foot the bill for a club membership. Any of you ever worked a bingo before to raise money for your club? Man I tell ya, it’s barely worth it!

Imagine, if you will, a large hall filled to the brim with seniors, waiting-to-die mid-lifers, and a mediocre short-order kitchen. Eighty to 90 percent of the customers keep a cigarette dangling from their mouths, most likely lit with the butt end of the last one, which will in turn be used to bring death’s life to the next cancer stick out of the pack. The resulting smoke wafts softly into the air, creating a haze across the whole scene. The walls, stained a sickly yellow, are a lasting memorial to all those cigarettes that came and died at the lips of bingo addicts generations before.
I, as a volunteer, must run around the hall selling break-open tickets, odd/even, and satellite cards. I go wherever a patron’s hand shoot’s up in the air, a shiny coin, crumpled bill, or bingo dapper raised up in the universal sign of ‘get over here and sell me some tickets pronto, before I raise a fuss’. It all roughly equates to 8 hours of walking around in a cloud of smoke, moving ever closer to having the ‘Black Lung’ by the time I’m thirty. But hey, it’s worth it to raise funds for my sporting career! There are certainly the customers that make it worth while though, like the old ladies that you would kill to have as grandmother. You just know they would have given out candy like… well, like candy… on occasion, one of these types will slip me a tip if they win a bingo, and I happen to be the one that sold them the ticket. Ah, sweet rewards! Okay, so I take it back. Before I said it’s barely worth it. Those types of people make it fun!

So, as I said, hopefully I have worked enough of those bingo’s to cover my membership costs. That way when I fall in the freezing cold river, bobbing to the surface gasping for air, or workout for a few hours at a stretch, having my muscles scream with every forced rotation, I’ll know it was all worth it 

May 13, 2004

so I was channel surfing last night, looking for something decent on (it was wednesday night, and as we all know, wednesday night is just one big void in decent programming, so addicts are forced to settle on hoping they'll find something good).
I ended up settling on a CBC program--that's right, I watch the CBC... it's good for more than just H. Night in Canada, you know--on a show called 'Asteroid: The Doomsday Rock'. It was all about what asteroids have done to the earth in the past ( ie, the theoretical wiping out of the dinosaurs), and what they could potentially do to the earth again in the future. It unto itself was a pretty interesting show. NASA and the European Space Agency have been watching the skies for a few years now looking for pieces of misdirected celestial junk that could potentially wipe out humanity as we know it. cheery subject!
Apparently, there is very little chance of anything hitting us--which is nice to know--but there are a few identified objects that, within 30 years or so, will have a few 'near misses' with ours, the third rock from the sun. the asteroid 'they' are most concerned about is due to cross our path again in 2028 and
zing on by somewhere between us and the moon. Universally speaking, that's pretty damn close! it's only about 1.1 KM long in size though... which didn't seem to be too large, until I find out that a rock of that size would hit the earth at 20,000 km an hour, probably slam into the ocean, drving straight down to the bottom. as an analogy of what it would do, here's a theory. you know how a drop of water hits a puddle, bounces back up, then spreads out again? same thing here. it's expected that this space pebble will blow a hole in atlantic ocean 19 miles around, and as deep as the ocean, send a huge plume of aqua back up into the sky, then it all comes crashing down again. long story shrot, they expect that if not evactuated, the neighbouring continents would experience wave after tidal wave, wiping out around 50 million of us in an hour. And this rock is one of the smaller ones identified by NASA and the ESA. some of these bad boys are like, 34 Km long.


Now to the point of all this recapping. it got me to thinking... if there is, out there somewhere in the black maw of the infinite universe, someone or something in control of it all, and they don't like what we've done with this green and blue planet, I'd say we're fucked. One miss-fire in their Cosmic game of tiddlywinks, and it's all over, folks. it doesn't even have to be on purpose, really. just a quick hit from an omniscient finger nail that didn't quite get the right angle, and we've got a speck of dust (universally speaking) speeding out in space with our name on it.
Even if there isn't a universal puppet master ( by the way, I believe strongly in God, and I don't think that last scene would play least I hope not), the universe is never ending, right? just this huge void so full of stuff and things the human mind couldn't even begin to fathom it. So who's to say the chaos that exists within it won't set things topsy turvy at anytime anyway? just becuase NASA scientists have used their computers and brains to figure out that one rock is due to swing around earth again in 2028, it doesn't mean that they know anything about what's gonna happen between now and then, or what else is flying under their radar. it'scary shit, I tell ya! Is Bruce Willis going to be available at a moments notice to get fired off into space to go save the world for us?
And if something was going to happen, and the gov't knew it for sure, would they tell us? I can see the six o'clock news right now... : good evening ladies in Gentleman. the gov't announced today that an unstoppable celestial body is hurtling towards earth, of which we have no hope of stopping. It will wipe out life in its entirety. Smoke 'em if you got em folks, 'cause it's all over. Thank you, this concludes our broadcast day. Have a good afterlife.
YEAH RIGHT! The anarchy that would ensue would be unbelievable! Hell, I'D even do some looting!!!
I guess in the end, it's not up to you or me what happens. I guess there is a moral to all of this: live it like it's your last. (minus the looting and raping and pillaging, of course), cause you never know! maybe it is! c'est la vie and Carpe Diem. We only have so much control over our own lives, I guess, but certainly not over what goes on around it!

man, my brain hurts. I need a nap.

May 11, 2004

Once again, I have failed to get onto my blog within any reasonable space of time… StuLand is just there… I never said it was an exciting place to be… anyway, there have been plenty of goings-on since my last update!

Today’s theme will be about change… good, bad… who’s to say…
At work, ( I work for EPCOR, an Alberta based power retailer) we’ve had some people move on to new positions within the company. Three guys moved on last week, so it was sad to see them go. Luckily, we still see each other on the weekends to get stupid. Alas, during the work week, whilst this band of merry men hath moved on to a more exciting pocket of the forest, I am still tethered to my phone answering the call of customer service…

BUT… this too will soon be changing! I recently got accepted into the public relations management program back in BC at Kwantlen College. So, I will be headed back to the homeland! This is a fact for which I could not be more excited! It’s never been much of a secret that Edmonton isn’t my favorite place to be hanging my hat… and as of August, 2004… I won’t be any longer! The people I’ve met here are awesome, and they’ve made this place more a home than just a place to live, but I can’t deny the fact that this place has a rather negative hold over me all the same!

So, I’ll pack up my little pick-up (named the Gipper , which it shall heretofore be referred to as) with as much as she can hold, and hit the road! I see the next few months being very long as I look towards the day when I’ll tear off the rearview and kick up dust and never look back!

Also in the news, my school term ended a while back. I am happy to say I passed most of it with flying colours. Oddly enough, my lowest grade came from the course that I held the most interest in, my public relations fundamentals class. Go figure. Hopefully that won’t turn into a mediocre career of the same type…

Spring has sprung and the grass is riz…but I wonders where the flowers iz? Though the snow has melted off, old man winter is trying to keep his arthritic fingers wrapped around the province of alberta… His icy tendrils have resulted in the odd snowfall, and generally cool temps. Trees are starting to bud, but the cold weather seems to be slowing down the process around here. We have had a few days of great weather, but sweaters and jackets are being kept close at hand….

April 28, 2004

It's been weeks since I used this thing... school and work has had me running my feet off, but I've finished my classes for this terms, so now I have tons of free time! I spent all of last weekend with the nagging feeling hanging above me that I had to get to some homework. Alas, I did not! Huzzah!

IN any case, the new found freedom was celebrated at a friend's birthday fooferah. Good times had by all, save the wind-blown dumpster that attached our car on the way to the house. It was as though a poltergeist took ahold of this dumpster in the back alley of his apartment building. The dumpster jerked away from the wall of the alley, blocking our path. All of a sudden the wind flipped up the lid, and it hurtled towards us, aided by this new sail. We had to slam it in reverse to avoid being hit by the thing! I got out and pinned the dumpster against the wall while my friend pulled the car by. Even then, the dumpster was trying to get away again...

Hi drama I tell ya! And as for the rest of the night, drunken debauchery ensued! Well, I was the DD, so not for me, so I excelled at playing pool whilst the masses fell around me... Good times....

hey, a website suggestion for all y'all... try out should youhave time to kill. a plethora of mindless crap to entertain you should you have anytime to kill!

Right, that'll do it for now! Spring has reached Edmonton (thank goodness), so I think I'll head out and enjoy some sun beofre work today! later!

February 11, 2004

Journal, day one:

Journal, day one:
figure out how to use this whole 'blogger' thing that I have just recently stumbled upon. Not really sure how it all works just at them moment, but I'll learn. mostly just want to be a part of this whole "internet" thingy that the young'ns talk about nowadays... Or it could be me, in search of some inflated sense of self importance...

pay attenion to me, dammit!