Saturday, October 29, 2016

I don't even remember last weekend...

I used to blog quite a bit. Just read the previous posts. There were even more than what I have on this blog, but I deleted many of those because of, we'll call it, issues they created. 

Blogging was an escape for me, perhaps, or a way of just sharing whatever it is I had to with the world. A one-way emotional catharsis. But that was years ago, and this is now, and so much has happened since then. The problem is, I don't remember a lot of the details of the last few years. There are some very memorable moments, and others not so much. Years from now, many memories and images of what now are is so very clear will have faded; been forgotten. And that scares me. It's not that what I do is of much consequence to the world around me, and it's not that I am leaving this amazing legacy behind, but when I grow old I want to remember as much as I can. And perhaps these blog posts will serve as refreshers to that 90 Year old self.

The title says I don't remember what happened last weekend. Well, that's not entirely true. My wife celebrated her 34th birthday. We had lunch in Canmore, followed by a stroll around town. We went to the craft fair in Bearspaw that we attend every year. We got elbowed and pushed around by what seemed like old ladies and over-rushed mothers. We visited my new office, which is to say, quite a weird place to work. We took the early Christmas gift from my mother and put it towards a new bed for our youngest. So the memories are there, they just blend in with the rest of what goes on in my life.

What I really want to do is reflect back on this past summer, when we all went to Europe for 18 days. I want to remember the sights, sounds and sensations that came with being in a very different area. I want to remember the delight I had as I waited for hours on end in line at Heathrow Airport as I watched my 6 year old run around the terminal playing and making the most of our bad situation. I want to remember the look on my wife's face as she walked in the Louvre Museum in Paris. 

Now that evening have lightened up a bit for me and our youngest is taking to sleeping in his own bed (for the early parts of the night), I have some free time to dump out my brain and put it to the digital pen. Ideally, I wanted to journal with the written word, but my writing hand cannot keep up with the constant flow of words and thoughts from my brain. Plus my hand cramps up. So computer it is. It works, it's fine and I actually enjoy it. Plus I can insert pictures, like this!

Enjoying lunch at Place Du Martrois, by Jeanne D'arc, Orléans, France - Jul 21st
Overlooking Glenmore Reservoir from Heritage Park, Calgary, Aug 26th
Summiting Mt. Lady MacDonald on Sep 10th
Eating a "croissant" in Abilene, Texas on Sep 22nd
Anyways, I think I'll try to keep this up. Not for anyone in particular, but just for the old me, 58 years from now. Ooooh, ominous, and scary. The year 2074. Haha, what will it be like then? I guess only future self knows!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Vinyl Challenge

As promised, and challenged, here are the latest alphabetical purchases. This is tougher than I thought!

Alt-J - An Awesome Wave (2012). Again, I already owned this on  CD, but it was so good that it warranted a vinyl purchase.

Alt-J - This Is All Yours (2014). The follow up to their debut. Not as good of an album, but still worth the vinyl purchase. And it is pretty colourful too!

Bedouin Soundclash - Light The Horizon (2010). It actually took me a long time to figure out a "B" band that I really wanted to purchase. Who would have thought that the second letter of the alphabet would have challenged me so? Regardless, a fine installment from the Canadian group.
I have the feeling that letters C through H will be easy, but Q, X and Z may be more difficult. We shall see, oh we shall see.

A - Awolnation - Run (2015), Alt-J - An Awesome Wave (2012), Alt-J - This Is All Yours (2014)
B - Bedouin Soundclash - Light The Horizon (2010)
C - 
D - 
E - 
F - 
G - 
H - 
I - 
J - 
K - 
L - 
M - 
N - 
O - 
P - 
Q - 
R -
S - 
T - 
U - 
V - 
W - 
X - 
Y - 
Z - 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Vinyl Challenge, Purchase #1

As previously mentioned, I had "challenged" myself to alphabetically purchase, in alphabetical order, a new vinyl each two weeks over the next year. I really, really, really wanted to find some alexisonfire vinyl, or the first Alt-J album, but I came across this instead:

Awolnation - Run (2015). Follow up to his debut album, Megalithic Symphony. Awolnation has always appealed to me since I bought his first album (on CD a few years ago), even the songs past what you would normally hear on the radio (although Sail is an amazing track). I just enjoy the sound, energy and depth of his music. This new album, is my first 180 gram purchase, a format of vinyl I'm still trying to wrap my head around.
A - Awolnation - Run (2015)
B - 
C - 
D - 
E - 
F - 
G - 
H - 
I - 
J - 
K - 
L - 
M - 
N - 
O - 
P - 
Q - 
R -
S - 
T - 
U - 
V - 
W - 
X - 
Y - 
Z - 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Collecting Vinyl and a Vinyl Challenge

I've started collecting vinyl .I like the thought of experiencing music, rather than just listening to it. I know these things can be done via CD, vinyl or digital, but there's something about stripping away all of the processing, decoding, sampling and digital stuff and listening to pure analog sound. Vinyl, among many other things, also forces you to listen to an entire album, rather than random songs or only the hits.

Of course, setting up vinyl is a complete mindblow if you start to read audiophile opinions and reviews on various components. I highly recommend not doing that, and getting a new system that works well enough to get you started is really all that is needed. Do some basic research, but do not waste your time looking for the best because you will drive yourself mad. Mad I tells ya!

Below is the sequence of events of turntable purchase and the first few vinyls to get me going.


The Audio-Technica AT-LP60. It has autostart functions, pretty decent sound and, well, works flawlessly for me. I like it.

My first album was Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World (2014). Amazing album from an amazing band. I was fortunate enough to see them live this past January in Calgary. Side B of this record is stellar.

Metz - II (2015). I saw Metz open for DFA1979 in the aforementioned concert, but I actually discovered METZ through theleake blog (sidebar). Noise rock at its finest.

Sufjan Stevens - Enjoy Your Rabbit (2001). I found this at The Inner Sleeve in Calgary before they closed shop. I have always liked Sufjan Stevens, and this is his first album. It's not what you expect, but it's worth a listen.

Sóley - We Sink (2011). I found her through a random Google search of Icelandic musicians. Apparently, there is an enormous music scene in Iceland. I'm a big fan of the band Of Monsters and Men, so I quickly fell in love with her music. 

Sóley - Ask The Deep (2015) . Her latest album. As I was following her on Facebook (not creepily), she posted a photo of her vinyl gatefold album prior to release. It was this photo that made me start wanting to collect vinyl. I saw that there was so much more to music than just the music itself, but the artwork and experience of reading through an album while you listen to it just makes it so much more enjoyable.
Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz (2010). For years, I had only owned Illinoise, Michigan, Seven Swans and A Sun Came. My wife found a video of Sufjan Stevens on Jimmy Fallon, and at the time I had not really thought to look for any new music from him. Well, there it was, new music from Sufjan. This led me on an adventure of finding more music, so it led to...

Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell (2015). Fantastic album. Absolutely stunning album. Stellar, all of the above good things to say about this. Brother John is a truly epic song. I highly recommend!

Sufjan Stevens - Michigan (2003). I only have ever owned this on digital iTunes, so I picked up the vinyl. The best song(s) on the album is a tie between "For the Widows in Paradise, for the Fatherless is Ypsilanti" and "Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou)". Give this album a listen, you will not be disappointed.

Violent Soho - Hungry Ghost (2013). I was looking for modern grunge music. I am a product of the 90s, so I grew up loving grunge. Google search modern grunge, which led me to Reddit, which led me to Violent Soho. For me, it was an instant like. I had to order this album all the way from Australia, which made it cooler.

Project86 - Wait for the Siren (2012). My wife and I have always liked Project86, and it had been a while since we've bought any of their new music. Well they were advertising an excellent deal on this album, so I picked it up. Fantastic presentation and artwork.

Project86 - Knives to the Future (2014). P86's latest album, and much grittier and harder than Wait for the Siren. I also loved the fact that this came on a white vinyl. I thought that was pretty cool :-)
So there is it, a catch up on the start to my vinyl collection. 11 albums, with one now on order. That should be here by the end of July (hopefully). I have also posted a vinyl challenge to myself for the next year. 52 weeks, 26 albums, each corresponding the next sequential letter in the alphabet. So every 2 weeks, I will post my new album. Of course this is not really a challenge, but something fun to do. Here is the list, which I will update each time a new album is purchased.

A - 
B - 
C - 
D - 
E - 
F - 
G - 
H - 
I - 
J - 
K - 
L - 
M - 
N - 
O - 
P - 
Q - 
R -
S - 
T - 
U - 
V - 
W - 
X - 
Y - 
Z - 

Until next time, and happy music :-)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dark Poetry on an empty stomach

"My hunger
creeps out from underneath me, subjecting me to the void within.

I cannot, shall not
further endure this desparing moment much longer.

Feed me my medicine, and cure me of

my sickness."

-on being hungry at work and waiting for lunch time.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Into the Unknown

I miss writing on my blog. The open loop of posting on the internet serves no other purpose than to share my life with the world. If those that read care about what I do, it matters not. The wonderful thing about the internet, at least where I live, is that it is accessible to everyone. There are no chokes or limitations to what is out there. And the amazing thing is that the internet connects all of us. Think back to 10, 15, even 20 years ago, when our evening were not spent gazing down at the glow of a phone or staring in to the abyss of a screen. What did we do? It's honestly hard to remember how a Sunday evening would be spent. Today, with the tap of a screen, I can catch up on news around the world, check sport scores and buy my next outfit. That kind of thing did not exist years ago.

People often call the old days "Simpler Times". Perhaps they were, in that simplicity was due to focusing on what was tangible around you and not some network of invisible people and things. We weren't able to so easily distract ourselves. I believe that now, in our day and age, that life is much simpler and easier, yet more complicated. It's kind of a contradiction, I know. Everything is convenient to us. We can get pretty much instant gratification from anything, anywhere, yet we are also isolating ourselves to the world around us by making it more accessible. I can openly write on my blog about whatever I want and someone from Istanbul or Idaho can read it within seconds of me posting it. That didn't exist. Previously, I would have had to magically find a way to get in contact with one of those people and send posted mail out to them, wait for weeks for a response, and continue the cycle. Now I can converse freely and instantly. It's kind of weird, and a bit of a mind blow. It makes the world seem so very small.

That's why I like to shut down and get out there. That's why I enjoy doing the things that don't involve using Google maps to find direction. It makes the world seem big again. There is a lot going on right now on our planet, more than I can imagine. I can read about it, see it live, hear about it and make comments on it. Then within a day or two, it passes and the next thing happens. We always seem to rush through to the next thing, good or bad. At least I do.

So why am I writing all of this? I have no idea. I wanted to resume my blogging, since I miss it so much. Perhaps this is a segway into that adventure for myself. A first step. I'm not a brilliant person, I don't do brilliant things and don't have brilliant advice. But I do like to live and enjoy life. I like to get out there, to remind myself that there is so much to see, do, and it's a wonderful feeling to feel like you are a tiny spec of insignificance on a whirling orb of rock, dirt and chaos in a vacuum of unknown.

Standing atop of Yamnuska this past July

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Fishing in Clearwater

I'm not trying to catch up. I'm not trying to show off what I've done. I'm just blogging. Here goes.

A few months ago, I was on one of my last business trips (with my then employer) in Florida. I had been there countless times since 2011, and I had never been deep sea fishing. Also, one of my "bucket list" items is to be on a boat and look around 360 degrees and not see land. So I guess I was due for a fishing trip.

A quick Google search helped me find Queen Deep Sea Fishing from Clearwater Beach. A red flag went up for a tourist trap, but I didn't care because I wasn't looking for the authentic deep sea fishing (and I was playing tourist). I just wanted to polish some items off of my list. There were 4 hour and 8 hour trips, the latter being far more deep sea than the former. However, I was with coworkers and they weren't up for a full day of fishing (or getting up at 5am to get to the boat for an 8am launch). So off we went. I GPS'd the adventure, even though they asked us not to. Rebel Canadians...



Pelicans from the docks at Clearwater Beach

I'll bet that this boat went pretty quick.

These lucky bums get to live right on the harbour!

Sailing always has appealed to me. Luckily, I don't have to go all the way to Florida to sail.

First catch, and it was a yellow tail, I think. I'm not a fishy guy.

We mostly caught grunts. They were good eating :-)

Easy fishing. Toss in a hook with some bait, pull out the fish. It restored my faith that you can actually catch fish in the water.

Mighty hunter can provide for his family now.

We were about 7 miles off shore, so....

....the coast was still visible. Bucket List item: Incomplete.

This bird's name was Furuno. I think...

Fishing trawlers off the gulf coast.

I thought it would be deathly hot and humid out, but it was a pleasant day. We had shade on our boat, which was really nice to keep from dehydrating.

The community fishing catch. There were about 90 people on board, and there were lots of fish caught, most of which NOT by me. Someone even caught a pufferfish!

The three of us caught about 12 or 14 fish! They fried up nicely.
This was my catch!

These were the fish that the 8 hour trips caught. Much bigger (and possible next time).

video
The crew from the boat cleaned all of the fish for us! That was really nice, but I would have liked to do it myself.

The next day, we had a fish fry.

The fish fried up really nicely with blackening spices. It was super tasty, made all the more tasty by the fact that I had caught the fish myself!
All in all, it was a fantastic experience with delicious results. I didn't knock the items off of my bucket list, I just whet my appetite even further. I'm always glad for new experiences, and I now believe that fishing and actually catching something is possible. It had been probably 15-20 years since I had last caught something...

:-)