Monday, July 30, 2007

New York. New York was a blast. I didn't really have much time to look around for fun - most of my time was spent in meetings. But my biggest impressions can be found in the pictures, as well as in point form below:

1. New York stinks. Like garbage and urine. And lots of both. It is literally inescapable.

2. I was evangelized about 28 times in my 3 days. Mostly by slightly frightening hellfire folks. But I appreciated their intentions.

3. There is a weird sense of community in New York. And also a strange understanding of social rules. People look out for each other, generally. But don't EVER stop moving on the sidewalk, or you'll be told numerous nasty things. And for heaven's sake, when you walk into a cafe, don't think. Just order, or you'll be yelled at by angry service people.

4. The NY Skyline:

5. My mother will be happy to know that, even when she wins the lottery, she will still have bargain options.

6. The World Trade Centre - not an experience I am comfortable with sharing over electronic means. But I thought you would want to see a picture. Notice the hoards of tourists.

7. Much of the hip-happening parts of NY reminded me of Las Vegas. Here are some pictures of Times Square. Notice the sea of yellow taxis. There were signs everywhere which threatened a $350 fine for honking, but people didn't really care. I got honked at lots, mostly due to my laid-back Winnipeg pedestrian attitude. My bad.

8. People told me that there would be lots of police in NY. But they didn't tell me that lots of them rode around in golf carts. That, my friend, is funny.

9. I stayed in a hostel in Greenwich. There are lots of front steps in this area of NY, just like in the movies. And people sit on them and smoke and talk, just like in the movies.
The red sign below is a sign that was posted in my hostel.

10. New York Harbour! Very pretty in the morning. Also a picture with me with The Brooklyn Bridge. I think my Dad is most jealous of this experience.

11. The statue of liberty. Pretty anticlimactic. You can barely see her. You can take a boat tour closer, but security is tighter than it is in the New York airport. Not too worth it, I think.
12. Even though I promised my Mom I wouldn't go to Central Park for fear of being accosted or mugged, my friend from Cleveland and I braved it. And so glad we did! Beautiful park in the middle of the city. We didn't even get hit on, never mind mugged. Stupid NY.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


In June I also got to go to a conference in Saskatoon. I was actually very impressed with Saskatoon – it is a very beautiful city. People are great, great relaxing atmosphere. My only complaint is that it is a bit *boring* Seriously, the malls all closed at 6 everyday (except for “Saskatoon Party Wednesdays” where they stayed open until 9).

University of Saskatchewan is the COOLEST campus I’ve ever experienced. So beautiful – such distinct, consistent old buildings. Great pride in how things look, great signage. Awesome displays of old dinosaurs and cool things to see. UofW and UofM should take some lessons.

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting up with my friend, former co-worker, and bunny hug lover Brenda. She showed me the serious Saskatoon underground, including a mean carrot cake and some very spicy coffee drinks.

The best part of Saskatoon is this walking bridge they have – it’s actually a train bridge! We waited and waited and finally a train came! It was so cool. Brenda almost lost her arm, and I think I would have been legally responsible, since I dared her to touch the rushing train. It is so dangerous, so fun, and so cool to be so close to a fast-going train! It actually stopped on the track for a bit and I touched it. Yep. Didn’t even get arrested, though I think Brenda saw the side of me that is absolutely terrified of breaking the law.
Way to go, Saskatoon. You impressed me. That hasn’t happened since I discovered the wonder that is Albert St. Burgers.

Pics of the U of S Campus:

This is where the U of S President gets to live. Jealous, Lloyd?

Random Saskatoon Funness.

Train Bridge! Freaking yeah!

Monday, July 16, 2007


The day after I got back from Alaska, I flew out to Calgary for a conference and to hang out with some friends. Odie joined me after my conference, and we spent a few days in Calgary just hanging out.

What’s the best part about Calgary? Karilynn and Christopher, definitely. I’m not a big fan of Calgary – I find it largely lacking of character and a bit too focused on money, cows, and oil. But the people are stellar, and we had some good times.
Karilynn (Odie's Sister) and Christopher, Transformers addict.

we really liked Kari's new bike.
i am hot.
odie in front of an old house, which i can't remember the name of. super old and pretty, though.

this was my favorite Calgary site. It was in an elementary school gym. I don't know this guy personally, but I think he is about to have a very bad day.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Potter Party!

Harry Potter PartyFriday July 20, 2007 10:00pm
McNally Robinson Booksellers presentsHarry Potter, The Final ChapterParty in the ParkFriday, July 20th10:00 p.m. - MidnightAssiniboine Park Conservatory and adjacent fieldsDarkness will prevail. BYOF (Bring Your Own Flashlight)Rain, glow or moonbeam.Books available for voucher holders, promptly at midnight at distribution points posted on the map.
Forbidden Follies
The Forbidden Forest will come alive inside the Assiniboine Park Conservatory. Amidst the dark and haunting flora of the Palm House, find creatures of the Forbidden Forest peeking out of decayed and petrified trees, nestled in ancient burrows and hanging from musty moss-filled works of nature. Carefully meander along the forest floor as Dumbledore directs your night-dreams, Mrs. Weasley consoles, Hagrid encourages, Mad Eye Moody glares, Professor Sprout skillfully plants screaming mandrakes, and Filch admonishes you. Wee ones may find this exhibit frightful.
Diagon Alley
Stroll through the shops of Diagon Alley inside the Conservatory. Bring along a few sickles, galleons and knuts if you want to take home small mementos. Wizardly items, creepy creatures, wavering wands, and Harry Potter books will line the store shelves of Flourish & Blotts, Eeylops Owl Emporium and Ollivanders Fine Wands. Gringotts Bank will be nearby for last minute Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows voucher purchases.
Magical Magniloquence
Hogwarts students eagerly await the return of visiting professor, Wizard Woodwarden, better known to muggles as Magician Mike Bayer. Rumoured to be performing free fifteen minute shows commencing at 10:00 p.m. muggles are encouraged to use their pocket sneakoscopes to peer into the Wizard’s temporary shelter. Look for the big white tent located outside the Conservatory. Suitable for all ages of Hogwarts students. You’ll learn all about the dark arts, apparating, and scornful curses but remember that laughter is the key to repelling those Boggarts.
Madcap Mayhem & Music
Madcap musician Mr. Mark will entertain Hogwarts students in desperate need of frivolity between their N.E.W.T. studies. Mr. Mark will be performing in one of the field tents commencing at 10:20, 11:00 and 11:40 p.m. Accompanied by an odd and unusual assortment of percussion instruments, Mr. Mark inspires even the most rhythmically-challenged student. Expect a lively interactive show of toe-tapping, wand-waving and spell-binding jocularity.
Consolation and Comfort
Madam Pomfrey will be on hand to dispense first aid to all those in need. Bearing bandages and balms, Nurse Pomfrey will banish all the boo-boos and instill bravery in students fearful of He Who Must Not Be Named. Located in the Consolation and Comfort Infirmary, Nurse Pomfrey will be aided by the very competent crew and volunteers from St. John’s Ambulance. This is also the spot for lost kids to meet up with their harried parents. Check the map before the event for this important meeting spot located on the fields adjacent to the Conservatory. Professor Ludicrous Loquacious (aka Ron Robinson, a close friend of the Weasley brothers) will drop in from time to time to console lost souls with the odd bad joke. Professor Loquacious will also bring his questionable humour and levity to crowds throughout the party grounds.
Divine Divination
Professor Sibyll Trelawney will bring her fortune-telling and divination experience to the students of Hogwarts. The bespectacled and sometimes reclusive Trelawney will be found in her canvas lodging on the grounds across from the Conservatory. Her flair for the astrological, combined with her clairvoyant tendencies will bring good fortune to all students willing to gaze into her crystal ball. Professor Trelawney has donated her services for the evening to ensure that disadvantaged mudbloods can receive positively psychic predictions and prophecies.
Mellisonant & Melodious
The Ministry of Magic has commissioned medieval and celtic musicians Comhaltas Winnipeg to wander the alleys and streets of Hogsmeade to quell the fears of local residents about a possible re-emergence of “He Who Must Not Be Named”. The lyrical solace of the strolling minstrels will be appreciated by all Hogwarts students and their guardians. Costumed in the latest ensemble from Madam Malkin’s boutique, they will also perform on-stage at 10:00, 10:40, and 11:20 p.m. playing medieval and celtic concert winds and strings, the Irish Bodhran Drum and penny whistles. Paul and Susan Hammer will be joined by a fiddling sensation at each show to add levity and lightness to this otherwise dark and murky evening.
Magical Creatures
Owls, rats, snakes and spiders have found a temporary home on the fields adjacent to the Assiniboine Park Conservatory. Wizard Strix Nebulosa of the Zoological Society of Manitoba will be bringing his friends from the Manitoba Wildlife Rehabilitation Organization to teach classes in the Care of Magical Creatures. The parselmouth wizard will recite the responsibilities that accompany caring for creatures from the Forbidden Forest.
Starry, Starry Night
The dark and shadowy grounds of Assiniboine Park, close to the cricket pavilion, will offer special classes in Astronomy. Professor Sibyll Trelawney predicts the celestial skies over the park will give Hogwarts students a first-hand opportunity to view the stars through the telescopes of the Manitoba Museum’s Planetarium. Professor Stellar Astronimus and his colleagues will impart all of the important information necessary to pass the fifth year Astronomy O.W.L.
Appearances by the Dragon Dancers, fire dancer Ignatio Firenzo and juggler No Strings Attached will entertain the wizards, witches,and muggles of Hogsmeade as they rove through the village and Conservatory area. Thanks to the efforts of the Ching-Wu Athletic Club, Dave Corby and Myron Pauls, party-goers can expect to be mystically entranced by their transcendent efforts.
Back to July events

Monday, July 09, 2007

Alaska Diary - final day.

Our last day. :-(

Let me take you step by step through what we did

1. Woke up. Freaking early.

2. Ate Breakfast.

3. mom's too paranoid to let strangers touch her luggage, so we drag it off the boat ourselves.

4. Go through customs. No problem.

5. We're cheap. And smart. And figure out that if we rent a limo we would actually save money and not have to sit on a shuttlebus with 40 old people. So we ride in style!

I'm sad to be going home.

My 2 seals were stuffed in my backpack, so i let them out for a bit of fresh air.

So we got to the Vancouver airport about 6 hours before our plane was to leave. We couldn't really do any sightseeing since we had enormous amounts of luggage. So we just sat around and tried to amuse ourselves.

Jan tried to show off her butterfly eyebrows . . . squit and concentrate and you might be able to see them.

I, on the other hand, took this opportunity to practice my camera smile.

After a loooonnnng airport day, we made it home!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Alaska Day 7 - i'm too lazy to rotate my picture

So, even though we aren’t going to anymore ports or anything, there are still numerous adventures all over the ship.

First of all, let me share a little snippet of our on-ship itinerary options with you:

Bridge Play with your fellow guests
Sailaway Music with the Sun Show Band
Art Lecture
Color me Beautiful Seminar
“The Glaciers of Alaska” lecture
Board Games with your fellow guests
Pilates class
“How to buy the best mutual fund”
Amber seminar and sale
Eat more to weigh less seminar
Afternoon Trivia
Enjoy the Music of the Brothers and friends Trio

And that’s only between noon and 5 pm. There is ALWAYS something to do. The casino, bingo, scavenger hunts, bands, crafts, movies, shows, 70’s dance parties, seminars, entertainment. You’re definitely never bored.

There are also 10 different restaurants on board. We were treated really well. Throughout the week I ate dishes such as filet mignon, new york strip steak, lobster tail, some fancy fish, etc. And everything was so excellent. Always good desserts, it was very fun to feel so pampered.

Did I mention that everyday our room steward comes to our room twice – once to make up the beds for the day and again in the evening to get the beds ready for bedtime? We are way too pampered here. Plus, my favorite part, at night they leave a towel on our bed folded as a animal of some sort. Isn’t that awesome?

Today we got to go on a ship-wide scavenger hunt which actually turned out to be one of the funnest parts of the trip. We were ripping around the ship trying to get signatures, tokens, and answers to questions before the time ran out. We did pretty good and got 2nd place! Below you can find a picture of me modelling our stellar prizes:

Also, today my family has developed a taste for Karaoke. My mom and my aunt stole the show and sang like 4 songs. This wasn't hard since there was about 4 more people listening in the audience. I went up with Lisa and Jan, both whom kindly kept their mouths as far away from the mike as possible so that it was only me that everybody could hear. Thanks, guys. Thankfully there were only 4 people listening.

We met up with these 2 other girls our age for dancing in Dazzles Disco a few times. They are cousins from Montreal and Ottawa. They are pretty dissapointed that there's like 7 of us on board under the age of 40. I think maybe they were wanting to hook up with some single guys, but there are slim pickings on this boat, for sure.

Finally, I got chosen to be one of the participants in “The Weakest Link.” Seriously, my worst nightmare – I got voted off first. Perhaps the other ladies were just concerned that I was the prettiest and they wanted me off the stage. But it probably has to do more with the fact that I answered every single question wrong. Who was the dictator of the Philippines? Seriously. Am I supposed to know every single oppressor in the world? I’m not quite that good.
I couldn’t remember anyone’s name so I relied on an arrow to try to vote out the guy beside me. It didn’t work.