Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday's links

B and I both love reading blogs, and especially photo blogs--or blogs whose writers are good at taking pictures. :) So we thought we'd share a few of our favourites: Love Life R&T's Adventures 6:8 Photography--out of Calgary! The Image is Found Little Red Caboose And now B has been inspired to start his own photoblog. But don't worry, I will ensure he posts pictures here too. :) B's photoblog

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pretty much the best board game out there

A good friend introduced B and I to Settlers of Catan a number of years ago, and we were hooked immediately. Since receiving the original game as a wedding present, we've added the extension pack, and as of last week, Cities and Knights of Catan (which attaches to the original). There's two other major additional games to attach that we'd like to get, Seafarers of Catan and Traders and Barbarians. So many hours of fun. I highly recommend the game, if you're looking for a new and different board game--it's a farrrr cry from the standard Monopoly-style game.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Movie to see: Lars and the Real Girl

On the weekend we watched Lars and the Real Girl with and at the recommendation of brother J and friend M. It was a wonderful movie--really cut to the core of what makes us human and how we all have insecurities; some of us are just better at hiding them than others. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A new song, a new artist

Another song to share with all the Ambling Rambling readers out there--thanks to brother-in-law E, who introduced us. :) A bittersweet song, which is really one of my favourite kinds of songs, second only to songs of pure joy.
"Congratulations" by Blue October, featuring Imogen Heap.
Is that seat taken Congratulations Would you like to take a walk with me My mind it kind of goes fast I try to slow it down for you I think I'd love to take a drive I want to give you something I've been wanting to give to you for years My heart My heart, my pain won't cover up You left me.. hu hu hu hu My heart won't take this cover up You left me.. hu hu hu hu I came to see the light in my best friend You seemed as happy as you'd ever been My chance of being open was broken And now you're Mrs. him. My words they don't come out right But I'll try to say I'm happy for you I think I'm going to take that drive I want to give you something I've been wanting to give to you for years My hearts My heart, my pain won't cover up You left me.. hu hu hu hu My heart My heart won't take this cover up You left me.. hu hu hu hu And I can't change this I can never take it back But now I can't change your mind (You left me) And I can't this I can never take this back But now I can't change your mind can't change your mind (You left me) Can't change you mind (You left me) (You left me) (You left me) (You left me) Go away Make it go away Please.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bouquets of pencils

One of my all-time favourite movies, from way back when I was an early teenager and my best friend and I would daydream about finding love like in the movies, is You've Got Mail. I like Meg Ryan, I like the way her character dresses in this movie, I like her haircut, I like the chemistry between her and Tom Hanks, I like that she owns a children's book store, I like the setting (I will go to New York someday!). I especially like the soundtrack, which my best friend bought me for my birthday one year (Thanks N!). And in this movie, there's a line in an email exchange between Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox that goes: "Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address..." And this being the first fall in many years that I won't be going back to school officially, I was thinking I would miss the school supplies. And I've always wanted a bouquet of pencils. And when I opened a birthday package from my cousin G, I found, among other things, some school supplies...and a bouquet of pencils. What a lovely lovely surprise. Thanks so much G.

Simply because

Because today is my birthday and not because it has any intellectual merit on its own (although it has, perhaps, some merit in humour or simply delicious silliness), I decided to post this video of Mika singing Grace Kelly. B and I both had this in our head as we were running this morning, and it just plain old makes me giggle.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Right Place, Right Time

I've been trying to for a while now to improve my photography skills by reading books, tutorials on the internet, and going out to shoot as many photos as possible. Biggest improvement has come from purchasing a DSLR, the Canon EOS 450D, or Digital Rebel XSi. Buying it I knew I'd have a huge learning curve to overcome, but never expected it to be as difficult as it was to learn how to use the camera. I don't like shooting in full automatic mode, and most often shoot in full manual mode to take the most advantage of the camera's abilities. Learning full manual on the DSLR can be a difficult process, but I'm getting better. All that to say, you can have the best equipment, read all the books you want, take all the classes you want, but sometimes it just comes down to being in the right place at the right time. This weekend we drove home on a less busy road and were rewarded with the right conditions to take some great pictures.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My dream job

Read about this guy: Matt Harding His whole story is in the "About Matt" section. And here is his video, which pretty much makes my day. I'm thinking this could be combined with a lovely VW Westfalia???

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ultimate camping trip

It doesn't get any better than this: Westfalia Rentals

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Calgary Folk Music Festival

It seems ages ago already that we went to Folk Fest in July. J&M came down the for the weekend and we spent a relaxing and enjoyable time with them, eating copious amounts of pancakes and hanging out. But back to the original order of business: Folk Fest. We only went for one day because we couldn't afford to spring for the whole weekend. And as it turned out, I'm not sure we could have handled more days, what with the heat in the early part of the day, and then the thunder and rain storm in the afternoon/evening. We took in a number of shows, the best of which was, as I previously posted here, Martyn Joseph. But we also saw John Wort Hannam, who was his usual energetic self. Jesse Winchester was a bit of a disappointment as he spent more time talking about himself and sharing inside jokes with his long-time fans than sharing music with the rest of us. We sat in on a couple of jam sessions with various artists, some of which flowed better than others. As we were walking around checking out all the stages, we found what would be the main stage for the evening's shows. We were shocked at all the tarps and chairs laid out--and five hours before anything would take place there. Clearly, we had not been to a Folk Fest before! But we wandered through the tarp city and completely surprisingly, found a spot to spread out our blanket and join the masses. The last big show we had been anticipating was Josh Ritter. It was drizzling by that point, and we endured it as best we could since we had been so looking forward to hearing him. He put on a pretty high energy enthusiastic show, which was cut short because there were six other artists performing on the main stage that evening. But what we and especially J was frustrated about, was that though he was scheduled to sign autographs after the show, and J&M had bought cds especially for him to sign, he cancelled at the last minute! Such a contrast to Martyn Joseph earlier in the day, who stuck around for a long time signing albums and talking to his fans (both J&M and we got cds signed). There was a black American man singing blues in the misty rain as we sat on on the grass on our rain coats and got colder and wetter. This guy, whose name completely escapes me, seemed pretty annoyed that he wasn't getting much a response from the crowd, and we too got bored and miserable enough to decide to call it a night. Both M and I wanted nothing more than to get home to a hot shower. But aside from several excellent musical shows, there were two other memorable parts of the day. One was all the people to look at. I am a well-studied (and unapologetic) people watcher, and this day was perfect for the hobby. There were old and young; hippies of all ages. All kinds of interesting clothing. And dancing. And piercings and tattoos and hair styles. Second, the food. They had booths of all sorts of food--including a Tim Hortons, which to my glee, was doing very poorly. Who goes to Tim Hortons at a Folk Festival?? We had Mediterranean barbeque wraps for lunch at the recommendation of John Wort Hannam. Then for supper J and B had butter chicken and rice and nan bread, I had pad thai and M had an African wrap. And for dessert we had sweet hot chai tea that was so good the first time round that we went back for more. The second time, however, we must have gotten the bottom of the barrel because it was horribly bitter and not sweet at all. Oh yes, and we had hot and fresh sugar-coated mini donuts. What could be better? Indeed, it was a most interesting first experience of Folk Fest.

Ikea Commercial worth seeing

My sister-in-law wants to dance like this. I do too. As soon as I can find it on Youtube, I'll post the VW commercial that makes me tear up. What can I say, I'm emotional about Volkwagens.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

1-Litre Car!

What will they come up with next? This car looks really fun, if you don't mind driving it what would appear to be a close replica to a fighter jet cockpit :) Though the 282 MPG sure would be nice. Our car has a 1.8 litre engine, and averages out to 35 MPG, but the extra room sure is worth it. Link to Treehugger's article on the car.

Monday, August 04, 2008

To Fish Creek Provincial Park and Back

For quite some time now I have wanted to take a looooong bike adventure along the Bow, since I knew that there are paved bike pathways all the way along, and recently have been inspired by another Calgary blogger to visit a teahouse in Fish Creek Park, so Sunday was the day we picked to make our trip.

The day did not dawn bright and sunny...there were threatening thunder clouds as we left and we biked through a storm on our return trip. We figure it was between forty and fifty km round trip from our house in the NW all the way down to Fish Creek and back. Technically we should have been able to bike along the Bow River Pathway the whole way, but at one point fairly close the park, without warning the trail was cut off by chainlink fence. We had to backtrack a long way in order to get around that section of the path. It made us so mad, I think I'm going to call 311 and complain about it. At least they could have given us some warning or suggested an alternate route.

Nevertheless, we saw a very beautiful side of Calgary. Old houses from several eras of building, the skyscape of downtown, the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Prince's Island Park, Carburn Park, lots and lots of wildlife and natural plant growth, and of course, our destination, the quiet grassland of Fish Creek Park. (Incidentally, my mum told us afterwards that she went to the first annual Calgary Folk Music Festival at Fish Creek Park in 1975. How about that?).

Pelicans on the weir; waiting for fish to come over:

Checking out the CPR yards:

Saskatoons are ripe! I tried some:

At last, we've arrived:
Above is the Bow Valley Ranche in the distance. Below is the inside of Annie's Bakery, which used to be the ranch foreman's house. I had tea and scones, which weren't quite as civilized as some of the ones we had in England, but were tasty nonetheless.

William Roper Hull's home at Midnapore. I wrote a paper about this house once. It's gorgeous. There was a wedding taking place while we were there, so we didn't get too close.

The park, in large and small:

Commemoration of women's efforts in the early farm economy:

Blue herons on the other side of the weir on our route homeward:
Reading the signs at the weir:

Shakespeare in the Park: The Tempest

Setting the stage

Donation box

While The Tempest is not my favourite Shakespeare play, I wasn't willing to pass up the opportunity to see it performed as part of the Shakespeare in the Park tradition in Prince's Island Park. And the play was indeed good, though some of the actors were a bit lacking in their voice projection skills. I'm looking forward to their other 2008 offering, The Merry Wives of Windsor, which we shall attend later this summer. Technically, there was a suggested donation of $20/person, but they could hardly stop anyone from watching for free, so this was another "free" event in Calgary.

Some more pictures:

A drunken sailor

And more drunken sailors

Non-drunken sailors

Prospero and Miranda

The view from our seats
Miranda and the Prince

Wuv, twue wov...

Ariel, the imprisoned spirit

The sunset on our way back home