Thursday, 30 August 2007

Home Grown Nature

A recent squirrel, taken while the house slave was washing up. Poor, poor fool.


I persuaded `she who earns the money` to allow me to buy Bioshock Tuesday and I must say that it`s the prettiest game I`ve seen on the PC ever, and it`s pretty spooky too.

Basic premise you survive a plane crash in the ocean and the only way to survive is to enter this underwater city called Rapture, created as a utopia for free thinkers everywhere. So you get down there and guess what, it`s all gone a bit wrong. Generally bad people and junkies everywhere and some creepy stuff going on.

About the strangest, and most disturbing things in there are the Big Daddies and Little Sisters (see pics), basically the Sisters wander around with big syringes harvesting stuff and the Daddies protect them, odd indeed.

In summary, if you`ve got a good enough PC or a 360 get this game.

FIrst Trip to the Mountains, Nature and Stuff

Well we finally got of our asses and wandered a bit to the West and visited the big pointies, damn we're ambitious. Jacqui finished early on Friday and we left about half one-twoish. Journey was nice and simple, get onto Yellowhead Trail, follow to Jasper, job done. Arrived at our nice little B&B then went for a wander and grabbed some dinner at the Jasper Brewery.

The ram at Jasper Brewery
Our B&B
Top of Jasper Tramway

Saturday it was raining so we drove around a number of places on the way to Maligne Lake, so named because it annoyed a Belgium monk ages ago. Saw some cool scenery and rivers then stopped for lunch eaten in the car, listening to Poirot on t'radio. In the afternoon we wandered back to the lodgings, Jacqui went for a stroll, carefuly avoiding bears, and I had a nap, due to a bad night's sleep. Then the clouds cleared for a bit and we grabbed the chance to go up Jasper Tramway and see some vuu. This we did very successfully. We did not make it all the way to the the top of the mountain, but we came close.

On our return we went to a really good restaurant called Evil Dave's and, once more, a good time was had by all.

Medicine Lake
Maligne River

Sunday we got up early and went for a walk around one of the nearby lakes then slowly made our way out of the Rockies stopping occasionaly, because we could. So even with the rain it was a lovely weekend, enjoy the pics.

Freight trains in Jasper
Maligne Lake

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Rock'n August in St. Albert

Every year they hold something in our fair city named Rock'n August. This is both a celebration of rock and roll, as well as a huge classic cars meet. So although we managed to avoid most of it, we did go down for the big Friday night concert and car thing.

More pics are available on request, either here or in a mail.

And it was fun, mostly. There were a whole bunch of cars from pimped out hearses to Dodge Chargers to Ford Mustangs to those huge old Buicks that handle like a small island. The concert was okay too, lots of bands doing lots of tributes to Rock and/or Roll.

We also got out on our bikes again for those of you that may be counting, did about 6 km, then wandered back, next time 10 km! Need to get some more protective gear for Jacqui though, she managed to fall off the bike just as she was trying to get on, in our driveway, but in fairness, she was brave enough to wipe herself down and get back on the horse as it were.

August Update

So now we're semi-foreign what do we get up to?

Well a garden party for one, very surreal, youngest people there by a good 30 years, think there was a celebration at the the because everyone survived :) Nice people though, some people who've lived in the neighbourhood for 40 years or so.

I've had a job interview, not a bad experience but the job's not for me really. This means a change in my lifestyle, at least in the short-term. I are becoming a man with more than 3 recipes. Yes indeed, I will be cooking more interesting and varied stuff. Tonight for example, Turkey Koftas with couscous, next week (probably) crunchy meatball pasta.

And coming up soon our first trip to the mountains. Around the 23rd we shall be travelling across to Jasper for a couple of days, and we're really looking forward to that, groovy groovy.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Oh no, we missed the morris dancing...

Monday is Heritage Day in Alberta which means

a. it is a bank holiday and I don't have to go to work
b. the 3 day Heritage Festival is on in Edmonton (Sat-Mon).

We went to the festival today and it was amazing - basically the longest buffet in the world. Heaven. It is held in Hawrelak Park in Edmonton. There are about 60 marquis, each one representing a country and each selling various national dishes. Good old Blighty was represented by Cornish pasties, scones and sausage rolls. You buy a book of tickets (30 for $25) and then exchange the tickets for food samples. We shared between us:
- Lule kabab (beef) from the the Azerbaijan tent (4 tickets)
- Siga alitcha (beef stew) from the Ethiopian tent (5 tickets)
- Shami Kabab (beef & veg) from the Afghan tent (6 tickets)
- Maamoul (date & pistachio pastries) from the Arab tent (3 tickets)
- Mango shake from the Pakistani tent (3 tickets)
- Pupusa (beef filled tortilla) from the Guatemalan tent (4 tickets)
- finishing up of course with tea and scones (and jam and cream) from the English tent (5 tickets)

As well as all the food there's also local crafts, and displays of national dancing. The weather again was hot (sorry we keep harking on about that - if it's any consolation, it rained all day Saturday) and there were tens of thousands of people there. Even more impressive was the fact that there is no parking at Hawrelak Park and so everyone had to come by foot, bike or park and ride.

I forgot to take the camera, but for pictures of last year's event, and a full menu list of all the things we didn't eat, check out


Last Friday afternoon, my company held a golf tournament - the Wozniak Cup named after the first director of the company, Mr Cup. Richard and I duly signed up - we'd both played mini golf before, so how hard could the grown up version be? Very, it turns out. We were playing in teams of 4, with Texas(?) rules where everyone has a drive, and then the next shot is played from the best ball. Richard and I were hopeless - swinging is not as easy as we have been lead to believe! Strangely our game improved after a few beers, while everyone else seemed to get worse. However, the weather was gorgeous, we got to drive around in golf buggies and the evening ended with a cracking steak barbecue. Wonderful. I even saw some nature in the form of a couple of beavers in one of the ponds.

Here's a photo of Richard's team - David, Donna and Sean and one of Richard retrieving his first excellent, if not very accurate, ball!

Saturday, 4 August 2007


A brief update on the various technology purchases that have been sanctioned by the committee since our arrival.

Lovely piece of kit, great picture, zero dead pixels and it makes things look great :)

Toshiba upconverting dvd player, nothing special, HDMI link.

Wii with sports, Mario and Heatseeker (the most I've sworn at a game for a long while, many many bad words were let out to play trying to land my @*£<&!" plane on the £&*^%$@? aircraft carrier). Shaw HD digi-box, let's us have HD TV surprisingy. D-Link Wireless-N Router, sure I've got some cards laying around somewhere, UK ones I think. And I've ordered my new PC. There's a company called memoryexpress , internet prices but you can go in shout at them, they seem pretty good.

New spec will be around :
Intel 6850 CPU
1 TB Memory
8800 GTS SC 640MB Graphics
22" LCD monitor
Assorted other bits.

And I've bought Oblivion to see what it can do :)

Jacqui's bought an iron and a hoover.


As seen in a previous post we both bought bikes to enable super speedy travel between A and various Bs. I am pleased to announce that I've been out on the bike most days this week, reaching scary amounts of momentum in some cases. There are a whole load of bike and walking trails in St. Albert and it generally seems bike friendly, that's if you avoid the roads of course.

Next Thursday my mission is to cycle over to the St. Albert Inn, they're having a free pancake breakfast, rock and roll!

August , how did that happen.

Just been thinking we've been here a smidgeon over two months and we've reached August without divorce and or running home. We have decided to call that a success.

All of the boxes from the move have now been unpacked and the place is feeling a lot more homely. We've recoevered some of the important little things that we were missing and we're definately more settled.