Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tenacious

The trees and shrubs are hanging in there as best they can. They get undercut by flooding water, and keep trying. I can picture them, straining with their roots to stay connected to the ground for those vital nutrients. Eventually, however, they will die, and gradually break down, returning their nutrients to the soil and water. Lots of trees are in that process.









Monday, February 27, 2017

Two of a bridge

Here we go, another walk through Fish Creek. First from early Feb, and then today.


Any preference?

If you look carefully you'll see these are the same bridge. You did notice that, yes? Bridge 6, if you were wondering. I think it's the longest one over Fish Creek.

Panorama shots are tough. They look nice when you can spread them all over your monitor, but not so much squished into the blog space. The first is a 100 mm lens, and the second is 70-200. I'll have to try with a wide angle lens and see how that turns out.

For all that I went out specifically to shoot bridges 4, 5, 6, and 7, my favourite images from today are not bridges. This little bit of exposed water somehow reminded me of a spine.


I think this one would have been better with a wide angle, but you shoot what you're carrying.


I suppose if I didn't have a cat right on my case about getting fed, I could work the stairs into a blog metaphor about life, knowing where we start climbing, but the way gets less clear as you go along, from the vantage point of before starting. Unless you know the stairs, you have no idea what happens off to the upper left. Maybe there's more steps. Maybe there aren't. Maybe there's a walkway off to the left then more stairs. There could be a kid's slide just out of screen. Maybe, just maybe, there are aliens waiting at the top to do what aliens do.You have to climb the stairs to find out.

It was bright and sunny, making for bright cheerful images today, but I think having the snow on the trees makes them more interesting. Stay tuned, more coming.

Oh, and 17 x 100 CSS swim, then an easy 2 K run 13:20 on the track.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

I'm so not the demographic

Once upon a time we used to like shopping at IKEA. Do you remember the old store on 36 St? I knew my way around it blindfolded. I knew all the shortcuts, and could tell you the fastest way to get to anything starting from anywhere. Then a few months ago they opened the store in Deerfoot Meadows. Maybe it was a few years ago; I lose track of time so easily now. It's all becoming a blur.

(I just looked it up. The "new" location opened in 2004. They are doing a huge renovation and expansion this year.)

The confusing part of the story is that although I've been in the new store any number of times, I've no idea where anything is. The shortcuts confuse me. I wander along, always surprised by what's around the next corner. The only thing for sure is there will be more stuff. More and more stuff.

We used to be there, so it seemed, every other weekend getting stuff for the house. This computer is sitting on an IKEA desk. The storage cabinet beside it is the famous IVAR and there's a ton of it downstairs. Everywhere you look in our house there is IKEA stuff. Plus stuff sitting on the IKEA stuff. And stuff on that stuff. I digress, in a stuffy sort of way.

Today we were in there again, looking at spending a coupon Linda got when she did the Christmas tree bough thing back about the time the ground froze. We wanted a little cabinet for the media room to put more DVDs in, to tidy up the space.

Along the way we were also looked at floor lamps, though I'd looked them over a few weeks ago, and knew I wasn't likely to find anything I liked. All of them looked cheap and sort of retro-60's in a tacky way. The real lighting places are closed on Sunday, so I'll check them out tomorrow.

At the same time as we were wandering through looking for an appropriate cabinet, I was people watching. I'm pretty sure we were the oldest people in the store. Oldest by quite a bit. Lots of young parents pushing strollers, and pausing in awkward spots to do something, I'm not sure what. Some of the IKEA stuff is durable and well made, some is, well, much less so. I was listening to one couple talking about how well made something looked, but I would have taken bets it would fall apart within the week. How standards have changed.

To make a long story short we didn't see anything we liked. It's sort of a peculiar little space we had in mind and nothing would fit. As I think of it now, going there was a somewhat depressing experience. I'm in the mood to buy less stuff now. The things I do buy are likely to be carefully chosen and much better quality than low cost consumer fare.

As I write this, it occurs to me that today might be the last time I'm ever in IKEA. We don't often know about last times for anything. We think there will be more, then life intervenes. Shit happens.

The best part of the trip was stopping at the farmer's market on the way home and having lunch at Big T's. So yummy! The people watching there is much better, people of all ages. I love the vibe, and we strolled around a little just to enjoy. Of course we picked up a treat at Yum; I don't think I've ever walked past it empty handed.

I've had several photo trips down into Fish Creek this winter, and was sort of thinking today might be another one. It might yet, but the light has been kind of crappy. I spent a bit of time going back through older photos trying to improve the keywording, and discovered it's tough to tell which bridge is which.

This is just upstream of bridge 1. I couldn't quite get to where I wanted to go without putting my feet in freezing water just a bit deeper than my boots. The ice was just thick enough to be tempting, so I didn't.




Saturday, February 25, 2017

Immigrant rant

Let me ask you:

A President or a Prime Minister does something against the will of Congress or Parliament, like signing an executive order to do something. Is this an example of leadership, or abuse of authority?

What's funny is if the answer changes depending on if the President/Prime Minister is your party or not, that's a sure sign you are a political nut bar. It shouldn't matter. It's right or wrong no matter which party.

I've been getting more and more appalled by politicians as I get older. There's a saying that if you love sausage you shouldn't watch the process of making them. Perhaps over the years I've just become more aware of what's happening as laws get made, or unmade.

It's impossible to escape Trumpism. He is the complete personification of what is wrong with American politics, and because he's fooled the Republicans (not a difficult thing to do) into thinking he's one of them, they won't do anything about it. They are completely amoral about gaining and keeping power. They'd do a multi-year investigation if they woke up thinking Hillary Clinton had used a toothbrush manufactured in China, or one of her aides had talked to someone who talked to a Russian about politics, but will turn a blind eye to the many issues Trump has, from conflict of interest, to taking payments, to being susceptible to being blackmailed by the Russians.

But it's happening elsewhere too. Europe has always had a strain of nasty right wing politics. Canada had escaped until recently. Harper unleashed the full power of wedge politics, emphasizing the differences between Canadians and driving them further apart for political purposes. Disagreeing with Harper, as the environmental protesters did, got you called a terrorist.

Now some of his short-pants brigade are carrying on, trying to stoke fears of immigrants in general and Muslims in particular. They talk about values, and personal freedom, and removing "crushing regulation." That's dog whistling code. It just means they want to eliminate social spending because everybody should have the freedom to provide for themselves and their families. That or starve on the streets, but only streets where the rich wouldn't drive. Regulation that ensures a level playing field and that safety standards are met is deemed to be an assault on free enterprise. Any payroll taxes are anti-business in spite of the fact that all businesses are subject to the same rules, and thus are not a differentiating factor. More code, meaning they think only people that own businesses count.

Mostly they appeal to fear. They stoke fear of change, fear of people different than "us", fear of hazy impossibilities like Sharia law. Fear that the people talking a different language are talking about you and plotting something. Fear that the people minding their own business and going to church are somehow doing something different than what you do when you go to church. Fear that taxes might go up and (gasp!) somebody else might get a slice of it or be spent on something you don't approve of. They yearn for the good old days. Yes, the days when women and brown-skinned people "knew their place."

And those values they prate about. The "Canadian values." Who gets to decide what they are? If it's the PC party, clearly tolerance for immigration is not one of those values. Being Christian would certainly have been a Canadian value in times past, but certainly not now. Except maybe in certain politician's minds. At one time genocide of the Native peoples was a Canadian value, and I'd like to think nobody would think it now is. It's all just more dog whistling code, meant to reassure the voters listening to the politician that their values are the important ones. The next town might have a subtly different set of values, and the politician will cheerfully pander to them too.

All that is bad enough, but what really annoys me is the stupidity of the messaging. It's an insult to the intelligence, but it seems to work. They have mastered and applied the Mencken saying "No one has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby."

Every day I see something that causes me to think to myself, "who could be stupid enough to believe that?" And yet they do. I don't know if it's that they're blinded by fear and grasp any straw that validates that fear or a way to escape it, or they don't see the logical impossibility of it, or overlook their human experience because they approve of the person saying it. Sort of like Groucho Marx "Who are you going to trust, me or your lying eyes?"

Who are you going to believe? Trump and his wanna-be cohort in the PC party, or your day to day experience with your neighbours and coworkers? It's pretty safe to say that the victims of "Muslim terrorism" in Canada is a minuscule number. I mean actual victims, not some weenie cowering in fear of an imaginary possibility. If anything, the Muslims are the victims of oppression by segments of society that treat them all like terrorists. Cows kill more people every year in Canada than Muslim terrorists.

Outside of Canada? ISIS or DAESH, and Al Queda, and who knows how many other extremist groups are horrible people, driven to torturing and killing anyone that doesn't agree with them. Oddly enough, much like the Catholic Inquisition mostly killed Catholics, it's Muslims that are mostly the victims of these groups. The NRA is much the same in the USA, enabling the slaughter of thousands of innocent people a year.

Should something be done about it? In a theoretical sense, yes. In a practical today's world sort of sense, I'm not so sure, mainly because I'm not sure what exactly should be done. I'm reasonably convinced that dropping bombs on them, using drones to fire missiles, or sending an army to fight them is the wrong thing to do. Bombing didn't destroy British moral during the blitz, or German moral during the remainder of the war, so I'm fairly sure it's not going to work on religious extremists of any stripe. It just fuels their recruitment drives. That situation is what has created the Muslim refugee crisis in the first place.

Just as you or I would be, the refugees are desperate to escape a horrible situation. The world they knew has been destroyed. None the less, Muslim refugees are the last people on earth I would worry about when they come here. They've already been through hell and a vetting process that I'm pretty sure that some people born in Canada couldn't pass. The various waves of refugees that have come to Canada over multiple generations all say the same thing. They want a safe place to raise their families and give their children a better life. The last thing they want is to see is this place de-stabalized.

I'm the demographic that the fear politicians are pandering to. They are trying to make me and people like me afraid. I'm born here, white as they come, a boomer, a male, could pass for a Christian though I'm not, and lots of people would say I'm rich. I'd beg to differ on that last point, but it depends on what your standards are. I say FUCK YOU! Take your fear and shove it where the sun don't shine.

My next door neighbours are immigrants. Good people, hard working till they retired, live quietly, and I couldn't dream of them being in trouble with the law. I've worked with lots of people born in other countries, some devout Muslims, but mostly I never knew or cared what religion they were or where they came from. None of my business. I'm not afraid of change, and I'm not afraid of being around people different than me. They bring new ideas and a fresh perspective, to say nothing of awesome cuisine.

The safest Canada, if that's your goal, is one where everybody has the chance to contribute and be respected, to get the education they want, to pursue the career they want, and not be held back by artificial barriers of race, skin colour, religion, or anything else. The investment in getting immigrants settled, that is, helping them find a place to live, build connections to the local community, learning to speak English or French, to find jobs, is small compared to the lifetime of productivity from them and their children.

And yes, before you get started, the same should be true of the various Native peoples and the homeless. It's a shame that most Native people do not have access to safe drinking water, and that's just a start. There's lots of issues there, different ones, and they need to be resolved too. The important thing is that Canada is not so poor that it's an either or situation. Getting all these people into the economy is a step forward, and the investment is small compared to the reduced social costs, and return from increased economic activity.

I've said this many times. The Canada of today, for better or worse, is built by immigrants and their children in a complex mix with First Nations Canadians. It is the height of hypocrisy to declare your opposition to immigrants, unless you are one of those First Nation's people. I'll take it from them, because by their standards I'm an immigrant and a Johnny come lately. The people whipping up anti-immigrant fury deserve your contempt, expressed whenever and where ever you find it. That alone is reason to vote against them.

Overwhelmingly, the people leading the Western world have been old, white, (nominally) Christian men. They sent young men to be slaughtered by the millions in various wars. They've whipsawed the economy to their personal benefit at the cost of nearly everyone else. They lay off workers here and set up factories overseas where they can get cheaper labour and little or no safety standards because it's good for their company and them personally. They rig the voting rules and gerrymander districts to retain power. They don't believe in climate change if it impacts their way of life, and ecological considerations don't apply when they want to build a factory or pipeline.

Are they really doing such a good job of running things? I'd say not. I laughed out loud at the woman who said she wouldn't vote for any female politician because she'd start a war, boom, if it was the wrong time of the month. It isn't the female politicians starting wars. As an aside, tell me again why or how a Muslim country has had a female Prime Minister, while our only female Prime Minister achieved the position via the peculiarities of the Canadian political system and didn't survive the next election, and the USA ended up with Trump rather than Clinton.

I sometimes wonder if we should ban those old (say over 30) white men from running for office. Maybe we should have a few hundred years where only women and brown skinned men are allowed to run for office. Look, by any objective measure Obama was one of the best Presidents the USA has ever had. Nenshi has been a superb mayor of Calgary. There are other examples. Just think, could they possibly do a worse job?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fish Creek bridge 1

It was nice to sleep in and have a lazy day today. At least until the afternoon when I started feeling itchy to get outside, preferably with the camera. It was still mostly overcast, with periodic light flurries. I walked around near bridge 1, the west-most bridge in Fish Creek, and some of the surrounding area.


 Alberta roses are tough, as the one beside our garage demonstrates. There's a small grove of them right on the banks of the creek. I'll have to visit again during the summer and see what colour the blooms are.

One of the fun things about the creek is that people like playing with the rocks and building small dams. Even in winter. For this part of the walk it was so soothing to listen to the water trickling over the rocks and ice.

Such a beautiful kitty.


Photo shoes

I need to get out more. Last night there was an art show in an unlikely location, the Strides store on Canyon Meadows. Neil Zeller was showing off some of his work, joined by Chris Molloy.

It's always nice to catch up to Neil and see what he's got on the go. Lots. Every time I go to one of his shows I get introduced to more photo people. I'd never met Chris before, and we had a great chat about his work, and about photography in general.


The ostensible point of going was to buy new running shoes. The current ones are up to about 350 K, and are starting to show it. I like to get another pair before the current pair completely die. These new ones will be indoor at the Repsol track till the weather gets nice, and I'll probably run the June half marathon in them.


Of course, the photographer in me now looks at that iPhone shot that I would have been happy with a few months ago, and notes that the whites are blown out. Still, for complicated reasons I wanted the shoes in the blog, so I could put the new shoes tag on it, and didn't want to use the good camera, and then go through the workflow to get a photo.

You're wondering about that first photo. Come on, admit it. That's from Fish Creek a couple weeks ago. As I write it's snowing again, but I'm still thinking of going to see what's nice to shoot. I'd been thinking of going out for a sunrise shot, but slept in a bit, and now I'm glad I didn't go.

Just now I've got some novel ideas, and I've got Curtis lounging on my desk, encouraging me. He's a very literary cat, wanting me to express my thoughts, so I can get to the important business of cuddling him. Sometimes he reaches out to use the trackpad or keyboard himself. He takes up a lot of desk.


Celina, of course, has to get in on the action as well. She specializes in providing adversity for me to overcome, as an actuality for character metaphor. Her actual advice is usually verbal, expressed in the cat imperative tone they are so good at.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Glow

Us being staid and semi-old, we don't get downtown much other than work. None the less, we had a nice date night downtown going to the various Glow exhibits, displays, or whatever you want to call them. I brought the camera, of course, but am somewhat disappointed in the results.

This is my best shot of the displays, and it doesn't do anything for me. At least it pulsed with music, and though I varied the exposure settings it didn't turn out as I'd hoped.



And this one. It's a boring photo, I admit. Then again, the chandelier is boring too. It's made out of a bazillion plastic chopsticks that don't do anything but sway in the breeze while hanging from a man lift . One of my photo buddies did a much nicer one and I'm jealous.


One was quite clever in theory, but the execution left a bit to be desired. A bunch of old streetlights were laid in the snow in a pattern. By looking in a telescope at a mirror mounted on a building, you could see constellations. Unfortunately, trying to photograph it would be a waste of time.

Another was Christmas lights wrapped around a tree that pulsed in morse code. It was a tree conversation, or so the literature said.

There is another shot of Linda with one of the exhibits, but it's interesting only because Linda's in it, and it isn't what I'd call a good portrait.


That's why the rest of the photos were of buildings, or street art.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

The periscope plant

One of the plants living in our back room is an Amarillo. Maybe it's Amarillus. I don't know. I call it the periscope plant. It blooms once in a while.


I got to thinking about it the other day, and dug out the camera. Red is hard to photograph, and the room isn't that bright. It faces north, and I resolved to play with settings and use only natural light. The camera was on the tripod of course, and it took a few shots to dial in the settings. Here's the results. No idea what order blogger will put them in.

I've never been much of a flowers or a garden kind of guy. Yet when I look at these close up shots I am gaining a whole new appreciation for the intricacy and beauty of plants. I hadn't know these blossoms have subtly different textures and colours. This photo still doesn't really do the colour justice.


This is actually an HDR shot to capture both the dark of the centre, and the translucence of the edges of the blossom. It might just a hair too bright, making it look slightly orange rather than red.

This is one of the old blossoms from the last time it bloomed. I happen to think that old tired blossoms are just as beautiful, and even more interesting to photograph, than blossoms at the height of freshness.


One of the leaves. I was fascinated that the colour goes from green to brown along the leaf, rather than from the end inwards.


I just love this transition from bright green to bright red.

In real life, that top centre fuzzy thingie is 6 mm long. I spent a long time trying to get all these in focus, and didn't get it to happen.







Sunday, February 19, 2017

Curtis has such a hard life

Look at these photos. We go through this every time I leave the house. Every single time. Here he is, impatiently waiting for me to open the door so he can go hunt for his hot buttered mouse that he is sure is out there. It's that, or better humans.


There's the handle, right there!

What's taking so long? I'm even trying to help.

Stupid humans. Right here. What's so hard about this?

Then there's the dance of the door opening without him going out. I can't manage that while taking photos. He is a polite and well mannered kitty, as these things go, but if the door is open for more than a few seconds he's going to take that as an invitation.

Every time we take him to the vet, the staff try to cat-nap him, drawing straws to see who can take him home if we don't show up again. They have offered him the position of head cat, but he declined, saying he didn't want to oversee an establishment with so many dogs. He chose us when we dropped into the MEOW foundation, so I suspect he wandered out of someone else's home, possibly in search of better humans. Which is us, but I don't think it would be difficult for him to find other humans that would take him in.

Resting up after a hard day in the life of Curtis.

He had been asleep while I twiddled with the exposure, and by the time I pressed the shutter button, he was awake and asking why I was disturbing him.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A bus driver

Last week a Winnipeg bus driver was assaulted and killed. A government cabinet minister rose in the House of Commons to pay tribute to him, and was laughed and jeered by the opposition Conservative members, because he mentioned that he had once been a bus driver as well.

This is disgusting on several fronts. It shows the mind-set of the Conservative MP's, that they look down on those that do what they consider menial work. That they will seize on anything to mock those opposed to them and their elitist agenda. In spite of their law and order mindset, they don't appear to see assaults as a problem, unless it happens to people they consider important. Like the wealthy.

They pay lip service to "hard working Canadians" but that's only to cover their disdain. There are any number of job titles that are considered menial, done by those hard working Canadians, and most of them are turning cranks that help keep our society going in one way or another. They provide services that we all rely on.

Let's start with bus drivers. "Anyone can drive a bus," they say. "Them and their gold-plated pensions, fire them all, there's lots of people willing to work for half what they make and no pension," they say. Lots of people demonstrate daily they are not capable of safely driving their car, and I wouldn't let them try a bus if it was mine.

Bus drivers often work an even crazier shift than I did, being needed during rush hours, but not between. Transit starts early and ends late. It's not like they can do their job with their eyes half closed, like I might have done a few times.

Here in Calgary transit sometimes runs 24 hours a day. Tens of thousands of people rely on transit to get to work and home again via transit. Imagine how clogged the roads would be if all of them had to drive? Mercedes man from the BRT fracas would be losing his shiz.

So there you are, a smart adult, driving a bus. Now think about the schedule. It's published, and both the customers and transit officials expect it to be kept to the minute, day in and day out. There must be allowances for weather and traffic but I don't know the details. I don't want to know the details, but I'm happy there are people paid to do that.

My days are loosely scheduled at best. The days I don't work I can do what I want, when I want. On work days I get into work when I get there. I can take as long for lunch as I want, and I can leave when I want. I bill by the hour, and there are things I've committed to get done. Bus drivers have that minute by minute schedule, dealing with both wonderful passengers and the abusive ones. I wouldn't want to deal with that.

I was charmed during our visits to Bermuda; one is expected to greet the bus driver upon entering. One kid didn't, and an older woman sent him back to the front to apologize. The drivers often put their name underneath a sign that says, "Your professional driver". They are a vital part of the fabric of daily life. A little more decorum here would be nice.

What about the people that pick up garbage every week? It used to be men throwing bags into a truck, now it's people driving trucks with those remote control arms to dump bins into the truck. Does anyone think that removing garbage isn't an important task?

What about a heavy equipment operator? Have you seen the cab of a belly sander? You've got to drive the truck, operate the plow over a variety of road and weather conditions, and operate the sander mechanism, and deal with whatever paperwork is involved to track what is being done. I wouldn't want to deal with either of those, or many other jobs.

There are any number of jobs done by what used to be called white collar workers, that are utterly essential to society. They are the key to money and services flowing back and forth. Lots of people think they earn too much money and can be easily replaced. They should try it sometime. Even the non-professional level jobs have detailed procedures. Ask Linda about the details of what she does sometime. Get a big cup of coffee because it's going to take a while.

Once upon a time I operated a waste water treatment plant. Some would call that a menial task, but other than the shift work the job itself was interesting. And as essential as any other, unless you like dying of cholera, hepatitis, dysentery, or lots of other diseases from not treating human waste properly.

I'm not going to list other jobs and why they're important.  It would be a long list, and the importance of each should be self evident. Unless apparently, you are a Conservative MP. I suspect those Conservative MP's would consider any job they don't have as menial.

Then there is the on the job behaviour of MP's. No other workplace would tolerate such heckling and demeaning of fellow workers. The elected officials in our government represent us all and have an important task. One might disagree with others, but they should be able to debate each other civilly, using facts and logical arguments. They should show the reason why they are addressed as "the honourable member" from whatever area. When you treat people as though they have no honour, you are really demonstrating you have none.

We live in a world of complicated relationships. When we drive anywhere, we are dependent on the skills and cooperation of every other driver near us on the road. We trust our devices to give us turn by turn directions to a place we've never been before. We rely on published schedules, and believe Mrs Google when she tells us what time that business opens or closes. We trust the people that make our cars and airplanes and a million other manufactured items have done their jobs properly. We trust that the waiter will bring the gluten free bun instead of the one that will make you really sick. We fill out a form on line, including a credit card number, and that kicks off a chain of transactions that results in a product being manufactured in China and shipped to your door via a complex transportation web, usually within a few days.

Consider that person you just dissed in the coffee shop because they have brown skin, or are wearing a turban, or don't speak good English, or are taking too long to make up their minds, or smell different, or aren't dressed well, or WHATEVER, that that person might involved in one of those complex transactions you rely on. Maybe they calibrate complex avionic instruments. Maybe they write the software for your favourite app. Maybe they drive the bus that takes your kid to school, or the taxi that takes you to the airport.

Maybe they are a janitor that keeps your office clean or some other task you think makes them 'beneath' you. There is a photo of then President Obama fist bumping a janitor. If he can, you can smile and say good morning, and grant them the respect due another human being.

Soapbox packed away until next time.

The swim groove is coming back, and my hams and quads are less cranky.

Lastly, another reflection photo from the other day. Yes, this is what I intended.







Friday, February 17, 2017

Sunrise skyline reflection

I was out this morning for a sunrise skyline shoot. There had been quite a bit of dithering and peering at the Photographers Ephemeris trying to choose a suitable spot. The problem is, of course, once you arrive at that spot you are stuck. The magic light doesn't last very long. If you don't think it's going to be right for what you want, and you dash for the alternative place, you are likely to be in transit when the light is spectacular, and it will only last a few minutes. Oops.

There was very little cloud so I wasn't terribly hopeful for great shots, but you never know. At the very least it's good practice. And these turned out better than I expected.

It started with this. A traditional skyline against a darkish sky. I was a little late for a lovely violet sky.


For a few brief moments the purple took over, which was a surprise to me. My eyes could see it, but once on the computer it came up much better, without any colour tweaking. My buddy Susi will like this one.

On the way home after I stopped at the Rideau park bridge, and was rewarded with a nice reflection shot of some of the buildings downtown. I might have to come back here for night and sunrise shots where I can play with the exposure more.

There were a few other locations checked out along the way home, but the light was nothing special.

That was just the start of the day. Later I was in the pool, but there was no swim mojo. I was struggling to make my CSS intervals and I got lane roped. Enough of that. The hot tub felt good on my cranky hams and quads.

Lunch with some buddies in a feel good story. Remember the Penn West contract? My recruiter there called me for a role at Fortis. It would have been a bit of a stretch, but the big problem was that their office is in Airdrie, and I did not want to spend at least 2 hours a day commuting. I did my time commuting on Deerfoot, living in fear of being rear ended as the traffic transitioned from free flowing 100+ KPH to a standstill.

Happily I thought of my buddy Sean, and suggested the recruiter call him. That all went around, the signatures on the appropriate paperwork happened this week, and he starts next week. Yay! He will be better in the role than I would be. Today was a celebratory lunch. My recruiter also brought along a bottle of very nice red wine that I happen to be drinking now. A Chateauneuf de Pape, if you're wondering. Yum!

Then the market, then hosing off the car, then getting buried in a heap of demanding cats for a while.

So all in all, a good day.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Feeling fuller

There's lots going on in my head these days. In between work stuff, the novel and photography ideas are swirling. I'm missing a bit of peace and quiet time, and have been going to bed earlier trying to keep up with recovery.

I found this photo, from a late January walk in Votier's flats in Fish Creek. It's so calm and peaceful, it brings some serenity to my thoughts just looking at it.


I'm not standing in the water, contrary to appearances. There was a convenient ice shelf.

The swim is going well, working on CSS pace. I'll probably have another go tomorrow.

Ran 4 K in 26:30 along the path during lunchtime today. Warm! Shorts and a tech shirt warm.
There's still puddles and icy patches to be careful of, but it's such a joy to be running outside. Less joyful is the cranky hams and quads. It took about 2 K to feel warmed up, and going up the tiny little inclines along the path was hard sledding.

I think I'll go roller them.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Back to winter photos

It's warm out today, into double digits. Along with lots of other people I was out for a walk along the river path at lunch. The river is still mostly frozen, reminding us winter is still here.

Like these from Fish Creek a little while ago.



Not the two bud rose, but another one struggling along in snow about a foot deep there.

We've got a couple more days of nice weather so I suspect the snow will almost disappear by the weekend. Perhaps the roads will be nice enough for a cautious bike ride outside. Let's wait and see. In that department, here are the pros at waiting, and seeing. What is Celina saying? Leave a comment here, on Facebook, or a tweet.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Two alternate views

Another pair of views from the other day.



This work thing is more tiring than I remember it being. Maybe I'm getting soft. My hamstrings certainly are. Only a 2 K run the other day, and my massage therapist worked them hard. Now they're pouting. Maybe a good night's sleep...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Two views

From the top secret photo location this morning, one looking one way, one looking the opposite way. I'm sure you can figure out which is which. I hope.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Shovelling, shovelling, shovelling

The downside to an aluminum roof is that the snow will slide off when it warms up. We're used to it now, but it startles the cats. The problem is the side towards our direct neighbours. For some reason they insist on wanting to go out the garage man door, along the patio slabs between our houses, and into their back yard gate. From there they shovel a path to the gate in the back fence so they can take out their garbage. Why they don't shovel a path from their patio to the back fence is beyond me.

They're in their 80's now, and have a service that shovels their driveway and walk to the man door, but they won't do the walk to the back gate. Their service does a shitty job, just saying, but I know they are the cheapest that will come.

When the snow slides off the roof it sets up like concrete really quickly, so I try to get out and shovel as soon as I hear it go. The alternative is chipping through concrete and listening to the neighbours complain. Today I was out there 4 times, as the roof cleared itself a bit at a time. At least I didn't get any snow on me. It will do the garden good to have the extra snow on it. Perhaps that will see it through the inevitable spring chinooks that will fool the plants.

The other bit of chipping is a canal to drain the runoff. We do this or we get the sidewalk flooded.

The sunset tonight made me think of Jupiter's swirly clouds, and for a minute there was a big orange spot.


This morning swim was CSS, 300 m warmup , then 12 x 100 (1:45 on 1:55), just missing the interval by a couple of seconds over the last 2. Even though the pool was really busy for a Sunday what with a synchro swim competition, I had a lane to myself.

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