A Boys Night out in Calgary, Drumheller, Banff (Bamf!), and Star Wars

This weekend, I did something a little different than usual. I went to Calgary.

Alone.

Well, not totally alone. I went to visit Stuart, who I had only seen for a whopping six hours at Christmas. Ideally, I would have also visited Therese, but she was off in Halifax on a conference, and visiting her sister. Also visiting that weekend was Jay, one of Stuart’s friends from college, whom I had come to know quite well.

It was becoming the “Boy’s Weekend”.

The original intention behind all this was to get together to work on a script that Stuart and Jay had been working on extensively, that I had started to contribute to a few months ago. The weekend happened to coincide with the release of Star Wars: Episode 1. Lucky us.

When I arrived at Gate C34 at the airport, I noticed that there was a significantly larger number of people than there should be for a a flight not due to board for 40 minutes, let alone depart for an hour. It turned out that the flight before mine (also going to Calgary) was late.

Quickly deducing that my flight would be late arriving in Calgary, I decided to try playing my cards. I walked up to the desk and asked one of the two attendants if the flight leaving was full. When she told me it wasn’t, I asked if it was possible to change my flight from the 19:40 flight to the 18:30 flight (it ended up being the 19:00 by the time it actually got going).

A few minutes later, I was seated next to a window, waiting to get moving.

Luckily for me, timing was everything that evening. Jay arrived a couple of hours ahead of me, so he and Stuart had gone out for dinner. Arriving early, I attempted to call Stuart’s thinking he might be there. He wasn’t. My next task was to have him paged.

A moment after the page went out, I saw Jay and Stuart walking across the baggage claim floor. The weekend had begun.

We retreated to Stuart’s apartment and watched “Empire Strikes Back”, after engaging in a debate about where John Ratzenberger (Cliff Clavin from Cheers) appears in the movie. We were unsuccessful in our search. (Apparently he’s a Rebel — I mistakenly thought he was an Imperial.)

The following morning, we headed out into the partially cloudy and somewhat rainy Calgary. Following breakfast at Denny’s (which left Jay and I feeling a bit odd for most of the day), we traipsed about the downtown before finally ending up at Eau Claire Market, where we indulged ourselves on video games. We were killing time. We were seeing Star Wars that night, so we couldn’t really go anywhere without coming back late.

After a very small lunch, a couple of beers, and an IMAX movie later, we headed out towards the south end of Calgary. You really get an idea of how big Calgary actually is when you find it takes almost an hour to get from downtown to the south end. (Of course, we were driving through rush hour traffic, so that’s to be somewhat expected.)

We were not alone in our vigil — several of Stuart and Therese’s friends were also attending the affair.

We lined up just before 8pm in anticipation of the 10:10pm show. And just so you’re aware, there were others in the line before us — we weren’t the most desperate.

The atmosphere once we got into the theatre was like waiting for a concert to start. Lots of talking and laughing … even a beach ball that was flung around the room (at least until the management took it away; we booed the usher for ruining our fun).

It was an odd feeling, watching a new Star Wars movie. I couldn’t honestly tell you how many times I’ve seen the original trilogy. We’ll just leave at “a lot”. We actually had to read the introductory text as it scrolled by. Our excitement was uncontrolled because, as Stuart put it, we didn’t know exactly what was going to happen in the next moment.

A little over two hours later, we emerged from the theatre, mostly wired from some of the things we had seen. It was a good introduction to a long story (something that a lot of people were forgetting), with a lot of great action. We dreamed of many a lightsabre duel that night…

The following morning, we decided we would head into the mountains. Jay had never been to the mountains, and wanted to see them up close. The weather was good, so we opted to take the day amongst the snowy caps of the Rockies.

Before leaving Calgary, we picked up a friend of Jay’s who had moved to Calgary a year earlier, Kevin. Stuart knew Kevin through Jay, so I became the odd person out. Luckily, Kevin and I got along well, so it was a briefly-felt feeling.

Following a quick lunch at Pete’s Drive-In, we hauled the hour and a half into the mountains. Jay (who had bought a camera that morning so he could take pictures) almost sounded like a little kid as he clicked away with his camera, recording the imagery for posterity.

Our ultimate destination was Banff, although we were going first to Lake Lorna. Kevin quickly asked if any of us have been to Morraine Lake, to which the three of us all replied “no”. A third destination was added to the list.

As we drove along, we discussed a great many things, including the things we would do once we finally got to Banff. We even discussed the pronounciation of Banff. Technically, it is “banff”. It quickly degraded to “bamf”. One of us saying “banff” or “bamf” was followed by three “bamf”s.

Guys do weird things. Accept it.

On the way to Morraine Lake, we noticed something. Snow. Yeah, I know, that sounds really dumb. But there was a lot more snow up there than we expected. This led to, of course, a snowball fight.

It was short-lived (snowballs are really cold on unprotected hands).

For those of you who don’t remember Morraine Lake (and yes, all you Canadians have seen it before), find an old CDN$20 bill. Flip it over. Voila! Morraine Lake. Didn’t even know it was that close to Lake Louise.

The snow there was pretty deep, almost burying the sign that describes the significance of the area. Luckily, a lot of people had been there before us, so we could walk across the snow without falling in. This was a good thing for me, because in all my haste to pack for Calgary, I forgot to bring shoes. All I had were my sandals.

Of course, this didn’t stop me from doing dumb things, like climbing the rock pile at the head of the lake with Stuart, Jay, and Kevin. (Luckily, I have good sandals that grip almost anything, and the rocks were bare.)

I was strange seeing Lake Louise again. The last time was a year and a half ago, when Gerry and I had stopped off on our way to Vancouver. Snow covered most of the mountains around the lake, and the lake itself still bore a sheet of ice. I felt sorry for Jay, not being able to witness the greeny-blue lake for himself.

We wandered about the Chateau for a while, debated on crashing a wedding (again, it’s a guy thing; but don’t worry, we wouldn’t actually do such a thing … without good reason, that is), and eventually left for Banff (bamf).

The townsite of Banff (bamf) hadn’t changed much in the year since I last visited (with Allison). After Stuart pulled into a well-hidden free parking spot (something that I wish I’d seen before), we proceeded to invade the downtown.

It seems that Banff (bamf) was also invaded by a squadron of Air Cadets — they were everywhere. On every corner, and usually scattered about the middle of each block. It almost seemed Dickensian; I expected to see a military Fagin lurking around the corners.

We wandered up Banff (bamf) Ave. towards the Park Administration building, then came down the other side. We stopped into various shops, but I abstained from buying anything — nothing there that really interested me. Jay and Kevin got sucked into a fudge shop where they indulged their sweet teeth. Tasty stuff, but it made my incisors vibrate.

Finally, it was time for dinner (we really hadn’t eaten yet), so we headed towards St. James Gate, an Irish pub that Stuart recommended. As we headed over, we realised that we weren’t too far from Banff’s (bamf) movie theatre.

It was playing Star Wars.

They still had tickets.

We figured popcorn would tie us over until we could get something else later.

Emerging two hours later, hopped up on a heap of adrenaline from the lightsabre duels (yeah, we focused on that a lot), we went to dinner. A nice lamb stew and an Irish ale really hit the spot.

After dinner, we ended up having to make a hard decision. Banff (bamf) is a great place to have fun. We thought we might stay the night, grab a hotel, and drive back in the morning. But then the little party-pooper in me thought about the plans for the next day — Drumheller. Driving from Banff (bamf) to Calgary and then to Drumheller wasn’t exactly something I wanted to do. It seemed it wasn’t something Stuart or Jay wanted to do either.

The next time we’re in Banff (bamf), we’re spending the night, even if it means eight people crammed into a room.

We arrived in Calgary an hour later, initially at a loss for something to do. We ended up downtown at a pub called “The Barley Mill”, where we swapped jokes, movie quotes, and work-related annoyances, quaffed a couple pints, and listened to some really great jazz.

We got up a bit later the next morning, showered, hit Safeway to get hot dogs and buns, and headed out to Drumheller. I hadn’t been to Drumheller before, and really wanted to know what that area of Alberta was like. Jay hadn’t been there before either (he hadn’t been to Alberta before), and was excited about the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology.

It was a long drive. At least, it felt like a long drive. In reality, it probably wasn’t anything overly lengthy, but the heat and lack of features (it is the Prairies, after all) made it seem longer. Finally, the flatness gave way to an almost Grand Canyon-like valley (albeit significantly shallower), and the city of Drumheller.

Drumheller is one of these strange cities that base their entire existence on one thing. Usually, that one thing is a resource (i.e. a mine). In this case, it’s dinosaurs. I’m really curious to know what would happen to Drumheller if the Tyrell had been built somewhere else.

Our first stop was at McMullen Island, a small park where we had lunch. Then it was off to stare at Mr. T-Rex.

I’ve been to a few museums now in Alberta, and I will say that they have some of the best ones I’ve ever been to. It’s really quite impressive. It’s not just a few piles of bones for you to stare at — they purposely lead you through exhibits leading to the rise of the dinosaur. Finally, by the time you reach the actual exhibits, you understand why the dinosaurs came to be.

The museum works of the theory of evolution. You start with the single-celled organisms, progressing to the primitive ocean life. Then it’s on to the first plants on land, followed by the first land creatures. You start seeing the proto-dinosaurs, finally landing in a large room full of T-Rexes, triceratops, and Albertosauri.

But the exhibits do not stop there — they continue on the evolution through the extinction of the dinosaur and rise of the mammal. They show you the birth of the sabre-toothed cats, the mammoths, and then take you to the ultimate mammal exhibit … the gift shop. Think about it — where else can you see the ultimate mammal in their natural environment?

Returning to the outside, we wandered about the trails near the museum, looking at the rock strata that form the valley the museum sits in, the strata that contains the bones of dinosaurs appearing in the museum. Before hitting the trails, though, we endulged on some frozen treats to try and counteract the 30-someodd degree heat.

A few times, as we walked about the rolling hills, we could hear good ol’ Prairie Silence. For those of you who haven’t visited the Prairies and parked yourself in the middle of nowhere, isolated from the machines that make the noise we hear every day of our lives, you’ll never really know what it was like 100 years ago. The silence is truly deafening. (For reference, the only place I’ve ever been that was quieter was 150 feet below ground in a cave.)

A short drive east from Drumheller took us to the Hoodoos. These are short clumps of rocks that have crowns. The crowns are make from less-soluable rock; they remain mostly untouched while the rocks beneath erode away. It makes for an interesting sight.

Stuart, Jay, and I (mostly Jay and I) hiked to the top of the hill to see what we could see. There’s a lot out there.

Another thing there was a lot of was sun — and I got a lot of it. Luckily, not so much to get a sun burn, but enough that my skin felt warm to the touch (even in the shade), and I really wished I had brought sun screen.

Coming down the hill was a little harder than going up. Trying not to lose one’s footing when wearing sandals is a bit of a challenge, especially when the ground is crumbly. I slid a short distance down the slope, but quickly regained by footing.

We stopped briefly at the Rosedale Suspension Bridge, put in place by the Star Mine company. The mines closed down in the 50’s, but the bridge continues to draw tourists. Rebuilt a few times since it’s original installation, the Suspension Bridge now features sturdy wooden towers and a steel grate floor.

After stopping briefly to obtain liquid refreshment (we were quite thirsty by that point), we headed back towards Calgary. The drive back was surprisingly faster than the drive out, despite the fact that we ended up at the south end of the city, and had to travel for about 10 minutes along the Trans Canada to get back in.

Stuart drove through the north of Calgary on our way back to his apartment, allowing me to see what the outskirts of the city look like. I cannot understand why anyone would want to live that far out. You might as well be living in High River for Airdale for all it really matters.

We rented a movie (Rocketman … a surprisingly funny movie) and ordered Chinese. After the movie ended, we went out for a walk to a local sports bar, where we dove back into the movie script again.

On the following morning, we headed out in search of Darth Maul action figures. Unfortunately, a few million people got there ahead of us. Both Toys ‘R Us and the Zellers we checked (not to mention the Bay) had their stocks depleted. Not a total surprise…

Stuart took us downtown to his office, to show off his little piece of the advertising world. His company (Parallel) does some pretty amazing stuff … Stuart’s office is plastered with a lot of that amazing work. There are people whose abilities impress me … Stuart’s talent just plain frightens me.

I remember his work when I was in high school. When I look back on his cartoony past and then look at the work he produces now, I admittedly get envious. He’s done very well on his skill, and it’s brought him many good things.

We drove around Calgary for a little while, fairly aimlessly (we weren’t in any rush to go anywhere). We drove by Big Rock Brewery, for whom Stuart had done quite a bit of work. (Those of you in the Calgary area might see the billboards for “Kold” or the new Big Rock Brewery trucks with the beer bottles on the side … that’s Stuart’s handiwork.)

At least some people get to see their work on public display. (For the record, Jay’s working on a kid’s cartoon show. He’ll get to see his work on TV.)

As we began to drift in the direction of the airport, a sudden pang of guilt began to wash over me. In the hectic flow of the weekend, I had neglected to contact my relatives. As we were in the north-east anyway, I asked if we could quickly pop by my aunt and uncle’s home.

I had been there twice before. I knew roughly where it was. But where I couldn’t remember the exact road to take us into their subdivision, Stuart did. He’d been there once.

Stuart’s got a good road memory. (It also helps that he lives in the same city, and IKEA’s in the same area.)

I got lucky, catching them after they had arrived home from camping. From Drumheller. The previous day. It’s truly a wonder that we didn’t run into each other over the course of the day.

We talked for a while, while Jay put Maggie (my aunt and uncle’s dalmatian) into total submission. Jay’s got a way with dogs. Jennifer (my cousin) came tearing through the room at one point. She was about a foot taller than the last time I’d seen her, with shorter hair, and new braces. She smiled, said “Hi”, and then tore back out of the room.

Sigh. I remember being that age.

Before long, we had to leave, and headed to the airport. Jay’s flight was before mine, and we didn’t want him to miss it. My flight wasn’t for an hour after his, so I would have time to kill.

We bade Jay farewell as he disappeared behind the security wall and eventually onto Toronto. Stuart and I turned to dinner at the Harvey’s, before it was my turn to depart.

It’s hard to say “goodbye” to friends, especially those that mean a lot in your life.

Hopefully, I’ll see more of my friends this summer. Exactly when I’ll see them is a completely different issue. But with luck, it’ll happen.

Finding a New Apartment

It’s finally happened. I guess it was only a matter of time. Allison and I are going to prison.

Specifically, the grounds of the former Oakalla Prison Farm, about a kilometre east of where we’re living now. We’re moving to a new apartment.

This all started some time ago, when we came to the conclusion that our current apartment wasn’t quite living up to our needs — specifically, we desperately need a dishwasher, and would certainly find in-suite laundry useful.

Our building has some quirks, namely all the services shut down at 10pm. This is a minor problem when you realise you’re out of clothes at 9:00 at night (yes, this has happened before).

No, our kitchen does not shut down at 10pm, nor does the hot water shut off. However, we spend untold hours washing dishes. It’s become a nuisance in the grand scheme of wanting to go out and do things, not to mention the toll on my poor hands.

It also doesn’t help that our dish rack began to fall apart last night.

On Saturday morning, as we lazed about the apartment, Allison started perusing the classifieds (she will read most of the newspaper), and started reading off available apartments. I’ve been relatively content with the apartment, but Allison’s wanted something better for a while now. (Actually, that’s a really long story, which will eventually finish with us living on English Bay, but I’m not getting into that now.) I, of course, am always open to suggestions. (Hey, no snickering out there!)

Allison’s pass through the paper led to a couple of possibilities, none of which were available for viewing. Giving it my best shot, I came across the entry: “Oaklands area. 6 appls, f/p, prkng”. Not a lot to go on, but I figured I’d give it a shot. We went over to take a look about an hour later.

The Oakalla Prison Farm closed in 1990, after the site was deemed inappropriate for use (it was falling apart). The buildings were torn down in 1991, and the rest of the area left as a park. (Rather nice, isn’t it?) Polygon Homes bought the property and erected a rather large condominium complex.

It’s a one-bedroom apartment that appears to have been bought by parents for their daughter. (That’s a guess, of course. We don’t actually know.) At any rate, the daughter was moving out, having bought her own place, and the parents wanted to rent.

Allison’s eyes were immediately drawn to the moldings. She loves moldings. Sometimes, I think she just likes to say “moldings” … at least until we were in this apartment. Now I’m convinced she just wants moldings. I figure a few feet of nice moldings for her birthday will keep her happy.

My mind was made up within a couple of minutes after entering the apartment. Allison’s mind was made up after she saw the laundry machine. We didn’t tell each other until we’d left the building and were preparing to leave.

The layout was very well-designed: The kitchen was to the left of the door (no long, useless hallway in this unit), with a nice window into the living room. The living/dining room is a large space (the entire unit is 775 sq ft.) with a gas fireplace (the unit has radiant heat — a rather nice touch, if you ask me). To the right of the door is a short hallway, at the end of which is the laundry (to the right) and the bathroom (to the left). The bedroom is in the corner of the unit, next to the living room and bathroom. A walk-in closet should accomodate our clothes easily.

And that’s just the apartment. Down the hall is a recreation room, including a universal gym. By comparison, our building has an exercise bike, treadmill, and stairmaster. We get two parking spots, full recycling (our building only has paper), storage and bike locker.

The only thing our soon-to-be-apartment doesn’t have is a view. However, we can walk for one minute and get a view that’s much better than the one we currently have. Certainly no complains on my part…

Well, maybe one small complaint. We had to make a trade-off in obtaining our new digs — convenience. Unlike our current apartment, the new pad isn’t really within walking distance of anything. It’s a very short drive, however, to all our favourite haunts. So it’s not really that big a deal. If we’re not pressed for time (which, realistically speaking, we won’t be now that we’ve got a dishwasher and laundry machine), we can still walk — it just takes longer.

At any rate, we move on the 31st (hopefully the 30th, which is a Sunday) into our new place. The address is changing (I’ll send it along as soon as I remember what it is), but we’ll try to keep the phone number. No point in causing too much confusion.

How long are we going to stay at our new place? Until we go to Europe, move downtown, or get bored of it and go somewhere else.

Whichever comes first.

Playing Softball with the Rad Sox, Visiting Granville Island, Seeing Alanis Morrisette

A few weeks ago, I made the decision to join the company softball team, the Rad Sox (Rad, as is “Radical”). This was for several reasons: I’d get out more, meet more people in the company that I wouldn’t normally have interaction with, hopefully improve my skills, and have fun.

Two out of four ain’t so bad, I guess…

We’ve played three games now, and we’ve lost each and every time — usually by a very unhealthy margin (our second game was something obscene, like 38 to 3). We practice a lot, usually without a lot of progress, it seems. Although my fielding is better, I still have problems.

For example, on our Friday practice, I managed to somehow manage not to get my glove under the ball. So instead of the ball landing in my glove, it instead drove into the nail of my right big toe. Nearly bent the nail in half. Couldn’t walk very quickly for a couple of hours. Rather painful. Luckily, nothing was broken, and the bleeding was minimal.

So let’s skip ahead to Monday night (don’t worry, I’ll get back to the weekend in a minute). This was our third game, against some other company (we usually don’t know the names). I spent the first half of the game in the dugout (we have too many people for everyone to play the whole game). When my chance finally came up, I raced onto the field (mostly in an effort to warm up — it was very cold last night … did I mention that I’ve taken a strong dislike to the weather in this city?).

I played third. First time that I was brought into the infield. Until then, I’d played the outfield … and sucked horribly. The coaches figured I needed the chance to suck on the infield. So I sat there, ready to play the role I was supposed to play. I made a catch, taking out a runner to third, and overall seemed to be doing pretty well.

Until the next batter came up.

She hit usually down the baseline, or bunted. Either way, Jon (the shortstop) suggested I play a bit closer to the baseline. Sure enough, next hit went straight towards me. It was an easy catch — the ball was rolling across the grass (albeit very quickly). I extended my glove, ready to snatch the rolling ball and throw it to first.

The fields that we play on vary in quality. Some are pretty good. Some are really bad. And then there is Churchill (this is where we played last night). If you removed the grass, it would look a little like the surface of the moon.

When the ball reached about two feet from my glove, it hit one of the many divots/dents/craters in the field and shot up at about a 45 degree angle. Although my brain could not tell my hand exactly where it was going to catch the ball, it did manage to tell my eyes to close and brace for impact.

It’s amazing how much inertia an ordinary softball travelling at 60km/h has. It’s also amazing how much abuse the human nose can take without breaking. But at least I stopped the ball.

While I was reeling backward, trying to figure out whether or not I was upright or dead, the game continued until the ump had the notion to suspend play at one base (or something like that — you’ll forgive me if I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the game). I returned to the dugout to stop the bleeding (which didn’t take all that long, surprisingly). I stayed out for the rest of the game.

So I’m now on partial DL until Wednesday, at which time I’ll figure out how I’m feeling. Hopefully, it’s not too bad…

Anyway, back to Friday. Allison’s sister, Jane, came out to visit for the weekend. Exact reasons, we didn’t know, only that she probably wanted to get away from home for a couple of days. I picked her up at the corner of Granville and W. Georgia, hopped a SkyTrain, and headed for the Old Spaghetti Factory in New Westminster.

Allison appeared about a half hour after Jane and I got a seat, as the weekend traffic made getting across the bridge from Surrey rather difficult. We stuffed ourselves on OSF’s pasta and bread, all the while engaging in conversation.

That evening, we took Jane to Playdium, to engage in some serious video-gaming. >From 10pm until 4am, you can play as much as you like for $25. Yeah, it sounds expensive, but when you consider that most games cost $2 normally, it’s a really good deal. We played a good number of the games until about 1am, when we headed home exhausted.

The next day, we drove down to Granville Island to spend an afternoon roaming around. After managing to find a parking spot (a bit of a feat, now that the traffic levels are beginning to skyrocket) we headed into the Island.

Initially heading for food, we stopped to watch a busker. Allison and I had seen this act before, last summer. Joel from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (at which point everyone was instructed to say “Ooooooo”) was performing the trick made famous by Harry Houdini: Handcuffed, wrapped in chains, placed in a bag, and escape in under a minute. It’s actually a pretty simple trick, once you see how it’s done.

I got abducted as his assistant. Oh yay.

After he made a few cracks at my job (I never bothered to mention I work for a video game company … dopey me), I made an effort to cuff him very tightly. Further cracks wanted me to chain him as tightly as possible. I can only assume that’s why he does that. A poor girl from Delta (the equivalent of Brampton to Toronto) got suckered into checking his pockets for keys … something she really didn’t want to do.

Needless to say, he escaped. In 57 seconds. He held out for three seconds to heighten the drama.

Following lunch, we headed over to the Granville Island Brewery to have a tour, only we missed it by an hour. The next one was at 4:00. Back into the market to get dinner. We bought stuffed pork shops (which are *mighty* tasty, albeit huge), corn, and various vegetables for skewers.

We missed the 4:00 tour because I couldn’t hold out any longer, and had to make a bathroom break. We took the opportunity, though, to get some beer and a bottle of wine.

For my birthday, the Collins bought me a wine rack. Yes, a wine rack. It has a counter on top that we keep the microwave on. It’s very handy. Almost every time we go to Granville Island, we buy a bottle of wine. When we finally get the thing filled, we’ll actually start to drink it.

We spend our time indoors, eating, drinking (beer and daiquiris) and watching “Home Fries”. Seriously messed up movie. Of course, it was written by Vince Gilligan, famous for writing seriously messed up X-Files episodes.

Sunday was a weird day. Allison and I spend most of our time trying to kill time. After we sent Jane on her way, we needed to kill a few hours — we were going to a concert that night.

I will admit that Alanis Morrisette doesn’t exactly rock my world … but she’s a pretty good performer, all things considered. She’s short (at least compared to the rest of her band) and quite energetic. Good live singing voice, too.

The opening acts were Veda Hill (some local performer) and Sloan. Once again, Sloan’s bad luck with sound struck at them — the only reason I knew what song they were playing is because I could figure out the odd guitar chord and drum beat. It wasn’t until “Money City Maniacs”, their last song in the set, that the sound was reasonable. After Sloan’s set, Chris Murphy took a seat in the audience a couple rows behind us, just outside of arms’ reach.

The sound, of course, was tuned to Alanis. Despite the fact that she was over a half hour late hitting the stage, she put on a pretty good show. She did a very interesting rendition of “You Outta Know” — the music was extremely tame (no harsh guitars or heavy drums) for the first two verses. It really showcased the anger that the lyrics exude. Her encore I predicted about halfway through the show: “Thank You” and “Ironic”. But she didn’t end there, playing two more songs before coming back with an acoustical set. Quite impressive. She even let her pianist go nuts for a few minutes, showcasing some of the most amazing jazz-influenced talent I’ve ever heard.

When all’s said and done, it was a good weekend. Now if we can just warm this corner of the country up a bit, it’ll actually get liveable around here.