Cold hike in Kananaskis

Someone had the brilliant idea to go hiking in Kananaskis. Apparently this person didn’t realize that it’s almost winter. (And around here, that means it is winter.)
We all started off at Phil’s on 16th Ave. Alex and I were meeting up with a couple of Alex’s co-workers for a bite to eat before heading off. Originally, Alex and I weren’t going hiking. It’s cold, and that means hiking is … well … uncomfortable. Alex had other ideas, and though I didn’t know what they were, they pretty much excluded hiking.
Breakfast changed those plans. So after finishing, we drove at a break-neck pace to Alex’s for warmer clothes, then bolted out to Upper Lake in Kananaskis park. Despite the cool weather (about -6), there were a surprising number of people there already. We tried to catch up with the rest of the group, but they were already quite a ways along. (I drive fast, but Andy apparently drives faster.) Alex and I were left to ourselves.
We started from the boat launch and walked all the way around until the sluice gate on the far side near to where we’d camped in the summer (see [[Birthday Camping in Kananaskis]]). We passed a few people as we walked along, but most of the time it was just us, the breeze, and the cold silence of the mountains. It’s breath-taking.
It’s also freezing. I wasn’t too affected, but Alex’s chattering could probably be heard for miles. (Kidding, honey — honest!)
We met up with Andy just before we got to the sluice gate, where we headed to the road. We took the road back to the boat launch, managing to catch up with Andy on his return trip. But instead of continuing to follow Andy back to Calgary, we headed towards Canmore. It was time for another surprise…
We got a cabin. A small one, nothing fancy. Well, the first one was small and nothing fancy until we’d realized that he hadn’t cleaned it yet. We were moved to a more rustic one next door that was slightly more than chilly. The gas fireplace would have to be turned way up to make it bearable.
There was a party going on in Banff (Bamf!). We had no idea that there was one. We didn’t even know what it was called until we found someone who explained: WinterStart. Something to make people feel excited about the lack of sunshine (the sun effectively sets about 15:30 due to the mountains) and the cold (even though Banff is often warmer than Calgary).
First up: Fudge. It’s a tradition.
Then it was winter hats for Alex. This at times feels almost like beating one’s head against a wall. We’ll find one for her eventually, I’m sure. But it’s gonna take a lot of hats before she’s happy.
Dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory. It ain’t what it used to be, and the food did a number on Alex. We ended up abandoning the rest of our meal and headed back to the cabin where I spent my time trying to keep Alex warm.
It was pure irony then that the shower ran out of hot water as I was finishing the next morning. (Ouch.) Back to Banff (Bamf!) for breakfast at Phil’s, then up to the hot springs to really warm up. More fudge. Dinner was in Canmore — Boston Pizza.
Extremes of such cold and heat should give one the flu. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of days!

More weekend antics

Yeesh. Antics is putting it lightly. Here’s the short version (‘cuz I really don’t feel like typing it all out):

  1. had to work saturday to finish performance management reviews; god I hate
    writing them
  2. went to jim’s birthday party at mountain view bowlerama; alex couldn’t
    come because of a migraine
  3. went to jim and mia’s place afterwards for chatting
  4. didn’t end up going to milestone’s for kristen’s birthday (turns out she
    wasn’t there, anyway), and went to check on alex
  5. went to the gym
  6. had a severe craving for dim sum, so called everyone around 10:30 and
    woke them up; tamara, dan, jensenne, fritz, and jin; adrian bailed, didn’t
    have doug’s number
  7. bought a scanner — can finally get some more photos in my site!
  8. made chicken stew in breadbowls for dinner for alex and i — couldn’t
    even finish them; totally stuffed

Must. Cut. Down. On. Activity.

The Shrub is back

The Shrub is back for another four years. Oh. Joy.
Did no-one realize what kind of moron is at the head of the US Government? I can only guess not, as the United States again voted in one of the most dangerous men on the planet. The guy freaks me out. Arrogant, ignorant, and brash. A bad combination for a politician.
The problem is the Democrats. They need to find someone with more personality than a telephone pole. Kerry, in case you haven’t noticed, is rather dull. Actually, nix that. Gore was rather dull. Kerry is Xanax incarnate. If you have any hope against charisma (no matter how evil it seems), you need to put in someone who can at least look and sound more than a mere talking head!
Bush had my favourite line-to-hate from politicians: “America has spoken”. Spoken. With 51% of the vote. That’s not really saying much when you consider that every second person voted against you! If that’s what you call speaking up in a crowd, it’s no wonder you’re not listening to your constituents.
Oh, right, you are listening. Corporate America and ill-gotten influence. Silly me…
Let’s recap on Bush’s first term: After 9/11 (and his reputed 40% vacation time), he drums up the support to go after Bin Laden in Afghanistan. Makes a complete mess by forcing out the Taliban and is unable to find the person he’s looking for. Yells at Canada for not helping. (Take a guess who’s going to spend decades keeping the peace after you’re gone, ya yutz?)
Unable to stop Bin Laden, but still needing a victory, goes after Iraq and Saddam Hussein, the “most dangerous man alive”.
Hussein. In the Iraqi economic wasteland. Dangerous to whom? Even Israel says he’s more of a minor irritation externally. He’s more dangerous to himself with his paranoia and germophobia.
Oh, right. Corporate America. Oil. Silly me…
Claims of weapons of mass destruction are realized to be mere words: weapons of mass distraction to give Bush the “right” to wreak havoc and kill a lot of innocent people. And you think Hussein is dangerous? Boy, look in the mirror sometime.
Yet again, the US has to go in en masse to clean up a puppet they set up before and let run amok. (Witness Noriega and Castro.) Some regimes never learn.
Interestingly enough, the world (courtesy of voted for Kerry. We hoped that Kerry would be a tad more honest and wouldn’t be so keen to wage war on another country somewhere. Sadly, given his waffling, the US ended up with a “devil you don’t know” problem. What would Kerry actually do?
So welcome to another four years of hollow rhetoric, shallow lies, and more fodder for late night talk show hosts and documentary filmmakers. Let’s just hope this doesn’t go anymore to his head than it already has.
Oh, and I have to ask, what’s with Americans turning so homophobic — what’s the big deal, eh?

New cell phone for Hallowe'en

Another busy weekend at hand. Where oh where to start?
I guess first off, I’ve finally had to give up my old Nokia brick cell phone. My faithful and antique companion has served me well since arriving in Calgary so many years ago. But the battery has a finite lifespan and has finally tanked. I can keep a charge for about a half-day now. Kind of makes it not worth my while.
So while Alex and I were wandering about Market Mall, we stopped into the Telus store to see if I could get a replacement battery. Quelle surprise, none to be had. I had to buck down, pay the $50 and get a new one. But while we were discussing this, Alex started ogling a nice blue LG phone.
Until today, Alex didn’t carry a cell phone. Her only cell phone (a duplicate of mine) ended up with Allen (her father), who still uses it. But with couples always trying to stay in contact, it seemed useful. Alex wasn’t sure, but ultimate caved when we realized the advantages. I think she’ll use it, but only time will tell.
I had to work a bit this weekend — MB is a fun client that never seems to keep me bored. It wasn’t a lot of work, so it still allowed me to do some grocery shopping (including a pumpkin) and make dinner for Alex. Notably because last night was Hallowe’en!
Beef stew is a new “specialty” of mine, I think. Considering it’s my first, I think it’s pretty good. Alex inhaled hers. The fact that it was served in a bread bowl probably has nothing to do with that, though… (inside joke, trust me).
Not many kids disturbed our dinner. We watched TV with the lights out so it was easier to see out the window for incoming rug rats. This continued until I got a phone call from Tamara who apparently had fainted on the C-Train. I raced down to the station at Stampede to pick her up from the ambulance where she was waiting. She looked a little shaken but otherwise fine. Low blood sugar it seemed. A bit of food and all would be well.
I hope the week coming up ain’t this busy!