Vacation 2012, Day 1

Hey kids,
You’re both sleeping right now. Soundly so. You’ve both had a big, exciting day, and I’m frankly amazed you made it as long as you did. You normally don’t pack this much into a few days, let alone a few hours.
We’ll see how you do for the next few days…
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2011, A Year In Review

I like long years. Really. Yes, I complain about when things seem to drag out far longer than they should, or if I’m busting my arse far harder than I think I should. That’s part of being human, no? In the end, though, I like long years because I get to look back and not worry about how quickly time has flown by. Time should never fly by quickly — it means I’ve missed something, and … well, darn it, I just hate missing things!
This last year was a big one for me in one major way: it was a redefinition of my professional existence. Since the end of 2009, I’ve transformed from a professional manager to a … hmm … well, my title (however formal it needs to be) is “Solutions Lead”, but that belies a lot of what I do every day, and just using “web developer” or “programmer” — even with a “Senior” prefix — completely understates the reality. This year was really about taking all the skills and knowledge I’d acquired as a leader, and merging that back into my day-to-day development practices.
And that, as the saying goes, was only the tip of the iceberg…
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I Believe

Dear Canada,
I must, in true Canadian form, say “I’m sorry”. I doubted. All I could see was fault, all I could see was mediocrity, all I could see was the world laughing at our attempts to be more than our humble selves.  I thought that Vancouver was the wrong place to hold the Winter Olympics (having lived there a couple of years, I know how finicky the weather can be).
And I wasn’t alone. Thanks to media mainstays, such as The Guardian and the Denver Post, and CTV’s frequently slipshod and amateurish approach, there was little reason for me to think otherwise.
I find myself, now at the end, relieved to be wrong, and fiercely proud to be a repatriated Canadian.
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My favourite trains (so far)

I rarely remember my dreams. I have to wake up in the middle of them to remember what they were about, and quite often I’m so tired that by the time I can get my mental faculties together to try and remember the dream, I already forgot what it was. Which is probably good, since most of the dreams I remember make very little sense.
This morning’s dream was an exception. I was talking with someone I know (admittedly, can’t remember who it was) about trains. (Believe it or not, this is not an unknown conversation.) They asked me what my favourite train trips were, and I had said something like “whoa, that’s a tough one, let me think”. Then I started rhyming them off.
Oddly enough, that was about when I woke up … and I kept rhyming. So I figured, heck, that just sounds like a blog post!
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Thanksgiving in Ruskin

I had a quick jaunt out to Ruskin (a section of Maple Ridge, BC) for the Thanksgiving weekend. It was a trip I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to take at first. Reason: Too much work, and too tight deadlines to allow it.
Deadlines changed. Whether they changed for the better remains to be seen…
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BC Vacation: Three Valley Gap to Calgary

No rooster, just the sounds of patrons leaving their rooms. I think I prefered the rooster.
The Chateau’s name is a little misleading. One is brought to think of the Canadian Pacific (now Fairmont) hotels, with the old world grandeur and luxury. Make no mistake, folks, this ain’t the Banff Springs. It’s a 1950’s motor lodge with a fancy roof. But it’s comfortable, and the grounds a nicely kitchy. Besides, it’s a family business, and run very well.
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BC Vacation: Ruskin to Three Valley Gap

We awoke about an hour earlier than we have in mornings past, but for no real reason. We didn’t even hear the rooster!
The porridge was followed, almost as soon as we could get ready, by a cat hunt. Allen has plans for his farm, which includes a new barn (of some kind). The problem, of course, is that you can’t have a barn without having mice and rats — that’s just a side effect. They can be controlled, however, with cats.
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BC Vacation: Fort Langley

That stupid rooster woke us up again. We’ve taken to mocking it. If it crowed normally, we probably wouldn’t mind so much. I fell back asleep, though, and Alex went into the house. She came back to wake me up for breakfast.
Fog was hugging the ground all down the river valley. (Not exactly unheard of in the Lower Mainland.) Naturally, this set me off on a photography expedition. You have to move quickly with fog — it doesn’t last long once the sun starts coming up. I got some wonderful pictures, especially of a space amongst the trees near the tent.
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BC Vacation: Trip to Tsawwassen

There’s a rooster not far from Allen’s farm. (Well, “farm” is using the term a bit loosely. It was a farm before he bought it, and it will be one again. But it’s going to take a bit of work.) This rooster isn’t particularly normal. We’ve been speculating why it doesn’t sound normal. Most roosters gain their sound by listening and mimicing the sound of other roosters. This rooster doesn’t seem to have rooster peers, so it lacks the stereotypical cockle-doodle-doo one would expect at 5:30 in the morning.
This one sounds like a cross between a coyote and a freight locomotive horn.
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BC Vacation: Fairmont Hot Springs to Ruskin

Cory had called me yesterday. I didn’t know until this morning because I hadn’t checked my cell phone. I’d had a dream that things had gone horribly awry at the office, and for some reason, that had made me want to check my cell phone. Good or bad, something was up. Sure enough, our newest star hire had backed out — an extremely disappointing turn of events. I wouldn’t talk to Cory about it until late in the afternoon.
We were gone before 8:00. (We were to have left at 6:00, then 7:00, but last night’s arrival in Fairmont pushed us even later.) Allen was in Jean’s Honda Civic, Alex and I in Alex’s car. I drove while Alex read “Why I Hate Canadians”. Today’s lesson? Canada’s cast system, more formally known as how poorly we treat Indians. It’s a hard thing for a Canadian to admit that we don’t treat everyone fairly and equally. For a country known as being “nice”, we treat our aboriginal peoples very poorly. We’ve marginalized, forcibly contained, abducted and tried to convert them, even poisoned them with disease. And yet after 400 years, they’re still who they are.
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