Saturday, April 27, 2013

Still Here!

I'm still alive :)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Lion Tamers

vancouver, canada

For someone who misses travelling abroad as much as I do, I have to count myself lucky that I live where I do. Even when I've been home for as long as I have, I can still find some pretty spectacular places to get away for a while. This past weekend, Ian and I decided to climb to the top of "The Lions", a quintessential Vancouver landmark. It took us nearly 5 hours to get "almost" to the top, but of course were running out of sunlight and had to turn
around just short of the summit. On the bright side, we got a stunning view of the city, Howe Sound, and had a snowball fight in August.

What did you do yesterday?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Travels closer to home

vancouver, canada

I was able to spend nearly 4 straight weekends at the cabin on Chain Lake over late June and early July. While not nearly as exotic as some of the other places I've been, it's a pretty good comprimise when you find yourself in a career that precludes extended trips to far-flug places. Fishing, ATV'ing (is that a word?), swiming, campfires, steaks on the fire, and plenty of 1845.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Finally, a useful and worthwhile application for modern technology

chain lake, canada

I recently took a few days of vacation time after a "use it or lose it" email from our HR department. I spent a few days in the sunshine, relaxing at the lake. When I wasn't fishing, I started to play around on my laptop and before long had put together this video collage of one of the most important experiences of my life.

I posted it here:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I like to get poked

vancouver, canada

Can someone explain to me what exactly a Poke is? Are we talking something like a wink? Or is it more substantial than that? Can you poke your friends? Is it sexual in nature? As in... "I wish Nate's mom had a facebook profile so I could give her a poke"? Or is it like a pat-on-the-back. If I poke a guy is that gay? If you poke your girlfriend's friend are you cheating on her? If I keep poking Julie is Russ going to beat me up?

I'd like to think poking is a little more innocuous than that, you know, a knowing nod between friends, or maybe a high-five.

...but just in case I'm wrong, I'm not going to poke my sister.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The road is calling

vancouver, canada

I'm thinking about travelling again. It's been over three years now since I returned home from Johannesburg (as soon as I wrote that I had to stop for a second to do the math in my head because it seems impossible that it could have been that long ago).
Let me clarify, I never actually stop thinking about travelling, I've just pushed practical thoughts of planning a trip to the back of my mind for the past 36 months in an effort to focus on building a career. A career that I hope one day will financially facilitate my insatiable appetite for going places I've never been before.
In the mean-time, I was notified via email this week past that I have 13.5 days of vacation that I must use before September of this year or else I will lose it. I could spend it turning long weekends into EXTRA-long weekends full of camping, fishing, ATVing, and relaxing at the lake.... which I will certainly do. But I am also inclined to take a full week and do something a little more adventurous.

After only 20 minutes of soliciting ideas via a status update on my facebook profile, I have already received two appealing suggestions:

Party in Las Vegas & SCUBA in Grand Cayman

Both have their merits but I want a more exhaustive list of ideas. Maybe it's time to visit some of those long-lost friends from the road?

And so I turn to you.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Losing Touch

vancouver, canada

One of the consequences of extensive traveling is the creation of amazing friendships with amazing people and unfortunately the remorse that comes with doing a poor job of keeping in touch. I always have the best intentions of writing, calling, and messaging those people that have been such an important part of my life but somehow day-to-day responsibilities always seem to get in the way. Here are some people that have had an impact on me (some significantly, some more subtle) that I wish I could see more often (in no particular order):

Laura Peterson (USA), Laura Hawxwell (UK), Juli Petersen (Germany), Klara McKosh (S. Africa), Nick Alhers (USA), David Fuamba (DRC), Andrea Joebstl (Austria), Sarah Clear (Australia), Maria Anikina (Austria), Kira Hoffman (USA), Marjoe Prado (USA), Natalie Fullgrabe (UK), Nuray Presti (Hungary), Suzie Minervini (USA), Rebecca Falls (USA), Ras Stouby (Denmark), Marni Steckler (Canada), Lauren Hill (NZ), Jori & Theo (UK), Eskil Vethe Herfindal (Norway), Amanda Violette (Canada), Jake Kearney (Australia), Heather Wright (USA), Emilie Lakey (S. Africa), Doug Heim (USA), Dayan Karakachevi (Bulgaria), Craig Austad (USA), Bruno Van Den Elshout (Ned), Annie Wallace (USA), Klara (Namibia), Jenifer Partin (USA), Mark Migliorini (Australia), Nicky Muzio (UK), Sara McMillan (Canada), Vinay Pillai (India), Andrea Prenny (Canada), Enache Zarafu (Romania)

There are others I know but these names came to mind immediately when I started thinking about friends I wish I did a better job of staying in touch with.

Anybody feel a new year's resolution coming on?

Friday, October 08, 2004

Reach out and touch someone???

cape town, south africa

If you want to see a South African cry… take away her mobile phone. These people are seriously obsessed. This country lives and dies by SMS. Go to a restaurant and watch people sitting down for dinner… I remember learning that the soup spoon goes on the right and the salad fork to the left of the dinner plate but no one ever told me where to put my cell (apparently formal dining requires the mobile phone to be placed next to the bread plate). I do a lot of my school work in a computer lab in the library and if I close my eyes and just listen, it’s easy to feel like I’m back in Vegas… Hey! Some guy next to me just one the progressive jackpot! Nope, it was just his girlfriend calling with an SMS smiley. I suppose it makes sense for everyone to have a cell in a country where the telephone system is sketchy at best and I can even understand why SMS is so popular as regular airtime is charged by the millisecond… but come on people, sometimes you just need to unplug! When I go out for diner with someone at home it just seems natural to turn off my phone… or not even bring it (I can hear the collective gasps of everyone I’ve met in South Africa). I was at a movie last week with some local friends I’ve met here and it wasn’t more than a minute after we left the theatre that I noticed everyone was unusually silent. When I turned around, all four of them were madly plunking away at their phones. I was suddenly struck with the old analogy of a million monkeys at a million typewriters… I just had to laugh.

Monday, October 04, 2004

L.A. beats with an Oakland booty

durban, south africa

The black women in this country are proud of their big asses. For real. You go to a club and they're bouncing around like Shakira having an epileptic fit, smaking their butts, all the while looking over their shoulders to make sure the booty is "doing its thang". Now before the PC police come down on me for saying it, you've got to understand that its a whole other world over here when it comes to the differences in the races. I was on a bus in a little town near Lesotho in the Free State and as I sat squeezed between two rather robust Lesotho women the driver/tour guide asked me what I thought of these beautifully fat women. I sat their stunned. He asked if I knew what it was that made these women so fat to which the women burst out in laughter... much to my relief because if they had reacted as most women I know to being called "fat" I think the carnage would have been gruesome. The women I met in this part of the country didn't want to look like Britney Spears... I think they'd sooner eat her for lunch if she wasn't so boney. Back home our attitude to racism is to deny that there is any difference between anyone: "who cares what people look like, we're all the same inside". Over here its a little different. It's not a faux pas to talk about the differences between the races. When you're describing someone to a friend and you say "that black guy" or "the indian girl", the music doesn't screetch to a stop and the room doesn't suddenly go deathly silent as everyone in the room stands stunned at your flagrant racism. I suppose its just a product of a unique history that created a deep rooted attitude in South Africans that being open minded to race doesn't mean being colour blind. It means being proud to be different.

A final word to the wise... when a big mamma decides that its time to shake her bon-bon on the dance floor, you best stand out of the way.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Ya Mampela?

cape town, south africa

So I went all the way up to the Pig and Whistle last week at 1AM, fully prepared to pay the owner of the pub to keep the place open until 3 (on a Wednesday) to watch Canada kick Finland’s ass. No such luck. The game was only televised on ESPN 2 and of course, they only get regular ESPN here! At least I’ll be home for the World Juniors. Hmmm… what else is new. Spent a week in the Drakensberg Mountains after flying to Durban. Did a bunch of hiking, did some cliff-jumping, had a pint in the highest pub on the continent… the usual.

Even went to Lesotho and visited a Sangoma (she’s like a traditional healer/witch-doctor) Spent a couple of days in Durban and met some really great people who gave me some great ideas about what to do with my five-weeks of travel time that I have after my last exam on November 2. Now I’m thinking about going to Atosha Game Reserve in Namibia, spending a couple of days at Vic Falls, and definitely doing some diving of the coast of Mozambique. There’s a few of us talking about renting a house boat in Zimbabwe on Lake Kariba for a couple of days too. So much to do…. So much money… good thing it grows on trees. Right?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A Higher Education

cape town, south africa

What I've learned living with 3 women...

Boys are stupid... unless the're paying lots and lots of attention to you. Then they're still probably stupid, but you should be nice to them anyway just in case they have hot friends.

Girls are good at science... they must be because you would need a degree in chemistry to figure out how to use all the various skin creams and hair products that litter our bathroom

The reason many girls obsess about their hair is because it is perpetually falling out. Girls hair must grow really fast or else, judging by the amount of hair in the drain in our sink, all of my roomates should be bald by now

Having an undesireable guy flirt with you is better than having no guy at all

Never come between a woman and a tub of Blueberry Cheesecake Icecream... Never!

When a girl asks you: "Can I have the rest of the pudding you made last night" an appropriate response is NOT: "Didn't you just eat an entire tub of Blueberry Cheesecake Icecream?" Trust me on this one.

Girls don't take out the garbage. They just don't.

When Sex and The City is on TV... everyone better shut up. When a James Bond movie is on, no such rule applies.

When the topic of conversation turns to fresh brownies, Bridget Jone's Diary, or "that cute guy in our history class who sat next to me today...", cover your ears and leave the room because there's going to be a lot of screetching going on.

Sarcastic responses that work with the guys somehow aren't as funny in a house full of girls.


Laura - I need a shower!
Rich - <holding his nose> Wow, you sure do!

Not funny.

A salad can be a meal... not just a side dish.

Skim milk and low-fat cottage cheese is important because it wont make you fat. Neither does an entire tub of Blueberry Cheesecake Icecream.

South African boys are too skinny

When a woman tells you she's fat, she doesn't really think she's fat. She just wants to hear you tell her that she isn't. (please note that sarcasm is not appropriate here either)

When girls get ready to go out to a party they must spend at least five minutes before they leave, telling eachother: "You look beautiful! I wish I had boobs like yours". Then the other one must reply with: "Oh my god! You're gorgeous in that top. I wish my butt would fit in pants like those!"

You must do everything you can to make guys pay attention to you... try and talk about things they're interested in, wear a low cut top, laugh at things that aren't funny... and then you must act surprised when they actually DO pay attention to you.

If he DOESN'T pay attention to you, he's just an arrogant ass-hole.

But don't throw his number away yet...

...he might have cute friends.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Just call me "Hottie"

cape town, south africa

I’m doing volunteer work with an organization on campus called SHAWCO. I get picked up at 3 on Tuesdays, with about 10 other volunteers, and we go to one of the settlements and visit a home for kids with severe mental and physical disabilities. It’s hard to describe what its like but it’s already one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I spend a couple of hours playing with kids that have conditions ranging from mild cerebral palsy to some that are nearly catatonic. All of them have been abandoned by their parents because of their disabilities and they live together in a tiny little 2-room building. I spend Tuesday evenings at an orphanage for children in a different settlement. These kids are happy and healthy for the most part, they’ve just been orphaned because of extreme poverty or AIDs. I spend a couple of hours here just playing with the kids. They love to dance and sing and the boys especially love to wrestle. It’s good times… Its like being 8-years-old again. I spent most of last Tuesday, pretending to be a WWF wrestler while 8 little boys tried to take me to the ground. Apparently, my new blonde hair makes me look like a WWF wrestler named “Scotty-Too-Hottie”, so that’s what they all call me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


cape town, south africa

Right... so after a few too many drinks and some coaxing from the girls, Nick and I decided that it would be a good idea to bleach our hair. After picking up the stuff from Clicks, we got ourselves good and psyched up and started mixing the chemicals. 30 minutes later, Nick's hair is looking slightly more blonde than it did before and me... My hair was somewhere between an orange and a carrot. Fully rediculous. After toughing out one day at school and funny looks from people that weren't sure if they recognized me, I stopped at a local barber shop to see if it could be fixed. This guy seemed very convinced that he had the solution to my problem. "120 Rand and I'll fix all your problem". 1 hour later: Yellow. Full-on, Hulk Hogan-esque, bright yellow hair. I look like I'm growing a crop of Saskatchewan wheat on my head. I also look like a 16-year-old surf punk from SoCal (no offense to my friends in SoCal). I'm thinking about playing the part all the way and start talking like Bill and Ted. Interjecting in my politics tutorial with comments like: "That Mandela bro was a pretty gnarley dude huh?"

Maybe not.

On the brighter side, I went out on my first rockclimbing trip with the mountaineering club and everyone just assumed I was this hard-core adrenaline junkie from America. Must have been the accent...

Thursday, July 08, 2004

African Penguins???

cape town, south africa

Orientation week is nearly over and I can finally get into a regular routine. My first week here on the Cape has been great but there’s been so much to do and so much to organize before school starts on Monday that I’ve had no time to relax. My courses are all registered now and I’ll be taking politics, history, and even some introductory Swahili. I’m living in a small house with three other exchange students: Laura is from Washington, DC, another Laura is from near Yorkshire, England, and Julie is from Germany… Yup, just me and the girls. Life is sweet eh?

I’ve also seen a lot of the region in my first week. I’ve been to the Cape of Good Hope, the South-western most point on the African continent, seen penguins on the beach, and survived my first ride in a mini-bus taxi… more to come about that later.

For now I’ve got to get off this computer and down to the Pick-‘N-Pay to grab some meat and a case of Castle Lager for our big Brai tomorrow night (South African BBQ).

Oh ya, it’s 23 degrees and sunny. I love African winter.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Don't drink and fly

cape town, south africa

So after barely making my flight out of Vancouver thanks to traffic and my genetic disposition to pushing the clock, I finally made it onto the plane an determined never to be late for another flight...

not to be...

I had an 8 hour lay-over in London so I caught the Underground from Heathrow into town. It's July 1st, Canada Day, and after a little sightseeing I run into a guy wearing a Canucks jersey! As I walk past the guy, I see a HUGE crowd of people wearing hockey jerseys and waving Canadian flags. The police had the street blocked off and it was the biggest Canada Day party I'd ever seen! I met a whole bunch of people from all over Canada who were in London for all sorts of reasons. There must have been about 5 or 6 hundred people. There was a pub on the street called the Maple Leaf and they were selling nothing but Molson Canadian and Sleemans! Ya, so after about 3 hours, I'm on my second case of Canadian, am wearing a paper hockey helmet, and singing "Oh Canada" at the top of my lungs with a bunch of strangers from home. It was great! Finally, someone asked me what time my flight left and I was too drunk to care (or panic for that matter). Fortunately, this guy named Tim from Vancouver introduced me to his Austrian friend Bianca who was kind enough to lead me to the Underground station and make sure I got on the right train.

Heathrow is a BIG BIG airport... it's even bigger when you're vision is blurry and your feet aren't working properly. Thanks to the kindness of strangers I managed to get to my flight just as they were finishing up boarding.


Saturday, July 03, 2004

What do you mean its raining??

cape town, south africa

I made it. I'm finally in Cape Town after 30 hours of travelling. It's 10 degrees and pissing rain! What's up with that? I'm in Africa! It's supposed to be like 100 degrees here all year isn't it? Turns out Wintertime in the Cape is a lot like April in Vancouver. I only have a couple of minutes before this Internet connection expires so I'll tell my amazing Canada Day story next time.

My address for the next 5 months is:

79 Albion Road
Rondebosch, 7700
Cape Town, South Africa

Feel free to send letters, country music, and Canadian Beer.

You can also call me from North America on my cell. Dial this from Canada or the US:


All the best to everyone back home. Enjoy the sun, you'll miss it when its gone.


Tuesday, June 22, 2004


vancouver, canada

Pissing it up one more time... Boone County Country Cabaret in Coquitlam! This Saturday, June 26. Everyone is invited, I'll probably get there around 10. Last big Booner night... maybe forever. End of an era. See you guys at "our spot".

Here we go...

vancouver, canada

Alright, it's one week before I leave for a chilly Cape Town winter so I thought I better figure out how I'm going to do this thing. This is my experiment post to get the bugs out before I go. For those of you that don't know, I'm moving to Cape Town South Africa on Wednesday to go to school at UCT for a semester before taking 6 weeks and traveling around Southern Africa.

Now that work has pretty much finished up I've been enjoying the hot Vancouver weather as much as I can. Camping, Baseball games, Out at Cultus Lake Waterslides yesterday with Nate and Maquinna, 24 Hour Relay with the crew from SSLC, BBQ for Lind's b-day at Spanish Banks... Gotta squeeze it all in before I go.

Here's a couple pictures from the last few weeks

More Later.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Clean slate...

vancouver, canada

Alright, lets try this again. One day I'll set this thing up just the way I like it. Hopefully before June 30th when I take off to Cape Town for 6 months. For now I'll stay buried in term papers and report cards during the day, and at night, wishing I was back here: