Thursday, May 24, 2007

Belly Beautiful

Just look at these two -- gorgeous. This weekend it was pretty cool to see them comparing notes, commiserating and laughing about their pregnancy predicaments. Here we thought we might be done with two kids years ago, and figured A & E might never have any...but now it looks like we'll have a couple of new babies within a week of each other, maybe even sharing a birthday. It was great to connect with them in this transition time, hearing about their preparations, hopes and fears -- I have no doubt that they will be fantastic parents. Lucky kid!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Happy Birthday to It (The History of Headspacej: Part 1)

Four years ago I titled the first post, "What Do I Put in This Thing?", followed by a quick ode to Big Rock ales. Through the rest of that first week, I apparently enjoyed the Matrix Reloaded and proclaimed my love of mountain biking. Breaking news!

Allow me some reminiscing. I think September '03 was when the blog started to hit its stride, with the digital camera helping immensely in that regard. Just before Ella was born, and just after the big Kelowna fires. I was in a reflective space, and obviously had plenty of time to write.

Looking back through the years, trips to Winnipeg figure prominently, including weddings of old friends. It's been too long since I've been back.

Our move to Summerland was a biggie, well documented here ever since. During that time we were getting used to Ella, and my parental leave ended in February, starting my working life as a telecommuter. Spring '04 brought my new bike (not so new anymore) and the first blog birthday. By August of that summer, I was in a funk, and whined to the world. Maybe I was just bummed that we didn't buy the ski lodge.

Fall '04 saw me getting interested in Summerland politics and envisioning a world-class trail network. As winter set in, we had Tannis's Slow Food birthday party, biked/snowboarded/played hockey and attended the fateful Christmas party here at Bill's where we now live.

That brings us up the half-way point in this four-year journey through web memory. I'll have to continue another time when I'm not so sleepy. I love skimming back through the months and years and seeing the friends, events and milestones appearing alongside the mundane, thoughtful and silly things that come up. To me, it looks like the record of a life well lived -- thanks for sharing it with me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Eidse Visit

We haven't hosted much company at the new place yet, so it was great to have our special friends Angelo and Esther out for the weekend. Tannis and Esther are almost identically pregnant, so they were quite a tag team -- photos to come if I can convince them to let me post one. It was a super fun, mellow visit for all of us, and Angelo and I took advantage of a good situation to ride our butts off.
  • Weird, intense thunderstorm with hail shortly after they arrived, but it turned sunny and warm immediately after. Ella liked having slushy hail-balls thrown at her since she was safely behind the window.
  • We sweated up McDougal Rim's nasty climb to the little lake at the top for a rest, a snack and good conversation. At that point you mostly forget the pain and feel lucky.
  • The descent is several thousand vertical feet of seemingly endless singletrack with a surprising amount of variation, from tight, loamy sub-alpine forests and roots, opening up as it comes down into sparser forest and exposed, rocky sections where the trail is wider, looser and faster. From many places along the rim, you get great lookout points over Kelowna and the lake, and the wildflowers were putting on a show. Only one flat tire.
  • Saturday night Tan coolked up a stellar lasagna and we hung out -- good friends, good times, good livin'.
  • On Sunday, we hung around with the girls while ultra-cute preggos Tannis and Esther went for a walk, then headed out for another long ride, taking a cross-country-singletrack route up the backside of Rebellion to the top and retracing it back down later. Angelo got a great shot of me jumping a little log.
  • Ice cream at Summerland Sweets capped off another hot ride, and then the Eidses headed back out on the highway in the early evening.
  • Long-weekend Monday was restful and quiet, although we were all a bit grouchy here. Ivy struggled with the "Big Eye Sam" saga, trying to figure out the ethics of capturing something wild for a pet (a minnow). Big Eye didn't do well after we took him home from the beach, despite her best efforts to create a comfortable aquarium. As it became clear that he was on the way out, she threw her efforts into planning for and setting up an elaborate funeral, complete with invitations, a headstone, and decorated coffin. Then I realized that we could just take Big Eye back to the lake to "give him a chance at a good life", rather than continuing with funeral preparations. Much discussion and angst ensued, but it seemed to end up ok.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

LA (again)

I've never been grouchier about a trip than I was last Sunday. I was missing Tannis and the girls worse than ever within a couple of hours, I got worked over by U.S. Immigration (making me feel like an illegal alien), forgot the powercord for my laptop, which makes it useless within a pathetic hour of battery life, and forgot to arrange to meet friends in Vancouver during a lengthy stopover. Then the cabby cussed me out in LA when I gave him my credit card and made me go get cash from the hotel lobby. I was fully foul by the time I got into my room, and couldn't even work or mess around online to mellow out.

After talking to Tan on the phone and saying goodnight to the girls, I was fine. I picked up sushi and a big Fat Tire Ale to savour while I watched Return of the King on TBS. Work was good (sharing Don's extra batteries), with three days of mostly meetings. I snuck out early Tuesday morning and rode down to Venice Beach in 45 minutes for a smoothie before turning around and riding to the office to start work. I stopped to snap a few photos on the ride: surfers waiting and catching a wimpy wave, beach cruiser, tropical flowers, flying pelicans, watching herons, and some typical garbage in the "creek". We had a contingent from the Kelowna office and enjoyed a real Italian feast that night with them -- good people, fun and smart.

The next night we went bowling at some upscale lanes in Hollywood with the whole Xap crew. They were totally into it, cheering strikes and gutterballs with nearly equal enthusiasm. The open bar helped, I think. I tried to channel the spirit of Len, my old bowling persona, but my first game truly stank. I don't think I got a single spare, never mind a strike. But my fortunes appeared to change going into Game 2, opening with two strikes, then a spare. Unfortunately, we will never know how great it might have turned out, because we ran out of time in the fourth frame.

Dessert at an Oprah-approved (and pretty hip) bakery called Doughboys with a smaller group from Xap. Nice mellow vibe and some good laughs. Now I'm watching out the window as Air Canada flies me over Crater Lake, Portland and the Gorge. It's good to be going home.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


No, I didn't take this photo last night at the Everclear show. I didn't want to shlep my camera around all night and figured (rightly) that there were probably a gazillion photos of the tour in nearly identical venues all over the continent.

The show was reminiscent of every concert I've seen in bad night clubs, including the headlining band starting their set at midnight. The Element in Penticton is indistinguishable from Winnipeg's Night Moves or the Diamond Club circa 1989, and the choice of music leading up to the bands fit the vibe -- Guns 'n Roses, AC/DC and some old classic dance songs. Surely there was some Billy Idol in there; perhaps Tannis remembers.

Anyway, it took forever for the opening bands to start. The first band, Marianas Trench from Vancouver, played very tight, energetic rock, maybe a bit punk. Still need to dig up some of their songs online to see if the recordings are as good. We skipped out on the second opening band to get some fresh air.

Finally Everclear made it on. Basically, it's the original singer/songwriter/guitarist Art Alexis with a lineup that's changed a few times, but you'd never know it wasn't the original band by how they sounded. Art's aged, like all of us, I suppose. Still got the full-sleeve tattoos, bleach-blond hair and the angular features...the usual rocker-frontman banter about how great the crowd is, encouraging people to drink more or whatever. Several of the things he talked about between songs had a note of regret, of having learned a few hard lessons from years of hard living.

But yeah, the music. The first three songs made it worth going -- Everything to Everyone, Amphetamine and Father of Mine. It took most of the opener for them to hit their stride, only getting the rhythm, harmonies and sound mix dialed in near the end. Amphetamine was faster and more fun than the original, letting them really let 'er rip. But it was Father of Mine that really paid off the price of admission for me -- emotionally intense, quiet-to-loud build-ups that had people bouncing in anticipation, and just all-out power-chord beauty in the chorus. Seriously awesome.

After that, the performance kinda lagged, with some older, quieter songs and a truly terrible Rolling Stones cover. Their version of Summerland was significantly better than the recording, but they seemed to be going through the motions on A.M. Radio -- I haven't really been into their more recent stuff. At this point it was 1:00am, my folks were still watching the girls at our place and I had a morning flight out to LA, so we ditched out. Although I knew they'd likely play a few more of my favourites off So Much for the Afterglow (maybe Watch the World Die, I Will Buy You a New Life) and maybe even When it All Goes Wrong Again off Songs From an American Movie, we felt like we had experienced enough of the "culture" of the Penticton bar scene for one night.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Third Round

I figured out that the way to get 22 comments on the blog was to post about the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Looks like I did better with the second round, only blowing the call on San Jose beating Detroit, and both Anaheim and Ottawa won in five instead of the six I had predicted. I wasn't too disappointed to see the Canucks go down -- their season exceeded my expectations to the point where it was impossible to to bummed out about the ending to it.

Round three predictions:

Ottawa over Buffalo in 7 -- Buffalo has looked really good, but the Senators are playing so well, they'll deserve their trip to the final. Obviously, I'm cheering for Ottawa, and I'm hoping (and half-expecting) to see them pummel the winner of the Western Conference in the finals.

Anaheim over Detroit in 6 -- I wasn't that impressed with the Ducks against Vancouver, but it sounds like Detroit is pretty beat up. I'd like to see the Ducks in the final.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Honey Honey

Some buzz on the new album from Canadian indie darling Feist, who I paid some attention to in 2004 when Mushaboom was a quirky hit. A friend forked the new songs over a couple of months ago and I gave them a skimming listen, quickly deleting the whole album except one tune. Not that it was terrible -- it's just very mellow and I probably wasn't in the mood or whatever. But the one song I kept is a true masterpiece: Honey Honey (mp3 from a really nice mp3 blog I hadn't seen before). The subtle beauty snuck up on me and sent me scrambling back to listen to the other songs again -- I still haven't warmed up to the whole album, but that

Monday, May 07, 2007

Laughing Sisters

This one's from a hike up to the top of Giant's Head as the sun set with very warm light. I got similar shot with more serious expressions (and black 'n white), but I like the playfulness of this one. Another gallery of sisters:

Sunday, May 06, 2007


We had a wonderful supper with dear friend Marj last week, and she razzed me for not posting enough (every day is the expectation, apparently) and never posting a photo of where we live. I thought, "man, there must be a hundred photos of the house up already", then couldn't remember a single one. So, this is what it looks like as you come in the driveway. The garage is at the end of the driveway, the garden is behind the garage, and the whole west side is bordered by this apple orchard. The sunroom's got a great hammock spot. A few photos from the yard:

Friday, May 04, 2007

Cliff Ride

Nope, no cliff rides for me -- I've been working so much that it's cutting into my riding in a big way. Only Nine Inch Nails, breaks to see friends, and the occasional McNally's kept me from being too bitter about it this weekend. Anyway, a friend in Summerland sent me a bunch of photos of Hans Rey and Steve Peat riding cliffs in Ireland (scroll down to Oct.20). Very cool images by photographer Victor Lucas, and the pub quest sounds pretty ideal as well.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Forest Fungi

Myron and I were riding some new trails (photos: Myron climbing and resting, me perched on a rock beside the lightning tree) above his place in Faulder on the weekend, and I noticed this interesting mushroom growing on a fallen fir tree. It might not look like much, but I knew it was unique in the semi-arid Okanagan ecosystem, so I snapped a few photos and did some research later to find out that it was a type of rare Miccorhizal fungi for this area. Now I know Plett has been hassling me about the constant stream of close-up photos of weeds and flowers on the blog lately, but I think even he will be fascinated by what I found when I got home and looked closely at the photos of this particular fungi: zoomed-in close-up.