Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Road Trip

This bizarre pattern is part of Spotted Lake, just outside Osoyoos. Tannis and I spent the day touring down through the South Okanagan and hitting some old favourite spots (and a few new ones):
  • Breakfast in the sunshine beside the lake at Shaughnessy's. Not only did I not have my camera, I forgot my wallet at home as well.
  • We dropped in on our friend Gayle at Blasted Church and enjoyed the drive along the east side of Skaha.
  • Lunch at Best of India in Oliver, a great little family-owned place we've enjoyed before. Delicious Indian food and friendly people. We wandered up Oliver's little main street strip and got some goodies at the East Indian grocery. Lots of Quebecois fruit pickers converging there for cherry season.
  • It wasn't hot when we left Summerland, but by the time we hit Osoyoos, it was getting really warm. We found Hayne's Point and enjoyed a glorious afternoon swimming (check out that belly) and walking. It's a bizarre and beautiful place; a thin strip of desert and marshy wetlands jutting out into Osoyoos lake with a campground crammed onto it -- nice walking trails and warm water.
  • We spotted Spotted Lake on the way over to Keremeos later in the afternoon, and made a run for Hedley, a tiny gold-rush town that seems to have captured my imagination. Since we were kid-free, we got a chance to try the Gold Dust Pub, a hundred-year-old house beside the Similkameen River that was converted into a cozy pub with excellent food and beer.
Then we had the rest of the weekend to just hang out and enjoy the quiet while my folks took care of the girls (thanks!). It seems to me that we did something else fun, but my memory is hopeless.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Helmet-Head Hieberts

We attempted an exotic family getaway in....wait for it....Merritt this weekend. Took the long southern route to get there, through Keremeos and Princeton and up the 5A. We picked up the first cherries of the season at a fruit stand owned by a Sikh family celebrating some guru holiday that involved them giving away free food -- in this case the best veggie curry and rice I've ever had.

Saw a baby moose with his mom, meadows so thick with purple lupins that it made your eyes go buggy, and had a picnic beside a foggy, rainy, Allison Lake. We just toodled along, stopping when we felt like it, finally checking in at the Ramada in Merritt, and of course the girls were thrilled with the proceedings. A POOL! Boston Pizza for supper, the playground down the street afterwards, then cartoons in the room and a stack of kids' books.

In the morning, we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel, then coffee at a great local cafe (not just great for Merritt, actually great), then I went riding for a few hours with Angelo, who came up to meet me from Vancouver (...again, this is almost becoming traditional: April '05, June '05 and May '06). Seriously awesome riding, with the Godey Creek trails in perfect condition from recent downpours, then a pub lunch and a couple of beers with him later...pretty much my ideal father's day, combining a super family outing with single-guy good livin'.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ivy Jane

Ivy's such a cool kid, it stokes me up. She's always designing things, coming up with projects and plans and set-ups and performances. It's honestly hard to keep up. A few other photos of her from the last while:

Friday, June 08, 2007

Year Zero

As a reflection of my mental space (at work anyway) between February and May, I listened to Nine Inch Nails for hours each day. It's mostly pretty dark, oppressive stuff and seemed to suit the mood. The reason I seem to have a hard time getting into whole albums is because they usually have some duds, and this one is no exception, but the genius cancels out the garbage. Listen to the whole thing here...

I remember the first time I heard NIN. Chris Eidse's tape in the winter of 1991-92, during an era I've come to realize as the defining transition time in my life. I had no money, had just been dumped, living in different places, was struggling in university...so Reznor was creating just the right sounds of rage and alienation. That was also a time when I forged my core friendships for the next decade, with music as the glue that stuck us together, so I've always had a soft spot for NIN. But yeah, the new album.

Year Zero is incredibly polarized, an phenomenon easily represented by a single song -- the first half of The Great Destroyer might be like the second-best straight-up rock he's ever done, with wicked guitar riffs and great melodies...but then at 1:41, the cheesiest overdubbed Queen-like chorus nearly ruins the entire thing, followed by a minute and a half of dissonance that sounds like your computer devouring itself with the speakers cranked. The rest of the album has that same split personality.

Interestingly, the songs I've seen referenced positively in other reviews are the ones I thought were weakest: Capital G, the irritating first single Survivalism, God Given, Meet Your Master, and Vessel. I guess they go with the concept album theme, and maybe I just haven't come around yet, but I'm having a hard time listening to them at all. The mostly instrumental songs are all fine, but aren't remarkable. Jury's still out on a couple of them: the album-closing ballad Zero-Sum and The Good Soldier, which has an odd lounge vibe that doesn't really seem to fit.

But the good news here is very, very good. The album's lone pop song is called In This Twilight, and it alone justifies purchasing the album. I guess I'm just a pansy NIN fan for liking the mellower, mid-tempo songs best, but this tune is seriously perfect. Next comes a trio of gems: The Warning, The Beginning of the End and My Violent Heart, all dripping with attitude, intense sound and pure musical craftsmanship. Me, I'm Not could be probably be included in that group as well. These are not easy listening by any means, but after repeated listens, they're becoming the soundtrack to my conciousness.

An offer: any friends who aren't fans but are curious enough to try it, e-mail me your mailing address and I'll send you my personal best-of mix. 15 great NIN songs burned on a CD.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Famous Pentictonites

The New York Times had an interesting article this week called Sharing a Hobby, Online and in Person, featuring a photo and interviews with two women from Penticton who I've followed through Flickr over the last couple of years, soulvision (who I posted about last year) and mandyonearth. Both have inspired me to see my home landscape with clearer eyes, and helped me figure out how to capture interesting bits of it with a camera -- cool to see their skills and efforts recognized like this.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Wonderful visit with Pearl and Mark last week. They tried out the camper and it seems to have passed the test as an external in-law suite. The girls were in their glory, of course, and the weather turned out much nicer than the forecast. We sat and drank coffee a fair bit, and I got to do my own thing while the rest of the crew went out -- went riding and finally did our taxes.

Bill arrived for a quick visit the day Pearl and Mark left. The weather turned hot and we had a fantastic party with some of Bill's crew and our mutual friends. I had the week off, and the heat meant lots of beach time. I also did some stuff around the house, played with princesses, hung around playgrounds and Tannis got some breaks -- she's done magic with the flowers on the yard. Along the way we managed to say good-bye to our old car and replace it with a shiny Honda.