katsmeat: (Hat)
I spent Christmas Day playing with Hugin - a panorama stitcher; it works quite well.
See under cut for a panorma I took on the Athabasca glacier in Summer 07. It needs a lot of tweaking for the exposure, but I have more important things to be doing right now.

Although you don't quite have the full effect of being there unless, by a staggering coincidence, you have your computer set up in front of a powerful wind machine, connected to as industrial-sized air-chiller. For the freezing Katabatic wind, permanently blowing downhill into the valley.

Read more... )
katsmeat: (Default)
Oh, one more thing about Quebec... the food is wonderful. Except for poutine, which is foul.

Sorry, it just is.
katsmeat: (Default)
Took a wander round the l'Île Sainte-Hélène. It's parkland but includes a fort built by the British in the 1820's to cover the St. Laurence - in case the Yanks ever tried to pull a re-run of 1812. The v.cool museum there is mainly about pre-1760, New France. Although I noticed the display texts about the 7 Years War described French victories as 'Glorious' and defeats as 'Catastrophic' . I thought there was a vague onus for museums to be impartial - just like historians, journalists and Wikipedia writers.

< Laughs >

On the way back, I wandered through the old city. Everybody says it looks just like somewhere in Europe. But since I've just come from Europe and am going back tomorrow, I found myself thinking "Yes it does. Soo...?"

On the way back to the hostel, I walked down Rue Ste. Catherine - the main up-market shopping strip. As I said yesterday, there are a lot of beggars and I hate the feelings they provoke in me.

I feel a certain amount of compassion. But I pass on by like everybody else and hate myself for it. However, what I mainly seem to feel is fear. It's the idea that people are placed in that position by a spiraling succssion of disasters in their lives that they lack the capacity to reverse. I start wondering how many disasters I am away from being just like the woman with a sleeping bag, in a doorway, reading a book . Or the emaciated, shirtless, one-armed man with a matted beard. I suspect I'll remember him much longer than Île Sainte-Hélène.

I've been in a funny mood... I'll be glad to be going back.
katsmeat: (Hat)
Edmonton, Alberta vs Montreal, Quebec

Read more... )
katsmeat: (lecherous)
Je suis en Montreal, dande l'auberge de jeunesse.

C'est mon premier visite au Canada Francophone. Je pense la ville est tres froid.

Mais malheureusement, mon Francais est tres merde.

But that's OK as everybody seems to be bilingual.
katsmeat: (Dreamy)
Today, I went to see Order of the Phoenix at the IMAX theatre in the West-Ed Mall. They had remastered the print specially. This was a relief as the CG on Goblet of Fire was painfully obvious on a screen twice the usual size, when I saw that on an IMAX - I think Ray Harryhausen would have done a better job.

Also, they did the Ministry Battle sequence in 3D, so it was a case of don the funny glasses with the polarizing lenses. All in all, it was scarily immersive. Though a 40 foot Richard Griffiths/Vernon in dribling, spluttering outrage mode is something I'm going to try hard to forget.

Oh yes... as this was an afternoon, school-day showing, near the end of the run, there where seven people there. The ticket chappie said if I had gone to the 12pm show, I could have had an IMAX to myself.
katsmeat: (Happy)
You may have noticed I've been off-line for a while...

Well, you see, I've been quite a busy time with one of my bikes.

Cut for big big entry and lots of pictures...

Read more... )
katsmeat: (Default)
The first networking in 560 km.

I set off a day late and spent 3 nights in Nordegg - which offers more of interest than might be suspected in a town with a population of 80 - and most of a day getting up-close and personal with a glacier on the Columbia Ice Field.

I'm currently in Jasper, where I'll be spending 5 days on the mountain bike trails in the area.
katsmeat: (Embarrassed)
Im starting the big bike trip tomorrow. The first leg will be south-west from Edmonton to somewhere called Pigeon Lake. Then Nordegg (a ghost town, so don't look for it on Google Maps) via Rocky Mountain House and the David Thomson Highway. Tuesday should see me in the Nordegg Youth Hostel, after which I'll be leading north to Jasper along the Icefields Parkway. I imagine I'll be in Jasper in about 8-9 days time. And I'll spend a day or two pootling about the trails around Magline Canyon. Then Northward to Grande Cache.

Oddly, I feel very ambivolent about this trip. I suppose the timing of my trip to Canada was determined by my brother's wedding, not my own inclination so it's been difficult to get into the holiday mood. The bike trip feels like something that got tacked on solely to justify the cost and carbon associated with coming over here.

At the same time, I know I'm doing something most people will never get a chance to. So I'll be setting off tomorrow, filled with the hope that at some point, I might start to like it.

KD mentioned to me somebody he knew who ran the Boston Marathon every year. Until one year, when he was pouding along he realized he didn't enjoy it and he didn't need the all-too-brief buzz of achievement. Ignoring (and dumbfounding) the cheering crowds, he stopped there and then and went home. In a way, he liberated himself.

"His road to Damascus was the road to Harvard Square," I said.

I've spent too much money to emulate him, though I do feel like it.

In other news, I've still not found time to read Julia Serano's book. So I'll bring it with me. You can imagine me reading it under the light of a headtorch while outside the tent, the wildlife makes free with my food supply.
katsmeat: (Hat)
Currently in a wireless equipped coffee shop on White Ave... which counts as Edmonton's 'alternative' area.

Today's shopping list of some last minute camping things includes a bear-proof food container.

I'm really not feeling 100% about this trip.
katsmeat: (Hat)
A bunch of drunken Norwegians just had bonfire on the river bank and burnt all their trashed skis - as an offering to the snow gods so that next winter will also be good.

That's something you don't get in a normal ski resort hotel.
katsmeat: (Hat)
Midnight, and I've just about to email some results to the Prof. I generally set the computer running in the morning and analyse whet it's produced when I get back from the ski hill.

Actually, lift passes not included, daily living costs are about on-par with back home.

Why didn't I come out six months ago?
katsmeat: (Hat)
Currently here.

It's a backwater town - if I say a Canadian Thetford, then anybody from Norfolk on my fl will get the idea - that had one one of North Amerca's best regarded ski hills dropped on it, out of the blue, about four years ago.

You can tell they've not gotten used to the idea of being a ski resort - there aren't even any art galleries in town yet - just trucker's bars where the big screen TV's have long ago given up on the idea of ever showing anything other than hockey.

It is a good hill - I know because had a couple of near death experiences today. The last of which was when I went for what I thought was a steepish, but OK, blue run, but which soon turned out not to be a snow covered hillside but a smooth ice-rink inclined at about 40 degrees to the horizontal. Put it this way, if you walked across it, assuming that were possible, you wouldn't leave footprints.

It was an interesting position to be in - I sat there and contemplated if for a while, with the board horizontal and the board's rails digging into the ice just enough to hold me. I knew if I lost my grip, I wouldn't get it back and would wind up hitting the bank of trees at the bottom at 30 or 40 mph.

Both up and down were out so I edged myself to the side of the run, literally an few inches at a time.

Also, at the top of the mountain (8000 and something feet), they have Canada's highest restaurant. I didn't plan on eating there - I assumed I wouldn't be able to afford it. But I did go in and had the highest pee I've ever had without the help of an aircraft.
katsmeat: (Hat)
Did I mention Lake Louise is the highest (5039 ft) permanently inhabited settlement in Canada? Well it is. Here, (quickly recalls appropriate equation) the air is at 82% of sea-level pressure. At the highest point on the ski-hill, it's down to 72%.

Also, it is a dead-and-alive hole, that consists of a petrol station, a bunch of hotels, a convince store and a ski shop. With absolutely nothing to after the ski-lifts close at 4:00pm except faff about on-line and drink beer.

Note to self - next time a trip like this is being contemplated, stay in Banff.

< shrugs > At least I'm getting some work done (after an irate email from Professor Paying-My-Wages).

PS I was quite lucky getting down the Parkway on Wednesday - it was bocked by an avalanche the next day.
katsmeat: (Hat)
Just got into Lake Louise and I'm killing time until I can book into the Hostel at 3pm.

The trip from Jasper is via the Icefields Parkway which is incredible. Effectively, it's like they ran a two-lane highway through the Misty-Mountain-Scene-Setting shots in the Fellowship of the Ring. You expect to see four short and five tall people, standing by the side of the road, arguing which way to go. It was actually touch and go that the road would be open and the bus running as they has a two foot snow dump last night.

I guess you know the deal - mountains thousands of feet above the road, cliffs of blue glacier ice hundreds of feet high, especially round the Columbia Ice field. At points, the road climbed close to the top of the tree-line and, in exposed areas, vision became obscured by misty clouds of blown show everywhere - which made fascinating sand-dune like patterns on the ground.

The only breaks in the snow are snow and rock debris jumbles from the constant avalanches - it's interesting to see the pattern of tree growth on the mountainsides, which clearly mark out the good and bad places to grow from the sixty mile per hour hurtling wall of snow and ice point of view.

No pictures though as in this trip I'm cameraless. I thought of bringing one, but I don't really do spur of the moment purchases. I need to decide I want a camera and then to spend about a month deciding which one. The I-need-a-camera thing hasn't happened as I don't seem to do the social occasions or the trips-somewhere-interesting that are the main excuses for filling memory cards. Besides, I never bother looking at the pictures of trips I've taken in the past, nobody else ever seems very interested in looking at them so why bother? They was a guy on the bus who was bugging the hell out of me by taking pictures literally every minute - perhaps a couple of hundred over the four hour trip. Crappy compact digital shots taken from a moving bus aren't going to communicate one tenth of one percent of the experience so what was the point?

I think I prefer my memories.
katsmeat: (Hat)
Location - Alberta, land of cows and oil - the Canadian Texas. Drinking my brother's beer.

Today was my first day on snow in exactly a year. A place called Rabbit Hill just outside Edmonton.

It was nerve wracking, to an extent, because when you get to the top of the hill, you find all the 'cool' nose pierced, goateed snowboard dudes and dudeettes are hanging out and you just know that on your first run, you'll have a spectacular splat after going about 40 feet.

Actually, I did OK. and the splats I did have were mainly without an audience.

Getting the Greyhound to Jasper tomorrow.
katsmeat: (Hat)
20% humidity and nylon mix carpets will soon lead to a phobia for touching metal objects. Even walking 15 feet seems to develop enough charge for an unplesant zap.

Walking around in bare feet seems to be the trick.
katsmeat: (Thoughtful)
Seat 34H Air Canada AC 857, somewhere betwheen Ireland and Iceland.

Although that won't be true for when this gets posted, it's true for when it's written. That's good enough.

On the train down to Heathrow I noticed, over somebody's shoulder, a story in The Sun about some guy who'd blown, £15K, his marriage and, I'm assuming, thousands of hours on a radio-controlled model airplane that crashed on its first flight. The Sun article was likely the usual crap (written by smart people who know what dumb people like to read) that patronises, condemns or derides anybody who deviates much from the narrow norm. Of course, this includes the obsessed.

Only, it's the obsessed that do interesting stuff. A guy with a mild interest in radio controlled planes buys one in a shop. They don't invest years and the price of a car in something like a 1/10 scale B52 propelled by 8 working jets or some jet-powered, carbon-fibre thing intended to break the sound barrier (both have been done, BTW but still). In the end, who cares if it makes a crater on it's first outing. I'm not quite far enough gone to say "Who cares, if it costs a marriage" but I'm not far off.

It's only the obsessed who do cool things, interesting things, new things. Only, I think my problem is my curiosity in everything is too great, my interests are too catholic and my boredom threshold too low to develop any decent healthy obsessions.

Back from toilet break. Did you know that if you open the service panel under the sink in an aircraft toilet, you find the cutest little pressurized halon fire extinguisher - about the size of a tennis ball and mounted above the bin for waste paper towels. A last ditch defence against idiots who ignore the Ne pas jetter des cigarettes/Do Not Dispose of Cigarettes sign, the sign threatning a huge fine for smoking in the toilets and the ostentatiously obvious smoke alarm.

Oddly, its a newish aircraft but there's still a small ashtray on the door. I'm sorry, but things like this confuse me.
katsmeat: (Tired)
It's 1:20 am, I just finished doing some stuff and emailed it to the Prof. The taxi's picking me up at 6:30 to go to the train station.

Do other people do this kind of thing? < shrugs >

I probabaly need a break.

I'm Back!

Jan. 6th, 2006 06:05 pm
katsmeat: (Default)
Back home. Back in the UK where absolutely everything seems damp, dirty, overpriced, overcrowded and generally crap. Of course, part of this impression comes from passing through Heathrow which is DDOO & GC to the power of 10.

I think the danger of travel is that, sooner or later, you inevitably want to buy yourself a one-way ticket.

Last night, I met up with an old chum who seemed delighted with the set of bear bells I brought him. They're not much use in the UK (not much use when hiking in bear country, from what I hear) but he's into folk music and welcomes all sorts of jangly noise-making devices.

I managed to convince a barman I was derranged because, while waiting to be served, I was sniggering fit to burst at a 50 pence coin - it was a new design I hadn't seen before. Written on it is:

FI'FTY. adj..s.[F1Ft1z, SAXON.
PENCE .n. plural of penny.
Johnson's Dictionary 1755

There you go... 2005 was the bicentiquinquagintennial, or the the quadranmillenary of the publication of Samuel Johnson's dictionary.


katsmeat: (Default)

June 2012

345 67 89


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:49 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios