Edmonton LRT Dance Train

Just spotted this thanks to a Twitter post from @mastermaq. A dance party in an Edmonton LRT train. Unusual? Yes. Fun? Absolutely! No, I wasn’t there, but I wish I had been!

His entire blog post can be found here.

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Categories: Edmonton

Mike Rowe Talks About the Reality That Trades People Are Facing

An excellent video that is genuine, heartfelt, and absolutely worth watching.

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Moving to Edmonton

January 19, 2011 1 comment

I’m moving back to Edmonton (well, Leduc).

It is easily the hardest decision I’ve had to make it my life so far. I have tried for a year and a half to be a successful technology entrepreneur in Lethbridge, but there just isn’t enough work. This is due to many factors, which I won’t go into here. My health has also played a major role, though I believe I am finally gaining control there.

I am tired of living month to month barely scraping by in some cases, and certainly having very little extra money.

My family is still in Leduc (20km south of Edmonton), and I have talked to a colleague in Edmonton who says there is plenty of opportunity there. I don’t intend to be in the Edmonton area forever. In fact, I prefer Calgary, but I need to save up some money, and I’ll save quite a bit on rent and expenses by living with the family for a few months (likely until September).

Professionally, it’s the right decision for me to make. Personally, it truly breaks my heart, and the thought of leaving Lethbridge brings me to tears, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I have a life here, I love this city, and have many wonderful friends that I don’t want to leave behind. Sadly, I don’t have a choice. I’ll still keep in touch via Twitter, Facebook, Skype, and by any other means as often as I can.

I’ll make new friends, too, and visit Calgary as often as I can to visit friends there, which I will hopefully be able to do more often as I’ll be making more money.

In time, I want to move to San Francisco and be a technology journalist there, but I need to save up first.

Categories: General

Getting Ready to Move…

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment

I grew up moving in different places around Canada, as my Dad was in the military. I ended up being in a different school nearly every year, and it felt like we never got to really settle down anywhere until I went to high school in Leduc, Alberta. I spent all three years at the same high school, and I loved it, if only for the regular routine and the same group of friends. I never did fall in love with the city of Leduc for various reasons. After ten years, I decided it was time to move, and I chose Lethbridge. Mom and I did a scouting trip, but the moment we drove into town, I fell in love with it. It honestly and truly felt like home and where I belonged. Not even kidding when I say that.

Due to various situations with roommates and landlords, I have lived in 5 places in the span of 4 years. It was an adventure, but a costly one. I have lived in my current place for just over a year. Never did fall in love with it, but there wasn’t anything better available at the time, and I absolutely refused to move again. It’s a basement suite and has all of the amenities, except the washer and dryer, which are upstairs. The kitchen is small, but the private bathroom is nice, as is the decent sized-living room and futon. The furnace is out in the open, which isn’t very comfortable if a friend is staying the night.

My bedroom is nice and spacious, and part of it serves as my home office, since outlets are all taken up in the living room. There are two picture windows, which merely serve as fire escapes, since window wells block any kind of view.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for what I have, and my landlord/housemate is the best I’ve ever had. It bugs me the basement needs work, but he’s usually up on the rigs, and I can’t knock a guy for making a living. That being said, I’m usually the only one home, which makes for some very lonely days since I work from home most of the time. I don’t blame him at all. I knew what I was getting into when I took the place. At the time, I wanted peace and quiet compared to what I put up with at my old place.

So, I finally made the decision at the beginning of January to move. Not an ideal time of year, but I’ve done it before. I want a place on the southside, since it’s super easy to get downtown and to the stores along Mayor Magrath Drive, and bus service is excellent.

I took a look at one place on Tuesday. It’s nice enough, but I wasn’t thrilled about it. It’s an older house on a very narrow street, but the room is a decent size, and another guy rents a room, which is also on the main floor. The bathroom is decent, but the shower is cramped, as is the kitchen, but it’s certainly acceptable, though shared by the two people downstairs as well. The living room is huge and has nice furniture. The washer and dryer are downstairs as one would expect. Parking is on the street, but to plug the car in requires at least as 50-foot extension cord.

The place I looked at tonight is very nice, and I get a good feeling from it. It’s merely a couple of blocks south of where I used to live when I first moved to Lethbridge, so I’m already comfortable with the area. The rent is less than what I’m paying right now, and includes TV and internet to boot. It’s a basement suite, but has big windows in each room. Laundry is downstairs tucked away in a room, along with a massive freezer. There are two closets I can use, and some room in the garage for storage. Parking is available behind the house. The living room is massive, with nice leather sofas, and a unit for a TV and whatnot. There is a very nice full bathroom downstairs. The basement has a seperate entrance as well. There is one other person renting a room, which is fine.

She is offering another room upstairs for the same price, but it’s much smaller, though the main floor is incredibly nice. Either way it’s a year’s lease.

There is one more place on the southside I may look at on Saturday. Haven’t decided yet. The guy said I can have a main floor room, but will likely need to move to a downstairs room by late Spring, as his mother will be returning from her winter home and will want the main floor.

This is the nerve-wracking part about moving…choosing a place. The moving part is easy, especially just across town. It seems that the only places I really like that are available are basement suites, but at least there  will be more activity in the house.

Anyway, sorry for the lengthy post. Sometimes I do that, “think out loud” as they say.

Categories: General

Common Household Problems That Need to Be Taken Seriously

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

[this post originally appeared as an article in the Lethbridge Journal in September 2010]

Many people in Lethbridge own homes, and have peace of mind in the fact that their homes provide comfort after a long day of work. However, many homeowners only focus on their homes cosmetic problems, and unless you have an eye for such things, you may not notice things that could develop into real problems.

“People tend to worry about the little things, like a loose shingle, or hairline cracks in their stucco, which are all minor things,” said Jean Greer, from Greer Home Builders in Lethbridge. “We tend to forget that houses are made of wood and things that shrink and move. Our houses are built on soil, and our houses need to move and crack a little bit.”

A lot of systems built into our household walls and underneath the floors allow for many of the luxuries we take for granted, and it’s important to have them looked at once in a while.

“We have to do the basics, like vacuum out your furnace filter, make sure your eaves troughs are clean,” said Greer. “Really think about the mechanical system that runs your house. “Think about the plumbing, and the stuff that’s hidden in those walls is what really makes our homes comfortable.”

Pillar to Post, a home inspection company in Lethbridge, was kind enough to share a list of common concerns to watch out for, which includes improper electrical wiring, and old plumbing.

There are many other structural concerns that need to be looked after, such as foundation cracks and split floor joists. Floor joists are the pieces of wood that support the floor and hold up its weight.

An outdoor concern is unkept yards, such as trees that are up against the house, which can cause grading, but is more common with 40 or older year old homes, not with newer homes due to less trees on properties.

According to Pillar and Post, grading and drainage on the outside of homes are the most frequent root problem of household aggravations.

“Grading is basically the dirt up against the house, or landscaping up against the house,” said Mike Hemmerling, a Home Inspector with Pillar to Post. “You want to make sure you have a good slope away from the home so water can’t pool. If water can pool at the home, water will eventually get into the home.”

Other outdoor concerns include doors or windows that are not properly sealed or caulked from the elements, allowing water or air in.

Roof damage caused by old or worn out shingles can cause leaks, and improper flashing. Flashing is metal or rubber pieces that create a seal between the shingles and things on the roof such as vents or chimneys.

We often think to repair or fix household problems that we are aware of, but it’s important to research other possible problems, and even have a home inspector analyze our homes, so smaller issues don’t turn into big problems.

Categories: News

Upcoming Events at the Galt Museum – repost of article

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

[this post was originally an article in the Lethbridge Journal in October 2010]

Halloween is quickly approaching, and the Galt museum has three nights of fun for the whole family to enjoy, including two movie nights, an interactive movie event, and tours of the old hospital building. They also have an artifact fundraiser event happening.

“I’d like to focus on our Halloween events,” said Anine Vonkeman, Marketingnd Communications Officer at the Galt Museum in Lethbridge. “We have our Movie Madness [event]. We have two nights of movie marathons, and the third night is the Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

The first two nights are $10 for each person per night, and $18 for the third night. Tickets can be purchased at the Galt Store. Admission for all three nights can be purchased for $30 per person, but only until October 27th.

The first night, called Bite Night, will feature 5 Dracula movies from 4:30pm until approximately 1am.

“On Thursday the 28th,” said Vonkeman. “It features the movies of Dracula. The doors open at 4pm. The screening time starts at 4:30pm. We have all of the movies online with specific screening times.”

The second night is called Zombies Galore and will feature 4 movies from 5:30pm until about 1am. The 30th will have an interactive showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

“On Saturday, October 30th, we have the Rocky Horror Picture Show,” said Vonkeman. “It’s the third year that we are offering this. Doors open at 9pm, movie starts at 10pm. We usually have constume contests before the movie starts, which is for both Halloween characters and Rocky Horror Picture characters.”

“The tickets for that include all of the props, when it rains, we spray water, and when there’s a toast to the bride, we throat toasts.”

“For either night, you can come and go as you please,” said Lori Harasem, Events Coordinator at the Galt Museum. So, if there’s one movie you don’t want to see, you’re more than welcome to leave (and come back). We will be running a concession and bar on both nights.”

On Halloween itself, the museum is partnering with Trap Door Artists Run Centre, and for an event called Macabre Museum.

“We will have tour guides who will be providing tours of the hospital building part of the museum, the part that is 100 years old, said Harasem. “Instead of doing the hospital tour just as we normally provide, the focus will actually be on the paranormal experiences of people who have been in the building have told us.”

“We have a psychic coming in that will be reading the artifacts and telling what energy [she gets] from the artifacts and tell us a bit of story about who owned them. That event is $10 and the evening starts at 7pm.”

From November 1st to the 30th, the Galt is holding a fundraiser auction on a website they’ve had specially created, http://adoptanartifact.com.

“Adopt an artifact is an online fundraiser that you can bid online and watch other people bid,” said Vonkeman. ”This year we have 23 items up for bid. These are all selected from our collection.”

“The only thing is that you don’t actually get to take the artifact home. We take care of the artifact at the museum. We do give you the adoption certificate, photo, and description of the item. You get a chance to get a behind-the-scenes tour of our collection in 2011.”

In addition to the Galt’s special events, they also have regular organized programs.

“For seniors, Wednesdays at the Galt,” said Vonkeman. “For families, Saturdays at 1pm. We have a special event coming up where we have Galt nurses reminiscing about their time at the Galt hospital.”

Categories: News

Dog Sitting, Among Other Things

I’m sitting on my porch right now. Actually, it’s my landlords, but since I rent here, he’s allowed me use it. It’s a beautiful 24 degrees outside.

The birds are chirping, I can hear some dogs barking, and it seems like someone is always mowing their backyard or lawn.

I wish there was more of a breeze, but things should cool down somewhat this evening with the predicted thunderstorm that will supposedly bring 10-15mm of rain by tomorrow. We’ll see, they never get these things right.

I wish I could be doing remote tech support calls right now, but I only ended up leaving 4 or 5 voice mails. I’ll try again this evening and tomorrow. Might as well if it’s going to be raining.

I’m dog sitting for my landlord for the next week or so as he is on vacation in B.C.. Her name is Keyara. She’s a black lab, and is the quietest and kindest dog I have ever met. Also, she listens! You tell her to lay down, and she will. I’ll take her on a few walks this week, for the sake of her health and mine. Otherwise, I’ll feed her and occasionally play with her of course. That’s about it, no trouble at all.

My landlord is a good guy and offered to discount my rent a bit as a thank you. Truth be told, neither of us wants Keyara in a kennel for a week.

As far as work goes, I’m doing everything I can to build more of a routine in my life, for the sake of my health, sanity, and bank account. For the better part of the past year, I’ve been effectively on-call, and it’s done a number on me. I’ve since reduced how much I visit clients on-site. In fact, I’m doing remote calls now for the most part, which isn’t exactly set hours, but it’s a lot less rushing around. That said, I’m self-employed, and have the right to set hours for myself. Sometimes, though, clients call with an urgent matter, so that’s the exception.

I’m also pursuing another part-time opportunity which I can’t talk about yet, but should be able to reveal in the next week, and it’s something I’m quite excited about.

I’m also pursuing some freelance journalism work. I’m in the process of putting together two stories on local groups in the Lethbridge community. Hopefully they’ll be published in a local paper, if not, I’ll post them on my blog and get exposure that way.

The eventual goal of all of this is to have more time to spend with friends and to be less stressed and have more fun!

Categories: Uncategorized