The First Day of the Rest of My Life

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A couple of things to share with the class...

From American Lady, feminazis and Project Runway.

From profgrrrrl, statistical research and Craigslist's casual encounters.



- Mixed feelings about a lazy Sunday.
- A wedding and a funeral.
- The two words that can best show a person's real side.
- A realization that may take me a while to come to terms with.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A few days removed from Canada, and some unshared thoughts...

Sunday night, I gave one of the tightest hugs to a woman that I had met in person for the first time. Only this hug was nine years in the making. I'm not sure how such a deep relationship was formed through ASCII, but somehow it happened. (And to think it all started with rugby...)

Raelyn and I had a good (but short) heart-to-heart on Tuesday, after I got back from hiking. In that chat, she gave me a couple of good tidbits that I'm trying to keep with me. "A companion doesn't complete you, they just top you off" was the one that stuck with me the most. Soon after, we caught up with her husband Kent at lightsabre practice. I'd have a photo posted of said practice, but the gentleman who was leading it (Kent's brother) decided otherwise. Later, I found that this gentleman was very protective of said group. I shook it off with the help of a medium-cooked ribeye at one of Canada's finest steakhouses. And it's true, I love Alberta beef. A trip down memory lane came afterwards by cruising through the parking lots of the UofC dorms where Rae and Kent ran around.

The trip to Banff and Lake Louise went pretty well. I got an excuse to tell friends I went 140 on the highway! (Okay, so it was kilometers an hour, but still...) Even better, no county or state/provincial police to bother me with their radar guns. Tunnel Mountain near the town of Banff was a nice but challenging hike. Saw an elk along the side of the road on the way to Lake Louise (so did a lot of other people, you'll understand when I post the picture I took). Lake Louise was okay, if it weren't for the chingos of people I saw over there. So many crying babies were there, it almost felt like I was being rung out at Wal-Mart.

A couple of bad things about the trip. First, coming back to Calgary, I pulled into a McDonald's in the small town of Canmore. Got what I thought would be the old reliable: Quarter Pounder with Cheese. But it tasted a bit... off. Not bad, necessarily. Just off.

Secondly, Thrifty Rent-A-Car. The concierge at my hotel (a cutie by the name of Katie) reserved a car for me at a nearby rental place. I went in the morning to get the car and get on my way. The lady behind the counter who spoke with a pretty bad French accent kept convincing me to bring the car back empty, as it was cheaper for them to fill up the tank than for me to fill it up. She said they would fill it up for 90-something cents a liter, the going rate at gas stations I saw was about $1.10CAD/liter. I was okay with it, until a second look at the receipt showed a gas charge of $61.64CAD. (My thought: if this is the going rate for a tank of gas, why don't more Calgarians take the bus?) When I returned the car, the guy who was working noticed a ding in the rear bumper that apparently wasn't picked up when I checked the car out. And I swear I don't remember making noticable contact with anything or anyone to make such a dent. Thank goodness I got the LDW coverage due to the paranoia put in me by the French girl ("Does your insurance compan-ee cover international driving?").

Anyway, that's the highlights of my trip. More pictures to come when Flickr decides to come back online.

Monday, July 17, 2006


- The wisdom of friends.
- Coming down from a travel high.
- A bachelor party held in the light of day.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Originally uploaded by hipsterwannabe.
Just got my pictures back today. I'll be uploading more, but thought I'd start out with a quick sampler. That, and finalyy show everyone that my friend Raelyn really does exist.

Check out the growing set here.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

DATELINE: V's House, Spring, TX

And I'm spent... A few hours of sleep tonight, some shopping and lunch, followed by more driving tomorrow. If all works well, I'll be sleeping in my own bed tomorrow night, which I'm looking forward to a lot more all of a sudden.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

DATELINE: Exec. Business Center

About 90 minutes ago, I left the Calgary Stampede for the last time. I also said goodbye to Raelyn and Kent.

I was dreading this day as I'm not very good at saying goodbye (even though, as a military brat, you have a lot of practice doing it). I had imagine this big dramatic speech that I would give to the both of them, a la the finale of a reality show. It ended up being a simple handshake and a "take care of my friend" to Kent, and a couple of long hugs with Rae.

I leave Calgary tomorrow afternoon. I'll be heading to the airport solo then, which was the reason behind the farewell at the C-Train platform (they were heading south, I was going north).

I'll have a lot of great memories from this trip, not the least of which is actually seeing Raelyn in the flesh. We did have a good talk yesterday when it was just the two of us walking in the park. (Conversations always seem so much better when ASCII isn't involved...)

This woman holds a very special place in my heart, and the past few days just cemented it. I was also glad to see how good of a man she has in Kent. I jokingly told her yesterday that he has my approval.

Tomorrow, I'm off on a jet plane back to Minneapolis and then onward to Houston. I'll be staying at V's parents' house tomorrow night, then head back to S.A. to recuperate.

I'm starting to think that one of the reasons people travel is for the life-changing experiences. I can honestly say that I won't be the same person I was when I left S.A. on Sunday. (And, to be honest, I'm not sure I want to be... more on that when I get back.)

Raelyn and Kent, thanks so much for the great time. Enjoy the t-shirts and beer, and I hope to repay the favor if you ever make it to Texas.

DATELINE: MacKimmie Library, Univ. of Calgary

GOOD THING: Getting onto the Stampede grounds for free.
BAD THING: The reason why, Kids Day. Imagine the world's largest outdoor day care...

GOOD THING: Seeing a couple of people dressed in Star Wars garb (Princess Leia and a Storm Trooper, to be exact).
BAD THING: Not seeing my friends who also went in garb.

GOOD THING: Hitting a casino for some slot action.
BAD THING: Waiting with other degenerate gamblers until 10:00 a.m. for the official open of the casino, then sitting at a machine that was still locked up.

GOOD THING: Being able to sit for a spell on the C-Train on the way up here.
BAD THING: Still having barking dogs. I'm not walking for two days straight when I get back.

DATELINE: Executive Express Business Centre, 2nd Floor, Calgary Hyatt

Yesterday was quite the day. I'd blog about it more right now, but I need to get going soon (Jedis await me back at Stampede). So I'll just note some keywords here, Michael Davies-style...

FOR: Picturesque drives, Banff National Park, Kensington, Kegs, university dorms, heart-to-hearts, my legs.

AGAINST: McDonald's in Canmore, Thrifty Rent-A-Car, French-Canadians, paranoia, tourists.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

DATELINE: CyberWeb Internet Cafe, Downtown Banff, AB

The Canadian Rockies kick ass, and I haven't even been hiking through them yet. Just stopped in town for some snacks, t-shirts and info. It's nice to be in a place with zero cowboy hats. Things got so bad last night, even I wore one (thanks a lot, Rae...).

Tonight? More hanging out with Raelyn and her hubby (had a real nice time last night). Maybe even some lightsaber practice. (Don't ask...) But now, off to try and avoid being accosted by bears.

Monday, July 10, 2006

DATELINE: Base of Calgary Tower, Calgary, AB, Canada

You might say that free pancakes with bacon cooked into them being served by clowns would be a bit weird. Around here, they call it "Stampeding."

Got in yesterday after my fortunately-not-too-eventful drive from the camping retreat. Raelyn and her husband, Kent, picked me up from the airport. (By the way, for those keeping score at home, this was the first time Raelyn and I have seen each other in person, and we've known each other for over nine years.) A quick trip to a Canadian institution came before they took me to my hotel.

This morning, some walking around and a trip up the tower (fortunately I got in before some light rain came down). Honestly, I've not seen this many cowbay hats in one place ever. That's saying something coming from a Texan. Some pull it off rather nicely. Others, not so much.

If you'll excuse me, I've got a tower to climb. (Okay, an elevator to board..)

Friday, July 07, 2006


I've packed my bags, I'm ready to go. I'll make the rules up as I go along. (well, not too much, Northwest Airlines and the TSA may have something to say about the matter...)

In about 13 hours, I leave for a camping retreat.
In about 60 hours, I leave for Canada.

I may or may not blog up there (no digital camera or notebook this time around, so pics will be a while). Everyone out there in blog-land take care. I'll talk with you again soon.