Hilarious Mumbler

Tuesday night was another great concert night. Sue and I travelled to Vancouver to see Dave Matthews Band at GM Place. We met up with Erin and Christine ahead of time for dinner, then it was off to the show.

I had seen DMB one other time, and that concert was absoutely amazing. Excellent sound, wicked energy from the band, and by far the best light show at a concert I have ever seen.

This show had a lot to live up to.

I lived up to my hype though. Again the sound was excellent, the band was full of energy, and the light show excellent (not quite as good as last time). The music was so fluid that I had a hard time not believing I was listening to a CD. Of course the songs had some of the best solos I have heard, flowing from the song to solo after solo until each band member had their turn, then again blending back into the song.

Few concerts are perfect though. There was a large Jumbotron (for lack of a better word) that was above the band. It was a beautiful screen with crisp clear, and bright images. The problem was that it was so easy to watch the band on the screen, it distracted from watching the band. Several times I shook my head and realized that I had been staring at the screen for the past while, and hadn’t even really been watching the band (something I normally love to do).

Another distraction was that they sometimes toook large breaks in between the songs. To me it ruined the flow of the show, but I did notice that during a couple of the breaks, a technician was attempting to repair something on the massive drum kit. The breaks did highlight one aspect of the band, and that is their timing. After one long break, just as the crowd was starting to relax, all at once there was an explosion of sound and light emanating from the stage. It actually startled me.

The negatives aside, I really enjoyed the concert. The drummer was amazing, and alway, always, always had a huge grin on his face. The fiddler, had such energy, and really seemd to be having fun up there. The sax player, blended in perfectly. The keyboardist was OK, and basically did his job. The bassist was hilarious. Usually when the camera was on him he started dancing really funny, and aking fishy faces. I am not sure if he as in a strange mood, or if that is what he does.

Dave. What needs to be said about him. He is a mumbler. Smiling We were talking about it at dinner, and the few times he talked to the crowd, I had no clue what he was saying. Singing is a different matter, and that was excellent.

I all, I would rate this an excellent show, and would recomend anyone who likes his music to see him live.

Certainly Chaotic

What a weekend! A long weekend is something to be enjoyed, and I certainly have enjoyed this weekend. Sue and I sort of turned our house into a dog kennel when we agreed to look after Digger and Chester (in addition to Yoshi of course). A little chaotic at times, but how could we resist their little faces?
chesterchesterchester

We had friends over for dinner on Saturday night, Sunday was a work kind of day, amd I took Digger and Yoshi mountain biking, and today Sue and I went to visit Steve, Rhiannon, and Teagan.

Tomorrow we brave the ferries to go to Vancouver to see Dave Matthews! I am really looking forward to the show. It should be awesome. Time to go pack!

Awesome Ballet

the snowbirdsThis past Wednesday Victoria was treated to a wonderful show by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. They performed over the water just off Dallas Road just after 7pm.

Their acrobatics are amazing! So precise, in such close formation. Their head on passes are heart wrenching. It is almost like watching a ballet in the air. They can make their planes do a sort of dance that is beyond believable. Truly awesome!

The pics I took can be viewed here.

WiFi Frame

digital picture frame Now this seems like a great idea to display your digital pictures in your home. I definitely want one. I would have to get two though, one for horizontal pictures, and one for vertical. Very high tech though, and I love how it uses WiFi to get the pictures to the frame. One downside is that it looks like you have to drill a couple holes in your walls to power it. Small price to pay though.

911 Streetlights

blinky lights
Saturday night I had planned to head out to Luminara to check out and photograph the lanterns people had created. I had attended last year, before I was into photography, and really enjoyed myself. Once your eyes adjust to hte darkness, the lanterns really stand out, and become quite magical.

This year was not to be. I left late, a few minutes before ten, and drove down to Beacon Hill park. I missed the entrance to the parking, so I cirlced around, discovered that too many people were leaving to allow newcomers to park, so I circled back and parked along Dallas Road.

I jumped out of my truck, grabbed my gear, and started walking towards the park. There were lots of cars out, and people were snapping up the parking spots as quickly as they could.

The next sequence of events happened rather quickly, but I will try to explain them as best I can. I was looking up the road for a good place to cross. I noticed a vehicle coming towards me, then noticed the right hand light looked funny. I realized there was a motorbike in front of a car, and that is when I heard the engine from the bike. Next, a car coming in the opposite direction (same direction as I am walking) turns left in front of the bike. I saw the headlights on the bike dive a few inches as the driver of the motorbike hit the brakes.

I thought to myself “This is going to be close”, and then bam, the motorbike hit the car. The riders were catapulted over the car and slid along the ground a bit.

I was slightly stunned, but I took off running towards the acident, jumping over some bike parts as they slid down the road. I got to the passenger from the bike, and I stopped there. I tried talking to her, but she didn’t say anything. I told her not to move, and that she was going to be alright. I grabbed my cellphone, dialed 911, hit send, then someone else said they were already calling. Myself and another gentleman waited with the girl until some help arrived.

Some people from nearby vehicles brought some blankets to cover the girl. It was pretty freaky, and my legs were quivering from the adrenaline. After some police officers arrived, I backed up and let them do their business. I had to hang around and give a statement.

As I stood there waiting, I was looking around the scene a bit. There were about 6 police cars in the vicinity (later I noticed two more down the road directing cars), two ambulances, and a firetruck. There were no streetlights at all, so the only illumination was the red and blue blinky lights from the police, ambulance, and fire vehicles. This cast an eery aura onto the scence. I stood there freezing my butt off from the breeze coming off the ocean. I surveyed the bike, and sort of vowed I would never get one.

I discovered that the driver of the car had jumped the curb, and his car was in the middle of a field. He was sitting there looking very stunned. I felt for him. I was in a similar situation many years (car vs pedestrian instead of car vs motorbike).

After giving my statement, I reallly didn’t feel like going to the festival. I had been really looking forward to it for about two months now, and I was a little disappointed that I would miss it, but I really was a walking zombie after that. I grabbed my gear, walked back to my truck, took the above picture, then left.

There is always next year. I just hope the motorbike riders come away ok. I also hope the driver of the car can get on with his life. It is quite devastating to go through something like that.

Whirlwind BC Weekend Mountain Bike Road Trip

Every good MTB road trip needs two things. Good people, and good trails. This past weekend I experienced such a trip.



ferry tripFriday afternoon Shane, Sean, James and myslef piled into a truck, bombed up Island from Victoria to Nanaimo. We enjoyed a nice leisurely 5 pm sailing across the water, then the real trip started. After driving several more hours, passing through Whistler, Pemberton, and a handful of other smaller towns, we ended up near Goldbridge, BC. We found the Gun Creek Ranch, found our “rustic cabin”, unloaded our stuff, and hit the sack at a little past midnight.



After awaking early the next morning, we started madly prepping for our ride. Our flight left at 8:00 am, and we were getting picked up at 7:45. We were flying on Tyax Air, and were on our way to do the Warner Lake tour.




our plane
We prepped on the dock, and got a little nervous about what was ahead for us.



stashed geartakeoff
Our gear safely stashed, we took off.



Our rag tag group of riders consisted of:

James Sean
James Sean
Shane me
Shane and myself.




The flight was spectacular, but short.



flight scenery
flight scenery



In about 15 – 20 minutes we reached our destination.



flight scenery
Warner Lake



The plane dropped us and our gear off, then boogied back to base.
drop off
take off



I can never express how much I love BC! With scenery like this, how can you not?
scenery
scenery
scenery



We geared up, and began our trek. Quite simply this was an amazing day of riding. It was long, not that technical, but definitely there were some fun sections. Overall there was more climbing than we expected, but it was a ride of a lifetime. We went from Warner Lake, all the way back to our cabin some 40+ kilometres away. Lots of climbing, descending, traversing, and spectating. 3 hours in we stopped for lunch in a wide open meadow. Here we were sitting in a large meadow surrounded by spectacular mountains, overlooking a rushing river down below.The trail was true singletrack all the way. At times it was less than 3 tire widths wide.



singletrack



Along the way we met some hikers using Llamas as support. These animals were used instead of horses, partly due to their lessened impact on the trail. Very cool!
llama packllama pack



We passed many wildflowers along the way.
flowers
flowers
flowers
flowers
flowers
flowers
flowers
flowers



The trail would dive down to the river, then climb up high again. It would traverse a while, dip into a meadow, enter some stands of trees, then spit you out into a scree slope traverse. Quite simply this was an amazing trail. Below are some more shots from the trail, in no particular order.



random
random
random
random
random
random
random
random
random



We were pretty tuckered by the time we got to the cabin. It was all we could do to lift the ice cold beer to our awaiting mouths.



alcoholics
alcoholics
alcoholics



The day was amazing. That is definitely the longest I have ever been out on a trail. Our group didn’t have any real crashes, no equipment failures, and no injuries. The scenery was out of this world, and the trail was incomparable to an other I have been on. If you are looking for an epic day of riding, I would highly suggest you email Tyax, and get more information.



That was Saturday. Sunday was a mighty fine rest day. We goofed around at the cabin, explored the ranch, obeyed the rules, went to town for some much needed groceries. and ate tons of food.



helmetless
GCR
rules
small town
safety first
leftovers?



Monday morning we got up super early again, packed the truck, then headed out for the long drive to Whistler. Along the way we squashed many bugs, again saw lots of amazing scenery, almost got squashed by very big trucks on a very tiny road, then got to Whistler.
packed again
squashed bugs
scenery
almost squashed like bugs



Whistler is so much fun, it is hard to stop and take pictures. We warmed up at the jump park, then started to hit some of the other trails. I ended up getting us lost a couple times, but we always ended up on fun trails. Unfortunately for Shane, he munged his ankle in the jump park. He went a little too big of the largest platform, missed the nice transition, and landed on the flat. Ouch!
air shane
air sean
air james
air me
launch
launch
launch
shane tapes



I was having a great day at Whistler, and had made up my mind before getting there that I was going to hit the biggest GLC drop. I am happy to say that I did just that! I was pretty stoked afterwards, and my legs quivered for a bit, but I had done it. Over the course of the day I did it one more time to prove to myself that the first wasn’t just a fluke. Seaners looked at the middle GLC drop a few times, and decided he was going to do it before the day was out. He also stepped up and did it, and I htink James followed suit too.
middle sean



Our last run of the day was our fastest rip of the day down A Line. That is such a sweet trail that even thinking about it now brings a grin to my face. I was clearing tabletop after tabletop. I was even tweaking out my airs a little I was having such a great day. Alas it had to end. We crammed back into the truck just after 5pm, zipped to Horseshoe Bay, and got on the 7PM sailing to Nanaimo.



It was such a great weekend, and all four of us were pretty fried by the end of it.
fried shane



Loads of riding, good friends, constant joking around. What more is needed in a road trip?



The above has been a sampling of some of the pictures I took on the weekend. To see them all go here.

Envisioned Regrets

I had low expectations, and they were definitely met. I am, of course, talking about my 10 year high school reunion this past weekend. In my mind I had envisioned me doing exactly what I always do in a large room of strangers, namely finding one or two people to talk with for part of the time, then eventually just sitting back watching people, getting bored out of my skull.

Friday night was a drinks and appy night at a sports bar in Nanaimo. That was fun. I caught up with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, talked with a few people I hadn’t really talked to much in high school, had some food, then decided it was time to head out. I left fairly early, but I could sense I was getting bored. I had a good visit with my friend James though (he came all the way from Ontario for the reunion).

Saturday night was the dinner/dance thing. I visited some more with James, talked with some people who weren’t at Friday nights thing, and revelled in the fact that I am such a different person from the Greg Fox that went to Wellington Senior Secondary. Dinner was pretty good, but the hall we were in was pretty warm. I kept having to step outside to catch my breath a little. The DJ started up, and he was playing some of the hits from ’93. Spin Doctors, Ace of Base, and a few more I couldn’t remember. I got dragged into a picture of people from Rutherford Elementary school. With the DJ playing such loud music, I found it difficult to talk with people (I hate having to shout to be heard). I ended up just watching people talking, dancing, drinking, and having fun.

It suddenly struck me that once again, I was on the outside looking in. Hmm, interesting. I said goodbye to James, then headed out.

I don’t associate with very many people from high school any more (James is one, even though our emails have been a little spotty lately Sad ). On top of that, most of the people I hung around with in High School didn’t show up. I ended up looking in on the group just as I had envisioned, so I lived up to my promise to myself, and left when I noticed that happening. I was home to my mom’s by 9:15.

I have absolutely no regrets about going. I had a great visit with James, and got a good dinner out of it. I am not sure if I will go to the next one. I have heard from lots of current friends that a lot of people skip the 10 year and go only to the 20 year. I will cross that bridge when I come to it.