Monthly Archives: August 2009

My Attitude Machine

Our London trip is a week away and things are starting to take shape. We have a weekend in Marseille booked and are getting an idea of what we want to do in and around London. We are not sure what we will do first, if we will attack Cambridge, Brighton and then London or if it will be a what we feel like in the morning situation, but we will be sure to make the most of this trip.

I downloaded “London Tube”, an iPhone app that displays a map of the Tube system, which also includes subway line routes and directions to stations. It even shows bus lines so if we are stuck at a station I should be able to figure out how to get to an area we are more familiar with. I do not feel fully prepared for the trip but I feel armed with the tools to survive.

Until I saw this!

Cockney cash machine

The young people laughed when the ATM asked them if they required “some moolah for ya sky rocket”. The machine, in Spitalfields, was one of five Cockney cash dispensers from East London to Barnet that began dispensing “moolah” yesterday morning.

Seriously? I do not plan on using an ATM while there, but if I do I may be using one that will be dispensing linguistic sass? It may be bad enough that I am in a strange part of town where people sew hundreds of pearls to their clothes, but I won’t be able to understand the English words I am reading?

Also from that article, to make matters worse there was this quote:

“It’s complete pants”

Pants? What? Is that a good thing or bad? These British expressions are going to be the comical end of me.

My Frank Conclusion

I had a hot dog on the weekend. Usually this is not cause for a whole post, but this was more than a hot dog, it was a Fat Frank hot dog! My plight with Fat Frank’s has been long and arduous. It started in June when Cindy and I walked to Fat Frank’s on Whyte Ave and found them closed.

Fat Franks is closed!

Fat Franks is closed!

Other trips down Whyte Ave were greeted with a closed Frank shack. In a cruel sense of mockery, the times I had already eaten or it was not hot dog o’clock Fat Franks would be open. I have seen the small Frank stations around Edmonton but was never in a situation to try one…until Saturday!

Hot Dog Challenge - 16

Jenna and I were running errands on Saturday and after a morning that had trips to AMA and Mountain Equipment Co-op we needed some supplies at Canadian Tire. It was early afternoon, several hours since we had breakfast and in the shadows of the entrance stood a magician commanding a portable Fat Frank’s stand. Like an oasis in the Sahara, I had a Fat Frank.

It may not have been a gourmet style one that you would find on Whyte Ave, but it was still delicious. Perhaps after having my first Fat Frank my luck will change and the next time I take a walk down Whyte Ave they will be open.

My Presence In Graph

The MIT Media Lab released something called Personas Friday. I saw this on TechCrunch, and immediately thought of Wordle, except this takes you as a source of the words.

Enter your name, and Personas scours the web for information and attempts to characterize the person – to fit them to a predetermined set of categories that an algorithmic process created from a massive corpus of data. The computational process is visualized with each stage of the analysis, finally resulting in the presentation of a seemingly authoritative personal profile.

Sean Gursky - Personas Thumb FullI was curious how Personas saw my identity. Since I have a “Sean Gerski” doppelganger and have recently been wondering about my online identify I thought this was a good test. Obviously “online” was the front runner, I am surprised that “Illegal” was as large as it was, however I have no idea what that is referring.

I see that “Politics” and “Religion” are the same size too; you can draw whatever social commentary between that you would like. I took the words from Personas and turned it into a Wordle here.

My London Calling

Two weeks from now we will be in Wee Britain. Yeah, I am just as surprised as you are. Usually we plan any trip we take for several months, especially one that involves air travel, but England came together in under 24 hours.

For the last few months we have talked about going to England in September. However when Jenna was unable to get confirmation for her vacation we began to doubt if she would get any time off at all and started to build a contingency plan. On Tuesday she got confirmation for some key days covered by vacation, we found a cheap flight courtesy of Canadian Affair, I got my vacation approved and the rest is history.

London Skyline

We are able to get away with planning a trip so soon because we will be staying with family while out there. What are we going to do out there? No idea! But London/England seems like a big enough country we could find enough to do while there, we may even venture over to Scotland, Vienna, Rome or Marseilles. Either way, it should be a great trip and because we don’t have that long to wait until we leave it’s easy to get real excited for it.

My Landslide Experience

The Trip
Short Version: I went camping. There was no mustard.

Hot Dog Challenge 15

Long Version: I went back country camping and experienced ultimate highs and lows. I was in the bushes for nearly ninety hours and had a fantastic time with Gord and Tyler. I could stretch this post out, carefully detailing the trip, but I will leave that to Gord to do. My post will act as a Coles Notes of what transpired.



Thursday started out with a 3 hour and 45 minute drive to the trail head of the route we would take to Landslide Lake. We had built a large fire, roasted hot dogs and drank beer. This was the kind of camping I know how to do. However Friday morning would introduce me to what back country camping was really like and I had one of the most unpleasant and miserable experiences of my life. I was cold, wet, hungry and pain was starting to develop in my shoulders. Somehow, by the simple act of walking, I pulled my groin so I felt each step. If I was able to walk it I would have been on Death’s Door in minutes.

In the rain we sought refuge, set up camp, got warm and had a nap. By 5PM we had our first meal of the day, my camera still operated after the hike and I could feel my spirits lifting. I was ready to try this back country camping thing again.

The sun was out and Saturday was the highlight of the day with a 2.5 hour day hike to Landslide Lake. I broke my fishing rod in the process of snagging a whale, Ogopogo or a bear. The story changes depending on who you asked. Tyler and Gord did not fair much better with multiple line tangles and stubborn fish. We left the lake early as we could see clouds roll in over the distance and rain was not something we wanted to get caught in again.

Standing on the landslide rocks looking out

A cup of coffee, a fire and a hot meal are wonderful things while out in the elements and each one added to the enjoyment of the trip. On Sunday we hiked the remaining 3.5 hours back to the car, our packs lighter than on Friday, we set off with our feet dry and we all had stories to tell. I began to think this was something I would do again. At the end of the trip my feet had multiple blisters, both groin muscles were sore, my left knee could not bend without pain and my back and shoulders were stiff; all of this seems par for the course.

Jean Farewell
The trip could not have been possible without my jeans. I was told to bring one pair of jeans for the trip and live in them. I lived every last minute of their life from Thursday to Sunday. They survived rain, mud, a hole caused by fire, several treatments of duct tape and hours away from the car the backside ripped, adding an oddly comfortable breeze to my stride.

The jeans were not going into the wash, they went straight into the garbage and proudly served their purpose right to the end.