Monday, September 24, 2012


Jasper skiing with Downhill Riders

Turks and Caicos--Provo, Salt Cay, Grand Turk.  Swam with humpback whales. Scuba certification and a couple dives, skills training.

Vegas for birthday

Skiing in Jasper
Kananaskis for Masonic Spring Workshop
Skiing at Sunshine

Mt. Robson - whitewater rafting, McBride BC, Jasper - Mt. Edith Cavell, Athabasca Falls
Chanhassen, Minnesota for work

Mt. Robson, Valemount, Jasper - Maligne Lake and Canyon
Meridian, Idaho for work.  Seattle and Everett for the weekend - West Seattle, Susan Point, Boeing plant.


2011 Travel Summary


Kananaskis for Masonic Spring Workshop
Skiing in Banff
Turks and Caicos for a couple of weeks

Vegas for EMC World and with friends
Banff for Sunshine Slush Cup

Toronto/Mississauga for work
Weekend in Burlington to visit a friend
Calgary for Stampede

Vancouver for the weekend visiting friends

Vegas with work friends

Banff for New Years

Monday, December 6, 2010

2010 Travels

I haven't posted in forever, but wanted to give myself a summary of all my travels this past year.  Most of the photos can be found on my Facebook album.  My work travels have come to an end as I resigned my road warrior position.  It's been the best 4 years of my life.  I will never forget it.

Two weeks in Topeka, Kansas.

Two weeks in Topeka, Kansas.

Five days in Vegas.
Two weeks in Topeka and a weekend in Kansas City.

Two weeks in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.
A weekend in Jasper, skiing.

Two weeks in Topeka and a weekend in Kansas City.

One week in Nashville, Tennessee.

Five days in Kelowna, BC.
Ten days, a week home, then a week in Glendale/Los Angeles.   Met the band Yes backstage!

A day in Vancouver, BC and a weekend in Seattle, WA to see Rush live.
A week in Glendale, CA.
A weekend in San Francisco.
A week in Glendale, CA.
A weekend at home for the cabin party.
A week in Glendale.

A weekend in Jasper.  Columbia Ice Fields, Mt. Edith Cavell.

A weekend in Airdrie, Banff, Lake Louise.  Took the gondola. Went to the Rose and Crown and saw a band called Kovered In Lies. Next day drove the Banff Parkway. Castle Mountain, Lake Louise, Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, David Thompson Country, Abraham Lake.
A weekend in Calgary for a wedding at the Calgary Country Club.

I didn't go anywhere for the first time in a loooong time.

No plans to go anywhere.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Big Apple!!!

Michael Jackson died at 50 today and Farrah Fawcett died from cancer at 62. Sad. I've always liked MJ's music and he left one HUGE music legacy behind. For Farrah, I think I'm still in love with her flowing feathery blonde hair.

Well anyway, since June 22, 2009, I've been in New York! There's a few other trips I took before that, but I thought I'd blog about this exciting city while I'm here. I flew through Montreal-Trudeau and was able to get my 3 year TN-Visa. Whew.

Some of my friends didn't believe me, but I'm actually working at the United Nations, and way up on the 34th floor. Got my access pass and everything. They say there's 5000 people in the building at a time and I can attest to that. 20 minute wait to get into an elevator going down and a very busy cafeteria. So many cultures in one place. Quite amazing really.

It's my fourth night, and what I have I seen so far?

- Grand Central Station - very nice
- Yale Club (DKE Club of NY) - whoa. Posh posh posh. Shut the place down on the 165th anniversary of Delta Kappa Epsilon with several brethren after teaching them how to drink Canadian Club. Got lots of pictures and played a few pianos on each floor.
- walked around East Midtown a lot
- Grand Lodge of New York building (visited Arcana Lodge -- more on that later)

There's a million Irish pubs around here and the buildings are WAAAAAY taller than I expected.

More adventures to come!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Seattle Underground

At the end of February 2009, I flew out to Vancouver and rented a car, a PT Cruiser, where I spent an evening watching Oilers then Canucks hockey at a golf course with the brother of my old friend from way, way back who have lived in North Vancouver since the mid-80's. We also headed out to a pub and then the casino in Burnaby, which was HUGE.

I then drove to Bellevue, Washington where my sister and her family live. They just moved to their new home about a year ago.

The wait at the border was a couple hours and when it was my turn with the border guard, and upon looking at my passport, wondered why my TN-Visa had expired and I stupidly said, "Yeah, I haven't worked in the U.S. for a while." At that point, he began barraging me with all sorts of questions, thinking I was coming down to work there. I kept saying that I was just visiting my sister for a few days. I searched my trunk, my laptop case and asked about my fraternity. I was very annoyed. He finally gave me my passport back and just said bye. Well, bye to you too. Jerk.

There was some rain on Interstate Hwy 5 but arriving at my sister's was like coming home, although I hadn't been to their new house yet, which is up a hill on a couple windy roads. Lots of evergreens around obviously. It was great to see her husband and the kids.

My nephew has massively improved his cello playing since last I saw him play 2.5 years before that. It was a real treat to have him play the Star Wars theme for me... especially being that Star Wars was the very first movie I saw at the ripe age of 5, and it was also the first popular song I learned to play on the piano. He then played some bass guitar for me and was mighty impressed, that as a bass player myself, he didn't use a pick and noted that he had the true groove inside. With his longer hair, he'd definitely do well on stage.

My sister and I went shopping at a local mall where I bought some CDs (The Flower Kings, Yes Drama extended version, and Lewis Black Live at Carnegie Hall). Then at the Nordstroms Outlet, I bought a lime green shirt with a funky pink/green paisley tie and some cool brown pointy shoes. While in line to pay, she grabbed the shoes from me and said, "Happy Birthday!" Aw.

When we got back, I showed the new cool shoes to my niece and said, "What do you think of your uncle's shoes?" And she said, "Whatever." (Jeez, shot down by a 9 year old. I just can't win with the Gawd, she's too cute to describe.

My niece took one of her free days off to be with her uncle, so my sister drove us to the Seattle Underground. What a cool adventure! Words don't describe it, so here are some pictures...

That night or the next night, I can't remember, my nephew got a Scouting award, so we went to his troop meeting and potluck. Apparently, he's the youngest Scout at his age to be at the level he's at. My sister noted that it's difficult for a tall, smart, well-adjusted boy to have advanced beyond kids his age and yet not fully socially accepted with older kids who are at the same maturity level. He's kind of stuck in-between, but give it a couple years and he'll be fine.

The next day, I then drove back to Vancouver, which in the mountains, there was quite a bit of snow, and listening to Lewis Black kept me going. I love it when he talks about border security. So lo and behold, after filling up on cheap gas, about 200 metres before the Canadian border, U.S. border guards in full black gear were standing next to their black SUV, so I stopped and they asked me all sorts of questions, and some on my sister when I told them, "Actually, they just got their green cards the other day." Whew. Upon stopping at the Canadian border, the guard scanned my passport, didn't ask any questions, and just say, "Thanks." O Canada!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My visit to Golden Rule Lodge (Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario)

Monday September 8, 2008 (Ontario)

I drove up from my hotel in Vaughan to Orillia to meet fellow e-Mason, Bro. Shawn, which distance was much, much further than I expected. Several roadside businesses and places were like ghost towns

Needless to say, Shawn wasn't what
I expected either. Mind you, I didn't have any expectations other than I knew he was a good contributing member of this board, a Mason, and a fellow Canadian. Well, he exceeded all those expectations and more.

So we drove up north even further, saw a gas station on fire with firefighters on hand. The thing was burned to a crisp. We finally arrived at his lodge in Gravenhurst, a small town with old shops and there on the main street, a little door with steep stairs taking you to the street front landing area where brethren put on their aprons.

But before that, we went to the church basement next door where we had a hearty banquet served by ladies from the church. Followed by a speech from the DDGM (this was his official visit), the brethren continued to the lodge.

The lodge room was very nice (pics to come soon) and I noted the many similarities to mine and when the brethren were seated and the openings and closings in all three degrees were done perfectly, I noted the following:

- While all Ontario lodges are supposedly "Canadian Rite", the three lesser lights surrounded the altar as we would find in the U.S. and in Alberta and BC
Ancient York Lodges.

- "Worshipful Sir" not "Worshipful Master"

- The Immediate Past Master sits on the WM's right, not left

- When coming to order, the p. signs are held where we 'finish' them off. (Arms must get sore for some of the older guys.)

Other than that, the ritual wording was 99% the same and music to my ears.

There was a real nice relaxing feel to the lodge while all the protocols and traditions were maintained.

The brethren were very welcoming and interested in meeting me.

After the meeting, all the brethren went up to the third floor where a nice Coke machine dispensed $2 beer!

So there I was with Bro. Shawn, the Worshipful Master, and a retired policeman drinking Molson Canadian, eating Timbits (Tim Horton doughnut holes), and us sharing various stories about pulling over Eric Lindros for speeding, meeting Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, seeing Shane Corson and Tie Domi get the shit beat out of them outside a bar, and making fun the Toronto Maple Leafs.

You really can't get more Canadian than that.

It now being 12:30am, on our way back to my rental car, with rain coming down, I couldn't start the car started due to my stupidity in leaving the lights on. So Shawn kindly drove to his house to get jumper cables and back we went and I was on my way for a 150km trip in massive rain.

A fantastic night. And I also know why Shawn's username is bncprez, but I'm not going to share. You'll have to visit his lodge to find out.

Thanks again Shawn. It's guys like you and your welcoming lodge who make Masonry truly worthwhile for this traveller.