Showing posts from March, 2013

The Cold Truth

Now that Edmonton winter 2012 is losing its grip on us, it's time to get a handle on it.

Because this year, I tried something different. I had to. All but one of my 48 winters have been spent in Edmonton, and that means I know in my bones what that season can deliver. Endless blue skies and jewelled nights, sure, but also cold and snow and dark and wind. And wind and dark and snow and cold. The moaning around the frozen water cooler. Winter in Edmonton can dent the spirit.

When the world was the street where I lived, it was different. I just accepted that for a few months, I wouldn't be able to see the
pavement of that street—and, so, we played street hockey on the ice and snow. But then I grew up and put away the childish things and realized that the pools of Las Vegas are really only three hours away. As the imaginary world grows more vivid (and, in some ways, more reachable thanks to seat sales, marketing and Westjet), the real world of snow on 148 St can make you more un…

Seeing Stars

This is the hyperreality of my brain. I share this for the good of science. And as an apology for what might make me look like a bad listener from time to time.

This afternoon, Mikey was sitting on the couch with his laptop, planning his UAlberta term next fall with one eye to toward educational depth and the other toward having time for lunch.

"I think I'm going to take something about galaxies," he said. "Stars. Maybe take an astronomy course."

Out of the flow of his words, what extracted itself was the word "stars." Originally, I wrote that sentence in the active voice; that is, Out of the flow of his words, I somehow extracted the word "stars." 
But then I delete-keyed over that version, landing in the passive, because I can't really say I had set out to segment the word "stars" in any meaningful way.

How that worked, I don't know, but I suppose the word had been circling in another part of my brain for a few days.



There is a terrifyingly beautiful feeling waiting for me in the Rockies. Quite what it is I have never been able to make stand still. It sometimes feels like merciful obliteration.

I mean, the Rocky Mountains take no notice of those passing through, need nothing from those passing through. They are a quiet, powerful other. *

By contrast, the urban landscape makes demands of me. It orders me to read this sign, read that billboard, read this digital screen. Read, read, read. And that reading makes noise in my head. And being the reader, I am tricked into believing the messages need me.

In the mountains, there is no such fraud in the quiet trees.


We got to Banff in the Friday evening gloom that had turned to snowy rain by the time we hit Banff Avenue and headed up the side of the mountain along St. Julien Road to the Banff Centre. We checked in and the friendly, bun-of-hair woman behind the reception desk told us …

In Gurvinder Veritas

Still in my head from last night are reminders of the eight wines we tasted under the baton of Gurvinder Bhatia, who is @edmontonwineguy, the Epicurus of Jasper Ave.

It was a lecture titled "Wine With A Sense Of Place," and there Shelagh and I were with about 80 other UAlberta vintagees around tables in the Newman Centre in the basement of St. Joseph's College drinking and thinking about Burgundy or the Limari Valley or Tuscany or Oliver.

It was a place for all those descriptive words that flow to the surface whenever wine is the topic of conversation. Minerality. Acidity. Oaked or non-oaked. There are hints. There is complexity. And heaviness. Or summer. The wine dances. Or waits to be remembered. Or it remembers the time of waiting.

It's all pretty esoteric stuff, but I am still mulling over three lessons Gurvinder left us with when it comes to wine—and life.

1. Don't generalize. It is absurd to say you don't drink, say, Chardonnay. As if somehow Chardonnay…

Talkin' About The Oilers

Tonight, the Edmonton Oilers lost to the Blue Jackets in a shootout, an outcome that sparked the firing of the Civil War-style cannon in the Columbus arena and the retreat of our youngest son to his room.

Come on, boys. That's enough, already.

Mikey is a big Oilers fan. Not a season-ticket holder, obviously, but a true fan just the same. When word broke on Twitter that the team was going to skate at the Hawrelak pond a few weeks ago, down went his undergrad art history textbooks and out the door he went. He was quoted in the Journal's account of the the shinny game. He was at OilersNation's 5th anniversary bash last week. No surprise, mind you. He was raised an Oilers fan.

I first sensed what we had on our hands that November night in 2006. The whole family went to the Oilers game. It was against Dallas. And it was the game in which referee Mick McGeough entered the pantheon of villains when he whistled down a phantom hand pass by Shawn Horcoff, disallowing what would hav…

Kings Of Twitter

Tonight's LA Kings Twitter post won't get as much attention as the infamous spear from last year's NHL playoffs.

Remember? It was immediately after the Kings beat the Canucks 4-2 in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinal that we saw and laughed and reacted to this gem:

The Internet lit up, the mocking tweet became news, the @LAKings apologized, sort of, B.C. wondered if the rest of the country was, indeed, cheering for them to lose, they lost, and the Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup.

The Kings are playing the Canucks again tonight and most of the tweets from the LA Twitter account are pretty typical shots at the manhood of the Sedins and Lapierre. But there was also this one:

Great pass from Burrows and Hamhuis one times it past Quick. Canucks up 1-0 early in the 1st.
That's not a tweet you'd see from too many other NHL teams. Really, would the Oilers compliment an Iginla-Cammalleri pass that ended with puck behind Dubnyk? It's muc…