Prior warning here this post is liable to be long and possibly rambling and will contain the following topics:
1. Moose (sightings and evening wear)
2. Good Book Recs
3. Observations of America and those that live there
4. Slightly panicked musings on the Carver Season 8 Supernatural Spoilers
6. San Diego Comic Con - 2013!!
8. Pornography discussions with husband
9. How to live Off The Grid
10. Life is in the moments but also in the future planned moments
So we are here in Alaska, staying just outside of Denali National Park. We thought - yeah we'll go in Summer, yes we miss the perfect picturesque first snow falls and that classic romantic white winter land scenes however on the upside it's summer so weather will be great for taking photos and getting out to see things in the park. We've been here since Tuesday (it's now Saturday) and it has been raining and overcast every single day. And cold, although I really don't give a shit how cold it is - cold don't stop pretty photos from being taken, or hikes from going ahead. Rain though? Raid does and cloud cover that gives no light for photos. Blergh. That said we've still managed to get quite a bit done - about two hikes of various length, a photo tour and a tour of Jeff King's Husky Homestead. We're sposed to be going up in a helicopter today but we'll see - they may cancel on account of the shitty weather. Which is fine, we get a refund and we can try and do a flight when we travel down to Kenai, don't want to be spending that amount of money unless you know it's going to be nothing less than spectacular. These guys are the only real wildlife we've spotted so far. Mama Moose is not a beast you want to trifle with I must admit.
Managed to get a few nice landscape shots in, trying to make the most of the roiling cloud cover,
Very infrequent blue sky sightings had to be made the most of...
And then there was the Denali Outlet Gift Store in which every where I turned I kept being confronted with Moose related clothing and instantly thinking of Jared. Damn you fandom for this very pervasive association I have now - although to be honest Jared himself has certainly encouraged it ....
and so for that I don't feel too guilty. I really did think Thomas would look very cute in this onesie:
Or this bib:
But I resisted...damn ridiculous even thinking of it really (once again fandom I'm blaming you ENTIRELY for this state of affairs)
and in the end resorted to buying these shirts - they came in chocolate brown and black and I couldn't decide so I got both. Besides I needed an Alaska tee shirt.
Did you know Moose grow those antlers over 12 months and then they drop off? I knew they shed them but I didn't realise how little time it was over. They apparently get all very strutty and showing their macho big antlers off to the ladies for a little while there. And then they drop off. I like that idea. Means their antlers are only big during the breeding season. When they need them. They haven't got those big antlers distracting them all year round. I think there's a lesson somewhere in that for all men.
But I digress...actually not really. Digression was warned of in this post. I shall digress all I like. COMIC CON 2013.
Tim and I made a pact after this year's (which was AMAAAAAAZING and yet frustrating in terms of how we only had two day passes not four) and decided that this was definitely an event worth getting to each year and that it was helpful that it falls in with the West Australian School Holidays and that we would only go if we could get four day passes next time. Well pre-reg went on sale this morning for those who had attended in 2012. Guess who has two thumbs and managed to get herself in the queue quick enough to score four single day passes for herself and four single day passes for hubby? *DOES THE EXUBERANTLY SILLY HAPPY DANCE WITH TWO THUMBS UP* This lassie here!!! COMIC CON 2013 we will be IN YOU!! So incredibly excited about this it's ridiculous. Even more ridiculous when you consider we'll be spending all of 5 maximum 6 days in the US (flying stupidly long hours to get there) but hey it's Comic Con. And completely worth it. So much cool off site stuff to do as well. Gonna start planning it NOW.
Okay - Americans. I find you lot FASCINATING in so many good ways and yes, a few scary ways as well.
This is what I've noticed:
We’ve been here over a month now and whilst I have not spoken to countless numbers of Americans I have spoken to more than a few. More than I can count on all my fingers and toes. Americans that I have spoken to have all come across as individuals and unique however there has been a sense of something similar between all of them and after some thought I have come to identify this common feeling – it’s an air of apologetic disappointment in their country. Preconceived notions are often inaccurate but mine were not completely off, more just a little skewed when I assumed this air would only come from those who have managed to travel and get outside their country every now and again. But this tone of apologetic disappointment reflected in their voices has come from all walks of life. To the guy in his 30s from Arkansas who has supported himself from the age of 16 and lives his life in an RV, splitting his working year between Alaska and British Columbia, the young college graduate who grew up just outside of San Diego who is barely in her 20s, the semi retired Texan ladies, the middle aged successful magic entertainers who live in Las Vegas, the born and bred Portland girl in her 20s who just graduated dental hygienist college who wants to see the world.
They are all such vastly different people too – with different backgrounds, upbringings, socio-economic status and yet there is the common element amongst them (and many others that I have conversed with) and that is one of apologetic disappointment in their country, or more specifically the people in their country. I understand why of course. I can see how frustrating it must be to see their countrymen and women refuse to inform themselves, to educate themselves, to better equip themselves with the tools they need to make important decisions about who to put their faith in to run the country. I can empathise with the levels of apathy when it comes to politics and politicians once they have informed themselves and I can certainly appreciate the levels of cynicism being so high that even a generation as young as the pre teens would be passing acerbic comments about their political representatives, dripping with the weight of bitterness as they watch the divide between the haves (now just simply referred to as the rich) and the have nots (now called the poverty line) get ever wider and deeper and insurmountable for anyone with less than a 6 figure annual salary. I get all these things and at the same time feel incredibly fortunate for my position in life and also for where I live. Yet at the same time I feel an urge to reignite the passion and love they have for their country. To remind them of all the things they should feel proud of, to let them know that this United States of America is a special place and a country that people aspire to come to for a whole plethora of reasons (not all of them entirely wholesome of course) and that there are good things here and huge numbers of good people.
We have good people in Australia don’t get me wrong. But I’m still marveling at the level of decent respect, courtesy and kindness that is as natural to people here as breathing. We do polite and friendly in Australia. But not like the Americans do and that is a feature of the people of this country that America deserves to be proud of. Back home there is a sort of natural wariness of the new, the unknown and yes we’ll treat you with civility but you need to work a little harder if you want to be welcomed like an old friend. So often here over the past month I have felt like an old friend in terms of the greetings, I have felt like nothing is too much trouble, I have felt that if I had a problem it would be solved with the help of some new found friends. There’s comfort in that thought.
So I’m making a list of some of the things Americans should be proud of about their nation. (Not all of them obviously – but the ones that stand out to me)
1. On the whole, as a collective group of people, Americans are amongst the nicest, friendliest, courteous people in the world and they extend that respect to their dogs.
2. Your country is so massively vast that it’s an amazing experience just travelling from state to state – because you have such different cultures, environments, sights and people from state to state.
3. Nature and wilderness. Nobody does National Parks like America. It’s one of the best things about this nation. Even when not in a National Park there are areas in most states that are just visually stunning and will serve to remind this country of what’s important.
4. Food. (And okay this goes into the bad column too in terms of realistic portions, harmful cheap diets etc) BUT in terms of choice and quality and service – amongst the best in the world.
5. Also part of the collective mind – your demonstrative love for your country (in the face of the apologetic disappointment still) – you maintain a pride that is visible to anyone with eyes, in your flag and especially in your military.
6. As a group you managed to vote in Obama. That was an unbelievably progressive step. A light that many people needed and still do.
7. The Arts – music, television, film, writing, festivals, fairs, performance arts of all kinds. These are things that are clearly cherished and nurtured in this country. The rest of the world reaps the benefits of this respect.
8. Your love of Sports (albeit this is an Australian thing I would mention too) – the variety of sports played, the passionate enthusiasm for it. (Yes I acknowledge this is not on the good side always)
9. The response of the general populace in times of crisis and trauma. The reactions of the communities surrounding such events is not just reported on TV – it is done, in actions, by everyday people responding out of a basic human trait of caring for another person when they go through misfortune. It’s another example of the respect thing you have going on.
10. Your success borne out of poverty stories. People who have not had much to start with, who start often behind the eight ball, no leg ups from family or other avenues and yet through their own tenacity and wits manage to succeed in life and contribute above and beyond to society. There’s a large number of these stories.
I know there’s an opposite list out – likely pages long but as is my nature I like to focus on the positives. Doesn’t mean I don’t embrace hearty long in depth discussions about what’s wrong with a country but I am far more comfy spending my life focusing on the good in the world. There’s so much out there but sometimes it feels like you have to look really hard for it. It’s at those times, when there are sometimes bleak, harsh realities of situations unfolding around that leave you feeling as about as significant as a leaf floating on a breeze in a fall forest of redwoods, that you struggle to find your love in your country. I’m going to keep this list here and update it as I see fit on our travels because there is bound to be more.
Book Recs! YES! I am totally in love with reading tangible books right now - (oh I still very much love my ipad ones and read those frequently - but I'm totally into the hand held ones right now - it's a problem I must admit with one suitcase, a backpack and tote bag to last me six months travel but as a result I am EXPERT in strategic packing now) and there have been a couple that I have literally just INHALED they have been that good:
Forewarned is prearmed as they say and I will say right now I kinda had to skim read Chapters 1 and the final chapter. I was on a plane okay! I didn't want to upset the other passengers or the steward/esses with my really appalling crying face. Seriously - if you have a dog or have ever had dogs then you have a soul and a heart and you will be exercising some superhuman repression powers if you don't get at least a little teary over these chapters. But they are not the majority of the book - the majority of the book is just brilliantly entertaining, it manages to walk the delicate line of light humour (sometimes laugh out loud funny) and very heavy insight into humanity and philosophy. I loved it. Ok I probably haven't read the final chapter all the way through yet. You know what happens in the very beginning. But I'm working up to it. I am such a sap - but then Jensen confessed both he and Jared were a couple of hot grown Texas men messes on a plane once after watching Marley and Me so I feel completely vindicated there.
The other one is this:
EVERY WOMAN IN THE ENTIRE WORLD SHOULD READ THIS. I'm not kidding. I think I'm kinda in love with this woman right now which is awkward, we're both the same age, she has two kids, she lives in the UK, I live in Australia, I'm practically married it would never work out. This book, for me, felt like it was reading all the thoughts I'd ever had in my brain about being a woman and just poignantly, hilariously, seriously, cleverly, pointedly, firmly, non-preacherly, feelingly articulated all of them into words on a page that made me exercise huge amounts of restraint just to resist not standing on a chair in some airport lounge in the middle of the crowd and yell " YES!!!!! ALLLLLLLLLL THIS!!!" whilst gesticulating and pointly wildly at the book in my hands, nodding my head so emphatically people started checking where the nearest medical assistance might be. Honestly it was that good. It's gonna be a reread so often for me, I'm gonna be quoting excerpts (possibly my PG rated interpretations) to the classes I teach next year, I may just use it as my go to birthday/christmas present for every woman I have ever know ever for the foreseeable future. I also happen to think a whole WORLD of men should read it too. INSIGHT for the male species the likes of which they will never get from movies like What Women Want or books like Women are From Mars, Men are From Venus. It makes sense of my vague bafflement of feminism and what it is to be feminist, it sorts out why I wonder if I am the only woman on earth who feels the way she does sometimes, it's clarified why things in the workplace, in family, in my choice of past times feels slightly "off" to me sometimes. It's so freaking good that I feel the urge to write letters to the author (who is on Twitter by the way and ALREADY responded to one of my tweets) to explain ALL my feelings including the immense gratitude I have felt towards her for writing it. Five out of Five Feisty Yet Wearing Comfortable Shoes Stars for this book.
How did I get hold of it? POWELL'S of Portland is responsible.
You know how we're planning to go to the US just for SDCC next year? I'd plan to go just about just for POWELL'S bookstore in Portland Oregon. When my friend Daisy settles back into Oregon this year I'm gonna have TWO reasons to visit now - her AND Powell's. That place is my book mecca, manna from heaven, place I want to go to die in place. Tim already commented that if we ever lived in Portland and he ever wondered where I was at - it would always be that place. I LOVE POWELL'S BOOKS. Anyone who lives even remotely near that place (I'm talking up to two states away at least) should make it their mission in life to go. I just was walking past - saw the cover, mostly the title though caught my eye "How To Be A Woman" - it's something I've been wondering about since I was 12 I believe. I randomly opened to a page (I never read first page paragraphs) and it opened to the page on high heels that literally looked EXACTLY like a conversation I had had in my head days before when walking round Las Vegas about wearing shoes that are essentially torture devices.
Speaking of Portland - thanks so very much to growyourwings aka Karen and her lovely family for treating us to a very delicious and heart warming meal at a classic Portland restaurant named Jake's Famous Crawfish. We got to meet her (we've been friends on LJ a good long while now) and her lovely hubby and two kids - the very grown up Emily and Tim. I am thrilled that we will be meeting up again for Vancon - I very much enjoyed the discussions we had and we could have talked for so much more. There were photos too! I remember! I'm still hanging out for the ones we took on your camera Karen! :-) FANDOM is awesome and we were both united in trying to explain to the non-Supernaturally-obsessed members of the dinner table that it certainly was not just about the guys. It's totally true - if you work out how long you actually spend with the guys at any given con compared to the time you spend meeting friends and making new friends and just talking ENDLESSLY about the show and about our own lives and finding out about our friends lives it's a ridiculously small percent. I used to think all the talk about this aspect of the con was just some shallow deflecting platitudes people made grand statements with but after experiencing three cons now I know first hand exactly how much it's the friendships and the relationships and the absolute broadening of my personal world experience that has been instigated by my attendance at the cons. Friends all over the world - not just online, people both Tim and I are meeting with because of the links I've made through fandom - both Smallville and Supernatural. The fact that a couple of little TV shows can do that? BLOWS MY MIND.
SEASON 8 Supernatural. I'm not one for making in depth comments, grand eloquent essays on the meta, in detail analysis of who said what about who and when and speculations on mammoth scales. But I read the recently posted article/interview with The Carver. And I read the comments (which may have been step 2 of THINGS YOU DON'T DO BEFORE YOUR FAVOURITE SHOW IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD RETURNS but....whatever) which also provided more quotes from key players for this season. I also watched the most recent Comic Con interview with the Js. Jared, you're doing my head in. I hope in a good way. I am totally supportive of the decision to investigate the "character development in maturity" the brothers have apart. In fact YES! I think it's vitally important if the show is to keep fresh. Yes we want and love the classic S1/S2 MOTW formula that sees the brothers working as a team, being awesome and saving the world BUT you can't have that endlessly - so how do you pull it off? Add in some new aspects to their relationship. Aspects that might seem a little off initially, things that are done and words that are said that make you go - whoah now....hang on, Sam would totally NOT do that and/or Dean said what now??? Upset the Golden Winchester Applecart, it does indeed keep things fresh - but I am so HOPING that whatever they do doesn't have the brothers at loggerheads again - we've done that now, a couple of times, I like the idea that they're having to work out a new way of being together due to how they've actually changed as individuals, I like the notion that maybe Sam (who has repeatedly stated that the apple pie life is not for him) actually may get a shot at it and finds he wears it well. That's called upsetting the applecart for the brother's relationship. But I don't want him wearing it permanently that's for sure. I'd love for him to wear that life and for it to work - to a point but what I don't want is that life to be something he slipped into easily like a pair of sweats and a thin, worn old Triumph tee shirt of Dean's. He better have done all the Sam stuff we'd know he'd do before that (tried EVERYTHING to get Dean out) and those sweats and tees better come off eventually. Just saying. Ooooh it's like being optimistically, apprehensively, hopefully full of excited trepidation. I LOVES IT!!
Photography. My trusty Nikon 3200 is doing me proud right now and I am learning heaps. I am managing to get mostly good photos with a very rare, few being above the average. I do so hope I can take some more great con photos. And I am loving a number of shots I have managed to take, which whilst probably not techinically perfect I certainly love.
II just couldn't help it. I love this one so much.
That's a selection - there's heaps more on my For Everyone Including Family Members Not Just My Fandom Friends Blog here at my Wordpress Page.
Oh yeah PUPPIES! A few things on that front:
My youngest Savvy back home - is currently pregnant and due to have pups at the end of this month. She is under the very competent, capable (one of the few people I'd trust in the world with my furkids) love and attention of Robyn and this is the imminent litter notice!
I am now busily trying to come up with a theme to help Robyn name the litter. Something to do Ice and Colour I think. This is the fun part - Robyn gets the not so fun part of raising the litter but then again she will get the very precious bonus of getting to play with the puppies and watch them grow. I'm gonna be a demanding mother from afar though and insist on pics and vids!
Speaking of Puppies...the the Jeff King Husky Homestead tour was interesting enough for me to cross post here from my blog:
Jeff King was won the Iditarod four times. So he knows a little bit about dog sledding
I’m cheating here. I took my camera but Tim ended up taking all the pics, hopefully I can steal a few and put them here. I think this is a great tour for those who are brand new to the idea of dog sledding which was the people who came in on the three other buses that arrived. However our voucher specifically described – “Step back from the crowd and enjoy and intimate experience with …. etc etc” We didn’t think the group would be so huge and I will admit I was expecting a little more in terms of personal interaction with the dogs. That said it is definitely a tour worth doing if you have any interest in dogs whatsoever and the Alaskan dog mushing – their state sport. We’ve done dog sledding before and spent several days with a couple in Swedish Lappland being very hands on with the care of the dogs and in learning the ropes of mushing. We had prior knowledge – we know the idea of the Husky is mostly Disneyfied in the general public’s mind with movies like Snow Dogs and Eight Below contributing to the misconceptions.
The dogs we saw were exactly what I expected – Alaskan Huskies (not Siberians and not Mals) – however the rest of the crowd were receiving this news for the first time. I think the most interesting part of the tour for me was when Jeff gave his talk on the intricacies of competing in the Iditarod – there was plenty of stuff there that I had wondered about and that he answered and getting it from a four time winner was invaluable.
We were not allowed to touch the older dogs (which I kinda felt disappointed about and I suspect had a lot to do with liability they perhaps might not have been covered for) except for one named Deets who was walked on a leash by the crowd. He decided that Tim and I were “his people” and seemed settled in before his handler insisted he moved on. They had five litters on the ground right now and this was common for a big kennel like this – they don’t want to take their great racing females out of competition for breeding during the height of competition season so they have their litters happening in the summer months. The five week old puppies were handed around and photos were religiously taken in case you wanted to purchase them later of course. To be honest all the puppies being handed about and I only felt drawn to one little black and white smooth coated tacker of course. He was bright eyed and sassy and looked a little glum when I was made to hand him back so others could hold him. True – I could see it all in his eyes!
The dogs still train behind an ATV but obviously for shorter runs given the warm weather. The initial presenter gave a lot of background about the Alaskan Husky breed and explained how they were named and trained. She explained how they are purebred with long ass pedigrees not recognised by AKC because of the lack of standard – which suits sled dog race breeders just fine understandably. I spotted two dogs up the back – there were probably around 30 kennels with dogs on tethers in the area – that definitely had Pointer in them and spoke to one of the trainers later on and she said yes, after commenting on my observant eye, they are experimenting with combining top sprint mushing dogs who have GSP in them (only very little, one eighth or one sixteenth) with a couple of Jeff’s top racing dogs (long distance good speed) to try and get more speed over a longer distance and to also give the sprint dogs longer endurance.
I imagine that’s a line, a delicate balance that all top Alaskan Husky breeders aspire to, get a team of 9 or 10 dogs who will travel the long distances at more than the currently winning speed of 10.5mph. Put too many of those fast twitch muscle fibers down and the endurance will be lacking – make those slow twitch fibers work a little quicker and you’ll increase the speed. I spoke to Jeff about their potential (if they don’t make the caliber of race team dog he’s looking for) in the agility arena. He stated he and his ex wife had once placed an Alaskan in with the BC puppies, raised it just like them, trained them just like them but there was just something that never quite worked with the husky. I’m curious to know exactly where it didn’t work. They seem to want to please but then there is that “don’t give a shit if you fall off the sled” component as well. You often see in agility if the handler falls on their arse badly (as in can’t quite get up quick enough) our dogs will automatically turn back to us to check if we’re okay. As Jeff said his dogs only give him a check in look when they pull in to stop at a check point just to make sure the guy that’s handing out the food is back there still. I get the feeling if you got an Alaskan Husky pretty fired up and revved for agility there might be some battles with the whole team thing, we do this together, I can envision once the Alaskan figures it knows and it can do everything really fast then following the designated course may become an issue! However I’d love to see someone experiment with breeding an Alaskan with a Border Collie. That explosive speed to start running and pulling could only be beneficial, their athleticism only adding to the BC style.
I very much like the cheap Fit Furlife Treadmills they had going for puppies and adults alike – I did wonder if I could convince my guys that making that wheel spin round and round under their feet could be the best fun in the world! LOL!
They have to leash this guy or he runs himself ragged.
This is Jeff and his favourite dog Salem (he’s 12) and he is the resident puppy trainer but has also won the coveted (by the silly humans not the dogs of course) MVP award of the Iditarod by being voted best dog of the race one year.
Siblings practicing CPR techniques. Or it’s a case of “Hey do I still have that horrible halitosis?”
This is Deets. He was a cool dude.
He showed great taste in people. One of the ladies we travelled with declared, seconds after coming off the bus and being offered a puppy to hold, “Oh I’m not really a dog person, no thanks”. Um. What? I see crazy people. They’re everywhere. Also you paid over 50 bucks for this. *Shrugs* I’m not spending any more time working on that.
So that was it. It was all very slick and commercialised and feel free to purchase X, Y and Z and that’s fine, the guy’s gotta make some money to support his dog habit so I can relate. Although I don’t think I’ll ever spend quite as much as 100 thousand in one year to get a team ready for the biggest agility event in the world I think the dogs are amazing and to me they are the pinnacle of athleticism in the canine world – our top agility dogs have nothing on these guys when it comes to endurance, speed and all round fitness. The way these dogs can run and can pull and their sheer heart and instinct is just something very special to see. I hope I get to ride behind a sled again one day. It’s like nothing else you’ve ever tried…..and you better hang on.
I've decided this post is long enough. If you have lasted through this then congrats GO YOU! Apparently my brief and concise button has left. Plus I have to go ride in a helicopter now .... sheesh the things we have to do! ;-) Anyhoo Points 8, 9 and 10 from above are being deferred for another post. Stay tuned if you're game enough! 21 days till VANCON!!!! WOOOHOOOO!!!
Today is one of those days I can open my diary and write:
Today I sat on a beach and watched as wild Alaskan Brown Bears ambled on down the river less than five meters away from where I was sitting. I watched Mama Bears fishing, keeping their cubs in line, young male bears get their noses put out of joint by the bigger older male bears, a mature middle aged female Bear chew enough grass to make any cow jealous, another Bear clamming on the beach, cubs running after their Mamas and then refusing to get their paws wet as she crossed the river, an ambitious, possibly slow to develop, young Bear try his paw at catching Canadian Geese (they weren't perturbed in the slightest) and Bears settling in for naps.
As if this was not amazing enough fandom followed me here. When we arrived at the airport hangar and were sorted into small groups of five I discovered our pilot's name was Michael. Cool. There had been a Jensen out there checking the planes and making sure they were good to go, he was clearly one of the flight mechanics and/or maintenance crew. So now there was a Michael AND a Jensen. Neat I thought. We landed and it turned out the other two pilots of the two planes that followed us were to be our "Bear Viewing" Guides. Their names? Jared and Tom. I kid you not. They weren't look alikes or anything (trust me I checked - not bad looking but no look alikes) BUT how does one itty bitty Alaskan family tourism company have Tom, Michael, Jared and Jensen working in the one place?
It was meant to be. We were meant to find a trip, with this company, on these planes, on this date, at this time. Initially we had walked down to the company we really wanted to use (right next to our RV park) and they were fully booked for the next two weeks. No dice. So glumly we trooped back to the RV and then I said brightly - let's walk the Homer Spit trail! Turns out this trail was nearly nine miles round trip and a very long way to walk but by doing that walk - we passed the reservations office for this Bear Viewing tour company. Which just happened to have a hand written sign in the window stating that there were still seats available on the Friday afternoon Bear viewing flight. We went in and inquired. It cost a LOT of money. We said we'd discuss it and call them in the morning (aka go back to RV and properly google the ass outta that company to see if they were any good). Turns out they're rated number one on Trip Advisor. Trip Advisor ratings generally don't lie. We ended up booking it, figuring we'd had to cancel the helicopter scenic tour in Denali this could take the place of the biggest Alaskan tour expense. And that's how we got to have one of the most amazing wildlife experiences I have ever had the privilege of.
Here are just a sampling of the shots I managed to take:
Our little Cessna 206. Smallest plane I've ever been in but our pilot Michael exuded such quiet experienced confidence I had no concerns whatsoever. I do marvel at these little beasts being able to lift off and land in just about any environment. That's a neat trick amongst the aviation world I bet.
The view out my window as we taxi down the runway heading for a take off position.
The view from my window once we're in the air.
Such grandiose landscapes are in abundant supply in the neck of the world. I did wonder if it ever loses it's wonder for the locals - or if they just go on holiday to some city and it all comes rushing back once they're home again.
First pretty close viewing was of a Mama Bear (they call them Sows but I always feel vaguely scandalised referring to such magnificent creatures as Sows. A Sow is a pig. So Mama Bear or Girl Bear or Matronly Lady Bear they shall be for me) who was on a mission to get some fishin'. ;-)
Her three children were less than exuberant about matching her determined strides. They rather reminded me of surly, sulky teenagers being hauled along to the the grocery shopping.
And then to get a little perspective on sizes here...
There were PLENTY of bears to watch in this area. Which was not always the case with this location apparently. The guides were saying the morning trip didn't manage to see this many.
This young guy got subtly pressured into moving by another larger bear just ambling in to his fishing spot. He decided that he would walk right by us. And when I say "by" I mean within five meters, and close enough that Jared, our guide, felt the need to stand (we were all kneeling, crouched down). As soon as Jared stood, the bear just took an extra angled step away and carried on. But he gave us all some brilliant photo opportunities.
He's sooooo fluffy!
I'm not apologising. I loved this line from Despicable Me. Favourite movie moment. And therefore relevant to all future fluffy moments of note.
This was another guy bored with the grass chewing. He was heading out to the beach to do some fishing.
He passed right between us and the other group that was part of our three plane trip. Just a mesmerising, never to be forgotten trip. The guides were all very up and happy with the luck they'd had. As Michael said when it's just nothing but wildlife like this - every time you go out it's a new moment because you never know what sort of trip you're gonna have. This one was a good one he said. I reckon his 'good' is my 'utterly brilliant'.
Random post of random topics whilst I bide my time waiting for the new Brian Buckley Band video for I Am Human to be released - at 5pm! I really am digging the album Hysterical Blindness - my favourite song so far is Bye Blue Sky but I reserve the right to move I Am Human up from 2nd Favourite into Favourite once I've seen Jared in the video of course!
Details about the video are HERE and HERE.
So today Matt Nathanson linked his vid here via email and twitter:
This guy's music is getting a little bit of radio play over here...heard him in Alaska! And maybe once in California. But really he's what I refer to as a sleeper in music. He's not played so much that he's really well known but people who listen to a track, or see him in concert (usually supporting - bands like Train) or who are given his music via a friend tend to get right into it. He's definitely a word of mouth kinda popularity. Hell I only heard about him via a J2 AU fic I read! Seen him twice in concert now and found him just super easy to listen to, sexy and revitalisingly, refreshingly energetic. Modern Love is one of my favourite tracks but it's close with Faster and Kiss Quick being up there too. If you're looking for something different to inject your playlist with a bit of light hearted happy yet rocky music he's definitely one to check out.
So my sister sends me a message on facebook which pretty much cements her place in the Most Fabulous Little Sister in the World Hall of Fame complete with a concreted in star.
"Have secured Backstage VIP Passes for Dallas Con....oh and you are also the owner of a Jared Padalecki Q&A Half hour as well. Happy Birthday!"
Birthday not till May next year. Did I mention I love EARLY birthday presents? LOL!
Haven't even done the VanCon yet (starts next Thursday) and here I am already getting psyched for DallasCon
in September! \o/ Still pinching myself! Sister gets the best seat on the roadtrip into Texas for sure - we're picking her up in Denver, Colorado on our way through from Wyoming and Yellowstone.
Someone tried to correct me and tell me that Zach Levi is as tall as Jared Padalecki. *shakes head slowly in pity* Don't be trying to tell the person who was sitting less than 5 meters away from both Zach and Jared, standing right next to each other, TAKING PHOTOS, she's wrong. That's never gonna slide. Get your facts straight on the Padalecki or there will be enlightenment forthcoming - just saying ;) Especially since Zach was all grumbly at the start of NerdHQ saying how he hadn't been the shortest guy on stage ALL WEEKEND till Padalecki came on ;-) LOL!
Found the infamous Supernatural @guanacotruck - Guanaco Food Truck today in downtown Vancouver. First time I've had El Salvadorean food and I APPROVE of the Queso y Frijoles! So yummy I tweeted about it. Then I had some juice made from Tamarind fruit. Also tasty refreshing citrusy goodness.
Russ from Twitter (Supernatural Location Manager) asured me on twitter that this truck would definitely be showing up during VanCon.
We've also done Earl's in Yaletown - again such good food and great service I think we're going back there.
It was quite funny, Mr Redteekal (aka Tim) and I are both keeping travle blogs of our adventures and Tim is also going out of his way to catalogue our food outings so he often times will pull his little digital camera out and take shots of the food before we dig in. Now we kind of think one of the wait staff saw us doing this and perhaps they thought we were like undercover food critics or something because they were way more attentive to our table than other tables and they were very quick to refill our drinks on the house all evening! I think even the manager came out at one point and enquired as to how our dining experience was going! We laughed but certainly didn't question it! I personally think he wants to go back because of the staff AND the food ;-)
The waitressing ladies were all hot! And I say this as a mostly hetero female!
Wings and Baby Calamari!
The Best Ever Grilled Chicken Baked Brie Sandwich with Yam Fries ever!
Tim had the dessert which I tasted - a very light but scrummy (that's scrumptious and yummy btw) Vanilla mousse, summer berries shortbread thingy.
So far we've clocked up around 35kms in walking around 20 miles but we are using the bus as well to get around the city. The waterfront is really very pretty and Stanley Park rainforest just stunning.
My main observations about Vancouver are:
1. Well laid out, easy to navigate.
2. They are VERY pedestrian and bike friendly as a city.
3. Costs about the same as home so not cheap.
4. There are way more visible homeless people here than in any other city we've been in.
5. The money makes more sense here!
Lastly checked out the Sheraton Wall Centre where Con is being held - in the immortal words of Kath and Kim (never sure which one) VERY NOICE!! VERY NOOOOIIIICCCCEEEEE!!!
We'll be moving out of our temporary apartment here east of downtown and moving up to the Sheraton Thursday. I like!