Archive for the ‘Life is Great!’ Category

No Reconciliation

January 4, 2012

As today marks one year to the day that I broke up with cigarettes I felt it fitting to wish my lungs a Happy 1st Birthday.

Any of you that follow this blog know that typically this is the part where I would add photos of my lungs in their youth, learning to ride a bike, graduating from high school, playing beer pong and backpacking around Europe.

The truth is I no longer have any of those photos, I hacked them all up about a month after cigarettes left.


Don’t Be a Luger, Try Skeleton!

February 22, 2011

Last February almost to the day I had the good fortune to watch Olympic Bobsleigh live at the Whistler Sliding Center. This past Saturday my friend Sara and I headed up to Whistler to try out the newly opened to the public Skeleton sport experience for ourselves.

98.5 km/h

Upon arriving to the guest services we were greeted, signed in and weighed. Being a few minutes early we were encouraged to have a wander around the room where we could look at the equipment worn by our Olympic counterparts and or purchase a keepsake cow bell. They also had the the Olympic torch on hand which I promptly picked up and did the pretend it’s a giant joint thing. Sara rolled her eyes.

At 2:30 we were called to have a seat at the back of the room. On each of our seats was a clipboard and a waiver, I had a quick glance of said waiver which in a nutshell explained that if I died performing this experience Whistler would not be shelling out any cash or responsibility. Awesome!

A pleasant Brit stepped up and introduced himself as Graham, he would be our trainer and guide for the duration. Graham welcomed all 20 of us, 18 men and 2 women. Sara quickly pointed out the 8 or so fit 70 year old men sitting around us and how we might actually be in a hidden camera Cialis commercial. Graham began a two hour barely visible slide presentation explaining the history, the technical aspects and the dangers of this sport we were about to partake in. As Graham spoke the nervous tension in the room grew palpable. Deep breath sighs and fidgeting in seats ensued and culminated with Graham showing us a bruise the size of an arm on the back of his arm from a run he took just days before. Awesome!

Once everyone had an opportunity to lay on a sleigh and try on a helmet Graham gave one last impassioned speech on how if anyone had changed their minds that they should not feel bad and to discreetly come over and admit defeat. As he finished, Sara leaned over and informed me that she had the Band of Horses song The Funeral playing over and over in her mind during the entire presentation! Awesome!

“Right then! Grahams voice interrupted, let’s do this!” He then proceeded to read the order in which we would be sliding. Old fitter than me 70 year old guy will be first, followed by old fitter than me 70 year old guy #2. On and on he went down the list, “and finally the 19th slider will be Sara, and bringing up the rear, our last slider will be Jason”. Awesome!

Off we went up the hill to the starting gate where we could watch each nervous participant lay down on the sled and be ceremoniously counted down and pushed off into an unknown fate.

While watching the first 10 participants shove off from the doorway of the shipping container located next to the track an older gentleman tapped me on the shoulder, I turned around to discover he had squeezed most of his body into an actual proper Olympic style sliding suit. A proper one with spider web designs on the elbows and knees. A slightly too small bright red sliding suit! “Could you give me a hand pulling this suit up over my shoulders?”, “ahhh sure I said.” His name was called, he lay down at the gate, helmet deaf to the Cialis boys snickers and snide comments. 30.05 seconds later a voice came over the loud speaker, “and that was Andrew with the fastest ever tourist run at 100.9 km/h”. Awesome!

Sara at 96.1 km/h

Finally it was Sara’s turn, I wished her good luck and waited for the loud speaker voice to confirm she had made it to the bottom in one piece. “That was Sara with a 96.1 km/h run the voice said”. Nervously I lay down on the sleigh, I could feel my heartbeat in my eyes. Graham shoved me off and for the next 30.15 seconds (second fastest of the day) I watched the ice whiz by three inches from my nose. It is a strange sensation, you have no idea where you are on the track at any given second, you can see approximately three feet (of ice) in front of you and nothing to your sides. You are a sack of potatoes on a sleigh, your helmet bumps and scrapes along the ice intermittently and you feel a significant G-force on your body at the last turn. You know it’s almost over as you ping-pong (popcorn as Sara calls it) off the walls near the end of the track. It is exhilarating and worth the price of admission!

No I'm not wearing a diaper though I wouldn't judge anyone who did.

Dolphin out of water pose.

I apologize for the lack of photos in this post, thus all the long winded explanations. You are strongly encouraged not to bring camera and or video gear as the sliding centre has a hired photographer that you can each pay $45 for four digital images.

The cost to slide is $146 per person.

Beets and Feets

September 8, 2010

This past Sunday my friends Dawne-O and James invited me to help jar/can/pickle vegetables. It was a perfect fallish day for canning, you know the kind of day where you are with good friends, the house is warm with the smell of the pork butt (“high roasted with spices and sea salt and pepper at 450 for about an hour, then covered and cooked for another 4+ hours at about 300”) your friend so thoughtfully prepared in advance for dinner. The kind where one or two of the friends has had stayed up partying until 4 am a little to much to drink the night before but are happy and safe knowing their other friends will comfort them if they burst into tears from vodka depression. The kind where your playlist spans The Little River Band to Vampire Weekend.

James arrived with 20lbs of green beans and enough beets and other vegetables to feed that family of 30 kids on TLC for a week.

Dawne-O made the brines both for the beans and the beets. I emailed her for the recipe and she sent me the following instructions – “Beans, which I doubled, quintupled, etc., started out as 4 cups white pickling vinegar to 4 cups water, scant half cup pickling salt, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons dried chili pepper, 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, 2 tablespoons mustard seed, 2 tablespoons coriander and 2 bay leaves. Bring to rolling boil and then ladle over prepared (sterilized and filled) jars and leave 1/2″ head space. Process for ten minutes.”

The brine for the beets is slightly different – “Beets – 2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar to 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon pickling salt, 1 tablespoon mustard seed, star anise, cloves cardamom. These are processed for 30 minutes. Again, this was multiplied.”

Both the beans and beets require blanching before they are canned.

Pouring the brine into the jars.

Into the canner for processing.

And there you have it, winter rations for all.

You have all heard me talk about my friend Dawne-O before, she’s kind of amazing when it comes to food. She announced that she was going to make us a peach tarte tatin for dessert promptly blanching and disrobing a half a dozen freshly picked Okanagan peaches of their skins. FYI, according to Dawne she used pate brisee for the pastry, not puff, which is classic. Delish!

Naked peach alert!

While waiting for our pork butt to warm I began complaining about my sore feet. Mike mentioned that we should call the nice people at Golden Feet to see if they could accommodate all four of us at the same time for foot rubs. Mike and Dawne have been going to Golden Feet for some time now and have invited me to join them on a number of occasions. I was skeptical and a little weirded out about having my feet and especially my vulnerable pinky toes handled by a complete stranger. It was amazing!!! Seriously make an appointment today, it will change your life.

The only things I found odd about the whole experience where the cost (only $37 for an hour!), the soccer ball light fixture in the room which in the end we chalked up to feet = soccer, and the fact that the song What Child Is This played at least three times.


April 20, 2010

Um yeah that about covers it. Click on the image if you want to be even more jealous.

Big Beach Maui

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