Monday, April 15, 2002

Northern Exposure: Snow! Argh! Not Again! I thought we'd seen the last of it!

It's been a long time since I wrote one of these "here's what I've been doing" things. Bad me! Bad!

On Saturday it was wonderfully warm for the first time this year. We walked over to the University and I went to a Wing Chun class whilst Sophia went for a run around the area. We were both really tired out afterwards, and it was a lovely sunny day - really nice, about 10C or 12C. On the way back, I commented how all we needed was a rain shower to wash away all the remaining snow and dirt and gravel.

Sunday came along all wet! It was raining all day! I really do need to watch what I say. I went over to the shops for some supplies (our local Safeway), and Sophia went for another jog. She met me at the supermarket and after a quick wander around, back off home we went. As it was a miserable day outside (but very refreshing, and quite warm (3C or 5C)) we made oatmeal cookies using a recipe we got from the internet. They turned out REALLY yummy - very pleased with this.

It was a really nice weekend. Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning ready for another week at work, looked outside the window and saw almost a foot of snow. Really. Almost a foot. I checked the weather, got ready, opened the door, and had to very carefully walk up the few steps from our basement apartment. Slogging to the bus stop was pretty funny. It wasn't cold at all, but the snow was relentless, and the bus was late. I must admit that sometimes during my time in this wonderful country I have literally had to suppress maniacal giggles when thinking about the weather.

I sneaked a little reference into the previous paragraph that some of you might not know about - I've managed to get a job! I'm now working as a Consultant. My role is a Microsoft Developer, and they're giving me some training in the new technologies (all the .NET stuff) before putting me on some fun projects. As a consultant, I'll be working at the offices of the companies, rather than in our offices. I've only been here a few weeks, and I'm still settling in but it's all very exciting, and I'm really pleased. For the job (well that's my excuse) I got a pocket pc (if you're interested, it's a Compaq iPaq 3850). I'm very happy with it - easy to use, very friendly, very sexy.

I get the bus to work. It takes about 10 minutes to go from where we live (south of the river, just north of the really funky part of town (which is where Sophia's company is)) to get Downtown. After I get off the bus, I can wander through two malls to get to my building - so I can avoid the elements if I want/need to.

Stuff I'd missed over the past few months!

We missed you all loads over Christmas, as we stayed here for the whole thing. A few days over the holiday break we didn't even leave the house at all, as it was around -29 outside during the day.

We saw our first live ice hockey game on the 15th of December - it was between Tampa Bay and the Oilers (of course, GO OILERS!). Lots of fun! We ended up really high near one end, and sat next to a cool retired army guy who told us all about the rules, and why these seats are particularly good ("You get to see the play go back and forth, and flying pucks don't knock your teeth out" - works for me). The Oilers won that match, and the crowd went totally bonkers.

Also back in December we saw Harry Potter (enjoyed it a lot) and had an entire staff outing to see Lord of the Rings with BioWare. They block booked part of the cinema, and we all went along in the afternoon. Fantastic fun, great film.

Plus there was the snowboarding in January - BioWare managed to book an evening at a local ski centre (quite impressive considering Edmonton is very far away from the mountains). Sophia may have mentioned how she
did. I certainly didn't manage any "720 Canadian Bacons to a Late Japan Air - With a Wedgie", but I did eventually manage to go down the bunny slopes all the different ways. Insert joke about "left side, right side, backside, face" here, and you'd not be far off. Of course, I didn't manage to get rope burn on my eye, unlike some.

In January we signed up for a Taiko (Japanese drumming) Workshop. It was really good fun. One of our friends over here has been doing it for over a year and we've always wanted to give it a try. Earplugs, blisters on the hands, headaches from trying to learn the songs - but really incredible when the whole class managed to get the
whole thing sounding right. After the workshop was over we were invited to sign up for a "pre-apprenticeship". Quite a few people did, and for the next few Sundays we were trying to learn new songs, working on our stance and technique, and generally trying to look like we knew what we were doing. After it was all over, they went away to
deliberate - and unfortunately I didn't get in. Sophia did though, and I had a fantastic time, if you get a chance to try this, I really recommend it!

That's why I'm continuing with Wing Chun, as the Taiko sessions are at the same time (Mondays and Wednesdays). Sophia is doing lots of running as well as the Taiko (she starts proper on Wednesday), she's training up. I went back to Wing Chun for the first time in ages last week. Lots of the people who were yellow belts are now orange belts,
but it all soon came flooding back to me. Rather painfully, when we were doing balance trapping exercise and I caught my finger when blocking. Still, all part of the fun.

We're going to see Terry Pratchett give a talk over here soon, pretty cool that he's coming all the way over to Edmonton. If any of you lot feel like coming over, just let us know and we'll pick you up from the airport. Trust me, the snow WILL melt soon.