Friday, August 30, 2002

I lied. Had to post one more blog before I leave Toronto. I went out with Natasha again last night. We took the subway up to Bathurst and walked down to College. It's a funky little neighborhood east of the College/Bathurst corner, including Little Italy and the Portuguese district. We went to a sushi place called Tempo. A little pricy, but delicious.

Headed back to the gay village afterwards. Checked out CREWS, Buddies in Bad Times (closed), 5ive (cover - didn't go in), stepped into Woody's, and ended up at a comedy show at Slack Alice's. Got back to hotel at 1am, called Joe.

Checked out this morning. Got charged $33 for local calls. Supposed to be free with Presidents Club membership, but what a ripoff. You can definitely tell you're working with a former CP company due to their pathetic tight-assedness. Especially when anything you buy in the hotel is 25% more expensive than in the real world due to the simple fact it is the Royal York.

Needless to say, I'm back on the 15th. Staying at the Days Inn on Carlton and Yonge. Close to the village, out of the core, and a short subway ride to work in the morning.

More later.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Thursday afternoon....looking forward to heading back to Calgary. Talked to Joe and Mom last night. Nothing much new to report. I ended up going for another run last night, heading west along the lakeshore instead of east. The area around the CNE was swamped with cars, people. Part of the walkway along the lake was closed to make way for an airshow starting next week, and of course additional parking for all of the CNE-goers. A bit more greenspace, but not a whole lot. Are there any decent parks in this city of what? No doubt they've all been paved over. I will never dis Calgary about lack of greenspace EVER again.

This will be the last entry before I head home. I'm apparently going to be back on the 15th, but the Royal York is full, so as of today I'm staying at the Marriott at $269/day. What a rip-off. I'm going to try and get into the Royal York on the days they aren't full. Reports when I start travelling again.

It’s Tuesday night. I just got home from visiting with Natasha. Joe is supposed to be calling around 11pm.

I slept in this morning, thinking I’d be in the gym this evening, but instead I drank beer and ate chocolate truffle!

I got out of classes at 4pm, and John Walker had fixed the problem with the modem, however now my login name isn’t accepted on the dialup network…never ending problems. At least when I got back to the hotel room I was pleasantly surprised to have a message from Natasha on the voicemail. I was off early enough I ran up to Malabar on McCaul to check out their dance wear and gear. I bought a new pair of Capezio "Romeo" line of white men’s split sole ballet slippers (crème de la crème of men’s slippers – and pretty pricey too $65! - oops) and a new Mondor dance belt. There were some really nice Mirella navy blue unitards there as well, but I decided to hold out on that, at least until I check out some other places. I decided I was going to run back down to the Shoe Room on Jarvis and buy a pair of white M.Stevens tights. I got there about 5:45 and realized that they are closed today until Friday for inventory. I remembered seeing the sign up when I was there on Saturday, but of course, I forgot. It was probably fate, since I’m not in a great need for buying more dancewear, but I’m a slave to my obsessions! I guess I can reconsider that and possibly get them when I return to Toronto.

Anyways, I had a hell of a time finding an operational pay phone after that to give Natasha a call. One was plugged, but the sun was glaring on the display and I didn’t see the warning until I had already put a quarter in. I tried another down the street, but they had restricted calling between 6pm and 7am – obviously a ploy to keep money out of it – only in the big city would somebody be breaking into payphones for money. I finally found one on Yonge Street and called Natasha. She was down by the Royal York of all places, but I waited for her to show up at the Wellesley subway station and we went to Zelda’s on Church for dinner and a few beers. We had a great visit, and we’re meeting up tomorrow so I can give her her pictures from her birthday party in the spring. We decided we’re going to take a trip up to Montreal this fall together when I’m around. She’s never been there, and I’m dying to go back, so it all works out well!

I made it back to the hotel, and realized I didn’t get the bill from Zelda’s to expense, so I’m out more money –dammit!

Joe just called a few minutes ago. He always gets busy at work as soon as he calls…that’s the way things always go. We just talked quickly about what possibilities there are for doing something on the weekend.

So, since I missed my workout this morning, I’m going to go running again tomorrow morning, and hopefully get into the gym tomorrow night or Thursday morning, and I guess I can get in there on Friday morning as well. Natasha thinks I’ve lost even more weight, but I hardly feel like it!

I also emailed Greg Britz this afternoon, asking him what is going on with the project. I’m getting sort of anxious to find out what’s going on, since it will require a lot of replanning of my sporting events and other things going on in Calgary that I will now be unable to attend if I’m spending a large part of the fall in Toronto. It’s quite possible they have no idea what’s going on at that end either.

Did I mention that Joe has found a kitten for us? It’s through a friend of Marion’s, apparently the same woman that gave Joe Bailey so many years ago. It’s another calico cat like Bailey was with black, white and wisps orange. It’s nine weeks old, already litter-trained, and apparently shy since it’s the runt of the litter. Just like us to get the underdog! I love it! I’m so excited about the kitten, but depressed at the same time that I won’t be around for the formative months. I have a bad feeling that it will haunt me for years to come. At any rate, we’ll have to find a cool name for him once we analyze his personality for a while.

Well, I’m going to head to bed – I have to maintain some semblance of a workout regimen while I’m here – that means an early morning. Good night.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Tuesday long have I been here? It feels like forever already. It was great to talk to Joe last night - got me wanting to get home even more. It was fairly late when we got off the phone, and I was still feeling sleep-deprived, so I decided to sleep in this morning, and hit the gym tonight after class. I still have to take the stupid laptop to the 40U office tonight to see if the hardware guy can figure out why the PCMCIA card isn't working properly.

I have one more dancewear store to check out tonight, not holding my breath on finding anything I like. I also found out which subway station I have to get off at to check out the bike shops up Bloor I want to visit - I'll probably do that on Thursday, possibly tomorrow. I'm still waiting to hear from Natasha, and I also have to do some laundry. I could probably hold out until I get home, but I'm almost out of socks.

Last night I took another walk up Yonge, and came back through the Church and Wellesley area. I stopped at a grocery store to pick up some stuff for the hotel, and as I walked out, to my surprise, I met up with someone I knew from Calgary! Jan plays on the Apollo baseball team. Anyways, he and his bf are moving to Toronto in October, and he was in town looking for apartments. It was quite weird to see someone familiar, and he seemed quite happy too, since he mentioned how depressing it was not to know anyone. Anyways, I got his new phone number, etc. so it will be nice to have someone else to contact whenever I'm in town again.

Speaking of, I still have no project details. I'm planning on emailing Greg Britz this afternoon. Hopefully he'll be able to shed some light on the situation.

Gotta get back to class....

Monday, August 26, 2002

So, here I am in Toronto. I escaped from Mississauga on Friday afternoon. I arrived at the Royal York around 2pm, checked in and then headed to the CPR offices at 40 University Ave. I met up with Carolyn Bradley-Hall who allowed me to get into a carrel and do the login settings for the laptop that I needed to do. I visited with a few people before I headed back to the hotel and settled in.

I walked around a bit, getting dinner at a Quizno’s on Yonge Street. I got ready for the evening out and met up with Robert Torrance at Maple Leaf Gardens at 10pm. We walked around the Church and Wellesley area for a bit, and then went into Woody’s for a few drinks. We ended up at Zippers, a piano bar/club after that, and then ended up the evening at The Barn until about 3am. Robert walked me halfway back downtown before turning around and heading home. I hit the pillow at 4:30am.

I had a really crappy sleep that night and got up for brunch in the morning. I had intended to do some exploring, but didn’t get out of the hotel as early as I had originally hoped. I hopped on the Downsview line of the subway and ended up at the Toronto Dancewear Center. I was thoroughly disappointed with the selection of menswear – mostly cotton/lycra jazzpants and one pair of tights, all with a very poor fit, so I headed back down to Bloor Ave. and walked to the Shoe Room at The Betty Oliphant Center on Jarvis and checked out their selection – much better, but still not what I was looking for. There were a few black footless M.Stevens unitards and a huge selection of black, grey, and white footed and footless tights, but I decided to wait. I walked back down Yonge to the hotel stopping at Sam’s Records and HMV on the way. I picked up remixes of Basement Jaxx’s “Get Me Off” with a Superchumbo remix, George Michael’s “Shoot the Dog”, the import of Sheena Easton’s “Giving Up Giving In”, and the CD re-release of “A Private Heaven” with remixes of “Strut”, ”Sugar Walls”, “Swear”, and all the B-sides from the singles off the album that I’ve had on 45 singles for years, but now on digital CD! I resisted buying things that were available in Calgary, knowing full well that I can get them cheaper there. I wanted to have another quick nap before Chris Bailey came to pick me up. I didn’t get much time other than to pack up a few things before Chris showed up. We headed up to Barrie and hung around until Jenn was done work. We ordered pizza and then got ready to go out. We met up with their friends at Hooters before heading to Club 163 (?) for Leslie’s birthday. We headed to The Roxx/The Boiler Room around 11pm and danced there until 1am or so, until Chris got kicked out by a loser bouncer for being too drunk, which he really wasn’t. After that we went to the Spot (the Barrie gay bar) before heading home.

Jenn had to work in the morning, so Chris and I woke up, made brunch and then headed to Wasaga Beach for the afternoon. It was a really nice location – great beach, lots of scenery for the whole family! We came back into Barrie, picked up Jenn after work and made dinner before we decided to head back into the city. Traffic was a nightmare again, and I made it into the hotel room around 10:30pm.

I am tired enough now that I can’t think clearly, so I’m heading to bed soon. I will call Natasha’s place before I head to bed, and hopefully hook up with her sometime this week. I am in dire need of getting some laundry done too, so I have a few other things to get done as well. I’m planning on getting to the gym in the morning as well, so I should turn in. I’ll write up another report during the week, unless I’m spending all my time trying to understand this crazy Visual Basic stuff I’m working on this week.

From the looks of things, we’ve already got carrels set up at 40U for the Portal project, and Aly has said that he’s got his flight booked for September 8th, so I suspect I’ll be back in Toronto before too long, and spending a lot of time here over the next few months. I guess that’s why I’m not too anxious to see everything Toronto has to offer, since I’ll be spending more time here than I care to up until Christmas. In the short term, as long as I’m in Calgary for the Labour Day Classic game and able to compete in the Canadian National Duathlon Championships on the 8th, I’ll be happy. Chances are I won’t be in town for the Calgary Corporate Challenge 10K on the 13th, but I’ll have to be getting the team together during the week that I’m home. I’m also not sure what to do about the Ekiden run in October, or whether I should be buying season tickets for the Alberta Ballet like I had planned to do as a surprise anniversary present for Joe. I will hopefully get some more clarity on the project and what I’ll be doing for the fall this week and the week that I’m back in Calgary. Cross my fingers that I will be able to have some time in Calgary over the next few months.

Monday, August 19, 2002

I managed to get up to Red Deer on Friday night for an extremely quick visit. Trevor and Marlene Britton are also staying at Owen and Chloe's - there is a craft show going on in Edmonton that Marlene checks out every year. We sat around the kitchen table until late talking and trading pictures. Scott and Jen also came over for a little while.

On Saturday, I went out for lunch with Scott Rhodes and spent the afternoon with him. Managed to see Brandy and Brady at the new Tony Roma's. Erin Skocylas came to pick up Brady, so I got to see her too. Scott and Linda were going to a BBQ with all the guys I used to work with that are now working in Scotland. regrettably, I had already committed to returning to Calgary on Saturday night since there was no longer going to be a birthday party for Owen and Jen. I got back to Owen and Chloe's around 5pm, but the guys were out playing golf and got held up, so Irene came over and picked me up to take me to the bus depot. We had a really quick visit, and then I was off back to Calgary.

Joe and I went to Detour for a little while, and then went home.

Sunday morning, I continued to get ready and headed up to the airport. The flight left around 3:30pm. I got into Pearson at 9:30pm, and was in the hotel by 10:30. Well, here I am in transit again. Things fell apart as far as the Calgary-based training courses were concerned for the new Portal Remediation project, and now I find myself in a computer classroom in Mississauga. Everything is extremely convenient - the TriOS offices are right across the street from my hotel, and next door to that is the big Square One shopping mall. That should keep me entertained until Friday when I move into Toronto. I'm staying at the Royal York (a vacation in itself). The CPR offices at 40U and the TriOS offices at 55U are all extremely close to the hotel, so things should stay convenient. I'm glad I didn't rent a car afterall. I won't really need to go anywhere this week at least (there doesn't seem to be a lot to see in Mississauga. It's one big suburb - we're in the CBD, and it's all centered around the shopping mall, if that gives you any idea of the setup of this burg). Next week, everything will be within walking/subway distance.

The hotel has a 'gym' and a pool, which will be fantastic. It would be nice to find a running area, but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of greenspace in this area. I will do more investigating though.

Nothing more to mention about Mississauga. I wouldn't suggest it to anyone. Until later.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

I guess I never really talked about my trip back to Manitoba. If Montreal/Ottawa was the partying trip, then the trip back home was the relaxing one. I flew into Regina on July 13th. Mom and Dad picked me up and we got back to Grandview in time to catch dinner at the Farm celebrations across the road. I went into town later on to catch Carla Morran's engagement social, and managed to visit with Dave and Nicole, Michelle Jubenvill, Terry and Felicia Hyra, Chris and Lindsay Samonsky, Brady Campbell, etc.

Sunday we went across the road again for breakfast, and got to meet the Dalgleish relatives from Vernon/Penticton, BC. Ryan Yarush showed up and we went up to Myer's site at Child's Lake. Had a great day there, then came back to GV. Donna Yarush drove me home.

Monday I worked out in the basement and pulled a muscle in my side that didn't hurt until that evening. It hampered the rest of my training plans for the week, although I did get a 15km run in on Tuesday.

Tuesday Dad and I headed up to Child's Lake. We spent the afternoon on the lake and then Mom and Grandma showed up for dinner. After they went home we spent most of the evening at Connor and Bonnie Macdonald's site. The next day we were out in the boat again, still catching nothing. The Macdonald crew went and caught a bunch of jackfish at Little Laurie Lake, so we managed to get a good feed in from their bounty. Dad and I headed back to GV that evening after packing everything up. I went over to Lance and Buffy's in the evening.

Thursday came around rather quickly. I met with Tannis and the boys and Roxanne and the girls at Pulock's place for a nice visit in the morning before mom took me to Dauphin to catch the bus to Winnipeg. I missed the express bus by minutes and had to go through Brandon instead. I managed to get into Wpg around 9:30pm. Ryan and Lynn picked me up and we spent the rest of the evening visiting.

Friday morning Ryan and I took Takeo to Bird's Hill Park for a run through the woods. We got back in the afternoon and did a little looking around in Osborne Village before getting to Carlo's and Murphy's for a few beers and a visit with Kristy and Barry Westerlund. We relaxed the rest of the evening.

Reid was at the house around 5:30am to start the trek back to Calgary. Very uneventful - I'm glad I only do that trip once a year or less.

It was back to work on Monday after relaxing on Sunday - actually I think I rode 100km that day.

The following Sunday was Elbow Valley, and then off to Ottawa on the Monday. What a bunch of whirlwind trips :-(

Sigh....back in front of the office computer - back at work for another stint until vacation comes around again.....

We got back last night with very little difficulty, except for the sprint through Pearson to catch the Calgary flight since the flight out of Montreal was delayed 15-20 minutes. I still feel quite groggy even though I'm back in my environment - it may take a few days of re-adjustment yet.

We ate at Bato Thai with Jerome and Tom, and ended up going to Sky on Friday instead of Le Parking. The choice was a good one - everyone managed to join us for the evening, and all Labatt products were $2 apiece. I knew I should've stayed on beer, but we all started drinking those stupid lemon coolers - I think Labatt's is called Lemonice or something equally disgusting. Needless to say, I was puking by 4am while sprinting out of the cab on the way home. The last thing I remembered was pushing Bertrand's wheelchair around the block while we were trying to finish off all of the coolers we stole out of the bar on the way out.

I spent all of Saturday in bed. I couldn't keep anything down until 3pm, and then once getting up at five we headed out for dinner once again. The choice was a very good Italian place on Ste-Catherine, of course we didn't get out of there until 9:30 or so, and proceeded to the T-dance until 11pm. Joe and I followed Bertrand and Alain to Club Date and howled over the karaoke hell we were being put through. Bob came back into town and met us for dinner and the evening. Jerome, Tom and Karen all went home early to prep for the next day.

Joe and I decided we wanted to catch a drag show at Mado before heading home, but the club had already been transformed into a dance club when we got there. We went home.

Sunday we headed to the parade route on Rene-Levesque around 11:30. The parade started around 12:30 and continued until around 3pm. It was a fantastic parade - 800,000 people showed up for it. Afterwards we moved to the blocked off sections of Ste-Catherine and did a lot of people watching before moving back to Sky for a few drinks, and then to the dance on Berri and then the festivities in Parc Emilie-Gamelin. We slowly lost everyone until Bob, Joe and myself were left. At 11pm the outdoor shows were done and we went back to Sky again. We smoked more ganja before heading home.

Monday morning we got ready and went out for breakfast. Bob drove us to Dorval and then we headed home.

Friday, August 02, 2002

Joe's still sleeping, so I thought I'd drop a few lines. I was hoping to get out for a run today, but it poured out last night making everything muddy, and now it's getting hot we need the humidity.

Yesterday was fun. Joe and I spent the day shopping on Ste-Catherine. We did the obligatory stops at Simon's and we both ended up buying new sandals at Aldo. I bought a couple of bathing suits on sale at Simon's and Joe bought a pair of shorts and several shirts. We continued walking towards the Village and stopped at several others stores before grabbing a bite to eat at Cafe Europeen and heading back to Jerome's. We quaffed a few beers and headed to Cafeteria on St-Laurent where we met up with Karen, Bertrand, Simon and Alain for drinks and food. Joe and I headed back to the Village and spent the rest of the evening dancing at Unity II.

Today we're planning on walking around the Vieux-Port and getting our souvenir shopping done. Tonight is the beginning of the weekend long party, starting with the HomoRama fashion show at Le Parking, and possibly to Stereo, Aria or Sona for afterhours dancing. Tomorrow is the T-dance in Emilie-Gamelin Park, and possibly some dancing at Sky or one of the other bars afterwards, and Sunday is the parade on Boulevard Rene-Levesque, and the street parties on Ste-Catherine and Berri, and who knows what else afterwards? If I don't manage to add an entry over the next few days, these are my excuses. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Greetings once again from Montreal! Joe and I arrived safely last night (Wednesday). After spending 48 hours of non-stop walking in Ottawa, it was nice to get somewhere with acceptable transit. We had a lot of fun in Ottawa, and obviously didn't get everything done we had set out to do, but we did get quite a few things accomplished (including taking six or seven rolls of pictures). The city is beautiful. On Monday, we went out for a late dinner on Bank Street, and then Bob Flynn took us to a bar in Hull called "The Living Room" that had a gay night, and apparently is one of the few occasions during the week when anything is going on. It was fun.

Tuesday we spent walking around. We had a tour of the Parliament Buildings, and walked up Sussex Drive, stopping outside the Canadian War Museum and Rideau Centre. That evening we went out with Bob again for a few beers in the Bytown Market.

On Wednesday we caught the changing of the guards on the Parliament grounds and then went to the Canadian Museam of Civilization in Hull. What a fantastic facility! We spent about four hours in there, and realized we were going to have to miss everything else to keep on our schedule and make it to Montreal in the evening. We caught the 5pm bus to Montreal, and we were at Jerome's place around 8:30pm. Joe and I headed down to the Village in the evening, and stopped in at Campus for a few beers. Regrettably, we missed the Flexx show at Emilie-Gamelin Park, which was one of the countless Pride Week activities I actually wanted to check out. Oh well, there's always next year!

Today we are heading downtown to do some "window shopping". Hopefully this does not lead to any impulsive purchasing, but we'll see what happens. I already know we're going to run out of time by Monday to do everything we want to do, but we'll do our best to get as much in as possible.

Still feeling a great high from my finish at Elbow Valley Half Ironman on Sunday. I knocked 20 minutes off of last year's time, ending sub-five hours, which was my goal (4:57), so I'm quite satisfied with my performance, even though the 2km swim was no hell yet again.

Anyhoo, I will add more tomorrow.....