Sunday, September 28, 2014

Anti fanatic

      I haven't posted this week.

      I've been thinking. It hasn't done me much good though.

      I've been thinking about fanatics! I've been puzzling my brain. Fanatics get stuck on certain things and then they are not able to look after day to day things.

      My blog sometimes interferes with my daily obligations. Blogging has made me into a bit of a fanatic. I've got certain things to do on the blog and I work hard to get enough time to do all the blog activities. I like to read posts, make comments, read comments on my blog, look for other good blogs and post . All this takes quite a bit of my time.

      On the other hand, I have some anti fanatic behavior which helps to balance things out. I don't watch TV. I watch less than ten minutes of TV in a whole year! Some people are TV fanatics. That's OK with me. However, sometimes watching TV gets in the way of our daily responsibilities. 

    I'm an anti fanatic when it comes to sports. I don't watch sports, follow sports or talk sports with the guys. It's okay with me for people to be sports fans. It's an activity that pays benefit in many ways. We need sports. I have followed sports in the past when I had time.

    So I pick and choose the things I like and enjoy them to the fullest. I think most people are that way.

    Do you balance your life? Are you a fan of some things? Are you an anti fanatic of some things?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


       There, I coined a new word!

       Most readers know that I am a fanatic about ice skating. Many of my posts are on skating. Most readers know that I am a fanatic about cycling. I cycle a minimum of 1000 km (625 miles) a summer.

     One other thing I'm a fanatic about is bird watching. I don't get nearly enough time as I would like to watch birds. 

     Sunday I was to meet a group and spend a couple of hours bird watching. I managed to mangle the time and location so as a result I did not meet up with the group. However, that was not a problem. I spent time on my own. So there I was with binoculars and camera looking for birds.

     Sunday here was very windy. Birds stay close to cover when it's windy. As a result I saw only two birds... a couple of female common mergansers. I didn't even see a crow and we are in the middle of crow migration. They will probably leave this area in about ten days.

     However, all was not lost. Fall colors were in abundance. So I got some photos to show a great area for birding.

    The Red Deer River Naturalists have just finished a birding guide for Central  Alberta called Central Alberta Birding Trails. We hope to set up a website so that people can download the map we produced.

Usually you find many species and numbers of birds on this section of river

The fine trail I had to follow

The other side of the river always looks more inviting

Young poplar 

A clump of trees at the edge of the parking lot

Escarpment view

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Colorful Day

    Fall colors are well under way here. We had too severe frosts last week. I know that frost doesn't cause  fall colors but just maybe hurries it along.

   This week was one of those weeks where everything bursts into color. Today is very windy so I went out to get some fall colors before many of the leaves are blown away.

   Many of our native trees have dropped their leaves. Nursery trees are later and tend to hang onto their leaves longer. 

  There was an extra special on batteries today so I walked over to the mall . I decided to take the camera and catch some fall colors. My trip took longer than the usual 40 minutes , but I made it home in time for lunch.

Crab apple

A birch contrasted to green around it

A mixture

Crab apple

A different kind of yellow

Native poplars

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Skating Season is Upon Us

        As some long time followers know I skate all winter. I have also posted on skating about 15 times. So I have probably said all there is to say about skating without repeating myself.

Trusty equipment

       In my town we have senior skating on Tues. and Fri from the first Tues in Sept to the last Tues in April. This year we skated until mid may. So seniors have many opportunities to skate.

     Skating ability varies widely but everybody has great fun. We get good exercise and socialize with some great people. My skating has even improved a bit over the years. I've come to know some great people in skating. 

     This year I'm more satisfied with my skating than last year. A few problems gradually crept up on me for the last few years. For some reason a major muscle on my right leg weakened and another muscle tried to compensate for the weak muscle. It resulted in some scary weakness in the right leg. It got so bad this spring that I went to physio therapy. They explained what had happened and worked with me and gave me stretches and exercises to do. When they say 12 reps three times a day , they mean it. I didn't get up to that amount and got discouraged because little improvement occurred. I finally had to say to myself, "Look, this is going to take effort." I put in the effort and have improved greatly. Everything in my daily life improved. My cycling has improved. I was almost ready to quit cycling. I'm close to where I was a few years ago.I hadn't noticed that there was a problem until it was almost too late. 
    There's only one thing wrong with skating! We should have many more skaters.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Day at Spruce Meadows.

    Spruce Meadows is a well known horse show jumping facility at Calgary Alberta. It's a world class facility and some would argue the world's best facility. It sprawls over 480 acres.

Riders walking through the jumps

    Many international competitions are held each year. 

   Yesterday I spent the day at Spruce Meadows for the Master's Competition. 47 great riders and horses competed. The top 12 riders then competed in a jump off. This resulted in tie between Ian Millar of Canada and Reed Kessler of the U.S.  Millar won the tie breaker.

Ian Millar takes a jump

    Now I did get excited when Ian Millar won. He's been competing for many years and has been a winner many times.

Ian Millar the winner. Read Kessler just behind Ian

   At 67 Ian Millar is an amazing rider. He's been in  ten Olympics. Reed  Kessler is an amazing 20 year old and we will hear much more about her.

   Now I'm not a fan of show jumping. My wife is a fanatic about show jumping so being a thoughtful husband , I took her to the masters at Spruce Meadows. For her that is a great day.

A few heads and the RCMP
     Oh yes , the RCMP musical ride performed too. 

   Now there were riders from 15 different countries. The event was televised to many countries around the world. Thousands of people attended.

   Now if you watch TV , the only sour puss in the stands was Me!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

All I Ever Learned, I Learned from the Crossword Puzzles

      Well, my title isn't quite right! I've learned a few things in other ways. In my last post I learned about scanners. That wasn't in a crossword puzzle. I do love doing crossword puzzles. I do the daily puzzle in the paper and any puzzle that's lying around. I rarely buy a book of crossword puzzles.

      I don't like or do the really hard and large crossword puzzles. I don't have the time or patience. I really dislike the easy puzzles and won't do them at all. I like the puzzle in my paper which takes about 20 minutes to complete. I don't ever have to look in the dictionary to solve it. 

    Now you do learn things from crosswords. You certainly learn a thing or two about spelling. Geography? Lots of it. Math? You bet. Other languages? Lots of French and Latin. Art and culture? Movies, music, art. It's all covered in the crossword. Logic? Yes! Use those clues. Now they tell us puzzles are good for helping with Alzheimer's.
   So I'm a big fan of crossword puzzles. They keep you competitive. You don't ever want a crossword puzzle to beat you. 

   I was a Middle School teacher. A couple times a month for the last period on a Friday we would do a crossword puzzle. Now you know that most kids don't like crossword puzzles. So I had to set out some bait. The puzzle was always easy. They could work with a partner. They could choose their own partner. If anybody was left out they could work with me. I let them work on their own until they got all the easy stuff. Then we completed the puzzle as a class. I read the clue and they gave their suggestions. I would sit  there until I heard the right answer. It was like a loud auction site. I think a few of them had fun and some probably do puzzles now that they are older. 

   There are lots of crossword puzzle fans. Are you one of them?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Conversation With a Scanner

       I have many slides and photos which I have been thinking about scanning. I've really only been thinking about it. You know, "It would be nice to scan them."

       My friend Mitch has a scanner and he offered it to me to scan my slides. Now Mitch bought the scanner a few years ago and never used it. He said I could figure out how to use it and tell him what to do.

     Well, first with the scanner you have to load the program and drivers from a disk. So click icon the scanner icon and we should be in business. You guessed it. I got messages that the camera couldn't be found. I uninstalled and installed again and nothing happened. I looked for help on the Internet. It sounded pretty bleak. 

The miserable beast!

    Well, my number one plan when dealing with stress...leave it for a while.

    A few days ago I was looking in the "all programs" on the left of the computer screen and I saw "image scan tool". I thought, "What is this? Could it be the scanner?" So click and yes the page came up that gave me the scanner and processing the slides. Wow! What blundering luck!

    I scanned one photo and the thing went dead. Several more attempts and the scanner dies. Aha, this thing needs more power so I unplugged the web cam. Now the scanner stays on and I can follow the page the find out what to do.

     There's a manual, but it tells very little . Once I discovered some things by trial and error , I went back to the manual and things made sense. The manual doesn't help as far as instructions are concerned.

    I scanned some slides . The product was terrible. I would not keep anything so poor. So I still have more to do. I have to find out how the calibration of the image tool works.

    So I've been having a rather poor conversation with a scanner. I've learned some things. I think one has to buy a much better quality scanner if you want acceptable results.

    How have you found scanners? Frustrating? Awesome?

Monday, September 8, 2014

I Can Talk About Snow Again.

     Yes, that's right ! It's snowing here today!

This takes the shine off my garden

Big slushy snowflakes 

     It rained off and on in the night. when I looked out this morning it was snowing. It snowed until about 3:00 PM. The snow melted on the ground but did accumulate on the house roofs.

    Now Far Side has her snow stick. Far Side also has a contest as to when the snow is gone. But I'm sure I beat her this year for the first snow.

    Our weather man says we get one or two early September snows every ten years.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Birthday Present from My Government

    Now the title sounds very suspicious. What government, in their right mind, is going to go around giving people birthday presents? 

    On my next birthday I will be 75. Here , driver's licences are renewed every five years on your birthday. At age 75 , in this province, you must get a medical before they will issue you another licence. Now the medical is free! So there you have it. The province gave me a medical for my 75th birthday. I've already taken advantage of my gift and had my medical and will be going down to renew my licence shortly.

   Now the medical was cursory at best. I was given a basic eye test from the chart. My blood pressure was taken and a number of questions asked and check marks put in the appropriate box. That's all folks. I can now drive for another five years unless something incredibly severe happens.

   This last while I keep noticing poor drivers. I don't know whether drivers are getting worse or if I'm getting crankier. People seem to be doing really stupid things on a regular basis. This week I was at a red light on a one way street. The person on my left was stopped beside me. Then for some reason they just started to cross the intersection and proceed through the red light. I couldn't believe it. Twice this week I've had to come to a stop when some one is stopped and either lost or trying to find out where to go. People do not seem to have any ideas of the basic rules for driving. I could go on. 

   Maybe, the medical should be stricter and IQ's taken? Maybe a driver's written and road test should be done every year? Here it seems anybody and everybody gets a licence to drive no matter what.

   So as a senior I want to continue to drive, but I want to drive at a high skill level so that I'm safe and everybody else is safe.

   Are drivers getting worse or am I just being super critical?


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Misstep into the Court House

      In my last post I related how I had received a speeding ticket. So that means at some time I have to pay the ticket as I wasn't going to fight the ticket. There were several options for paying the ticket. I chose to go to the court house and pay the ticket because the court house is near by.

     Now I haven't been in our court house for 15 years. The last time was when I was called for jury duty. Things change.

     If there are double doors, I always use the door on the right. As I was approaching the court house doors , the right one opened as someone was leaving. I thought , "Nice. I have an open door."  I took three steps and noticed a prominent "Do Not Enter"  sign. I was looking for a place to enter before the do not enter sign. I even thought of hopping the rails. Out of the din I heard some one say, "Sir, go back out and use the other door." Then I noticed a substantial security station on my left. Okay, I just made a big boo boo!

    I did as ordered and then they were asking me if I had a belt? This seemed odd. Then asked for my wallet and keys. They put these in a tub so I thought why are they taking this away from me when I might need some identification. Next , step through here!  Was I being herded into detention? I was going to walk away from the tub, with my pants about to fall down, when they shoved the tub out and told me I could have my stuff.

   Well, after going through a weird process like the security I was a little upset. This procedure was so lacking in communication it was mind boggling. I was totally unprepared for the procedure and they didn't help me. I am not unaware of security. I've been though enough airports. That's another story.

    When I left, it was through the right door. I stopped to look for a sign. There was a do not enter sign. I was unable to see it when the door was opened by the person leaving.

    In my little city , far from any big city action, I was not prepared for such high security. I thought after, that some very upset people could be entering the court house and that the security was necessary.

   So I guess , in this ultra modern world, I will have to be alert for those security guys or else move far out into the boonies where the security guys would not like to go.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Rippin' Mad Again

       Last week a letter came and there was no return address. I thought that's odd. Who would send a letter without a return address? My wife opens the mail. It works better that way.

     About the middle of the afternoon my wife stomped up to me outside and said, "Come." It was the tone of voice which indicates super trouble. 

     She had opened the letter and asked me to look at it. It was a speeding ticket! It was a speeding ticket that I picked up from photo radar. Now I became angry and upset. I was mad at myself for speeding and getting a ticket. I was upset because there was no warning. Just a letter that says you're a bad guy.

     Yes, they caught me going 67 kmh in a 50 kmh zone.

    Now I'm a life long speeder. My wife is constantly after me to slow down. So I admit that I deserved what I got. But everybody hates to get a speeding ticket. Now am I going to get a couple more tickets in the mail in the next few days as they say bad things come in threes? I hope not.

    By the way this is the first speeding ticket I ever got. Maybe I shouldn't say this.

    I have definitely slowed down. 

   So do you like speeding tickets any more than I do?