Friday, November 25, 2011

October 24, 2011 One Less Cubs Fan In The World

Peter "Donald" Mazrimas
My father-in-law passed away this morning. He was recently diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. He passed away in his home with his family. He will be missed by many, including this White Sox fan.

October 23, 2011 Stay

OK dog lovers. Here's a great way to take a vacation and not worry about your dogs. Check out their website.

October 22, 2011 H+ Records

This is for people my age who miss going to a real record store, browsing through the albums and talking music with other music fans while the store owner played what you requested. It is also for the younger people who never got a chance to spend three hours flipping through records looking for something new or an old favorite. I took the following from the H+ Records website. The store is at 730 South Dearborn in Chicago. Stop in and support a small business.

The Basics

We is me, Patrick.
Said individual is located at 730 S. Dearborn from 8am to 9pm with an appropriate uncertainty factor.
Me/we sell mostly vinyl records of all genre/type/mode/fetish/interest or persuasion that I can find. If it isn't inventoried, it can be, with a simple "Hey, you got this <insert item>?".

Me/The Royal "We"

I was an Environmental Engineer. I got a BS at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and an MS at the University of Colorado Boulder. I spent 5 years in Oakland, CA and made sure nearly a billion dollars worth of transportation projects didn't mess up the Pacific Ocean or kill the Delta Smelt. I don't do that anymore, at least not right now. I sell records, a long time passion of mine, in Chicago, my hometown.

The Store Philosophy

I have a very long, drawn-out thesis about retail, music, and business. I will make it quick. The current music sales model is convenience (internet, mp3, itunes, etc), which I love immensely as it exposes you, me, and everyone else, to a plethora of music, genre's, styles, etc, it's fantastic. There is a drawback in that model, as it is, by design, low weight and low impact, which leaves a huge hole in a typical fan's appetite for music consumption. Sometimes you need something more, be it a better sound quality, a stronger connection to the band, a more intimate experience, whatever, and that's where H+ Records comes in. I'm trying to build a physical location that can serve that need. Something small and intimate that can build upon your fandom through whatever means necessary, I take no prisoners.

October 21, 2011 Well Trained Dogs

I wish I could get one of my dogs to behave this well.

October 20, 2011 "All We Are Saying..."


October 19, 2011 The Glacier Park Inn B&B

We stayed at a Bed & Breakfast that has their own cartoon book. If you are visiting Glacier National Park we highly recommend the Glacier Park Inn B&B. Tell Mary & Mark that Gregg & Chrissy say hello.

October 18, 2011 Lansing Lugnuts

The big playoff tilt between the TinCaps and the Lugnuts...are there so many minor league teams that the good names have all been taken?

Thanks, Fred.

October 17, 2011 The Lehigh Valley IronPigs

What exactly is an IronPig?
Thanks, Fred.

October 16, 2011 The Great State of Texas

October 15, 2011 The Parental Units

 If you hate this blog...blame them.

October 14, 2011 A Chemistry Lesson

Have you done something today to make the world a better place?

October 13, 2011 I Miss This Place and My Last Visit Was a Month Ago

October 12, 2011 The Fartiste

This is a real play. If you don't believe me, here's the link to buy tickets. I'll be in NYC soon. Maybe I'll get tickets and let you know if it is any good. Hell, I can tell you right now I know I'll love it.

October 11, 2011 Why Don't I Have Talented Dogs?

Chrissy found this ad in a magazine. The dog is a great pyrenees that looks exactly like our dog, Oslo. When I asked Oslo why he doesn't make us any money, he just look at me then he licked himself where his balls used to be. Great!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

October 10, 2011 Mango The Surfing Dog

If you haven't seen this yet...check it out. A dog's life indeed.

October 9, 2011 Don't Cry For Me, Alberta

I started my last day in the Canadian Rockies by hiking with Christy at Mount Norquay Ski Resort just outside the town of Banff. She had hiked here with her bear conference friends yesterday.
 Chrissy took the pictures here so there is a rare picture of me with a smile as big as the sky.
 The surrounding mountains...
...with fall colors.
We had to ask this local for directions, she pointed us toward our destination.
 The scenery on our drive back into Banff was spectacular.
I'm going to miss the mountains. The scenery just isn't this impressive biking at Sweet Woods in Thornton.
 We stopped at Bow Falls before dropping Chrissy off for her conference.
Bow Falls is in the town of Banff where the Bow River meets the Spray River.
 I decided to drive down to Canmore and hike to Grotto Canyon. I saw this along the trail from the parking lot to the canyon.
 I stopped at a ridge at the entrance of Grotto Canyon to enjoy the sunshine and the views.

 There isn't a trail in Grotto Canyon. You just hike up it over the rocks...
 ...and along the creek.
There was something different around each bend. I never did find the pictographs on the canyon walls. But I enjoyed the several hours I spent hiking in here.

 Sometimes the canyon had high rock walls and narrow passages...
...other times it was wide open.

 My old friend, the crow followed me through the canyon.
 There is a little waterfall deep in the canyon.

Since this is my last hike, I sat along the creek and just relaxed on the rocks. I can't described the feeling correctly...I guess completely content works best.

 As I walked out of the canyon...
...this was the view that I saw. Again I stopped for a few minutes to enjoy it all and to start planning a trip back here.
 I had to stop to get this shot of the clouds in the sky.
  I had some time before picking Chrissy up. So I sat on the edge of the Bow River in downtown Banff. I watched kayakers on the river, couples walking along the scenic river trail and...
 ...then this black-billed magpie decided to join me. The funny thing about this was that I have seen this bird almost everyday on this trip and never got a good picture. Now the only disappointment on this trip was not seeing a bear. I sat hoping but a bear did not sit down next to me.
The Bow River in Banff.
There is a beautiful world out there. I hope you get to see as much of it as you can and maybe someday we'll meet on a trail somewhere.

"I had to let it happen
I had to change
Couldn't stay all my life down at heel
Looking out of the window
Staying out of the sun
So I chose freedom
Running around trying everything new
But nothing impressed me at all
I never expected it too

Don't cry for me Alberta
The truth is I never left you
All through my wild days
My mad existence
I kept my promise
Don't keep your distance

And as for fortune and as for fame
I never invited them in
Though it seemed to the world
They were all I desired
They are illusions
They're not the solutions
They promise to be
The answer was here all the time
I love you and hope you love me"

my apologies to Andrew Llyod Webber for changing his words

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

October 8, 2011 The Iceline Trail and Belly Dancers

 Even though it was another foggy day in Banff, I decided to drive back to Yoho National Park and hike the Iceline Trail.
Which meant I also left Alberta and entered the best place on Earth. It turned out to really be the best place to me, because as I approached these signs the sun and blue skies appeared for the first time in a week.
I am pretty sure I wanted to hike this trail just to prove to myself that I could do it. It has an elevation gain of 2400ft to the Iceline Summit which is 4 miles from this sign. My plan is to make it to the summit. The views are supposed to be amazing.
The first part of the hike is up this mountain. I'm not gonna lie. I made it up the mountain and began going across it toward the summit. But I didn't make it. The initial climb took me forever. I was stopping often and at times I had to stop half way up a switchback. As I began my traverse across the top toward the summit, there was still a lot of uphill climbing. Too much for my exhausted flatlander legs. Here's pictures I took along the hike.
There was a hard frost this morning. As the sun began to warm the ground, there was steam rising upward.
The first part of the hike up the mountain was in a forest. This was one of the first views through the trees.
As I gained elevation, the view across the valley of the Takakkaw Falls and the Daly Glacier above it came into view.
 Once I got above the tree line, the views were great.
Looking further up the Yoho Valley.
 Looking up the mountain I was climbing from one of my many resting spots.
Hey, I was damn proud I made it up here but as I huffed and puffed my way up. I'm not too proud to admit lots of people passed me with relative ease.
I am pretty sure this imposing ridge is where my brain finally listened to my body and decided it couldn't climb upward anymore...
 ...So I ate my sandwich and
 took pictures in every direction.

Then I headed downhill...
...back to the treeline.
Up here you could hear the falls across the valley.
 A few shots on the way down.
 Wild looking tree patterns on this mountain side.

This is what happens when you carry your camera around your neck while sweating profusely on a chilly day, then take a quick picture.
 More downed trees along the trail.
 I had to cross this very dangerous waterfall.
Back on the bottom of Yoho Valley
Self-portrait in a creek.
A look back up to where I had just hiked.
 The hike back from the Whiskey Jack Hostel to the car took me past the very impressive Takakkaw Falls...
 ...along the colorful Yoho River.

 As I drove down the Yoho Valley Road, the scenery caused me to stop several times to take pictures. As I said earlier, I was feeling pretty good about myself for making it up the Iceline Trail. Then I saw these two riding bicycles up a road that I was nervous driving a car up it. My day was ruined as they passed. It was an older couple, probably in their early sixties. I felt like such a pussy. Actually I was damn impressed by them. That road is uphill the whole way. It is so steep that it actually has switchbacks on it.
 Finally good views of mountains without clouds and fog.
Fall colors in the mirror are closer than they seem.
 I stopped at Moraine Lake on the way back to Banff. Lake Louise was a complete madhouse so I didn't stop there.
It was a beautiful day but the sun was right above the lake making it difficult to get shots from any  direction other than this one.
As I drove down the Bow Valley Parkway, I saw something on the mountain side. I thought it might be a bear, so I stopped. I had to cross a small creek and bushwhack through the brush and trees. I must have made a ton of noise and when I made it to the clearing, this male elk was staring right at me. I had to take pictures from behind a tree because I thought he might charge at me. I was disappointed it wasn't a bear until I realized that I had grabbed my camera but forgot the pepper spray in the car.
Castle Mountain in the sunshine.
I took a short hike above Pilot Pond and relaxed in the meadow grass on the hillside. It had been a beautiful late afternoon but it quickly changed as dark clouds approached.
 The sun still lit the trees as the dark clouds made for an interesting contrast.

I could have stopped several more times but I had to get to Banff. I had a dinner date with Chrissy.
 Uh-oh, a roadside scenic turnout. Chrissy will have to wait.
 I really can't explain this scene. There was a full movie camera crew filming at this highway turnout parking lot. They were all Indian, (India, not Canadian natives). There was Indian music playing...
...and all these extremely white girls were dancing like natives from India. Hey I couldn't make this stuff up. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. So here is a picture of young hotties dressed as belly dancers with a mountain in the background. Strange? Yes! But like I said before, everything looks better with a mountain in the background. Sorry I am late, Chrissy. I had to take pictures of belly dancers at a highway parking lot. No really that is why I am late.