Apr 30, 2012

Reading Up on Russia

Last summer I announced that my friend Tyler and I were both set on working towards a trip to Russia in 2014.  It's something that has been on my bucket list for over a decade now, and it was a goal that I was unable to fulfill after graduating high school (as was originally planned).  At this point we both still seem enthusiastic about the potential adventure, but now begins the real challenge of making an idea a reality.

At the start of this year I took my first real step towards Russia by creating an account specifically for the trip.  I've been contributing a bit of money from each paycheck to build my budget.  In addition to that I've begun reading up on Moscow and St. Petersburg to get more of a feel for some of the things we might want to see and do. Those two cities are really going to be the focal point.

In comparing a few of my travel books from ten years ago to some of the recent ones I booked out from the library, the difference is dramatic.  Russia is still a place in transition, but it's more stable than it was in the early 2000s.  Just in reviewing some of the hotels, a handful of historic buildings have been completely revamped and bought by international hotel chains.  I kid you not, but some of the hotel highlights in my early travel books advertised carpeting as a plus.  Western investment has changed both my expectations and the landscape of options available.

The more I read, the more Russia in general seems like a place to choose your own adventure.  The disparity seems increasingly apparent between some of the most expensive places in the world and the poorest.  I'm more tempted than ever by the fact that options in accommodation have improved dramatically though, and it means that the trip I really want to have will be more attainable.  There's something to be said for having a bit of money in your pocket to do things just the way you want. At this point it's just exciting to think that things are finally in motion again after all these years.    

Apr 29, 2012

Pancake Breakfast

In the midst of making a pancake breakfast this seemed like a fun way to say good morning.  I have a lot of work to get done today and decided that putting a bit more effort than usual into what to eat would be a good way to kick things off.  Sugar and salt. It's tough to go wrong with that combination.

Apr 28, 2012

Welcome to Deadwood, South Dakota

Having previously highlighted the experience we had in Deadwood (and after realizing how popular the original post was) I wanted to follow-up with a few of my favorite snapshots from our visit.  I've got to admit, there's nothing quite as genuine as playing Star Wars slot machines in a town famous for old west drama.  I suppose that sums up the vibe of the town, an eclectic mix of the old and new.  There was surprisingly lots to do and explore. Whether you saw the show on HBO or not, the modern version of Deadwood still packs plenty of punch.

The Mount Moriah Cemetery, home to the graves of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, was a definite highlight and provided some impressive vantages of the town.

Apr 27, 2012

Ewart-Duggan House in Medicine Hat

Considered to be the oldest brick home in the province of Alberta, the Ewart-Duggan house built in 1887 is located next to the Esplanade in downtown Medicine Hat.  It received designation as a provincial historic resource in 1993.  Much like the notoriety that Medicine Hat received for producing stoneware and a variety of domestic clay products, the city was also instrumental in producing industrial clay products, including bricks and pipes for the same reasons.

If you can picture that most of the town was made up of tents and wooden structures in 1887, this home would've been quite the landmark at the time.  The Ewart-Duggan residence now stands as an example of the regions history and economic roots, and celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. 

According to Archives Canada "In 1883, John Ewart moved west with the rails. He met Thomas Tweed in Winnipeg, and the two proceeded further west together, first by rail, then by horse and buggy. The two arrived in Medicine Hat before the CPR, and established a general store in a tent on the riverbank. The business was called "Tweed and Ewart".  John Ewart married Jessie Herald, the daughter of the local Presbyterian Minister James Herald [see my photos of St. John's Presbyterian Church here] in 1887. Their home, a red brick house now located at 433 1st Street SE, was also built the same year."  After the death of Mr. and Mrs. Ewart, their daughter Jacqueline and her husband Hector O. Duggan lived in the home.

See more of my Around the Hat photo series here.

Ewart Duggan home ca. 1910

Apr 26, 2012

Mr. Little's Noisy Car

As a kid, reading was a fairly common activity in our house.  Mom and Dad would take us to the library every few Sundays and we'd pick out books to read together.  Of course, before I was actually old enough to pick out books for myself, we did have a collection of books that I tended to gravitate towards.  My favorites included Richard Scarry's picture books, The Speedy Little Taxi, and Mr. Little's Noisy Car by Richard Fowler.

If my Jeeves and the Jaguar site or some of the very first video footage of myself hasn't proven it, my affection for cars has pretty much always been there.  It's what makes this clip even more special in a way.  I've held onto this cassette tape of my childhood recordings since I was a teenager, but until now haven't ever really shared any of it.  

I found the original Mr. Little's Noisy Car book at my parent's place and thought it would be cool to sync up the recording I have from 1986 of me reading through that book with my parents 
(when I was 2 years old), with me flipping through it now.  Seeing as I couldn't read much yet, you can tell how many times we'd looked at the book before as I know all the parts by heart.  The book also has a bunch of flaps to open, which made it that much more fun to go through as a kid.

Without further ado, here's a little bit of my childhood.

Apr 25, 2012

University of Regina Campus Snapshots 2

This is an additional series of shots from a photo set I snapped in the summer of 2007. After reviewing the first post I made from this collection, I realized that there were more pictures worth sharing.  In case you were wondering why I'd bother shooting all these pictures to begin with, the University of Regina was where I attended film school and I wanted to capture the campus that summer as I embarked on my final year there.