Showing posts from October, 2013


Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, Canada, is a northern city of about 1.1 million people. It's also the gateway to the Alberta oil fields so there's a lot of blue collar work there, particularly in the petroleum and construction industries.

Edmonton does have a beautiful downtown, situated on the enormous North Saskatchewan River. In fact, the River Valley that meanders through the center of the city gives Edmonton the honour of having the most parkland per capita in North America!

The south side of the river is a beautiful old area, filled with Victorian homes, the University of Alberta and the ever-interesting Whyte Avenue. That's about it for Edmonton, however. The north side is crap; dirty and crime-ridden, and the east side is all giant refineries and factories and that make the whole city smell of gas when the wind is blowing right. The west side is a suburban shopping hell, filled with strip mall after strip mall.

Nevertheless, here's a couple of videos I made …

The Perfect Place

I love cities. I mean, I really, really love cities. Perhaps because I grew up in a small town and spent a lot of time in the country (I also love the counrty. I mean, I really, really love the country). I don't know.

For me Southern Ontario is the perfect location. It's full of quaint little farming towns, rolling, forest-covered hills and miles upon miles of wilderness, yet is also close to Toronto, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in North America. In fact, 14 million people call the corridor between Windsor (Detroit) and Toronto "home". It is literally the perfect mix between big city and country, and that makes it perfect for me!

This mix between absolute rural and absolute urban allows for a lot of freedom of choice. We can choose to stroll through a forest or visit a vineyard or shop at a farmer's market, or we can choose to take the commuter train into Toronto and hop on the subway, visit a Broadway show or go shopping on Yonge Street. The choice is …

Coleman Coolers

Katya and I moved into our new place a short while ago, and because all of our furniture (including my beloved flat-screen HDTV) is in storage, I decided to buy a used TV. I found a 36" Sony Trinitron HD TV from 1999 for $30!

These TV's were the pioneers of HD television. Although they are only 13 years old, they were the last of the big, boxy TV's that were sold before the slim-cased flat-screens took over.

I went to visit the guy who was selling his TV and checked this monster out. The screen resolution was still crystal-clear perfect, but what blew me away was the sound! The large speakers that run along the screen have rich bass and clear treble, and sound like a movie-theater. For $30 all of this was mine!

Except that the TV weighs more than 200 lbs!!

I can hoist and manhandle up to 100 lbs, but this TV was a monster! My uncle and I together could barely lift it, and by the time we got it into his SUV, and then up 4 flights of stairs to the second story where our ne…

Geese & Deer

Katya and I like to go for a walk at least once a day. Admittedly I could use the exercise as I need to drop 50 lbs after quitting smoking last year. Last night we went for a nice goose-feeding stroll through Riverside Park. We fed the geese and took in the beautiful autumn sunset. Tonight we went strolling along a forest path and were surprised by deer gallivanting through the woods. For some reason they weren't afraid of us, which is a little unsettling. Then we popped in to Moxie's for supper and drinks . Not exciting, I know, but it is what it is.

October Drama

A couple of days ago Katya and I ended up thrown out on the street in the middle of the night by an unbalanced, psychotic bi-polar narcissistic ex-friend, whom we were renting a room from, when we informed her that we were moving out on November 1st. Rather than discuss things like an adult, she chose to verbally and physically assault my wife, threw us out on the street while screaming obscenities and slamming doors, and stole our money.

We were spending a lot of money driving Katya to work. As well, the law here provides a tenant the right to "reasonable enjoyment of the rented premises" (in our case, a bedroom). However, because the Dutchies are a young family with a 2-year old living in the room next to ours, they were unable (as well as unwilling on several occasions) to provide reasonable enjoyment of our room. For instance, at 7:30 in the morning they would play with their toddler right outside of our door, and when we asked them to keep it down, we would be told &qu…

I Love You, October

I love the autumn. Actually, that's an awkward word to say all the time. I used to say "fall" but got so used to saying "autumn" in Russia, and with my Russian wife, that it's become my default word for the season. I'll take some liberty to rebel here. I love the FALL!

The summer starts nice, and it is filled with fun and opportunities, but by the end of August until mid-September I'm just sick of heat and humidity and mosquitoes and constantly sweating. September, like November and March, is one of the crappiest months. Fall hasn't begun yet but summer is over. It basically has all the inconveniences of summer AND fall mixed into one sweltering, boring, humid crappy month.

But today is October 1st, and now begins a REAL month!

All the trees explode into brilliant colors. Looking across at an Ontario forest in October takes my breath away. All the biting insects are gone by the middle of the month. Every mosquito, wasp, black fly and anything e…