Archive for May, 2011

Miata Sun Run 2011

This last weekend Pat and I joined our local Miata friends on a run to Kelowna for a large gathering of Miata clubs.  The Topless Sun Run of Kelowna is organized by the Okanagan Miata Club every few years.  Cars from Washington, Oregon, Alberta, Idaho and around BC gather for a weekend.

The weather was cold and rainy this year but the featured group drive on Saturday turned out nice.  Lots of sunshine so virtually everyone had the top down.  The organizers had a run from downtown across the lake and then 3 hours of driving in mountain and country roads with no stop lights. 

102 cars joined the run and for the most part we stayed together even at 100km / hr.  Passing farms where people came out to watch the parade.  Then there were the few vehicles wanting to turn onto the road and realizing that there were 7 minutes of a line of cars going by.  Not sure they appreciated it as much as the people at the side of the road.

Eventually stopped at a pub south of Sycamous where we had an arranged buffet.  Then back to the hotel in Kelowna and an evening group dinner with about 200 people. 

A great weekend.  I have no idea why driving in a line of 102 cars of your same make can be fun, but it is. 

Hard Driving Songs

A couple of months ago I asked for the kids to suggest great driving songs.  I wanted up-beat songs that keep you driving aggressively.  I was given a long list and I added many others from the internet and eventually burned 15 CDs with roughly 300 driving songs.  Drawn from our narrow list of 10,000 songs in our Sonos inventory. 

This last week, Pat and I drove ‘Little  Red’ through the mountains to Kelowna and back while listening to all of the songs and  then narrowed the list down to the top 12 (should have been the top 10 but whatever).

Here are the exact rules.  You are driving a roadster with the top down in the sunshine on a twisty mountain road, already driving too fast for the curves, the wife screaming at you to slow down, when a song comes on that starts to make your head bob and you push the accelerator even more.  (obviously no ballads)  Can’t be just fast music, must have a beat and a grabber melody.

Here is our top 12 list (in no order)

  • Crazy – Gnarls Barkley
  • Moving Melodies – ATB
  • Rolling in the Deep – Adele
  • Du Hast – Rammstein
  • Burn it To the Ground – Nickelback
  • Hey Ya – Outkast
  • Cha-Ching – Hedley
  • Run To You – Bryan Adams
  • Vision – Spyro Gyra
  • Born to Be Wild – Steppenwolf
  • Holiday – Green Day
  • Barra Barra – Rachid Taha

The last choice (Barra Barra) was despite the concern by Vedran that we would sound like Terrorists.

Special mention goes to some other choices

  • Shucking the Corn – Lester Flatt (rejected because it is more about driving General Lee on the twisty mountan roads)
  • Axel F – Crazy Frog (because that is just too froggy)
  • Dead Man’s Curve – Jan and Dean (not a choice given the crazy mountain turns we were taking)
  • Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins (Just too obvious a choice)

We had fun, and of course, while this is our opinion, you may disagree but until you are driving a red roadster on a twisty mountain road in the sunshine, you will not comprehend the true definition.

Truck Food

Not sure if that is the right term.  But the latest food fad in major cities is high end food served from trucks or trailers.  Just ask Janine.  In asia it is called Stall food or street food.

In the past the entire menu from roadside trucks would be hot dogs and hamburgers but now it is high end.

In the Comox Valley we have our own new high end street food vendor.  They are actually located on a lot next to the highway in Royston a couple of km south of Courtenay.  They have a trailer where they cook and serve, some outside tables and a little shack  so you can sit inside if it is raining and a big smoker oven.  They make Cajun BBQ.  Pork and beef ribs, pulled pork and chicken.  The layout is the same as I have seen about local BBQ shacks in Louisiana (except no liquor)

A friend mentioned last month that it was the best BBQ he had ever had so we decided to try it.  Pat and I were arriving back in Courtenay at 6pm from our 4 day trip and not interested in cooking from scratch.  So I suggested we stop in and pick up a rack of beef ribs, some cornbread and bring it home and heat up some yam fries.

One of the best smoked BBQ rib meals I have ever had.  Blows away anything you try to do on your little backyard BBQ with some wood chips.  We will be going back. 

Butchart Gardens

I am sorry for the thousands of my blog  readers for my absence.  It is spring in the Paradise and I have more outside experiences than writing my blog.  Still there is a new entry.

This last weekend, Pat and I drove down to Victoria in Little Red (top down, lots of sunshine).  We were going to visit my cousin Wylie and his wife Maggie but the highpoint was to visit the Butchart gardens.

Butchart Gardens is a huge garden development started in 1904 by the wife of a local millionaire.  He owned a local cement factory and used this land to quarry limestone.  They built their mansion on the property and the wife started to develop a high end English Garden using the abandoned quarry and the farms around.  In the 20s she made full use of the workers from her husband’s local plant as slave labour.  (Today a senior executive that used employees from his company for personal use would likely go to jail, but they were different times)

By the 1960s the gardens were a huge commercial enterprise and it is now a National Heritage site.

I had never been to the gardens but had heard of them.  Pat had visited many years ago and still had remembered them.

Well let me tell you, I have seen great gardens in Europe and Japan, but the Butchart is the greatest I have ever seen.  Kind of expensive to visit, but worth it.  Granted we had a perfect sunshine day just before the Victoria day weekend to see it, but still spectacular.  I attach just a couple of pictures

When we came back we rearranged our annual planting in our yard to try and use some of the display layouts we saw.  We will be visiting again. 

Appie Party

Pat and I hosted the newcomers Appetizer party this Saturday night.  This is actually the second one we have done in the last year which is not supposed to happen, but we enjoy them and while people are prepared to sign up to attend only a few sign up to host. (typical)

This was a great one.  We had a lower than normal turnout (15 people instead of the normal 24) but they were interesting people.  With the lower number we could actually spend more time talking to every one of them.

This was the first public showing of the JUNO model and that was an early highlight of the party.  Later we toured the workshop and the dollhouse and birdhouses were other subjects of praise.  I would have blushed, but I just eat this stuff up.  Given the hours spent on trivial parts and building, it is nice to have a moment of glory. 

There was one guy that is an artist and was admiring our diverse collection of prints.  He asked if we had anything original (actually as a joke after admiring my model of the Fubbs) and I said sure look at what an artist called Meagan has done.  The 3D Picasso was much admired as well as the paintings. 

At the end everyone declared how lucky Pat is to have me as a husband and Meagan as an Artist and our beautiful kids (I showed a picture from many years ago)  Granted they drank more wine than they brought, but that is OK

A great evening with new friends.

Anniversary 42

I cannot believe that we have been married 42 years.   Who would have thunk???

In any event it is obvious that  the best decision that Pat ever made in her life was when she married me and a pretty good decision on my part (I suspect this part of the blog will be altered once Pat reads it so make sure you get the original version as it will be worth some money in the future). 

I offered to take Pat out for dinner tonight but she wanted to have a romantic evening home with me (no lets face it what woman would not want that).  The plan was we would go through all the dining magazines we have and pick out a special menu and then spend  the day shopping and preparing the meal. 

Then we hit a snag.  I noticed an article about Beef Wellington and for some reason we jumped on that although this is a meal for 10. No particular logic just a whim.  Having served a lobster pasta dinner last Friday for Pat’s birthday we thought this was in the realm of special meals.

We went to the butcher and realized that a beef tenderloin would be $40 so we decided to do the same thing with a pork tenderloin.  Then we looked for foie gras (apparently hard to find in Courtenay) so we used Pate. 

I then made the inspiration of making Bombay Potatoes  ( a spicy indian dish)  as the side

As we were putting the Pork Tenderloin together realized that we did not have puff pastry in the freezer we had to use Phylo pastry instead.  Works OK but takes lots more effort. 

The end result was gorgeous (see picture) but apparently Pork is not the choice I would pick for a Wellington with the pate.  And the Bombay potatoes were too spicy. And I would use puff pastry in the future.

In any event I opened a very good bottle of Shiraz and we listened to romantic music and the meal was a success.  Certainly a fancier meal than we had 42 years ago. 

Miserable Cold Spring

Pat and I this morning went off to buy the many hanging basket flowers we need for the pergola and the high pots and the front display.  Home depot were putting their hanging baskets and individual flowers on sale this weekend, which should be a high buying weekend so should be at full price.  Anyway we bought a huge amount of flowers and in the morning sunshine built up all our baskets and urns. 

This evening I realize why Home Depot were putting their stuff on sale.  While it will not freeze tonight ( the low expected is +4 deg C) but it feels colder than … well pick the analogy.  Our neighbour Kim was watching us and said ‘Awwww a bit early don’t you think given the forecast?’

I had not actually looked at the forecast for the next few days, because the sun was shining and Home Depot had a sale on.   

So after Pat’s birthday party tonight I humped the baskets into the garage.  Still the baskets are beautiful and if I have to bring them in and out for the next few days, they will be spectatular over the summer. 

When those of you reading this blog and are still working for a living and have the life problems that you face, you might think that our little concern over the plants is minor, and that is true, but it is a comfortable issue for us.  Easily managed and worth discussion but in the long run trivial. 

Everyone in our community agrees this has been a miserably cold and wet spring.  I notice that there is a recent report from the experts that  are saying Global Warming does not seem to be affecting North America.  This spring I have to agree with them.