Sunday, September 23, 2018

Beakerhead 2018

Last night was Beakernight, the culmination of the annual Beakerhead festival in Calgary, where science, art, and engineering come together to create weird and wacky exhibits to tickle our senses. Despite the light drizzle and cool weather, we let our inner science nerds out, taking in the various exhibits on the grounds at Fort Calgary. There were flames, giant inflatables, high voltage sparking through the air, chemistry themed escape room battles, LED arts and crafts, lenticular style portraits, and much more.

But while this year's edition had some pretty cool stuff, I will argue there weren't quite enough flames as in year's past. MOAR FIRE, please. Click here for some photos from previous years. Did any of you take in the event? If so, what did you think compared to prior editions?

Beakerhead 2018-6
The Fabulist!

Beakerhead 2018-8
Fire makes everything better.

Beakerhead 2018-11
It was drizzling out, so the water droplets on my lens added some interesting flare and bokeh.

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The 32ft Sextant Tesla Coils, with a wee bit of electricity flowing.

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Inside The Saturnian exhibit, a giant inflatable igloo thingy. Flare courtesy of some condensation on my lens.

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Beakerhead 2018-18

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DIY LED arts and crafts.

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Pulse and Bloom, a series of metal lotus sculptures that lit up in response to your pulse.

Beakerhead 2018-1
The Dreams Never Die exhibit.

Beakerhead 2018-3

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Trip Report: Red Light District?

We were in Taiwan for a few days earlier this year, and one of my favourite sights was the pedestrian old street in Jiu Fen. As the sunlight faded, these beautiful red lanterns lit up the street, making for a crowded stretch of a few hundred meters down a steep stairway with tourists jockeying for the best insta-worthy shots. Yes, I realize the irony in scoffing at tourists vying for the same Instagram photo, while doing exactly that myself... proving that it is possible to be self aware and hypocritical at the same time. :)

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See? We all took the same shot.

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Georanosaurus Mach Fossils Unveiled

Welcome to the G.Mach Museum of slightly weird and unsettling objects. This is the world unveiling of specimen G22: the fossilized teeth of the mighty Georanosaurus Mach. I had to get a night guard made recently because apparently I grind my teeth at night. So in preparation for that, they made me a set of dental molds, which I found fascinating and grotesque at the same time. These photos are mother nature's fault. Since winter arrived this week, and we're not mountain adventuring, I got bored...

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Monday, September 3, 2018

Trip Report - Mt. Arethusa

After three summit free weeks, Anita and I tackled a mountain rated as 'difficult' by all accounts I'd read. Of course, I didn't tell her this until after we'd summited and gotten back to the car, to which she was slightly dismayed. This was hands down one of the most technically demanding and challenging scrambles we've done yet, with several areas of extreme exposure, razor thin ridges to traverse, precipitous drops off cliffs on either side, and a lengthy downclimb into a chimney. The photos simply do not do this one justice. I texted a few photos to friends, and strangely, the universal response was a variation of 'Are you still married?' or 'How mad is Anita?' Lol. You guys give her too little credit. I gave her the option to turn around well before things got spicy, and she was the one pushing us onwards. I've converted her into a mountain goat. Trust me on this one, you should check out the pics.

Also, since it was a long weekend, rather than take a rest day, we took it easy by bagging another summit the next day. But I'll save those photos for another post.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-25
Bit of a precarious position, cliff drop-offs on both sides.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-1
After a lengthy scree bash, we hugged the wall to gain the ridge, before the really interesting part of this scramble began.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-3
Calm before the storm... things would get far more hairy from here.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-4

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-5
And this is where things start getting dicey. Anita balances on a thin ledge, as we head towards the 'chimney'. That will makes sense in a few photos.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-6
Taking a breather, surveying the backside of the chimney we would have to downclimb.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-7
Of course, the wind picks up while we're on the thin ledges.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-8
Anita makes her way down the chimney. A slip here, and that's it. The landing was exposed, and momentum would likely drop you down hundreds of metres to the base. Goodbye life.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-9

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-10

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My better half, the mountain goat.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-13
Taking another breather before continuing along the airy ridge.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-14

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-15
Summit beer: Zero Issue Multiverse Pale Ale. In retrospect, having a beer BEFORE retracing our steps along the ridge wasn't my brightest idea.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-17
There was nothing to shelter us from the wind up top, so Anita resorted to this.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-18
And the return back along the ridge.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-19

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-20

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Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-23
Surveying where to step next.

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Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-26
Another spot where a misstep would likely be fatal.

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Anita gingerly makes her way across a very exposed ledge. I could look at this picture all day.

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Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-30
See that smile on her face? That's proof that she actually enjoys this stuff.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-31
Climbing back up the chimney. Piece of cake.

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And a final look back at the ridge we traversed.

Scrambles - Mt. Arethusa - Sept 2018-16
Views of mountains for days!