Prague

•June 10, 2017 • Leave a Comment

When: April 2017

Trip Duration: 4 1/2 days

Where Did I Stay? We stayed at an Airbnb in Prague 2, not far from the Peace Square. It was a convenient location close to tram lines and the metro. Restaurants and groceries were also nearby.

Best Meal? Verison goulash with potato pancakes at Restaurace U Posty. We were originally going to eat at Mandragora but it was closed. After a walking a couple blocks we happened upon Restaurace U Posty.

Best Site? Prague Castle – We visited St. Vitus Cathedral, the South Tower of the Cathedral, and the Old Royal Palace in about 4 hours. The Cathedral dates from 1344 and features Gothic architecture. It towers over 300 feet. The Castle grounds are extensive and would take a good day to explore all of its buildings and gardens.

Best Kodak moment? Views from South Tower at St. Vitus Cathedral. The walk up the 280 tight concrete spiral stairs are well worth it! You can see for miles!

What Did I Bring Back? Souvenir shot glass and magnet. I collect these items on every trip I take.

Any Surprises? Prague was very busy and touristy everywhere we went. We knew it was a popular destination, but did not expect so many crowds.

What Didn’t You Get to See? We missed out on the Klementinum Baroque library as it was closed. Hoping to make up for it, we went to the Strahov Library. However, we had missed the private tours and it was more expensive than we thought. Vysehrad, Prague’s southern castle, was missed mostly due to the cool, rainy weather.

Tips for Traveling Friends: 1) Plan ahead and make an itinerary! We made the mistake of going to Prague Castle midday Saturday during Easter Break. Needless to say it was very busy. We learned from our mistake and visited Charles Bridge early Sunday morning visit. We also overlooked the fact that most  museums were closed on Mondays.

2) The tram line was right in front of our Airbnb and very loud during the night. When booking a place to stay ensure it is a few blocks from transportation lines.

 

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television

•May 20, 2017 • 1 Comment

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television has been on my to-read list for quite some time. I finally got around to it earlier this year. Jerry Mander provides a lot to think about in this book. Here is a summary of his main points and what I took away from it.

Mander’s first criticism of television is how it creates artificial environments and disconnects us from our natural environment. He terms this the mediation of experience. “…[H]uman beings have lost insight into natural processes – how the world works, the human role as one of many interlocking parts of the worldwide ecosystem – because natural processes are now exceedingly difficult to observe.”

“Television’s highest potential is advertising.”

His second argument relates to how people have been changed to match the television environment. “Unplugged from our natural connection to the environment, we are replugged into a new consumer environment.” Mander goes on to criticize advertising suggesting it “exists only to purvey what people don’t need.”

The third point is the effects television has on people. This ranges from an increase in hyperactivity, sensory deprivation, and isolation while decreasing our ability to communicate, show affection, participate, and engage in  interpersonal sharing and critical thinking. “Television isolates people from the environment, from each other, and from our own senses.”

Mander’s final point is the that television possesses a number of biases which are permanent and unchangeable.”The overriding bias of television, then, the bias which contains all the other biases, is that it offers preselected material, which excludes whatever is not selected.” Another bias is the inclination towards intense visual emotions such as anger, rage, hate, fear, and jealousy. These feelings, along with violence, suffer no information loss through television. On the other hand, concepts and information involving nature cannot be captured adequately on television. “Programs concerned with arts, programs concerned with many religions and all programs concerned with non-Western cultures are similarly distorted by television’s inability to convey their sensual aspects.”

I thoroughly enjoyed Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. Mander discusses a lot of ideas we generally do not think about when it comes to our relationship with television. I am not lobbying for the elimination of television, but I definitely agree with much of Mander’s reasoning. My only wish was that Mander wrote revised editions of his book every five years or so.

St. Kitts

•March 26, 2017 • Leave a Comment

One year ago I was wandering through the rainforest of St. Kitts. Here are a few pictures of the trip!

 

Girvin, Saskatchewan

•February 21, 2017 • 1 Comment

The town of Girvin was named after John Girvin, a contractor for many railroad stations west of Winnipeg. The railway preceded the village, built during the 1880s by the Qu’Appelle, Long Lake, and Saskatchewan Railroad and Steamboat Company. Settlement of the area started around 1902. The post office opened April 1st, 1905 and a school followed the same year. A restaurant, lumber yard, butcher, hotel, bank, livery, and blacksmith soon followed. Girvin had three grain elevators by 1915. It was incorporated as a village in 1907. The pump house, constructed in 1906, provided water for horses hauling grain into town. It is the only pump house in Saskatchewan and has been recognized as a Municipal Heritage Property since 1994. Girvin’s population peaked in 1926 at 151. In 1941 it had 93 residents; in the 1950s 140 citizens. Decline began in the 1960s. The school closed in 1970. By the 1980s the only business was a gas station and garage. In 2004 the skating rink collapsed. Today there are twenty residents with no businesses. Girvin relinquished its village status on December 19th, 2005.

imgp3129

imgp3131

imgp3145

imgp3147

imgp3152

imgp3179

imgp3181

 

Saskatoon’s Train Bridge

•January 25, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The CPR Bridge in Saskatoon was completed in June of 1908. It is nineteen and a half metres high and 341 metres long and includes a pedestrian walkway built in 1909. It is a truss bridge made with steel, wood, and concrete. Preliminary plans were to have a lane for vehicular traffic, but this was later removed from the project.

imgp3580

imgp3554

imgp3555

imgp3563

imgp3549

Old Geo’s Antiques

•January 14, 2017 • Leave a Comment

During the winter break my brother Mike and I embarked on a day trip to our grandparents’ former farm. Along the way we stopped in at Old Geo’s Antiques in Whitewood. George owns a two and a half story house built in 1885. I believe there are seventeen rooms in the house and at least five staircases. We stepped in and George invited us to tour his house stuffed with antiques of all kinds – bottles, radios, lamps, First Nations pipes and tools, food tins, spinning wheels, telegraphs and more. In addition there is a village of about 20 buildings on his property. Being it winter, we only stopped in at the saloon. We spent about two hours looking around and chatting to George. Over 24,000 visitors have been to Old Geo’s. He has been featured in Prairies North magazine, Beijing Cosmopolitan, and other publications.

20161229_100941 20161229_101845

20161229_104604

20161229_104222

20161229_112044

 

2017 Reading List

•January 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I am an avid reader and enjoy reading a variety of books. Usually I am drawn to non-fiction books but do like a well-written novel from time to time. Here are a few books on my reading list this year:

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television – Jerry Mander

 

 

 

 

 

nightThe Nightingale – Kristin Hannah

 

 

 

 

 

iwoIwo Jima – Bill D. Ross

 

 

 

 

 

gardenThe Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

 

 

 

 

 

aprilIn Search of April Raintree – Beatrice Culleton Mosionier

 

 

 

 

 

astroAn Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth – Chris Hadfield

 

 

 

 

 

natureNature – Ralph Waldo Emerson