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26 February 2012 @ 10:27 pm
So last weekend in Banff was pretty great. The town exists for no other reason but because it is astoundingly beautiful. When the Canadian Pacific Railway went through in 1885, they were so amazed by the beauty so they plopped down one of the most famous hotels in the world to encourage more rail ridership through the Rockies. There are also hot springs there and a lot of skiing.

Banff is also the site of Canada's first and the world's third national park called Banff National Park. In many ways, Banff exemplifies that golden age of Parks Canada, lying somewhere between before 1914, where strong individuals forged whole parks alone by sheer force of will. One fellow built a museum in Banff full of all the animals he had collected and stuffed while working for Parks Canada. Now it's a museum of a museum, because in the name of conservation, Parks Canada doesn't catch and stuff what it's conserving anymore.

Anyway, the town was absolutely packed with people for the long weekend, most of them there for skiing. An interesting footnote is that all the staff there seems to be young Australians, and I'm not entirely sure why. There's lots of great places to eat in Banff, many of them quite expensive, and it has it's own brewpub, where Karen and I spent some time quaffing their ales.

Photos after the jumpCollapse )
Music: River of Bass - Underworld
18 February 2012 @ 10:00 am
It's long weekend here in Alberta, and this morning I'm off to Banff to see the Rocky Mountains. I've never seen mountains before, so this will be quite exciting. I'm only staying one night, because Banff is kind of expensive.

Work is still going well, and I'm doing some real projects, but so far I've learned the fine art of folding maps. Since we print all our maps in house, we also have to fold them by hand. Hundreds of them. I hope our clients appreciate the handcrafted care/don't notice the folding mistakes.

This week has also seen the beginning of a financial stability that I've never really had before. I had some Canada savings bonds mature this month after twenty years, and I cashed them in and I got paid. So now my bank account is the fullest it's ever been, and I now have actual savings, rather than living hand to mouth.

With some of that money, Karen and I went out and each bought an iPhone 4s. While it is a bit of a splurge, we did need need Calgary numbers and plans, and did do a lot of research to ensure we were getting our money's worth. Since we've long denied ourselves smartphones because we couldn't justify the cost, it was quite amazing to jump from an old regular cellphone to a 5th generation smartphone. We got them on Valentine's day, although more importantly it was the anniversary of Bell patenting the telephone, and the phone company we went with was Bell. Also, we got a whole bunch of big bonus addons (like unlimited incoming calls), because February is a slow month for cell phone sales, and companies make better offers to entice customers.

Also, I have set up a Twitter account, and you can follow me @williamrgillies. I'll post some pictures of the Rockies there during the trip.
Music: Wildlife Analysis - Boards of Canada
15 January 2012 @ 07:20 pm

"Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past."
-Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon

The world of the Age of Reason is one at the peak of civilization. The great powers on the continent of Tosir dominate global trade with their fleets of Men-O-War and struggle for advantage on land with lines of drilled musketeers. The monarchs of the great powers rule as absolutists supported by the majesty of the church. The aristocracy, stripped of much of their power, still enjoy their great wealth, and relieved of the need to rule, patronize the arts. The rate of technological development has opened up new means of production and given rise to a powerful new merchant class.

The world of the Age of Reason is one on the cusp of major change. New ideas about the world are being discussed amongst the literate: rationalism, liberty and progress. New social trends are beginning to alter the age old rhythm of life: capitalism, urbanization and industrialization. Against this backdrop the ancien regimes of the continent are ruled for the personal honour of the monarch and the greater glory of god. Beneath all this, murmurs amongst the great labouring masses suggest that a New Age requires a New Order...

Fantasy in the Age of ReasonCollapse )

So I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this idea for a fantasy series. Also, if you are aware of any fantasy works that cover similar ground as me, I'd like to know about those too.
Music: Civilisation - Justice
09 November 2011 @ 07:53 pm
Well we made it into Calgary 12:30am on Tuesday after 5401 kilometres of traveling spread over six days.I'll have a more complete post with pictures tomorrow.
Music: Audio Video Disco - Justice
13 July 2011 @ 11:30 am

I'm not really into to sports, but last summer I caught some of the Tour de France and I really got into it. So I've been following the race this year. It's a combination of amazing French scenery, superhuman endurance and spectacular pile ups. Makes me think I should get a bicycle because I haven't had one in years.

Anyone else watching the Tour de France this year?
Music: Tour de France - Kraftwerk