A man of discerning tastes

In 1986 my mother brought home two boxes: one full of envelopes, the other full of papers. She had a job for me, I was to stuff the envelopes with the papers/brochures (I can’t remember which), and lick them shut. I would be paid a penny for each, and there were literally thousands of them. I toiled away over many days that summer, eventually finishing the job. Weeks later, my mom brought home my pay, $20.00. A princely sum for an 8-year-old in 1986.

I was far from a tastemaker or influencer when I was eight. I always seemed to be behind the curve on whatever was coming down the pipe for kids my age, whether it was Airwolf or trading cards. I was even blindsided by Nintendo, not realizing that was a thing until way too late.

A friend’s brother had this t-shirt, and it was easily the coolest thing ever for a kid in the third grade.

While I wasn’t on the cutting edge of pop-culture at the time, I did have an appreciation for quality when I saw it, and Garbage Pail Kids was an instant must-have for me. Cabbage Patch Kids was a huge thing in 1986, and Topps created this parody of the dolls in response to the doll’s too-expensive licensing fees.

I begged my mother for some, but she steadfastly refused to spend money on such rubbish. “They’re disgusting,” she admonished me.

The only place you could get them was at a shady, dirty, arcade/candy store. In hindsight, it should have been a second home for me, but a lack of disposable income held me back. But not so, when I had all of that envelope money in my hand.

I quickly made my way to the store, money in hand, and Garbage Pail Kids stickers in mind. My disappointment that they were sold out was short-lived. As was the $20. I wasted no time in changing it in for a soda, some candy, and about 72 quarters. 20 Minutes later I walked out, worried what my mother would say about my squandered fortune (she was not impressed).

But 34 years later, I get the last laugh. For just $28.95, I get to own all of them. All things come to he who waits.

Now I just need to keep my kids away from this trash.

Red and Black Lumberjack

…With the hat to match.

A few years ago I passed by a store that had the Woolrich logo on display in the window. I grabbed a picture of it (since lost) because I loved how they used the red and black check pattern for their logo, and combined it with a really modern sans-serif signature.

I’ve been quietly obsessed with it since. I even have plans to do a vehicle wrap with the pattern in the next year.

Anyways, this weekend I was back in that town and picked up a couple of Woolrich shirts. I’ve been on a flannel kick lately, so why not go with the classics?

Pictured above is the tag from one of the shirts. Digging around on their site and social media, I see they’re making great use of the pattern, balancing a fine line between classic/heritage and modern/relevant. This gallery from their Instagram has some great examples of how they balance the two.

The final picture in the gallery — the building exterior — is just what I’m thinking.

Kelowna Ribfest

One summer, while in Kelowna, I stumbled across my first BBQ joint. There I discovered two things that have stuck with me since: Boylan’s Cola, and smoked ribs. Since then I’ve owned three smokers, and have deliberately worked to perfect my ribs, getting them to my complete satisfaction.

I was back in Kelowna one summer and got invited to Ribfest. Different crews show up and compete to make the best BBQ, taking home trophies and bragging rights. There’s a whole art to proper BBQ; I know enough about it to appreciate it, even if I can’t compete on that level.

A New York State of Mind

We spent five days in Manhattan, and despite never sleeping more than 5 hours a night, it wasn’t enough time there. We loved New York. I’ve posted 21 photos here, but my actual selects from our trip are probably closer to 70.

Whitemud Creek

If you ask people about the parks in Edmonton, you’ll hear all about Hawerlak and Rundle. Maybe even the Legislative Grounds. If you ask them about hiking in Edmonton, you’ll probably get a blank face. But Whitemud Creek has a beautiful trail running alongside it that’s a perfect walk for the family, and is a great way to forget you’re in the city for a few hours.

Troll Falls

Getting the kids out for a hike can be a challenge. I try to do my research first, but between driving and managing everyone on the trip, I may not have a chance to properly vet all of our hikes first. For adults this is ok, but taking my kids on a lacklustre hike is bad news for everyone.

Troll Falls was one that I didn’t know what to expect. A good hike for kids has a payoff destination, a place that you’re going to that’s worth going to. Troll Falls delivered. The kids even thanked me after.

Elk Island

When I think of Canada’s National Parks, my mind automatically goes to the parks that are strung along the Trans Canada Highway. Banff. Glacier. Yoho. Revelstoke. I forget that there is a national park 40 minutes from my door (instead of 4 hours).

Within a couple of hours of being there, my card was full.

Lake Minnewanka Area

Usually when I’m in Banff I skip over the Minnewanka area of the park. It feels pretty touristy, too close to the townsite, and without a lot of reward.

One year I left Edmonton at about 3:00 AM on my way to the Okanagan. I pulled into Canmore for gas just before 7:00 AM. When I got out, the air smelled amazing. Absolutely unreal. I called Joanna to tell her about it. I drove on west, and decided to check out the lakes north of the Banff Townsite. Maybe it’s because it was early morning on a beautiful day, but everything was calm, and just starting to wake up. Easily the best stop I made on that trip.