There are some who call me...Tim

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2006-08-15 —

Canada 2006 Part 2

Canada 2006 Part two.

I think maybe part of the reason I got so much hassle and got ‘randomly’ picked for the pain in Immigrapetion had to do with my flight schedule. I was flying into Calgary, staying for one day, then going on to Saskatoon, SK the next day. Man, I was framed.

After I got out of there and was able to turn my phone back on, and I had missed several calls. Wait…I should back up a little.

The reason for this one-day stay was to meet and hang out with some people that I met through an Internet skeptical community (the James Randi Educational Foundation [JREF])at www.randi.org. They have really cool names like Jas, Eos of the Eons, RebeccaBradley (her real name) rustypouch, badger, Jimbo07. I know their real names, but damned if I’m gonna tell you. Pbbbt! I go by TJ on the forum, which I actually prefer over Tim. Go figure.

I met one of these fine minds (Jas) at JREF’s The Amazing Meeting 4, which was a huge Skeptics conference I attended in January. Anyway, the people I listed above are all people who post in the JREF forum, whom I knew casually from the forum, and all of them lived in or (relatively) near to Calgary. None except for Jas went to TAM4, but I’m rambling.

Jas put a post in the forum letting everyone know that I was coming to Calgary, and things just sort of came together. Rebecca Bradley offered up her house for a barbeque, badger drove down from Edmonton (3 hours!), Eos drove from Red Deer (1 hour), and everyone else was in town. Rustypouch was nice enough to cart me around, so after he picked me up from the hotel (which I couldn’t check into, since my room wasn’t ready) we drove downtown and met badger.

The three of us had lunch and a few beers, then it was time to head over to Rebecca’s house. We stopped at the liquor store for some libation, then arrived to a wonderful spread of food, including an outstanding pasta/couscous/something-delicious dish. Everyone else showed up except for Jas. Jas had moved to Vancouver a few months earlier, and due to a very heavy work schedule, was unable to join us.

We were all very sad that the one who put this together couldn’t even attend, but we persevered and had fun all the same. Rustypouch, my illustrious Calgarian benefactor, is a photographer, and he was snapping photos all evening as I cooked, we chatted it up, hung out, drank, and listened to music from both my iPod (see it there in the group shot?) and Rebecca’s husband, who arrived about 8:30 or so.

The conversation was great! The two ladies that you see in the group shot are both published authors and incredibly interesting people. That’s Marie Jakober on the left (who just won the 2006 George Bugnet Award for Novel from the Alberta Writer’s guild for her book Sons of Liberty) and our hostess, Rebecca Bradley on the right. Also in the photo are badger (next to Rebecca) and Jimbo07.

Being something of a pathetic loser who tries desperately to put words in a cogent form on paper myself, sitting across the table from two authors was a real pleasure. While I was listening to them, rustypouch was snapping photos. A glance over at him yielded this little treasure, which is intense, but one of the best photos of me I’ve ever seen. Makes me realize how big my nose is too. I’m not self-conscious about it though.

Marie writes Civil War fiction pieces, you see, so the story behind how she got into that and the searching through American history was fascinating. She was a real character too, with a great sense of humor.

This photo, taken close to the same time, includes the lovely Eos of the Eons and badger too. You can see that the beer and wine were plentiful, there were empties all over the place.

Eventually it was time for eating, and that’s when I had to earn my keep around here. Weiner anyone?

Jimbo didn’t stay too long, he had to go home and feed his wife (his words), but Marie stayed until about 10, and badger, being the trooper that he is, stayed until about 10:30, then had to make the 3-hour trip home, sleep for a few hours, and be to work by 7am. What a guy.

Rusty, Eos, Rebecca and her husband (who’s name I still can’t recall, but he was a fine English Gentleman; a teacher, even!) drank some more, and really got more into listening to music as I would play a song, then Mr. Bradley would play a song, etc. Great fun. Finally at around 12:30 it was time to call it a night. What a great time.

Eos made her drive back to Red Deer, and rusty took my back to the hotel. We had one more cocktail then he took off to go home. I crashed hard and was back to the airport the next day. I had no trouble with security or anything there, and I hooked up with Chad, David, Jerry, Joe, and Phil, and off to Saskatoon we went.

We went to the Shark Club at the Sandman Hotel in Saskatoon for dinner and drinks, and it’s a very well known fact that the Shark Club employs some of the hottest girls in town. WOW! Just regular old down-home, corn-fed, beautiful women. The food’s pretty good too! J

We all had a pretty good buzz going, then David started with the jaeger bombs. He didn’t walk too well after that! Good thing he ate something. I crashed about midnight, I guess, then it was Denny’s for breakfast and off to the lake to really start this trip!

More to come…


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