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Trip to Jasper!!!

One of my fondest memories was travelling across the country on the bus beside a smell homeless dude who kinda changed my life, it was right around my 30th birthday and I was creating an unpublished blog post about “30 things I learned at 30”, since I just turned 35 I was pondering how much of those I embraced, and I’d say I am going pretty good…and homeless dude….those 25 hours were pretty awesome buddy…one of my biggest regrets is not staying in touch with you.

This time for my birthday the wife and I went out to the mountains to do a couple of hikes and spend some one on time. I do love camping so much, there is something about rustic camping outside that just makes everything seem so right.

This time going out we were planning to do a hike up sulphur ridge above the miette hotsprings but unfortunately a couple of annoying bears got in our way and were all like “Hey, I got two cubs here so why don’t you just get out of here” and the fact that the 10minute drive up the mountain took two hours due to road construction was a bit annoying….but sulphur ridge…I DO THEE DECLARE…that I shall hike you this year, I bought that park pass afterall.

Pics below.




My new raised gardens!

I had originally intended to post a video of me making these…but ultimately got excited and completed them before I could really get my camera lady involved….at the end of the day it’s a handful of fence boards, a 4×4 cedar post and a dozen screws…cost is probably $35 for each one and I’m super excited with how well they turned out, lots of salad this year! yay!


While I had some powertools out I noticed a neighbor was tearing down their fence so I decided to whip up a quick platform for the garbage cans….it’s truly amazing what you can find when just going up and down back alleys….best of all I even re-used all the nails for this project so total cost was nothing!



(the wife is admiring the handiwork….)

Cults and Amway

The wife and I got misled (from my perspective) into heading down to Calgary to attend a great “leadership” event that was 3 days long. While I asked the lovely wife to provide me a description of the event or an itinerary of speakers I didn’t really push it and the wife kept insisting it was going to be great and a good step in her career path of becoming a holistic worker. We’ve attend past great events (the seed event) so part of me was hoping this mysterious event would be good. I eventually acquiesced and we loaded up the car, booked some very costly hotel rooms and headed down to cowtown.

I’m going to have an entire other post dedicated to how expensive hotel rooms are…and how uncomfortable they are to stay in….

At the hotel I looked around during the shitty continental breakfast and was sure there was a Mormon convention in town, everyone wearing stark black illfitting suits with small backpacks and smiling at you in that unsettling manner. At this point I started to get a bit nervous as I was starting to suspect that these people might be attending the leadership event. One cereal eater casually turned to me and said the Bible had plenty to teach women about patience before returning back to poking the toaster with a plastic fork to free her trapped bagel.

Janelle was still optimistic and in her business casual attire we hopped on the LRT and popped out a few minutes later at the Stadium. A girl named Yvonne we friend’d on the train bubbled about how the previous nights speeches had been so inspirational and we would love today. Her comments were “I never knew you could ask so many questions to find things out about friends and family”.

We got there…sat in the huge stadium full of people wearing those same illfitting suits (since when does business casual include a tie?)

The lights went down……a huge drum roll….strobe lights..a smoke bomb….a throng of people rushed the stage……..shrills cry’s of excitement rise up to fill the arena….am I at a…I dunno…beiber concert?  Nope…out runs out some crazy dudes and hi-fives fly around the room and then BAM.


Serious? I got roped into a 3day amway selling convention? what.the.fuck. (pardon the profanity in this post but I’m still pretty pissed) I’m a freaking self identified minimalist who has worn the same toque for 30 years..I cut my hair with a bread knife……I’m almost a dang hobo….but with a corporate slant

Listen…I don’t mind selling…or people selling things..when my friend calls me up and goes “hey buddy, we got a new kind of olive oil in we think you’d enjoy” or “Hey, last minute deal on a trip to cuba”….I don’t mind…cause you know what….they are being upfront at least in offering you something…

Amway…Quixstar….Primerica….Norwex…Passion Parties…are all pyramid scams….yes…legal…legal pyramid scams…and I realize they all make good products…I really do…I have no doubt most of their products are solid….but their focus is on recruiting and intruding into the lives of those close to you…that’s a big freaking intrusion…

If you feel that you can only get a “friend” to show up to an event by excluding certain details (or downright deceiving you) then maybe it shouldn’t be an event you should be promoting to them…

I realize that a lot of the aforementioned pyramid scams have a huge amount of very loyal followers who would likely tear me apart for saying anything negative (if anyone read this blog) and that’s to be expected…most of them use very cult like behaviour and practices to encourage those types of people to join up. When I was looking around that arena full of people freaking out I felt totally terrified I would get exposed and ripped apart so I stood up and screamed “I LOVE YOU, YOU WONDERFUL BASTARD!, GO AMWAY!!”

*at this point I should point out I take some artistic licence with my posts.

But I can tell you this….look at the statistics and don’t get sucked along if you want to get involved in one of those organizations…Most people involved in them do not make money…that is an absolute fact…and you know what…I think most people that get involved in these things can do great things….you have motivation already! inside of you! it’s easy to take the route of going to an arena and pee’ing your pants over false idols but take a little bit more time to develop your own business if you want to do something great. Find out what gets you excited about them and do it yourself!

That’s all…I wasn’t sure exactly where this post is going when I started it but you know…I think it ended up slightly more positive than I expected…cause I’m thinking of all the people who have approached me about these types of things and I think most had a strong will to succeed and do great things….. these are people who I would consider to be “influencers and motivators”….there are so many great ways that you can impact and be useful to someone else’s life (and frankly make a bit of monies too) . To use a saying I hate….”think outside the box” and stop looking for your motivation and success in nicely pre-packaged books and seminars.

And with that….down from my soap box I go… a few hundred dollars and a weekend shorter…but perhaps a bit wiser?

**For the record Janelle and I still had a decent time…visited a bunch of markets…drank too much by the pool and ran into some old friends of mine…..just wish the whole weekend had started off a bit differently.






Public Speaking

As a couple of you may know I am Icelandic guy….who has recently become a lot more interested in my cultural roots. I’ve been working here in Edmonton for the last year on the board of directors for the Icelandic Canadian Club of Edmonton…a great group of people with a great facility and a bunch of good events they put on throughout the year.

Growing up in Gimli, Manitoba Iceland was always around…..such a huge community and almost more common to see the Icelandic flag flapping in the wind that the Canadian maple leaf…I was surprised to see such a strong community here in Edmonton as well.

My house growing up pretty much had this view from the backyard….

Over the weekend I got the opportunity to see some of the best music I have EVER seen at the Starlite room here in Edmonton…a great organization called “IcelandNaturally” brought in a handful of musical acts that just blew me away.


Jon Karason totally blew my mind, check out some of his videos here:

On Sunday though it was my turn to try to contribute a bit at the Icelandic Film Fest at the Garneau theatre, so I got up in front of about 250 people and spoke a few words, I want to mention that I consider myself a strong public speaker…I’m a third degree green belt toastmaster or something and a professional salesman so you wouldn’t think it would phase you too much..but I got to tell you I almost pee’d my pant’s up there…it’s crazy being on stage when you can’t really see or connect to people but you know you are being watched by everyone in the room.

Anyways…that’s it for now…hope you like the blog thing.

Optimism + disposition + outlook

I’ve managed to chisel out just about all the people who I have identified as just down right negative…I realize that sometimes we all go through negative streaks and that our friends or family have to put up with that and help bring us out of  our funks…but I’ve also come to realize that some people are just negative and what I am going to call energy vampires (not the new age style)…people who consistently surround themselves and perpetuate negativity…..

You might be one of those people if “everyone is always out to get you” if every single boss you’ve ever had “was always an idiot” or if you are constantly having “its just bad luck” type circumstances….

The world is a pretty amazing place and I got to say that most of us here in Canada are playing life at the “easy setting”. I know two people who are reasonably close to me who have spent time in two different refugee camps and who also happen to be two of the most optimist go lucky people ever. It’s actually kind of shocking sometimes as you forget just how much adversity they have had to go through but sometimes I think it actually has helped them truly decide to live a more intentional and deliberate life full of good and meaning.

I know sometimes I get down and depressed if I don’t feel like I’m paying off debt fast enough or if I can’t afford to go on a vacation or do something I know I would really enjoy.

Today I was taking a first aid class and the teacher was talking about how we never quite now how we would all react in the circumstance of a real emergency were there might be blood or burns or people stressing out and she kind of poked my buddy a bit and he calmly stated “no, there is nothing that I could see today that would throw me for much of a loop” and she kind kept pressing him before he simply stated that he had grown up on “BiDong” island as a Vietnam war refugee and had seen most of his family raped, tortured and literally set on fire by the time he was 10.

It puts things into a real perspective when you bump into a story like this and you realize that true human misery isn’t always just a movie on TV or some abstract concept. People you likely interact with everyday have went through some horrendous things and come out on the other side being beautiful intentional people.

Don’t spend too long feeling sad for yourself, get up and do some good if you have the ability. Suffering has the ability to make you bitter or enlightened in so many ways, you ultimately are responsible for choosing.





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