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Calgary - A Superb Counterstrike Map

When we arrived in Calgary it was raining. The first thing Claes and I saw when we stepped out from Hyatt Regency downtown was a guy on rollerblades, wobbling down the street, trying to light up a crack pipe. I’ve always had a good time in Canada, and I love Toronto, but I’m not sure about this city…

The stay wasn’t very eventful. The city was cold and snowed on us. We worked, and then it rained on us. We worked some more, and then it lured us into what was supposedly, accoring to the owner, one of Canada’s “500 best restaurants”. Honestly, I doubt they even have that many restaurants in Canada. The owner claimed that they have at least 500 in Calgary alone, which _may_ be true if you count the Popeyes, McDs and KFCs. But I doubt it.

And, as Brandon pointed out, even if they do, you know the restaurant is pretty far down that 500 list. Otherwise the guy would have proudly presented it as one of the 3 best, 10 best, or whatever.
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Banff and Lake Louis - Both Perty!

I drove all the way from Calgary to Banff. It took about 2 hours. Then I took a gondol to an alpine station. After that, I hiked up to a deserted old weather station at the peak of the mountain. All this in an effort to get away from work.

Then, at the top of the mountain, I run into a group of Chinese business men. Among them is Zheng Changhong, Chairman of the Board at “China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry Corporation”. We both worked on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway line, his company on rolling stock, mine on computer systems. Pretty strange finding fellow railroaders there, up on a mountain top. God obviously doesn’t want me to get ANY vacation EVER.

After that I headed to Lake Louis and the Fairmont hotel, both perty!
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Bay 2 Breakers

Lost my motorcycle cop photos, and maybe a few IQ points. I’ll make up for the latter reading Dawkins on the flight to Calgary tomorrow.

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Minneapolis - Think Outside the Bus

MetroTransit in Minneapolis/St Paul is primarely a bus operator. I devised a slogan for their small rail division (to be used for internal promotion): “Think outside the bus.” Brilliant.

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Royal and Fluffy

He’s royal and fluffy, and has black hair. We named him Napoleon. Any other name would have been bad taste.

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Healdsburg

The family gave us a stay at the Spa in Healdsburg as a wedding gift. Great time, great wine, questionable rhyme.

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Santa Cruzing

Brandon and I went to the Santa Cruz tivoli. We tried their old school target shooting range. It’s full of animals equipped with light censors. When you hit a target it goes spastic and jumps and bumps and makes all sorts of strange sounds. Brandon was much better at it than me, but I found a way to cheat and hit every single target with one shot. Just point the flash at the shooting range, take a photo, and every single target goes off at once.

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Bat Country

Vegas is starting to become like a second home to me. This is the second visit in a week, and the third since WSOP. I don’t like gambling (except with stocks, business deals and similar things), but Vegas has a lot of other things to offer as well. Here is my top 3 list
1. You fly into Grand Canyon in helicopter (to Sylvester Levay’s Airwolf theme) or plane (to Kenny Loggin’s Top Gun theme.) Then you hike down to the bottom of the canyon, and run back up. It’s a lot of work, but not impossible. The air is pretty thin though, and you may be panting for hours afterwards.
2. You play “Spot the hookers”. A lot of girls in Vegas dress like hookers, but not all of them have the right age and 10-year plan for the profession. Some of the girls are hard to pin down: hooker or not? There are no winners or loosers in this game, but it’s fun anyway.
3. You visit the diviest of dive bars (in downtown Vegas) and the uppiest of upscale clubs (like Tryst in the $2.7B Wynn Casino.)

I did all of the above on this trip, together with my friend Kristofer Pettersson whom I’ve known since I was the size of a Paris Hilton’s dog. The first day we didn’t do much apart from walking up and down the strip, launching K-man in the “Big Shot” ride (about 1100 feet above the ground), and dining at Stratosphere. I think specialized people are an important part of the workforce. At Stratosphere, we had several specialized waiters: one for the starters, one for the main courses, one for the deserts, one for wine, one for bread and water, one for clearing the table, etc. I got drunk and we went to bed early.

Second day our phone rang at 6am. What kind of an idiot calls at this time of day I thought to myself and went back to sleep. Kristofer called the reception though and it turned out that we had been rebooked to another Grand Canyon tour. Normally I would have started arguing with them. It was no time for that if we wanted to make the tour at all though, so we scrambled like rats on hot coal to get ourselves ready. When we got to the check in desk at the airport they told us that the plane’s door was broken. Then they pointed at a mechanic that was working on the plane’s engine. This seemed alarming. It was a bit of a rough start, but from there on everything actually worked flawlessly. This was my second trip to Grand Canyon, but the first trip to the South Rim. Note to self, next time you go to Grand Canyon, stay at least 2 nights, make sure you get to see sunset and sunrise, and bring a super wide angle lens (like a 10-22 efs maybe.)The second night we went to Tryst. It’s an interesting place. There were people break dancing, pole dancing, throwing money at each other - all against the beautiful backdrop of a man-made waterfall. Also - there was this one one “dancer” that started s… Oh well never mind… A bottle of Heineken was $8, which is pretty much outrageous by US and any other standards. We had fun, although the new school hiphop got old fast.

Just before heading back to the airport the next day we made a quick stop at “The Gun Store.” I never did military service and don’t like fights, but guns are fun. I already visited this place during WSOP to try the M249 SAW, AK 47, and H&K MP5. This time I opted for the FN FS2000 semiautomatic rifle. I don’t no anything about weapons, but it felt good.
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Cruising SF, Napa and Sonoma

An-C, Kristoffer (whom I’ve known since I was less than half my current size), Julie and I was hanging out in SF, Napa and Sonoma over the last couple of weeks and I took some random photos. Kristoffer and I picked up some nice desert wines at Artesa and Bouchain, and did not redline any cars.

Oh, and some reaaaaally strange tourists wanted to pose with us and the car. Hilarious.
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Berlin and Monstertruckdriver Living