Eric dropped Dave off at the airport at 5:00AM (thanks, Eric) and we met him for breakfast at 8AM. He was the worse for wear, at 12:30AM, the floor fire alarm went off, scaring the heck out of us. The worst is the mechanical voice stating. “We are investigating”. You just lay there and hope you don’t die, and listen to the fire trucks come. The you go back to sleep. Turns out Dave went downstairs, and it was some control system that wasn’t right. Eric couldn’t sleep anyway, and being waken up by an alarm is not good.

After breakfast, we headed off to Jasper. Of course, we have to make it thru the traffic on 97 St and 1, which was so backed up with construction it took us an extra half hour to get out of Edmonton. After the escape, we made good time all the way to Jasper, stooping for gas once in Niton Junction. We stopped at the gate to Jasper National Park and a pleasant woman asked our plans and charged us for two days in Jasper and Banff. (35CAD)

On the way, we discussed attractions. We wanted to be frugal, but heck, we were on vacation and wanted to see everything. Tina had recommended the Maligne Lake tour in Jasper, and based on the pictures on the Web, I wanted in. We called on the way – no reservations on the phone, and only two slots each in the two cruises remaining in our arrival timeframe.

POINT: From Edmonton, go directly to the lake – they sell tickets there too.

We stayed at the Athabasca Hotel in Jasper, centrally located and loaded with personality. It looked like an old Western hotel, and Eric’s room certainly did with a single washstand, and bed – and that’s it. He had a common washroom, which saved money but was not going to work for Bette.

We went to the visitor center first, looking for the Maligne Lake tour. They directed us to the Brewster center down XXX street, but we had trouble finding it. We managed to walk down most of the streets downtown – it is small and very manageable, and eventually found the office, and signed up for the 3PM tour. We first stopped at the hotel, found our rooms not ready, and headed out to the Maligne Lake road, a bit XXX of Jasper. Well, the road is, but you drive at least a half hour to get to the lake from the main road.

We of course missed the big “P” sign and had to U-Turn to get into the parking lot. Ran into the ticket office, exchanged our vouchers for boarding passes and went into the visitor center / gift shop / snack shop to try to eat a bit.


Got an email from Dr Weil re wasabi. I like it on sushi, but his article scoffs at US store-bought wasabi – as it is really wasabi, horseradish and coloring. The real stuff is the superfine ground root, like horseradish.

He tried growing it, and it looked cool. Maybe I can do this. Head over to the website. 1 lb of plants = $100. Yow. Looks like I won’t be growing this anytime soon. Sigh.

Laura’s 50th at Pinstripes

Our old neighbor had her 50th birthday party last night at Pinstripes, a trendy bowling alley/restaurant/bocce court in a new mall in South Barrington. We had round banquet tables set up along the bocce courts in a back room with gas heaters overhead. The food was excellent, starting with crostini with mozzarella & tomato appetizers and various wine selections that the host of honor and her husband had picked. Family style dinner started with two salads & bread sticks. Then there was a stuffed chicken dish and then a beef roast dish and all were very good. The meal was finished off with coffee and ice cream cake.

In the meantime, we managed to get a couple of bocce games in. We are used to playing on grass, with a bit of friction to slow down the ball. In these courts, it is a hard surface covered with Astroturf and very fast. The slightest bounce is enough to shoot you well past the pallino. Our old neighbor Geno proved that he was the old Italian guy by stomping us with his short range precision.

They also rented out three bowling lanes and these are very nice bowling lanes with leather couches and TVs and really modern equipment.we do not bowl but it was a nice place. Outside, there were was a fire pit where a group from a different party was keeping warm.

A great evening, good food, and fun to catch up with the kids from the hood. Happy birthday Laura!

Pinstripes, South Barrington, IL

Sourdough Waffles

Today – nothing to do – time to cook a good breakfast. I had the starter out, let’s make Sourdough waffles! Start with Sourdough Waffle or Pancake Batter

If you think about it, feed your starter and set it out overnight. This is not critical though.

But that required overnight – kind of. Most recipes do including the classic King Arthur Flour recipe. I googled “quick sourdough waffles” and found Fantastic Sourdough Waffles! at WENDY USUALLY WANDERS.

I added only 2 T of oil and it was REALLY runny, so I added some flour from my other aborted attempt. Then I had severe problems with the waffle iron – was not hot enough (sourdough cooks hotter) and I took the waffles out too soon and lost 2 of the 4 cooking spaces and spent 10 mins scraping crud out of the waffle iron.

All in all, good, but way too much hassle, mostly because I don’t make them enough. And then the coffee grinder jammed, but that’s another post…

“The Dining Room”

We saw this play before at the Woodstock Stage Left Cafe, and it was really good. Bette saw that it was here again and she jumped.

It was in the parish hall of the First Congregational Church in Huntley, with an old beat-up dining room table. The players came in and out of the kitchen from doors on either side. Actually, a nice set-up for the play.

We sat in several rows of folding chairs, the single problem of the night – it is hard to sit in folding chairs for 2.5 hours. They served coffee and slices of the birthday cake from the play at intermission. Nice touch.

And they did a great job. I would see something like this again. They announced, thanks for supporting local theater, which is in danger of disappearing. Here is the front line. Support them.

BLAST! the Movie at Fermilab

This is a documentary about scientists sending a telescope into space to look 6-10 billion years into the past. On a balloon. From Sweden and Antarctica. Actually, seeing the Antarctica stuff is worth it, the rest is better. Lou and I screened the movie as part of the Fermilab lecture series with Mark giving some background before the movie and the two brothers answering questions afterwards.

Paul and Mark Devlin are two science brats – their father is a high-energy physicist and they spent a lot of time at FNAL with Dad. Paul made the film, Mark the science. Good thing they are both bald, cause what they had to go thru would have made me rip out my hair.

Mark is really a good speaker, smart and engaging. Worth seeing in person. It is an entertaining hour, even better if you are into tech. The Fermilab crowd ate it up.

I checked out the DVD – it is only for a Educator license for schools for $250. Most interesting – the f-bombs are bleeped, and it comes in two versions, one with the discussion about God (pro and con) removed. I guess science in education is OK as long as it doesn’t interfere with your religious beliefs…

A small boy in the audience asked if they ever got the glove back. Brought down the house. See the movie and understand…

In the pre-talk, Mark mentioned he had been on the Colbert Report so I looked up this video

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Mark Devlin
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Skate Expectations

BLAST! the Movie website