Back from Vancouver.

I returned to Calgary last week after an exciting month in Vancouver. I was there covering for Owen while he enjoyed the first three weeks of his daughter's young life. I had two opportunities to meet her while I was there, which was wonderful -- newborn babies are spectacularly beautiful. Particularly when they are asleep.

The rest of my trip was less serene, but no less interesting.

I spent much of my time with my buddy Jeremy, trying not to choke on his limitless energy. Many untold adventures were had. More than I remember, in fact. I do remember he took me out to the monthly Ruby Brigade meeting*, held at WorkSpace -- that place almost made me jealous of indie consultants. Almost.

My first weekend in town gave me a chance to visit Ryan and Lorissa. We ate the world's best Brazilian meat swords and bought shoes. The second week I found out my cousin Jennie is still in Vancouver, so we went for Indian and discussed the importance of appearing tolerant of all people while secretly identifying the fun ones so you can spend all your time with them. She's a self-proclaimed Dirt Scientist and she's pretty damn cool.

Twice I tried to travel to the island to visit Jerrett. Twice I failed. The first time because I was too lazy. The second time I managed to get myself a sea plane ticket, boarded, flew most of the way, then turned around thanks to bad weather. But hey - free float plane ride! When I finally make it to the island for a visit, I'll be sure to bring a good bottle with me.

The rest of the time was spent with fellow ThoughtPals Mike, Marco, and Avishek. Mike showed me how much beer he can drink, Avishek and I discussed how to be happy and coined the term "Construction Excitement" (jwz means something else entirely), and Marco cooked me chicken livers while I took pictures of his view. A scotch paradise was discovered one drunken Sunday with Marco which rivaled Shebeen, the previous champion Vancouver scotch paradise currently holding the number two slot. Note: Brits make you drink on Sundays because you need to practice up for the work week.

In between all that, I hung out in a condo built by the Triad -- which sold me on bullet-proof windows, slept in all sorts of strange places that weren't my bed, bought a wonderful old cookbook, ate a ton of seafood at Rodney's, drank a few bottles of wine, pushed a bus up a snowy hill, drank "the week" at Joe's Grill with Tan and Geoff, watched the new James Blond, heard a soothing Blues performance, took pictures of police babysitting a guy who accidentally drank some sort of roofie concoction, got a free haircut, learned to appreciate vodka, discussed my ice cream party plan with some girls on the sea bus who saw me taking pictures of that great cookbook I found, met Eric Evans again ...this guy... not ...this guy... ate pizza with a homeless fellow from Montreal, attended the client's Christmas party and outlasted all of the non-consultant staff, watched a Croatian girl roll a joint in a pizza parlor, contracted a month-long cold while standing in line for Body Worlds with no coat (I never did see Body Worlds), ate at the Elbow Room, drank too much coffee, met Linda Rising at the Agile Vancouver conference, and participated in home office day for ThoughtWorks Vancouver.

Whew! Something was surely missed in all that, but at least I feel justified in taking a week to post this.

* After the Meeting.