My company had a summer party at Playland today. That is a permanent amusement park in Vancouver. I hadn’t been to one in over a decade; I think I went to K-days once, but I don’t recall going on any rides. I didn’t think Edmonton had a permanent amusement park until someone pointed out West Edmonton Mall.
In any case, the company was allowed to go in an hour before general admission, so there would be no lineups. This would be a huge opportunity, so I shouldn’t waste it.
I did research beforehand to try and figure out the rides I should go on. Watch some videos, read some reviews. That was a mistake. All it did was make me realize that I don’t like thrill rides. I was getting anxiety attacks. Thankfully I forgot most of it by the time I got to the park. (Hey, I used the Vancouver bus system for the first time since I moved here.)
It was a great day to go. It was cloudy with a constant threat of a light rain. So the park would not be too crowded. It sprinkled a few times, but nothing bad.
When I got into the park, I said hello to the director. I asked her what ride she would recommend: The Beast. Great! No lineups; near the entrance; I was on it before I had a chance to see what it was really like. If I had seen it in operation I would probably have never gotten near it.
This is a ride that I feel was saying “Where are your laws of physics now?” You aren’t supposed to accelerate upwards when swinging on a pendulum. I spent most of the time concentrating on breathing without hyper-ventilating.
Afterwards I followed a co-worker to The Corkscrew. Another ride I got on without actually paying attention to it. It was a roller coaster; how bad could it be? In fact, while it was climbing up the lift hill I was looking back at The Beast, wondering how I got on that. So I didn’t notice how high we were going. And that I was going to be upside down until I was about to be. But a roller coaster feels safer because you feel solidly connected to something, and if you are weightless, there is something beneath you. Heck, we went on twice in a row.
With that, we went to the Atmosfear. Once again I wasn’t paying attention; I was following someone I knew. It was just one of those rides where you are in hanging chairs and it spins everyone in a circle. Basically a faster merry-go-round where you are suspended by chains. It was only when it was too late that I noticed that we were going up higher than I expected. Yes, the tall tower it was attached to didn’t really click in. (Who really looks up?) The worst part is that you cannot grab tightly onto something solid; you are attached by chains. This time I got through it by just focused on the ground.
I think that I didn’t sleep enough the night before because I was not paying attention to what I was doing.
The final ride I went on was the Wooden Roller Coaster. Roller coasters seem to be about the level I can handle. The rickety wooden ones make it a rougher ride though. The hills were sharp, and I made the mistake of trying to force myself to stay in my seat. It tensed me up and I think I got a bit of whiplash at one point. You aren’t going to fly out, so relaxing is better.
That was my last thrill ride. I woke up enough by then to stop myself from doing dumb things. I only went on the ferris wheel to calm down.
I did notice that the rides are the same as everywhere. I have seen these exact same rides in other cities, in other countries, in other continents. It makes sense; if you are a manufacturer of amusement park rides, you would design a good ride and sell it multiple times. Economies of scale. But I’ve even seen these same ones in traveling shows. I think the wooden roller coaster is the only unique one. (Oldest one in Canada.) You can also figure out how old the rides are by how they are advertised. I’m pretty sure the one covered in breakdancers is from the ’80’s. The one featuring Baywatch is probably from the ’90’s.
They also have the idea of gateway rides. These are rides that are mini-versions of the main attractions. So little kids can get used to them before going on the big ones. It’s a good idea.
There was a barbecue afterwards, then I had some cotton candy and a candy apple before I decided to walk home.

Chinese Lemon Chicken

I’ve gotten lax in my cooking skills. I have a series of recipes I follow and I haven’t added to my repertoire in awhile. So last weekend I worked on improving that.
The biggest problem is trying to figure out something I want to eat. It’s like going to a restaurant I’ve been to before. I know what I like so I constantly order the same thing. Why risk an experiment? Eventually though you should see if you like something else.
Going to restaurants actually gives you an idea of other things you may like so it is a good source of inspiration.
On Sunday, my inspiration was Chinese lemon chicken.
Online I found a few recipes. A key ingredient needed was lemon curd. I was not properly organized for this; if I had researched a bit harder, I would have probably been able to find it in a grocery store, among the jams. But, I found a recipe that seemed good. So, with my big bag of lemons I spent about an hour making the lemon curd. The recipe claims it will take 15 minutes, but I think that is if you have some minion who has prepped all the ingredients for you already.
Truth be told, it tastes a lot like lemon meringue pie. Which it probably is.
The next time I make it, I think I will use less sugar to make it more tart. And less pie-like.
The recipe for the actual Chinese lemon chicken was from the same site. The advantage of this one, was that it didn’t need to be deep fried. I was actually thinking I would be able to use my Actifry to do the frying without using enormous amounts of oil, but it looks like I didn’t have to.
The end result was a good meal, but it wasn’t exactly as I wanted. The chicken was not crispy. Not surprising, since it was stir-fried instead of deep. ”Jeanette” has a way to make crispy chicken in an Actifry so I may experiment next time with that method. In the meantime, I still have about a litre of lemon curd still, so the hard part is already done.


On Saturday, I was in Edmonton, visiting friends, and we decided to go to Pembina River Tubing. Great idea!
My advice:

  • Bring Beth along. Her willingness is optional, but you must bring her. She has river rafts that are much nicer than the ones rented by the company. And apparently, they cost as much to buy as it was to rent the small tubes that you would normally ride around in.
  • Bring two cars. The bus that the company uses to ferry people is often crowded with lines, and you have to sign a waiver to use it. Which means you have to wait in line with all the other plebs. It is better to leave a car waiting for you at the end to ferry you and your friends back to the start.
  • Bring food. It is great to just float on the river, munching away.

Looking at this advice, it seems designed to prevent giving the company any money.
In any case, it was one of the hottest days of the year. If I had gone with the original plan, I would have been running the Sinister 7 instead. That plan was abandoned months ago when I just wasn’t training enough. It seems to have worked out for me.
I wish I could have taken pictures, but it was on the water. I wouldn’t have trusted a camera to survive.

Post Canada Day

On Canada Day I did absolutely nothing. Didn’t see fireworks. Didn’t have pancake breakfasts. It was wonderful.
The previous day I did do a lot of something; I drove from Vancouver back to Alberta. I had barely driven my car in the last nine months, never needing to fill it up with gas, and suddenly I do a road trip where I need to fill it up twice. I did a half day at work and then began driving at around noon.
I started out nervous as I was worried I wouldn’t have enough gas to get out of Vancouver proper and to where gas is cheaper (they have some added gas tax in the city.) But I got to Abbotsford successfully and my stress dropped.
I knew I would be having a difficult drive with the long weekend traffic, but I forgot about how bad Vancouver drivers are at driving. They have a great mass-transit system and wonderful bike trails, so they never have any experience when they actually have to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. This was never more evident than on the road to Hope.
It took about three hours to get the 153 km there. I kept getting stopped in traffic jams. And every time, the road was completely clear. Usually there was a single car, pulled off to the side, representing the initial cause of the jam, and fast movement afterwards. I’m guessing that a car not moving scares the Vancouver people and they slow down in panic.
The last jam had a camper trailer upside down on the side of the road. That didn’t look healthy, but there were people removing furniture from the inside, so I guess no one got hurt. But after the long jam that led to it, there was clear sailing for the rest of the trip.
I was able to get all the way to Revelstoke before I stopped. I have a mixed relationship with that town. I know, from experience, that it has the highest gas prices on the route, but it is also conveniently located for stopping for a meal and gas.
The rest of the way to Priddis was without incident, except that my iPhone ran out of power and I couldn’t listen to my stories anymore. That also causes additional worry; I know the route to drive, but if you are unsure there is no way to check. Do you think I have a paper map in my car anymore?