Big Valley Jamboree 2014

Two weeks after my inaugural music festival experience, I found myself making another 3-hour road trip towards another weekend filled with musical entertainment; this time, it was from Calgary to Camrose, and it was all about the country music.
It was also a lot flatter than B.C.’s Pemberton.

After 45 minutes of futile pumping of an air mattress, discovering the unplugged hole, then successfully inflating it in about 10 minutes, we made the 2-kilometre trek to the music grounds where we listened and danced to the band playing on stage before finally returning to bed around 1:30AM. It was around this time we began to realize what our weekend would look like:

Very loud music. A lot of alcohol. A lot of people consuming alcohol. Alcohol being consumed by people at every hour of the day (and night). Temperature fluctuations in our small tent. High-energy crowds to pump up the atmosphere and get everyone psyched for exciting evenings.
It seemed that all of those things occurred in cycles throughout the first night we spent in Camrose, listening to the incessantly loud music of our nearest neighbours and watched the lightening flashes illuminate our tent; these events went on until around 7AM. 
The morning finally hit us, after repeatedly waking and sleeping, and we decided to get to know our campgrounds and festival grounds a little better – the day was sunny, hot, and full of partyers continuing from the night before!

While few artists played through the first day that we knew, we spent a lot of time making the trek back and forth from our campsite – a solid exercise after three times in one day (about 12 kilometres total, not counting the dancing in between). The Marketplace was a favourite stop of ours to get out of the heat – we took in many sales pitches and came so very close to purchasing two app-controlled bartending packages – “The Perfect Drink” – because they are COOL, man.  That is really the only word that seems to capture it, and I do not use that word to describe almost anything.

Our first big show to take in was Hunter Hayes, who jumped and ran and sang and guitar’d for an impressively long time during his 1:15 hour set. His very pop-country style was livened by his enthusiasm for what he was doing, and it made you want to join him!

The next two days went a lot like the first: Wake up, eat our hummus and tarts and fruit for breakfast, avoid the food vendors (who did not cater well to anyone hoping to eat healthy, let alone following a veg*n diet), take in a couple of songs from unfamiliar artists, and walk back and forth from the campsite while dodging tipsy festival-goers. We took some time off to go drive into town and re-stock a couple of grocery items and explore the town of Camrose during the middle of the days where we found we had little to do if our desires did not include drinking from sunrise.

While we generally avoided the food vendors, I did decide that it is part of the experience to indulge at least once – so we shared a fried-bannock vegan hot dog. It was more bannock with a side of hot dog than the other way around, but it inspired us to avoid indulging again! I should note that it was good – but it would have been better if it was smaller.

The bannock bun vegan hot dog.

With no pictures to capture any degree of their magic, I can only describe the Saturday performance by Zac Brown Band (the second time I’ve seen them live!) as magical and unifying for the crowd. Their music, in my opinion, can be appreciated by a wide variety of individuals with a variety of tastes in music.

Additionally, by Saturday, I was really feeling the momentum my cold had been gaining – my evening coughing had become a more constant event, and my voice was becoming lost to the world as I sang along to Zac Brown Band. When my voice was only half-functioning on Sunday, I began to rest it in preparation for Kip Moore – our final show to take in before hitting the road back to YYC.

Kip Moore was great! He addressed the glaringly obvious issue with the set-up of the stage at the festival: Half of the audience was sitting down, maybe more, while the rest who wanted to dance were in the general admission 3/4 of the way back in the field from the stage. He came all the way over to us and sang just feet away from J and I! It was glorious and exciting and a perfect end to a fun weekend!

Since we skipped the final act (sorry, Miranda Lambert), we were able to quietly take in the scenery of the campground on our way back to the truck…

 The ride home began with a red sun, setting along the prairie horizon that had been painted with light hues of reds and purples and oranges. Once it fell beyond the land, and the sky grew dark, we witnessed a lightening storm come and go over top of Calgary from over 100 kilometres away – it was awesome!

Now I am back home, and it turns out that my cold was a bit more of a chest infection sort of dealio, so I have time to blog! Hopefully I’ll be back on the health wagon soon, because I only have two weeks left until I begin my contract as a Residence Advisor – summer is speeding by me, and I must ensure I grab on to the rest of it while I can! Some final relaxation probably would do me some good, anyhow.


#PembyFest: The Ressurrection

Two weekends ago, I had the exciting experience of being an attendee at the comeback-year for the Pemberton Music Festival! My first music festival experience.

While I missed almost the entire opening night’s lineup of artists (including Nine Inch Nails and Cage the Elephant), I was able to catch some serious bass at Bass Camp stage, and get my groove on into the wee hours of the morning within an hour of arriving to the festival grounds.

Come the next morning, the cycle of…

Find food > Walk around > Listen to a new artist > Find an already-loved artist > Find lunch > Nap > Prepare for evening festivities > Find dinner > Dance dance dance dance > Sleep

… began! The weather also had a cycle of rain, heat, silly wind and clouds going on that kept things cool and interesting. 

 We explored vendors (selling a variety of goods from fair-wage Thai-made clothing to bannock) and took in the beautiful scenery that exists in that part of the world.

I think what made this particular event extra-special was that I was able to enjoy it with a large part of my family being there – swinging around a corner every couple of hours to find a friend or relative made it fun and comfortable to take everything in.

Delta Rae performing for a crowd of new (and loving) fans!

The Pemberton balloons that seem to become
lunar come nightfall.

The daisy that I would like to grace my future
home’s yard.
I was able to see a multitude of artists,
some notable ones included…
Delta Rae
Snoop Dogg (oh boy)
Modest Mouse
Chance the Rapper (fun!)
Hey Rosetta!
Randy Newman
Matthew Good
Frank Ocean (ahh)

There was, of course, food to be explored – I think that my favourite item to be found was the deep-fried-avocado taco (referred to as “The Green Bastard”). Holy guacamole, was that texture and taste soooooooo good.

Besides the scenery, the people speckled throughout the grounds always served for fun entertainment or friendly company (or impressive athletic feat inspiration).

I should note that she was doing leg presses with
him balanced like that – no support!

A mini Snoop Dog fan enjoying the show with Dad!

The last night was fun – the atmosphere seemed to have a tangible feeling of building momentum, as it was very quiet and calm leading up to 6PM. Slowly, though, crowds began to gather as a few notable names (Modest Mouse, for example) hit the stages – then darkness descended…

… and with it came Outkast (with, which them, came topless women, clouds of smoke, and a lot of jumping)…

These people seemed to come out of nowhere!

Animated faces decorated the trees, while a light show
was displayed on the mountains behind us.

 … and then Frank Ocean! What a sweet-seeming fellow with a wonderful voice.

By Monday, we vouched for leaving early and finding breakfast along the way – and we found a lovely road-side diner through Whistler! Many vegetarian options to be chosen from, and it was good.

All-in-all, a very enjoyable weekend with good people, music, and memories made.

10 Days of West-Coast Moseying – Complete (Trip 1)

Ah, what a nice couple of weeks it has been!

My trip to God’s Country was greatly desired and extremely uplifting – but far too short to leave me with anything less than a feeling of having been teased with my favourite fella’s company. However, I filled up on hugs and food and photos and filled the crew with baking from Vegan Vices! I had a lovely time, and experienced some prairie land weather “May”hem.

One thing I had wanted to cross off my list of things to do was go to the farmer’s market! So off we went, partially in search (at least for me) of the magical veg*n ‘meat’ products that we knew were sold there (and consumed often by us at home).


I bought some vegan
shrimp. WOO.
(Then forgot to bring
it home with me.)

We were also made aware of a street festival happening that weekend – the Lilac Festival! So we went and walked down about ten blocks of vendors and through endless seas of slow-moving people, finally finding a roasted corn cart that tickled our fancies and made us feel satisfied with calling it a day.

The rest of the weekend consisted of cookie- and muffin-eating good times, a great deal of trampoline activities, touring about the city during down time, and watching Suits episodes that we are way too behind on (season 4 is starting soon!!).

On my last night, we had dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant called Bonterra, and I had this really interesting and delicious pasta dish in the photo below! Everything about it was just about right, from the size of the whole dish to the size of the noodles to the amount of non-pasta items.

The next post will cover the second trip down to Seattle and Portland!

I May do this and I May do that…

A new month! How exciting (and occasionally rainy).

I have completed another year of university (unless something goes horribly wrong with my final two grades that I’ve yet to receive) – and it was a pretty good one! That includes many aspects of it: my residence experience, my social/romance life, my academic standing, and my sense of satisfaction with what I’ve contributed to UBC through my time at the school so far.

Now that May has begun, my term as the RHA Vice-President has officially ended, and the reins have been handed off to a new student leader to hold. While I experienced some sadness awaiting this eventual transition, I am too tired from exam season to feel anything but relief over it at the moment; I am pooped and have other things to sort out in the next couple of weeks (employment, living arrangements, travel plans).

Of course, I have documented some of my recent activities on days that I have failed to upload anything new to the blog (which has been since April 24, evidently… Oops.) – so I shall share a few of those.

TPRA reunion brunch! Vegetarian
egg’s benedict for me.
The TPRA family! Minus a few
dearly-missed faces.

There was the inaugural trip to Heirloom (vegetarian) Restaurant – I was surprised by how upscale and modern it was! I suppose those are the expectations held when one is more accustomed to The Naam, The Foundation, and Aprhodite’s for vegetarian cuisine…

Grilled Cheese for him.

Raw Falafel Salad for me!
GD was experiencing great pride
in her aged fruit that she saved all year.

The time also came to move out of what has been ‘home’ for the last eight months – a bittersweet time of looking forward to the summer and looking back at what is being moved on from. And moving out means going out to eat a lot!

As is my norm… With many food outings come many photos of the food acquired at these outings.

Breakfast at the Sunshine Diner!

Lunch at the Naam!

Eastwoo’s first experience at the Naam with their
Nacho Ensalada – an excellent choice.

Enigma‘s apple juice-cooked
oatmeal with fruit for brunch!

Huevos Rancheros Burrito for him.

We also celebrated the 10-year anniversary of JJ’s marriage!

It seems apparent that food became my means of celebrating the freedom of not needing to study any longer.. It has been a very enjoyable celebration, though! It also kept me powered through moving my own stuff out of residence, helping others move into new residences, and going to concerts that I did not get enough sleep for (Luke Bryan’s That’s My Kind of Night WOO).

Most recently (my my, was it only two days ago?) in my photos, I spent a 15-hour day away from home and did a lot of socializing in Vancouver. I began the day saying farewell to my fellow as he drove away to our neighbouring province for the summer (sad days for Katie – though, I do not think it has actually set in yet that we won’t just drive back to UBC and see each other in a day or two!). After that early morning venture, I helped WuWu with his move into a new residence, and then took him for his first experience at the Naam (I’m bringing many over to the good side, lately).

I did a bit of ‘retail therapy’ downtown for some time in the middle of the day following this, and then had a nap at JJ’s house (and perhaps my summer residence if I make any decisions in the next week). Finally, I met up with J, G and her dad, and we went back to The Afghan Horseman for another delicious dinner experience (even if we sat on chairs this time)! I had the Vegan Plate again, and it somehow seemed a little better.. Perhaps because of how hungry I was.

Afghan black tea
(black tea with cardamom).

Eggplant dip and pita bread appy.

The Vegan Plate! Rice, potatos, salad, stew, and cauliflower.

Baklava for dessert (wowza, yum).

Yesterday was a day of cleaning and rest, so no super-exciting photos were taken – except for this one of a flowering plant at our house – and some needed laid-back time was employed. 

I will work on keeping more photos and updates coming as they are taken!
Until next time, I shall continue my search for employment, as I have missed out
on an exciting internship opportunity and have not heard back from ANY 
other places I’ve applied to! Perhaps something will come along soon.

ABCs of: Denim, Easter, Food

The day of near denim overdose.

(See how I continued the “ABCs” with the words in my title?)

There is little to update anyone on during this frustratingly lengthy exam break (12 days between my first exam and my last two exams on the same day), but I thought it would be a nice time to throw down some photos and muse over things.

My last exam was welcomed, as I had a 9-day break between that and the last day of classes – and as it is a difficult course for my arts student background (Brain and Behaviour Psychology), I was very pleased with how it went! I finished in less than an hour and was given chocolate-covered almonds at the end. 🙂 

Following this exam’s (and course’s, I suppose…) completion, I began about 36 hours of intensive resume-depositing and driving between school, home, the ‘Wack, and back! It was really nice to just kick back in the ‘Wack after all of the driving and make some veggie meatloaf with my daddy-o while watching movies. 

Father-daughter camera dates!
The most delicious of unmeatloaves.

After a too-brief but rejuvenating visit with mi padre, I ventured back out to UBC and put in some more study hours in preparation for a busy Easter Sunday back at home. 
Thus far, the study schedule I have devised has worked exceptionally well for being so simply-structured, so I’ve been on track for everything so far! I sense that I will be well-prepared for my favourite class and that I will make it through my least favourite.

Ah, dinner – one of the most magical moments to capture (not really, but it is a moment that can elicit salivation over and over, which is kind of magical, right?)! I tried a vegan “imitation ham” which added
some fun texture to dinner, and with the help of gravy and everything else on the plate, dinner was both filling and delectable.

Not a couple to let food fall by the wayside, he and I decided to celebrate 20 months of togetherness with a trip to The Reef for a Caribbean lunch! Plaintain chips, jerk tofu, Johnny cakes…. I still haven’t tried one of their coconut cocktails yet, but I think when that day comes, it will take the Reef to a whole-new level!

Hopefully, more exciting and interesting adventures will arise in the week still left before my next exam takes place. In the meantime, I will continue to hunt for a summer employer, contemplate what courses I will take next year, and try to pack up some of the belongings in my dorm room to prepare for moving out in just over a week. 

Vacation seems both too far and too near at the same time.