Showing posts from 2017

Lamenting the loss of the paper boarding pass

Being a tech geek, I suppose I should wildly cheer the completely unsurprising news that paper boarding passes at airports will soon be a thing of the past, and everyone will be ushered into the glorious new era of all-electronic boarding passes on our phones, in our electronic wallets and in our airline apps.

But there's a part of me that isn't cheering this news at all. I actually like paper boarding passes.

For starters, paper boarding passes almost always scan the first time at security and at the boarding gate. I can't tell you the number of times I've been in an airport security line and someone spends 30 seconds fiddling with the brightness screen on their smart phone so that their electronic boarding pass will scan.

Or that one time I saw a person try to repeatedly scan their boarding pass at security on their Apple Watch for what seemed like five hours (I'm sure it was 20 seconds, but it was 20 excruciating seconds) before the individual actually took off…

Camping in Arizona

We spent a couple of weeks in Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon in early October, and I've been horribly delinquent in blogging about it. Needless to say, it was terrific. The Grand Canyon is beautiful beyond words, and there's lots of cool things to do around the Flagstaff area, including the Meteor Crater, the Petrified Forest, and the Lowell Observatory (which was an absolutely fantastic surprise). So here's a bunch of almost literally randomly chosen photos. Because I don't have hours to properly sort through them, and because everything we saw was spectacular.

Goodbye car camping

Our car camping adventures have come to an end.

As fun as it was to sleep in the back of our Toyota RAV4 in campgrounds, KOAs and national parks on both sides of the border, our October trip to Arizona showed us the limitations of this method of camping.

For starters, we were refused entry to our first, week-long reservation due to the campground’s rules against car camping. That they hid on their website. And that their own telephone reservation desk was unaware of. That forced us to relocate and find a new place to stay for a week. It was unpleasant.

It was also cold, particularly in Grand Canyon at night. Too cold for our comfort and to the point we abandoned an overnight campground reservation at the end of our trip to get a hotel. And not having an onboard bathroom meant dehydrating ourselves after supper so we wouldn’t have to get up in the middle of the night.

Finally, taking a loaded down 4-cylinder vehicle with a roof carrier full of gear was too hard on the engine and tran…

#ufc215 in #yeg

Last night was UFC's first (and, let's be realistic, probably only) stop in Edmonton for a PPV that saw the main event collapse just over a day out from showtime, and another main card fight pulled a few weeks ago because of USADA.

Despite the changes, it was a really fun night - live UFC shows are almost always great. I was at the pretty terrible Winnipeg  PPV show a few years ago and still enjoyed it because that was my first live UFC event.

Interesting personal trivia note: I've been to 4 live UFC shows, and this is the third time I've seen the UFC women's bantamweight title defended. I saw Rousey beat Tate in Vegas in 2013, I saw Nunes beat Rousey in Vegas earlier this year and last night Nunes successfully defended against Shevchenko.

Most of my thoughts on the show were captured on Twitter last night and this morning, so I present this TWITTER MOMENT for your reading pleasure.

⚡️ “#UFC215 in #yeg — Mike Jenkinson (@MikeJenkinson) Sept…

Car camping in our Toyota Rav4

My wife and I booked a tenting trip to Yellowstone National Park last summer. We had never been there before and were really excited to go, but weren't thrilled that we were sleeping in a tent in bear country. We are fundamentally too cheap to buy a camper trailer, and our Toyota Rav4 doesn't have a big enough engine to pull anything larger than a ladybug anyway, so our options were pretty limited.

During a discussion of those limited options just weeks ahead of the Yellowstone trip, I Google'd "car camping Rav4" and discovered there's a whole sub-culture out there of people who have retrofitted their Rav4 vehicles to sleep in the back. We started devouring other people's blog posts and videos on the subject and quickly set about to lifehacking our car and our trip to suit our needs.

So we did a live beta test in Yellowstone and slept in our vehicle. We loved it. Sleeping in our Rav4 was quiet and dry. We didn't have to worry about wildlife, and with a…

Brunch at Sugar bowl cafe

It is with a certain amount of shame that I say I have lived in Edmonton since 1993, and yesterday was my first time at Sugar Bowl Cafe.

My younger daughter and I arrived around 10:50 a.m., after driving around a bit to find parking. We put our names on the list (not THAT list) and within 20 minutes we were seated.

There was no doubt going in that chicken and waffles was on our dining agenda, as it's one of our shared culinary delights. So younger daughter got the real chicken and waffles (that came with two fried chicken breasts) and I ordered the Belgian waffle. She gave me a chicken breast and I gave her some whipped cream. The maple butter is amazing, and the fried chicken breasts were quite good.


So, yeah, if you're the other person in Edmonton who hasn't been there yet, I recommend it.

I ran today - no, really, it's a big deal!

About four years ago, I was out at a social event with some friends from work. In a crowded restaurant, I lost my footing while standing on a raised ledge and fell a whole whopping three or four inches to the floor.

Searing pain when through my left calf, and it got really tight. At the end of the night, I hobbled back to my car, trying to walk off what I thought was the worst charley horse of my life.

The next day, I felt around my calf muscle, figured it was just tight and sore from being cramped, and took a few days off exercising.

When I got back into walking and running, my calf would get really sore really quickly. But I just assumed that this was, again, residual stuff from the charley horse.

Except that it never really went away. Finally, a full year later (because I'm a male - this is how we operate), I got tired of my calf cramping my style (geddit?) and inhibiting my speed and distance of my walking, hiking and running, and I went to my physiotherapist.

The conversatio…

Google Maps needs more robust travel planning tools

Planning a long road trip today, I kept becoming frustrated by the limitations of Google Maps when it comes to dealing with, well, long road trips.

Let me explain.

Say I want to drive from Edmonton to Newfoundland.

I plot the starting point and ending point into Google Maps and it tells me it will take 70 hours of driving time to get to St. John's.

Doing the math, that's five days of driving at 14 hours a day.

And here's where Google Maps falls short in its feature set.

What I would want Google Maps to do is take that five day road trip, and offer me options on how to break it up into approximate 14 hour driving segments each day, including giving me alternatives on cities/towns to sleep at night.

Because, really - if you were leaving Edmonton and driving east, would you know what's 14 hours from Edmonton? Winnipeg is 13 hours away. I know that because I've driven between Edmonton and Winnipeg probably a hundred times in the last 20 years. (But you may not know tha…

My kingdom for a mobile blogging app!

In the same way that I occasionally remember that I have a blog, the good folks at Google occasionally remember that they run a blogging site.

Blogger was updated this week with some new themes, one of which you are looking at right now.

Which is cool.

But in 2017, when everyone lives on their phones, there is no official mobile app for Blogger from Google. Which makes it pretty much impossible to blog on your mobile device.

There used to be. (That's the screencap included here.) But it was pulled from the app store probably two years ago. Maybe more.

Not that the official Blogger app was awesome. It was the very definition of rudimentary and basic.

There are other third party Blogger-friendly apps out there, such as BlogPress, which I purchased ages ago and have used. But it hasn't been updated in more than a year. Other Blogger compatible apps I looked at in the app store have been updated even less frequently than that.

Sure, social media has largely killed blogging dead, …

Blogging and my recent Buff obsession

Yes, I have purchased yet another Buff hat. Which makes a total of four: two Pack Run Caps and two Run Cap Pros. And I got the matching UV Buff to go with it. I got these from Amazon via the United Kingdom, as this style isn't available in North America for some reason.

And, yes, I appear to have a sudden obsession with Buff, and there's a good reason for that - last year in Mexico, I burned my forehead.

Really badly. Like, I had a Klingon ridged forehead for a couple of days. You'll have to take my word for it. We deliberately didn't keep any photographic evidence because gross.

Blame a momentary lapse in judgment when I took my Tilley hat off so I could swim in the ocean, while completely forgetting I didn't have sunscreen on my head. One hour later, it was rIn Quj

The crazy thing was I had brought an old Survivor Buff along on the trip - one that I'd actually bought for my wife years and years ago as a fun souvenir because she's a fan of Survivor. I'…

Buff Pack Run Cap review (and bonus thoughts on Run Cap Pro)

Every once in a while, I remember I have a blog... And I've edited this post at the bottom.

I've become a huge fan of the Buff Cap Pro, which is one of Buff's lesser known products (and one that I've never actually seen for retail sale anywhere). I took a flyer on ordering one from Buff's Canadian website last year and loved it so much I bought a second one on sale last month.

The Cap Pro is a terrific little hat. It's like wearing a small Buff on your head, but with a little sun visor attached to the front. They can be totally crunched up and packed tight in a pocket, are pretty breathable, and keep the sun from roasting my increasingly balding head.

While I wore a Tilley Hat for year and years, the Cap Pro has become my go-to vacation hat. It keeps the sun off my head and the sweat out of my eyes. And I can crumple it up and stick it in my pocket at restaurants and such. (Which is much, much harder to do with a Tilley Hat.)

And the Cap Pro is fully reversibl…