Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Books I Read in 2014

Warrior of God: Jan Zizka and the Hussite Revolution - Victor Verney
I am no great student of military tactics, nor am I familiar with the history of the Czech people. I found this book mentioned in the footnotes of some Wikipedia article that I stumbled onto and decided to give it a read. If you have no idea about the background, the countless religious and political leaders mentioned in background chapters can be a bit dizzying, but in the end it doesn't really matter that much because once the narrative finally turns to Zizka and his military campaigns, you realize you don't need to understand all the context to appreciate the man's genius. Zizka took on the Holy Roman Empire with relatively small armies of farmers and was successful, based on brilliantly innovative tactics and tight discipline.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking - Susan Cain
Changed the way I look at the world. I didn't realize that I am fairly extroverted and that my approach to all activities and situations was based on my assumptions that people all thought the same way as me. The big point here is that introversion isn't really something "to overcome". Introverted people bring depth of feeling and thoughtfulness that extroverts can sometimes lack. Also, while I may get a huge buzz from being the center of a social event, a more introverted person may feel drained by the same experience, and would better "recharge" by spending some quiet time alone. Most youth activities I have been involved in were based in extroversion. Perhaps, more balance would be nice.

Divergent - Veronica Roth
I have read my share of dystopian literature (The Time Machine, When The Sleeper Awakes, We, Brave New World, Animal Farm, 1984, Lord of the Flies, The Chrysalids, Atlas Shrugged, The Giver, Hunger Games, etc), and Divergent is clearly the least thought-provoking, least allegorical of the lot. It seems like one person's answer to the question: "If I were to write my own Hunger-Games-esque trilogy, here is how I would do it." It borrows characteristics from various teen books I've read in recent years and puts them together into a successful new story. There's the bleak, dystopian setting from the Hunger Games, the in-school rivalries and friendships from Harry Potter, and the seemingly-plain-but-somehow-irresistible girl at the center of an intense love triangle from Twilight/Hunger Games. Seriously, the middle third of the story seems agonizingly similar to Twilight's endless procession of tense romantic scenes.

Divergent certainly borrows from those other teen series, but here's what's missing:
1) Wit -- there's little of that, which Harry Potter had in spades (I'm not saying HP was perfect, though);
2) Consistent Scope -- The city-state they live in is large enough to have mass transit and armies and wars and anonymity, but it is also so small that the population of 16-year-olds is less than 100 (ie: 20 or less per faction). Since they all went to the same school leading up to initiation to adulthood, how is it they don't already know everyone their age from the other factions? Also, since everyone seems to be under 50, this caps the total population at about 5,000 people (excluding the factionless minority), or the size of a small town, yet they populate most of the Chicago metro area. Of this small population, a substantial proportion are involved in administrative, scholarly or seemingly-unnecessary paramilitary pursuits, so it is incomprehensible how this economy functions.
3) Relevant Backstory -- The author spends very little time explaining why or how this society came to be. The post-apocalyptic setting is just a convenient backdrop for the story, rather than a part of the story itself, which is a shame. As a result, This is less of a political/social allegory and more of a touchy-feely teen romance. I am sure the later books dig deeper into the history, but I would have gladly traded away a few dozen repetitive romantic scenes or training descriptions for some more exposition.
4) Reasons to be Angry -- You know how Harry Potter often lashes out at his friends in unreasonable ways to serve the needs of the plot? Well, there's plenty of that here. Pretty inconsistent personalities.
R has now read the 2nd book and she says that the story is enjoyable but she predicts that I would HATE all the petty drama that fills the pages. She's probably right.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle - Beverly Cleary
Runaway Ralph - Beverly Cleary
Ralph S. Mouse - Beverly Cleary
When I was young I read pretty much every book Beverly Cleary ever wrote. I read them all multiple times. Now that Scott is graduating from simple picture books, I wanted to open his eyes to the glory of novels, starting with some of the very best. At first I had hoped that he would be able to read them himself, with a little help, but instead he lies on the floor before bedtime and listens while I read. He makes the "pb-b-b-b-b" sound for the motorcycle whenever that comes up, and he leaps to his feet to see the illustrations, which come up about once per chapter. As we have approached the end of each book he has suddenly told me to stop reading for a moment and darted out the room, coming back carrying the next book in the series. It's like he had a fear of finishing a book without having the next one already in view. I love it.

One Day in August - David O'Keefe
For 70 years the story of the Allied landing at Dieppe has been as sad as the D-Day invasion at Normandy has been inspiring. On both beaches hundreds of Canadians lost their lives, but for decades no one could really explain what the Canadians had died for at Dieppe. I have stood at the Canadian cemetery in Beny-sur-Mer while a choir sang "In Flanders Fields" to a group of Canadian WWII veterans, and I have powerful emotions associated with the Allied landings in France. This book was a master-work in historical sleuthing, putting the trickle of declassified documents together to explain the immense value of the code-breaking targets that were the secret goal of Dieppe. I loved everything about this book.

Henry Huggins - Beverly Cleary
The Ralph S. Mouse books were great, but these Henry Huggins books are probably even better! Henry is just a few years older than Scott is, and everything he does completely resonates with Scott. During the chapter about picking worms to earn money for a football, Scott pulled out my worn leather football and held it the whole time, clearly imagining himself on every page.

A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller Jr
Motivated by my review of Divergent, I decided I needed to go back and read a dystopian classic that had always intrigued me. My older brother C read this one in school and I always thought the description on the back about the "blessed blueprint" sounded super-bizarre. It does not disappoint.

The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day - Cornelius Ryan
On June 6 (D-Day) I watched the film version on Netflix and then I ordered the e-book. It was awesome to get so much more of the background for each of the characters and scenes in this movie which has been a staple in our family. This was probably the first time I had watched the film since our trip to Normandy in 2006. The places and names really came alive to me now that I have walked the streets and the beaches.

Flash Boys - Michael Lewis
I picked it because it was one of the titles in the Kindle Unlimited program. The language was excessive, but I cannot imagine a better book to illustrate the dynamics of the High Frequency Trading and other side effects of our rapidly changing equity markets.

Revolution By Murder - James McGrath Morris
This was a little freebie in the Kindle Unlimited catalogue. I had never heard of the robber baron Henry Clay Frick, let alone the anarchist who came to Pittsburgh to assassinate him in 1892. A great snapshot into a remarkable historical event. Recommend.

Tambora: The Eruption That Changed the World - Gillen D'Arcy Wood
I have encountered a few mentions of the "year without a summer" or "eighteen-hundred and froze to death" in connection with other historical events, and I knew that the horrible weather and famines were eventually connected to the eruption of the Tambora volcano in Indonesia in 1814. The idea that some mountain on the other side of the world could explode and it could ruin the world's weather for years kind of freaks me out, so I wanted to know more. If you need a historically-based reason to stockpile grain in your basement, this is the book for you. Countless places in Asia and Europe struggled with food shortages and high grain prices because government storage was insufficient or non-existent. If each home had its own storage, fewer families would have needed to give up their children to slavery or death. This is less of a concern for me in today's day and age, but I can see how storage in every home could go a long way to make shortages less acute.

The Marathon Man - William Goldman
Another Kindle Unlimited freebie. I had never heard of this book (or the 1976 movie), but I guess it was kind of a big deal back in the day. I ate it up like candy. It was a bit like reading a James Bond book -- far-fetched plot, but quite entertaining.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century - Thomas Piketty
Described as "the magnum opus of the French economist Thomas Piketty".

Friday, December 05, 2014

Early-Season Skiing at Nakiska

Nakiska was barely open before we went out to the mountain with Grandpa M. Even though we already had passes to Canada Olympic Park from the early-bird sale last year, Nakiska had a ridiculous deal on adult passes for $199, so I had to pick one up. Because Scott is in grade 2, he got a 5-mountain RCR pass for only $20 and Katie's 6-mountain Tiger pass was also only $20. The deals were so good that Grandpa got in on the action and got a pass.

We had expected to go on the Bronze Chair for an easy warm-up. But the mountain hadn't gotten any real snow yet, so Bronze was still closed. We went up the Silver Chair and there was one run open. Everyone had to ski the same green run. We were caught up in a cloud of humanity, many of them skiing much faster and closer than I would really prefer. It's funny, your sensitivity to safety shifts once you bring your small children to the hill. I suddenly wanted to reach out grab a few people by the collar to keep them from skiing clipping the tips of Katie's tiny little skis. I restrained myself and there were no incidents. Ultimately, people spread out to some of the other lifts that were open higher up the mountain and things were better.

Katie does really well skiing, but she wasn't used to skiing on such long runs. One time she stopped part-way down the mountain and said she was tired. Another time she told me she had to make an emergency pit-stop. We raced down the hill to the lodge as fast as we could. Whew.

As much as the kids enjoy skiing, it almost seems like they enjoy sledding on my snowboard even more. They found a little hill near the lodge and they went down on the snowboard over and over again. There was a cameraman there, shooting footage for some sort of promotional video, and the kids nearly ran him over with the sled. The guy knelt down to get a cool action shot and he narrowly rolled to safety with his camera intact.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

First Ski Day of the Season

We went to Canada Olympic Park on opening weekend. They had delayed the opening by a week because there wasn't enough snow, but then there was a cold snap and snow-making went into high gear. Only one chair was open, and they had set up a little rail park next to the magic carpet that we normally use, so suddenly there were big kids all around.

I showed Katie how to do the slalom course and she spent most of the time cycling through it -- probably 20 times total.

Scott was off with his friend Tarek's family on the big chair, so we could only see him occasionally. It was enough evidence to conclude that he is less of a technical slalom skier and more of a speed freak. Maybe Super G is his event of choice.

Tools For Tooth Extraction

1 Leatherman for pulling
1 Dollar for motivation
1 Brave little boy

Scott's tooth was so loose that it was literally keeping him awake at night. I suggested that we pull it out. He didn't want to use the string-on-the-door method again, so I suggested some pliers. I always think of using pliers because I have a vivid memory from my childhood of my Dad coming after one of my teeth with some needlenose pliers. Scott wasn't excited about that plan because he'd had little success pulling his own tooth out with pliers on a previous tooth. I suggested that it could work better if he would let ME do the pulling, since I will have a good view of the tooth. He could see the logic in it, but he was was reticent until I promised him a dollar if we could do it. He readily agreed and I popped it out in one quick try. There was a little bit of blood, but he said it barely hurt at all.

With the dollar he got from the Tooth Fairy, that was a pretty good payday.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Katie's Costume Collection

Over the course of the last year or two Katie has amassed quite a collection of costumes and accessories. She has a big bin full of every kind of Disney princess dress there is, plus a bin of matching shoes and wands and fairy wings, plus a trunk full of crowns, tiaras and jewelry. She had forgotten about some of these things until we had to move them into the guest room while we worked on something, and then suddenly she wanted to do nothing else until she had put every one of them on, as well as her various dance outfits.

Katie liked this second picture. She said she liked how she had posed her arm, with the elbow sticking out like that.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Hayden's Baptism

Scott's cousin Hayden turned 8 in November, and we all went to see him get baptized. I didn't get any fabulous pictures until the very end, when we were eating snacks.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Katie & Mommy

Katie's drawings are getting very detailed. Note that both of them are wearing earrings, which is artistic license on her part.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Robot Children

On a whim, the day after Halloween we made another set of costumes. Scott was fixated on some game on the tablet and Katie was a bit bored, and then I had the idea to turn a cardboard box into a robot outfit. We punched holes in the top and the sides and then wrapped some tin foil on it and then we had ourselves a robot-girl.

Scott was a little bit jealous that he didn't have one, so we dug another box out of the basement and turned him into robot boy. Unfortunately, we finished the costumes at bedtime, so they only had a minute or two to start adding buttons and other "upgrades". It also meant that they could only wear them for a few minutes. They made the most of it by brushing their teeth in costume and even trying to climb into bed, which I captured on video.

Okay little robots, time to recharge your batteries.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

I'm 37. I'm Not Old.

I have finally arrived--

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
King Arthur: Old woman!
Dennis: Man.
King Arthur: Man, sorry. What knight lives in that castle over there?
Dennis: I'm 37.
King Arthur: What?
Dennis: I'm 37. I'm not old.
King Arthur: Well I can't just call you "man".
Dennis: Well you could say "Dennis".
King Arthur: I didn't know you were called Dennis.
Dennis: Well you didn't bother to find out, did you?
King Arthur: I did say sorry about the "old woman", but from behind you looked...
Dennis: What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior.
King Arthur: Well, I am king.
Dennis: Oh, king eh? Very nice. And how'd you get that, eh? By exploiting the workers. By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society.

Book Report - 7 Questions

Grandma W pays $5 per book report. Even with the longer books he has now, he reads a book every day or two, and he understands math well enough to figure out how much money he could make if he wrote a book report for every one of those books. But it is easier said than done. Writing book reports is HARD WORK.

Scott has decent penmanship, so that's not the issue. It's figuring out what to write. Usually, the best results have been when one of us has prompted him with questions about the book, telling him to turn his answer into of the required 7 lines. I decided to take this one step further, and give him a generic set of questions that he could use to write a report about any of his books.

I thought this little list was guaranteed to cost my mom millions, since it was clearly the ultimate formula to create the world's best book reports. Scott immediately went to work, on a report about Bone, a fantasy series which is essentially a comic -- but a long one. When he finished, I realized how literally a child takes all instructions.

Book Report: Bone

I had expected that he would take the questions as a prompt and then answer in paragraph form. Instead, he gave us a numbered list of answers, which seemed like one half of a conversation. We had to ask him to add another phrase to the final sentence, to make it clear that he was describing his favourite part of the book.

Still, it was a wonderful first solo effort, and it was the first time that he wrote a report with smaller script that fit within just one line. He has come a long way in the past year. With the $5 payout he was on his way to buy the much-coveted skateboard, and he still hasn't picked up the pen to write about one of the more intriguing titles that we got from the new Neighbourhood Free Library (he found Bone to be a little scary to read alone in his room at night).

Captain Underpants Series

According to Wikipedia, "the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association reported that Captain Underpants was the most banned book in United States libraries in 2012. Several parents accused the book of having language inappropriate for the book's target audience, children enrolled in elementary schools." However, my English-teacher cousin has lamented that students in her high school English classes have been choosing these books as class material.

I can't wait to see what Scott has to write about this controversial subject.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014 - Clash of Clans

Clash of Clans characters

You can't buy Clash of Clans costumes anywhere. We tried. The only way to get one is to make one.

I broke the sewing needle twice making these outfits, but they still turned out pretty good. I was working very quickly, so I found I sewed myself into a corner a few times, but mostly I was able to create each item as I had envisioned. We got most of the clothing items at Value Village. The wizard robe is a hoodie from the women's section, trimmed with strips of an old pillow case. We found the perfect little green outfit there that worked for the archer, and then I found a green women's camisole that I could cut into a cape, keeping one of the straps to hold it around Katie's neck. The belts, the quiver and the satchel are all made from a single brown table-runner I got at the dollar store. Scott's wizard buckle is made from wood dowel and screws. Katie's buckle is made from heavy-gauge baling wire. The ball of flame is actually the crazy hair from some scary looking rubber mask that R found and then crumpled up so you could only see the top.



I only broke the needle on the sewing machine twice while making these accessories. I bought a brown table runner from Dollarama and used every scrap of it to make these items.

At Great Grandma & Grandpa's

Sorting the Candy

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Story Time

Last night after dinner the kids asked me to tell a story. At first I told them a short story about how I almost forgot to take the garbage bins out to the curb, but then I remembered and I did it. They complained that the story was boring, so I said that I would add in some more fun details, but some of them might not be true. As it turns out, taking out the garbage bins was quite a rambling adventure, where I ended up eating lunch on the moon with a dragon. They enjoyed this version so well, that they asked me for another story, and another. I asked them to tell me something that I should put in the story to help get me started. Some stories were better than others and elements from one story were borrowed for the next, but we liked two so well that they were still talking about them today. We decided to write them down. In fact, Katie hounded me all through dinner to make sure I wrote them down the second I finished eating:

Scott suggested the story have a duck in it.

There was a pirate who had two friends. One of them lived on the other side of the mountains. The pirate wanted to go visit his friend, so he got on his duck and he turned on the key and he blasted off towards the mountains, up, up, up. But the ducky was so powerful and flew so fast that he went way higher than the mountains, up, up, up until he crashed into the moon, where his other friend lived -- the dragon that was every colour... except for eleven... and a half.

The pirate told his every-colour-dragon-friend (except eleven and a half) that he was trying to visit his friend on the other side of the mountains but now he was far away in space and his ducky was crashed and he didn't know how he could ever get there and he was getting very late. The dragon said to follow him, and he showed the pirate a door into a tunnel that went down, down, down all the way to the other side of the mountains to where his friend had been waiting for a whole hour. When the pirate explained all the things that happened, his friend said, "How could a tunnel go from the moon to the earth? Wouldn't it have to go through empty space and stuff?"

Then the duck said, "I WANT MY CUCKOO-POTATO!"


Katie said the next story should have syrup in it (we were eating french toast)

There was a big lake of syrup that was pooled up in the mountains and held back from flowing down the hill because of a big wall. But the wall started to break because it was made out of cereal and the cereal had started to get soggy and then the syrup broke through the wall and it all flowed down making everything super sticky. The people were so surprised that they went "Ah!!!" and grabbed their hair with their hands and then their hands stuck like that and they had to run away from the syrup with their hands stuck to their heads.

So then the fire department got so many planes and helicopters and they dropped all the pancakes in the whole world on the syrup and blocked it and made it so yummy that everyone wanted to eat it, but their hands were still stuck to their hair so they couldn't grab any of the pancakes until they had a long bathtime.


I wish you could hear the way the kids laughed and laughed at these stories, especially the way Katie laughed at the end of the duck story.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Favourite Wall

[Oct 5 2014]

The kids count down the days until General Conference weekend because it is the biggest craft-fest ever. We pull out the little picnic table in front of the TV and then we hit the crafts hard for 4 hours/day each day.

This time, the kids had their sticker books and crafts that needed very little help from us, so we could work on a craft of our own. We repainted the kitchen, nook and family room. In fact, even the kids helped out when we got to the roller sections.

When we took a break from conference-crafting to eat a meal, Scott did his standard routine of getting out of his chair and leaning his hands against the wall--

D: Scott, let's not touch the wall because it leaves finger prints.
R: Right. This wall here has lots of finger prints.
D: Yeah, I think you touch that wall like crazy.
S: It's my favourite wall. Everyone has to have their favourite wall

Funniest thing I heard all day. I wonder if its still his favourite wall now that it is painted "smokey" colour.

Monday, October 20, 2014

First Lumberjack Job

On Thanksgiving Monday Scott and I went to work cutting wood.

First, he carried the bow saw into the back yard and we felled a tree. It was a spindly thing about 12 feet high that has been dead at least all summer and looking pretty sad. We were sure to call "timber" even though I could hold the thing up with one hand.

Scott slung the bow saw over his shoulder and we hauled our freshly-felled timber to the garage, where I was working on reorganizing the garage. I had laid out a set of shelves on the ground, so I put Scott's log across the shelf and showed him how he could safely use the bow saw to cut it into lengths. For the next hour he sawed away at that log, cutting it into 16 sections of 8-10 inches each, while I worked nearby building some shelves. He was nearing the end of his labour when the Bishop and his wife walked by on their way home (they live a few houses down from us). She immediately took interest in Scott's work. She said that she had been planning to make little placeholders for her grandchildren for Thanksgiving dinner and she had wanted to cut little discs from a thick branch of a tree. She said that Scott's logs would be perfect, and offered to BUY two of them from him. She dug around in her pocket and found a quarter, a loonie ($1) and a toonie ($2). She gave him the toonie.

For the next hour Scott could talk of nothing but his great fortune in getting paid so well for doing such fun and interesting work. He said, "I am such a lucky boy" probably 15 times. It was the cutest thing. Our own little professional lumberjack.

I had the power saw out for my shelf project, so I offered to quickly cut the logs into the smaller sections that she needed. I earned nothing for my efforts. I am more of a pro-bono lumberjack, I suppose.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Propst & Tuttle in Calgary

[Sep 13, 2014]

16 years ago I dropped Elders Propst and Tuttle off at the airport in Saratov at the conclusion of the trial where their kidnappers were convicted. I didn't see either of them again until this year, when they arrived at the airport in Calgary to speak to groups in connection to the "Saratov Approach" movie. Tuttle came out for opening weekend in January. Both Propst and Tuttle came out for our joint West/East Stake youth conference.

Apparently, no one had informed Propst that we had just had the freak summer snow storm of the century, because he arrived in sunglasses, shorts and flip-flops. The person next to him on the plane showed him pictures that people had sent him from the storm and Propst started to worry. Of course, most of the snow was already melting, but we there was still some left at the higher elevations -- like the Temple.

They flew just before noon, so we hit Tubby Dog for some lunch. Tubby Dog is a hole-in-the-wall spot on 17th Ave known for hot dogs with outlandish combinations of toppings. We all agreed that I probably got the best one, laden with chili, bacon, cheez-whiz and a fried egg -- elegantly entitled "Sherm's Ultimate Gripper".

We stopped in at the house for a few minutes en route to the youth conference, mainly so Propst could press a shirt and make himself beautiful. Scott was absolutely enthralled when Propst pulled out his iPad and logged into the Clash of Clans game, especially since Propst had all the fancy upgraded troops that Scott has been dreaming about. The whole kidnapping/movie thing might give Tuttle and Propst a certain amount of celebrity status, but it was Clash of Clans that really made Propst a star.

We arrived at the chapel near the end of the movie, which the youth were watching in the gym. We had the DJ who would run the evening dance handle the audio, and I had perched the projector at the top of a 10 foot ladder to hit the 40-foot screen on the stage. Waiting in the hallway, we bumped into a teary woman leaving the gym who has a son serving a mission overseas and just couldn't quite handle it, although she had seen the film before.

Once the credits rolled, the lights went up and I introduced our special guests, who opened it up to the youth for some Q&A with the comment that "there are no bad questions." That statement was immediately tested, as the first question was "Do you like waffles?" Strong start. Propst and Tuttle took it in stride and answered the question before moving on to perhaps a more pertinent question. Propst likes Belgian waffles and Tuttle is more of a pancake guy, for the record.

There were some really good questions, and Propst & Tuttle shared additional details that really put a personal touch on the whole experience. One thing that stuck out to me was how they said that they prayed constantly during the whole experience, and Propst said that he promised God that if he made it out there alive, he would take every opportunity to share this story with people to strengthen their faith. In the 15 years since he came home he has averaged at least 1 speaking engagement per month, more at the beginning and more with the film's release. Another message was that a missionary experience changes you, whether you get kidnapped or not. If you decline the opportunity to serve, you miss that chance to learn and grow as a person, and it is unlikely that you would have another opportunity quite like that in your life. They both said that they would not trade their missionary experience away, regardless how it turned out, and that's one big reason why they chose not to cut their missions short when they were released. In the Sunday service that that we had the next day, several people commented on the film that we watched, and one girl said that she had never really considered serving a mission, but now she wanted to have that experience for herself. Pretty neat to hear.

After the film was over, we launched Tuttle off to the airport asap to catch a plane to Portland, while Propst stuck around to pose for some photos in our Russian-themed photo booth. Who doesn't love a good Russian photo booth?

When it was all over, and once Propst and I had downed some delicious poutine, we retired back to our place to chat and play some more Clash of Clans.

Scott was supposed to go to bed, but shortly afterwards we saw a small hand jut out through the upstairs railing with a note (written on the back of a sticker) that read:

"Wath clan ar you in?"

Scott ended up coming back downstairs to sit with Propst and examine his elite-level clan. It was the start of an alliance, as Propst recruited his son Sam to be in Scott's clan, and Propst showed up in our clan periodically in the weeks that followed to hand out level 6 balloons and other awesomeness.

While Scotty was downstairs, Katie was upstairs, saying her prayers as follows--
Thanks that Travis and Propst could come to our house. And that Propst could stay for one night. Even though it's not two nights.
The next day Katie said "I love Propst. I wish I could live with him."
D: Do you mean you want to leave and live at his house far away.?
K: No, I mean he could live at our house, silly.

Propst and Tuttle aren't planning on moving in, but they might come back to Calgary visit us or at least to take a crack at Sherm's Ultimate Gripper.