Sunday, November 28, 2010

Halifax Christmas Tree Lighting: November 27, 2010

It was November 27th this last Saturday, and in Halifax, that meant lighting the official city Christmas tree. I didn't even know this event was happening, but my fortunate EP ways came to my rescue again, as EP Dan and I stumbled across it whilst partaking in some Christmas shopping downtown.

Many hundreds, if not thousands of people crammed into the Grand Parade to watch the spectacle. The Halifax honour boys choir started off the evening by singing some Christmas carols, and the Backyardigans - some apparently popular children's television characters I had no idea even existed - entertained the younger set in the crowd for nearly a half-hour after that.

(Tyrone, Pablo, and Uniqua, take three minutes to tell you that they are The Backyardigans via song and interpretive dance. Aren't you sad you missed it?)

After The Backyardigans' performance, Santa Clause came out on stage, along with some of the teenagers who helped design and paint over 50 of the giant tree ornaments.

Exactly one hour after it started (the most punctual event in history - it started at 6:00 PM as advertised), the festivities came to a close with the lighting of the HRM Christmas Tree - no War on Christmas here - and a small fireworks display. Fittingly, Nova Scotia Power, was one of the main sponsors of the Christmas Tree.

Friday, November 26, 2010

HRM Point of Interest #18: G7 Summit Photo

On this spot, near Sackville Landing on the Waterfront, the delegates of the 1995 G7 Summit in Halifax met to take a picture. The delegates gathered around, with their respective security forces standing guard on roof tops, and under the water, and hiding in clouds (or at least I imagine they were hiding in the clouds). The 12:00 noon scheduled photograph time drew near, and as the delegates prepared their awkward smiles a huge cannon blast startled everyone and sent the delegates running.

Security forces had their guns drawn, and everyone searched high and low, but alas no threat could be found as the cannon blast was merely the noon gun fired daily from the nearby Citadel fortress. Then Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chretien, and the mayor of Halifax both knew about the gun, but had apparently forgotten to inform the other delegates. Oopsy-doopsy....

Note: to my left (right in the picture) you can see the memorial to John Cabot shining (?) in the summer sun (when this photo was taken).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Special Announcement: 2000th View

Big news everyone! EPTN hit another milestone, with its 2000th view today. I'd like to thank all my loyal readers for continuing to support my adventures in Nova Scotia.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Parade of Lights: November 20, 2010

The 15th Annual Holiday Parade of Lights took place today, and fittingly, the skies also opened up with the first snowfall of the season. Later in the day though, in typical Nova Scotia fashion, the snow turned into rain. Fortunately, we were still mercifully left with a great full moon.

By now a seasoned parade watcher, I headed down to my usual parade viewing location on Spring Garden Road. I had to brave a group of screaming, obnoxious kids, their "liberal" parents, and bitter old hags who criticized all the floats, including the lack of reindeer antlers on some of the dogs, at this particular spot though, because I just had to get shots of the floats in front of this beautiful backdrop (note my favourite tea store - David's Tea - on the right, with the neon blue sign). Don't ever say I'm not dedicated to my giving my dedicated readers the best posts possible.

This is the fourth parade in Halifax I've seen this year, and I'm starting to realize that most of the floats come from the same groups, every time. For example, there's this entry from the Halifax Harbour Bridges group (usually one of my favourite floats, because it always has live music and a dancing Mr. MACPASS).

Or these vintage fire engines, which I've seen at various events around Halifax at least five times now:

This time though, there were quite a few new, Christmas themed floats, and even all of the old floats had a new and exciting glow about them. All the shining Christmas lights probably helped.

(This two part, death-by-lobster/lighthouse float was easily my favourite. It apparently came all the way from Peggy's Cove too. That gives it bonus points.)

(Don't forget to thank your friendly neighbourhood postal workers at this time of year; without them you'd have no way of Priority Shipping all of those last minute gifts you forgot to buy/send ahead of time.)

(It was all about the big man on the sled though. Ho, ho, ho, Merry November 20th!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Life Of An Ea-Pea, Episode 6: Apartment Gardening

Some time ago I wrote a Life of an Ea-Pea post on attempting to eat locally. I'm pleased to announce that I still attempt to buy only "locally" produced foods whenever possible, even if I haven't yet started on my Farmers' Market diet plan yet. Knowing though, when I wrote the post, that it would take me a while before I could graduate to that point I decided to do the next best thing: grow my own tomatoes... inside my basement apartment.

Meet EP Tom (short for Tomat - it's a European name), my first ever tomato plant. In this picture, he's a little green, but that's because this picture was taken back in the beginning of summer, shortly after I bought him.

(This was a momentous occasion, as it was EP Tom's first ever ripened tomato. And yes, it was the most delicious tomato I've ever tasted. You can also see my EP research books I borrowed from the public library in the background.)

Since the above picture was taken, EP Tom has produced a remarkable 15 tomatoes, without ever setting leaf outside of my apartment. I keep him growing with plenty of water, crushed up egg shells, and some tomato food pellets (and love). At the time of writing this, he still has some green tomatoes on the vine, which I hope will ripen up before he withers up/hibernates/dies, or whatever it is that tomato plants do in the winter. Next summer I will look to double my operation.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Special Announcement: EP B-Day

It's my birthday today.

HRM Monument #29: Swami Vivekanada

I'm not sure if it counts as an official HRM Monument, but in the interest of multiculturalism I thought I should include this statue of Swami Vivekananda outside a Hindu Temple near my home.

Swami Vivekananda was a 19th century monk and philosopher who preached in North America from 1893 to 1900, and is widely regarded as the father of the Hindu revival in modern India, as well as being the driving force behind Vedanta and Yoga's spread to Europe and North America.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Life Of An Ea-Pea, Episode 5: Found Art

When most people think of "found art" they don't have a clue what I'm talking about. Other people, in the know, might think about a university undergraduate, majoring in art, taking some scrap pieces of metal and welding them together, or glueing pine-cones on some old, painted, paper-mached particle board. However, here in my bedroom, I view "found art" as posters I find on the ground outside, or somewhere else, which I take home and place on my wall with sticky tack.

The practice started as a way to liven up my apartment when I was living by myself and had no money, but has since continued on as a way to further my radical EP-3Rs agenda. I don't just find posters though, I have also furnished my entire living room, and bedroom... and dining room, with items I have either been given by friends/strangers, or which I have found outside on the curbside.

(In the above dimly lit picture you can see a rug, futon/sofa, two captains chairs, and a coffee table I received from friends I met through another acquaintance. You'll also find a TV dinner table, bookshelf and mirror I found outside behind my apartment. And that's just one of my rooms...)

Friday, November 5, 2010

HRM Point of Interest #16: Titanic Graves

On April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg and sank, about 640 km south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. A number of the bodies were too badly damaged or deteriorated and were burned at sea, but 328 corpses were returned to land, with 209 being brought back to Halifax.

(Protestant victims' graves in Fairview Cemetery.)

(Some of the Catholic victims' graves, next to the tree/shrub, in Mount Olivet Cemetery.)

All of those victims thought to be Protestant (121) were buried in the Fairview Cemetery near my home. The Jewish victims (10) were buried in Baron de Hirsch Cemetery - literally right beside Fairview Cemetery, if not actually a part of it - and the 19 Catholic victims were laid to rest in Mount Olivet Cemetery.

(The final resting place of Titanic victim Joseph Ackerman, whose two grandsons from Southampton, England, travelled all the way to Halifax on October 2nd, 2009, to place this card on their grandfather's tombstone. The touching note reads:

"With fond thoughts of our grandfather Joseph Francis Ackerman.

Two of your grandsons from Southampton England... (names removed for privacy's sake) along with their wives were humbled and glad to have at long last been able to visit your resting place.

October 2nd and 3rd 2009")

Monday, November 1, 2010

Helltown Helloween Alleycat Race: October 31, 2010

Recently my EP Cruiser was stolen, so I was "forced" to buy two new second hand bicycles. One was a cheaper version of my EP Cruiser that works almost as well but cost less than $100. The other bicycle is a used semi-competition road racer (now known as the EP Racer) that reminded me of a better, faster version of my original blue bicycle that so faithfully carried me around town my first two months (when it wasn't getting a flat tire or breaking down every two days).

Fast forward to some time last week when I noticed an advertisement for an Alleycat race in the window of one of my favourite bicycle shops - Nauss Bicycle Shop - in the North End (regular readers all know how I feel about North End Halifax). Not knowing what an Alleycat race was, I did some research and it appeared to be an informal type of open-road race started by Toronto cycle couriers in the late '80s, which has now spread around the world.

Apparently there are many different kinds of Alleycat races, and this particular race in which I was taking part had a courier theme. All the contestants would be given a list of "pick-up" and "drop-off" locations around HRM. We were free to choose our own path around the city, and could do the pick-ups or drops in any order we wanted. The winner would be the first person to complete all of the drops and then arrive at the finish location - The Old Mill bar in Dartmouth - a roughly 20-25 kilometre journey depending on which order you decided to hit the requisite checkpoints.

The race started in front of the Alexander Keith's Brewery near the Waterfront, Le Mans style, with every racer having to run across a busy street to his/her locked bicycle, unlock said bicycle, and then head off to his/her first destination. The boards in the picture above were quite slippery in the rain though, and more than one racer slipped on his backside.

If you're trying to follow along on Google Maps I suggest not bothering, though the checkpoints were mainly located in North End Halifax, but went as far south-west as Chocolate Lake (near the Northwest Arm), and as far east as Sullivan's Pond, in Dartmouth. Furthermore, if you're trying to imagine what an Alleycat race might look like, check out this video or this one (disclaimer: these videos are from a third-party and the views/riding techniques represented in them are not necessarily the same as those held/practised by EP Dave).

(Sweaty, exhausted, but none-the-less happy racers resting their aching legs at the "finish line.")

I may have finished DFL ("Dead Friggin' Last"), but that's okay because a) I had a blast, b) Alleycats are really all about participation and getting to the final destination to enjoy some food and drinks with your fellow competitors, who are by this point your good friends - you've all battled the four-wheeled murder/heart-disease machines together - and c) there's actually an award for DFL (I won a cow mug).

I can't wait for the next race, and the next chance to get back out on a bicycle and ride fast.