Friday, December 22, 2006

In Other News

I enjoyed the title of the news post from which this excerpt comes:

The nightclub owner appeared totally at home on the dance floor, basking in the admiring glances of his pupils.
For "Danny J" is in fact Corporal Daniel James, the soldier accused of spying for Iran while working as intrepreter and aide to General David Richards, the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The 'spy' who danced the salsa | News | This is London

I'm beginning to concur with Neil Gaiman, who upon learning of the circumstances surrounding the mystery of the Bishop and his missing memory as well as the news articles involving Russian spies and Polonium posioning, had this to say:

... I am beginning to suspect that whoever is currently writing the world, or at least the English bit of it, is starting to plunder cheap fiction for ideas.

Neil Gaiman - Neil Gaiman's Journal: December 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

Closing the case

I won't bore you with an outline of how it happened or who was involved, since apparently I was the only one not aware of the facts surrounding Fifi's sudden appearance and then subsequent disappearance (I have even been led to believe that the knowledge was so far reaching that people I have never met, were somehow aware of what was happening). At any rate, congratulations on a prank well executed.

One of the kidnappers has confessed to me and so she will be rewarded with a candle lit dinner, as promised. The primary request of the kidnappers was a photo of myself standing sideways behind streetlight, which I have included within this post.

Street Light
Standing sideways behind a streetlight

Since I have so greatly enjoyed this whirlwind plot I have been taken on, I'm also including some requested pictures. The two most strongly requested photos by those hearing the ransom demands were a baby photo of myself and a photo of myself dressed as a ninja at Portage and Main (unfortunately the smoke bomb I threw somewhat obscures the photo), so here you are.

Baby Photo
A young Mr. Epp

Ninja at Portage and Main

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I will be posting pictures from the "C" is for Christmas party shortly, however a much more urgent and unfortunate task demands my attention at present. At some point during the party a daring kidnapping was undertaken and now Fifi is missing. In her place was left this ransom note.

Shortly after the discovery of her dissapearance, an anonymous phone call was made that was tracked to the west side of the city. The phone call left a series of conditions to be met, the nature of which cannot be revealed at this moment, which are feverishly being worked on from this end.

I would like to take a moment and speak directly to the kidnappers. In the short three months that I have come to know Fifi, she has come to mean a great deal to me. Therefore, I would ask that you take great care to make sure that Fifi comes to no harm.

Fifi and myself
Last photo of us together

However, before I go through with the actions requested of me, I must have assurance from the kidnappers that Fifi is still alive and unharmed. As such, I will need a photograph of Fifi taken beside a green apple, to insure that photo was taken after this request was made. Also, I will need the picture sent via the email address that was mentioned in the phone call, so I know I am not dealing with an imposter who has purchased a replica of Fifi at a store.

To the general public, I am offering a reward if you can orchestrate the safe return or provide information leading to the safe return of Fifi. The reward I am offering is to prepare and serve a candle lit dinner for two, yourself and a person of your choosing*

Little is known of the events surrounding the kidnapping, but I will try to set out what I do know in the hopes that it may be of help. During the party Fifi mingled with guests and sat on her favourite pillow (shown below) in the corner of the room.

The pillow
The empty pillow

The last known photo of Fifi was taken at 7:56:38 PM. It is estimated that the dissapearance happened shortly thereafter. If anyone has further information pinpointing the time of the event or any suspicious behaviour seen during the party, please contact me.

Enhanced Image
Last known photo
* You are responsible for procuring the person of your choosing. I would ask that that person also be willingly present (I do not encourage any further kidnappings). In the absence of a second party, I would be more than willing to enjoy dinner with Fifi's rescuer.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Somewhat Random

Since it's been a while since I last posted, I offer you a picture with a rainbow in it.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dogs vs Cats

The dogs versus cats debate is a classic. Here's a story to add to the brew.

After a disabled woman's cat started a house fire, her specially trained dog came to the rescue, then died trying to help the cat still in the house.

ABC News: Dog Saves Owner, Dies Trying to Save Cat

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Befitting A Princesss

Being the pampered pet that she is (not suprising given her heritage), I've always suspected that Fifi lived a fairly posh previous life. Today those predictions seemed to be confirmed, when, upon arriving home, I discovered a pillow complete with tassles and pink sequens spelling out "Fifi" stuffed into our mailbox. Below is a picture of Fifi's honourary spot in her basket atop the fridge, now with her brand new pillow.

Fifi's New Pillow
Fifi's New Pillow

A New Place

One of the reasons for my general busyness as of late, has been adjusting to the bachelor life. For those of you who haven't met my new roommates, I'll introduce you.

They are:

Ed Jowling



I couldn't have asked for two better roommates and for the few moments that we are in our place together during the day, we are usually distracted from doing anything useful by joking around and having an all out good time. As evidenced by last night's impromptu techno mix down session (think Strongbad's "The System Is Down" times ten).

To inaugurate our place, we had a little house warming party. We were truly honoured to have as many of our good friends as we did come out. Thanks to all of you, it made for a good night. Adrian, Ed and I have officially stopped accepting any more friendships until we can find a bigger place or build an extension to our balcony.

Our Spacious Abode
Our Spacious Abode

A Packed Landing
A Packed Landing

I left my camera lying around at the party so that others could document the events and I put the results in a photoset.

I had the opportunity to thank most of you in person for the wonderful house warming gifts you gave, but there is one thank you I have yet to offer. The Monday morning after the party, I was astonished to find something pink and furry in my suit jacket pocket. Along with this unexpected pet, came adoption papers for a little dog named Fifi. At first I was a little worried she would be high maintenance (judging by the pink boa), but that concern soon became unfounded as I came to realize what a wonderful pet she was. So a big thank you to the anonymous previous owners.

Fifi and myself
Fifi and myself

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


It's been a while since I've been able to do an event based post, and a lot has happened since then. One of the biggest things to happen was Stephen and Minal's wedding ceremony. What follows are a few highlights from the colourful reception that followed.

The happy couple
The Happy Couple

The first dance
The First Dance

The twins dance
Becky and Lizzie's Dance

Geoff and Theresa's Waltz
Geoff and Theresa's Waltz

Payal's Dance
Payal's Dance

Action Shot
Galina and My Salsa

A more in depth view can be found by checking out the photo sets of Kyla, Sara and myself.

While the wedding of Stephen and Minal was obviously the celebration of a large milestone in their life together, it was also the occasion for a much smaller milestone for Geoff and also myself.

You see, it was pretty much exactly a year ago minus one week from the reception, that found Geoff and myself on the occasion of celebrating his birthday at the Empire. Things proceeded as they did normally for us on such occasions. We got up on the dance floor and acted like fools (Note: Apparently some things never change) and girls, heaven knows why, would come up and begin dancing with us. This time, however, something was different, one of the girls invited myself and, primarily, Geoff to come up and try salsa dancing with her. At any rate the girl had some effect on Geoff and by the end of the night had him convinced to go across the street to Ted Motyka's Dance Studio for drop-in lessons sometime.

Shortly thereafter, Geoff and I made good on our endeavour and showed up for lessons. The prospect was quite intimidating, our ability to make fools of ourselves on the dance floor did not directly translate into being able to master even the basics of latin and ballroom dancing. This disconnect became all the more readily apparent when we danced with beautiful women, specifically Galina, who knew what they were doing and therefore how far we fell short. This, however, made it all the more of a challenge for us and it was during this time that Geoff and I would have a conversation that became quite routine.

The pattern would go something like this. Geoff and I would see someone doing something with ease (with said beautiful women) which was quite impossible for us, and we would then pause and look at the other with the mutual understanding that it was both very impressive and something which we wanted to do ourselves. Then without fail, either Geoff or I would say, "In a year that will be us", and we would smile, partially, I think, because we didn't fully believe it.

Getting ready for our first public dance performances, at Stephen and Minal's wedding, it was then a pleasant surprise to realized that, the week after our performances we would hit the one year mark for our craze of all things dancing. Our progress had shifted so gradually, as it does when you you are a part of it, that I couldn't pinpoint exactly when we left the "that will be us" to "that is us" stage, but none the less it was nice to realize it had happened.

So then, to all of you who dream, and I would hope that would be everyone of you. Hopefully this can be a bit of encouragement to reach out and achieve those goals.

Ed: I blame the length of time since I've lasted posted, for the build up of sappiness. I've let it all out now. Future posts should be relatively safe.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The seeds of an idea

There is a current art project going on in New York, which is described as follows:

Design Times Square: The Urban Forest Project brings 185 banners created by the world’s most celebrated designers, artists, photographers and illustrators to New York’s Times Square. Each banner uses the form of the tree, or a metaphor for the tree, to make a powerful visual statement. Together they create a forest of thought-provoking images at one of the world’s busiest, most energetic, and emphatically urban intersections.

Urban Forest Project - Project

Tree Illustration

Some designs resonate more strongly with me than others (both for design and message). What's interesting though, is that because this is a focused project, it's easier to see how the mind of a designer works. Some clearly have brilliant ideas and then use their artistic ability to convey that idea. Others, on the other hand, seem to have brilliant artistic ability and then simply manipulate the idea to highlight their own prowess. And yet others make me feel that those years of being incredibly lazy and too clever for my own good throughout elementary and high school, might have had career potential.

Note: The illustration shown contains the national bird of every country currently at war or in an ongoing conflict. Also, the colours of the birds are made up by their national flags. I'd be curious as to how many you can identify. I'll take the obvious eagle as America off the list. I'm assuming Great Britian is top right and Italy is top left, but I don't know.

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Clean Advertizing

When I first heard about the concept, I thought it was neat, but when I came across this picture today, I was sold, so I thought I'd share it with you. The artist uses this concept within his ad firm as well. The work is understated and interesting. In a world where advertizing has reached a saturation point, it's refreshing to see work which contributes to the public space instead of taking away from it.

On a simliar note, Banksy has been busy as of late. (See related post)

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Provenzano Code

Now there's an additional use for underlining passages of scripture.

"The FBI is working with the (Italian) state police to determine whether there are any hidden messages in the Bible," said a U.S. government official, who asked not to be identified.

FBI tries to decipher "code" in Mafia boss's bible | International News |

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Poincare Conjecture

For all the latest juicy gossip on the world of mathematics, check out

Hamilton contributed over fifty per cent; the Russian, Perelman, about twenty five per cent; and the Chinese, Yau, Zhu, and Cao et al., about thirty per cent. (Evidently, simple addition can sometimes trip up even a mathematician.)

Mathematical politics and the Poincare Conjecture (

Note: Also featuring dissapearing Russians and theories about bunnies being equal to spheres.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Social Enforcement

Since I find social networks interesting, this article piqued my interest.

Clearly, even this did nothing to deter the plagiarist in question. So what did put the kibosh on this guy's cyber thievery? The rapid mobilization and deployment of a force I hadn’t even considered: the blogmob

Popular Science Blog - Flickr, Blogmobs, and a Seriously Fascinating Lesson on Content Licensing

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Sunset Flight

Last night I had the opportunity to take a sunset flight up to the Lake Winnipeg area to check out some tornado damage by Gull Lake and in general enjoy a spectacular view.

Sunset in St. Andrews
Oscar on the runway

Pre-flight Adjustment
Pre-flight adjustment

Flying By Lake Winnipeg
Sunset on Lake Winnipeg

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, although they too can't quite capture the moment. Particularly the g-force tricks Dave pulled, but also the beauty of flying at night and having the black void defined by pin pricks of light. Of notable mention was also the landing in Selkirk, who's runway is made up of one gravel strip surround by trees (except for the side by the river which includes a convenient set of power lines). It felt like a bush plane landing scene straight out of a movie, I'm surprised tribes people didn't come out of the trees upon our landing to greet us.

A big thanks to Dave, a recent member of the studio crew, for hooking us up.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Continued Quality Assurance

As part of the continual improvement and value enhancement initiatives over at Eppic Thoughts head office, it is my pleasure to provide you with our very first desktop wallpaper for your downloading enjoyment.

Folklorama Wallpaper
1280x1024 Glory

Thanks to all those (performers, beverages and fellow participants/partiers) that made Week 1 of Folklorama so enjoyable.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

High Flying Gamblers

I've been reading a neat little webcomic for a while now, called Teaching Baby Paranoia, that mixes clean illustration style with an obscure* historical fact every week.

Raising the stakes

The picture above is from this week's comic, featuring gambling, bank robbers, archaeology, blimps and a dose of irony (click the image to view the comic).

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* It turns out the facts are a bit more "obscure" than I initial thought. The latest strip, which is an obvious political commentary, triggered a warning bell. A little googling supported this premonition. So the sentence may read more accuratly as a made up historical fact than an obscure one.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Update: Cabin Weekend

Sara has added her photos to the mix of those available and posts:

Audrey, Erica, Ruth, Jon, Matt, Dave, Geoff, Galina and I all went to Audrey's cabin for the last weekend in July. This is a record of what happened....

Audrey's cabin - Sara's photoset on Flickr

This photo set is a lot more all encompassing then mine, so you'll get a feel for the whole weekend

You should check out this photo set, if you'd like to see Geoff running down the beach (a la David Hasselhof), cool b-boys, Ruth with a "whip", ladies on an inner tube, a sand castle, people buried alive or Geoff cross-dressing. Oh there are also nice pictures of sunsets.

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Cabin Weekend

Last weekend I had the privilege of being invited out to Audrey's Grandparent's cabin. The company, great food and pirate boarding parties all provided for good times, but an event that stood out in my mind was the chance to sleep out on the beach under the brilliant display of stars. (This event may have stood out in others people's minds for different reasons. I don't know what they're talking about. I never heard anyone snoring. I was sleeping too soundly.)

Morning View
Our Morning View

I've thrown together a few pictures I took. I should emphasize the word "few", we were in good hands to have the weekend photo-documented and I'll try to provide links to those people's photos as soon as I'm aware of them.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ed's Birthday Bash

This past weekend I had the chance to celebrate the birthday of a good man by the name of Ed Bohncke. For his birthday he had the privilege of having Tuesday Bloom* perform for him live on an outdoor stage.

* Unfortunately no official website link is provided as web search results provide a litany of things Orlando Bloom has done on Tuesday, as opposed to anything by the band.

Tuesday Bloom comes highly recommended by me. While I can't claim to have good musical taste, I can claim to be picky and Tuesday Bloom matches those arbitrarily high standards. Their songs are musically interesting enough to stand up as coffee house acoustic versions and lively enough to work in an open air festival. Beyond their musical abilities, the group's clearly ad libbed conversational banter provides another layer of enjoyability to the show.

Rocking the Grott with Tuesday Bloom
Rocking the Grott

After the bands had cleared the stage and we had taken a quick dip in the lake, it was the opportune time for a midnight game of ultimate. Out came the Survivoresque torches to mark the end zones and supply of glow sticks to identify the players. The photo provided below isn't actually a cool camera affect, but a fairly accurate portrayal of what it looked like to play the game.

Ultimate At Night
Ultimate At Night

The red circle is fairly obviously the frisbee (or disc for purists). Blue and green blur pairings represent each hand of a player on our team and orange and red the opposing team. Interestingly enough the apparent domination of the blue and green team (mine) seen in the picture, is also fairly accurate.

Playing in the dark provides interesting dynamics. For one, if a defensive player holds their hands behind their back they can't be seen at all (I may or may not know anything about that). Also, because you can only see lights and not the players themselves, you have no idea who is who. Lastly, although we never really play with out of bounds when playing pickup, if you are playing with a chain link fence just outside the boundaries of the playing area, the boundaries are enforced. As discovered by Adam running full speed into one of them.

Overall it was a great night and a great welcome back to Canada for me. Happy Birthday Ed!

Friday, July 21, 2006

It's Officially Infographic Day

Since we're talking infographics anyways, here's another interesting one from today.

Independent Online Edition > New Articles


Hey, I'm back in the Peg. Hopefully I'll have time to do some more recap blogs in the near future, but in the meantime a diversion from the journal style.

Discover how you fit into the rest of the world via a neat infographic at Population : One - One Person is One Pixel.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

In Between Places

I`m sitting in an Internet cafe in Rijeka right now, waiting for a night train to Germany. The Croatian leg of the trip is behind us and the final party in Berlin is before us. At the same time the end of the trip looms before me, a short four days away. So while the promise of weekend full of good times lies ahead of me, already the realities of home that I will need to return to are filling my mind.

From this perspective, I can look back on the trip and how fast the time has flown and say that it was truly great. Since I`m feeling slightly retrospective, I`ll talk more about the life of a backpacker rather than a specific place.

We all take our vacation very seriously, so sleeping in is an important part of our routine. By happy coincedance this also works well with partying late at night. Another important part of our day, beyond relaxing and recreation, is eating. I am happy to say that all members of our travelling crew enjoy eating, so this is often a highlight of the day. Casual conversation over meals prepared fresh with an unparalleled backdrop. Europeans, to make a generalization, tend to appreciate their ingredients. For a foodie at heart, this brings joy to even the simplest dishes.

Of all these things, possibly the most unique aspect that I identify with the travelling life is the expectation of the unknown. Each day we go places we have never gone, eat things we have never had before, meet people for the first time and make decisions with truly unknown outcomes. For me this defines travelling and is the feeling which I will miss the most.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


We are in Croatia at the moment, and are having a blast on the beach, getting tanned, burnt(again), and general enjoying the beach life! Before we left for the beach bum life though, we had some more good times in Germany that need to be highlighted. Monday was both a tragic day for Australia, who were ousted from the world cup, and a celebratory day for Wolfgangs daughter, Laura, who passed a final exam! Salute Laura! We all went out to celebrate that night at a very cool out door beer garden, located in the english gardens.
The Gardens are very beautiful, and we stayed late into the night, drinking beer, and eating giant pretzels. The next day in Munich marked the end of our Bavarian experience for this trip. To end the ocasion, we all went to a local Beer garden which was home to one of the excellent beers from throughout the region. We were not dissapointed. That evening saw us boarding a night train to Croatia, to begin the next leg of our trip. But more later on that.

Ciao for now!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Island Hopping

Hello all,
As you may have been able to tell, I wasn't able to do a post about the wonderful time we had in Munich (and probably won't be able to do a full one until we get back). We're currently in Split waiting for a ferry to take us to Supetar. From there we plan to take a bus to Bol, on the other side of the island. Buzz on the backpacker information circuit is that it's the place to be.

Croatia is swelteringly hot and humid. I have to concentrate quite a bit to think of anything other than water. Luckily Croatia has lots of it. Clear and blue. Our day long bus ride down the coast yesterday had us salivating as we looked out the window and down the sheer drop to the enticingly beautiful water of the adriatic. When the bus slowed for the corners, we could even make out schools of fish darting around in the water (boding well for Geoff and my planned scuba adventures). Upon arriving in Split and getting a room, our first destination was the water. Wonderfully refreshing.

Split is a neat place with an old Roman fort in the center, but it's the beach life that calls us. So we're off, the ferry awaits.

Take care and thanks for all the supportive comments in our posts.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Whirlwind Update

It's been a while and I've admittedly been lazily riding off the fact that Geoff is doing a lot of the blog updates. Currently we're enjoying Munich with Karl's relative, Wolfgang. Since he has an unlimited Internet plan, that means I'll have the rare opportunity to do a post accompanied by pictures. So what follows will be a speedy recap with pictures and a few snippets of text thrown in.


I already wrote a bit about Porto. One of the neat things about Portugal was the colourful tiles used on the buildings, as can be seen on the buildings below.

A typical street in Porto

Porto is of course famous for Port, a fortified wine, which gets its name from the city where it originated. Although created in Portugal, port is a British invention created out of desperation to keep the wine flowing to their country despite the efforts of the French. The result is a very smooth and full tasting drink, which now lives on for its own merits.

Sampling the Port

A Church in Porto

Below is the street festival (mentioned in a previous post) that we randomly came across during our night time exploration.

The Town Square at Night

Monsanto and surrounding towns

Our next destination was with Pedro's relatives

Small Town Portugal

Two Fisting

Cruising with Pedro's Grandpa

After a morning mass in beautiful little church, we spotted an old stone tower on top of a nearby hill. What followed was somewhat inevitable for those of you who know Geoff McGrath. The mission proved to be a very aromatic and picturesque one. Crunching through the arid but beautiful landscape, Geoff and I found our way to the tower, which offered and excellent vantage of the surrounding country.

A Predictable Development

A view from our hike


Lisbon is Portugal's capital and we arrived at the height of the cities summer celebrations.

Home in Lisbon

Earlier I compared the festivities to the intensity of San Fermin, that description may have little meaning for the average Winnipeger. Picture walking from Market Square to The Village. Now transform Portage and Memorial into cobblestone streets the width of a back alley. Fill those streets with young partiers until you can barely walk through them. Turn all the buildings into tall and narrow store fronts, each blaring music to the streets outside. Throw in the odd street vendor, selling food and alcohol of questionable origin. For good measure, make the city a little more 3D and you'll get an idea of what the experience was like. That's the first party area, now copy and paste that, except now make it an all ages crowd and superimpose it over an even older part of the city that feels like you're stepping straight into the middle ages (which architecturally speaking, you pretty much are). It was an amazing experience to say the least.

Scene from a street party

Lisbon has a reputation for thuggery. The amount of people that the festival brings out makes it quite safe, but the old part of town around the castle is essentially a labyrinth and the difference of a block can lead you to dead ends or side streets which are devoid of any company you would wish to share. Below is view of an area in which one would not want to visit at night (even during the day we walked through it at a decidedly quick pace).

A Shady Corner

The castle on top of the "old" part of town is pictured below. I use quotation marks, because by North American standards the main part of the city could be considered quite old as it is. The "old" section, distinguishes itself as being the part the city which remained intact after the earthquake of 1755.

Castle in Lisbon

Striking a Pose

The Algarve

The Algarve is the incredibly touristy section made up by the south of Portugal. The reason it attracted both tourists and ourselves, is fairly self explanatory. Gorgeous beaches at Portuguese prices.

A Night in Faro

The Beach Life

Tagged Tiles


I think I'll revert back to being as brief as I planned. Stuttgart is a really nice city where we saw our World Cup match.

Fanfest Stuttgart

The day of the match I had the great opportunity to visit with Olga again. It was wonderful to catch up and be thoroughly spoiled by her great cooking. Thanks. For those of you in Canada who remember Olga but haven't had a chance to see her new baby, her new baby is super sweet and quite cute (the photographic evidence is below).

The Hoffmans

At our game


Staying in Munich has been a complete blast. Our host, Wolfgang, has been so great that, I'm sure that we would have had an amazing time no matter where we met up with him. The fact that Munich is such a great city is simply a multiplier. It's almost three o'clock in the morning here and everyone else is in bed, so I'll try and add a more deserving and detailed post of the past few days tomorrow. For now, a small sample picture.

On the terrace in Munich

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