A Town by Any Other Name…

Have you ever said a word one too many times in a row, and it totally lost all meaning? Meaning. Meeening. MeNING. Miiiinuuunggg. Ugh.

It’s jarring when that happens because you sort of lose the run of yourself for a second. The familiar word becomes foreign, your tongue seems to have a mind of its own, and your brain suddenly switches to a language you don’t know. You know what I mean?

It’s also unnerving when you really think about a word you’ve mindlessly repeated for years. For instance, have you every really thought about the name of the place you grew up? I mean really thought about it? On the one hand, the name means so much more than the actual word. But on the other hand the word is really quite meaningless, right? Weird.

I’m pondering this random topic because of a great post I recently stumbled on that takes Saskatchewan town names and turns them into a story. That doesn’t really make much sense without some context, so you should probably take a few minutes to read Shanomi’s “A Prairie Thing” post for yourself before I continue…

Okay, now that you’ve done the assigned homework, I must say that Shanomi’s post has me thinking about my home province of Alberta in a totally different way. While some of the town names I grew up around have always sounded ridiculous (Lacombe, for example, never fails to bring to mind a French hairdresser’s tools), her post really made me think about all the towns I’m most familiar with. So, in the spirit of Shanomi’s post, allow me to introduce a few of Alberta’s unique places.

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Only in Vegas: Not What the Doctor Ordered

Riddle me this: where can someone tipping the scales at 350 lbs (or more) eat for free in Vegas? Why, at the Heart Attack Grill of course! But before you order that free meal, you’ll have to prove you’re worthy by getting on the cattle scale outside the restaurant.

Yep, you read that correctly. And it gets better. Continue reading

Only in Vegas: Paying to Cheat Death

Unless the building was on fire, it’s highly unlikely that you would ever willfully fling yourself off a skyscraper. That choice would be even more improbable if you were told you had to pay for the pleasure of such a ridiculous act. But none of that holds true in Las Vegas, where vacationers eagerly pay the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower a pretty penny to strap themselves in to some of the most outlandish rides ever created.

With only four rides to choose from, at first glance you might think that’s pretty weak by Vegas standards. But once you figure out how mind-blowing each of these over-the-top attractions is, you’ll quickly realize the error of your first impression. Here’s a breakdown of the ways you can seek some serious thrills at the top of Stratosphere: Continue reading

Only in Vegas: A Quirky Series

Since the first time I spotted the Strip from the window of an airplane, I have been irrationally and inexplicably enamored with all that Sin City has to offer. One of the ways I can gauge the passage of time is by my desire for a quick trip to Vegas…the longer it has been, the stronger the pull.

After an absence of six months or so I start to daydream about splitting two aces at a blackjack table in Bill’s Gambling Hall, hunting for bargains at the Fashion Show Mall, and sipping a Spanish Trampoline at the Mirage’s Rhumbar. I know it sounds a little crazy, but everyone has their happy place and Vegas happens to be one of mine. Even my love for Vegas has boundaries though, and I’m convinced that spending any longer than three days at a stretch on the Strip is a leading cause of insanity. All good things in moderation, right? Continue reading

Lovely Day for a Guinness

Considering my ancestors are from Omagh (Co. Tyrone), and my husband is a born and bred Dubliner, I can’t really let St. Patrick’s Day pass without writing something. But debating the virtues of shots made with Baileys has been done, and there’s no point in offering tips to prevent your tongue from turning green at the bar tonight because it’s destined to happen. So to mix it up a bit I’ve decided to focus on Ireland’s #1 tourist destination by taking you on a photographic tour of the Guinness Storehouse.

Having visited the Guinness Storehouse in the summer of 2010, I can honestly say that it is one of the best planned and most interesting tourist traps I have ever visited. While the three Dubliners I was with might argue that the pint at the end was the best part of the day, this Canadian visitor loved every part of the tour.

Note: the photos below were all taken by yours truly, and explanations can be found by hovering over the image with your mouse.

Arriving at the birthplace of Guinness Continue reading