In 2010 I had the opportunity to witness a once-in-a-lifetime event. Spock came home to Vulcan. Leonard Nimoy was very instrumental in getting a pre-release screening of Star Trek (2009) for the residents of Vulcan, Alberta. This was a real treat for me, as well as for many other people to get a chance to see him in our hometown.
The afternoon was a whirlwind of activity and Mr. Nimoy wasn’t able to stay long as he had other committments at the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. Still, it was a day that impacted my life as I got to meet a man that has contributed to the world of TV and Film as well as art through his photography work.
What a great man, who was willing to lay aside his own schedule and put others first. He did this on many occasions and our community was blessed to experience the kindness, thoughtfulness and gratitude of one Leonard Nimoy.
You lived long and prospered. May you now rest in peace.
Listen to his acceptance speech to the people of Vulcan, Alberta here.
In our travels over the past week, we stopped by quite a few interesting places. In addition to the plethora of vineyards, orchards and other seasonal haunts, we found our way to the Osoyoos Desert Railroad today. This is a little hidden gem that is back off the beaten path, but well worth the time it takes to find. We poked around there with my folks and saw all manner of activities, accidents and goings-on in this fantastic village.
This “little” railroad spans over 2km of track and almost everything is 1/87 scale (HO) scale and all of the 16,000+ residents have been hand-painted. All in all, it took this couple over 14 years of planning, effort and dedication to put together this incredible metropolis. Along with a corn-maze, military training base and shipyard, there are numerous other neighborhoods to explore. We spent a solid two hours viewing it “from the air” and could have spent the entire day roaming the streets and taking in all the activity along the railroad.
Please click the images above, and then go full-screen to take in all the details.
This goes to show you that no matter where your travels take you, there is always something worth checking out and great people to meet – if you slow down and take some time. If you ever down to Osoyoos, B.C., make sure to check out life along the railroad. You won’t be disappointed.
I had a chance to head down to Omak, Washington and snoop around. While some of my family was off shopping I stumbled into a little gem – the Omak Music store. This store actually had a pretty decent selection of acoustic and electric guitars, as well as enough cables, gig-bags, mixers, amps and more to keep most musicians happy while they are on the road – or playing at a local venue.
Inside the store I was met by the owner Sealja and a older gentleman named Ted. The two were sitting in the middle of the store shooting the breeze and Ted had a very nice 8-string mandolin on his lap. I poked around the store for a bit and then struck up a conversation. Ted is quite the craftsman – an expert luthier by all accounts and he in fact had made the mandolin that he was gently holding. When I asked him if he could actually play (to provoke him to play), he gladly obliged. After he played “Rag Time Gal”, Sealja pulled a guitar out of a bag and joined him for another song.
The raw talent of these two is mind-blowing and they played a couple more short songs before Ted stopped and started talking about the instruments he makes. He’s actually made quite a few different ukuleles, guitars, mandolins, violins and what he has the most fun making – his “pan”dolin. This is pretty much what it sounds like – a mandolin made from a pan. The body of the mandolin is an aluminum cake pan and with some love, care, attention and engineering, Ted puts a walnut neck on the instrument and strings it with as much care as he does any full mandolin. At the end of the day, you get a solid instrument that can take a bit of a beating and it still says in tune.
He played a few songs on this as well.
Gosh, I’m amazed at people, their abilities, talents, gifts and skills. It’s amazing what you’ll find in any town – let alone in Omak, Washington at the Omak music store. That was the highlight of Washington state this time around.