Welcome to Bob & Eileen's web site. Bob generally blogs here while Eileen blogs over at her site. You can see our photos from here or click the little camera in the upper right corner.

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January 1, 2013

2013

Filed under: Commentary,Food & Wine,Holidays — Bob @ 10:19 am

tian of salmon lox

Wow. Can’t believe its been nearly six months since I posted anything here, something I want to change in 2013. Last night was New Year’s Eve, Eileen and I went to Trafalgars Bistro with friends for a late dinner and midnight celebration. The picture here is the second course, titled “titan of salmon lox”. Delicious!

I’ve been somewhat busy with various robot and electronics projects, food, and travel since the last update. Here is a list of topics I hope to cover in the next few weeks:

– Progress on my Outdoor Robot project
– Experiences with 3D printing at Shapeways
– My version of the “cone bot”
– Trip to New York City
– Projects going on at Sophos (the things I do during the work week)

Hope everyone is ready for 2013! Below is a pic of our dog Cairo on Christmas Eve, after he destroyed his new stuffed toy. There is no squeaker safe from his wrath!

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June 10, 2012

Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs

Filed under: Commentary,Holidays — Bob @ 2:22 pm

The Pacific Science Center in Seattle currently has on exhibit a traveling show about Egypt’s (arguably) most famous pharaoh Tutankhamun as well as a few other “big name” pharaohs such as Ramses II.

Its impossible to compare a traveling show with the stunning and often overwhelming experience of being in Egypt, visiting the various sites, and being inside the Cairo museum. We had the chance to do that back in 1997 and it was amazing, a place I’m actually keen to revisit someday. But this exhibit was done very well, being both entertaining and educational. It covered a few aspects of ancient Egypt beyond just the famous pharaohs themselves, with a bit about their family and daily lives as is understood today by archaeologists. The pictures here are some of the artifacts on display. The intro video narrated by Harrison Ford was a bit over the top though, and could have been dropped without really detracting from the overall experience. Maybe it was just that having an actor who played an archeologist, rather than actually being an archeologist or historian, that made it sort of ridiculous.

As part of the package we attended the IMAX film Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs that was definitely a miss. It should have been significantly better than it was, it was neither really informative nor entertaining, with a seemingly random storyline and was often confusing to an educated viewer.

July 11, 2010

Weekend Away

Filed under: Food & Wine,Holidays — Bob @ 4:00 pm

We went away this past weekend for a four day mini-vacation up the coast to Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast. We stayed at a great little B&B called Marian’s on the Coast. Its in a wonderful location and since they are “dog friendly” we took the two dogs Bailey and Cairo with us.

The B&B has a nicely equipped kitchen so we made our own meals most of the time. I made ham and cheese omelettes each morning and we grilled out for lunch. Dinner was usually fruit, cheese, and wine (or port – we had a nice Smith Woodhouse LBV with us).

We did have lunch in town once, at the Sweet Water Bistro (Urbanspoon link). We stopped in Mike’s Gelato as well, for a refreshing treat while poking around town. We didn’t get to Smitty’s but was recommended; next time we’ll go there for oysters for sure.

Gibsons is about 40 minutes by ferry, and the B&B is another ten minute drive. Highly recommended if you are visiting that area.

I uploaded some photos here, enjoy!

June 1, 2008

Absolutely Smashing…

Filed under: Commentary,Food & Wine,Holidays — Bob @ 5:00 pm

Eileen and I went up to the Okanagan valley on our annual pilgrimage to the wine country of B.C. Every spring we go to visit old favorites and try the newer ventures. We had a fantastic long weekend, leaving home on Thursday and getting back on Sunday. The weather was really outstanding and the guest house at Burrowing Owl is very luxurious, enough so that it is easy to get relaxed in a matter of hours rather than the typical days of decompression it might take on any other holiday.

Our return trip this morning started off with very unusual weather: rain! Good thing we had decided to head out early such that we could pick up the dogs from their “spa weekend” on the way home. Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned: on one of the sharp turns outside of Princeton a car crossed the center line and smashed into the driver’s side door of our blue Saturn. The picture pretty much says it all. Fortunately no one seems to have been injured, and the story ends better than it might have.

It is a bit weird having an accident outside any major population center; there was no cell service for anyone’s phone and there was limited traffic passing by (although all who did pass stopped to see if they could help). We packed ourselves up and headed back 20km to Princeton to find the local RCMP detachment and look into how we might want to get our car back to Vancouver. Princeton isn’t exactly a major destination spot in B.C. One tow truck service, no car rental options, and quite limited choices for pretty much everything else. We stopped at the Husky gas station as it was the first place we came to, though the staff was moderately unhelpful. We got cell service and started calling around to the RCMP to report the accident.

Someone else had already reported it however, which explained the police, ambulance and fire rescue service vehicles we passed on the way back to town. I guess they weren’t taking any chances on whether we were lying a pool of our own blood and body parts, potentially pinned under a blazing car. Better safe than sorry, which is fine by me. The only downside was that we had to wait while they got out to the site, concluded there wasn’t anyone to rescue, then drove back to town to interview everyone involved.

After some waiting, then some explaining, then more waiting, we were handed our police report and sent off on our way. During part of the waiting we occupied ourselves with talking about how lucky we’d been and also trying to recollect whether we thought our car was too badly damaged to drive or not. The impact was low speed and from the side such that our airbags did not deploy. I recalled kicking open the door to get out, while Eileen’s door was pinned against the concrete barrier that protected us from driving off the road to relative safety. We weren’t really sure whether there had been damage to the wheels or not.

We got a tow truck to take us back out to the scene and investigate whether our day was going to get much, much longer. Turns out with a sharp kick to force the door securely closed, careful removal of the debris from what was left of the door, and some duct tape to secure the remaining dangling plastic fragments we could drive the car safely enough to get back to Vancouver.

All in all, we were amazingly lucky. I’m very impressed with the way our Saturn weathered the damage, but I wouldn’t want to try it again. The white Honda Accord that hit us didn’t hold up nearly as well, tearing away the front quarter panel and front bumper.

Besides not sustaining any injury and only moderate damage, the other good thing is that our six cases of wine in the trunk were not damaged at all. Whew.

August 28, 2006

Okanagan Valley

Filed under: Food & Wine,Holidays — Bob @ 7:23 pm

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Eileen and I spent a long weekend in the Okanagan Valley here in B.C. We went out there to visit a few of the many wineries in that region, do a bit of sight-seeing, and relax a bit. We were not disappointed.

We stayed at the Heritage Inn in Naramata. Its an old restored hotel set in a sleepy little village at the end of the road from Penticton. We spent a lot of time eating and drinking at the wine bar. The hotel has a very relaxing atmosphere and we enjoyed ourselves quite a bit.

We visited a dozen or so different wineries in the region stretching from Oliver to Naramata, stopping at as many vineyards we knew as those we didn’t. It was a fantastic way to discover new places and rediscover the places behind the names we knew.

Our favorite location for the all-around experience was Lake Breeze. Their Pinot Blanc was perfect for sipping before lunch on their patio, and their food from the outdoor kitchen was terrific. We tend to drink more reds than whites however, so we had to press on searching the other venues.

The two most interesting locations were Elephant Island and Silver Sage. Elephant Island specializes in non-grape wines. We almost passed as we didn’t really have high hopes but we’re glad we took the chance. Their pear wine is very delicate and their Cassis is amazing. Silver Sage offers some truly unique products like a Gewurztraminer soaked in sage and a late-harvest dessert wine with a jalapeno pepper in the bottle. Their name for this weird concoction Flame is quite appropriate. Their logo is creepy though.

Our favorite reds came from Kettle Valley and Burrowing Owl. Both offerings will need some time to mature, but a couple of years in the cellar will do the job. The picture in the corner above is a snapshot of a few of the wines we purchased on the trip; our wine rack is now pretty full.

We’d highly recommend a visit. Three or four days is more than enough to make a serious study of wine and food. And the scenery is quite pleasant too!

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