Christmas in California

Seeing as Toronto has been cold and crummy the past couple weeks, I'm going to take one last trip down memory lane and revisit my family's nice warm Christmas trip to Huntington Beach, California. It's one of my favorite places to be any time of year, no exceptions, so keeping my mind out there should get me through the biting cold that is Toronto winter.

The days I found most memorable are the days I took pictures of, though it may just be that I remember them best because I have pictures of them. Regardless, since those are the days that I can illustrate, those are the days I'm going to detail. The fact that I have pictures at all comes as a surprise, I'm tend to forget about immortalizing moments on camera. But enough rambling, it's Christmas all over again, I'm excited.

The first interesting (Every day in California is interesting, but the first MORE interesting day) was when the men of the household all went out for a gentlemanly sail a little ways south of Huntington. My sister's boyfriend Tom has spent the last couple years fixing up an old sailboat with a friend of his, and he was kind enough to bring my dad, brother and I out on the water with him. We went out expecting a little turbulence since it had been rainy for the last few days, instead we got dead calm. There wasn't even enough wind to fill the sail so we just drifted most of the time. Looks like the wind was taking a break over the holidays too, can't blame it.
Dad steering
Dustin at the main (only) mast
Seals sleeping on the buoy
Captain Brownbeard
Then we went to Universal Studios on my recommendation. I thought I remembered a lot of great rides and whatnot, plus I had heard there was a new Harry Potter section of the amusement park. As it turns out, that's all at the Universal Studios in Orlando. Tough one. We still managed to enjoy ourselves with all the 3D rides they had here, almost as good as the real thing.
All pictures from the Jurassic Park ride
Finally came Christmas. A day enjoying each others company and a night of the same plus feasting. To top it all off, a photographer friend of Milou's took a nice family photo of our very own "Family Tree":
Family tree, with gift Tom
Happy Belated Holidays,

Ben Jammin

PS: For those of you who didn't believe my Halloween costume was me, I've posted it to the left. The same friend of Milou's took that picture as well. Notice the same backdrop and same color tint. Believe it!


All Work and Snow Play

Since over the last month or so, I've been fairly inconsistent (non-existent) in my blogging, I shall recount my holidays one story at a time. I know it's no longer the holidays, but everyone likes to make memories last.

Upon my return to Calgary for the holidays, the first thing I saw was snow (it engulfed everything, I'd be surprised if it wasn't the first thing I noticed). So I immediately began planning my activities. Actually, I suppose I should say my activity (singular), because the only thing i wanted to do was build a snow sculpture to rival those of the last two years. Quick refresher for those of you who haven't met my artistic side. I only seem to get creative in the winter, so I don't blame you for being surprised:

February 2008:
During reading week at St. Joe's, my residence during  my second year at U of A, myself and handful of other residents decided to recreate a picture hanging on the wall in the common room. In case you can't tell from the picture, those are monkeys displaying the proverb "See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil" as well as the Joe's special addition "Do no evil". I headed the operation, but it would not have gotten done without the help of several St. Joe's Rangers. Cheers Boys

December 2009:
Last Christmas I decided on a solo project. I was in the Christmas mood, so Santa seemed like the obvious choice. It took about a week and constantly brushing off new falling snow, but I got it done and it doesn't look half bad if I do say so myself. Unfortunately the pictures weren't very clear, it was a cloudy day and I had to leave the next morning back to Toronto, but I do have more. If you want to see them let me know, I'm always ready to show off.

December 2010:
I wanted this year's masterpiece to eclipse the previous couple short lived works of art. See how many pictures it take you before my intentions become known:
Camille and I heading towards the build site

Getting started

Laying the foundations

home made sculpting tools

Block art


Halfway done

I even dug out the inside

The sleigh was all ready for us to sit inside before.....

This happened
Unfortunately, while at home I didn't have a residence full of engineers to help me out with the structural integrity. The problem with having my own design and following it to a tee, is that packed snow is heavy, something I didn't factor into my blueprint. Thanks to gravity, heavy things fall. Thanks to gravity, heavy things are hard to pick up and put back into place. I suppose this year was not meant to be, but I'll learn from my mistakes, and there's always next year.

P.S. In case anyone is wondering why there were two big blocks, the smaller one was supposed to be a reindeer.