CALGARY RAT RAG - JUNE 2020 EDITION

" I'm the RAT and I WRITE what I SEE " - the RAT

Thursday, June 11th 2020

There's an impromptu folk fest down at The Prince's Island Stage. Attendance: 10 or so.

Made eye contact and said hello to a number of people. As a trend this is noticable and nice, a compensatory mechanism for avoiding each other like the plague.

There was a picnic up at Crescent Heights park. Attendance: 10 or so. A lot of white men in their 30s or late 20s wear tie-dyed tank tops these days. A good trend. Nearby the tennis courts were very poppin'.

Also saw some Black Lives Matter artwork and I hope people decorate the entire city with it, it's beautiful. It had two black fists and a red fist. I hope the red fist is for Indigenous Lives Matter.

The mountains seem clearer than usual. There must still be fewer cars on the road. We don't have air that smells like Banff Air like we did at Peak Pandemic, though. I heard a loud car ripping up Crowchild Trail. I couldn't see who was inside or what type of car because it was 10 or 15 blocks away.

Lots of people skateboarding on Crescent Road NW. Lots of young kids out too-late with their parents. Good for their parents!

There are some fancy houses in Crescent Heights. One of them has a digger in their front lawn to rip up sidewalk blocks. Very interesting!

On to Ramsey. There is a construction site near Calgary Co-op up at Ramsey. It blocks part of the sidewalk, so make sure to approach from the west.

They have a new brand, it's to replace Co-op Gold since they dumped their supply chain and it's called Cal & Gary. They sell laundry soap and I saw that for the first time today and the slogan was, "LET'S GET DIRTY, CALGARY!" Well maybe I just will! Maybe I already am! Maybe I can't help it!

June is the best month in Calgary. It's over before you know it but it's magical.

Friday, June 12th 2020

Riley park was not very busy, but there were several groups out socializing and a cricket game in progress.

Clouds overhead. As the afternoon wore on, thunder started to roll but I was indoors by then.

Saturday, June 13th 2020

There was a line-up at Canadian Tire1 which looked like it was for a Skrillex concert, from the store entrance almost all the way to the end of the store, about one-third of a block.

A large number of people were out walking for pleasure at Union Cemetary. One man appeared stranded, down on his luck, and thirsty in the summer heat along Spiller Road, and another was pushing a shopping cart laden with belongings near the parking lot of 39th Avenue Station.

People driving cars were unusually courteous and cautious. There were many more cars on the road this weekend than has been the case since COVID-19 hit, or so it seemed.

A big storm threatened about 2pm but it did not materialize until around 6pm. The in-between was beautiful and sunny.

As the night wore on the storm became quite torrential, finally ending about 10pm. I saw a small amount of hail but no bigger than a pea.

1 Macleod Trail and Southland Drive location.

Sunday, June 14th 2020

A beautiful, sunny day.

A group of children were mountain-biking on a challenging single-track section in the northwest part of the city near Silver Springs.

An autonomous lawn-mower was doing it's thing in Varsity, only a block from Market Mall.

Monday, June 15 2020

The miniature informal folk-fest continues in Prince's Island Park. Crowds are small, so that they cannot really be called crowds. There are circles chalked into the grass to allow for convenient and accurate social distancing calculations.

A man played guitar and sang "Welcome To The Hotel California", a song originally by The Eagles. A man in the audience exclaimed, "This is hilarious! I just think this is funny!" before running up on stage and playing an impromptu percussive accompaniament with his palms, slapping the performer's guitar amp. No-one seemed to mind, least of all the performer, and the effect was overall good.

After this, another man rapped about the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, a group of people was playing a lawn game where you throw a bolo and attempt to loop it around a ladder-like rung. Other groups of people played games. Some other people were grouped on stage.

Ultimately, the quality of the music was excellent but the audience was inattentive to it, being more interested in their games and socializing.

Alert: There is a sign about a lost dog with health issues in West Springs-slash-Wentworth. Several groups of teens were socializing in a school field nearby. Other people were out bike riding or walking.

No-one was seen on their balcony at all throughout Patterson, Prominence Point, West Springs, Wentworth, or Strathcona, despite incredible views of the sunset and a lovely cool evening. Perhaps as many as one hundred empty balconies were surveyed between 8:30 and 9:00pm.

A man was pushing a shopping cart in Glendale. A well-dressed man in a new vest was sitting amidst what may have been his belongings at 7-11 nearby. A man was raving at no-one or else someone he imagined along 17th Avenue SW near 14th Street. Police were interacting with a group of people with shopping carts and an extremely large plush teddy-bear near 14th Street and Kensigton Road.

Tuesday, June 16 2020

Graduates were everywhere at SAIT and in Crescent Heights along the ridge, decked in tuxedos and fine dresses having their photos taken by family. Some were wearing the flat-topped "graduate caps".

Clouds threatened and spit a little rain, but there wasn't much wind so the effect was quite mild.

Vehicle traffic at the intersection of 14th St and 5th Ave NW in West Hillhurst was very high right around 4:30.

Wednesday, June 17 2020

Goodwill in Varsity was busy. The store has a blue bin system for dropping off donations to minimize contact that staff needs to have with people making donations. The system works well and needs no explanation-- most people seemed to understand immediately. At least one person seemed oblivious, unfortunately, calling outside one of the staff to explain in detail at close distance about a glass-topped coffee table, and how the glass was breakable, and part of the coffee table, and how it sat on top.

Some customers were wearing face-masks, and some staff. Plexiglass shields were installed at the checkout counter and markers on the floor to stand on. Staff gave clear directions to place the purchased goods on the counter and step back. Overall well-organized and a good system, the only obvious problems being a few oblivious customers.

A large concrete pour was underway at University District residential development. Construction staff were directing traffic, which was reduced to one-way. This is not a very busy road. Traffic direction was clear and staff were smiling.

The Bike Shop downtown was also busy. The atmosphere seemed comparatively relaxed. Before restrictions were eased, they had a strict policy to allow only a small number of customers into the store at once, with staff giving out a number and everyone waiting in the parking lot until their number came up. Today, it was much closer to normal except with markings on the floor to help maintain social distancing.

A white board near the entrance listed clearly some things they were out of: Hard-Tail Mountain Bikes and Road Bikes Under $2K are ones I can remember; there were five or so others. They were even out of chain lube-- almost. (This was not on the board.)

Staff appeared a bit frustrated or tired, despite offering excellent service as is always the case here. Interestingly, only myself and two other customers had masks on, of about the ten or fifteen in the store. One of the other customers later removed their mask.

Thursday, June 18 2020

The construction of the Sunnyside Lift Station is happening. A man was cutting cinder blocks with a table saw, and a lot was going on besides that.

The site is quite cramped and there is a lot of food traffic immediately adjacent to it, it must be like being in a fishbowl compared to most construction sites.

When I first saw a sign announcing the Sunnyside Lift Station I thought it meant they had decided to build an escalator up McHugh Bluff. It's not that, unfortunately.

Friday, June 19 2020 - LATE ENTRY

Eau Claire market is open, including Son of Pharoah which is easily Calgary's best shop.

Saturday, June 20 2020 - LATE ENTRY

Overall the city felt eerily abandoned for such a nice Saturday.

A number of families in Douglasdale taking advantage of patios and firepits. One family has a kind of tent, and the firepit goes inside the tent. The tent is for screening bugs. A great idea!

In the evening, lots and lots of electric scooter activity along the bow river and through downtown.

Sunday, June 21 2020

An extremely striking cloud was seen over the city's northwest.

An extended family was playing with a parachute and soccer ball at the park, the parachute being too-small to be used as a parachute1 but just the right-size for games. Initially when bringing the parachute out, one older man who was part of the group ran under the parachute and said, "Grandpa needs shade!", an unlikely claim for which the family's children rightly hounded him out.

1 excepting maybe for a small dog.

Monday, June 22 2020

Two radio towers (only one is pictured above, from two different angles; the other is forbidden by the newspaper editorial rules from being photographed) stand sentinal above the Inland Athletic Park, which is situated in Calgary's ugliest and most depressing artificial depression.

The swimming lagoon as well as the football pitch are both closed, or at least disused at the time of observation (approximately 10:30pm.)

Surprisingly, mosquitoes were not swarming in thick and choking clouds on the ridge above. It is of course not generally known what goes on down in the depression itself.

Tuesday, June 23 2020

The planetarium still is, and especially versus that sky.

It could not be seen if a telescope still was, and it was not known at the time of publication whether any new scientific observations had been made there, recently or ever.

There were multiple improvements to the 8th avenue bike lane, which must have been recently made. Multiple! I counted three, but it felt like one million:

  1. lines in front of Westview Heights were re-painted to be the appropriate width, instead of being the width of a suitcase.
  2. the bus stop zone in the SE corner of 8th Ave and 6th St SW was shortened, which should reduce the number of delivery trucks and single passenger vehicles that can park here, or at least, park here at once; this is slightly astounding and might even have been a mistake.
  3. a "bump out scoop" (I believe this is not the technical term used by city planners and-or urbanists) was added at the NE corner of 9th Ave and 4th St SE

Multiple!

There were also heavy barricades moved back that when last seen had been scrumbly-shifted somehow to rest square in the middle of the bike lane, a perrenial problem (for instance, at the NE corner of 8th and 8th SW.) I could not see any barricades out of place at all any more, and very recently this one at least for sure was. So that makes 4.

A person was driving a car the wrong way down the one way on 9th avenue (they neglected to turn at 3rd St SE). This was observed while riding a bike the wrong way in the westbound bike lane right next to them-- a special moment for both of us where we could pretend to be in England. No harm was done, which is the powerful effect of traveling slowly.

Wednesday, June 24 2020 - LATE ENTRY

A young woman on a scooter near peace bridge was following her friends more slowly and carefully than they were traveling.

Another couple on a scooter were seen to ride north across the bridge, then return shortly after riding south.

Thursday, June 25 2020

The moon is a sly crescent on incredible skies. Riverside Towers caught these and sent them toward West Campus Boulevard NW, where peeking over a hill they were reminiscent of an imagined future in film.

Cottonwood trees in Confederation Park were emitting a powerful amount of fluff. Many families with young children were out.

A girl on a bicycle was following her friends more slowly and carefully than they were traveling. One friend taunted her, but she boldly yelled back: "Don't judge me!"

The area around Peace Bridge plaza was bustling. The only sign of COVID-19 here is the incredible skew toward younger people, much more than would be normal for this area. Only a small number of people were seen wearing masks.

One last piece of good news: the autonomous lawnmower in Varsity is continuing to quietly and efficiently do it's job.

Friday, June 26 2020

At approximately 10:51pm, a mid-sized porcupine dundled across the pathway in Nose Hill park. Before that, a twilight deer was unimpressed by tofubeats.

Travel section: a speed bump on SAIT campus is well-worth a visit! It's the most perfectly-lit speed bump in Calgary, all thanks to precisely-aligned and copious pot lighting above. This alignment may not have been intentional, since a similar speed bump about ten meters away did not receive a similar treatment. Regardless, it's a real treat for anyone who finds it, but come at night-- perhaps even on a new moon!-- when it will look its best.

In crime news, a suspicious truck was parked in the parking lot near Confederation Park along Cambrian Drive-- facing the roadway with their headlights on. They left after being observed, perhaps to complete a criminal deal.

Finally, in a separate but possibly-related incident, a person in Huntington Hills was seen closing their curtains while they peered out into the street.

Saturday, June 27 2020

Geese and goslings was seen along the path-- it seems a bit late in the year for that so don't know what's up. Also, rain came out of a lot of the clouds today and it wet.

Sunday, June 28 2020

Unfortunately, more crime to report: A large number of washers (tens to hundreds) together with some plastic inserts, but only a few bolts, were found strewn near 39th Avenue C-Train Station.1

I investigated the area and nearby found who I believe may be the culprit. Before fleeing, I managed to snap a picture of them for these pages, below:

They are a 20ft monster and should be considered armed and dangerous.

Just now while napping, I recieved a captain's log in a dream, I'm reporting it here in case it is a message from the future or the past, sent by someone who knows I can be trusted to report it accurately. It goes:

It was found that bread, yeast, and milk could be had in a "prosumer way." After we had traded a few little things and we had got such a stuff bounty, then it was so that each man in turn said to himself: "all this for just that?"

Traffic repot: everyone is out driving cars again and some of the young men are smirking as they do. Nature is attacking us with one of her great weapons and it's as if we stand and say: "you won't stop us! we will finish killing you!"

1 Currently under repair.

Monday, June 29 2020 - LATE ENTRY

A quiet day with nothing to report. The above pictures were shot near the Foothills Hospital; the entire vista here is very cyberpunk, a mystery I cannot solve.

Tuesday, June 30 2020 - LATE ENTRY

There were coins on the ground where people were lining up at the COVID-19 testing center. No-one was attempting to pick them up.

Inside the testing center, near the front desk, was another coin.

If you lost some coins and are reading this: they are at the COVID-19 test center on Richmond Rd.

RAT OUT
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