Friday, July 21, 2006

The Centre of the Universe is moving

I don't often write about Canadian towns and cities unless they appear as a part of another subject, but this I just couldn't pass up.

What do the newly formed Canadian Special Operations Regiment, Battlestar Galactica and the city of San Diego's garbage trucks have in common?

Kamloops, British Columbia!

I know you were waiting for Vancouver or maybe even Mississauga but, no, Kamloops is rapidly becoming the centre of the universe. Home of the most useless and dumbest member of parliament in the House of Commons, Kamloops overcomes this minor liability by being progressive and, well, just plain attractive to many groups for many different things.

It would seem that Kamloops has a somewhat unique terrain and a summer temperature which Special Operations Command finds share some similarities with Afghanistan. I can attest to that, having jumped into Kamloops many years ago, before the new armoury was built and BPB (before pine beetles). It's a little more grassy, there are some really nasty trees and the thermals can play havoc with a parachute canopy that has been cut down too many times, which is the only explanation I can provide for missing the drop-zone and landing in the Canadian National Railway yard on the wrong side of the Thompson River. Of course, Afghanistan doesn't have one of these. And no offense intended to the Afghanis, but jumping into Kamloops means planting one's boots among some incredibly sexy, very fit and exceptionally friendly women who tend to dress for the weather. I speak from direct personal experience. I should add that Kamloops has cowboys - real cowboys. But, I digress... I think.

The Kamloops temperature, which during the summer can exceed 40 degrees C (104 F), is a little cooler than South Asia, but it's close enough, although the South Thompson region is semi-arid compared to the mostly arid regions of South Asia. Anyway, CSOR is in the process of completing 16 weeks of training and at the time of writing are busy doing marches across the terrain in 41 degree C (105.8 F) heat.

And, if Kamloops is able to emulate Afghanistan, or parts of it, it also apparently looks a lot like some alien planet... somewhere. Battlestar Galactica, usually shot in Vancouver, is planning a location shoot in Kamloops. (Link will change, so here's the story):

There’s no word on what television planet Kamloops resembles, but crews from the TV series Battlestar Galactica will be here four days this summer.
Dates or precise locations for filming were not announced.
Vicci Weller, executive director of film for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, said about 80 crew members will stay in Kamloops while they build sets and film the episode over four days.
The economic impact is estimated at about $100,000 for the local economy.
Kamloops mayor Terry Lake, who is vice-chairman of the film commission, said landing the sci-fi series is a coup because tightly budgeted television productions seldom range far from Vancouver.
“Our desert look and the city’s infrastructure continues to be a significant enticement to the film industry,” he said.
Weller said a 20-member team of producers, writers, director, location manager and key crew members toured the area twice before deciding on a location. They looked at Afton Mine, Highland Valley Copper, Ashcroft and chose the Kamloops area
Wow! They passed up Ashcroft! I can understand that. Ashcroft has a very Tatooine look to it. That and it has Vancouver's future garbage dump, which is a great way to cover up all that cow poop on an old ranch.

OK, on to San Diego. San Diego is my favourite US city. It easily lays claim to the title, America's Finest City. Nestled just above the Baja peninsula in Southern California, the climate is great, the people are friendly and the zoo is incredible. I spent a lot of time in San Diego over several decades including a period where I actually lived there. San Diego has a population of some incredibly sexy, very fit and exceptionally friendly women who tend to dress for the weather. That makes it a good training ground for future missions to Kamloops. Again, I speak from direct personal experience, although it was decades ago. Apparently the women haven't changed in 30 years given the occasional comment in that direction by one of my favourite San Diego and somewhat popular bloggers. (The basset hounds would be SoCal bassets which would make them very laid-back and cool.) There's lots to do in San Diego including a visit to the Gaslamp Quarter. If you happen to be there, stop in and say HI to my old friend Larry. (Order a schnapps and he'll know where you got idea to visit.) Or, you could go to Dick's place.

Anyway, Kamloops, always progressive and preparing for the future, has a different interest in San Diego. Kamloops loves San Diego's garbage trucks. Hey! We talking engineers here. San Diego, aside from all the other attractions, has one of the most efficient garbage collection systems in North America. Kamloops will not be outdone. Having gone to an automated collection system, there is every chance that Kamloops, (which has a zoo too!), will adopt a majority of San Diego's waste collection system. At least piece by piece. The next stage appears to be San Diego style garbage trucks followed possibly by a GPS system which will help the drivers find their way back to the public works yard. (It's a big area and when you're amongst the sagebrush, it all looks the same.)

Note that Kamloops rejected Vancouver's system. This has nothing to do with the Vancouver attempt to ship urban coyotes into the Kamloops region, only to be told by the mayor, "Keep your own vermin." Anyway, Kamloops marmots are the same size as a small wolverine and have a tendency to chase coyotes.

So, sorry Vancouver, Toronto and Deer Lake, Kamloops is moving out and up. They're already expanding the financial district to deal with the expected influx of bankers.

Oh yes, Kamloops has some of the best star-gazing in North America. Robert Redford, Angela Jolie....

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