Friday, June 28, 2013

Calgary Flood 2013 - Day 9

I was back on the streets after taking a break (partially to work and partially to troll every Internet news source I could find.)

Today I joined a cleaning crew hauling stuff out of the basement of the Chinese Seniors Centre.  A short muscular Auzzie actually yelled, "Yeah, baby!" when I jumped in the line.

Afterwards I cycled to Mission to check on a friend's apartment building (it was fine).

On the way home I swung by the Central Library to watch workers use grey Library delivery bins to haul books and debris from the basement.

Then I got as close as I could to what remains of Prince's Island Park.  There were blue fences set up along the bike path and on the pedestrian bridges.  At one of the pedestrian bridges I encountered a young 20-something couple.

"What are these barriers here for?" the girl asked.

"Um, there was a flood," I replied, then muttered "duh" under my breath.

They decided to ignore the barriers and cross the pedestrian bridge.  "Have a nice day," the girl called over her shoulder.

"Have you heard of Nenshi nouns?" I called back.

These two totally ruined the human love-buzz I'd been feeling all week.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Mayor Nenshi, lemonade & cookies

OMG!!! Some neighborhood kids are selling cookies and lemonade on the corner; money going towards Red Cross flood relief. You can hear them calling out, "Lemonade, Red Cross" whenever a car goes by. Suddenly, I hear a woman squeal. Mayor Nenshi just pulled up on his way to the Emergency Operations Centre. He stopped to chat a moment with the kids. Of course mom took a photo. I was too far away to get him with the kids, but I did get a shot of him with lemonade in one hand and a fistful of cookies in the other. Best mayor ever!!!!


Calgary Flood 2013 - Day 5

Went to McMahon Stadium at 10:00 this morning.  So did thousands of other people.  Organizers ran out of volunteer waiver forms.  They only had 600.  I was one of the 600.  Waited for what seemed like hours to get put through a tent, have someone sign my waiver, and then tell me to wait for an available bus.  Waited for what seemed like hours for a bus, only to be told that there weren't enough buses and that we would have to find our own way to a clean up muster point.  So I got in another line and waited, only minutes this time, to find out my group was going to Roscarock and other places in the SW.  Rather than try to find someone to car pool with, I cycled home. 

Nenshi was at McMahon and received a roaring reception.  (Is that guy loved or what?)  He told everyone to help their neighbor, even if you didn't fill out an official City of Calgary volunteer form. He encouraged everyone to get out there and help each other.

Got home at 1:00 p.m. and I'm having lunch.  In a moment,  I'll walk down to Sunnyside to see if I can help there.


Unfortunately, going to Sunnyside didn't happen.  I got caught up in editing this morning's photos for Flickr. [Hi, my name is Wanda and I am a photographer. The twelve steps to recovery are...?]  Then realized that cycling to McMahon Stadium and back killed my energy. [I've really got to get in shape.]  Will try going to Sunnyside tomorrow morning.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Calgary Flood 2013 - Day 4

Decided to stay home today. Some flood evacuees have been allowed to return to their homes.  The military has started clean up.  I don't need to be in the way.  Also feeling exhausted from all the running around I did the last 3 days. I posted a few more photos to Flickr from the past 3 days, trolled Twitter and Flickr for information about the Central Library, and viewed various flood related videos.

The Library did call me today. Twice. The first call was my boss saying only full-timers would be deployed to branches. She took my email address and said she'd keep me posted. A few hours later I got a recorded call saying pretty much the same thing.

So it appears my mini extension for the Canada Day long weekend is turning into a major vacation.  The challenge will be not to spend any money for a while.  Volunteer Calgary has been sending volunteer requests on Facebook. I'm thinking I might help out with the Sunnyside clean up.

Some Facebook and Twitter postings received today:

Today as the water receded, elephants and giraffes were able to be outside enjoying the sun albeit on soggy ground. However, animal care staff sadly confirmed that in spite of their best efforts to corral our free-roaming peacocks on Thursday night, at least one bird has not survived the flood. While trying to round them up, some birds flew up to rooftops and trees and simply couldn't be corralled. A necropsy will be performed to confirm the bird's cause of death. As well, Dr. Jake Veasey, director of animal care, conservation and research, who has been at the zoo 24/7 since Thursday, advised that the tilapia in the hippo pool and the piranha in South America have not survived due to the sustained lack of power to the island to maintain water quality and appropriate temperatures for these tropical fish. In spite of the loss of the fish and a peacock, we are still counting our blessings that in the face of this natural disaster there have not been greater losses.

Part time Library staff and subs should not report to work tomorrow. If you are full time staff, your manager will contact you tonight.

ALBERTA NON PROFITS - If you have volunteer needs, unfortunately our database is down due to power shut off to our office. However, we are compiling a list of volunteer opportunities for the Calgary Community who realy want to help. Please email me at: with the name of your organization, how many volunteers you need, and the contact info that volunteers can reach you. Hopefully our volunteer database will be up soon!
Volunteer Calgary
A message of thanks to Calgarians from our member organization the Calgary Humane Society.

As we move into the night of Day 4 of the YYC Flood we want to take a moment to thank everyone from the bottom of their hearts. This city’s generosity is astounding and is the reason we are going to get through this adversity.

Today, a convoy of CHS vehicles headed down to High River with donations for the displaced animals. They were so amazed that we had so much to give. And we were able to give because of you. So, thank-you Calgary. Take a minute to pat yourselves on your back.

A HUGE thank-you to all the volunteers we called on and those that offered their help. We could have not stayed in such a pro-active position without you! (We even kept our critters in Adoptions stress-free through the situation given the outpouring of supportive hands)

And to the CHS staff – WOW! What a dedicated team. Your hard work these past couple of days has inspiring! You have been able to smile during your longs days and the animals are better for it!

We will continue with updates in the morning. Thank-you!

Bike Calgary
We've started a map to help people get around by bike (and on foot). Please add any info you have.

I can barely speak, have no home, but we're gonna do fuzz rock on an insanely grand bill at the commonwealth today/tonight. HKs at 6:15. Lets fucken party!
As people return home and start the clean-up, I have a few more updates to share (it's longer, but should be the last one this weekend).

Late this afternoon, we announced that most of Downtown Commercial Core is reopening for property managers to check through their buildings with access to the general public hopefully occuring soon. This is earlier than we had expected and is very good news. Please check and the re-entry maps for the specific areas in downtown that will opening up and pockets that remain closed until power is restored.

We are still asking employers to bring in essential staff for their operations and keep as many employees working from other locations if possible. Please be aware that the LRT is still not operational through downtown and not all of the parking lots - particularly underground lots - will be fully open. Much of the eastern half of The Beltline (south of the tracks and north of 17th Avenue) remains without power and is still under the evacuation order, but restoring this area is a high priority.

Citizens who have been allowed to return to their homes are reminded to first visit the re-entry centre in their community for further instructions. Also please take note that some areas of Sunnyside, Bowness and Elbow Park are affected by sanitary sewer issues.

Details about these items, as well as important information about Waste & Recycling, and parking availability downtown can be found at City News Blog, including raw footage of my briefing from 6:00pm and 8:00pm.

Earlier I mentioned we would have more information on how citizens can help by volunteering in the recovery. We’re still doing a bit more work on coordinating that effort, so please stay tuned - we will need your help!
So the show's going to happen is it? Thousands of people will be needed to clean up, repair and rebuild the grounds in time and up to health standards. Shouldn't the people who have nowhere to live be a priority over the Stampede?

We have some updates for you regarding Calgary Public Library locations reopening:

Memorial Park and the Central Library will remain closed until power to downtown is restored. All other branches, except Village Square and Shawnessy will be open Monday, June 24th, with normal hours, but limited services. The Village Square and Shawnessy locations are being used as evacuation centres and are currently only open for these evacuees.

Our data centre is currently without power, so our IT services including public access to internet, catalogue access, and telephone services will be unavailable when we open on Monday. We will be signing items out manually until our IT systems are restored. You will be limited to borrowing ten items at a time, and we will be unable to process new card registrations.

Please keep your Library materials at home until we are able to process them. We will advise you when we are ready for you to begin returning items you have borrowed.

There will be no fines and fees charged for late materials and those damaged by flooding as of June 20th.

Hold pickup dates will be extended and holds that have arrived will still be waiting for you when we reopen.

We will continue to post updates here as we have them.

have a truck and want to help? @calgarydropin needs a few ppl to do deliveries 40360677422 if you can help #yychelps #yyc

Bridgeland Children's Cottage needs help. Show up and bring a shovel. Emergency nursery needs to reopen! #yycflood #Bridgeland
Foothills Fire Department
Everybody please know that we understand your concern about your pets! I personally spoke to a firefighter that is going door to door looking for gas emergencies and is taking the time to feed and water the pets that he finds.  [Foothills Fire Department is in the High River area]

#yyc Siksika nation needs our help! Our office is open from 1-3pm to collect donations. #yycflood #yychelps #ableg #wrp Items needed are:

Men's and women's shoes (all sizes) used are okay

Men's/women's socks/underwear - new

Diapers size 4-6

Bug repellent

Games/entertainment for children

#328 22 Midlake Blvd SE Calgary
The Owl Report's photo.
This image has been shared over 3000 times now. We originally posted it almost 24 hours ago, with our comments about lack of media coverage. At that time the statement was accurate.
Mayor Nenshi tweeted last night if any artists or buskers want to entertain folks in the reception centers, please call 403-531-7413 to register!

Alpha House Shelter clients are in need of towels, basic toiletries, socks and underwear (mens & womens). The Village Square Leisure is the temporary drop off location

Hillhurst Sunnyside is gathering names for the clean up. Contact to register. #yycflood

And the best find of the day...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Calgary Flood 2013 - Day 2

Yesterday I wandered through Sunnyside and Memorial Drive.  This is Memorial Drive from the north end of Princes Island Park's pedestrian bridge and my favorite photo of the day.  As I wandered I met a few photographers.  One   tried walking across the Memorial Drive mud levee built to keep the river waters back.  The levee wasn't working.  Neither was walking on it.  One of the guy's rubber boots got stuck in the mud and he wiped out.  Later he wanted me to take a photo of him leaping off the meridian into the flood waters, with his large muddy, expensive looking Canon camera.

Some of the things heard:
  • People on the bike path please leave the area.  The waters are rising and you are in danger.  You will be stranded.  Move to the west of the Peace Bridge. -- Police helicopter circling the bike path east of the Peace Bridge.
  • She got out with just her cat, the litter box, and her cell phone.  Just the necessities. -- A couple of women near the washed out Community Garden talking about their neighbor.
  • I had to get my truck to safer ground. -- A man who just splashed his Toyota SUV through two feet of water to park it half a block away.
  • The water in my basement was only ankle deep at 6:30 this morning.  Now my basement is thigh high. -- Sunnyside resident packing stuff out of his home.
  • I dropped my keys. -- Sunnyside resident who lost her keys in two feet of water on the road in front of her house.
  • I wonder how that's going to get under the bridge. Oh! That's how. -- A conversation between a woman and I as we watched a ten foot tree explode against Centre Street Bridge's lower deck.
  • The buzz of lots and lots of really big mosquitoes.
  • Generators trying to pump water out of Sunnyside.
  • Home fire alarms.
  • Car alarms.
  • Police sirens.
  • Firetruck sirens.
  • Helicopters.
  • "X" marked on doors to indicate to neighbors they were safely evacuated.
  • "Sunnyside has been evacuated!" - sign on apartment door
  • "Hi Neighbors. This glass was left behind after our block party.  It is desperate to find its way home." - a note found beneath a glass one third full with rain water

Calgary Flood 2013 - Day 3

Saturday, June 22 - Day 3. Today I walked to Prince's Island, then into Chinatown, through a deserted downtown to the Central Library, and then along the north side of the river to the Zoo.  Saw a Chinatown shop keeper attempting to hand bail water out of his store.

Prince's Island was pretty securely taped off and manned by police.  I got a warning siren when I tried crossing tape that blocked off a small swamped field near the bike path just east of Eau Claire Market.  A couple days ago a photographer posted photos of a swamped Prince's Island.  I can only assume that it is much, much worse now.

Walking through downtown was kind of like being in a sci-fi movie after the aliens have landed and taken over the Earth.  There were a few explorers like me, some military and police personnel, but for the most part it was deserted near East Village. Lots of debris and mud were everywhere.  Some areas were still flooded.  When I went to the Central Library I found a large office space for lease sign propped up in front of the main entrance. Don't know if it was put there or floated there. Chatted with a Library person who told me the basement had chest high water that couldn't be pumped out yet, because there was no place for the water to go.  The water table is saturated.  While shooting a photo of the lake on 3rd Street a couple told me they saw a guy walk through it the day before and the water was up to his chest. Today military vehicles (who I suspect were escorting Prime Minister Harper around) drove through it.  The water came only up to the wheel wells.

A friend of mine was concerned about conditions at the Zoo, so I wandered there next.  Before I reached the Zoo; however, I came across four ATCO trailers down river from the St Patrick Island Bridge construction site.
They probably would have gone further, but they were hung up on the large trees that used to be St. Patrick Island.  When I got to the Zoo I found the south side parking lot submerged and, from what I could see from the fence, most of the Zoo is deep with water, as well.  Saw a couple of deer/goat critters standing on the highest part of their enclosure.  At the south entrance, near the bridge that goes into Inglewood, I met a fellow from Bangladesh who told me floods like this happen every year where he's from.  He asked if I was born in Calgary and what I thought about the flood.  During the flood of 2005 I was on vacation in Seattle, so I've never experienced anything like this before.  "I'm in awe," I told him. Granted, I would probably feel different if my home was one of the ones flooded out. A young fellow joined in our conversation.  He said he was having fun.  I asked if he lived in the flood plain.  He said no, but that he had lots of refugees at his place. "Party!"



Thursday, June 20, 2013

Calgary Flood 2013 - Day 1

Calgary Flood 2013 -20 by Wanderfull1
Calgary Flood 2013 -20, a photo by Wanderfull1 on Flickr.
Thursday, June 20, 2013 a state of emergency was called by Mayor Nenshi when flood conditions were showing to be potentially worse than the 2005 flood. Several river level communities are being evacuated.  This is what I saw from the wooden stairs by Centre Street Bridge.  This was the east side of Prince's Island Park.

Tonight I was supposed to shoot some Sled Island photos at the National Music Centre.  Didn't happen.  It was shut down due to the flood.  On the way home I thought I'd head to Inglewood to shoot river shots from there.  I was on my cell describing to a friend what I saw from Centre Street when, near the King Eddy Hotel, a young woman handed me an evacuation notice.  When I told her I had to cross Centre Street Bridge to get home she said that I walked through downtown at my own risk.

I decided to head home.

On the way, I saw little geysers starting to erupt along Macleod Trail, next to the condos by the river.  There were several photographers along the river banks by Centre Street Bridge. Some actually went on the lower deck of the bridge, even though it was taped off by police, to get a close up shot of the dirty river water.  Maybe to catch some debris.  I don't know.  People had to see, though.  Many were acting like this was a special event; standing beneath their umbrellas, watching the river quickly rise.

The streets near the Emergency Call Centre were lined with cars.  I assumed they had called everyone in to work tonight.

The latest news reports say that downtown might still be closed off tomorrow with one of the worst areas being 6th Avenue and 1st Street.  They're saying if you don't have to be downtown tomorrow, don't come.  The kids next door had today off, because of the flood.  There was a message on my answering machine not to come to work tomorrow if I live in one of the evacuation areas.  I don't know if they realized that the Library is in one of those evacuation zones.

As exciting as all this is, I really feel for the people close to the river and in the downtown area who have to pack up their stuff and find somewhere to go tonight.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

National Music Centre

nailing the songGuitar GigGuitar Gig - last minute practiseNMC - Ground-Breaker Shaker - High KickersNMC Ground-Breaker Shaker - Andrew MoskerNMC Ground-Breaker Shaker - High Kicks fan
NMC Ground-Breaker Shaker - Matt MastersNMC Ground-Breaker Shaker - High KicksNMC Ground-Breaker Shaker - Matt MastersNMC Ground-Breaker Shaker - Danny Vacon & fanNMC Ground-Breaker Shaker - Bobby Kork Orchestra331/366... November 26/12... the student
Your Song @ Cantos - Matt Masters' bassistYour Song @ Cantos - Onalea GilbertsonYour Song @ Cantos - Anne LoreeYour Song @ Cantos - Kris DemeanorYour Song @ Cantos - Donald Ray Johnson 1Your Song @ Cantos - Donald Ray Johnson 2
Your Song @ Cantos - Matt MastersYour Song @ Cantos - Earl McCauleyYour Song @ Cantos - Simon Fisk

National Music Centre, a set on Flickr.
The National Music Centre does amazing things for the music scene in Calgary. Not only are they a museum of timeless instruments (including Elton John's piano), but they are a school for young guitarists, supporters of local musicians and an amazing bunch of people to work with.

They are currently building a new National Music Centre building, across from and part of the old King Edward Hotel. They promise to restore the King Eddy to its original gloriously edgy status and host weekend jams like in the past. It should be completed in 2015.  Can hardly wait!

In 2013, I officially became a volunteer photographer for the National Music Centre, combining my lifelong passion for music and my obsession for photography.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Carifest 2013 - big gun

Carifest 2013 - big gun by Wanderfull1
Carifest 2013 - big gun, a photo by Wanderfull1 on Flickr.
So I'm running with the Carifest Parade, trying to find a great shot, when I come across this guy on the the side of the road. The lens looked big enough to shoot bear from half a mile away.  Both the photographer and the camera gear (including tripod) were tricked out in foliage green camouflage. Wild!!!

Carifest 2013 - noisey

Carifest 2013 - noisey by Wanderfull1
Carifest 2013 - noisey, a photo by Wanderfull1 on Flickr.
I was standing on the corner, looking for something to shoot, when a woman tapped me on the shoulder. "Look at that baby covering his ears!" Love it when people are helpful. : )

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Carifest 2012 - Parade

Carifest 2012 - Parade by Wanderfull1
Carifest 2012 - Parade, a photo by Wanderfull1 on Flickr.

Just discovered that this photo is on the Carifest 2013 posters and banners. This was one of a bunch of shots I donated to the Carifest people from last year's free Carifest parade and Sunshine Festival. 

I actually walked past the banners twice on Stephen Avenue during my lunch break yesterday (which shows only the girl on the left) and didn't realize that the photo was mine.  It wasn't until a photographer friend commented on the Flickr photo being a "nice shot" that it twigged that it looked familiar.  I went to the Carifest web site and there it was.  Had to tell everyone I know, of course.  No one's asked yet if I was paid, but I'm sure someone will.  (They did when Reggae Fest published a photo of mine in Stephen Avenue Magazine.) Which begs the question, which is more important public exposure or money.  

If I didn't already have a day job that paid well I would probably say money.  Then again, maybe I would be able to call myself a professional photographer.  From what I understand, you're not a professional anything until you are paid.

On the other hand, I can't deny the warm fuzzy feeling I get knowing that hundreds of people will see my photo on the banners downtown and maybe the posters.  Sure, no one (except people I tell) will know that I took the photo. Still, just the thought that someone might think it's a cool shot feels nice.  Is it artistic pride?  Dunno.  But there it is.