Calgary was an interesting experience for me. About a decade ago, I lived there for two years, and it was a very sad time for me. I really enjoyed my jobs there (Javien, a dot com startup, and StumbleUpon, which I co-founded with three other people), but socially and in most other ways it was a complete blowout for me. I learned many things from Calgary, and so I had two main goals in Calgary on this trip. One, revisit all my old haunts and see how that makes me feel. Two, check out protospace, the Calgary hackerspace.
I did succeed at visiting my old apartment building, my old gym, my old kung-fu studio, seeing the c-train, etc. It was actually interesting how similar yet different things are compared to when I was there. There are a lot more residential towers in the downtown now! My old kung-fu studio has really changed, with a new lobby, crazy huge new weight room, removal of the old wrestling rings, and scaling back of the kung-fu part of the school. Sadly I didn’t get to meet my old sifu, but I did get to meet his “new” wife (apparently they met about the same time as I left Calgary). They seem to be succeeding, I’m happy for them! My old apartment building seems to have attracted slightly richer people, as has the whole neighborhood. There is a nice barbecue on my old balcony! Unfortunately I couldn’t find the old offices of Javien, I just couldn’t remember where they were, and despite walking around for a few hours where I thought it should be, I didn’t locate it. It’s possible the building was torn down or something, but more likely is that my memory of where it was just wasn’t on target. Anyway, revisiting memory lane: great success. Flickr Set
Goal two, visiting the hackerspace, was a blowout. I stopped by the door three times and knocked, but got no response. I sent an email to their mailing list, but it bounced because I wasn’t a member (boo, that’s a bad policy!). I resent that email to about ten people who’s names were on the website, but I didn’t get any responses. I think the problem is that I was in Calgary during their one-a-year crazy party called Stampede, so everyone had way better things to be doing than touring some out-of-town weirdo through their hackerspace. Anyway, too bad, it’s very unlikely that I’ll be back anytime soon, so I may never get to visit protospace.