What’s a “Chinook”?

After mentioning the Chinook in my last post, I came to realize that outsiders might have no clue as to what the hell that is. Our city's unofficial slogan is, "Get blown in Lethbridge!"

For your consideration:

At first, one might be led to believe that this young gentleman is impersonating Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball," however that is not the case! He's enjoying the dry winds from the west as they bathe his body in warmth. This ball is known as The Lethbridge Wind Gauge, and can be found next to our tourist information bureau on Scenic Drive South.

So, what is a Chinook? Wikipedia explains it quite simply, in plain English:

The Chinook is a foehn wind, a rain shadow wind which results from the subsequent adiabatic warming of air which has dropped most of its moisture on windward slopes (orographic lift). As a consequence of the different adiabatic rates of moist and dry air, the air on the leeward slopes becomes warmer than equivalent elevations on the windward slopes.

As moist winds from the Pacific (also called Chinooks) are forced to rise over the mountains, the moisture in the air is condensed and falls out as precipitation, while the air cools at the moist adiabatic rate of 5°C/1000 m (3.5°F/1000 ft). The dried air then descends on the leeward side of the mountains, warming at the dry adiabatic rate of 10°C/1000m (5.5°F/1000 ft).

The turbulence of the high winds also can prevent the normal nocturnal temperature inversion from forming on the lee side of the slope, allowing night-time temperatures to remain elevated.

And for visual learners, here's an illustration:


The Chinook is an invaluable wind that keeps our winters moderate and blows all our trash to Coaldale, saving the city millions of dollars. Though, it can be of minor inconvenience, leading to a bad hair day here or there:

In southwestern Alberta, Chinook winds can gust in excess of hurricane force [120 km/h (75 mph)]. On November 19, 1962, an especially powerful Chinook in Lethbridge gusted to 171 km/h (106 mph).

But you don't have to take my word for it!

Lethbian Love’s guide to tobogganing

When our Chinook isn’t breathing her gentle 130 km/h winds in Southern Alberta, Old Man Winter takes over and loads upon us ice and snow. But who doesn’t like a good dump once in awhile? Now, let’s toboggan!

Step 1: Gear up on the cheap

First things first, if you're like me and can't afford snow pants, use these common household items: garbage bags and duct tape!

Garbage bag snow pants

Image source: Liana Maeby / Urlesque

If you want, use Glad "Big Orange" garbage bags for additional flair. Optional: keep your feet dry by tying shopping bags over your shoes.

Step 2: Select your ride

Live frugal, live dangerously. Now that you've equipped your garbage bags, we turn our eyes to our toboggan, or lack thereof. For about five bucks, you can get a "Crazy Carpet" from our local Peavey Mart or Canadian Tire stores. They're fast and portable. That kid with the wood sleigh? You'll be up and down the hill 5 times before he drags his slow, safe monster back up.

Crazy Carpet

Image source: Pelican International

Step 2A (advanced):

Veterans of the hill know the legendary GT Snow Racer. If you've got adult money, Stiga makes some of the best on the market.


Step 3: Location, location, location!

In my mind, there's no better location than The Sugar Bowl. If you're bold enough, you can also risk going through the underpass and challenging the coulees. I've done this a few times, and have the facial scars to prove it.

The Sugar Bowl

Image source: The City of Lethbridge

Step 4: Wicked jumps

No tobogganing expedition is complete without getting some major air. Pile up that snow at the bottom of the hill and finish your ride with the sweetest jump ever. Bonus points if you actually land on your crazy carpet!

Image source: Pascal Lauener / Reuters

Now that you've carefully studied my guide, venture out and have fun!

“Embarrassing dad” rivals Daft Punk in talent*

Dr. Len Ferguson – optometrist by day, electronica musician by night. You might remember him as the "embarrassing dad" at the Lethbridge Electronic Music Festival (LEMF) in August 2012. But for those who don't, here's something to jog your memory:


Since the video went viral, Len has been featured on sites like Huffintgton Post, Gawker and Reddit. Many of us in Lethbridge know him either as our optometrist or through church, where he plays guitar for the congregation. But despite Dr. Ferguson's cool dance moves, he hides an even greater talent – his mad keyboard skills (except us patients who've seen him type) and a love for electronic music!

He even shared a few tracks with Lethbian Love:

Len told me that he's arranging a 70 (yes, SEVENTY) track composition. Unbelievable guy, great music. Someone sign him to a label.

Dr. Len on Soundcloud

*might be slightly exaggerated

Getting to know Lethbridge, just a bit more

I've met quite a few people whose first impressions of Lethbridge were from Lethbian Love. Some even because good friends. If you're moving to Lethbridge, a student coming to college or university, or just a tourist passing through, chances are you want to soak up as much information about the city and surrounding areas as possible. That's kind of what my blog is here for, so you don't have to watch decrepit tourist videos (however informative).

Here's a short video about our city that shows off the landscape and activities around here. I even caught a glimpse of Shaela Miller, one of our city's musicians, playing at The Word on the Street festival from 2011. Must have been hard to find more recent footage. But I kid, I kid.

It's a short watch:


Olduvai, a novel with a Lethbian lead


While checking out the Lethbridge sub-Reddit late tonight, I saw that a user named OlduvaiNovel a.k.a. Steve Bull submitted a link to his self-published novel that features some Lethbridge character(s). It's called Olduvai.

Is a global economic, social, and political collapse imminent? 

Flowing from actual world events, a damaged environment, dwindling energy resources, and a manipulated market-economy all come crashing together in this tale about the social and individual impact of stresses that overwhelm a precarious and complex global system. Supply chain interruptions, border disputes, increased fascism, growing protest movements, and mass migration out of rural areas and into cities dominate the new normal. 
Follow the struggles of several Canadians amidst the chaos. Marissa, a young university student, confronting the end of her prescription for a mental health issue, and her eight year old sister, Kat, who are stranded in a remote part of Ontario when their parents are caught up in a massive riot in Toronto; Mac, a mature student at Lethbridge College, Alberta, who uncovers a Canadian military secret; Ranjeet, a recently promoted Toronto banker who has his faith in the banking system turned upside down when a colleague shares some startling information; and Sam, an activist who has predicted the collapse for years, but has his preparations challenged by an unexpected Black Swan event.

Is this the world’s future?

It actually sounds quite interesting, but that's also because I had a boss who was a legit military man. Seriously. Being lower rank (i.e. civilian), I'm pretty sure he is/was hiding some information that chould change the course of western civilization. I've been trying to act in a stereotypical Dan Brown male lead role, but so far nothing exceptional has turned up (fluoride in water doesn't cut it).

Anyway, here's a brief excerpt from the novel:

He brushed Caera’s hair aside then took a deep breath and slowly began to untangle himself from her embrace. As much as he would have preferred to remain right where he was, he knew he needed to get outside and begin expanding their vegetable garden.

Check out Olduvai here. The eBook is only $3.

Historical Lethbridge anthem

I came across this YouTube video. He seems to know a lot about the history of Lethbridge! [citation needed]


Lethbridge Alberta was first known as “The Coal Banks”. The main industry in the early days of Lethbridge Alberta was coal, first discovered by Nicholas Sheran and then capitalized by the Galt Family. Coalbanks was renamed “Lethbridge” in 1906 when the Canadian Pacific Railroad was building track across Souther Alberta. They build the longest and tallest steel trestle bridge in the world across the coulees in Lethbridge Alberta and it was completed in 1909, still holding its records to this day. Lethbridge Alberta is a beautiful place when the snow melts in the summer because Lethbridge Alberta is founded on the banks of the Oldman River that snakes through Lethbridge on its way across southern Alberta. Lethbridge Alberta is now known more as a party town and its main industry is food processing. However, there may be oil around Lethbridge Alberta and this town may one day, boom again. Wait and see. Lethbridge Alberta is full of surprises. I verily enjoy the city of Lethbridge, Alberta. I invite you to have a look at Lethbridge Alberta yourself and learn more about Lethbridge Alberta from this song I wrote about Lethbridge Alberta.

I got a limo that’s 40 feet long

…or “I’m takin’ it easy, takin’ the bus”

Photo by Kim Siever (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lethbridge_Transit.jpg)

But not really. This is a rant about my experience of taking L.A. Transit or whatever it’s now called – let’s say the bus – about a month ago. I felt like being green (more than just in the face) and adventurous; and because it was the middle of the summer, I wouldn’t have to freeze my derriere off waiting for one!

There were some issues I had before even stepping onto a bus, like how the stops don’t have schedules posted on them. Although the Ride Guide is available online as a PDF, and in print in some undisclosed locations, it is confusing! @chuchiface would agree 🙂

Now I’ve been told by Kim Siever, who has been taking the bus for about 12 years, that the city is developing an app or Google mashup that will give iPhone/Android/mobile users the ability to plan their routes much easier, I have no idea how far that is off. A little behind the times, Lethbridge.

So I had my university-aged sister explain the route I needed to take, which was actually quite simple to get to the college. Though it meant a lot of patience and just sitting. Good thing I brought a book. It took over an HOUR to get from Columbia Blvd. to the college, and I didn’t even have to switch buses! I could have been halfway to Calgary had I drove.

Route 12 basically takes the opposite the direction I needed to go and galavants around the westside before it stops at the university terminal. If only there were a complimentary route like it that went the opposite direction, it would shave off a lot of time. Or if I just rode my non-existent bike to the U of L…

I don’t understand how or why they picked their routes, but in the summer some stops only run every 30 minutes instead of the usual 15. More waiting around until I could take my return trip from the college terminal. And I totally forgot to pay the $2.25 fare on the way back. Take that!

Basically, this just re-enforced how much I like to drive. Too bad those Tesla Roadsters cost so much! There actually is a blue one that rides around town, by the way. I don’t want to take the bus again anytime soon. Sorry.