Lets step forward 20 years.
My wife and I like to go camping, partly out of enjoyment, partly out of financial restrictions. Unlike my family, we ventured into the great outdoors, almost two hours from home, 40 minutes to a beer store, and the grocery store nearby wasn't open on Sundays ever, the ice cooler at the gas station was usually out of ice, and they didn't even carry my favorite brand of smokes. If the adventures of my previous entry made you queasy, it is time to switch off the computer and go get a sandwich, because things are going to get very uncivilized soon.
We lived during these times in a tent that I could barely stand up in and stretch my arms and the tent was so small it only overflowed the mandatory tent pad on three sides. A raging river stormed by our favorite campsite at the bottom of a fatal 5 foot gorge, Frequently, the roaring gurgle of the river would keep us awake for many minutes before we were able to rest our fears and embrace our future. Once, early in our adventure's I was kept awake for hours by the blood curdling Moo's of a cow at a nearby farm.
There were times, dark times, dark evil times, when I would run out of beer around 5:00 pm on a Saturday evening (during these early days of civilization, beer store's were closed on Sundays) and for the next 42 hours I would have to drink hard liquor with warm pop as the cooler had broken at the local store. We prevailed, we embraced the challenge, and if it got bad enough I would invite the brother-in-law over to visit as he frequently travelled in the company of a dozen cold beer. While his outdoor skills did not equal my own, he understood the basics. There were times during these "vacations" that I would insist on not having a drink of alcohol for 12 hours (if I slept in), just to prove my strength against just such conditions. My wife being of the fairer sex and a weaker moral stance would frequently have to wait days between imbibing to avail her constant fears, but I stood, or leaned strong beside her.
Once we had overcome and defeated all the dangers of this location we ventured into a even more extreme area. For those of you whom are unaware, deep in the dark places of Waterloo there exists a forest so primeval that few would ever guess of its existence. It is named "Laurel Creek", I know it fondly as "Deaths canyon". While the canyon is represented more as a gently sloping hill leading to the lake, there exists such raw force in this location as man has strived to contain Mother nature herself by damming the Laurel creek at this location. While my historical knowledge of this location is sorely lacking (probably because that few survivors remain), I can assure you with clean conscious that to damn such a "creek" would have rivaled the creation of the Great Wall of China, surely, this was a decision between harnessing the raging Niagara and Laurel creek, the latter was chosen due to the availability of a larger immigrant population.
The "Creek of Death" as it will hereby be known, was a lovely place, 3 minutes to a liquor store, 10 minutes to a supermarket (if you made a couple of wrong turns) and this store did not contain a bakery or fresh deli. On one side the land was bordered by a University of Waterloo agriculture research field (where they no doubt bred vampire cow's), two sides with the most nefarious suburbs were even a veteran of Compton would fear to tread and on the forth... nothing, a land so devoid of features it must have been sucked into the great abyss during one of the long dark nights of our vacation.
Together upon this site we would survive, constantly praying that our limited phone, Internet and TV service would continue, failing which we would be stranded a 15 minute stroll to the nearest living human (if the camp was deserted).
These are the trials that steeled us against the future of our lives in the high arctic.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Lets step forward 20 years.
Let us talk about butchering.
My childhood was a fairly normal and wonderful one consisting of southern Ontario rural and urban experiences. My family went camping, my dad and I went bird watching, we fished. Now this may seem from the info presented here that we were "Outdoorsy", and we were in a very southern Ontario way.
Our adventure's would happen as frequently as a couple of times a year. Our camping adventure's would be considered extreme by my mother, we would frequently be 20 or 30 minutes away from a Kmart. Bears were frequent (that was the uber-hip slang with which we referred to the police aka: Kris Christopherson in "Convoy"). As my brother and I aged our forays into the wilderness became so extreme that my mother (being of the gentler sex) frequently had to sit out on our adventure's, as I'm sure their very nature would make her swoon, we ventured to the wilds of Walkerton, Lucknow and Port Paisley (whose name belies the truly dangerous nature of the town). Often we would be a hour from home.
We didn't need to hunt, we had skills. The list of animals that hunted us on these adventures was numerous, there were bats (all of which were rabid), there were raccoon's (which were also rabid), there were squirrels with bad attitudes (and rabies). We were trained in all the skills necessary for survival in the wild, how to stay out of the way while the tent was being set up, how to avoid the ten foot perimeter of death that surrounded the campfire, how to select the right foods that could be cooked in a single pot on the Coleman, how to eat off of plastic plates, and most importantly, how to avoid the child molesters that lurked behind EVERY tree and in every porta-potty (I lived in fear of those who wished to cut off my pee-pee, I still fear them).
It really is amazing that any of us survived. We told the age old tales of our ancestors who had died in positions much like ours ("if the log rolls over we're all going to die). And we survived, Hell, we prevailed, we excelled, except for myself, we frequently went home without even visiting a hospital. There was nothing Mother Nature (within 5 miles of a town) could throw at us that we would not endure, except bad weather, something about spending a few hours in a tent with two bored children always seemed to trigger a unnamed medical condition in my Dad that meant we had to return home, even the sight of a oncoming storm was enough to cause such pain that we would quickly pack up and rush back to the safety of our homestead. Those who have travelled to the peaks of Kilimanjaro would do well to learn from our shared experiences. We explored the new frontier, we broke virgin ground, We were Men.
I'll continue tomorrow.
at 9:05 PM
Sunday, January 18, 2009
For anyone that hasn't guessed I got a new video camera for Christmas and am still playing with it oddly enough. It seems every time I get a new camera the people who make these thing feel that their camera is so important that they should have a proprietary video format. Can anyone out there please explain to me how this generates them any money? Other than being a huge pain in the butt, why do video companies feel they are helping thier consumers by making them convert these formats into one of the worldwide accepted formats?
We spent a portion of the afternoon cruising around, it isn't as easy as it looks as the throttle and the camera are both right handed, and for some reason I also chose to film from the right side.
at 4:38 PM
Friday, January 16, 2009
Christophers foray in physics is progressing at a very fast rate. In this video he promised to display Newtons 3rd law for me. When I explained to him that I felt that Hooke's law also contributed to his demonstration as presented here, we decided that on Sunday we will have to take the Ski-doo out and test the boundaries of Hooke's law. Let me tell you there is no arguing physics with a six year old. His final response to the whole experiment was "gravity sucks", how can anyone argue that?
Since Dec 22 we have been living in temps below -40 except for the last couple of days (I even had to put on a jacket to have a smoke a couple of times when the temp passed the -50 mark), since the south has entered a deep freeze we have experienced a thawing, today the temp rose to -2 and as such I have my bedroom window cranked open in order to make the night comfortable for sleeping. I never thought in my life that -2 would be a temp that made me sweat just thinking about it, today I had to change out of my long sleeve shirt into a T-shirt. It also allowed me to go out with Christopher for a few hours this afternoon to enjoy the fine weather while Melissa minded the store.
CNN never fails to amaze me, actually I'm sure all the news agencies are doing the same thing, Switch on your TV right now, I'll wait ... Okay, now flick through three channels randomly. Did you see that, about the plane in the Hudson river. American journalist's have been given a gift from God. America doesn't feel very good right now, they are a little under the weather shall we say.
Their international reputation has been so severely tarnished by G.W. Bush that they no longer feel like the best nation in the world, their military has failed to fulfil Bush's "Mission Accomplished" banner from 6 years ago. Their unbeatable economy has been slapped up and down Wall street so hard that the best investment currently offered is the old "NY to Pennsylvania bottle return scam". World renown brokers are showing themselves to be thieves, Millionaires are broke. Its a bad time in the news for the average American but the attention being given this event is just silly, Mark my words, within 2 weeks they will be announcing a memorial for the brave actions of all the members of the flight crew and the actions of the rescuers. America is so interested in making the distinction that within the next week the past will be past that they see this event as a portent of the optimistic future, they are once again going to be unsinkable. They want to be the America of September 10 2001, but they won't be. I look forward to the Obama administration the way everyone looks forward to any politicians reign before they actually assume office.
In my minds eye I can see reporters and editors everywhere around America in office's praying to their Gods hoping for a event such as this, my cynical nature can actually visualize a lone reporter a couple of miles from the airport, umbrella in hand before a gaggle of geese softly giggling to himself as he watches the plane approach. Where better could this have happened for our media giants but in America's most populous city, all those people around, each with their camcorders and digital camera's ready to catch this wonderful moment.
I am glad that this event turned out as well as it did but I have no doubt that within 24 hours we would have had another miraculous event, maybe something about survival through the extreme temps of the Midwest, maybe a miracle birth, that would have been a really good one on the eve of Obama's leadership, maybe the baby could even have been named Barack. This weeks motto was not "if it bleeds it leads" it was "lets make a miracle".
Here's to a glorious change of fortune for our southern brethren (which from where I sit includes 99.99999% of the world's population)
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Sorry for my recent absence but I find it hard to become inspired in the dark season, and with a lack of photo's I find it easy to avoid this part of my life.
Christmas was fairly uneventful and quiet and we've all made it through to the light again.
Talk to you soon.
at 3:54 PM