Monday, August 28, 2006

Boy's canoe trip '06

Day 1
We started out the trip very early in the AM.  Rory dropped by about 6:30 to pick me up.  I hurried with my gear outside to meet him.  I had most things ready because I had to get them out of the car as Mandy went to work earlier than this.  We drove out to get some breakfast and meet Todd at his place to put the canoe on.  Turns out, neither of us knew where Todd lives, so luckily Rory has a phone book in the car.  We look him up and show up at his house.  After some walking about and knocking we call, and it turns out he was still sleeping.  After a little more time passes Jarron and Regan show up and we're off.  We drive very far (2 hours) before we stop to get some gas just past the French River put in on Quetico.  It is there that Rory finds out that nobody packed a life jacket for him.  So he rents one from the outfitter that also happens to run the gas station.

That settled we head on for Beaverhouse.  It's a small road.  Very scary when it's only one lane and you see somebody come up against you.  When we finally reach the end of the raod we realize that the map Todd has is stupid.  It looks like the road should almost reach the put in spot, but the red road is connected to the red portage of 600+m.  So it's easily confused.  So we put in after a bit of a jaunt, only to take another 600m portage minutes later.  Followed by another portage.  So in approximately 2 hours, we've done more portaging that paddling.  That doesn't seem right... at least to me.  We keep paddling on, despite the on and off rain.  Oh, did I mention that we're wet?  And in my haste in the morning, I didn't bring anythign close to water resistant, just a big hoodie, which is DRENCHED.  Yuck.  I hate that.

As it's over-cast all day it's hard to tell what time it is, and what we feel is about 6-7ish we find a camp that Todd rates at 1 star and make the decision to set up shop there.  It's not bad actually.  Regan sets up a nice bunch of tarps which we start hanging the wet gear on, and a fire is started.  Logs are cut up with Todd's handy folding saw and tents are set out.  Dinner is an easy sausage roasted over the fire with wraps.  You know, wraps ARE the perfect food.  The rest of the night is pretty fun as we entertain each other with stories and salamanders.  It's about this time I realize that I've lost one of my leggings for my pants.  Probably on some portage way back...


Day 2
The morning finds Regan getting the coffee, Rory complaining about me becoming the new Graham for snoring and Jarron raving about his bivy sack.  We set out for another day.  We make it to Sue Falls and take a break to climb the pretty dry falls.  But still it was very neat.  We also found some pictographs.  The one we found looked like some red splotches - more like red dots spray painted in.  Oh, and Todd caught a bunch of snags.  We leave that bay and head across to find the 1km portage.  Ouch that hurt!  We figure it would work out best if some people run with packs all the way across while some only do half track and drop and go back for more, while the people who did the whole thing go back to the half way pack to pick up the dropped packs and head back.  It worked out pretty good actually.  I just remember having to count the steps.  It was 624 from the halfway point to the end.  Math always helps me block out anything I don't like.  THe next few km of paddling was ok until the wind gusted up out of nowhere and it was, as Regan calls it, our 'near death experience.'  The paddling wasn't helping us as we were literally going backwards.  Waves crashing over the bow we decided to hit the closest bay and wait it out.  It was kinda spooky the amount of power in the wind.  We waited for a while before we headed out again.  Freak storm as there was perfect blue skies all around before, then this big black one, then blue skies again.  Then we hit Macalpine creek.  How can anything with my ancestral name be so gross?  It was mostly lining the canoe down knee deep muck.  I was afraid i was going to step out and lose my shoe in it.  Very gross!  Somehow princess sally [i.e. Rory] found a way to stay in teh canoe and keep his shoes dry.  My socks will never get clean... ever.  A few more hours of paddling finds us getting pretty dark and no camp site.  We find the first one we can see as the light is starting to fail and the 2nd canoe [rory and jarron] is now WAAY behind.  Turns out that the 18ft canoe is WAAAY faster than the 15ft.  That and Rory and Jarron are really tired.  We camp on a 1 star camp [it's not as nice as the last one, and the last one gets upgraded to a 2 star... maybe 1.5].  But there was tons of firewood on it, just had to cut up the fallen down trees - thanks again to Todd's saw.  We have a great little meal - rice and veggies in a wrap with cheese - and head to bed.  Regan and Jarron both decide to sleep outside.  Most of th enight is spent contemplating which star is which, as it is "MARS DAY" we try to find mars.  Apparently you still can't see it with the naked eye, but we try.


Day 3
This mornign starts out like any of the others, drying out wet clothes on the rocks, readyign the packs and me breaking Regan's line.  (sorry regan, i owe you one jiggly looking hook thingie)  As we head out, Todd and I decide to go looking for the pictographs that Jarron and Rory saw yesterday "oh, yeah, they're awesome, clear as day."  Although, we can't find them.  We paddle along a bit more trying to look for some of the others.  I did some some red splotch, so we'll say I saw one.  We let the other canoe get pretty far ahead before we start to catch up.  We paddle pass one lake with a TON of loons on it.  It was like a loon convention.  Regan counted 23 of 'em.  Naturally, Todd had to throw in a line where they were, because that must mean fish.  Nothing.  It was a terrible trip for fishing in general.  Mostly bass, but nothing worth keeping.  We see plenty of nice beach areas out on Quetico lake, but there's no time to stop and visit them.  Just make a mental note for another time.  We find the only real portage of this day and since it's barely 100m we just cruise over it to the other side and relax.  It's a bit of a falls so Rory and Todd cast in from the boat, Regan casts from the rocks and Jarron and I sit in the falls themselves.  Very relaxing.  And the cool thing is that like 5m after my sausage gotch are DRY!  Make fun of that!  We start paddling on again and it looks like we enjoyed lunch a little too much as the wind's started to pick up. We paddle across to find an island to take a little shelter before heading out across more of Beaverhouse.  We finally make in the mouth towards the original put in and it takes us a while to find the place where it all started.  It looks so different from this angle.  We eventually switch sides of this stream locate it.  Some park rangers have left their HUGE aluminum canoe across the landing, so Regan just gives it a chuck to the side.  After that it was some humping of packs across to the truck and then head home.  NO INJURIES [except when Regan fell with the kayak - that looked like it could hurt Regan, and almost broke Todd's clavical]


Total trip length:  56km [give or take]

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Things I learn

So, who ever said "you learn something new every day" was so right.


Let me fill you in what I've learned on some of these days:


  • The other day I learned that you CAN ACTUALLY contract tourrett''s syndrome.  Well, maybe not 'contract' it, but you can have it develop in you.  Apparently it's soemthign to do with a spinal injury and the way it goes to the brain or something.

  • Today I actually learned 2 things:

    • Bangs:
      What are they?  As it turns out, bangs are the locks of hair that hang in front of your face [bangs... sounds like hangs?  coincidence?]  A quick search in wikipedia shows that it is another term for the 'fringe.'  Enjoy the picture.
      Teenage male with a long fringe.

    • Cowlick:
      Another hair thing... this is a piece of hair that has it's own ideas of non-conformity.  I've lived with it and not known what it was.  I would just hear the barber/hairdresser go "oh, you've got a cowlick" and then they keep on working.  Is it detrimental?  Well, I've lived with it without even knowing about it really... but then you've seen my hair [btw - the pic below is NOT my hair]
      A double cowlick with two counter-rotating spiralsthis is an example of a 'double cowlick'

What else have i learned?  Well, I'll keep you updated.  In the mean time, here's what info the canoe trip has garnished for me:

  1. ALWAYS pack rain gear.  Trust me, a hoodie is not going to help in a HEAVY wind.

  2. Pack a fanny pack.  They look ultra gay, but they're ultra handy.

  3. longer boat = more speed

  4. Bring plenty of 'biners.  You can always find uses for them, and if not, they can just hang where you clip 'em.

In the mean time, I find a good place to learn things is:   Trust me, you'll find it cool too

Thanks Eilidh

Quetico was AWESOME

Too much to recap right away... but I will get to it.  Jarron'll send me his pictures I hope, and maybe even I'll get video from Regan.


Just arrived in less than an hour ago... already ate a whole pizza [funny, i wasn't hungry at all]


The only problem, is i get a sometimes camping colon, and guess which appliance in the house wasn't working when i get in?


Look forward to the recap.  It might even prompt me to start out my website.. hopefully.


Thanks again Regan, Todd, Jarron and Rory!


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Leaving for Quetico, take 2

So, Rory's picking me up for the 2nd annual canoe trip [well 2nd one i've been on with the guys] in a couple hours.


Man I'm stoked!


This is gonna be so awesome... i think my battery's are charged and i'm ready to finish the last of the packing... hrm... except toilet paper... I should grab some of that too eh?


Wish me luck, and look forward to the post after I get done.  Should be plenty of pictures.


And yes... I did remember to remove my ring!


[oh, and btw - if you think i DIDN'T go to see Snakes on a Plane...  - and check out:]


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

seriously, i think that was about the best movie i have seen in a long time...

 so what do you expect from a movie entitled "snakes on a plane"

well if you're a normal, cool person, you expect one heck of a good movie (unlike some gloomy guses we know ).

So, did it live up to its expectation?  You bet!  Literally this was a GREAT movie.  EVERYBODY SHOULD SEE IT!  I want to say HOW great it is, but it's hard without giving it the context of some scenes... but then that would ruin parts of the movie for others.  I think the poster below speaks volumes about it.

  (this is an awesome, fake poster)

Sure there were some tense moments in it.  It's a movie about snakes loose on a plane, what else is there?  But it's never SOOO tense that you're frightened.  And the few moments that really do come close are relieved by such humour... and not just the 'cheap pop' humour, but real zany hilarity... real campy, yet witty humour that it's cool.  Kinda like when Uma kept chopping guys' arms off in Kill Bill.  Literally, Jarron laughed during the WHOLE movie.

Samuel - if you ever read this... excelleng job!  And to whoever wrote it... keep it up!

After the movie we retired to BP where the gang enjoyed the post-snakes experience, which consisted of:

  • watching  your feet around the chairs

  • making up a sharp, pointy version of jenga (see picture below- if you have to ask... don't!)

It also consisted of determining what the sequel will be like.  The consensus was that there would be no sequel, but rather a continuatino of this genre... such as:

  • sharks on a bus

  • bees in a blimp

  • bats on a boat

  • _some animal you're scared of_ on / in _some vehicle_

Definitely this movie will be a cult classic... no doubt.  They have to bring it back for a midnight hallowe'en showing.  Everybody has to see this movie.

So, in summation:


Monday, August 21, 2006

A Sam Roberts concert...

So, after the White River trip, we pull into town near exhausted and just plain all around pooped out.  What's on the plate next?  Well the OLG has planned there to be a free concert next to the Casino.  Free concert?  I do love all things free   And it's Sam Roberts.  Not that I'm a huge fan or anything, but it would still be cool to go.


We planned to meet for 7, which is good as Justin's birthday plan was to meet there for 7.  So we can all hook up and go.  Trouble was by the time we were energetically recharged from the travel it was nearer to 8.  So by the time we meet up with everybody it's like almost 9.  So finding Justin and gang was impossible.  The place was PACKED.  We sorta lingered in a few areas moving to find a nice spot as close as we could.  Best as we tried we really could barely make it to the first ring of the inner sanctum.  See there were several rows of impenatrability (is that a word?).  The closest to the stage was where all te people were standing and dancing.  After that were people in lawn chairs, and then followed by a tight row of people just standing.  We were behind that last row there, just before it started to taper off and the crowd becomes less dense.


Anyways, it was a good show and after it we all headed down to T'nA's.  That's a nice place.  They have this cool candle on the table.  Jarron freaked us out by how long he could hold his hand over it.  You have to see this trick to believe it!  Then Trish stole my hat... several times.  So i tied her to the chair with her shirt (it's hard to explain) and then mopped up a beer spill with her sweater.  I think even's even.  I think I might have edged out the competition by the time we left I got to cram her into the back of the Aztek... but then again, when we fished her and Eilidh out of there they looked to be in some sort of compromising position... not sure who's the winner there, but dang I wish I had my camera.  I'll attach what pictures I do have of the evening.  Weirdly I don't have any pics of Brandy at the event, but rest assured, she was there.

All in all it was a fun time!

White River's Fecal Festival

Okay, I'm taking the tagline from Carole actually.  She's the first to coin the Winnie the Pooh festival to the fun Fecal Festival.


How was the trip?  After some hullabaloo about ride situations and stuff everything was ironed out neatly.  My car consisted of:

  • Myself

  • Chris

  • Trish

  • Brian

Trish you say?  Yeah, a girl for the first time gets to go band tripping in teh Aztek.  I don't think she was that impressed tho'.  But she did bring Fraggle Rock to watch on DVD... tho' she didn't watch it (and I don't think I wanted to either).  We picked up Brian last, as he was working until 4:30.  When we picked him up he was making friends with the local crazies.  Apparently according to this guy, never hitch for a ride to Winnipeg, else you'll end up in Tocanoa (where that is... I have no idea).  4 hours later [give or take] we were in White River.  Yay.  With a few slipping minutes of sunlight I quickly set up my tent.  I love that thing.

We hung around in the big brown building for a bit before peopel decided they needed to go dance.  WR hosts a much music dance thingie in a parking lot.  Where the lot is divided into one half being older people [beer tent included] and the other divided half is youngin's [no beer tent].  It was $5 to join this festivity.  I didn't want to, but I'm also a sucker for peer pressure apparently.  After watchin' the 'po-po' take away several non-intoxicated people (as far as I could tell) but leaving "Lenny the town drunk" (man this guy was messed up) I decided I'll be heading out.  If I had stuck around, apparently I could have seen Tom win his free shirt.  I wish this thing had the ability to watch video, because I would show you the dance.  He demonstrated for us all later.  The rest of the night was ... well typical band style, lots of yabberin' and laughin' before we turned in around the hour of 4:30am-ish.  [some much later]  OK, i lied, there was one funny ocurrence - Trish somehow fell down and 'broke' her pants.  She came in baring them for all to see.  Not even on the seam or anything.  Pretty impressive.  So I had to video it, all I got was "I broke my pants" in a very pathetic voice.  [dang why won't this site allow videos]

8am came way too early.  It also came with the sense of rain on my tent.  I didn't like this for 2 reasons:

  1. my tent is now wet... will it be dry in time to go home?  I hate packing wet tents  , and I dont' want to leave it up during the parade.

  2. it will probably be still raining during the parade.  That makes 2 in a row.  I hate parading in the rain.

Regardless... life marches on, or in otherwords, Eric will still rip your tent open to rudely wake you up in the morning.  Seeing Jeff awake, he and I left for breakfast.  After breakfast I was quite concerned about the lack of people awake and moving and the nearness of time to the parade.  Those that were awake and moving were apparently still out at breakfast.  I was ticked... really, you don't understand how upset I was getting.  And when I started to say "hey, it's 10am, we should be dressed and tuned by the parade in 30min" I got responses of "you're kidding right?"  Now if it was a "you're kidding right" as in "really?  it's that late?  shoot, I better hurry" kinda response I could live with it.  But for the most part I got "you're kidding right" as in "do you really expect me to get moving?" kind of response.  Argh.  I really hstart having debates about being a real bastard of a PM then.

Anyways, the parade started, we were there and the rain had let up.  And it didn't seem as long as it usually is.  Not saying it was an EASY parade, I was pretty tired by the end, but still...  After the parade, it was time to start getting the rain off the tent [hard to do when it's still lightly drizzling] and pack everythign away.  Yay - only 4 more hours of driving until home.  Man, that was not a fun drive.

Not much else to say really.  Wish I had brought a camera.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The past few days - should I buy a scooter?

So, since the TO trip, what has gone on?


Not much, same ol' as usual.  Been at work... hanging out.


Rory and I have been working on setting up Pachelbel's Canon for the pipes.  Should be cool, but it's gonna be hard.


Work has been... well I'm getting used to the place.  And it's getting really busy too.  Still gonna have to get all those assignments up and running so people will be self sufficient for running.


My dad and I went canoeing at Hazelwood as well.  That was pretty fun.  Since I couldn't go fully camping, it was nice to just practice my the canoe skills.


Ray's back in town - and we went on a neato 'double date' with her and Doug and we went mini-putting at Kingsway.  It was pretty fun actually... despite how i was in last place.

White River is this weekend (look for the update later)...


Oh, and I'm thinking of buying a scooter.  MMmm... the Yamaha Vino should be awesome!  But it's a little more than I expected.   What do you think?


Tuesday, August 8, 2006

A trip to TO

So what else do I have to get caught up on?  Not much besides the trip to Toronto for Kate & Stu's wedding... let's get you all caught up on that.  I'll do it chronologically.  Hopefully I'll remember all of it...



A very early flight.  Especially since we stayed up to watch Clerks 2.  So we got up ... gathered our gear in the truck and picked up Mandy's dad, who drove us to the airport.  It wasn't much longer before we had to call him back so he could take my bagpipe 'tool' and I didn't want to lose it through the airport security people.  After the flight we arrived in TO and struggled with our bags to find the 'rocket' which would take us to the subway.  We were able to pick up a week pass (it saved us a few dollars vs. a few day passes).  When we arrived at Kelly's apartment we met up with Kelly and Adam and we showed them their gifts.  We gave Kelly a shirt from Monkey Business (she loves Curious George) and we got Adam a set of inflatable Scooby Doo pawes so he can defend himself against her.  We went grocery shopping and picked up some supplies.  We ended up having dinner at Murphy's Law.  It was nice... I was thinking about askign to come back and play at night there.  We finished the night with a ROUSING game of Scene-It - WB edition.  Yay!  But not before I blew up the inflatable mattress and turned the fan on HIGH.  Oh, did I mention that it was so grossly hot that it felt like you were walking through wax.  Not comfy.



We woke up semi-early.  We had agreed the day would be spent visiting Adam.  He had the week off of work, but was going to spend the rest of it at his parent's camp.  Plus, he had a pool in his apartment.  So we trekked off to his apt and enjoyed his pool... and his view from the top.  Apparently he doesn't use it as much as he should!  [same goes for the fitness room!  heh]  After we had cooled down enough we went downtown.  We visited the Crepes restaurant, Lush, Silver Snail and Mandy's favourite - the Golden Bead store.  Ugh... beads   You don't want to know how much she spent there.  Trust me, I didn't want to.

After, we met up with Cindy at the Spaghetti Factory.  That place was cool.  What was really nice was that they have the price for the entree, salad and dessert included.  It's a small thing, but it it's neat.



I woke up early and ran out to the park and practiced my pipes for a bit.  And then it was our day to 'adventure.'  I went to Richardson's and then on to Spring Rolls and we also fit the "Retro Fun" store in there somewhere.  It's funny how we really didn't go many places but it still took us ~5 hours to go out and come home.  Thank god for those week passes!  After we got back to the apartment we went on a bit of a walk with Kelly around the Beaches and had dinner at a Greek restaurant.  Before we hit the restaurant tho', we happened on by a bus and saw this:

[okay, the pictures will be shown at the end - but it was the "Are you missing out?" one]

Anyways, it was this big bus set up on the side of the road with "VIRGIN ALL NIGHTER" on the side with disco balls on the inside.  There were some kids walking about it so we decided to ge on.  Turns out it's a big ad for Virgin mobile.  I figured we should head out.  They didn't want to tlak to us anymore once they found out that Mandy and I were from Thunder Bay and can't sign up for Virgin.  Besides I didn't want to get on  party bus... it might be dangerous depending on where tehy go and where I end up.



Last day at Kelly's essentially so I woke up and played in the park again.  After missing out on some cuff-links the previous day we went on another search (Besides mandy needed more beads).  We headed to Moore's and they only had a set for $20.  They suggested I go to Harry Rosen.  And they did have some nice ones.  Nothing EXACTLY like I wanted, so I didn't want to spend $200 on a set that I sorta liked, so we headed back and bought Moore's' $20 set.  After that we were in search of Kelly's famous pancake place.  Apparently they stack 'em so high with all the toppings.  We found it cater-corner to the old Maple Leaf Gardens.  It had no hint of being a superb pancake place besides the name "Daybreak".  But when Mandy decided to order the blueberry pancakes they lived up the story.  Kelly had ordered chocolate chip the time she went and it was ALOT.  The blueberries were no less.  The rest of the day we spent at Kelly's BBQ-ing some of Mandy's chicken and corn on the cob.  And we went to get some candy from Sugar Mountain and some ice cream from Ben & Jerry's (yummy!).  Then Kelly played with Mandy's hair for practice so she could do it before we got to the wedding. 



We woke up pretty early this morning so that we could spend the day on the subway getting to the hotel.  Hopefully to check in...  Luckily enough we were able to get in before noon.  Just enough time to get in a quick lunch at the Swiss Pick and then a nap before we had to get ready to go.  After the nap we got all gussied up and called a cab.  We couldn't have had a funner ride.  His name was Jag, and man he was hilarious.  We talked, he made comments to the other passerby's and even gave us some sweets.  MMmm... Indian Almond Sweet.  I think he meant to only give us a taste, but we ate the whole piece.  Heh.    Then it was Kate & Stu's wedding:

Man it was warm.  But I looked good!  Really, it was a great night.  Mandy and I enjoyed ourselves!  She even got plenty of flowers.



This was a long day.  Check out was extended until 12, but we still had roughly 5 hours before we had to be at the airport.  What do you do when you have 5 hours to kill?  Go to the mall... when you exhaust yourself there...?  You go to the Casino.  We headed on down to the Woodbine.  We had the fabulous buffet [hey, it killed plenty of time], looked at the horses, and decided to spend some money.  Being as frugal as we were I gave us each only $20 to spend.  Mandy put hers into a machine and 2 seconds later it was gone.  Apparently if you push "15 lines" and "5 per line" that pretty well goes through that money quickly.  Mine lasted longer than that.  Not MUCH longer, but longer none-the-less.  Anyways, we eventually gave up and went back to the hotel to kill some more time.  I felt so bad when the shuttle driver drove us to the hotel that I realized I was out of cash for a tip... so we jus tmade a hurried dash to the gate.  We still had a few hours to kill yet ... eventually we made it home.


Man, I was tired!

now to enjoy some time off... oh, right, back to work.

Anniversary the 2nd

I know this is LONG over due.


Mandy and I had hit our 2 year anniversary recently.  My gift to her this year was to take her to Bayfield.  See, she's never been there before and I know she's wanted to go.  So I found out what days she had off and I called her work to ensure that she wouldn't be missed for a few days, researched some hotels etc... Then I just took her.  The idea was to surprise her by taking her a week early.  What had happened was that I had told her family and somebody had said to her the day before we were to leave "well aren't you leaving tomorrow?"


Oh, well.  But she was still surprised ... and impressed.  It was a nice place!

We stayed in the QE 2 room.  Where the guys and I had stayed a few years back for that piping gig [it should be in my blog still].


We enjoyed ourselves, or at least I did as far as I know.  We ate at Blackwoods and made it into the hotel.  We walked around the town and visited some shops... bought some souveniers.  Even bought Mandy some cool shades.


Then we spent a night watching a reality show about ice cream.  It was actually pretty cool.  Then we started our way home and that was that.


Oh... where's the pics?  Right... well apparently the ol' A75 crapped out on us and this is the kind of picture we got from it:




well you'll see it below.  There's more, but you might as well go back to the images from the first Bayfield trio page.