Archive for July, 2008

3 days to go!!!

And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold;
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold:
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green and pleasant Land.

Last night was a resounding success, Bob and I put in the new Checkpoint firewall and after clearing the ARP table on the router the system actually works! The parking and the interfaces that were not working the last time we switched the system over are now working as designed. Weird how ARP has become such a pain in the ass over the last few months since it has never been an issue since I have worked here. Very odd. I got home at about 1130 and the house was spotless, Nicole had been on one of her famous cleaning binges and the place looked like a model home. I have no idea where anything is of course but it looks magnificent!
So, now we just have to put the link in between us and Branson and we will be set. If we can get that done before I leave it will be a massive boost to our general feeling of satifaction with our situation.
I haven’t even started to think about packing other than to wonder if I should be taking my laptop both for picture downloads and for free WiFi so that I can keep my email under control. We shall see.
I bought a monopod for the trip since I am committed to doing a shedload of photography while we are there. Maybe I should also get a second memory card… I think I willl if I decide not to take the laptop.

New page! Over there——>

I added a trip advisor map to my pages. You can find it on the column to the right —>

Camping Part Deux

Camping part two was a little different of an excursion than the first time. We decided against going up on Friday due to the massive thunderstorms that were forecasted and the fact that I was completely unprepared to leave! I spend the Friday shopping for fishing supplies, food etc. and trying to get everything we needed into the garage. The weather got steadily worse and the thought of being in a cabin for the night with no prospect of a fire or in fact anything remotely warm or comfortable was just not floating my boat so to speak. So Nicole came back from work and we spent the night on our warm couch watching the non existent storm out of the window!
Saturday came and we left fairly early to grab coffees and get on the road. The drive was not too bad, the place is only about 90 mins away and since it is on Rice Lake, the same lake as 2 weeks ago, we knew where we were going. Despite the fact that Gill took us a completely different way than last time we arrived with the dew still fresh on the ground.
The site was a place I recognized because we had been to a family reunion there last year. We were not staying in our tent this time, but rather in an Eco-cabin which loosely translates to an unfinished shed with a hole in to the ground for a toilet. The cabin had a small table with 4 chairs, a loft which was barely big enough for a double mattress (covered in a thick plastic – eww!) and 2 futons in the main room which folded out into reasonable sized beds. The day was already getting hot and we decided to go for a stroll around the park to see who was about. The other 4 cabins were occupied, however there were about 10 tents in the entire camp! Last year we recall that there were tents all along the opposite side of the road from the cabins. This year, not a single one. This could have been a direct result of the alcohol ban which was put into effect this year meaning no drunk teenagers and college students throwing up on each other.
We wandered around the park, did a spot of fishing, however this side of the lake is the lee side and therefore gets all the weeds and crap blown against it. The other side where Golden Beach is fairs much better in the fishing aspect. We set up our stuff, had some lunch and eventually some dinner. I went to get some firewood, an exercise I would repeat later since their idea of a bundle of firewood is more like a handful of kindling! As the light faded we started the fire and settled in for a quiet evening with our new friends the neighbours.
Yes, the neighbours, who could have sworn that they recognized us from somewhere and it didn’t take long for us to figure out that they had kids at Vaughan Gymnastics on Thursdays and had seen us coaching many evenings. Yes, it is indeed a small world but don’t try walking around it!
So we gave our camping a real try, but as the evening passed into night the sound of rain and thunder gave notice that our trip was to be a shortened one. We quickly realized however that the sound that we thought was thunder was actually raccoons who had waited until we went to bed to come up onto the porch and open the garbage can. I went out and locked the lid and as I did I saw a little raccoon head poke out from between the steps as if checking for a clear coast. I have to say, the one raccoon who actually came up onto the porch was the fattest raccoon I have ever seen, he was seriously the size of a dog, although much shorter and as he tried to rush down the stairs he actually wobbled like a furry American making his way down the steps to the $3.99 Vegas Prime Rub buffet.
It was not much longer after this that the thunder and lightning arrived and as we rose in the morning we were greeted with torrential downpour that had turned the road in front of the cabins into a shallow stream. There really was nothing else to do but pack the car, rescue the waterlogged chairs and head to Peterborough for breakfast. We went to the Piccadilly restaurant and I will spare you the gory details. Suffice to say that it was only marginally better than the camp food we had the day before and after the morning that I had, burned toast and frozen potato squares were just fine. Any other day and you would be reading a rampaging diatribe about the pathetic service, the disgusting furniture and the smell of burning bacon. The only saving grace was a really cool bathroom sink. Not enough to warrant a return however. I had already managed to take a chunk out of my leg on the car door and run over the fire pit with the truck which in turn made the whole car vibrate all the way home. I am assuming the tire is unbalanced, we shall see. If not, there may be some suspension work in my future.
So we arrived home early, to a very wet and grey day but with another camping rip under our belt. Thank God we had not been tenting it since the winds were incredible during the night. I guess it really pays to pick your weekends (and your fishing spots) when camping around here.

restart – this is getting tedious!

This weekend was an eventful one, not in the fact that we did so much but for the fact that I realized I was going to have to go to England overweight and not only that, but I was probably going to end up going back to Gymnastics overweight too, something I had sworn I wouldn’t. I had envisioned myself being able to condition with the girls, being able to at least do handstands and cartwheels with the little ones. For some reason when the end of the season comes, I think I have months off to prepare for the new year whereas in reality we only get about 8 weeks off. Since 3 of those will be spent in England away from the gym I had no option but to start running to give myself a chance to at least maintain my weightloss while I was away. Well, the plan failed miserably and my return to the gym has far exceeded my running success. This is counterproductive since I can’t keep up the gym gains on vacation. I was supposed to be running 3x a week btu I have struggled to make one or two so far. This weekend I finally decided to get my act together and catch up on everything including my motivation. So I changed the oil in the car, ordered a set of tires for the Jeep since I now have 2 slow punctures and the cheap tires are on sale! I tried to update this blog but found that typing on a full sized keyboard just frustrates the hell out of me since my hands are used to my laptop keyboard. I just can’t seem to spell anything right on the computer at home. I did manage to clean the garage, which has been a long time coming. Last year I spent a lot of time out there making it nice and doing work. This summer I don’t seem to have spent any time out there at all. So I bit the bullet and rearranged a lot of the shelving and found a place for almost everything. The other benefit to being out there is that is serves as a warmup for my run, or a time for me to practise my darts while barbecueing. Which reminds me, I need gas…

..camping continued

.. where was I? Oh ya, the camping trip.
So the tone for the weekend unfortunately was one of stress and drama, not that it affected Nicole and I but there was one person whose mission it seemed to be to steal the spotlight at any cost. I am not mentioning any names *COUGH*lori*COUGH* however those concerned just seem to require that everything go their way or it is hell for every one. It is a little sad I have to say that she is wound up that tight, it just keeps everyone at arm’s length, and makes them want to buy her husband a bottomless bottle of Xanax.
So there we were, the tent went up in no time besides the fact that it was our first time putting it up. We unpacked the stove, and went over to help Sonia and Darren set up their stuff. The kids kid of milled around throwing footballs and baseballs around, we all started cooking dinner almost as soon as we arrived and in no time it turned into a real camping postcard! We forgot, however, to get firewood, and the small pile that Darren brought didn’t look like it was going to last at all. John started to build the fire under the watchful and scythingly critical eye of Adam who had failed to witness our neighbour start his fire with lighter fluid! Talk about an unfair comparison! As the daylight faded into evening and the sky turned from blue to pink we settled around the fires (yes, separate fires thanks very much) and began the ritual of the marshmallow. Since Sonia and Darren were only going to be there the one night we pulled out all the stops and had glowing bracelets for the kids (thanks to Nicole whose ideas are always just amazing!) and even attempted to convert me to a s’mores lover. However, the s’mores fell flat, I have to say I am not a fan, I think I will stick with my plain marshmallows thanks. i took a couple of pictures but was too interested in getting the experience going than taking photos. As it happened, the following evening I managed to take some nice shots of the kids around the fire and even some interesting shots of the fire itself.
It is now a couple of weeks since the event my memory of the details is fading somewhat however I recall the kids caught lots of fish. At one point, Adam caught a huge carp right out from under the dock side and gave it to a Portuguese guy (I assume for dinner). The weather was amazing, the Off Deep Woods Sport worked like a charm, I didn’t get bitten all weekend! We sat by the pool and tanned for a while, took a few walks to the store and generally just hung out doing not much which I gather is the point of camping. The second night was nice with everyone around a single fire, apparently the problems seemed to be related to Sonia and/or Darren. The kids split off into their own fire and camp towards the end of the night and I think due to the late night the day before, we all seemed to head to bed a lot earlier! We did however manage to work through some amazing dough on a stick. I am not sure what kind of pillsbury stuff it was but when you wrap it wround a stick and grill it, it’s pretty good! We tried our hand at hamburger helper which refused to cook and turned the noodles to mush. We tried bacon that wouldn’t cook, but burned instead. I think the cam stove takes some finesse, of which apparently I am sadly lacking!
The following morning was typical as far as I can tell. if you are leaving, you get up, pack up and get the hell out. Maybe it is the promise of Tim Hortons in the morning or the call of the couch, but whatever it is, it makes people manic in their desire to get away from the camp. We dumped our garbage on the way out of the site and trusted Gill to get us home. Once we made the U-turn we were on our way!
All in all it was a gentle and rewarding introduction to camping, given that it really wasn’t what I would call camping – thank God! The fishing success made me think about breaking out my rod and tackle and giving it a shot when we go back in a few weeks. I will have to see since I don’t like harming animals in any way maybe being a successful fisherman wouldn’t be for me – i am weirdly sensitive like that!

Let's take a moment to reflect

Just as I did when I started, I want to go back to the Canada day weekend and the events that transpired. In this case they are significant because for the first time in, well, almost 9 years I suppose, Nicole and I went camping. Nicole found a small place not far from Toronto called Golden Beach Resort where you can camp but have the luxury (!) of electricity, running water and an enclosed washroom. I am not sure whose idea it was, nor who was actually responsible for arranging the group, other than the fact that Lori paid (and made sure everyone knew). In fact, so impressed with herself we were led to believe that she had named herself the “owner” of the group and made her wishes for camp locations quite clear to the resort staff. Anyhoo, we ended up being a group of 5 tents, mostly couples, all except us with kids. The site was really nice, very close together but since there were so many of us in the group we basically took over the area where we camped making it our own little sanctuary. There was tons of stuff for the kids to do, lots of games areas, basketball and tennis courts, a pool, some jungle gyms and so on. There was also a store on the property that had everything you could wish for, so even if we hadn’t packed every single last thing that we owned, we could have bought whatever we needed on site.
The first night was the only night that everyone was going to be there and so we all hung out and chatted and set up our camps.

Happy Anniversary to me… or you? Us!!??

Hard to believe that 10 years ago today, July 7, 1998 I started out on my online journalling career. It was initially meant to be a communication tool for my family to keep up to date with what I was doing, given that I was the worst as staying in touch. It then rapidly declined into a laundry list of daily activities but was saved by my interest in other online journals of the time. Of course, this was before the advent of the blog which meant that every moron with a PC could spew the content of their maladjusted brains onto the screen. Back then it took talent to put the pages together every time, to create not just the content but also the vessel with each entry. The art was revered and admired and had a real degree of respect. At least that is what all we journallers thought! The site rapidly evolved into what my paper diaries had always been, a meandering exploration of my awareness and a record of my exposure to the intricacies of life. I am actually astounded that in my first month I managed to write 15 entries, not a bad start in retrospect.
Over the years, I have returned less and less to add to the blog as it evolved, or devolved if you like. It became harder and harder to find the time to write and frankly, the better my life went emotionally, the less motivated I was to write quasi-teen angst filled entries raging against the injustices of life itself. Massively important pieces of life went missing, something which I aim to correct this year and although I look through the past with fondness there is a significant feeling of disappointment that I missed recording some of the formative times of the relationship with the woman who would later become my wife. So we come to today, and I am pondering how to celebrate this momentous occasion and I think the answer is clear. I should aim to produce as much or more as I did in that first year, starting with 15 entries for this month and use this anniversary as a springboard to a more complete record of my life once more. I am hoping that the most significant events in life are still to come and that I will be here to record them for all posterity.
So happy anniversary, I doubt a single person who followed along with my adventures back then remains just as I have failed to keep up with their lives, however I think that the future audience is the most important one, even if it is just Nicole and I and our future little ones reminiscing about the adventures of our youth!