Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween is here!

As a kid I always loved Halloween. The only exception was the time I went out dressed as a bank robber and some older kids threw a bag of liquid pig manure at me. It exploded all over my back as I tried to run away and was the last time I ever went trick or treating. I did get more candy then ever that year though, so I guess you take the good with the smelly.

Now that I have kids of my own I love to let then pic what costume they want. This year Lauren is a Hollywood Star and Jacob is a Spider-man ( but it's some black and grey Spider-man....I have no idea what that's all about?).

Ethan's costume on the other hand is right up my alley.
Funny story. The other day Ethan had tried on his Darth Vader costume and was wearing it around the house. After an hour or so Tanyia asked him to take it off 'cause we had to get ready for Hockey. Ethan said "No". Tanyia said to him "take it off or I will! " and Ethan still wearing the black cape, Vader mask and with light saber in hand turned to her and said in his best Darth Vader voice "Mommy, you don't know the power of the Dark side!". What a little goof.

Have a great Halloween everyone!

PS- As I was searching for a good Darth Vader picture to include in this post I found this Ad for a genuine Darth Vader much? $794.00 US ! Crazy eh? I can just imagine that conversation "Hey Tanyia...umm... I bought something off the Internet and it's kind of expensive...but don't worry, it was much cheaper then the Death Star"

Canoe Strokes

Although I am sure this may be considered common knowledge amongst the more experienced canoe folk out there, at times I still get the different strokes confused and thought....I must not be the only one...right? If you are like me and have a hard time telling your J-stroke from your back stroke...this is for you!

Some of the basic strokes in paddling are the forward stroke, the J-Stroke, and various forms of cross strokes, including cross forward, cross draw and cross back.

Forward Stroke

The paddle enters the water comfortably ahead of the paddler' s position. With the blade perpendicular to the keel line and the paddle vertical, pull straight along the side of the canoe. Keep both arms relatively straight throughout all phases of the stroke. Push forward and down over the blade with the top arm and pull with the lower arm. Body and shoulder rotation provides much of the power.


This stroke provides forward momentum at the same time that it keeps the canoe on a straight course. Start off with a forward stroke, but then push the top hand farther out over the water than the lower hand. This motion moves the blade under the boat and carves the -by levering the paddle off the boat. The last push away from the boat should be a quick one.

Cross Forward

Executed parallel to the canoe' s centerline. Both hands remain over the water, keeping the paddle shaft vertical to the water. The stroke is short and performed in front of the body. The paddle is planted as far forward as a person can lean comfortably. Move the upper body forcefully to an upright position and stop the stroke at your knees. An underwater recovery helps to establish a quick back-and-forth rhythm.

Cross Back

More often used by solo paddlers, this stroke requires good upper-body flexibility. The paddler crosses over the boat with the paddle and inserts the blade opposite the hips. The body must be rotated until the shoulders are almost parallel to the boat' s centerline. This stroke is a powerful way to stop a boat quickly to scout a rapid, and is usually used with a back stroke to maintain position in the river.

Friday, October 19, 2007

End of Season List and an Update

With canoeing season quickly coming to a close, now is the time to start thinking about proper storage of gear. While searching the net I found this AWESOME list (...did I mention how much I love lists?) and thought some of you may find it helpfull as well. I will post it below.

I have started to do some preliminary planing for one of a few trips Gerry and I plan to do next year. The one I am focused on at this time will be the first one for our kids and should prove to be a blast. I will be bringing Lauren and Gerry plans to take his 2 older boys. I have already found that planning a trip for kids isn't that different from the prep that went into any of our past trips. Finding a route that provides some challenge, but isn't too chalanging comes with some unexpected bonuses. The main one being that since we arnen't having to do long portages or paddles, we can be MUCH more liberal in terms of both the food and gear we bring. As for where we go....well, that's still up in the air. I am bouncing around between Booth Lake, Barron Canyon or Tim River, but it seems the more I research one, the more I uncover other intreguing possiblilities.

As for th Brent to Robinson, CC 2007 trip log. I STILL have yet to even start it! I hope to get started on it within the next few weeks and poke away at it. I will get it done and when I do, you will be the first to know.

Here is the Post Canoe Season Checklist:

1. [ ]Was the tent and ground cloth dry before it was last put away?

2. [ ]Were any repairs needed to the tent or other gear?

3. [ ]Were all the items in the cook set cleaned and rinsed thoroughly after the last use?

4. [ ]Where are the towels and scrubby used for utensil cleaning? These items are often wet and can damage other equipment.

5. [ ]What items did I find I needed during the trip or forgot to take? This is a good time to make a list. There is nothing like stopping at the local outfittter on the trip home.

6. [ ]Are any tools, tent pegs or other items broken or lost?

7. [ ]Do any knives, hatchets, saws or other tools require sharpening? Maybe that Sven saw needs a new blad because it has lost its set.

8. [ ]Have all the water bottles been drained, cleaned and stored away with the caps removed? You may want to loosley install the caps after the bottles are dry. (Keep mice and dirt out)

9. [ ]Has the sleeping bag been aired and stored loosely?

10. [ ]Has the sleeping pad been unrolled and inflated before storage? Keeping them compressed is not a good practice.

11. [ ]Has the trash bag been removed from the pack and put into the trash can? YUK!

12. [ ]Have all the food items been removed from the packs? This can be a double YUKK!

13. [ ]Have rain suites and pack covers been stored away wet?

14. [ ]Have any items been removed from the first aid kit or have the medications exceeded shelf life?

15. [ ]Do any staple items like salt, pepper, spices, oils, matches or fire starters need resupply? (If you use strike anywhere matches they must ALWAYS be stored in metal containers! Mice are known to ignite them.)

16. [ ]I used to advise keeping stoves full of fuel during storage. I have since learned that they should be emptied. The fuel will cause corrosion and clogging. My Coleman repairman told me to remove the fuel during long term storage.

17. [ ]Have all finacial obligations and accounts been settled? Group trips often involve cost sharing.

18. [ ]Have your trip notes been completed? Are maps, notes, and other documents secured for future use?

19. [ ]Has the water filter been flushed, drained and stored correctly? Do filter cartridges need replacement?

20. [ ]Have batteries been removed from flashlights and other such items as the GPS and weather radio?

21. [ ]Does the candle lantern need oil or a replacement candle?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The first instalment of the Portage Dictionary...

The Perdita Felicien: wherein the portager lurches over a seemingly innocuous fallen tree at great speed expecting to clear it with ease only to catch a lace, a pant cuff or similar on a branch. A Jesus or Earth Mother Dive may follow.

The Tonya Harding: where in order to maintain balance or momentum the portager propels lower leg forward into rock, log or both, at about shin level.

The Armadillo: wherein the clear line through the bush becomes suddenly a Car Wash, the portager curls head toward chest, tucks arms in, leans forward and stomps aggressively through obstructing branches. A move heralded by judges for its audacity in placing skin preservation ahead of the need to see where you're going.

The Birth Canal: when carrying a canoe, the portager attempts to pass between two trees separated by a distance less than the boat's beam at the midthwart. Athletes are scored based on the speed at which they perform the maneuver and the creativity applied in the process of wiggling through.

Dinglethwacking: ropes or nylon webbing connected to the canoe's front and back that allow the portager to control the canoe are called dingle straps. Holding them taught while going through a Car Wash would seem to be an excellent way of fending off bent branches, but in fact, it merely extends the branches' arc, making the results of their release that much more spectacular.

Car Wash: undergrowth along a river, either where nature is reclaiming a trail or engulfing a river tends to be strong, right to the ground. Branches grow horizontally seeking sunlight, creating a gate effect between trees similar to what you find in a drive-through carwash, but they don't so much buff as flagellate.

Jesus Dive: where losing balance or footing, the portager falls in some direction (extra points for backwards) and reaches out a limb to break the fall only for said limb to contact the pointy end of a stick. Twenty points for palm of hand. Extra points for broken skin.

Mother Earth Dive: similar to the Jesus Dive, but, hands restrained by portaging straps, the portager kisses the earth - with gusto. Ten points for each five seconds of prostration.

The Boomerang: when attempting the Car Wash or Armadillo, the portager is propelled backwards by the strength of the branches.

The Twistoff: when carrying the canoe, the portager attempts to execute a turn only to find the bow of the canoe has gone past a tree. Extra points if your head makes a sound when the canoe hits it.

Original Work Done By Chris Lawson

Friday, October 12, 2007

Canoe Parts

I always get confused when some of the more knowledgeable folk use the proper terms to describe all the different parts of a canoe. I know the basics, but some of the less common leave me scratching my head. I thought a diagram would help...well ME and maybe a few others.

Oh and for the record, I never like when people use "boat" when describing a canoe, but this was the best one I found.

I hope it helps a few of the other "terminology challenged" folks out there.

Eleven random things about me

  1. I have broken my left wrist 3 times - once when I was 8 from jumping off a swing, once while playing rugby (hairline fracture...but that still counts right?) and the last time was in a bar fight "on a Sudbury Saturday night". It really was a Saturday!
  2. I have a strong NEED to have everything organized and in proper order. Example: Every night I lay out my clothes for the next day in the order I will put them on.
  3. I can't start to prepare food until the kitchen counters have nothing but appliances on them.
  4. In ten years I have only missed 3 Toronto Maple Leaf games.
  5. I learned how to snap my fingers when I was 22 and high. It felt like I had just discovered DNA.
  6. While singing in the car I reposition the rear view mirror so I can see myself.
  7. Age 7: At summer camp I fell out of a canvas tent while changing into a bathing suit and tumbled down a hill naked in front of a small crowd.
  8. I don't wash the lettuce before I make a salad, but Tanyia thinks I do.
  9. I know hundreds of people, but only have 2 real friends.
  10. Every Monday Tanyia works until midnight and the kids are in bed by eight, so I have the house to myself for 5 hours.
  11. I love Mondays.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Life Update:

Wow...I know it's been a while since I updated, but I will do my best to get you up to speed. The past few weeks have been crazy. Between injury, illness, work stress, ex girlfriends and neighbourhood unrest (...more on all this in a just a moment) it's been hard to keep my head above water at times...but with Tanyia's help, I manage. God bless that wonderful woman!

The Update....

  • New Tri Bike: My custom Felt 32 arrived about 2 weeks ago and it is gorgeous! As I mentioned in a previous post it came with a bunch of gear that were "nice to have" items. Not the least of which was the stationary trainer, that converts any road/tri bike into a stationary bike for indoor training. Unfortunately, the trainer was smashed during delivery and will need some replacement parts. Aside from that though, this was another eBay steal! Other then a brief spin around the block, I haven't been able to get out for a real ride where I can really give it a hard test. Even during my little spin it was very fast and responsive. I plan to take it out later this week and I will update once I do.
  • My Back is on the Mend...AGAIN!: After 2 weeks of feeling pain just about every time a moved, I am happy to say I am virtually pain free. I still get the odd twinge, but nothing serious. I had stopped going to the chiropractor for a few months and with all of my training leading up to the triathlon and my refusing to slow down after, it was just a matter of time before something like this happened. So as it stands now I haven't trained for 2 weeks! That is the longest I have gone without exercise in over 5 years and although it's good for my back, it's not so good for my mental state. I have been struggling with feelings of depression lately and the only thing that has changed is my ability to train. I hope to be able to restart tomorrow morning. It's been strange how much it has effected my self image. I look in the mirror and I think I look the same, but I feel fat....does that sound crazy?
  • Newcastle has Bloods and Crypts?: While at the park with Lauren and my dog Jack last night, I noticed this large group of teenagers not far from where we were running Jack. Over the next 10 minutes the group continued to grow and grow, until it was well over 50 kids. Then we heard yelling and fights started to break out. I grabbed Jack and Lauren and headed for the house, only 100 steps from the park. I asked Tanyia to call 911 and told her what was going on then ran back to the park. My buddy Dave saw what was going on and came with me. As they came into view there were several real fights going on and one kid was getting pounded. There were now about 60 kids watching and some were using their cell phones to video tape the battles....thanks youTube! I yelled "HEY....get out of here!" and removed my coat, Dave did the same. That worked, I had their attention...even the fights stopped. At this point I am thinking this could go very bad. I yelled again " THE POLICE ARE ON THEIR WAY...THIS IS A PUBLIC PARK....GO HOME NOW!" To my surprise and relief, most of them left immediately and the few stragglers soon after. The kid that seemed to have gotten the worst of it was said "..thanks" he looked really scared. My point of this....I thought this kind of stuff happened in the city, but we live in a small town, in the suburbs and it appears it can even happen here. Afterward, I spoke to Lauren about it, but it was hard for an 7 year old to understand why people would want to hurt each other. It was just as hard for this 36 year old.
  • Ex-Girlfriend: I contacted an Ex through Facebook recently to apologize for how our relationship ended. You know, it felt really good and it couldn't have gone better! She forgave me and we are now friends again. It has me considering contacting other people I have wronged in my life. I just feel spiritually lighter!

Monday, October 01, 2007

I Need this today...

"Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever"

My back is bad today....real bad. I will write later...