Friday, July 18, 2008

CC2008 Update

Gerry and I had a chance to speak earlier in the week and regretablly decided to cancel the trip for 2008. Lots of factors were involved, but for me it was mostly about my triathlon training. Getting 3rd in my last race confirmed something that I had been dreaming about for a while. I love to compete, but I have always believed that I could win and that result proved it.

So I have decided to go at my training even harder then usual for the 4 weeks leading up to the race in hope of finishing first in my group. Where the conflict comes in is the trip is 2 weeks before the race and going would basically derail all my efforts.
So I had to make a choice and as strange as it may seem to some of my fellow canoeist out there, I want this race more right now. I only have 3 or 4 years of genuine competition left in me, so I have to take advantage of it now, before my body starts to fail me.

It makes me sad that the tradition is being broken, even if only for a year, but it was always more about having a chance to hang out with my good friend and I don't have to be in the park to do that. I have reset the countdown clock for the same time next year. It felt strange doing that too.

This weekend Gerry is coming over to watch the Affliction/ UFC fights. It's been a while since we had a chance to do that, so I'm looking forward to it. At times the last year has been a tough on our friendship and so it will be great to reconnect and just chill out.

Have a good weekend folks!

Great film....blown away!

Keep and open mind here folks, but I recently saw what is one of the best documentaries I have seen in a LONG time and it's about....wait for it....Donkey Kong?

That's right, it's about 2 grown men and their epic journey to compete for the highest score ever score on the classic arcade game Donkey Kong. I know you may be thinking I have lost my mind, but I'm telling you, it's a very compelling story and a wonderful mix of suspense, action and humour. I loved it and I think many of you will too! Check it out...

It's called The King of Kong and below you will find the Coles notes version of what it's all about and you can check out the trailer HERE.

Props to for the summary.

Donkey Kong is the hardest and purest video game experience ever invented. It is a game that sends the average player packing after just a few seconds of play. We quickly learned that only two people could ever contend for the title of supreme Donkey Kong champion.

Back in 1982, when kids dumped quarters by the pound into arcade machines around the globe, Billy Mitchell was the best of the best. All of his records from those days are prized, but none more than Donkey Kong. And his records were only the beginning. He was instrumental in establishing Twin Galaxies, an organization that remains the acknowledged governing body for video game record-setters. To this day, that community worships Billy, and Billy revels in their adulation. He plays the part: from his flowing hair to his strident patriotism to his endless stream of self-empowerment platitudes, he is frozen in time, living a continuous loop of the glory days as he oversees his Ricky’s Hot Sauce empire.

Thirty-seven-year-old Steve Wiebe, on the other hand, always comes up short. While Billy was setting records, Steve was busy losing his promising baseball talent to injury, a pattern that has haunted his life. Never really a loser, he’s simply second best in everything, from music to sports to his professional career. When he was laid off from his software job, he bought a vintage Donkey Kong machine and began to play it for hours every day, eventually scaling the game’s greatest heights. In 2003, more than 20 years after Billy set his record, Steve Wiebe discovered Twin Galaxies and learned that Billy’s record was within his own reach. Steve could finally be the best at something.

This set in motion a dramatic conflict we could not have scripted in a million years. When Billy’s greatest record was threatened, he and his followers went to shocking lengths to protect it, forcing Steve to not only compete in Donkey Kong but to prove himself in the larger game of personal politics that surround the coveted crown.

Because of its subjects’ outlandish passion for their hobby, the film became an epic journey. Much more than just vintage video gamers, it is about what happens when a heroic figure and his followers face that hero’s mortality. It is about how far an underdog will go once he has the brass ring finally within his reach, and how the desire to win can overcome the most challenging of circumstances. And, of course, it is a rare glimpse into a world little seen by outsiders, a world lit by the flames of obsession and the flickering screens of obsolete dreams.

Congratulations to Mungo!

Mungo dropped me a line the other day. You may remember Mungo from his popular blog where he discusses camping, bushcraft and his take on life called Mungo Says Bah. He is also a frequent visitor of this site and leaves comments on fairly regular basis.

It seems that he should have no shortage of things to discuss on his blog in the months and year to come, as he and his wife are expecting. That's right, Mungo his having a baby!

A heartfelt congratulations from all of us to you and Spring.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Thunderstorms in the Forcast

Man , I hope it clears up, but as of this time things are looking a little ugly for our first ever, Father/Daughter canoe trip. Rain we can handle, but thunderstorms could be a real pain and wreck my little girls first day in the park. If you are interested, you can click HERE to see what the weather is like. Wish us luck!

I have a few things left to pack, but 95% of it is done. The only things to do tonight are to pack the food and camp chairs, then strap the canoe to the car.

I want to try out the "GeoTracking" feature of the SPOT device in possible. It allows people to view a live feed of our movements on the web and actually show a trail of movement. If I have time I will set it up and post it here before we leave.

I have to get home to pack! Leaving for Algonquin in about 13 hours!!!

Getting weirded out in Walmart

The other day I'm walking through, well....Walmart with my kids when a woman looked at me, then stopped dead in her tracks. "Oh my god I can't believe it's you Jim!", she shouted. I looked at her for a stunned second and realized I have NO idea who she is! NONE!!! I'm staring at her and drawing an absolute blank. Unaware of this, she continued to ask about my wife by name and asked a few more questions that did little to reveal how she knows me.

This is the point where I thought I had to either pretend to know her or let her know I didn't and risk looking like a fool. Well I went with the later. "I'm sorry, I don't remember you", I said to her. She looked hurt or at the very least shocked that I didn't remember her and then quickly clued me into how she knows me.

Strange Girl: "It's me Erin O*****! We dated back in High School"
ME: "Who?"
Erin (previously known as Strange Girl): "Erin....Erin O****** don't remember me? But we are friends on Facebook?"
ME: "We are?...oh, nice to see you again"
Erin: "Didn't you look at my profile or any of my pictures"
ME: "I guess are you?"
Erin: "Why accept me as a friend if you don't want to be friends"

It was at this point that I let her know how pressed for time I was (Total lie...) and as quick as humanly possible got the hell out of there! Oh Facebook! I used to enjoy you so much, despite the constant and annoying applications you hurl at me, but this was a whole new level of weird and I don't know that I can put up with this.

Do people really think that being friends on Facebook equates to being friends in "real life" or is this girl from my past just an isolated wacko. It's just not sitting well with me and has me rethinking the whole "Facebook thing" or at the very least, considering a serious "combing of the herd" when it comes to those I'm friends with.

Am I over reacting here? I could use your thoughts.

Here is a video that illustrates what it would be like if "Life were like Facboook"...

Friday, July 04, 2008

Web Friendly Version of NEW Algonquin Map

Barry from AA had resized the incredible map Jeffery M created.

Check out the legend in the picture and the corresponding links for each section of the page.

Great job guys!!! (above index map) (legend to all maps)

Third in the race...but at what cost?

Two weeks ago I competed in my first Olympic distance triathlon and as you can see from the picture, finished 3rd in my group. It was an amazing experience and one that I was thrilled to share with my family. That was the obvious "good side" to the race, but what I failed to mention in my post titled "Olympic Triathlon: I made the Podium!!!"was the injury I sustained that day.

It started with mild pain in the area of my right shin at about the 5 km mark of the run course. It didn't hurt all that much at the time, so I continued to push the pace. By the 9 km mark it was hurting pretty bad and my foot had started to go numb. Not good, but with only one km remaining, I figured "Who cares...I have weeks to recover" and continued to increase my pace and did my best to ignore the pain.

With all the euphoria of finishing the race and excitement of talking to family and friends, I never gave my leg another thought until the drive home. I went to press on the brake pedal and had a shooting pain in the same shin. Man, that hurt and it now had my full attention. I just chalked it up to fatigue, took a couple of Motrin and drove home.

Over the next week I didn't train at all, as I was in Algonquin for most of it and had planned to take some time off. While away there were many times when I had that same shooting pain in my leg/shin and this is where I started to think there was something more serious going on. I returned home last Friday and decided to take the rest of the weekend off and resume my workouts on Monday. That should have been more then enough time to recover.

Well it all came to head when I returned from my planned 12 km run on the Monday. It was extremely painful to run and withing 2 hours of completing the run I could hardly walk on my right foot at all! There was no inflammation, but my shin was painful to touch. I was now officially worried and thinking stress fracture...which would be a season ending injury.

Now convinced that I was screwed, I made an appointment with Paul at the sports injury clinic. Paul is the guy you may remember that fixed my back problems and is an all round sports injury expert, so if there was anybody who could put me back together, it was him. He was amazing. Within minutes he had new exactly what the problem was and better yet, said he would have me back training 100% in less then 2 weeks. Ahhhhh....what a relief! It turns out that it was caused by overworking the small muscle that runs up the front of the shin, something that is very common among runners. The treatment involved "stripping the muscle", which boils down to pressing ridiculously hard on very painful parts of my leg....then repeat again and again. I'm not going to sugar coat this, it hurt so much my eyes watered ( AKA I cried) and I screamed. It wasn't pretty, but it's now been 2 days since I was worked on and not only is my limp gone, I virtually all the pain is too.

I will resume training when I get back from Algonquin with Lauren and will let you know how it goes, but for now I'm just happy that the injury won't interfere with our trip.

Countdown to My Daughters first Canoe Trip!

Just 4 days remain until I get to introduce my daughter to Algonquin Park! I have been planning this trip since the winter, so it's hard to believe that this trip that once seemed so far away, is now just so close I can almost smell the campfire! We will be going to access point 17 Shall lake for three days and you can go HERE for a full break down of our trip.

She is excited and a little nervous I think. I have a bunch of surprises in store for her. Every day she will be given a will even be gift wrapped! I plan to pretend it's her birthday one day, and Christmas the next. Why not? In terms of "gifts" nothing big here, a new watch ( she lost hers a few weeks ago), puzzle book ( also good if it rains), glow sticks, water know fun stuff. I read a while ago about doing this to keep things fun and knew that she would love it.

The weather is looking good too, but we have all seen how quickly that can change.

Getting all the gear together has been easy as heck, since most of it was all ready gathered from my trip last week. I will do the grocery shopping today and then do the final gear pack up on Saturday. I will be carrying my backpack, barrel and of course the canoe. Lauren will be responsible for a small backpack that has her clothes and personal items. I have been told that kids like to help out and feel they are contributing, so she will also be helping with camp setup, meals, clean up and all other aspects of camp life. I just hope she likes it!

I hardly ever get to spend time alone with her, so I hope Algonquin will give us the 1:1 time that is next to impossible to get an our everyday lives.

I will post more about this prior to our departure next Tuesday.

UPDATE: Blog Format Change

One of the things that came up on my recent trip to Cedar Lake with Mark (I will update later today on that...) was a request....well, maybe it was more of a demand from Darren, Mark and others that I start to archive my posts. I have always been reluctant to do that. My reasons are simple. I use this site to store information I need and use it as my personal online canoe library and when I want to find something fast having ALL my posts on one page was always the easiest approach for me.

Because of this I never really concerned my self with how those with dial-up (...yes apparently some people still use dial-up....shocking!) or the length of time it took for a the page to load even for those with faster services. Mark made some good points.

So I have made some changes that are a good compromise. Only the last 50 posts will now be on the main page and the rest are archived. For myself (...and maybe others?) that like to search the whole blog for a specific post or nugget of information I have added a "search this blog" box that can be found in the upper left hand corner of the screen.