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Journal Entries for July 2006
July 1, 2006 - 10:11 PM
The more things change, the more they stay the same

Walking down memory lane (literally)

This weekend I had originally planned on going to Sheerness with Pat and his wife, but about 10 minutes after I left Calgary Pat called me to say that he phoned the campground and was informed they were full! (This on Friday morning at 8:00 already!) Instead he was going to head back to Upper Lake but I decided to carry on in a North-Easternly direction and set my destination as Pine Lake.

Back on the beach

The weekend started off great. I got to the lake about 11:00 on Friday morning and launched my Seadoo. After sorting out the trailer and parking Rusty, I set out on the lake for my first venture on the green waters of the year. After ripping around the lake a couple of times, I picked a spot central to the lake and lay back on the seat to tan. Within an hour a familiar pair of faces appeared on the end of one of the docks and although I tried to be sneaky, they were all too familiar with my old tricks and had long vacated the perilous dock by the time I arrived. Carmen and Randy hopped on and we went out for a ride. It was Randy's first ever ride on a Seadoo, and I dare say one he will never forget! None of us will forget it for that matter. I took him on a bit of an informal tour of the lake, pointing out areas of interest, particularly pertaining to the tornado. We got down as far as Leisure Campground when we started doing those quick turns Seadoo's have become known for. All was going well until inevitably, one turn took a twist for the wetter and we were all thrown from the craft. So far, nothing unusual - this has happened countless times before. The Seadoo was upside down in the water, again not unusual. I quickly swam back to it and flipped it over. The three of us tried to remount, but for some reason once we were all aboard, it again tipped over, coming to rest 180 degrees out of alignment with it's intended operational position in water. Now it was having trouble starting, so Randy and I left Carmen in the water while we tried to work the water out of the engine. After a few minutes of limping circles around her, I thought we could get her back on board and putter back to the south end of the lake. However, somehow during the process of trying to get Carmen back onto the Seadoo, the engine drew water into both it's cylinders and we weren't going anywhere.

The skin-well-picked-off key

Fortunately for us it wasn't long before a passing Seadoo noticed our frantic arm waving techniques and came over. The lady and her son were kind enough to tow us (from Leisure!) back to Sandy Cove but because the Seadoo was by this time so full of water, Randy and I couldn't get on it and our only option was to drag in the water behind it all the way back down the lake.

Foot Wave

We eventually got the water out of the cylinders and with a boost from my inverter battery, got it started again. In a short amount of time it was ripping up the lake again but instead of going back out for another ride we went up to Whispering Pines for lunch beacuse soon thereafter Carmen had to go back to Red Deer to get ready for work.


The rest of the weekend was surprisingly quiet, especially for a long weekend! More and more of the familiar seasonals have sold and moved on, and there was a new, older couple managing the store and the grounds. I put in a few more hours on the Seadoo Friday afternoon before collapsing in the van for a much-needed sun-induced nap. When I awoke, it was evening and I started wandering around the campground to see who all had arrived.

Nose Picker

One of the only kids I knew was Allison, so we played badminton on the beach for at least an hour if it was ten minutes - right up until it got too dark to hit the birdie. Donna and Brian invited me up to their fire and we got talking about the small world in which we live. Then it was found out that the lady sitting beside me worked with my uncle Bruce both at Telus and at Bell for many years! Pretty soon everyone else was tossing out names and discovering that they went to school with this person or were neighbours with that person. It was quite funny. Can I say it again? It's a VERY small world!


Returning to a place doesn't bring back the people.

I used to look forward to going to Pine Lake because it was Pine Lake. It was tradition, it was something I'd done for many years and associated with many good times. Where I was mistaken in my reasoning however, was that it's not the lake that made the memories. Yes a lot of them centered around the lake - but the lake was not the main ingredient. It was the people that made the memories. The lake was just an accessory, an inert catalyst that alone means nothing. Even if the lake made up 49 percent of the recipe, as Ryksopp puts it, Forty-nine percent - one percent short of half and less than half ain't really much of nothing.

Friday night I had the most wonderful dream. It seemed strangly appropriate since I had been walking down memory lane all weekend, revisiting many of the infamous places around Sandy Cove. Saturday I'd be standing on the deck of the store and half expect to hear any of a dozen voices pierce the silence. More than any of the others, there is one voice I long to hear. Even if it meant I never heard another voice but hers, my ears would be satisfied. She was there in the dream. From that point on all I could think about was how much I miss her and have missed her.

July 3, 2006 - 11:45 PM
Feels so good to close my eyes...

Song of the day: Groove Armana - Superstylin'

My green bird is developing something of a rebellious streak - he now tries to bite me whenever I put my finger out to him to put him back into his cage at night. Apparantly he'd rather stay out of the cage but once he's on the finger he will usually behave. The blue one is a lot better. He just hops up on my finger and rides back to the cage door. Man it's been hot lately. I keep those 48 bottle flats of water in my van and drink about 10 a day when it's warm like this. I can easily down a 600 mL in one tipping. All day my exposed skin glistens in the sun. With the tan I got over the weekend it makes my arms look awesome but my forehead has already started peeling so it looks half sweet-tanned, half pink fleshy. Today's Mr. Boffo comic made me laugh, the one entitled "Invention with the most amount of bugs to work out." I love his sense of humor.

July 4, 2006 - 11:27 PM
Got Milk?

There's nothing quite as refreshing on a hot summer day as an ice cold cup of fresh-from-the-store milk. And today would certainly qualify as a hot, summer's day. I think we passed the 30 degrees Celcius mark today.

Taking it down a notch, the song for the day is called Satellite by the group BT. It's a mellow, chill-out kind of song that in this moment, is whisking me away from this place to another place. What a wonderful and complicated thing the mind is. It can either acknowledge the array of information thrown to it from all various types of sensory devices placed throughout the body - or it can ignore them completely and create it's own reality. Lost in thought is a misleading term. You're not lost at all - you're simply embracing an existance more comfortable, more pleasurable, more enjoyable than the one you're presently in. What is a dream? Is it really just a wish that the heart makes? A garbled sequence of disconnected scenarios which seem to make sense at the time but upon awakening they always seem confusing. Maybe it's just because when we are torn from that frame of mind, many of the connecting pieces get lost in transit. When you think back on what you can recall of a dream, it doesn't make sense only because you cannot remember the entire storyline. While you're having the dream itself, it always seems to flow correctly and there aren't these gaping holes. Or maybe it's one of those situations comparable to puppy love - it seems very real to the puppies but those with more wisdom and understanding know it's intensity will fade.

July 10, 2006 - 12:40 AM
A wee bit of lightning

Thunder and Lightning

So much to cover but I have no time. I tell you, if I ever go back to an 8 hour work day, I won't know what hit me! Today I looked at the clock on my phone at 4:30, looked at my job list and was happy I was half done! Crazy. And that hail today! Wow! I can't remember it raining and hailing so frequently. Truly a wonder to see. Now if only I could get some sleep!

July 13, 2006 - 11:23 AM
Bo installing a lock

I have a bird on my other finger. It makes typing take a lot longer than normal. But they are very cute. The other day Bo came home early from work and when he glanced out the kitchen window he saw Paul, the neighbour that lives across the back alley from us - SITTING in one of our lawn chairs in the back yard!! We've long suspected him of stealing empty bottles from our back yard, not to mention his unnatural and peculiar interest in Madisson, but now he's making himself comfortable in our yard? (Nevermind the fact that while he sat there he seemed to be staring intently at Maddison's playhouse...) Needless to say, that very night Bo and I installed a lock on the gate leading to the alley and I set up one of my cameras in the back yard. I don't know who this guy thinks he is, but you don't just saunter into a neighbours' yard, uninvited, while they aren't home, and kick back your heels on their lawn furniture. ESPECIALLY if you're also stealing things from that same yard! There's something not right about him, but hopefully this will help protect our property and peace of mind...


I had a really wierd dream last night. I was sword fighting with some girl (nobody I knew or if so - I don't remember who she was supposed to be.) But we were going around with swords and clashing them together in admittedly terrible form... That's about all I can remember. Bad sword fighting. But there was one pretty funny part... She was holding her sword but apparantly not ready and I wound up with both hands on my hilt and struck hers' with such force that it flew out of her hands and across the yard, striking the side of the house. We both laughed at the apparant humor in this action. Dreams are so messed up sometimes! They make NO sense.

Ants love the shock

The other day it had been raining quite hard and there was an extension cord lying in the wet grass. As I walked by I looked at it, half expecting to hear it buzzing from the moisture - but instead what I saw caused me to take a picture. I twas absolutely SWARMING with ants! I don't know why, but they must love the buzz. Strange.

July 15, 2006 - 12:38 AM
Night House

What a write-off of a weekend. I really can't say that I did much of anything this weekend. Yesterday I felt like crap, got up and all I could do was fall back onto the bed, lie there and wish I could either wake up or fall asleep but do neither. Tonight I forced myself to mow and fertilize the lawn... It always looks good when freshly cut - and I love that smell. I think the heat got to me this weekend, but if anything I should have been camping! Out on a lake somewhere Seadooing! Not at home passed out on the bed! I really hate wasting a weekend.

Night Rider

The other night I went for a bike ride after dark. Have you ever been intrigued by something but could not place your finger upon it? I don't know if it's the simple sensation of wind passing over your slightly chilled flesh, or the glow of flourescent and neon lights as they pass silently beside you. Summer nights are enhanced by a motorcycle: You are much more aware of all things around you - particularly the air. I've been asked, "Is it windy on the motorcycle?" "Only when you're moving" is my subtly sarcastic but true response. But air carries much more in it's grasp than the coolness of night; it is within the nightly breezes that such things as sounds are cradled, along with their accompaning smells. Each neighbourhood you pass through has it's own distinct aroma. Some of my favorites include the hint of fresh laundry, campfires, and bar-b-q's. In a car you drive through the night. On a bike, you drive into the night. The only thing that can make such an experience better is having someone there to share it with.

The thought of finding a girlfriend that could lead towards a wife has not been far from my mind in times of late. In fact, I've been tying up some loose ends, making sure several doors have been, in fact, closed so that I can move forward without need to look back with potential for regret. Now that this has been taken care of, I've felt a lot more at ease with the matter, because there are at present, no prospects on the horizon. In one way, I suppose this is one of the most (I hate to use the term lonely because of it's negative connotations) single times of my life in that even my plethora of female friends has shrunken to a size that could be counted on either hand of one's chosing. If life and experience has taught me anything, it is to enjoy the time you have now - whatever that may be - because you never know when such a time will come that you may look back to this time and wish to give anything to be here again. For a while I was so obsessed with finding someone that my entire lifely focus was on how lonely and miserable I was and how if only I could get a girl I'd become instantly and wholefully fufilled and happy. Needless to say, it didn't happen and there were a few brief moments of enlightenment where I brought myself back to times where I was in the context of a relationship with someone and still did not have the kind of happiness and fufillment I now sought from the same source. I heard it said that insanity can be defined as repeating the same action while expecting different results. Why not just accept my current [status], enjoy it for what it is (particularly the freedom) and if someone special saunters suddenly into my sights - horray for me. If not - I'm not wasting the prime of my life wishing for something that is not. Reading this paragraph thus far feels as though there's a hint of fatalism, but that's not the tone I hoped to weave through these words. I have found more peace and purpose in the sound of those doors closing behind me, especially over these past few weeks, than in all the searching I've done in the past decade of compromise.

Night Sprinkler

July 20, 2006 - 2:05 AM
Out on the open road

Yesterday I recieved an email from my aunt claiming that her and her husband would be going camping at Boulton in Kananaskis (today) and that anyone who wanted to join them was more than welcome to. I decided it would be a nice afternoon and surprise to go out there to take them up on the offer, so I did just that. I rode my bike out to Boulton. When I first arrived, I rode around all four of the campsite loops, looking for any sign of familiarity. Finding none, I proceeded into the Boulton store and inquired as to their site number. It turns out that nobody had yet registered by their name! Wondering if I might just be a little early, I bought a pop and a snack pack, went outside and sat down on one of the convenient picnic tables - the very same picnic tables my family used to come and sit at while eating ice cream from the store. Oh the memories that unmistakable pine scent in the air can bring back!

After a leisurely break, I walked back to my bike, only to have the first adventure of my day begin. I turned the key and pressed the start button - only to hear that dreaded clicking sound the starter relay makes when there isn't enough power to maintain a closed contact. The battery was dead. That's twice now this battery has left me stranded! The first time it wasn't too bad, I was at Sean's house and was able to simply push start the bike. This time, however - in the middle of NOWHERE in a place even my cell phone didn't work, the battery was so low that even when I pushed it, there wasn't enough power to drive the ignition system.

I waited close to 45 minutes, stopping each visitor to the store to ask them if they had jumper cables. Most people did not, one fellow told me he'd removed them to fit all his camping gear. I had just about given up hope when I asked these two girls if they had a pair. My hopes were lifted when they told me they were pretty sure they did, and one of them rummaged around in her trunk until she produced just the thing I was looking for. After a quick connection to their battery, my bike fired right up and I thanked them profusely for their help.

With the bike running again, I decided to try Elkwood campground to see if my aunt and uncle had gone their instead. Bolton is apparantly reservation only, and if they had arrived earlier without a reservation, they would have probably been sent elsewhere. Being that Elkwood was the next nearest campsite (and also because I grew up camping there every summer) I decided to take a quick roll through it's four loops as well to see if I couldn't spot my relatives. Once again, however, I had no such luck. Now I had another challenge. I did not have enough gas to make it all the way back to Calgary, and when I did stop for gas, I would have to take the key out of the ignition to open the gas tank cap. If riding for over an hour straight had not put enough charge into the battery to light the headlight - there was no way it was going to have enough kick to start the engine after filling up with gas, and I would be back at square one needing another boost. However, since an empty bike with a dead battery is worse than a full bike with a dead battery, I pulled into the gas station and reluctantly turned off the engine.

Fully expecting to have to push start the bike again, I walked back from the gas station to the motorcycle. Inexplicably, when I depressed the start button this time - the starter tossed the engine over like a rag doll and the bike started instantly. Shaking my head in disbelief, I climbed aboard and completed the final leg of my day's journey. Wierd. That's all I have to say. Wierd.

A couple of days ago I was at my parents' house. It's starting to get a little bit sad seeing BJ's dog-body wear out. You can see his joints are stiffening, his eyesight is not much to look at and his hearing is all but completely gone. He's still very energetic and loves to play but I've noticed he isn't quite so gung ho about chasing me around the kitchen. Sometimes when he jumps up on you his rear-left leg seems to give out, and he tends to flop as he tries to bound up stairs. But even though you can't teach an old dog new tricks, he hasn't forgotten any of the ones he already knows... He's such a good puppy.

July 23, 2006 - 12:22 AM
The Royksopp Effect

Royksopp - What Else Is There?

It was me on that road
But you couldn`t see me
Too many lights out,
but nowhere near here

It was me on that road
Still you couldn`t see me
And then flashlights and explosions

Roads ends getting nearer
We cover distance but not together
I am the storm and I am the wonder
And the flashlights, nigthmares
And sudden explosions

I don't know what more to ask for
I was given just one wish

It's about you and the sun
A morning run
The story of my maker
What have I and what I ache for

I`ve got a golden ear I cut and I spear
And what else is there
Roads and getting nearer
We cover distance still not together

If I am the storm if I am the wonder
Will I have flashlights, nightmares
And sudden explosions

There is no room where I can go and
You`ve got secrets too

I don`t know what more to ask for
I was given just one wish

Sunlit Tree Tops

Who would steal a sprinkler???

So I went outside to water the lawn today and began to search for my favorite sprinkler. I have three: A back and forth sprinkler (AKA Oscillator), a round soaker thing (basically a circular thing with holes in it) and my favorite, a bup-bup sprinkler (To this day, I don't know the correct term for it, I've just always called it a Bup-Bup sprinkler. Might be called an impact sprinkler...) Well I've seen it in the back yard every time I've mowed, it was sitting in the flower bed near the end of the Pinnies, right underneath the last one. Only today when I went out to use it - it wasn't there! I searched high and low, checked the garage, the front yard, the rest of the back yard, on top of the garage, everywhere I could think to look - nothing. It's just plain gone. I wonder if whoever (ahem - PAUL) was stealing our bags of pop cans out of the back yard might have also had use for a bup-bup sprinkler! Still, who steals sprinklers??

July 27, 2006 - 9:34 AM
Gas Burner

In preperation for tonight's camping trip, Blair and I yesterday pulled out some old liquid-fuel burning backpack stoves my dad picked up somewhere in the range of 10 years ago. Having never tried them himself, the torch (contextual inferrence intended) was passed to Blair and I to determine whether or not these World War II era relics could still potentially be useful. The design is remarkably simple: You have a small fuel tank with a single burner mounted on top. Heat from the burner vaporizes the liquid fuel into a gas and creates pressure in the fuel tank to perpetuate the flame. A removable metal enclosure surrounds this apparatus to provide both protection from wind and to support some sort of cooking pot. Simple, straightforward, and beside cleaning the jet - maintenance free.

Yellow Flame

The first challenge was finding a fuel to burn. The brand name and only apparant instructions engraved into the fuel tank were in a foreign language, but two words seemed to have meaning in English: Benzine and Gasoline. Not having a ready source of benzine on hand, (which I think is something akin to paint thinner though I could be mistaken) we tipped the lawn mower and poured some regular unleaded petrol into a jar which was then transferred into the tiny stove tank. Interestingly enough, once the tank was sealed I turned on the little fuel valve and gas literally started shooting out of the jet! There was no pump to pressurize the tank, it just shot out on it's own! So I lit the stream of gas which erupted with a whufff and formed a small fireball before settling down and simmering a bit. Startled by this initial outburst, I had closed the valve until nearly all of the remaining gas had burnt off. When the flame was down, I re-opened the gas and it began to spit. The now-hot burner was vapourizing the gas as it passed into the jet and the flame began to pulse - slowly at first, but increasing in frequency as time went on and pressure built up in the fuel tank. Within about five minutes there was a constant blue flame roaring out of the burner (as seen in the first picture above) We left it on until the gas burnt out and it stayed lit for a good half an hour on high. During this time we lit the second stove and although it too was able to sustain a flame, it didn't seem to have the same roaring flame the first one did. Presumably, it simply needs cleaning.

Two Hot

Apparantly ammazed at the fact gasoline burned, Blair decided to light some gas we spilled on the cement pad.

We made a few fireballs out of puddles of gasoline and kerosene (now deliberately poured on the pad) and watched as the flames lapped up the liquid. It really was neat. Blair had never lit volatile substances like gasoline or kerosene before, which shocked and amazed me. We had quite a bit of pyrotechnic fun last night, let me tell you! haha Our findings: Kerosene packs more punch and is cleaner-burning than gasoline.

In other news, my dad is beginning the recovery stage of his injury. Monday morning he went in for surgery at the PLC and was under the knife for about 6 hours as surgeons worked to re-attach tendins that had snapped off his right arm in the shoulder. While replacing a very heavy door, some of these tendins ripped off his arm and curled up. Then again, several weeks later more tendins followed suit, now rendering my dad's right arm virtually useless as he was unable to lift it above his waist. Fortunately, because it was a work-incurred injruy, WCB spearheaded all the medical procedures and got him in for the surgery in a matter of weeks. Now, having completed the surgery he is back at home and doing better, his arm is secured to his side by means of a brace and he is not to move his shoulder or try to lift anything at all with his arm until the doctors approve. Once all the incisions and stitches heal, he'll have weeks of physiotherapy to try to rebuild the strength in his arm but in the mean time, he is quite content given the pain he is in, to simply rest.

And on another note, tying up a lose end I eluded to at the beginning of thie entry, Bo and I are going to Kananaskis today to hike back up to Galatea. Hence the backpacking stoves (although we may use those at Pine Lake too.) Next weekend begins the annual family trek to Pine Lake. Unfortunately I couldn't secure any paid time off as we are short-staffed already. I won't be able to stay out for the entire time we're up there, but intend to make the most of the time I'm not working by zipping up on the bike.

Now on to the pressing matters of the day - packing, buying a bit of food and getting my gear ready for the trek. Have a good day and eventual weekend everyone!

Puppy drinking from a human cup

July 29, 2006 - 10:22 PM
Here's my weekend in a nutshell of pictures. All of them will be available in the photo album but I'm just too tired and sore tonight to stay up any longer. I'm going to go make some tea and crawl into bed.

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