Logan Wins the Fight

Logan Wins the Battle Against Age-Old Nemesis

Asourceiated Press


Toronto – Today, Logan the cat did battle with his greatest enemy – his tail. For years the tail has tormented him. Swishing about tantalizingly this way and that, teasing Logan about how he could never catch such an elusive quarry





Who won the battle of the century?




Logan had attempted to catch his enemy for years, only to be met with failure. It was once thought that he would be forced to run in circles for eternity until he proved everyone wrong by managing to catch the tail unawares in the kitchen early Sunday morning.


In a brilliant move, Logan somersaulted onto his nemesis and held him down. The tail jittered nervously back and forth, trapped beneath the powerful forepaws of the black cat.


Logan swatted the tail a few times, enforcing who was boss. The tail attempted to get away, but Logan managed to flip over onto the runner again, causing the tail to lose hope.


Moping, the tail signed a peace agreement with Logan, vowing to never tease him again.





Logan was introspective after his victory.




The thought on everyone’s mind, though, is that the tail is actually much smarter than Logan, and will most likely violate the terms of the agreement, wreaking havok on Logan’s inadequate mind in the future.

The Anniversary of My Near-Death Experience

Today is the Anniversary of My Survival

My wife phoned me today and wished me a Happy Anniversary.

The odd thing is that our Anniversary is actually in September, so I was rightfully confused.

The haze cleared when she reminded me that it was four years ago today that I survived a car crash that most people think I shouldn’t have.

The Set Up

In the Winter of 2001, our office had gone through several improvements, which left roofing nails scattered all over the parking lot. I parked on top of one of these in my Honda Civic (with new tires, no less) and ended up getting a flat. I took it to the gas station around the corner and they patched it up. Never having had a tire patched before, I asked a few questions (as is my normal way):

 

Jorge: So, will this patch hold until I go get a new tire?
Service Station Employee: What do you mean?
J: Well, I figure I’ll need to get a new tire, right?
SSE: No, not at all.
J: So, this patch will hold in all situations?
SSE: Man, it’s like having a new tire again. It’s like there never was a hole.
J: Wow! Thanks!

 

What he failed to mention was that it was like having a new tire if it had been patched properly. More on this later.

Fast Forward to August, 2001

Mrs. J was a bridesmaid in a wedding in Brockville. She arrived there on the Friday of that weekend, and I was to head up on Saturday, check into our hotel room and proceed to the wedding.

I left early that morning (Just before 10:00, to be exact) to make it to Brockville for a 16:00 wedding. I stopped at a McDonalds before Kingston to have myself some cheeseburgers for a quick lunch, and ended up spilling ketchup on my white t-shirt.

I continued on my journey, reaching Kingston at around 13:00.

I was in the passing lane keeping up with the flow of traffic, when suddenly, as I drove under a bridge (John F. Scott Rd, to be exact) I heard an explosion. My Honda Civic wrenched violently to one side and I heard the rush of wind hit as I hit open road again. My car wanted to veer into the people in the adjacent lane, so I accelerated a little to avoid them.

Something was wrong though. I couldn’t pull out of the turn.

The next thing I know, the car has spun 180 degrees and I’m hitting the ditch backwards. My car cartwheeled, spun and came to rest with a crunch upside down.

That’s the short version.

It probably took all of 5 seconds.

In my time, though, it took a full two minutes. I know because I counted while I dealt with what happened. It was an interesting experience being able to move faster than what was happening. I remember relaxing my legs and arms, so they would not end up hyperextended upon impact. I remember pushing the suitcase back into the area under the glove compartment (I had packed it in there for easy access amd moved the seat up to hold it in place. Hitting the ditch backwards caused the suitcase to push against the lever, thus releasing it). I remember ducking twice. I remember the feeling of the seatbelt digging into my shoulder.

Surreal.

I was upside down in the car collecting my wits when I heard Dude, can you hear me? Shut off the car!

 

I easily slid out from underneath (thinking about how they make it look so difficult on Fear Factor) and stood next to some folks that had stopped to help. Everyone was relieved to know that I was the only one in the car.

Good Fortune Shines Brightly

An ambulance pulled up shortly after. They had finished a patient transfer to Kingston and were driving back to Brockville. It was sheer luck that they were only a few minutes behind me.

They looked at the car wreck, obviously concerned that there would be other people inside…

 

Paramedic: How many people are in there?
Jorge: Just me.
P: Excuse me?
J: Just me. I was in there and then I crawled out.
P: [Seeing the red stain on my shirt.] Are you bleeding?
J: Oh this? No, it’s ketchup.
P: [Coming forward to take my arm after a quick glance.] Sir, please come with me.

 

We walked together to the ambulance and I climbed in.

I needed to tell Mrs. J what had happened, so she wouldn’t worry when I was late…

I tried calling Mrs. J’s friend, who I thought lived in Brockville. Turns out her parents lived in Prescott, and there were 15 people with her surname in Brockville anyway….

 

Jorge: Crap!
Paramedic 1: What’s wrong?
Jorge: I need to get in touch with my girlfriend so I can tell her not to worry. I figured I’d try the Bride’s parents, but I don’t know which number they would be at.
Paramedic 2: You’ve got some glass in your hair. not much, but let me get that for you. [Starts to pick it out.]
J: I suppose you’re going to give me the once over? Check for shock, mental acuity, all that stuff?
P1: Yes.
J: Well before we do that, I need one of you to find a wedding invitation. It was in the front seat of my car, so it’s probably in the ditch somewhere.
P2: Um….Okay?
J: I’m not crazy. I figure that the brides parents are locals, so they would have made all the arrangements. If I can call the hall, they can give me the bride’s mother’s number and I can call using my cellphone.
P1: Woah. Mental acuity? Check! [Everyone laughs.]

 

One of the paramedics ran out and fetched the invitation. As I suspected Mrs. J’s friend’s mom booked the hall and I explained the situation to them. They gave me the number and I dialed…

 

Person: Hello?
Jorge: Hi. It’s Jorge. I’m Mrs. J’s boyfriend.
Person: Oh. Hi!
Jorge: I’m sorry to disturb you, but is Mrs. J there? Can I speak to her please? It’s important.
Person: Sure. Hold on a sec.
Mrs. J: Hello?
Jorge: Hi Mrs. J. Don’t be upset, but I’m going to be late.
Mrs. J: Why? [Her tone was not a good one. I found out later that she thought I was out late with the guys or something and that I was going to be late because I had just got out of bed when I called her.]
J: Well, I’ve had a bit of an accident here on the 401. But I’m okay.
Mrs. J: What? What accident?
J: Nothing to worry about. I’ve just flipped the car, but I’m fine.
Mrs. J: Are you okay?
J: Yes.
Mrs. J: Ok.

 

She then hung up.

I laughed and told the paramedics.

They laughed too.

One of them mentioned, though, that it is a bit of a shock to hear about accidents.

Mrs. J called back shortly after (glass of wine in hand for calming effect) and we had a much better discussion of what I was to do. She said that they could come pick me up, but I told her that it was okay, as the paramedics had mentioned giving me a ride. Since that was the case, we figured that it would be better if I showed up after the wedding because she wasn’t sure how she would react when I walked in.

That was fine.

I told her the paramedics were just finishing up checking me over and that I would figure out a way to get to Brockville somehow and check into the hotel. I would show up after the wedding was done.

The paramedics completed their evaluation and found nothing really wrong with me. I had a bruise where the seatbelt met my shoulder and a small scratch on my thumb, but that was it. My vital signs were barely above normal.

An OPP officer had arrived at this point and the paramedics offered to give me a ride to Brockville if I wanted. I declined, as I wanted to stay and talk to the officer.

I went over the details of what happened with the officer and he did a quick inspection of the tire (or what was left of it). It had blown up into three pieces. He’d never seen anything like it before, and asked if he could take the wheel for an inspection. I had no problem with that.

He officially took my statement and then walked around the wreckage. In the mean time, I took a few pictures of the wreck with Mrs. J’s camera.

The officer walked up, bearing my garment bag which contained my suit. It was torn in quite number of places and steaming. It had fallen into the water at the bottom of the ditch and the heat transfer from the car caused the water to steam.

My poor suit.

My poor car.

 

Friends Can Be a Boon

While waiting for the OPP officer to finish up, I called a few friends. They helped take the edge off the accident.

Observe…

 

[Calling Mike, who happens to be at the car show.]
Jorge: Hey Mike.
Mike: What up, Jordy?
J: I just had a car accident on the 401.
M: Seriously?
J: Yes.
M: Are you okay?
J: Yeah.
M: Is the car totalled?
J: Yeah.
M: [Thoughtful pause.] You getting a Beemer?*

 

[Calling Dave C.]
Jorge: Hey Dave.
Dave: Hey Jorge. How are you?
J: Okay, considering I just flipped my car on the 401.
D: Wow. Are you okay?
J: Yeah.
D: [Thoughtful pause.] Did you save the replay?**

 

I called Dave M after that, but he wasn’t home. I left a message on his phone to the effect of Hey man. I wrecked the driver’s side mirror of my car…along with the rest of my car when I flipped it. At that point I was just happy to be okay and my sense of humour was in overdrive.

 

Horseshoes Up My…

In an effort to use every possible writing format, I will do a bulleted list of the next few events:

  • A tow truck driver on his way to Prescott pulled over shortly after the officer presented me with my suit. He offered me a ride back to Brockville
  • When I got there, I needed to get my things from the car. The side panels at the rear had collapsed over the trunk lid. The tow truck driver offered a crow bar, but I had so much adrenaline that I tore the trunk open. Paint pieces of trunk went all over the place.
  • I had clothes and things for Goodwill in the trunk. The tow truck driver offered to take them in for me, as there was a Goodwill down the street from his office.
  • I checked in. One of the ladies was going off shift, and offered to take me to the hospital.
  • I got to the hospital and bypassed a three hour wait because everyone in Brockville had either seen or heard of the accident, so they let me go through so I could make the end of the wedding.
  • The doctor that saw me actually drove past the accident scene just after it happened. The same doctor saw the car being towed past the Tim Horton’s she had stopped off at. Looking at the state of the car***, she didn’t think that there were any survivors.
  • She administered some simple resistance tests to see if everything was working properly. I ended up lifting her off the floor with just the strength in my arms. Talk about adrenaline.
  • I caught a cab back to the hotel after I was cleared, called my parents to let them know what had happened (in a similar manner that I told Dave)
  • My body had accelerated to the point where I had two-days worth of stubble on my face in the space of 3 hours.
  • I pulled my suit of the torn, wet garment bag. It was untouched. I still have the suit today.

Unbreakable

I arrived at the wedding minutes after it was done.

I’ve never felt so happy to be alive as I was when I walked down the hill and saw Mrs. J. It was all I could do to not break down and cry (that happened later on that week).

At the reception, the bride’s brother talked about how he almost put his car in the ditch a few times running over emotional speech in his head for his sister that evening. I shouted out Been there, done that!

 

What a day that was.

 

 

I’d made a promise to Mrs. J when we started getting serious that I would never leave this Earth before her. The first thing that went through my head as my car started to careen towards the ditch was I am not allowed to die. Mrs. J would be really pissed off.

 

* – Mike had been previously on my case to buy a BMW. He would ask every week if I was going to get one. This was no exception.
** – Dave and I would play Need for Speed a lot. That racing game would allow you to save replays. One thing we would do is try and have the most spectacular stunt crashes. Then we would play them back.
*** – The roof on the drivers side had been crumpled down so far that if sitting upright next to it, it would have just reached the top of my shoulders.

The Eagles Fish Nights. Morning Market Totems Knife Departures At the End

Now we will continue (and conclude) the story of the camping weekend that I started previously. There is a point form (and in my opinion much funnier version) at Dave’s blog. Go check it out.

Here we go…



The Eagles Have Landed

Tien and Natalie arrived shortly after and gave Mrs. J and I our steaks. They set up their tent, and then we all proceeded to just hang out.

Camping is funny. Normally I don’t really like just sitting around. I’m usually engaged in some activity or another. However, with camping, I don’t mind just sitting there. Mind you, it’s much more fun to sit there when under the influence…

The liberal mixing of alcohol and Crystal Lite began shortly after the hanging out period. As Dave mentions in his blog, you can never bring too much alcohol. Be that as it may, it is a heavy commodity, and bringing too much can result in a lot of residual back pain.

We usually mix about 250 mL of alky with 750 ml of juice. This ends up being refreshing and dangerous. That’s when the fun happens.



Something Fishy This Way Comes

Brad and I decided to go out fishing before dinner. We ended up paddling around a lot and we got quite a number of nibbles but nothing too promising.

It reminded me of our trip back in May, except in May we caught fish every ten seconds…

Brad is an amazing guy. He can paddle for an almost infinite amount of time and he knows so much about everything in nature it’s quite sickening.

This is due to the fact that he was raised by wolves and porcupines. He also has gills (as well as gloves for hands).

We had a good time paddling around, and I almost caught a fairly sizeable Lake Trout. I had him in front of Brad’s net when he spat the hook and swam away.

On our way back to the campsite, we trawled a bit. A surprise was in store for us as we passed over a shallow part of the lake…


Brad: You might want to pull your line up, dude. Seems to be shallower here.
Jorge: I see what you mean.
Brad: Yeah. I’m definitely going to reel in before my hook gets caught on the vegetation. [Reels in and continues paddling.]
Jorge: [Feeling a tug, attempting to read the line.] Hmmm. Looks like I’ve got a weed..
[Stares down in the water to see what is on his hook and sees a Lake Trout.]
Jorge: Or maybe a fish!
Brad: Holy! Nice! Get him back here.
[Jorge swings it over to Brad who nets the thing. After subduing it, we were satisfied with the knowledge that we were not going back empty-handed.]



Night Falls

When we got back to the campsite, quite a number of our friends were quite hammered. It was pretty entertaining. It didn’t take long for me to grab my own ride to spinsville.

Mrs. J delegated the task of making mashed potatoes (from a dry mix) to me. In my slightly inebriated state, I made a soupy mess of it. It was only by combining other people’s potato mix into my own that I managed to at least have something that would stay on my spoon.

After washing and drying the dishes, we enjoyed a nice campfire (started by Lorraine the pyro), hung out and told jokes.

Every year Dave and I seem to come up with something of a motif for the weekend. There is usually a song, a joke, and some quotes from television shows that we like.

Last year, the theme song was the Venga Bus song (which you might recognize from the Six Flags commercial with that crazy old man who dances like a freak). This year, the theme song seemed to be Hey Ya. Rubber Johnny’s noises and several other obscure quotes from Rejected were also used quite frequently.

We ended up going to bed relatively early that night. Dave, Brad and I shacked up in the Taj Mahal of tents (Dave’s Wenger Tent), and we all slept relatively well.



Where is the Morning?

The morning arrived, and I was up and out the tent door by about 05:45. There was an extremely dense fog sitting on the water. It came right up to the rocky point and formed a big, white wall. One could barely see through this thick pea soup.

It was pretty cool. I snapped some photographs, and then kept Brad company after he woke up.

Everyone woke up eventually, and we all had our separate breakfasts.

Brad had to leave before noon as he had some business to attend to elsewhere, but he promised to return…


Brad: I’ll see you guys tomorrow? Probably in the afternoon.
Jorge: You bringing back alky?
Brad: Yup. Anyone else want anything?
Nat: Oh! Freezies!
Brad: Okay…
Nat: And a bucket of chicken…


You can tell that we have a real sense of roughing it when we camp.



The Stock Market Ploy

I figured I would go bathe with the biodegradable camp soap. Dave needed to bathe as well, so we headed off into the lake together as there is safety in numbers. You can never be too careful with leeches about.

The water was cool, but refreshing. We swam around for a bit and then set our feet down in water that came up to our stomachs. We passed the bottle of soap back and forth, washing hair, arms, etc.

The two of us were the only ones on the lake, as everyone else was back up the hill at the main campsite.

And so the awkward portion of washing sensitive bits had arrived. We looked around and wordlessly turned away from each other, getting ready to clean the nether regions…


Jorge: Ah yes. The washing of privates.
Dave: Yeah.
Jorge: Good thing there is no one around, otherwise we’d have to come up with some kind of ploy to make them stop paying attention to us.
[As if on cue, everyone comes down to the rocky point to hang out.]
Jorge: Shit.
Dave: [Laughs nervously] Nice.
Jorge: We need a distraction.
Dave: [Turns to face the crowd while obviously washing sensitive parts underwater] My, the stock market is quite active today! All my stocks are up!
Jorge: [Also cleaning the naughty parts.] My Exxon shares? In the pooper! Not doing so well!

[Jorge & Dave laugh hysterically, garnering more attention with the ploy than if they had said nothing at all…]



The Totem

Mrs. J and Isha each had a copy of the latest Harry Potter book (Mrs. J was borrowing Brad’s) and were reading down on the shore. Dennis and Lorraine had gone fishing. Nat was reading as well, and Tien was napping (Tien is either being super-athletic, eating meat, or napping).

And Dave?

Well, he was trying his hand at carving.

He took a cut log and started picking at it with his knife. Then he started using a hatchet (at my insistence) to carve out larger chunks. Finally, he used to hatchet to hammer his knife like a chisel.

He eventually carved what he called The Totem and he kept making strange laughing noises as he held it up for us to see…






Lorraine’s double-ended Dreidel of Doom was much more aesthetically pleasing, and deadly.


The Knife Game and the Sing-a-Long

Later on in the afternoon I was puttering around the campsite in the afternoon when I came across Dave and Tien throwing their buck knives at the ground.

Dave had drawn a circle in the dirt with his foot, and they were attempting to stick the knives as close to the middle as possible. They were only standing 6 feet away (at most) from the target.

They looked ridiculous.

So obviously I had to join them.

We later graduated to throwing knives at a stump. It didn’t really go all that well and resulted in us doing damage to our knives.

Isha needed to use the thunderbox which was located just up the hill from our knife throwing range…


Isha: Hey guys. I need to use the thunder box.
Jorge: Okay…
Isha: Well, would you mind kinda leaving for a bit?
Jorge: No problem. We’ll leave you in peace. Or would you rather have music? We could sing for you from afar if you want…
Isha: [Laughing.] Whatever. Sure. I have to go though.
[Isha runs up the hill as we walk in the other direction. Dave clears his throat…]
Dave: [Singing lead part of barbershop quartet.] In Moonlight Bay…
Jorge: [Smiling] Barbershop?
Dave: Sure.
Jorge: Give ‘er.
[They begin to sing barbershop style. Dave singing one part, and Jorge echoing another. I can’t really do it justice here, but I’ll type out the first song so you get an idea of the lyrics…]
Dave: In Moonlight Bay…
Jorge: Isha went up the hill…
Dave: We were sailing along…
Jorge: To the thunder box…
[Isha is heard laughing from atop the hill…]


It became another annoying theme. We sang a bunch of stuff that way. One of us would sing the first line, and then the other would have to fill in the echoing lines with lyrics that reflected the lead lines. It became a game of sorts…

And everyone had another reason to hate us…

The rest of the day was spent playing cards and accompanying Dennis on a downward spiral to getting loaded. Lorraine just shook her head (and rolled her eyes*) as Dennis kept dropping B-Bombs everywhere all gansta style. After an evening of singing, weirdness, and just hanging around, we all hit the sack.



Departure and Arrival

Dennis and Lorraine had to leave early because Dennis had work that he needed to finish. We bid them a fond farewell.

After I gave Nat a quick lesson in sterning, her, Isha and Tien decided to paddle out to another portage along the lake and go for a short hike.

The weather was slowly becoming windier.

Brad eventually made it back, and he was exhausted due to the fact that he was paddling against the wind for most of his journey (solo, I might add). Amazingly, he brought enough freezies for everyone, andthey were still relatively frozen!

Eventually, everyone had come back and we had a relatively quiet day. Dave and I were still cracking wise, though…


Brad: Man, where do you guys get the energy?
Mrs. J: [Shakes head] *sigh*
Isha: It’s like they never run out.
Brad: It’s like the Dave and Jorge show. All the time. And the commercials are Dave and Jorge.
[Everyone laughs.]
Brad: We interrupt this regularly scheduled Dave and Jorge program to bring you some late-breaking Dave and Jorge!



The End of Days

During the evening, we burned Dave’s totem, most likely invoking the wrath of the gods of the forest.

Early on Monday morning, the distant rumble of thunder could be heard. I happened to be in a state of wakefulness due to the pressure change in the air. I was also feeling gassy, and took advantage of everyone’s slumber to relieve some of the pressure.

Little did I know that Tien was actually awake, giggling to himself at the noises I was making.

After about the second expulsion, I fell asleep briefly, only to be awakened by the loudest roar of thunder I have ever heard, and a bright flash at the same time.

Everyone was awake (I wonder if Tien thought it was more of my gas?), and all went silent until…


Brad: Somebody hold me.


We all had a good laugh. The rain came, and went. Packing up was pretty uneventful in the morning. The return paddle passed with no incident as well.

We all went to the Portage Store for our traditional after-trip burgers and beer.

After we finished, we all said goodbye and went our separate ways.


As always it was a good trip. Every year it seems to get better. I wonder where we will be next year?

I’ve obviously omitted** a lot, but I doubt that you’d want to hear all of it. 🙂



* – Funny enough, our wives are exceptionally good eye rollers. I suspect that we husbands do so many dumb things that their eye-muscle strength would be such that they could lift pianos just with a flick of their occular orbs.
** – One thing that I wish I could take away are the bug bites. Usually I complain a lot about them during the trip. This year, I tried to ignore them. Nothing works to dissuade these little bitey bastards from exacting revenge for God-knows-what on my skin. I successfully ignored them for the most part, but man, am I paying for it now…

The Fun Paddlin’ Thunders On a Dime. Stay Tuned…

Herein lies the first part of the story of this year’s annual Algonquin Park interior trip. It is a long, sordid tale, full of darkness, evil and goblins. However, bear with it and it will serve you well. Or perhaps it will just be mildly entertaining.



The Fun Begins…

My wife and I arrived in Algonquin Park on Thursday in the late afternoon. People think I am nuts taking a day off just to make the drive easier. However, when it means we save 2 hours of driving and countless dollars in fuel, it makes a lot more sense. It’s also more relaxing.

We set up camp and proceeded to wait for the rest of the group that would be staying with us in Rock Lake. Our site was luckily located along the water (a little ways away from the swimming area), so it was like we had our own private beach.

I started the fire easily enough, and then sat down and to continue reading a book (The Unfettered Mind ) I had started a few weeks ago that I had put aside when the latest Harry Potter novel came out.

The sun was shining, descending slowly into what would be a great sunset in a few hours. It was so peaceful to be sitting there, with the waves gently lapping the sand, reading about how the mind should always be in motion like water. Some ducklings ran by my feet leaving tracks in the sand and waddling after their mother. It was a really nice moment.

Shortly after, Dave and our friend Isha arrived from Ottawa.

Of course, once Dave and I get together, things start getting silly. Here, for example, is a snippet of conversation that revolved around sleeping arrangements…


Jorge: I think our tent will fit the four of us. But if that doesn’t work, we can set up Dave’s tent, and I can sleep with him. My snoring doesn’t wake him up.
Dave: Yeah. I can muffle his face with my ass [Making the motions of muffling someone’s face with his ass several different ways with great enthusiasm, I might add.]. See?
[Everyone laughs.]
Dave: I’ll bet you’re wondering why ass was the first word that I chose…


Yes. This is how our camping weekend began. It began with Dave’s ass.

Isha brought her bag out of the car and put it near the picnic table. It was quite small for an interior bag. This brought out some more conversation fun…


Mrs. J: Oh my God! Look how small your backpack is!
Isha: Thanks.
Mrs. J: Jorge, check this out!
Jorge: Whoa. That’s small.
Isha: Well, Dave is carrying all the pots and stuff.
Jorge: Dave, you’re carrying everything?
Dave: [Shuffling through items in the trunk of his car.] Well, yeah. I guess. Everything except the tent.
Jorge: So, where is the tent?
Dave: [Looking about nervously.] Hopefully in my back seat.
Jorge: Err…


Luckily, Dave had his tent in the back seat and all was well. We ended up sleeping in the giant Coleman tent anyway. Dave and I stayed up by the fire as Mrs. J and Isha went to sleep. We figured we would wait for Dennis and Lorraine to show up. They eventually got there and set up their tent. We shared some beer, and then we all hit the sack, excited for the Interior portion of the trip the next morning…


A Paddlin’ We Will Go…

The next morning, we met up with our friend Brad at the launch point. We found out that our other two friends who had intended to leave at four in the morning were running late, and that we should leave without them. I wasn’t too worried.

Tien and Natalie had the meat from our dinners with them (they bought some steaks for us at St. Lawrence Market and had them shrink wrapped and froze them so they would keep). Worrying about the steaks staying cold was a moot point. They are amazing paddlers, so they would probably end up at whatever site we found a few hours after we got there, with the food most likely still quite frozen.

We headed out in several groups. Brad and Isha paddled a cedar strip canoe. Dennis and Lorraine paddled in a Kevlar canoe, and Dave, Mrs. J and I paddled a heavy aluminum canoe. We ended up at the portage point without incident, carried our gear across, and moved on. Along the way, Brad gave Isha the opportunity to destroy an Inukshuk*.

Interior camping works on the premise of first come, first served. We had an idea as to where we wanted to go, but unfortunately the sites were taken, and we had to keep paddling until we reached the other side of the lake (the lake is several kilometers long).

Last year we would paddle along until we found a site, and then one pair would stay at that site while the rest looked for potentially betters sites. This is a good strategy in theory. Unfortunately, due to the distance between sites, and the possibility of landforms being in the way, it is tough to communicate.

This year we brought walkie-talkies, which helped immensely. We fanned out and kept in touch, giving a good description of any sites we came across.

By a stroke of luck the site we ended up on was actually really good. There was lots of room for our tents. Someone had actually stacked some dry wood to burn in the fire pit, and the thunder box was located in an area that was out of the way, and hard to see.



Thunder Box?

In the interior there are no bathrooms. There are wooden boxes placed on top of pits that have been dug for the express purpose of…well…taking care of business. There is a hole cut out of the top of the box, and a lid that closes over top of the hole to prevent animals from making a mess…



In previous years, we’ve experienced thunder boxes that were placed improperly, either not quite over a pit (so some of the pit was exposed at your feet), or located right at the top of a hill in open view of the entire campsite.

This one was one of the best we had actually seen.

Pure luxury.



Dave – Camping On a Dime

Dave is not what you would call an experienced camper.

Scratch that.

Compared to most, Dave is an experienced interior camper. He has done it for three years, and he gets more comfortable every time. He has a try anything once attitude, and he takes the good as it arrives, and the bad in stride.

Being the easy-going type, he pretty much goes with the flow, and it’s tough to faze him. He started a few years ago without any prior experience, and just dove right in. So yeah, I guess that makes him more experienced than a lot of people.

This year, he made some purchases to solidify his commitment to the annual trip.

He bought a tent, for a price so low we were all questioning our own tent purchases. He also bought a cookware set for a small sum as well.

I subsidized Dave’s backpack as an early 30th birthday gift (Sept 12th, for you Dave fans), so he was raring to go….until he had to set up the tent.

I have to admit that even with the instructions his tent was tough to set up. He and Isha were having fun trying to figure out how to set it up when I stepped in. Not that I really helped at all, but the humour of the situation increased somehow…


Dave: So now, we have fed the poles through the guides and anchored them.
Isha: It says we have to stake the guy wires to the ground
Dave: Stake them?
Isha: Yeah. Here. Stake it!
Jorge: [A la Outkast.] Stake it! Stake! Stake it! Stake it!
Dave: OHH OH!
[Isha laughs hysterically]


This became a theme for the rest of the weekend…



Stay Tuned

There will be more to come later on in the week. Things like the knife in the ground game, and barbershop bathroom follies.

Dave has a point-form synopsis of events here.

Also, you can see some of the photos of the trip here. You’ll just have to search for pictures taken in July/August of 2005.




* – Inukshuks are not part of the natural landscape of Algonquin. The local native population has never used them. They are used elsewhere, though (up North). In Algonquin Park they are the equivalent of gaudy billboards. They are also quite hazardous when precariously perched on rock formations adjacent to Highway 60. For these two reasons they should be destroyed, and the rocks that they were built with should be spread about to make it inconvenient to attempt another Inukshuk…

The Handsome Canadian

The Handsome Man

There is a submarine sandwich shop nearby. I go there once in a while. Almost all the ladies behind the counter are flirty latinas. They are of varying age and not all of them are really my type, truth be told (not that I’m looking). However, they are notoriously friendly, and they always make me smile. Observe…

 

Jorge: Hi there, I’d like a grilled cheddar club, please.
Sandwich Girl: [Assembling Sub.] What would you like on it?
J: Tomatoes, lettuce, green peppers, mushrooms and a little mayo and mustard, please.
SG: [Looking coy.] You have a sexy accent.
J: Actually, I have a cold.
SG: You should never lose your cold. At least, I hope you don’t.
J: Er….Thanks?

 

I don’t go in there all the time. Partially because I can’t eat submarine sandwiches every day, but also partly because I am afraid of them devouring me or something. I think they are reverse vampires.

The best exchange that I had is from the other day. There are two gals involved behind the counter this time. One was older (probably in her late forties) and the other was younger (mid twenties). I think the younger one was the daughter of the older one. Either way…

 

Sandwich Lady: [Nudging the Sandwich Girl as I walk in.] Oh look! Here comes…the handsome man*.
Jorge: [Blushing early in the exchange already.] Hi ladies.
SL: [Grinning.] What can I get for…the handsome man?
J: I’ll have a pizza sub, please.
SL: [Industriously working away at making my lunch, singing.] I am making a sandwich for…the handsome man
Sandwich Girl: What are you doing? [Looking at SL incredulously.]
SL: I am serving this…handsome man here [Winks at me.].
SG: Do you think you should be talking like that? [Looking apologetically at me.]
SL: Of course! He’s a…handsome man. Are you disagreeing with me?
SG: Well…[Looking embarassed.]…No…
SL: See?
[At this point, the man standing in line behind me decided to chime in.]
Man In Line: What about me, am I a handsome man too?
SL: [Turns to man, and her smile flies off her face to be replaced by a stern frown.] No.

I had to stifle a laugh. Tears formed and I hurriedly wiped them away. I felt horrible for that guy, but at the same time it was hilarious.

While I don’t think I’m hideous, I don’t think I am anywhere close to making it onto the Friday list on Kill the Goat by any stretch of the imagination.

Still, it’s nice to be flattered, even by crazy people.

Canadian Tired

I was at Canadian Tire yesterday, and a mother and her two daughters were shopping for camping supplies. One girl was sitting in the cart in the child prison, while the other was walking around looking at everything. This kid had what I refer to as the chaos touch. She would walk by displays and things would fall of their own accord without her touching anything.

I sometimes marvel at the logic that parents use when dealing with their children. Check out this dialogue between the two of them…

 

Daughter: [Running up to her mother, holding a campfire sandwich griller.] Mom! Check this out, isn’t it cool?
Mother: What is it?
D: Well, it’s a thing you can use to make grilled sandwiches and pancakes. Wouldn’t that be cool, mom?
M: But we bought a stove. We can just make pancakes on the stove.
D: But wouldn’t it be cool to make pancakes on the fire?
M: Well that’s nice, honey, but pancakes taste better on the stove.
D: Can we at least show dad? He might like it!
M: I don’t think so. I think he likes the stove better.
D: [To her credit, she wasn’t whining, she was just persistent.] Don’t you think we need this in case the stove doesn’t work?
M: The stove is new it will work. Just go put it back.
D: Okay, mom. I still think it would’ve been cool.
[I was impressed at the mother in how she dealt with the situation. Well, I was until…]
M: Now this is something cool [Pointing at a display.].
D: What is it?
M: A lantern. But it’s remote controlled.
D: Wow. Do we really need that?
M: Oh yes. I think we could definitely use that…

 

Now, the campfire griller was about ten dollars or something cheap like that. The remote control lantern? A mere eighty dollars, for a completely impractical device no less (in my mind, anyway). I would have relented eventually for the griller, if only to keep my kids busy (supervised, of course, even though it is quite safe).

But to buy a remote control lantern…

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but what the hell good is it?

 

* – To fully appreciate this story you have to pronouce this the same way that the Sandwich Lady did. She would pause slightly just before she would say “handsome man”, and the way she would pronounce it was “hend-a-sum man-a” (The last “a” was not a full “a” but rather, a very small one. Sort of like emphasizing the “n” when you say “the letter n”).

Roughing Up What I Learned About Movies

Roughing It

Well, not quite.

This past weekend was spent up in Awenda with the K-Rot crowd. Not all of them, of course, just a few. Two of us went up on Friday night and set up in some spitting rain (which is preferable to what they got further north). Two more arrived early Saturday morning (that would be 02:30), and the rest arrived on Saturday evening.

It was nice to get away from the city. The air always smells great up there. There is still pollution, mind you, but not quite as much as down in Toronto, so the breathing is easier.

One interesting thing about camping is that it tends to bring out the best or the worst in people (much like weddings, funerals, or exclusive concert ticket sales). This weekend, it definitely brought out the best.

We spent so much time laughing that my abs hurt on Monday. Here are some of the funny moments extracted for your enjoyment…

[Jorge and his friend are trying to get a bigger fire going. Jorge, in his infinite wisdom and disregard for physics started the fire on a large piece of watermelon rind. It didn’t go so well.]
GUY:
[Redistributing wood.] Maybe we can fix your mistake here.
JORGE:
[Adding some more kindling.] Shut it!
GUY:
[Starts to fan fire vigourously with plate. The flames start rising.] See?
JORGE:
[Unconvinced. Every time his friend stops fanning, the flames die down quite significantly.] Do you want me to blow instead?
GUY:
[Reaching for his own fly.] Sure, but I don’t know how that will help.
[Cackles of insanity ensue while everyone else looks on, puzzled.]


[There was some ill timing with some of the women and their cycles. Someone had to make an emergency run to the store to pick up some feminine hygiene products. Since his car was the only one parked on the site, Jorge offers to go.]
JORGE:
I’ll go grab some pads for you.
GIRL:
Are you sure?
JORGE:
Yeah, it’s no big deal. I’ll probably be about five or ten minutes.
GIRL:
Thanks so much! I use Always brand.
JORGE:
Ok. What kind do you want me to get?
GUY:
What do you mean what kind does she want you to get?
JORGE:
They have different kinds for different situations.
GUY:
Different kinds, eh?
JORGE:
Yes.
GUY:
Bring back vanilla then.
[Cackles of insanity ensue once more, echoing loudly through the park.]



What I Learned At Camp

  • Trying to burn watermelon rinds takes an awfully long time
  • Trying to start a fire on a watermelon rind is not a good idea
  • Not practicing playing the guitar and singing songs makes for really idiotic campfire sing-alongs
  • Women can snore just as loudly as guys
  • No matter how cool you think someone is, they look hilarious curled up in a lime green plaid sleeping bag
  • Eating too much watermelon pretty much guarantees that you will not sleep the whole night through without getting up to pee at least seventy times



Movies That Should Be Made

In the spirit of all of these video games being made into movies (Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat, etc.), I thought I would make my own suggestions for some movies that I think should be made out of various games. Check out some of these titles…


Tetris: The Movie
Young Dimitri Petrovich is a worker in a small grocery store with an uncanny knack for stocking shelves. One day an army general sees this ability and becomes obsessed with a way to harness this boy’s abilities. He comes up with an elaborate plan to create a fake contest so that the boy will eventually end up working for the military, figuring out the most efficient formations to decimate enemies in ground warfare. Hilarity ensues.


Minesweeper: The Hidden Enemy
Sarah-Jane Poseramo is a mother of seventeen with an amazing gift. She can detect mines subconsciously and avoid them. Scientists want to ask her to use her abilities to help clean up some of the minefields around the world, but she refuses, claiming that science is against her religion. The scientists kidnap her son and place him in the middle of one of the world’s deadliest minefields, telling her that she has to save them. Will she be able to get to him in time? One would think so. But there is a catch. The mines were placed in the ground by Dimitri Petrovich! Who will win? You have to watch to find out!


Freecell: The Rise and Fall of New New York
Idiot savant Bill McBilly lost both his elbows in a bizarre trolley accident in San Francisco. He enters a speed solitaire competition where the prize is enough money for him to pay for the operation to get new elbows. What he doesn’t know is that aliens are running the show, and whoever loses gets anally probed with the coldest monitoring decides the aliens have stored in their freezer. Will Billy’s uncanny ability to always come out on top save his ass from the alien threat?


These riveting titles will do really well at the box office in my opinion. With the right directors and producers, we would have oscar material here…

Suffice to say the John Williams will be composing the music for all three, and the scores will sound like you’ve heard them before. In fact, all three of them will be the same melody, just played in a different scale.

Jorge’s Guide to Inviting Children With Bad Habits

  • Buy a model of a complete skeleton. Make sure it is kid-sized. Adult skeleton will not work
  • Hang it in a spare closet in the house
  • Wait until children misbehave and then start mentioning their older brother who didn’t listen
  • Inevitably children’s curiosity will prompt them to ask about said older brother
  • Make a show of not wanting to talk about it
  • Arrange to have them find the model skeleton by accident
  • Problem solved



An Open Invitation

Contact has officially started (actually it started last week). Contact is the largest photo exhibition in North America. It runs for the month of May. Tomorrow (the 7th) there will be an opening for my work at Cornerstone Furniture.

Please come out if you are interested in seeing what it is that I like to photograph (actually, what I have on display is a small cross-section). There are also quite a number of other photographers showing their work in the neighbourhood, making it quite the evening if you like photography.

I will have some munchies and juice, and there will be a guestbook for people to sign.

Check my Photography Page for information.



My Worst Habits

I am a very enthusiastic person. I’m sure this can be quite a positive thing (infectious, hopefully), but at the same time, I know it can annoy the hell out of people.

This enthusiasm leads to some of my worst habits.

Bad Habit #1 – Unnecessary Revelation

Yes, that makes it sound way better than it is. A very annoying thing that I do is tell people that they should go look at something, and then completely describe it in the next breath, thus ruining the wonder of their discovery. This is not to say that I spoil movie endings or anything like that. On the contrary, those are sacred, and the law states that spoiling movies is punishable by castration. No, the things I am referring to are blog entries, or something publicly available for viewing. Sometimes I relate stories to people who aren’t even interested in the topic, but they listen politely, and nod in all the right places.

Bad Habit #2 – Replying to EVERY E-mail

This is a bad habit that definitely annoys everyone. I will reply to every e-mail that I see in my inbox, regardless of content. I will reply most of the time with short phrases that really are best left untyped.

Observe…



To: All employees
From: CEO
Subject: Meeting

I wanted to thank everyone for coming out to the meeting today. It was a good experience and I think we are all re-affirmed of our place in the market.

Sincerely,
CEO


To: CEO
From: Jorge
Subject: Re: Meeting

The pleasure was ours. The meeting was informative, and I know I took away quite a number of things to consider.

Thanks,
Jorge


To: Jorge
From: CEO
Subject: Re: Re: Meeting

This type of feedback is most appreciated. Have a great day!

Sincerely,
CEO


To: CEO
From: Jorge
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Meeting

You too.

Thanks,
Jorge


To: Jorge
From: CEO
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Meeting

Ok, that’s enough.

With warning,
CEO


To: CEO
From: Jorge
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Meeting

Okay.

Thanks,
Jorge


To: Jorge
From: CEO
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Meeting

Honestly, stop it.

I’m not kidding,
CEO


To: CEO
From: Jorge
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Meeting

Gotcha.

Thanks,
Jorge


To: Jorge
From: CEO
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Meeting

You’re fired.

With Vengeance,
CEO


To: CEO
From: Jorge
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Meeting

🙂

Thanks,
Jorge



It’s odd. I’m not normally about getting in the last word. But something about e-mail induces obsessive-compulsive behaviour in me.

Just thought I would share these with you. I know I torment a lot of you with these things, and so I apologize. Will I stop? Probably not. I at least acknowledge these bad habits though, which is the first step towards building a better illusion for myself.