Best Anniversary Ever

Jaq and I have broken camping down into four categories:

Sherwood Park Camping - Named after the affluent suburb I grew up in. This is camping with a trailer or motor home.

Car Camping - Chuck your tent, sleeping bags, cooler and whatever else you might need into the trunk and head for a campground.

Backwoods Camping - Grab your tent and sleeping bag, stuff it into your backpack, and walk. Walk. Walk. Walk until your feet are stumps and then set up camp and start some water boiling to sterilize it.

Backwoods Beach Camping - Same as above, except your destination is colder at night, sandy and windy. Windy enough that your tent will blow away if you don't know how to peg it down in shifty sand.

Though we car camp a fair bit, neither Jaq nor I have ever hiked before so we decided to pick a beach only a couple of kilometers from the trailhead. Serious hikers would call us wimps and do 15 km or more in a day, but you've gotta start somewhere and we're not in hiking shape (yet). 2 1/2 kilometers was plenty for a first time. Oh GOD was it plenty! (Note to self: Buy a lighter tent and better packs.)

The first kilometer was beautiful. Hard and heavy walking, sure, but just lovely. Trees dripping with moss, birdsong, trickling streams, sunlight filtering through the mist... a nature-lover's paradise. Right after the 1 km trail marker things started getting a bit rougher and steeper (downhill), but nothing too serious. There was a neat 150-foot long suspension bridge over a little creek that we met again later further downstream. You quickly learn not to walk in step with the person ahead of you when you're on one of those bridges, otherwise it will bounce and sway and your stomach will do a little *flip* when you look down. But no problem.

About 1/2 a km further on, Jaq slipped on a root and went down. She didn't get hurt, but it was alarming. You don't want to twist an ankle or break anything out here. They'd have to chopper you out.

It started getting steeper fast as we approached the ocean. The last 1/2 kilometer was... tough. The last 1/4 kilometer was worse. The last 1/8 kilometer was a 60 - 70 degree slope, covered with slippery mud and trail stairs that had been washed out and would have been too slippery to use even if they were in perfect shape. It was scary, especially for Jaq who doesn't do well when you combine heights with slippery footing. You could easily snap like a twig if you fell and tumbled the rest of the way down. We made it, though, getting boots muddy as hell. Jaq's feet got soaked. :(

When we got to the beach it was B-E-A beautiful! Almost deserted, misty, rocky, cliffs, surf, waterfall... just gorgeous. We dropped our packs and I went on ahead to find a likely spot for the tent while Jaq stayed back waiting for the shakes (from the muddy slope) to subside.

We found a good spot on the sand, hauled our gear over and started setting up camp. While I was messing with the tent, Jaq started a fire and made the best damned pot of coffee ever! Then we looked at the ankle that she'd fallen on. It was fine. No problem. Her BOOT on the other hand was toast! The reason she'd fallen in the first place, and the reason her feet had gotten soaked in the mud, was because the boot's sole had separated from the leather upper. Almost totally. I whacked it against a log to shake the sand out for a better look and the sole came right off!

Oh fuck. FUCK! There ain't no way to get out of here in just socks or bare feet with a pack strapped to your back. At best, you'd have a bloody stump at the end of your leg. At worst you'd break an ankle or a leg. I'm thinking up ways to temporarily reattach the sole using two feet of duct tape I'd brought along for tent patching, some rope and a couple of bandannas. Nothing seems like it will hold up through the whole hike back. We're screwed. Royally. The best idea I have is to hike back alone with my pack, come back and haul her pack back up while she walks sans-weight on a temporarily patched boot. Even then, it's likely the thing will fall apart again halfway up, causing a slip and a broken ankle.

I'm worrying a lot, but we make the best of it. Anything we can do will have to wait until the next day, anyway, so we carry on camping. There's lots of sand, so Jaq can walk about without footwear. I go exploring along the beach, checking out other people's old campsites in search of firewood, when a chorus of angels starts singing. Sitting on a rock shelf, with a Holy-Grail-like glowing aura surrounding it, is a pair of men's running shoes.


I get closer and see that some jerk had tried drying his camp shoes beside the fire and melted one of them. One melted left shoe, one perfectly fine right. So he left the shoes behind like a littering weasel rather than carry them back up the trail. Heart racing, I try to remember which boot was busted, the left one or the right. I grab the shoes and race back to camp to check... YES!! We clap our hands and dance in a circle like little schoolgirls. Someone up there really likes my wife. He's got great taste.

Sure, the shoe is two sizes too big. But she can lace it up tighter and wear three pairs of socks. We're set! I grab her other boot to shake the sand off and check that the same thing isn't going to happen to this one, knock it against a log and... yeah. You guessed it. PLOP! Off pops the other boot sole. (Note to self: Inspect old boots more closely next time.)

Ah, crap! Back to square one. We look at the other half-melted litterbug shoe and try to determine if it's fixable. It turns out it isn't totally ruined. It just needs a bit of drilling through the rock-hard melted plastic for some new shoelace holes, some chipping and scraping away of the bits of sharp plastic charcoal stuck to one side and we've got an ugly, but servicable, second shoe. We're saved! There's one beach litterbug out there in the world somewhere who I'd actually like to hug.

We set the shoes on a log to dry out in the sun and got back to the business of camping.

We decided to explore the beach together. Cool rock formations, mussel beds, trickly waterfalls, lots of moss. It was nice.

Some people come tripping down the trail during the day, not carrying anything because they don't plan to stay, so there were a few folks about. We got to the other end of the beach and, aww... isn't that sweet. There were two lovebirds necking in the sand in a secluded spot on the beach. We decided to give them a wide berth for their privacy.

As we got closer Jaq said, "Sean?"


"Those two people cuddling? I don't think they're cuddling. The girl on top's not wearing a shirt. I don't think they have anything on under that towel that's slipping down, either."

"Oh? OH!"

"Let's turn back."

"Hell, no! I wanna watch. [thwap] I mean, okay dear."

Jaq gives them the "sorry, go on about your business" wave and the girl lifts up and waves back. I grumble something about binoculars that Jaq doesn't catch, sigh, avert my gaze and look the other way. We turn back toward camp. I wonder how they don't get sand in there.

The day goes on, we do camping stuff, the day-trippers leave, and it's just us and another couple our age on the beach, each of us at different ends. We might as well have it to ourselves. Glorious!

The sun goes down, the mist rolls in, the wind dies, the surf pounds, the tiny fire flickers and Jaq says, "Sean?"


"Remember that couple we saw earlier?"


"We're all alone out here..."

"Yeah. We are." I'm grinning.

The next bit of the story is private. But I learned that, if you're careful, sand doesn't get everywhere.

Later, dog-tired and finished our hot chocolate, we turned in for the night and slept with the sound of pounding surf in our ears. It was plenty warm enough, but the next morning I remembered why a slope of even a few degrees is annoying as hell when sleeping in a tent. We spent a good part of the night sliding toward the entrance. Oops. It was both the worst and the soundest sleep I've had in years.

We spent hours walking along the beach the next morning, poking into caves and gawking at starfish and anemones and crabs and wildflowers growing at improbable angles out of the cliff face, wishing we could take home this shiny rock or that perfect shell. We reminded each other that whatever we picked up we'd have to haul back UP the trail to our car, so we settled on two little stones and three small shells.

We broke camp, struggled up the first 1/8 kilometer and practically floated the rest of the way up the trail knowing that it got easier with every step we took. We got to the trailhead, threw our stuff in the trunk and drove home, getting the world's best slurpee along the way.

Next time we'll do a few things differently. Lighter tent. Better packs. Better BOOTS. Stronger rope (for those washed-out steep parts). More coffee! But mostly what we'll do is make sure to schedule two or three nights of camping instead of just one. It was fabulous, and one night wasn't nearly enough. We're definitely going again later this year.

We took three rolls of film, but only snapped off one roll's worth. No idea how they turned out yet, but if there are any gooders I'll share them once they're developed.

It was the best wedding anniversary ever! And nobody died.


Hiking Trip Update

We made it back alive. This means nobody gets anything I mentioned in my will. Except Eurydice, Bb and KnightKat, all of whom have always had what I would have given them anyway - my undying love.

My feet are sore, my back hurts, and I'm dog tired. I'll give you a few hiking trip stories real soon, but for now I'm heading to bed.



Eight Favorite Tools and Non-Tools

8. Robertson Screwdriver

That's the square kind. Robertson screws are as common as dirt in Canada. Last time I went to the States they were hard to find. Maybe that's changed. If not, you should write somebody about it. Flatheads always seem to strip or slip out and stab whatever you're working on. Phillips screwdrivers are better because they're grippier, but you still have to apply forward pressure to keep them seated in the screw head. Robertson screwdrivers never slip. Never.

7. Wire Coat Hanger

I didn't grow up on a farm and thus have no experience "fixin' anything wit' balin' wire." Instead, I can fix anything with a wire coat hanger. If I'm lost in the woods with nothing but the clothes on my back and a wire hanger, I feel confident that I would make it out alive. Wire coat hangers are also useful for opening cars with the keys locked inside, school science projects, and making redneck art. (Wooden hangers rock, too, but not as tools. Plastic hangers suck.)

6. Nail Clippers

In a pinch, my nail clippers have served as a screwdriver, a tack-pusher, a staple puller, a wire stripper, an emergency lawn tractor shut-off and a very small mirror.

5. Yankee Drill

Sometimes called a push-drill. By the time a This Old House fan has dug out his extension cord, untangled it, plugged it in, found the chuck key, changed the bit (and torn off a fingernail when the key slipped out) and accidentally ruined his work by setting the drill on reverse (oops!), I'll have made fifty holes and opened my congratulatory beer. And don't even talk about cordless drills. If you run *really* fast you might get your cordless drill over to hole #4 before the battery goes dead.
A Yankee drill will handle most common jobs, and a lot of uncommon ones that an electric won't. Try drilling through something too small to clamp down with an electric drill. Piece of cake with a Yankee drill.

4. Cup Hooks

Do people actually hang their cups from these things? We use them for hanging curtain rods, guiding wires and cables, temporary gate latches, toolchest handles, outdoor plant hangers... you name it. They're better than nails for hanging pictures. Note that the brass ones suck. In hard woods or cement-like plaster you can turn them until your hands bleed before the threads begin to bite. You can get around this flaw if you have a Yankee drill. Two pushes and you've made a pilot hole. You can also slip the drill shank through the "eye" of the hook and turn it to screw the hook in, saving your thumb for more important jobs like popping open the tab on another beer can or poking into the chest of an electric drill owner.

3. Duct Tape

Obvious, but it's gotta be on the list. From the mundane (quickly patching a hose until you can replace it) to the thrifty (holding hbomb's car together) to the medical (doubled over, it makes a good emergency blister covering), this stuff is gold!
If you use knife or scissors to cut duct tape, you're a turd.
Duct tape comes in several thicknesses. If you don't understand why people rave about it, you've been buying the cheap thin-as-a-bandaid crap at Wal-Mart. Get the thick stuff. If they'd had duct tape in 1912, the Titanic would never have sunk.

2. Dental Floss

The thread of the gods. On one end of the Line Toughness Scale you've got your standard thread that pulls apart like lint. At the other end is steel cable. Dental floss is more flexible than cable and as strong as anchor rope. You might not be able to hoist an engine block out of the car with it, but if you double it over you could probably use it to lift a bucket of paint to the roof. You can catch a fish with it. You can repair leather with it. Larry Niven fans could fix the Ringworld shadow squares using dental floss.

1. Pocket Change

In case some idiot has used a standard screw, a dime will work in a pinch. A nickle will hold one of those heavy self-locking doors open while you step outside for a smoke. A large coin makes a fine emergency paint-scraper or tack-pusher. Some jokers occasionally like to lock bathroom stall doors from the inside and then crawl over (Or under... Eeeew!) to get out. A quarter will unlock 90% of them from the outside.


We're gonna freeze our asses off

I think I mentioned somewhere that Jaq and I were married at midnight on June 20/21st, beside a waterfall under the full moon. If I didn't, "Jaq and I were married at midnight on June 20/21st, beside a waterfall under the full moon." There.

Anyway, that time of year approaches. This weekend we're going to do the nature thing again, but this time she won't be wearing a wedding dress. We're planning to strap on our backpacks and hike to Mystic Beach for a night under the stars, camping on the sand and sleeping to the sounds of crashing surf.

BOY are we excited.

It'll only be a single night, but it will be the first time we've managed to get away together with just a tent and campstove since we've met. Crazy, given we're both nature freaks who moved to BC in order to be closer to the trees and ocean, but there you have it.

Both of us have done the hiking/camping thing, but it was a few years before we met. The only overnighters we've had together have involved a camper and running water. Obviously we're in worse shape now than we were then (me more than her, what with my computer shackles) so we're starting small. From the trailhead to the beach is only five kilometers or so, or about half the distance a "serious" hiker would do in a day.

If we don't plotz in the middle of the trail, though, we're planning to pick up the pace and make this a far more regular thing. We're really hoping to hike the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail (47 km of easy to medium hiking) later this year or early next year, and the West Coast Trail (twice that distance, and rather difficult) the year after if we can get into shape for it.

We'll be taking the camera, of course. It's a cheapie snapshot POS, though, so I don't hold your breath for beautiful nature photography. I don't know if I'd want to lug our *good* camera over those trails anyway. But we'll see how it goes. I want to get the photos transferred to CD so I can upload a few of them here and convince certain Easterners that BC (or at least Washington) is just as nice an option as Florida. [cough]dolly[cough]. :D

Because it was so long ago since either of us did something like this, half our camping gear has been lost to various garage sales. So... tomorrow - shopping!

Oh yeah. We're celebrating Father's Day on Saturday this year so Jaq and I can leave early Sunday morning. Shopping will be tricky because she's hinted that we "might not need to get everything on the list."

I can see it now. "Honey, we *really want a campstove. Can't go without it."

"Er, I think I can 'borrow' one. And put down that backpack, too." I'll be worried about our equipment until Saturday morning is over.

I could probably type another 5000 words I'm so excited. I'll shut up, though. For now. But you can bet I'll mention it again.

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Oops. I almost forgot to say something inappropriate. I hope I can fit the Spin The Jesus boardgame in my pack in case it rains.


Whups! I forgot to add RBUK. Consider it done.

In the fine tradition of begging on the internet, I present you with my ThinkGeek wish list (also linked on the right). Whereas others will take a measley dollar if that's all you feel like donating through Paypal, I insist upon a minimum purchase of $7.99 (for a rubber stamp reading "Complete and Utter BULLSHIT"). I'm like that. Greedy and appreciative of useless things.

Actually, don't buy me stuff. Donate to the Send Dolly to Vegas fund instead. She'll thank you. I'll just take whatever I get without a word, leaving you wondering if I even got the package.

(Note: I don't mean that. Buy me stuff.)



Woo! Look at me, I'm a trend-follower! Here are the twenty sexiest people I can think of at a moment's notice. Like my musical taste, be prepared for eclecticism.


Jodie Foster - Yes, just like Hinckley! Take that, Secret Service pigs. Rumor has it that Jodie is gay. Rumor also has it that I don't care. We'll never have sex anyway (and I wouldn't darling, I swear!) and I'm allowed to look regardless.

Melissa Etheridge - There's nothing physically special about her that I can think of. It's attitude, baby. Attitude. She's a short little ball of fire who could probably beat the shit out of me. I like kick-ass women. I fell in love with her at a concert before she came out of the closet.

Helen Hunt - What the hell is it with me and gay women? I've heard the same rumors about her as Jodie, and don't have a clue if it's true or not. Ask me if I care. Anyway, maybe I like her because she reminds me of Jodie. She's got those same eyes that can bore through steel.

Nicole Kidman - Woah. Just woah. Any one of her attributes will turn a plain woman into a beauty. Hair. Eyes. Lips. Accent. Figure. Religion. No... scratch that last one.

Anne Archer - Proof that crows-feet can be sexy. Also, Scientologist #2. DAMN, she must be a twit in real life. I've been careful not to read or watch any interviews with either Anne Archer or Nicole Kidman so I can hold on to my illusions of intelligence.

Xxxx Xxxxxxxx - This space reserved for the next famous kick-ass gay Scientologist woman to come along. Apparently that's my thing. Man am I fucked up.

Diane Neal - She plays ADA Casey Novak on Law & Order SVU. I can't explain this one. She's funny-looking, like a squirrel hiding nuts in its cheeks. But I think she's cute and it's my list. And yes, dear, I'd still watch the show if she weren't on it. I just watch it more closely now, that's all.

Loreena McKennitt - She's certainly not perfect, nor glamorous. She has flaws, not the least of which is that she looks a lot like Glenn Close. But that voice. That hair. Those beautiful Renaissance dresses. Yeee!

Liv Tyler - It shows my age that I feel like a dirty old man including her. But she may be the only other well known woman who can compete with Nicole Kidman. I'm not even sure she's real. I'm pretty sure that it would take too long to airbrush every single frame of every movie she's been in, but you never know. What gets me is that her dad's genes can look so good in a woman.

Mrs. Galoot - My blog, my rules. I get to include one non-famous woman if I want. She has the richest voice, loveliest hair, most beautiful eyes, best kick-ass attitude and greatest body on the planet. Unfortunately, Mrs. Galoot isn't a cultist, so she's not perfect.


Denzel Washington - Golly! I don't, but if I did it would be with Denzel.
Jeff Goldblum - Big, dark, self-effacing, geeky, seemingly intelligent... pretty good.
Nicholas Cage - Except, maybe, the Nick Cage in Bringing Out the Dead.
Antonio Banderas - When he's not being "hot" but just a regular guy.
Melissa Etheridge - I fell in love with him at a concert.
Samuel Jackson - Except, maybe, the Samuel Jackson in Pulp Fiction.
Andy Garcia - I dunno. Do I need to explain all of them?
John Cleese - He wasn't the gay one, but this is just make-believe.
Kevin Spacey - He smells pretty.
Tommy Lee Jones - I'm not even going to try to justify this one. You already think I'm a sicko, and I'm reaching to fill out ten anyway. So deal with it.



As of this minute, I have done 8342 readings for people in this psychic business (there's another waiting in my queue now). At an average of 250 words per lie... [AHEM!]... per reading, that means I've written over 2,000,000 words of pure crap in the last two-plus years. Over and above all the crap I post to the Worth forums, I mean.

The average novel is maybe 100,000 words or so, unless your name is Michener or Clancy, in which case it might be as many as 1/4-million words. So I've written the equivalent of anywhere from eight to twenty novels. Not one of them a bestseller.

I'm more prolific than the worst romance novelist, but I'm getting paid Wal-Mart wages. That makes me mad! Other professional liars get paid more than that! I could write advertising copy. I could be a political speech writer. I could channel Pleiadian revelations and start a spin-off cult and rake in the dough. But no. I'm below the lowest rung of the writers' ladder. I'm an underachieving "psychic." I'm not even syndicated!

Yes, it's another "I'm depressed because my job is unfulfilling" rant. Poor, poor me. Bah.

I know! Maybe I'll write a novel about a psychic whose predictions, much to his utter amazement, actually begin to come true. It's been done, though. :(

Maybe if I made the protagonist a cynical asshole...

And now for something completely different: I think Johnny is cool, too. Hi Johnny.


Blame wasabi. Always blame wasabi.

It's wasabi's fault. He listed his favorite songs of all time, so now I have to list mine.

First, these are my top five sentimental favorites:

1. Open Arms - Journey (It's "our song." Mock anything else with impunity, but mock this and I'll punch you in the throat.)
2. Old Man - Neil Young (The favorite song of my best friend who died several years back.)
3. The "Hockey Night In Canada" theme
4. Love Is Like Oxygen - Sweet
5. Feel Like Makin' Love - Bad Company

But this is my real Top Ten:

The Mummers' Dance - Loreena McKennitt

Peaches - The Stranglers

The Rage - Judas Priest

The Flesh Failures - Music from 'Hair'

Open The Gates - Fist

Running Free - Iron Maiden

Somewhere - Music from 'West Side Story'

Funeral for a Friend - Elton John

Spiderman (the cartoon) theme song

Johnny the Fox meets Jimmy the Weed - Thin Lizzy

Oh. I fixed your toilet the other day, dolly. If it's broken again it's your fault.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]