Extreme Downside

get off the sidewalk
Today I learned of the Vancouver Island Adventure Games. A bunch of “extreme” games are run in and around Nanaimo. The one that got my eye was the Downhill Mountain Bike competition. This event is run on the streets of Nanaimo. They build up lots of stunts for the competitors, and sounds totally fun.

The downside? The competition was this past weekend. I had no idea it was happening. Damn. I will have to watch for it next year, and put it on my list of events to do.

Hindsight Crispness

clean for once
This morning was my first ride on my Bullit since my Tyax trip. Besides today, I have been to the dump once on my Chameleon. Pretty sad considering how nice the weather has been. The problem is that Sue and I have been extremely busy on the weekends. It has been a lot of fun, but most of the stuff excluded bikes.

Today I decided to take Yoshi out for a spin. We got out there fairly early in the morning, but it was quite warm already. I took him over to the hose and doused him down in a preventative effort to control his overheating. In hindsight, I should have doused myself too.

The ride was hard. I haven’t been out on the Bullit in a long time, and it showed. My timing was off, and it seemed I could never find the right gear. I forged on though, and headed to the switchbacks. This trail has been my nemesis for a long time. The best I have ever done on it was a single dab. Today was nowhere near that record.

I got to the top, and was seriously overheating. I rested for a while, and Yoshi just ran around a bit. He was sort of interested in some birds at one point.

yoshi sees a bird

In the mornings it feel slike fall. A crispness settles in and reminds me that winter is just around the corner. The trees have taken notice and have begun to change.

nice leafs

My bike at one point demanded a rest. It somehow coincided with the crest of a particularly steep hill. Who was I to second guess my bike. Was it tired? Was it overheating? No, that was me, but the bike wanted a rest anyway.

resting

In the end I was tired. I never felt like I had any rythm or flow. I only backed down from one rock face, and my technical riding was fine, but I seriously need to work on my fitness. This is getting depressing. Normally this time of year I am in the best shape of the year.

Maybe this year will be different now that I have the road bike. I will likely get out on that tomorrow.

Record Mortgage

eaten away bite by bite
:rant: Why do we as a society let banks get away with what they do? They charge us more and more every year. The service levels drop more and more every year. It seem that every year the banks announce record profits. Anyone see where I am going?

We the people lend banks our money. They use it to invest, and they used to pay us interest each month, sort of as a thank you for using our money. That no longer happens (to me at least). Instead they charge you up the ass for the privledge of lending them your money. They charge you to get access to it. They practically charge you when you think about your money. I am getting sick and tired of it, but I don’t see much of an alternative. Which is the lesser of two evils is not the best mentality when it comes to your financial well being.

A perfect example of why I am upset with banks occurred today. Sue and I have our accounts on the unlimited plan at the Bank of Montreal. We pay for this each month with our service charge. I went to deposit a cheque I received recently. It was a $30 US cheque. They charged me $5 for this service. 🙁

I have an account in good standing. I pay my service charge, and they still have the gall to charge me a :fuck: service charge for depositing a $30 US cheque into my CDN funds account. If I had walked in with $30 US cash I would have walked out with $40.25 CDN. Instead I only get $35.25 CDN. When I inquired about the missing $5 the teller simply stated that the clearing house charge them a fee. I am sure the clearing house charges them a fee, but to me that is their cost of doing business. It isn’t like I deposit US cheques on a regular basis. It is just frustrating.

I have been banking with BMO for quite a few years now, and I know that my account balance is quite puny, but whatever happend to customer service? When time comes to shop for a mortgage you can be sure that I will indeed shop around for better banking.

The more I think about this, the more upset I get, so that is it for now.

Root Canal System

construction and destruction


dentist visit bad
two cavities to fill soon
root canal scarey


Just got back from the dentist, and got bad news. I have two cavities, and one is really bad. :grr: The bad one may need a root canal, but they are going to try and avoid that. I have always had bad teeth, and have had many cavities filled. I don’t know if it is too late or not, but I am going to try and take better care of my teeth. I think I am going to try and keep a toothbrush at work, and use it regularly. It may be time to cut back on coke (acid bad) :shit:, and watch what I eat before dinner.

Now if only I can figure out a system to remind myself to floss every night.

Cyclic Process

happy yoshi
Last night I attended the City of Victoria’s meeting on the opening up of parks for off leash dog use. It was very interesting as this was my first city council meeting I had ever sat in on in my life. The process was pretty simple, and the rules well defined.

After the scheduled presentation, the floor was opened up to preregistered speakers.

I was quite impressed with most of the pro dog speakers. Many of them were good public speakers, were eloquent, stayed on topic, and generally represented the dog owning community well.

One lady representing the SPCA brought up some excellent points about how option 2, if chosen, is already set up for failure(the options are outlined in this pdf). First off, in option 2, a group of residents need to band together, make a proposal, and submit that to the sity before a new park can be considered for opening up. This may not happen readily in some areas. Areas that do form the coalition, and successfully get their park opened up, will then have to deal with lots of people flocking to the park. Policing such a large user group is not something that the average citizen is trained to do.

On the whole I appreciated all the pro dog people standing up having their say.

There were also lots of people opposing the suggested changes. I was actually quite disgusted with the ignorance of some of these people. One dog owner stepped up to voice his adament displeasure with these suggestions. He wanted them both removed, and to not be considered. His reasoning was that he owned a dog that got sick, and because of it’s sickness was very stressed. One day his dog turned on him and was growling and snarling at him, thus all dogs are wild creatures and can snap at any moment. He also brought up Shenika White. He seemed to feel that if dogs were allowed off leash access to parks more attacks like this would happen. The problem with this story is that The Shenika White attack was perpetrated by a couple dogs at large. As I undestood it, these dogs were normally confined in their respective yards, but had escaped. These dogs were not properly socialized, and were not being supervised when this happened. It is tragic that Shenika was attacked, but it is not relevant (in my mind) since the circumstances are not the same. He also brought up the number of fatal dog attacks evey year. These numbers are well known, and well documented. The counter argument is the number of non incidents that occur every year. For example, while walking Yoshi around Thetis lake, I have had one incident where a Pit Bull attacked Yoshi. I have had countless walks around Thetis where I have met no dogs, or the dogs I have met we have passed without incident. The number of incidents is miniscule compared to the number of times nothing has happened.

There was another gentleman who coaches the Bays United youth soccer program. He implored the council to not let the dogs on the sports fields. He felt that dogs did more damage that the soccer players. He brought up that soccer players do not play on fields when they are too wet to withstand the impact. I know this is true since a good friend of mine, Steve, who is a Bays United Div 1 coach, has told me countless times that their game was postponed on the weekend due to field conditions. My rebuttal to the gentleman would be that I feel soccer cleats do more damage to a field than a dog ever could. I have had my foot stepped on by a person wearing cleats, and I have had my foot stepped on by a running dog. The cleating hurt a whole lot more. I have seen the damage done to a field by players wearing cleats, and it is horrible. I agree that dogs can damage the field, but the damage will be in a less concentrated area than the cleats will inflict.

The youth soccer coach also mentioned that if the proposal goes through, Bays United will withold funds they had raised to improve field conditions. In my eyes this made him very petty. Why can’t he share the parks with other users?

In the end, I found the meeting informative. I found lots of people couldn’t stay on topic, and couldn’t follow the rules set out for the meeting. Many, many people talked about the Dallas Road conflict, which the council had mentioned at the beginning of the session was not to be talked about. It was brought up by several pro-dog proponents that many of them already help clean up after other park users, and that option 2 jsut forces the to do more of what they already do. Option 1 would have an immediate impact by spreading out the dog density very quickly. Option 2 could have a cyclic affect (as one park opens, a large group begins to use it and thereby abuse it until the next park opens and everyone moves on).

I fully support option 1. I personally feel that it has a chance of success, and that option 2 is indeed set up to fail.

Blood Kinks

Donate blood today! Today was my latest blood donation. As usual everything went smoothly for the donation. Getting to the donating was a different story. They have migrated to a new computer system in an attempt to speed up the process. There are a few kinks to iron out it would seem since the system froze up on the operator I was dealing with. Oh well. I can see that once it is perfected, the process will be quite quick.

Appropriate Misty Vibrating Beach

making tracks
Friday we left town on time. Sunday we returned a day early. The reason in a word: rain.

Rain normally isn’t that bad when camping, if you are prepared for it. Unfortunately for Sue and I, we weren’t very smart in our packing. We didn’t take appropriate clothing, nor did we take enough clothing. This lead us to come home a day early. We still had a great time while there, and I ended up taking more pictures than I thought I would.

Skip to the pictures.

The story in full:

We left town on Friday around 10am. We headed up to Old Country Market in Coombs for lunch. We poked around there for a bit, I bought a kite, then we continued our drive.

On the drive we saw two black bears at the side of the road. Very cool, but we didn’t stop to watch or take pics. It would have been cool to get a picture, but I didn’t want to disturb them at all.

After we got to Green Point, we set up camp, then headed down to the beach for a walk. Yoshi loved it soooo much.

run yoshi run!

He would run away from us as fast as he could, but never in a straight line. He would then skid to a stop, then come bombing back to us in a straight line. It was hilarious just to watch him romp along the sand and through the ocean.

We went back to camp, made some dinner, and started our camp fire (yes they were allowed there, the campsite was even selling wood).

a camp fire in BC???

Saturday after breakfast, we decided to go down to the beach again. We flew the kite, and waled for a while.

the kitethe flyer

We tried to do a group shot, but Yoshi wouldn’t sit still.

me and sueYoshi Jumping

Long Beach is just so scenic, it is hard to take it all in.

purty

It was pretty misty down on the beach, so we headed back to camp thoroughly soaked. Then the rain started.

lots of rain

It rained, and rained, and rained. Tofino took care of us when we headed in there for more clothes. We each got better socks, and I picked up a paiur of long underwear. We also stopped at the Common Loaf for a couple Hot Chocolates. Yum!

Back in the tent we were pretty cozy as we cozied up as best we could, and played Scrabble, Yahtzee, and contract rummy. The noise inside was almost deafening.

yoshi in the tent

We put our wet clothes back on to go outside and cook dinner. Eww, cold, wet cotton is no fun!

Saturday night we had Yoshi sleep in the tent. He woke up sometime while it was still dark, and the poor guy was just vibrating he was so cold. Sue lifted the covers, and he readily climbed into bed, and slept solidly under the covers with us. Normally when we let him sleep with us (which very rarely) he is on top of the cover. He usually moves around so much, and tries to push us off the bed, we have to kick him out. Not Saturday night. He slept soundly, and did not move at all. He even slept in past his normal waking time. He must have been really tired, and really cold.

Sunday morning there was actually Sun peaking out!

sun on treessun on trees

We had already decided to head back home since everything we brought was damp, if not soaking wet. We were quite the sight while eating breakfast.

dressed for successdressed for successdressed for success

We went for one last walk on the beach, packed the truck, then headed home.

beach imagebeach imagebeach image
beach imagebeach imagebeach image
beach imagebeach image

We had dinner with my mom and sister in Nanaimo, stopped at my sisters new house, then drove home. We each had Monday off, so we took the day to dry out all our gear, do a large pile of laundry, catch up on sleep, and relax a bit before going back to work.

In all, the trip was lots of fun, and I don’t regret a single second of it. I just wish I had packed a lot smarter than I did. 1 Pair of cotton pants is not enough for a place the is always wet. :grr:

Remaining Wood

oh sunny day

The truck is packed and we are ready to go! Long beach here we come. We have a couple stops on the way out of town to pick up the remaining supplies, but after that it is clear ailing until we get to Coombs where we will stop for lunch.

The weather in Tofino is still a little suspect, but we are hoping for the best. We also talked to someone who said that there is no fire ban there. Interesting. It seems weird to pack wood so we can have a camp fire, yet the rest of BC is still so dry that many parks are closed, and there is a general back country ban in effect.