Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Rant


It appears that I hate Facebook. It did not start out that way. The first two weeks were cool. In the first two weeks there was an explosive growth in the number of people I got in touch with. After dozens of friends’ requests were made, some with people I had not seen in many years then things leveled off.

Without new contacts coming in and the existing ones staying quite after the first contacts I lost interest. Of the people I got in touch with the majority were friends from university people who I sheared classes with partied and drank with, but most not likely to be long-term friends. The result, those that I wanted to stay in touch with I had remained in touch with out face book, and with face book I gained access to pointless trivial about them with out any substance.

The trivia has grown tires some quickly. I just don't really care about all the updates people post. That is not the worst of it. I am being spammed. A handful of people are forwarding a handful of messages. So often they are passing forward chain letters. These messages did the email loop years ago and were old then.

I don't want chain letters, I don't want any thing that makes me feel guilty for being able bodied and white with a good job. I don't care if chain letters have biblical roots. Just because Saul got sun stroke on the road to Damascus, inspiring him to twist the words of his teacher a Jewish carpenter who turned out to have a fatal allergy to oaken beams and iron nails, into his own twisted faith, does not mean I want any thing to do with the other tradition he promoted. Chain letters, a sunstroke inspired tool he hopes to be a good way of scaring the gentiles into his new religion.

I don't want forwards on my wall or as messages I don't want guilt inspiring stories of personal sacrifice and suffering. If you are not going to take the time to write something yourself I don't want it. If you want me to take the time to follow the link form my email to the website, stealing a minuet or two of my time, make it original make it personal. Act like you are my friend, tell me a story or a joke, and don’t spam me with a message that has been passed on more times the Pam Anderson's honeymoon videos.

I don't hold this rant to have any historical accuracies the views expressed here are mine along and do not reflect on Nothernlites or any of its associates.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bingo Fuel and Stinging Slinging.

Work has taken a shift in direction. We are moving the bulk of the drilling to a new different property to the south of camp. A property I had not seen until a week ago. When Pete Jordan and me flew out there to both check on the drill and get me familiar with the property. The plan was simple, take a chopper down to the property check out the drill and or shut it down and then fly back to camp end of day. Pack a lunch and long underwear.

This should have bee a quick and simple day, but light is a limited commodity. At the latitude of 63,1/4 degrees north in December the earliest time we can fly is around 9:30 am and the latest we can fly is around 3:50pm.
Adding to this compressed timetable were the other demands on the helicopter. It had to fly in some supplies from town. Fuel for the drill, two barrels full, weighing enough to make the bird burn through extra fuel on the short flight from town. With the bird having to make a trip into town to get the fuel drums there was a lot of time-spent waiting. After it delivered the fuel the chopper landed in the swamp, not the helipad we had marked out, it turned out we had a different pilot form the

The three of us get on to the chopper staying low on the approach to avoid unwanted decapitations; they can really ruin your day. We took from off the swamp and about 5 to 10 minuets into the flight Pete is talking to the Pilot and some slightly important information is put forth. There was not enough fuel for the bird to make the round trip.
The chopper had about 45 to 50 minuets of fuel and we had about an hour and fifteen minuets of day light left. From where we were flying from it is about a 20-minuet flight to camp and greater then half an hour to get back to Yellow Knife.

Camp does keep some Jet-B on hand to refuel choppers with but because the pilot had just hauled in fuel for the drill he had left his fuel pump in town to save weight. Our fuel drums do have hand pumps but this would have taken too much time to fill it up, using up too much of the remaining day. Which could have forced him to say in camp to avoid flying after dark. So to save the chopper from as they say, bingo fuel, we turned around and headed south to Yellow Knife.
The cool thing of landing in town was being in a chopper as the Pilot parallel parked the bird. To do this we came in a few feet of the ground and the flew side ways in to the space between a Hughes 500 in front of us and second Bell 206 behind us.

The one time I am in town during a work rotation it’s a Sunday. To add to the fun all three of us have left our wallets and any and all forms of money at camp and personally I had nothing to read. Our lack of funds was fixed as was our accommodations, one through a preexisting arrangement the other through a favour, not in that order.
The evening was dull, but it was an early end for the working day, that coupled with larger softer hotel bed and a good dinner was worth the trip into town. It was something of a tease as normally I only see Yellow Knife as I am leaving work. Though we did get some looks leaving Boston Pizza, as we were a scruffy lot.

The next day was started with sleeping in and ended with the being cold and fearing that we would have to spend a second night in town. In between we returned to the drill site in a helicopter without working heat and frosted up windows. This really boosts your confidence in modern engineering. Once I toured the property moving to say warm and huddled in the drill when it was not too busy.

Things started to go bad when the chopper was hauling in a second set of fuel drums. Two or three times it circled and hovered but failed to kill its forward momentum enough to keep the drums form swinging at the end of their long line forcing it to abandon its attempts to deliver the fuel. After its last failed attempt at delivering the fuel to the drill's location at the time, It attempted to drop the barrels at the site where the drill would move to next, this was more open. This proved to be some of the least inspired flying I have seen lately.
Once again the bird came in low and fast when it should have come in high, hovered and then come down slow. This hover and drop approach would kill the forward momentum of the drums at the end of the long line preventing them from swinging. The drums started to swing side to side under the helicopter and as the pilot compensated and perhaps over compensated the swinging increased and became a circular motion like some over sized up side down mace. It was worrying seeing the chopper buck in response to its miss-behaving load. When the pilot at last made his call he brought the bird down with the drums still moving under him, they kicked up cloud of dusty snow, I had a brief worry that they seals on the things could fail and we would have a royal mess on our hands.

This excitement was followed with a long wait in the cold and the approaching dark. On paper the plan was for the bird to head into town refuel and take us back to camp, it did not work out that way and as the sun was setting we were still waiting for our ride. Several calls of decreasing politeness and of increasing frequency were made to the helicopter hanger as darkness approached.

When It came, the sun was most of the way down, it was delayed it turned out, but we had a faster bird with a full tank of gas getting back to camp at last was not going to be a problem. We did make it back to camp and not much else has happened since. Okay a few days after that adventure I got to be the guild on a second trip to that property, I flew in the front of the bird looking down at the ground through the transparent floor of the cockpit. This time I had my wallet. But nothing much happened that trip, we flow to the southern end of a lake where we will be setting up a drill in the new year and did some fancy flying to get a close look, on this day we were back before lunch and I did not have to leave my seat.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Nothern Lites Entertainment Report.

Just a quick update.

Things have been busy at work as the year winds down I am getting wound up for next year which will be a fair bit different from the last year and a half. I will have the chance to spend time in Yellow Knife and see properties other then this one. I am working on a longer post about my recent Helicopter adventure. More on that after some editing.

I have become a pusher, a crack dealer. That right I have gotten some one at work addicted to podcast novels. Addicted enough to ship out a pack of CDs for me to copy the shows on. So I complied the Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff collection; Diary of a Mad Man, The Dooms Day Club, Number 1 with a Bullet and The Art of Surfacing. All good interesting, from time to time violent and or distrubing. These can be found at Pacific Coast Hellway, I would be Remiss if I did not mention every one's favourate musical Pussy The Musical , which did not include on the CD's because at the time it was not complete.

I also added one of my favourates as a bonus, Phili Rosi's Crescent some places are far darker then deep space. I would have add Mike Bennet's One Among the Sleepless
One Among the Sleepless, to that list but ran out space on the CD's, it is a slightly dark and wonderfully British novel. ( Mother you would be pleased to not that with the exception of Crescent all the books listed in this post are not Science fiction.) Speaking of science fiction, go check out Christiana Elles's latest project, Space Casey.
I should play nice and add in a bit of a blurb on Space Casey. Its a space opera in much the same way a Gilbert and Sulivin peace is an opera, it has elements of drama and in some cases singing but the nature of the drama is completely different. Now that I have said nothing for a long sentence, let me talk about the book, con artist gets a hold of an alien space ship and is forced to save humanity, while indulging in the whims of an unstable AI and other alien oddities. All held together with Christiana's dry wit and good collection of guest voices, including the future evil over lord of the planet Scott Sigler.

I will leave you with one pretty picture, the Con Mine's Robertson Shaft and the rising sun. As seen from Great Slave Helicopters in Yellow Knife earlier this week

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tail Gates.

The other day after finishing a pile of paper work and becoming frustrated from the hours at the desk. I headed off to load my shop with core for the next day. Now due to a series of mechanical mishaps the Toyota Land cruiser that I use to haul core was out of order. This left me with my 2 least favorite vehicles: the overly large Dodge Ram and badly mistreated Ford Ranger. The Dodge was in use at that moment and after some wrangling I gained access to the ranger to move core.

The Ranger holds about 20 boxes core, loading that many boxes is a good work out. Now I noticed as I was loading it that the plywood bed liner was covered in about a centimeter of ice. This made loading the first layer of core boxes easy as they slid in nice a smooth. After the truck was loaded I drove it down the road to my shop. This road is smoother in the winter with the snow and the ranger has decent traction with the chains. Every thing was smooth until the last large hill before the shop. This hill has a bend in middle and a bump caused by a partially berried bolder.

Because of some difficulties in climbing that hill the previous day I made a point to have a good bit of speed to get up the steep start of the hill. I did not have faith that the Ranger would have enough torque to make the hill at a low speed. Stupidly I managed to hit the gas and the bump at the same time. I cleared the first third of the hill the truck did not spin out or stall. There was odd burst of speed as I left the bend.

Having made it up the hill I continued to my shop. I backed into the slot by my shop door to unload the truck. That was when I say the truck was empty. All 20 boxes each weighing at about 30 to 50 pounds depending on the lithology had fallen out. As fast as I could I drove back to the way I came.

There in the center of the road in sitting in almost one unit was the boxes. Two or three were upside down, and only one had any meaningful spillage. That was lucky. It was the fact that they jumped out of the truck all at once that kept things from being too messy.

There was at this point only one coarse of action, reload the truck one box at time, up hill. I had left the Ranger pointing down hill on nearly flat spot. I backed it up the hill and had some hairy moments on the way back down the other side so I pulled over to the side to try to turn around. As I did this I saw the core slide back a few inches. Things were easy for the last leg as it was all down hill and there was no risk of it falling out again.

Before the after noon was over I made two more trips each one less eventful then the last. After the first trip I improvised a restraint using some steel banding that was lying in the back of the truck along with some rope. This looked laughable oddly it worked. In the first few hundred meters of my second trip the core shifted. Looking in the rearview I saw that the top most boxes were putting tension on the steel band. Out of fear of a second cargo failure I let the truck pick up some speed on a down hill, only to slam on the brakes, this let the cargo shift forward just a wee bit. I was lucky to have enough smarts to find the sweet spot where cargo would remain fixed in the bed but the truck did not stall, it was at a crawl.

The Third and final trip lead me the solution I should have had from the start, a tail gait. Now since the original for that truck is long gone I was forced to improvise with a core box lid trimmed to fit roughly the width of the bed. This worked, the boxes pressed against it but could not unwedge it.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same action repeatedly and expecting different results, I suppose this means that I am not completely insane.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Yoshi's Kosher Sushi Episode 1

The origin of Kosher Sushi

It was late August, I was at the tail end of my rotation. Work had and moved sideways from my normal core logging activities. I was working on sorting out old curshed rock samples.
The process involved manually emptying all the waist bags into the bucket of a front end loader. The bag dumping took more time then the sorting, this left me with time to think. No one on that crew did much talking, adding even more time to my thinking time. It was in this dead air that the first bit of Yoshi's Sushi came too. It started with one word it was so dumb it should have died there. One thing went wrong, I met Yoshida Cohen with him in my head I some how turned what was the dumbest idea of the week into the nucleus of a story. So for the all to see,

Yoshi's Kosher Sushi. A personal First, a complete self contained self contained work of fiction. Which due the size of the peace and the geologic speed of the editing will be serialized.


Yoshi's Kosher Sushi

Yoseph ducked, Samuel did not.
Yoseph turned as he heard two consecutive thuds, the second one louder then the first. In the dim light of the alley way Yoseph saw his companion dead against the door, his hands still clutching the lock picks. The second thud had been Samuel hitting the door. The first thud had been the projectile hitting Samuel. Yoseph froze when he recognized the means of his specialist’s execution: a six pointed blue and white shuriken. A throwing star of David, stuck out the back of Samuel's neck just below the base of the skull. That second of inattention was too long. Before he could turn around Yoseph felt a chill move across the front of his neck. A sword was pressed to his throat.

A short form stepped out from the deep shadows. What was visible of the man’s face :if you move you're dead. The man reached out and took the compact assault rifle from Yoseph's now limp hands. The man was dressed a loose black tunic, a gi from the Asian martial arts traditions, with a mat black scabbard for a sword sticking out from behind a shoulder.

Yoseph was tall enough to make out the midnight blue yarmulka, perched atop the black hood. That was all Yoseph saw.
The dark alley went black. The sword at Yoseph’s neck pulled away. As a sack was thrown over his head and drawn tight making it hot and hard for Yoseph to breath
The man spoke softly. " Yoseph, this raid is over, this place is ours."

Yoseph nodded. He was out of the game. He wondered about the rest of his team, but if they got to him and Sam then the perimeter guard would also been neutralized. It should have been a simple training drill: enter the building, retrieve the hostage and get out.

Someone nudged Yoseph in the back with something cold and pointy, directing him back to the mouth of the old cobble stone alley. He could feel zip ties closing around his wrists and ankles and was then tossed into the back of a vehicle.

The ride was rough. The van bounced and bumped with no respect for is bound passenger as it zig zagged a path through old Jerusalem. Yoseph passed out.

When Yoseph came to he was still bound hand and foot, but the hood was off. He was on a narrow bunk in cell. The bunk stretched from wall too wall, but was shorter then Yoseph’s six-foot height. Weak yellow light came through a tiny dusty window set at eye level in a steel door. Taped to the wall above his head was a note. Yoseph twisted around to see it. It was Hebrew, in a coarse uneven script. It read:

Escape and Find Me,

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Entertainment report III

If you look at my side bar you will see that I have many subsciptions a Podiobooks.com and that is far from the complete list. I am a fan of internet based entertainment, as some are calling new media. I have seen a lot of short video clips of doubtful quality, so when I heard of a video science fiction podcast in high definition I had to check it out.

The prodution in this case is Strangerthings. They have been slow getting their feet under them, with episodes coming months a part and passed their expected release dates. I will forgive them for that, with such limited resources delays will happen. So the production issues aside, their third full episode was released today. It was worth the wait.

One of Those Faces, is an emotional story and drifts away from the stronger SciFi elements in their earlier episodes in favour of a more sprititual view. After months waiting it still managed to get my full attention and pull me in.

The production is clean, with good sound quality and a solid sound track to go with. The acting and directing seems to show signs of growth from the earlier works.

Go and check it out, remember they have only just started.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Not so Wild Life

I am not a birder by nature but I like the little fellows. Generally my view of small birds is that of cat food . There may be thousands of species but those I can identify are of the Corvid familey, crows, ravens, jays, magpies and other smart cocky birds. The birds in this case are Whiskey Jacks, sometimes known as Grey Jays officially Perisoreus canadensis. The Whiskey Jack is close to the size of a robin, but a lot smarter and I would say cuter.

A pair of Whiskey Jacks has been hanging around the shop where I work. That is not my fault or at least it did not start that way. I did not start feeding them, but in the last few weeks I have taken part in the act. It started when I saw one eating out of someone's hand how could I not join in on the fun. It should pointed out that the shop where I am working is on the other side of the property from the main camp, so I pack a snack for the morning or afternoon brakes so I am there with food regularly.

I started with just leaving cookie crumbs on core boxes, but moved on to playing with the birds. I have in the last week or two gotten them to eat off my hand, land on my out stretched arm and even eat off my shoulder. I thought how cute and playful these birds are, I was wrong. I was not playing with them, they were training me. Now they come out to try to mug me nearly every time I step out side. I look across to the trees where they hide wondering when they will come out, these critters are nearly as dangerous as ducks.

Whiskey Jacks are not the only animal I have to deal with, there is also a squirrel hanging about the shop. The squirrel is more of a irritation then the birds. Though the Whiskey Jacks have enough nerve to enter the shops they do not make a habit of it. The squirrel on the other hand has made that space his home. It too has been fed by the others working in that shop and has been feed since some time during the summer. The little rodent is down right fat.

The squirrel was not an issue untill it had found our garbage, the kleenex box and most importantly my food. It searched one for food the other was apparently used as bedding material, it crossed a line when ate my food.
I can not complain about is steeling Kleenex, that is a cool thing to see, this little fuzzy animal standing up against the box and pulling out the paper with its little clawed mini hands andthen it stuffing it in its mouth.

The tree rat became trouble when it started to try to eat my snacks when they were still wrapped with me in the room at the same time, that was a little too much. So I started a program to drive it off. I started with just running up to it and trying to scare it, that would but did not stick. After a while I moved on to ballistic disipline. That is I started throwing small stones at it. This is not as bad as it sounds since my aim is so bad as to make a storm trooper look like a sniper and they were small rocks.

That was how it should have stayed, but I am any thing but consistent. I was out side and I saw the tree rat enter my shop, it sat there right in the entrance way. I grabbed a stone half the size of my fist, I aimed for a spot next to it with the goal of scaring the shit out of it. I missed, that is I missed hitting the spot next to it and hit the animal instead. The poor thing was propelled backwards 2.5m with the rock resting on its belly, it then got up and ran out of the shop. It is still around but it has been less open in its doing since then. It remembers me and knows better.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dumb Stuff

Surfing for entertainment lead me to a stupid quiz,try it your self

I am nerdier than 84% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

September Down South

What I did on my Holidays.

I am behind on my Blog posting with apologies to any one who reads it. I was on vacation and well I always have good intentions of writing on trips away from camp and always fall into a habit of joyously doing nothing. Doing nothing and having afternoon naps are an important part of the time but it was not the all of it. Some time was spent at parties, or gaming with friends. I even went for a couple bike rides. I should point out that I went to a wedding, very much not my own. It was a sweet and beautiful but not overly long event. I will not go in to huge details on the wedding and reception others will have posted photos by now and perhaps a few Blog posts that have slipped by low my radar. So here is short version.

Dri's wedding was in the Penticton rose garden, a good spot for it, Dri her self had a dress that would not have been out of place in Rivendell or Lothlorien. Though it was good to see Dri getting married to a nice friendly man, the real gem of that trip was seeing Chani again.

For those reading this not in my family Chandra, or Chani to every one, is one of my best friends and has been since forever, she also happen to be Dri's little sister. I had not seen her in something close to 10 years. I had been in touch over the Internet with her for a few years, but despite what children of the twenty first century will tell you, it is no match for face to face. So I had a great time meeting the friends she had made and the family she had started since we had parted ways. A long with meeting Chani's current friends I had some confusing and ultimately funny encounters with her father and littlest brother. In the case of the youngest brother I had known that he had existed but being that he was a baby the last time I saw him, he slipped from my mind, I alternately forgot he existed and was reminded and forgot again, I was in a forgetting phase at the wedding. This was matched with his not know I existed at all, and only after we both wondered who we were in relation to each other was the situation cleared up by my mother.
In the case of John Chani's father I recognized him right away but he had no idea who I was, as the last time he had seen me was in high school when I still hand long blond hair, now I am shinny with a shave.

Other delays in Posting.
I was also occupied with a side project. I finished my first fiction peace. I have started I don't know how many stories or came up with premises for them but I have never finished any of them. That was until I met Yoshida Cohen. I will after it has passed through a reader or two and gone under there red pen a few more times post the story on this Blog. Yoshi's Kosher Sushi will see the light of day.
Stay posted I will try to have that post up in a few weeks. I have some details for a more important effort to work on first. I have made the first moves towards applying to grad school, nothing official but I am in touch with a prof and he has asked for some work from my under grad projects so I have to take the time to make sure I am not sending over garbage.

The KVR Just North of Penticton

Final note, It snowed the night before last, about 6 fluffy inches, its melting during the days but that will not be the case for too long.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Stupid little things

Its the little things. The camp provides the bedding and does some basic house keeping. Tradisionaly the bedding has been white sheets that have washed and bleached too many times. I am not a fan of white bedding and old thinning sheets evenless. I was surpised there for to find new pillow cases, in colours other then white. The addition of black pillow cases added a home like feeling. More accurately it reduced the instutional feeling that the old whites and hard matresses provide.

Its a stupid little thing but it matters. Camp is not home, but little things can help make it feel closer to that.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Northern Lites Entertainment Report II

What the Frack have I been doing to keem myself amused out here.
1: Watching canned TV. I have taken to buy DVD's of TV shows to watch in place of the sports on the common TV. The latest Crop is nerdy and all Sci Fi, Season 1 of Battlestar Galactia and season 2 of Babylon 5.

2: Audio entertainment. I have increasingly become a junkie for audio books and short stories. Of the newer additions is Escape Pod, a pod cast that reminds me of a science fiction anthology, but with perhapps a better sence of humour. Some what to my suprise I have developed a liking of horror and suspence. My current favourate is Phil Rossi's Crescent. I am also working my way through Scott Sigler's library. There are a few more I have listed to and more will be added no doubt as I work through the back episodes.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Night Clubbed

Nite club's don't work for me, but judging from the crowds of people inside them and sometimes outside them they work for many people. They work for the gaggles of girls that go with the intent of dancing for the fun of it, they work for the cocky men with the shinny tight T-shirts and gelled hair and they even seem to work for the has beens and barflies lacking in youth but still wishing to relive it. That they work for these types of people is not as interesting as why do they appear to fail for me.

I have almost always ended up at night clubs after a evening of friendly drinking at a friends house where some one would want to go some where and do something. I would have been content to remain at the time and place where the party had started but was not one to want to be left behind. So we head out.

At first the noise and flashy lights and other shiny things are exciting. Then It dawns on me what ever conversations were underway on trip over are now dead and any exchange of information requires yelling. The novelty wears off after the first half hour that leaves me stuck watching.

What I see is the same every where, a square room with bars encircling a loosely fenced off dance floor in the center, extra floors are optional. To the side of the dance floor is a booth filled with the dumbest cockiest man they could find and a computer with some other hardwares, this creature is the DJ. His job is to maintain a steady supply of noise. There are several species seen on the dance floor and a few seen off of it.

The first creatures to appear on the floor are often the girls that claim they are only there to dance. They will appear in groups of three to five and will instantly find the oversized speakers and start dancing on top of them. Following the dancing girls and with a few more drinks in there collective system is the rest of the ecology in no particular order. The girls who come there with the intent of leaving with some one they did not arrive with, who I can not clearly separate from those who are there to dance . The cocky men with the gelled hair and shinny shirts start to drift onto the floor around the same time. This species confounds me, firstly they appear to be able to dance, secondly they are able to communicate in a 120 decibel plus room and the most perplexing thing of all is the cockiness. I am just unable to figure out how they express their attitude through a twinkle in the eye and smile.

Some what later the drunk male friends of the girls that came to dance stagger on to the floor. Fooled by beer and tequila they have come to think two false and dangerous things. Firstly that in fact believe they can dance and secondly that they have a chance with any one of their gender of choice out on the floor.
On a few occasions I have been drunk enough be in this group but that has been rare, largely based on the fact that the amount of booze required for me to reach that point is only slightly less then the amount required to make me stop talking which is half a drink away from the point I fall flat on my face. Which brings me to the last group of people collectively they are wallflowers, those who do not venture out onto the dance floor. Most often wall flowers are there willingly, to watch or perhaps to relive youth.

So I have covered the nature of the people now for the nature of the place. The lay out described above is only the start and the DJ is only the start of the problems. Now I have to figure out why they fail on me. It is not the women, like other men I have no objections to young women in small amounts of tight clothing, this is clearly a night clubs virtu. And booze is not at fault either as I can enjoy a cold beer just like every one else. No the reason why night clubs fail for me is my brain.

Combine 120 decibel music with giant screens projecting random geometries in time with the music and you flip a switch in my skull. The music which is very clean computer generated or edited by passes my body, leaving me with no desire to dance, rather then my heart matching the speed of the bass drum, every thing goes strait to my brain. I will fined my self trying to deconstruct the tune, a near impossible task with my negative musical talent. Or I catch one lyric and it chain reacts with junk lying around in my head, and before you know it I have the start of this essay.

Though I am writing this at work miles from any night life it owes its roots to my visit to Penticton. Where I sat on a stool at the edge of a dance floor trying to compose an essay structure that would mirror the time of bass and treble in the music while trying to figure out if the image on the over head screen was in fact a Klein Bottle. The total volume of the place is part of the cause of my failure to get it, its so loud that conversation is impossible reducing communication to a base level of body language and grunts. Unable to communicate I fine my self trapped one the inside of my own head, where I am quickly distracted by flashing lights and shinny things.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Rant

As always happens the posts I plan in my off time either do not get writen or get writen well into my next work cycle. So here I am at work again and writing about my last brake.

The story starts and ends in a bar. I had flown in to Kelowna latter then normal due to flying the last leg of the flight with West Jet, which cost me the time savings I get from the 3pm Air Canada out of Yellow Knife. After checking in to a hotel, I was too tired to even think of driving any where, ignoring the fact that I could not make it to Serenity until morning, I went to a bar. Its a basic place but it sells food that goes good with beer and beer tastes really good after six weeks without. I sat at the bar half watching the over head TV. I am not a huge fan of TVs in bars but it was a slow evening and the tv was there. My favourate network was on at that time, the Speed network. The show was a mix of porcine men, T&A eye candy and machine parts, par for the coarse on that channle. And I got anoyed, not at the eye candy, or even the porcine grease suckers working on the vehicals, no I got anoyed at the technology in our cars.

It pissed me off that the state of the art appeared to be a reciprocating piston engine with a purely mechanical drive train. Technology that has been around for more then a century. This lead me down a new track, Hack My Ride.

Hack my Ride, the TV show, its goal to add sex appeal to Hybrid and electric cars. Rather then have greasy red neck types play with wrenches we could have nerds working on 21st century cars with comuputers and soft where fixes to boost the performance of the cars. Of coarse there would still be the eye candy it is still a car show.

Its time new tech gets the spot light, bonous points for any team that can make a Prius look sexy.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Chills no Thrills

A Short Sharp ShockA Short Sharp Shock.

Summer is over. As of the start of August a cold windy and cloudy weather system has moved in. I am working on the screened porch and the wind has been cutting through me and chilling me. I don't know how much longer the porch will be a good working space but its a time measured in weeks.

Its the wind I hate wind. It blows around my papers causing a pissed off state in me. With the wind and cold weather its feeling like September. Of coarse I had to go shave my head when I was down south so now I am loosing even more heat to the wind.

This base level of frustration leads me to an old favourate quote. "Captain I must protest. I am not a merry man."

If you don't get I won't explain it.

Thats all for now

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Smoke on the water

I am back at work. I have a handful of posts about or inspired by events during my brake, but I was too occupied to take the time to write them. This will be the shortest of the lot as I am tired from the long trip to work.

I left Nakusp at a good time. A good time for me that is, the power went out about 10am and stayed off. I had a pet theory that it was the neighbors fault as trees were heard being chewed by a chain saw and a bad fall could have hit the power lines. This was proven wrong by the simple fact that the power went out too later after I heard a tree fall. I did not investigate this any more until I had driven into town to get gas for my drive to Kelowna.

The gas station attached to the Nappa shop informed me that a forest fire had taken out a transformer and the power was out as far as Silverton, roughly 45Km to the East. So this was indeed a good time to leave town. I stopped in Cherryvill for gas it was the first place I was sure had power and for once the station was busy.

I did snap some photos taking the ferry to Needles. I have to add that I do not know if this is the fire that took out that transformer but it its dangerously close to the Watchan lake power house that does supply alot of power to the area. The concreat structure is just visible in high zoom in the photos.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Prank

During the winter I had a room mate. It did not go well for the other fellow. I failed to note just how anti social the fellow was. So with out intent I earned the mans hatetred. This is an asymentrical situation, he honestly hates, I just find him somewhat amusing. I blame this on his apparent lack of irony.

So in that context and in his absence and a light hearted dinner converstaion lead to the creation a slighly evil prank. Its simply a card playing on his lack of irony.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Flight Again and the Archeology of Geology.

Flight Again and the Archeology of Geology.

On a personal note yesterday was my birthday, Ya me. It was the first time in years when I had a birthday cake with candles.

Flight Again:

Today I got to go on a chopper ride, the last time I did that was very close to the last time I had a proper birthday cake also at a camp. The mission was to fly over to property that had caused much unpleasantness during the winter and to track down some of the drill collars from the old holes we had moved over. This will lead to the creation of an accurate map, something that is need to make to make sense and hopefully money from that property.

The Archeology of Geology:

The holes we were tracking down were drilled as early as 1989 so there was time for tags and other markings to decay. This lead to the hunting for old drill sites by looking for both flat spots large enough to host a drill and secondly the sandy to grey colours of the cuttings left from the drill. The striking thing is how little things change, the cuttings from 1989 had almost nothing growing in them and had hardly moved from where I would have expected them to be judging from where the old collars were.

The Southern's Brain Fart:

In hunting down one old hole my boss was saying that there should be one between where I was and where we had just been. So I double back, find a large flat spot only its over grown with birch trees as think as thumbs, briefly forgetting how far north I was I entertained the notion that the trees had grown in during the 20 or so years since the drilling.

Sorry for the fragmental nature I do not have the skills of style to wave this into a more coherent peace.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007



July 3 2007

Happy aphelion. Yes thats right we are now as far from the sun as we will be during the year. But that is not why I am here. I am here to talk beer. Two days ago I had a rare treat a very rare treat at work, beer.

Two days ago was of coarse Canada day. I am not a patriotic person, I don't know all the words to Oh Canada and I don't want to. Nor can I remember the names of old Prime ministers I start losing track some time between Defenbaker and Kim Cambell. But I can agree with some traditions and if they involve beer I am all the more willing to take part. Here at camp beer is band along with most fun drugs. Weed is smelt but not seen.

So come Canada Day I like the majority of the camp people took the day off early at 3:30, and accepted gladly my ration of beer from the manager. I am not a big fan of Canadian or Budwiser but like the cowboy music playing around the fire with the music from the pickup truck it fit the place. So now another two and half weeks before my next beer, I will fight to stay sane.

Next week the Black Fly report, where do bites hurt the most and treatments for the bushed people in your family. How to live in the woods and say socialized.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Spring and Summer

Spring and Summer

The 21st of June saw the passing of the summer solstice, completely devoid of dreams. In fact that midsummer's night was almost devoid of night. Summer started that day as well. Summer came at the tail end of a spring that left me feeling cold. The spring was coming out of a year with too much winter .

Having returned from a short vacation in the Okanagan where summer had taken hold and the Kootenees where spring had lost its youth, I was struck by the different evolution of the seasons between the North and the South. The pace of the transition was the most striking. The Kootenees handle spring the best of the three places I have lived taking it on with energy and vigor that is highlighted by the snowy winters. The Okanagan does summer with great skill and energy, its springs are easy to miss as the lack of contrast with its soft winters make it some thing of a non season. The North it's strength is winter, but it still fits in the other three seasons on an accelerated schedual. So to the South to see green explode.

The Kootenees, Mountains, trees with lakes thrown in for good measure. Of the three places I have dwelled it is by a good measure the wettest, with parts falling under the banner of rain forest. In the parts I call home the snow melts starting in late February or early March. The melt is followed by the brown time, when the flattened grass and bracken ferns dominated the landscape. For the land back home this brown time is one of the few periods when a person can freely move about with out being tangled in grasses and ferns up to shoulder hight or bogged down in snow. Out of the brown, the fiddle heads of the brackens emerge and grass shoots appear forming the first delicate signs of life. The trees are slower to burst forth, but when the leaves of the birches and cotton woods take too leaf and the pine and fir put forth new growth everything takes on a bright green fresh look. This burst of green is the heart of the quickening and peaks within a week. Once this burst is over the green darkens and the growth slows to a steady pace which will persist until the heat of the summer pushes the plants to take a break. While the Kootenees get toasty for a few months in B.C. it is the Okanagan that specializes in heat and summer.

June, when the Kootenees is in mid spring two hundred kilometers west the Okanagan is in the start of summer. I spent a large part of my June brake in Kelowna where after deplaning and getting out of the airport I was hot for the first time in months. Even late May the heat was on, the temperatures were well into the 30's. For a man that has spent the majority of the last year north of sixty with far too many months of winter heat was a shock and a blessing. The heat was visible with swiming pools being occupied, tar in pavement melting in the sun, and the sun was bright and blinding off the freshly washed cars, it was summer. All that would change between the then and the end of August would be the severity of the traffic back log towards the floating bridge and the crowding on the beaches would increase. I look forward to in a few weeks time returning to the heat. Which leaves the state of the north left to explore.

Currently I am nearing the half way point of this work cycle. As I write it is the 30th of June and summer did not appear until the 21st, before that we passed through a time of cold rain and cloudy days with chill winds blowing off the lakes with the last of the ice still holding on. When I flew out on the 31st of May large areas of lakes were ice covered and on the larger lakes the ice road was the last ice hold out as it was the thickest ice. The ice is gone now and it has for the last couple weeks. It has been hot and muggy with the temperatures are around 25 and there is the continued threat of thunder storms that does not come through.

The spring that this summer came out of was less well defined then the Kootenee's season, it is a slow plodding transition. Much later then their southern counter parts the trees come to life, the buds and leafs are small and slow to open and as they open they retain the light green and delicate look of the first opening for weeks rather then days. A northern summer is not complete with out its buzzing heralds of misery the flys, horse flies, black flies, mosquetoes and countless other bitting sucking and other critters that make a living by trying to eat you and any other animals. The flies live in have haste, for no matter how hot it get or how long the day, they know that it will end. And end it will, sooner then would be hoped.

Space, latitudes and seasons, two places almost side by side can differ hugely in character, yet the differences of east and west diminish as you move north. For the South there is a long spring with the summer moving slowly out of a long spring full of growth or summer bursting fully formed from a nearly ignored spring. In the north spring is long but it is the early part of spring when life still has its weak hold that lasts and summer turns on with a definite start, to be met with an equally quick end. The South gives me bright flowers and tight mini skirts, the north bright nights and bites at night.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Nienke's Blog

My sister Nienke is bringing her blog back online. For the time being it will reside at Broken Mice untill a more food friendly name is found.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Flight Part III

Beyond black flies and other biters summer brings in mappers and that means Chopper work. The Chopper is being used to both move people to and from a neighboring property to the South and to move a drill we have on site.
The resampling will keep me chained to the core well into this too short summer and so it is unlikely that I will get to fly on the chopper, but I have been able to get some good shots of it and one of the camp staff talked her way on to flight around camp.

If you click on the last images you might be able to zoom in and see me holding a core box. Towards the bottem of the frame is a stack of gray weathered looking boxes, that is a couple weeks worth of work for me.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nothern Lites Entertainment Report

The Norther Lites Entertainment report.

Core logging and or resampling core, but especially resampling is repetitive work. Resampling takes all the interesting parts from core logging and leaves the repetitive drudgery behind. As a result mental stimulation has to be found out side the job at hand. So its time to pay respect to those who have kept me entertained the podcasters.

Until the last few months I was content to listen to music while working and to catch the odd interesting segment on the TV and CBC radio when in civilization, but then I drifted across SGU, The Skeptics Guild To the Universe.

The SGU is true nerd entertainment. Its title got me right away and any one with a naked Hitch Hikers Guild reference in their title is going to be a friend of mine. Add to that fun hosts and a collection of intelligent guests that go well beyond the sound bites found in mainstream media and I was hooked. I spent two weeks working through back episodes before being forced to find new entertainment. Since then I have started an irreversible fall down the rabbit hole of new media.

My next stop was Skepiticality. Skepticality stared as methadone for my SGU addiction but became a gateway drug to more extreme corners of new media. Skepticality, has lead to several good additions to my media primarily George Hrab and Mur Lafferty.

George is already liked to in my blogs sidebar under Geo-logic and features strongly in my current music playlists as I have just picked up three of his CDs; Coelacanth, Vitriol and Interrobang. Reviewing his albums is not the aim of this post but I will say that it is music that makes me laugh and is both lyrically and musically refreshing after have heard too much of other peoples generic rock and roll with horrible out of context references to Romeo and Juliet. He Also maintains a podcast which can be over done but still makes me laugh. For more visit Geologic Records.

George on the Interrobang Cover.

Mur Lafferty, draggd me the past my head and shoulders and fully into the rabbit hole of new media. Mur Lafferty, podcaster and author of unpublished books. Some of which have been released as podiobooks, free audio books, of which I have listend to Heaven part one and have started Heaven season two Hell. A delightful story set in an after life.
Also produced by Mur is I should be writing which I have stopped listing to because it made me feel too guilty for not up dating the blog or working on any of many fiction ideas I have. Lastly also by Mur is Geek Fu action Grip, a very nerdy podcast but a great source for the tracking down of new podcast.

Of those new podcasts is the impressive Strangers Things video podcast. A sci-fi suspense show with production values comparable to TV and some good writing and acting to go with. Sadly they only have three episodes out but their Pilot Sacred Cow proved to be one of the most suspense filled half hours of resent years. So go visit Stranger Things and download their library you will be pleased.

Thats it for then Northern Lites entertainment report.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The UnRead

The Northern Lites unread reading list.

Aside from the known mental condition that is my line of work, geology, I suffer from another sickness, bibliophilia, the love of books. They get read, borrowed, bought, rarely stolen, infrequently abused, and often hidden in boxes away from trouble.
A trip to the civilized world by extension leads to visits to books stores where I did not leave empty handed. Some were sought out, others sought me out. Book hunting is not a sane process. So here are the books I have most picked up last time out as I see them on the self opposite me. Un Lun Don by China Mieville, I, Robot, The Illustrated screen play by Harlan Ellison, and Rainbows End by Verner Vinge.

Of these only Un Lun Dun was a book I planed to buy, it and Jeff Vandermeer's City of Saints and Madmen, were part of my unofficial BLGDBLOG reading list. That is books or authors that have come across strongly in BLDGBLOG and that I happened to remember. Verner Vinge was because it was out in paperback.
Ellison's book was a must have as I did not even know it was in print. I knew of the film that was never made I just never asked what else was done with it. If any one reading this says that they made a movie of I, Robot, I will personally track them down and beat them senseless with one of Will Smith's ears. Thats it for the recent unreads.

Older unreads or unfinished include, Dead Air, Iain Banks, I have been not reading it since Christ mass, and with it is The Salmon of Doubt, by D.N.A., which I have been planing to reread. Books that I don't have with me but have left unfinished include The Origin of Species, Living Next Door to the God of Love, a book I could not make my self finish, and of coarse the greatest unfinished read in my history is the Bible.

What I have gotten out of the Bible to date has been a soap opera revolving around a petty gangster and his thugs with really bad writing.

Landing News

Landing News

Northern Lites has returned to its natural habitat, Discovery, the one time mine and its now burned down town site. I am behind with Northern Lites in Exile III, it is though post to fit together. So a short up date on being back in the north will fill in for it.

I miss the South. In the Okanagan 30 degree weather was enjoyed in the presences of mountains with real trees and nights with darkness. In the Kootenays I spent time living the slow life and afternoon naps. I did not full adjust to the heat or the short days. Failure to adapt to those features of climate and latitude is a sign latitude shock.

Jet lag is not an issue with where I fly to and from as there is only an hour difference between Yellow Knife and Kelowna, but there is latitude shock. Jet upsets the body by creating a large difference between the time your body things it is and what it is where you have ended up at the end of your trip. Jet lag has a strong association with travel from West to East or East to West flights.

Latitude shock is well more of a mental hick up, or feels that way to me at least. In traveling between 51N and 63N, I bearly move out of my native time zone but the dynamic geometry between the tilted Earth and the sun conspire to have its own effects. It comes down to the expectation of day length. The north swings between extremes and we are currently at the bright phase with the sun shining well past bed time and even thought I am too far south for true 24 hour day light it might as well be so for me as I do not see it rise or set. The south on the other hand, even though 51N still has strong variations during the year lacks the never ending brightness. As a result as I spend time off I am surprised to see the sun set and almost fail to plan for the idea of darkness.

Ironically my first latitude shock came from a visit to Hawaii. Though I understood that the tropics have nearly perfect 12 hour day night cycles all year long the application was still a shock. Hawaii has a beautiful tropical climate and to my Canadian mind warm temperatures come with long days. It really came home on our marathon hike in to the crater, we that is 9 of the 12 of us on that trip had added a new leg to the hike down into the crater. This was not planed for and brought the out bound leg of the hike to close to three hours. It was 2:30 by the time we were at the fumerals and looking through binoculars at the sky light on Pu o' o'. Leaving us with 3 hours to hike back with no twilight to stretch the evening, for not only does the tropical sun set quickly and early it darkens just as fast.

Back up north I had a fine and pleasant first full day back. I have returned to logging on the porch which today happened to be cold and windy with the days temp being close to 10 in the sun, it was a fine misery.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Back In The Day

A blast form the past care of an old friend.

Yes Its Me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Northern Lites Small stuff

The items that inspired this post were, firstly this evenings choice of music, the compete Bach Cello Suites and a lost photo of some moss and lichens taken last summer when found my self stuck between a cliff and a small puddle of a lake. I have a weak spot for Cellos in general and for some reason I have come to associate that peace of music with writing.

Yet again I go back in time rather then report on recent events. In the hope that some one will read this here is a recap of the last month.

Get up, eat, look at rock, make some notes, eat, look at more rock or, go out and bring in more rock to look at, eat again,repeat as needed. Should I be found to not be doing any of these things I am either sleeping or killing time at a computer or near the the TV, thought he TV has lost some appeal with the hockey play offs in full swing.

Not having anything to do with the north I took a picture of a spider last summer and well the theme here is small stuff I had to add her.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Sanest Place on Earth.

Going back to late February early March to the core hauling project up at Nicolas Lake. When that project started the days were short and we were starting the day and ending it with the sun being down. The temperatures were at least -25 not counting the wind. Adding to the fun was the lack of shelter or fire on the first few days. Over the coarse of that enterprise conditions improved as we built a wind brake out of an old core rack and added fire to our set inventions. Our working conditions improved and our presences was quickly noted by the locals.

The locals are black, evil looking critters with attitudes as big as their wing spans.
Sitting in the twisted sticks that pass for trees in these parts, the would watch looking at you asking for food, while you can see in their black eyes that they would just as much wish for you to drop dead for a feast of fresh eye balls and end trails but they are note a awful fowl. Intelligent and curious but perhaps more the craftyness of a petty criminal rather then the charm and wit of an evil genius.

Their never ending quest for food lead to numerous attempts to break into the rubbermaid bin I was storing various bits of kit in. The first time this happened I had left it on a table and when I came back it had some claw and beak makes and when that failed to open in they had left their opinion in guano twice.

We took to feeding the out of borden just to see how close they would come to to use for food, the answer is very. The best was when sitting in the truck I through some peace of cookie out the window and birds would swoop down right in front of the truck to grab the goodies. Matt (a newfie) had gotten the idea in his head to try to chase the birds away, he would hide behind the truck door and once the birds were down he would run out and try to shoe them away. I swear that the birds just treated him like one of their own, all be it not a friendly one. That same day I saw one of the bastards having a dust bath in snow.

Ravens figured they owned everything there, sitting on the trucks looking for a way in. In one case a bird nearly worked its way into our landcrurser, the window was open and the bird progressed form standing on the roof looking down to to standing on the side view mirror to ultimately standing on the edge of the glass leaning in. Had there been any food in there we would have had a shitty situation as the bird would have been trapped and would leave behind several strong opinions. Not to mention the the fun of letting out a big bird with a bigger attitude and a beak to match.

Next post will feature some of the people of the north