Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Long weeks

Post 100

As of today I have less the two weeks remaining in this rotation up north. Because this rotation is the first full six week one since april. Between then and now I had a 4 week rotation and a 5 week one to fit in my three weeks of summer break. The pairing of shorter rotations with a longer break leaves me with a better perspective on the nature of the work rhythm. I have to say that from that sampling of different work cycles the 4 and 2 pattern is best for my sanity. However I have not been given that as long term choice nor have I yet attempted to demand that.

With a mind freshened by a long an satisfying break which marked the hight of my longest break i routine since landing up here May 26 2006, I feel it is time to go over just how time passes out here. Its tough to say if I should start my chronogy of my routine with the first week of my vacation or the first week of work. I will spilt the difference.

I have a two day commute to work. I make that commute northward once every two months. The first day of the commute is the hardest, it is that day that I have to leave behind what ever life I am leading at that moment and drag my self off to the Kelowna airport. That is the day where I occasionally flirt with the idea of not leaving my life behind for work. It is also the only day I that choice. That is a long day, usually a several hour drive from Nakusp to get me to town, the killing the day with some last minuet shopping. By the time I am at the airport I am tired, my meals were disjointed or poor, and I still have some time before my flight, which is usually at 8pm. Once I am on that plane I am set, there is no going back. I fly to Edmonton.

Edmonton, is the worst part of the trip, by the time I have my bags and find the shuttle bus I am happy to get into my room by 11:pm, and happy to be sleeping by 1am. The next day is a haze. I drag my self to the airport by way of the same shuttle and on autopilot to gate 49. Often stopping at the books store near the gate just in case I did not pick up enough books along the way. This flight takes me to Yellow Knife.

Once I am in YK, I am nearly at work, its a simple matter of finding my others of my cohort, and taking a cab to terminal for our chartered plane. Before lunch time that day I am back at work moved back into my room and wandering just what the fuck is going on.

The need to find out wtf is going on makes the first few days up here a string of Mondays. In this first week I am a mix of cheerful to be back with some people I call friends when they are not being in charge of me and irritation for being up here and leaving muck behind.

With in a day or two I am back in my core shack looking at rock, building up momentum, remembering the how to do my job and I will have caught up with the state of the program. So for the first week I get my footing.

The second week is easy, I will have regained my focus, what little my ADD addled brain has, and I will be in steady routine, rock in make notes rock out repeat. As week two draws to a close I start to see how long I will be away from my life and I start to become less happy.

Week three adds not only the element of how my thinking about how long I will be away form my life, but also I start thinking about how long I have already been away from it. This rotation week three saw the increase in distractions from my real work.

I am currently at the start of week four, with 13 days and some change still on the books, I start to look forward to leaving and things get a little easier. A little, for it is also at this time that the cost of the daily cycle of 10 hour work days non stop for weeks starts to catch up with me. I had planned to write this yesterday but I hit a wall, I had no brains left at the end of the day to write this with.

The trouble with being out here for six weeks is passing, a few nights short of sleep a long day, a day with too much labour and I find my self running dry. The last week to week and an half are a drain, I work because I have to, I am tired and have a harder and harder time putting full length productive days. It makes six weeks too long.

The last half week is spent coasting on the prospect of freedom and time off rather then any real energy. So by the time I am on my flight heading south to Calgary I can not help but sleep the whole flight. I spend the first few days of my break at once trying to catch up on my sleep and fighting the urge to be as busy as was at work. These goals are mutually exclusive. The result I wake up at 5am most days of my brake and talk my self back to sleep till 7am. Because I am still recovering my energy I take afternoon naps. Naturally by the time I have regained the ability to sleep in its time to go back to work.

Repeat as longs greed dominates over personal life and sanity.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Evenings Entertainment

The warrior got his send off out into the lake for a short trip before being attacked by a fish. Inspired by that vessels success I put forward the idea of taking one of the real boats for a spin. It was on my mind for the last few weeks that we should take a boat on to the lake but the weather was too cold and rainy to make that make work.
I had not in all of my nearly 2.5 years here made it out on to that larger lake. Some how when ever any one headed out on to the lake it happened when I was elsewhere. So I missed opportunities by only knowing of them after the fact.

Jakeway, which is not how it is spelt is one of the larger lakes around here and one of the few to have a long axis that runs east west more then north south. So we took the boat roughly east past some islands to a pair of islands hosting some cabins. The sky was interesting but proved too interesting. We had a comfortable trip out but the storm met us some where past half way and we got a little chilled and a little wet but no worse for ware.

Here then is a selection of the boat trip

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Proper Send off

The Fallen

This is perhaps the first case of a premeditated act to produce a blog post.
The back story the other day I was blind. Okey my hand lens was fogged up some water worked its way between the lenses. It made seeing some of the finer details harder. I went looking for a spare. I failed to fined one even in the currently empty spare core shack. I did find a fallen warrior instead. I fixed the hand lens by storing it in a back of desicant, over night which sucked the water out of it.

The fallen warrior was a dragonfly. Some how it had worked its way into the spare core shack and failed to find its way out, it was a sad death. The body was in perfect shap, not a mark on it save for the dust that had settled. I too it with me to my shop where I put it as side for a while after taking some close up photos.

It took a while for the idea to jell but after a day or two of it sitting on my shelf and in my head the idea of a Viking Funeral crossed my mind. So I set about improvising a mini long boat. What it lacks in style it makes up in soul. Dragonflys are our best allies out here, eating every that flys that is smaller then themselves. Since most of the things that try to eat me are smaller then a dragonfly they eat the bugs that eat me.

The boat came out much simpler then I had imagined it at first, but reality set in and minimalist started too look better then half cocked need less details. So this afternoon I finished it up and after dinner I set it free on the lake.

Its voyage was short lived and side ways of planned. The silly thing got stuck on some lake grass and went back wards before a fish jumped up and tried to eat the dragonfly on the bow. But I paid my respects to its kind and the good they do for use

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Late Post.

A slow day.

The last two days have turned into unexpected mental health days. Yesterday work too me to a drill site where due to arriving early but not early enough to make flying back to camp worth while I spent the afternoon at the drill walking around and enjoying not being in the office. Today saw me in the office as I had at long last finished off work in the core shack which in the last sentence I call the office. Today was spent doing all the computer focused cleanup and error correction. Work that progresses much smoother on a computer with a larger screen as I can fit the whole spread sheet on the screen.

Late afternoon rolled and round and my eyes grew tired of the whiteness in the for ground. So after a hurried proof reading, one that I will have to recheck in the morning I choose to call the day off a little early and go for a walk. I head south by west to the other end of the property. I had not been that way since I came back here after my break. And a long last I had my camera with me as I passed the old cabin.

I also took my morning walk to the weather station, with the sky clear and the moon up I had to snap a few. A day of less then perfect productivity but one that feels fresher the normal for being at the three week mark. This walk was written and I had wanted to post it 3 days ago when it was still fresh. Blogger until now has not let me post images which rather pissed me off.
If you need a break to refresh your mind then look no farther the the People's Mario, Nintendo as it should be.
The most glorious animation on the internets Thanks for the link ;)
The Peoples Mario

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


There is something about a flat landscape that goes against part of my being. I have lived much of my life in places where the sky starts where the mountains stop. In such a place weather comes at you all at once with little warning. Out where I am in a land scape that is on the average flat, every hill seems to be matched with a lake of a depth to match the height of the hill. I imagine that if all the hills could be ground flat and all the lakes infilled the north would turn into a knee deep mud puddle. The advantage of this terrain is the weather can be seen coming.

Fronts come and go, not jumping out from behind the mountains but as a feature of there own working its way across the plains. So yesterday I failed to go for a walk, but feeling fuzzy I stuck my head out side into the court yard of the camp.

A steady wind from the southwest was bring in new weather, changing it to a cooler wetter state. But as it was changing the clouds got interesting, the last of the thunder heads were dying as the front moved in and the setting and adding beautiful light.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Long time Ago on in Island Far far Away

I have in the past ranted against face book. And by and large my old views still stand. I was lucky enough today to trip a cross some photos from a ways back that where tagged with my name in Facebook. Photos I copied into my library as I had non from that time and place my self.

About 4 years ago and a pack of other students some academics and friends went on a semi educational trip to Hawaii. Where we Spent much of our time on the Big island. At that time I had only a film camera and I had some troubles with it. The short version is that I managed to double expose a role. The images that were over printed were less important then the ones that they got over printed by. I over printed a party at a surfer shack with images from the top of Mona Kea. Because the Mona Kea trip had the fewest people only three of use when there there was not the overlapping set of images. So Here then are some found images taken of my by others on that trip. Its lunch time now so I will not fill in all the details of the context just yet. With luck I will get to that later.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Foot work.

This tail end of summer has been good up here. Yes I did come up here to find the place with air so thick with smoke I could not see Yellow Knife, but it rained a few days later clearing up that smoke and making room for string of nice days full of sun and some times getting too hot. The bugs have been largely absent. We have not been with out interesting weather. A Thunder storm some time around 4am on the 11th took out the internet connection for half a day and the phones were another day in the repairs. That was the end of the string of hot weather we had after I arrived, after that it rained for a day and a night. I was not going to start looking for cubits and gofer wood but it did make me go from need cool showers one day to need a hot shower to warm me then next. Its funny how this place is.

So we are back in to a string of clear warm and sunny days. So its back to the walks. This evening I took a long walk over a ridge that goes behind two of the lesser lakes behind camp. Its a good walk as much of it is in the open and high up keeping the bugs at bay. For fun I actually ran. Not the yuppy jog of some one trying to keep up a heart rate, but a child like dashing about. Often up hill. Running normally bores me, its only when I move on to interesting irregular surfaces that it becomes something worth doing. It was good to let my legs get a work out, all this standing and lifting core boxes has left me with strong arms and weak legs some thing off the opposite of my life time norm. After making record time along that ridge I found my self at a cliff top that I had wished I had my camera with me the last time I was there. It looks out over a little valley that in a land scape of bumpy hills managed to look like a valley, not just a swamp between hills.

After that I worked my way down to the lake and took the time to watch the clouds, since my readers have there own clouds to watch I took the time to photograph a few of them as I can not organize an NWT cloud watching trip for my fans.

Moving Day

Yesterday was a Thursday. For those on the out side that might be a non event but out here in the wilds is one of the few days stands out. Thursdays are plane days, we bring in new people and take out old ones, refreshing the atmosphere here. A good thursday is less productive but good for the spirits. As some people are leaving and t here fore in a good mood and those returning are not yet tired. For me it means I have less then a month left, as that marked my two week point in this rotation, leaving me with just under 4 weeks to go. Four week too long but that is a separate post.

Along with the frenchies rushing to get out the door for a much needed vacation there was the drill move. One of the drills was being moved from a property south of camp to a site north of camp to look in to a fuzzy blotch on a geophysics map. Because of the move there were two helicopters in our air space and some times the crew change plane. Crowded airspace.

The second Chopper was a Bell A-Star, a luxury bird compared to the Hughes 500 stationed in camp. We needed it to move the larger parts of the drill as the long distance made it near impossible for the Hughes. The Hughes is able to move the drill the few hundred meters between drill set ups on a single property but not the 20 plus Km between the properties. The birds made many trips back and forth, stopping to refuel here nearly every trip. I only took the time to shoot it when it came by with the largest and heaviest kite I ever did see.

A Hughes 500, from last spring.

The A-Star, was able to lift up the whole of the drill shack, all four walls in one lift. A thousand pound plywood kite. The A-Star's extra power must have come in handy for over coming the drag from such a large load.

A Bell A-Star

The move.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The slow life

After my 21 days of living the slow life of good food and company I returned to work. Within a few days of that I got a close hand look at a critter that seemingly has mastered the slow life. The Porcupine, my boss had observed two munching on some fire weed behind the transformer box. Here is a critter who's life is to eat sleep and some times mate, while not trying to be a trouble to any one.

And Lastly the best view of Edmonton I can think of from the air leaving it

Summer Vacation

As one or two readers have pointed out I have been some time with out a post, okay that was a week ago, but I have been silent for some time prior to that. I was away, away from the north a way from the Internet and far to involved in real life to take the time to write. Thankfully I have fodder to write about. Three weeks of summer vacation. From July 10 to July 30 I was free from the pressures of work and enjoying the good company of family and friends.

I spent the majority of my time off some where near Trail. From there several little adventures took me and some times the dog to various local lakes and parks.

A Happy Boomer Dog with a Stick

Highlights include a stop at Kooteny pass where a dead moose was spotted at the side of the road. Twenty minuets before the dead moose was a live but shaggy big horned sheep with small horns. There was a brief stop at the glass house on Kookeny lake that I have not seen since I was a kid. The sunset with forest fire from the Kooteny lake fire was beautiful.

Other details, I did two years worth of movies, having gone out to see, Wall-e, Hell Boy II and Dark Knight. All of which are good movies though I have a soft spot for Wall-e, its a Disney film but with a dark twist on the end of the world, the Garbage Apocalypse. I had a birthday where in a break with the unofficial tradition of the last few years it was not ignored.

After 10 days and one car accident, everyone came out fine but the Jeep had its last day, I headed over to Nakusp where, I went mad and managed to clean up two thirds of the upper half of the old log house. I also took my nephew to the beach and for the second year in a row managed to make sure he did not drown.

Now I an back in the north, is hot right now and I do wish I was back in the south, the company can be better down there.