Oh, d-d-d-dear…

I love camping.  I love being out in the middle of nowhere, sitting around a campfire, drinking entirely too much around a large fire hazard, and being a general bonehead, all the while sleeping in a paper-thin sleeping “bag” praying to God or whoever’s up there that your fingers don’t freeze and break right the fuck off.

So it is with great displeasure that I must announce my retirement from camping.  Perhaps this will be a Favre-esque retirement just due to the incidents surrounding this weekend, but I think I need a break from all this lack-of-suburbia.  Let me explain…

Timestamp: 8:30AM Friday August 1 2008

All I’m thinking about is camping.  I’ve packed my car, I’ve got all my groceries, and I’m itching to get through work to get on the road, and start heading northwest-ish to Sundre.  All I need to do is make it through 8 hours of work, and I’m golden.  What to eat for breakfast?…

Timestamp: 4:30PM Friday August 1 2008

The buzzer (in my head) sounds, and I’m outta here!  Let me call Rylan and find out where he’s at so we can get on the road!  …  “Oh, you’re just getting off work?”  …  “And you haven’t packed?” …  “Ok, well yeah, I’ll just go home and chill for a bit – call me when Suzie, Shin and Lisa are with you and you’re all ready to go.”  …  “Sweet, talk to you soon!”

Timestamp: 5:30PM Friday August 1 2008

Hmmmm…. I stil haven’t heard from Rylan.  I think I should call him to see what his status is.  … “You’re just leaving work now?  Goddammit.  Ok, yeah I’ll wait for you.”  …  “Yeah dude, but hurry.”

Timestamp: 6:00PM Friday August 1 2008

Ok, screw this.  I want to be setting up my tent before it’s dark.  “Hey Rylan, I’m gonna head out right now. See ya out there!”

Timestamp: 7:30PM Friday August 1 2008

I pull up to the site and walk over to the guys before I start lugging anything over to scope out the site.  When I walk over I see an old dude who I assume is the caretaker of the campground talking to everyone else.  At this point I realize he’s asking everyone to pay for the night, which would be fine, except every other time we’ve come here, we’ve just paid at the end of the weekend.  We ask him if it’s cool if we just hit up the ATM tomorrow, since town is about 20 minutes away and 99% of us are drunk.  (No, I wasn’t but I didn’t have room in my car to drive everybody back in, so I just joined the consensus.)  “No problem,” he says.  We continue chatting, I start getting my tent and everything set up, and all is hunky dory.

Timestamp: 8:30PM Friday August 1 2008

We’re sitting around the fire roasting hot dogs when all of a sudden 8 or 9 guys with big sticks, a big fucking dog, and a fucking shotgun walk up to our site with a purpose.  This purpose, we would soon discover, would be to possibly kill us.  Wait a second, there’s Caretaker Dude (CD, from here on out) with them…. What the fuck is going on here?

“ARE WE GOING TO HAVE A PROBLEM?!?” asks the dude with the fucking shotgun.

Things start to smell bad, as all 9 of us collectively shit ourselves. “Uhhhhhhh,” is the most any of us can muster at this point.  We’re petrified of this dude – he’s about twice as big as anyone in our group, not to mention that 5 of the 9 of us work in the IT industry.

“I ASKED YOU, ARE WE GOING TO HAVE A PROBLEM?!?” he repeats.

At this point, our hearts are starting to pump again and our brains get enough oxygen to question his intent here.

“IF WE’RE GONNA HAVE A PROBLEM HERE, I’LL PUT A SLUG IN YOUR DOG’S HEAD!!!”

We finally are able to get it out of him that CD had left our site, only to radio back to his buddies that work for the campground that he was going to have a problem.  Apparently in his drunk-as-fuck state, he misinterpreted “We’ll get cash out of the ATM first thing tomorrow” as “WE’RE GOING TO KILL YOU WITH MACHETES (yes, fucking machetes) IF YOU TRY AND MAKE US PAY.”

Now, let’s clear something up here.  Yes, 2 of the members of our group are Chinese.  Yes, we had some dance music on when the dude was originally here.  But there is no fucking way that we could have possibly been misunderstood so terribly.

At any rate, after a bunch of negotiating with the dude carrying the shotgun, we were able to get him to stop waving it around and threatening us.  We explain the situation and he agrees to allow us to pay in the morning.

They leave.

We all do our best not to cry visibly.

Timestamp: 2:30AM Saturday August 2 2008

I head to bed.  I’ve been drinking all evening, my heart has finally slowed down to sub-sonic speeds and it’s fucking freezing out here directly next to the river.

Timestamp: 6:00AM Saturday August 2 2008

I am awoken from my slumber by Rylan running past my tent screaming incoherently.  As he is generally the most drunk of our group (not to mention the most annoying when he gets so drunk), I chalk it up to him probably having been up all night, and just being a dick at 6AM.

As I’m getting ready to open my tent flap to unleash some verbal fury on him, I hear Shin running past my tent.  What I hear was the following considering I’d just been woken up, and my brain hadn’t switched to Fully Comprehend Mode just yet: “blah blah blah blah cubs blah blah…” I think to myself, “What the fuck is he talking about……wait…..cubs?  Fuck, he doesn’t watch baseball…..OH FUCK!”

Thank fuck it was so cold last night that I slept in my clothes.  I hop out of my tent, and query everyone as to what is happening.  Mere moments later, I find myself regretting doing so.

Turns out that a mama bear and her 3 cubs somehow got separated into two groups: mama and one cub, and the two other cubs.  Those cubs decided that the best place to chillax would be in the tree next to our fucking campsite.

At this point, every National Geographic special I’d ever watched as a kid replayed through my mind at warp 9, as my heart sped right back up to match it.

FUCK FUCK FUCK WE’RE SO FUCKED IF MAMA COMES BACK LOOKING FOR HER CUBS!

After snapping a couple quick pictures, I run to Dave’s car where he and Ange are chilling out and turn the heat up to Surface-of-the-Sun and try and thaw myself out as it’s barely 4 degrees out.  We relax for an hour when everyone decides that we should head into town to get some food and decide whether or not our hearts will ever beat normally again.

Timestamp: 8:30AM Saturday August 2 2008

We get back to the campsite, everyone with their money ready to hand to the shotgun-wielding maniac, when we’re greeted by Fish and Wildlife.  And the RCMP.  Finally, the calvary has arrived.

We start walking to our site when we’re promptly informed that we’re going to need an escort of two rifle-wielding officers while we pack up.  Fine, fuck it.  At this point, I’ve seen enough guns for an entire lifetime, and I am definitely not stupid enough to argue with anyone carrying said weapons, so we all begin to take our tents down and pack up.

Timestamp: 9:45AM Saturday August 2 2008

Halfway through, we’re told that we have to immediately stop packing, and get 50 meters away.  The cubs are finaly out of the tree and they want to scare them away.  The path that they would be taking would lead them directly at us, so they figure we shouldn’t be there.  I would have to agree.

We get out of the way, leaving all of our stuff where ever we dropped it, run past the “safe line” and wait for 10 minutes.

Timestamp: 9:55AM Saturday August 2 2008

Apparently the cubs are scared of our stuff.  Now they need us to move all of our stuff out of the way as fast as possible.  Fuck, it’s 9:55AM, none of us have slept for more than 4 and a half hours and now you want us to pack up at lightspeed?  I JUST WANT MY MOMMY.

Timestamp: 10:18AM Saturday August 2 2008

In a manner than can be described only as miraculous, we get all of our stuff sufficiently out of the way and we finish packing the vehicles minutes later and get the hell on the road.  We bid farewall to our campground as it disappears behind a mountain in our rear view mirrors.  All of us racing home, dying to crawl into a warm bed and pretend the past 24 hours never happened.

Pictures (click for bigger)








I’m a little teapot

As I promised last night, I am going to start updating my site on a regular basis again.  “Is it that time of year again,” I can hear you ask in earnest.  Why yes, it’s that time of year when I am single, addicted to the computer, and in need of getting my feelings onto [virtual-]paper so that I can at least pretend I’ve told someone them, even if my readership on this site is approaching absolute zero.

I believe I should fill you all in (heh…all….like there’s more than one of you) on what’s been happening during the past three months of my life.

The latest chapter in the epic fail that is my life begins somewhere around mid-December 2008.  The spirit of Christmas was in the air, beautiful, colored lights were being hung, and my soul was being crushed by yet another year of loneliness and heartache.  (Does this sound like the beginning of a country song? You tell me.)  Between having to re-acclimate my body to Canadian winters and knowing that Dave’s disgustingly cute girlfriend was days from arriving from Colombia, I was not the most enthusiastic of Santa’s little helpers.

Thinking that “Hey, I’m already on the computer anyways, why don’t I try looking on a few dating sites for someone to share a hot cup of coffee and possibly a shortbread cookie with?”  This is where most people would exclaim “But Justin, if you’re are a useless idiot surfing the internet for a date on the eve of Christ’s birth, who else do you expect to find,” and where someone who isn’t a useless idiot would respond “Oh yeah, useless idiots.”  As I am a useless idiot, I was not mindful of this fact.

I met Shlonya (names have been changed to protect the innocent) and we hit it off moderately well.  We weren’t planning on flying to Vegas to tie the knot as Elvis and Marilyn or anything, but there was enough there that we had a good time at a local pub and the movies (Sweeney Todd…GO SEE IT!) that we didn’t feel like dismembering each other.

Well, not yet anyways.

She went to Las Vegas (see where I’m going with this? … No, I’m kidding, she didn’t get married down there, you putz.) for New Years and immediately after getting back (I’m talking the same night) calls me to schedule date numero deuce.  At first I was a little stunned, actually.  Thanks to my wonderfully high self esteem, I really wasn’t expecting her to call me so soon after getting home, or at all in fact, so hearing from her was a pleasant surprise, not to mention a great little ego booster.

We met for our second date and she had even brought me a gift that she had picked up in Vegas: two Guess t-shirts.  Now this might not sound spectacular to you, but being the lonely guy I am, coupled with the fact that I’d only ever received a Christmas gift from one other girl I was interested in (and I swiftly killed that nasty habit by breaking up with her that same day) put me on cloud 15.  Yes, I actually rose 6 clouds higher than 9.

Well the saying goes: what goes up, must come down.  I’m amending it.  What goes up, must eventually peak moderately above average at which point gravity takes hold and pulls you back down to earth harder than a grandmother does a newborn.

Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but the fact remains that things didn’t stay good for long.

<snip excessively boring story time>

Finally, I’d had enough.  We’d been fighting a lot, mostly about her laziness (her words, not mine) and her job at which she could be lazy – she was an “Inventory Control Specialist”, Staples-speak for “box counter extraordinaire.”  I thought (well, still think) that she was an incredibly bright girl who just didn’t give herself enough credit, but she refused to try and challenge herself.

Can that be considered a true character flaw?  I don’t know.  All I know is that while I may be incredibly lazy when I set foor in my front door, the only reason I do that is because at work, I am an incredibly motivated person.  If I’m not being challenged, I find myself bored and often looking for a new job.  At any rate, not only was she refusing to try and even come up with other possibilities for a career, but wouldn’t even attempt to find the same job at another company that would at least pay her a little more money (she was making less than Dairy Queen employees).

At this point, it’s Tuesday.  We’d fought most of the weekend and she’d been home for a few days doing laundry or whatever it is that she does at home.  During the day at work, I was at a client’s house setting up their computers after their house had been completely renovated.  With this renovation came a new desk.  And this desk was big.  Built into the wall, it was a beautiful structure with cabinets and shelves on both sides, reaching 5 feet off either side of the desk.  Being so huge and being built into the wall meant that there needed to be power sockets mounted in some of the shelves.  Unfortunately, the cabinet guys didn’t have long enough screws to mount the wall plates on these sockets and had to come back the following day to finish up, meaning that the power sockets were just hanging loose.

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

As I was about to plug in the router to one of these hanging sockets, I found myself wondering whether these sockets currently had power.  Of course, no sane electrician would just leave live sockets hanging off a wall where some bozo could touch them.

Hi there, nice to meet you.  I’m Bozo.

Just before I went to plug in the router, I had a moment of clarity, stopped myself and asked “Shmoeanne (remember, names are being changed to protect the innocent… or in this case, guilty), these sockets aren’t live are they?”  Now I’m not sure why I believed her when she said “No, they’re not” seeing as she had just spent the previous 5 minutes on the phone with Telus screaming at them because she couldn’t figure out how to delete a voicemail message, but it was at that point I threw caution to the wind and went to plug in the rout—–BZZZZZZZZZT

Now I’m not sure how long I blacked out for, but I do remember coming to across the room with my fingers tingling and a headache that rivalled any migraine I’ve ever had.  I’m not sure if she had to bat me away from the wall with the chair or if I just fell there, but either way, I was in pain.  I went home, took a handful or 6 of Migraine Relief Advil, and crawled into bed.  It was at this point that I decided that I deal with enough physical pain in my life that I don’t need to put up with any more psychological crap than absolutely necessary – I was going to break up with Shlonya this week.

[FADE TO BLACK]

Finally, the day before I was planning on breaking up with her, and the day after our two month “official” anniversary arrives, and I hop in the shower. I look down on the floor and I notice that something looks different, but seeing as it’s 7:30 in the goddamned morning and I couldn’t tell you my own name at this point, I figure that I’m either imagining things or I’m imagining things.

I walk out of the bathroom after getting ready and see that both of her bags are packed.  “Should I be taking this as a hint,” I ask her.  She replied that it would be best if she had some time to herself.  (Editor’s Note: For those of you who are not fluent in the ancient Zulu language of Womanese, that means she was dumping me.)

It saves me the hassle of having to do it tomorrow, so… YAHOO!

That was last Friday.

If you’re keeping score, that means that last week I was electrocuted and I was dumped.  Yes, there are those of you out there who are going to argue that she just beat me to the punch, but anyone who’s broke up with anyone will tell you that the act of dumping someone feels great, so she wins, I lose.

Saturday, I go into the office for a few hours to help Alex develop our new client acquisition process and sometime while we were there, the boss pokes his head in to tell me that he’s giving me a raise.  Due to the fact that I was hired and getting paid as a technician, but since I’m doing quite a bit more administrative stuff lately (like the AARC paper-to-paperless project and the other smaller project planning I’ve been doing) he wanted to compensate me accordingly.

How many of you can say that your bosses have ever just come to you and OFFERED you more money?  NEENER NEENER NEEVER!!!

And theeeeeeeeeeen, to brighten my spirits, I went out car shopping today.  I’ve spent over $2000 in the past 2 and a half weeks alone on my stupid car, so I figured I’d go see what’s out there. Long story short, I just put a deposit on a 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer GT.

Sidenote: Why the hell are the 2009’s out already? It’s barely 2008 and you’re already pushing out next year’s model.  I understand it gives your customers the bragging rights and the ability to pretend like they’re living in the future, but seriously, who are you trying to fool?

So to sum everything up, last week (and I guess the past two and a half weeks if you want to get technical) have sucked so hard, you could slap a sticker on it and call it a Hoover (maybe their 2009 model? :P ) and this week is shaping up to be one of my best in recent months.

I’m crossing my fingers and staying positive.  I guess there’s a first time for everything, right?

Site design change

Yes folks, it’s that time of year again – site design change time.  Whether it’s due to the fact that I am single again and actually have time to devote to the site again, or the less likely (yet still possible) reason that it’s spring, and time for a good spring cleaning.

I know over the past little while I’ve been promising to start writing here again, and now that I will have some time on my hands, I promise to do just that very, VERY soon.  I have a whole bunch of stuff happening in my life right now that I can’t wait to update you all about, but for tonight, you’re just going to have to sit tight – it’s bedtime.

Signed,
Trying To Build A Little Suspense in Kansas