Friday, May 26, 2006

Crafty rules to live by

Crafty ol' uncle Billy's 1st rule

Never mistake a symbolic weakness for an actual one.

Crafty ol' uncle Billy's 2nd rule

It's much easier to destroy someone when they embrace you as a brother.

Crafty ol' uncle Billy's 3rd rule

Information is ammunition

Sunday, May 21, 2006

White Ninja, No!

See, even the white ninja is capable of acts of pure evil. I submit the following for consideration.

It seems that every ninja has also trained with Batman. I submit the following, and would direct you to the links section of theblog and see Dr. McNinja, he also makes many batman allusions.

Here also, is a pic of me from my fishing trip

Friday, May 19, 2006

If I could be a Jedi

Then I would totally be a dark jedi, or "Sith" if you will.

It just makes absolute sense. After all, the Empire IS the legally recognized government and if the galaxy "loved" freedom so much, it shouldn't have be so quick to legislate all its precious freedoms away to a single man.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ok, SMALL correction.

It's so small it had to be written in all caps.

Ok, so I sent Frank my blog address and he really liked what I had to say, but I made some mistakes and I rectify them now by posting, word for word, what Frank said.

Hope nobody gets confused.


Only one small correction...We weren't on an Indian reserve when we were in the French they refer to that area as..."Reserve Park La Verendrye" is
really a wildlife refuge...but they allow hunting, fishing, trapping, forestry activities, hiking, camping etc...go figure???....some refuge....Although it is part of my community's traditional territory and we did fish in my trapline area and stayed at my Dad's trapline it is not officially part of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg reserve (BTW - we are Algonquin) guess is that if someone read this and was familiar with "reserves" they might infer that you were actually fishing on an Indian
reserve...this is not allowed...anytime for non-natives....but other than that it reads beautifully and I appreciate the kind words.


Ok, there you go my friends, the real deal from a fair and balanced viewpoint. Take that FOX news!

Monday, May 15, 2006

The unfolding tale of my fishing trip, but first....

We must acknowledge the crushing defeat inflicted on our city by Those-That-Bear-Sabres.

There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth, the women beat their breasts in sorrow and the men tear their hair from their heads in grief, the children are forbidden to speak of this and a unmistakable pallor hangs over the city.

The Lord is displeased with his children. The skies appear fiery and the seas have become as blood, the righteous fear the hordes of the wicked and all of Sens-dom trembles before the anxious post-season fallout.

Heads shall roll. I guarantee it. The defense of our city's honour is paramount, it now remains to be seen whether we shall improve the quality of our beloved Sens, or merely cull the herd in a fit of over-enthusiasm and witch-hunting.

I digress. Time to discuss my trip.

I met Frank, the man who invited me up, and a fellow Sens fan, on Bank street at Irene's pub where we waited for Kirk who, like Frank, is an aboriginal. We spoke a little. Frank commented favourably on my ability to pack light, which made me feel alot better because I've never really gone too far into Bush country before. His minor praise inflated my confidance ten-fold and dispelled lingering doubts about my ability to get through the weekend.

Kirk arrived and we popped into Frank's truck and picked up Ben, Frank's fellow scholar (They took some graduate courses together at Carleton) and we were on our way! We even listened to my Buck 65 CD on the way up, hell, we even listened to my Captital Slam CD which made me feel great. Frank has been unconditionally supportive of my poetic endeavours, and to be friends with someone who just has uniform confidance in you since day 1 is awesome.

I should mention briefly that there was a running joke throughout our trip that was brought up at EVERY oppurtunity. What was that joke you may ask? Brokeback mountain. I've never seen it, but Frank told me that Heath Ledger and Jake Glynenthal (however you spell that) engage their homosexual activities under the cover of a yearly fishing trip. His wife made the joke to him as he left to meet us in Ottawa and anytime anyone (including myself) a brokeback mountain joke was made. It was hilarious, everytime.

We arrived on the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg reserve in a few hours after passing from Ottawa into L'Belle Province and we stopped in at Frank's house to get the boat and meet up with our fellow fishers before heading to B.B.'s trap line (B.B. is Frank's father, and a damn fine cook I might add). There we met Frank's beautiful and very gracious wife Debbie as well as his three lovely children, Dolcy (The oldest at 5, a girl), D'arcy (A fine Irish name for a 2 year old boy) and the baby Maxi (They seem to have a theme going on the final syllable of each name). A small word, because I like to promote myself, Frank has been a very generous and friendly person to me on all occassions, we often shared a cup of tea at the Coffee Shop in MacOdrum library (Well, not really, he had Earl Grey Tea and I had Coffee) and never, EVER, asked for anything in return. I can't just take and take and take without any reciprocation to show my appreciation of this, but since I have nothing Frank really wants or needs, except my friendship, I decided the best thing I could do was to be nice to his kids. So what did I do? I rounded up all my children's books and brought them up with us. Dolcy, apparently, loves to read, so I brought alot of educational books that I had read when I was about her age. Probably the best two were a set of books I brought that were about cultures all over the world that teach young children the basics of archaeology and understanding other people's ways of life and beliefs and a very colouful book on King Tut's tomb in Eygpt, with lots of pictures. They went over very well, in my humble opinion.

Debbie had very kindly made up some pasta and spaghetti sauce for us and it was freaking awesome. I must say, it was truly excellent. It couldn't hold a candle to my Mom's, but it was still really really good. (Love you Mom).

There we collected much gear, from trusty and seaworthy boats to humble steel anchors for use at the Trap line. It is also where the party was completed, with one ominous addition.

Frank's father and cousin Chris (A vietnam vet and one hell of a smart cookie) arrived, as Frank said they would, with Frank's older brother Charlie.

A word on Charlie. He might be Frank's older brother, in terms of years, but Frank is definitely the Eldest in terms of common sense, alcohol use and, dare-I-say, success. Charlie was a nice guy, when he was sober. But he never was. He got WASTED for 2 days straight on this trip and was the one thorn on the metaphorical rose that was this trip. I will honestly and without sarcasm say Charlie was nice and affable when sober, however he just drank and drank and drank. He had absolutely no idea that this wasn't a time to get completely hammered and although he was never belligerent or anyway aggressive, I was really embarressed for him. Alot.

It put Frank in a difficult position, he wasn't expecting Charlie to come and I can tell that it frustrated him some. How can you tell your older brother he can't come because you think he'll make an ass of himself? There's really no easy way to do that. So Charlie came with us.

I'll say it right now. Andrew, Adrian and I have had our disagreements. We don't always agree on what's right and what's wrong, but I am VERY lucky in my brothers. I couldn't ask for a better pair of men to call MY brothers.

Back to the trip, after a brief stop to pick up eggs, bacon and some snacks, as well as a fishing license for me and Ben (we were the only white guy's there, so we needed them. Aboriginals can hunt and fish all year round in accordance with their traditional rights and privileges that existed before the European conquest) we were on our way to the bush!

We arrived and got settled and proceeded to drink a little beer and start a fire. It was starting to get dark and it was important we be ready for the next day. We were in fine form. We sat round a fire and drank a little and joked and laughed. Frank and Kirk and Ben often commented on how quiet I was this weekend. Well, there is a reason for that. Usually I'm a chatter box, but that's only when I'm in my element. I was on a trap line on an Aboriginal reserve with practically no experience in the bush. I made my mind in the first five minutes to keep my mouth shut and my ears open. And it was a good choice. I listened and I learned a great deal from B.B., Frank, Kirk and Chris. I've never been so glad that the Aboriginals resisted pressure from white people to abandon their way of life and be white, as Kirk put it. A white man like me, from the city, would not survive without their knowledge.

Another side point, there is alot of information to get through, so I'll summarize what I learned on the trip NOW, as opposed to interrupting my story later to address it. Over the 2 days I was out I learned how to string a fishing line, hook up an outboard motor, tell the difference between Pike, Walleye, Whitefish and Suckers, how to fish for those particular fishes (Yes, they taught me how to fish, so now I can feed myself for a lifetime, as the saying goes), what Moose tracks look like, how to tell where an animal is and what kind it is from the sound it makes, what the inside of a moose looks like, how furs and animal skins are treated and turned into material goods, what a dead bear looks like (yep, I saw a dead bear), observed how fish are fileted and cleaned, how to cook fish with homemade batter, how to get a woodstove going and how to maintain it, which kinds of wood are best for starting a fire and which are best for keeping it going once it's burning and probably the most important thing I learned was how similar aboriginals and I are. We both have families, we both want our descendants to have it better than us and we both want to live on our terms without the government screwing us up da ass with a frozen rope.

I was really surprised with Chris and Frank's knowledge of Ireland and how Frank is considering writing his PH'D on a comparative analysis of Colonialism in Ireland as the model the English would use in conquering North America. The points they brought up, plus my own initial comparisions of what I know of Ireland and the aboriginals were very persuasive.

Maybe when I become a librarian and when Frank becomes a PH'D, we could become an academic duo and explore things like that. Behind every great scholar, is a great librarian people.

Back to the trip. Kirk, a Mohawk (And this was a point of much good natured needling from the other aboriginals in the group), was amazingly prescient. He, like Frank, was not too happy about Charlie being with us and made several prophetic statements that came true at some point, in some form or another during our two days.

The first was that Charlie would be hammered completely the whole trip and would fall in the fire. Charlie fulfilled that exactly. Kirk called it and was dead on. (More on this later)

The second was that he would be hurt somehow, because he always gets hurt in a way no one could forsee. This did happen, an ember from the fire popped out and landed on Kirk's eyelid and burned his eyelid. It was nothing serious, more a nuisance than anything else, but it happened. Score 2 for Kirk.

The third, and here is where the tale becomes bittersweet, is that Kirk would be waist deep in water because, as Kirk says, he just had a feeling. Well, Kirk was part right. I fell into the lake waist deep. I was helping get the boat hooked back onto the truck and this involved me standing on the trailer as we backed into water so I could hook it up to the ropes and straps so we could haul it out, secure it and load all the gear up. I took it in great stride and even made a few jokes at my own expense (Note everyone, when something like this happens, be the first one to crack a joke, it makes the situation way more easier to bear as everyone will know that you're cool with it and have a thick skin). However, Frank said there was no way I could ride in his truck with wet pants on. Into the boat go my pants and boots and I rode in the back seat in slightly wet underwear. Many brokeback mountain jokes were made, even some by myself. When you can laugh at yourself, people will laugh with you, if you get all weepy and whiny, then they will laugh at you and will become mean. It's how people are. I wish that sometimes it wasn't, but it just is and the sooner you learn that, the better off you will be.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, one thing that bears special mention is Charlie falling into the fire. We were all having a good time, for some reason, Charlie wanted to cross the fire circle. Now instead of taking 5 extra seconds to go the long way around where no one was sitting, Charlie decided to go the short way, where EVERYONE was sitting in a semi-circle. I clearly remember Kirk saying, don't Charlie, you'll fall in the fire. Well, taa-da, Charlie weaved his way close to where he wanted to go and fell into the fire, badly burning his hand.

B.B. was most upset. He had come up to have a good time and now saw his own son burn himself very badly. For a man with 2 grown sons in their thirties, he shouldn't have to lay down the law, but he did. Even though he sat down in a chair, I swear I saw him rise at least two feet. His voice, a very kind one, had steel put into it. Chris, a vietnam vet, a man with countless stories about questionable run in's with Bikers and possibly the saltiest sense of humour ever said three words that really illustrated the respect that existed between this family. "You're right Uncle." Now, that's a no-brainer, but the way he said it held a tone and such a firm respect and genuine regret that you knew, YOU KNEW, that he deeply regretted making a joke out of Charlie falling into the fire. I won't go into more detail, as the rest is not important to the overall story, also I wouldn't want to overstep boundaries in respect to privacy as evidenced by the fact that I use no last names.

The reason I went into detail on this story is that B.B. reminded me a great deal of my own father and my Maternal Grandfather. I felt very reassured when I knew that this was his trapline we were on and I made sure to pay close attention whenever he spoke. He even showed me how to tie a hook to a rod and bait a hook.

The next day after we went fishing, Ben caught 4 whitefish and Kirk and Frank set a net that we would collect the next day. We ate very well in the morning and the night thank to Ben's catch and B.B.'s culinary skill in preparing absolutely perfect bacon, sausage and hard-boiled eggs, not to mention his incredibly BITCHIN' coffee. I must say, that coffee of B.B.'s ... absolutely bitchin'.

This is the day I fell in the water and I spent the time that we weren't fishing helping to secure gear and keep the fire going. Whenever I could, I asked Chris, Kirk, and everyone else, save Ben who did some question asking of his own, all about the environment we were in and about themselves. They had amazing stories and imparted alot of knowledge about the local wildlife and their way of life. It was f-ing amazing (I'm trying my best to watch my language, it has been brought to my attention some more mature members of my family read my blog and I have no intention of making them feel uncomfortable through my inherent saltiness. If I make an occassional slip up and just swear up a storm, I crave their pardon and ask them to overlook it).

I shared little information of myself, mostly it didn't seem too important, which is weird. I'm fairly open, and my favourite topic is always me. I know, I'm conceited. But this experience was extremely good for me, both in the deep down, honest, satisfying fun I had, but also the humility I assumed. I resolve to be more humble in the future, using this past weekend as the model for all my coming interactions.

I did however, quietly share some of my brandy which I had brought in the flask Adrian gave me with Frank as a thank you for everything. Those of you that know how much I like spirits and how reluctant I am to pass that flask around know that this was big deal for me and that was my way of trying to really compliment Frank. In retrospect, I guess I should have explained that to him, but maybe he got that anyways.

The next day after I fell in the water, we went to a nearby lake off the reserve to fish for Pike. We had just got on the water when Game Warden's pulled us in. Now, Frank is an aboriginal, he can hunt, fish and whatever any time of the year. But for Ben and me, the white boys, we were in some slight donkey dung. Apparently, the lake didn't open until next week. Now since we had licenses (good for on the reserve and off of it) and we hadn't caught anything yet, the game wardens let us off and asked us to not fish. Realizing how much a break we were being cut, we readily agreed and asked if it would be ok if we just motored around the lake. They said that would be no problem so long as there were no rods. They took off, though Frank said they probably just drove down the road, got out of the truck and walked through the bush to watch us and make sure we kept our promise. We did nothing to infringe on it. I must say, sitting in the bow of a canoe and motoring around at great speed is quite the rush.

While the Game wardens checked our licenses in their truck, Frank noticed they had a dead bear in the back. Never having seen a bear up close, I took the oppurtunity to get a good look. It looked a lot smaller than I thought it would, but Frank said that was deceptive. Bears can look very big when they want to and even a small bear is capable of tearing me to pieces. I hope the only bears I see from now on are far, far away or incapacitated from now on. The game wardens said the bear had been raiding camp sites and that they had to shoot it.

That's life I suppose.

One note about the game wardens, they were the spitting image of each other. Why you ask? Well, the trail of clues begins with their shared last name. They were a father and son team. How do you like that, a father and son game warden team. They drive around in the country, keeping the woods safe for both people and animals and it's a family affair. Some people might find that a terrifying process if they had to do it with a parent. I for one, could totally see me and my Dad doing that if this were a different world.

Anyways, without permission to fish, we returned to the trap line. The night previous we had listened to the Sens game on the radio, and there was much frustration with the loss. We didn't mention it the whole time.

Frank and Kirk left to bring in the net they set yesterday and what a haul. I didn't count it, but they must have caught at least 30 fish. That was when I saw some serious knife work and I learned how to handle fish and got my hands all slimy from touching them, espicially since its spawning season and the fish were engorged with fish eggs and fish sperm. My hands, after handling all the fish, were basicially little cum-buckets for fish mojo.

Many brokeback mountain jokes were made, weirdly enough. Even weirder, I made most of them.

After getting all the fish done up, we packed up and returned to Frank's house. There we spent a little time with Frank cleaning his nets and the fish, dividing them up into equal portions for our return home. It was great, no one went home empty handed.

Spending a little time with Frank's very well behaved kids, I stowed all my gear and was driven back to Ottawa with Kirk and Ben by B.B. who very generously drove me all the way back to Orleans. I directed him to a gas station and gave him 20 bucks to help pay for all the gas he used to get me home and I walked a very short distance to my house.

As soon as I got in, I wished my Mom a happy mother's day, gave her a kiss and a hug, regaled her with my adventures and put the fish in the freezer exactly as how Frank told me to so as to preserve them for a long, long time.

Then, I went to bed.

Now, there is alot I didn't include, for brevity and because alot of what happens in the bush, stays in the bush. Yes yes yes, I know, you're all thinking of brokeback mountain. Seriously people, enough brokeback mountain jokes. But I think that this weekend was sacred in a sense, there was alot of learning and sharing of knowledge, an oppurtunity that I'll never regret having taken advantage of and exposure to quite possibly one of the most accepting and generous cultures I've ever come into contact with.

There is no way mere words on a blog can convey how much I learned, how much I enjoyed myself and how eminently satisfying this trip was on an intellectual and spiritual basis.

I start Latin classes on Wednesday.

More later on Capital Slam, which I was in last Thursday.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

My incredible, edible trip

Was a raging success, some might say it was Groin-Grabbingly Good.

I, however, elect not to.

More will come later, it was so much fun, I'm exhausted.

Monday, May 08, 2006

City Semi-Finals

News and Upcoming Events:

Capital Slam Semi−Finals
Thursday, May 11
hosted by 2005 Capital Slam Champion John Akpata
8 p.m. − Velvet Room − 62 York Street in the Market
$10 at the door
Proceeds from playoff slams go to sending the 2006 Capital Slam Team to the 2006 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Toronto

Thursday, June 8, 2006
Capital Slam Championship Finals

After having your minds blown at the semis, the top 8 will do it again! This show, hosted by CBC Radio One personality Alan Neal, will determine the membership of the 2006 Capital Slam Team and this year's Capital Slam Champion! Come join the Capital Poetry Collective as it ends its second Capital Slam season in grand style! Stay tuned for more details.

Academic Suc-SMASH!

Or success if you're so inclined.

Well, i got my final marks back, 4 A-'s and one B. Now, while that doesn't hold the lustre of the 2 A's I took home last year, I will say this, they demonstrate steady and consistent achievement. An army of A-'s will overcome 2 A's, anytime.

I think the reason I got so many A-'s was a result of how hard this year was on a personal level for me. Maybe if I had some time to just clear my head I could have turned one of them into an A. Que sera sera.

C'est la vie.

The achievements of this year raise my overall average to 9.0 exactly. That's a B+. An overall B+ over three years is nothing to sneeze at, that's quite the laudable achievement of a good scholar.

My average for this year should be an A- as well. Not too shabby eh?

Not too shabby at all.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Hola Senor

I think this is the funniest thing I've ever seen.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Why Stephen Colbert Matters

Alrighty folks, now here is something you need to see.

You'll have to watch a brief, slightly interactive commercial, but that's a very small price to pay to see this.

You can find it: here

And you can find the follow up: here