Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Friends of P

Things I like:

  • Hanging out with Capital M
  • Ice Cream
  • Reading or listening to a good story
  • Lemons
  • Fresh pinapple
  • Sunny mornings
  • Afternoon naps on a cloudy day
  • Summer Camp memories
  • adventures
  • my personal bubble
  • Not running a summer day camp

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Alone in a crowd

Things I don't like:
  • Having something sticky on my fingers, hands, or body. Actually that's something I really, really don't like
  • People thinking I'm a computer guy. Yes, I could lose some weight and sure I sometimes check out - news for nerds- but I really don't know anything about computers, operating systems, or how to help the people in my office with their obscure computer problems
  • the word 'craft'
  • my old math teacher
  • most canadian-made movies and tv shows (Corner Gas, you will never train me to laugh with your music cues)
  • unanswered questions
  • complete darkness
  • most fish and fish flavoured products (chumsicles, anyone?)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

good luck kids

Here's a picture of some of the kids from the day camp I run. It looks like they're on a prison march.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

According to my wife...

While walking down the street today I saw a man wearing a shirt that said "according to my wife... I'm happy" Being that I don't have much going on any given day, and today being no exception, I had time to think about that shirt. Was it supposed to be funny? Is it some sort of inside joke, shared among the man, his wife and a few close family members and friends? If so, why wear a shirt about it? What exactly does the wife think the man is happy about? Is he supposed to be satisified with his life and place of employment? Is the shirt a not so subtle reminder that things could be worse? Or is the man so miserable in life that the shirt is supposed to tell the world he has an overbearing, domineering, ogre of a wife who dictates how he feels? If so, is wearing a shirt a good way to deal with a complex marital problem. I don't think so.
It's unfortunate the shirt was ever made. The man should have his credit card taken away and his spending habits monitered. His wife is either the butt of a cruel joke or some monster. Either way the couple has issues.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

My day

So far today I've been puked on, ignored, frustrated, sworn at, and to top it off someone tried to kick me. His shoe flew off and hit my face instead. My job definitely doesn't pay enough.

A new beginning

I just saw Batman Begins. It was awesome.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Life in a Small Town

It is impossible to have any degree of anonimity in a small town. My mother, aunts and uncles all grew up here, and for the most part, I did too. I've been away for a long time, but not nearly long enough. People stop me on the street and say "You must be Annie's boy, you look just like her..." The conversation is already off to a bad start. I don't think I've actually scowled at anyone, yet. However, I have become really good at vaguely answering questions. A sample conversation would go something like this:
Irratating Person: ... you look just like her. Where have you been?"
Me: I've been out East
IP: Oh, where?
Me: Nova Scotia
IP: Really, where in Nova Scotia?
Me: Halifax
IP: Delicious, what have you been doing out there?
Me: Going to school
IP: In Halifax!?
Me: yeah
IP: What have you been studying...
The conversation can be as long or as short as the other person wants it to be. It's not that I refuse to answer their questions, I just don't give them much information. If they really want to be nosy they can ask away and slowly, they'll find out.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Life # 4

A lot of people who read this blog have been asking why I have titled it "the nine lives of Jesse V" It is not, as many of you have suggested, that I believe I'm a cat. Or that I thought I was a cat in previous life, or believe I will be one in a future life. So please, no more cat comments. I chose that title because there are periods when it has felt like my life has started again and also because there are times when I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have lived though something but yet here I sit, obviously still alive. So without further adieu, allow me to present "life # 4."
Before I begin this little tale, please know that I am not exagerating any of these events.
It was getting to be the end of my first year working at Camp Chief Hector. The days were getting shorter and the some of the leaves were already beginning to change colour. The tipis were usually pretty cold in the morning because the fires at night never lasted long enough, no matter how much wood was piled on.
I had a fantastic partner named Dave and 8 kids, one of whom, Andrew, had autism. I will never forget Andrew. He was almost as big as me and he was only 13 years old. The year before he actually knocked a counsellor unconscious after being squirted by a water gun. Andrew told the counsellor to stop spraying him and when he his words failed, a vitamin packed punch did the trick.
One of my most vivid memories of Andrew took place on a backpacking trip. He didn't like hiking. "Leave me here, I can hunt," Andrew would say when he grew tired of walking. But with some coaxing and by appealing to his imagination, Andrew would forget about foraging in the forest and join the rest of us. We slept under tarps that year and Andrew was quite cold so Dave lent him his Calgary Stampeeder's touque. It fit Dave but was way too small for Andrew's head. I'll never forget the following morning when I opened my eyes and saw Andrew, with his ill fitting hat, standing at the foot of where Dave and I were sleeping. He shouted 'Spoon!' and jumped, while still in his sleeping bag, between Dave and me in an effort to spoon between us. Life with Andrew was never dull.
One night during that two week session Dave was off and I was alone with the kids. We had booked the climbing wall and another staff member was supposed to be there to fill in for Dave. Unfortunately for me, he didn't show up. However, the climbing time was going really well. All of the kids went up the wall, even Andrew managed to go up a few feet and he didn't like heights. Things were going so well that I thought I would take a shot at climbing. In my time at camp I hadn't gone up and I knew this was going to be my last chance. I put on a harness and I assigned a boy named Colin (who I also won't forget) to be my belayer, the person responsible for protecting the climber from falling. There was a long rope attached to my harness that went to the top of the wall and back to Colin, his job was to keep the rope tight, that way if I slipped, I would just hang from the rope. I assigned Andrew the role of second belayer, a back up for the first person. This was an attempt to stop Andrew from wondering off somewhere since he was started to get bored.
At first everything was going great. I climbed up the top of the wall, I think it's around 30 feet, without any problems (I was on a fairly easy route). However, when I got to the top I started to get a bad feeling. I felt the tension of the rope and noticed it was a bit slack. I called down to Colin and asked him to tighten it up so I could start to repell down. After a few seconds the rope went tight and I took a leap of faith. I think I was only down about four feet when it happened. I heard a shout, the rope went loose and I started to fall. I remember hearing the sound of the rope whizzing through the it's metal loop up above me, I can remember seeing the individual brightly coloured footholds stand out in stark contrast against the rapidly moving pale grey wall, and I can definitely remember feeling like my stomache just moved positions in my body and was now residing about 20 centimetres higher.
I knew the landing was going hurt. But I was not expecting what actually happened. My feet hit the ground, my knees bent to a crouching position and that was it. No other part of my body touched the earth. I was breathing rapidly, almost uncontrollably, my arms were as stiff as boards and extended straight ahead of my body, and for some reason I kept bobbing up and down, like I was on a seesaw, while my lower legs remained locked in place. I became aware of shouting, and crying but for a while I was unable to move. When I could stand up I heard Andrew saying "someone get a gun and shoot me," Colin was holding his hands in pain and I had no choice but to forget my own incident and start getting things under control.
This is what happened. As I started to repell Andrew had grown tired of holding the rope and threw it at Colin. Colin's hand's instinctively went up to cover his face and he let go of his part of the rope and that's why I unexpectedly dropped. To his credit, Colin tried to grab the rope and his hands got burnt for his efforts. Both boys felt terrible and I did my best to let them know that it was okay, although at the time I was a little spacy. The rest of the kids treated me like I was Superman, that was cool.
I didn't really have a chance to think about that incident for a while. I'm not saying that it was a near death experience, but it was odd. I fell from a high height, I somehow landed on my feet and I didn't get hurt. I am not unbreakable but the kids sure thought I was.