Monday, July 02, 2018

Dream Big

Generally speaking, I rarely remember my dreams, by the time I'm fully awake whatever was goin' on in there is gone, and it's always been that way.  But every once in a while one sticks, and I had one a couple of days ago that was pretty good.

In this dream, I won some kinda contest or something, and the prize was that I could have anything I wanted.  Anything in the whole world.  And what did I choose?  I chose to go snowboarding.  Yep.  Snowboarding.  So there I go, I'm hauling balls down a mountain, through this really narrow chute, just flying, impossibly fast, and I come around this corner and I'm in an ancient abandoned city, built right into the side of the mountain, half-collapsed buildings and broken statues and everything just whipping by at a thousand miles an hour.  

I get out of the city, and I get down the rest of the mountain, and at the bottom I slide right up to the front doors of a university.  And all these people, students and professors and whoever, they all start hollering at me for snowboarding through that old city, because they're worried that I've damaged the buildings and statues or whatever.  And I was like, hey dudes, tough shit, I won a contest that said I could do whatever I wanted, and this is what I chose, so y'all can suck it.

Then I woke up.  Pretty good dream, all told.  If all my dreams are like that, maybe I should try harder to remember them.

Monday, February 19, 2018


So after Big White, everybody else went back home, but I went to Kimberley instead!  I spent 5 nights in an airbnb, and then 3 nights in a motel.  The airbnb was sweet, it was right on the hill and it was cheap, the only drawback was I had to get a little creative when preparing my meals (cooking veggies in the coffee maker works pretty well).  The motel was also sweet, the North Star, it's the same place that Scott and I shared a very tiny bed last year.  Same old couple running the place (he's from Germany, she's from Moose Jaw), same bowl of individually-wrapped mints on the table, same little loaf of rhubarb cake when you check in, I swear that place is just as cute as a button.  Kimberley's a great little town and the North Star Motel is a swell place to stay, I can't recommend it highly enough.  Plus, unlike the airbnb, the motel rooms have little 2-burner stove-tops (no ovens) so you don't have to cook your peas in the coffee pot!

The conditions in Kimberley were great, it snowed a ton while I was there, and even though it's just a little guy compared to a place like Big White (or even Fernie) there's still some cool stuff.  I'm in no way an expert, but it seems to me that what sets Kimberley apart is the glade runs; there are tons of places where you can get in the trees and screw around, and it doesn't get a ton of traffic, being a smaller hill, so you can always find fresh snow to play in.  I also really enjoyed getting to that hill  after spending one day there last year, now I'm not trying to be a guy who brags but my snowboard skills have come a long way in the last 12 months so it was a completely different experience this time around, and it was pretty satisfying to be able to get into those trees and mess around doing dumb shit that would have been just plain impossible last time around.  It is My Opinion that Snowboarding is Really Fun, and you should all do it.  It's fun even if you suck, but it's WAY more fun if you kinda don't suck.

Aside from riding, I spent a lot of time olympics-watching, and that was lots of fun but it doesn't really make for a good story, so I'm not sure why I brought it up?  I did a lot of reading too, also fun but also boring to hear about.  I tried to go to the Bauernhaus for supper one night,  but they were all booked up so I went to a pub and ate french fries and chicken wings instead.  Sorry this part of the blog isn't good.

My original plan was to spend this whole month in the mountains,  but my plans to go to Banff didn't work out, so today I ripped back home.  Now I'm in Saskatoon for some R & R before heading back out to Big White at the beginning of March.  I can't wait to get back out there, I miss the mountains already.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Big White

It's Ski Trip Season once again, and this time the destination for the Mediocriskis was Big White.  13 people set out this year, and we all made it in more or less one piece, though there was some excitement along the way.  Some people chose to fly out, since the drive clocks in at about 14 hours, one car left a day early to spend a day riding in Revelstoke, and 3 vehicles left Saturday morning with the intention of meeting up in Reve with Team Leave Early that night, so we could roll into Big White early Sunday afternoon.  I was driving with Allison, and we did well considering the rain/sleet/snow and the traffic hold-ups and the nearly-running-out-of-gas*.  Steph's car fared about as well as we did, arriving in Revelstoke about an hour after us.  Drew and Danielle, however...

I'm a little sketchy on the details since I wasn't there, but Drew and Danielle rolled their van between Golden and Field.  Thankfully they were both fine, but the van was totaled.  The two of them spent the night on a couch in a hostel in Field, the van was hauled off to the Scrapyard in the Sky, and the next morning Alan and Scott went back to pick up D&D and all the gear they'd been hauling.  That meant some changes of plans, but we made things work and by Sunday evening we were all safe and sound and in our mansion on the mountain in Big White.

The days all kind of run together a bit, as the days on these trips tend to, but there was of snowboarding and hot-tubbing and eating and drinking and Olympics-watching and games and laughs and idiocy, and all of them to excess, as well as a distinct lack of sleep.  My friend Sol winters in Big White, and I got a chance to see him a couple of times, so that was nice.  I set off the carbon-monoxide detector in the house trying to make chicken stock, Scott embraced satanism, Andrea found some wooden blocks spelling out "LET IT SNOW" and re-arranged them to spell "MELON TITS", Scott and I formed a Pro Wrestling tag-team called the Spice Boys (I'm Big Cinnamon, he's Little Nutmeg), Alan stole Andrea's brothers' bag and stashed it in Steph's Saskatoon-bound car, pretty standard ski-trip stuff.  And the food!  Let me tell you, we ate like kings on this trip, as is tradition, and on the final Saturday night Sarah made a rice-based casserole, and she cooked said rice in left-over pork drippings and chicken gravy, and holy hell that was dang near the tastiest mess I ever shoved into my stupid face like a drunk hog, no two ways about it.

The conditions in Big White the first couple days were pretty much perfect, and the mountain is absolutely gorgeous.  I spent the first day chasing Alan down blacks and into trees, got sick of that, and spent the 2nd day riding greens and blues with Kelsey.  Day 3 was a day off, Day 4 I spent getting out to all the parts of the mountain I hadn't seen on Days 1 or 2, Day 5 was a day off, and Day 6 was pretty much a write-off.  Andrea, her brother, and I tried to board, but it was the Saturday of the long weekend and the mountain was packed, AND it was windy as all hell so only like 3 out of 12 lifts were open, which meant you had to stand in line for 25-30 minutes to get a chair.  I think we got 3 runs in before we said "fuck it" and went home for lunch, tried again in the afternoon and got 2 more runs in, then gave up.

One car-load of people split on Saturday to break up the drive home over 2 days, and on Sunday the peeps who flew got back on their planes while the rest of the crew piled into the car to drive back to Saskatoon...except Yours Truly, who hit the road alone, bound for Kimberley.

*if you ask Google how to get from Saskatoon to Calgary, Google will tell you to go south at Alsask to save like 6 kilometers.  DO NOT LISTEN.  You go over a wooden bridge and then drive up a gigantic gravel pile, then down the other side of the gravel pile, and then through a bunch of nothing for like 3 boring hours, AND THERE ARE ZERO GAS STATIONS ON THIS ROUTE.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day, so I'd like you to consider the following:

If you're reading this, you know somebody dealing with mental illness.  If you're thinking "no I don't", you're wrong, they've just hidden it from you.  It's easy to say "call me if you need anything", and it's nice too, I do it all the time, but the reality is, the people who need you the most are the people who aren't going to call you when they need you, because they feel like they can't.  So sometimes "call me if you need me" isn't enough.  Sometimes you need to call them.  If you're suffering, reach out.  If someone you care about is suffering, reach out.  Mental health can be a difficult thing to talk about, but it's like everything else in life, the more you do it, the easier it gets.  Let's work toward making this easier.



Monday, October 02, 2017


The best scam I ever pulled was scoring a pair of free tickets to see Tom Petty.  I gave the tickets to my mom for her birthday, and she took me to the show, and there we were, in an arena full of people, people who knew every word and sang along to every song.  I've never seen anything like it.

His music was the soundtrack to a hundred road-trips, a thousand summer nights, a million campfires.  "You Don't Know How it Feels" was one of the first songs I ever taught myself how to play on my upside-down guitar.  "Wildflowers" is one of my desert-island albums.  

I'm crushed.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Lake Times

So I went to a party down the far end of the lake tonight, picked up a couple of friends in the boat along the way, and we had a fire on the beach and drank drinks and sang songs and told tall tales, as is tradition, and at the end of the night I dropped the girls off at their place and was riding home in Buster Boat on just the most pristine summer night, lake like glass and the moon so bright it was casting shadows, and a fellow party-goer pulled up beside me in his tin boat and offered me a rum, and who can say no to a thing like that, and then when I got home I had a slice of fresh saskatoon-berry pie, now don't get me wrong I know my life isn't perfect, but I'll be damned if nights like tonight don't make it feel pretty fuckin' close.

Thursday, June 29, 2017


There's some real shit going down in Edmonton, huh?  I wrote a bit about this already, but some more stuff happened (or is about to) so I wanna unload on the Oilers, or more specifically their GM, a little more.

So, Peter Chiarelli.  There are some die-hard cheerleaders, and the water-carriers in the media, who will defend everything he does to the death, I mean there are still people who think he won the Hall trade, but generally speaking these are the same people who think Matt Hendricks is the reason the team was good last season, so for the most part you can just ignore these folks because they're obviously idiots.  Chia is certainly not a guy who shies away swinging for the fences, he gets up there and he takes his cuts, which is more than I can say for a lot of NHL GMs who are terrified to make a trade because they're worried it might not work out.  Chia doesn't give a shit, he'll trade anybody if he think's it's a good deal, the problem is, what he thinks is a "good deal" and what's actually a "good deal" are frequently a long way apart.

The first time he dealt away a young star was the Kessel trade, which worked out great for Boston but only because the Leafs were atrocious that year.  That got him Seguin and Hamilton, so full credit to him, he hit this one out of the park.  Problem is, he then traded Seguin for Loui Eriksson and some spare parts, and people tend to forget about this one but he also traded Blake Wheeler for Rich Peverley, and boy that didn't age well.  He also mangled the Bruins' salary cap to the point where they had to give Johnny Boychuk to the Islanders, which I think was the last straw for his Bruins bosses.

Now people will say, "yeah but he won a cup" and that's true, you can't take that away from him, but when he was hired the Bs had Bergeron and Krejci down the middle, Chara on the blueline, and Tim Thomas in net.  He didn't build a cup-winner so much as inherit it.  Anyway, a couple of years ago the Bruins finish 9th and miss the playoffs, and Chia gets canned, so the Oilers scoop him up.  And what's the first thing he does as Oilers GM?  He trades a 1st and a 2nd for Griffin Reinhart, who spent most of the last 2 years in the AHL and is now a Vegas Golden Knight.  In fairness, he also got Cam Talbot out of New York, and that worked out pretty well.

Now the Oilers stunk for a decade, but that's OK, because it meant they got to pick at or near the top of the draft a bunch of times in a row (including falling ass-backward into Connor McDavid).  And what do you get when you have a bunch of high picks?  You get a bunch of talented young players.  And what does Chia do with talented youngsters?  That's right!  He trades them!  Last summer it was Hall for Larsson, and this summer it's Eberle for Strome, and right now the smart money is next summer it'll be Nuge for a new zamboni and some port-a-potties for the concourse.

Any way you spin it, the Oil just didn't get good value for either of those guys, but that's not all Chia did.  Last summer he gave big money and term to his old Bruin buddy Milan Lucic, now I didn't hate this move but if his play drops off at all that contract is going to be a problem, and this offseason he re-upped Kris Russel to a 4X4 deal, like I said last time I think Russel's OK but he's not with 16 million bucks.  So I don't love the Russell extension, but now it comes out that Florida is under orders to slash $$ from their payroll, and the guy they want to move is Jason Demers.   He makes a little more money than Russell does but unlike Russell, Demers can actually pass the puck and doesn't spend all of his time trapped in his own end, and if you could have him for a song why on earth would you take Russell instead?

On to Draisaitl and McDavid.  We all know that offer sheets basically never happen in the NHL, but there was some chatter on the interwebs that maybe some team out there would try and offer-sheet Draisaitl.  I guess this story got enough traction that Chia got asked about it in an interview, and he went on record saying that the Oilers would match any offer made.  Now that is just a damn stupid thing to say, because if I'm an NHL GM and I hear that, why wouldn't I drop a 4-year, 40-million dollar offer on him just like, "have fun with that, idiot".  Like I said it almost certainly won't happen, but it really, really should.  And why should NHL GMs want to force Chia to over-pay Draisaitl?  Because McDavid is on the verge of signing a deal that's going to pay him 13+ million dollars a year, that's why.  Now no matter what it ends up costing, McDavid is worth it, no question, if he's not already the best player in the world, then he will be soon.  But 13 million bucks is a lot of cake, so if you can make him over-pay for Drais, then maybe you force him to make some other questionable moves, like what happened with Boychuk...

In completely unrelated news, the Oilers announced today that they'd be buying out Benoit Pouliot, and there's so much wrong with this that I don't know where to start.  Now sure, he had a rough year, and he's got 2 years left at 4 million per, but by buying him out, that becomes 4 years at 1.33 million per.  So yeah, you're freeing up some space now, but at the expense of space down the road, which is when you're actually going to need it.  And rather than buying him out, could you not have moved him someplace by agreeing to retain half of his salary?  Surely some team out there would be willing to take a chance on him for 2 million a year, that's less than friggin' Matt Martin makes for crying out loud.  And if you CAN'T move him even if you retain 50%, then could you not just ride this out for 1 more year, and then buy him out next summer, when it'll hurt you less?  Send him to the AHL?  Something?  Maybe they've got big plans for that 2.75 million in cap space this season, but if that's the case then Oilers fans should REALLY be worried.

So yeah, there's Chiarelli, digging into the batter's box and flailing away, hoping to connect on a no-doubter.  I want the Oilers to be good, I really do, and I expect that next year they will be, but I just look at his body of work, and it seems to me the misses far outnumber the hits, and the task gets a hell of a lot harder after this year because Connor's salary increases by a cool 10 million bucks, and does Chia really seem like the right guy for the job?  I dunno.  When the Oilers win the cup in 4 years, don't forget to remind me what an idiot I am.