Sunday, February 28, 2010

Orca Love

Tilikum, the killer whale.

Tilikum the killer whale has killed. Again. Despite his name having meaning in Chinook as 'friend', (also named after the Tilikum boat) the marine predator is no stranger to making the news headlines in more ways than one. Aside from the fact this majestic creature is beautiful to watch on any level, let alone up close and personal, it also must be first noted this is a killer whale. A wild animal much like that of a lion or tiger. It has animal instincts.

Tilikum has taken the life of 40 year old Dawn Brancheau. Before we get into the criminal record of this animal, let's find out who Tilikum is. The orca was captured of the coast of Iceland in 1983 at the age of 2 years old. He has sired 13 calves, the first being Kyuguot born in December 24 1991. Tilikum has some of the most impressive measurements I have ever heard of for a killer whale in captivity. He is simply the biggest of his kind right now in captivity. At 22 feet and six inches long, weighing in at a whopping 12,300 pounds and his dorsal fins alone being 6 and a half feet long makes him very immense in size.

Tilikum is an impressive spectacle as seen here during his performance.

Tilikum has found himself in hot water after now building a rather dreadful record for human deaths circulating around him. He is currently at three. Dawn Brancheau was the top trainer at Sea World until earlier this week she was grabbed by Tilikum by the waist just moments after she was bonding with him. He thrashed about before taking her down with him into his world, deep in the tank at the bottom is where he held her in his mouth until she drowned. Dawn was just 40 years old. To her, Tilikum was her aquatic friend. How does a friend do this?

In 1991 her also took the life of another female victim after she accidentally fell in his tank doing research. In 1999 Daniel Dukes, 27 a drifter was found naked in Tilikum's tank floating with multiple bruises on his body. Near by the tank on dry ground his clothes were found in a pile with a joint of marijuana inside them. The bruises were thought to have happened as Tilikum believed Daniel was a toy for his tank and dragged his body along the bottom of the tank. It is unclear whether the man drowned first on his own accord, or Tilikum actually killed the man by drowning him. Daniel died of hypothermia apparently, although there were bite marks on his body from the whale.

Tilikum has become lost in a swirl of controversy over the killings. But it he really to blame? I question now, and have before about the condition of wild animals held captive in zoos and pens alike all over the world. What if we were to be held captive and taught to perform. Is this what we want? No. So what do the wild animals want? Most likely not to be put in funny little hats and forced to jump through hoops I am sure. I would guess they want what we want. Freedom. What freedom does Tilikum have in a tank equivalent to that of a bathtub? Examine the picture below for a minute.

As you see from the above photo, Tilikum has not a lot of room to maneuver for a whale who can easily swim up to 100 miles in a day. This animal has deep psychological damage. It has been studied in primates and humans alike. Confinement drives one to a severe state of depression, boredom and anger. Tilikum has displayed this. He has never been trained to be with humans. To him, a human in his tank is a play toy. He should not be held accountable for something we have created. Snatching up natures wild animals and driving them to the point of insanity.

They had looked at having Tilikum put down. This is a horrible thought, to think to cover up mans mistake by taking the creature out back in a pasture and putting a bullet through it's head is disgusting (though it wouldn't be done this way). The head people at Sea World have vowed Tilikum will not be put down. So they have decided the show must go on. So who will the fourth victim be? Another trainer? A child? Can we do what was done to Keiko the killer whale who was a star in Free Willy? Set free on the coast of Ice Land. He didn't fair well, he only kept coming back to find humans. He later died of pneumonia. Iceland doesn't want Tilikum due to his criminal record.

So Tilikum's future rests in the same hands of the people who brought him into the world of captivity. His demise will only rest on whether or not he can survive the wild on his own. Or whether or not he kills again. We didn't really expect someone to bring in this whale and jump on his back and yell go did we? We don't go jumping on lions and gorillas backs asking them to perform tricks in the jungle. So why are we removing them from their habitats and getting them to do things they really don't want to do and expecting nothing will come of it except revenue for a large corporation?

Sea World and other zoos alike should be ashamed of themselves. Tilikum is not the only orca who has killed. Nor will he be the last.

Dawn & Tilikum. Best friends?

Or wild animal with a lost sense of freedom?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Last Call For Alcohol

The 2010 Olympic Gold medalists of womens Canadian hockey team.

We all blog about things like, life, money, experiences, disinterest for a certain thing or person, or exciting times. Sometimes we blog about subjects others may not agree with or possibly do agree with. Either way, blogging is simply an open journal with others having the ability to respond if they wish. My blog today might just be one of those types of blogs. Because what I want to discuss, the latest hottest topic is the women’s Olympic hockey team for Canada.

To start, they deserve a big congratulations in their win and the effort it took to get to the podium to accept those gold medals. This certainly can’t be an easy task in any sport to climb all the way to the top of the hill to make the cut for gold. Regardless, they did it. Kudos to them girls. Now, on to the break down of a unclassy celebratory win. They played their hearts out and used sweat, skills and determination. They celebrated on ice just seconds after the win thereafter congratulating team USA on a well fought game. This is sportsmanship at it’s finest is it not. To recognize the other team’s efforts and knowing how hard it was to make it to that final round to do battle is honourable. So far so good.

Now here is the issue I have as do others. Ok, we know there were no fans left in the stadium seats, most reporters were gone...MOST. All but the one(s) who caught the champagne, beer guzzling, zamboni drivin, cigar smoking frolics on ice, including 18-year-old superstar Marie-Philip Poulin. Exactly what is wrong with this? Well, if your all for it, then nothing. Until we break it down a little further. Team Canada in many sports is recognized as a professional team, like any others should be. I for one am 100% Canadian and show my Canadian pride probably more than anyone I know. I stand behind those Canadian Olympians and their efforts over there in Vancouver.

The problem is this: People are always going to be watching. And with watching comes scrutinizing. Did these girls forget they have little ones who look up to them who no doubt by now has seen these photos or the video footage of them getting on they way they did, smoking and drinking? What example does this set for the children who wish to be the next women’s Olympic goaltender or the women’s next Olympic forward? It says that after winning you can showboat, rub it in, drink and enjoy a big fat stogie.

Had they done all this behind closed doors, with no cameras, no video footage, no one would be none the wiser today and the girls would still be happy, as they are now I am sure, and the media and public wouldn’t care. We didn’t see it. This was professionally unacceptable. I would not want to see my daughter getting on like that after winning on camera unless it was in the comforts of her home, my home, her friend’s home. Behind closed doors at least.

It is so bad that the IOC is launching an investigation into their on ice antics. Hey, you’re smoking in a non smoking facility. Way to go, fines all around right there. They are Olympic athletes, put your Canadian pride aside for a moment and understand the problem with they way they behaved for a moment. It was immature of them to think they could get away with partying it up on ice, still in their Olympic gear.

If you have yet to see some of the above mentionable's, take a gander below.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lost In Thought


I blogged here nearly a week ago. Since then, I've had no motivation to blog since. After reading fellow blogger Townie Bastard's blog I was reminded how any one of us can go through 'writer's block'. Though I am not truly a writer per say. I still get blocked like anyone else. Since reading his blog, I somewhat got motivated to blog. I have no subject particularly for you. Just sort of winging it today. I really don't want to touch on this issue of, what is an Olympic sport and what isn't, but how do we, the little people know what is or what won't ever be a sport period? Did anyone really think snowboarding on a half pipe would become an Olympic sport? I suppose really anybody can pick on and bully around any sport in the Olympics.

At the end of the day both you and I know there is no way we can ever do what we see those of the Olympics do in their sport. I can never put on long skies and slide down a hill only to jump off the end of it and land in the calculation point area, known as the K point. It is between 300 and 390 feet. 60 points to those who land exactly on the K line. So I'm not fairing well in this sport on my first, second or third try. Most likely, not in my first 6 months.

Men's figure skating. "Oh, it looks gay, men in tights, blah, blah, blah". Yea, it does look a little gay. Men in tights prancing around on the tippy toes of their skates lifting off doing triple and quad's. But can you do it any better? I can't even skate let alone get enough speed to hurl my body in the air to spin around 4 times, land, then launch myself into the air once more for another jump. If this type of routine skating is hard, and only few can do it, maybe it should be in the Olympics.

Now did Heracles, son of Zeus, go bobsledding down an icy hill at speeds to which he had never seen before? No. But is it a sport? It must be, it's in the Olympics isn't it? Ok, so we don't run naked anymore, but we still run in the Olympics. Why do we not question running? Who can't run right?

My firm belief is if it is as hard as it looks to do from the comfort of your home, it probably should be in the Olympics. I used to think curling was ridiculous. Then I tried it.

Ping Pong anyone?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

From A 'ROAR' To A 'meow'

Tiger who? Oh right, Woods. Forgot about him did you? Well if you tune in tomorrow at the right time, on the right channel, you just may catch him live for the first time in months proclaiming his...well, whatever it is he is going to proclaim. Whether that's his innocence or his guilt or his own disbelief he got caught, who knows. More importantly, who cares? Except his wife, close family and immediate friends, who really gives a hoot about Tiger Woods? I like golf as much as the next person and I am fully aware of the fan base he has brought in since coming on the scene. But let's get real about this shall we? He is still just another human being. One who apparently cheats.

Tomorrow he will arise from his own ashes to tell us what? He's sorry? Why is he even apologizing? Too whom is it addressed to really? Erin? His kids? His ex's? Or his fans? Either way, it is a waste of airtime and really if I wasn't working tomorrow when it came on, I would rather watch the white monotone guy with the afro on T.V who paints trees than watch Tiger's big conference. Are you serious Mr. Woods in the fact that you believe you can redeem yourself by an on air apology? Sorry buddy, but the Olympics are on, even if they are timed delayed, at least I can expect to follow a leader, or a hero, or even at least someone who has earned some respect to actually be watched on T.V.

Gotta go now, that tree painting afro guy is on right now and he's painting spruce's!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dog Gone It !

So once upon a time I did bring a stray dog home here about 4 months ago. I was told to get rid of it. The dog did crap on the carpet as soon as it got in the door after all. Yes, and I know some of you are saying, "Duh, it's a dog!" I know it's a dog. He was really cute.

Now tonight coming home on the snow machine with Melissa on board, we get off to ......sorry, this sentence comes 35 minutes later. The story was building up to a dog we found, but he is gone. I am posting the picture of the little guy. A friend we know
has seen him in town before and tried to rescue him, she seen me outside with him just now and wanted to take him home badly. Knowing he would be better off with her, I let him go, gave the dog food we had bought and toy and treats and seen him off. In the short hours he was with me following me around the house and cuddling in my arms, I miss him already.

I never knew your name little guy, but I did call you Buddy a lot. So Buddy it was.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hello There

If I can ever come away with anything from my blogs it is this: gratification in knowing someone has actually been reading these things. Ok, so I know I have hits per day. I can see my visitor tracker. I know someone is visiting my page, but are they actually reading this stuff? As it turns out, I have an actual reader who confirmed, they do indeed READ my blogs! Not only did they confirm this, but did so IN person! Wow, look at me, a little guy getting fans coming up to me just to meet the famous Prince of the North!

Ok, it really is just simply more so someone who reads my blog happened upon me while at work knowing full well who I was because they read my blogs. I'm not that famous that people will fly around the world to come meet me, just yet. Give it another couple of blogs. Seriously, I would like to thank her for taking time out of her morning to stop and chat with me. To keep her identity safe, all I will say is, "Hi", she knows who she is. Lol.

She is the second person I have met who reads my blogs. Aside from my fiancee that is and her family, but I know them already. So with that said, I certainly was encouraged, and very enthused by the whole thing. To me, this was the gratification I had been seeking from my blogs even though I never knew I was.

On another note totally not related, tonight I decided a little treat for my fiancee. I made some hot chocolate, put it in a thermos, and loaded up the ski doo. I took her out on the land under the cover of darkness lit only by the green shimmer of the Aurora Borealias above us and a flickering headlight from the snow machine while aiming the skis for the white snow ahead. We arrived at a spot that was great while under the stars to watch the Northern Lights dance with such divinity much like the Roman Goddess of which they were named, Aurora.

We turned off the machine, and heard nothing but the stillness of the land. I unzipped the backpack, took out two plastic white cups and sat them on the seat of the snowmobile and poured in the still steaming hot chocolate from the thermos. We sipped on it and talked and watched the Northern Lights dance around. Small moments like that remind how lucky I am to have had a chance to even meet my fiancee.

I love you Melissa.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tundra Gods

I wanted to have more photos this Sunday to put up of my last couple of trips out on the land seeing as how I have a new snow machine. Second hand it is, but ride well she does. Melissa and I purchased it from a friend we have befriended in town. The buy has been a good one thus far, you know usually anything second hand can be a bad consumer buy and I must say, so far it has been a good one. So last Saturday which was an absolutely gorgeous day in Rankin hovering at around a balmy -27 with wind chill, became the perfect day to go out bombing around. Chris & Becca, neighbours from down the hall purchased a brand new 1200hp snowmobile that is more, how can I say this? Like a Continental Jet Airliner with nothing but first class seats available built on two ski's and a track.

Below is a picture of Becca & Chris's newly named 'The Beast' snow machine.

The next snow machine pictured below is ours.

We also saw a lot of this most of the day. It was hard not to notice this sight everywhere we went.

This was Billy, the seller of the snow machine we bought.

And this is Billy's mew machine which he just purchased.

We spent several hours out of the house this day simply because the weather was right, the machines were all running great and it was a total blast. Unfortunately I have to work through the entire weekend :( Isn't there a law against working all weekend?

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Journey

Something I have been meaning to blog about ever since I began blogging was the road trip my fiancee, Melissa, and I took this past summer in 2009. It began with leaving Kugluktuk, NU. I had left Kug before Melissa did and I had to wait for her to arrive to Toronto before we could begin the long journey we had planned from Toronto, to Ottawa then on through to Nova Scotia and on a cruise boat (even though it's considered a ferry) over on to the Rock, Newfoundland.

This just might well be a extensive blog that will take me a while to put together and hopefully, it won't become so repetitive after a while for you as it will host a whirlwind of photos and explanations. So without further wait... let's begin.

After being in the land of snow and ice for 8 months, I was in desperate need for a familiar sight in my good old home base, Toronto. Particularly, the Beach downtown as it is called. The first picture is the Boardwalk.

After spending some much needed time at the Beach by myself and taking in what I have been missing for so long, I decided to get back to the car to get it in road trip shape before Melissa came home. The Saturn.

Melissa and I, once she got back, decided we needed to visit our secret spot we have. I can only say it is in Ontario somewhere. By the lake, and very peaceful. We used to go there a lot to talk, and spend time with each other discussing our future together. This is the picture you see below as looking out from our car window. It was raining that day we went by. So we never really got out.

Melissa and I have come to learn the word 'compromise' well. In doing so, we were able to make a deal with each other seeing as how I wanted to spend like there was no tomorrow on a hotel, and she did not. The deal was, her hotel (which was just a college dorm turned hotel in the summer for $50 a night) we would book a room for the first week in. The second week was a shorter stay which was in the Delta Chelsey. For a total of $600. Not including food we ordered.

As nice as the room was, the food was just as you would suspect from a 4 star hotel. Below, are a few of the dishes we had tasted, savored and paid for through the nose to enjoy.

After all that food, I needed to just relax on the balcony and enjoy my favorite beer, Steam Whistle made only in Toronto I might add, in the warm evening air. The picture shows the Toronto night life at it's best from a bird's eye view.

At some point we decided to go for a walk in downtown Toronto before we had to leave and head off to Montreal. I had decided what better way to enjoy Toronto than to head out for a few drinks. I finally had a chance to try my first Mojito! I was not disappointed.

Since meeting Melissa, I have come to learn her favorite animal in the world is the Penguin. I have racked my brain for a year trying to think how can I get her to finally see them up close and personal. I finally found it. But we had to get to Montreal. So......

All that driving made me tired and I seriously needed my daily dose of a double double large coffee with a shot of french vanilla. However, the sign was all in french, and I was lost on how to order it. Boo Montreal!

After that interesting episode and a lesson in french, we made our first major destination for Melissa to check off her list something she has always wanted to see, and it was inside the Biodome in Montreal.

I had planned for her to get to see some other interesting things first (although she was sure she knew why she was really there) the animals of the tropics were awesome to see.

This next set of photos doesn't do the actual fish tanks any justice for their size as they were immense in size. Can you spot the cod fish?

After spending nearly over an hour checking out the south tropical animals of the world, many of which weren't posted here, we reached our final destination. Melissa for the first time, got to see her beloved Penguins. And she was enthralled with them.

Ok so off we were through Quebec, which really, wasn't much to see but highway.

Our next stop was Ottawa. The capital of Canada.

I also actually met some very nice policemen who were kind enough to let me take a photo of them while in action on the job! I finally thought this was my chance to catch some very devoted lawmen in action, at their best.

Fast forwarding a wee bit, we finally got to Prince Edward Island.

And on to somewhere I hadn't been in over 20 years, home to Nova Scotia. Seeing this sign made me feel good.

Although it seems if I never really took enough pictures, we did, I just chose not to post everything here. But some just had to be shown.

My stop in Nova Scotia was for one purpose, to see family in Truro and boy it was great to see some faces I hadn't seen in many years. And although I am posting a lot of photos, these don't include many of my family unfortunately. However, I wanted to post a couple of my uncle's horses. He is a harness racer and has some great horses.

Passing through Truro was fun, we came to a great little motel by the name of Berry's Motel and let me tell ya, if your ever in Truro you need to get a room there. Clean, super friendly staff as it is a family owned business and only $75 a night! Wireless internet and just real down home like. I didn't get a photo of this place, I wish I had one for you. However, as we moved on and passed through Cape Brenton, we came upon the strangest thing I ever saw....

The next thing I would have stopped at if we weren't so tired trying to get to North Sydney to get on the ferry boat was Lick A Chick! Supposedly, this is an awesome place for chicken. I never been there. Even though I was so close, we drove right past it....cluck...cluck.

Finally it was on to North Sydney where the Sydney Mines are.

Finally, after a couple of days (our stay on the way back was much longer) we headed off to the ferry boat and on towards Melissa's home, Newfoundland. We boarded the ferry boat, parked our car, got our over night bags out and headed off down the narrow aisle of the ship to find our cabin. This was it.

After settling in, I had to go explore. Then I found the video game room and the most awesome racing ever. The kid beside me thought he was good until I sat down beside him and kicked his butt. Then......busted the game for both of us.....literally.

We made it to Newfoundland as we slept over night, at about 8am in the morning we got up, got in our car and waited for them to let us off. The air smelt great, salty and very home like. Melissa was a very happy girl, and I was excited for her. As it was, I needed a double double coffee from Timmy's.

The place I enjoyed most, was Quidi Vidi Brewery. Why? Because of the beer silly why else!! Check it out, because if my face doesn't say how I feel about beer, then I don't know what does.

Another place I wanted to see was the Geo Centre. A museum built right into the millions of years old rock. Very cool actually.

I really had to make a personal stop somewhere in Newfoundland to update the colour in my body art. So, I stopped in for a tattoo repair.

We did some sight seeing at other places. Like this beach like area that was really spectacular when looking at it from up high on the road.

Ok, we went to two weddings, you all know what happens there, and I really would have posted the photos, but there were so many to choose from so I decided to skip over it and get right to the end of this super long blog. My final shots from atop of Signal Hill over looking St. John's, NFLD at dusk. Enjoy.