Monday, May 31, 2004

Oops! Just Stepped In A Pile Of Pride. . .

You haven't been graced by a 'Spicer Rant' for a whole week now. I hope I haven't sent any of you into convulsions from the withdrawal you may be having. I've sort been on the MIA because of some really aching ribs. If your asking, 'What's wrong with your ribs?" then obviously you skipped the enthralling read that is Log v. Body. I do understand that several paragraphs can be a scary thing and I understand if rather than reading it you curled into a ball begging for your teddy. I like my teddy too. For those who refuse to read it, all you need to know is I gave my ribs a sound beating courtesy of flipping into a log. Since that day, my ribs have been more of a nag than a pal. The thing that really took me out of commission was the fact that I still worked at the beginning of the week rather than rest like my doctor had asked. By the time Thursday waltzed in, I wasn't even capable of crawling out of bed (though crawling out of a top bunk usually results in a slight drop).

My master plan, was to pretend that I wasn't hurt at all and to continue to work all week. Most people had their suspicions especially when I grunted in pain everytime I moved. Actually, most said it was a painful experience just watching me. If I had to watch me than I would be in pain too because everything I did was agony. Yet I decided to try to suck it up and work. Surprise, surprise but continuing to work only made things worse. My attempt to try to keep on working in order to help Medeba left me in a spot where I couldn't even lay in bed without crying like a baby who dropped his suck toy. Hindsight says, my strategy sucked.

Here's a little secret, I hate asking for help. I hate looking like I need help. Most of all, I hate thinking that I may be letting someone down. There isn't much worse in my eyes than disappionting someone. In my eyes, I'd rather crawl around in utter agony than think that I wasn't able to do my duty. Sitting here today, I need admit that is a weakness. For the longest time I had convinced myself that is a strength of mine. No matter what, I'd push myself to do the job. Now I realize, sometimes the right thing is to admit you can't do it.

I learned that those moments where I think I am being a hero I'm actually being a big idiot. I've found myself stepping in a big pile of pride and allowing my ego to do the dictating. This week of reflection has shown me that I wasn't helping anyone. It wasn't about being loyal or hardworking. It was being stubborn and prideful. I was afraid about looking bad. The truth is, in the end I never looked worse.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Troy. . .

I got a rare chance to escape off Medeba property and as much as I love the place, I jumped at the chance to reach civilization. Not that Kinmount could be considered that. If you haven't ever heard of Kinmount just realize there is a reason for it. I think it's sole purpose of existing is for the movie theatre it holds. It's a movie theatre/museum place. It's quite the experience for the firt time goer. A lot of neat old memoirbillia that has compiled over the last five decades of film. Though for someone who has been there many times, it sort of just becomes a very small theatre with lots of old junk. It has style and it's a nice place especially since it's the only decent theatre in the surrounding area. On Monday's movies are only $4.75.

Troy is going for that summer blockbuster feel. I wouldn't be surprised if the studio had an Oscar on their minds. Afterall, Braveheart and Gladiator walked away with such awards. These epic battle movies do have a precendence for doing well at the Academy Awards. I am a big Braveheart fan but I actually thought that Gladiator was not a deserving winner of an Oscar. The film never gave that special feel that deserves Best Film of the year or at least, I never felt it. I'd have to say that Troy lacked that feel as well.

As for a big budget, CGI, battle epic it was a pretty good movie. The story was good enough filler to keep you entertained while waiting for more action. The final battle scene provides all the drama you'd expect and want. It's a fairly predictable movie even if you don't know the Mythology of the Trojans. Speaking of Mythology, that is the one thing about this movie that jumped out at me. The movie was played as much more of a historical film rather than a myth. The gods never appeared in the movie but were only referenced. You'd almost be led to believe that they didn't exist which would be fine in a historical film but this was based off Greek Mythology which the god's are very real. Plus Achilles was more of a great warrior rather than someone who is invincible. You look past that and you're going to have a pretty fun time.

Actually, not to be a fuss pot but two other things have just stuck in my mind. Why is that Hollywood is convinced everyone in the world is white? Would it have killed the movie to have Greek or Mediterean actors in this film? I always find it hard to buy films like this when everyone is played by American actors. Another thing is the same thing that sort of bothered me in the Passion of the Christ. I think the director assume people know too much. I felt some more backstory could have helped in this film. A better understanding of the significance of Achilles. They don't really explain why he was such a great warrior or why the shot to the his heel was significant. Though since this movie was played more for historical, I can understand they wanted to leave out the whole Achilles being dipped into the water as a baby. In my opinion, going the mythological route wouldn't have been a bad thing. Especially since Lord of the Rings is a hot item, it's not like people don't buy fantasy right now.

All in all, it was a well spent 4.75. I'll probably end up owning the DVD when it comes out. I'm a sucker for a fun battle epic movie.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

About that Medeba . . .

I mentioned how I was pretty passionate about Medeba. I get you all pumped about LDP (if that post didn't get you pumped than let's just pretend, okay?) Anyway, I decided that I'll do Medeba a little shill job and direct you over to their website. It also saves me the time of having to type a post all about them and explaining them. So, do your duty and give Medeba some hits.

Body v. Log. . . log wins, this time. . .

For those who don't know me or for those who know me but have the memory of gnat, I've been doing a Leadership Development Program for the last 9 months. The people within the program give it the orignal title of LDP (if you wonder why then you should reread what the program is called in the first sentence again. . . got it now?). The program is run out of a camp called Medeba in the buzzing metropolis of West Guilford (for the sarcastically unaware, that's aka the boonies), Onatrio. Medeba is actually a place that I hold very dear to my heart. It's a camp that I've worked at every summer for the last 8 years (one summer being only for a week since I decided I'd follow the big money of a grocer clerk over actually being happy). This year I decided to finally take the plunge and take the program they run the other 10 months of the year (in case you just aren't following here, the other 2 months is a summer camp. . . now keep up!!!) The program is about training leaders using outdoor adventure skills. We learn such skills as whitewater kayaking, rock climbing, ice climbing and the list goes on and on (okay, not really but I'm not in the mood to list everything). We then teach said skills to school groups that come up and I enjoy that because I get to be the centre of attention (remember my first post, I'm all about the attention). We also get to go on a lot trips such as a paddling trip to North Carolina, a ski trip to the Chic Chocs in Quebec and an ice climbing trip to the Adirondaks. I have to say that it has been a pretty wild time and I'm really glad I decided to take it. When I'm feeling extra motivated, I will eventually post a whole horde of the stories and adventures I've gained over this year (I know 10 months isn't a year but do you need to be so technical???) For now you'll just have to wait in eager anticipation. Since I've filled you in on what I'm doing this year let me inform you what us crazy LDPs did today.

Ontario has this river called the Madawaska. If you use your amazing recall skills, you might remember that whitewater paddling is one of the things us zany LDPs do. It just so happen that today we found ourselves at the Madawaska. In another odd coincidence, the Madawaska contains some rapids. It only made sense that we, the brave LDP, would kayak the mighty Madawaska. Or in the case of some of us (i.e. me), do something that looked strangely like kayaking but was actaully screaming in a boat while bouncing off rocks.

A little quick backstory, LDP went to North Carolina for 8 days of paddling. I only paddled for 2 of those days. I know that doesn't sound like a very good use of a paddling trip and I would have to wholeheartedly agree. It was hard to continue to paddle when your right arm is in a sling and you have no movement in your right hand. I would love to tell the great story that caused my arm injury but I'm completely baffled as to how I did it. I did exit from my boat at one point but after I returned to said boat, I don't remember my right arm screaming in agony (I'm pretty sure I'd remember if my right arm started making a noise). I do remember my arm being battered and useless after returning from that day's paddle. I just don't know what caused it unless my arm just decided to randomly tear a tendon out of boredom. I've since told people I bashed up against a rock mainly because people don't like to accept the random, out of boredom tendon tear. Anyway, this post isn't about the North Carolina trip so let's hop back to the now.

I hadn't paddled since the injury which was end of April. I was pretty eager to finally get back in a boat and be battered by the unforgiving river. Like I said before, I don't paddle as I just sort of get tossed around like a good chef salad. After a 3 hour drive in the morning, the 6 of us (5 out of 10 LDP and one instructor) arrived at the Madawaska. This was when I was reminded we are amongst a long weekend. I like living up here because it's usually easy going and quiet. But once May long weekend arrives, you quickly learn why this is called cottage country (West Guilford is in Central Ontario near Haliburton which is probably another place you never heard of). The roads where filled with a bunch of people from Toronto who decided they should leave their driving skills in the big city. For whatever reason, cottagers seem to think that normal rules don't apply up here. A quick note, everyone up here find cottagers a pain in the butt. They take all the good parking spaces. They fill up the once quiet sidewalks and then leave them with a nice dose of litter. You drive like morons. Of course, I'm talking like I live up here but I'm only visiting for a year. I'm a city boy too. So, don't take the moron comment too badly considering the whole pot call kettle black philosophy. Anyway, when we arrived to the river it was filled up with a lot of weekend warriors. I can't really go on a bitter tirade because everyone of them was 5X the paddler I am. I'm just some schmoe who bounces off rocks. It was the first time I've ever seen a river so full of people. It gave me a sad realization of what I can expect from here on in (since city folks don't pack it up until Fall rolls around which happens to be my leave as well).

You still with me? Good. LDP finally venture off into the river to be treated to a 45 minute paddle on flatwater. Flatwater is where I'm king. Of course, you have to ignore the fact that I can't paddle straight. At least, I'm not bouncing off rocks and crying for my mom. After the 45 minutes of non-action (good non-action because the scenery is beautiful as long as you can mentally erase the cottages) we arrive to the first big set of rapids. I almost pee myself. Luckily, I found a nearby tree and kept my swim trunks from a soiling. The first set rapids definitely earned their name of rapids. These weren't the type of rapids that you point at and mock with such names as 'wussy' and 'momma's rapid'. The rapids contained waves that could eat you up then spit you out but then decide to eat you so they could spit you out again. That would be enough to freak me out except there where a whole lot of paddlers playing on these fierce waves. If I had pride or dignity then I'd have been fearful of having all those paddlers around because I'd have my ego wrecked. They are just playing on the rapids while I'd most definitely being eaten and spitted. That wasn't what scared me about the paddlers. I saw them as obstacles to be added to the already scary waves. Not only do the waves give me the creeps but while on said waves I have a plethora a kayakers to run into it. Not really how I wanted to start the day.

Here is the thing about running a river, in order to run it you actually need to go through the rapids. So, as appealing as clinging to a rock and crying was, I finally decided to brave the rapid. I braved it right after every other LDP went. I decided that I would follow them precisely because they knew exactly what they were doing. Then I watched as a fellow LDP did the first flip in the waves and had to bail from his boat. I then apparently proved I must not be so good at 'Simon Says. . . ' because I didn't follow my LDP friends at all. They went away from the big scary hole caused by the waves while I went right in it. At the time I thought I had followed them but I didn't really have a lot of time to ponder this because I was being eaten and spitted. Next thing I knew, I was upside down and shortly after that I was floating in the rapids. What a way to start off my glorious return to paddling, I swim on my first set of rapids.

After that, I started to get my paddling groove on. Until we appraoched the next set of scary rapids. These rapids had three ways to approach them: you could try to paddle to the left avoiding the huge waves but trying to break through a wall of water getting to calmer water, paddling to the right but being careful not to miss the calm water and being sucked into crazier waves, or going heads on with the waves plowing straight through the middle (also known as the Not Guts No Glory Route). I was fine with having no guts and decided that going to the left was the most appealing. I did. Or at least, I tried. I paddled hard to the left but the wall of water apparently didn't want me to go through and spit me back into the centre. So the gutless wonder was now going for the glory. I had no choice but to paddle straight through but making sure I yelled as loud as possible. I learned that a good yell will make up for any lack of skill one may have. I made it through that set of rapids and felt I was truly the man.

Until we got to another set of rapids. I was pumped and all ready to prove my new found manhood until I watched one of my instructors tip in the rapids. Then I decided, along with a few other LDPs, that going upstream seemed a lot more appealing. Of course, you don't really go so far when you paddle upstream. Thus eventually it was only a matter of time the rapids needed to be faced. They got faced. They actually turned out to be pretty wimpy. I fellt pretty foolish for paddling from them. Luckily, feeling foolish is a daily ritual so it wasn't anything new. I definitely couldn't claim being the man anymore.

We went through a few more straightforward rapids and this time I decided to paddle for them rather than away. I slowly started to get the feeling of 'man'ing up the river. Until we came across a big set waves. A real big set of waves. Waves that would be more than happy to eat and spit me all day long and then come back to do it again on Sunday. I was pretty sure they were in the midst of plotting to destroy a small village. They could do it. They could do whatever they wanted. They were monster waves with the intent on destroying all in their path. Being the man I was, I decided to find another route.

Right beside the waves of destruction, was a small route of rapids that came from around a giant boulder. The boulder seperated this route from the crazy wave path of extreme horror. I voted that the route beside the boulder was my place of choice. Three other LDPs stood by my choice. One of my instructors (we had two now because one met us there), didn't like that route and felt it was pretty unsafe. He didn't like the fact that the rapids seemed to be pushing up against a giant log (keep log in memory bank because it might be important later). He tried to convince us that the giant waves weren't so evil and all LDPs could master them. We decided he was crazy. So, he gave us the advice to paddle hard and be wary of the log (remember that log!). He promised to be nearby in case it got ugly. I was pretty convinced this route would be easier than tying my shoes. Then again, I forgot that mostly through elementary school I used velcro.

I was all pumped and raring to blast through this route that did have a fair share of rocks and gremlins (though the gremlins where hiding under the rocks). The more I looked at it, it did looke like a hard route. My new belief in the hardness of the route was confirmed when a fellow LDP did a tip into the rapids. It was too late and I was off to the races. I was 'man'ing it up all over again. I was showing these rapids who was boss. Then the rapids showed me to the log. I was tipped right into said log. Thus it was the match of the ages, my body battling with a solid log. Or moreso, it was my left ribs being crushed into the log. Next thing I knew, I was upside down and beng slammed into Mister Log. My ribs weren't liking it so much. I wasn't liking the fact I felt like I was trapped up against this log. Luckily, once and awhile even the weakest of people get a rush of adreline. I was able to finally push away for the log and tear myself from my boat. I got to shore. This time, I new exactly why my ribs where feeling a little bashed up. I wasn't breathing like a champ. I was hurting like a chump. After a few minutes of sitting and panting, I was breathing and just aching (which I hear is a better option then not breathing and rotting).

Michael (I've decided to name one of the instructors now) informed me that was probably one of the scariest things he ever saw. He thought I was going to be trapped under there. I proved how truly manly I am by getting out of there alive. Okay, he didn't say that last sentence but he was thinking it, I'm sure. He then checked me for injuries and this is where I felt a little jipped. With the arm injury in North Carolina, I got to have my arm in a sling. That gets major sympathy points from the ladies. This time I didn't have any battle scars at all on my aching left ribs area of my chest. Nothing to show off at all. I did have a grimacing face to show every time Michael decided to poke my left side. I basically looked like a wimp as I gasped in a pain while a man poked my ribs. For an added bonus, it hurts when I laugh, cough or decide to move. At least I can breath fine, let's throw a party (you can bring the ice cream).

From that point on, I sort of became useless. I walked around the next set of rapids. When I decided to tough it up and paddle the rest of the way, I grunted out loud with every stroke. Not so tough when your paddling on perfectly calm water but you sound like you are giving birth (something I don't plan on every really doing. . . I'm selfish like that). Luckily, the river running was almost over and I was able to make it to the end of the trip. I was batterd up enough that even my other instructor, Bean, decided to carry my kayak back to the van. A little secret, I'm not so good at letting people help me. Having her carry my kayak helped reaffirm I was a beaten man.

I'm back home now. Trying not to cough or laugh or have random people poke me on my side. I have to say, I was glad I went on this trip. Hurting isn't my favourite thing but I got a lot out this experience. You can't master the river everytime. Failure is where the real learning is found. I'm glad I wasn't my best on this river. Now, I have something to shoot for. I learned some of the mistakes I made such as big waves being better then hard log. I will be back. Madawaska will feel my wrath. That log will not win the rematch!!!!

Friday, May 21, 2004

The Truth Of Nice Guys. . .

In the grand spectrum of the dating world, I would be considered a 'nice guy'. Or at least, that is what a girl told me right before I was informed she won't be able to make it on our date tonight or any other one after that. Nice guys are that breed of male that girls always wonder why they can't find any. Then the girls find nice guys and realize they'd rather dump the darlings then date them. You may be thinking that I'm about to compose a manifesto that proclaims all nice guys never get their due but instead are the unfair punching bags of mean girls. If that is what you're expecting than you are about to get disappionted. Sorry nice guy, this is no reaffirmataion for you.

Nice guys are highly overrated. A girl should never date a guy just because he happens to be nice. I've heard many times throughout my travels (mostly to the fridge for more ice cream)that a girl should give some poor sap a chance because he is so nice. Or that the girl should have never ended that relationship because the guy was such a sweetheart. When was the law passed that a girl should date a guy soley because he likes her and is nice (I'll admit such a law would have saved me from playing Uno with my mom every Friday during high school)? As for the people always getting on the girl's case for breaking the nice guys heart, why don't they pick up these great catches (why can't gummie worms be good bait for fish)?

Why doesn't the rule of 'date him because he's nice and deserves it' apply with friendships? I know a lot of nice people but I'm not going to just become their best friend. Some nice people just happen to have nothing in common with me. I've been in rooms with nice people where we basically stare at each other and drool. Drooling isn't a stupendous way to spend a Saturday night (it's more of a Tuesday thing) Some nice people just happen to be dull or silly or smelly (it's true, some nice people don't shower). The point is though, every nice person will hopefully find love and happiness, they just may not deserve it with their current crush . Just because a girl has decided that they no longer want to date said nice guy, they haven't become a She-Devil (though if she starts to grow horns you've got an argument). They are allowed to dump the man.

Now, I'm not encouraging all girls to run out and date tattooed bikers who bite heads off kittens. I'd probably suggest staying away from kitten eater. I honestly despise how a lot of guys treat girls (thus the reason I fall under the nice guy banner). I really want all girls to find a guy who treats them right. I hope girls can find a guy who is nice and sweet to them. I'm just saying that just because a guy is kind, sweet and nice doesn't make him a catch. Girls do need to be attracted to him in whatever way it takes a girl to be attracted to mister man. He needs to have the looks or personality or hobbies or kicking movie collection it takes for the girl to be happy with him.

Coming from a 'nice guy', girls have every right to overlook us. They have every right to dump us and watch us melt into a mass of gelatine before their eyes. If it feels right, guys can cry themselves to sleep while listening to Celine Dione but they also need to realize no crime was commited (well. . . the dumping wasn't a crime but a male actually listening to. . . ahem). The girl was allowed to dump him flat on his bony butt (not that I was checking the guys butt out).

Now, nice girls don't really get the sympathy party from me either but it's basically the same song and dance so just reread the post but switch the genders around.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Hey Look At Me!!!!

It was only a matter of time. My desire to have all attention stowed upon me. My desire to rant and rave even when no one is listening. I knew eventually I'd tire of entertaining my stuffed bear and Rock action figure. I am now branching out in an attempt to find more people to pay attention to me. I'm not sure if I actually have anything important or interesting to say but I do know I crave the attention. For now, I'll just type whatever fun thought pops into my head and at some point, something thrilling will arrive from it. I'm hoping for the whole thousand monkies at a thousand typewriters philosophy. If I rant long enough then I'm bound for gold. Right? Hello? Where you going? Aw man. Don't leave. I'm lonely.