28 December 2010

Christmas, unwrapped - Part 2

Time/Date: 1655, 28-Dec-10
Location: I didn't move too far since posting Part 1 an hour ago...

As some of you might have read here before, I'm not really a big fan of random, useless stuff and clutter.

I'm going through a phase in my life where I'm trying to live a little simpler & frugal, opting to focus on meaningful experiences, such as travel, fly fishing and becoming more financially secure. Did I mention fly fishing? I like to do that.

Of course, unfortunately for me, this does not coincide with what Christmas has become for an increasingly large part of society.

DJ B-Ray posted this video from Bill Maher a few days before Christmas. It is definitely worth paying attention to.

That provides a really good explanation for most of my Christmas shopping (& wish list) in 2010 (though, being as awesome as I am, I had most of my shopping done long before I watched the video).

I wanted to get useful gifts for the important people in my life. Not just 'stuff they might need' but actual, put-to-good-use types of things.

For some close friends & family, I took it a step further.

They received donations made in their name to Kiva.org. Kiva provides entrepreneurs in developing countries with micro-financing to help them get their business off the ground. It isn't 'just' a hand-out; those receiving the loans are required to pay them back. And most of them do. 98.91% of them, to be precise.

As for my 'wish list,' I didn't ask for much and was very lucky with what I received:

- my gorgeous gf picked me out a really cool book (Four Fish, by Paul Greenberg) and added gift cards for a bookstore & coffee shop.
- the folks & my brothers picked me up some very useful odds & ends (coffee, Esso gift cards, iTunes gift cards, etc).
- my roommates picked me up Fishpond's super-cool Southern Cross Fishing Journal.
- Chris & his fiance at Fredericton Outfitters gave me a classic salmon fly (pictured below), tied & mounted by Scott Doncaster.

All said & done, a pretty good haul for a quasi-minimalist :)

Thanks to my friends & family for the wonderful gifts; more importantly, thanks for being my friends & family.

Christmas, unwrapped - Part 1

Time/Date: 1515, 28-Dec-10
Location: snowy F'ton

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season!

My holidays are going quite well, though, like most people, it's been a little hectic. Made apparent by this being the first post I've written in eight days.

I was very happy to make it to the family homestead, if only for ~22 hours. I got to see my folks and grandmother, and my younger brothers both made it home from school. I've only been home for Christmas twice over the past five years; it was nice to be home.

On Christmas Night the entire Nicky Zees complex (of which Lava Vodka Lounge is a part of) held its 8th annual charity night. A portion of bar sales & cover charge was donated to the Fredericton SPCA for the second year in a row. Last year, over $2000 was donated to the SPCA.

This year, I went with a little side-venture for charity in addition to the SPCA: I decided a few days beforehand that I would donate all my tips & wages from working the bar at Lava on Christmas Night to charity: water.

My preference for charity: water comes from their policy of 100% of a public donation goes to field operations. If someone was to donate $20, all $20 goes to a project. No portion goes to administrative costs (one charity in Ontario was spending $61 to raise $100, a net benefit of $39 per $100 donated. Not cool, in my mind).

I am very pleased to announce the fundraising went extremely well. I set an (overly ambitious) goal of raising $500; when all was said & done, $495 was raised. I threw in the extra $5 to make it an even $500. Cheating to reach my goal? Perhaps. But who's going to call me on it?

With $500 raised, 25 people will now have the ability to drink clean water for the next 20 years.

Many people came in to Lava & tossed some extra money into the pot; without them, this wouldn't have been possible (for more info on how the night went & who helped make a difference, check out Lava's Facebook page). All things considered, all it took from me was a little typing on Facebook & Twitter and going without an income for one night.

I think that's an acceptable cost.

Music time:
This is one of the few overplayed songs on the radio I enjoy hearing 6 times a day. Enjoy!

20 December 2010

Anybody else looking forward to this???

Time/Date: 1750, 20-Dec-10
Location: F'ton

I am. Can't wait. Seriously counting the days until I can go see this:

I was a bit of a cowboy myself, back in the day in the rugged northeast of Nevada:

I really thought I'd get a call for a supporting role in True Grit, but the Coen Brothers must have thought differently. I thought I could win them over with this shot:

I guess I should have worn the eye patch.

Tickets for the Heineken Music New Year's Eve event are moving fast! The event features the David Myles Band with Ross Neilsen & the Sufferin' Bastards.

Tickets can be picked up at Read's Newstand, downtown on King Street.

16 December 2010

Fish more (& 10 other things for 2011)

Time/Date: 1515, 16-Dec-10
Location: F'ton

Last night I wrote the following on my whiteboard:
  1. FOA FB Ev (translation: do the Facebook event for fly-tying night at Fredericton Outfitters & Anglers)
  2. H-wash trav tow (translation: hand-wash my new quick-dry travel towel so I don't turn blue in Senegal & freak out the villagers)
  3. compost/garbage/vacuum (self-explanatory)
  4. sort/shred paperwork
  5. WRITE!!
I have an unnatural affinity for whiteboards, ask anyone who has worked with me. I also like lists (more on this in a moment).

After accomplishing 1 through 4, I browsed my RSS feed & came across Thoughtwrestling's 11 for 11 posts. Simply brilliant. As I said, I like lists. I've been thinking about what's coming up for 2011. My fifth task on my whiteboard was write. So why the hell not.

Note: these aren't resolutions. I hate new years resolutions. They're 11 things I'm going to focus on in 2011. There's no binding contract with the New Year baby or anything like that. Consider this a framework.

1. Fish more.
This is a given. 

2. Travel more.
It's not like I don't travel a fair bit already; for instance, in 2010:
  • Feb-Mar: 5 weeks working in Northern Ontario;
  • June: 3 weeks working in Northern Ontario
  • July: 3-day vacation in Montreal
  • Aug-Sep: 3+ weeks working in Burkina Faso
  • Nov: 9 days working in Nova Scotia
  • Nov: 2 days fly fishing in Louisiana
What's frustrating is this: ~90 days were spent working out of town & I didn't bother, for whatever reason, to do anything but work. For instance: I spent 13 hours at CDG airport in Paris & didn't do anything. So that is definitely going to change (details of my 2011 travel goals will be in an upcoming post).

3. Walk more. Drive less.
This is not some hippy, carbon footprint thing. This just makes sense for physical, mental & financial well-being. Burn less gas, burn more fat, burn less money. And reduce my carbon footprint! Ha! Gotcha! (ps - add biking to that, too)

4. Train myself to eat more fruit & veggies.
I'd really like to get to the point of a banana, apple or pear is my first thought for something to eat.

5. Train Awesome to be an off-leash dog.
This is high on my priority list. I would love to take Awesome more places but...well, let's just say he's special (he's a rescue dog). I'm afraid if he was off-leash, he'd put the ears back and head back to Seattle. He dislikes winter more than I do.

6. Less bullshit.
I've been working on physical & digital clutter. Moving on: mental clutter. Examples: I don't need to read how much of an asshole Toronto's new mayor is. Or how ignorant the typical poster on CanadaEast & CBC-NB's comment section is. This means more time doing fun things. Like fishing. Or making LAVA even more awesome.

7. Read more meaningful material.
I already read a lot. Probably more than you. But I want to read more classical and/or thoughtful literature. First up: Generation A by Douglas Coupland. After that: Thoreau's Walden.

8. Fish even more...
...and practice casting, practice knot-tying, tie more flies, improve my ability to read the water, meet more anglers, so & so forth.

9. Get my financial house in order.
It's not like it's bad...I just want to make it better. My philosophy from 2010 hasn't changed: paying off debt doesn't mean having more money to spend, it means there's less pressure to make money. That equals more time...to fish more. Travel more. And train Awesome.

10. See more (local) live music.
This doesn't really need an explanation, but if you're so inclined, check my music page for how I feel about this.

11. Help more.
There are people & organizations I helped in 2010. They will continue to receive my help, though some may get more & some may get less. There are others I hope to start donating time and/or money to. I'll probably mention them here from time to time. Everybody's got something to give to help others, be it time, skill or money.


11. a) (Bonus) Learn to say 'no' more.
Some people don't understand "working for yourself" means I still have to work and it's not all fun times & lollipops. Whatever the reason, I won't be rude about it, and I'll probably provide alternative options & solutions, but I will have to say no. Yeah, I know, it sucks.

Any big plans or changes for 2011? Throw 'em out there in the comments section.

Here's some music:

14 December 2010

iPod/iPhone apps I like

I've been more or less obsessed with adding apps to my iPod touch in the past couple of weeks.

I started with some of the photography apps I mentioned in previous posts. I'm a really big fan of Hipstamatic, as I ended up shooting almost all of my redfish trip to Louisiana with it.

Some of the other apps added recently include:
- Orvis fly fishing app (extremely cool);
- ScotiaBank (useful for account balances & basic banking);
- PDF Reader Lite (very useful for viewing PDF files);
- Skype (looks cool but haven't used it much yet);
- eBay (good for keeping tabs on your account for selling & alright for searching for items);
- Kayak.com (for flight & hotel searches, still in 'testing phase');
- Blogpress, which I'm writing this post with right now (looks ok so far, we'll see how it posts online soon).

I'm having a fair bit of fun getting into this app craze. I know, it's been around for a while, but I was (am) a blackberry guy for my phone and my first iPod touch was only 16GB (and completely jammed with music).

I will tell you this, though: I will be getting an iPhone in 2011. This is just way too much fun & I like the idea of consolidating my electronics as much as possible.

I'll provide more detailed reviews of apps after I get to use them a bit more.

Let's see how this post turns out online, shall we?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


13 December 2010

Personal visions of hell

Time/Date: 1520, 13-Dec-10
Location: a very soggy F'ton

How soggy? Well, 80-130mm worth of rain is forecasted. Awesome the dog is risking his bladder bursting instead of venturing out in that.

This post was inspired by a bbm conversation with Bucky a few minutes ago:

Bucky: Canadian Sportfishing today did a special on icefishing brook trout
Mat: Ice fishing is the fishing they do in hell in my mind.
Bucky: Yeah! But they were landing 4lb trout
Mat: In the cold. And sitting doing nothing while waiting for the trout to come to their bait. In the cold.
Mat: Could I emphasize that whole 'in the cold' thing a little more? I'd rather go listen to celtic music & have someone call out 'sociable' after every song.

Lecture room for UNB Physics 1040
With that, I've decided to share with you my 2 main personal visions of hell, based on previous life experience:

1. Taking a full-year physics course in the summer.
I did this back in Ought-Three. The course started in the last week of May and finished in the second week of August. It ran four nights a week, Monday through Thursday, from 6:30-9:30PM. There were assignments due almost every class, so Capital O & I would be working on these assignments almost every night until midnight. This class was one of the worse experiences in my (lengthy) academic career.

During the last week of classes, I thought to myself, "My vision of hell would be sitting in this class for all eternity, and then, on the last day of class, the Devil would burst through the door, sodomize me with my failed final exam, tell me I had to do the course again, and make me pay another $800 for it."

2. The Irish bar
I was in shock when I saw the Sopranos episode with Chris, Tony & Pauly talk about the Irish bar in hell:

Christopher Moltisanti: I'm going to hell, T. 
Anthony 'Tony' Soprano Sr.: You're not going anywheres but home. 
Christopher Moltisanti: I crossed over to the other side. 
Anthony 'Tony' Soprano Sr.: You what? 
Christopher Moltisanti: I saw the tunnel. And the white light. I saw my father in hell. 
Paulie 'Walnuts' Gualtieri: Get the fuck outta here! 
Christopher Moltisanti: And the bouncer said that I'd be there, too, when my time comes. 
Paulie 'Walnuts' Gualtieri: What bouncer? 
Christopher Moltisanti: The Emerald Piper. That's our hell. It's an Irish bar where it's St. Patrick's Day every day forever.

The reason for my shock: because several years before, someone wanted to go see a certain celtic band at a certain Irish pub.

My response: "My vision of hell is a god-damned Irish bar with celtic music, probably 'Farewell to Nova Scotia' over & over again. The only break from the shitty music is the lead singer screaming out "Sociable!" every three minutes, you raise your bottomless mug of shitty, warm Keith's draft, and drink."

To me those would be the worse possible scenarios for my demise during end times.

At least they might let me go ice fishing for my 2-week vacation per millennia.

Do you have any personal visions of hell you want to share? Throw 'em down in the comments section.

Here's some music, enjoy.

09 December 2010

A Voluptuous Volume of Vodka (and music)

Time/Date: 1115, 09-Dec-10
Location: F'ton

Click to go to Lava's Facebook page
This was supposed to be a Vodka et Vendredi post last vendredi, but someone (me) forgot to bring their laptop when they went to work early that night, so here it is now.

As a bonus (and because I probably won't write a Vodka et Vendredi post tomorrow), you're getting a 2 for 1 deal on drink recipes AND music today. That's right! Two drink recipes AND two music videos. I'm good like that.

But first:

The crew from Here Magazine, a weekly "Urban Alternative" (i.e., entertainment) paper in Moncton, Saint John & Fredericton, popped in to Lava & really like what they saw, heard & drank. You can read what they had to say in Here, umm, here (pun kinda intended). Hats off to my buddy Dave for being an awesome host & mixologist!

(btw, I didn't realize Here was owned by Brunswick News. Brunswick News being a part of the Irving Group of Companies and owns EVERY news outlet in the province. I wonder how a free, weekly "Urban Alternative" paper fits into their business model. Oh well. Irving family, if you're reading this, I will write & fly fish & put up youtube videos of music for you guys for $200,000. That's right, 411#3 has prices, not principles. They're just high prices.)

Enough of that. On to the drink recipes!

Here's a tasty cocktail that I call the 'Pom & Cran-It,' aka 'the Katie drink,' after my lovely coworker Katie. In a moment of pure genius, Katie decided that Three Olives Pomegranate Vodka would be delicious mixed with cranberry juice. She was right.

So here is the Pom & Cran-It:
  • fill an 8-12 oz tumbler with ice
  • 1 oz (or 2 oz, if you're so inclined) of Three Olives Pomegranate Vodka
  • top with cranberry juice
  • slice of lemon as garnish
That's it. Simple. Tasty.

For the anti-flavoured vodka purist, we have a special treat for you: Kissui Vodka. It's distilled in Japan from rice, so it leaves a faint aftertaste of Sake on the tongue. It's a special-order vodka at Lava, meaning you can't get it at NB Liquor. Our M.O. is get you hooked on something, and then tell you we're the only place you can get it. We're evil like that.

To best enjoy Kissui, I recommend:
  • small rocks glass, with 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1-2 oz of Kissui Vodka
  • squeeze in juice from 1 lime wedge (1/8th of a lime)
As, above, that's it. Simple. Tasty.

Now, music time. 

The boys (& my good friends) at BabZees Entertainment are throwing a New Year's Eve extravaganza, featuring local music superstars Ross Neilsen & the Sufferin' Bastards and the David Myles Band. Tickets are only $25, available at Read's Newsstand on King St. A portion of proceeds are going to the Jim Pirie Foundation, so get out, support a good cause & local music, and have fun!

Check out some tunes below.

08 December 2010

You never know what we've lost, unless you know what we had

Time/Date: 1300, 08-Dec-10
Location: F'ton

I just received the DVD of Rivers of a Lost Coast. It follows the story of the rise & fall of the Pacific salmon & steelhead fisheries on the California coast. It is extremely well-produced, and no writings of mine could really give it justice, so just watch the trailer below.

And if you're on the east coast, like me, I guarantee you're thinking of the Atlantic Salmon fishery while you watch this; it should be required viewing for every minister of fisheries, environment, natural resources, etc.

Keeping with theme of the title, 30 years ago today, John Lennon was taken from the world far too soon. I was only four years old when this happened. My dad loved (loves) the Beatles.

Contemplate & be thankful for what you have. You'll never know when you'll lose it.

01 December 2010

Post of randomness (& 2 cases against hero shots)

First off, I would like to thank everyone who checked out the site for my last post and posted comments & shared the link on twitter, facebook & their own blogs.

I'm trying to get back to my old-timey method of keeping posts to ~250 words (we'll see how that works out).

Today I was helping out at Fredericton Outfitters while the boss was outta town...to bring in a new line of gear!! I can't say what brand yet, but it's some pretty epic stuff. Trust me.

Capt. John Iverson emailed my hero shot from the redfish trip. It's a good thing I'm not all about the hero shot, because I suck at it. I'm not talking about taking it, either; I have that down. Let's review.

First up is the hero shot I snapped of Capt. John. Notice the stance, facial expression, how the red is held, etc...
(shot with Hipstamatic, on an iPod)
And then there's the shot of me. Though I look like I just failed a calculus exam and about to fall over, I'm actually really pumped up about catching this fish. Honestly.

In conclusion, not only do I agree with Davin Ebanks (Flatswalker) regarding being bothered by "countless grip & grin heros shots on the average fish porn blog" (which I'm really trying to stay away from on 411#3), but I have another good reason to dislike hero shots: I'm just not that effin' photogenic!

All said, it was an awesome trip. Highly recommend it. Capt. John Iverson can be booked through his email here or through Uptown Anglers, just next to the French Quarter in the Big Easy.

Click here for a video of Capt. John giving some tips for sight-fishing for reds on WFN. Here's another video with Capt. John talking about the effects of the Gulf oil spill

All for now. In an upcoming post, I'll write about what I learned during my first saltwater fly fishing experience (i.e. you can learn from my f**k-ups).

Here are some tunes:

29 November 2010

13 fly fishing blogs & e-zines to get you through winter

This post has been on my mind for about 6 weeks. Waking up on Saturday with 4" of snow on my truck after being in sunny, 24°C weather in Louisiana finally cemented my resolve to write this.

If anyone detests the cold of winter like I do, you'll appreciate this...or you'll hate me for providing you with so many online distractions and/or getting you depressed because you can't go fly fishing in your particular region (like me).

Below is a list of blogs and ezines that you should definitely subscribe to in order to keep sane while it is colder than a witch's tit outdoors this winter. I'm not ranking them as they each provide something different from each other. They all provide subscription service through email and/or RSS. They are not spammy. Trust me. (Their twitter handles will be provided where possible. I'm all about the twitter...)

So grab a hot chocolate, put your feet up by the fire, and enjoy.

In no particular order:

1. The Trout Underground (@tcunderground)

Read it because:
Tom Chandler is the Bill Bryson of online fly fishing writing. He writes often, provides lots of links, and has a sarcastic wit that anyone who has ever read a Bryson book will appreciate. Tom is all about small-stream fly fishing & posts frequently on conservation issues, especially in his native Northern California.
My favourite post:
There's a lot to choose from, both short & long. I really enjoyed An Underground Quiz: What Kind of Fly Fisherman Are You? and think that's a good place for you to start.

2. Catch Magazine (Catch's blog here)

Read it because:
It has some of the best fly fishing photography & videography found anywhere. Catch is a free e-zine & comes out every 2 months. If you're really not into reading all that much, but like looking at pretty pictures, this one is definitely for you. Bonus: all the back issues are easily accessed from the current issue.
My favourite post:
From Issue #9 (January 2010), Angler's Element: Snow. Which is ironic, considering how much I hate winter.

3. Skate The Fly (@SkateTheFly)

Read it because:
Dylan Rose & cohost Dave McCoy are hilarious and true & total fish bums. I consider that a plus in my books. Their video podcasts involve drinkin' & cussin' & talkin' about fish. Also plusses in my books. Their blog has the occasional rant, pics, philosophical searches for meanings...ok, maybe not. But they're worth checking out.
My favourite post:
Skate the Fly TV, Episode 3, with Coach Duff of Hawaii Bonefishing. They include the following warning: This show contains more profanity than the last Quinton Tarantino movie. My suggestion to Dylan was to make Coach Duff a regular feature in a "what grinds my gears segment" of Skate The Fly TV.

4. Sleeping in the Dirt (SiD's blog here)

Read it because:
Lines like this: Dying one day at a time, in corp. America. Taking back life with every day spent on the water. The site is an account of my days spent living it, quite literally sleeping in the dirt. The guy behind SiD, Aaron Otto, is the guy I find myself totally cheering for in this whole fishing "biz." He publishes an e-zine with "no sponsors, no advertisements...no shit" and just gets out there and does it. Hard core.
My favourite post:
His very recent Year in Review (November 27 archive) on his blog is pretty epic. I loved SiD3: The Road Trip Edition. But everyone should check out the feature on Aaron & his gallery in Outdoor Life's Best Shooters profile.

5. Buster Wants To Fish

Read it because:
Like the fellas at Skate The Fly, these guys are hardcore fish addicts & pull no punches in their writing. The gang of Buster Wants To Fish posts some humorous stuff, including videos, tunes, links and the occasional deep thought.
My favourite post:
Their take on the purity of Tenkara fishing. I couldn't have written it better myself. Though I really wish I did.

6. Deneki Outdoors (@deneki)

Read it because:
They provide lots (and LOTS) of great tips for chasing salmon, trout, steelhead and bonefish. Awesome pics & gear reviews, too. I hesitated putting Deneki on the list, as they are primarily an outfitter, whereas the other blogs are more...independent...but these guys just put up so much awesome material, consistently! And really, if & when I get around to (winning the lottery and) booking a week to the Bahamas to chase bonefish, who do you think I'm going to contact? Probably the guys behind the blog that has taught me a lot about bonefishing.
My favourite post:
Lots of tips to choose from, but their 5 Ways to Blow a Shot at a Bonefish actually came in handy for me last week while I was sight-casting to redfish.

7. This Is Fly (@thisisfly)

Read it because:
It's pretty damn cool. And it's free. This is an e-zine where art, music & fly fishing come together. Published every 2 months, This Is Fly introduces the reader to fisheries & locations that are sometimes outside the typical angler's realm of thought. They also have a daily blog with some cool links, music, videos & other content. Bonus: can't stay online? You can download a PDF of the magazine to take with you, say...on a plane ride, for instance...
My favourite post:
A few come to mind, like finding out my redfish guide in Louisiana was featured in Issue 25...after I had already booked him. And the tarpon article (Tapam) in the current issue is super-cool, too. The article on bonefishing in Los Roque (Issue 23) ranks up there, too. Notice the tropical themes; they'll either get you through winter or cause you to shoot yourself.

8. The Fiberglass Manifesto (@fbrglssmnfsto)

Read it because:
The voice behind TFM, Cameron Mortensen, sent me a t-shirt from a free, random draw! That's enough reason right there! Or you might just enjoy lots of great & informative posts, gear reviews, pics...and chances to win stuff! Cameron is one of the most prolific fly fishing bloggers going, and is also on the William Joseph prostaff and the brains behind fishykid, which promotes getting kids (& parents) out fishing & learning about the environment.
My favourite post:
Any post that gets me a free t-shirt. Ok, I kid. Cameron's tales of fishing in Montana in October are a great place for you to start. (PS-it's not always about fiberglass rods, either.)

9. Bonefish on the Brain (@bjornorama)

Read it because:
Bjorn Stromsness' Bonefish on the Brain is just pure fun. The excitement he gets just writing about bones is infectious. Pics, videos, do-it-yourself tips & gear reviews are the norm.
My favourite post:
Bjorn has lots of great posts & he typically keeps them short (much like I planned to do). His who & why is a good read.

10. The Outdooress (@outdooress)

Read it because:
Rebecca Garlock has bad-ass river cred and is a great writer. She's also co-founder of the Outdoor Blogger Network, which 411#3 is a member of (I managed to write this blurb without mentioning she's pretty hot, too).
My favourite post:
Her quasi-rant on Idaho's governor potentially dismantling the state's parks & recreation department and her post on OBN re: writing an 'About' page are both good starting points.

11. Flatswalker

Read it because:
Great writing. Some of Davin Ebanks' writing is damn near classic literature. Posts are predominantly about fly fishing the flats around his home of Grand Cayman for bones, tarpon & permit. His writings definitely don't do anything to subdue my desires to pack it in & head down south for the winter.
My favourite post:
A post that really resounded with the minimalist in me is Midweek Sermon: Less is More. Of course, I'm a hypocrite regarding that topic, because I will definitely be putting my redfish hero shot up on 411#3. But I justify it by it being my first & only hero shot...so far...if it gets emailed to me.

12. Angler's Tonic

Read it because:
Greg Thomas' blog is a full-service rest stop on the road to procrastination. He's got just about everything covered on his blog: gear, travel, music, food, drinks; you name it. And you can't go wrong with any blog that discusses the virtues of The Tragically Hip...an American that digs the Hip (almost) gives me hope for our neighbours to the south...ok, I kid. You guys are alright. Seriously.
My favourite post:
It isn't totally about fly fishing, but I really liked Greg's post on the Screaming Trees (one of my faves from the grunge period).

13. Idylwilde

Read it because:
The guys at Idylwilde seem to be on a life-long journey. To a frat house. Though it's not all fun & games  over there. They tie flies and then they have to do extensive product testing on said flies. It's a heavy process. Especially the product testing. Product testing in Oregon. Washington. BC. Alaska. Northern California. Other places...bastards.
My favourite post:
I dunno...they're all good. Here, read about their annual steelhead hajj. Where they go away to "work" in BC for a while (seriously, I can't complain too much about my life and I'm not too jealous about the guys at Idylwilde. Well, maybe a little bit).

Well, that's it, folks. I hope you enjoyed the post & also enjoy reading the writers on the list.

Stay warm!

PS- you can also subscribe to 411#3. I can keep you warm at night, too. Subscription details are on the sidebar to the right, near the top.

27 November 2010

411#3 YouTube Channel: The Music & Fly Fishing Depot

The YouTube channel for 411#3 has been updated with all the music & other videos featured in the posts. They're listed under the Favourites to the right of the channel page. Just click on the logo to the right to be taken right there.

(Just do it, it's not like you're going to be any less productive at work)

There's a lot of music in there & I'll (try) to add more frequently.

For you fly fishing types, there are hidden gems of fish porn in there, too.

Speaking of favourites, here's one of my real favourites. Gordie rocks.

25 November 2010

Redfish Trip Pics (part of the Saltwater Chronicles)

I shot all of the pics of my trip with my ipod. I brought my Canon D-SLR with me but didn't end up even taking it out of my hotel room.

I used Hipstamatic for most of them; I really like the retro look the pics get from that app. My only complaint is the 7-10 second "shutter lag" after snapping the pic.

I'll have a more in-depth post about the trip soon, including my own hero shot of one of the reds I caught (hopefully...the guide is going to email them to me).

Flying into NOLA & looking at where I'll be fishing

Yeah, had to do it...

Open beverage laws & advertising 'Huge Ass Beers' on the street: #win

Capt. John Iverson, on the poling platform of the flats skiff

Capt. John one-casts a 12-pound red...

...and then gives me a lesson in proper Hero Shot form

Saltwater Angler (self-portrait). At least I look the part...

22 November 2010

Saltwater Chronicles, Vol. 1 - Teaser

Time/Date: 1930, 22-Nov-10
Location: The Big Easy

Made it into New Orleans yesterday after being up for ~36 hours straight. Grabbed a quick shower & hit the streets for a self-(un)guided tour, found a big ol' greasy burger place staffed by a bunch of (self-proclaimed) queens that called everyone "baby," wandered around a bit more. Lost money playing blackjack, bought a bag pretzels, went back to hotel, and was in bed by 10PM.

Judging by the 18,000 people wandering around (drunk) wearing football jerseys with their faces painted with fleur-des-lis, I made the assumption there was some sort of sporting event going on.

I haven't had a drop of alcohol here, but I love the fact that when I choose to do so, I can wander the streets with my beverage of choice, as long as it's in a can or plastic cup. Hey New Brunswick, is that so wrong?

First day chasing redfish can be classified as a success. Here's the fishing report I gave to Bucky via Facebook:

Spooked a billion, gave 4 fish a concussion by hitting them on the head with weighted flies instead of "presenting" flies 1-2' in front of them, hooked 9, landed 5. Smallest ~5lbs, biggest ~10lbs. And they fight like bulls. Saw my backing twice, even w/ 20lb leader on...pics to come, the guide used his camera.
Had two "mat wants to drown himself" moments: 
1. cranked the guide in the back with a weight fly when starting my forecast. 
2. guide was running the outboard motor, randomly picked up his rod & hooked a 12lb-er on first cast 2 min after I flubbed a cast to a group of 6+ fish & spooked them all. I repeat: he caught it while driving the boat with the motor on. I suck.

Pics & such to come in a (very near-) future post.

Music by The Subways (who have one of the coolest myspace intro vids ever, btw; see it here).

18 November 2010

'About' page for Photos updated

Time/Date: 0130, 19-Nov-10
Location: the woods of NS

The title of this post says it all. You can check it out here.

Included on the page is a semi-cool pic from Girl Talk's performance at FredRock. That shit was nuts. In the fun, Las Vegas-kind of way. Just a wholesome good time.

(Girl Talk just released a new album, btw)

Here's a clip from FredRock. Not the best audio, unfortunately, but pretty sweet view:

Here's "Play Your Part (Pt. 1)"

All for now, sleep tight.

Ipod Photo Phun

Time/Date: 1845, 18-Nov-10
Location: Undisclosed former gold mine in Nova Scotia

I brought my D-SLR on this trip for the trip to Louisiana and figured I'd maybe shoot some pics of the project area too.

Then I got here and realized how dreary of a place it is. The constant overcast weather & continuous off & on rain doesn't help, either.

The forested area the drill rig is focusing on is just like any other forest. Funny thing about a lot of project areas, especially in Canada: see one, see them all.

Strolling around the abandoned mine & mill site provided some semi-interesting shots though. Enter Hipstamatic & Plastic Bullet on my ipod touch.

(get them on iTunes here & here)

It's still dreary, but at least the photos look kinda cool.

Music: Deftones. I could write three posts on them; they've been one of my top 2 favourite bands for quite a while. But I won't. Give 'em a listen.

16 November 2010

Update with some tunes

I promise I'm not letting things go here at 411#3, though I admit the number of posts in November is embarrassingly low. I will definitely attempt to fix that over the short-term; I have been jotting down (dozens of) ideas & topics for posts since I started this racket, and I have yet to scratch the surface.

For now, please accept this as a reasonable facsimile of a post, with, of course, some music below.

Here's what's up:
  • I decided to complicate my life a bit by taking on an additional contract for a drilling program in Nova Scotia. This came up at the last second (called on Friday, onsite on Monday) but it seemed like the right thing to do (at the time). I'm not entirely sure what's in store for 'Geologist Mat' in 2011 (yet) and I have to finance this (fly fishing bum) lifestyle I'm working on somehow. I'm still finishing up data compilation from the project in Burkina Faso while I'm here, so I'm essentially working two contracts at once.
  • This is the second project in a row for me that is predominantly en fran├žais. I consider this a bonus as I still need (a lot) of practice. I'm kinda pissed at myself for not speaking the language since returning from West Africa, especially since my gf est une belle francophone.
  • I think I figured out this font issue I've been having in some posts. My next task is to learn how to embed a music player. If you rather the youtube versions, please let me know (it'll save me some time).
  • The trip to Louisiana for redfish is still on!!! I (somehow) negotiated that into my contract with my client. I'm super-pumped for it (only 5 more sleep!!!) but have yet to cast my new saltwater rig (i.e., old rod & reel with new saltwater flyline; see this post).
  • I'm probably going to (significantly) stimulate the economy of the Gulf Coast while I'm there (hence taking this contract I'm on). Some of these redfish flies go for about $10 a pop!
  • Two weeks or so ago, I wrote about the latest issue of Catch Magazine being released online. I should have held of for 3 hours on that post as I received the email alert from This Is Fly (daily blog here) about their new issue. Click on the image below to check it out; they have great photography, art, music and, of course, fly fishing.
Current Issue of This Is Fly
Here's some Citizen Cope. I've been listening to the Clarence Greenwood Recordings (a lot) while finishing up data compilation.

10 November 2010

Yes, I'm alive...and you should be thankful you are, too.

Time/Date: 1900, 10-Nov-10
Location: F'ton

This is probably the longest I've gone between posts. And this isn't even a full post...

Short version: been busy working on geo data & slinging booze at Lava & helping out at Fredericton Outfitters. And throw in about 30 hours of a flu-induced coma. But that's neither here nor there

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day. It's kind of important. I urge you to do something tomorrow to honour those who have served. Go to the service.  Or turn on the radio & observe the moment of silence. Even if you only donate an extra $2 for a poppy, just do something.

Murch & Meghan posted this video. Yeah, it's from a cell phone company; regardless, it is very poignant. If it doesn't get you even a little emotional, you're a heartless and/or ignorant bastard.

Now that you're all emotional wrecks, I'll bring you back with some fun music; something else to stir a little Canadian pride: Hey Rosetta!

All for now, keep it real.

05 November 2010

Vodka et Vendredi: The Frisky Bison

Time/Date: 2005, 05-Nov-10
Location: F'ton

Remember, remember, the fifth of November...

Ah, never mind, that's for some other blog.

What I really want to talk to you about is vodka. I think that's more important on this Friday night than trying to light a bonfire in the pouring rain. If you'd rather read about Guy Fawkes, click here.

Last week we received delivery of two new brands of vodka that are exclusive to Lava Vodka Lounge. As we strive to have the best & largest selection of vodka found anywhere, we special-order brands unavailable at NB Liquor stores throughout the province.

One of those brands was Stoli Elit, probably one of the finest vodkas I have ever tasted.

Zubrowka, from Poland
But the real surprise was Zubrowka (pronounced "Zoob-ruv-ka"). It's a bison grass vodka from Poland, very "Christmas-y" with hints of sweetness, spice & heat on the tongue.

Being the student of booze I am, I quickly hauled out our reference book to confirm my initial thought: this could be mixed with....apple juice?!? Yes, apple juice.

It's called a Frisky Bison in the UK, and here's the Lava version of it:

Step 1: Fill a small tumbler/rocks glass with ice.
Step 2: Pour in 1 oz of Zubrowka.
Step 3: Add 3/4 oz of apple juice
Step 4: Add 3/4 oz of filtered water
Step 5: Stir & enjoy.

It tastes like apple crisp. Or grandma's apple pie.


03 November 2010

The way I see things...now, anyway...

Time/Date: 1935, 03-Nov-10
Location: F'ton

This isn't a rant. It's more of a manifesto of sorts.

I think it's important for me to put this out there as a basis of what I stand for in that whole "work-life balance" crap.

Yes, this is a fly fishing blog. But, as anyone who has read more than the last three posts, it's a little bit more than that.

What brought this on? A simple IM conversation I had with a fellow geologist.

It went like this:

Not me: "I would think a geology job would be a bit more ideal than working at a bar."
Me: "Yeah, you would think that. But I don't."
Not me: "Well..more respectable at least haha."
Me: "Respectable, huh? I work 18 hours a week, spend lots of time with my dog & gf & friends & other interests without being away 9 month of the year. That sounds respectable to me."

The thing is, I don't just work 18 hours a week. I work 18 hours a week as a bartender. I work my ass off throughout the day, every day. I'm currently working on geotechnical data processing from home. I help out the boys at BabZees Entertainment as much as possible whenever they're doing a show (I actually picked up members of Finger Eleven at YFC this afternoon). I help out at Fredericton Outfitters. I'm on the executive & am the bar manager at the Loyalist Rugby Club. I'm learning to write (hopefully well) and shoot/edit photos via this blog. I volunteer and/or fundraise for the Nashwaak Watershed Association & the Miramichi Headwaters Salmon Federation. I'm attempting to get Fredericton City Council to implement an idling bylaw. And I also get to have a life, girlfriend, dog, etc. In fact, I'm busy as shit & I'm looking to cut back on some of this to have even more time.

The kicker is, I do all of these things, whether they provide income or not, because I want to. Could I do them if I had a "respectable" geology job, being in the field 9 months of the year? Doubt it.

In 2008, I earned more income than I had ever imagined I would in a year. And I was miserable. It wasn't my job; I loved my job. But my entire life was my job. Things came to an end on December 5th, 2008, "due to current market conditions" (my favourite line in my lay-off notice). I had spent 13 out of 16 months in the field...being respectable...and had zero life whatsoever. And it was totally my fault. Not my former employers' fault; it was mine & mine alone.

The last two years of my life have been a total learning experience, and it's definitely not even close to being complete. Do I have all the answers? Hell no. But I can tell you this: I have never been so friggin' happy & content as I have in the last 23 months. Why? Because it's not all about work anymore. Or buying useless shit. Or wearing Banana Republic or Armani or any of that other crap you're "supposed" to wear. It's about appreciating what you have & doing what you love.

While laying on their deathbeds, I'm pretty damn sure nobody has ever muttered, "I wish I worked more" with their last breath.

I'll share two tales, one true, one not, with you. I read these back in early Ought-Nine. Both helped me regain my focus on what's truly important. And both are about fishing.

Tale #1: The true story (taken from Paul Myers' A Simple System to Achieve Your Goals):

A while back I went to a conference in Boulder, Colorado. It was a business conference, but I went because I was curious. There were two people who were going to be there that I wanted to meet.

While there, Jonathan Mizel, the conference organiser, told an interesting story. I'm telling this from memory, so I won't get it word for word, but you'll see the point, I think. It was about his first discussion with his new business coach.

Jonathan was really excited about the process. (He has big goals.) The coach asked him what he wanted to get out of their conversations. Jonathan said he wanted to get rich.

The coach asked him what he meant by rich, and Jonathan said he wanted to make a million dollars. The coach asked him, "What would you do if you had a million dollars right now?"

Jonathan thought for a second and said "I'd go fishing!"

To which the coach replied, "Jon, you don't need a million dollars to go fishing."

Jonathan does a lot of fishing these days. And he's moved from Colorado to Hawaii.

Tale #2: The Parable (what's a parable? Click here):

An American investment banker was taking a much-needed vacation in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. The boat had several large, fresh fish in it.

The investment banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the Mexican how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, "Only a little while." The banker then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican fisherman replied he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The American then asked "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman replied, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos: I have a full and busy life, senor."

The investment banker scoffed, "I am an Ivy League MBA, and I could help you. You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats until eventually you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution."

Then he added, "Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City where you would run your growing enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But senor, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15-20 years."
But what then?" asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You could make millions."

"Millions, senor? Then what?"

To which the investment banker replied, "Then you would retire. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

Understand now?

Here's some Finger Eleven. They're playing at the UNB SUB Cafeteria tomorrow night, check them out. Details here.