30 January 2011

Random Senegal Post, v4.0 - pic

Time/Date: 0805 GMT, 30-Jan-11
Location: Senegal (still)

I tested a new Hipstapak for the Hipstamatic photo app on my iPod, with the 'infrared film.'

It's a pic of the moon through the trees from the other night. I kinda like how it came out.

I listened to a lot of Radiohead last night. Probably due to only sleeping about 70 minutes in the last few days. I don't know why I keep doing that to myself...especially without any vodka involved...


24 January 2011

Random Senegal Post, v3.0 - couple of pics

Time/Date: 1635 GMT, 24-Jan-11
Location: Senegal

Here are a few pics of the camp I'm staying at.

I bought one of the Hipstapacks for the Hipstamatic photo app on my iPod & have been shooting some random pics with it.

And no, I have absolutely no freaking idea why they do that to the trees.

My humble abode...

More music brought to light due to iTunes shuffle:

Flashbacks of the Social Club in mid- to late 90's: $5.50 double dark rum, Murch & Lana slinging booze behind the bar, me & the boys in Loyalist corner. And, in case the dark rum wasn't angering the blood sufficiently, this tune would come on. Shenanigans.

(BTW- Happy b-day, Capital O)

23 January 2011

The Next Adventure (Alternate Title: I'm a sell out)

Time/Date: 2335 GMT, 23-Jan-11
Location: Drill pad on the side of a hill, Senegal

"There's two kinds of rocks in the world: mineralized & unmineralized. Guess which one I care about?" - Me, to a junior geologist, Winter, 2008

My lifestyle of a retired country gentleman was officially put on hold last week.

A few weeks before Christmas, a recruiter contacted me regarding a geologist position. Well, she emailed me last spring, summer and fall regarding this same position. But she actually called me in December.

My answer to her included the words "I'd rather shoot myself in the face if I have to spend eight to ten hours a day logging drill core again."

Turns out the same client was looking for an operations/logistics person, too.

This was fairly significant news, considering the following has been a frequent exchange over the past few years:

Random person: "So, like, does that mean you like rocks & stuff?"
Me: "No, I just like what's in them. Rocks are boring."
Random person leaves, fully confused.

I really like the fast-paced, swing-for-the fences atmosphere and challenges of the resource industry. I like being in the field. I like business development & economics, too. There's are many aspects of this industry I really enjoy.

But sitting in a core shack with hundreds of metres of core under my nose is not one of them.

I've looked at >35,000 m of drill core in a little over 5 years. That's enough.

Fast forward through CVs, phone interviews, emails, reference checks, etc., and I've accepted the offer.

It's my first full-time job in over 2 years. 3 weeks on, 1 week off.

And it's in Mexico.

I love Mexican food.


Unfortunately, this means I'm hanging up the apron at Lava Vodka Lounge. Of all the projects I've been involved in, geological or not, Lava is one of my absolute favourites.

How many of you can say that you've been super-excited to go to work almost every shift? That's how I felt about heading to work at Lava.

So special thanks to Nick, Kris & others for putting up with my shit & trusting my concoctions enough to do taste-tests. Thanks to everyone who came in, frequently or infrequently. It's been a blast & I look forward to being on the other side of the bar with you in the near future.


Things are not going to change too much at 411#3. I'm planning (hoping) to have more frequent fly fishing content, along with pics, travel info and music. And I'll still throw in the odd drink recipe, too.


Here's some music, courtesy of iTunes on shuffle.

18 January 2011

Random Senegal Post, v2.0 - I ponder the arts

Time/Date: 2335 (GMT), 17-Jan-11
Location: Senegal

Note: There’s a pile o’ videos in this post. If you can’t see them in your RSS Reader, click here to go directly to the post.

A minor side-benefit to sitting on drill rigs through night shift: they occasionally break down.

This allows one to do fun activities, like having a sip of water/coffee, eating, using the bathroom, or completing data entry. When the drill is coring, it’s possible to have no chance to do them.

(Un)fortunately for me, even when things are semi-chaotic, I ponder things a lot. Blame lack of focus, multitasking, whatever.

Since I’ve been listening to my iPod non-stop since leaving YFC, I’ve been pondering music. And I’ve been reading a lot, so I’ve been pondering books, too.

At this very second, the rig is on a prolonged breakdown (& I completed all activities listed above). So I get to type up my ponderings in my corner office.
The corner office. Great view.
Pondering Topic #1
I firmly believe Hey Rosetta! (myspace here) is severely underrated. I’ve listened to Into Your Lungs a few times while working & find it brilliant.

You can pick up their album on iTunes here. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Pondering Topic #2
One of my 11 for 11 goals was to read more meaningful shit. Not being mentally prepared to dive into Walden (reading it now, more on that below), I started with The Prospector by J.M.G. Le Clézio.

Le Clézio was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2008, so it’s easy to believe he writes meaningful material. The book was good; I recommend it.



The ending pissed me off so much I wanted to throw the book in the nightwatchman’s campfire. I like stories with endings of ‘boy wins game (in this case, finds treasure), boy gets girl, they live happily ever after.’

I read hundreds of pages to discover the main character doesn’t find the treasure or get the girl, and then lays down in the woods to die. He doesn’t do much to change that whole ‘cheese-eating surrender monkey’ stereotype.

Pondering Topic #3
To recover from the piss-off of The Prospector, I grabbed Playing for Pizza by John Grisham from the community pile in camp.

I’m not a Grisham fan, but I needed a light-hearted read & the first few pages seemed to fit the bill.

Verdict: #win

And yes, the boy wins the game & gets the girl.

Pondering Topic #4
Wintersleep (myspace here) was on Letterman last week (video below). This is great; congrats to them. The US is a tough market to break into; national TV is a delightful way to do it.

I really enjoy their first three albums & saw them live a few times in F’ton & Vancouver. The Van show at the Commodore Ballroom ranks up as one of my favourite shows.

My personal opinion: I was disappointed they hauled out Weighty Ghost for Letterman. They have much better stuff. I can assume why, though: it’s the tune most appealing to the masses.

If I was to see them live (again), I’d much rather hear this:

Or this:

(yes, I realize they wouldn’t be able to crank out a 9 minute song on Letterman. If anyone writes a comment to me regarding that, you’re officially a tit-head)

Regardless, best of luck to them. I love it when Maritimers kick ass.

Pondering Topic #5
I’m a couple chapters in on Walden by Henry David Thoreau. It’s pretty deep.

To summarize:
Shit just ain’t right.

Pondering Topic #6
When you find yourself at a drill rig at the wee hours of the morning & having a few more hours to push through (without the aid of coffee), I highly recommend this tune to help get the synapses firing:

On that note, the drill just fired up.

I must have one last sip of water to prepare for the onslaught of drill core.

See you at 7AM cross-shift.

13 January 2011

Stuff that pumps me up: Icebreaker GT260 Hoodie

Time/Date: 0140 (GMT), 14-Jan-11
Location: Senegal

Since I'm staying up late to prepare myself for working night shift, I figure I'll bang out a few quick posts on stuff I like.

These aren't full-on reviews, go read Outside Magazine or Rock & Ice if you need technical shit. I'm just telling you what it is and why I like it.

The thing that pumps me up is my relatively new Icebreaker merino wool GT260 Quantum Hood. Icebreaker makes loads of merino wool products; the hoodie won me over.

What I like about it:

  • it fits super well, even though I'm not quite as ripped as the silly-looking Ken doll they used as a model. I would say I'm more 'festively plump' due to the holidays.
  • it's warm as hell. I was out wearing only the hoodie & a t-shirt underneath with no ill effects felt from the cold, even though it dipped as low as -14°C.
  • it's cool, too. I wore it flying here; when it got hot on the plane, I just unzipped and was fine.
  • it's ridiculously, super-ass comfortable. This thing isn't made from the wool your aunt uses for mittens. Icebreaker wool is foolishly soft.
What I don't like about it:
  • I'm jealous of the model they used. Eat something, jackass!
  • I dislike the weapons-grade product name. GT260 Quantum Hood? Really? Sounds like something I put on for biological weapons attacks.
  • I find pockets useful in their normal spot. I'm neither a climber nor a cyclist. I'm a fly-fishing, bartending geologist, so I don't find one pocket on the small of my back & one super-ass small pocket on my not-so muscular pec muscle particularly useful.
  • The price (see below).
If you're particularly fashion-conscious, you might dislike the hood. I am definitely not fashion-conscious; I wear various colours of Carhartt's carpenter's pants in various stages of decomposition for the most part. So I don't mind the fit of the hood due to practicality's sake.

Now, with regards to the price. Well........

My initial thought when the sales girl told me the price was, "You whore!!" 

It was, of course, after I had already tried it on and found it super-ass comfortable.

To be clear, she isn't a whore. She's probably working her way through school at a locally-owned outdoor supply shops. In fact, she was extremely helpful, knowledgeable & pleasant. 

She also turned out to be a ruthless sales person in the most non-ruthless, non-pushy way.

The price of the Icebreaker GT260 Quantum Hood was $199.

I'm rocking a roughly $33/day hoodie. And not regretting it for a second. Other than the name.

Check out Icebreaker's website here.

I received and do not expect to receive any form of monetary or product reward from Icebreaker for this review. Though I wish...really wish...I would. I think their long-underwear would be awesome underneath my fishing waders. Just throwin' that out there, Icebreaker...

PS-all of you who wanna call me out on the minimalism thing: I got rid of two more hoodies & a long sleeve shirt when this came into my house. Quality over quantity. And eat it, while you're at it.

(Note: At the time of writing, the hoodie was running at ~$33/day. The ROI gets better with time, I've heard)

Random Senegal Post, v1.0

Time/Date: 2335 (GMT), 13-Jan-11
Location: Sabodala, Senegal

Greetings from Senegal!

I arrived on the client's project site earlier today after a 2-hour ride in a Caravan & spent the day getting the lay of the land. I don't have too much to say about anything (yet) but the 'camp' is pretty damn cool (it has a bar...I have mixed feelings on that).

Here are a few pics with some tunes (get used to this style of post for the next little bit).

First up is my absolute favourite song from 2010 (can't see the video below? Click here to rock out). Just try to not bop your head or do some sort of pelvic thrust to this tune.

I was grooving along to this while sitting in the back of the Caravan...which probably made the guy next to me a little nervous. At least he gave me some space.

Side note w.r.t aeroplanes: I like Beavers & Otters better. Go Canada!

Here's my view from my seat in the Caravan. I didn't have a chance to shoot any aerial shots of Dakar, unfortunately (click here to see a shot I wish I snapped). It's a pretty cool looking city from 2000 feet up (not so much on ground level, at least where I was last night). It even looks like it has some surf breaks, if that kinda thing floats yer boat.

Next up is the operations manager jumping off the roof of his truck after frantically searching for a cell signal.

You might notice above that I've been reunited with Toyota's Hilux, my favourite discovery in all of West Africa (other than les patisseries are alive & well in the former colonies). After returning this past fall, I searched eBay trying to locate one. Love 'em. Almost as much as les patisseries...but only because croissants are more affordable.

Another pic of the Hilux.

A couple more random shots from the quick site tour:

And some more tunes (click here if you can't see the video below). Enjoy!

Oh, Black Keys, how do you play your blues so, so dirty?

11 January 2011

Back in the saddle (if saddle = aisle seat on an Airbus)

Time/Date: 1555, 11-Jan-11
Location: YFC

My laptop is back from the dead, with only some time lost, thanks to Apple's Protection Plan & Time Machine. Local Apple-authorized service provider Terra Consultants stepped up to the plate to get Zombie-MacBook back to me prior to me departing, so special thanks go out to them for their service.

I highly, highly recommend all Mac-users to start backing up their shit on Time Machine. Trust me on this.

And yes, I'm departing. I'm off to do the rock thing again in West Africa; this time, Senegal is the host country. If previous trips have taught me anything, expect a lot of posts. I seem to write more while I'm out of town.

I'll be in Senegal working until Feb. 11th, then tacking on a few days on the south coast of Spain & perhaps France on the way back.

The things I do to finance this whole fly fishing thing...

(Can't see the video above? Click here to rock out)

06 January 2011

Technical Difficulties

Time/Date: 1225, 6-Jan-11
Location: F'ton

My laptop decided to pretty much shit the bed on me yesterday. I'll be honest and tell you while it was melting down, so was I.

It wouldn't be so entirely bad if it weren't for the timing of it all. I was in one of my more literary moods when it occurred; I was in the middle of writing a report for a client and also jotting ideas for my epic 2011 Travel Preview post.

My big worry is not having it back before I depart for Senegal, which means I'll have to get a new one. Fortunately for me, I had just completed a Time Machine-backup of it minutes before my personal Chernobyl happened (ok, maybe it's just a personal Three Mile Island).

Minor benefits of the meltdown (the macbook's, not mine): I hammered through the first half of Thomas McGuane's Ninety-two in the Shade and, this morning, I slept in with my gf without guilt.

There's always a silver lining.

No music today, as I haven't yet figured out how to embed a video on this platform. Patience, people.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod

04 January 2011

Fish porn & ezines: Catch, Bloodknot & SID5

Time/Date: 2030, 4-Jan-10
Location: F'ton

I've become a slacker with regards to getting posts up over the holidays; for that, I apologize. I know there might be one lonely weirdo living in his parents basement that is overly concerned about the lack of posts, and the majority could give a rat's ass. I'm not delusional. But hey, the holidays are friggin' busy.

Preparations are ramping up for my departure to Senegal next week, so I have been focusing on tying things up at home & making sure my life is in order for a month-long trip in a warmer climate.

On the fly fishing front, Catch Magazine, Bloodknot & Sleeping in the Dirt have all published new issues online. They're all worth a look, though it looks like I'll have to wait for next year's version of Bloodknot's blogger issue for my feature (I kid, I kid).

Aaron at Sleeping in the Dirt dedicated SID 5 to his friend & fellow photographer, Rich Schaaf. Rich shot the image below, which I 'stole' from the inside cover of the current issue. Definitely check out the rest of the issue, as well as more of Rich's work. That guy had epic skill with a camera, and it's sad he was taken from the fly fishing world far too soon.

From Catch, check out the trailer for Tapam. That shit is awesome. Another version of their trailer is below.

Musically, I've been on a pretty big Matt Mays kick lately. Volume up & press play, friends.