Saturday, June 30, 2007

Spring and Summer

Spring and Summer

The 21st of June saw the passing of the summer solstice, completely devoid of dreams. In fact that midsummer's night was almost devoid of night. Summer started that day as well. Summer came at the tail end of a spring that left me feeling cold. The spring was coming out of a year with too much winter .

Having returned from a short vacation in the Okanagan where summer had taken hold and the Kootenees where spring had lost its youth, I was struck by the different evolution of the seasons between the North and the South. The pace of the transition was the most striking. The Kootenees handle spring the best of the three places I have lived taking it on with energy and vigor that is highlighted by the snowy winters. The Okanagan does summer with great skill and energy, its springs are easy to miss as the lack of contrast with its soft winters make it some thing of a non season. The North it's strength is winter, but it still fits in the other three seasons on an accelerated schedual. So to the South to see green explode.

The Kootenees, Mountains, trees with lakes thrown in for good measure. Of the three places I have dwelled it is by a good measure the wettest, with parts falling under the banner of rain forest. In the parts I call home the snow melts starting in late February or early March. The melt is followed by the brown time, when the flattened grass and bracken ferns dominated the landscape. For the land back home this brown time is one of the few periods when a person can freely move about with out being tangled in grasses and ferns up to shoulder hight or bogged down in snow. Out of the brown, the fiddle heads of the brackens emerge and grass shoots appear forming the first delicate signs of life. The trees are slower to burst forth, but when the leaves of the birches and cotton woods take too leaf and the pine and fir put forth new growth everything takes on a bright green fresh look. This burst of green is the heart of the quickening and peaks within a week. Once this burst is over the green darkens and the growth slows to a steady pace which will persist until the heat of the summer pushes the plants to take a break. While the Kootenees get toasty for a few months in B.C. it is the Okanagan that specializes in heat and summer.

June, when the Kootenees is in mid spring two hundred kilometers west the Okanagan is in the start of summer. I spent a large part of my June brake in Kelowna where after deplaning and getting out of the airport I was hot for the first time in months. Even late May the heat was on, the temperatures were well into the 30's. For a man that has spent the majority of the last year north of sixty with far too many months of winter heat was a shock and a blessing. The heat was visible with swiming pools being occupied, tar in pavement melting in the sun, and the sun was bright and blinding off the freshly washed cars, it was summer. All that would change between the then and the end of August would be the severity of the traffic back log towards the floating bridge and the crowding on the beaches would increase. I look forward to in a few weeks time returning to the heat. Which leaves the state of the north left to explore.

Currently I am nearing the half way point of this work cycle. As I write it is the 30th of June and summer did not appear until the 21st, before that we passed through a time of cold rain and cloudy days with chill winds blowing off the lakes with the last of the ice still holding on. When I flew out on the 31st of May large areas of lakes were ice covered and on the larger lakes the ice road was the last ice hold out as it was the thickest ice. The ice is gone now and it has for the last couple weeks. It has been hot and muggy with the temperatures are around 25 and there is the continued threat of thunder storms that does not come through.

The spring that this summer came out of was less well defined then the Kootenee's season, it is a slow plodding transition. Much later then their southern counter parts the trees come to life, the buds and leafs are small and slow to open and as they open they retain the light green and delicate look of the first opening for weeks rather then days. A northern summer is not complete with out its buzzing heralds of misery the flys, horse flies, black flies, mosquetoes and countless other bitting sucking and other critters that make a living by trying to eat you and any other animals. The flies live in have haste, for no matter how hot it get or how long the day, they know that it will end. And end it will, sooner then would be hoped.

Space, latitudes and seasons, two places almost side by side can differ hugely in character, yet the differences of east and west diminish as you move north. For the South there is a long spring with the summer moving slowly out of a long spring full of growth or summer bursting fully formed from a nearly ignored spring. In the north spring is long but it is the early part of spring when life still has its weak hold that lasts and summer turns on with a definite start, to be met with an equally quick end. The South gives me bright flowers and tight mini skirts, the north bright nights and bites at night.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Nienke's Blog

My sister Nienke is bringing her blog back online. For the time being it will reside at Broken Mice untill a more food friendly name is found.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Flight Part III

Beyond black flies and other biters summer brings in mappers and that means Chopper work. The Chopper is being used to both move people to and from a neighboring property to the South and to move a drill we have on site.
The resampling will keep me chained to the core well into this too short summer and so it is unlikely that I will get to fly on the chopper, but I have been able to get some good shots of it and one of the camp staff talked her way on to flight around camp.

If you click on the last images you might be able to zoom in and see me holding a core box. Towards the bottem of the frame is a stack of gray weathered looking boxes, that is a couple weeks worth of work for me.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nothern Lites Entertainment Report

The Norther Lites Entertainment report.

Core logging and or resampling core, but especially resampling is repetitive work. Resampling takes all the interesting parts from core logging and leaves the repetitive drudgery behind. As a result mental stimulation has to be found out side the job at hand. So its time to pay respect to those who have kept me entertained the podcasters.

Until the last few months I was content to listen to music while working and to catch the odd interesting segment on the TV and CBC radio when in civilization, but then I drifted across SGU, The Skeptics Guild To the Universe.

The SGU is true nerd entertainment. Its title got me right away and any one with a naked Hitch Hikers Guild reference in their title is going to be a friend of mine. Add to that fun hosts and a collection of intelligent guests that go well beyond the sound bites found in mainstream media and I was hooked. I spent two weeks working through back episodes before being forced to find new entertainment. Since then I have started an irreversible fall down the rabbit hole of new media.

My next stop was Skepiticality. Skepticality stared as methadone for my SGU addiction but became a gateway drug to more extreme corners of new media. Skepticality, has lead to several good additions to my media primarily George Hrab and Mur Lafferty.

George is already liked to in my blogs sidebar under Geo-logic and features strongly in my current music playlists as I have just picked up three of his CDs; Coelacanth, Vitriol and Interrobang. Reviewing his albums is not the aim of this post but I will say that it is music that makes me laugh and is both lyrically and musically refreshing after have heard too much of other peoples generic rock and roll with horrible out of context references to Romeo and Juliet. He Also maintains a podcast which can be over done but still makes me laugh. For more visit Geologic Records.

George on the Interrobang Cover.

Mur Lafferty, draggd me the past my head and shoulders and fully into the rabbit hole of new media. Mur Lafferty, podcaster and author of unpublished books. Some of which have been released as podiobooks, free audio books, of which I have listend to Heaven part one and have started Heaven season two Hell. A delightful story set in an after life.
Also produced by Mur is I should be writing which I have stopped listing to because it made me feel too guilty for not up dating the blog or working on any of many fiction ideas I have. Lastly also by Mur is Geek Fu action Grip, a very nerdy podcast but a great source for the tracking down of new podcast.

Of those new podcasts is the impressive Strangers Things video podcast. A sci-fi suspense show with production values comparable to TV and some good writing and acting to go with. Sadly they only have three episodes out but their Pilot Sacred Cow proved to be one of the most suspense filled half hours of resent years. So go visit Stranger Things and download their library you will be pleased.

Thats it for then Northern Lites entertainment report.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The UnRead

The Northern Lites unread reading list.

Aside from the known mental condition that is my line of work, geology, I suffer from another sickness, bibliophilia, the love of books. They get read, borrowed, bought, rarely stolen, infrequently abused, and often hidden in boxes away from trouble.
A trip to the civilized world by extension leads to visits to books stores where I did not leave empty handed. Some were sought out, others sought me out. Book hunting is not a sane process. So here are the books I have most picked up last time out as I see them on the self opposite me. Un Lun Don by China Mieville, I, Robot, The Illustrated screen play by Harlan Ellison, and Rainbows End by Verner Vinge.

Of these only Un Lun Dun was a book I planed to buy, it and Jeff Vandermeer's City of Saints and Madmen, were part of my unofficial BLGDBLOG reading list. That is books or authors that have come across strongly in BLDGBLOG and that I happened to remember. Verner Vinge was because it was out in paperback.
Ellison's book was a must have as I did not even know it was in print. I knew of the film that was never made I just never asked what else was done with it. If any one reading this says that they made a movie of I, Robot, I will personally track them down and beat them senseless with one of Will Smith's ears. Thats it for the recent unreads.

Older unreads or unfinished include, Dead Air, Iain Banks, I have been not reading it since Christ mass, and with it is The Salmon of Doubt, by D.N.A., which I have been planing to reread. Books that I don't have with me but have left unfinished include The Origin of Species, Living Next Door to the God of Love, a book I could not make my self finish, and of coarse the greatest unfinished read in my history is the Bible.

What I have gotten out of the Bible to date has been a soap opera revolving around a petty gangster and his thugs with really bad writing.

Landing News

Landing News

Northern Lites has returned to its natural habitat, Discovery, the one time mine and its now burned down town site. I am behind with Northern Lites in Exile III, it is though post to fit together. So a short up date on being back in the north will fill in for it.

I miss the South. In the Okanagan 30 degree weather was enjoyed in the presences of mountains with real trees and nights with darkness. In the Kootenays I spent time living the slow life and afternoon naps. I did not full adjust to the heat or the short days. Failure to adapt to those features of climate and latitude is a sign latitude shock.

Jet lag is not an issue with where I fly to and from as there is only an hour difference between Yellow Knife and Kelowna, but there is latitude shock. Jet upsets the body by creating a large difference between the time your body things it is and what it is where you have ended up at the end of your trip. Jet lag has a strong association with travel from West to East or East to West flights.

Latitude shock is well more of a mental hick up, or feels that way to me at least. In traveling between 51N and 63N, I bearly move out of my native time zone but the dynamic geometry between the tilted Earth and the sun conspire to have its own effects. It comes down to the expectation of day length. The north swings between extremes and we are currently at the bright phase with the sun shining well past bed time and even thought I am too far south for true 24 hour day light it might as well be so for me as I do not see it rise or set. The south on the other hand, even though 51N still has strong variations during the year lacks the never ending brightness. As a result as I spend time off I am surprised to see the sun set and almost fail to plan for the idea of darkness.

Ironically my first latitude shock came from a visit to Hawaii. Though I understood that the tropics have nearly perfect 12 hour day night cycles all year long the application was still a shock. Hawaii has a beautiful tropical climate and to my Canadian mind warm temperatures come with long days. It really came home on our marathon hike in to the crater, we that is 9 of the 12 of us on that trip had added a new leg to the hike down into the crater. This was not planed for and brought the out bound leg of the hike to close to three hours. It was 2:30 by the time we were at the fumerals and looking through binoculars at the sky light on Pu o' o'. Leaving us with 3 hours to hike back with no twilight to stretch the evening, for not only does the tropical sun set quickly and early it darkens just as fast.

Back up north I had a fine and pleasant first full day back. I have returned to logging on the porch which today happened to be cold and windy with the days temp being close to 10 in the sun, it was a fine misery.