Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Swartz Is Still With Me

For those of you who read my other blog this is the other picture I was talking about. Once again I used my semi-ok camera, tinkered with settings, & then ran it through Microsoft Digital Pro 10. I wish Microsoft still made their photo editing program for folks like me cuz I think it's awesome.

Anyhow after 40 years of believing & not believing in Canada I must say it's quite the place to live & I am a proud Albertan. What else? I recently saved CSIS from something that could've been very embarrassing for them but nipped it in the bud. Let's just say some of their employees did some things that weren't too intelligent. Oh & my former gay, stalker neighbor is no longer my neighbor, but we still run across each others' paths more times than I'd like too. As for my attempt at writing my auto-biography it has been at a standstill. I have many folks who want to read it once it's done. Mainly females in the 30+ category. Anyhow that is all for now.

Tomorrow I might attempt to fire up my ancient tower & update my official website. My hard drive is very noisy & on the verge of death. I think I can use it a few more times before it expires. I wish there was a place around here where I could buy a kit & just make my own. Back in 2005 I did that. There was this place in Calgary called Techtronics & they sold them. I bought one & slapped it together & held my breath when I hit the power button & miraculously it booted up. Since then I've been fascinating by all aspects of computing. Right now I am reading the CompTIA A+ Certification book. Wow what a book. I will eventually have to dive into HTML, MySQL, & PHP so I can add a PHPbb to my website.

Speaking of books the last one I read was "Hawke's Special Forces Survival Handbook" It was very enlightening when I lived in Penticton, B.C. I was part of a para-military group called the Rangers which I was eventually kicked out of due to a very outlandish spectacle I made of myself & the group. We were taught some stuff I was the drill instructor. My half brother was the Sergeant. Our group was lead by a Canadian (Ranger?) & a US Marine (LRRP). Anyhow all I remember was kinda' how to shoot bearings.

On one exercise we were supposed to sneak into an enemy camp which was at the end of a lake. At first I was gonna' walk up the road as close as I could get to it without being seen then go into the water & use a reed to breathe to go the rest of the way. I ended up running into my brother & the 2IC & he thought it best we climb the ridge & follow it until we were on the other side then sneak in from behind once we were in the right position. Upon entering the camp we got our asses chewed out for taking to long & going out of bounds. I didn't hear anything about boundaries. Anyhow I think they were training us to be Christian Holy Warriors (yes you heard that right). The pastor of the church who dreamed up this idea said to me "In the next 20 years there is going to be a war going on, there is trouble brewing in Africa & other parts. The world as we know it will change!" Fast forward & we had 9/11 & everything else.

My story with survival later manifested with me be placed at Stampede Boys Ranch after a stint at CC (Compulsory Care they thought I was suicidal but that's another story). It is located 15 miles west of Longview in the Foothills. One of the teachers there, Dan Fox liked to push students to their full potential. Everyday at school we had PhysEd. Our gym was basically the hi-way, the river, the foothills, & on Thursday the mountains. Spring, summer, fall, & winter added different flavours to it. Some days it was a 5 mile run on the road, the next a run along the river & up Ruby's (a little 900 foot tall foothill), then other things on other days.

Come Thursday it was eat a good breakfast, get your lunch bag & head out. We tackled riverbeds, forests, swamps, ridges, & mountains (The tallest being Mt Head you can find my name in the book on the summit if you want somewhere in the mid 80's) Anyhow I lost my train of thought I just stepped outside for a cigarette. We eventually started into Hunter Ed. & learned how to make lean twos, fires, etc.. It was very cool & we even got to shoot some guns now & again. Along with that we learned how to ride horses & how to operate & repair snowmobiles. Often we'd travel somewhere on the ranch in & on the old army jeeps. Sometimes we'd play games like who can hang on when going under trees or over bumpy terrain Needless to say it could've been dangerous but you develop a firm grip after awhile & no one got hurt (too badly there were more bruised egos than knees) There were times we'd tie a rope to the jeep & have someone on an old hood trailing behind trying to hang on. We never went to fast though, but just enough make it exciting. Sometimes when cross country skiing Fox would be on a snowmobile & he'd tie a rope to the end of it & the goal was to grab it & be the last man standing.

In winter we'd have survival nights occasionally. Basically we'd go out on our normal hike & suddenly discover we had to stay the night with the temperature dipping from -15 -20. When in that kinda' situation you made damn sure you had a good shelter & lots of firewood. On 2 occasions we've had people get into avalanches. Scary stuff but no one died. One time Pat was sliding on his bum down into a valley & then suddenly some snow took him away & there wasn't much he could do. We sat watching Pat go down kinda' horrified but joking. You could here him screaming his lungs out then suddenly he went off a little cliff & we couldn't see him for a second or 2. The he appeared again & was finally at the bottom. He then started to yell at us telling us we were pussies & were taking to long, lol.

Another time we were on Raspberry Ridge where the park ranger fire look out station was. We had started heading back towards the road somewhere to the north & east of us & Fox decided he wanted to go down rather than remain on top. He & some other students went one way. That way had hard packed snow & I thought "No I am not going down there I'll jump off the little cornice land on my ass & then end up sliding down the hill out of control." Me, Rick( maybe, maybe not) & Eli thought it was better to go though the powder & descend slowly & leisurely. One guy went then Eli & myself were next. We hopped off the top & dug our heels into the powder I do not know what possessed me to jump back up but I did. Then it happened there was a little cracking or popping sound & then this huge chunk of snow maybe 150 ft wide broke off & took Eli with it. Fox & the other students saw this & ran to the side of the gulch? to get out of the way. We all then noticed Rick pondering what way he was going to go further down with his back turned to the avalanche. Everyone was screaming at him but he didn't hear us. The next thing I saw was Rick flying 10 feet up into the air, & his red coat occasionally appearing it was like he was in a big washing machine. Meanwhile Eli is riding the avalanche to the place where the trees were & the avalanche slowed down & stopped. I quickly & quite frightendly went the way Fox & the other went & we all raced downhill to find Rick & Eli. Eli shouted he was alright & then Rick popped up out of the snow behind us. He was thrown to the side. He then shook out all the snow from his clothes, nose, & other places & then remarked how he had lost a package of cigarettes in the whole ordeal.

Anyways this post has gone on a lot longer than I had intended it too, but after reading Mykel Hawke's book I'd love to go to the mountains again & see if I could use some of the stuff I had learned added to what I already know. We never got to setting traps & all that sort stuff, but I did once catch a mouse & skinned it & added it to some pine needle tee I had cooked up. Mice are small. Mice are way smaller when you skin them, lol. Oh & of course we learned how to fish. Avery was the best at it. His favourite animal was the Moose. I have a Moose toque & if I knew where he was now I'd send it to him. I'm not sure but I think he later went on to become a tracker & guide. He was one crazy but cool dude.