1 day ago

So I’m off to Montreal tomorrow and totally on the fence about making any sort of video about it. Do I want to? Yes. Do I feel like being that guy who carries a GoPro around everywhere? No. I just want to relax and cruise the town, not worry about b-roll and batteries..

Anyway, the whole paddling for two teams is a total mess again. Even though I tried to escape it by leaving the province, it’s exactly my luck that it didn’t make any sort of difference in the end. I’m pretty sure that we won’t be in the same finals but leave it up to the organizers to fate to put us head-to-head in our very first race of the weekend. PA seems to be on a pretty good streak lately, while Banana Boat’s attendance is at an all time low…we seem to be struggling pretty hard off to a slow start.

I’m actually not too sure why they even decided to do Montreal because it was thrown together at the very last minute…with a shit ton of reluctance. It was organized weeks after PA had already finalized their details/bookings and I think only 2/3 of that team is actually going. Aside from a team dinner on Saturday, I have no idea where they’re staying or what else they’re going to do.

Whatever, my plans are set. I ain’t got time to worry about that and with all the crap on my plate at the moment I just don’t care - I’m on vacation!

Bagels, foie gras and tourtiere, here I come!

3 days ago

High Quality
If’s official: I’m stressed the fuck out. There’s some heavy shit weighing on my mind and I’m totally trippin’ over it. The bad days are stacking up and it’s not a good look.
Somehow this Thirty Club is beginning to suck and I definitely need to go on a vacation.
The good news is that I’m off to Montreal this weekend to dance away the pain with my friends to eat some delicious food, not get enough sleep and (hopefully) pick up some dragonboat hardware. Then I’m off to Algonquin next week to paddle some more, sleep under the stars and get creeped out by seaweed touching my feet while swimming in some random lake(s).
Hopefully that combination of totally different (fun) experiences will help reset my mojo and get me out of this so called rut. If not then I’m loading up that 2012 save game and re-living my (at the time) motto of do what makes you happy and fuck the rest. That actually ended up being one of my best years.
You know that you’re getting old when…
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If’s official: I’m stressed the fuck out. There’s some heavy shit weighing on my mind and I’m totally trippin’ over it. The bad days are stacking up and it’s not a good look.

Somehow this Thirty Club is beginning to suck and I definitely need to go on a vacation.

The good news is that I’m off to Montreal this weekend to dance away the pain with my friends to eat some delicious food, not get enough sleep and (hopefully) pick up some dragonboat hardware. Then I’m off to Algonquin next week to paddle some more, sleep under the stars and get creeped out by seaweed touching my feet while swimming in some random lake(s).

Hopefully that combination of totally different (fun) experiences will help reset my mojo and get me out of this so called rut. If not then I’m loading up that 2012 save game and re-living my (at the time) motto of do what makes you happy and fuck the rest. That actually ended up being one of my best years.

You know that you’re getting old when…

1 week ago

And just like that, another dragon boat season comes to an end.

Paddlers Anonymous is headed to Montreal next week for our final race of the season and, aside from the end of season party, it’s a wrap after that. I can honestly say that in my 6 years of paddling no season has ever felt like it flew by this fast. I’m not forgetting about Banana Boat - their season is only 1/3 through - but I’m missing so many practices and races that it’s almost a non-season.

The shitty part is that for most of the summer it just felt like I was going through the motions. Show up, sweat my balls off, bail. Sure, I got a nice little tan going and my pants are a little looser than they were in the fatso off season, but I can’t say that I ever got legitimately fired up about anything dragon boat related…yet? And you know me, I just love getting fired up about something.

But regarding Montreal, I sure as hell am treating it as more of a vacation than anything because I sure as hell need a vacation (holy stress balls, Batman). I have reservations at Joe Beef, Restaurant Holder and you better believe that at some point I’ll be sitting in Old Montreal, sipping on a beer. Hell, if I’m taking a day off work then it’s officially a vacation.

Paddling with a hangover? No big deal.

1 week ago

This video popped up in my subscriptions feed the other day and, after watching it, all sorts of alarms started going off in my head about this upcoming portaging trip.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m gonna be just fine but it’s the other people that I’m worried about. This time around our crew consists of 4 girls and 4 guys, but at least 3 of them are total greenhorns when it comes to any sort of camping. Especially with newer campers, I would hate for them to have one of those I’m never camping again experiences, but it happens. Trust me. It happens.

I love getting people out there but the worst is when someone has a bad time because they just didn’t listen. Despite everyone’s warnings, advice, emails and text messages, there’s always someone out there who thinks that they know better…but they don’t. Then they gall to complain. Knickerbocker please!

Even with car camping 4 days is a relatively long time for most people, so if you’re talking about 4 days of portaging then you better put some consideration into the things going into your backpack. There ain’t exactly a MEC, Walmart or hospital around the corner to run paddle to in case something happens.

It could rain (people always underestimate the rain), someone could get hurt, equipment might fail or you could drink some bad water and get the runs…and then run out of toilet paper. My motto is that a little preparation goes a long way. I ain’t trying to get out there and start a fire with sticks struggle, I just want to relax, enjoy nature and go for a swim.

There’s a big difference between being brave and just straight up not knowing any better. Like most situations in life, it’s good to be at least a little scared because it means that you probably understand what’s going on.

For the rest of the herd, you know the saying: if you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.

2 weeks ago

1 note(s)

High Quality
Friends be like, my vegetable garden is pretty big.
Cool story bro.
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Friends be like, my vegetable garden is pretty big.

Cool story bro.

2 weeks ago

I tell you, all that’s on my mind these days are girls is the house.

I have my electrical appointment today and the whole thing about the actual layout of the town home being the flipped version of the paper floor plan really threw me for a loop.

Strategically placing all the outlets and wiring is turning out to be quite the challenge. I’m most definitely probably overthinking it, but the last thing I need are random wires laying all over my hardwood floors and carpet.

The second floor is presumably where all the so called action will take place, so I really want it to be comfortable, open and inviting. Unfortunately, the damn layout of this living room/computer nook area is proving to be trickier than I imagined.

I know that I want two TVs and a sectional in this area (so I can just pass out after a long night of movies or video games reading books), but the space isn’t totally huge and I’m not sure that fitting more than one couch in it is possible.

One of the good things though is that the computer nook is much bigger than it looked on paper, so I’m probably going to make it into a pimped out version of my (currently struggling) bedroom setup. Well, hopefully…

2 weeks ago

How to be a third wheel (like a boss).

So I spent the long weekend up at Grundy Lake with my buddy and his fiance, third wheel styles. Not that I played the part, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this video - somehow that seems to be the theme of this summer (unfortunately enough for me).

The joke at the end of the trip was that she was actually the third wheel (just for the record, she made that joke herself (still can’t figure out whether I was the good sport or she was)) but whatever - we still had a good time.

We did get eaten alive…and it rained…twice…but we still had a good time…well, I hope that we all had a good time.

Despite also getting my ass kicked at cribbage all weekend, I still had a good time.

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Long story short, two weeks ago a site randomly opened up for the long weekend so we jumped on it. With camping in Ontario, if you don’t know how rare that kind of thing is then just take my word for it: it’s rare.

In the past few years especially, unless you’re booking a couple months in advance then getting reservations at a nice campground on a long weekend during summer break is just like getting reservations at some super popular restaurant (like the one I have for Joe Beef on a Friday night #boom).

You gotta book early. Real early.

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Because of how last minute the whole thing was it ended up being the two of us…then the three of us. No big deal. I guess that you could say it was a pretty good opportunity to get some material for my best man speech, but not really.

Anyway, turns out that Grundy Lake is actually a pretty nice park. There are 800-something campsites (all booked that weekend according to the pimply teenagers at the check-in), and the best part is that they’re all surrounded by lakes

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Too bad I only took about 10 (shitty) pictures the whole time. The whole beach setup was very much like portaging. All you gotta do is take a canoe out and find your own private stretch of rock and then relax.

We were on the Grundy Lake side and it was big enough that finding a secluded stretch wasn’t that tough, but small enough that people could see/hear us if things went horribly wrong. 

Kind of reassuring.

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The only thing is that if you’re going up North in the middle of summer, then it’s pretty unavoidable that you’ll get bitten by something. I can say with absolute certainty that I’ve never gotten so many bites all over my face, scalp and ass than I did up there. I’m still recovering from them and it’s not a good look.

I normally try to avoid the woods while hoards of blood thirsty black flies and mosquitoes are in the peak of their season but when you just gotta get out of town, you just gotta get out of town.

It was clear from the beach that every single other person there wasn’t getting any breaks either, but despite all the scratching and red bumps: no ragrets.

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Yes, it did rain but the only real casualty was my car camping lantern and our lawn chairs. Broken glass all over your picnic table is not fun (at all) but we managed to dry the chairs up by the fire pretty quickly because it sucked to not be able to sit anywhere. Other than that we were more or less unscathed.

We knew it was coming in the forecast but our laziness got the best of us.

The first rain came when we were on the beach. It went from sunny, to slightly cloudy, to we should probably get back to camp. Then when we actually got back and the skies got even darker, rather than throw up some ropes and tarps we decided to sit back and have another beer.

We literally saw a wall of hard rain come towards us and we totally didn’t react in time. It only fell for about 10 minutes, but that was enough to ravage our camp. Lucky enough for my friend’s fiance, she was actually the the shower the whole time.

We got soaked but we managed to (eventually) get everything under tarps. We didn’t really save anything though, lol.

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The second bit of rain came when we were ready to go.

Leave it to Mother Nature to wake us up with some light pitter pattering on our final day, then turn it up to 10 the minute we decided to pack up. Of course, the rain stopped the moment we hit the highway but so it goes.

The clean up with a bit of a pain since we basically garbage bagged everything and thew it into my van (future Justin is really rolling with the punches these days), but folding up shack while rain is coming down is so not fun.

A clean up/drying like this is a pretty good example of why I could never live in a condo.

Oh well. Two down, two to go. Up next: Portaging!

3 weeks ago

1 note(s)

High Quality
I tell you…it sometimes feels like I’m part of a dying breed because, everywhere I look, all I see are couples. Couples everywhere.
You know that joke about your Facebook feed turning into pictures of weddings and your friends’ kids? Well that ain’t no joke. Trust me.
In the past two weeks I’ve been to a wedding, saw two couples get “formally engaged”, went camping with my bff and his fiance (long story (well not actually that long of a story)) and, of course, there are tons of pictures of my friends’ adorable kids flooding my timeline.
Don’t get me wrong - I’m totally happy for everyone - but what’s a bachelor gonna do? Time for a change (or something like that).
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I tell you…it sometimes feels like I’m part of a dying breed because, everywhere I look, all I see are couples. Couples everywhere.

You know that joke about your Facebook feed turning into pictures of weddings and your friends’ kids? Well that ain’t no joke. Trust me.

In the past two weeks I’ve been to a wedding, saw two couples get “formally engaged”, went camping with my bff and his fiance (long story (well not actually that long of a story)) and, of course, there are tons of pictures of my friends’ adorable kids flooding my timeline.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m totally happy for everyone - but what’s a bachelor gonna do? Time for a change (or something like that).

1 month ago

1 note(s)

This video pretty much sums up most of what I like about car camping. It’s cheap, its fun and you don’t have to work so hard there are facilities everywhere.

…and as usual, the Go Pro footage is super shaky.

1 month ago

High Quality
I just got back from camping and now I need to make a family video, clean my gear, go to dragon boat practice, get my paddle repaired, race at Toronto Island and go to a wedding.
It’s going to be a busy week…
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I just got back from camping and now I need to make a family video, clean my gear, go to dragon boat practice, get my paddle repaired, race at Toronto Island and go to a wedding.

It’s going to be a busy week…

1 month ago

I still don’t know what to make of this video because it was such a messed up one to put together. Somehow it was plagued with issues from the very start, but somehow I also managed to hammer it out fairly quickly. Uncharacteristically quickly. Like I probably missed something quickly.

Whatever. I’m just glad to have gotten it over with because this thing was literally pretty much happening now or never. I didn’t even sort through and cut up the video, I just imported it directly into FCPX and started picking away at it. Admittedly, I could have probably searched harder for different scenes and cleaned it up a little more, but the 1.25 evenings that it took to make this thing had already filled up the allocated time quota.

And among other noob moves, the narrow field of view sucked, I used the wrong metering, there were tons of lens flares (like a lot) and even though my SD card ran out of space there was actually a whole lot of nothing. We didn’t even get a high five line!

Anyway, I ain’t even mad. I’ll probably have to watch it a couple times just to decide whether or not I should share it with the team (because I’m just brimming with that much confidence about it), but at least I can cross this nonsense off my to do list.

Long weekend in 2!

1 month ago

High Quality
Gear check time. First camping trip of the season and I’m all fired up about it.
Why? Well, it’s a family trip and family trips are always awesome. I’ve managed to wrangle up my sister and 9 of my cousins, and we’re headed into the (not so) wilderness for a couple days.
Hammocks, beers, campfires, fishing, bbq, beaches and swimming. That’s the plan.
According to the feedback, it was pretty swell last year and it’s going to be pretty swell this year too. Why? Well…that’s because I just love planning shit. I’ll plan the hell out of something because I want it to be the best time ever. You’re looking at a former VP of Events and a former VP of Finance of one of the largest student clubs at my university. I don’t mind making a few phone calls or sending a few emails (or more than a few emails/annoying the crap out of everyone) when it comes to getting shit done.
Sure, sometimes you can just go with the flow but sometimes you gotta have a plan - that’s where I come in. You can’t “wing” not having a sleeping bag or water to drink - trust me. I’ve had to lend people all sorts of crap (like pants, sleeping bags, flashlights and shoes), so I know that the threat is real.
Well anyways, this should be good.
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Gear check time. First camping trip of the season and I’m all fired up about it.

Why? Well, it’s a family trip and family trips are always awesome. I’ve managed to wrangle up my sister and 9 of my cousins, and we’re headed into the (not so) wilderness for a couple days.

Hammocks, beers, campfires, fishing, bbq, beaches and swimming. That’s the plan.

According to the feedback, it was pretty swell last year and it’s going to be pretty swell this year too. Why? Well…that’s because I just love planning shit. I’ll plan the hell out of something because I want it to be the best time ever. You’re looking at a former VP of Events and a former VP of Finance of one of the largest student clubs at my university. I don’t mind making a few phone calls or sending a few emails (or more than a few emails/annoying the crap out of everyone) when it comes to getting shit done.

Sure, sometimes you can just go with the flow but sometimes you gotta have a plan - that’s where I come in. You can’t “wing” not having a sleeping bag or water to drink - trust me. I’ve had to lend people all sorts of crap (like pants, sleeping bags, flashlights and shoes), so I know that the threat is real.

Well anyways, this should be good.

1 month ago

High Quality
Cell phone fiend needs more cell phone batteries…
It might sound crazy but that marginal screen size increase from my old Galaxy SIII to my new Galaxy S5 somehow translated into an exponential increase in the amount of porn I watch crap I now do on my cell phone. This ain’t Watch Dogs!
But seriously, I’ve never typed so much, watched so much YouTube or read so much Reddit than I have been lately. Even though the battery life is way better than the SIII, you just know that I just need to get some spares for those emergency movie watching situations. 
This time around I ain’t messing with that fake ebay junk. OEM for real.
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Cell phone fiend needs more cell phone batteries…

It might sound crazy but that marginal screen size increase from my old Galaxy SIII to my new Galaxy S5 somehow translated into an exponential increase in the amount of porn I watch crap I now do on my cell phone. This ain’t Watch Dogs!

But seriously, I’ve never typed so much, watched so much YouTube or read so much Reddit than I have been lately. Even though the battery life is way better than the SIII, you just know that I just need to get some spares for those emergency movie watching situations. 

This time around I ain’t messing with that fake ebay junk. OEM for real.

1 month ago

Dragon boat season is finally underway. Time to make it splash.

I’m pretty glad that dragon boat season started because I’ve (more or less) reached the peak of my off-season fatness, lol.

In true Justin fashion though, I’m on two teams again: Paddlers Anonymous and Banana Boat. Between the two I’m looking at about 3 practices a week and 5 regattas for the summer.

That’s a lot more exercise than I did all winter. Shameful. Baby, I know.

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Anyway, both teams are actually racing in Montreal this year so…that should be interesting. I’d like to think that there’s some potential for a head to head race, but that’s BB’s first race of the year and PA’s last, so we’ll see.

PA is probably over halfway done with their season and we actually raced in Milton the other week. Not sure what to make of the results as we managed to pull a 2:38 (500m), 1:01 (200m) and  2:23 (500m) in our G Division final. That got us 2nd place.

In other words, no medals and that sucks.

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So our team is supposed to be the fastest crew in our 3 crew organization and we are…but not by that much.

Here’s the breakdown: DaBoat (my team, all experienced paddlers) practices twice a week while DaCatch (all experienced paddlers too) and DaWave (all new paddlers) practice only once we week.

We’re also the only team that does a land training session but with that aside, we’re essentially on the water twice as much than anyone else.

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I really did think that that we’d be near or under the 2:20 mark - even though it’s our first race - but my hubris often sets me up for a lot disappointing situations (lol).

Whatever. In terms of time, DaBoat was only 4 seconds faster than DaCatch, and they were only 4 seconds faster than DaWave. The course and conditions weren’t the greatest but even still that kind of stuff works against everyone.

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I get it and I appreciate the fact that it was a pretty small regatta and, in terms of times, after a certain point the amount of work required to shave a few seconds off that a 500m time becomes exponential…but it just killed me that we were in the same final as as a team that we’re supposed to be better than.

Un-fucking-believeable (but somehow believable).

Whatever. At least we beat them but let’s just see if we can hold them off for the rest of the season. If we ever get a slower time than them, I think Da Boat will just have to call it a season and disband, lol.

Anyway, I managed to get a SD card full of (probably) unusable footage (I messed up the settings) for a video that I really don’t have time to make. Perfect.

Paddles up?

1 month ago

2 note(s)

High Quality
Cold pickles on a hot day. Now that’s refreshing!
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Cold pickles on a hot day. Now that’s refreshing!