Camping Gear Christmas

For Christmas Springta Claus got me a gift-certificate to Bass Pro Shops, with 3 items in mind for me.

Today I drove on up there and finally got what I've been wanting for ages:

1. Buck Vanguard Rosewood grip drop point knife. This fixed-blade delight will supplement my folding Laguiolle Rosewood grip pocket knife during camping. Balance is awesome, perfectly fits in my ex-butcher hands, and holds a very sharp edge. Bears beware.

2. Coleman single-mantle naptha fueled lantern. I already have a Dragonfly MSR stove which runs loudly and hotly on naptha and I figured I could benefit from economy of scale (in weight and packing) from a lantern which also runs on this cheap and useful fuel (great for starting fires when it is pouring rain or on damp wood). Plus non-recyclable propane containers are heavy, bulky, and can't be used to start a good fire in the rain or on damp wood, etc... it will run on unleaded gasoline too, but in Canada since they put in additives this will clog up the device... but useful if in any other country.

3. External frame backpack. I went for the smallest one, because of the price point, but also because the guy at the store said that this one would be fine for me for up to a week long trip. I tried it on, and it is fine... I can strap on my tent, sleeping bag, mattress, etc... to the frame and fill up my pack with enough to keep me going - . But you know, the more I look at it, the more I think I want something with more capacity.. this is only 2050 cubic inches, I want 5000 cubic inches. I think I might go back tomorrow and exchange it.

Merry Christmas

Hope you're all having a great Christmas and are enjoying your presents...

Cherry Beach

This morning Monty and I strolled about on Cherry Beach. He met dog friends and I took some photos.


As certain readers have requested, I have created a fairly complete index of Mungo Says Bah posts.

Please enjoy and comment freely!






Bath Time For Monty

Since he had his operation in the first week of October, Monty hadn't had a bath. At first it was because of the stitches, and then it was because he couldn't sustain standing up or sitting down for long on a slippery floor. Plus the risk of his falling and injuring his knee again.

But today he seemed up for it. As was I.

After his bath he started running about attacking his stuffed toys and trying to get us to play with him. I turned on the fireplace - yes, turned it on. Natural gas and a lightswitch.

Now he's snoozing in the sunlight, licking his paws, cleaning them off.

Cherrry Beach

This morning I drove Monty to Cherry beach. We got there and pulled in to the parking lot - only a few cars were there, each transporting their canine load to the edge of the trees between the beach and the bay.

Then Monty snuffled about and said hi to some other dogs and I looked at the ice and the snow and the trees and smiled and then after a while we returned to the car. I then drove along a road beside a thermal generating plant and took some photos - here's a smoke stack.

Then I boiled up the carcass of a roasted turkey and made soup.

Then I changed the DNS name server record to make a site live. Then I went to see if the bastards have paid me. I invoiced them Oct 31. It is Dec 10. Bastard swine. They didn't. Thought they said they would. Said it several times over the last few weeks. "Cheque's in the mail. Cheque's gotta be signed. Cheque's been couriered. Cheque will be couriered. Cheque's been dropped off at concierge. Cheque will be dropped off at concierge." Bastards.Often I wonder why I bother doing freelance. Then I think I should charge twice what I do, so that the grief I go through will be worth it.

My next camping trip

Were I to go camping for a week I would figure out exactly where I want to go - likely Algonquin Park - see a 5 Mb highly-detailed PDF map here.

And I'd then gather my gear together and pack it efficiently in a knapsack:

  • tent
  • sleeping bag
  • self-inflating mattress
  • hatchet
  • fixed blade knife
  • rope
  • jeans
  • shirt
  • jacket
  • boxers
  • 2 changes socks - I can wash them if needed
  • wind-up / battery radio - for the boring times
  • novel
  • Flashlight & batteries
  • Lantern, stove and naptha fuel
  • Garbage Bags, zip lock bags
  • Mug, spoon, fork, cooking pot, frying pan
  • paper towels
  • Dish detergent in a small shampoo bottle
  • Blanket for Monty
  • Toiletries
  • First aid items (bandaids, disinfenctant, antibiotics, pills galore)
  • Matches
  • Compass
  • Emergency flourescent light sticks (2)
  • Pencil, paper, book
  • folding chair
  • pillow

Pack my food nicely in plastic:

  • Biltong
  • tea bags
  • cheddar cheese
  • tortillas
  • lemon drink crystals
  • milk powder
  • noodle side-dish packets
  • bacon
  • dog kibble
  • dried mashed potatoes
  • chili mix - dehydrated
  • cooking oil (in a small water bottle)
  • eggs
  • tabascoe sauce
  • pepper
  • salt
  • sugar
  • Chocolate bars
  • Oatmeal pouches, raisins or dates etc…
  • Nalgene water bottle
  • Hot chocolate and coffee mix with coffee whitener
  • A nice Cuban cigar
  • Mickey of good gin

Then I'd gas up the car, drive up there with Monty in the back seat (Spring prefers 5 star accomodation), rent a canoe, canoe for some hours, portage in a little way, canoe in the rest of way, pick a good spot, and make camp in this order:

  1. Shelter - set up tent wit sleeping bags and organize kit
  2. Fire - arrange fire pit, get firewood, start fire going
  3. Food - get cooking gear out and ready - along with lantern and cooking stove.
  4. Chair - Having eaten, place chair at water's edge for a nice view, bring gin and lemon-crystal inspired drink, and cigar and match. Bring blanket so Monty can sit beside me, bring some treats for him (he doesn't smoke cigars)
  5. Relax.

Wonko Web post of December 8th, 1998.

Here is a post I've found from 1998:

December 8th, 1998.

I went camping in Algonquin this past weekend. I left Thursday and got back Sunday night. I feel quite refreshed and ready to tackle society and its crony minions once again. I saw three otters, two pheasants, several neat looking birds, and one dead snake. It rained one night, but a book and a very hot fire distracted me from that. Mew Lake is where I made base, about forty kilometres into the park.

Note for next time: bring less food. I was burning food to get rid of it. Note for next time: prepare food for quick and easy use. I was chopping onions and potatoes with a boning knife wearing socks over my hands in the cold drizzle. Have these items already diced up, as it will already be cold and I have no need to be worried about spoilage or browning.

Before I made it to Algonquin, I tried Arrowhead, and it was closed for the winter. Brilliant me. So I back-tracked to Gravenhurst, found an ex-Oakvillian named Blair whiling away his hours in a bar, staring off into nothingness. We proceeded to the Albion Bar. The establishment had hired two strippers, and we played pool, and drank beer. I felt bad for the strippers, the whole place is entirely seedy and about as backwater as you can get, and the 'gentleman' they gravitated towards, and who without a doubt probably had a business interest in their performance, looked like the Grim Reaper meets ZZ Top. I slept in my car that night, and left at seven the next morning to a more suitable location, Algonquin.

Even more photographs.

More Nice Photographs.

Nice Photographs.

I've not been posting any photographs - so please see a selection of pictures I've taken.

Henry the Pike

Caught a pike and cooked it up with baked beans near Sudbury years and years ago.

In stitches.

Monty's had his surgery - he was away for a couple of days at the vet's. Here are some photos - his incision, and his demeanor - he's worn out from it all. He is taking antibiotics and pain relief. Poor little guy.

Food Energy

I've been interested in the biology of digestion since I took grade 13 biology class for a second time - I'd failed the first time around. So I thought I'd chat a little about getting energy from food.

Different food is made up of different things. Most of those things contain what I call biologically available calories -BACs (the ash contained in some foods, small pieces of grass, insoluble fibre, and small chunks of bone are not available to us - if we chewed our cud or if we were Osedax frankpressi we'd characterize some of this input as biologically available). We put BACs into the largest opening in our faces with our limbs, it travels into our gut void and with a little help from our smooth muscles is digested with more help from a bit of detergent we call bile acids (thanks in part to our gall bladder - more below), some regular old-fashioned gastric acid that helps break down connections between the chunks, good old fashioned mastication (which generally happens when the BACs are first introduced to the oral cavity), and the concerted and mindless mechanical attention of the (and here comes one of my favourite words) rugae, and other general biological encouragement (including non-human life forms like our cute little gut flora), and passes out through our anus and in urine out through our genital regions (our naughty bits) after much of the caloric energy, nutrients and water is separated out and pulled into our greater biological system. And if our greater biological system is already sufficiently primed with the different stuff in the different biologically appropriate regions in our greater biological system, we either store it, purge it, or force a bit more of it into freely available and ready stores (less stable, than say, glycogen hanging around in our liver - lipids swimming around our blood stream). I've always been intrigued by bile. Our gall bladders make bile - it's like sunlight detergent, fussing about with the fat from a Big Mac as we digest it. Keep in mind this stuff needs cholesterol and luckily our livers help out by creating a bunch of it.

Bile acids are facial amphipathic, that is, they contain both hydrophobic and polar faces - one face is nervous around lipids (fats) and tends to turn the other cheek, and this other check really isn't sure how it feels about lipids, so it kind of clings and grabs onto lipids in sheer terror. Like holding on tight to your keys after they fall through a gap in the fence - you have to let go in order to get them out, but that goes against your better judgement - hence you freeze. Their amphipathic nature enables bile acids to carry out two important functions:

1. Emulsification of lipid aggregates: Bile acids have detergent action on particles of dietary fat which causes fat globules to break down or be emulsified into minute, microscopic droplets, as I suggested above re: Big Macs. Emulsification is not digestion per se, but is of importance because it greatly increases the surface area of fat (remember your physics classes everyone), making it available for digestion by lipases, which cannot access the inside of lipid droplets. Lipases are enzymes, silly. Enzymes catalyze chemical reactions without breaking down themselves. Cute little buggers really. The chemical reactions are the things that liberate the food energy i.e. calories.

2. Solubilization and transport of lipids in an aqueous environment: Bile acids are lipid carriers and are able to solubilize many lipids by forming micelles - aggregates of lipids such as fatty acids, cholesterol and monoglycerides - that remain suspended in water. Bile acids are also critical for transport and absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins. We're talking about Vitamin A, and I think D, oh and E!

(On a somewhat unrelated note: If you consume a polar bear liver, the vitamin A in it will cause your skin to slough off and you will die a most unpleasant death. So don't do that. Women do this in a less drastic fashion - they apply Vitamin A acid - retinol - creams to their faces so their wrinkly skin sloughs off revealing younger looking more vulnerable skin. But the whole polar bear thing, you actually slough off all your skin, in great slabs. Now that's disturbing.)

Anyway, back to the point I'd started with. It's quite simple. Our bodies maintain a dynamic equilibrium - if it needs more stuff stored, it helps to give it lots daily. If it doesn't need more stuff stored, then try not to give it lots daily. If it needs more stuff freed up for chemical energy to be converted into kinetic energy in our muscles, for example, then it will free it up, and that means there's more room for more stuff.

I weigh 205 lbs. I believe I should weigh 185 lbs. If I think carefully about what I've said above, keep my gall bladder in good working order, keep away from polar bear livers, and be mindful of the dynamic equilibrium expressed by my body, I should lose weight.

And if I ignore what I've said, well, I'll likely stay fat.

Most Popular Posts