Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Cream: Born Under A Bad Sign



Born under a bad sign.
I've been down since I began to crawl.
If it wasn't for bad luck,
I wouldn't have no luck at all.

Bad luck and trouble's my only friend.
I've been down ever since I was ten.

Chorus

Though wine and women is all I crave.
A big bad woman's gonna carry me to my grave.

Chorus

Bad luck and trouble been's my only friend.
I've been down ever since I was ten.

Born under a bad sign.
I've been down since I began to crawl.
If it wasn't for bad luck,
I wouldn't have no luck.
If it wasn't for real bad luck,
I wouldn't have no luck at all.

Born under a bad sign.
Born under a bad sign.


References

Uploaded on Jul 26, 2011 by Sinceube

Wikipedia: Born Under a Bad Sign (song)
"Born Under a Bad Sign" is a blues song recorded by American blues singer and guitarist Albert King in 1967. Called "a timeless staple of the blues", the song also had strong crossover appeal to the rock audience with its bass and guitar harmony line and topical astrology reference. "Born Under a Bad Sign" became an R&B chart hit for King and numerous blues and other musicians have made it perhaps the most recorded Albert King song.

Cream version
British rock group Cream recorded "Born Under a Bad Sign" for the studio half of their third album, Wheels of Fire, released in 1968. According to an interview with Clapton by the BBC, Cream's record company, which also distributed Stax records, asked the group to record the song. Their rendition follows Albert King's, except for Jack Bruce combining two verses into "I've been down ever since I was ten" and an extended guitar solo by Eric Clapton.


Wikipedia: Wheels of Fire
Wheels of Fire is a 1968 double album by the British rock band Cream, consisting of a studio and a live record. It reached #3 in the United Kingdom and #1 in the United States, becoming the first platinum-selling double album. In 2003 it was ranked number 203 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Wikipedia: Cream (band)
Cream were a 1960s British rock supergroup power trio consisting of bassist/singer Jack Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker, and guitarist/singer Eric Clapton. Their sound was characterised by a hybrid of blues rock, hard rock and psychedelic rock, combining the psychedelia-themed lyrics, Eric Clapton's blues guitar playing and vocals, Jack Bruce's voice and prominent bass playing and Ginger Baker's jazz-influenced drumming. The group's third album, Wheels of Fire, was the world's first platinum-selling double album. Cream are widely regarded as being the world's first successful supergroup. In their career, they sold over 15 million albums worldwide. Cream's music included songs based on traditional blues such as "Crossroads" and "Spoonful", and modern blues such as "Born Under a Bad Sign", as well as more eccentric songs such as "Strange Brew", "Tales of Brave Ulysses" and "Toad".

2013-10-29

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Friday, 25 October 2013

What I Am Thankful For: Going For A Walk

The weather has become a little brisker however the skies are ofttimes blue with only a minimum of clouds. At night, despite the ambient light of the city, there are stars twinkling overhead. It's fall with a touch of winter in the air but it feels wonderful outside.

Usually during the evenings around 9pm, I go out for a nightly walk, sometimes a power walk, sometimes a leisurely stroll. It feels good to move my limbs, smell the crisp air, and take in the sights and sounds of the outdoors. It is a reminder that I'm alive and, at this particular moment, life is good.

Why would I be thankful for such an insignificant thing as a walk?

As I've already mentioned many times, maybe far too many times, I suffered the worse physical injury of my entire life in 2012 which saw me pretty much locked up in my apartment for almost five months in pain twenty-fours a day, seven days a week. While I did manage to go to work and I did out of necessity go to the grocery store, I did so by gritting my teeth as walking any further than thirty feet hurt. Yes, when you feel pain doing something you tend to avoid that activity.

I remember watching people walking, jogging, and playing with an easy-going acceptance of how normal life is. I couldn't do that. It hurt. But what was even more disconcerting was that I had no idea if my condition was temporary or whether I was going to be looking at a state of chronic pain for the rest of my life.

Last evening, I walked for four kilometres. I enjoyed strolling through neighbourhoods. I enjoyed traversing a couple of parks during my journey. I enjoyed walking down a busy thoroughfare looking at various commercial outlets where people were visiting stores, shopping, or picking up pizza. It felt good to see, hear, and smell life all around me. I walked. I didn't feel pain. I actually felt good.

But I remembered. You don't know what you've got until it's gone. One of the most common, even mundane parts of my life takes on a preciousness I had not thoroughly valued before. I am free. Not just free from pain, but free to move, free to live. I never want to go through that again.

Thanks to Pauline Gaines
Credit where credit is due: Ms. Gaines has been writing a series of articles on her blog entitled "What I am thankful for" and I am stealing plagiarising respectfully acknowledging her moments of appreciation for the smaller things in life. (The Perils of Divorced Pauline: What I’m Thankful For: My Washer/Dryer - Oct 13/2013)

"Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first."
-Ernestine Ulmer (1892-1987, American author)

May you all have wonderful pain-free walks. And let us all be thankful for the little things in life.


References

my blog: Health: One Year Later, One Year Lost
April 7, 2012, this is the red letter day in my personal annals marking the worst physical injury of my entire life. At the one year anniversary, I am much much better, thank you very much, but I am still trying to climb out of the hole and still have a way to go.

my blog: Joni Mitchell: Big Yellow Taxi
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone

The Perils of Divorced Pauline
World-class gnarly divorce survivor. Sense of humor more in tact than marbles. Mom. Cat-Lover. Contributor to Divorced Moms and HuffPo Divorce.

2013-10-25

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Thursday, 24 October 2013

Cell Phones




References

my blog: Would Skinner have owned a Blackberry? - Oct 18/2010
I look at the American psychologist and behaviourist B. F. Skinner and how the concept of intermittent reinforcement can be applied to our email Inbox.

my blog: The Internet: Are we addicted? Or just dumb? - Feb 7/2011
Is Facebook our crack cocaine? Do we roll up Twitter and smoke it as our weed? Does YouTube keep us all mesmerized as if our mouth is glued to the bong?

2013-10-24

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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Meanwhile in Canada...

I had no idea this was a meme. Live and learn. Now let the hilarity begin!
This is where I apologise if I have inadvertently included any copyrighted photographs in an attempt to avoid getting my ass sued off.




I actually know this overpass.



Okay, this isn't Canada, but considering our reputation for being polite, it could very well be.

Once again, this could be Canada.













CBC News - Jun 17/2011
Vancouver riot's 'kissing couple' tell their story
The Canucks lose to the Boston Bruins and Vancouver, Canada erupts in a riot. Hey, it's only a hockey game, folks. Geesh. The above photo is not staged and CBC News managed to track down to the couple to get their story about a scene which went viral around the world.

This picture is real and was taken in Niagara Falls, Canada, above the falls where the mist freezes on everything during the winter.

As a postscript, I see there are all sorts of memes starting with "Meanwhile in" then fill in the country of your choice. Quite funny. So, I hope I've provided you with a bit of a chuckle for your day. All the best to you in your world. wb :-)

2013-10-22

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Sunday, 20 October 2013

61 down, 19 to go

You may now break into song, "Happy birthday to me."

19 to go? Yes, it may sound morbid, but based on genes and statistics; it is a realistic estimate of the time left before this ride is over. And if you knew that your vacation was going to be over next Tuesday, would you not plan accordingly? Should you not plan accordingly?

Last year, in my 60th birthday posting, I spoke of the traumatic upheavals of the past six years: nearly getting fired from my career, losing my way in life, losing my mojo as a man, having my sex life go in the toilet and suffering from E.D., going through what was for me an emotionally and financially painful divorce, then suffering the worst sports injury in my life that saw me locked up in my apartment for four months straight in pain twenty-four hours a day and now, eighteen months later sees me dealing with issues that I suspect I am going to have one way or another for the rest of my life. Boo hoo hoo. Blah, blah, blah. I will now break into song. "Don't cry for me, Argentina."

I may sound like I'm trying to be Mr. Macho Tough Guy, but when you get down to it, what does any of us do in such circumstances? You get up, dust yourself off, and then get back in the saddle. What else is there to do? Roll over and die?

So, if I have 19 left, or 20, or 21, whatever, what do I do for my remaining years? I haven't walked on the Great Wall of China. I did do a tandem parachute jump. I have never visited Australia. I tried jet packing in Florida. I have never stood in the middle of St. Peter's Square in Rome. I did step off a 200 foot (60m) platform recently to do my first and probably my only bungee jump. The world is a big place; the choices are numerous. The sky's the limit, yes?

Sometime before my 65th birthday, I am going to publish a book. Yeah, I can hear you snicker. Who do I think I am? Well, I'm just another person like every other person and guess what? Some of those people publish books, a lot of books. Last year, I took my second, and successful I might add, crack at NaNoWriMo. New York Times Best Seller list? Movie rights? Fawning literary groupies? Hardly, except for those unmedicated delusional episodes, but I'm much better now, thank you very much. I compared it to running the marathon. Fat chance (Or is that FFC?) I would ever win the marathon or even place in the top one hundred. However if I did run a marathon and managed to complete it, I would have accomplished something not everybody does. In fact, the majority of people never run the marathon. So, if I do publish a book, I will be accomplishing something not everybody does. So there. I will now stick my tongue out at you and make a silly face.

I feel the pressure
This ride will come to an end. Life is a finite experience. Make it a good one as it's the only one you get. Yeah, yeah, supposedly there's reincarnation but why take a chance when those believers may be wrong? Hold out for the next life then discover there isn't one. Gosh, wouldn't I feel stupid? Wait. I'll be dead and if there's nothing else, I won't feel anything.

I watched both of my parents die. It's an odd take on death. We read that so and so was surrounded by their family when in fact, the person dies alone.

My mother succumbed to the big C at the tender age of 67. From the time of the announcement to the time of her death, it was all over in six months. The disease had ravaged her body and left weighing about 88 pounds. In the last few weeks, she was in so much pain, I don't think the morphine pills gave her much comfort. I watched her curled up in the foetal position shaking in agony. Due to my 2012 sports injury where I suffered from pain twenty-four by seven, I have a new understanding of what agony means. Your brain is bombarded by so much pain, you are on sensory overload. You can't formulate a rational thought as your consciousness is overwhelmed by the sensation of pain. Holding a conversation is virtually impossible as you are so distracted. I believe that at some point, the brain shuts down as you attempt to survive the next 60 seconds of excruciating pain. Under these conditions, what is the quality of life? In standing there as an observer, patiently mopping the sweaty brow of the victim, we have no idea of the incessant and constant horror taking place in the person's head. Living shrinks to the head of a pin where existence consists of trying to get through the next 10 seconds of agony with no reprieve in sight. It is hell.

Alone? You are disconnected from the world around you. Your world becomes your head, your consciousness. Your entire focus is devoted to pain and nothing, absolutely nothing else matters. Life around you ceases to be any importance whatsoever. You don't live your life; you endure it. It doesn't matter if family and friends stand around in vigil as you are totally unaware of their presence. They are insignificant in your struggle against the unrelenting pain.

My father died just two days short of his 80th birthday. He had a heart attack and was dead 48 hours later. The doctor told me my father's heart capacity had been reduced by fifty percent. If he had lived, his quality of life would have been so degraded, he would have been unable to walk more than ten feet as it would tax his heart. For a man who still enjoyed playing golf, death was a preferable option. In the last 12 hours of my father's life, his damaged heart was unable to pump enough blood and my father drifted in and out of consciousness. I was there but he didn't know it. He was alone in his head.

Recently in Canada, Dr. Donald Low, an infectious disease specialist who played a part in the handling of the 2003 SARS crisis in Toronto, died from a brain tumour at the age of 68. Eight days before his death, he made a video to appeal for the legalisation of assisted suicide. (Winnipeg Free Press Sep 24/2013) He knew his condition was progressively incapacitating him and he wanted the option of choosing when he would die, before the disease rendered him incapable of walking, swallowing food or using the bathroom without his family's assistance.

The debate continues in Canada. The quantity of life seems to continue to trump the quality of life. While in my case, I survived; I got better. But both my parents were on a one way street; there was no coming back. It is all very well and good if one dies peacefully in their sleep, but what about those whose condition severely impacts their quality of life? I don't think my father had much pain or his pain was kept under control in his last 12 hours. My mother, however, was in hell. The last two weeks of her life were utter torture and I believe the morphine used to control the pain was wholly inadequate to the task. A healthy person has no appreciation for the horror a person is going through. Pain is one thing, but the question of the quality of life is another. Quantity should not trump quality. If life sucks and I mean sucks royally, prolonging it can be the equivalent of torture.

Why am I bringing this up?
It's 18 months later. I'm better. I'm not perfect, but I'm better. Despite spending over two hours every other day working out at a gym, I feel things, a lot of things. At one point last year, my left hand was completely numb; I couldn't feel it at all. For about five months, my entire left hand felt tingly and my right occasionally. Today, the end of my left index finger still feels tingly all the time and I estimate I only have fifty percent of my feeling in it. Last year, as part of this trauma I suffered, I seem to have slightly herniated the C6 cervical disc which caused shooting pain in my left arm and hand. It's better now, but every once in a while I have moments where I feel tingling in both my hands. I have no idea if that herniated disc may come back. An MRI did show some disc degradation but that was qualified as attributable to age. Age or not, are further disc problems on the horizon?

The lesson out of all of this is that old saying, "Health is everything." If ya ain't got health, ya ain't got squat. Growing old is one thing, but having your health taken away from you is ageless. For four months in 2012, I looked out my window and saw people jogging, walking, and just enjoying life outdoors. I could barely move. That was truly frightening. I had no idea if I would ever be better again.

Final Word
A Comedian wrote, "If you hang in there long enough, you'll grow old and die." Ha, ha. So, here I am trying to figure things out, that is, figure things out for the rest of my life. This is the fourth quarter. And that is the last quarter. This is my last kick at the can. As I quoted last year:

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
-Mary Oliver: "The summer day"; New and Selected Poems 1992

Now to figure out what to do with those nineteen wild and precious years.


References

my blog: I'm 60. Now what?
A friend a few years back referred to us arriving at the age of 60 as entering the fourth quarter. While an interesting football metaphor, I pointed out to him that the fourth quarter is also the last quarter.

my blog: Health: One Year Later, One Year Lost
April 7, 2012, this is the red letter day in my personal annals marking the worst physical injury of my entire life. At the one year anniversary, I am much much better, thank you very much, but I am still trying to climb out of the hole and still have a way to go.


2013-10-20

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Friday, 18 October 2013

Movie Review: Captain Phillips

This is a terrific movie well deserving its 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And on top of it, it's a true story torn from the headlines of the past few years.

In 2009, four Somali pirates seized the cargo ship Maersk Alabama. The crew shut down the cargo boat and the pirates didn't know how to operate it. Hoping to still demand a ransom, the pirates escaped in a life boat holding the captain hostage. The U.S. Navy stepped in and rescued the captain killing three out of the four pirates.

In 2010, Captain Richard Phillips recounted (co-written by a journalist) the story in the book "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea." It would seem that Columbia Pictures was interested in the story back in 2009 shortly after the incident occurred. The screenwriter Bill Ray, best known for the 2012 film The Hunger Games, wrote the film in 2011 and Tom Hanks came on-board after reading it.

The story is a nail-biter. What would any of us do in such circumstances? This is as close to being held hostage I want to get. Like many, I have read about the pirating that goes on off the Somali coast making it one of the more dangerous areas of the world. The word "pirate" for me evokes Jack Sparrow, that is, a colourful character back in the Middle Ages, but it would seem modern piracy is alive and well and very costly. According to the BBC, there were 151 attacks on ships with 25 successful hijackings in 2011 off the coast of Somali. Pirates earned $146 million or about $4.87 million per ship. As of February 2012, 10 vessels and 159 hostages were being held.

However, the international community, outraged at the actions of these modern day buccaneers, stepped into the fray with military ships from the European Union, NATO, the United States, Russia, Chain, Japan, and India. A patch of water the size of Europe is being regularly patrolled by armed good guys to let world shipping carry on its business unmolested. One report estimates that worldwide piracy costs over $6 billion a year. Jack Sparrow is doing a lot of business.

In watching a story like this, we get the simple good guys versus the bad guys scenario. But in reading about Somali piracy, there does seem to be an untold story about why any of this started in the first place. The per capita income of the United States is approximately $49,000 per year. Canada stands at $52,000. Somali - now try to grasp this - has a per capita income of $600. Yes, you read that right: six hundred dollars. That is pretty much the bottom of the barrel. With such abject poverty, is there any way but up? Desperate times call for desperate measures but there's more.

There are reports of the international overfishing as well as the dumping toxic wastes in the waters off of Somali. A hard situation has been made worse by unregulated ships and the root causes of piracy may not be so obvious in the newspapers screaming about hostages held for ransom. In discussing Somali piracy, Wikipedia talks about sovereignty and environmental issues which may play a factor in why some in Somali turned to a life of crime. It's a big world and it's a complicated world and everything is not always black and white.

As an aside, I note that some of the crew of the Maersk Alabama have protested the film as a re-writing of history. They claim Phillips is not the hero the film makes out and is far more responsible for getting everyone into this bad situation in the first place by repeatedly ignoring warnings to stay out of the area because of pirates. True? False? It's up to the courts to decide as apparently, according to the New York Post, eleven members of the crew are suing the owners of the cargo ship for $50 million alleging "willful, wanton and conscious disregard for their safety." Is history accurate or not? Certainly a Hollywood film goes through the treatment which may gloss over some of the less interesting facts to present a compelling story, but in this case, the whole movie is based on one man's recounting of the events. Did that man gloss over the facts to put himself in a good light?




Final Word
I highly recommend this film. The story is great, the acting excellent, and Tom Hanks as always gives a stirring performance. Connecting the film back to recent history gave me pause to wonder about what I would do in similar circumstances. Far from the various hot spots on the planet living your average life, I am ignorant of these extraordinary situations other than what I read in the newspaper. And I would add, "Thank God." Who wants to experience firsthand being held hostage under threat of death? That's something I don't necessarily want on my résumé.


References

Rotten Tomatoes: Captain Phillips: 94%
Smart, powerfully acted, and incredibly intense, Captain Phillips offers filmgoers a Hollywood biopic done right -- and offers Tom Hanks a showcase for yet another brilliant performance.

Wikipedia: Captain Phillips
Captain Phillips is a 2013 American action thriller directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks. The film is a biopic of merchant mariner Captain Richard Phillips, who was taken hostage by pirates in the Indian Ocean during the Maersk Alabama hijacking in 2009.

official movie web site: Captain Phillips

Wikipedia: Maersk Alabama hijacking
The Maersk Alabama hijacking was a series of events involving piracy that began with four Somali pirates seizing the cargo ship MV Maersk Alabama 240 nautical miles (440 km; 280 mi) southeast of the Somali port city of Eyl. This event ended after a rescue effort by the U.S. Navy on 12 April 2009.

Wikipedia: A Captain's Duty
A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea is a book by Captain Richard Phillips, the captain of the MV Maersk Alabama when it was hijacked in 2009.

Wikipedia: Richard Phillips (merchant mariner)
Richard Phillips was captain of the MV Maersk Alabama at the time it was held hostage by Somali pirates during the cargo ship's hijacking in April 2009. His actions during the incident have been described as heroic, although some crew members have considered him as reckless.

Wikipedia: Piracy in Somalia
Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a threat to international shipping since the second phase of the Somali Civil War in the early 21st century. Since 2005, many international organizations, including the International Maritime Organization and the World Food Programme, have expressed concern over the rise in acts of piracy. Piracy has impeded the delivery of shipments and increased shipping expenses, costing an estimated $6.6 to $6.9 billion a year in global trade according to Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP). According to the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), a veritable industry of profiteers has also risen around the piracy. Insurance companies, in particular, have profited from the pirate attacks, as insurance premiums have increased significantly.

2013-10-17

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Saturday, 12 October 2013

My bungee jump in two words: Oh... my... God...

I stand on the platform and look down two hundred feet (60 metres), approximately the height of a 17 story building, at the surface of the water. For the briefest of moments, part of my brain says, "This is so not right." I ignore myself and listen carefully as the handlers count down then shout, "Go!" I take a breath, spread my arms, shift my weight forward then give a little push with my knees and go into a swan dive. It takes approximately three seconds to fall two hundred feet (60m), three seconds of weightlessness before the elastic stretches to its limit and slowly rather than abruptly stops my descent. The handlers know their work and have done the estimates accurately. I had asked to not be dunked in the water but to merely graze it. I have my arms stretched over my head in a diving position and my hands splash the surface of the water. Then the elastic pulls me back up in the largest bounce of the jump. In looking at others, I'm guessing I am pulled back up to over the halfway mark, a hundred feet or so, before I fall once again in a series of ever smaller bounces.

Finally I am hanging upside down over the water and they lower me slightly so the pick-up guy in an inflatable Zodiac boat can grab a hold of my hands. As the handlers above lower the cord, the pick-up guy guides me into the boat onto my back with my feet up. He detaches the cord from my ankles then has me sit up to assist in getting out of the harness as he takes me to shore. It's over. I have done my first bungee jump. Overall time? They tell me they can do jumps every five minutes so while the waiting can go on for some time; the actual jump itself is over in a twinkling of an eye. In fact, this happens so fast, I admittedly did not appreciate what was going on during the jump. The handlers told me what to do and I did it all without reflecting on the experience.

Canadian Bungee Jump is located just outside of the small community of Wakefield, Quebec and bills itself as the tallest bungee jump in Canada. It is located in an old quarry. From their web site: Visualize an amphitheater of solid limestone, 200 ft. high, surrounding a 160 ft. deep aqua-blue, spring-fed lagoon, larger than 3 football fields. It is a spectacular scene.

The jump tower is built on the one side with a supported walkway extending over the middle of this mini-lake. You sign-in at the main office down below, filling in the necessary waivers - where to send the body, etc. - and get yourself weighed. The woman at the office writes your weight on the back of your hand in magic marker. At this point you wait around until your name is called. They take you up in groups and line you up on the walkway to get you prepped as then you jump one after another. I was told they jump every five minutes sometimes starting as early as 6am and going to sunset. They have done nearly 200 jumps in one day. Apparently this is a very, very popular attraction.

I had signed up over the Internet and got one of their packages which included the bungee jump, the Ripride, a video and a t-shirt. Hey, done that, got the t-shirt! Shortly after my arrival, they decided to do my ripride almost straight away so this turned out to be my bungee warm-up.

I would classify the ripride as ziplining on steroids. Ziplining involves hanging suspended from a cable with a pulley system and sliding from a higher point to a lower point. I had done ziplining years ago on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean during a family cruise and found it to be amusing. Of course, that attraction was in the trees and seemed somewhat tame. Subsequently, I discovered some ziplining is done over gorges or other high places which would make it far more exciting.

This ripride goes over the quarry at a height of about hundred feet (30 metres) and they claim you go at an average speed of 80 km/h (50 mph). With ziplining, you normally are suspended in a seated position but for this ripride, they had me suspended from my lower back as if I was Superman flying. It was fairly exciting, especially when you come off the platform and suddenly the ground drops away and you are over the lagoon. But as I said, this was just the warm-up to the main event.

During my two hour wait (my times got mixed up and I showed up early), I had the opportunity to watch over twenty other people jump. A busload of university students arrived and because they all knew one another, they seemed to be having a gay old time, laughing, applauding, and swapping stories of their jumps. You have the option of being dunked in the water or not. A few of them elected to do this and they ended up upside down in the water up to their waist. Keep in mind, this was on the initial bounce when the cord is stretched to its maximum so they remain in the water for only a split second.

The standard way of jumping is secured by your ankles so you remain upside down. You can opt to be tied off at the waist so you jump in a seated position. A few of the students opted for this but I'm not sure it's any less scary.

As I said, they all knew one another which I think contributed to their yelling. That part of it was hilarious as some of them jumped and screamed their heads off. The crowd was laughing uproariously. The handlers give each person a countdown then yell, "Go," however a few jumpers hesitated and had to get several countdowns before they mustered the courage. One poor girl must have been up there for a couple of minutes being talked through about four countdowns.

After waiting for two hours, my name was called. (By this time, I just wanted to get it over with.) My group trekked by foot up the hill to the base of the tower. You walk up the stairs and end up with a breath-taking view of the countryside in all directions. You also have a startling perspective on what you are about to do. Two hundred feet (60 metres) doesn't seem like much until you are standing looking at it from above. This is not right. This is not normal. If God had meant me to jump, my umbilical cord would still be attached. Yes, you intellectually accept the safety procedures. Yes, you've already watched others do it and there has been no mishap only a fun time. Nevertheless, your heart is pounding whether you are aware of it or not. Your mind reels from the idea of jumping into space.

As I waited my turn I promised to ignore what I was feeling and follow what the handlers said to the letter. In other words, don't think, just do as instructed. When they said "Step forward," I would step forward and when they said "Jump," I would jump.

I move up in the line and a handler gets me into a harness and asks me my preference: by the ankles or the waist. I choose the standard, by the ankles. I want the full treatment.

The handler calls me forward and I walk the long walk to the end of the boom over the quarry. He gets me to sit down and put on the ankle bracelets and finishes tightening all the straps. Another handler takes my weight and calls out, "Number 28." I am guessing they have this down to a science pairing weights with specific bungee cords. He asks if I want to be dunked. I tell him, "No dunk but can you let me touch the water?" He chuckles saying that I'm asking him to prove how good he is.

The first handler finishes then the second handler comes over and removes the safety line. He then systematically goes over every strap double checking their tightness and calling out what he's doing to the others. He has me stand up and waddle over to the jump platform. They swing the safety door out of the way and I put my feet to the edge. I hold onto hand railings and look down into the cavernous bowl of the quarry at the surface of the water. I am high, like really high. I have merely a moment during the countdown to mull over my position. A wave of sheer utter terror passes over my consciousness. The handlers all yell, "Go," and I jump.

The rest of the jump is a blur. Things are happening fast, really fast, and I am quite disoriented. I am falling, being pulled back up, bouncing around, and am not sure of where I am in the midst of the jump. Things calm down after the second bounce and I start to merely bob while hanging upside down. Now I get a better grasp of being over the water and the pick-up guy manoeuvring under me. From my jump to the pick-up, it has to be less than 60 seconds. As I lie in the bottom of the boat while the guy unties my ankles, I realise I am wound up tighter than a clock. I can feel the tension in every fibre of my core. Later on I will see people write on the Net of the "bungee rush" and that certainly is it. Well, either that or the start of a heart attack.

As an aside, I did research bungee jumping before I signed up. Like my parachute jump, I discovered that we all seem to be scared out of our wits by these seemingly dangerous sports when statistically, they are safer than driving a car. Accidents in cars are so commonplace, we no longer pay attention to them. Accidents in these extreme sports are statistically rare but that rarity means those accidents usually end up in the newspaper solidifying our mistaken impression these sports are more dangerous than our everyday activities like driving a car.

Final Word
Why do I do this to myself? Ha, ha. Forty-eight hours before the jump, I realise I'm preoccupied. Twenty-four hours before the jump, I feel tense. I get up the day of the jump and wonder if I can intelligently string words together to make coherent sentences. (Yes, "oh my God" is three words. Ha ha) I keep reminding myself that adrenaline junkies do this for fun. Fun? Scaring yourself to the point of peeing your pants is fun? Is there a bit of masochism in this? Self-flagellation? At least I have photographic evidence so that means I now have permanent bragging rights. Like parachuting, there is no goddamn way you'll get me to do this again. I was joking that this was something I could cross off my bucket list when I realised I was looking at somebody else's bucket list. (nod to Woody Allen) Hey, I didn't have to do this! I remember reading somewhere that facing your own death makes you feel more alive. I'm not sure about that but I kid you not, I brought a change of underwear. Mister macho tough guy? I want my mommy!


Videos
The following are just a couple of the many videos which exist on the Net. (FYI: None of them show me.)

Published on Sep 26, 2012 by Great Canadian Bungee
Great Canadian Bungee (2012 edit)
Video from the company Great Canadian Bungee that shows a jump from swveral different angles. It also show a bit of the ripride.


Published on Jan 27, 2013 by plefrancois
GoPro HD - Great Canadian Bungee Jump
Cool! This jumper is wearing a helmet cam. Ha ha ha. This is better than the video I paid for as it shows you exactly what I experienced. Please keep your hands in during the ride. Ha ha. Wow. Like really wow.


References

Wikipedia: Bungee jumping
Bungee jumping (also spelt "Bungy" jumping)] is an activity that involves jumping from a tall structure while connected to a large elastic cord. The tall structure is usually a fixed object, such as a building, bridge or crane; but it is also possible to jump from a movable object, such as a hot-air-balloon or helicopter, that has the ability to hover above the ground. The thrill comes from the free-falling and the rebound. When the person jumps, the cord stretches and the jumper flies upwards again as the cord recoils, and continues to oscillate up and down until all the kinetic energy is dissipated.

Great Canadian Bungee
The Great Canadian Bungee Corporation, (GCB) was founded in 1990 by President, Matthew Lawrence BA, MBA, and opened for business 14 months later. Matthew, was first exposed to bungee during its founding years in 1988, while in New Zealand. Matthew was later formally trained in bungee by Peter and John Kockelman of Bungee Adventures, California.

Wikipedia: Wakefield, Quebec
Wakefield is one of many villages of the Municipality La Pêche, Quebec on the western shore of the Gatineau River, at the confluence of the La Pêche River in the Outaouais region of Quebec. The village, named after the town of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, England, is now the southern edge of the municipality of La Pêche, and was founded in 1830 by Irish, Scottish, and English immigrants. It is approximately thirty minutes from Gatineau and Ottawa, Ontario driving north on Autoroute 5 and Route 105 at Route 366.

Google image search: "Great Canadian Bungee"

YouTube video search: "Great Canadian Bungee"

My Other Crazy Stunts

my blog: Parachuting: If God had meant me to...
By the way and if you will excuse my French, do you know the saying "to be scared s**tless"? Well, I discovered it's not true. I think it took a full 24 hours after my jump before my sphincter unclenched.

my blog: Edge what walk are you crazy?
I look down. The ground is 356 metres or 1,168 feet straight down and the only thing stopping me from an approximate ten second drop to my death is a steel cable my guide assured me could support the weight of an elephant and a half.

my blog: Jet Pack: Move Over James Bond
I did it. (Gets out a pen and strikes out another item on his bucket list) Before moving on to my next (so-called) dangerous activity, I thought to regale you with tales of crash and burn, er, crash and splash.


Uploaded on Feb 1, 2010 by jejjhander
Goldeneye Opening
From the 1995 James Bond film Goldeneye: The opening 220 m (720 ft) bungee jump at Archangel, shot at the Verzasca Dam in Switzerland and performed by Wayne Michaels, was voted the best movie stunt of all time in a 2002 Sky Movies poll, and set a record for the highest bungee jump off a fixed structure. ... The dam owners started to lease access to the dam, soon after GoldenEye was released, to a commercial bungee jump operator. According to the operator, over 10,000 people have jumped the 220 m (720 ft) from the dam.


2013-10-12

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