Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What's Sage Watching - Part 2!

Some of you may remember Part 1 of my new series (new, as of today) entitled "What's Sage Watching?" Sage has taken an odd and quite intense (at times) interest in tv. It never ceases to amaze me just how long this guy can sit 2 ft in front of the tv and watch with such intensity! At the same time, it never ceases to amaze me how long I can sit and watch him sit and watch tv!!

Tonight was one of those "must see" tv nights. I flicked through the tv guide, and saw a show that I usually try to check out.

The Dog Whisperer!!!!!

Sage sizes up Cesar Milan. "Hmmm... he's got some interesting theories..."

There is a lot of people who love this show and a lot of people who can't stand Cesar. Who better to review the show than, well, a dog!?!? Let's see what Sage thinks of Cesar and his dog-whispering ways...

To start out we have the troublemaking, aggressive, bratty bloodhound. First seen happily frolicking in the meadow, and soon after pummeling his doggie-house-mate.

"Hmph. He's just making the rest of us look bad. And why isn't he running AS FAST AS HE CAN in that wide open field!?!"

Here the owner is showing Cesar how well behaved the dog is inside. That is, until it is introduced to the other dog in the house.

"Why is there ONLY ONE DOG in that room?? Where's the rest of the pack?"

Here the owners are doing their pre-dog intervention interview with Cesar and relating stories of how their dog is the devil incarnate.

"I hear ya, and let me tell you Cesar, I have to deal with some REAL yahoos around here too! (some are even of the canine variety)"

You can see Gabe is totally interested flopped out on his pillow and Octane is nudging closer and closer to me hoping he may get a pet. He's too polite to ask for one though! Meanwhile, Sage is still oblivious to all things around him because he is taking his Cesar review quite seriously. It's for the good of all dogkind you know.

Tuffy-the-troublemaker turns to wise Sage for advice:

"Ok, so listen up little guy - see, you just have to PRETEND to be good when the humans are around, then you can do whateverrrrrr the heck you want when they're NOT around. It's all about US controlling THEM. Let's work together here in the canine world and all will be well in the universe. That, or you can be content with angering the humans, beating up your buddy and licking your bum all day. Some of us are more civilized however..."

"Well, they look like fairly normal people - easily controllable too... heh heh heh..."

Now, the owner, confident in her abilities as taught by Cesar a mere 3 minutes ago, attempts to handle the dog armed with confidence and knowledge! Or, not so much... turns out she's not "being the dominant pack leader!" (said with a Spanish accent)

"Pack leader my a**!! Does he really think we buy this stuff? Ha! Humans... "pack" LEADERS.! Oh, if they only knew!! Mwhahahahaha!!!!"

Cesar gives up this time and throws the misbehaving dog in a baby cage... er, baby crate? Baby pen? What are those things called?!?

"Wow, you are totally an embarassment to our fine species..."

In conclusion, the commercials came on after this segment and Sage was not impressed with having to look at something other than dogs. He was then snapped out of his intense study by me opening of a can of soup. So much for dog concentration. We hope to continue this analysis sometime in the future, but... ah, don't count on it!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Update, and the Canada Winter Games!

Ok, I'm a little behind here, but it's been a wacky week. Ottawa-Jen has prompted me to mention that the Canada Winter Games is in town. Yes, it's a big deal Jen! Such a big deal, some locals are fleeing town due to the madness!! Heck, we are even having like, way more than THREE planes land here a day!! There is a lot of people in town - approx. 6000 extra people from 13 Provinces/Territories, and an interesting tidbit on the Games website - there will be 14,000 lbs of pasta being served!! Aha! I spent many a sleepless night wondering about just how much pasta would be served in Whitehorse for the next 14 days! Now I can rest easy.

Visitors are getting a GOOD taste of the north, as temperatures started plummeting last week just before the Games started. Welcome everybody!! I suspect there's some people out there going "THIS is exactly why we haven't had the Games North of 60 yet!!" Everyone seems to be taking it in great stride so far though.

This is the OUTDOOR speed skating track. I wonder how long their limbs were functioning in that spandex at -36C windchill?!?

(photo by Dennis Senger)

There's lots of cold and snow to keep the athletes on their toes. Heck, it plunged to -45C at my place this morning!! It was also our Copper Haul Twister race day, but there was no way my crew and I were going anywhere. I took a vote. It was unanimous, so we had a lovely, relaxing day. Word is that 12 teams made it out to the race - good for you hearty souls! (aka: crazies)

My old guys have needed some extra TLC this week. Kate (above) has come up with some affliction - which through talking to others (thanks Tamara and Sue), and searching the web, it seems like she might have canine vestibular disease. They say this is an idiopathic (unknown causes) disease and it pops up out of nowhere. Which is what happened to her - she was fine one day, the next day she was walking like she was drunk (and I swear she only had her normal amount of beer...). Her head is tilted and she walks a bit to the side, but her appetite is there (mostly - they say they can feel nauseous and lose their appetite), and she's still a bit of a beeyotch to the other dogs she doesn't like. That tells me she's still got it! So she's been coming to work with me and spending 24 hrs a day inside because this cold isn't good for her right now. She's liking it. I feel like I'm caring for a toddler who is always about to fall over, bonk their head on things, or walk into walls, so I'm always ready to catch her, but have missed a few times only to see her do a somersault headfirst into the snow. Poor thing, but she always bounces right back up like nothing happened with her face covered in snow. I have to admit, I did chuckle a bit to myself when that happened about the 4th time - since she doesn't hurt herself, and she is fully willing to fall on her face in order to nab a piece of fish! Hey, if I was falling on my face (more than normal, that is), the only way I could get through it is with laughter! Anyways, they do say this problem can clear up after a couple weeks then mostly disappears, so we'll see. In the meantime she helps keep the couch warm.

And then there's Gabe. He has some kind of eye infection now. Grrreat! That should be easy to take care of (I even have eye ointment!). AND Ivy's re-occuring lump from the depths of HELL returned again a few days ago too. It was looking a little grim around here for a few days with all this going on. But true to it's nature, Ivy's goiter popped and she is back to flirting and teasing all the boys (uh, not that she ever stopped this behaviour!).

See Jen, I can't NOT talk about the dogs....

So! Back to the Games! I caught the opening ceremonies on tv as well, and I was pretty impressed. God knows this town has been talking about the Games for what seems like ever, so it's a relief to see it finally happen.

For those of you not really paying attention to the Games, or those who can't be bothered to look at their website, let me do a quick recap. These pictures are all from the Canada Winter Games site.

Transportation of the torch, northern style:

Local musher Brian MacDougall and team of trusty huskies lead the way (ugh, I'm starting to sound like a cheesy Jack London story!).

Lighting the torch!

(photo by Amanda Graham)

Opening Ceremonies

Team Alberta - for my mom & dad (who thinks everybody else in the free world hates Alberta for some reason...haha!)

We love 'em - how could you not? Look at those cute little toques!! :)
(picture by Michael Edwards)

Swanky Athletes Village

(photo by Tony Gonda)

The three northern mascots: Taiga(NWT), Yuki(Yukon), and Uqila (Nunavut):

(photo by Bruce Barrett)

The outdoor speed skating track - brrr!!!!

Don't you just want to skate circles on that?!? I bet there's no knee-injuring cracks on it!
(photo by Tony Gonda)

Bundled up to avoid a little thing I like to call frostbite. Who said being an athlete was easy?

I think the teams should look into using these:

I could see it working for speed skating. Biathalon might be tricky as you do need to be able to have the use of your HANDS.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

He does it again!

Congrats to Lance Mackey! Making it THREE in a row!

Gerry comes in 3rd - his best finish so far.

And how appropriate! Though, sled dogs don't often see fire hydrants...

But they'd pee on it in a minute!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

More group skijoring!

Darren and Lara were up for a bit of skijoring today - so we found some time in between checking the Quest website, and Darren compiling stats so we could head out to their Shallow Bay skiing trails. Despite the crapload of snow we've had over the last few days (making this the BEST winter EVER!!!), the trails were nice and packed below the few inches of snow.

Darren took Jack and Harris.

Lara took Ripper

Not sure what she's doing there? Some crazy poling technique?! Wind resistance to slow down Ripper the Speedster?!?

We quickly realized Harris cannot (or will not) run without me. He was a bit of a slacker, who even went as far as turning around a few times! Here he is totally facing the wrong way.

Apparently whenever he heard my voice, he got a bit distracted... whatta big momma's boy! :)

And here he is again not being a good sled dog:

Maybe he's just showing Darren just how GOOD he is at getting tangled. He does excel at it. And then he'll lean up against you (or whoever) so it's virtually impossible to UNtangle him.

Oh well, it was great fun regardless. I had Ivy, Sage and Loki who were great chasing and leading for a bit. Then we had to switch around. Sage was being a bit of a jerk and doing a little snapping thing over at Loki - poor Loki, he just wants to run! That's why him and Ripper are so great together. Sage needs to grow out of his brat/punk phase.

Lara and Ripper coming into the home stretch! They even did another little loop at the end.

The two have bonded forever now... haha!

I like how Sage is right in there going "um, what about ME!?!?"

Oh! I forgot to mention, when we got back, Darren noticed (only when we got back) that he had two totally different length skis on!! Ha! No wonder he "veered to the left" as Lara noted.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

More photos from Ron-in-Eagle!

Burmeister heading into Eagle

Dalton's crew

Heading out of Eagle - beautiful!

Schandelmeier's team

Mike Jayne cutting up meat

More of Gerry's camp in Dawson:

The sleeping quarters...

And Gerry's leaders, Jack (left) and Maggie.

Good lookin' dogs!!! :)

The latest on the race from DH:
Slaven’s Report: Mackey is reported into Slavens this afternoon just before 3pm. That’s an 18:44 run/rest time from Eagle for the 100 miles. It is 2 ½ hours faster than his own time in 2005 and 1 ½ hours faster than anyone did it in 2005. It is also faster than any time in 2006, where times were around 20 hours on average. The trail is still fast and Mackey’s team is still moving well.

I have predicted an 8am arrival into Circle, that could now be revised to something like 4-6am?

And on the others:
I noted on the Quest site that Benson did leave Dawson but 4 ½ hours after his “earliest” time? The reason is unknown. We will probably never know exactly why. It could be he wanted the extra rest or just wasn’t prepared to go at his allotted time. The vets may have asked him to stay longer for his dogs or his team could be serving a time penalty for some infraction on the trail from Whitehorse.

McAlpin is out of Dawson this afternoon with all 14 dogs - good for him. It would be nice to see him close that gap between the next musher up the trail, Regina Wycoff.

If indeed Parvin is out – then the last musher in Dawson will be Boivin, set to leave at 10 pm tonight. She has noted on several occasions she does not want to be a red-lantern team. Unfortunately the red lantern has a habit of catching up to mushers as people drop out behind them. Kyla will have to catch McAlpin and hand him that red-lantern. He is ahead of her by just under, 4hrs.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Photos from Ron-In-Eagle!

Ron out on the Skandic taking photos for the Quest Pool! Whatta guy! Thanks Ron!

Trail diverted due to overflow

Team Mackey coming into Eagle

Here's some info from Stats-Pro, DH on what's shaking in the race so far: (and "Boyle" is Gerry's nickname)
Mackey is now shown as into Eagle at 1:55pm (Alaska time) – so Ron was pretty good with his estimates. His run time into Eagle from Dawson is 26 ½ hours, a pretty fast time for a Whitehorse starting race. Using this time, the earliest we’d see Kleedehn, Boyle or Gatt would be 7pm in Eagle while at the back of the front pack Burmeister would be in around 1am (again assuming the same run time as Mackey) – so those would be the earliest times.

Meanwhile back in Dawson, Hanes and Bybee where supposed to leave this afternoon and they are indicated as still there while Ledwidge who was to leave after them – has left at his allocated time of 14:50. So something is up there too. Sometimes time penalties are applied at this point?

Quest Update

Ok, so our favourite local is now 2nd heading out of 40-mile. Go Gerry!! He is right where I have him in my pool... so keep it up. All I need now is for William to switch spots with Mackey(it'll happen I tell ya) and my points will zoom up!

It seems Gerry made GREAT time to 40-mile, while Hugh seems to have taken the longest time out of those front-runners. Mackey is already cutting rest in an attempt to stay ahead, but is it going to backfire on him further up the trail? Gerry and William left about 15 minutes apart after approx. 6 hour rests. Hugh and Hans left minutes apart, so the competition is not slowing down. Can anyone make up that 4-hr lead Mackey had out of Dawson? It's definitely possible, but his team seems to be on fire once again this year!

The following photos are mostly from the Quest site (Chris Winkler and Carsten Thies):

That's a fancy Dawson tent - involves lumber! Good job to his crew!

(photo from KUAC)

Mackey leaves Dawson


Kleedehn, Trevor Braun and Crispin - William's handler. All have run the Quest before.

Sebastian's dogs looking quite cozy. (photo from KUAC)

And to come - updates and photos from our buddy Ron-in-Eagle. Here's a pic of his daughter with a wolverine that he sent in to Quest Pool Master, DH.

Ron's photos of the trail from last year: