Cybernaut 

Summer bookmarks

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I’m all for long winters but after a long, cold winter and late spring I think I’m finally ready for summer.

As usual I have big plans for the sunny season, and equally as usual I’ll probably accomplish less than half of what I’m hoping to squeeze in before the snow starts flying again in about six months time, unless I get organized.

First, I have some athletic pursuits to train for. This year I’ll be doing the Comfortably Numb Trail Run www.comfortablynumb.ca on June 25, a 25 km epic on one of Whistler’s best singletrack trails. You can register online at any time, but organizers are limiting the field size so be sure to get in early.

I’m also considering another go at the Squamish Triathlon www.squamishtriathlon.org as part of a relay team, although we’ll have to get our registration in soon because this event always sells out.

Other events I’m looking into are the Squamish Test of Metal www.testofmetal.com if I can move up the waiting list and another turn at the Cheakamus Challenge /www.cheakamuschallenge.ca short course.

I also recently returned from Costa Rica where I’ve developed a taste for surfing. Since the nearest breaks are either along Oregon’s shark-infested coast or at Tofino on Vancouver Island, I’ll need at least four days to do things properly.

With long ferry lineups a matter of routine these days, I’d recommend pre-booking your trips to the island online at www.bcferries.bc.ca and following their instructions to the letter to reduce hassles.

I also have a hankering for some camping, something I haven’t done much of in recent years for various weak reasons. There’s no end to real wilderness experiences out there, many of them in the Whistler area, but if you’re a true weekend warrior you’re probably going to start off in one of B.C.’s unbelievable provincial parks. For directions, ideas and information about fees, trails, cabins and campsites, start at www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks. Some camping areas, and multi-day trails and trips are extremely popular (West Coast Trail, Bowron Lakes) so you’ll probably need to make reservations.

While I try to spend as much time outside as I can during the summer, you can’t spend all of that time in running shoes or in the saddle of your bike. That’s why I always stock up on summer reading material, which differs hugely from my winter reading. I save the literature for the colder months, and set aside summer for less austere authors like Stephen King, John Grisham, Dan Brown and Christopher Moore.

I buy 95 per cent of my reading material locally at Armchair Books, but always do a little online research first to decide what I want. The best way to do this is to go to Chapters/Indigo www.chapters.indigo.ca and type in the name of a book you enjoyed reading. When your search result comes back you can then scroll down the page to the "Customers Who Bought This Also Bought…" section for more ideas. I also like to read the customer reviews, not trusting the snooty opinions of most mainstream literary critics.

Although television is typically reduced to re-runs and a few weak pilots, and easier than usual to avoid through the summer months – not being a baseball fan – this summer will be a little different thanks to the FIFA World Cup in Germany.

For a complete schedule, a look at match-ups, video, articles and game recaps, visit the official site at www.fifaworldcup.com/.

Canada didn’t make the cut, again, but since most Canadians are immigrants or the product of immigrants, the interest is always huge.

All 64 games of the tournament will be televised in Canada, with Rogers Sportsnet (www.sportsnet.ca showing 32 games, TSN (www.TSN.ca) airing 31 games, and CTV (www.ctv.ca) broadcasting the final match on July 9. Because a lot of the games take place in the evening or late afternoon, Canadians will be able to watch most matches live despite the nine hour time difference for B.C.

If health and environment experts are correct, television might not be that bad an option this summer.

According to Environment Canada the level of UV radiation is expected to be up about four per cent this year over already heightened levels as a result of the diminished ozone layer and some cyclical solar activity. In the right conditions it might only take a few minutes to burn – as I discovered on a recent trip to Costa Rica where even the local Ticos were slapping on 50 SPF sunscreen.

Doctors are recommending the use of sunscreens, minimum 30 SPF, and to avoid being in the sun between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the suns rays are strongest.

Website of the Week

NHL.com – The National Hockey League may have dropped the puck when it came to resolving last year’s strike, but have always done an excellent job covering the sport through the official portal at www.nhl.com. The writing is excellent, balanced and insightful at times, providing some of the best play-off coverage you’ll find anywhere.

There is also information about coaching and staff changes, team drafts, and links to other hockey playoffs in the AHL, ECHL, UHL, and Memorial Cup.

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