Archive for September, 2010
Thursday, September 30th, 2010
Seeing as how there’s still no baby on the way, I figured it’d be alright to paste my column from today’s edition of the Medicine Hat News.
Any day now, the world’s population will increase by at least one as we anticipate a visit from the stork because it’s been a few years that the Lawdy Mama and myself have been attempting to add to our family with someone that isn’t covered in fur, has a tail and a wet nose with no offense to my best friend, Dr. Jake my black lab. It turns out that the magic combination was a southern vacation and tequila margaritas because there’s a good chance I’m in a delivery room right now while my wife inadvertently continues to break my fingers while ‘working through the pain’.
Names have been picked out and while I have absolutely zero control over what those could be, I’ve been put in command of answering our front door as friends, colleagues and complete strangers drop off enough baby clothes to house a herd of preemie elephants. Space has also become a very hot commodity in the digs these days as I’m only now beginning to recognize just how much room something so tiny commands. My tower speakers have been swapped out for a baby swing and while both are capable of playing music, rocking out to Rock-A-Bye-Baby Metallica just doesn’t have the same panache, as an example.
Soon I’ll be able to add ‘father’ to my collection of hats like the ‘sucker’ hat I wore a few weeks ago after my parents made a trip up from the keystone province with a spare bed in tow. Up until 37 hours ago, I thought they were just being ‘nice’, not realizing that this bed would replace our spare inflatable air bed which now means they’ll be more comfortable which ultimately means an extended check out date from Chez Poncho. I’ve also realized that when we decide to try for another addition to the clan I will be disabling my phone, namely in large part to our extended family. Like a kid on a sugar high that refuses to listen, the in-laws phone approximately 4-8 times a day, always asking the same question, ‘do you have a baby yet?’ Likewise, 4-8 times a day it’s reiterated that they’re our first priority on the phone list when ‘baby’ decides to start their life outside of the oven.
And so when my wife’s doctors along with the cashier at our grocery store and a couple of sidewalk strangers have gotten their fill of rubbing my knocked-up better half’s belly, sets of eyes peer in my direction and emanating from the associated pair of lips is this question, ‘Are you ready to be a Dad?’ I tend to answer that question with an analogy and quote Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’ ditty. While I don’t know what it means to be ‘like a virgin’, I’m fully prepared to be ‘like a Dad’ until said moment arrives although I have to give credit to my wife for the following quote, “I’m like a bouncer at a bar. For nine months I’ve looked after this unruly patron but you’ve worn out your welcome and now it’s time for you to just get out!”
Monday, September 27th, 2010
Who knew that five minutes later that I would literally stumble onto this scene? Thankfully, it was an abandoned house that was most recently being used as a tactical training ground for the MHPS. What impressed me was how organized our city’s rescue crews were including our Firefighters, the MHPS, EMS teams and the RCMP.
Friday, September 24th, 2010
Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
It’s with a down-trodden soul, heavy heart and clenched fists that I write to you this week dear reader. It’s also imperative that I explain here and now what the following paragraphs entail-namely the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Like how our sun dips below the western horizon every night, my Blue Bombers suffered defeat yet again in the CFL but I will stick to my guns and hold true to my word after losing a bet to my co-host Cassie, hence this forewarning. In no way, now or ever, will I succumb to Rider Nation as I offer some insight to the team and its multitudes of fans that ‘bleed green’. Without further adieu, may I present a short and personally painful history of the 2007 Grey Cup Champs, the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Although this often controversial club has been to the finals a staggering seventeen times, the Roughriders have walked away with the Earl Grey Cup only thrice, paling in comparison to the Blue Bombers ten championships but I digress. Originally known as the Regina Rugby Club and then as the Roughriders as a tribute to an elite squad of North West Mounted Police, the ‘Saskatchewan’ portion of the name wouldn’t take effect until 1946, allowing one and all to jump on board the Rider bandwagon. Despite my conspiracy theory that no single person would willingly or unwillingly for that matter admit to owning the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the club is very unique in respect to being a publicly owned sports company.
While it pains me not to be able to comment on the lack of creativity the Jolly Green Giants possess, (Ottawa originally had the name ‘Rough Rider’ and ‘Gainer’ is an anagram for ‘Regina’), this football club does make the most of their dedicated fanbase. It’s normal for opponents of the Riders to practice with very loud music to simulate fan noise when preparing to play on Taylor Field while noting the Roughrider club can take pride in owning several ‘fight’ songs, as opposed to the typical one per team.
Normally found under an empty aluminum mountain of Pilsner cans and frequently wearing a watermelon for a hat, the Roughrider fan is arguably the most dedicated and yet rowdiest of all sports fans. Much like their mascot Gainer the Gopher, the Roughrider fan can and often multiplies rapidly which could account for why roughly every 1 in 5 Canadians support the Riders and hence the collective term, Rider Nation. What they lack in mathematical skills they make up for in sheer dedication to their club by leading the way in CFL road attendance every year so far since the induction of the 21st century. And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to start the thorough process of Rider Nation decontamination before it affects my Bomber jersey.
Tuesday, September 21st, 2010
First of all, thanks to Paul E. (sometimes also known as Paully) for taking the time to drop me a line but not necessarily for attaching the picture you see below.
It’s situations like this that make it very easy to be an Anti-Rider fan and I hate to admit it but even this picture made me laugh.
(just don’t tell Cassie)
Thursday, September 16th, 2010
Consider this part of my blog the introduction of what I copied and pasted below; namely some number of the Toy Run from last week and an explanation of why bikers love the open road.
When he’s not hiring people steeped in the art of creating wood burning kits, lawn darts and other dangerous toys no longer available, the fat man in the red velvet suit knows how to get the job done. With empty stockings on the line, Mr. S. Nick once again turned to his fellow biking buddies (anyone who pulls a reindeer powered sled rides a bike) and was answered with a literal mountain of toys as the 24th Annual Santa Claus Toy Run came to rumbling and leathery finale at the Royal Hotel last weekend. 540 pieces of iron and their dressed up owners offered over $12,000 worth of toys not to mention an additional $13,000 in cash donations which isn’t too shabby for a bunch of stereotyped, unruly and brash bikers, contributing to more than 1/3 of all toys and donations collected for the toy fund annually. If I may stereotype for a moment however, there’s at least one family on their way back to the land of the mighty SK that has probably been traumatized worthy of at least half a dozen therapy sessions after spending their weekend in the Gas City. Striking a resemblance akin to a masculine version of Pippi Longstocking, Al and his family of seven from Estevan was left a little shaken after witnessing an ocean of chrome and steel headed his way after mistakenly zigging onto the parade route when it became obvious he should have zagged instead. The reason I know this is because I was there when Al wheeled his wagon into a back alley where he, his family and myself watched the rolling thunder of bikes and plush toys roll into town which took as much time as an episode of the Friendly Giant. (15 minutes in case you can’t recollect that show) Turns out Al had never been on a bike that didn’t have pedals and was more curious than George (another throwback to another time) about the biker life. So somewhere within my thinking noodle I found a hunk of information I had retained from the book ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ and it was this nugget I offered up to Al without giving any credit to the author of the book which I will do now and that name is Robert M. Pirsig. Pirsig uses a great analogy which compares traveling down a highway in a car to watching television. From the cab of a four wheeler, you’re watching the scenery roll by whereas a bike will put you right in the scene. You’re no longer a spectator but a participant, feeling the temperature change and not reading it from the LCD display; your nose now becomes more than just a place to hang the shades, you’re able to breathe in the boreal forests you’re riding through or unfortunately, the cattle trailer in front of you but that’s all part of it, isn’t it? Whether I got through to Al or not I don’t know but I have a feeling he’ll be studying up on his knowledge of the one way streets here in town before he makes a return visit.
Monday, September 13th, 2010
31-2 was the final score of my Blue Bombers embarassing the Roughriders yesterday in the BanjoBowl. If the guys never win another game for the rest of the season, I’m okay with that because it means I’ve FINALLY won a CFL Showdown with my co-host, Cassie.
Cassie sung the Bomber Fight Song this morning with more guts and glory than I would have figured and I’ll even admit that’s it’s one absolutely horrible piece of music.
For your entertainment, I’ve taken the liberty of attaching the lyrics with a link to the actually tune should you feel the urge to sing along. Enjoy!
WE’RE PROUD OF THE BLUE BOMBER NAME
SO PROUD OF IT’S GLORY AND FAME
WE’RE BEST IN THE WEST AND WE’LL TAKE ON THE REST
WHEN WE GET TO THE EAST WEST GAME
FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT
LET’S FIGHT THROUGH THAT LINE DOWN THE FIELD
OUR BLUE BOMBER TEAMS NEVER YIELDS
LET’S FIGHT ON TO VICTORY FOR WINNING IS OUR DESTINY
SO FIGHT ON BLUE BOMBERS FIGHT
WE’LL SHOUT AS YOU GO CHARGING BY
WE’LL SEND UP OUR CHEERS TO THE SKY
BEHIND YOU WE’LL STAND YOU’RE THE BEST IN THE LAND
AND WE’LL SHOUT OUT OUR PRAISE ON HIGH
FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT
LET’S FIGHT DOWN THE FIELD YARD BY YARD
LET’S FIGHT DOWN THE FIELD HIT EM HARD
FOR WE WANT A TOUCHDOWN TEAM
AND WE WANT A CHANCE TO SCREAM
SO FIGHT ON FIGHT ON BLUE BOMBERS FIGHT
Thursday, September 9th, 2010
Simply put, I get to plagerize my own column. Enjoy.
I was topping up my Road King before the influx of Labor Day gas prices at the pump kicked in when this extremely intuitive young dude asked if all motorcycle riders wave to each other, something he picked up on while summer vacationing across this vast land via the back seat of his parents motor home although it very well could have been from the RV’s sofa too. “I’d like to think yes”, is what I told him before engaging into a very pleasant conversation with the whole family, something that happens a lot to me while on my bike and almost never when cruising around in the speedwagon. Interesting. With all this recent big bad burly biker talk in the media the last ten days or so, I thought I’d rumble on about some of the different qualities that separate riders from the four, six and eighteen wheeling kind of highway traveler. As an example, the reason you never see a biker smile is to avoid swallowing flies and mosquitoes by the bushel despite the protein content they contain because after the helmet comes off, we smile a lot.
The riding collective has garnered such a diabolical rapport with the public that BC Tourism is looking towards ‘the nasty biker’ as a way to promote their province. While we wait for dealerships to offer incentives for accumulating an extra 15000 kms on the truck lease, riders anticipate the challenge of logging thousands and thousands miles onto their odometer so why not hire the people behind the throttle to advocate their trips abroad? With the possible exception of the blue hair group that is quickly commandeering rest stops and coffee shops everywhere, who better than a brethren of motorcycle riders to describe the twists and turns of a never-ending piece of pavement; that is after all a key element to riding. Motorcycle enthusiasts have become so evil we’ve been personally hired by Santa Claus for this Saturday’s 24th Annual Santa Claus Fun Toy Run. Starting at the weigh-scale east of Dunmore this year (at the crack of noon if you’re interested) and finishing up at one of my favorite watering holes here in town known as The Royal, the resonating roar of bikes combined with the creaking of leather will likely have to take a back seat, if not passenger seat or side car to the literal mountain of toys that will be collected. Please don’t take my word for it though, grab a toy yourself and give to the cause and you can see firsthand just how ‘unruly’ the biker crowd can get. I’d like to carry this over for another week and will, especially now that I’ve run out of paper and now if you’ll excuse me, I still have some bug splatter to remove from my pearly whites before the supper bell rings.
Thursday, September 2nd, 2010
What you won’t find here is today’s bonus word which can be snagged from the latest edition of the Medicine Hat News. (Sept 2/2010)
What you will find in both the paper and below, today’s column.
The shaking of fingers, the furrowing of foreheads and last minute reminders of shoelace etiquette was all a facade because if you listened real hard this past Monday morning, you could hear the silent yet jubilant scream of parents everywhere. As fist pumping and chest thumping from an army of weary Moms and Dads was the priority across suburbs and farmhouses alike, tomorrow’s future headed back to school for another 200 days of the growing of the brain. Unfortunately, it’s our generation that should make the trek to the big yellow bird and not necessarily for a refresher course on how to use a protractor because just for few moments, imagine if our politicians and playmakers used the laws of the playground to run the world.
1. The Drinking Fountain Rule. No matter how times you got ‘called over’ during an intense match of Red Rover, when recess ended you were allowed five seconds in front of the drinking fountain and woe to the individual that would exceed that golden opportunity. This rule would also apply to check out lines in stores everywhere and should you exceed the allotted time for paying for your six ply toilet paper and duck boots, prepare to suffer the queen of all wedgies at the hands of your fellow shoppers. As an added bonus, this rule would generate much more interesting conversation than the typical, ‘Is it hot enough for ya’?’ ice breaker.
2. No Telling Rule. No one likes a tattle-tale, especially after you’ve tested out your new four letter vocabulary on the tarmac playground, courtesy of your pipelining, beer swilling, side boom operator, Uncle Frank. Entire mountain ranges have been created out mole hills and countless hours of red tape have been examined with a high powered magnifying glass but it doesn’t have to be that way. Reflecting back to the unofficial grade four textbook of social interaction in the chapter of ‘conflicting opinions’, let the supervisors, managers and inspectors to their own devious devices and do what the kids do; go right to the source of the problem and deal with it head on. The boss saves on paperwork, you save face and I’d like to think we’ve become a civilized society where most issues can be rectified over a beer and a handshake without having to call in the heavies.
3. Ask before Borrowing Rule. Many a parent have instilled this rule into the moldable minds of their offspring while incorporating the ‘do as I say and not as I do’ law unto themselves. I’ve lost more power tools and have witnessed the disappearance of the majority of my Ratt cassette tapes (that’s right, I like the cassette) all because of some half naked, three quarter’s drunk neighbor felt it was their right to use my cordless drill ‘for just a second’. You wouldn’t try that trick in elementary school because it was acceptable to have your fingers glued together and incidentally, I still own several half used glue sticks that were borrowed and promptly returned from back in a time I call the 80’s. But this is the grown up world where the stakes are bigger and the would be borrowed items bigger and therefore maybe we could use Krazyglue instead.
Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
The leather was conditioned and the chrome was shined one last time as I headed out for a late summer solo road trip. I love the ‘alone’ rides; you start and stop when you want, your thoughts meander to and fro and it’s also an opportunity to post some more pics.
This one is of a supper being prepared to hit the open flame of a campfire after a day’s ride in the cold rains of the Valhalla Mountain Range. I found a local butcher who sold me these chicken skewers and while I prefer Beans to Ravioli, I had to opt for the easy open lid. Other items you see include some ‘refreshment’ and a water resistant mini speaker system for my iPod, a must have when camping and tunes are needed.
Here’s a picture of my hotel for the weekend. Sure, it might not have central air and sure, maybe some of the windows are missing the panes and I’ll even admit in this picture it looks less than a 5-star chateau but it got me off the ground and I didn’t have to set up a tent, which I didn’t bring anyway.
And there’s a cool story behind this pic. Off the beaten path and off the pavement, this is an old marble quarry north of Meadow Creek, BC. All of the fancy rock taken out of here was used to build the legislative buildings in Victoria. It’s a shame it’s suffered years and years of grafitti. And while this picture doesn’t do it justice, compare the bikes in relation to the size of this hollowed hunk of mountain.