Well sort of… I mean they must be hiring illiterate postal carriers from the photographic evidence contained here. You’d think they’d cover the words “Please Do Not Bend” at their orientations but, to be fair, there is a six letter word in there. And if you think I’m being a little hard on our postie here, well, I’ve been receiving lots of these through the mail lately and over half of them have been bent…
My new header image is a macro shot I took of a Wild Ginger flower. It was taken a few weeks ago in the Marden Agreement Forest on a Guelph Field Naturalists outdoor hike lead by Charlie Cecile.
Those that know me well would knit together their eyebrows in wonder at either of those titles. Although I am a physical guy, enjoying the outdoors and commuting by bike year round, I am not the sporting type. It’s not that I don’t like sports. I rather enjoy participating in them but I was always the last to be picked for any team. I was the scrawny, asthmatic loner who preferred books to baseball bats or hockey sticks. That all changed in my adolescence and especially after the physically challenging summer of Junior Rangers. But I still prefer books to organized sport and have never enjoyed simply watching sports.
So why, you may ask, would I suddenly have a very high batting average?
And I really do.
In fact I would wager that my batting average is far higher than that of any of the colleagues at work who are sportos and currently participating in softball leagues. With a smaller bat than you are probably imagining I am the mighty Casey who didn’t strike out.
How is this possible?
It all began last night. My son Jonathan had planned to have friends over for the last free night of the the long weekend. It may have something to do with me gulping back a rather large energy drink (a Xyience Xenergy Cran Razz) that had been languishing in the fridge. I’m not a big energy drink guy and never have coffee. I had bought that can weeks ago to help me stay awake on a trip home from Ottawa. So around midnight my bloodstream was swimming in caffeine and whatever else they put in that demon drink.
So I was awake around midnight when I went to pick Jonathan up from his job at McDonalds.
Very, very awake.
I got him home and one of his guests had arrived. In fact the only stalwart guest that managed to brave the wilds of the Grignon household.
The first thing Jonathan wanted to do was set off his fireworks with his friend. So, risking the wrath of my neighbours, I supported my son’s pyromania and went down to a small parking lot behind the house with Justin and them. Jonathan had bought a large box full of very powerful stuff from some shady intinerant supplier. While setting them off I don’t mind telling you that some of us ran behind a dumpster every time we heard a siren or saw a police car or had some of the more outrageous munitions filling the sky. But even a hundred dollars worth of explosives has to end.
Sound like a good sport story so far? Ha! Hold your damn horses I’m getting to it.
So there I was back at the house. Still very awake. The boys were watching a David Lynch movie and I went downstairs where it was nice and cool and a lot less weird. I was playing a computer game.
Some time later I heard some rustling in the walls. I’ve heard that noise before so I ignored it. I thought a chipmunk had a nest behind the front wall of the house but I wasn’t positive. I’d seen one disappearing into a hole at the base of the front steps over a year ago and I’ve assumed that’s what it was.
There’s a cut out in the drop ceiling for the chimney clean out and, around 1 AM, I heard something fall down through it. I know this because, whatever it was, it struck the strings on an electric bass below. They were still vibrating when I sprang up to investigate.
Grabbing the most immediate ‘weapon’ to hand I found myself with two drumsticks from my son’s snare drum in my right hand.
When there it swiftly came. Flying right at me.
I was pure nerves and muscle. I don’t recall my brain getting in the act at all.
I just lashed out and Thwack! There was a deliberate connection with the small end of one of the drumsticks.
Batting a thousand the mighty Casey had knocked the small brown bat into the corner. It hit with a distinct ‘Schmuck’ and fell like a stone behind a big Peavey speaker. It thought it was all over for the poor thing.
I just stood there, eyes wide with caffeine, for a few minutes. I might have blinked. I felt like a schmuck too. I don’t like killing animals if it isn’t absolutely necessary.
This wasn’t the first bat we’ve had in this house but somehow I’ve never connected the scrambling in the walls with a bat. I thought it was the damn chipmunk. Was that scrambling sound a bat or bats for all this time?
So I fetch my trusty butterfly net that I catch bats with and a flashlight.
I couldn’t find it. That’s not too surprising as bats can hide in surprisingly small places. I was just relieved I hadn’t killed it. So I returned to my computer and checked with my net for it fruitlessly every little while for the next two hours. Hell, there was no way I could sleep until much later.
Now it’s the next day.
I found the bat.
It must have succombed to its injuries sometime during the night since I’d checked that very spot repeatedly.
No more energy drinks.
This 1998 movie from Director Brad Anderson was a surprise. It is a fresh, Woody-Allenesque drama (but set in Boston) that had me laughing and interested the entire 104 minutes. In fact, my wife and I enjoyed it so much we watched it twice this week. And we’ve talked about buying a copy for our collection.
It’s about a young nurse (Hope Davis) who is dumped by a radical activist (played by a young Philip Seymour Hoffman). Her mother (the very funny Holland Taylor) places an ad in the Personals for her and hilarity ensues while she keeps just missing a young plumber-turned-Marine-Biologist (Alan Gelfant).
A very enjoyable flick for the whole family.
Jeff Nichols 2011 movie Take Shelter is different. Not what I was expecting at all and yet it kept drawing me back while my wife watched it. I kept trying to go back to my writing but I ended up watching the whole thing. There are the obvious themes of coping with mental illness and the responsibility of supporting and protecting a young family but I saw more here. Nichols deftly investigates the lines between prophecy and madness. What is the distinction? In this case they ride on whether the apocalypse happens or not.
A subtle but interesting film that will leave you thinking. If that’s your cup of tea then I recommend it highly.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 38,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
So how is it that you find yourself walking through a cemetery on a dark night with two 4 by 4 panels of beadboard?
It started up innocently enough actually. My wife and I went to Home Depot to pick up some home improvement (that’s a very hopeful word when you’re not the best wood worker) supplies last night. So we take our paint, brushes and a 8 by 4 foot beadboard and there we stand a little confused as we look at our new Chevy Cruze in the parking lot and then back at the beadboard. Hmmmmm.
So we head back in and have the helpful guy with the orange apron cut the panel in two — we need two panels anyway. When we get our noisy trolley back to the car we still can’t fit them in. After sending my wife to the next stop in hommage to our money pit I returned to the store for the third time. I purchased some work gloves, as it was a cold night, and then embarked on my way home.
It was only a few kilometres to get home anyway. In fact, a leg of the trans-Canada trail happens to pass right by the Home Depot in Guelph starting beside a railway line. I’ve biked this path many times. And only a few metres from the road the trail dekes into the Woodlawn Cemetery along one of the narrow roads through it that parallels the railroad.
So there you go. That probably explains a lot actually. I could say I didn’t know about the van a friend of mine told me I could rent there to bring stuff home. Or I could probably have had it delivered. Or called a friend. But not me. I chose a different path, through a dark cemetery on a cloudy night.