we grow back

This is one of the best pieces of graffiti I’ve seen in Guelph even though it’s probably not a new idea (sincerest form of flattery, right?) A retaining wall by my morning bicycle commute was grey-painted to remove quite a few interesting pieces this summer. But as the picture above attests to–they do grow back.

Cute Father’s Day Card

Father’s Day has never been a big deal to me. In fact, sometimes I think we have too many of these days and should be happy with birthdays and statutory holidays. At other times I’m struck that time spent bringing the family together should be fostered especially when there are so many pressures tearing families apart.
So it was with mixed feelings that I found a Father’s Day card from my son as I was cleaning a portion of the basement. I think the card was made at school since it was done on material which was cut up into a mosaic and pasted onto construction paper. It made me smile and laugh so I figured I should scan it in and share it with you.

Phishing, continued

New phishing e-mail! Not as hilarious as the US Marina e-mail but still funny:

Owing to our on going system server upgrade, you are requested to update your account information by following the reference to prevent your Email address to be de-activated and to enable it upgrade to reflect in our database as a very active, useful and legal email account.
Click The Reference Below*

http: // work191se. moy. su/ microsoft.htm

However, If your account information is not confirmed and verified within a certain period you will have to lose your account.

Account Services
Copyright © 2013.

The ‘su’ domain is actually for the Soviet Union.

The from address is: “Donovan, Sean” Sean.Donovan@cooperindustries.com

Stupid is as stupid does

“What are you? Stupid?”

My biking to work year round gains that response from family and outspoken people on occasion. It, of course, makes me react. Usually on the inside.
Perhaps they are just trying to be funny. As it probably was with the volunteer where I was giving blood the other day.
But I have the impression they speak for many. Certainly for those who honk at me in the road or don’t give me my fair share of the road.
But I think it’s more. They are giving voice to a deep resentment many people have about cyclists.
But why you may well ask?
Below I try to examine both sides of biking as I see them.

Reasons NOT to bike:

  • easier
  • less dangerous
  • the elements (especially in a Canadian winter) and stuff on the road are hard on chains, gears, tires and brakes so there is a requirement for spare tubes and bikes
  • it does require some gear (which doesn’t have to be too expensive if you don’t mind layering)
  • bugs, dogs, animal poop and parental geese

And now WHY I ride:

  • extremely enjoyable (almost addictive when you’ve done it enough)
  • relatively quick
  • if the trail hasn’t been plowed it’s much rarer that the roads aren’t and I can use them legally
  • physically healthy respite from my sedentary lifestyle
  • relatively carbon neutral
  • economical (gasoline for two weeks alone could buy me two used bikes in good shape and two months would get me a real nice one)
  • mentally healthy alternative for our sedentary minds (provides me with the time I use to think things through)

So there you have some cons and pros. I don’t know where you come down on any of those but it probably doesn’t matter. These points don’t give the real reason people think I’m stupid because deep down I’m pretty sure they don’t. Not really. They might, if they like or love me, be fearful for me but then they’d be the ones that are joking about my intelligence.
So why the stupid?
I think it’s because they wish they were doing the same. They feel guilty because they don’t and I do. Despite the too many excuses they’d have to fight off to bike themselves, they really want to. Even those angry that I’m in ‘their’ lane probably wish they were the ones biking. So they react angrily to what they perceive as my stubbornness to continue biking. Well they’re right about my stubbornness anyway, my wife can attest to the fact.
Maybe they lack the will power. I know I certainly do when I’m playing video games late and should be sleeping.
Maybe they’re stuck in a rut but that’s not right: it’s easier to get out of a rut in a car than it is on a bicycle.
Or maybe I am just a pretentious tree hugger who wants that big old world to stop so I can get off. But I do own a car (it was supposed to be in my wife’s name but the misogynistic car dealership put it in mine–whatever! I pay for it either way.)

So that’s it in a nutshell. I know I’ve posted on this topic before but I felt compelled to do it again. I just love biking and wish more people did it for most of my reasons above are bound to be really good for them too.

Maybe, in the end, my attempts at explaining myself are the real proof. Why am I trying? I must really be stupid.

Letters to Father Jacob

In the original Finnish it was called Postia pappi Jaakobille and was intended as a made for TV movie. But, luckily, this seventy-four minute masterpiece was released as a movie. The deft cinematography draws you in and the acting of the two principals (Kaarina Hazard as Leila and Heikki Nousiainen as Father Jacob) keeps you riveted to the screen.
The basic plot surrounds the newly pardoned criminal Leila coming to work with the blind Father Jacob as an assistant. But there are layers of meaning in every amazing shot and moment of dialogue. The story is succinct but full of subtlety. The clash of faith with modernity, in particular, was skillfully played with.
I had to watch the film for a second time immediately just to satisfy myself that I had grasped everything.
Klaus Härö is the young director and wrote the screenplay using an original work by Jaana Makkonen. It’s official: I’m now a fan.
Very highly recommended to an older audience with an open mind.

Wild and Woolly Find on Starkey Hill

I found a colony of a small, weird organism on a young beech tree as I was climbing up Starkey Hill. Each individual was tufted white with one particular long white hair and it, bizarrely, waved back and forth from a brownish/black base. I guessed it was some kind of insect but it didn’t look like anything familiar. In fact, the waving back and forth reminded me more of a marine organism.
A naturalist friend of mine confirmed that it was some kind of Woolly Apple Aphid.
You can check out other sites for them here or here

Here’re my pictures: