Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Loonie Tunes

Well let the bells ring and the trumpets blare, the loons are back in town!  I heard my first official mournful call this afternoon.  Those sounds are the sounds of spring having sprung.  Of course I shouldn't be altogether caught off guard, what with the whole local environment being warm, and the ice melting itself off the lake.  That should have been enough.  But it wasn't. 

The whole bird sanctuary is coming back into full activity now, yesterday after I arrived home from the city I took the little hell-houndicus for a walk in the back forty and I heard Tits.  (Not the mammary glands, the owls.  You see, they hoot, so they are hooters, so consequently they are Tits.  A collective, kinda like the Borg.  You had to have been there for that one.  It involved rum.  Need I say more?) Anyway like I was saying, yesterday Tits was just a hooting away.  Today a Loon.  Tomorrow, who knows.  Isn't it wonderful.

This afternoon on my little jaunt with the little dog I noticed that she was pretty involved in some piece of detritus which she had picked up along the way.  Now knowing dogs in general, I do not like it much when they carry something around in their mouths and then fling it into the air and then try to roll in it, long ago I have discovered that this is a bad sign.  So after ordering her to spit it out.  Me: "Drop it!"  Her: "Pfft."  Me: "Ughh, that's gross.  No!  Don't touch!"  Her: "Sniff.  Munch."  Dead frozen frog.  And she's supposedly a German Shepherd.  And here I thought that only the French were into the frogs legs. 

Oh I have a bit of culinary activity to report.  I am making something today which will culminate in a finished product tomorrow.  Tada!  Okay so it may not be a big thing to the world in general, but to me that is huge.  My, Chef Boy Ardee, talents usually are limited to a half hour preparation time, anything more than that and I lose interest fast.  I have ADHD when it comes to cooking.  Short attention span.  But today I prepared the dough which has to be refrigerated over night, then tomorrow I will be rolling, stuffing and baking.  No matter how it turns out, it is a step above and beyond the call for this Dora Domestica.   

Sunday, March 27, 2011

More Deconstruction Happening

Okay just a quick note then I am off to shower off the stink!  Today was quite proactive in the land of deconstructing, today we pulled off ALL the gyprock from the hall and the *soon to be bathroom*.  It's funny how the place already looks about a hundred times better even though a lot of the walls are down to the bare studs.  I guess my aversion to wallpaper runs deep. 

Okay so here is a quick version of what is happening with the room which will soon become a bathroom. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oh What A Wuss Bucket I Am

Here's the thing, after sitting in my office for fifteen years, all day, every day, I have become a world class wuss.  Hard to believe eh?  I mean who'da thunk it, sitting and typing on a computer and talking on the phone doesn't get you into shape or keeps you in shape. 

Today I spent four hours out in the bush with the hubby cutting up wood and stacking it.  At one point I pulled the cord on the chainsaw and it recoiled badly and I now have a booboo on my forearm.  Then I had to do all this leaning over and cutting the actual logs and my lower back is aching.  So after being out there for a half hour I was doing some serious sweating (which lets face it, is not exactly a news flash for those who know me and mine, our family is known for its internal heating capacity, I believe if someone could invent something to capture the heat coming off of our bodies we could heat a small town of 10,000 without even breaking a sweat...but I digress) and because today is cold and shitty I started to get cold right away.  So I was either freezing, when I had to stop and sharpen the chain, or I was sweating when I was cutting and stacking.  So after four hours I was done.  Hubby came in and grabbed a bite to eat then went back out.  Thank dog for him, otherwise I would either freeze to death in the winter, or pay mucho denaros to keep the shack warm. 

In the meantime we have purchased our windows to replace the existing, let the cold and winds blow through, windows.  It is going to be a big job, a big, big, big job, so I am thinking that I should have been training all winter by doing weights and running for hours so I will be even a modicum of helpful when it comes to replacing them.  Seeing as it took me almost three hours just to pull the gyprock off one wall, break it up, and stick it into garbage bags.  Oh and I took down the ceiling tiles and pulled about five hundred staples out of the ceiling, but I don't think I can count that. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Destructo Strikes Again

Today was a gorgeous beautiful sunny warm day, and what did I do?  I spent the entire day ripping apart a room which was once upon a time a small spare room and will sometime in the future become a brand spanking new bathroom. 

So with hammer and crowbar in hand I took down mouldings, ripped apart a built in bed, and pulled up flooring and under flooring.  I kinda like the whole aspect of deconstruction, unfortunately this room, like every other part of the place so far had a minimum of a hundred nails to each foot of space.  Its like this whole place is made of nothing but metal.  Tomorrow I will start on the gyprock, but first I will be going outside and enjoying some of the sun before I miss it all. 

There had better be some sun!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Ask me what time I got up this morning. Go ahead, I dare you. The answer may surprise you…I don’t know. That’s right kiddies, I have no idea what time I actually woke up this morning. And to top it off, it is the middle of the freaking week. All I know for sure is that when I got up the sun was already high in the sky, the birds were singing and life had started without me. For those of you who have no idea why this is a spectacular I’ll give you a hint. For the past eon my work day actually started at 6:30am, and that was after an hour drive there. Which means that my life pretty much revolved around my watch and the fact that I had to be in bed early so that I wouldn’t feel like a great big pile of shit during the day. Oh and it also meant that coffee wasn’t a beverage to enjoy while reading your emails, it was a necessity without which I wouldn’t be able to function, or maintain a façade of civility. In my opinion coffee has saved more lives than seat belts.

Even during my vacations I would rarely allow myself the luxury of staying up late and sleeping as long as I wanted to with the fear that it would take me forever to get over the fact that life had just dealt me a shitty hand when I got back to work. So today as I was stepping into the shower at 11:30 it dawned on me that after being off work for over six months I have finally evolved into a different person. The kind of person who doesn’t have to wear her watch and look at it constantly to ensure that her schedule hasn’t strayed too much. The kind of person who can sleep until the sun is in the sky and she doesn’t feel guilty about that fact. The kind of person who can actually contemplate watching a movie at nine o’clock at night and keep her eyes open the whole time it is on. The kind of person who’s life isn’t being dictated by time. This perhaps is the best gift of all.

All I can say to those of you who are still in the nine to five rut, or as in my case, the way too frakkin early to way too frakkin late rut, I feel for you.

Speaking of evolving, the other day the hubby and I were out in the back forty where we decided to cut up a tree for firewood which the beavers have thoughtfully cut down. Waste not, want not, right? Normally this would not be an issue, but the problem with this particular tree was that it was cut down a couple hundred meters from the trail. Which meant that we had to decide what kind of work we wanted to do in order to get it out of its resting place, and into a place where, at our leisure, we could throw it into the wood stove. We finally decided that the quickest and easiest process would be to cut it into three long pieces, run the quad down to it, throw a sling around the pieces and then drag them up to the trail one at a time.

Sounds easy don’t it. Did I mention that we were a couple hundred meters from the trail? So we walked around a bit and decided on the flattest route to and from the tree, then we cut out a couple of small impediments, trees, branches, brush, etc, so the quad could get through, and then we went to work. I bumped my way down the “flat spots” to the tree and we slapped the sling around the first section. Then leaving the quad in low gear, and four wheel drive I commenced to pull it up the hill. I managed to move about four feet before the plans had to change. Did I mention that where it wasn’t muddy there was still a lot of ice under the forest debris? So I got off the quad and waited for hubby to cut the section in half. I then took another run at the hill, and after a couple of tiny setbacks to the process, I managed to power my way up the hill. It ended up taking me seven runs to get the whole tree up to the trail.

On my forth trip down, while I was running through potholes, over huge rocks and squeezing around trees and stumps suddenly the picture of my mom flashed through my head and I started to laugh. You see she has one of those four wheeled scooters which a lot of seniors are driving around these days. It really has been a godsend for her because she isn’t very mobile. But the thing that struck me as funny is that she is afraid to drive the scooter on sidewalks because they are too uneven. So there I was going over a particularly shitty spot, the kind where one second you are looking straight down from the top of a big rock, and not knowing if you are going to do endos, flip sideways, or get stuck vertically and not be able to move. Oh I know that seniors get a lot more cautious as they get older, mostly because they are no longer indestructible, but I am hoping that if I ever get to the point where I have to drive a scooter to get around, after what I’ve been taking my little ATV through, I certainly hope that a bumpy sidewalk isn’t going to be too challenging for me. I’d like to evolve into the kind of granny who would be able to take her scooter and drag a log or two from the woodshed to the house.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beware The Ides Of March

Well it is only about four hours from the end of this particular Ides and so far I haven't found anything to "beware of."  Today was another spectacular spring day in the land that is east.  It was sunny and warm and felt like a little bit of Nirvana.  This morning the lake was having massive indigestion, so much so in fact that I actually had to grab my camera and go and video the noise it was making.  I'd attach it here but it takes wayyyy too long to attach a movie clip.  Just think of a rumbling stomach when you've eaten for too much and multiply that by about a thousand, then you will get what it sounded like. 

Right after that the hubby went into town and I went out for a nice little walk with the hell hound then decided to do some trail clearing, so I packed my trusty little chainsaw, an ax, a spade and my hedge cutters and headed back into the bush.  I spent a few hours cleaning up fallen branches and old rotten trees which happened to have landed where I decided the next section of my trail was going to be.  I dug a couple of channels with my spade to allow the water a quicker run across the existing trails.  Then I fired up the chainsaw and cut out some smaller trees which were impeding the way.  Last but not least, I then actually managed to start the hedge cutter (it has a tendency to not like me much) and I cut out some underbrush and a few branches here and there.  Altogether a rather enjoyable little jaunt in the trees, in the sun, with my trusty sidekick (who abandoned me once she got bored and ran home). 

On the way home I started to brood about my backyard, which happens to be a field, and when I say field you may be thinking that I am exaggerating and really what I mean to say is a very big backyard, but you would be wrong.  My back field is about three, maybe four acres of lawn, and ever since I moved into The Shack (working title) that has kind of picked my butt.  Not that I happen to have anything against fields per se, as long as there is a purpose for one.  Like if you happened to have a flock of bovines that you needed to keep fed a field would make sense.  Or if you were an avid golfer and you wanted to make yourself a little mini putting green, or twelve, a field would make sense.  Or even if you wanted to build it so they would come, then a field of dreams would be your ticket.  But what I have is this big assed field which has been deforested of all happy forest type growth, and in my opinion, looks like shit.  And before you get all "what's your problem Ms Treehugger" on me, my reply to that is pffffttttt, it's my party and I can be a tree hugger if I want to be. 

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah, so I have this big assed field in the back which apparently the previous owner was so taken with that she would go out all day in the summer to cut the grass.  And don't get me wrong, I don't particularly have an issue with cutting grass, what I do have an issue with is the waste of a great opportunity to make the coolest backyard ever.  So my brain has been planning to go and find some trees in the back forty and replant them in my field and make it into a little Utopia of live growing things.  Of course I wouldn't regrow the entire field, I'd like to leave a big chunk of it so I can learn how to become Gardening Gert, but I would like to see at least three and a half of the four acres returned to its natural state.  (Well the state that I say will be natural at least.)  I figure this will do a couple of things, a) it will be pretty. b) it will provide some shade and shelter for little beasties around here. c) it will give us a windbreak to protect the road getting covered by all the snow which gets windswept across the field and dumped onto the the hill, and d) it will give me more privacy so I would be less likely to have to see, or worse, speak with the neighbours.  Maybe I should have started with d)?

So depending on the state of the weather tomorrow I will be taking my handy dandy pink surveyors tape and tramping all around to look for suitable type trees to replant.  (And when I say I will replant them, what I really mean is the hubby will.  After all, why does he think I bought him that backhoe?)  I guess that means that those trees will have to "Beware the Day After the Ides of March."  Mu-hahahahahaha.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Happy Daylight Savings

Well I just have to say that I do not ever remember having enjoyed a DST (daylight saving time) change date as much as I enjoyed this one.  There were many attributes to this day, first and foremost - I knew that I did not have to get up early tomorrow morning and drive to work in the pitch dark.  That was always what I hated about this time of the year the most, you spent all winter hoping for the time you could get up and be able to drive to work when there was even a little bit of light in the sky, then wham!  Along comes DST and you are back to having to go to work in the middle of the freaking night again.  Then there was always that feeling of being ripped off an hour, and it seemed like you were never, ever going to get used to it.  I know, I know, it is only one hour, but when you have to get up at 4:30 am, an hour means A LOT.  Then the next best thing was not really knowing whether or not I had to change the clocks last night, or had to change them tonight, because it doesn't matter!  Because I live in the sticks, and I'm not punching a clock.  I love that...a LOT.  Then of course there was the whole beautiful day thing going on today.  I went for my walk in the back forty and it was warm and gorgeous.  The sun was shining, the birds were singing, a warm breeze was blowing.  The best day ever!  And although things are still a tad bit damp, and a tad bit muddy a body can actually see where things are starting to dry up a bit. 

After my walk I was down hanging out by the side of the lake this afternoon and could see that the ice is definitely rotting out all over the place.  That is soooooo cool (or warm as the case may be) even the dog broke through when she jumped on the ice.  She was not too taken with her polar bear swim though.  Not that it stopped her from doing it again.  Which comes to the next part of my good day, I am thrilled to announce the we have zero snow in our yard.  Well okay that isn't exactly true, we have zero snow approximately six or seven acres around the shack, however we do still have quite a bit of snow in the shady areas of the acreage.  But the immediate vicinity of the house is all grass (and rocks and such, but no snow).  And my trail, which I cut late last summer, is completely clear of snow and only has a couple of small areas which are occupied by puddles.  Happy days are here again. 

So Happy Daylight Saving Time to everyone.  A celebration of the world's most useless invention. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Story Time

I had the kernel of an idea pop into my head, the following is what grew out of it. 

   Death comes in many colours, Hannah thought as she gazed across the valley at the emerald green rolling hills. Early this morning she had stopped at the massive burial mounds before continuing to the small mountain whose peak she was now sitting on.  The sign posted beside the mounds read, “Upon these hills lie twenty-seven thousand dear souls. May their atoms find the best part of the universe.”
   Her journey to this place had taken her through the prairies where she had driven by many cairns of brown, grey, and gold when they were covered by canola flowers. One watery burial place had been sky blue and reflected the moon's white crescent, she had rested an hour beside its cool waters. After her lunch she had read the plaque which told the story of the town of Jackspring and how they had widened an existing gully so they could inter their seventy-two thousand dead. Now many years later the waters had slowly filled it making the grave into a pretty little lake jumping with trout. The lake thrived but Jackspring, like so many other towns,was long gone.  Only the dead remained to keep watch.
  Dangling her feet over the edge Hannah watched eagles lazily circle above the vast stretches of trees and grasslands while the pungent smell of growing things permeated the air. “It’s a cornucopia of green,” she said out loud. The sound of her voice blew away in the wind. She took another long swig of her water bottle before pouring some over her head and onto her face. It had taken her all morning to hike up the old trail to the top of Elk Mountain, her Gram’s mountain. The last two kilometres had been almost vertical and had left her sucking air with every step. The wind had quickly dried the sweat on her forehead and face making the skin prickle where the salt dried. But, as usual, her dark hair was still clinging to the back of her neck like heavy wet noodles.
   The day was growing hotter as she sat on her flat rock, only the cool breezes sweeping up the side of the mountain kept her from seeking shade. The sky was a brilliant blue and so clear she could see for kilometres down the long narrow valley until her greens faded to misty grays. Shading her eyes she stared back across at the dark hills where twenty thousand nameless, faceless, dead lay. Keeping watch, she thought.
   For two days as she had crossed the empty expanses of prairie she had watched the mounds of the dead grow taller and taller while she drew closer. She did not have the time to stop at them all but even so a litany of inscriptions proclaiming the emotions of the people left to deal with the aftermath were everywhere. “Here lie our families. Mothers, fathers, daughters and sons. Forty thousand died, they leave behind a shattered town.” “Seventeen thousand died for no good reason. The town of Bridgetown remembers.” “This site is dedicated to the 83,000 people who perished without warning. May they rest in peace.” “This wall holds the names of the two thousand buried in the soil nearby. We pray that the winds of time can wash away our grief. ” It had been with an intense sense of relief yesterday that she had crossed the province's boundary into the mountains.
   Here, in her valley, this site, these mounds, had been a part of her life forever. They did not hold any of the gloominess for her which the other memorials had.
   In its hay-day the Blue River Valley had been burgeoning at the seams, it had been home to over forty thousand people. Less than a year later the population had been halved. Five years later only five hundred or so still called it home. Today, more than a half century later, the numbers were still in the low hundreds.
   Five ghost towns still stood waiting for people who would not be coming back. The shattered remains of the valley folk had just packed their possessions and abandoned their homes and businesses, most returning to the places where they may still have some family left. As a child Hannah had always covered her eyes as they drove down those empty streets, she didn’t like seeing all the eerie vacant houses peeking out between overgrown bushes and trees, their black windows leaking loneliness into the surrounding spaces. Today those same streets felt like home. 
   The remains of her lunch sat beside her on the ground and already a small troop of ants were busy removing the crumbs. Hannah rolled her jacket into a makeshift pillow and lay down on the grass and closed her eyes, but the sun still painted the inside of her lids red. She fumbled around for her sunglasses and pulled them on with one hand, the other she kept curled protectively around the small ebony box at her side.
   She let out a contented sigh, the walk down will be much quicker, she did not have to hurry. Hannah shifted herself trying to find a more comfortable spot. But the rock warmed her back even more and the sweat soon had her shirt sticking to her skin. She listened to the hum of insects and the buzz of cicadas as they busily continued going about living their lives and ignoring her.
   The hum reminded Hannah of that day five months ago, and five hundred kilometres to the east, the day that she had been keeping vigil with her mother beside her grandmother’s hospital bed. The blinking monitors humming their monotone song in a low subdued timbre gave Hannah a sense of hope although her grandmother’s usual rosy cheeks were a frightening shade of grey. Her beautiful white hair lay greasy and lank against her tiny shrunken skull. The smell of disinfectant didn’t mask the underlying sickbed odour.
   “Fifty seven years ago today I was in this exact hospital,” Gram’s voice sounded sloshy around the edges, like she was trying to breathe through water. "Fifty seven years ago today I gave birth to your mother right here. Mind you I was two stories down.” her voice faded out of focus as did her gaze. “It was the best day of my life. And the worst.” Hannah’s mother had reached out and taken the old lady’s hand giving it a tender squeeze.
   Gran looked up into her daughter’s eyes and smiled. “I don’t know how I would have ever had the courage to go on if it hadn’t been for you. It seemed like the horror of that time was never going to end. One hundred and twenty babies were born that day. It’s hard to believe now, but back then that was normal.” Gran reached up and patted Hannah gently on the face. “By that evening sixty of those babies were dead. Sixty! I will never forget the fear in me. Never. My heart just wanted to beat itself right out of my chest. Like there was a small animal trapped right here,” she pulled Hannah’s hand against her thin rib cage. “I had your mother at six o’clock in the morning. She was perfect. All dewy and soft. She had the prettiest little pink lips.  Just like a baby doll. I fell asleep the happiest woman in the world and woke up to a nightmare that just never wanted to end.” She closed her eyes, the corners of her mouth turned down, her pale cheeks emphasizing the bones on her face.
   That was when I knew she wasn’t ever getting up from that bed, Hannah thought. She had looked at her grandmother and saw her death written in every pore, in every wrinkle, in the dullness that her eyes had become. Hannah remembered how her mouth had gone dry while at the same time tears glittered unshed in her eyes.
   “I called Charles as soon as I found out what had happened in the nursery. I wanted to get you out of this place as fast as I could. It was like the world had become one of those horror shows they were so fond of back then,” Gram said, waving an emaciated hand about. “Half of the night staff did not come in. No one knew what was going on. There were so many dead babies. Most of them were just lying there already turning…no one knew what to do. I walked right into the nursery and scooped you up and hurried away. No one stopped me. The one nurse who had been working all that whole awful day told me that dozens and dozens of people were showing up in the ER bringing in their dead. Mothers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, fathers, grandparents, children - babies. All dead.”
   Hannah looked over at her mother and they exchanged sad looks. Their family had been one of the lucky ones. Hannah knew the story well. Grandpa Charles had packed up his young son, his newborn baby girl, and his wife and had driven as fast as their old car would go to get to his father’s ranch. Ryder's Ranch.  There in the remote foothills of the mountains they had hunkered down and watched in terror as the world shattered itself to pieces. Six months later Hannah’s great grandfather, and four of his children were dead as well as three and a half billion people worldwide. Where there had been twelve Ryders, only six remained, Gran, Gramps, her mother, her uncle Relly, one great uncle and her great grandmother.
   “Hannah, I want you to bring me back to Blue River Valley and scatter my ashes into the wind from the top of Elk Mountain,” her grandmother said.
   “Mom why don’t you let me...” her mother immediately volunteered.
   “Teresa my love, you know you can’t. Not now. You have to stay here and do what needs to be done. Hannah knows the way. Besides she probably spent more time at the ranch then you have.”
   “Don’t talk like that Gram, the doctors will have you back on your feet in no time,” Hannah said. But everyone knew that no doctor would be able to help the regal old lady now.  Less than a day later her Grams had peacefully passed away in her sleep.


   “You’ll call me every four hours,” her mother said. Hannah threw her backpack into the passenger side of the truck. “And if you get tired look for somewhere safe to pull over. That part of the country is pretty deserted these days.”
    “Mom I’ll be fine. It’s only five hundred kilometres. If I don’t take too many stops I can make it in a day…”
   “No!” her mother shouted, startling her. “I mean - no,” she said more softly. “I don’t think it’s a good idea you driving in there at night. Stop and rest somewhere close, but not in the mountains for the night.  Promise me you'll drive into the mountains in the morning. Okay?”
   “Why what’s the big deal?”
   “Hannah, just promise me you’ll wait until morning to drive into the mountains. Okay?”
   “Okay mom. I’ll wait until morning to drive through,” she gave her mother a quizzical look. “Will Uncle Relly be there?”
   Her mother put her hands on Hannah’s shoulders then moved them up to smooth down her hair. “I spoke to Relly yesterday and he’s expecting you. He said to tell you that Abby was going to be home in a couple of days so you two can spend some time catching up.”
   Hannah gave her mother a big smile. “That’s the best news I’ve heard in a long time. I haven’t seen Abby for almost two years. Not since before they moved to Ameritain. Is Max going to be with her?”
   Her mother shook her head. “No Max couldn’t get away, apparently the elections are taking up a lot of his time, seems that his company is building stages all over Ameritain. Every candidate wants one of his or her own.” Her mother pulled out a large roll of bills and pressed it into Hannah’s hands. “Your going to need this,” she said.
   “Mom. I’m good. Really, I don’t need it,” she tried to hand her mother the money back. But as usual when it came to her mother it was impossible to refuse anything, and in the end Hannah had taken the money, given her mother a kiss, and drove away.


   Hannah stood up and brushed the dirt from her pants, she picked up the ebony box and walked the last fifty meters to the summit. She stood for a moment staring down the other side of the mountain automatically looking for the ranch. Then taking a deep breath she pulled the tab on the urn and flipped the lid up. “Goodbye Grams,” she said before flinging the contents of the box into the air. She watched as a small dust devil caught the grey ashes and swirled them up and over her head. They twirled in mid-air for several seconds before the breezes blew them out across the mountain. Hot tears spilled down her cheeks, she wiped them away as she slowly turned back toward her rock. She took a quick look at her wristwatch. “Dam,” she would have to hurry if she wanted to make supper.
   Suddenly she heard a sharp snap behind her which sent her twisting and ducking at the same time. “Holy shit,” she said and dove for her backpack.

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's The End Of The World As We Know It, And I Feel Fine

Because of my recent reading material I have been thinking about *the end of the world* and all of the latest craze surrounding it, which got me thinking about the most vocal of them all right now, Dec 21, 2012, of course.  So I’ve been doing a tiny bit of reading and I have to say folks, it seems that the End of the Worlders are at it pretty hot and heavy.  Which shouldn’t be a surprise given the human race’s predilection for doom mongering.   But before I move ahead and accidently scare anyone into thinking that they should head for high country this instant, let me bring out a few samples of predictions from the murky past to the, oh so present day, just so we can put things into perspective.  What was the saying?  Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. 
To begin with, as far as I can tell the oldest known written apocalyptic prediction is found on an Assyrian clay tablet dating back to 2,800BC.  Yup, it looks like the Assyrian’s beat everyone today by almost 5000 years in the “crazy for end times” phenomena.   Oh and just as a note, they were also blathering on about how the youth of today have no respect for their elders like they did when the fogy Assyrians were young.   
Not surprisingly I found that the majority of apocalyptical prophecies, by a landslide, were the religions of the world.  Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all right up there, not only in predicting the end of the world, but many times actively working towards the goal.  What a fun bunch they are me hearties.  The book of Revelations itself was a wellspring for more than 2000 years of Christian cults.  In 1284 Pope Innocent predicted the end by adding 666 years to the inception of Islam.  In 1624 a rabbi by the name of Sabbatai Zevi figured that the kabbalah was predicting the return of the messiah.  In 1666 Londoner’s thought that the Great Fire was a harbinger of the Last Days.  Oh and who can forget the leading doomsayers of modern times, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they actually managed to base a religion on their penchant for predicting the end, 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1984.  I think they are leading the pack, but they had better not sit on their laurels for too long.
Of course it would be unfair to the other nut bars to leave them out of this discussion, just because their beliefs aren’t founded on obscure holy texts.  Some are actually founded on obscure astrological texts.  Then there are the, Halley’s Comet Gang, starting in 240BC and every 76 years after.  Oh and speaking of comets, how about that zany Hale-Bopp team of 1997?  New Nike’s anyone?  Speaking of the 1990’s, Holy Prophecy wars Batman!”  Thanks, I believe, goes to the internet for allowing the mania to take off and grab even the most discriminating prognosticator and throw him/her/it out onto the world stage.  The number, and type, of *End of the Worlders* increased exponentially with the net’s advent.  Nostradamus must be rolling in his grave because he is missing out on all those royalties for his quatrains.  Even Prince William gets to be the Antichrist in one.  I’m just surprised that they don’t have a special groundhog set up at the Vatican.  “Can we please have quiet in the square while the pontiff pulls, Vatican Vito, from his slumber and listens to his revelations for this year’s world’s end.”  I pick December 31st.  Speaking of Dec 31st, who could forget the Y2K circus of 2000?  Now wasn’t that a fun little field trip in Millennium Fever.  The last time it happened was only a 1000 years ago. 
As you can see the human race has been at this for a long, long, long time.  Man is a master doomsayer, and these days there are as many sites, books, and papers on the topic as there are minutes in the day.  Does this mean that I don’t think that the end is nigh?  Oh contraire, I am not that silly.  I know that it is just a matter of time before we go boom.  Do I think that it will be because some invisible deity takes offense to the fact that people just don’t give two hoots about it and comes riding into town on a pale horse?  I think not. 
The fact of the matter is that, the world as we know it, hasn’t always been like it is today even the landmasses have shifted many times over in the last billion years, or four.  So the real question is not, will the world end for us, but how will it end?  Are we sowing the seeds of our own destruction right now?  Will our world collapse because we are destroying it by mismanaging our resources?  Will we destroy ourselves because we are unable to stop ourselves from shitting in our own yard?  Will we finally end up picking the wrong fight?  Or will it be something outside our sphere of control (as hard as that is to believe) so when the magnetic pole shifts, because it will and soon, will that be all for, Big Jim, and his young ‘uns?   Or is there a big chunk of rock out there with a postal code marked, EARTH?
My prediction is; (drum roll please) I don’t know.  But in my humble opinion we are doing a dam good job of shitting where we live, and mismanaging what we do have control over.  So I suggest that we spend a little bit more time trying to clean up our back yard, and a loottt less time praying for it.    

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I'm A Lumberjack And That's Okay

So today was a day of beauty, in fact I would give it an 8 out of 10.  To begin with it was into the double digits temperature wise, and the wind was definitely a Chinook, I don't care what these easterners say, it knocked the ever living crap out of the snow.  The house was, and is still warm, despite the fact that we haven't had a fire on all day.  I am loving it! 

Being such a great start to the day I felt all energized and decided to tackle some of the massive amounts of dirt and general disorderliness which I have allowed the environs to become infected with.  So I managed to kick my butt into a whirlwind of cleaning.  It was good.  Of course I had to throw the little girl outside and tie her up by the neck as she insisted on helping me with the mopping and cleaning.  Just as a note here, German Shepherd pups are NOT very good cleaners.  Then I threw one of my running CD's onto the ghetto blaster and cranked er up.  Two hours later I had a relatively clean house, considering that I have plywood floors in the hall, and we took down the panelling in there as well, so there is nothing but bare, shitty gyprock which will have to be removed when we get serious about deconstruction.  Oh and by the way I think that the guy who built this house figured that unless he glued the panels to the wall then used approximately three thousand nails to hold them on securely they would somehow develop the need to rip themselves off the walls and run away to join the circus.  And when I say three thousand nails, it isn't an exaggeration.  I really mean it.

Anyway after a rather nice lunch consisting of leftover paprikas csirka and pogotchees I decided to go and take a walk to the back forty and then cut down some trees and brush.  You see, I have a vision, which will take approximately twenty years to get to, but I am determined to do it.  We have a beautiful start to the most amazing park like forest on our property so I want to sort of help it along.  I can envision it becoming this Shangri-La (personally I think it already is) a place where people of all ages want to go for long walks, build forts, contemplate their navels and just enjoy.  So the hubby, not someone who can ever let the opportunity of using a chainsaw go by, came with me to do a tiny bit of clearing.  So we fired up the saws and spent a tiny bit of time clearing out willows, underbrush, and a couple of widow makers.  Then we spent a LOT of time dragging those branches over to the brush pile.  (Which the hubby just burnt a few weeks ago, but we won't go there.)  We couldn't have been at the task for more than three hours, and by the time we got back to the shack 90% of our snow was gone from the front lawn.  How cool is that! 

Then I made a not too bad supper, pineapple chicken, quinoa, carrots and watermelon.  So what do you think, 8 out of 10 or what? If the roads hadn't of been this big soupy mud slop then I would have given it a 9. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer than today was, so I plan to do a bit of research and find out if I can try to get some maple syrup.  I think the ideal weather is about being cold at night and warm during the day, but I'm not sure.  Times like these I'm glad there is good old Wiki to ask!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Apocalypse Wow

I’m right in the middle of reading a book which takes place just a few years after a series of apocalyptic events on the planet. To be honest, I've read a few novels about *the end of the world as we know it* and even list one as my all time favourite books (The Stand), but soon into this book I realized that not only was it an apocalyptic book but it also has zombies as the bad guys. Sigh. Why is it that authors feel the need to add zombies to stories? To be sure I’m not that much of a fan of zombies but okay if you feel the need to add a raft of zombies into the mix and you can sort of semi explain the reason people turn into them, well okay I guess I will buy into it for the sake of the story.

So there I am reading about Armageddon zombies and I’m willing to make the deal with the author about her rules for this particular world, even though I am feeling a tiny bit ripped off because the book jacket didn’t mention zombies, if it had I probably wouldn’t have bought it. But hey if I stopped reading every book after the first couple chapters which didn’t quite jive with me, I may have missed out on some really good books in my life. Anyway, the way I see it is that it is the author’s job to write the rules of the story, and it is the reader’s job to accept the author’s vision in order to make the reading experience valid. In my mind its kind of like a contract. So I’m reading away when suddenly the author sticks a repeat line into the book and I realize that she has just reneged on her side of the contract. Here’s what I mean, at the beginning of the book the protagonist is trying to get some sleep beside a road when she sees a guy walking with a pack, suddenly he is attacked by the zombies and he runs faster than she had ever seen anyone run. Then a few pages later she sees a dark haired girl in a dirty white shirt who is sprinting toward her at a speed that she could not imagine anyone moving. Then a few more pages and the zombies are moving faster than anything she had ever seen. See what I mean. The author broke the rules.

I was willing to accept that she was writing about our world sometime in the near future where different countries have been attacked with biological weapons and governments have fallen apart, where starvation is just a day away, where bad people do bad things, where people are turned into zombies by eating genetically altered plants, etc. But I was unwilling to accept that this person keeps seeing people (and things) move faster than she has every seen anyone, or thing do before. So because of this one particular repeat fancy of the author the story suddenly no longer was cohesive for me, and within moments I had gone from an accepting reader of this novel to someone who was just looking for all the faults within it.

I guess that this was a bit of an epiphany in terms of how my mind works when I am reading. As a reader I am willing to overlook a lot of scientific inconsistencies, plot concerns, timeline considerations, and many other issues, but give me something like this, which sticks out like a pimple on the Mona Lisa's nose, then, BOOM, I’ve just been blasted out of the imaginary world of the author. As an author, “Note to self; no matter how much you love a description of an event, do not work it into your story over and over again.”