Friday, July 31, 2009

Another sign of the apocalypse

Someone with too much time on his, er… hands, has invented an interesting toy.

It’s rather an adult toy, but it’s for dogs.  Now you can relax in your home, without worrying about Rover mounting the guests.

Reminds me of a good joke.

Three dogs are in the waiting room of a vet's office. The first dog asked the second dog "What are you here for?"

"I crap and pee all over the house so I'm going to be put to sleep. What are you here for?" the second dog asked.

"Whenever my master is gone, I tear the house apart. I bite and chew on everything. I'm going to be put to sleep, too" replied the first dog.

The first two dogs look to the third dog and ask "What are you here for?"

"Well, one day my mistress was bent over vacuuming the floor and I just couldn't help myself and I humped her," said the third dog.

"They're going to put you to sleep for that!?" exclaimed the first two dogs.

"No! I'm just here to get my nails clipped."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I am a Mormon.  Well, maybe not in the technical sense, but some days I think I have three wives.  You see, I have two daughters.

My eldest daughter had a sleepover last night, and the thunder caused a change in plans.  The girls were going to sleep in a tent in the backyard, but decided to pitch the tent in the basement instead.  The basement is where my bathroom is, and so I wouldn’t disturb the campers this morning, I showered in the upstairs bathroom.  The normally “Girls Only!” bathroom.

What a difference.  The shower in my bathroom contains:

  • one bar of soap
  • one bottle of shampoo

The shower in the upstairs bathroom contains:

  • one bar of soap
  • two facecloths
  • three “pouffs” (is that what they’re called?)
  • 12 (twelve!) bottles of assorted shampoos, body washes, face washes, shower gels, and other things I had no idea existed

And to think, in a pinch, I could do without either the shampoo or the bar of soap.  For days.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Halfway Lake Provincial Park

From Halfway Lake

We spent last week at Halfway Lake Provincial Park, 90 kilometres north of Sudbury.  Halfway Lake is considered a natural environment park, and it is definitely on the more rustic side.  The last 40 kilometres of highway getting to the park winds through rocks, lakes and rivers.  We scared a large black bear off the highway just before we got to the park.

There are four hiking trails at Halfway Lake. One is rated as fairly easy, one moderate and two strenuous. We did the moderate hike, and I'd call it a little closer to strenuous myself. It was overgrown in places and quite hilly, but the view from the top was really nice.

Halfway Lake is the place to go if you want to canoe a lot. We were out every day, often at dusk, and the lakes in the park are beautiful at that time of day. We ran into so many beavers that I lost count. Most were slapping their tails on the water as we approached, making a huge splash.

From Halfway Lake

Halfway Lake had a "wind event" in 2002. It has been commonly called a tornado, but officially it was a downburst. The north end of the campground still shows the extent of the damage, with many large pine trees snapped in half about 40 feet up. The most damage can be seen from the hiking trails or the lakes, where the fallen trees were left as-is.

From Halfway Lake

We were hoping to see some moose on this trip, but we were unlucky.  We did see one other bear, unfortunately under the rear end of our trailer one evening.  Lots of herons, some hawks.  A couple of nights we heard wolves howling too, but they sounded pretty far off.

More photos here:


Friday, July 17, 2009

Living in the country

Normally we go up north to see wildlife.  In fact, since this camping season started we’ve seen racoons, deer and beaver, and we’ve only been on two trips so far.

Wednesday night, around oh-dark-thirty, there was a rattling on the patio.  I got up and flipped on the outside light.  A racoon with a wide rear end was squeezing him or herself under the fence.  I brought the compost buckets inside for the night, hoping that would discourage the little bugger.

About ten minutes later, it was back, this time rooting around on the patio table, leaving muddy footprints all over the glass.  I watched it climb the apple tree to attempt a long jump onto one of the bird feeders.  Quietly, I opened the door, and picked up a small rock.

The racoon decided I looked pretty scary, standing there on the patio in my boxers, with a rock in my hand.  It decided to scram under the fence.  I wound up and threw my best split finger fastball.  Thump!  Got it right in the fat ass.

Ten minutes later it was back again, at the bird feeder.  This time my fastball was in the dirt, and the racoon made it under the fence without another bruise.  I brought the feeder inside and that was the last we saw of the racoon for the evening.

I should arm myself with a potato gun, or better yet, a paintball gun.  If you see a racoon running around the neighbourhood with a bright pink splotch on its ass, you’ll know it’s tangled with someone it shouldn’t have.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The ravens all are closing in, there's nowhere you can hide

I guess the combination of “stimulus” and “Gay Pride” was just a little too much for the Homophobe Party of Canada.

Federal Tourism Minister Diane Ablonczy has given up responsibility for overseeing a major stimulus fund that sparked controversy in Conservative Party ranks after it gave $400,000 to a Toronto gay pride celebration in mid-June.

Conservative MP Brad Trost, a critic of the Pride Week grant, is suggesting that the Harper government stripped Ms. Ablonczy of responsibility for the fund as a punishment.

He implied in an interview with, a socially conservative news service, that Ms. Ablonczy lost control of the $100-million Marquee Tourism Events Program because the gay pride grant embarrassed the Tories.

Or maybe this was more a case of punishment for funding an event in Toronto, which seems to be equally offensive to the government.


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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Arrowhead Provincial Park

From Arrowhead

We were last at Arrowhead Provincial Park three years ago. The park hasn't changed much, except for a fancy new bridge over the river. This trip was much wetter than the last one. It rained every day, except the day we arrived. We took advantage of the dry day by heading to the beach as soon as we were set up, and spent an hour in the warm water.

The rest of the week was a washout, weather-wise, with steady rain on a few days, and two or three nights where it rained all night long. Despite the rain, we did manage to get some paddling in. Arrowhead Lake is quite small, so it only takes a few minutes to get to the far end.

We went for an evening trip one day, near dusk, and were rewarded with a close encounter with a beaver. The beaver was crossing the lake when we first saw it, and on our return trip on the far shore we managed to get within about 15 feet as it swam up and down the shoreline. The park is full of deer, although we saw fewer of them on this trip.

One morning, just after parking the canoe, we heard something in the water. A deer was swimming the length of the lake, and ended up on the main beach. I had no idea deer could swim that fast.

From Arrowhead

Lots more photos here:

Videos here:


Monday, July 06, 2009

Rosemary and Time

James Bow ran an election pool during the last federal election, and by some miracle combination of good luck, good scotch and total fluke, I placed in the top three.  The prize for the contest was a copy of The Young City, the latest of his Unwritten Books.

I had a chance to read The Young City while waiting out the rain at Arrowhead last week.  The book is called a "young adult" novel, and I suppose that's a accurate description.  I certainly enjoyed reading it, though, and I no longer qualify to be called a young anything...

The story takes place in Toronto, in the present and in 1884, as the young heroes are mysteriously sent back in time to a much younger city.  The pace of the novel is quick, and the characters are well formed.  The only thing I found myself wanting more of was an edge.  The concept and story are strong, but if this were a novel aimed at a more adult audience, I think a little more weight would have been fitting.  Not that I'm complaining - as a book for young adults, this hits the mark.


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