Stinky Tim’s, a Called Shot and Spouse

Last evening, I had to take a trip in to Cambridge to pick up some suits that I had purchased there a couple of days before. Spouse had been off work for most of Monday and all of Tuesday (she has apparently spontaneously developed a case of the Bubonic Plague). She claimed, despite the occasional hacking cough and her generally mucous filled aspect, to be feeling much improved in the early evening hours last night . She insisted on coming with me for the drive. It was a beautiful sunny spring-like day, and I didn’t see a distinct difference, from a medical treatment point of view, between “Spouse slumped on the couch in front of the TV, oozing phlegm” and “Spouse slumped in the passenger seat, oozing phlegm”, so I agreed.

Stop one on the way to “oore’s” (the “M” had blown down during Sunday’s windstorm) in Cambridge was our local Tim Horton’s. Those of you who follow me on Twitter (where my user name is warwalker) may have some familiarity with this particular location, as it seems to be a recurring theme in my “tweets.” We call it “Stinky Tim’s” because the neighbour’s property seems to have some sort of a problem with their septic tank, with the predictably odiferous consequences; the stench is greater or lesser, depending upon the prevailing meteorological conditions, but it is usually only problematic when one is sitting in the drive-thru lane, which borders directly on the property in question. Despite its olfactory woes, we quite like Stinky Tim’s, and will regularly bypass other Horton’s locations en route to our home to go to that specific location; I can’t explain it other than to say that it’s in the neighbourhood, feels like it’s the meeting place for all our neighbours, and it seems to otherwise provide us with endless entertainment. One night, for example, on the way home from some work related function, Spouse and I stopped in much later than we ordinarily would. Things were different right from the start: it took an unusually long time for the attendant to greet us and inquire as to our order; it took an inordinately long amount of time to explain, re-explain and further re-explain my order of “two steeped teas with one milk in each and a medium-sized box of Timbits”, which the said attendant had somehow garbled (twice) to relate to two medium coffees and a Boston Cream donut. When I had completed walking the attendant, step-by-step, through the list of items desired for the third time and was invited to “drive up”, Spouse and I looked at each other doubtfully. In the time between leaving the place where we placed our order (peeps with knowledge of drive thru terminology – is there a name for that place?) and arriving at the pickup window, Spouse and I concluded that our server was likely intoxicated. A quick conversation at the pickup window – during which it was revealed that there was still some profound uncertainty on our server’s part as to the items desired – did little to revise our opinion. Very shortly thereafter, he delivered to us the aforementioned two steeped teas and a medium-sized box of Timbits that was absolutely stuffed with Timbits. I’m not kidding, this box – which customarily would contain something on the order of 40 tasty little doughnut holes – had been packed, stuffed and jammed beyond belief, to the point that there were really no longer individual Timbits inside, but instead a multi-flavoured doughy brick weighing some four to five pounds. It was ridiculous. I tweeted to my followers that the pickup window at my local Tim’s was “paying off like a loose Vegas slot machine”, urging those interested to depart post-haste for the location in question.

Anyway, to get back to the point of my pointless story, we stopped in to Stinky Tim’s last evening to pick up a couple of cups of tea for the drive to Cambridge. Those of you in Canada will already know that Horton’s is currently running their annual “Roll Up the Rim to Win” promotion (specially printed paper cups sold with coffee and tea purchases each include a chance for the purchaser to win prizes, with the result being revealed by unrolling the upper rim of the cup – prizes range from free product at Horton’s locations, to computers and vehicles).   Those of you who aren’t Canadian may have difficulty understanding this, but Roll up the Rim to Win is a very big deal up here;  most Canadians know at least as much, if not more, about when this promotion starts and ends as they do about the NCAA March Madness Tournament schedule.  Most of us also keep a pretty careful watch on our personal win/loss record at Roll Up the Rim.  This year, Spouse and I have been on a relative hot streak vis-a-vis this promotion; at one point, I had collected 3 winners in my first 7 purchases (for some folks, this would just be another line on the resumé, but I like to think that I am an ambassador of sorts for the competition) – all of which were for a free beverage. As we were going through the drive through this time (word to the wise Timbit shopper: all staff appeared to be sober on this occasion), Spouse opined that she wanted to “win something different.” In particular, she said as she received her steaming hot cup of tea, she wanted to win “a donut”.

I could not let this pass, despite her illness. I took her to task for addressing the fates and identifying, among all the possible prizes that might be delivered, a donut worth approximately forty cents (retail) as her desired windfall. “Attention, Gods in Charge of Dead Hockey Player Donut Store Promotions,” she had said, “I would vastly prefer to win a forty cent donut over a thirty thousand dollar car.”

I’ll give you three guesses what the Donut Gods delivered.  I’ll give you a hint: I’m thinking about making another late-night run to the Drive Thru and collecting that Boston Cream this time around.

Shooting the Shootout: Dukes vs. Trojans, Saturday Night

We had a truly Canadian evening last night.   It was snowing quite hard in the early evening, starting around 6:30 or so, and Spouse and I had earlier determined that we would be attending the hockey game between the St. George Dukes (a local team in the Southern Ontario Junior Hockey League) and the defending league champion Thamesford Trojans.

game winning save
Morrison goes to the backhand...denied by Walker!

Game time was 7:30;  when we rushed out the door shortly after 7, the snow was really  pelting down in great thick puffy flakes.  We brushed off the car and clambered in, trying to shake off the chill during the drive over to the South Dumfries Community Centre for the big game.  Admission was $5;  we arrived in time to hear the singing of the national anthem (not sure who the young girl was that did the honours, but she acquitted herself admirably given the suspect p.a. equipment and her understandable nervousness).  The game got under way and quickly turned into a spirited contest.

The Dukes, I am unhappy to report, did not seem equal to the task in terms of carrying the play throughout much of the first two periods.  Thamesford clearly had the better of the play but did not finish off on its chances;  by contrast, St. George scored goals on each and every one of the few chances they had and somehow managed to come away with a 3-1 lead going in to the third period before a vocal crowd of perhaps some fifty or sixty onlookers.

At the beginning of the third, Justin Harburn of the Trojans took matters in to his own hands.  He scored three consecutive goals in under two minutes.  Suddenly, there were 17 minutes left in the game and St. George was on the wrong end of a 4-3 score.  A questionable interference call produced a power play on which the Dukes counted the tying marker.  The teams traded chances thoughout the balance of the third, and Harburn – he of the lightning fast hat trick – had at least two more golden opportunities to salt away the victory for Thamesford, but regulation time expired with the clubs knotted at fours.  A five minute overtime period of four on four hockey was entertaining, and included another questionable penalty call, this one against the Dukes.   In the end, despite some end to end action and hard-hitting play, the overtime solved nothing.

On to the shootout, which Thamesford won in the fourth round to take a well-deserved road victory in to the locker room.

I took my camera and both lenses with me, as well as the monopod that Doug and T. thoughtfully got me for Christmas.   I tried to take photographs for much of the game from our seats near centre ice.  It gave me a newfound appreciation for the degree of difficulty involved in getting the shot at the critical moments in the game – especially when using long lenses, you kind of have to watch the play with one eye while (with the other) sighting through the viewfinder a target that you think might be important to the play as it develops.   Your shutter finger must be poised and at the ready, and you have to constantly be monitoring the light metering, which I found to be quite variable depending upon the position of the play on the ice.   You have to do all that while simultaneously trying to watch out for an errant puck being shot into the stands so you don’t get brained while you’re zooming in on two jokers scrapping in the corner.

Most of my results were not very spectacular, though I suppose I didn’t do too badly for a first effort.   I did find that the pictures improved when I left my seat and shot from a lower angle, through the rink glass where necessary;  this had the effect of putting the viewer more immediately in the action, as if on the ice with the players, and noticeably improved the pictures I got.

There isn’t much light available in a little community rink like that, and it was a struggle to make a sharp exposure.  I was pleased with myself for remembering to open up the aperture in addition to bumping up the ISO settings.   I tried to get too many images with the 400mm lens at too slow a shutter speed; I know that there is a general rule of thumb about not setting the shutter slower than the lens length, but I needed to break that rule to get any kind of exposure at all.   Unfortunately, even with the monopod it is impossible to get any kind of an image at shutter speeds like 1/60 and 1/80.

I switched back to my shorter lens for the shootout.  The picture at the top of this post is the game winning save by Trojans goaltender Chris Walker on Dukes forward Reid Morrison.  I don’t think Walter Ioos has anything to fear from me just yet, but at least I got the shot.  I will be back, and I will try again.  Next time out, I resolve to try and get a few reaction shots from the players and coaches on the benches.

There’s no business like snow business

We, um, got a little bit of snow here in the Hammer. It snowed Friday night and then again all day Saturday. I didn’t go outside when it was storming, because it was cold and not very nice out there. I did stick my head out the back door for a couple of minutes to take a couple of pictures. Here’s one from Saturday afternoon, showing the general blowiness of this model of snow.
blowing snow

I took this one late yesterday afternoon from the (open) bedroom window upstairs. Never underestimate the strength of your marriage. If your wife comes upstairs and finds you – in the middle of a snowstorm, mind you – with the windows open and struggling to get the screens back on, it is not necessarily true that you will be thrown out of the house immediately; no guarantees or warranties are implied, reader assumes his own risk and your mileage may vary. I think it’s awesome how confused Popeye looks. Though he loves the snow, I think even the Popper was wondering where the hell all this stuff came from. You can see how deeply buried Spouse’s car is if you look to the left of the fence, in front of the shed.

birds eye poppy

Last night, I poked my head out the back door when it looked like the snow had finished hurtling out of the sky. I snapped a shot of one of the solar powered patio lanterns on our deck. For reference, the portion of the lamp visible in the photo below is about 8 to 10 inches from top to bottom.

patio lantern

I took this one this morning after the TWO HOURS worth of shovelling it took to make the driveway passable. That thing in the middle, covered in the white stuff in front of the house – that’s my car. It’s buried, it’s not accessible, it’s not going anywhere until May, apparently, but it’s my car.
IMG_1022

So now we use these for transport.

IMG_1030

I have approximately seventy-seven pictures of this icicle now. This one is unique, because it shows the water droplet falling through space.

IMG_1037

Now soliciting submissions…

I happened to check the stats for the site earlier today, ’cause I’m like that. One area of my little WordPress dashboard stats screen caught my attention, the area showing what terms people were searching on when they landed here at HiR:tb. Here’s a screen cap:

saskropoem

Announcing today, the First Annual HiR:tb Saskatchewan Roughriders Poetry Contest. Entries may assume any lyrical or poetic form; your creativity should know no bounds in this matter. Send us your haikus, your limericks, your sonnets and couplets; gather together your spondees, trochees and whatever pentameter you can scrape together, be it iambic or otherwise, and bend all of these elements to your noble purpose: the celebration of anything related to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Difficulty: No rhyming the word “Regina”. I’m trying to keep this place relatively clean-like.

I will arbitrarily set a deadline for entries – let’s say entries must be received no later than March 10th, 2008 – and I’ll pick a winner in whatever capricious manner I can dream up. There might even be some kind of a lame prize, if I feel sufficiently moved by your Roughrider Rhapsodies. Email your entries here.

Come on gang, let’s not disappoint the troubled soul searching for a “Saskatchewan Roughriders Poem”.

…and now they’re gone, now they’re gone.

A CBC reporter from New Brunswick by the name of Bob Mersereau has written a book purporting to set out the top 100 Canadian albums of all time.   Obviously, the subject matter of such a book is in the “holy freakin’ subjectivity, Batman” category.   I have no doubt that Mersereau’s whole point is simply to jump start a debate – I would hope that no author of such a work would expect to have his words received as the definitive statement on the topic.

Four beauty guys.

Rheostatics placed two albums in the top 100;  Whale Music came in at #19.  CBC radio listeners may remember that the Mother Corp. conducted an online survey some years back on the same subject matter.  If memory serves, Whale Music placed at the very top of that list as the Greatest Canadian Album Of All Time – but all reference to that poll seems to now be absent from the CBC website.   The inherently contradictory nature of these two results kind of reminds me of the two hot dog carts in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips square that used to be side-by-each, with signs respectively proclaiming:  “World’s Greatest Hot Dog” and “Best Hot Dog in the City.”