Went Fishin’

Alright, so I took a few days’ vacation; first, a trip up north to the French River area of Northern Ontario (for some fishing) and second, after returning from my time away, I’ve been having some difficulties diving back into the old routine. The first casualty of this latter internal war was not truth, but rather whatever concept is represented by HiR:tb. Too many nights this past week, I’ve come home from work, had a little sump’n sump’n to eat, and promptly passed out on the couch in front of what Spouse refers to (I believe somewhat disparagingly, if you can believe it) as “my cartoons” – Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy. Is it wrong to be a full-grown adult who needs to be entertained by brightly coloured images and sleeping peacefully by 9:30 to have any chance of surviving the following day without some sort of screaming tantrum?

Let me tell you a little bit about my fishing trip. I had hoped to blog about the trip while I was on it, but this proved to be impossible as the wireless access point I was hoping to use (at the fishing lodge) got smoked by approximately one kajillion volts of electricity when lightning struck the lodge several days before I arrived. I will tell you that when I learned that I could not access teh Intarwebs while at the lodge, I internally resolved to write a little entry each day nonetheless, and simply post these entries sequentially upon my return to the land of the wired. I thought that I was going to have all kinds of time, inspiration and motivation to be writing these entries because I was in a cabin in the middle of the woods all by myself and – quite frankly – I assumed I would need to fill the time somehow.


I had forgotten, apparently, how tiring a day in the boat fishing can be, and Newton’s Third Law of Fishing, which clearly states that when a body that’s been fishing is at rest, it ain’t freakin’ likely that it’s moving anywhere to do any damn thing, it’ll just stay crashed out on the couch watching TV or reading its book, thank you very much, prior to the sweet relief of the deepest sleep known to mankind without the use of ether.

So, I need to back up to the beginning.

Last October, Spouse and I had booked a cabin at Memquisit Lodge for the week of June 28th to July 5th. It was supposed to be a week away together, during which I could do some fishing. Memquisit is a fantastic place; the Lodge owns a massive piece of land on the North shore of the West Arm of Lake Nipissing. On this giant piece of property, they have placed only slightly more than a dozen cabins. The surrounding area is typically rugged Northern Ontario wilderness, with a modest number of cottages in the general area. The end result is that – at least for now – it is an area where it is possible to get in the boat, head off to a secluded bay and spend the day floating around in the middle of a stunningly beautiful landscape, and on many such days you may not see (or hear) another soul for many hours. A problem arose for Spouse – by forces beyond her control, her schedule at work got set arranged in such a way that she could not take the entire week of vacation. With the cabin booked and the fish waiting, I felt I had no choice but to make my way up Highway 69 and start fishing, hopeful that Spouse’s work commitments would resolve themselves early enough to permit her to join me at the cabin for the end of the week.

It didn’t happen that way; by the time Spouse was able to get away from the office, she was not excited about the prospect of packing the car, shipping Henry off to my parents’ place, loading Popeye into the car and driving for six hours to spend a few days at the cabin, then turn around and drive home again. We decided that it would be better if she were to simply remain home and spend some time with her horse Ralph.

That is how I came to spend an entire week in Cabin 12 (pictured below) by myself. Right now, we’re off to the Ticats/Roughriders game (oskie wee wee!). I’ll write more about the trip when I get home.


Stout Hearted and Enthusiastic

“With stout hearts, and with enthusiasm for the contest, let us go forward to victory.”

Viscount Montgomery, to his troops on the eve of the D-Day invasion, which was not delayed by rain.

First there was this:

peter fonda

Then there was this:


Now, there is this:


A lesser man might assume that the fact that his former mower tried to kill him, leading to the costly (but extremely exciting) purchase of a brand spankin’ new authentic JD tractor – combined with the delivery of the said new mower in the middle of what would appear to be the heretofore unknown Juniorvanian monsoon season, making the actual riding or use of said mower hazardous and/or silly – is evidence that there is a spiteful God in the heavens bent on destroying all joy on earth.

Of course we – I – couldn’t entirely pass up the opportunity to climb aboard and live the John Deere experience. Some related observations:

  1. When you drop a few g’s on a garden tractor, and everybody in the room knows you’re paying more than a bit extra for this equipment because of the green and yellow paint job and the nameplate affixed to it, it seems to me that the dealer ought to be required – by law, mind you, not just moral obligation – to provide the purchaser with a logo-emblazoned cap. I’m just sayin’ that I’m going to look like a dork sitting up there on that yellow seat with no cap on. I’m supposed to buy my own damn hat, too?
  2. The folk who were charged with the responsibility of authoring the “Operator’s Manual” for this piece of machinery truly missed their calling, and it’s obvious. Rather than being stuck churning out dry technical user’s manuals, they ought to be in Hollywood crafting the latest teenage horror-thriller, mass-murderer on the loose with some sort of sharp implementIMG_2957 scarefest. Seriously, the first five pages of this manual are essentially a laundry list of the myriad of ways in which you can evidently maim, crush, kill, disfigure, or explode yourself, and the many calamities that might be visited upon either you or your property by way of fire, blunt force trauma, asphyxiation or chemical accident. One of the many warning decals on the side of the thing depicts some poor unfortunate stick man being pelted – simultaneously, mind you – in the face, legs and balls with various missiles propelled at high speed from the mower discharge unit; an ominous warning indeed. Having spent about a half an hour getting through the litany of burns, fractures, amputations and puncture wounds that threaten to afflict an inattentive or careless user of this device, I found myself thinking that a human being would have to be something approaching batshit insane to saddle up on this rolling meat grinder and go for a ride. Incidentally, this is much the same I way that I feel about horses, and I haven’t even seen an operator’s manual for one of those. About the only indignity that you cannot visit upon your body through the use of this tractor is “accidental irradiation”. So listen up, John Deere designers: you need to find a way to work in the potential for improperly shielded plutonium to be exposed, and then you’ll really have something badass. A cynic might even suggest that the conflict in Afghanistan could be quickly won by delivering fertilizer and pallets of garden tractors to the Taliban but holding back on the manuals; within a couple of weeks during the rainy season, the inevitably mounting casualties would force an end to hostilities. Bring the boys back home: mowers for the military!
  3. It has a cruise control. Seriously. For a moment, I found myself regretting that we did not go with the X360 – five position tilt steering is standard on that one. How long are people spending on these things, and how far are they travelling?
  4. Top Juniorvanian mathematicians, engineers and technical advisors are now hard at work devising a plan of attack for the initial attempt at mowing. The plan being contemplated needs to take into account a number of factors, including the complex three-dimensional geometry of the local topography, not to mention the many landscaping features (trees, shubs, gardens) that – for the moment, anyway – are growing happily throughout the target area. Assuming some degree of primacy in this complicated calculus, however, is the urgent need to avoid a continuation of the embarrassingly erratic manner in which the task was previously attempted by a hapless operator employing vastly inferior equipment. The eyes of the world are upon us; what is needed is disciplined, effective and efficient husbandry – cultivated cultivation, if you will. The top-flight, highly talented (not to mention brave) pilot for this most important mission is, accordingly, being trained in a secret facility using the latest high-tech tools and simulators to prepare for combat with the lawn.

Your faithful correspondent will, of course, post an update on the first mowing. Weather permitting.