The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

August 26, 2008

A Canadian and America's Pastime

PLAY BALL! (So to speak).

I was, ahem, thrown a curveball in the last week of my vacation when I was told that I would have to travel to the Chicago area to cover our city's baseball team.

I've covered them at times during the season at home, but I've never gone on the road with them. And due to a scheduling snafu, I'll be heading out of town later this week for about a week.

The first destination is Joliet, Ill., a suburb about an hour out of Chicago, where they play their final three games of the regular season.

Then I'll be travelling to Gary, Ind., for the first two games of the playoffs.

So instead of the home confines of home below...

...I'll be covering the team whose logos follow on the road (I'm not writing the team name here because fans could google the name and find this blog post).

I've been to Chicago a few times before to cover Stanley Cup final series. It's a spectacular city. Unfortunately, I won't be there except to land at O'Hare, rent a car and drive west to Joliet, then back east to Gary.

But, such is life. I'd rather be at home, but a road trip is nice every once in a while. It's always good to get out of your comfort zone and your natural environment and open your eyes to something new.

I wonder what kinds of team mascots await in these two cities? Our team's mascot (below) was voted the best in the league. I can only imagine what's in store in these two burgs in the Excited States.

So I'll be around, but I won't be.
I'll be motoring around the U.S. Midwest, covering a team almost entirely made up of Americans who play for a Canadian team in the lowest level of professional baseball.
I hope I hit .500 at least.

August 22, 2008

Spring Cleaning in late August -- Part 2


So, when we left you last, I explained that a problem emerged while I cleaned and polished Florence the Fan, thereby eliminating several pounds of dust from my two-bedroom-plus-den apartment.

When I undressed -- I mean, disassembled -- Florence, I had to remove the ring that keeps her front and back covers together.

In an apparent moment of charged, passionate excitement, perhaps like fumbling with a bra fastener in the height of passion, which I have never quite been able to master, I made a mistake.

I lost the nut to the screw below. I looked high and low outside on my patio, but could not find it.
So rather than taking 10 minutes to go to the local hardware store to find my nut, I spent the next hour or so retrieving all of my tool boxes, screw and nut storage cabinets and other sources to find the right replacement nut.
All of these things are located in a gigantic box in my storage room. Living in an apartment, I don't need them, of course. But because of my lack of care in disassembling Flo, I made a horrific boo-boo.
The cabinet above was my first place to look for a nut that could fit the screw. I couldn't find one. I was distraught. The next series of pictures, as you will see, made my search for a nut even more upsetting.

I never did find a nut that fit the screw that came with Flo. However, I did find a longer screw -- a MUCH longer screw -- that was a bit wider and for which I DID find a nut. That picture is below.

So in the picture below, after finally getting Flo back together and lying prone on the floor with me over top of her, I declared victory.

Having done that, I plugged her back in and got her going again by flicking her switch. She was humming like a charm. I realize the pic below is sideways, but get over it. Turn your head to the left 90 degrees.

So here she is in full splendor.

The shot below is in fact an action shot of her blowing at full speed. In fact, she has three speeds, she's quite a fan of mine. And she goes back and forth if I press a button, but she doesn't go up and down.

August 20, 2008



Whether it's because there's a young lady I want to impress with my domestic capabilities, or my kids are whining about the mess or simply because humans can only exist in SO much filth, I launch into cleaning mode.

And with only three days left in my two weeks of vacation, my attention first turned to my fans. No, not all of you people, all 3.6 of you. I mean my fans, which keep me cool during the warm summer weeks between mid-June and late August.

I do have an air conditioner, but I haven't cleaned out the filter in years. That's my next project. No, my focus fell upon the beautiful big floor fan I go to bed with every night in my bedroom. I couldn't see her any more for all the dust on her.

I neglected to take a before shot, so here's a shot of another, smaller fan I must clean before September. I'm not sure if you can see all the dust on the blades and on the blade cover. Well, my floor fan was much dirtier.
So I took Florence, my bedroom fan, outside and disassembled her. I didn't want all that dust to get in my apartment and it was a gorgeous, hot day. So here she is, with her cover off and all ready for some TLC.

Yes, that is dust. She's a bit of a dirty girl.

You can see my dirty lawn chair, my tools and the pail of hot, warm water. I needed to be soft and gentle but still restore her to her normal self.

Oh, and here's her cover. We'll address a specific situation regarding her in Part 2.
Anyway, I first took my broom to her and swept off as much dust and dirt and stuff as I could. Then I started washing her with soapy, hot water. And I had forgotten how breathtakingly beautiful she actually is.

So the rest of Florence's story will follow in Part 2. But while I was out on my exceedingly scenic ground-floor concrete patio, I noticed there were a few spider webs on my windows.
Actually, it was like the movie Arachnaphobia.

Oh, and just as an aside? Going back before the spider segue? This is a clump of dust from Florence. I know it's out of focus. Give me a break.

So anyway, I used my broom and my wet cloth and I destroyed all those spider webs, as the following pictures illustrate.

Generally, I value spiders. They're perfect predators. But these guys have to go. And one of them was fleeing along the wall below. I know the spider is not, in fact, where I say it is. It's a bit below the No. 1 and to the right.

Just believe me when I tell you, it's there.

August 14, 2008


Sometimes, it's best to shut up and just look around you.
Beyond the beheadings, the invasions, the gas prices, the politicians.
Beyond the cluster-fuck of calamity that humanity has at least partly become.
This is one of those times.
There is beauty still all around us.
Say what you need to say. Say what you need to say.

August 8, 2008

The Lunatic Fringe is alive and well (UPDATED)...

I salute the people in the pic above, who showed up Saturday to safeguard the family of Tim McLean, the young man who was killed and beheaded on a bus.
As it turns out -- and why should anybody REALLY be surprised -- the wacko, anti-homophobic so-called religious idiots from the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas were nowhere to be found.
After all their chest-thumping about their plans to protest this kid's funeral to press their point that Canada was being punished by God for its permissive laws that actually legalized homosexuality, they stayed away.
Maybe in fear they turned back to look at Kansas and they were turned into stone by God somewhere in the Canadian Shield after they had snuck across the border?
Maybe He didn't part the Red River and they got eaten by catfish?
Maybe He purposely gave them the wrong directions to Winnipeg and they're up on the shores of Hudson Bay being eyed as prey by polar bears and being eaten alive by swarms of foot-long mosquitoes?
Or maybe they just showed their true colours and decided they wanted to save their own skins and didn't want themselves to be "beheaded" by the mass of mindful people who showed up to protect McLean's family?
These Westboro Wackos are the real crazy cannibals in this whole thing, far worse than the very tortured soul who immigrated to Canada from China and who's accused of beheading this young man.

He is mentally ill, obviously, and has severe emotional problems that caused him to do this. But these religious zealots are much worse -- they're just morally bankrupt and supposedly of sound minds and hearts.

It was gruesome, gross, repugnant.

But it's real and it's where we seem to be at now where people like this, who are far worse than any Muslim fundamental groups, can figure they are so blindly right that they can do take their twisted beliefs and terrorize a family and a country that is reeling.

I can't believe stuff like this can happen. It boggles the mind. Our tiny brains, as proven by this Westboro group, were never intended to have to cope with the light-speed changes that our planet is going through now.

It's unbelievable. But it's all true. And that's scary.

August 4, 2008

The REAL Donnnnnnn...


A guy who can't swim without the help of a flotation device...

A guy who pretends he's fearless and brave but who stomps beetles to death and curses innocent squirrels and other wildlife who invade his backyard -- from the safety of his window...

The party animal of all party animals...

...and the guy who's quick with the middle finger...

...A man with no end of goofiness...

...and whose undisputed lifelong ambition has been to pose for Playgirl.


He is the ultimate father and protector of all those loved ones who live in his realm.


We introduce Donnnnnn, the nincompoop neighbourhood patrol guy.

I sent him these pictures so he could do a post on it himself. He opted not to before he leaves on vacation, so I had no choice but to come out of my own respite from the Blogworld to reveal this to the planet.

Yes, this is the immortal and immoral Donn, with his son's plastic handcuffs, only hours before his first patrol with another neighbourhood nannie with a cute yellow vest thingie and cool, authoritative hat.

Just like this youthful dragonfly above -- which was drying its wings on Donnnnnnn's ledge -- he will hover about his neighbourhood, his keen eyes of justice peeled for suspicious looking characters, etc.

Doesn't it look like he's having a piss here on his own backyard bench?

Well, anyway.
Donnnnnnnn has become quite an upstanding citizen of late. Only last month, he finished up his season as head coach, chauffeur, cheerleading squad, mascot, cook and other things of his community's local six-year-old soccer squad.
He most certainly is a talented, upstanding citizen.
I just wanted all of Blogdom to know that.