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Friday, October 28, 2005
Friday night boozing in the studio, and I have just bonded with Alberta Quebecoize/Cajun artist Crystal Plamondon. We're the same age, we both took Hunter Conservation Training in the '70s, and we both really, really like red wine.
Svend Robinson, anyone? My younger brother Colin and I were yakking up a storm last weekend, and the subject of gay Vikings came up. "Were there such things as gay Vikings?" he asked. I shot back, "Yeah, the Pillage People." Amid the chuckles, other thoughts came out. The gay viking spokesman would be Sven Robinson (a Canadian reference that's completely unfunny to everyone else). Yes, there could be gays, but they'd be "ViQueens." And the song "In the Navy" would change to "In ScandiNAVIA...." Ho ho ho. Okay, not very funny unless you've had a few glasses.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Whoa, October. Whoa! It was September 30 like a minute ago, and now it's October 27th? That got away from me.
It's all a consequence of being busier/more self-absorbed than usual. But for those who keep score, here's what the Cranky One has been up to (events not listed in chronological order because of faulty engram processing in cranium):
1. Hunter Conservation Training. I spent Friday evening to Sunday evening with two of my nephews and one niece in a Hunter Conservation seminar, held in a small community hall (The Loyal Orange Lodge, which meant their chairs were all stencilled "LOL," which made the Internet-savvy giggle, and did nothing for the retirement-age instructors) in the small town of Innisfail.
Hunter Conservation was a course I was forced to take 30 years ago in Ft. McMurray, and not much stuck with me over the decades, except for knowing the difference between mule deer and white-tailed deer, and the difference between horns and antlers. Why was I taking the course again? Not because I have any intention of stalking big game and ending their lives with a bullet, shell or broadhead arrow. Mainly because (a) the kids wanted to take the course, (b) a qualified guardian could come in handy when the kids go out hunting (even if that guardian weeps torrents at the sight of a dead deer), and (c) their parents really needed someone to drive the kids back and forth.
So, anyway, there's Jane, stuck in a group of 11- to 16-year-olds, trying to stay awake as the older gentlemen instructors read the manual to the class and showed impossibly grainy, worn-out videotapes of American hunters and their guns. It was clear that the instructors were very keen hunters, and just as clear that they really didn't prepare much for the class. Also, they seemed to think that pre-teen and teenage boys could sit still and concentrate for four hours at a stretch. Needless to say, the class conduct soon disintegrated into fidgets, pen hockey, giggling and the like. I sat with my crew and gave them holy hell when they fooled around, so three of the kids were reasonably well behaved at least.
Seminar highlights: Being startled by the term "gay mammals" before realizing that the instructor was talking about "game animals," and just needed to have his dentures refixed. Being absolutely sure that two barely sentient pre-teens would fail the exam, and being surprised when everyone passed, even the teenager who needed to have the exam questions read to him. Being startled again by getting 99% on the test, and winning a hunting knife for my results. The irony: I kill the exam but have no desire to use any of my knowledge to kill animals (well, okay, if upland game birds cross my path, and I happen to be armed, I won't answer for the consequences).
2. Meeting up with Nikki. I took advantage of a Westjet seat sale and flew over to mooch off me old chum Nikki for a few days. We talked of various things, read a lot (well, that was me; Nikki worked on a draft of her latest book), and made some firm plans for the future. Also we played with concrete, stacked hay bales, and spoiled various horses, ponies, dogs and goats. For the first time in our 27-year friendship, Nik and I went riding together, and believe me when I tell you that despite the riding lessons, I still look vaguely unformed when astride. The weather interfered with some of the 5,000 or so chores we had planned, but that made sitting inside with a book and a glass of wine all the nicer.
3. More acting lessons. Scene study this time. Those who know me may be amused to hear that I have been cast as a deceptively sweet social worker in my first scene. She turns out to be a tyrant. There's a stretch.
4. The Thanksgiving Dinner thing. Volunteered to cook dinner for older brother and family, since the parents were both on call at the hospital. The tiny tum took that opportunity to act up a little, making mealtimes very uncertain from a "To chuck or not to chuck?" perspective. The dinner itself was a lot of work, but came off well, although I did lose my cool with my eldest niece over the location of the butter, a matter so trivial that it could not fail to ignite my rage. Wine to the rescue.
5. The last weekend of October looms ahead, so what with riding and acting lessons, and a visit to harass Jean's latest batch of cute livestock, the end of the month will be just as busy as the beginning.
Ongoing tiny tum no-nos: It doesn't like pasta. Or Vietnamese salad rolls. Or no-fat coffee cake. In fact, it really hates no-fat coffee cake.