Friday, 30 May 2014

Photo Challenge - May

They say April showers bring May flowers but around here it just brought more showers. We've had more than enough rain. So much so it prevented me from getting out onto the golf course. I did get out though to snap some shots for this month's photo challenge from P.J. His theme this month was "fun". And so I had a little fun with the following pictures...

It was a rainy day and the playground was abandoned but I know on sunnier days little ones have fun on this apparatus.

It looks a little worse for wear but there was a time kids had fun playing tennis here.

Speaking of kids, what's more appealing than a cereal "fun pack". For an old guy with diabetes I avoided these.

We use this little guy for chemical pucks to chlorinate our pool. What's more fun than a pool? Or a plastic duck with sunglasses?

This creature sits in a corner on our deck. What can be more Canadian then a moose flower pot?

That's the collection for May. Click the link above to P.J.'s blog and see the pix of other participants this month.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Just a Hint

Jayne over at injaynesworld has come up with a fascinating writing challenge called "hint fiction" whereby participants write a story (beginning, middle and end) that hints at a larger story but is complete within itself in 25 words or less.

This is harder than it seems. But here's my effort...

She dug the knife deep into his chest
Finally silencing the source of her discoloured skin.
She smiled - then awoke to his sickening snores.

Click on the link above and check on the efforts of the rest of the participating bloggers.

Thanks for challenging me, Jayne.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Fluff of Happiness - @Studio30Plus Writing Prompt

Jerry and Beth lay on their backs in the tall grass, the sun shining down on their little piece of heaven on earth. They were looking at the clouds as they skidded across an ocean blue sky.

Summer holidays were drawing to a close and the teenage couple were taking it easy; thoughts of their Grade 10 classroom the furthest thing from their minds.

It had been an enchanting summer for them both. Enchanting was Beth's word. Jerry would never have come up with it. Nice would be about as inventive as Jerry could be. Nevertheless the two were basking in the sunshine and each other's company as they had most days during this summer of firsts.

This was Jerry and Beth's first relationship. They'd gone on a first date to a forgettable film spending more time gazing into each others eyes than at the screen. And they'd experienced their first kiss. Both Jerry and Beth were firm believers in that old adage that practice makes perfect so there had been a second, a third, and many more kisses.

"Look, a knight on a stallion" squealed Beth. "Where?" cried Jerry. "I don't see it." "Look over there" pointed Beth. "Next to the one that looks like a dog." Jerry squinted. He tried his best. He agreed on one cloud looking like a dog but for the life of him he couldn't find the knight.

"Never mind" said Beth. "It's too late, it's shape has shifted into... into... into - look a heart!" Jerry saw it right away and exhaled slowly as he turned to Beth. "It's for us, Beth. That heart's for us."

"It's our fluff of happiness" whispered Jerry.

"Oh, Jerry," moaned Beth. "You really should work for Hallmark."

Thursday, 8 May 2014

A Fish Out Of Water - @Studio30Plus Writing Prompt

For over a decade now a buddy and I have spent a week either in late June or early September fishing. We go to a place called Loon Lodge on Lake Temagami north of North Bay Ontario. Sometimes, my brother Whitey from Toronto tags along. It's a fun week. We use it to decompress, fish, eat and - heaven forbid - have a drink or two.

Now we don't drink out on the water. It's against the law in Ontario. And we've been stopped several times just to make sure we're good boys. But we more than make up for it in the evenings, back on dry land. Hey, a guy gets thirsty out under the hot sun on the lake all day. Okay, half a day. Okay, okay for a couple of hours. Then we'll head back for a meal, a brewski or two and a nap before heading back out again.

We've had our share of fish tales to share. Not just about the one that got away and, believe me, there have been plenty of those. There was the time, for example, the boat engine stopped dead and we couldn't get it going. We had to paddle to the nearest cottage. Borrow the fella's phone. Call the Lodge to see if the Lodge owner could come and tow us back. About an hour later the Lodge owner arrives in his boat. By this time it's pouring rain. We still can't get the engine started. The cottage owner leaned down and asked "Does this boat have a kill switch?" Now when the pilot hooks himself up to the switch and for any reason should fall out of the boat the switch switches and kills the engine. I saw a light go on over my buddy's head. He looked down, flipped the switch turned over the motor and guess what! It started right away.

We're often very successful at fishing. My buddy uses real bait. I use plastic worms. Stupid fish love the plastic stuff. We catch bass, pike, pickerel and perch.

But speaking of fish stories, after a few mid-day brewskis sooner or later one has to, um, empty one's bladder. Have you ever tried to pee out of a small boat? It can be quite a challenge, especially if the lake's a little rough. But neither of us have fallen in yet, despite the precarious perch necessary to relieve ourselves.  Now that's the mark of a real fisherman!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Bibliofile - April

It's been a nasty, cold and rainy April here in the Ottawa region. Plenty of time for reading this month as my total of 11 books will attest.

My reading tastes are somewhat eclectic. I started the month with a look at one of my favourite musical groups, Little Feat, by Ben Fong Torres. It held my interest. I also came across But Enough About Me by Jancee Dunn, a former Rolling Stone Writer which was part memoir, part biography and totally hilarious. She interviewed famous groups and stars and yet remained totally grounded and true to her family.

I also completed Derek Raymond's so-called The Factory series, reading the last three this month. Raymond has been called a founder of British noir. This collection of books featuring a nameless cop who works out of The Factory can be gruesome and gross but also engrossing. I truly enjoyed them.

Perhaps the book that made me think the most was Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian. King, a Native activist and novelist, takes us on a trip through the history of Indian policy in North America - Canada and the United States. In simple and direct language he sums up the evolving relationship. Guess what? The white guys suck at every turn. King isn't preachy. In fact he can be quite funny. But I tell you, I worked at Indian Affairs for the Government of Canada for close to 20 years and this book really makes me think twice about what I did for a living in the department's Communications Branch.

Finally, I came across David Wong through a comment  Michael Wolfe (LOBO) left last week. What a ride. Michael mentioned Wong's first book, John Dies At The End, and then I discovered there was a sequel called This Book Is Full Of Spiders. So I read them both. Turns out David and his friend John are among the very few who can see monsters in their community and are the only ones who know how to deal with them. File these under horror/humour. And when you're finished reading either one you can't figure out if Wong was on drugs when he wrote it or if you were on drugs when you read it. Personally I loved these stories. Thanks for the recommendation, Michael.

Here's this month's total list. I'm now up to 33 books this year.

Willin': The Story of Little Feat - Ben Fong Torres
How The Dead Live - Derek Raymond
I Was Dora Suarez - Derek Raymond
Black Cherry Blues - James Lee Burke
But Enough About Me - Jancee Dunn
The Inconvenient Indian - Thomas King
A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip - Kevin Brockmeier
Dead Man Upright - Derek Raymond
John Dies At The End - David Wong
The Drop - Michael Connelly
This Book Is Full Of Spiders - David Wong

How about you? What have you been reading?
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