Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Summer Vacation -OR- 2 X 2 Dirty Words, Plus Three More

Summer has brought with it many more things than usual to occupy my attention and rob me of free time to write for this blog. Paradoxically, one of those things was my family vacation, which consisted of a road trip to my home town of Thunder Bay to relax out at Camp (non-northern Ontario types can replace Camp with Cottage if that helps).

Camp was terrific, with fantastic weather, starry nights, fires, fishing... the works! Getting there and coming back was some work, but even the long hours on the highway were pretty enjoyable. At least nothing strapped to the van fell off...

I managed to carry 4 bikes on a rack designed for 3...

The evenings were the best of all. Fires on the beach are my and Mrs. Rantwick's favourite thing. The picture below was taken after 10 pm, believe it or not. Thunder Bay is at the Western edge of the Eastern Time Zone, which stretches the days a little.

The day after we arrived we went into town to see my Mom and get some stuff. It was at this point that something bad happened:

See that foot in the reflection on the door? That's Mrs. Rantwick's foot. You will never see any more of her than that, because I fear that if my online visitors saw her, they would be as drawn to her as I am and that simply would never do. She's mine! Go find your own perfect woman!

I put this dent in the rear door of the van by backing hard into a cement light standard in an empty parking lot. I wish I had some excuse about being startled or distracted by Mrs. Rantwick or even being angry with the kids, but they weren't in the vehicle. I am a good driver, I swear, but I haven't got a single way to rationalize what I did. That fact is shocking to me, since rationalizing the bad or stupid things I do has always been a real talent of mine. There was such an absence of obstacles or dangers around me that I failed to notice the only possible thing I could hit. I felt like the biggest idiot ever.

Now, here are the first two dirty words:

AAAAGH! Ah well, accidents happen, right? That's where the second 2 dirty words come in:

It's not that Mrs. Rantwick and I are too cheap to spring for insurance or thought it was an OK risk to take. We discussed it before renting and we both remembered checking with our insurance guy years ago to see if our comprehensive insurance covered us on some other rental occasion, and it did. What our aging brains neglected to recall was that you had to call the insurance company and explicitly transfer said comprehensive insurance before taking the trip.

When we called our insurance company, we were reminded of this fact and told we were out of luck. The credit card we used did not offer any recourse either and that is where the last three dirty words I became familiar with came up:

OOP indeed. I am not going to disclose the cost of the repair, but said pocket is still reeling. My Mother always warned us kids that parking lots were among the most dangerous places anywhere, although she was referring to lots with cars in them... in any case,

Always Heed Your Mother.


Friday, July 23, 2010

I'm Out There, Man

Hey there, just a quick note to 1) show this blog still has a pulse and 2) push that damn Ham Head off the top of the screen. I have been recovering from my vacation this week. Sounds odd, I know, but I think most people understand what I mean. I have several things on the back burner that I will write about eventually, but right now I have little inclination and even less time.

That said, sometimes things just happen. Turns out I have been a spiritual traveller lately, speaking through inanimate (although cute) objects in Texas:

Please don't ask how or why such a thing would happen, because I don't know, but Steve A's "Kermit" has been channelling me or I have been possessing it as he has begun to honk when subjected to less than smooth pavement.

I guess I love smooth pavement so much that it has become a mystical force the power of which I obviously cannot properly comprehend. Also I am into honking. Upon reading of this development, I suffered an attack of WTF, wondering what Kermit possessed by Rantwick would look like:

Yikes! Combine this picture with that Ham Head and one might think this blog is becoming quite macabre in style and content... I promise to get back to non-scary nonsense in the future. In the meantime, I remain:

Yer Pal,


Friday, July 16, 2010

To Ham!

If you have arrived at this post because you are a lover of ham, the food, you are not alone. I love ham. My kids would live on ham sandwiches alone if we let them, so much so that I would call them "hamheads" if I hadn't once seen something like this:

I find this almost unutterably creepy, even for Halloween. Gah! I love ham despite this gruesome character, but I'm afraid that although it was entirely possible, I am not currently sitting here on a Friday night drinking beer and toasting that kind of ham.

No, I am toasting a reader of this blog named "Ham" who is the winner of the Obstructionist Art Contest. Now I wouldn't normally over-celebrate a contest winner in this way, but he emailed me, saying that if the prize of $5 in Canadian Tire money ... "(has) real cash value in it, I would suggest that it is a waste of a good beer token.

So, what I propose is that $5 should buy at least one drink, maybe two smaller ones. So, the next time you find yourself in sociable companionship with a bartender you invest the same in a drink of your choice - mine would be beer - make yourself comfortable with your companion even if they are a six foot high white rabbit - lift your glass, utter the words "To Ham" and drink deep secure in the knowledge that I have bought you the drink."

That, for those who don't recognize it, is a class act and the kind of reader this blog seems to attract in general, in my opinion. Ham left it up to me, however, to decide how to handle things. Thus, here I am, drinking To Ham and sending To Ham both, for you see I have been eager to send somebody some Canadian Tire money for a long time and will gladly drink to just about anybody you could shake a stick at let alone a nice guy like this. I've got the envelope ready. All it needs is a stamp:

The absence of Ham's full address bothers me some, but I have heard great things about Britain's postal service and I trust them to find him by asking around in London a little; if it doesn't make it at least I know the return address is listed as well. The more keen among you may have already noticed that the money displayed comes to a mere $1.40... don't rough me up, I can explain.

When Spring rolled around Mrs. Rantwick informed me that she intended to use our Canadian Tire money stash on some hanging flower baskets. Sounded good to me; I thought I had my $5 stashed separate and apart from the general Sandy McTire population. I was wrong. Imagine my shame when I decided on a winner, went to grab the money, and it was gone! Soon after, Ham's nice email arrived. So here we are. I couldn't buy a beer with $1.40 in any bar I know of, but I am drinking to Ham with the missing $3.60 as I write this. So really, Ham and I both get our wish. Besides, the last time I tried to pass Canadian Tire money at the bar really didn't go very well. It's a win-win or in this case a To Ham-To Ham!

Ham, I am hoping you'll comment on the arrival of your prize, so I know that the postal service found you. Until next time,


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Obstructionist Art Winner!

I am decidedly back from vacation. I may write about my time away soon, but there are matters much more pressing to address, namely contest-winning nonsense!

After much study and completely unbalanced evaluation, I am declaring Ham the winner of the contest, mainly because he worked in the candy when he thought at first that it was candles. If my choice makes you mad, I do apologize, but tough darts... I liked his entry best. Honorable mentions go to everybody else; I loved all the stuff I read.

Ham, please provide me with a mailing address (via email) to which I can send $5 in Canadian Tire Money! If you fear that I am a stalker of some kind, you can use your neighbours, or friends, or granny's. Whatever, so long as you receive this awesome prize. Please accept the prize rather than telling me to donate somehow... it made sense when a local won my last contest, but I really want you to receive this dubious booty.

Here's Ham's winning entry:

I really don't see what all the mystery is about.

First, it is quite obviously part of the London Street Piano event here and here (Truth, as ever being stranger than fiction). How it comes to be there? Easy, it was delivered by my postman using the random technique he applies to all critical mail. The cones even confirm that, as they say "London" on them, and everyone knows that is here in England not in Canada.Knowing that, most other things become clear. The candles were dropped by a posse of nuns on their way home from a shopping trip (Where's the candle? Yes it does, doesn't it?) The urge to have a quick roadside yodel overtook them and with all those habits bouncing and arm waving it is no surprise they dropped. (ah. It says candies, not candles. So they bought sweets as well as the candles and remembered to pick the candles up after. Everyone knows nuns like sweets, too)

The cyclist is Danny McAskill (do watch this if you haven't, and I'm only disappointed you missed photographing his next manoevre which was jumpping from the pavement onto the piano, then onto the coach as it passed. He puts his drink down on the top of the cone on his way up, and picks it up on the way down, otherwise it would be too easy for him. The SUV contains his camera crew, ready to do a hanbrake turn and add extra pizazz to the film.

What you do not draw attention to is the masonic symbol ("A" in your big picture) which is in itself much more interesting. It is from the James Bond Lodge "Diamonds Are Forever" who famously hold ceremonial initiations every time a piano appears by the roadside, being a sign from the heavens that momentous events are afoot.

Congrats, Ham!