Showing posts with label Encounters With Rantwick. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Encounters With Rantwick. Show all posts

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Twenty Nine: Possum!

I had a really nice commute a while ago thanks to a few nice things happening. In this case I ended up recording myself telling the Rantwick clan all about it, and insodoing discovered I'm much more child-like in my enjoyments than I thought. It's all good though - being a little simpler can often result in being a little happier I think.

I hope you enjoy some of my newly minted rantwick family avatars; they were fun to make and work with. Here's the vid:

Wishing you your own simple delights,


Friday, February 11, 2022

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Twenty Eight: Rampaging Unleashed Dogs!

Hello! I've been like most people lately, just keepin' on keepin' on. I have not been enjoying the feeling of being sort of painted into a corner in which one feels angry at some people pretty much all of the time, and sort of obligated to be so as well. So I have decided to stop. Before all this polarizing stuff started I was firmly of the belief that most people are good. I still hold that belief, no matter what side of current social divides a person lands on. I want to stop criticizing and judging others for a while. Misguided and misinformed (by one great evil or another) or not, I like to think we're all trying to do our best in a shitty time. So I have taken all my bad feelings towards other people in both hands and packed them into a big dirty snowball. I then placed said snowball of badness on the ground to melt in the sun, got on my bike and rode away. While riding, I encountered some unleashed dogs:

Remember that hokey snowball zen thing? It is not really my style to engage in such visualization stuff, but in these uncommon times I am finding some small comfort in it, so fuck it, y'know? A different but similar thing I heard on CBC radio (a national treasure, btw) has been fun too: When something makes me smile I stick my index finger in the air and say aloud "delight"! Self-help nonsense for sure, and yet it kind of works to lighten my mood. After meeting those dogs I stuck my mitten (and concealed index finger) in the air and softly proclaimed, "delight"!

So what's my point ? I don't know. But I do know there's a world of difference between a dog who has escaped his leash and a dog who doesn't require one. I am aiming to be the latter.

Yer Pal,

P.S. Foul language is also helpful in soothing my troubled soul, so take your offense and ...

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Twenty Seven: Morning Mayhem!

You just never know what you may encounter on your bike. Witness:

For a second there, I thought I might encounter a bumper at high speed!

Yer Pal,

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Twenty Six: Parenting Tips!

In this episode, I encounter a couple of parents that I have no reason to doubt are "good". Parenting and its endless interpretations allow for all kinds of tactics, but I think the ones on display today are awesome. You be the judge:

OK, dumb, I know. But making this video made me think of one of my Mom's super tricks. My two older brothers used to fight. Like play fighting that often went wrong - they were angry little guys. When things went too far and they were going to seriously bloody one another, my Mom would tell them that they could fight as hard as they wanted but she wouldn't have them ruining their clothes. They would have to put on their fight shirts. These were two old sweatshirts reserved for fighting in. Thing is, by the time the little buggers had changed into their fight shirts, much of their anger had dissipated and thus the ensuing fight was generally non-life-threatening. My mother was a super genius.

I bet you've got some parenting gold squirreled away in your memory too. I would love to read about it in the comments.

Wishing You Ninja Speed on bike and off, I remain
Yer Pal,

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Twenty Five: The One

You know how in my last post I mentioned that my short-lived rear facing camera caught some pretty good stuff before it went kapput? This is some of that.

I encountered a truly amazing character on the street a while ago. Or was it just super nifty spookily fortunate timing? Either way it was cool. I think anyway. How about you be the judge: 

Yer Pal,

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Twenty Four: Rattle Snake!

Hi all, long time no write! I thought I was back in the swing with that little spate of posts in July, but I guess not! I'm not ever gonna write anything about my posting frequency or the difficulties of writing regularly or any of that from now on. Have I said that before? Well, this time I mean it, because if you're here you are awesome and don't need me wasting your time talking about this stuff for one more damn second.

Mrs. Rantwick and I got away for a bit on our own recently, staying in a cabin with a max occupancy of 2 in a fine National Park that you can only access by boat. Not 1 car on the island. Staff drove those John Deere gator things, but its not like they we were buzzing around all the time. It totally jacked up the peaceful quotient; no exhuast, no engine noise and even visually no chrome or metal or headlights junking up our surroundings.

We rode bikes and hiked pretty hard in our short time there, and saw an honest-to-god rattle snake! There is only one poisonous snake to be found in my fair province of Ontario, the Massasauga rattler. One of these guys rattled at us from beside the trail while we were walking our bikes through some deep sand. We stopped and I grabbed a little video from a safe distance:

Hah! That was fun. I love snakes. I know many others hate 'em. See ya soon, I hope! 

Yer Pal,

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Twenty Three: Bugs!

In this episode, I literally encounter bugs:

What the youtubers watching that video without visiting this fine site will never know is that I have a secret. I am almost afraid to share it with you, but I am going to do so in the hope that I might reach and help others with my affliction.

I HAVE HAIRY ARMS. It's true. The thing is, hairy arms are quite good at catching small bugs. MY HAIRY ARMS CATCH SMALL BUGS. THEN I BRUSH THEM OFF.

There, I said it. Whew, I can't believe I was so stressed about it. I mean, I'm FREE now, man! No longer will I hide in the shadows concealing my bug ridden hairy arms! I will walk in the sun brushing flies out of my arm hair for all to see! Do you get it, brother? IT HAS HAPPENED and I can finally LIVE for real. For real, do you get me! BWAAAHHAHAHA! Phoosh! I feel so much better. Wow.

Yours in Freakish Catharsis,

Monday, February 4, 2013

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Twenty Two: Taxi Driving Trash

The video says it all...

I can't recall ever having a problem with a taxi cab on the road. I also know a few people who drive (or drove) cab and they are all good people, so if you came here expecting me to say mean things about taxi drivers, you came to the wrong place. Of course my title made it seem like that might be the deal. What can I say? I enjoy misleading and disappointing people. Please come again! 

Yer Pal,

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Twenty One: Rocket Raccoon

To be honest, I don't really like the video I'm about to post. There's a kind of lameness about it that I can't quite put my finger on. Last night when I made that same observation Mrs. Rantwick said, "well, you worked on it for a couple of hours; you should just post it anyway. It's cute." Mrs. Rantwick being someone who is very seldom wrong, here we are.
I had never seen a raccoon 1) sprint or 2) on open ground in the daytime until one morning last August. Here he (or she) is:


Hey, who knows? Given my often poor understanding of what people like, this may turn out to be my most popular video ever! Which will be great! And sad.

Yer Pal,

Monday, June 18, 2012

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Twenty: Super Salmon Cycle Squad!

I don't know that I have ever done back-to-back Encounters with Rantwick posts; but when Encounters happen, they happen, I guess.

It is a an awe-inspiring thing to come across perfection. Unless of course you see it all around you. I suppose some people find it all over the place. I envy those people, because I don't always have the eyes to see. I've got this to hang to for now:

Those three are a reminder to me that perfection is possible, and for that I am grateful. Thank you, SSCS!

Yer Pal,

Friday, June 15, 2012

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Nineteen: Geese Are Cranky Jerks

Jerks are common enough, although in my experience most people aren't. Jerks, I mean. Then again, maybe we're all jerks. I mean, maybe the vast majority of us are nice, except for the rare moments when we act like jerks. There are just so many of us, though, that we experience somebody else's very rare jerky moment multiple times daily.

One thing I did not know was that Geese were cranky jerks. I mean, I had a hunch, but it was unproven. Until now.

I guess I should just cut that bird the same slack I did for humans in my opening musings, but I can't. With Geese, it's about even odds that if you get within earshot, they're gonna insult you. It's true and you know it. If you don't know it yet, you will. Oh yes, you will.

Have a jerk-free weekend, everyone!

Yer Pal,

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Encounters with Rantwick, episode Eighteen: Cycle Satan and Devil Dog

You know, most commutes are pleasant, but boring. I delete most of my commuting videos from my camera because they are just plain uninteresting. Ever since I've mounted my very obvious top 'o the helmet cam, they have become even more so because very few cars do crummy things. That's cool with me!

Once in a long while, however, something downright spooky and upsetting and behaviour changing occurs. This, as you may have guessed, is one of those occasions. Good, Evil, Cars, imminent Death, screeching brakes, HellHounds... brace yourself:

Yer Pal,

Monday, August 8, 2011

Encounters with Rantwick, episode seventeen: I Am a Cat 6 Racer

I am completely unfamiliar with organized competitive cycling of any kind. I don't even ride in a group, ever. Don't pity me though. For me, the solitude is part of what makes a bike ride beautiful. Commutes, even. Like some other commuters, however, I am afraid I'm a bit of a Cat 6 racer.

I had to research a little bit about competitive cycling in order to explain that label here. The short version is that real bicycle racers compete in Categories based on their skill level. Category 1 is for elite cyclists who compete at the National and International level. Category 5 for men and 4 for women is where beginners at racing do their thing. "Cat 6" is not a real category. It is used as a euphemism for the informal racing that people on the street or path sometimes engage in, often spontaneously. I am a Cat 6 racer and I am AWESOME. Check this out:

Yer Pal,

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Encounters with Rantwick, episode sixteen: Friends of the Freak

I mentioned in a recent post that I was gonna try my new camera on my helmet, where most would have in the first place. I must admit that I like that perspective best after all and since I edit all the video anyway, "head sweep" is not the problem I thought it would be.

Having had a camera mounted either on my bike or my person for a couple of years now, I was surprised at how much notice the new camera got. I suppose I shouldn't have been... it now sticks up off the top of my helmet in a conspicious, freakish way. London Ontario, while being a good sized city of 300K+, is not a metropolis where something odd surprises no one, and people have been reacting to the camera's presence.

Some people positively glower at me like they wish me dead. I'm not kidding. Those people, however, are not what this post is about, because I don't like them. I like the people who just shout out "hey, is that a camera?"

If I were participating in a bike race (yeah, right) or out on a MTB trail or something, I'm sure the cam would find greater acceptance and understanding. POV cams are for people who want to record their "recreational" exploits after all, right? Well, not always, and the fact that I'm recording others in the public space is interesting and exciting to some and simply pisses off others. I like the people that just shout out their curiosity rather than shooting me suspicious glances. I'm not trying to "catch" anybody doing anything. I swear.

Hey, Let Your Freak Flag Fly!

If you're like some of these good people and want a camera like mine, check out 

Buy GoPro HERO Camera at

Monday, April 18, 2011

Encounters with Rantwick, episode fifteen: Stupid Honking Jerks

I'm not usually one to piss and moan about the weather. I mean, I most often get some sort of sick satisfaction out of climate related cycling misery and/or joyjoys thanks to true preparedness. But Mother Nature sent out some teaser days that looked and smelled suspiciously like Spring, and now I am ready for nicer weather. Instead this is what most of my weekend looked like:

As you can see I tried out the gopro camera on the dash of my car. I must say I find dashcam video strangely hypnotizing. Compared to cycling video it is so fast and smooth that it kind of sucks me in against my will. The new cam also captured the sights and sounds associated with Stupid Honking Jerks on one of those recent nice Springy days:

Man oh man, do I love those Stupid Honking Jerks. Their laughter is totally worth the startle. Yer Pal,

PS - Hit to check out this new camera I'm using. I must say I'm digging it bigtime.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Encounters with Rantwick, episode fourteen: Squirl, Interrupted

As some of you may recall, squirrels love me, at least compared to cars. Recently, however, I ran afoul of a squirrel who was enjoying a piece of cake. There was no "Hi, cutie pie" this time, as you shall see...

I hope no squirrel and dwarf attack squad has my number now. I am far too big a coward to face such a danger:

I would probably just pee my pants, fall to my knees and beg for my life. Thank God all of this is just in my head. It is, right? Tell me it is.

Whenever you can, let them eat cake.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Encounters with Rantwick, episode thirteen: Extreme Optimism

It seems like an awful lot of things are Extreme these days. People seem to be into lots of Extreme Sports, that's for sure, like this extreme mountain unicyclist I saw yesterday on bikesnobnyc. When things get popular, like extremeness, marketers and manufacturers start getting a little, um, carried away. One example is this restroom hand dryer:
We have this thing at work and it is indeed extreme. It makes your hand skin go all woogly it is so strong, and there's a reason you can't point it at your face:

That dryer is so strong and loud that almost nobody uses it. Man, that image is distracting. It makes my gums feel like they're drying out. Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, extremism. It would seem you can also apply extremism to other "isms"! I'm not on about nihilism this time, but rather Optimism. I encountered Extreme Optimism out on the bike a couple of days ago. Behold:

Yer Pal,


Monday, June 28, 2010

Encounters with Rantwick, episode twelve: Kicking the Wagon to Tip the Bucket Fantastic

Euphemisms are fun. Like "kick the bucket" (die) or "fall off the wagon" (start drinking again) or "trip the light fantastic" (dance). Metaphors are also good, like "that Mrs. Rantwick is a gem" or "that RANTWICK is a hog" or "A rose by any other name flocks together". That last one was a mixed metaphor, as you no doubt know. They happen, especially to politicians. Much more rare is the mixed euphemism. Now, you might hear somebody speak a mixed euphemism once in a while, but witnessing one happen out in the world is something else entirely. Last Friday I got to see a crazy mixed euphemism, acted out LIVE! Now I'm gonna make you see it too!

See? She kicked the wagon to tip the bucket fantastic! A LIVE mix of no less than three euphemisms. You don't see one of those every day, no sir! Unless you start coming back to this post every day. Then you would, but you would also be pretty freaky, so don't do that.

There is other business I must take care of now. The Rantwick clan is going on vacation! It feels like it has been forever since we got away. We're going to camp. Not that we will be camping. In my home town of Thunder Bay, Ontario, everybody calls cottages "camps"; as in I'm going out to the camp this weekend. When I was a kid the dirt road to our family camp was so narrow that leaves came in the windows of the car sometimes. These days the road is paved and wide enough for two cars to pass each other pretty safely. I kind of wish it could have stayed the way it is in my childhood memories, but that isn't how things work. In any case, I can't wait to be travelling that road once more with my own kids. We're bringing bikes to ride up and down those hills and twists and turns both familiar and nostalgic; I can't wait.

There's a Scottish euphemism for dying that I learned from reading Iain Banks; "Away the Crow Road". Now I'm gonna mix up a new euphemism of my own... I'll be "Away the Camp Road", my very own brand new euphemism for getting away from it all. Have fun while I'm gone, and I'll be back to announce the winner of the Obstructionist Art contest in mid July.

Yer Pal,


Monday, May 24, 2010

Encounters With Rantwick, episode eleven: I Pass Something Annoying

It's wasn't a kidney stone, but oh, the pain!

I don't know about you, but when I pass another cyclist, I make a point of dropping them pretty quickly if I can. I do this because I hate it when somebody deems it necessary to pass me only to slow down and block my progress once they have done so. Sometimes when I'm kind of pumped up in the middle of a ride, I'll pass somebody going almost as fast as me. That is the worst, because then I feel obligated to kill myself rather than take a breather and allow them to pass me back. I get more exercise, but I always feel a bit stupid for caring whether I get overtaken by them. I mean, who cares, really?

This espisode of Encounters With Rantwick is all about a pass gone horribly wrong...

Any 2 wheels trump 4. Always, near as I can figure.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Encounters with Rantwick, episode ten: Industrial Bright And Tragic

My cycling specific garb for winter riding has been joined by several bits of industrial work wear lately, three bits to be precise. One thing I've begun wearing only recently is a pair of clear safety glasses:

I really like my clear goggles for cold weather riding, but that's the problem. This year it has become dark during my commute without becoming cold enough to warrant the goggles, which can be quite warm when you're working much. So, I tried the clear safety glasses, and I must say I quite like them.

The next item is one that I haven't really felt the need to use until recently. My work has had me commute to some new and different locations lately, some of which force me to ride on some roads that most sensible cyclists would rather avoid. I wasn't feeling quite visible enough some of the time on these roads, so I added a reflective vest to my usual getup:

I must say that I like what the vest does, but I hate wearing it. It makes me feel like a nerd, which is totally stupid because Mutant Winter with her pink cables and plastic tub have already completely established that I AM a nerd, so why should I care? Perhaps I attach more importance to clothing; after all "clothes make the man", right? If that's true, do "gloves make the hands"?

I've never really believed that specialty mitts or gloves, like "lobster claws" and stuff like that were necessary for winter riding, as evidenced by the stuff I was forced to retire thanks to being worn out:

I've only had those $5 gloves for about a month! I must have super strong thumbs. Damn video games!

I came across my replacements when I was at a work wear place buying jeans. I am really excited about these (not a nerd. right.) because they may well be the perfect winter cycling glove despite the fact that they were not designed for the purpose:

They are fuzzy on the inside, the backs are a knit material and the palms and fingers are rubberized. They are extremely grippy on the handlebars regardless of weather conditions. Last but not least, they are really hi-vis! I have read Steve A and others talk about lights to make wrists or hands visible so that their signals don't get missed; these wouldn't do in the summer of course, but in the dark of winter when these things might matter most, I think they are a pretty darn good solution. Last but not least, they were $16. But never mind all that. These things make me look cool, because they make my hands and fingers look like those of Master Shake:

If you don't know who Master Shake is, shame on you. You are so un-cool. I didn't know who he was either, but a young colleague of mine said my hands looked like his in those gloves, so I looked him up. I don't get the channel needed to watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but I really wish I did... it seems like my kind of strangeness.

OK, where was I? Ah yes, I was stylin' in my industrial evolution:

So, I am Industrial Bright and lookin' special. Where's the Tragic? I was in my full industrial bright splendour when the following occurred:

The tragedy lies not in the fact that the truck driver didn't like me being where I was and using his air horn. The tragedy is that for reasons I can't explain, I lost my temper and flipped him off very clearly with my new hi-vis finger held high for his rear-view mirror. He didn't miss that signal, because he touched his brakes for no reason while I did it, like he might stop for a chat. I know lots of cyclists would consider that pretty normal, but it isn't for me. That was the first time in my many years of driving and cycling that I have ever given someone the bird, and therein lies the tragedy. I pride myself on keeping my cool and refraining from reacting to stuff like that dude's air horn. Civility is important and as my Mother would say, two wrongs don't make a right.

Keep Yer Cool. Until Next Time,