Friday, December 31, 2021

Up a Snowy Driveway

My to my disappointment, our town has cancelled the Canada Day, July 1st fireworks for two consecutive years. However, the township is doing a New Years Eve show in the boonies tonight. Bob, took me over to scout out the place yesterday. If I do manage to get out there in the cold tonight, we'll see if we see how successful our scouting was.

That is for a future post — maybe. We shall see how it turns out. But after our reconnaissance, Bob took me around to some spots in the hinterland. It wasn't too cold, barely below freezing, and the atmosphere was softly overcast. I like making soft, winter photos, so the weather was right up my alley.

He took me to an abandoned property, but we had to shoot at a distance due to warning signs that we would be flogged and then boiled in oil if we had the temerity to trespass.

I took three photos looking up the lane from the gate. The first two are more or less at the distance at which the house appeared to us. I think the lane with its unsullied snow makes a nice, clean leading line. I did very little post processing, so the photos are substantially how they first appeared on my computer screen.

Then I zoomed in a little more and also cropped a wee bit in post.

I appreciated getting out here. Aside from that cold night when I photographed Christmas lights, I haven't been out for awhile.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Calabogie and Kaladar and Fiddling and Silly Walking

Back in the mists of time, after ten years of teaching geography, I was told that I was going to teach an English class. It was grade 12 of all levels, but at least it wasn't an advanced level class for my first gig.

At one point, we had a film appreciation unit. Ahem: I am not sure how much critical appreciation we did, except that we all appreciated the change in pace. I can't remember how many films we showed, but I only seem to remember three, at least more or less by name although I may have a few wisps of others pass through my occluded consciousness every now and then. 

There was the story of Dinky Hocker who, as I recall was girl who turned to food for comfort, and the film is about self-esteem amidst the social problems that she had to face. There was another film about a Sikh boy, Ravinder, who had to face some prejudice over his headwear and long hair. I don't have a link for that because there are too many current Ravinders that pop up in searches.

There was also The Best Damn Fiddler from Calabogie to Kaladar, and ths is me finally getting to the point. I knew very little about this region in Eastern Ontario at that time. I certainly never thought that I would live here, but now I do live here and have since visited both small hamlets. I also never thought that I would take up the fiddle, but I did for about five years in my early sixties.

Here is the video of the film, which, of course, I showed as a 16mm film in 1982. It was filmed in b&w just over a decade earlier in 1968. It's 48 minutes long, so I am not going to re-watch it now, and neither are you, but I am embedding it for future reference.

This  ↓ is a little map on which I have circled Kaladar, Calabogie, CP (Carleton Place) and the western outskirts of Ottawa, but will probably have to embiggen it to see any of this.

And now, I will introduce my third (and final! so relax) fiddle tune: St Anne's Reel. Fiddle tunes are short and are usually repeated three times, so you can stop at ~1:08 if you like, but it is not a long clip to begin with. I have also set it to start after the talking intro.

Most of you have seen this ↓ clip of Sue and me doing the Silly Dance early in the COVID times. I used St Anne's Reel as the background for our performance, but just in edit. We didn't actually silly walk to a tune.

We have missed our annual Celtfest for two years running. Hopefully, they will hold it again this year. Even in the worst of COVID, summer times have been relatively good.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Christmas Marathon

The family Christmas has come to an end with sleepovers by Danica on Sunday night and Jonathan on Monday. Since it all began Friday evening on Christmas Eve, I think that's a pretty fair observance of the occasion. As you might guess, scads of photos were taken, but I promise to be moderate, which includes making a few collages, so we don't go too overboard with tons of individual images.

Christmas Eve included snacks and snuggles.

Games and fun too.

A bonus of the kids getting older is that they didn't awaken us early on Christmas Day. In fact, they didn't awaken us at all although they were already up when we awoke at 6:30. We make gift opening last by taking our turns beginning with stockings. Someone opens one stocking stufffer, then the next person, and so on a so forth, and round and round we go.

Then, we break for a quick breakfast and repeat the above procedure with the bigger gifts. When I say, bigger, we aren't spendthrifts, but we don't max out the credit cards either. We try to make it good, but we don't really make it grand if you catch my drift.

Here are two photos from the morning. I hope you pardon the one of me, but I like it.

Well before noon, the kids were off to their Dad's. Sue and I went home, and Sha went into work for a few hours. She visits with her seniors for a few hours on most Christmas Days. This year she helped the dining room staff at both servings. It was a way to easily greet most of her residents. Many stayed in the residence dur to COVID and the rules and regs about isolating upon returning.

The next day, Sunday, we picked up Danica for her sleepover. Sleepovers are easier on grandma and grandpa than they used to be, at least in a way. The kids can now entertains themselves, especially after one or both of us go to bed.

Danica bought herself a MacBook on that very day with her recent earnings, and she spent much of her visit exploring it and getting it set up. Her dad is a tech guy, but he works exclusively on the PC side, but Dani managed well on her own. It should last her through high school and quite possibly university, or some of it.

Sue took the following clip as a single photo, but Google turned it into a cute little mp4.

Sue made pancakes from Monday breakfast, and I contributed bacon. Later, we took Dani home and brought JJ back with us. While Danica isn't interested in playing games, we played UNO (below, with chips),  Sorry, and Wizard with Jonathan.

He spent some time sketching with some of his Christmas gifts. Notice the earbuds, which were a main present from the step-side.

He got a yo-yo for Christmas and was picking it up really well. I dug into my memory banks from 60+ years ago and asked if he could do over the falls. I took a crack at it, and then he tried. As you might expect he didn't nail his first few efforts (below), but he got it pretty well soon after. We don't have too many subsequent photos or videos, for I think even Sue was getting too pooped to keep going.

Breakfast with JJ was a breakfast sandwich in an English muffin with bacon and Havarti cheese. We took him home after noon, and that completed the celebration for another year. We will head over to see Bob and Barb for a short visit this afternoon. Then, we may come home and collapse. 😀

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

David Cohen and Big John McNeil

Today we present two very Canadian things, one involving a very high profile American of all things.

David Cohen, the new American Ambassador to Canada, was recently seen purchasing a beavertail. 

This has become a bit of a rite for new American ambassadors, and they don't have very far to go from the embassy to purchase a beavertail in the nearby Byward Market. I am not sure if the precedent existed before a certain man by the name of Barack had one in 2009, although I suspect not, but it does seem to have become a thing ever since then. Or maybe not when Trump's man was here; I just don't know.

You may be forgiven for wondering about beavertails. I mean, we know that beavers are a Canadian symbol, almost as iconic as the maple leaf. But really now, it is one thing to pick up and admire a nice maple leaf, but you would be forgiven for wondering what one would possibly do with a beavertail. And what about the poor tail-less beaver?

Well, one eats it, of course. But . . . it is not what you think!

The BeaverTail is a fried dough pastry that is sold in a variety of flavours. Most flavours of BeaverTails are topped with sweet condiments and confections, such as whipped cream, banana slices, crumbled oreos, cinnamon sugar, and chocolate hazelnut. (Wikipedia) 


Eh, if that isn't enough Canadiana for you for one day, here is a good ole Canadian fiddle tune for yiz eh. Not long ago, I posted Maple Sugar, and Big John McNeil is another very popular fiddle tune here in The Valley

I didn't even go looking for Big John, but one day, YouTube decided that I needed to see it, so it sent me the link. Since we've recently talked about fiddling, I might as well share it with you as well. It includes some Valley step dancing when the kids put down their instruments for a bit. Enjoy it, eh.

Here's a delightful version of an older guy and group playing in a trailer. I think is a better rendition. Look at his feet going. I love this one because it is so authentic and genuine. It is pretty well the way that fiddling was meant to be or at least how it often is or was in The Valley

Fun, eh.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Sue and the Gamaflunken

It was Shauna's birthday, and Sue was getting ready to bake an apple crisp, which is a fave with Sha.

It was time to peel and slice apples. I attack potatoes and carrots from time to time, but, as far as I can recall, I have never abused apples in this appalling manner. I wasn't finding it all that easy to hold on to those juicy little ***s but I was doing my best. After a few minutes, Sue finished whatever else she was doing and came by to help.

I was working in earnest, I tells yiz, but she was doing about two apples to my one.

The thing is that she wasn't trying to be speedy. She is just pretty dexterous and efficient at manual tasks such as these.

Back in the days when she was pretty well a one-woman show around the house while I had a demanding job to keep me occupied, I got used to sometimes seeing the efficiency with which she worked. I am to be forgiven for thinking  that her pace was normal. 

Then, one day I saw her chopping something or other side-by-side with her sister. Sis worked at a methodical and deliberate pace, something like I do. I have also seen others apply themselves to these sorts of tasks at the cottage. They also did it more like me and not like Sue.

Did I tell you that she doesn't try to be speedy? She just is.

Somehow, it must be connected to her perception. She is the one in this family who has a mechanical bent, although I am not sure if mechanical is the right word for it. I just don't know what the right word is.

If there's a knot to unravel or a doohickey to attach to a gamaflunken, she seems to grasp the logistics easily. I pretty well learned to not to bother wasting time trying to do it myself and now just pass things over to her right away. Although I might be able to figure out some knotty problem given enough time, passing it over to Sue saves time, energy and frustration.

They say we all have our talents, and this is one of Sue's. It sure ain't one o'mine.

Addendum: An Unplanned Case in Point from Christmas Day

We were packing up to leave Sha's on Christmas Day. It was still only just around mid morning, but the kids were anxious to get to their Dad's house because they knew that their stepsisters were waiting on them so they could dive into their festivities. Before Sue and I were packed, the kids were ready to go and headed out to the car to begin scraping the ice off the car, so that I could drive them over. That's right! We had freezing rain overnight from Christmas Eve and well into Christmas Day. 

The kids chipped and scraped for quite a while. Then the windshield wiper came apart. Darned if I could reattach the doggone thing. Fortunately, their Dad lives just around the corner, so I managed to drive the short distance without the wiper even though it was still precipitating. I hopped out while there, cleaned the windshield manually, and drove back to Sha's to pack the car with our things

After I got there I once again tried in vain to reattach the wiper. I gave it up and left it for Sue. She fixed it in lickety-split time. Even though it was the driver side wiper, she knew enough to attack the problem from the passenger side. Easy peasy.

Addendum 2: A Quick pic of my icy den window along with tree shadows.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Sha's Birthday

What with all of the Christmas posts that have dominated this space, my daughter's birthday got a bit lost. I very seldom scrunch two topics into one post (although I do on occasion), so not all posts are timely. I also had to get the photos from Sue's phone.

Shauna was born on December 20 1972 and came home on Christmas Day, making her our Christmas baby, but we have always attempted not to let the season diminish her birthday. My grandfather was born on Christmas Day and opined that his birthday got lost in the other festivities. Indeed, I remember him coming to our apartment one Christmas, but I don't remember a birthday being included in the occasion.

Sha thought my card was pretty funny.

One of her early Halloween outfits was a Wonder Woman costume that Sue made, I think in Kindergarten but maybe grade one. For the Now portion, I composited her face into a Wonder Woman photo ↓ and that ↑ was her reaction.

Although both Danica and Jonathan were also amused, Lacey was totally unimpressed.

Sha hammed it up for gifts too. (All photos with Sue's phone that I, somehow, snafued for the event.)

My Christmas baby will be 50 next year. I am not sure how either she or I will cope with that milestone.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Christmas Morn

I am not home as this little piece goes online, but we are with Shauna and the kids and are opening presents. However,  this is for you if you are at home, perhaps alone, and if you do fire up the computer. 

We slept over last night which is not always my the easiest thing to do, but the kids really wanted us to be there as part of the tradition that is meaningful to them. After we only had Christmas over a sputtering Facetime connection last year, I sure won't complain but will accept the sleepover with gratitude.

I have two more photos of Christmas lights from that cold night from which I shown several already. These two are on the same property as each other. A few years ago I took a comprehensive photo including both the house and the fence, so I photographed them separately this time.

This day is tough for some, but I hope you are doing well and finding some peace and joy.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas

Well Dear Folk, it is Christmas Eve, or the day of the eve at any rate. This↓ is my card to those of you who are still, along with the rest of us lost souls, on your computers and phones. Actually, it is to all of you, even those who may not find it in your blog readings until later.

I say much on this blog, almost on daily basis, throughout the year, so I feel no compunction to go on at length today. I do wish you a Merry Christmas, whomever you are and however and whatever you celebrate. Christmas is my tradition, but I include you, if yours is different, by also wishing Happy Holidays to all.

Many of you will recognize the card as an adaptation of a previous photo. If you click, it will enlarge enough for you to be able to actually read my personal greetings on the new and improved 😏 sign.

Let me add this ↓ little fun one while I am at it.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

A Better Sky

I mentioned the problem with black skies in my previous post, so I did something about it with this photo of The Junction, which is not quite the same photo as my previous photo of The Junction, which I will post at the end in order to refresh your memories. You are all getting on you know, so you are to be forgiven for being forgetful. 😼

This is not the sky that you would see here, assuming you could see a sky.
Just put it down to photographic license. 

When I posted this ↑ in out local photo group of FB, it really got noticed whereas the dark sky one, below, only received some notice.

Modern software programs can use AI to replace skies if you are unhappy with the one that nature gave you. For the most part I resist this temptation, but this sky replacement makes the photo so much better in my opinion. I will have you know, however, that this is my own sky photo that I added manually. Even AI technology was at a loss and couldn't determine that all of that black was actually sky, so I did it all by my lil ole self with my own lil ole photo.

Here is the other photo, as promised above. It's not terrible, but you can see the difference that the former, well-lit, sky made. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Three Photos with Dark Skies

An acquaintance told us that there was quite a house display near his house, which is just around the corner from our place. We drove over on that cold evening.

My first photo ↓

Fab house, but you see, above, that the lights that go way up the tree are truncated. I turned the camera the other way↓ but I had to take two photos and stitch them together in post. My wide angle lens would have done it in one shot, and I had it in the car, but it was so cold that I didn't want to involve myself with changing lenses with numb hands.

I moved down the street a bit, and did get all it in one at an angle.

While I like getting Christmas Lights photos, I do find the black sky unappealing. Starlit would be better, of course, and so would blue hour photos. But blue hour is so early these days that I wasn't sure if the lights would have been on by then, And although I specifically ordered starlight, the server just shrugged their shoulders and walked away.

You just have to do what you can when you can.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Cold Moon and The Junction

Out we went to drive around, see some light, and take some pictures.

Although I hadn't planned to photograph the tree across the street again, when I saw the full moon — The Cold Moon — peeking over the roof just beyond, I just had to do it.

It took two photos to accomplish this. The exposure for the tree was a long exposure of 5 seconds while the one for the moon was at 1/100th of a second. That's how bright the moon is in comparison — 9 stops or 9x brighter 

It was not a super full moon but a minor full moon because it was as far away from the earth in its orbit as it could possibly be. A minor full moon is 14% smaller than a super full moon.

We drove around a little enjoying the lights and not stopping for photos too much or for too long because -14ºC/7ºF is pretty darn cold. Even with my photo gloves on, my little finger tips became a bit numb, especially at one stop where it took some time to photograph the very impressive display.

I am not going to post that particular stop today as I took three different photos, but I will post my single photo of The Junction.

The set is modelled after the railway station and water tower that one existed here. Now, the land just around it is becoming a meeting place for town events. Where I was standing to take the photo, there is a hockey rink in winter. At the moment the boards are up but it hasn't been flooded yet. I was happy about not standing on ice as I was inside the boards to take this photo.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Will I Ever Win That Toaster?

Sue and I really needed a boost, so we went to Almonte where we got a real shot in the arm.

Our appointments for the first two jabs were at different times and even on different days, but we were together in sweet bliss for the booster. I watched Sue's jab, and the needle really went in a long way and seemed to take a long time to plunge. Maybe this was different than before and maybe not. Whatever the case, Sue was exultant to have it done as this photo with her fancy schmanzy as new phone attests.

However, we are still a long way off from being able to claim our toaster, which is too bad since we could really use a new one.

I wonder if there will be any more boosters. Some have written that a virus tends to become more transmissible as it declines in strength, so perhaps Omicron is a good thing in a way. And along with that, better treatments for fighting the virus.seem to be looming on the horizon.

Meanwhile, our numbers are exploding as never before. Thankfully, at least there is some mitigation due to high levels of vaccination. It's just that the government should have been proactive with the boosters. In my opinion there wasn't a good reason for making us wait for six months after the second shot, especially when you see them reducing it to three months now that we are in a bit of a crisis.

And . . . did you know . . .↓

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Lights on a Snowy Eve

It appears that it won't be a green Christmas after all. This pleases me.

It snowed a lot yesterday, not so much a ton of it, but it kept coming lightly for many hours. The contractor even came by sometime in the night to plow our driveway.

Sue and I scurried out to the driveway to snap some photos of the Christmas lights across the way. Sue wanted to try the night option on her new phone, and for some time, I have wanted to show you what we see out front. These are not grandiose mansions, but the effect is quite lovely and much appreciated..

This ↓ is directly across the street. That is Lena's tree on the right. Lena passed away almost two years ago, but the neighbour spent hours stringing her tree. The display on the left is so bright that Sue's phone refused to go into night mode to photograph it. With the controls on my camera, I was able to succeed.

It was still snowing, so we didn't even go all of the way down the driveway. I swung my camera to the right. Too bad about the cars, for there is a house beyond the vehicles that is also quite nice, but I can't see it well from street level. I do see them better in this direction from upstairs, but the one time that I tried to take a photo from upstairs, the window was frozen shut, and I haven't tried again.

We do need to take a little trip around town to see and photograph other houses. I tell myself that I have been waiting for snow, and while that is true, I am also so darn lazy and comfortable inside in the warmth.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

The First Selfies

Here is a little more about the phone situation and how we transitioned from Sue's older iPhone to her newer phone. It was easy after the old phone regenerated itself.

The morning after the old iPhone 6 stopped working, it came on again after Sue had left it plugged in all night. Somehow, it recognized that there had been a problem with the battery and magically put the phone into another mode so that it could function again. For how long this patch would endure, I have no idea, so it was imperative to get the now phone up and running.

Even I could manage this procedure because I have seen it done once before — earlier this year when my phone also gave up the ghost. I am fortunate to have a son-in-law who is a techie, so after watching him do my phone, I was confident that I could do Sue's. At least I was confident after I viewed a YouTube video that refreshed my memory.

All that I had to do was to place the two phones side by side. The new phone recognized the presence of the old phone. Then, I just followed the prompts and everything was ported over, and the new phone looked just like the old one. Pretty much all that was left to do afterward was to move the sim card from the old to the new. 

If the old phone hadn't regenerated overnight, I would have had to wait for SiL to do it manually, or even for my daughter to guide me through the procedure as she has upgraded iPhones manually through the older method once or twice.

When that was done, Sue and I wanted to reward ourselves with another coffee run to take selfies with her new pink phone, but in the transition, her iWatch had to do a major update. To accomplish this, Sue had to leave the watch on the charger and also keep the phone near the watch.

Sue settled for taking a few selfies at home.

Friday, December 17, 2021

On Her Ninth Day Before Christmas

You would think that it could have lasted for nine more days. Apparently, that was too big of an ask.

It was to be a great Christmas present — a brand new, latest and greatest iPhone for Sue. We don't give extravagant presents like this, but there was a need, and I wanted this to be special.

When my iPhone 6 died, a main warning sign was that it became hot. Sue's same phone experienced this one day a few months ago but worked well since then. However, I figured its days were numbered, so I ordered a new phone, breaking the bank in the process.

The phone worked on Tuesday, ten days before Christmas.

Come Wednesday morning, the ninth day before, it was as dead as a doornail.

Aw crap!

I decided that I would have to give her the phone early or she would be wanting to take the old one in for a new battery or whatever.

I texted Shauna about the possibility of them coming over for an impromptu supper to make a bit of an event of it since it would diminish Christmas Day a little bit.

Wouldn't you know? I texted to the family chat and not privately to Shauna.

Shauna alerted me to what I had done.

Aw crap again!

I ran into Sue's room shouting, "Don't read the family chat!"

Too late!!! 😬😽👎

So here we are.

Merry Christmas

As a slight extra to celebrate the event on the day that we decided it was prudent to go into semi isolation, we did what we have often done during the pandemic — drove to the riverside for coffee in the car.

It was a warm 14ºC/57ºF, which is crazy here in Ontario in December, but we remained in the car because the winds were howling. I took this photo through the window.

According to the song, and as near I can figure, nine days before Christmas would be the fourth day of the twelve days of Christmas when the correct gift should have been four calling birds. But I think that a brand new, pink iPhone is a pretty good alternate choice.

Actually in tradition, the twelve days of Christmas begin with Christmas Day and last until January 6 (now a day of infamy when the magi came bearing gifts. But one makes of life what one can.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Out for the Hollandaise

I wasn't sure if I should do it.

Two weeks ago, I planned a Christmas breakfast, for yesterday, with the photography boys — Nick (centre) and Bob (right).

Since then, Omicron has been exploding. The provincial case count seems to be doubling every three days. And while hospitalizations aren't over the top, they are not negligible either.

I recalled that, due to COVID, I cancelled coffee with them last year at this time, so I was reluctant to do it again. Therefore, I went ahead with it. However, Sue and I also determined that this would be my/our last coffee/restaurant visit until the New Year. By then, the booster will have kicked in (we will get our boosters on Sunday), and our resistance to Omicron will rise from about 30% (tops) to ~85%.

We showed our passes and sat by ourselves in an uncrowded restaurant, which by rights should not have been uncrowded because it was an absolutely yummy breakfast. I had eggs Benedict with hollandaise sauce on an English muffin with fried tomato and crispy bacon in between the two and goat cheese on top. It, along the the home fries, came piping hot and perfectly cooked. Yum.

So we have two thumbs up. Maybe Nick wasn't as impressed with his Western, but Bob loved his crispy French toast and vowed to return soon with his wife.

Although this self-imposed limitation means that Sue and I will forego the Christmas visit to the sugar bush restaurant that we had planned, this breakfast was a pretty good last hurrah — for me anyway, and Sue enjoyed her visit to the same place not long ago.

With Shauna's birthday, and Christmas and New Years approaching, we will likely be provided for well enough in our safe environments until we can get out again.

Having had that breakfast out, however, I won't be able to say that I was home for the hollandaise, for indeed, I most most decidedly out for the hollandaise.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021


Yesterday morning, I was feeling a bit spacey. Yes, you there snickering in the corner, I know what you're thinking, but I was more spacey than usual. I was so unwithit that my morning Sudoku games looked like they were being played by a toddler who chanced upon his mother's iPad.

I had a Christmas card to post — just one card this year — so I stopped at the mailbox. Just like most communities in Canada built in the past two or more decades, we have a community box at the end of the street. I grabbed the key, opened my box, grabbed all of the cards that people had sent flyers and went merrily on my way. It is the time of year to be merry after all.

I completed my errands, pretending that my mind was in working order, and returned home. I pulled in the driveway and put my stuff into the bag that the pet store provided with the new litter lifter because I broke the other one that very same morning. In went the video that I had obtained from the library. In went the flyers. Whoopsie! The card that I had set out to send was still on the car seat.

I trudged back to the mail boxes to finally post the darn thing. A skein of honking geese flew over. These are the geese that are, apparently, too lazy to fly south to warmer climes but not too lazy to fly back and forth willy nilly honking their tiny brains out. The sky was a clear blue. I decided to take a phone shot.

You know how many times, I turn on the phone camera accidentally when I don't want to? Well, wouldn't you know that I couldn't seem to find the camera right then when I wanted it. The leading geese were just about out of sight when I finally found the camera. Can you see the little dots in the sky. They could have made a decent photo when they had been directly overhead, but Oh No! that would have been too much to ask for on such a spacey morning.

In the vertical middle stretching all the way from left to right.
If you click, you might actually see the dots.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The Fantasy Genre in Books and on Screen

I have read a few decent fantasy series and a few that were okay. There are two series that held great promise that I gave up on partway through.

The first was the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. It was a very long time ago, perhaps even 30 years when I picked up the first volume of what I thought was a trilogy. The first three books were quite absorbing, but when I got to the end of them, I realized that I wasn't really at the end, for there would be more.

I read a few more volumes and gave up when I felt the author was simply playing a joke on us, for the narrative was advancing so very slowly that it seemed like he was toying with the readers. Although I did read [I think] two more of the series, they had lost the edge in my opinion, and I quit.

Many years later, the same thing occurred with the famous Game of Thrones fantasy series by George RR Martin, which was really called A Song of Ice and Fire in the original literary form. I had the very same feeling as with Wheel that I was being duped, so I stopped reading partway through the fourth book (I think it was).

In retrospect, it doesn't seem as though Thrones/Ice and Fire went on as interminably as Wheel of Time, so perhaps I was premature in my judgment, but I felt as though we were heading down the same very very long path. I see now that there have only been six volumes although it is possible that more may be coming. It is a little unclear to me.

Game of Thrones was a hit tv series that went on through 8 seasons. We began the first video of the first season. It was rather bawdy, so we quit. Millions didn't quit and became totally absorbed. Perhaps, I should reconsider some day.

Back to Wheel of Time, there have been a total of 14 books. The last 3 were written by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan passed away, but 3 of the 14 books, were prologues written after the eighth book and before the actual sequence was continued.

To finally get to the point, Sue and I have just completed the first season of Wheel of Time on Amazon Prime. I read the books so long ago that I have little recollection of the events although I do remember the characters. I imagine that the tv series has taken liberties as is usually the case. We liked the first season well enough, even Sue who never reasd any of the series and who can be difficult to please when it comes to tv. 

I have written all this to let you know that it may be worth trying unless the fantasy genre really puts you off. You will know after and episode or two if it is for you.

All that being the case, what I am really keen about is to see what Prime does with Tolkien, Middle Earth, hobbits and Lord of the Rings, which is due to be released late in 2022.

Monday, December 13, 2021

A Favourite Ottawa Valley Old Time Fiddling Tune

Writing a wee bit about fiddling here lately, and mentioning Old Time fiddling in the process, caused me to think of this tune, Maple Sugar. It is quite possibly the quintessential fiddle tune in The Ottawa Valley although one or two others do rival it.

As I have written any number of times, our county dubs itself the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario, so the tune is quite apropos, and it's a toe-tapper. Although my Lanark County claims the title, the maple industry is quite prominent throughout the whole Valley.

I really wanted to embed this version, but for some strange reason is has to be played directly on YouTube. What I like about it is that it is a family group, featuring two kids and playing at a campground just an hour or so up The Valley. Here is the link again.

It's not the easiest piece but, once upon a time, I made an effort to learn and play Maple Sugar. I did manage to get through it in a very rudimentary fashion. lol

Sunday, December 12, 2021


There have been times lately when I should have dragged myself out to make photos of Christmassy things or at least of wintry things, but the desire for creature comfort is strong, so I didn't went when I shoulda went. That would have been when the snow was pristine. Then the rain came, and it got yucky all over again. As of now much snow remains, and I rather expect it to stay for the whole dadgum winter.

But JJ had another game at ten o'clock yesterday morn, and even though my photographic ennui remained strong, I ported my camera to the frigid arena. The boys were back in the larger arena, which oddly enough, is not quite as brightly lit as the smaller one. I clicked and clicked for the hour – which is more like 32 minutes of actual playing time. 

I begin with two photos of Jonathan. I like the one with the players bench behind. That one was across the rink, so it is well cropped, as are many others.

This ↓ young fellow has been on JJ's team for a number of years. They both play defence, but they are not often on the ice at the same time. One of my memorable moments occurred when an opposing player was giving JJ some grief. This somewhat larger friend just skated between them, and the opponent soon thought better of his intentions.

This ↓ is an action photo of one of our boys rushing up the ice with the puck. I kept my finger of the shutter and got 6 or 7 shots of the sequence. I will spare you the rest. Indeed. I take many many hockey photos that either get trashed or shelved as I try with failing shutter finger to keep up with the action.

These ↓ are of the goalie doing his thing. He's a good one, often better than his opponent. This has helped the team win their last few games after quite a losing start to the season. The face in the background belongs to JJ.

I took a photo of the bench from across the way. There must have been a few absentees as we see only 4 boys. Of course, there were 6 players on the ice, but I am sure there are more than 10 on the team.

I am glad that I made the effort. Sue did cajole me somewhat, but I woulda anyway. I just wanted to grouse a bit yesterday morning.

Grouse is a verb that my dad used. I don't think I've heard anyone else use it in decades. I am pleased that it sprang to mind, for thinking upon it brings memories and feelings to the fore.