Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A tall tale of HORROR

Ah, it didn't take long to fall back into old habits once the jobless claws of Oceantown slid easily back into my flesh.
One of those habits, fishing, drew me to new ground and unfamiliar shores. On a sandy stretch of beach, where ocean and river mix for six hours a day, I cast a line into the deep, fast, inland-moving current, fishing for mystery. Using the dollar-store lure that was left on my line, I waved my magic fishing wand, hoping to divine a fish with my rod.
As the lure shuttled from the tip of my pole, I felt a jerk. A clump of monofilament, as long as your arm and knotted to hell, blobbed off the reel, and travelled behind the lure, dropping into the water 20 feet away.
Frustrated, and reeling slowly as not to knot it, I drew the clot of polyvinyl slowly back to me. When it was near enough, I began untangling the clump, and, once it was untangled, reeling the rest of the line.
Through the clear water, the red and green lure hopped over the sandy bottom, from weed to weed, catching every other branch and rock. I reeled faster.
Behind it, though, from the deep darkness out of sight of air-trained eyes, something followed.
It was a pancake. Or some sort of a flying carpet. It had a a life to it, but it didn't look like anything that could be alive.
I pulled in the lure in jerks. The creature followed. Each time, it would bite at a silver bead on the lure, rather than the three-barbed hook at the bottom.
Up, and up, and up it followed, until it was in less than an ankle of water. I lifted the lure with the rod, and made it dance. The creature, laying on its side with one eye slid up beside the other, danced with the lure, nibbling at the bead. I raised the barbs into its line of sight. It raised itself to the bead. Finally, I positioned the barbs under the creature.
I'd hooked it. It swam wildly, flipping its pure white belly into view as it fought to escape the steel I'd lodged in its chest.
Finally, after a short struggle, it did.
I looked at it. It sat on the bottom, opening and closing its mouth.
I placed my rod on the rocks near the beach, and, moving slowly, I walked to the creature. It was exhausted.
More as a joke to myself than anything else, I reached down with arms outstretched, like you would to pick up a puppy. The creature sat patiently, waiting. I put a hand on each side of its flattened body, and gently took hold. Straightening my back, I stood up.
I was holding a flounder!
I turned it and looked it in its skewed, slidden eyes. One one side it was covered with brown and grey blotches. On the other, it was a pure white, like a winter snow, or the meat of a scallop. This creature had no top or bottom, only very wide right and left sides. It had no back. It had no belly. I'd never caught one before, and I'd never caught any fish by hand.
I carried it over to some waiting compatriots. They said "oh! It's dying! Put it back!"
I assured them it wasn't, putting it down in a shallow pool to regain its breath and demonstrate its bizzare swimming habits. It undulated briefly, throwing up sand to cover itself. Gently, I picked it up again. I took the sandy creature to a deeper spot and released it into the inbound current of the tidal estuary. It swam off quickly and happily.
"Weren't you going to eat him?" one of my compatriots asked.
"No," I replied. "He's too little."
Honestly, though, I just thought he was far too beautiful to ever bother wasting on something as trivial as dinner.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Go France!

One of the toughest things about moving to Toronto, as I’ve discovered this summer, is the euphoria of World Cup soccer. Who wouldn’t be juiced about it? A bunch of short shorts-wearing divas with shitty haircuts desperately showboating and diving in front of refs in order to hide the fact their sport is SO BORING IT MAKES ANGELS PASS OUT AND RAIN DOWN FROM HEAVEN. Hooligans don’t start soccer riots because they’re angry or excited; they start them because they’re so fucking bored.

So, how does an entire city go apeshit for this affair? Can there be that many rabid soccer fans out there just waiting for the chance to affix flags to their car hoods and windows and drive around honking? Of course not, but – and no sleight against the genuine soccer fans (pity them) – there are a load of bandwagon jumpers who use World Cup “fever” as an excuse to for obnoxious nationalist posturing. When Portugal advanced to the semi-finals, there was suddenly five times the number of flag-waving Portugal supporters, many of them with curiously non-Portuguese features. When that team won its last game, our neighbourhood was deluged – again – with blaring horns. Hours of ‘em. Same goes for Italy, and several other of the top-tier soccer countries. It’s multiculturalism at its… er… honkiest.

And really, is that the best they can do? Edmontonians burn phone booths when their hockey team advances to the semis. Violent, thuggish and unnecessary, yes, but at least it’s creative.

The good news is France beat Portugal today – in what was surely a riveting 1-0 game – and there are far fewer France supporters in T.O. (or maybe it’s just that their tiny Citroëns fall over when they clip flags to the windows). I’ve finally found a reason to cheer and a team to cheer for: the one least likely to annoy. If Italy wins the final, I’m afraid it’ll be auto-machismo central; if France wins, we’re probably looking at emptied wine bottles and a few drunken baguette sword fights.

Sure, that seems like the dour view from Curmudgeon Central, after all, the World Cup brings nations together in a spirited show of athleticism, it does only run for a month once every four years and a lot of guys selling flags from vans in gas station parking lots are really happy. Yes indeed, there are certainly worse things than the World Cup – like terrorism, prison sex with a stun-gun, and David Beckham’s haircut at any given moment (say what you will about hockey mullets, at least they aren't pretentious). Oh, yeah, and actually watching a World Cup game, that’s much worse.

Go France!

Oh, and if you’re feeling the same way, check out this anti-soccer site. The haircut section alone is worth the visit.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Expectedly, a cat.

So what — of the past three posts I've bothered to do, two have involved cats in some way. That's pretty cool, right?

This little guy (or possibly girl) was trying to climb down onto the patio of Squirly's on Queen St. I helped it down. Then it came and visited. True story. And a fascinating one at that!

Maybe it's just the flash, but in retrospect, it looks a little mangy. And the eyes. THE EYES.