Sep 13

Life Is Good. For Me.

Don’t you think?

Sure, sometimes things happen that make you get all mopey and shit, but all in all, I would say that I have been dealt a pretty decent hand.

I have a wife that I not only love, but like very much as well. My health is relatively good, I am usually employed, and I eat pretty well, as is evident by the shrinking pants episodes. Our soap is selling as fast as we can make it, two of the chickens are laying, and we were able to put enough worm compost in the gardens to completely rejuvenate the soil.

I did get laid off a few weeks ago, but as I was filling out my unemployment forms online, a company that I used to work for called to see if I was available, and they will work around my schedule, so that’s extremely helpful. We were also able to get out a couple of times on the quad, and down to Jasper for a little R&R this summer.

Like I said, it’s been pretty good for us.

Too bad it doesn’t go this well for everyone.

Some of you may remember a little spat that was going on in a game I play. I’m not going to link it, because the party involved seems to think that it is a fan page dedicated to him. Anyhow, after letting a few things slip about how they are keeping up with my blogs, I started to get a bit worried that maybe the line had been crossed from the game into personal life. I backed off of conversing in the game, as I should have done from the start, but by now there were more people harassing and abusing me in the game, so I decided to throw caution to the wind.

Bad choice on my part.

Yesterday, one or more of those players started leaving harassing comments on our business website. The first one I played off, as they left a crude, fake email address, and used one of the players from the other team as a user name.

I changed the email, and the name, but left the comment up, because I thought that it might have been a one off, and decided to have a bit of fun with it.

Another bad choice.

Today, I received three more comments with similar messages, falsified emails, and user names.

The three today were sent from the same IP address, which is a Telus address, but the one yesterday was from an Xplornet IP. Do I call the police with them, even though there has been no threats? Normally I would just duke it out on the battlefield, but I have a family now, and other people to worry about.

I have seen them personally attack others in the game, but as far as I knew, it was only in the game. Now it has become malicious in real life and is attempting to attack a part of our livelihood, and who knows what else.

I guess I should at least mention it to the RCMP, in case it escalates further and they can at least have a history of what’s been happening.

I should have just listened to my wife and ignored all of this, but how was I to know that an adult might have so little to do with their time, that this seems like a viable pastime?

Birdman

Oct 06

Therapy Thursdays #1

newtherapythursday

Dear Birdman,

I hear you are an expert when it comes to controlling problem wildlife. I have troubles with raccoons getting into everything year after year and was wondering if you had any advice on how to keep them away?

Frank

First off, can’t you come up with a decent name like they do in the professional advice columns? Something like Rabidly Hating Raccoons, or Not Cool With Coons? Whatever. Just because I have no experience at this, doesn’t mean that I’m cheap and don’t deserve to be treated with advice columnist respect.

Now I don’t claim to be an expert in anything, but I do know that you must be a simpleton if you are trying to keep raccoons away. They are fucking delicious. My advice is to get a weapon of some sort and what I do is throw some rotting chicken or other meat out in the garbage and wait for the little bastards to try and open it. That’s when they taste my stout club,(but you can use whatever) right behind the ear. Another way I’ve heard of is to live trap and drown them, but I won’t trade a speedy kill for extra tender meat, especially if I have to look into those big brown eyes as I slowly lower them into the rain barrel. That’s just inhumane. Some of the neighbours get pissed off with the noise, what with the screaming and flailing if they don’t die right away, but I just send over a small pot of this delicious stew and that usually keeps them quiet for a while.

Raccoon Stew

~ 1 raccoon, cleaned, skinned and quartered
~ pepper
~ 4 cups water
~ 2 carrots, diced
~ 1 stalk celery, diced
~ 2 large potatoes, cubed
~ salt

In a large pot, place the meat and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 hour.
Remove meat and allow to cool. Discard water.Remove meat from bones and cut into 1” – 2” cubes. Sprinkle with pepper.Add meat back to pot and add water, carrots, celery and potatoes. Season to taste with salt.Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until veggies are tender. Adjust seasoning if needed.Serve and enjoy.

Love thy neighbour… if they’re hot,

Birdman

P.S. Please send all questions to birdman@changethetopic.com. They will all be posted on the following Thursday. If you don’t send any, then I will be forced to invent shit, and you won’t like it.

Oct 04

Alls I’m sayin’ is…

I don’t put plates with food on them in the sink because I’m not a savage, and the sink is constantly full of cold, oily water. Other than that, everything is pretty accurate.

Oh, and no more big stories from my phone, until it has autosave anyhow (that took the soul from my bosom). If I get home early enough tonight, I’ll finish the stupid guy in the canoe story.

Tony Danza sucks,

Birdman

Oct 04

Still no God

Before you start, you should read Part 1 and Part 2 before reading this.

I’m going to start up where I left off last time, with me crawling back up the river to find a place to light. When I got myself to a flat enough spot on the shore, I thought maybe I’d have a little nap and get some much needed rest. I thought that was the most important thing at the time. Just a few minutes is all I’d need, and then I could worry about finding Aaron and getting our asses out of there. In Hudson’s Hope, the river is about ninety feet or so below the town, and the cliffs where we were are unclimbable. As I started to doze off, I heard yelling and whistling. Oh right, I was just with someone in the river. A few more yells and whistles, oh right, it was Aaron. I came out of my stupor, and started clambering towards the voice. It was starting to get dark by now, and the temperature was beginning to dip, but I saw him trying to find a spot to climb up the face and I tried a yell, but my voice wasn’t working very well. I was finally successful in getting his attention, as I got a bit closer and there was much rejoicing. I guess Aaron had watched me going down the river and figured I was dead already, so when I showed up there may or may not  have been hugging, I’m not at liberty to say.

We had lost our cell phones, wallets and keys, not to mention the matches, when the tube fell out of the canoe, so we had no fire and I was losing body temperature pretty quick. I had also lost my new glasses, but I wasn’t too worried about driving right then. Aaron hadn’t been in as long as I had, and he seemed to be in better shape. He was whistling and hollering up the cliff, but we didn’t know if anyone in the houses would be able to hear us over the roar of the water. My kidneys were starting to hurt pretty bad from the cold and being bashed around on the rocks and I got Aaron to rub them really fast to warm them up. I don’t know if it made any difference physically, but mentally I could feel warmth from the friction making it’s way through me. We were hoping Lannie had missed us by now and had called someone, but we had been known for dawdling before, so we weren’t counting on it yet. We started planning to wait it out until morning, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make the night at that temperature. I think I was hyperventilating, or something that was making me breathe very rapidly, and because of that my mouth and throat were getting really dry. I kept going to the shore and drinking out of the river to try and wet my whistle, but I would just puke it back up. I didn’t mind, because at least there was moisture in there.

By now it was really dark, and I was getting worried and just wanted to lay down, but Aaron was able to keep his wits about him enough to hear a boat in the dark. I couldn’t hear anything but blood pounding in my ears and him whistling. I’ve never been so glad to be with a person who whistled so loud in my life, because all of a sudden he saw a light on the water where he had heard the boat downstream, and when he whistled again, their spotlight started searching in our direction. He yelled to me to get up and wave my brightly coloured life jacket in the air, and I happily obliged. They came a bit closer and killed the engine, and Aaron let out another high-pitched tweet. The spotlight hit us that time and the engine fired back up and started heading towards us. I have to admit that I could never see the appeal of riverboats, but after that night I had a new found love for any craft that can run through rapids, sandbars and rocks, and not sink. When the boat thrust up onto the shore with the two RCMP officers in the bow, and my new boss driving, I almost cried, I was so happy. I may have really cried, I don’t know. I do know I hugged Rich Brown and the constables for saving us, and Rich gave me his survival coat to keep me as warm as possible as well as the welding tube full of our things that they had found on their way up. I felt like I should have went out and got a girl pregnant, just to give them my first born, that’s how happy I was.

It turns out that the people that were having a fire at the landing, saw the canoe go by upside down, and called 911. While the police were rounding up Rich and his boat, and making their way to us, one of the folks at the top of the cliff had called in to say he thought there was someone trapped below his house. I am forever indebted to those people, because I honestly believe I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for them. We were taken back to the landing where the fire was still going, and I stayed by the fire until the ambulance got there moments later. We went back to Aaron’s after the paramedics got us fixed up and his wife and son were more than a little happy to see him, as he was elated to see them.I had a hot bath and put on some dry clothes, but I was still having troubles with my lungs, so I ended up getting taken in to Fort St. John hospital and got something called a nebulizer to dry the water and crap out of my lungs. I guess my kidneys took a bit of a beating as well, but they were still working fine and I was alive, so what more could you ask for?

I was going to go looking for the canoe the next day, but to tell you the truth, I didn’t have it in me. Aaron said that if I got the canoe back, he was going to buy it off of me and burn it. I think he probably would have, but I wouldn’t have charged him for it. I went out with my friend Randy, who is a very experienced canoodler, to get back in and try it again the next week. We did it, and I’m glad I did, but I have to admit I was pretty shaky until I found out that you can go across the river and the rapids are minimal there. Hindsight, eh? Ah well, what’s done is done, and there’s no point in analyzing it to death. Where we went through was bad, but it wasn’t treacherous. We were ill prepared, and uninformed. We shouldn’t have gone in there without knowing what lay ahead of us, and we should have had our life jackets on, instead of laying in the canoe. I don’t think either of us will make that mistake again, and I hope you never do either.

I think it’s safe to say that the experience that day changed our lives. I still don’t believe in God though, but think Aaron might have gained a bit of faith.I know he quit smoking because it was one more thing that might prevent him from spending every possible moment with his family. I imagine he’s a lot more careful around water too. I know my outlook changed drastically. I no longer waste time on stupid shit, and I try to enjoy every moment I can, because you never know when it might be your last. This weekend at Thanksgiving, I think I’ll raise my glass to my pal Aaron, and give thanks that I had him with me that day. I can’t think of too many people I’d rather have in my corner when the chips are down, so here’s to you my friend. I credit you, most of all for us surviving that day.

What Aaron was fighting for

Aaron and his oldest boy

Make sure you look after each other,

Birdman