Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hiding out in the bathroom

Spent Sunday trying to make the bathroom as light impermeable as possible. Taped layer upon layer of cardboard over the window and door, turned out the light, waited until my eyes adjusted, and retaped the cardboard. Grab all the negatives that have been waiting in the matriuska box (i.e. a box within a box within a box), and get ready to develop. Oh, but wait! Better check the temperature of the developer. Too warm. Prepare an ice bath. It doesn't work. Shove the developer in the fridge, and take off to get some groceries. Come back, start to prepare supper, check the developer and, when it's ready, head back into the bathroom. Turn out the lights, complete darkness, set the timer and drop the negatives into the first bath. Start noticing small light leaks, say fuck it and continue. The timer goes off, I transfer the negatives to the wash, and then to the fixer. After about 6 minutes, feel it's safe enough to turn on the light.
Only to discover that I also had some colour negatives thrown in with my b&w stuff. Everything looked like one giant slime mold.
Pinholes, she is good, no?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Riding the nocturnal horse

Since my little medical adventure of nearly a decade ago, I'm often frequented with nightmares. I actually look forward to them; demons, devils, vampires, visions of falling off cliffs, my mother (I'm kidding!) are all frequent guests, and they're almost always welcome. I don't know how often I've battled them, but I always remember beating and laughing at them.
However, I haven't been so lucky lately, and will wake up in cold sweats. Getting old? Weaker? Don't know.
Last night, I woke up to find myself sleeping scrunched up at the foot of the bed. Whatever, crawl back to my pillow and go back to sleep. But then, the milliner asked me if I had had bad dreams last night. None that I remember, but she tells me I was calling out "help me, help me."
Darn, I'm not even a hero in my dreams anymore. Why yes, I would love some milk with my toast.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The sun'll come out tomorrow

I couldn't have scripted this. Saturday morn, the milliner and I pack up and drive down to the Adirondacks, with the intention of spending the weekend on the rock, doing straightforward climbs, ending the day with dinner in Lake Placid and then sleeping under the stars at the alpine club lodge.
The weather is in the 30s all the way down, just beautiful, and I'm thinking the sweat is going to pour later on. Pull off I-87 toward Elizabethtown, heading toward the mountains. I see some massive storm clouds in the distance, but figure it's a weather system created in the high peaks. And then, just as we turn left, a few kilometres from where we're going, the rain comes down.
Nothing major, so we decide to keep going, because you never know, in the 'Dacks, whether it's raining a mile or so from where you are. Unfortunately, it still was when we got to Chapel Pond.
Well, says I, let's try finding this other cliff, on the other side of the mountain. We first get to where we want to camp, set up the tent, and head back to the car. We drive to our second option, the sun comes out, the mugginess starts again, but everything is wet. Screw it, let's just hike in, the guidebook says it's a 20-minute approach. An hour later, we're struggling up a muddy trail, drenched in sweat and run-off. We never made it to the cliff, we're too hot & bothered. And all our clothes are wet. Once we're at the car, we change into whatever dry clothes we have. Note: never leave wet clothes in the car for more than a day; especially socks.
Well, let's go swimming. So, we drive back to where we were originally, and soak our grime away in Chapel Pond. Head over to Lake Placid, window shop for a while, and decide to see a flick (Wedding Crashers, funny). Drive slowly back to camp through the mist, and sleep to the sounds of rain. Sunday, putter around a bit, pack up, and drive back to Montreal in a god-awful-smelling car.
But, hey, at least we got to enjoy nature.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Yeah, if it's all right with you, I'll stick with felines
The world's ugliest dog, here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

More Tour news
Holy crap, was getting the live feed from Velo News for the Tour de France, and today's race looks like there was an amazing finish. Which means? More time on the bike for me tonight.
So if anyone calls, I won't be answering. But feel free to call at other times, mkay? Please? Anyone?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Le Tour du Salon
I might actually get back in shape by the end of July. Years ago, I bought a Cycle-Ops wind trainer, an evil invention that allows you to use your regular street bike as a cycling treadmill. Now, treadmills were initially used in British prisons as a form of torture; there is nothing more mind-numbing than pedaling (or walking) and not going anywhere, just staring at a blank wall. Mopping the sweat off the floor afterward ain't too much fun either.
But now, with the Tour de France being shown at night on Canal √Čvasion, I can set the bike up in front of tele and pedal away. And quickly realise just how strong those guys are. Whenever I try to picture myself in it, I quickly empathise with the participants sucking wind at the back of the peloton. None of that breakaway stuff for me; more like I'm hanging on the team director's car, getting "instructions."
Oh, and after watching the coverage, I'm dying for wine and cheese, which pretty much eliminates any good work I've done.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The other day, I bought what I thought was the White Stripes' Get Behind Me Satan, only to realise that I had bought Blue Orchid, a 4-song sampler instead. That'll learn me to read labels. Regardless, whenever I listen to them, a single adjective comes to mind when trying to describe them:
  • whitestripish: adjective; a term describing sound or music that, while instilling bone-chilling squeamishness, elicits awe and enjoyment.
I swear, one day someone is going to raid Jack White's freezer and find what may initially appear to be the remains of dead babies are in fact cuts of milk-fed lamb.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Next up, fugu fish
In our continuous effort to cross off the items on our "Ten things to do before we die" list, the milliner and I went tandem paragliding yesterday. And, honestly, I'm torn.
We spent the weekend in Magog, and headed back to Montreal yesterday, driving through mostly countryside, admiring the greenery, figuring out how we would spend our loto winnings (#2 on the list). End up in a small town near Granby, which really was reminiscent of Napa, what with the vineyards and rolling hills and everything. Head to the paragliding place and spend the next half hour filling out forms attesting that we won't sue them if we die. (Honestly, I love checking off the box saying that I've had no previous heart attacks or disease that may prevent me from doing said activity.) We pay the fee (more than we were originally told), and head outside to wait for the truck that'll bring us up the mountain.
While waiting, we're looking around at folks practising their take-offs and whatnots, and it suddenly dawns on us that, gosh, there's a lot of "keeping-up-with-the-joneses" going on: there are at least three brand new Honda Element SUVs in the parking lot, two of the exact same colour, everyone has the exact same Camelback water packs on their back, they're all drinking from their Red Bull, etc. Sure, every sport, so to speak, follows similar tendencies, but this was ridiculous.
Regardless, the truck comes along, and we all jump in the back, along with the gear. Four-wheel up this back road, hanging on for dear life, when I ask one of the instructors, "So, um, has anyone ever chickened out?" Answer: No, but some folks have vomited. Lovely. The truck stops near the top, we jump out, and walk the 20 or so metres to a clearing. With a most incredible view of the farmlands below. And at which point I got some second thoughts. We sit off to the side while the instructors and other jumpers lay out their paraphernalia. One instructor hands me a helmet and... that's it. No instruction, no explanation of how anything works, just "you're going to run forward with me about four steps, we'll get pushed back about four steps, and then we run forward." Um, okay. The milliner goes off first, simple as pie. My instructor and I get in line, start moving forward, and I get tripped up in the lines. Twice. We finally get it right, run to the edge and...
It was fucking cool. No, really, it was amazing. The earth dropped away, everything is just silent, the wind brushes your face, and you float. You simply... float.
The instructor would manoeuver the glider this way and that, gaining altitude. Occasionally, we'd hit a thermal (or whatever) and you could feel yourself just suddenly rise. I don't know how long we stayed up there, it seemed like quite a while. At one point, he asked, "So, you want to do some acrobatics?"
Seemed like a good idea at the time.
It wasn't. He suddenly stopped the glider's advance, pulled down on one side, and we were whipped off to the side. At which point he pulled on the other brake, and we immediately headed to that side. So, imagine doing whoop-de-dos, while rapidly losing altitude. By now, my eyes are slammed shut, and I'm tasting the meal I had the previous day. It was akin to the worst bed spins I've ever had. I had to yell at him to stop, feeling like I've let down the macho nation. Fuck that, I didn't care for that kind of emetic. He pulls one final bootleg turn, and we go back to floating.
Which really was fun. I could do that all day, just riding the wind and the thermals. Not so much with the stunts, though. Again, I lose track of time, but one thought keeps running through my mind: damn, I sure hope I don't drop the car key, because we'll never find that again.
And that was it. We head around the mountain, back towards the landing spot, and alight smooth as silk. Definitely fun, I could really do it again, but strangely it didn't grab me the way other activities have. That surprised me, because I'm often a true believer in these kind of things. But, oh, to just go back and float for hours, that I could do.