Archive for January, 2010

A Sunday Stroll (*in Kodachrome!)

The wife and I ventured out of the domicile this morning for a leisurely stroll to the nature centre. One comes upon this locale at the end of a tortuous path that hugs the nearby Trent River, which begins only blocks from our home. The expedition was wife’s idea. She leaped out of bed and declared, “I haven’t had exercise in weeks, dear husband, let us journey to the nature reserve.” I looked at her curiously, uncertain as to whether she remembered its distance from our front door. Hesitantly, I agreed. It was an enjoyable journey, to say the least, peppered with comments from wife that the walk was much longer than she remembered. Regardless, we managed to make it there and back in one piece. The following pictures detail our escapade:

Everything started out alright; rather picturesque.

Spotting some birds- like this guy, who's thinking about ichthycide.

We got ever closer to the church and the reserve with little disruption- still nice.

Then, quite suddenly the waterfowl surged together in one direction, as if in fear.

What is it? What do you see? What do you hear, my goose friend?

Even this monster-bird makes a hasty and secretive getaway.

It couldn't be this athletic superstar. Though intimidating, she has a soft spot for the fauna.

I felt the ground begin to tremor beneath me as waves battered the near shore. Then I felt the heavy thud of footsteps in the depths of my bones... Gargantuswan had returned.

The sheer girth of this monster astounded all as it slowly stomped around on land.

Do not misconstrue the posture as an invitation for a bird-hug. Gargantuswan confronted any remaining avian with aggression.

As gargantuswan slowly waddled to another pool I snapped a final shot and shouted, "You fat!" The distance between us had given me confidence, but Bethany and I ran anyway.

At long last we made it to the nature centre, only to be confronted by an abundance of Canadian geese. The woman here has taken it upon herself to feed this swan an entire loaf of bread. Little does she realize that all the bird truly wants is a kiss, he just takes the crumbs to get closer to her.

On the return trip, the sky finally gave in and send forth a drizzle. Being without hat or hood, wife constructed her own head covering out of her scarf. The fact that it eased her toothache was epiphenomenal.

Moments later she remembered that her sweater had a hood.

Here's the fullness of wife's meandering fashion. She insisted that at one time she had been a rather fashionable woman, but the times to which she refers are so far gone that I can hardly remember or verify her claim.

A wetland friend bade us farewell. We named him Corpulence, as his little wings could hardly drag his body into the sky.

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Two Tales of a Cousin Nearly Lost: Part Two

Heimdall the Barbarian

Our well-rested heroes found themselves no worse for wear following the evening’s disruptions. Had there been any dark evil in the city of Dubh Linn, it had vanished since the arrival of the cousins. Therefore, the two gathered their belongings and ventured West, having sensed in their dense, indestructible bones that their enemy had fled in that direction.

Bounding across the land, Heimdall and Andreas eventually found themselves in the city of Corcaigh. The city yielded no evil, but the filthy river that ran through the locale was enough to send them away in a hurry.

In that same day, they happened upon Castle Blarney and began scouring the grounds, weapons in hand. Hearing the laughs of nearby travelers, they followed the noise beyond the hex’s cave to the inner halls of the castle itself. It seemed that many had gathered here to kiss an infamous stone in the wall of the structure near to the very top. Intrigued, Andreas followed his cousin up a staircase into the sunlight. They inquired with a peasant waiting in line as to the meaning of such stone molestation. This farmer responded with trembling voice, “It is said to give one the gift of eloquence in speech, fine sirs.”

The cousins glanced at each other for a moment with looks of bewilderment, and then broke out in uproarious laughter. “Imagine,” said Andreas, “that we should ever need a gift that we already so perfectly possess!” They laughed near to the point of retching, then pushed their way through the line, wiped their posteriors on the stone, and jumped from the height of the castle back to the castle garden. Satisfied at having found no evil here as well, Andreas turned to his cousin and said, “Come Heimdall, let us go.”

But something did not seem right with Heimdall. He appeared frozen in time. Then, with his brow furrowed and eyes squinted, he awkwardly threw up a pointing finger at the son of Donald and said, “You’re the one who needs to do the going…”

Apparently finished, he stood there with finger frozen in midair and a look of expectation on his face. They stood with the small distance between them for some time before Andreas broke the silence. “I’m not sure what you’re trying to do, cousin, but I assure you that you are doing it incorrectly- perhaps another time? As for now, let us be off.” Dejected, Heimdall’s finger retracted and he nodded in assent, mumbling to himself, or perhaps Jimmy, “Dang…”

From Blarney they ventured to Cill Airne and managed to procure two velocipedes. It soon became apparent that no evil resided in the town, so they mounted their contraptions and headed into the dark forest close at hand. The foul stench of wickedness laced the air faintly as they travelled. They increased the speed of their hunt with great fervor, convinced that their unknown enemy was within their grasp. The pair rushed pass monoliths, falls, lakes, and all variety of creatures in pursuit of this nemesis. Having taken the lead because of his acute perception of evil, Andreas followed the path with fixed determination. As they came near to a highway, Andreas noted the faintest whiff of depravity, and veered suddenly to his left onto a rarely used dirt path. He shouted back to Jakob, “I sense the need to pursue this course.” Certain that he had heard the agreement of Heimdall, Andreas followed the path for a furlong. Yet when he did not hear the familiar sound of earth crushing beneath the weight of his cousin, he stopped on the side of his route and faced the road he had just taken. The hero had vanished in the foliage.

Andreas waited several moments before turning his locomotive means around. Before he could begin pedaling, however, faint creaks and heavy breathing broke through the tree line.

Heimdall lumbered around a distant oak, covered in scrapes and bruises, and pedaling with some difficulty. In shock, Andreas asked, “What happened?!?”

With a gasping huff Heimdall responded, “Jimmy fell down!”

Relieved to see his cousin no worse for wear, Andreas laughed for a minute before returning to the path before them.

As they rode back toward the town, they began to consider whether Heimdall’s stumble might have been the work of an evil force attempting to hinder their progress. Upon reentering Cill Airne, they took note of the gatekeeper, who stared intently at them and seemed to be gesturing for them to join him in the shadows on the side of the road. The cousins glanced at each other, nodded in agreement, and veered from the main path into an alley.

The gatekeeper was a wrinkled old man, bent over with the weight of time. Before they could even ask him his reason for impeding their journey, the man sputtered, “Beware the wizard who endangers your path; a mystical man known for his power to control the lightning of Thor. He has claimed this island as his own and regards you as trespassers on his territory. If you pursue this journey further, it will end with the loss of life…”

The cousins stared with interest at this weathered man, then responded together, “Yes, the wizard’s life.” They laughed together and thanked the man for his fortuitous insight. Surprised at their lightheartedness regarding the matter, he volunteered more information, including the advice that they venture north to the highest seaside cliffs on the south of the isle. Taking their leave of the gatekeeper, they returned to their inn and bedded down for the night.

Early the next morning they began their journey to the cliffs known as Mhothair. The journey lasted the entire day, however, as they went from town to town seeking accommodation. Only when they had reached the bottom of the cliffs on the northern side, were they able to find an inn in the town of Doolin. The place had little more to offer than a bed in which to sleep and a lonely ass wandering around in the solitude of his enclosure in the middle of the town.

Early in the morning, the duo set out for the cliffs- a perilous journey that put them on the edge of the earth with waves crashing hundreds of feet below. Having spent more time in the mountains than his flat-landed cousin, Andreas quickly found himself leading the way, bounding from rock to rock. He carried on this way for some distance until he took note of a groan from behind.

“Dude can we wait up a second?!” bellowed Heimdall. “I twisted my ankle and it hurts real bad. I think it might be broken.”

Somewhat irritated, Andreas apologized and walked back to his cousin. Jakob Freyr sat on a stone, holding his knee with both hands in order to suspend his foot in midair. He began to slowly rotate it in circles. “Sssss… no, I can move it, so it can’t be broken. Maybe it’s sprained…” Heimdall muttered as he winced in pan. It appeared that they were on the right track, as the wizard began his attack on the lower appendages of this great hero. Nevertheless, Heimdall recovered and they found themselves on the path again.

A short time later, Andreas felt slightly ashamed at not having been more sympathetic to his cousin. So, he turned his head in the direction of Heimdall and asked over his shoulder, “How is your ankle, cousin?”

Heimdall responded, “Well it is a bit sore, but I th… HUAHWOAHOWLUHAOH!” Andreas turned quickly to watch his cousin tumble down a small hill and come to rest in a little clearing, sitting upright with legs directly out in front of him. A bit disoriented, but without any permanent damage, Heimdall cautiously rose to his feet and proceeded forward.

Inexplicably, the wizard’s magic suddenly changed him into the dress of a magpie, no doubt aimed at humiliating him.

“Everything would be fine if I could keep the ground from moving under m… HUDDAHHIYAHOOOLAOW!” he shrieked as he tripped and fell down the next hill, this time landing perilously close to the edge.

He sat there with his legs dangling over the cliff and noted, “I would be fine if I could simply stop falling.” Andreas helped him to his feet and, enjoying this trip substantially more, he continued to lead the way to the pinnacle of the heights.

They followed the precipice for a mile before they came to the end of the natural trail. It seemed that a local farmer wanted his fence to run to the very edge of the island, so that he could maximize the size of his land. Several yards from the edge, however, this same farmer had provided a small stoop that led over his fence for foot-bound travelers. Standing on the stoop, Andreas lifted his mighty leg over the fence, planted it firmly on the ground on the far side, and then brought his other leg over as well. He then took a few steps in the direction of their goal.

As he trudged forward several steps, the son of Donald realized that something was amiss. Was it the air? The grass? Something had registered in his subconscious that he could not quite articulate.

Then it came to him: the fence! He turned around in time to see his mighty cousin at the barrier, giving it a looking over. Being shorter in stature, Heimdall could not simply step over like his cousin. So, before Andreas could utter a word of warning, Jakob Freyr stretched out his hands and firmly grasped the steel cable before him in order to push it down. Unbeknownst to our hero, the wizard had concentrated all of his wicked power into this implement.

Don’t touch it! It’s a trap!

Heimdall felt the surge of lightning course through his body into his torso. Quickly, he released the fence and clutched his hands to his chest, shouting, “Holy crap!”

Yet, he winced in pain only momentarily and speedily regained his composure. It seems that this wizard had not taken into account the might of this warrior, and it would prove to be his undoing.

Heimdall carefully stepped over the fence, and rejoined his cousin on their path. Within the hour they found themselves at the topmost reaches of the cliffs. A lone tower stood there, guarding the coast and bidding the sun farewell every evening. The pair sensed the waning power of evil from within, so they hastily drew their weapons and destroyed the door with a heavy-handed blow.

As they stepped inside, they found a feeble old man cloaked in gray lying on the floor. His face bore the signature of time in a preponderance of wrinkles and his hair likewise with the absence of pigment. He seemed repulsed at their appearance, yet he gathered enough strength to raise his left hand and point at the mighty Heimdall. “You have destroyed me,” he said in a faint, raspy voice. “I vested all of my magical energy into one final trap: the fence. Using a deep and powerful magic known descriptively as ‘electronic,’ I put my very self into the trap, expecting that you should die and I should absorb your life-force…” He wheezed and coughed for several minutes.

After gathering his strength again, he whispered, “but my plan has failed and you have absorbed my power, my very life. You have become more powerful than ever, and shall, therefore, no longer be known by a name of your past might. From this moment forward, you shall forever be regarded as ‘Tron!’”