Tag Archives: tornados

Smackdown! (Or Not.)

Whenever something strikes me as odd, funny, or otherwise blog-worthy, I drop a little note in my blog file.  This week I discovered two entries in close proximity:  “tornados vs. earthquakes” and “facial tissue vs. bathroom tissue”.  I half-expected to see “Godzilla vs. Kong”, but I guess that’s been done.

So apparently it’s smackdown time, or at least I assume it is.  Those were the only notes I made, and I don’t actually remember what I meant to say about them.  But what the hell, I ain’t a fiction-writer fer nuthin’.  So here goes:

“Tornados vs. earthquakes”:  I’m hoping to never find out firsthand which of these would win in a smackdown.  But I do know this:  I feel less threatened by earthquakes.  Which is silly, since I live in the most active earthquake zone in Canada.

Tornados strike terror into my heart.  There’s something so damn personal about them.  An earthquake shakes up everybody equally, but a tornado circles around to scope out its potential victim(s).  Then it extends a finger of destruction down from the sky and WHAM!  It smites its target, taking out one building while leaving another standing untouched only a few feet away.  That just freaks me out.

I’m tempted to give tornados the win for sheer intimidation-factor, but I don’t want to tempt earthquakes to provide me with a comparison.  We’ll just call that one a draw.

“Facial tissue vs. bathroom tissue”:  Until I moved to a house with a septic system instead of city sewers, I didn’t see the point in differentiating between the two tissue types.  I’ve since found out that bathroom tissue is designed to fall apart rapidly in water, thereby not plugging up my septic system.  (Thank you, toilet paper.)

The only other difference seems to be that bathroom tissue is often made from recycled paper, although the label wording is a bit vague.  The first time I saw a package of toilet paper blazoned with “Recycled Bathroom Tissue”, I was seriously concerned.

I had visions of some poor schmuck employed in the Sewer Department, painstakingly separating, um… let’s say, ‘the wheat from the chaff’… and feeding the salvaged bits into a giant bleach barrel.  At least I sincerely hoped there was a bleach barrel.

Much to my relief, I discovered that the recycling source was other types of domestic paper.  Whew.  But honestly, there was nothing on that bathroom tissue package that specified what it was recycled from.

So facial tissue gets points for strength, and bathroom tissue gets points for beneficial wimpiness with sinister undertones.  I’m going to call that another draw, just in case toilet paper is ungracious about defeat and decides to take revenge on my pipes.

And that’s my equivocation for this week.

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P.S.  We’re having guests for a while so my next post will be August 28/19, but I’ll still check in to reply to comments.  Wishing everyone a happy summer with no smackdowns of any sort!  🙂

Book 15 update:  I hit Chapter 3 this week — it’s great to be writing again!  Arnie and Aydan are off on an adventure, and John will join them soon.  Things get interesting when secret agents go on vacation!

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Filed under Humour, Life

Fear Factor: Adrenaline Edition

If I stick to the classic ‘Fear Factor’ format, this post should be about fear-defying stunts. I generally try to avoid doing those, but into every life a little adrenaline must drip (or, in my case, surge like a tidal bore). So I asked myself, “What are the scariest things I’ve ever experienced?”

After ruling out politicians and 1980s boy bands I was left with a ragtag collection of memories, but I never remember being abjectly terrified. That’s probably because I’ve lived a charmed life and all the potentially dangerous situations turned out to be lucky near-misses. Still, they were seriously butt-puckering at the time.

The earliest scary situation I remember was when I was a young teenager on the farm. We were always wary of skunks, not only because of their fearsome stink but also because they often carried rabies. When they rambled through minding their own business we gave them a wide berth, but if one seemed unusually aggressive, Dad would shoot it just to be on the safe side.

I was home alone one day when a skunk marched up bold as brass. I’ll never forget staring at that skunk over the trembling gunsights, holding off until the last second to pull the trigger… and then I didn’t have to. The skunk turned and wandered away, leaving me shaking like a leaf.

As a young adult I narrowly avoided a couple of fights when I got cornered in remote places by guys much larger than me. Nothing pumps up the old adrenal glands like facing a fight you know you can’t win. Fortunately they were cowards, and when they realized I was going to fight them anyway they backed off. Whew.

Anybody who’s ever ridden a motorcycle knows there’s nothing quite like the horrifying weightlessness when gravity turns against you in a high-side. Aydan’s wild ride in Book 2 is based on the time I almost high-sided on a street bike, complete with the dragging footpeg throwing up sparks. But my guardian angel was working overtime that day (and every day, I suspect) so I pulled out of the turn unscathed and went home to change my underwear.

Then there was the time I was riding a dirt bike up a steep trail of loose shale with a cliff on one side and a hillside on the other. Getting up was a challenge, but coming down was truly scary. Especially when my brakes failed. Fortunately I was near the bottom and I hadn’t been going very fast, so I turned into the side of the hill and jolted anticlimactically to a stop.

Experiences like accidentally skiing onto a double-black-diamond downhill run or watching a tornado bear down on me were good for a few extra heartbeats, but either I’m not wired for panic or else I’m too stupid to react with appropriate fear. I got down the mountain, the tornado skipped harmlessly overhead, my guardian angel developed a drinking problem, and I puttered off happily to my next adventure.

But everything except the skiing and the tornado happened when I was young and foolish. These days I get all the adrenaline I need from crawling out the window onto our second-floor roof to wash the third-floor windows. (Okay, so now I’m old and foolish. Never mind.)

But that’s about all the fear factor I want!

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P.S. I’m on the road today, so I’ll reply to comments tomorrow – ‘talk’ to you then!

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Filed under Life

Now I Feel MUCH Safer.

tornado watch

18 Comments

September 8, 2013 · 7:42 AM