Thursday, April 30, 2009

higher learning

Reading is like eating. Usually you eat (or read) things because you like them. But sometimes you eat things because they are good for you. Like cod liver oil or turnip greens. There is a minority that likes them, but definitely a minority. There was an instructor manual I had to study a few years ago for an important course I was taking. It was so full of Bloom's Taxonomies, Herzburg's Theories and Maslow's Hierarchies that I was cognitively psychomotored right out of the affective learning domain. Or whatever. I learned about the psychology of learning, but the book was definitely turnip greens.

Blogs should be like ice cream. Not that ice cream isn't good for you - it has calcium and . . . well, and . . . blast the nutrients, it tastes good! I don't ever remember my mother saying "Now Timmy, eat your ice cream and then you can have some cod liver oil . . ." There is no moral obligation to eat ice cream or read blogs. You don't have to worry about me ever saying, "Read my blog or I'll hate you forever." If you come back, it should be because you like eating ice cream.

Now that that's settled I can tell you about an "aha moment" I had in learning. I was going to test our old Wajax forestry pump the other day, and figured the best way was to pump some water. True psychomotor learning. I unloaded the pump, the fuel tank (which is separate like some outboard motors), the suction and the tools. If you've ever run an old Wajax, you know they're close relatives to the Georgia mule. When they work, they work like mad. When they don't work, they're as temperamental as, well a Georgia mule. I set everything up and pulled the cord. The pump roared to life. Bonus. It ran for about thirty seconds, then died. Bummer. I pulled the cord again. And again. And again. After 10 minutes I was exhausted. The recoil on a Wajax kicks like a Georgia mule too. I finally gave up. Stupid mule-ish pump, or Georgia Wajax, or whatever. That's when the "aha moment" came. It was magical. I saw the gas tank sitting next to the truck. Some bonehead forgot to connect it to the pump. The carburetor holds about 30 seconds worth of gas. Herzburg would probably call it "fuel depletion." Aha. If I had just eaten my turnip greens, maybe this wouldn't have happened.

I forgot to tell you to thicken the stew in my last recipe. Sorry. Another case of jumping the gun and writing something without sufficient preparation. The recipe is fixed now if you want to have another look. For a clip on a guy that had fancy moves but not enough preparation, click

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

don't be alarmed

Smoke alarms are like friends. A properly working smoke alarm is like a good friend. It doesn't sound off unless it has something really important to say. Sometimes though, smoke alarms act like bossy friends, sounding off for any and every reason. If this describes your relationship, don't disconnect it! There is help for you.

First, try vacuuming it out. Like any relationship, this one requires a little maintenance. Put the soft brush end on your vacuum cleaner and suck out all that junk that's been accumulating for the past few years. You can also try moving the alarm, if it is battery powered. Smoke alarms and toasters don't get along. They never will. Put them too close together, and you have a guaranteed recipe for domestic friction. The only solution might be separation.

If the fixes fail, don't despair - counselling is available. Call your local fire department. They would love to analyze your psychotic smoke alarms. They might even agree to doing a group session, kind of like AA where everyone gets a turn to talk. You'll get the first shot, and you can air your grievances about late night nuisance alarms and chirping batteries. The appliances will have something to say too. Even the shower can weigh into this debate. But in fairness, the smoke alarms also get a chance to tell their side of the story. Years of inhaled smoke from burned toast, or worse, cigarettes. Steam from the shower. Or even the occasional pot left unattended on the stove. "Now that was a valid excuse to let 'er rip." they'll say.

If counselling doesn't work, you may just have end the relationship and go buy another one. I was having lots of trouble with a toaster/alarm incompatibility issue, which brought our normally peaceful home to the brink of domestic violence. Using my absolute discretionary powers, I ruled in favour of the toaster and excommunicated the alarm. The new one works like magic. It rarely goes off - usually only when I really burn something - and it has a "hush" feature that allows me to silence it in rare cases when a cooking experiment goes bad. One of these days, they'll invent a hush feature for the bossy friend . .

If you want to see a funny clip about a bossy guy getting his hush button pushed, click here.

All this talk about cooking gave me the urge to impose yet another recipe on your impressionable mind. Erinn tells me that I should name my recipes so here goes:

Tim's Stew (yes, that's a boring name. one can't always be creative)

  1. Take some stew beef, about a pound.
  2. Fry it in oil, in a cast iron pan at medium heat until it's nice and brown. (note: many folks don't know how to brown meat - it should stick to the pan and be quite dark. Stop frying before it turns black OR the smoke alarm goes off ).
  3. Pour water in the pan, enough to cover the meat. It will bubble and foam. Scrape up all that nice brown stuff that is stuck to the pan. It should turn the water nice and brown.
  4. Pour the whole shoot'n match into a pot, and put the pot on low heat.
  5. Add some garlic (a tsp or two), some salt, some soy sauce (maybe a tbsp) and some Worcestershire sauce (a tsp or so).
  6. Add a tbsp or two of tomato sauce OR tomato juice OR crushed tomato, or something tomatoey.
  7. Add a few squirts of Dijon mustard, and a dozen or so drops of tabasco
  8. Shake in enough basil to cover the whole surface of the stew, and then add a small amount of oregano.
  9. Add more water, enough to fill the pot 2/3 full.
  10. Cover, and cook on very low heat for a couple of hrs.
  11. After a couple hours, add as many diced potatoes or carrots as you think you'd like to eat.
  12. Add more of any of the above flavourings as needed. Do it a little at a time. Lots of tasting required in between. Seasonings are kind of like words - use them sparingly and monitor the result before adding more.
  13. Add some chopped mushrooms and red bell peppers near the end unless your kids object (mine do).
  14. Put a couple tablespoons of flour in a small amount of water and mix until the lumps are gone (unless you like lumpy gravy).
  15. Pour the mixture into the boiling stew, stirring constantly (unless you really like lumpy gravy. Stop pouring before it gets too thick. Add more if it isn't thick enough.
  16. Serve with biscuits (my wife makes those - sorry, no recipe from me).

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weather. You can't live with it and you can't live without it. I've lived here for most of the past thirty-some years, and you'd think I'd be resigned to the fact that it can snow right up to the summer solstice if it wants to. But some years on April 26 it's sunny and warm. Well, at least one year it was anyway. And that seemed like enough to set a precedent.

You don't think one sunny day is enough to set a precedent? Look at it this way. If a fire department gets sued, and some lawyer convinces a judge that the crew should have wiped the soot off their boots before going in to put out the fire, the next time Upsala firefighters track soot on a rug, the judge will say something like, "In the case of Boondocks Fire Department vs J.C. Bonehead, the said fire department paid $100,000 in compensation for drycleaning charges, punitive damages and emotional trauma. Therefore, Upsala must pay as well." He wouldn't say it quite like that, but you get the idea. That's called "precedent" in the world of judges and lawyers, and it only takes one yahoo to set it. But I guess it doesn't work that way with the weather. So, Upsalanians, get used to it. It can be sunny today and snowy through the rest of April, May, and June if it wants. And there isn't a thing we can do about it. But that doesn't apply to July and August. There will be absolutely no snow permitted in those months. We have to draw the line somewhere. If you want to see some funny cartoons about lawyers, click here.

We got called out on the classic wild goose chase this evening. A pick-up truck on it's roof with a least one person hurt. We booted down the highway looking for the crash, and nearly got to our boundary when we met the ambulance coming back. We called our dispatcher and found we were cancelled. Ambulance told us later that they heard that the people had gotten out and had started a camp fire to keep warm while they waited for help. But there was no pick up truck, no campfire, and no people. Further investigation revealed that the call wasn't anywhere near our area. Should have known, I guess. Come to think of it, I did see a wild goose fly over earlier. Must have been an omen.

It reminds me of another wild goose chase that I refused to go on. That's right, refused. We're allowed to do that in some cases. Here's the story. It was about this time of year, or a little earlier, and we were paged to a forest fire in English River. We do forest fires sometimes, and we go to English River sometimes, but this time there was a foot of snow on the ground. I called the dispatcher and suggested they send the police to check it out. The cops get paid to chase wild geese at midnight. I found out the next day that the police found a vehicle broken down on the side of the road, and the driver sitting by a campfire he'd built to keep warm. Someone had driven by, seen the flames and used their trusty cell phone to call in the "forest fire." I'm all about technology and Good Samaritans, but the Samaritans would be even better if they would stop and take an old fashioned look to make sure they really do need to dial 911. But that's asking a lot, I know. They might get snow in their shoes - unless they're driving through in July or August.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

vehicle crashes and curry

We got called to a vehicle crash yesterday. Two tractor trailers. It didn't sound nice, but we went anyway . . . firefighters don't get to pick and choose. It was supposed to be 20 km east of Upsala, but we knew that was probably wrong. People usually don't have a clue where they are once they've passed Kakabeka.

Sometimes they really mess up the directions. Like the time we paraded through the village on our way to another call on the east side. We got about 5 km down the road and we got an update: Sorry, it's on the west side. So we turned around and paraded through Upsala headed west. I suspect the Upsalanians were beginning to wonder, but oh well. People needed a new coffee shop topic. They really started to wonder when we got turned around again. Sorry, it really was east. By the time we got to the crash we weren't needed, and the folks were wondering, "what the heck took you so long?"

Back to the tractor trailers. The incident ended up being 40 km east, about par for the course. They didn't exactly crash . . . they clipped mirrors . . . so I guess we really didn't need three fire trucks, an ambulance and two cruisers. But it never hurts to be safe.

I tried to find a funny video clip about vehicle crashes but didn't have much luck. I seem to have a hard time thinking any vehicle crash is funny. As a consolation prize, I included this clip which is only funny if you realize it isn't for real.

As promised, here's an update on my latest cooking adventure (no, I didn't invent this one and yes, we all survived):
  • Whack a chicken in half, or use two small chickens
  • make a marinade from 1/2 cup yogurt, 2 tbsp slightly crushed cummin seeds, a tsp of crushed fennel seeds, 2 tbsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp cayenne (I measured this time), 2 tsp garlic, and a few whole cloves (not too many or it will taste like pumpkin pie.) blend it all together to make the marinade
  • make a bunch of deep slices in the chicken breast and legs
  • rub the marinade into the chicken and let it sit overnight
  • put the chicken in a roaster and into an oven preheated to 500 degrees
  • leave it ten minutes. If you forget it in there, make sure you get out of the house before you call the fire department
  • after ten minutes put some butter on top, and a little curry powder, turn the oven down to 400 and bake until done (40-50 min depending on the chickens)
The real recipe came from a book called "Curries Without Worries" - which seemed like a strange name, because I don't usually worry about curry - but it is a great book if you like east Indian food. You can read more about the book by clicking this link and you can buy it at this link . I modified the recipe to suit our tastes, or rather I tried to suit our tastes. Not entirely successful this time . . . I put too much fennel in, which made it taste a little like licorice sticks. I reduced the fennel to a tsp, which should help.

It's snowing again. I know. That has nothing to do with vehicle crashes and curry, but I'm allowed to get off topic, especially if it means garnering a little sympathy. After all, it is my blog :-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Who am I

Sometimes I wonder who I really am. I write a column for Firefighting in Canada, but am I really a writer, or am I just a firefighter who likes to write? Cooking is fun, but I'm definitely not a chef like my friend Graham. He actually went to school and knows what he's doing. I might just be a writer that likes to cook. I enjoy instructing part time, but does that really mean I'm an instructor? Or am I just a cook that likes to talk? I fight fires and go to lots of vehicle crashes, but maybe I'm just a bushwhacker that was lucky no one else wanted the fire chief's job when it was posted 13 years ago. Hey, where did bushwhacking enter the conversation? I'm definitely not a bushwhacker (I was a farmer that cut trees for a living in the early '90s, but thats another story).

I guess it doesn't really matter who I am. Firefighting in Canada pays me, my family eats what I cook, and the Fire College keeps calling me to do courses. And I've never had a trapped person look up and ask, "Are you a real firefighter?" If someone ever did ask, I guess the answer would be, "Like it or not buddy, I'm all you've got." If you want to read an article I wrote about being "qualified," click here. If you clicked there and read the article, you probably found out that I'm not really an artist either. I'm just a fire chief that likes to draw.

Stay tuned. I'm experimenting in the kitchen again. If we all survive the experience, I'll tell you about it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

snow continued

The sad saga continues. The weatherman did lie. We didn't get two centimetres of snow. We got eight or ten. Now, some folks say we should count our blessings. "If you think you've got it bad, you should see those poor suckers in Antarctica. They get blizzards in July." That kind of thinking always seemed strange to me. If I have to compare my circumstances with someone, why can't I choose the folks in Hawaii or Tahiti?

I hear the Torontonians are famous for whining about snow. A good friend of mine who is from the Big T showed me the following clip. The great thing about Canadians is that we aren't afraid to laugh at ourselves. Try laughing today. It won't stop the snow from falling, but at least you won't be crying.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


It's snowing again. And spring was coming along so nicely. The tulips starting pushing through last week, not intimidated one iota by the six inches of white stuff still in the front yard. The snow seemed to take the hint that it wasn't welcome anymore, and started vanishing rapidly. The daffodils took courage from this apparent victory, and peeked out, followed by some other not-so-daring flowers.

But now it's snowing again, and the pessimists at Environment Canada are predicting that we'll get a couple of centimetres overnight. Bunch of kill joys. The least they could do is lie to us. It isn't as if lying is unexpected behaviour for a meteorologist. But no, they have to give us the hard cold truth.

Snow isn't all that bad I guess. In fact, for those living in igloos, it's quite essential. And it can be quite pretty on Christmas morning, fluttering down dreamily, all white an fluffy. But you can't blame me for being less than thrilled at the thought of waking up to a blanket of wet, white, slop the week after Easter. And then there's the prospect of being jarred awake at 2:00 AM when my pager goes off. That's the problem with snow. People ignore it and drive like it's the middle of July.

There are folks out there that capitalize on snow. My brother Paul is one of them. Movie stars are to paparazzi, what fluffy, white snow is to my brother. He takes pictures of snow for fun. Some people have twisted ideas about entertainment. But I must admit (grudgingly), his photography is outstanding. I don't recognize half of the scenery in his photos, even though most of them are taken within a few kilometres of my house. If you want to see a cool snowflake shot of his, click here. I've also added a link to his EyeFetch photos on my side bar.

So, snow isn't all that bad I guess. Like I said to my kids, there is no use complaining, it's going to come anyway. And the tulips don't seem to mind. They're going to come anyway too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm not perfect

There are a few things you don't know about me. Actually, there are quite a few. Now, before you close the page and run for your life, rest assured that I'm not actually going to list them for you. But I am going to tell you about two of them.

I'm not a mechanic. I think I became aware of this all-encompassing truth when I was buried up to the waist in the bellypan of a skidder (in a former life) chipping frozen mud away so my partner and I could replace a broken U-joint. It didn't help that it was -40 and that I hated being a logger. Or maybe that was why I hated being a logger - things always seemed to break when it was -40. Anyway, I was reminded of this self realization again today.

My deputy told me that the rescue vehicle had some overheating problems during the last call (while I was away). I probably should have noticed this myself by seeing the antifreeze on the floor, but remember, I'm not a mechanic. I decided that it was probably the thermostat, which is a fairly simple fix for normal people. The key word here is normal. I reached in up to my armpit with a wrench to loosen the four bolts that hold the thermostat cover. A normal person would have got it the first try. Not Chief "all thumbs" Beebe. The ratchet slipped out of my hand and fell into the bowels of the motor. I know why people applying for mechanic school have to demonstrate that they have three elbows on each arm before they're admitted. Well, a half an hour later, after removing the dog house, the air cleaner, and some hose, I almost . . . had . . . my . . . hand on it . . . and it fell again. This time I was lucky and I heard a clink as it hit the floor. The rest of the fix went easy, except that I didn't drain enough antifreeze, and it overflowed . . . again.

I'm not even a good mechanic's helper. Just ask the local mechanic who came to fix the tanker a while ago. He's a good at his work, but not very big, so I reached deep into the tanker motor compartment (why do things that break always have to be deep in the motor compartment?) to help him break a nut loose. The wrench slipped, and I heard a clank and a howl, followed by "How the %$#@ did a disaster like you become the fire chief!?

Now before you think I'm a total loser, there are a few things that I'm good at. One of them is cooking. What place does cooking have on a firefighter's blog? Even firefighters have to eat you know.

I was home alone tonight and and not feeling particularly well. I needed a fast and easy dinner so I invented the following recipe. Yes, that's right. Invented it.
  1. Take two chicken legs or thighs or breasts, or whatever kind of meat you feel like using
  2. Put them in a rice cooker with 1 1/2 cups of rice (you can use a pot if you know how to cook rice on the stovetop - just thought you should know that)
  3. dump in 3 cups of water
  4. Dump in 2 tsp cummin seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds, and 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper (I didn't actually measure the cayenne, but I think it was 1/2 a tsp
  5. If you don't like those spices, use basil, garlic, oregano, or whatever you feel like using. (it is a free country, you know)
  6. Put some salt in. (You want an amount? How am I supposed to know. I don't know how salty you like your food!)
  7. Turn on the rice cooker, or the stove (a very important step - you can change pretty near any other step in this recipe, but the results won't be good if you forget this one)
  8. Eat it when it's done (another important step)

I thought it was a pretty good recipe. But then, my head was so stuffed up that I really couldn't taste it, until the cayenne kicked in. Then I had to call the fire department (not really).

If you want to see a funny clip about safe cooking, click here.

I cook kind of like I write. Grab a few ingredients and dive in head first, always safety conscious, of course. The results are varied, but my family usually at least says they like it. And the good part of both cooking and writing is that there is always next time.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Only in Upsala

There aren't many fire departments that get called to houses that have burned all the way down, no flames, no smoke left at all. Upsala might be one of the only ones actually. It doesn't happen all the time - our response time isn't that bad - but it has happened a couple of times in the past 13 years. You'd think someone would have seen the glow on the horizon and put two and two together. "Gosh, Sam's place is sure looking lively over there tonight. He must be having one major barbeque . . ." But no, not one person notices, the place burns down, smolders for a day or two, then someone comes along and says, "Hey, this place burned down. I wonder if we should call the Fire Department . . ."

That's when the interesting part starts. The owners ask me how it happened. Hmm. Good question. I was wondering the same thing. Oh, you want me to tell you? Hey, I'm just the fire chief. How am I supposed to know? That answer doesn't usually cut it, so I wander around the site, crouch down and look at a microscopic chunk of rafter end (which is all that is left of the roof) snap a few photos and say, "Well, it could have started in the panel box, or in the woodstove, or possibly the dryer. If it didn't start there, it might have been the microwave. What's that? You say you didn't have a microwave? Well, I guess that possibility is ruled out."

Sounds pretty lame, doesn't it. Believe me, it feels pretty lame too. But what do people expect? Send me off to a two and a half day course on Fire Cause Determination, and voila! I'm supposed to be an instant expert.

Sometimes I get it right. Like that time the guy wasn't watching his cooking and his kitchen curtains caught fire. After we put the fire out and I interviewed him, it was time to do the report. I wrote something like this: "Caused by kitchen stove catching curtains on fire." Hey, the two and a half day course paid off after all.

If you want to see a short clip on kitchen fires, click here. The moral of the story? Keep your eye on that cooking!

Monday, April 13, 2009

well, they did it again

The Upsala crew pulled it off again. They did a vehicle rescue without me. Bummer. We don't get that many calls, and I hate to see them out there having fun without me. Not that helping someone out of a wrecked vehicle should be classified as having fun . . . but hey, we firefighters are a strange lot. And Upsala's vehicle responses often seem to fall into two categories - they either don't need us at all, or they need a ride to the funeral home. It really isn't fun disentangling what's left after an intimate encounter between a Honda and a Western Star. So when we actually get to put our training to good use and help someone into an ambulance rather than a hearse, you have to forgive us for calling it fun . . . but rest assured we don't use the "f" word until we're back at the hall.

So where was I when the call came? Busy visiting my in-laws in Thunder Bay. Important, but preferably done before or after something exciting happens in Upsala.

Like I said, we firefighters are a strange lot. We get called when people are having a bad day. No one wants someone to have a bad day. But we spend hours and hours training because we know people will have bad days, and they'll call us when they do. And . . . well, if they are going to have a bad day anyway, we don't want to sit on the sidelines and watch. Otherwise, why go to all that bother training? If you want to see a cool video of someone whose bad day got better because of some firefighters, click
here. No, it wasn't the Upsala crew. There aren't usually helicopters with video camera's hanging around Upsala. But it could have been us.

Friday, April 10, 2009

what would you do if . . . ?

Fire service is something that people tend to take for granted, like rain in the summer and snow in the winter. You don't really think about it unless it's raining or snowing . . . or you need a fire truck. Then you dial 911 and a crew magically appears in four minutes. But what would you think if you called the fire department, and nobody showed up? Especially if your house was actually burning.

Years ago I saw a cartoon of a distressed couple in front of their burning home staring at the fire crew . . . which was a mother and three kids in turnout gear. The caption read, "What did you expect on Super Bowl Sunday?" I laughed when I read it, but it's too close to the truth sometimes to be funny. No firefighter wants to admit that there might be days when the whole department has gone AWOL. But it happens. After all, these folks are volunteers. They have lives and jobs and holidays and family just like everyone else.

I did a Google search for the Super Bowl cartoon but couldn't find it. I would draw you a reasonable facsimile, but that might be plagiarism. You'll just have to take my word for it that it was funny. If you want to see a funny clip about firefighting , click

We do seem to manage most of the time. Departments that actually have municipal neighbours call for mutual aid when they're short staffed. Upsala is an island in the middle of no-man's-land. When we call for mutual aid, we have to wait at least an hour. So we pre-plan. I put out a notice cancelling all fires and other emergencies. Something like: "There will be no unplanned fires or vehicle crashes permitted between Monday and Wednesday this week. After that, careless cooking and smoking may be resumed." Hey, whatever it takes to get the job done.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What is a volunteer firefighter?

The search for the elusive volunteer firefighter. If you've never been one, you may not even know they exist. You probably do know a few but don't know that you know them. They don't usually go around talking about their exploits.

So, where do you find them? Working in offices, driving trucks, baling hay, cooking dinner, spending time with their families. They blend into society like snowshoe hares in a blizzard, and only the pager can flush them out. They head to the hall, gear up, and pile into their BRT's (Big Red Trucks). In fact, if you see a fire truck in Northwestern Ontario, there is a good chance a volunteer is driving it. The city of Thunder Bay is the only department in Northwestern Ontario that doesn't utilize volunteers. Those poor city folks don't know what they're missing.

Sometimes volunteers firefighters are hard to locate because they actually are scarce. Many communities are in dire need of volunteers. If you want to read an article about the joys of recruiting, and the extremes we go to sometimes, click

Next time you see a BRT, say a prayer for your local volunteers. Better still, offer to help out. Who knows - you might even find that it's a lot of fun.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Where the heck is Upsala?

Ah, Upsala, Ontario. The Gem of Northwestern Ontario, the Essence of Paradise, the Gateway to Heaven.

What. You think I'm being over dramatic, don't you. Oh, you've actually been here? And all you saw was a general store and a couple gas stations? Yep, that's the place. About an hour and a half west of Thunder Bay on the TransCanada Highway. I admit, Upsala has a pretty small fan club, and few of us consider it to be the Gem of Northwestern Ontario. Or the Essence of Paradise, for that matter. At least two or three have found it to be the Gateway to Heaven though, after head-on collisions on the big bend in the highway. But I digress.

The fact is, most folks pass through and don't even know they've been here. What a shame. 207 friendly people and an undisclosed number of moose, bears, foxes and other wildlife, just waiting to be discovered. It is easy to miss the place though, so here are a few ways to make the passage memorable:

  1. Drive a hundred and ten through the sixty zone. The local law enforcement guys will make sure that your visit was unforgettable. There is a down side to having vigilant police, in that it diminishes our reputation as the Gateway to Heaven - it's harder to get killed driving sixty - but we can live without that distinction.
  2. Pull into the village at 9:00 PM with an empty gas tank. Chances are, you'll be staying until 6:00 AM when the village wakes up. That is, unless the volunteer firefighters are training at the hall, and you happen to stop by and cry on their shoulder. We'll offer you some gas from a jerry can, which you'll accept gratefully. You might even leave a donation. And you won't likely forget Upsala.
  3. Try passing on the big bend in the highway and crash into an oncoming vehicle. If you survive (and the last person to try it did), you'll get to meet our paramedics and firefighters in person. You'll be delayed a few minutes while we assemble at the hall, gear up, and respond to the scene, but it will be worth the wait. Afterward, you'll get a one-on-one personal interview with an OPP officer, who will want to know why you were in such a big hurry to get through the Gem of Northwestern Ontario.

Of course, there are other ways to remember Upsala. You can come here to hunt or fish, or just to visit one of our (usually) friendly residents. Yes, that's boring, but at least your memories of our tiny hamlet will be good ones. And if you do come through for any reason, please drive safely.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Just getting started

So, the big question. Why start a blog? After all, there are millions of them already. Everyone and their dog writes a blog, and everyone (except maybe the dog) has goals. My goals are two-fold:
  1. practice writing
  2. make you laugh (or at least smile)
  3. raise awareness about the volunteer fire service
That's three things. I was just seeing if you were paying attention.

Among other things, I am a freelance columnist, and wanna-be children's author. A newbie that needs lots of practice writing. Hence the first goal. You can read one of my columns by clicking here . If you like it and want to read others, type "spontaneous" in the search window at the top right corner of the FFIC page.

If you decided to read my stuff, then I hope I've begun to meet goals two and three.

So why should I want to make you laugh? Especially since Ronald McDonald, Bozo, and Stephen Harper are already doing such a great job? You probably didn't know that laughter stimulates a hormone in your brain that enhances your ability to remember important facts. I made that up, but it sounds good.

The fact is, you'll probably remember my point longer if you enjoyed reading it. And you are more likely to come back for more.

If you ever have comments about my stuff, good bad or (heaven forbid) indifferent, by all means drop me a line.

Search This Blog