Monday, August 31, 2009

pay attention

They survived the first day of school, just as they always have and hopefully always will. It's tough going to school when the weather is beautiful and you'd rather be outside doing something fun instead of inside learning something un-fun.

If our kids learn nothing else, hopefully they'll learn the importance of following instructions, even when you think you know better. Check out this article about some folks that should have done as they were told in a wildfire in California. Considering two firefighters have already died in this fire, the last thing firefighters need is people who think they know better.

Here is yet another article on Canadian health care vs US Medicare (thanks to my sister-in-law). It explains the differences much more eloquently than I did. I promise I'll lay this issue to rest now, and won't badger you anymore on the superiority of the Canadian system . . . unless I find another cool article.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

season changes

The last day of summer holidays. Some kids love this day, some hate it. My daughter can't wait until tomorrow, the first day of school. My son can't wait until next June, and the last day of school. Same family, same upbringing, same school, two totally different perspectives on this critical fact of life. Things always even out in the end though. By the last week of of September, Vanessa won't love school so much, and Phillip will at least be uncomfortably resigned that this is his lot in life for a couple more years. It seems almost criminal to have to go to school while it's still August, but I guess everyone has to eat tough bananas once in a while.

Firefighters typically resume their education in the fall as well, and my instructing schedule gets busier. In this part of the country we sandwich a lot training in between summer holidays and December 1. It makes sense. We do enough calls in neck deep snow and minus forty temperatures to satiate any inordinate love affair we might have with with winter operations. Click
here for one of my earliest columns and and my very first published drawing. I did them both as a kind of therapy to get myself out of the dumps after an all night fire in -35 temperatures.

Enough of this talk about snow and ice. Winter will be upon us soon enough, with the Farmer's Almanac gloomily predicting flurries in end of September. They could be wrong though. They predicted thunder showers for the first week of September, but it looks like it's going to be sunny for almost the whole week. I have a feeling they don't know their weather regions all that well . . . anyone that lumps Toronto and Thunder Bay together has got their wires crossed somewhere. Toronto and Thunder Bay have about as many winter similarities as penguins and parakeets (that probably isn't an accurate analogy, but it sounded witty and intelligent . . . to see a witty and intelligent spoof on Toronto's view on snow - included in my April 21 post as well - click here).

Buffalo is organizing a fund raiser to help the families of their two fallen firefighters. Click here if you are interested in helping out.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I thought I was an opinionated guy, and proud to admit it. But the other day I realized that my feet are barely wet in the big, swirling, shark-infested Sea of Opinions. These waters are dangerous. Do a Google search on "freedom of speech" and you'll find plenty of stories of people being locked up or even killed for speaking their mind.

You would think that blogging would be a safe way to say what you think, but it isn't. If you haven't read CNN lately, click here to for a story - it was headline news - about a lady from Pittsburgh that blogged her way right out of a job . . . all because she spoke her mind about pigeons, politicians, and others members of the same species.

I admire this lady. She's out there swimming, surfing, diving, having a great time. Sharks don't intimidate her . . . she harpoons them. I think she might even own the Sea of Opinions. If you are up for the challenge, and aren't afraid of a little irreverence, click here to read her blog.

Blogging isn't the only way for the forthright to get into trouble. Here is another story, this time about a comedian.

The problem is this: making fun of people that take themselves too seriously is as natural as dumping water on fire. Canadians have figured this out, and generally aren't afraid to laugh at themselves . . . which makes it easy to laugh at the rest of the world.

Which brings me to another point. I finally figured out why some Americans are shy of government-run health care. It's Marxiphobia. The old J. Edgar Hoover style stop-the-communists syndrome. Living under Canada's strict, totalitarian regime of "free" health care for most of my life, I didn't truly understand the threat until I saw this video clip. Those insidious socialistic weasels have wormed their way right into the fabric of our communities. They've infiltrated the heart and soul of our culture . . . the fire service. And all this time I thought that fire departments were formed to give nutty people like me a useful way to express their inner craziness. But then, I've always been slightly naive. Stick to capitalistic health care folks.

On a serious note, Buffalo lost a couple of firefighters in the line of duty a few days ago. Click here for the story. It's no use trying to philosophize the trauma these guys and gals are feeling, but if you are the praying type, now is a good time to say a prayer for everyone involved.

On a less sad, but just as serious note, here is an update on DJ Harper, the young fellow who nearly died in a vehicle fire in July. He is recovering, but has a long way to go. You can watch a video clip of his dramatic rescue here.

I finally realized that I can change the font this blog uses, so now you can read my opinions in large type.


I have a confession to make: I am an American by birth. There, it’s off my chest. To my Canadian friends, don’t hold it against me . . . I didn’t really have a lot of say in the matter. To my American friends (if I have any left) don’t begrudge my dual citizenship. Even though I chose to become Canadian, it wasn’t because I don’t like Americans. I came to Canada with my parents as a kid and decided I liked it here . . . then I grew up and met a beautiful Canadian girl . . . then had two wonderful Canadian children. Somewhere along the evolutionary trail of life I was transformed from a Yankee to a Canuck.

Speaking of nationalities, did it ever seem strange to you that the folks in the US have cornered the market on the word "American?" I know it’s an old rant, probably invented because of our Canadian insecurity about sharing a continent with the most powerful nation on earth, but it does make you wonder. Click here and here for a couple humorous ditties on Canadians and Americans.

I’ve always liked living in Canada. For one thing, our health care system is better (sorry, couldn’t help giving one more jab . . .). For another, the people are nice (usually). And then there’s all the fun things to do, like skiing, skating, snowball fighting and ice fishing. What’s that? You Americans say you get to do that stuff too? Maybe so, but not in the middle of July.

It doesn’t really snow in July or August here, although this year I thought it might. We actually got enough nice weather last weekend to sneak in one more camping trip. My kids (who are born Canadians) braved the elements and went swimming. I opted out, but participated in the activity by breaking icicles off their ears and eyebrows in between dips.

Kids are funny. Teeth chattering, lips blue, they say, "Dad, aren’t you coming in? The water is great!" True blue Canadians.

Now to resume your regularly scheduled programming, here are the latest news flashes from Firefighting in the Boondocks:

  • The pumper is having brake issues. Not to fear, Upsala, the problem is being fixed by our faithful friends at the Upsala Garage. Time and the taxpayers money will do their magic, and the truck will be back in service in no time.
  • TransCanada Pipeline gave a presentation at the fire hall last evening about responding to natural gas emergencies. Once again we’ve been educated on how fast and how far to run when all hell breaks loose.
  • A firefighter handed in her pager after the training session (the emergency response equivalent of tossing in the towel). No, it wasn’t because she was afraid of being blown up in a pipeline emergency . . . it was just time to move on to something else.
  • The Amkus spreader is still in the repair shop, but our good friends at the Fire College are allowing us to keep their Hurst tools for now. That’s good news for all the sleepy, careless and impatient drivers on Highway 17. Crashing your car between English River and Raith is bad enough. It would be worse to have the fire department show up and say, "Sorry folks, our spreader (that could have pried you out of this mess in ten minutes) is 2000 kilometres away being fixed." That would be enough to ruin anyone’s day.
  • If we need help in all of these troubles, again never fear, Ignace and Conmee fire departments are standing by, ready to help . . . we just need to give them an hour’s notice to make the 100 kilometre drive.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Some folks take to political debates like fire takes to gasoline. I’m not one of them. I generally don’t feel educated enough to have fierce partisan opinions, so I usually keep them to myself, especially in relation to someone else's government. However . . . I have to scratch my head about a debate that is raging south of the border, and I’m going to venture from the safety of my usually spineless, non-confrontational position to make a comment or two. I might even timidly poke fun at my American cousins, knowing that flag-draped zealots will want to roast me on the fires of patriotism if they ever read this blog. So, with reckless abandon, here goes.

I'm talking about the health care debate, of course.

In Northwestern Ontario we complain about the lack of doctors, long lines in emergency rooms, and wait times for simple surgery. To give an example, my family has been without a doctor for about 15 years. That’s the down side. The up side is that if I sprain my thumb on the keyboard, or damage my vision from too much blogging, I can go to any hospital or walk-in clinic and someone will fix me up (eventually). And it won't cost me a dime.

It seems that Americans regard our imperfect system with a similar kind of envious disdain that poor neighbourhood kids heap on rich ones . . . you-spoiled-rotten-brats-I’m-glad-I’m-not-you kind of attitude. But health care isn’t free here. Just make an unplanned visit to a Canadian emergency ward without a health card and you’ll be enlightened to this infallible truth. Even those of us that have the magic card pay. We just do it differently.

The truth is, we Canadians really don’t have a clue how good we’ve got it, like a friend of mine recently found out. His uncle in Alaska offered him work, so he packed up his family and made the six-day trip to the 49th State. A day or two later, his young son was bucked off a horse and broke his wrist. Uh-oh. My friend made a comment afterwards, which I can’t remember well enough to quote, but it was something along these lines: Sure, the American system is better. In Canada they take a little money off each pay period. Here they take your whole pay cheque right at the door, and then ask for more.

I’m not entirely sure what the Americans are afraid of. I did a little reading, and you can too by clicking here, here, and here, but none of it makes much sense to my uneducated, nonpartisan mind. I think it has something to do with loss of freedom, which I agree would be a bad thing. So is being in debt for a couple years because your kid fell off a horse. There must be a happy medium somewhere . . . the good of universal health care without the evil of universal slavery. But then again, I’m not sure. I’m a Canadian after all, blinded by years in the shadow of Big Brother.

On a different note, firefighters seem to have their share of debates as well. Click here for a commentary on whether or not fire trucks should stop at signal lights and stop signs. There are no traffic lights in Upsala, and only one stop sign that we deal with on a regular basis, so I’m probably even less qualified to comment on this than universal health care (if that's possible), but stopping and making sure no one is coming seems like a good idea, even if you’re in a hurry. Click here to see a video of someone that probably would do it differently if they could do it over again.


Summer is hanging on by a thread. A spindly, frayed thread that threatens to snap and bring autumn crashing down on us any moment now. We had our three days of summer last week . . . Erinn actually turned on the air conditioner for a few minutes . . . so I guess we have nothing to complain about. Think about all those poor penguins in Antarctica and count your blessings.

Summer was very timid about revealing herself this year, almost as if she was afraid of getting slapped up the side of the head with a snowstorm in July if she showed too much enthusiasm. So she kept her dancing partner (the sun) wrapped in clouds most of the season.

Or here is another allegorical interpretation: Summer snagged her basket of nice, hot weather on the Coastal Range, and dumped it all on British Columbia by accident. That would explain the rash of forest fires they've had this year.

Okay, enough of this loquacious, metaphorical blather. It's been a lousy summer in Northwestern Ontario. No, it didn't blizzard in July, but a few degrees cooler and it might have. As an eternal optimist, I keep telling people that we could get a spectacular fall as a consolation prize, but I know that is about as likely as a heat wave in November . . . not impossible, just highly unlikely.

I'm not much of a prophet, by the way. If I had lived in Old Testament days I would have been stoned to death long ago for unfulfilled predictions (the ancient equivalent of being sued for malpractice). I don't usually bother trying to predict the weather, unless I'm feeling eternally optimistic. I'll leave that to the Farmers Almanac. Click here to see their September forecast for Upsala. If I remember, I'll keep track and let you know how they did with the prediction. I suspect they count on people having short memories.

I tried to scientifically predict our call volume one time during a particularly busy August. Taking call stats from the previous five years, I determined which months had the highest number of calls. June and August came out on top, September and January at the bottom. Everything would have been fine if I hadn't opened my big mouth and told the crew to relax, things were going to calm down after Labour Day. That September, we had six vehicle crashes and two fires, a record for our sleepy little village. Luckily times and attitudes have changed in the past 3,000 years, and I didn't see anyone gathering stones, but I did damage my reputation as a prophetic statistician.

On a different note, for those of you that lie awake at night worrying about Big Brother dominating your lives, here's an article for you. Leave it to the firefighters to lead the charge to totalitarianism. And I thought we were the good guys.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Northerners like to make things by hand. This tendency is fuelled by three basic things: physics, geography, and economics. Physics, because it takes time and effort to get things from point A to point B. Geography, because point A is usually a long way from point B. Economics, because because it costs money to transport the stuff from point A to point B. Sometimes it's just more efficient to make it yourself.

Money is often the clincher. Take my brother Paul for example. He wanted a good skinning knife, which was normal for an outdoorsy Upsala teenager in 1976. A Buck or Schrade was out of the budget (there was no budget), so he created his own out of a hunk of steel and a piece of wood using a hacksaw and a file. He doesn't like to show off that first attempt, but it planted a seed, and 30+ years later, he is a custom knife maker that can proudly take his place with the best. Click here to read a brief history of Beebe Knives. And it all started because a teenager couldn't scrape $25 together to buy a decent knife.

In the early '90s a highschool student from British Columbia worked as Paul's apprentice. He later went on to create his own unique line of work which you can see here.

Erinn and I like to visit various handmade shops in Thunder Bay on our annual anniversery get-away. Some of our favourites are stained glass by Kleewyk, natural bees wax candles at Bee Happy Candles, and a silversmith at Northern Lights Gallery. You can see more listings by clicking here (you'll probably have to do ctrl+ to make the page bigger unless you've got better eyes than I do). Lots of talented artisans living in a small city.

I have to draw the line on the handmade stuff when it comes to firefighting though. I had a young firefighter that wanted to make his own version of the Jaws of Life. I'm an encourager, so I said go for it. He got pretty far into the project, but finally abandoned it. It might have had something to do with the 40,000 psi required to do the job. Sometimes you just have to find the cash to pay an expert to make what you need, especially if people's lives are hanging in the balance. Things like fire hose, hooligan bars, and turnout gear come with high price tags, but in the end they are worth it.

That's the problem with any kind of firefighting equipment . . . the price tag. Attach the name "fire" or "rescue" to it, and the price goes to the moon. A basic set of heavy hydraulic extrication tools starts at $25,000, a lot of cash for a village of 200 people to fork out. We opted for the next best thing to making it ourselves . . . we purchased our equipment second-hand . . . at about half the price. It isn't top of the line, but there are quite a few people out there walking around that are thankful we had it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

bear essentials

The macrobiotics recommend that people only eat what grows naturally in their area, rather than imported foods. Put simply, I think it means Hawaiians should eat lots of pineapples, Chinese should dine on rice, and Californians should drink plenty of orange juice. I don’t know any Upsalanians that subscribe to this belief, probably because we’d be stuck with poplar bark and sphagnum moss. And blueberries. Lots of blueberries.

We picked a bunch on Wednesday evening, and I was amazed again at the bounty of these small, ultra-organic wild edibles. The small patch we pick is a tiny corner of an area that is several hundred hectares at a conservative estimate. Multiply that a few thousand times and you might get a glimpse of how much of this virtually free fruit there is around here.

I read an article few years ago that suggested the booming bear population can be blamed on vast areas that have been logged in the North, which in turn became natural blueberry plantations. The bear’s breeding season is in the spring, but conception is apparently delayed a few months to coincide with the ripening blueberries, a primary source of food for the bruins. If there is lots of food, they can conceive up to four cubs. If food is scarce, they may only conceive one, or possibly none. Natural birth control in its purest form. I unsuccessfully tried to track down the article, but found a less reader-friendly opinion here. For another viewpoint on bears, click here.

This could explain why our backyard has been overpopulated by bears in the past few summers. What I want to know is, why aren’t they out there picking the naturally local blueberries instead of raiding my unnaturally imported garbage can? I guess they haven’t been evangelized by the macrobiotics yet.

If you came here looking for my sagacious opinions on firefighting, sorry, I’m fresh out of wisdom today. Come back in a few days, and I may have some natural, Northwestern Ontario fire wit to offer. If you simply must have something on firefighting, click here and here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

more board meeting stuff

Board meetings, fire fighting, and eating chicken legs all share one thing in common: for complete success, you have to get your hands messy. You can poke and prod a chicken leg primly and properly and tease some of the meat off the bone, but about two thirds of the way in though, you chuck the utensils and dive in with both fists. Firefighting is the same . . . don't bother trying to look refined, just get in there and do it. If you don't need a shower or two afterwards, you probably didn't do the job very well.

Board meetings are prim and proper events at first glance, but don't be deceived. Roberts Rules, etiquette and manners are great, but if you really want to get stuff done, you banish the paraphernalia, look at the facts, and make a decision. That's the good thing about Upsala Volunteer Firefighters Association meetings. These are all folks that would rather be making hay or running a business or spending time with their family than sorting through quotes for Amkus spreaders. Not that they make light of spending five or ten thousand dollars of public money. All of them are taxpayers, and half are also volunteer firefighters, and they know they'll be on the working end of whatever equipment we buy. But they aren't going to spend one more minute at decision making than is absolutely necessary. Thank goodness.

All that to say that my gloomy, pessimistic predictions turned out to be utterly false, and we pulled off the meeting this evening as scheduled. Four board members took an hour and a half out of their hectic lives to sort through a stack of paperwork and agree on something that impacted their personal lives about as much as the Queen's choice of tea. They aren't super heroes, but I don't know what we'd do without them.

Rules and etiquette are fine, but when you're hungry or have fire licking at your elbows or are putting four heads together to make one decision, keep it to the bare bones. It's a gift, believe me. The higher up you go on the pyramid of power, the easier it is to complicate everyone else's lives. Click here for a story about a guy who complicated someone's life a little ridiculously.

If you are still interested in the DJ Harper story click here and here for updates. Click on "journal" at the top of the page to get latest update.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

boards and budgets

Still spreader hunting. To complicate things further, we need a board meeting to decide which spreader to buy. Yes, that means I found more than one in my searching and Internet meanderings. And when you are responsible for public money in a small volunteer department, you can't just go out and spend five or six thousand dollars on equipment without getting opinions from the folks democratically elected to oversee such decisions.

Getting these democratically elected volunteers together can be a challenge. Saturday and Sunday are off limits for board meetings, Monday is training, so the meeting is tentatively set for Tuesday evening . . . provided at least three of the five board members are available. If it's nice weather, one of them will be making hay; another is working 650 km away in Winnipeg; two others are business owners and work as many evenings as possible . . . sooooo the board meeting will likely get bumped to Wednesday, then Thursday . . . you get the idea.

The funny thing is this "democratically elected" part. In normal towns with normal volunteer services, responsible citizens wait in line to do their civic duty and serve as a director on a worthy board. In Upsala, we duly call the meeting two weeks in advance, post the notice in five conspicuous places (good thing it isn't six - there are only five in Upsala), brow beat the town with admonitions . . . and show up on election night with five board members, the chief, and lots of empty chairs. Five minutes later the board walks out, elected by acclaim for another two years. Small town democracy in action.

Their reward for serving in a thankless, unrecognized position for five, ten, or even twenty years is that they get to create budgets and make executive decisions about money . . . and sort through quotes for a half dozen new and used Amkus spreaders on Tuesday evenings (or Wednesday or Thursday evenings . . .).

In the end, everyone wins . . . a lucky dealer gets some money, we get another piece of equipment, the Fire College gets their stuff back that we borrowed, and the highway continues to be protected by the Upsala Volunteer Firefighters.

Frank & Ernest

Thursday, August 6, 2009

repairs and recipe

The saga of the shattered spreader continues. If you are a loyal reader, you may remember that we broke our Amkus hydraulic spreader early in July, and sent it off for repairs (see my July 5 and 8 posts). On Monday we found out that Amkus recommends that we replace another worn part, which will increase the total bill to $3000 instead of $1000. Soooo . . . I spent the day hunting for bargains on used extrication equipment, which is different than looking for a camera or an ipod on eBay, mostly because Amkus spreaders don't play music or take photos, and don't travel well in teenager's pockets . . . therefore they are in much less demand.

I phoned a few suave salesmen who had the deal of the century, but not quite exactly what I was looking for (at least not until I looked around some more). I made hopeful excursions down numerous Internet rabbit trails, only to find that the rabbits had been gone for quite some time. When the web page says something like, "this page has been out of use for 48 years," you know you took a wrong turn somewhere. The search continues, and we'll undoubtedly spend our hard-earned cash eventually.

The good news? We'll be doing our part to help the languishing economy. How patriotic.

I have another recipe, created (like usual) from the hip. I'll give you the step-by-step process for making "Mexican Pilaf" so you can savour the full experience (I don't think "Mexican" and "Pilaf" are supposed to appear in the same recipe, but oh well).
  • realize that your wife is gone for the day and you need to make supper for your starving kids
  • put some rice on to cook (I made a cup and a half, which was about a half cup too much)
  • add some chili powder, a couple good shots of soya sauce (I like Kikkoman), some garlic, and a few dashes of Tobasco to the rice water
  • dig out the half-pound bag of ground beef that's been hiding in the freezer for the past month
  • put the frozen beef in the frying pan on low heat
  • do a Google search as follows: used; Amkus; spreader; for sale (this step is optional unless you're in desperate need of a used spreader)
  • keep an eye on the ground beef - you want to thaw it not burn it.
  • fry the beef until it's nice and brown, and is starting to stick a bit
  • realize there's less ground beef than you thought, and dig a bag of frozen shrimp out of the freezer
  • thaw a handful of shrimp under cold water, dice, and toss in with the ground beef (don't forget to put the rest of the shrimp back in the freezer)
  • add enough water to cover the bottom of the frying pan
  • sprinkle some chili powder over the beef and shrimp and stir everything together, scraping up the bottom of the frying pan
  • add a handful of frozen peas, cover with a lid and let sit on low heat for a bit
  • do another Google search as follows: used extrication tools (again, optional)
  • see if the peas are warmed up . . . if not, wait a little longer . . . if so stir everything together
  • add the cooked rice (you might only need part of it)
  • go out on the porch and pick some fresh oregano from the flowerpot (make sure you don't get the marigolds by accident)
  • chop the oregano, dump it on top of everything and stir it together
  • sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and leave on low heat until the oregano is slightly cooked
  • get invited out to dinner, put everything in the fridge, and save it for tomorrow :-)

By the way, if you happen to have a used Amkus spreader that you don't need, let me know.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Sigh. It's back to work. After all that complaining about a trip to Missouri not being a holiday, I'm sorry it's over. It's hard to follow a week of new friendships, sports, and roller coaster emotions, with paperwork, maintenance, repairs, and renovations . . . which is 99% of what I do at work these days. I don't have a warped personality like some firefighters that sit around wishing someone would have an emergency so they can get their adrenalin fix . . . but a good fire would be a great way to shake off the blues . . . nah, I don't want the neighbour's house to catch fire . . . however I am down in the dumps and don't feel well . . . maybe someone could just drive off the road without getting hurt - we'd get called and I'd get my fix . . . but then someone's car would get wrecked. As you can see, the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome has come back to haunt me.

The youth camp was great, and I am glad I was able to go. Between soccer, frisbee, meetings, challenges, raids, movies, and a canoe trip, they kept us hopping 14-16 hrs a day (and I was "senior staff" so didn't even do all the activities). Maybe that's why I've had a continual headache for the past couple days . . . something to do with exhaustion and sleep deprivation.

Seriously, I think I need to study up on adrenalin poisoning, except that I'm not sure there is such a thing. After a long, high-stress call I often have weird withdrawal-like symptoms that include headaches, dizziness, and a general feeling of ickiness (that may not be a real word, but it does convey how I feel and it is my blog, so back off all you spelling Gestapo). This is the first time I've ever experienced this after a "vacation," but there are some parallels: long hours, high activity, extreme emotions, and lots of adrenalin. All of these are things that go hand-in-hand with emergency response. Hmmm, maybe I should have been a doctor or a therapist instead of a firefighter and wanna-be writer.

On a less introverted, more altruistic note, I did find more sites that cover the DJ Harper story, click here and here for updates.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I'm back!

It's midnight and I have to work tomorrow, but I just had to let you know that I survived the trip and had a great time in spite of my gloomy premonitions. The camp was a blast and I met a ton of great people. If they all accept my Facebook invitations, it will probably double my friends list.

About half way between Ava and Kansas City the boys started a philosophical discussion about the possibility of getting the atoms in our bodies to vibrate in sync with the atoms in a tree or a rock or a brick wall . . . and would we then be able to pass through them without colliding . . . and I knew it was going to be a long trip home. By the time we reached the Minnesota border, crumpled napkins and water were flying about, and I had to pull the "don't touch the driver" card. When we reached Duluth and found out that every hotel in the city was booked, I realized that I really wanted to just be home. We pushed through to Thunder Bay, arriving about 1:00 am. If I had had just a little more steam, I would have done the whole trip in one day.

I may or may not write more about the camp depending on what thoughts are buzzing around in my head the next time I write. Blogging is all about the moment, and I definitely had lots of moments this past week . . . if I can put them into words that do justice to the experience, I may give it a try. If not, you'll just have to take my word for it that it was unforgettable.

For an update on DJ Harper, the four year-old boy that was rescued from a burning vehicle by off-duty firefighters, click here.

Time to crash - into my bed, not into a tree, or a rock, or a brick wall - they never did convince me that vibrating my way through inanimate objects was possible without seriously rearranging my anatomy.

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