A neighborhood mirage

Just to illustrate the mismatch between my stated aim of achieving drunken oblivion by the earliest hour possible daily and our family’s ongoing attempts at normal domesticity, today we went for a neighborhood stroll. The goal? Not to eventuate at a pub, but to snap pictures of every single flower we encountered.

We did this INSTEAD of staying inside and getting hammered.

This was rabidly wholesome, if anyone’s asking.


As you may have gathered, this was a freaking long walk. Enough to make a drunken bear desperate. And then…

THEN, my fellow inebriates…

We came upon this:

It was a wine tree.

It was a wine tree.

Beribboned and festive, there the wine tree stood. My friends, I do not know how this tree managed to sprout wine bottles. Suffice to say it was a miracle. We approached tentatively.

It was beautiful.

It was beautiful.

Just as magically, near the wine tree there was a wine bush.

Just as magically, near the wine tree there was a wine bush.

And a wine hedge.

And a wine hedge.

I was overwhelmed. This was a vision of religious proportions, people. Was it an illusion?

It was. Those bottles were empty—every single one of them. The neighbors had strung them for the 50th birthday party of “M,” whoever that might be. But where are the contents?

“Why don’t we know these neighbors?” I asked my dad. “Why are you guys so antisocial?”

We need to get to know neighbors like these. Then we could wish “M” a happy birthday. AND find out what’s happened to the contents of the bottles.




OLD BOY ALE—A calming brew for when there’s a killer in the house

My Fellow Inebriates,

As a generality, animals that are predators have forward-facing eyes—all the better for chasing other animals. Animals that are prey have side-mounted eyes—all the better for scoping out the periphery.

Eyes in front, likes to hunt.

Eyes on the side, likes to hide.

Thus—and this argument is often advanced by those who believe vegetarianism is unnatural for humans—animals with eyes in front (lions, tigers, wolves) are usually carnivores. Wall-eyed animals (bunnies, sheep, squirrels) tend to be herbivores.

Take this duck, for example.


Okay, so ducks are kind of in the middle. They’re omnivores—they eat insects, weeds, small fish, and whatever you chuck at them in the park.

Now take this duck. No really, please take this duck.Minolta DSC

Carnivorous Duck is the most amoral animal at LBHQ. In fact, he’s the only animal who’s ever attempted to eat the kids.

He’s been off my radar recently, confined like Hannibal Lecter to the spare toybox. And let’s face it, if one of my brain cells forgets to remind the other of hazards such as Carnivorous Duck, the threat of predation gets falsely diminished.

I only thought of him because of this pic from 2006.

Scary, me, Glen Bear, and Carnivorous Duck, late 2006. Only Glen was happy about the snow.

Scary, me, Glen Bear, and Carnivorous Duck, late 2006. Only Glen was happy about the snow.

As placid as it is, as comfortingly wintry, I felt unsettled after yesterday’s post. That’s when I realized, CD has been loose in the house for a while. Then when Emily asked about him, it all flashed at me malevolently—Carnivorous Duck is at large, and Glen Bear is missing.

Would CD be ambitious enough to eat a polar bear? I mean…a bear?

He always said he wouldn’t eat me or Scary because we were rancid. But then he’d kind of laugh, and his eyes would narrow. Carnivorously.

The key is not to think about it. Fortunately my dad bought more Parallel 49 beer—OLD BOY ALE, a classic pub-style ale ringing in at 5% ABV and 25 IBU.

old_boy_bottlesWhen you’re terrified of predation and worried you might find a polar bear carcass somewhere in the basement with little beak marks on it, a rich, mellow brown ale with slight off-white foam and minimal lacing is a good reminder that the world is generally a good place. Yes, there are monsters, and some of them live at LBHQ, but how can you dwell on them while inhaling caramel-coffee-toffee-malt with well-behaved fruitiness hanging politely in the background? On the palate OLD BOY ALE bursts with mild nuttiness, bakery notes, earthy hops, riding along with moderate carbonation, a semi-creamy mouthfeel, and the quintessential pub-ale aftertaste. It tastes like another. And another. If I saw this on tap at a bar, I’d get under the tap.

Although it’s characterized as a bitter, OLD BOY ALE is more of a gentle brown ale. Definitely a good winter beer—a soothing, reassuring beer without too much bite but still supplying lots of interesting flavors. Paws up for sure.

You know what it’s like when you’re all alone and you feel like you’re being watched? Well…it feels like something is watching us right now. With forward-pointing eyes. But it can’t have any OLD BOY ALE, because we finished it. Let’s hope Glen isn’t finished as well.


The (sinister?) mystery of the two Langley bears

Lest you think there’s no news worth reporting in Langley, today’s local paper carried a letter to the editor describing the disappearance and return of two teddy bears.

What the hell does it mean? I wondered. Which bears does the writer mean?

Seriously, I wondered if my friend Scarybear had been getting into someone’s garbage again. A picnic bear like Scary has just as much trouble staying away from old watermelon rinds as I do keeping away from the empties. Had this writer spotted some foraging grizzlies? I wondered? And felt affection for them? Could you feel affection for Scary?

And what next? Would someone be writing to the editor about spotting a diminutive, mangy light tan bear rooting through the beer cans outside their house? It could happen…especially since my mum finished the gin.

Turns out the letter’s subjects are more similar to Scary and me than I’d imagined. A couple of years ago Gayle Brown noticed a teddy bear sitting on a stump by a North Langley ravine, which was joined soon after by a second bear, along with an umbrella to protect them from the elements. She enjoyed driving past these whimsically positioned bears, imagining them to be picnicking—although if my parents stuck me outside for two years with, say, Scary, and no TV and no booze, I might call it abandonment.

Gayle seems to be a well-meaning person who, in fairness, believes the outdoors to be a fitting ursine setting. Apparently these bears are tough mothers too:

“…they always looked the same—no moss or mould—just cuddled together in the rain and snow and sunshine… Last week, I noticed only the umbrella was there. What happened to the bears? Where did they go? Maybe they went to a teddy bears’ picnic in the woods.”

I would freaking hope somebody adopted them so they could catch up on Breaking Bad while pounding a six-pack. We “teddy” bears don’t fare so well outside. Like Gayle, I wondered what had happened to them. Had they been abducted? Interrogated? Imprisoned? Did someone make them rub lotion on themselves? OMG!

Holy crap, is “spa” some sort of euphemism for “washing machine”? Only the bears know for sure. I’m going to visit them this week and give them some beer.