Sunday, February 28, 2016

ToadMama's Brave, Bold Blogger Challenge (BBBC # 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, and 28)

Kathy (ToadMama) published what she is calling her Brave, Bold Blogger Challenge. It's simple, a challenge that's a little crazy, and potentially demanding, but that is turning ought to be a whole lot of fun and very revealing for the participating bloggers.

A sense of community doesn't happen with all bloggers. Some bloggers have excellent blogs that generate a ton of pageviews, but they never become  part of a community. Moto bloggers, at least many of them, are part of a community. The thread that allows you to explore my community is in the list of blogs I subscribe to a little lower down on the right side of the page.

I go out of my way (literally miles and miles and miles out of my way) to meet other bloggers. When I do, I post their rider profile here (actually, there, at the top of this page). Always the same questions, but an amazing array of fascinating and sometimes surprising answers.

Kathy's blog challenge is working pretty much the same way and is already yielding some fascinating reading.

It's simple: Kathy asked participating bloggers to publish one article a day during the month of February. That's 29 posts in 29 days

To keep things as interesting as possible, I have decided to take a slightly different approach from the way I normally publish articles.

This is the second batch of articles. The first six instalments are here and the next nine are here. I will post more articles in this  page until the page gets too long at which point I'll open a third page, and so on. For each day in February I will publish an article so that it moves back to the top (or maybe almost at the top) of the journal. Kathy provides a list of participating bloggers. I will continue to link to other participating bloggers' contributions so that whenever you find this article, you'll be able to read the answers other bloggers have published.

For earlier articles in the series click here and here.

16. Stupid, weird, or silly thing you did today, on purpose or accidentally.
It only occurred to me this morning, a couple of days later. I was wracking my poor little brain... what did I do on the 16th of this month that would fit this prompt in the challenge. I was convinced that I had lived a day without humour or normal human frailty.

Then the revelation hit me with a thud like a stone falling off Kathy's virtual wall: I spent any number of moments during the course of the day fretting about what to write in response to Kathy's challenge for February 16, 2016. Ten years ago, had I witnessed myself doing that, at a minimum I would have thought it was weird, maybe silly. So I guess that's the answer I'm going to stick with.

Read what other bloggers posted:

Kathy, Richard, Rachael, Steve, Mark, and Dar

17. Share an animal image and explain the rationale behind your choice.

This is Taylor (sorry Taylor, but we didn't know you when we got Taylor, or we would have gone with our second choice, Meghan).

We got Taylor when she was a tiny pup. She was born on July 7, 1997. We lost her in 2009.

To say we shed tears is a cruel understatement. We all agree that Taylor, a Golden Retriever, was simply an angel. I can't recall ever having to reprimand her. She was truly a member of the family.

OK... that's enough heartache for one afternoon.  

Read what other bloggers posted:

Kathy, Richard, Rachael, Steve, Mark, and Dar

18. Fruit.

Puthimmons awe a fwuit I have avoided thinth I hath one in my youth. Appawantly, if the puthimmon ithn't wipe when you eat it, it weaves you with a fuwwy tongue, and sweaters on all yah teef.

Since then, the 1970's, we have evolved, and, as you have observed, our family is quite multicultural (check out the post for February 11th).

Vicky, our number one daughter-in-law (number one 'cause she's the first) is introducing Jonathan, Susan, and I, to the delights of Asian fruit. Among them, persimmons.

Now if you choose your persimmons wisely, and make sure to eat them when they are ripe, they are THE MOST SWEET AND JUICY OF FRUITS!!! We now buy persimmons regularly, most recently at Costco, and haven't had a single bout of furry tongue or been afflicted with sweaters on our teeth. The reliable varieties look like squat tomatoes. The type that are more likely to cause furry tongue are the elongated variety that look like an Italian tomato. You have been warned.

Finally, Vicky informs us that there is a Vietnamese word to describe furry persimmon tongue that has no equivalent in English or French.

Read what other bloggers posted:

Kathy, Richard, Rachael, Steve, Mark, and Dar

19. Favorite snack food.

It's sad to say but I am really truly not a snacker. I'll have to say Lay's Potato Chips, or maybe Miss Vicky's kettle chips.

Read what other bloggers posted:

Kathy, Richard, Rachael, Steve, Mark, and Dar

20. Your best friend.

I haven't had a best friend since I was thirteen, I think. I am blessed with some really, really, really good friends however.

How do you define a 'best friend'. I suppose that some of you will have an answer, and will have no trouble naming a best friend. Naming your spouse doesn't count. Susan is in a special category of human being that defies the very notion of friendship, and I am sure all your spouses are.

One measure of a best friend is to consider the number of miles traveled by you and that other friend just to be able to meet from time to time.

Another measure is what things you accomplished together. Did you accomplish something significant on a global scale? Something that made a dent in how people in the western world think, if only for a time?

Do you have each others' backs even when the chips are down?

How far back can you count your friendship? College? High School? Grade School? Kindergarten?

Would you lend that person your motorbike, no questions asked?

There are other ways to measure friendship, they are probably uncountable. Each formula will yield a different result.

In my case I am blessed with a number of people I can count on as friends who tick those boxes,  some individuals who tick more than one, and others who tick other boxes altogether.

Read what other bloggers posted:

Kathy, Richard, Rachael, Steve, Mark, and Dar

21. Best book ever (or at least a really good one!).

Easy, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

My very dear friend Andrew was aghast when he learned a) that I hadn't read it, and b) had never even heard of it. I think he was so shaken in his estimate of me, that he was rethinking the merits of our friendship.

One day shortly after, a mystery package arrived from Amazon, and there is was: a trilogy in five parts.

I will confess immediately, that my orthodox lawyer's brain bucked like a bronco as I attempted to read the first few chapters of that bloody book. One of the things that kept me going, is that my father's first car was a dark blue Ford Prefect. I can't be bothered to explain, read the book, or click here.

I must warn you though, there is a fairly good chance that it may fundamentally alter your perspective on the meaning of life, and your role in it. The upside is that it turns out that the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, is remarkably simpler to know than you ever might have imagined.

My advice to you is a) read the book, b) always travel with a towel, and c) don't attempt to learn how to fly. The instructions are deceptively simple but the learning is likely to kill you.

Read what other bloggers posted:

Kathy, Richard, Rachael, Steve, Mark, and Dar

22. Map or GPS.

Before GPS became a free service for civilians, before smart phones, back in the dawn of personal computers when computers had barely made into the home and might only fit in the trunk of your car, we went on our first family road trip to Florida in our 1990 Toyota Previa minivan. What a magical trip that was.

We relied on triptiks. We got them from the Canadian Automobile Club. Physically they were kind of like a GPS. A Fred Flintstone GPS. They were a long linear map, chopped into pages and pages, spiral bound along the short top edge, like a flipchart. As you drove down the highway, the navigator flipped the pages. You always knew where you were, approximately, and where you were going, as long as you stuck to the route. Apparently you can still get them.

If you digressed, well, you were well and truly lost. That's when you needed a real map. Or a Rand McNally Road Atlas. We had those in the car too, to manage those digressions I mentioned. Apparently you can still get those too.

Now there's Google Earth and Apple Maps on the phone, and  GPS on the dash. Same for my Vespa, all set up on RAM mounts.

I often daydream about what the 19 year old me would think if I could time travel him from the 1970's to the present and have him sit in our SUV. It would be like a scene from Back to the Future, or more precisely, Back from the Past.

Read what other bloggers posted:

Kathy, Richard, Rachael, Steve, Mark, and Dar

23. Meaning behind your blog name.

My mother, may she rest in peace, was an anxious planner. She didn't like surprises. When we went anywhere, she'd be ready, with her coat on, standing in the driveway, hours before we were actually ready to shove off.

When we did something spontaneous on the spur of the moment, Mom would say that we were racing off on two wheels.  It was her way of expressing her disapproval of such crazy wild shenanigans.

Now I didn't inherit the anxious planner gene. I am more prone to be a last minute kind of person, happy to leave a bunch of details up to serendipity and mad adventure. I don't get crazy when I'm thrown a curve (notwithstanding my recent non-travel adventure).

It seemed to strike a chord therefore to name my blog Life on two wheels, since many of the more level-headed people in my immediate family just shook their heads and rolled their eyes when I announced my intention to commute twenty miles a day, rain or shine, on a motor scooter.

The rest is history.

Read what other bloggers posted:

Kathy, Richard, Rachael, Steve, Mark, and Dar

24. Photo of your handwriting (use longhand/cursive!).

Read what other bloggers posted:

Kathy, Richard, Rachael, Steve, Mark, and Dar

25. Spice.

There are many things that are quite unique about Montreal. Things that I will very dearly miss once we move.

Many of those things are related to food.

Some things, like bagels for instance, are definitely available almost everywhere in Canada and the US, while other things like Montreal smoked meat are only available in a select few places outside of Montreal. The problem I will face is that 'Montreal smoked meat', and 'Montreal bagels', when purchased in Toronto or Vancouver, are barely pale interpretations of the real thing.

Even here in the city, you have to be choosy to get the very best.

It takes a trip to St-Viateur or Fairmount streets in the Plateau to get the very best bagels. For the best smoked meat, you have to go Smoke Meat Pete off island in Ile Perrot, or to Delibee in the Valois Village in Pointe Claire, or to Dunn's downtown on Metcalfe, or for purists, all the way to St-Laurent boulevard on the Plateau to get to the Main Deli, or across the street to the legendary Schwartz's Deli (now owned by Céline Dion). While Schwartz's smoked meat is undeniably delicious and iconic, and the only one of these venues where there is a perpetual lineup to get in, I personally have always found their version to be too dry for my taste.

So what does all this have to do with spice?

I'm glad you asked.

One of the interesting tidbits of Montreal food culture is something called Montreal Steak Spice.

 Fortunately, Montreal Steak Spice is widely available and it doesn't really matter whether you pick some up in the spice aisle of your local grocer in Montreal, Halifax, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver, or anywhere else you find it. It will always be reliably the same delicious concoction that turns the garden variety one inch thick rib steak on your charcoal grill from simply delicious to really, really, really, special.

Morris "The Shadow" Sherman is credited with the invention some time back in the 1940's or 1950's.

Read what other bloggers posted:

Kathy, Richard, Rachael, Steve, Mark, and Dar

26. How you make a living.

Many of you know that I'm a lawyer.

At the beginning of this challenge I revealed that fact, and suggested that I am a little unconventional. I have always preferred to find paths to resolution rather than finding paths that lead to conflict and controversy.

But that doesn't mean that I'm a pushover, by any means.

There is more to becoming a lawyer than studying piles of old dusty cases and regurgitating by rote on the occasional exam. The school you attend makes a huge difference.

I went to McGill law school. Many of us who survived that experience compare it to a kind of intellectual boot camp. Not content to teach us the law, McGill taught us to wade deep into the swamp, to duck our heads into remote, dark, murky waters and scoop out the primordial ooze with both hands, to see it, smell it, taste it.

McGill University Faculty of Law, Chancellor Day Hall
I remember those first few days of the first semester of law school. The class was overflowing. The students who showed up minutes before the class began found themselves sitting in the aisle. Unlike undergrad, the guys and girls sitting in the back row were as quick-witted, bright and inquisitive as the keeners in the first row. There was a reason for the overcrowding.

The policy of the faculty at that time (and perhaps today as well) was to accept only the very best candidates (150 out of approximately 2,500 applicants, at the time), and then, to fail approximately 25% of those by the end of the freshman year. It's the principle of skimming the cream. It was tough, tough, tough.

In the process, everyone had to do deep, deep dives into those swampy pools, becoming completely immersed in the mystery that is the law. It marks you. It also makes you incredibly tough. Intellectually tough.

It wasn't enough to study the constitution, you had to study and wrap your mind around the roots of British constitutional monarchy, studying ancient case law from House of Lords appeals from the various colonies, understanding in the process the very birth of abstract concepts like the immunity of parliamentarians at common law, the subtleties of the equitable jurisdiction and its fundamental difference from the principles of law. What a ride!  

And that's the reason that I can't abide unfairness, injustice and general selfish self-centeredness very much, if at all. It's the reason that I will sacrifice myself to do what's right, what needs doing. To stand up and tell things the way they are, not the way those with entrenched interests think they should be perceived.

Along the way, that attitude has cost me. But the price was always worth paying. It allows me to sleep at night.

Read what other bloggers posted:

Kathy, Richard, Rachael, Steve, Mark, and Dar

27. Selfie, captured specifically for your post.

I mentioned a while back somewhere, I think in a comment exchange with Steve, that I really don't like taking selfies.

The challenge for today's instalment is to take a selfie. I dragged my feet on this one.

Finally, a day late, I got it done.

We were doing errands and I was waiting for Susan to run in and out of the pharmacy and the grocery store where, in each case, she only needed an item or two.

With nothing to do but wait, I linked up the little Bluetooth shutter trigger I keep in my pocket and took a whole bunch of selfies.

I'm only posting the tolerable ones.

Now that I'm done with this painful exercise (thanks Kathy), I'll continue with the embarrassment and prepare the next post... a childhood pic. Oh dear.

Read what other bloggers posted:

Kathy, Richard, Rachael, Steve, Mark, and Dar

28. Childhood photo.

This photo was taken when I was five years old by a professional photographer. My parents had similar pictures taken of my three sisters. It hang prominently in my parents' house. When we moved my Dad into a retirement home, it came home with Susan and I and it hang in the basement until just a few weeks ago. I have a number of smaller versions, prints made at the time the enlargement was done, and now I have digital copies.

The original enlargement was recycled last week. Another victim of Susan and I cleaning house, preparing for a new life in Toronto.

Digital photography is a lifesaver for things like this that are hard to let go of. Save a picture in bits and bytes, and set the original free.

Do you think I am heartless?

Read what other bloggers posted:

Kathy, Richard, Rachael, Steve, Mark, and Dar


ToadMama said...

David, what a great story about the origin of Life on Two Wheels. :-)

SonjaM said...

This is a wonderful back story, David. I wonder what a younger David would have thought of the mature David who decided to commute to work on a scooter.

David Masse said...

Thanks Kathy. I have a massive amount of catch up to do on all the blogs

David Masse said...

He would have wildly approved.

RichardM said...

I just made a series of posts in advance and scheduled their publication date. And hoped that I would remember to go in and edit them before the date/time arrived. Most had just the basic information and formatting but I would usually add more the day before. Such as Ural updates...

David Masse said...

That is very smart. Because I am linking to your posts, I am also finding your post names very user-friendly.

I think when the dust settles on this challenge (which was very challenging, Kathy) I will go back and read the responses to compare our different approaches to the topics. My links will be helpful when I get that opportunity.

ToadMama said...

You did a great job meeting the challenge: I really enjoyed reading along and getting to know you a bit better. Sorry I went AWOL there are the end. I'm familiar with Montreal Steak seasoning. I send some to my Belgian friends every year. They love it. I prefer Mesquite.

The law school info was fascinating. I had no idea it was that tough.

Nice pic from back in the day, too. I have a really, really hard time tossing pictures, even if I do have digital copies.

Great job on the selfies! Thanks so much for playing along. 😄

David Masse said...

Thanks Kathy, I had fun.

I had no idea that spice blend was available south of the border.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.