April 28, 2012

Bachelor Exercise No. 3

Bachelor exercise number three: documentation of a rarely-seen event – that of a modern bachelor wallowing in low, low, rock-bottom culinary standards. Peanuts & Corn Records' founder/producer/rapper mcenroe provides the soundtrack. Accompanied by a bowl of original shredded wheat bricks and brown sugar, a competent mix that provides the daily dose of both fibre and teeth-rotting sweetness.

So, milk carton is emptied. Fridge is bare. Bag is packed. And I. Am. Outtahere.

Addendum: add one more song to the list established in bachelor exercise number one.

April 27, 2012

Bachelor Exercise No. 2

beard devolution I
In preparation for my trip overseas and anticipation of my reunion with Kerry, I underwent the process of bachelor-beard removal via three steps. It's not quite the 12-step opus of recovering alcoholics, but a man's return to civilization via grooming is no less important. Step One (above) is possibly the most important: Acceptance. Acceptance that not all men are created for beard growth – case in point the two months it took to even concoct this scraggly thing.

beard devolution II
Step Two (above) is Denial. Chiefly, denial of beard failure as displayed through a final fling with one of facial-hairdom's most shunned and misunderstood creatures: the porn-star look.

beard devolution III
Step Three (above) is Cowboy. This step needs no further explanation beyond the fact it is awesome.

April 22, 2012

266: Red Sky At Night

I almost missed this year's nocturnal owl survey. Anyone who's been around these parts knows it's one of my favourite rites of spring (as evident here, and here, and here, and here). This year the stars weren't aligning, as buddy Jason couldn't make it to town in time to squeeze into the early April window the survey results rely on. Too bad, since the astoundingly early spring would come with excellent road conditions – after our 2011 survey fell short due to heavy snowpack on the route we take.

But we learned on Friday that late-April results would still count so we made a go of it, building in an early burger run to Blondie's. The evening was incredible. Shoe Lake, a popular canoe launch in Nopiming Provincial Park where we typically stop and wait for sunset, was completely thawed. In our ten previous owl surveys the lake ranged from slushy to completely frozen, even in the warmest of springs.

And there was lots of activity. Our 20-mile route resulted in 18 owl recordings, among our best years on record. The results would have been more fruitful had the pitch-black forest not been inundated by thousands of calling spring peepers and wood frogs (especially because normal interference from geese, ducks and grouse didn't seem to be an issue). But no cause for complaint; even in years where numbers are low it's a treat to stand stark-still on an empty logging road in the dark and listen to the sweet nothing that envelopes me. Or the slap of a beaver's tail on water, which can darn near empty my bowels. Either way, it's cool.


And of course, we are not above spoiling the serenity of it all (photo by Jason).

Want to take part in the Manitoba Nocturnal Owl Survey? Head here. And stay out of the Nopiming – that's our turf.

April 07, 2012

265: That's A Paddlin'

that's a paddlin'
My brother and his fiancée are getting married later this year. As part of the preparations, they asked me to craft their über-simple invitation that would take the form of a postcard featuring an illustration of the two of them in their "engagement canoe". They were angling for a look very similar to a self-portrait I'd done a couple of years ago as an homage to Hergé, one of my few select illustration heroes. The style, all crisp, defined lines and doses of flat colour, was right up my alley. So as daunting as it was to honour them and their big day – almost as daunting as the invites for our own tiny, perfect wedding – it was a request impossible to say no to.

One hitch: with the ask coming during the onset of winter, reference material for a soothing paddle in the water would need ample assistance from my imagination. So in its place, the equally soothing sensations of a faux-paddle through the snow in a neighbourhood park…

The postcards are in the mail now (we've got ours!). All that remains between now and the big day is that pesky little matter of summer.

Click here to have a closer gander at the finished drawing.