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Young Geoffrey

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The War Against Winter [Dec. 15th, 2009|11:34 am]
Young Geoffrey
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General Winter is back!
And only Young Geoffrey can stop him!

The War Against Winter

During the spring and summer of 1977 I saw Star Wars (yes, just "Star Wars") something like 16 times. By the time the movie finally left town, I would put myself to sleep by running over the entire film — including every line of dialogue and each one of R2D2's beeps — in my head, sometimes doing it twice if I was having trouble transitioning to the Land of Nod.

Over time, memories of Star Wars evolved into a more personal (though admitedly, an entirely derivative) space-war fantasy of epic proportions, one in which I was the nearly immortal hero, time and again called up to save (ahem — it was mental comfort food, not meant to be a gourmet feast!) "The United Planets" from brutal, worse-than-the-Nazis, alien invaders.

And somehow, somewhere along the line, those alien invaders became iconified by winter, by snow.

The "invasion" would begin in late October or early December. I would be called upon to save the United Planets from certain anhilation shortly after Christmas and the war would rage for the next several months until, miraculously (and yet, to the detriment of the drama, also inevitably), the enemy was destroyed and all was once again Well With the Universe.

Until the next winter.

As you can probably imagine, the fantasy grew more perfunctory with time, an endless sequence of sequels, repetitive (and so conducive to sleep), but boring and so ever-more difficult to get enthusiastic about.

Young Geoffrey compared to snow-blower

I think it's a doubly-good thing I stopped smoking because, since General Winter launched his latest campaign, I have enjoyed more exercise than I probably have over the previous six months.

As you can see from the accompanying photos, Ottawa is a genuine winter city and our house includes a significant piece of driveway.

Last week saw our first significant snow-fall and the enthusiastic words I spouted upon my autumnal arrival at the begining of October — such as, "I can't wait for winter!" and "No, really, I'm looking forward to shovelling snow!" — now required that I put up or eat those words with an enormous helping of Corvidae.

Our first dump saw me shovelling out, from and back, not once, but twice. First in the early evening and then again first thing in the morning.

I've had to do it three more times in the last week or so, including spending 45 minutes at it this morning, when I was accosted by one of the women in the semi-detached house across the wall from ours, as she came out to find her car ready to roll out of a well-cleaned drive.

She waved at me as I hurled snow high atop the growing pile on the street and thanked me, saying she had been extremely busy lately, but that she would be joining me in the efforts soon.

She glanced at the shovel in my hand. "Have you done it all with that?" I said that I had. "Wow," she said, "it looks as if someone had used a snow-blower!"

I did this!

I laughed, all forelock (if I had a forelock) tugging and aw-shucks toe-scuffing false modesty.

"Anyway," she said, "thank you very much. I'll be joining you out here soon, but things have been crazy lately and you've been getting to it so fast ..."

"Don't worry," I said, "My dad tells me you kept him dug out the past two winters so I kind of figure we owe you anyway. And I can use the exercise."

She laughed. "All right, but once I come back from the East coast after Christmas I'll be helping you anyway.

And with that, she got in her car and I went around to the front to take care of her and our front walks.

So far, I really am enjoying it and my muscles appreciate getting used for more than typing and walking up and down a short flight of stairs a few times a day. Whether or not I'll feel the same come mid-March remains to be scene, but I'm optimistic that Young Geoffrey will still be shovelling the white stuff with smile on his face and a whistle from his lips.

And ... exeunt.

linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: antaura
2009-12-15 06:34 pm (UTC)
Last week saw our first significant snow-fall and the enthusiastic words I spouted upon my autumnal arrival at the begining of October — such as, "I can't wait for winter!" and "No, really, I'm looking forward to shovelling snow!" — now required that I put up or eat those words with an enormous helping of Corvidae.

I found myself in a similar situation last week. I'll grumble about having to do it, even though I actually do enjoy it (and even though my cats mock me by lazing in the windows and watching each an every scoop of the shovel).

My neighbours would never be so kind, not even if I were missing both my arms. Last winter, the fellow next door watched me try to flag down passing cars from my driveway so I could give my uncooperative car battery a boost. After a few minutes, he started his own car and I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight: "Good luck with that."
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-12-15 07:03 pm (UTC)

Holy moly!

Needless to say, that's bloody awful. And I thought Newfies were notoriously neighbourly towards one another.
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[User Picture]From: antaura
2009-12-15 07:11 pm (UTC)

Re: Holy moly!

We generally are. The dude's originally from Toronto. Perhaps simply a coincidence, but still... :P
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[User Picture]From: jade_noir
2009-12-16 10:25 pm (UTC)

ahh snow

That is very noble of you to shovel even your neighbor's snow.

My first reaction to snow is generally (unless I have to get to the hospital): why bother shoveling it? Why not walk to the bus/train station or stay home + ration food?
It is so painful for me to shovel snow. It hurts my back and the cold hurts my knees. And my reasoning is that if you live in a city isn't the entire point so you don't have to drive anywhere?
(*lazy*)
Those don't look like city houses to me... but then again I'm used to street-long joint slithers of houses in Philly slums. Those look like suburb houses.

How cold is it there?
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-12-16 10:35 pm (UTC)

Re: ahh snow

That is very noble of you to shovel even your neighbor's snow.

Not really. The walkways in front are pretty minimal and, well, as I said, they did shovel out my father over the past two winters, so "I" owe them.

Which partially answers your question about the need for a car. My father, in his own words, is a "cripple" or "crip". One artificial hip and he's going into the hospital for a second one on the 23rd. Much pain + limited mobility = wants/needs to drive a car.

But you're right about the houses here. I'm a 25-minute (fast) walk from dead-centre downtown Ottawa and, yes, the houses here look like those in old suburbs. Rather than grow denser as it has grown more populated, it has instead spread out, like a cancer, a Los Angeles of the Ottawa Valley.

How cold? Meh. 'Bout minus 10 (C) just at the moment. We'll be seeing -20 or colder tonight or tomorrow, but I'll believe it when I need to actually throw on a parka.
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[User Picture]From: jade_noir
2009-12-16 10:52 pm (UTC)

Re: ahh snow

Ah yeah. It would be necessary for a cripple to get a car. I forgot about that for a moment.

Oh that's not tooo much colder than here. Winter weather is usually something averaging 0 C. We use Fahrenheit here but luckily I am one and a half years into training as a Chemist and we use Celsius in the lab.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-12-17 02:54 am (UTC)

Re: ahh snow

Also, he was born in '33 and so, came of age just as the era of the motor-car was really getting into high gear. In other words, he's used to it, both practically and symbolically. That I would actually prefer to walk or bicycle when practical is kind of alien to him.

And I figured you'd be familiar with Celcius. Had I been braver (and more competent), I'd have cited the temperature in degrees Kelvin — but didn't want you to mock me if I screwed up the conversion.
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-12-19 12:36 am (UTC)

Re: ahh snow

Off the top of my little chemistry-filled head, the conversion is
C + 273 = K
since 0 K is absolute zero
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-12-19 04:22 pm (UTC)

Re: ahh snow

That sounds right. If I could memorize arithmetic tables as I once had multiplaction tables memorized I might start using K in general conversation, if only to be pretentious.
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[User Picture]From: rantipole6
2009-12-18 01:34 am (UTC)
I am genuinely impressed by your snow shoveling abilities.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-12-19 04:26 pm (UTC)

At risk of immodesty, so am I

Had some car trouble yesterday, requiring pushing it into the street. And I confess, I was very impressed by the job I'd done. To the point where the cold front that's sent in is annoying me, not because it's cold but because it's preventing snow-bearing weather from entering the Ottawa Valley.

"Please, Gaia, may I have some more?"
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[User Picture]From: beable
2009-12-20 07:47 am (UTC)

Apropos of Christmas rather than snow


I keep forgetting when I'm at work (where I'm more likely to have a digital copy from the last time I made a CD mix) to save that Simon and Garfunkel song we were discussing, but someone has posted it to youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZazHqdNeXA

On th eoriginal, one could alter the balance from left to right to hear just 7 0'clock news or silent night, it mostly still works with the uploaded digital version to youtube too.

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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-12-23 01:20 am (UTC)

Re: Apropos of Christmas rather than snow

Thanks for that. Not at all coincidental to that conversation, I've now managed to acquire a S&G best-of which includes that track. I'd forgotten just how much I liked them.,

Incidentally, when you're ready for it, I am now in a position to introduce you to Miss Sarah Jane Smith.
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[User Picture]From: beable
2009-12-23 02:40 am (UTC)

Re: Apropos of Christmas rather than snow


Eggs-cel-lent. (said in my best Cyberman impression, which is is admittedly piss poor).

I don't have much free time until after New Year's, but maybe in January we can reprise the "get together for a pint" thing, skipping the "watch a boring movie first" ?
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-12-23 02:36 pm (UTC)

Re: Apropos of Christmas rather than snow

I remember the schedule you posted a while back, which is why I haven't been pushing you to set a date. Just wanted to make it clear that I'd be delighted to repeat — and that I don't blame you for the movie; a new film is always a crap-shoot.

So, let me know when you're up for something; my schedule's pretty open and pretty flexible.
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