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To Kingston and back again; a New Year's journey or,

Young Geoffrey VS the ravages of age!

Our son, the driver!
Our son, the driver (I'm so proud)! Carl the Second takes the wheel.

Raven had a brutal couple of months at work and insisted that a post-holiday holiday was in order.

Kingston (Ontario) being reasonably close by, and boasting one of our favourite eateries, the humbly- and confusingly-named Pat's Restaurant, which serves up some delicious fare that, I'm told, is about as authentically Cambodian as one is likely to find in a small Ontario city, I rented a car and packed up the family for a whirlwind getaway last Thursday morning. (Yes, more than a week ago now; I've been busy.)

Raven had also got us tickets to see something called Lumina Borealis, an interactive sound-and-light show held in and around "historic Fort Henry". I had feared we'd be standing around watching a display similar to that which shows up on Parliament Hill every summer, a technically impressive, but edifyingly bourgeois entertainment, which we would passively consume while standing in the damp and frigid Kingston night as it was projected upon the Fort's walls.

Image of one part of the Lumina Borealis light-show in Kingston, Ontario.
A wall near the end of the Lumina Borealis show. Pictured here are people hurling orange snowballs at the display; a hit results in sound and a reaction from the imagine.

Happily, it was a good deal more interesting — and fun. It was cold (a damp cold! And for those of you who live in warmer climes, a dry cold is a lot easier to handle), but the show — a variety of sights and sounds, including physical objects, light-images and microphones into which we could speak or sing and affect the visual goings-on upon the walls around us — more than made up for it. We probably did the circuit in 45 minutes, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I had thought I would.

If you have kids, they'll love it.

But I digress. Aside from the Pat's (Cambodian) Restaurant, the other memory I had from our last visit, was of the best biscotii had ever tasted.

Come morning, we left Carl the Second in charge of our motel room and set out in search of coffee — and biscoti.

Carl the Second guards our room at the Super 8
Carl in Charge! Our son was proud to be responsible for protecting our room from strangers and nose motel employees.

I didn't remember the name of the place, but had a pretty good idea of its location, and it didn't take too long for me to find it. Coffee & Company at 53 Princess Street. We entered and took our place in line. When it was my turn, I ordered a Large coffee (sensibly, they do Small, Medium and Large; that's it, that's all) and not one, but two, biscotis. The second I asked for in a bag, as I wanted to take it home with me.

Dream on, Young Geoffrey!

Two biscotis became one, then almost none, in very short order. (After snapping the photo below, "almost none" become "none".) And when it was time to go, I found myself lurking near the counter and smiling and nodding at the young woman in charge with all the deranged charm of a temporarily sober drunk at a family gathering..

The remains on the tray. A small piece of a once mighty biscoti.
The remains on the tray. Yes, your Honour, it was delicious. I regret nothing!

"I need another biscoti," I said, brandishing the empty bag into which she had earlier placed my second. "To go."

She smiled and nodded in return, as if I weren't on the edge of drooling. As she reached the glass jar in which the biscotis were on handsome display, I blurted out, "Make it two. No! One. No! Two! TWO!"

"Are you sure?" she smiled, a kindly Pity dripping from her eyes like sweet honey.

"Yes," I whispered, and stared as she set about her labours.

She grinned and tonged one, then, two, then three biscotis into the little white paper bag. As the third dropped from sight, she winked at me and mouthed, Don't say anything!

What could I do but grin and nod, then shake my head emphatically in reply?

When Raven and I left the cafe, I asked her, "Do you think she gave me the third biscoti because she thought I'm a hot stud or a cute old man?"

"Oh please!" quoth Raven. "A cute old man."

The sun sets on Young Geoffrey's Youth or,

A young woman struggles mightily to extricate foot from mouth

Our son, the model!
Carl II somehow travels backwards in time, to when all was a panda's paradise: black and white!

Back in Ottawa, I worked a late shift on Saturday that saw me home after 03:00 Sunday morning and in bed close to 05:00. And up again far too soon, for a soccer game at 13:00 hours.

Despite a two week lay-off for seasonal gorging, the game was a good one, hard-fought and close, ending in a 5-5 tie. And, more importantly from my personal stand-point, I played better than I feared I might, running hard and placing some nice balls, if I do say so myself. I even assisted on at least one goal.

Anyway, at one point early in the second half I and a young team-mate called Maddison, with whom I've shared a team a few times before, found ourselves on the sidelines, chatting.

"You're doing really well today," she said. I demured as one does, but she insisted, "You've really mastered the one-touch exit. And you really move! You run just as hard, and pretty fast for, uh ...

There was an expression bordering on social panic in her clenched jaw as she realized her near faux-pas.

Jesus, the things people take offense at! Or might take offense at.

I smiled widely and said, "It's okay, I know I'm a little older than most of you guys. I'm not under any delusions about that."

She nodded, sheepishly, then added, "I don't know if I qualify as young any more myself."

"Oh please! You're under 30, aren't you?"

"I'm 26."

I laughed. "I'll be 52 in February. You're still pretty young from where I stand!"

And I thought, before I took the field again, how strange it is that merely verbally acknowleding an obvious truth — such as, that a man twice her age is "older" — can be frought with such anxieties.

And yet, I felt an echo of Maddison's nerves myself, when she answered my guess that she was under 30, with the information she is 26. Might she, I briefly wondered, have been hurt that I didn't suggest she was under 25?

But there you have it. Like almost every older person I know or have known, I don't feel like I am the chronological age that I am. But (and unlike many, I am blessed with my bike-riding, soccer-playing good health (and nevermind the arthritis and possible tendonitis)) I can't help but become increasingly self-conscious of the fact that Young Geoffrey is, in truth, well into his middle years.

Post-scriptum, for Nellie

"Powderfinger" is one of my favourite Neil Young songs. Bad history, but (I think) beautiful poetry, in metal.

He came dancing across the water
With his galleons and guns
Looking for the new world
In that palace in the sun.

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Have I mentioned that I love soccer? And also, cycling? And even, winter?

Young Geoffrey sets out for his soccer afternoon in Ottawa.

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The pitch was bright, all hard sun baking wilting astro-turn, the mid crowded with bodies of the enemy. I punted a cautious pass towards my downstream team-mate, calling out his name as the ball left the toe of my shoe and floated over the defenders' heads. He turned, but mis-calculated and the ball bounced, then dribbled toward the enemy.

I pinched, fast and hard, reaching the ball only milliseconds before my opponent. Kicked out, hard and ...

... and hurled myself right off my bed and into the wall, down which I slid to the floor.

From above, I heard Raven cry out, "Honey, what happened? Are you all right?" She burst into laughter when I explained what had happened, and I did too, as I got to my knees, checked for damages (slight scrape on the inside of one thigh), and clambered back onto the bed.

Soccer dreams are all well and good, but somebody's gonna get hurt if this keeps up. A rude awakening indeed.

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As the Canucks among you will know, Canada is in the midst of a federal election, one in which the ruling Facists Conservatives have taken off the gloves and are using blatant lies (did you know that marijuana is "infinitely worse" than tobacco? Well, now you do! If a Prime Minister asserts it, it must be true, right?) and out-right racism (anti-Muslim xenophobia dressed up in women's rights lipstick) to divide and conquer. With two weeks to go until election day, the fear-mongering and hate-stirring seems to have moved the necessary 10% or so of voters so that Harper's thugs can taste victory. In a first-past-the-post system, 35% of the vote might be enough to secure a majority in Parliament.

  Image: Photo of my right thigh, rear, about one week after tearing my hamstring.

All of which is to say, rage and despair are the primary emotions I'm feeling when I look at the world around me; and that's just in Canada.

Worse (or better?), I still haven't managed to finish that fucking long-promised review of last year's be-damned Doctor Who Christmas Special. That despite having watched the stupid thing at least four times by this point, maybe more. And it's already three episodes into the new series and I have yet to watch a single one of them. And I realized the other day that I'm not missing the show at all.

Sigh ...

On the up-side, I have fully-recovered from the torn hamstring I suffered last spring (that's the ugly pic above and to the right) and in fact finished my latest "season" with the bloody well-organized Ottawa Footy-Sevens yesterday, with a double-header. I'll guestimate that I spend close to an hour-and-a-half of the tours hours on the field — which, I hasten to add, isn't why we lost both games.

But fun was had, and (as I've said before) the fact that I even can more or less hold my own with people who probably average 20 or 25 years younger than I am still thrills me all to all.

That said, soccer does not come without its costs. And in my case, the hamstring aside, the primary payees have been my feet. Specifically, my big toes. In the past few years I've lost four or five tonails, and two more will soon follow.

For reasons I don't fully understand, I feel compelled to show them to you.

But for reasons I do understand (the pictures are gross!; and so are my feet, as I discovered yesterday when I looked at the photos Raven took before I set out for my games), I'm placing them behind a cut so that you will see them only if you actually want to.

Click here, if you dare! )

You're welcome!

And now I must be off to the day-job. exeunt

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Funny thing about my state of mind following my my recent sports injury: I wasn't unhappy or upset about it. Quite the opposite. Sunday afternoon and evening found my smiling and laughing, despite the fact I could barely hobble up or down the stairs and that settling onto the toilet was a task that took me about 75 seconds to perform.

Despite it all, I realized I was happy. I felt as if I'd won a lottery, not like I was in a significant amount of pain.

And looking back at my recent self, I realized that I've been really quite happy a lot more than I used to be. Credit for some of it goes to the presence of Raven in my life, no doubt, but I don't think that's all of it. It seems almost as if I've entered into another, less angsty phase of life; though I risk jinxing myself, it feels like a new normal. Is this really what fifty feels like?


Meanwhile, due to the overwhelming deluge* of concern and curiosity about my recent sports injury, I am also happy to report that things seem to be healing apace.

By happy, I mean really happy. Never mind soccer, on Sunday I was worried I might miss one or more days of work — always problematic when you're on-call and don't have any paid sick-leave. But before yesterday was done, I was able to make my way downstairs in normal fashion, one leg after the other. Going up was harder, but I was able to do it, though I winced a lot when I put weight on my right foot and started to lift (in fact, sometimes I just limped up).

This morning, I find myself able to veritably bounce down the stairs and going up hurts considerably less than it did. And I'll be going into the office in a couple of hours and have virtually no concerns about spending four or five hours behind the wheel of a van. Bending down to pick something off of the floor still requires some acrobatics with my right leg, but I don't think I'll have any trouble lifting luggage into the back of the vehicle.

I think I will miss this Sunday's game, but more because Raven — who has had a brutal month-and-a-half at her office — is in serious need of a road-trip, and I've agreed to doing a weekend in Montreal with her.

All of which is to say, It could have been a hell of a lot worse.

*Overwhelming deluge being here defined as a number > or < than 1.

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So that's what it feels like to pull one's hamstring. (Hint: Not Good.)

After a week off since my old team won our consolation game (against a team that had previously beaten us 6-1), today was a beautiful day to switch from the fetid air of a dome to a field under the big sky — at Carleton University, as it happens.

Warm, sunny and with just enough wind to make things interesting, I met my new team of more-or-less randomly-assigned individuals. Five girls and six (or was it seven?) guys — a pretty big squad and I think more women on it than I've previously experienced.

On the whole, this team is not going to be a world-beater. There's not a ringer in the bunch and I definitely consider myself among the top half in terms of skillz and energy. Which means that, if winning was the primary objective, this would look like being a really long season.

But rec soccer is, thank god, primarily meant to be recreational, and everyone on the field seemed to be more worried about having fun than in whether or not we were going to win. In fact, the half-time pep-talk consisted mostly of a general agreement that we should try to keep the ball away from the other team as much as possible.

And we did considerably better in the second half. I believe the final score was 5-2 against, which is better than the Montreal Canadiens did against the fucking Lightning later on this evening.

But that hamstring. That fucking hamstring. Came with only a minute or two left in the game, and I was playing centre D. I'd pinched a little and suddenly found myself running like hell — sprinting, in truth, and not for the first time that game (so happy I can do that!) — to catch the opposing forward. I managed it, too, but as we jostled one of my cleats caught something in the turf and I felt a sudden, searing pain shoot up the inside of my right thigh.

I went down like I'd been shot, and I stayed down. Wasn't quiet about it, either. Jesus god, but that hurt!

Still, after probably two minutes, I was (with two people supporting me) I able to get to my feet and off the field. And a little while later, managed to hobble to my venerable bicycle and clamber aboard the saddle, to gingerly and slowly pedal my way back to Centretown and home.

Will I be able to play next week? Dunno. In fact, I don't even know if I'll be able to drive a van at work on Tuesday, though I'm hopeful on both counts. I'll have a better sense of things tomorrow, no doubt.

I'm not complaining. It's been a at least a good three years or more since I've managed to hurt myself on the pitch, and a pulled muscle is a hell of a lot less serious than a stretched tendon or (got help me) a blown-out knee.

So, cheers! Raven and I are going to catch up on an episode or two of Scott and Bailey and then I'll see how and whether I'll be able to sleep.

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Down three goals at the end of the first half, playing short-handed the entire game and forced to accept a sub from the opposing team when their captain — and only girl playing — went down with a knee injury, the @UOttawa-A's of the Ottawa Footy Sevens Recreational Soccer League faced inevitable defeat with heroic defiance.

Early in the second half, they found the back of the Zinedine Shenanigans' net, then found it again. The Shenanigans struck back to re-gain a two-goal lead, but by the time the clock showed less than five minutes to go, Young Geoffrey answered the call for a sub at forward, despite spending most of his career on the back end of the pitch.

Young Geoffrey, the oldest player on the pitch, saw the ball land four metres in front of the opposition net and drove towards the orb. Eye on the net, he pivoted on his left leg and left fly with his right. The ball curved towards the far corner, even as a team-mate's foot lashed out and caught his ankle with a might blow. Young Geoffrey went down like some ancient oak crashing through the underbrush, yet he kept his eye on the ball and gloried in the sight of the netting billowing outwards.


His team-mate went down as if in sympathy. "Jesus!" said Greg, "I'm sorry! Are you okay?

Young Geoffrey was already getting to his feet, even as the referee and players from both teams began to gather round like hyenas sensing blood concerned recreational players.

"I'm fine, I'm fine," said Young Geoffrey as he rotated his ankle to verify his words. "We scored, you know."

"You scored," said Greg, "that was yours!

The final four minutes saw the Shenanigans push for the trying goal with all their might, but despite their extra player, the uOttawa - A's held on for a victory well-earned.

* * *

I get mocked for my braggadocio, by colleagues at work and even by ostensible Best Friends, but fuck it. I was a fat(ish) kid as a youth and, though I loved to play pick-up hockey at the local (outdoor) rink, and soccer at recess in grade school, I was never under any delusion I was an athlete. I only once played an organized sport — soccer, the summer after grade five or six.

My sainted mother remembers me as a plucky little boy who "trundled bravely down the field". Thanks, mom; you make me sound like a dancing dog, as if it were a miracle I could play at all.

Anyway ...

Anyway, outdoor shinny gave way, in my teens, to indoor drinking and smoking and I kept up those virtues until well into my 40s.

So you know what? That at the age of 50 I find myself playing with and against "kids" who are mostly in their 20s and 30s is at least partly due to having had the wisdom to choose a robust set of ancestors, the truth is, I am proud of myself, as well as grateful.

It is fun to find myself getting better a fucking sport in my Late Youth, and watching that ball go into the net was an absolute joy, somehow made even sweeter by the fact of the kick that took me down almost in the same instant.

* * *

My god! Has it really been more than five years since I gave up that noxious master, tobacco? (It has.) A whole tenth of my life, now that I've passed the fifty year mark! The rate at which the passage of time continues to accelerate is as astonishing to me as it is appalling.

Which also means that another 5th anniversary is almost upon me: About a week from now will mark exactly five years since I reached over and draped my arm over Raven's shoulder. And, shortly thereafter, kissed her. (She made me sleep on the couch that night. But deigned to share it with me.)

We moved into our own apartment some three years ago or so, and are now about to move again. This time into a god damned town-house! Two floors. Carpets. Landlord a non-profit housing organizing, instead of rapacious slumlords (rent miraculously only $100.00 more than we're currently paying for the shoddy, mouse-infested hovel we'll call home for another two and a half weeks or so).

50 years old and a townhouse! Can it be that Young Geoffrey is not quite so young as he once was?

Hell, I dunno. All I'm sure of is, these entries would come a lot easier and more organically, if I wrote more of them.

I'll try ...

ed_rex: Winter Warrior icon (Weekend Warrior)
  This is what obsity looks like? Photo: Young Geoffrey takes a break on the sidelines of the pitch, summer 2013. Photo by the Phantom Photographer.
  This is what obsity looks like? Young Geoffrey takes a break on the sidelines of the pitch, summer 2013. Photo by the Phantom Photographer.

I know it's been said many times before, at length and probably with greater eloquence, but sweet Jesus don't we make a fetish of numbers! Give some phenomenon a number with a decimal point — say, for instance, 30.2 — and we leap to embrace it as a Significant Truth, as Science, no matter how shaky its foundation nor how often that particular scale has been debunked.

I'd meant, some three or four weeks ago now, to update my personal blog with a little bragging amid a more general report on the State of Young Geoffrey's Corpus.

Y'see, I've been cycling quite a lot again, since the snow melted, and when I went out for my first soccer game in a couple of months — and a 90-minute game it was, not a mere 60! — I was really pleased to note the improvement in my fitness. I not only jogged across the field at half-time to find the bathroom (and jogged back), but was surprised when the game was over.

"That's it?" I called out, "I thought there was another 20 minutes to go!"

"You've got the energy for another 20 minutes?" one of my team-mates, a 20-something named Paul, asked me. And when I said, "Yeah, I think so," I realized I was pretty sure that I did.

It was, to put it mildly, an awesome feeling for a once-heavy smoker, and I whooped and hollered as I cycled my way home for the sheer joy of movement.

I wanted, too, to discuss the fact that the psoriatic arthritis I first mentioned a couple of years ago seems to be in remission. Concerned some enzymes in my liver were a little high (I hadn't cut back quite as much on the beer as I'd been supposed to, I admit it), my specialist told me to take a week's break from the Scary Powerful Drug he'd put me on, Methotrexate. So I did. And, when I felt no sign of pain returning, I took another week off. And another after that, and so. Six months later I still hadn't taken another dose and, when I saw said specialist for a follow-up, he shrugged and said to keep on keeping on, so long as I felt okay. "Start taking again and call for an appointment if the pain comes back. Otherwise, come back in year."

And that, more or less, would have been that. Young Geoffrey feels pretty good, he's playing soccer with 20-somethings, thank you very much, and he feels both vaguely grateful for (and maybe just a little bit smug about) his good fortune.

Image: Photo of Taylor Townsend, September 5, 2011, by Robbie Mendelson, courtesy of Wikimedia.org  
Detail of photo of Taylor Townsend at U.S. Open Juniors on Sunday, September 4, 2011. Original photo by Robbie Mendelson, courtesy of Wikimedia.org.  

Unfortunately (or not) for the state of said personal blog, I came across a couple of items that combined to complicate my report. Three or four weeks later, I don't remember which came first, but I don't suppose that really matters much. One was personal, the aforementioned 30.2, a number that applies to me. The other an item I read about a young, female, African American tennis player called Taylor Townsend.

Though I am by no means a professional athlete, nor a woman, nor black, nor (if the truth be told at all) even all that young any more, Taylor and do share something in common. We are both, at least according to some standards, fat.

In fact, though my blood pressure is excellent and my resting heart rate typically clocks in at just over 50 beats a minute, I carry some extra flesh on me. If there is a 6-pack to be found on my abdomen, it is well-insulated, or perhaps, as my sweetie puts it, it is disguised as a one-pack.

Image: Young Geoffrey's BMI rating: Obese, via hall.md.

To add insult to injury, the internet, via a 150 year-old measurement that is still, apparently, accorded a not insignificant diagnostic respect by laymen and medical professionals alike, has informed me that I not only jiggle a little, but that I am, in truth, obese.

Not pleasantly plump, not chubby, not carrying around "a few extra pounds", but obese. A big fatso, a lardass, a Homer J ...

And presumably, so is Taylor Townsend, who (by the way) made it to the third round at the French Open a few weeks back.

Would my knees thank me if I dropped 20 or 30 (or even 40) pounds? Presumably. At one point in my 20s I got myself down to about 145 pounds and if I still felt like the chubby kid whose clothes all came from the Husky racks, photographic evidence from that era shows I was pretty close to lean. If I'd been playing soccer and cycling 2 or 3 thousand kilometres a year, I probably would have been.

Would Taylor Townsend's knees thank her if she dropped a 10 or 20 or 30 pounds? Presumably. But would dropping that weight make a better tennis player? Maybe not: Teen Tennis Prodigy Taylor Townsend: 'My Body Is A Total Gift'.

Despite the subject's own answer, my instinct is to say yes in answer to that last question, but really, what do I know about the best "fighting weight" for a particular 18 year-old African-American woman called Taylor Townsend? Presumably knees are always calling for a lighter load to lug around, but the rest of the body is, or at least can be, a hell of a lot more complicated.

What isn't complicated, and the reason I'm going on so god damned long about this, is that far too many of us and, I believe, too many doctors and other ostensible health professionals who ought to know better, look at a person's BMI, at the number and presume it means something, all by itself. Because ... number! With decimal point!

By all means, check heart rate and blood pressure; measure body fat; maybe see if you can pinch an inch ... But don't look at a height/weight ratio and think it means something! It might, for those who have a typical European's body type and who carry an average amount of muscle tissue and have average length arms and legs. For the rest of us: for real athletes and chubby weekend warriors, for the naturally skinny and new mothers alike, it isn't even useful as a ball-park figure. It's worse than useless, in truth, because it's liable to be mis-interpreted and to create all manner of useless anxiety — or unwarranted self-confidence.

If your doctor looks at your BMI number and not at you, find another doctor.

This isn't, by the way, intended to by some fat-positive message either. To be honest, though my sweetie thinks my "roundness" is "cute" (and thank god for that!), I don't. I don't much like the figure I see in the mirror and would love to trim down some. But all the real indications are that any weight problem I have right now is aesthetic and cultural, not medical.

So, come Sunday afternoon, I (and my belly) are going to "bounce across the field" in all our enthusiastic glory after a little round soccer ball. Wish us luck!

Right. It's nearly 04:00 and I need to be at work for a 12-hour shift by 13:00 hours. Time for something really offensive to take us into that good night ... Take it away, Bruce McCulloch!

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Woe is knee!


I blog the body (semi) athletic!

Young Geoffrey fails in daring prison escape seeks an opening during a soccer match at Carleton U's Raven's Field, summer 2013. Photo by the Phantom Photographer

How easily we forget physical pain; and a damned good thing, else our childhood's would be remembered as a litany burning fevers, snapped bones and flesh stripped away, like a carrot on a grater.

Ladies and gentlemen, last Sunday I skinned my knee — and I'm damned if it doesn't still hurt!

Actually, I didn't just skin my knee, I also got kicked in the hand during the same incident. Happily, the application of some ice took care of the latter assault in mere minutes.

Yes now, very nearly a full week later, the knee — alas! — still causes pain.

Photo hidden so as to assuage the delicate sensibilities of the squeamish. Or in other words, Not Safe for Dinner! )

No, I didn't get into another fight, but just had a collision during a match playing the Beautiful Game. As some of you may remember, Young Geoffrey has taken up soccer (football) in his Late Youth and last Sunday saw me driving for the opposing team's goal, only to be tripped up at the last moment — and booted in the head for good measure.

The blow to the head left me not-quite wobbly, but definitely with the desire to leave the field for a time. The blood dripping from my knee (which wasn't top of my mind at the moment) made it mandatory in any case.

Fortunately (as it were) one of my team-mates had been dropped by an errant ball kicked from close range into her neck, so there was an ice-pack handy. I cradled myself thusly as I limped around the field to get get some rubbing alcohol and a bandage from one of the organizers (Ottawa Footy Sevens, an organization I am happy to link to).

On my way back to the field, someone warming up pointed to the pack and asked what had happened. "I think it was a knee!" I said and he laughed, "All right!"

And it was, though when I later told Raven about it, she didn't laugh, but only shook her headed worriedly. Sports, to those who don't play, must seem a form of utter lunacy. But I digress; it's my knee that's on my mind.

Or more to the point, what must be the evolutionarily advantageous fact that memories of physical pain are among the most disposable, least permanent, memories that we have.

Young Geoffrey huffs and puffs at Carleton U's Raven's Field, summer 2013. (Not Jade Inferno, but the team I played with during the summer.) Photo by the Phantom Photographer.

This skinned knee is not a serious injury, and it's one I'll wager most of us have experienced many times when we were kids. But it means that I'm re-growing a couple of layers of skin over a not-insubstantial area of my body and I'm damned if it doesn't hurt. New flesh doesn't much like to stretch or bend. And my wound has even gone so far as get a little infected, which adds to the discomfort — especially with the repeated doses of rubbing alcohol to which I'm subjecting it.

If you're like me, you're reading this and immediately thinking of someone who's suffered serious burns and what that must be like. And if you are really like me, you surely can't imagine that.

Physical pain slips as surely from our imagination as it does from our memory.

And thank god for that; otherwise, we'd be crippled by fear of pain before we reached the age of 10.

Since I'm not (too) worried about getting hurt on the pitch, despite currently still suffering some significant discomfort, I have every intention of heading out to to do battle again this afternoon, even if I have to limp on to the field to do it. (Once the adrenaline starts to flow, the pain will be forgotten for the duration, the plaints of my regenerating dermis drowned out by the thrill of the game.

Post-script, completely self-serving

Young Geoffrey, super-star (of sorts)

And speaking of the Beautiful Game itself, last fall saw me experience a joy I never had before: being part of a winning team. I had meant to post about it at the time, but waited for a team picture to arrive in my email — which it never did. Apparently no one ever got it, which I think a damned shame.

Over the course of a brief, 11-game schedule, Jade Inferno FC, which started as a group of randomly-assigned players (most — ahem — in their 20s and early 30s; yes, I'm proud. Actually, I am fucking thrilled that I am able to more or less keep up) slowly became a team.

By season's end we ranked in the middle of the pack but smoked our opponents in the first round of the playoffs. And suddenly we found ourselves playing a semi-final match, against a team that had beaten us twice during the season.

That game started poorly; our opponents scored 2 points before I even had a chance to take the field. But by the end of the first half, we were tied; and, after falling behind again in the second half, we tied the game again and took the lead for good with but a couple of minutes to go.

We fell upon each othe like mad people, giddy with the surprising pleasure of having ... well, not yet won but of way over-achieving.

Ladies and gentlemen, it was an awesome feeling.

And one not much deminished by the fact that we were smoked in the championship game, which ended with a score of something like 6-1 little more than an hour later. Silver really did feel like a victory.

My current team is not made of the same stuff. We're now 0-7, I think, with only 3 goals to our name. But that's okay. Winning is more fun, but simply playing is fun enough.

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Despite appearances, I am not about to be beaten to a bloody pulp by fellow inmates of a correctional institution in the photo shown above. The photo was in fact taken on the soccer pitch at Carleton University on the 27th of July 2013, during a lull in a 7-on-7 match. And I am most likely gasping for air, not hurling invective at opposing players.

Yes, it's been a long time since I've posted here. A long time since I've posted much of anything anywhere, pretty much, beyond the delay blurts on Twitter and occasional comments here, on Livejournal or Facebook.

As those of you checking in on my Facebook or Twitter postings might know, I've been cycling a hell of a lot and holding my own (see above) in 7-on-7 soccer with and against players who are mostly 20 or so years younger than I am. And yes, I'm feeling good about that, even if my belly seems to show little or no signs of changing in response to the workouts my body's been getting.

I've also been working quite a lot, both at the Transportation Job and on various word and word-related projects. But not enough with the latter. In truth, when it comes to actually sitting down to write, I've been blocking more often than not; and when not blocking, my long-overdue ghost-writing project has been taking priority.

I'd like to change much of that (really I would!) and as a bit of self-encouragement, I am writing this post to re-introduce myself to whoever among those listed here and on LJ still have me on their reading lists. To that end, "A Memeish Thing", freely modified from one posted by LJ's earlier this month.


Please copy the topics below, erase my answers and put yours in their place, and then post it in your journal! Please elaborate on the questions that would benefit from elaboration. One-Word-Answers seldom help anyone out.

FIRST NAME: Geoffrey, but answers to Geoff quite willingly. Some who know me well might have other appellations, but I prefer those remain between you and me.

AGE: 48. I know, I find it nearly impossible to believe also. But, as some wag once put it, getting older is better than the alternative. And yes, I realize that calling myself Young Geoffrey might strike you as hubristic, or worse. But I'm happy with it still and I figure that's what matters most.

LOCATION: The nation's Capital, not much more than a bom — stone's throw from Parliament Hill. Speaking of which, if you've never been, take the tour of the Library of Parliament; it is a remarkably beautiful building and well worth an hour acting like an actual tourist.

OCCUPATION: No thank you, I believe in personal, local, and national autonomy and self-determination.

Ahem. Driver, editor, writer and fledgling small-press publisher.

PARTNER: A wonderful woman who values her privacy. I am permitted to refer to her only as Raven, to admit that she hails from the Orient and that I have a few years on her. I count myself lucky to have that much dispensation.

KIDS: Not yet, but we're contemplating. And I like to think I've had some good influence on my brilliant, now 20-something, niece.

SIBLINGS: Two, a younger brother and older half-brother via my mother.

PARENTS: Both turning 80, both still alive and kicking. I help Dad with his online newsmagazine and Mum is about to go back on air with CBC Radio doing once-a-week commentaries.

PETS: Not just now.

Politics: In my blood, going back generations. Best described, perhaps, as an anarcho-socialist cynic who dreams of peaceful transition even as the psychotic thugs running our world seem hell-bent on provoking a global bloodbath. Normally an astute observer, I sometimes get taken in by soaring rhetoric; I was briefly fooled by Obama, among others.

3-5 BIGGEST THINGS GOING ON IN YOUR LIFE: (1) My relationship with Raven. (2) All this exercise; slap me if I turn into one of those ex-smokers who can't ever shut the fuck up about how awesome it is to get healthy ad nauseum (slap me if I'm already there). (3) The aforementioned ghost-writing project. (4) Getting my hands on the proof copy of The Old Man's Last Sauna, which I hope will be the first of many works of fiction published by the BumblePuppy Press. (5) Finding a way to influence the world, rather than just bitch about it to the quire.

Right. Let's see if that jumpstarts anything here — or even elsewhere. Meanwhile, how 'bout another hit of Montreal's Grimes?

ed_rex: (Default)

The sky is lowering, with volleys of thunder, cracks of lightning and occasional rain falling from it like tiny long-lost loves.

Leaving Team Seven with a bit of a dilemma: to play or not to play?

Percy Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues, about an hour ago.

ETA: When the rain comes ... )


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I can't remember the last time I wrote a preview of some popular entertainment. I'm tempted to say "never", but that's a hell of a long time.

That said, I guess I'm kind of offering a preview of the 5th season of Breaking Bad, by way of a very (for me: circa 800 words) brief review of its first four.

I feel kind of dirty for so looking forward to last night's episode (no, I've not yet watched it), but looking forward to it I am. Breaking Bad is an awesome guilty pleasure.

The Wire meets Wile E. Coyote (not much in the way of spoilers.

* * *

Who says it's the beautiful game?

Cut because some of you might be having lunch (or supper, or breakfast). Soccer is hard. And gross. )

On the upside, Team 7 is getting better and better. We won the first game of tonight's double-header, 3 to 2. (Nevermind what happened in the second game, smart-ass; the point of recreational soccer is to have fun. And anyway, the second game doesn't count against us in the standings.

/End lame excuses/


ed_rex: (1980)

Yesterday's football was a soggy, ridiculous mess and some 30 or so kilometres (yes, 30!) outside of town. Well, technically within Ottawa's bloated city limits, but there were cows on the other side of the field's fence, and quite a few more along the way from town to the field.

Anyway, it was pissing drizzle when we got there and continued on doing so until about five minutes after the game ended. A game which, incidentally, put paid to Team Seven's fantasies of becoming a league powerhouse. After winning one game and drawing another last week, we were quite trounced this week, 7 or 8 to 2.

Ah well, it was fun nonetheless.

And in case you were wondering, no, I did not cycle 30 kilometres through the rain in order to play soccer. I managed to snag a ride with one of my team-mates.

Cut for shameless ego-boo. )

In other news, it looks like Raven and I have found an apartment for August 1st. Nothing's been signed yet, but presuming we pass (what I hope will be) the fairly informal background check, we won't be checking into Vanier but will instead find ourself located ... right. Down. Town.

The apartment is a (very) small two bedroom, in an old two-story brick building, but one very much too my liking. We're on the top floor (of two), with a private entrance in front and a shared fire-escape to the back alley(!). Raven works about 3 blocks away and I will have only an extra three or four k added to my commute. And, on the days when weather forbids, the airport bus runs by about two blocks away.

I hope to hell I'm not jinxing things by writing about it before the papers are signed ...

ed_rex: (1980)

I know, I know, I promised photos and regular reports, but they have not arrived.

In truth, my soccer/football season died a premature death and this afternoon's game was it's capstone — and one I missed. The fourth in a row, in fact.

My sixth match saw me play what I thought was my best. I was running fast and hard, blocking shots and stealing the ball more than once from players (somewhat) strong and (much) younger than I.

When I came home, I was sweaty and tired and very, very happy.

A couple of hours after that return, however, I was also very nearly crippled. I could barely bend my right knee, spent literally a couple of minutes just getting into bed. I limped badly for a couple of days, then the healing began, and has continued, but not fast enough.

I've missed four games, have had to stop the tennis and the badminton and even the jogging. Very frustrating, as my body had finally begun to respond, to grow noticeably stronger, in response to a regimen the likes of which I had not put it through in probably a quarter of a century (dear god! That's a long time!).

And so, no photos. There was always "next week" — until there wasn't.

I think I'm ready to try a run again, tomorrow or Tuesday, but only making the effort will actually tell.

But still, the same league has a fall season, and there's hockey to look forward to, if I can find a game to meet my (limited) skills.

And the cycling, of course — oh wait. After waiting out a downpour beneath the Bronson Street overpass by the canal this afternoon, Raven and I rounded Dow's Lake until I felt something ... no right with my 25 year-old machine.

I dismounted and realized my centre bar is no longer connected to the frame! Where it metal (should) meet metal, just over the crankshaft, is now a shifting gap, which is rather disconcerting (though also, I think, it's rather impressive the machine will still go at all).

I'll be taking it into a shop tomorrow to inquire whether some welding will be of any use, but I reather suspect it's time to strip the beast for parts, discard the noble frame and see about resureccting the nearly 50-year old beast I have in the basement.

Or maybe, I should take Raven's advice and look for some on Kijiji.

Despite the travails, I'm busy and pretty happy. How's your summer been?

ed_rex: (Default)

Sometimes (just sometimes), it seems as if there might be something to that whole karma idea. And today is one of those times.

I'm pretty terrible when it comes to gift-giving. Birthdays, Christmases, weddings ... I usually ignore the social obligations or do the stereotypical male thing of running around at the very last minute and finally coming up with a book or booze. But usually, I ignore and offer no physical present at all. (Strangely enough — or may not so strangely — I don't get many presents either; but I'm okay with that.) I tell myself that I express that which presents symbolize in other ways and I think the people in my life agree.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I get to feel the Joy of Giving and it can be a rather wonderful sensation indeed ...

Cut for boring personal stuff )

... and I now find myself the "owner" of the [community profile] canadianpolitics community. I've been more or less the only person posting there and the former owner decided to give it up. He/she said they were going to delete it if I didn't want it, so what could I say? We'll see if I can make something of it.

And by "I", of course, I mean "you". Consider this an invitation to join the community if you have any interest in Canadian politics! Or in the vagaries of karmic fate.

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I felt like I played my best game of the season on Sunday. I was running hard, I took a decent turn in goal, and was aggressive against the opposing teams best players.

I even managed to make it home without any blood flowing for a small wonder.

But maybe two hours after I'd showered, I realized that my right knee was starting to bother me — no, to hurt — quite a lot. Indeed, by the time I'd finished supper, maybe four hours after the game, I could barely bend my at all. Just sitting down in a chair required me to carefully position my left leg, sink to the seat, then manually swing /em> my right leg over and (more or less) into place. I could make it up stairs only with difficulty and down was painful indeed.

By the time I was ready for bed, I found it difficult to pull of my slippers and getting into bed required an elaborate maneouver that finally included Raven lifting and (slowly!) swinging the recalcitrant leg onto a cushion. She also, bless her, spent quite some time rubbing some kind of liniment into the joint and she barely complained when I swallowed a couple of ibuprofen.

Weird thing is, I couldn't tell you when the injury occurred. I didn't limp during the game, nor did I immediately afterward. Was it a twist? Did I get kicked? No idea, though a twist or sprain was my best guess, going on the assumption that I would have noticed a kick to the knee.

Regardless, though I didn't think it was a serious injury, I know that soft-tissue damage can take a very long time to heal. I was seriously concerned that I wouldn't be able to play this coming Sunday and the thought that I might miss the rest of the season worried at the back of my mind.

More depressing still was the thought that I was only just starting to get into some kind of decent shape and that this would be a huge set-back on that score.

All of which is to say that I am thrilled — thrilled! I tells ya — by the pace of the recovery.

Monday saw me still limping but in considerably less pain and, by days end, I was climbing the stairs almost normally and was able to get into bed knees first. Raven did the liniment rubbing again and this morning I awoke without a limp and barely even a twinge.

Suggesting a round of badminton tonight would probably be begging for trouble, but tomorrow ...? We'll see.

To say that I'm relieved is to put it very mildly indeed.

* * *

On the other hand, Livejournal has been down for at least 24 hours and I find myself jonesing quite badly for my reading list there. The Dreamwidth technology is just fine (more than fine in some ways), but the critical mass certainly is not.

I signed up here as a precautionary measure, a year or two back when LJ peremptorily canceled a number of accounts for what, on freedom-of-speech grounds, seemed worrisome reasons, so DW's explicitly pro-free-speech philosophy was extremely appealing, as was (and is) its non-profit, cooperative business model and its very sensible, slow-growth planning. But I nevertheless find myself missing LJ badly on a personal level and also on a political one, since I learned, during the last denial of service attack, that LJ is one of the major remaining popular arenas for free speech in Russia, a country in sore need of same.

In truth, at least in terms of my own "friends" list, few are posting any more and fewer still (I think) are reading my posts, but I miss it and I miss the various feeds and communities I read there as well.

So here's hoping that LJ's recovery from whatever it is that currently ails it be as speedy as was my knee's.

ed_rex: (1980)

  • Temperature (as of 1700 hrs, game's end): 34 C

  • Feels like: 41 C

  • UV Index: Bloody high

  • Left knee: Skinned, a little bloody

  • Right knee: Skinned, dripping blood

  • Time on field: Probably 40-45 minutes

  • Years on this Earth more than next eldest team-mate: I'd guess 15, but I'll say 10, to be safe

  • Joy felt upon leaving the field, defeated: Bloody marvellous

  • Taste of chilled beer upon return home: Like god's own ambrosia, brothers and sisters. I haven't hurt as much as I have this summer (what with the running, the tennis and the badminton on top of the sunday soccer/football matches) in many years, yet I haven't felt as good in even more.

Have I mentioned lately how pleased I am that I stopped smoking? Well, I should, because I know I wouldn't have been able to keep up if I was still sparking up those death-sticks.

I don't think my pants are any looser (more's the pity), but I sure as hell feel better than I have in a very long time, even — maybe especially — where it hurts.

ed_rex: (1980)

Sorry, no photos. (Or maybe that should read: You're welcome, no photos? Onwards.)

My Facebook update read, "Less blood, less pain, even more fun. Don't care that our winning streak ended at one game." but I fear I was a little early in declaring "less pain".

It's now the morning after and — mercy! — I hurt. The running has made a difference; yesterday at soccer I ran harder and spent less time on the bench, but it wasn't too long after the game that I started to hurt just as badly as I had after the first game. And this morning-after is just as bad as the first one was, last week.

I am not complaining, mind you. I've been very sedentary for a long time, so it's no surprise that getting active again is going to take time and a little pain. And, well, I'm not quite so young as I used to be. But we won't say anything about that.

In other news, my third tabloid came back from the printer, looking (dare I say it) very good indeed, and including an ad for my services. Among other projects this week (yes, there's a Doctor Who analysis coming), I intend to have proper Hire Me section for ed-rex.com up by the end of the week.

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Farewell to 'Young Geoffrey'?

I went, I played, I did not conquer, yet I survived.

Yea! though I suffer muscles aflame and knee scabbed over with blood, I survived to tell the tale.

Indeed, survived well enough to look ahead to that day (next week, in fact) when I shall take to the field yet again.

And yet, I fear the time approaches, when it may behoove me to relinquish the moniquer of Young Geoffrey.

'We grow too soon old ...' )

ed_rex: (Default)

I miss the old days, when more often than not, blogging was for me, just blogging. Talking about whatever came to mind, whatever I had been doing or thinking or feeling. I miss the days when I didn't bother with the spell-check and my primary purpose on the internet was entertainment and just getting to know people.

And yeah, I even miss my experiment with living my life in a nearly clear bubble, telling all as if I were some kind of celebrity child with an axe to grind.

Or at least, with one hell urge towards ego-maniacal self-exposure.

That fit at least seems to be behind me; you new-comers are unlikely to have inflicted upon you details of my sex life or the number of hairs that reside upon my chest, and those few of you old-timers who still actually stop by to read, well, we'll always have those memories, won't we?

Onwards. This morning I will talk about neither Doctor Who nor Treme, but about my wonderful Raven, and the exciting lives we lead. And also, about my upcoming debut on the football pitch.

More dull real-life adventures behind the cut. )

Originally posted at

July 2017

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