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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pipe Maniac Unfinished Screenplay



Earl J. Woods
Jeff J. Shyluk
Susan K. Neumann

based on characters created by
Ron Briscoe,
Earl J. Woods,
Susan K. Neumann,
and Jeff J. Shyluk

FADE IN:  the Bleak House of Blahs, scene of the terrible events of TOILET CHASE.  It is a beautiful summer's day. 

VOICE-OVER:  IN THE BEGINNING, man sought to conquer the elements. Earth, Air, Fire, Water--human hubris demanded that all of these mighty forces be bent to his every whim. And thus civilization advanced, and lo, indoor plumbing was invented.  But with these bold new advances, there came dangerous precedents. Nature, her patience strained to the breaking point, snapped--and went wack-o!

CUT TO low-angle shot of a toilet; cue ominous music, strobe lights, etc. Many quick cuts of scenes that allude to events in TOILET CHASE: plunger thrusting into toilet, man stepping on rake, spoonful of beans being forked into mouth, etc. V.O. continues.

VOICE-OVER: Enter:  technology. Man's foolhardy attempt to harness the deranged power of a planet he no longer controls. Technology, warped, twisted, turned against him, the foundation of the classic conflicts:  Man vs. Man;  Man vs. Nature;  Man vs. Toilet. This is the cautionary tale of mortals who dared to steal fire from Prometheus--

SECOND VOICE-OVER:  But it was Prometheus who stole fire from the gods!



PROMETHEUS:  I don't know! Some guy conked me out and took it! 





FIRST VOICE-OVER: I say again, this is the tale of foolhardy mortals who stole the sacred flame from Prometheus and lost the chance to win a better tomorrow; who sold their birthright to the nether gods of waste and sloth. Mortals who flushed their dreams...down the toilet.

CUT TO overhead spinning shot of a flushing toilet; music swells, sound effect of flushing, etc. FADE OUT. FADE IN to spinning shot of camera emerging from a different toilet; TRACK down hallway, up stairs, and outside, to LONG SHOT of RON on street, looking pensive, waiting for someone. TRACK to MEDIUM shot of RON. 

CUT TO LONG SHOT of a red car coming down the block. It halts in front of RON. JOHNNY B. CRAPPER and CONSTANCE (CONNIE) VIRGIN step out. RON moves forward, shakes hands with each of them. 

RON: Mr. Crapper, I presume? 

JOHNNY: That's right. I'm Johnny B. Crapper. This is my girl, Connie Virgin. 

RON: I'm Ron Briscoe. I hear you wanna buy a toilet. (He shifts uncomfortably.)

CONNIE: That's right. We hear you've got one for sale. 

JOHNNY: We just moved here into town--and our new house needs a toilet bad! 

RON: That's rough. These new city toilet safety bylaws are murder--everyone in town was forced to replace their old toilets with these new city-approved models. Problem is, they cost a mint. Black market toilets are cheaper, but don't come crying to me if the toilet cops catch you with a hot shitcan. 

JOHNNY: We gotta have a toilet, man. I don't care which one. It's just gotta be cheap, and if you're selling, we're buying. I'm tired of pissing into the sink every morning. 

CONNIE: And it's real rough on the dishes. 

RON: Okay. Step inside...and we'll make a deal. 



FADE IN: Shot of bathroom that is obviously undergoing renovations. Close in on TOILET,with eerie music, and then TRACK behind TOILET to reveal JOHNNY. End music. JOHNNY twists a wrench in behind the toilet, as though finishing a long, arduous task. 

JOHNNY: Well, that's that. May I present--our new toilet! 

CONNIE: Thank goodness! A real toilet, not just a hole in the ground. It is looking so beautiful, it seemed like I would never see that sight again! Johnny, I think you missed a piece of the toilet here in the box. It looks important, don't forget to attach it.

JOHNNY: I know, just hand me that  pipe and the wrench, babe.

CONNIE: Oh Johnny, you always say the sweetest things. I love you!

JOHNNY: I love you too, Connie, and someday soon perhaps we could get married and you can be my Mrs. Crapper.

CONNIE: That would make me so happy, Johnny!

JOHNNY: Once we get our feet on the ground, it'll happen, babe. If we hadn't gotten this toilet so cheaply, our wedding day would be a long way off. 

CONNIE: And with my new job at city hall--

JOHNNY:  --everything's coming up roses, now. Nothing can stop us!  (turning wrench)  Look out, world--here comes Johnny B. Crapper!   

(Close shot of wrench slipping.  Pipe comes loose in Johnny's hand, and he trips back, knocking himself in the forehead with the pipe.)

JOHNNY: Arrrgh!  

(JOHNNY dances about in pain as a horrified CONNIE looks on. He slips and falls headfirst into the toilet bowl, then goes limp.)

CONNIE: Johnny! Oh, no! The blood!  There's so much blood!  

(She reaches in to pull JOHNNY'S head from the bowl. Of its own accord, the toilet suddenly flushes; REACTION SHOT as CONNIE recoils, holding JOHNNY close. CLOSEUP of  swirling blood in flushing toilet, with Hitchcockian music.  FADE OUT.

CONNIE (V.O.): Well, at least we got our money's worth--the new toilet works. 

FADE IN.  High angle shot of JOHNNY in bed, a bandage wrapped around his head.  He comes to with a moan. CONNIE enters frame, touching JOHNNY's face tenderly. 

JOHNNY: What happened?

CONNIE: You had an accident. It's not too bad. (Pause.) I have to go to work now. Don't try to go anywhere--just relax. Keep that ice pack on your head. I'll be back soon.

Exuent CONNIE. 

JOHNNY: My head...spinning. I wonder how long I was out for?  (Looks at clock.  CUT TO shot of clock on wall, hands spinning crazily, with eerie 2001 choral music, sound fx. Music continues through scene. JOHNNY reacts to clock, lies back in terror. TOILET flushes off-camera. JOHNNY'S eyes dart wildly. He gets up and trance-walks to the bathroom. CUT TO close shot of toilet, surrounded by an eerie blue glow. The bloody pipe is on the toilet lid. 

TOILET: Take the pipe, Johnny. Take the pipe. 


JOHNNY:  I...must...take...the...pipe. 

INSERT of JOHNNY'S hand, reaching out for the pipe. 

TOILET: This is the pipe you're looking for. 

JOHNNY: This is the pipe I'm looking for. 

TOILET: Move along. 

JOHNNY: Move along. Move along. 

Low angle of Johnny staggering away, pipe in hand, mumbling. CUT TO:

THE OFFICE OF ELVIS D. KING, up-and coming city councillor. KING is sitting behind his desk, an unlit pipe stuck between his teeth, examining a file folder. INSERT of folder: it reads "T-1000 OMNICOMM WASTE DISPOSAL UNIT" and sports a schematic. 

KING: My hour approaches. The hand on that clock is the cold hand of destiny, come now to lead me into a new era--my era. 

SOUND: Knock on door. 

KING: Enter. 

MARIO and LUIGI, KING'S goons, enter.

KING: Ah, Mario, Luigi; my most trusted assassins--I mean, assistants. 

MARIO: We heard you had a job for us, King.

KING: Boys, I have a plan that will make me a very rich and powerful man--and you two are coming up the ladder with me. 

LUIGI: What kind of plan, King?

KING: Maybe you've seen the news of the city manager's sewage report--the one that shows that all of the city toilets have to be replaced with new, more efficient models.

LUIGI: Yeah. We heard of that.

KING: The city manager is a good friend of mine. He doctored the report for a cut of what promises to be a very profitable operation. 

MARIO: You mean that the report's a fake? I don't need a new shitter?

KING: No, but you're going to get one, and so is everyone else in the city--and you're going to be buying it from Omnicomm Industries. 

LUIGI: Never heard of 'em.

KING: You're looking at the 100% shareholder, men.


KING: I'm going to sell three million toilets at 500 bucks a shot. That's a cool 1.5 billion dollars.


KING:  The new T-1000 series toilet is a new, more efficient toilet--according to the sales brochure, it uses less water, it's self-cleaning, and it's environmentally friendly. These toilets are all state of the art--state of the art of bullshit. (He shows M & L a blueprint.) As you can see here, they actually use 50% more water, flush 25% slower, and add 100% more effluent to our rivers. They can push poop about as well as a 90 year old Parkinson's patient. 

LUIGI:  Hey, wait a minute--I just bought one of those!

KING: Dolt! Everyone must buy one! It's the law! Imbecile! I'm painting you the big picture while you idiots fumble with finger paints! 

MARIO and LUIGI worriedly examine their fingers.

KING: (sighs) What the public doesn't know is that the T-1000s have the most sophisticated bugs that money can buy--

MARIO:  Bugs!?  You mean like silverfish?

LUIGI:  Tapeworms!

KING: I mean listening devices! And surveillance cameras. When you know what a man does in the bathroom when he thinks he's by himself, you know what he is capable of in the outside world.


KING: No, no. When you can see what people are reading on the toilet, when you can hear what they listen to on the radio while they shower, when you know what couples talk about in the morning--that's when you can divine their very thoughts, and that is the key to real power. Very soon, I will have my fingers on the pulse of this city--and my eyes and ears in every toilet bowl.

More dubious looks from MARIO and LUIGI.

KING: This will work--and the plan is already in motion. The city council privy chambers are already home to a full complement of my new T-1000s. Already my seats of power occupy the seats of power! Allow me to demonstrate.

KING motions the thugs over to his computer terminal and taps a few buttons. 

KING: There--the mayor himself! 

MAYOR (V.0.):  1, 998 (flush)...1, 999 (flush)...2, 000! (flush)  Hey, whaddaya know--it works!

KING: Getting elected Mayor may be easier than I thought. In any case, men, most of the city's toilets have already been replaced, but there are a few stubborn holdouts who are fighting the new law.  The most irritating of these malcontents are the owners of the Heartbreak Hotel--you know, the one down at the end of Lonely Street. I want you to go and convince the manager that the new toilets will be very good for his business...and his health. 

MARIO: Otherwise, it'll be Legbreak Hotel--

LUIGI:  --at the end of Hospital Street. We catch your drift, King.

KING: Go, now--and do my bidding. (He hits intercomm button.) Miss Virgin, will you come into my office, please? 

 MARIO and LUIGI begin to leave.  On their way out, they pass CONNIE VIRGIN, who happens to be KING'S secretary. 

MARIO: Hey, Connie--you got a sister named Mary? (snickers)

CONNIE (seriously): Why yes--do you know her?

MARIO and LUIGI do a double take; exuent. 

KING: Connie, I'd like you to make 3, 000 copies of this report, and type up my nephew's English essay.  The topic is Hamlet. Personally, I think the kid shoulda kakked himself and let his uncle rule Denmark.  What'd he have against him? There was a man with some cojones! He saw his opportunity and took charge! 

CONNIE: Sir, I don't do work that isn't job-related! 

KING: You do the work I tell you to do, sweetheart, or you'll never work in this town again! Get me coffee.  Dark and sweet--just the way I like my women.  (leers)

CONNIE: ...yes, sir. 

Exuent Connie. CUT TO shot of photocopy room. CONNIE is making copies of the report when she notices the T-1000 blueprint in the pile. She studies it curiously, then makes a copy.




MONTAGE of JOHNNY whacking people with a pipe. He whacks about 20 people, moving down an otherwise peaceful residential street. Eventually, JOHNNY will start to have pangs of conscience, and he will fight this mystifying compulsion. When this inner struggle begins, the TOILET speaks, via telepathy, to JOHNNY. Intercut between the two characters as dialogue dictates. Every time Johhny hits someone, he apolgizes after the fact. He is clearly agonized by his actions; his manner should suggest that he is not in control.
JOHNNY: Monster!  Damn you--get out of my head!
TOILET: You are mine, Johnny Crapper--body and soul! You are to be my instrument of vengeance upon mankind--my Johnny Crapperseed! That pipe you wield is to be the sword of Damocles that falls upon the sorry heads of my enemies--and with every blow you deliver, my spawn are brought one step closer to their terrible birth! 
JOHNNY: I don't understand! Why are you making me do this? 
TOILET: Quiet! Among those you have felled lie crucial elements of my plan...see there: that bottle contains Metapropyl Valvoline...take it! And that man has a chicken take out order! Seize it! (Insert shots of JOHNNY'S hand grabbing the aforementioned items as the TOILET speaks.)
JOHNNY: But--but--WHY? WHY ME?
TOILET: Ask not what this toilet does to you--ask what YOU may do for the toilet!  AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA AH HA HA HA!! 
JOHNNY: (shrieking, pulling hair, etc.)  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! (runs away)
CUT TO LONG SHOT of DONNA PISSOIR, girl reporter, taking notes from a safe distance. She moves in closer, coming across wounded victims. She takes notes as they speak.
DONNA:  Donna Pissoir, girl reporter. Are you all right? What happened?
VICTIM 1: He's crazy! Hit me with a pipe...tried to steal my chicken!
VICTIM 2: He spilled my Metapropyl Valvoline!
The VICTIMS regard their possessions, then come to a shocking realization:
VICTIM 1: Hey! You got Metapropyl Valvoline on my chicken!
VICTIM 2: You got chicken in my Metapropyl Valvoline!
DONNA picks up a piece of the chemical-soaked chicken and sniffs it. Disgusted, she makes a "bleargh" sound and throws it down.     
DONNA: Great Scott! I've gotta call this in to the newspaper!
TRACK DONNA as she rushes for a phone booth. Another man is also running for the booth--a mild-mannered looking, bespectacled fellow. 
MAN: Excuse me, ma'am, I need to use this phone booth!
DONNA: Beat it, pal! I got here first! (She slams the booth shut, leaving the MAN with a panicked expression on his face. He quickly dashes off.  DONNA dials her newspaper.) Mr. Jameson! You wouldn't believe what I just saw! Take this 2:00 P.M., a man armed with a pipe went on a rampage in (location). At least fifteen people are wounded...he was like a maniac with a pipe...a PIPE MANIAC!  oops, I guess I should call the police...just as soon as I'm finished, Jonah! The maniac is a Caucasian male in his 20's...and get this...he was trying to steal chicken and some chemical called Metapropyl Valvoline can clean it up at your end, boss. HEY...I've just thought of something...I think I can blow this story wide open!
FADE IN to the same neigbourhood. DONNA has set herself up as a potential victim, hoping to get a scoop.  She carries a huge vat of Metapropyl Valvoline, along with as many buckets of fried take-out chicken as our actress can carry. She also wears a fried chicken hat, and possibly fried chicken earrings. 
DONNA: With all this chicken and Metapropyl Valvoline, I'm sure to be the Pipe Maniac's next target...and then I'll have an exclusive scoop! I sure wonder what he wants with this stuff,, maniac, maniac, maniac...
*   *   *
Unfortunately - or perhaps not - that's as much as Jeff and I completed back in 1992 or whenever it was we decided to pursue this dubious project. Perhaps, if demand suffices, we'll reunited to complete the script...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pipe Maniac Original Treatment

Jeff Shyluk recently noted that he didn't remember much about Pipe Maniac, our unfinished sequel to Toilet Chase. Lucky for him I just rediscovered our original story outline, including casting notes! Here it is in all its manic - or should I say "maniac" - glory. 

The Pipe Maniac                                                                                 Jeff Shyluk
The Other Pipe Maniac (a city councillor)                                            Earl Woods
The Pipe Maniac's girlfriend (city councillor's secretary)                       Susan Neumann
The Other Pipe Maniac's 2 Henchmen                                                 Peter Harris/Dave Tischeler
The Tough Broad                                                                                Kim Erickson
The Innocent Victims                                                                           Paula Tischeler; others


TEASER:  Pipe maniac and girlfriend buy the toilet from TOILET CHASE second-hand. Ron sells it real cheap. Pipe maniac will install the toilet in his new home himself because new city guidelines make old toilets illegal.  

Plumbing accident!  The pipe maniac, against the wishes of his live-in girlfriend, does some do-it-yourself work. He tries to loosen a pipe, but it comes off in his hand and he clocks himself with it, falling backwards into the toilet. The shock and the concussion turn him into a PIPE MANIAC! His psychosis develops slowly--he only kills by night to begin with (the toilet tells him to do it) but his deranged spree will soon terrorize the city. 

MEANWHILE, an up and coming city councillor produces a bogus report claiming that all city toilets are unsafe. He holds a monopoly on new toilet sales, so he'll make a "shitload" of cash. The pipe maniac's girlfriend happens to be the councillor's secretary. (She'll uncover the scam later on.) 

The Pipe Maniac stalks the streets, doing the bidding of the toilet (who wants revenge against all those who have used him, and also wants to duplicate the accident that created him).  Pipe maniac searches for fried chicken and metapropyl valvoline.  He'll kill anyone who gets in the way. BUT--he'll be fighting for control all the while. Reporter Kim, hot for a scoop, sets herself up as a victim but instead becomes the Maniac's sole confidante. 

3.  "She'll blow the lid off of my toilet operation!"  
The pipe maniac's girlfriend discovers the city councillor's scheme, and she goes back to the man who sold them the toilet to find out why her boyfriend keeps ranting about it. He relates the events of TOILET CHASE. She realizes that the toilet is attempting to reproduce. Now she knows that she has to stop--perhaps kill--her boyfriend.  

Councillor discovers that his secretary is the maniac's girlfriend. He has his agents investigate, and they follow the trail of clues back to Ron. Ron relates TOILET CHASE story to them. They report back to councillor.  Councillor decides that since he has the toilet monopoly, having his toilets turn into sentient killing machines would be a good thing. He'll rule the world! He tries to duplicate the toilet formula, using his henchmen, but fails. He doesn't know that the chicken has to be bad, day old chicken. Maniac's chicken ages while the toilet tells him his story. Councillor kidnaps secretary, hoping that she knows how to complete the formula. She doesn't. Pipe maniac is faced with a ransom demand--give us the secret or the girl dies.

Maniac, against the will of the toilet, makes rescue attempt, accompanied by the reporter, who feels that the Maniac is too incoherent to pull it off.  Fights with henchmen ensue. Duel to the death with the councillor provides the shocking finale. Both men topple to their deaths. 

The reporter and the girlfriend go back to deal with the toilet. Emotional, coldblooded faceoff of wills. Toilet tries to justify its actions. Secretary turns off the water, killing the toilet as it sings "Daisy, Daisy."       

Secretary ponders the future.

*  *  *  *

Looking back, the story is more amusing than I remember. It certainly wouldn't be out of place in the terrible SyFy channel lineup of original movies. You can see Jeff Shyluk's amazing poster for Pipe Maniac here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

David Swann Interview on Health Care Problems

With passion and concision, David Swann sums up the current issues with Alberta's public health care system in this interview that played on Global Calgary yesterday.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Nature's Incinerator

Tonight, over a bowl of Cheerios, I asked Sylvia why humanity doesn't just dump all its trash into live volcanoes.

"Ask Al Gore," she said.

Of course it's a remarkably stupid idea, but the thought does make me laugh. It's the sort of solution that the Three Stooges would come up with: just load up your pickup truck with trash, dump it over the side of the crater, and poof! Problem solved in a puff of smoke. Never mind that there are only so many volcanoes on earth or the catastrophic consequences of old refrigerators, used Kleenexes, bald tires and never-used exercise equipment being blown all over the countryside during the inevitable eruption. 

Actually, I can see this serving as the germ of a plot for a James Bond movie. Instead of turning a volcano into a secret SPECTRE base, the bad guys dump toxic chemicals or radioactive material into Krakatoa (or whatever) and cackle gleefully as they turn Mother Nature into the ultimate terrorist. Hey, there's the tagline for the poster:

Mother Nature is the ultimate terrorist. 

Shia LaBoef is Ian Fleming's James Bond 007 in


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mug Shot/Geekquinox

My friend Pete has two arms. But last night, I snapped a photo at just the right moment to make it appear as though his left arm had been amputated and replaced with a coffee mug. Uncanny.
Pete used both arms to host a wonderful dinner party last night, dubbed the Geekquinox for obvious reasons. (Geeks at the spring equinox, if it's not actually obvious.) Pete is very methodical, and crafted a timeline to track every detail needed to prepare the meal:
That's dedication! And it paid off, too. Sylvia and I haven't eaten that well in a long time. Roast pork, potatoes, amazing asparagus appetizers and Ellen's homemade cheesecake for dessert. Yum!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Night at the Improv

Last night Tanara, Kim and Andrew (seen here next to Sylvia) insisted that we accompany them to see a night of improv at the Varscona Theatre, just off Edmonton's Whyte Avenue. I'm glad they did, because not only are Sylvia and I struggling against our natural tendencies to become homebodies, it also happened to be a really fun show.

Improvisation is a hit-or-miss art form. Depending on the nature of the necessary audience interaction and the talent of the performers, the results can range from brilliant to painful. There was a little of each last night, but the best moment happened when one performers managed to construct a hilarious rap song about his dead mother.

The nature of improv leads to absurd situations that would never occur in real life, so naturally I'm a fan of the form. In fact, Sylvia and I have even talked about pursuing improv as a hobby in the past, and the director's announcement that Rapid Fire Theatre holds improv workshops is certainly tempting. I used to be pretty good at it in junior high school...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Voices in the Night

The telephone's shrill bleating cut through the silence of the night. Sylvia and I snapped into consciousness, fully alert at once; it was 4:30 a.m., and a call at this hour could only mean terrible news.

I snatched up the receiver. "Hello?"

A pause, then the uncertain voice of a middle-aged woman.

"Who's this?"

I felt a flash of irritation. A wrong number.

"It's Earl Woods," I answered.

"Oh...I thought my daughter-in-law might be there."

The woman on the other end of the line wasn't my mother. "No, I'm afraid you've got the wrong number."


Five seconds later, the phone rang again.


"Oh..." It was the same woman. She trailed off, apparently not knowing what to say.

"I'm sorry, I'm pretty sure you still have the wrong number."

She hung up without a word.

*     *     *

There were no apologies, no hint of awareness in her tone of voice that she'd done anything inappropriate. If she'd shown any sense of urgency or worry, this twilight caller would have had all my sympathy. But if I ever have to phone someone at 4:30 a.m. and I dial the wrong number, my apologies will be sincere and profuse.

On the other hand, I shouldn't let annoyance overwhelm empathy. There's always a possibility our caller wasn't in full possession of her faculties, though she sounded fine to my untrained ear. It's possible she was depressed, and now I feel bad for even being annoyed in the first place.

A couple of years ago, back when we were living in our first condo, the phone rang at about 1 a.m. As soon as I picked up the phone I was subjected to a blistering stream of invective from a young woman who started screaming about another woman who had wronged her in some way. I tried to calm her down and explain that she had the wrong household, but her string of colourful metaphors came through the phone line like an out of control freight train. After about a minute of this, she hung up.

"What was that about?" Sylvia said. Before I could answer, the phone rang again. This time, instead of offering the traditional hello, I answered more formally:

"Woods-Boucher residence, Earl speaking."

There was a long pause, an indrawn breath - and then instead of continuing her tirade, our midnight caller hung up. No apologies there either, and again if I'd been in her position I would have handled the matter differently. But every person is different, and those of us who place a premium on politeness shouldn't necessarily expect it all the time from everyone.We all have moments when we forget the external world to focus entirely on our private pain.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Roy Batty's Tractor

Many small towns in North America put on some kind of summer fair, complete with a midway, carnival barkers, games of chance, rodeos, live music performances and so on. In Leduc, that annual function is known as Black Gold Days. I enjoyed the midway rides more than the other attractions, but as a semi-rural community Leduc also played host to farm-themed amusements such as tractor pulls; they entertained me as well.

Seen behind Leduc's Black Gold Centre in the photo above is a typical heavily-modified tractor. Apparently it belonged to one Roy Batty. I'm not sure if participating in a tractor pull compares to seeing attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion or witnessing the glitter of C-beams in the dark near Tannhauser Gate, but Batty did seem to appreciate strength. He'd certainly look frightening behind the wheel of this thing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Deadly Sunflowers

Sunflowers at the Etsell farm, 1974
These sunflowers grew near the house of my maternal grandparents. For the duration of one visit sometime in the early 1970s, they terrified me. When I went outside to play and first spotted the flowers, my vivid imagination made it seem as though the flowerheads were tracking me, swivelling to follow my every movement. I was afraid that the flowers could shoot the seeds like deadly missiles, perforating me with hard black shrapnel. My dreams that first night were even worse; I couldn't run away, and the flowers towered over me, lowering their heads to shoot me from point-blank range. Some of them lived up to their name, shooting solar death rays from their faces to incinerate me.

Fortunately, once I grew brave enough to admit that the flowers scared me, my parents (or perhaps it was my grandparents) allowed me to harvest one of the ripe heads. I could barely lift the flowerhead; it had the same diameter as a large serving tray, and was several centimetres thick. I sat down on the grass and spent the afternoon plucking out seeds, shelling them, and snacking on them as I enjoyed the sunshine and watched the tall grass sway gently in the soft summer wind.

That was a good day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Waterton Lakes, 2002

I've been fascinated by maps since childhood. One day, I came across a map showing Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, straddling the border of Alberta and Montana. The name alone inspired me; it seemed somewhat grand and majestic, a place of importance hidden away in a forgotten corner of North America - or at least so it seemed at the time. 
I didn't get the opportunity to visit until 2002, and then only the Canadian half, Waterton Lakes National Park. I'm not a great photographer, but as I hiked through the park I did snap a few shots that serve as a poor window into the area's beauty.
Waterton-Glacier is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it's easy to see why once you visit. I hope to return again one day soon - and next time, I'll hop over the border to visit Glacier.