The Carnivorous Planter



There is a devil lurking in the shadows seeking to devour whosoever comes its way. It is an elongated beast, some 5 metres in length and 1 metre broad across its back. It perches menacingly, its hollowed out back standing at least 60 centimetres above the ground. It’s dark brown flesh is scarred from many a battle. It reeks of peat and earthly moss. Deep within its back lay the flowing orange fire that lures its victims to a sudden and untimely disaster.

That insidious monster is my neighbour’s flower planter situated obnoxiously between my double driveway and theirs. It is an accident waiting to happen, violating at least one city bylaw. This devil disguised as an innocuous marigold flower planter has destroyed more of our vehicles than I care to elaborate. Front bumpers, rear bumpers, lower body panels, tires, wheels, and doors – the dastardly creature has attacked and devoured them all.

I have pleaded with my neighbour for well over a decade to remove the barrier or at least cut it back to be in compliance with city bylaw. It is nearly impossible for a car to turn left from the street on to our driveway without the danger of being accosted by that mud brown devil incarnate of a beast called a flower planter. We have spent literally thousands of dollars repairing various automobiles of ours (not to mention friends) after a confrontation with the beast.

Last night was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. We just purchased a brand new car that cost us literally half the price of our home in 1995. The new Honda hot hatch was parked on the far left side of the driveway, far away from the smelly monster. My wife and daughter were taking our “old” car out for a spin. Our youngest was familiarizing herself with her “new” hand-me-down. After picking up some ice-cream at the local supermarket, she tried to maneuver the Honda coupe into the far right side of the driveway, being ever so careful not to hit our shiny new car.

Lo and behold, the monster was awakened, lunged out, and took a big bite out of the front bumper. It’s talons tearing and scratching at the lower front of the car.

My devastated daughter just sat in the car and cried. Her “new” car was no longer immaculate, but wounded and mangled. By the time I was called outside to inspect the damage, I was livid with anger – not at my daughter, but at that damn planter and at myself for allowing this to go on for so long.

Sometimes, being a good neighbour is a one way street with little or no cooperation from the other party. That’s it – the war is on. That planter is going to be removed come hell or high water.

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Need for Speed 2

Facsimile of my Suzuki SV650S

A facsimile of the motorbike that I used for a few years to commute to work, especially when I did not feel like riding my fixed gear bicycle, or driving my gas-guzzling Jeep. For a V-twin of smaller displacement (650cc), it was a very fast bike and capable of running a quarter mile in about 11.4 to 11.7 seconds in predominantly stock condition (outside of a race-tuned exhaust system, a K&N filter, and adjustable track pegs). These bikes are super light – with track modifications they will run with the Suzuki 600cc GSX-R inline-fours in the corners but not the flats. In fact, it will out corner many large displacement (1000cc) sport bikes. It is still an economical choice for an everyday commuter or weekend track bike and tends to rule the V-twins from other manufacturers in out-of-province competitions. Best of all, it is simple to maintain and inexpensive to run with a range of well over 200km per tank of premium unleaded fuel.

In many ways, I regret selling the bike a couple of years ago, as it had very few kilometres on it, and was considered mint for a 2002 model year bike. Alas, my need for speed always tended to best my common sense. Moving from 120km/hr to over 200 km/hr in a heartbeat or two may be thrilling, but a untimely tire blowout could end my life just as easily.

Hopefully the young guy who bought it did not crash and wreck the bike (or injure himself) in the first week 🙂


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Predators: The Bay of Islands

Sunset on the Bay of islands, New Zealand. ©2017 EclecticChoices. All rights reserved.

The soft pastel colours of a sunset at the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Unknown to the photographer, a predatory shark is lurking near the shoreline and would surface in just a moment. I am so glad that I took the time to inform her of the dangers of shark attacks in New Zealand.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Prior knowledge of possible dangers or problems gives one a tactical advantage and a margin of safety.

As a dweller of the southern flatlands of Saskatchewan, there are no real dangers lurking under the waters of our 100,000 freshwater lakes. The largest lake in the province, Lake Athabasca, covers 7,935 square kilometres or 3,064 square miles (including islands).


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