After one of this winter’s freezing rainfalls, one of our firs had thousands of needles individually wrapped in ice:
What on earth are they putting into this stuff that they can’t even call it vinegar?
I thought this was a one-off thing, but they have a whole line up of condiment:
If I’d had to guess, I would have said that “white condiment” would be some mayonnaise-like substance, not white wine vinegar(-ish). But then I’m not in marketing, so there.
A small roadside sign gives visitors fair warning: there’s art happening somewhere up ahead. A number of these led to a garden art show just down the street from East Dodgeville last summer.
West Grape Island is a little speck of land in Rice Lake about 3 km away from our cottage. This picture was taken from shore on the day that the ice finally receded from the lake, accompanied in retreat by a thick fog.
Like a lot of people, I first met you after December’s ice storm. I suddenly found myself with things to charge and few places to charge them. The backup battery for my phone was great for my phone, but not for anything else. And it only gave me one charge, not nearly enough for three days without power. We took refuge at my mother-in-law’s, who had more than enough power to go around, but the ordeal made me realize just how vulnerable I am to power outages. I felt mortal. Weak. A poor provider. So once cats, wife, and laptop were safely provisioned in a warm house, I set out to find comfort in a portable power pack.
I found you in Future Shop, looking lonely on the rack and offering up promises of exactly the kind of portable power storage I needed. I gave you a quick once over. With two quick-charge USB ports, you’d be fast off the mark and reach the finish line without a lot of waiting. I asked the guy at the counter about you and he said we’d be perfect together. He gave me a knowing wink and added that you’d be able to charge me three or four times before I’d have to charge you even once. I nodded silently, thinking, Huh, that sounds pretty good. You were stylish, if a little chunky. A little more than I was hoping to spend for a quick charge, but hey, any USB port in an ice storm. After some quick pleasantries, I paid your tab at the cashier and took you home.
I thought we had an understanding that this was just an arrangement of convenience; no pressure, and only the barest thought given to long-term compatibility. So I was a little surprised when I started unboxing you at home only to have you declare your love for me almost immediately. “Mophie loves you,” you said, channelling George Costanza in the third person. “Let’s just see how this goes for a little while first,” I said. You blinked a couple of LEDs at me as I plugged you in, and everything seemed fine.
We’ve had a few charges in the weeks since then and the guy at the counter was right: I can charge you once and then just sit back while you charge me over and over again. It’s given me some measure of comfort knowing that when the darkness comes again, I’ll be able to wrap your cables around my phone and keep the LTE lit up for a few days.
But your words linger in the back of my mind. Mophie loves you. I threw out your clamshell a long time ago, knowing that I wouldn’t need to kick you out, and you go with me virtually everywhere now, providing silent support should I ever need it. But I still have your receipt on top of the pile. I’m obviously not completely comfortable with the way things are. It’s not that I don’t like you, but…”Mophie loves you.” That’s tough to swallow right off the bat, and it’s just kind of been hanging out there since our first encounter. You haven’t pushed it, but it’s a definite undercurrent in our relationship. And with Valentine’s Day behind us, it’s about time that I address it.
Mophie, I don’t love you. Don’t get me wrong, I like you and all, but I just don’t see us having a long-term future. Sure, 500 charges sounds like a lot, but realistically, that’s only a couple of years before you start getting old and don’t charge me up the way you used to. And other than charging, we don’t really have a lot in common. By this time next year, I’ll be eyeing some fresh new power packs that will weigh half as much, deliver just as much of juice on demand, and won’t be nearly as clingy. I mean, let’s face it: the only reason I picked you is because you were the only one left on the shelf, the joint was getting ready to close, and I was kind of desperate. There may have been a reason you were the last one sitting around that day. Everyone you’d arrived with had already partnered up and left; why were you still hanging around? I don’t think I’ll ever really know, but I’ll always have my doubts.
Anyway, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind when we met and certainly had no intention of committing to anything long term. I do appreciate the support you’ve given me so far but let’s park the “Mophie loves you” talk for now. I’m happy to keep using you for the occasional power trip. In return I’ll keep you charged up as much as possible and take you with me whenever I go somewhere. Let’s just be friends, with power benefits.
I saw a row of President’s Choice Decadent Chocolate Flavoured Soda bottles on a shelf at Loblaws around Christmas and had to pick one up to Risa’s vocal disapproval. It’s for science, I told her. Think of the kids whose lives would be immeasurably improved if I, instead of they, drank this limited-availability monstrosity. Well, it finally made it into my testing lab and it’s not quite what I expected. Oh, in at least one way it’s exactly what I hoped it would be: a vaguely disgusting carbonated concoction that would slip past my lips once and never again tempt me to slip a fiver to the store clerk who would quietly slide my shame into a plain paper bag so that I could secretly imbibe on my way home, the sugar rush dulling the self-flaggelation over my lack of willpower. It’ll never happen again, I’d tell myself. Until the next time.
Instead, this is disgusting in a way that I didn’t expect. I had expected it to taste like a bad imitation of a chocolate chip cookie dipped in Coke, a guilty pleasure I enjoyed far too often during my youth. And since I love (but now rarely touch) both Coke and chocolate chip cookies, I was quite looking forward to the can of whoop-ass I was about to open on my senses.
Upon unscrewing the lid, I was almost overcome by the twin smells of caramel and chocolate, as if I’d dropped a bag of chocolate chips into a warm mug of Kraft Caramels. The taste was much closer to drinking a sickly sweet box of Pot of Gold chocolates than any cookie I’ve ever had. The after-taste was a medley of mint and disappointment, not at all dissimilar from a late-night hunt through the pantry looking for sweets and finding only a stash of After Eights.
It’s definitely flavourful, but not in a very good way. They would have been better served by selling Coke in a wide-mouth bottle with a couple of chocolate chip cookies for dipping strapped to the side. The hunt for a carbonated mashup that’s actually good continues.