SAST V. errr…How Do You Spell a Gigillion?

So here’s how it is: I have a million things to say and one update. Hang onto your seats folks, I feel a mighty huge SAST coming on!

The Transplant Games.
You know, after spending a week with people who are sort of the walking dead, since they all wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for organ transplantation, you see things differently. Don’t worry, I’m not about to go all “born again transplant” on y’all but think about it. I talked to people who were given two weeks to live, three months to live or who were bleeding out as a donor was being found. Every single one of these people have found a new purpose in life (along with their new life) and have decided to go out and do something, whether to prove to the world at large that transplantation works or to show to the donor family that their sacrifice wasn’t in vain. All of them are zipping around, doing this, doing that and daaaamn. I mean, they were really almost dead before. It really puts things into perspective. Life ends when your liver shuts off, life pretty much doesn’t give a squat what time you get the mail.

OK. I promised you some story bits about the games so here you go. We were at WUO (Western University of Ontario) in the lovely city of London being housed at one of their ‘bed and breakfast’ dorms and working in…basically what I think is their union. Maybe. The first day, we had no internet connection. Not so bad if you work construction, fairly vital when you are doing a webcast. TheMan went and rattled some heads and by Monday we were up and running, after a fashion. WUO has some wicked electronic security which got cranky on our asses and shut us out. Once it was because one of the PCs had an IM virus and kept desperately trying to talk to Norway. Since TheMan’s machine was serving as a server (heh), he got punted. The second time, the WUO ISP Nazis detected TheMan transferring a lot of data (like, uploading all the pictures to the Webcast server) and shut him out. They won’t let you on for an hour either, so TheMan had to go rattle some more heads until they expanded his allowable outings (and TheMan made smaller batches of pictures being uploaded).

And AND and, they had the most convoluted passwords known to mankind. Mine was something like Jg2Hn&5^. I don’t even remember if that was even close, despite the fact that the system booted you whenever you were inactive for more than 2 hours or your machine went to sleep. I must have typed that password in 5 or 6 times a day and I all I can say for certain it had a small g in it. If they could have gotten foreign characters to type out I’m sure we would have all had one of those crazy French Cs or an umlaut something. Man!

It took until Tuesday to get all the IT stuff ironed out but Tuesday morning we were hopping. Tuesday was also bitch hot and Tuesday was the day I decided to play photographer/story teller. I didn’t have a set job, so I was covering where we needed. One of the photographers was going out without a writer so I tagged along and was his pen and paper. We hoofed it out in the blazing sun to the finish of the mini-marathon (3K and 5K race) which wasn’t where we were directed to (eh, Alumni hall, Alumni house, close enough. Except the two buildings are about five or six city blocks apart). So we backtrack hoofed it in the Canadian afternoon kiln to the stadium where all the runners had returned a while before and were milling about waiting for the medals. DOAH! I did get a great shot of this great French guy who shipped out with all the essence of France distilled into his person. He could be none more French. So of course I snapped his pic because…FRENCH!

I think I lost 10 pounds in sweat weight Tuesday. Oi!

I also learned how to lawn bowl, or play lawn bowls or whatever the proper vernacular was. One of the real writers and I (I was photographer for this outing) headed out to Lawn Bowls at the local Lawn Bowling club (yes, they had a lawn bowling club) and met up with an Aussie I had talked to earlier. Eventually he wound up taking the bronze in his age group but at the time he was finished with his preliminary heats and waiting for the medal rounds. So he offered to instruct me in the art of lawn bowling, complete with a demo! It was pretty darned cool, the officials were all keen in on it too since nothing really was happening.

The best part was the middle of the interview/instruction when I notice these two women sort of hovering around the edges. They were listening in, without trying to look like they were listening in, but finally they gave up the subterfuge and outright asked if my Aussie instructor fella would mind repeating what he had said. It turns out, their heat (or whatever you call it) was coming up and they had only ever lawn bowled once before this (in the ’01 world games in Japan). *chucklesnort* The Aussie was really cool and gave them some pointers and then one of the officials set them up on an empty rink (where you lawn bowl) and had them roll some balls while he gave critique. Heh.

Anyway, lawn bowling is sort of like curling and kind of like bocce unless you ask a lawn bowler in which case it’s like lawn bowling. Period. Like bocce, you have a small ball you have to get close to with your raft of larger balls, but unlike bocce you have to roll the balls to get near the small ball. That’s the whole “like curling” aspect of the game. The lawn bowl balls are lopsided so that they curve when you roll them and it’s really easy to chuck one all the way down the rink and into the gutter at the end. Why do I bring this up? No reason.

Hey, I got to play lawn bowling in the middle of an event in progress and people were all enthusiastic to talk about this or that lawn bowling stuff. That’s just cooler than cool.

The last thing I wanted to talk about was the crazy French. The TransWeb team got to sit at the table right next to the French table at the gala closing of the games dinner and let me just say, the French know how to have a good time. The avatar guy of France brought a little recorder and he was tootling a bunch of French songs (well, maybe it was the same one, it was hard to hear the music and I don’t speak French) and the rest of the people at his table got into the singing of the tootled tunes. Then, he started in on one song that must have been like the national French version of Little Rabbit Foo Foo because everyone at the table started making hand gestures to the song. Not only that, but the table collected more French people (perhaps 30 or so of them) and THEY were all singing and doing the hand gestures, including the president of the Transplant Games. Somewhere in the middle of all this, the MC started up with the whole “Please sit down so we can begin the evening” but the French were having none of that. They were in the middle of their song, darned it, and they were going to finish! So about a minute and a half later, through several please by the MC for everyone to return to their tables, the Little Rabbit Foo Foo song of France ended and they all melted back to their respective tables. Those crazy French!

OK! Onto other matters, namely the Bru-ha-ha. Yes, it is once again time for the Annual Q family beach party bru-ha-ha (tomorrow) and we are so woefully unprepared. We did a bunch of yard work yesterday, which included cleaning the foot and a half tall trees out of the gutters but sadly, no chippering of the massive amounts of branches we have lying about. The chipper, she gave up the ghost. TheMan chippered about ten branches before FzzzzzrtKAK that’s all she wrote. We now have three huge piles of branches festooning our yard. I’m thinking of it as summer flair. On the inside, I vacuumed up as many of the cat sized dust grizzlies as I could find and got a load of dishes done.

Oh right! We went shopping for some of the supplies as well. We got the burgers, the pop and half the brats, all we need are some buns, condiments, cups, forks and plates. And of course the beer because you can’t have a beer island with out beer. I think tonight’s plan is for TheMan to rack the cherry wine and clean the upstairs while I go out and procure the rest of the party fixings. I may or may not swiffer tonight, if I do it’ll be one of those global swifferings that serve as a first run attack at the floors. Tomorrow there is mowing, final vacuuming and swiffering and last minute shopping (ice and…hey wait. We have a chest freezer! We don’t have to wait until tomorrow to get ice. Hmmm!) and then parTAY!

And for all you JSFR junkies, I may have a little somin’ somin’ for you this weekend, but next week is even more special. Next weekend is the start of JSFR guest time period!

Lastly, as a special prod to my guest reviewers: This is going to be the shortest guest time period in the history of guest time periods ifn y’all don’t get me your reviews. I’m, just sayin.

Vande and Fran.jpg
The Little Kitty would do a review if she had thumbs. And cared.

Last year at the booniverse: What can I say? I’m a couch Cheeto and not updating.

Last last year at the booniverse: TheMan found part of the coffee table (apparently enough of it so that the Little Kitty felt the need to sit her butt right down on top of it this morning. Bad kitty!), some of the end table, most of the chair and got a lot of other little clutter spots dug out.

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