Another tool? Really?

And I bought new gloves too.
I think it is well chronicled on these pages that I have a weakness for tools.  I’ve written a number of posts about it, and taken more pictures than I should.  I also have to admit that I open the Canadian Tire and Home Hardware flyers first–well before the food.  Whenever I visit those stores, I always walk around the tool sections, hefting the wrenches and drills when opportunity allows.

So it should come as no surprise that bike ownership can also include some tools.

When I purchased the bike, I asked what tools I would need–this is probably the kind of words a salesman dreams of hearing.  However, they said I would need a pump, a multi tool and some tire levers.  The assured me the bike comes with a several tune-ups and there was much less maintenance than a mountain bike.

Being at the bike show, I couldn’t resist picking up this tool.  Will I need it?  Doubtless, there are ways to measure chain wear without this tool–but … are cool.  I like tools. 
As you can see, it was a moment of weakness.  Fortunately for me, it isn’t a big ticket item, and it didn’t break the bank.  It was cheaper than I have seen it at bike shops and even online shops.  It isn’t like I bought the entire Park Tool Master Kit.

Camping: The Lost Art

My tent was just like this

I haven’t been camping in more than fifteen years.  I find that funny because that was something I used to look forward to every summer.  That’s only partially true.  Camping fever started around the May long weekend (what we in Canada refer to as May 24, or Victoria Day).  It was rarely the perfect weather, but you could usually plan to spend some days outdoors.

Though I haven’t been camping I have kept up with advances in camping technology.  Most of my friends have opted for hard top tent trailers (if they haven’t been able to afford a cottage, but nowadays who can?), propane stoves, space heaters, air compressors to blow up air mattresses, though more likely for beach balls, water wings and other inflatable water toys.  Heck, they even have full sinks.

It is a far cry from my days with a square tent with heavy aluminum poles (state of the art at the time) and guide strings.  I remember having to pump up both the stove and lantern before they could be used.  Washing dishes required a good size bucket and again, pumping that stove for hot water.

Though I sound bitter, I am probably just jealous.  Today’s tents go up in a flash, and I wouldn’t have to go into oxygen deficit to blow up an air mattress.  Heck, I could probably bring along a portable DVD player and watch a movie or two.

Among my circle, I must congratulate my younger brother and sister (as well as their spouses) for still being hardcore enough to hike kilometres through dense bush and portage between rivers and lakes and mosquito infested areas for that pristine, back to basics camping.  Though I wouldn’t do it, I respect them for keeping it real in every sense of the word.

As I look back on it, I probably gave up on the whole camping thing after one memorable trip in which every single one of us decided to bring hot dogs as our contribution to the communal meals.  I like hot dogs, but I am not sure they should be eaten every meal.

The Inadvertent Collection

I was rummaging around in a drawer and found three pennies wrapped in a scrap piece of paper.   Being inquisitive I took a closer look.  Indeed, they were “special Pennies.”  That is to say they were from 1967.  Now I know what you’re thinking.  Actually, that isn’t true.  I have no idea what you’re thinking.  Probably some of you are wondering about the value of the coins.  Some of you are sure that the coins are worthless.  And some of you are laughing because you know where this blog is going.

All across this sometimes snowy nation (and I suppose other nations as well) you can find these supposedly special coins tucked away in drawers, boxes, coffee cans and wherever else they can be put.  We collect, or perhaps horde is a better word, these coins because someone told us once that they were valuable, or would be valuable.  Maybe we came to that conclusion by ourselves.  However it came about, whenever we find these coins in our change it is like we won the mini lottery, and these coins get rescued from our pockets and change purses to live amongst their own kind.

In Canada, the mint has capitalized on our tendency to amass these special coins and releases them with annoying frequency.  I guess there are tin cans, and jars all over the country calling themselves home to these new collections.

For some of you collecting as a hobby is nothing new.  For those that thought they were not taking part in a hobby, guess what?  You are taking part in a hobby, you just didn’t know it.

I should point out to my fellow Canadians that there is one more wrinkle to this inadvertent collecting that we all participate in.  While you’re looking for those special pennies, you will probably come across your collection of Canadian Tire money.