North to Alas-k-k-k-ka

kenny_south_parkReports of an early spring are gone from Timmins, where I’m heading later this week. Still light on the snow side, but temperatures were down to –20° Celsius (near California-like conditions to some readers), so looks like the tight packing situation of the trip up just got tighter with the addition of  The Parka.

The Parka is an addition to my wardrobe that dates back to my time in Winnipeg, where Men are Men and testicles are retracted to prevent Brass Monkey incidents. Minus 40° is the same in Celsius and Fahrenheit, an interesting bit of trivia that so fascinates Mother Nature that she leaves the thermostat there frequently in Manitoba. Apologies to Johnny Horton and the title of the blog, but Winnipeg’s average temperature in winter is quite a bit lower than Alaska. It just seems colder with all that extra dark to stumble around in.

The Parka is a very efficient warming device, so much so that it has seen use in Ontario only when skiing, and even that was a mistake as the exertion to get myself up off my ass had me sweating before I could say “bunny hill”. I don’t know that it remained zipped that day. I seriously doubt it. It has not been zipped since, and we are talking about 9 years. I recall shoveling snow in The Parka in Winnipeg, unzipped, no mitts, no hat, then coming in and realizing it was –15°C.

The garment itself, despite its 12+ years of tenure with me, is in great shape, two tone blue, very little wear and tear, mostly just from being shoved around in the closet around other less insulating garments. I thought briefly of consulting with Kathryn about how to incorporate The Parka with the rest of my wardrobe, but then it occurred to me.

At –20, everything goes with everything. Preferably at once.

Blizzardian Research

Oh. The weather outside is frightful. Blahblahblah. The city is being dumped on, still, and it’s supposed to continue into tomorrow. From my window, the snow appears to be falling up at about a 15 to 20 degree angle to the south. I’m reasonably sure this is an illusion of some sort. Having spent some time in banishment in Winnipeg, I’m neither overly impressed at the scope of the storm, nor of the reaction of the locals. At best this is a “reasonable flurry” by Manitoba standards.

The ‘research’ of the title is not about the blizzard itself, but rather following a thought that occurred to me as I stared into the snowy evening gloom. I was thinking about the changes to my appearance and how the reactions to same have been predominately from people who know me as an amorphous blob. So, in terms of comparison, sure, easy to see improvement, but does this mean I’m just now a formally dressed platypus, or have I really elevated my Superficial Status in life?

Some time ago I had a rather curious experience when I was part of an online dating site. Initially, I posted photos of myself, as part of my profile and, to generalize, the response demographic I received could be described “60 year old motorcycle mamas”. I exaggerate for the sake of humour. But not much.

Taking another tack, I killed the pics on the profile and presented myself strictly through the written word. That led to some interesting conversations that led up to a point where photos were exchanged and then… nothing. I failed the Beauty portion of the competition.

Ultimately I was driven away from the site by a crazed stalker who would not stay blocked. While it was somewhat flattering to rate my own stalker, it was tiresome after a while and the lack of satisfactory result led me to cancel that membership.

However, this evening I posited that perhaps here was a way to see if real change has been effected, particularly upon the unsuspecting population who have no idea what my “Before” photo looks like. To that end, I created a profile that is me, with photos taken on Man-Over Day.

Now comes the research. I will track incoming response to this new profile based on three criteria:

  1. Median age of responders – While I don’t have hard data from my previous membership, there was definitely an 8 to 12 year seniority on the part of those who made first contact with me.
  2. Percentage of motorcycle fans – I’m even more certain of this tendency of previous admirers. Bikes. It was in pretty much every profile.
  3. Return of Stalker – this will be the acid test. If the stalker turns up again it will show that I am recognizable and still have psychotic appeal, which is something I’d like to move away from. This point might serve as a tie-breaker in the event of mixed results.

Okay, I admit. Not the most precise of research projects. ButPlatypus-transparent looking at the size of flakes pouring down now, I’m going to be inside for a while. And I am open to to your suggestions for further criteria for monitoring. Any ideas?