Monday, June 20, 2011

Family First

Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove. 2 down, hundreds to go!
So this weekend was father's day weekend. Sunday is one day I get to do whatever I want, no questions asked. Of course, I went birding, but not with just anyone, with my dad. More about that later, let's back up to Friday.

Work is as crazy as ever and there are products that need to tell people about themselves. Since they are just inanimate objects, I'll talk for them. I left work right on time Friday as it had been a rough week and I really needed to not think of banks or cars or anything else advertising related. It was pure family time. I had planned on getting some Latin names tattooed on me Saturday. That meant picking up my tattoo artist Pete from the GO Train station in Oshawa. I got him about 9pm. We came home, sat and caught up a bit and went to bed at a decent hour.

Saturday would be busy as it was the Bent Family Summer Solstice Celebration. What's that? It is when a local record company, Get Bend Records, has a two day camping-concert-family party. There'd be several bands playing and most people pitch a tent and stay the weekend. My friend Bradleyboy Mac Arthur was one of the artists playing and there was another band I was very anxious to see. They are called The Bone Devil and they are the greatest metal band in the world, or so we say on Facebook. They are great. They aren't a typical metal band. Their songs have crazing timing changes and is a bit of a throwback to a 70s metal sound. but they aren't just copying that sound as so many bands today are. They are certainly doing their own thing and have really nailed something down that's pretty unique. Check out their Facebook page and if they're ever in your town, go see them.
Nice to see Beard Team Canada was present.
The see-saw was a hit.
Rachel and the kids enjoying some music.
Bradleyboy Mac Arthur.

Let's reverse again. Saturday morning, Rachel was first up to be tattooed. She'd be working on finishing up her right arm piece. Lots of poppies and butterflies. While she did that, I printed up a bunch of Latin names of the first birds I'd seen this year. Then, I popped over to my moms house for an extension cord and once she heard Pete was in Orono, she wanted to get herself a tattoo. Since this weekend was all about family, I gladly slid myself down the line to get mom tattooed before me. While she got hers, I drove the Duster to Bowmanville and ordered some new wheels and tires. When I returned, she was just getting finished up and I sat down to get some work done. This was to be the inaugural session that would lead to me covering much of my body in bird names. Last week I tweeted asking people where to get the first tattoos. Most people said neck so I started there. After just two names, it was time to go to the Bent Summer Solstice party. Sadly, I only had time for those two names. That's OK. There's lots more time this summer. I already have set up weekly lunchtime sessions with  Pete at his studio in Toronto. So we will be making a dent in the 207 birds I've seen so far.

Rach getting some arm work done.

Pete working under the watchful eye of Lucy.

Mom's new tat. RR stands for Rudy Riss (my dad).

Getting started on my neck.

My usual demeanor.

Mom said, "Smile, you're making a documentary."

More tattoos and my son Shepard.

Me, Georgia and Shep with a Strawberry from a local farm.

A little video of me getting tattooed. Listen carefully as my Aunt Pat threatens to rearrange my face.

Sunday morning I was up at 6am. I made some Birds & Beans coffee and walked over to mom and dad's place. He was ready to go and we headed out to Presqu'ile Provincial Park to look for birds. I asked a few good birding friends where they'd go at this time of year to maybe see something new for my year and that was it. We stopped at a marsh along the way and got a nice Blue-winged Teal, some Killdear and Common Moorhen. There was also a Painted Turtle. Then we headed to the park, paid our $15 fee and drove in. We saw a couple Baltimore Orioles, American Goldfinches and some other usual suspects for this time of year. We also got a Brown Thrasher, a Spotted Sandpiper and lots of Cedar Waxwings (a favourite of dads). The best bird of the day would be a toss up between the Black-billed Cuckoo and the American Woodcock. Both were Lifers for dad. The Woodcock was standing right at the edge of a trail we walked on. I thought I saw something far off that was brownish but never got a great look at it. As we neared the spot, it flushed and scared the shit out of both of us. It flew and we got a good look as it navigated the thick brush trying to find a place to set down. It had waited to flush until we were about a foot away from it. After our hearts slowed back down, we decided to head out for some breakfast/lunch in Cobourg. It was a good day birding that would be finished with a great meal of roasted chicken at mom and dad's house. Aunt Pat and the kids were there too. Family all the way.

Black-billed Cuckoo by ricmcarthur.
American Woodcock by Paco Lyptic.
Now it's Monday and I'm on the commuter train again, heading into the city. The last thing I wanted to do this morning was leave my seat between my two vegetable gardens. I was listening to, and even saw, the Great-crested Flycatcher that lives in my backyard. But, like I said, there's products that need selling and my brain seems to be pretty good at making people want things. Things they may not even need. Think of me next time you feel buyers regret, and know that I'm sorry.

Paul Riss
Punk Rock Big Year


  1. A gentleman always gives the ladies first ink, even on Father's Day.

  2. plus my mom is pretty rad so there was no question she got to go first.