The Food Smasher Conspiracy


Unlike my body, my brain didn’t survive the 60s…but I’m not crazy. I’ve done some crazy-ass things…but I’m not crazy. After reading this, you’ll likely scratch your head and avoid me when you see me on the street or sitting inexplicably on a camping chair in your garage, smiling…but I’m not crazy. I have a crazy story to tell…but I’m not crazy.

It started about 10 years ago when I bought a beautiful new food smasher so that I could smash food down to its basic atomic parts to make guacamole. I smashed green peppers, green onions, cucumber, garlic, avocados and more into precise nuclear arrangements that, when aligned under the right celestial conditions, produced the best guacamole in the world.

People travelled from afar to challenge me in guacamole wars, but I invariably sent them home with their legs behind their tails…or shot them. I was a happy man with a wonderful food smasher. Things couldn’t get better.

But they could get worse.

At the beginning of this week, it occurred to me that I hadn’t made guacamole in a while and I decided it was time. I bought guacamole-friendly vegetables and lots of avocados and laid everything out on the kitchen counter ready to be smashed into the world’s best guacamole. I opened the cupboard door to fetch my beautiful food smasher but, as soon as I saw it, I knew something was wrong.

This wasn’t my beautiful food smasher. It was something else.

It was too big. The food smashing drum was twice the size it should be. The handle was too high, too wide. The contours were all wrong. It was cumbersome with not a hint of the sleek and efficient design of my beautiful food smasher.

I checked my memory:

Have you seen this before?


Did you trade your beautiful food smasher for this abomination?


Did you unknowingly buy this…thing?


Do you have any idea how it got here?


Are you sure you haven’t seen this before?

I was stymied.

But I decided to use it anyway. I filled the bowl with pieces of green pepper and green onions, put and pressed the button. I made noise that I’d never heard before. Loud, unacceptable noise with no food smashing results. It wasn’t smashing the peppers and onions to anywhere near the atomic parts I needed to make the world’s best guacamole. It was a dismal failure as a food smasher.

I called my daughter in Edmonton (3000 miles away) and asked her if she’d replaced my beautiful food smasher with a failed food smasher. She denied any involvement, pleading distance as proof of innocence.

I was further stymied.

I couldn’t think of anyone else who would dare venture into my hovel. I couldn’t think of anyone else who would know the location of my food smasher. I thought, You must be wrong about this. You must have remembered your food smasher wrongly. You mind has failed you. I looked in the cupboard again. Maybe I somehow, accidentally had two food smashers. It seemed to be in the realm of possibility. I may not be crazy, but I certainly wasn’t playing life with a full deck of cards.

And then I saw it.

Sitting off to the side.


A food smasher attachment. I grabbed it and tried to fit it onto the failed smasher. It wouldn’t fit. It was designed for another smasher…my beautiful missing smasher.

I wasn’t crazy. Someone had actually switched smashers. How? I don’t know. Why? I don’t know. Who? I don’t know.

But I will find out.

If anyone has any information leading to the apprehension of the food smasher switcher, please contact me. There will be guacamole in it for you…the world’s best guacamole.

As for the switcher…you know who you are. You know what you did. I will find you.


Shooting in the (almost) Dark


I love going for bike rides with my camera in the early evening, especially just as the sun is about to dip into the void off to the left of where that giant elephant carries the world.

(Don’t worry though, somewhere around morning, the sun invariably bumps into the elephant and the elephants says, “Ouch!’ and uses its trunk to toss the sun back up to the world. This is called sunrise.)

Finding patches of color in the (almost) dark is like finding a rough diamond and saying, “Wish I’d seen you an hour earlier.”

OK, so an hour earlier the rough diamond would still look like Smokey the Quartz, but both Smokey and the patch of color have one thing in common: with a bit of polishing, they present incredible beauty.

Now, I will admit…the patch of color isn’t going to look all that great if you enlarge it to poster size. I mean, you’ll have to bump the ISO up, which will degrade the image to an extent, and you’re still going to have a lot of (almost) dark.

But we photographers have magic tools that turn us into diamond cutters and polishers. Mine is Lightroom. In the image above, I set the ISO to 800 (a respectable ISO for a Canon 5D2). but there was still a lot of (almost)…well, dark  in the image. But it threw the reflections of the stream in the distance into a beautiful backdrop for the color in the foreground and, with a little brightening in Lightroom, a few of the flowers became polished diamonds.

Sure, it’s not something I’d enlarge to poster size. It would look like pixelated crap. But it looks OK online…and isn’t that what the internet is for? To make high ISO images look good?

I guess what I’m trying to say is…don’t let the (almost) dark stop you from finding diamonds in the rough. Especially in the (almost) dark.

(Lens: Canon 100mm (with 2x extender); f stop: 4; shutter: 1/45 (hand held); focal length: 149mm)


The Falls Brook Falls

Went canoeing down the Miramichi on the May long weekend with my old buddy Nanook of the Nashwask. My fourth time on that river and it still captivates me with its sprawling beauty.

One of the things I love most about the trip is the side trip to the Falls Brook Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in New Brunswick. Here’s what I mean…


Become a Writer

Do you want to write a novel, play, short story, poem, annual report?


This workshop will show you how to conceive an idea, develop it, and turn it into a finished piece of writing ready for publication. The focus will be on writing a novel, but the techniques you’ll learn apply to all forms of writing.

Presented by Biff Mitchell, author of Writing Hurts Like Hell: How to Write a Novel When You Don’t Have Time to Write a Short Story, this workshop is based on 10 years of teaching writing workshops through UNB CEL, the Maritime Writers Workshop, the Muse Online Writers Conference and others.

Fee is $95 and includes a free digital publication kit.

There will be four 2-hour sessions (June 12, 14, 19 and 21) from 6:30 till 8:30. For more details, email Enrollment is limited to 10.