Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Guy Fawkes and Movember
Last night was Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night, when the English rather zanily celebrate the unsuccessful Gunpowder Plot of 1605, meant to assassinate King James I. Traditionally there are lots of fireworks and bonfires, and figures of Guy Fawkes -- one of the bonfire plotters -- are burned in effigy.
In our neighborhood the festivities seemed fairly tame. There were isolated pops and explosions until about 8 p.m., when suddenly they got quite intense for a short time, maybe 20 minutes or so. Then they died down completely -- until 12:30 a.m., when a neighbor set off several roman candles right across the street. (Thanks for that, neighbor.) We've seen and heard fireworks for the past several nights, but it's been unclear which were in celebration of Bonfire Night and which were for Diwali.
Unlike two years ago, I did not photograph or video any of the fireworks. If you want a Guy Fawkes Night experience, just watch the video from back then. It's the same every year, more or less!
Through it all, Olga seemed relatively unfazed, which was a blessing. Some dogs react very badly to all the hubbub; it freaked out poor Ernie back in 2011.
Incidentally, the BBC reports that the tradition of burning effigies is on the wane. Apparently kids used to trundle their homemade scarecrow-like "Guys" along the sidewalks, collecting money, before burning them. The speculation is that children these days are already too worn out by the increasingly popular Halloween.
So have you heard about Movember? It's a fairly silly annual event aimed at raising awareness and money for problems like prostate and testicular cancer. Basically, men grow moustaches for the month, and become walking billboards for men's health.
Well, a guy at work sent an e-mail last week drumming up support for Movember among school staff members, and lots of guys volunteered to grow moustaches. So, yes, even I, who have never had a moustache in my entire life (except for a few brief months back in 1995 when I had one in combination with a goatee) -- even I am growing a moustache.
So far, I hate it. Hate it. It's coming in frighteningly gray and it just feels very weird on my face. One of my coworkers (a woman) said to me on Monday, "Steve, are you sure this is a look you want?" Which I took to mean that it looks stupid, too.
But you know, this is all about team building and camaraderie. Appearance is irrelevant. All the guys are doing it, so I'm doing it too. (Dave is exempt because he already has a beard -- though he could have shaved the beard and started fresh, I suppose.)
I may show you a picture at some point, and I may not. Stay tuned.
(Photos: Portobello Square, about 5:45 p.m. yesterday. And a moustache eraser that, coincidentally, I found on a table at school and used to decorate my workplace computer monitor for Movember.)