My Week 269: Launched, When Pigeons Attack

Last weekend, I had a book launch for my new novel The Dome (shameless plug, and if you read it and like it, can you please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads or whatnot? Also, here is a link to The Dome on (use if you’re in Canada) before I get pigeoned to death lol!). Anyway, the local pub hosted it, and it was not without its funny moments. First, Ken had to go out of town suddenly in the morning and said to me, “Hey, I might be gone for a while so if you get a minute, can you decorate the cake?” We looked at each other for a second. I pointed to myself questioningly. He nodded in resignation then shrugged and left. This pantomime was in response to the fact that I decorate cakes in very much the same way that I wrap Christmas presents, which is to say, “like a small child”. But he’d applied the base coat—my only job was to pretty it up. He’d made two cakes and put them together to make a book shape. There was green and red icing, and a small CN Tower model. We had some muffins so I decided to take the top off one and use it for the SkyDome (that’s what it used to be called before it was bought by a series of corporations—it was called the Air Canada Centre at one point but I think it’s the Rogers Centre now, and I’m sure in a couple of years it will be owned by a beer company and be called something like The Heiny-Dome, but it will always be the SkyDome to me).

I put the model of the tower on one side, ripped the top off a muffin and stuck that next to it. It didn’t look much like the Toronto skyline, so I rooted around in a box of Hallowe’en candy and found some little Hershey bars that I could stick in the cake to look like skyscrapers. Then I wrote The Dome at the top. I stood back to examine my efforts and decided it needed something more, so I looked up images of maple leaves online and drew one on the left side. It wasn’t much of an improvement. The muffin was chocolate and it looked like someone had taken a dump on the cake.

I gave up, and went to get dressed. When Ken finally came home, he said, “What’s wrong?” I pointed wordlessly to the cake.

Ken: It looks great! The maple leaf is VERY professional, although I’m not quite sure what it’s for…
Me: It’s the symbol of the rebel movement IN THE NOVEL, KEN! Did you even read my book?!!
Ken: Oh right! Well, it looks just…super.
Me: No, it doesn’t. I suck at decorating.
Ken: I can salvage—I mean finish it for you. Don’t worry.

And he did. It looked much better after he worked on it, although he didn’t have a lot of time or supplies—the only thing left in the Hallowe’en box was licorice.

Then we got to the pub a little early to set up and it was PACKED WITH HUNTERS, and I was like, Oh god, are they going to be here all afternoon? There was a table of about 12 of them right in front of the stage area, so I jokingly yelled, “Hey, thanks for coming to my book launch!” and they all stared at me like I was a deer they wanted to shoot. Luckily, they were getting ready to go kill more stuff, and by the time the launch actually started, they were gone. The rest of the afternoon was fantastic, with between 50 to 60 people showing up. I did a reading and sold out all the books I’d brought with me. At one point during the afternoon, I started to tear up because I was overwhelmed by all the love and support I was getting from everyone. So thanks to all of you out there—it means a lot. And all the cake got eaten.

We now return to our irregular programming…

Last week, I went out for lunch with some friends from work. We were at a place called the Upper Deck where, in the summer, the windows are removed and it becomes an enormous patio. But the windows aren’t sealed tight in the winter and birds can still get in and out. We were sitting there talking and suddenly something plummeted from the ceiling and landed directly in my lap. I was mid-sentence and interrupted myself with a loud scream. Everyone, including ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE IN THE RESTAURANT, looked at me. I held up a giant pigeon feather and yelled, “What the f*ck!!” And it reminded me of the time a couple of summers ago, when something similar happened on a different patio.

Every restaurant in downtown Toronto, regardless of the size of their frontage, has at least one table out front in the summer, even if it blocks the sidewalk. Personally, I love relaxing on a nice patio with a cold glass of white wine in hand (even if said glass costs more than the actual bottle I can buy at the liquor store—Toronto prices are a rip-off), but there are some dangers to the patio life that need to be taken into consideration. First, you are an open target for panhandlers; to them, it must seem like shooting fish in a barrel. I’ve also heard stories of street people taking sips out of glasses or stealing fries off plates. But the biggest hazard to patio season is the wildlife, which brings me to the point of this story. I had gone with a group of colleagues after work for a drink. Patios are so popular in the summer that, when there’s no room on one, you can get put on a waiting list and the hostess will give you a disc that flashes and buzzes when there’s seating available. So after waiting for about 15 minutes, we made our way out to the patio at Jack Astor’s. It’s a great spot, high up and overlooking all the madness of Dundas Square, with misters that spray the air above you if things get too hot (I just realized that makes it sound a little like a gay bar—let me clarify that “misters” are large showerheads, not actual men. I was in a gay bar last summer and instead of spraying us with cooling water, the waiter yelled at my friend for putting her feet up on the outdoor patio chair. When I laughed and said, “Who are you, our mother?”, he replied, “Well, SOMEONE has to parent you, sweetheart!” It was fabulous).

Anyway, things were going really well, and I was totally relaxing into my drink, when I realized that there was a pigeon wandering around near our table. Pigeons are the panhandlers of the bird world—they have no problem at all approaching you to scam you out of your food or give you pamphlets about the impending apocalypse. I was doing my best to ignore the pigeon, who was getting closer all the time, but then I laughed at someone’s joke, turned my head, and for a horrifying split second, the pigeon and I made eye contact. Even though I looked away really quickly, the pigeon took this as an obvious invitation to join us, and began sidling over towards my chair. I tried to pretend it wasn’t there, but the effort of keeping one eye on the pigeon and participating in the conversation was making me more and more distracted and a little afraid. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE birds. I get super excited every time I see an owl on a hydro line, and Ken and I will race from window to window to watch a humming bird buzzing around our flower garden. But the pigeons in Toronto are another matter altogether. They have no fear of humans whatsoever, and they have these malevolent, beady little eyes that follow your every movement. So there I was, minding my own business and being stalked by a pigeon. Then someone asked me a question; I took my eyes off it for a second, and suddenly I couldn’t see it anymore. Then I felt something brush my leg, and when I looked under the table, the pigeon was NEXT TO MY FOOT. I moved my foot in a panic which made the pigeon fly up and start hitting my leg with its wings and talons. I screamed and thrashed at it—which made everyone at the table look at me like I was some kind of lunatic, but then I said, “Pigeon!” and they all smiled and nodded knowingly. So now, even though I love patio season, I’m also super-paranoid about pigeon attacks, and with good reason, if I’m not even safe from them in the winter. In fact, I’m a little suspicious of all birds in Toronto right now—on Wednesday, I was out with a friend when a sparrow landed on the sidewalk next to me. Instinctively, I told it to f*ck off and it flew away. You never know—it could have been the advance scout for a party of attack pigeons. I’m not taking any chances.

73 thoughts on “My Week 269: Launched, When Pigeons Attack

  1. Oh do I hate pigeons.

    As for the cake, I’m awful at making them, but I’ll eat anything chocolate when sb else does, regardless of how unappealing they might look. And congrats! May this publication and celebration be followed by many more in years to come.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Authoress51 says:

    OMG, I almost spit out my coffee! The cake was fine by you, but silly. But, the Pigeon? Personally, I like those guys. But, I could just see you freaking out and I have never even seen or met you, personally. Thank you for your great Posts and congrats on your new book.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’ve never been a fan of eating outside… be it picnics or backyard barbecues or whatever. You never know what is going to fall out of the sky and into your plate, and then there is the wildlife and assorted bugs. Count me among those who also doesn’t recognize corporate “takeovers” of naming rights for sports arenas. Unfortunately, most of the stadiums in sports now are so new, all they’ve ever had is a corporate name…

    Congrats on the book launch!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m still waiting for my copy of The Dome. Excited to read it!!!
    Sea Gulls are a thing in Spokane (where there is no sea, so no wonder they’re aggressive). I have been pooped on by a sea gull TWICE. Though probably not by the same bird. THAT would be upsetting🤣 LOVE your writing. You make me laugh every time❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  5. 🤣😂😝 OMG Suzanne, I mean a post with cake, misters and attacking birds? How can you go wrong, seriously. The cake looked fantastic, and I’m so happy your book launch went superbly, you have a great support system for sure. I don’t blame you when you say your suspicious of all birds, they can be a bunch of fuckers, lol.

    When you had to explain the “misters” it reminded me of when I briefly worked at aBrinks, the armed trucking company. At the entrance to the building we had a secure doorway system where when you buzzed to walk in one door would open, your walk in, that door would close but before you were allowed in or out the door in font wouldn’t open until the first door closed. This system is called a man trap, you know to keep workers from trying to take money being transported in the armed trucks. It does cause one to become a bit claustrophobic.

    But the receptionist who controlled the man trap would always joke about the name. She was single at the time and would say the damned thing didn’t work because she’d never was able to trap a man with it, lol.
    Congrats again on your book, I am going right now to Amazon and put it on my list! If I mail it to you will you sign the copy for me? That would be awesome!! 😎👍🎉🤩

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I feel your pain about pigeons… Although I don’t mind the feathered rats myself, my best friend is afraid of anything that can fly, besides planes. (Thank God for that, it would have been so complicated to drag her to Denmark with me!!) Years ago, I’ve been designated as her official bird-bodyguard when she visits Montréal. That made me well aware of all the birds we have in the area. And though sparrows, tits and seaguls are pretty easy to get rid of, pigeons are a real plague. I have often wondered if they are over-confident, or just lacking the concept of fear altogether, but it is kind of scary to see the head your way without the slightest hesitation. It gives you the feeling they have a secret weapon they can use anytime, if you try to kick them away… 😉

    Congratulations on the book launch!! Ken and you did a great job with the cake 🙂 xx

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Greta news about the book! A couple of suggestions: put a link to Amazon (or somewhere) on the post, so people can find it. I believe a certain Stephen King has a book called Under the Dome, which show up first in a search, and since you go to some lengths to keep your name a secret, a link would help. And get Bookland Press to update their site. And, please, an eBook for those of us who are too decrepit to hold a real book anymore! If there’s no chance of an eBook, I’ll buy the paperback, but since it’s a YA book, you really need the eBook, if only to encourage impulse buyers…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Excellent advice! I’ve posted the links–my name is Suzanne Craig-Whytock for anyone who doesn’t already know:-) I’ve asked Bookland for an e-version but haven’t had a response yet–I agree that it’s absolutely necessary in today’s market!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations on the book launch! And on the cake. Every year on April 1st or 2nd libraries hold an “Edible Book Festival” and now I have an idea for next year. Or I would if I had either baking or decorating skills.
    Anyway pigeons everywhere are known as rats with wings for a reason. But I’m willing to tolerate losing a fry or two to a pigeon for the benefits of being outside. Especially if I’m eating chicken. I glare at the pigeons and say “This is what happens to birds, you know.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! I imagine your cake will look much better than mine, lol. As for birds, I just tell them to F- off! I’ll never forget the time I looked down from my condo window and thought I saw a guy walking a very tiny dog. As I squinted, I realized that it was a pigeon, just walking along beside him. I wish I was as calm as THAT guy about being stalked by a bird.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Amazon says I should have my copy of The Dome by the end of the week! In the meantime, count your blessings that you don’t have to deal with cafes in New Delhi. Apparently, drunken monkeys that are part of a protected sacred class of animal can really wreak havoc with the act of sipping an espresso.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. So glad to hear that the book launch went well! The hunters you mentioned had me a little worried there for a moment, but so glad that you SOLD ALL OF YOUR BOOKS and all the cake was eaten! Very well done! Also, I think you might have to do a sequel to The Birds. It’s been so long since I watched Hitchcock’s classic that I don’t even remember the ending. I’m sure I’ve blocked most of it. I think you could pull off writing a sequel, though, and add in relevant scenes like misters with misters who teach the birds manners, since clearly they have yet to be taught any! Parent birds are just not doing their jobs these days and their bird offspring are becoming delinquents. Anyway, I always love reading your Sunday posts! Mona

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Oh girl, I’ve missed you terribly. I’ve been a bit distracted of late…trying to find an income and all. One would think this would afford me some time to actually write, but I feel guilty writing the 8 lines I manage to throw in a blog post…and that now takes me a good 1/2 day…on a good day.
    Which brings me to my point. How the f*ck do you manage to have a full-time job, write a weekly blog post, get into all the trouble you do, and, I’m sorry, WRITE AN EFFING BOOK! I’m truly in awe.
    Second of all, every time I read your post, I am more and more convinced that we are two peas in a pod and would most certainly stir up a good amount of trouble together. The dishtowel thing, for instance. And gift-wrapping…
    When I was in my 20’s, I worked at this kinda fancy “all things houseware” gift shop, everything from dining ware to gourmet foods to furniture. I was assigned to the coffee section, which was probably the safest option since I’m prone to knocking things over and sneaking a piece of fancy licorice when no one was looking. I wouldn’t do it all the time, and I don’t think it was technically considered thefy. They were ridiculously expensive, like $1.50 apiece. So they would just sit there and get hard. And who is going to pay $1.50 plus tax for a hard piece of licorice? Plus, it’s the rare “bird” (since they are the star of the show…that I”m stealing) who even likes black licorice, so they were probably just gonna end up getting thrown out anyway. So in the end, I was really just doing someone a favor and saving someone from having to throw all that revenue into the trash.
    ANYWAY, Christmas season rolled around and they were desperate for help wrapping trinkets and such, so they moved me over to fine dining, where they had set up the wrapping section. I lasted about a week before I was told I’d be returning to the coffee section.
    Long/short, I am THE WORST gift-wrapper ever. I don’t have the patience to make sure all the corners are line up and the tape doesn’t show, and if a bow is required, it’s all over.
    And, I might have broken a dish or two…
    But the bird thing hasn’t been an issue to date. Although with my string of unfortunate events, having pigeons accost me would not surprise me in the least. But I have a feeling they would bybass my feet and just go straight for the jugular.
    And the cake thing is a disaster waiting to happen. I would have definitely went with the muffin strategy…and left it at that. So essentially, it would be a large white cake that looked like someone took a dump on it with nothing else o distract the poor souls expected to partake in such an unsightly cake.
    So that was an exceptionally long-winded attempt to say CONGRATS!!! Where is the best place to get it? And, I’ll absolutely leave a review and share on social media, hopefully before Christmas if I can get it in time. Which shouldn’t be a problem, since I doubt you will be sending it via it pigeon post. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  12. The cake looks great. The maple leaf was beautiful. I wouldn’t even try it! I made beautiful fun cakes for my kids birthdays, parties, etc. now? Not at all. I’m happy for you the launch went well, and the hunters left.😂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Sounds like a great start for the book. Maybe the hunters would even like it – it’d give them something to do whilst sitting in a blind. As for the pigeons, if they give you the eye you just need to have a little heart to heart with them. I hear they speak pigeon English.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Those pigeons are sneaky–and persistent! At least they weren’t seagulls. I was on a “cocktail cruise” with Nate on our honeymoon and seagulls followed the boat–trying to eat the cocktail shrimp they were serving with our drinks. It was a nightmare!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. ‘Heart pounding, feet pounding. “Pick up the pace, Dee!”‘

    Oh yes, The Dome has arrived. 😊

    At the perfect time, too. The cover is magnificent, both the imagery and the feel of it. If I may judge this book by it’s cover (so far) it is divine! Great picture of the author on the back cover, too. 😉 I’ll be entering 2135 this week. How did you come up with that year, may I ask?

    As for birds, they are Ludo’s favorite things. If they are in the yard (and they are by the dozens lately), he chases them with a fury. If they fly over, he runs across the yard barking at them being in our airspace. In another life he would have been running with that first throng of “book-lovers” above.

    The first time I was in a gay bar with some friends (it’s where the gals like to go, don’t ya know!) the bartender, a beefy guy who looked like he could take on an army of hunters, said to me, “What can I get ya, hon?” in the deepest voice and we all just laughed and ordered cocktails. Good times.

    Oh, and “Heiny-Dome”? I laughed so loud I woke the geese.

    On to Adanac!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope you like The Dome—it’s always a little nerve wracking for me when friends read my serious stuff! As for the cover, a good friend rendered a photo that Ken took to make it look like that and the publisher did the rest. I love it! My friend, unfortunately, was hit by a car while she was walking to our all-staff meeting earlier this fall and hasn’t been back to work. I’ll pass on to her your compliment—I know she’ll appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Congratulations on your book and your amazing launch. I’m glad the hunters didn’t shoot off any rounds for celebration. That could have been messy. I need to go over to Amazon and check it out. So happy for you.

    Liked by 2 people

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