The city of Ottawa started blasting the ice on the Rideau river on Saturday as part of the flood-prevention measures. Here’s a sample from Saturday:
Sure looks like fun!
Back in 2006, I put a bunch of photos on Flickr
Seriously. I know. Twenty-year-old me wouldn’t believe it either.
I spend what appears to be a heck of a lot of time talking about numbers, but it’s one of the lenses through which I view and understand the universe.
Sixteen years ago today (that’s over half a billion seconds ago, yo), on a mild February day, I married my best friend (who may or may not have said yes when I originally asked her to marry me) in at ceremony held amidst (melted) Winterlude ice sculptures with Chilean music playing – due to my being overly considerate to family members who were tardy (insert comment about how no good deed and all that). Tracey wore a custom-made.. everything, and I wore a suit with a custom made shirt with a Nehru collar (as I loathe ties). There are unfounded allegations that I sprinted down “the aisle”, but the photographic evidence doesn’t support that.
I’ve written about this a few times like in 2006 – Two thousand, nine hundred and twenty two days and counting and in 2008 – A testament to love ten years of marriage. All of what I said then pretty much stands today.
Boiled-down advice: Marry your best friend.
Of all the decisions I’ve ever made, marrying my best friend by far the greatest.
We’re going to take the day off and see where it takes us. Apparently there will be cinnamon hearts and possibly some black forest cake (the greatest form of cake in the 814 known planetary systems).
The weeks up to proposing to the woman of your dreams are a combination of wild anticipation and sheer terror – even if you believe to know the answer with a high degree of probability.
We were camping up in Algonquin Park when the big day arrived. I’d hidden the custom-made ring in a pair of rolled up socks since we’d left Ottawa, where it had been carefully concealed inside one of my computers (two places I could be sure Tracey wouldn’t accidentally find it).
We were camped over on site 209, Kearny Lake, just across from Pog Lake. On the morning of August 23rd, 1997 Tracey had given me a watch (which I wore every day for about fourteen years until it broke beyond repair) to celebrate our first year together.
I nearly panic-proposed, but managed to keep my suave exterior from showing the fierce inner battle that waged for nearly ten seconds. She probably thought the progress-bar expression was just my usual self getting distracted by (possibly) a real squirrel.
Our history filled with long walks. We especially loved going on long walks while camping, and to this day still do. I don’t exactly recall if it was raining when we left for our walk, but we were dressed for it – I remember sneaking the ring (and box, I think) into the pocket of by bright yellow MEC monsoon coat.
We walked in the rain through the Kearney campground, then wandered across the highway to Pog Lake, and then to Whitefish lake where it was definitely raining, and foggy. Just about everywhere along the walk, I was looking for the ideal location to propose.
I had no idea what the ideal location looked like.
Eventually, I found a spot I thought would do the trick. Sheltered somewhat from the rain by tall pines, there were two trees that had grown together. I stutter/mumbled something about being joined like the two trees and how much I loved her, and dropped to one knee.
“Will you marry me?”
Let’s jump backwards.. oh, about two months.
The hunt for the ideal engagement ring (a relatively modern social convention invented by the diamond industry’s marketing department) at various retailers didn’t yield any promising prospects. I looked in the Rideau Centre, in the Byward Market, and down Bank street. Nada.
A traditional prong design wouldn’t do, as Tracey works with rather expensive fabrics all day, and I wanted to give her something she could actually wear.
One day, I sat down and designed a ring – white gold (Tracey doesn’t care for yellow gold), with three channel set stones, a Canadian diamond flanked by our birthstones. I spoke to numerous jewellers and settled on Tang Jewellers who assured me that they could make the ring in time for pickup well before we left for Algonquin Park.
The call came in at work that the ring was ready. In my excitement when I picked it up, I didn’t notice a small flaw – either due to the terrible lighting, possibly that anticipation and/or terror I mentioned earlier, or the fact that I was rushed – or most likely all of the above.
Fast-forward back to Algonquin.
“Will you marry me?”
Exactly what she said next is a bit fuzzy, but was something close to “Is there a reason it’s yellow gold?”
Entirely not the answer I was expecting. Or, I suppose the one I was dreading.
I didn’t have a back-up plan for this response. Confusion – yellow gold? Wait. What? I ordered white gold, I knew it! I thought it might be the light where we were. Nope, that was yellow gold, no question about it.
Somewhere in the confusion, I’m reasonably certain that she did indeed say yes, but I don’t *specifically* recall it.
Tracey told me that if she had an inkling that I’d propose she would have arranged a ceremony right then. I’m not sure how she didn’t know – somehow I’d managed to get her ring size, probably through some wildly complicated and intricate scheme.
When we got home from the trip, I checked the receipt for the ring, and yes, it did indeed specify white gold, so we took it back to the jeweller, who, after apologizing up and down, had the ring completely remade in less than a week. We were so pleased with the results, we had them make our wedding bands.
Every year since then, we try to find the spot where I proposed, and we have been unable to, leading me to suspect we’d travelled though some foggy fairy proposal vortex.
I don’t mind if fairies had their fun – we’ve lived happily every after.
Like many Canadians, I’ve been watching the unfolding events in Toronto with disbelief and disappointment.
I wish I could find who it was on Twitter that asked how much Rob Ford would have to drink to get into a “drunken stupor”, but it got me wondering.
First, I needed his weight – which was listed as 147.6 KG (313 lbs) on June 6, 2012 at the end of his weight loss challenge. It’s likely to have changed, but that’s the last data point I could find, and I doubt he’d answer that question if I asked.
Next I needed a tool to do the calculations, which it turns out, have already been written, saving me some time.
To start, we’ll define 1 drink as either one 355 ml/12 oz beer, 150 ml/5 oz of (10-12%) wine, 90 ml/3 oz of fortified wine (16-18%), or 44ml/1.5 oz of liquor (40%).
The target blood alcohol levels we’ll be looking at are 0.10 to 0.19 and .20 to 0.29.
These numbers are approximate.
0.10: Nine drinks (3.2 litres of beer / 0.396 litres of vodka)
0.19: Fifteen drinks (5.3 litres of beer / 0.66 litres of vodka)
0.24: Nineteen drinks (6.7 litres of beer / 0.836 litres of vodka)
0.29: Twenty-three drinks (8.1 litres of beer / 1.01 litres of vodka)
With a blood alcohol level of .29, he would be unfit to drive for at least sixteen hours, and over twenty hours to being sober.
Stupor shows up in the list of effects over .20, so for Rob Ford, that’s 16+ drinks (give or take).
Numerous people in the media have suggested the possibility that he’s showing signs of alcoholism (the preferred term is apparently alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence).
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, men may be at risk for alcohol-related problems if their alcohol consumption exceeds 14 standard drinks per week or 4 drinks per day, and women may be at risk if they have more than 7 standard drinks per week or 3 drinks per day.
No matter how we look at it, Mr Ford and his family are going through a difficult time, and probably have been for a number of years now. Alcohol abuse and drug use are both indicators of being in need of help, and I sincerely hope he gets it.
This year’s vacation reading material was quite different from last year, which was largely audiobooks. This year, with one exception (which itself is notable), I read honest-to-goodness dead-tree books.
Over the twenty days I was camping, I read 4,150 pages, with a low of 45 pages, a high of 654 pages, averaging 207 pages per day.
Red Storm Rising (1986) by Tom Clancy
One of my favourite stand-alone war stories. My paperback, which I think I picked up in the late 1980s has finally died, splitting into two or three chunks by the time I sailed through it.
This is, in my opinion, Clancy’s best individual work, and is probably the most human and approachable telling of what a war stemming from the Cold War days would be like, as opposed to the highly technical The Third World War: The Untold Story by Sir John Hackett.
I would absolutely love to see this turned into a mini-series, covering.. oh, twenty or thirty hours.
The Dying God and other stories by S.M. Carrière
This book I picked up at the 2013 Ottawa ComicCon directly from the author who had a booth right beside the Ottawa BrownCoats booth. The book sat patiently waiting for me to go on vacation to read it.
I don’t have the book in front of me now to go through the table of contents but, overall, it was quite enjoyable.The final (and title) story of the book stuck with me, as did River Woman. I’d love to see her revisit these down the road. I’ll certainly pick up another one of her books. Now I have to convince her to do audiobooks.
Sum of all Fears (1991) & Debt of Honor (1994) by Tom Clancy
Two books in the Jack Ryan arc, which I quite enjoyed re-reading.
Penguin History of Canada (1988 or so) by Kenneth McNaught
I picked this book up to feed my fascination with Canadian history, and was by far the slowest read of the trip. The writing is so… dry as to make history uninteresting. I start/stopped the book quite a few times, putting it down to read *anything* else.
Area 51 (2011) by Annie Jacobsen
I love me a good conspiracy theory or two, and this book is wrapped in a doozy, but most of the meat of the book is actually about aviation history (the development and deployment of the U-2 and A-12, particularly). I don’t think the author is an aviation enthusiast, so there are some errors and inaccuracies, but there are dozens of pages of notes, and when I have some time to revisit this, I’ll follow up on a few that caught my eye.
Flight of the Old Dog (1987) by Dale Brown
All my friends know I love the B-52 bomber. Give me a book about a tricked-out, modernized B-52 and I’m there. Not a particularly plausible scenario, even back when it was written, but fun none the less.
2600 (issues 30.1 & 30.2, Spring and Summer 2013)
This is the only magazine subscription I currently have, and the two issues I “saved up” for the trip have been a tradition for me for oh, … forever now.
True Canadian UFO Stories (2004) by John Robert Colombo
I think the work true should be quotes. Mixed feelings about the book.
The “audiobook”: Firefly, the series.
Yes, I took the DVD boxed set and converted it into an audiobook. I loved listening to the show this way, usually listening to one episode per night. Consuming the show this way certainly reminded me the importance of good audio designers.
Yes, I have a blog post started on the how – it’s not too complicated, so stay tuned. I wrote a blog post detailing how to create an audiobook from the DVDs.