Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I cause power failures

I'm told that Windsor gets more thunderstorms than any other city in Canada. Consequently, Windsor seems to get a lot more power failures than any city I'm familiar with. I guess that the power grid gets zapped so often that something is always just a hair's breath away from breaking and plunging some or all of Windsor into darkness.

Because it was failing so often, this summer I just gave up on keeping most of the clocks in the house accurate. I'd set the one or two that I use most and just not bother with the others knowing that I'd just have to do them all again in a few days. But earlier this week, I decided that thunderstorm season must have finished and I could probably count on a steady supply of current until it's knock out by a blizzard, or ice storm or god knows what some time over the winter. So a couple days ago I set the clocks. All of them.

I woke up (late) to a power failure covering several blocks around my house. Clearly my smug clock setting had angered the gods and this was their punishment. Power stayed off for about 45 minutes and then flicked back on.

Not one to surrender to the whims of the gods, or for that matter to logic, I reset the clocks. That may not have been the best idea since it's thundering out now...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

An Interesting Evening

I've had quite the evening. But I'm feeling tired and lazy, so instead of typing the whole thing out, I figured I'd just post the conversation I just had with Mary about it. (with some minor editing)


CanadaDave: I've had an interesting evening...

mary ann: oh??

CanadaDave: I was sitting and happily vegging in front of the TV when my phone rang

mary ann: k

CanadaDave: It was a number and area code that I didn't recognize, so I answered it.

mary ann: okay

CanadaDave: It was WereGirl. She'd been in some sort of accident on her way home from Toronto and wanted me to get hold of PilotBoy and tell him to meet her at her house.

CanadaDave: She hadn't been able to reach him

mary ann: oh no

CanadaDave: So, after a few phone calls and checking her house to see if he was there, he finally got back to me

CanadaDave: He was home in Michigan and was heading over as quickly as possible

mary ann: i guess so

CanadaDave: I talked to WereGirl again, and she said she'd meet me at my house since she was being being given a lift by a nice man driving a semi.

CanadaDave: So, PilotBoy showed up at my place a little while later and we hung out and watched for WereGirl.

mary ann: she hitched a ride in a semi?

mary ann: that's not safe.

CanadaDave: She did

CanadaDave: Eventually a big truck pulls over and PilotBoy helps WereGirl out of the passenger seat and we all thank the driver profusely

CanadaDave: She then fills us in on what happened while we drive her to the hospital.

CanadaDave: She'd been driving home and run out of gas.

CanadaDave: He car normally bugs her when it's low, but it hadn't this time, so she'd just run out

mary ann: oops.

CanadaDave: So, she got the jerry can out of the trunk so she could walk to a gas station to get some gas

CanadaDave: Except that it was really windy here and the can was blown onto the highway

CanadaDave: Her first instinct was to chase it, but she caught herself before she made that particular mistake

mary ann: this doesn't sound like it is going well for her

CanadaDave: Instead, the can was hit by a truck and smacked her in the chest and face.

CanadaDave: Hard enough that she thought she'd broken her collar bone

CanadaDave: So, it's dark, windy, and she's in pain, but the gas can is alright and she starts walking to the gas station, sobbing as she goes.

mary ann: oh wow.

CanadaDave: At this point the nice man in the semi pulls over.

CanadaDave: She realizes that getting a lift in a semi is not safe, but she just wants off the road and is willing to risk whatever might happen in the truck so that she can get off the road and not be creamed by a car blown off the road...

mary ann: i can see why she took the ride, although why she didn't just get gas and drive home....

CanadaDave: Well, she tried

CanadaDave: They went to the gas station

mary ann: k

CanadaDave: she filled the can and he drove her back to her car.

CanadaDave: She put the gas in the tank, but the battery was dead because she'd left her four way flashers on

mary ann: oh

CanadaDave: So, the nice trucker agreed to take her to Windsor and even let her use his phone to call me.

mary ann: why does she leave her home?

mary ann: ever?

CanadaDave: No one knows

CanadaDave: She really ought not to

CanadaDave: So, we drop her at the hospital and PilotBoy and I head out to deal with her car

CanadaDave: We find it on the side of the road and vainly struggle for a while trying to boost it.

mary ann: it wouldn't go?

CanadaDave: Nope

mary ann: ack

CanadaDave: We tried and we tried, and only succeeded in damaging the hood. It ended up catching a gust and getting blown all the way back

mary ann: oh my

CanadaDave: Eventually we gave up on that nonsense and I called 411 to get the number for a Tow Truck company

mary ann: k

mary ann: good idea

CanadaDave: The first one I called was busy so he gave me the number for a second one

CanadaDave: The second one was busy, so she gave me the number for a third...

mary ann: oh my

CanadaDave: The third finally agreed to send a truck

mary ann: hooray!

CanadaDave: Which took, like, forty minutes.

mary ann: how long since released was weregirl at this point?

CanadaDave: Dunno. But she called while we were on the way to the dealership asking what was up.

CanadaDave: Eventually she took a taxi home. At least I hope she had better luck with that than, well, anything else tonight, since I haven't talked to her since before she hailed the cab..

mary ann: y'all really shouldn't let her leave her house

CanadaDave: She really shouldn't

CanadaDave: But then the house would likely fall down or something

mary ann: fair enough

CanadaDave: So, it's been quite the evening. We spent a long time in the wind and cold trying to make that car go.

mary ann: i bet

mary ann: i spent twenty minutes on an elliptical machine and i thought that was eventful

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

No Candy

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Just a quick post to share this pic I took of a neighbour's pumpkin last night. There's just something about it that I find funny.

Monday, October 03, 2005

American Politics

I've been finding American politics to be particularly fascinating lately. Part of it may be that my course load has a couple of classes on the US this semester, but I don't think that that's all there is to it.

On of the stories I found to be of interest was Bush's reaction to the hurricanes that hit the gulf coast. When the first one hit he was on vacation and seemed a little reluctant to cut that short. He eventually did, and then kept such a close eye on the events that he believed that FEMA's Michael Brown was doing "a heck of a job".

Bush's approval rating rather predictably took a hit over his handling of Katrina and its aftermath.

The really interesting part is what happened when Rita started heading towards the gulf coast. Clearly Bush and his staff had learned that people expected him to actually do something when a natural disaster strikes. The problem looks to have been that neither Bush nor his staff seemed to have a clear grasp on what precisely that something should be. The solution was simple enough and is something I've been guilty of trying now and then myself. Bush simply had to look busy. Now, my preferred strategy while trying to look busy is walk quickly while frowning and holding a piece of paper. Bush was going to need something a little more creative, so his staff arranged for a few photo ops. He was photographed looking at maps, photographed being briefed, he even wanted to be photographed overseeing hurricane preparations. (Because that wouldn't have been disruptive at all. The Whitehouse press corps and the United States Secret Service are both well known across the world for being subtle and unobtrusive. Thankfully that photo op was cancelled).

The other fascinating and slightly more recent event are the two indictments brought down against House Majority Leader Tom Delay. The charges themselves are not surprising and frankly, from what I've heard it sounds like there's more than enough to convict him. The interesting thing to me was something that was just mentioned in passing in the coverage I was listening to. Apparently Mr. Delay's lawyer is a little worried about his client's ability to get a fair trial. Seems he thinks the jury pool might be tainted because citizens of Texas are a little angry at Mr. Delay because he spearheaded an extremely partisan redistricting of the state that gained the GOP several more house seats and the majority in the House.

Now, that kind of partisan redistricting is technically known as "gerrymandering" and is one of the more unethical things one can do as an elected official. If Mr. Delay suffers at the hands of the people he willfully attempted to disenfranchise, then I believe that that is what is technically known as "poetic justice".

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I hate Detroit

Last weekend I went for a short flight with WereGirl and PilotBoy. We flew to a nearby airport, had dinner and flew back. The flight itself was pleasant and uneventful as was dinner. Generally a good time was had by all.

Where things got a little interesting was my trip back to Windsor from PilotBoy's house, which is in a nicer suburb of Detroit. WereGirl was staying over, but since I had to work the next day, I was borrowing her car and driving back. The trip to Windsor from PilotBoy's place normally takes about half an hour and is not a huge deal, plus, it was the middle of the night, so traffic should be light to non-existent. I don't know the area very well, but generally am fine once I get on a highway. So, I made sure that I got detailed instructions that far, and trusted that everything would be pretty simple from there. Nothing that involves WereGirl's car is ever that easy.

Anyone who has heard me talk about the roads in and around Detroit has heard me compare them unfavourably to the streets of a country that has recently gone through an extremely destructive civil war. Basically, they suck. The city of Detroit, however, seems to have realized this and has basically undertaken to fix them all at once. I suspect this has something to do with the fact that they are hosting the Superbowl this year.

Whatever the reason, the end result is that every single highway going into and out of Detroit has some sort of lane closure or some kind of detour happening at all times. So, driving in the Detroit Metro area is currently an exercise in frustration, at best. The likelihood of lanes or exits being closed seems to be directly related to how much I'd like to use them. Detours are long, convoluted and seem to go through neighbourhoods that I'd usually prefer to avoid.

So, I had found the highway and was nicely on my way home in WereGirl's car, whose controls are a little unfamiliar to me, and is arguably a little cursed. (Presumably due to a lot of close exposure to WereGirl.) The first little problem was that a bright red SECURITY warning light lit up on the dash. My guess was that this was because I was using a copy of WereGirl's key. (WereGirl had given it to me after a previous incident in which she had managed to be locked out of her car for about a week after losing her only key.) This was my first time driving with that key and I wondered if there was something about it that the car had decided that it didn't like. Maybe it would eventually shut down the engine. No, that was ridiculous and would be remarkably unsafe. Maybe next time I shut down the engine it would refuse to start until WereGirl's key was put in. I decided that that was pretty likely. But that was okay. I had plenty of gas and had no reason to turn the car off before getting to WereGirl's house.

During this time I'd started passing a few signs saying something about lanes being closed. I didn't recognize the roads being referenced, but hoped that that section of the highway would be after the exit to the bridge. Quite the optimist am I. Shortly thereafter a line of pylons gradually forced me out of the express lanes and into the collectors. Okay, that was fine. Traffic was relatively light and this shouldn't affect me all that much. Then the pylons forced me off the highway I was on, and onto another one.. One which I'd failed to take note of the name of. Things still weren't that bad, though. There were detour signs, and I was still on a highway. I stayed on this new highway for a while, taking some comfort in the friendly detour signs the reassured me that I was going in the right direction. This was a little inconvenient, but things seemed to be well under control.

That is, until I saw a sign that seemed to indicate that I should take the next exit. I can only surmise at this point that the sign meant I should have taken that exit, because there was nary a detour sign directing me where to go where I got off the highway. There was a sign directing me to the University of Detroit Mercy, which I was passingly familiar with, having visited it a couple times during my first year of school. Sadly, after two signs directing me along the way, I must have missed one that wanted me to turn.

So, I was lost. Lost somewhere in or around Detroit. And I couldn't stop to ask for directions, since I wasn't about to get out of the car and leave it running and I didn't think it would restart if I turned it off.

My method of getting myself un-lost, something I have to do startlingly frequently, usually involves basically driving by zen until I see something familiar. The trouble with doing this in Detroit is that there is a rather copious lack of landmarks I recognize.

I wandered. It started to rain, creating a fog that obscured any potential landmarks more than a block or two away. I flicked on WereGirl's wipers and realized that the blades had likely last been replaces sometime in the Palaeolithic era. I wandered some more, squinting through the windshield. I found what looked like a broken water main in a dip under a bridge and wondered briefly if I was going to be testing WereGirl's car for any amphibious ability it may or may not have. Wandering through Detroit is a little frightening. There are a lot of homes and businesses that have been boarded up, and the citizens, especially those on the streets this late at night, don't exactly radiate friendliness. I had visions of the police eventually finding my bullet riddled body and wondering just what I was doing in some bad area of town.

Eventually I saw a sign pointing me towards the bridge to Canada. I think I actually said "Yes!" out loud and may have actually pumped my fist in the air a time or two. Mind you I never did find the bridge, but it did get me pointed in the right direction.

Somehow I stumbled upon the tunnel a gratefully made my way back to Canada. Where I immediately made a wrong turn and ended up driving away from WereGirl's house for a block or two...

When I did get to her house, I experimentally shut her car off and restarted it, just to see if it would work. Of course it did and the little red SECURITY light even switched off.

I was still muttering about that, the city of Detroit in general and the Michigan Department of Transportation people in particular, when I got in my own car and drove home.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

This and that

After spending a whole lot of my summer in Orillia, I have now returned to Windsor and should be here pretty much until Christmas. Reason being that I have started a part time job for the fall which involves working twelve to five every Saturday and Sunday. The good news is that it's a decent gig, isn't all that hard to do and pays okay. The bad news is that I can't do much on weekends and it's only ten hours a week, so despite a more than adequate hourly wage, I won't actually be earning as much as I'd like.

Now, as much as I'd like to blog about certain aspects and happenings in my new job, I shan't. At least until I no longer work there. I have no desire to be fired because I wrote something the company doesn't think is as funny as I do here.


In other news, the swim mentioned in my previous post went very well. My mom swam steadily across the lake while I swam in circles, around her, under the canoes, under water, here there and everywhere.

It's 5 kilometers across the lake, but we managed to make it 6 due to everyone's inability to actually swim in a straight line...

Anyway, my mom raised a lot of money for charity and we both got out picture in the local paper, horrible picture that it was...


This blog turned one year old, oh, about two weeks ago. A fact that I celebrated by not realizing it or posting. So, ummm, happy belated birthday blog. I promise I'll try to neglect you less in the coming days and months.


I've been in Michigan a fair bit over the past couple days, hanging out with WereGirl and PilotBoy around his place and doing some flying with them. Now, I've criticized the roads and highways around Detroit before. Lots, in fact. But what I wasn't expecting was for them to try and fix them ALL AT ONCE. There is more road construction, closed exits and detours in and around Detroit than I have ever seen in my life. This makes getting around the area very close to impossible. Certainly impossible to do efficiently. Especially for me, since I have a bad sense of direction and can barely make my way around that area the best of times. I have grown to hate orange signs from my time around Detroit.


If you pay attention to the little counter at the top of the page, you'll know that I am shockingly close to my 30th birthday. No more twenties for me. I'm not really pleased about this. Frankly, I've not accepted leaving my mid-twenties.


Anyway, that's all I'm going to write for the time being... I promise to try and come up with something funny or interesting in the next few days...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Swim

Growing up in a city that borders two lakes, I did a fair bit of swimming growing up. I took swimming lessons at the local park as a small child, and later joined the local swim team. (Checking my ribbons was a good way to tell how many guys in my age group were entered in a particular event. First place meant I was the only one. Second meant there were two of us and on down from there.. But I digress.)

I'd gotten out of the habit for a few years, swimming rarely, yet enjoying myself when did. I'm swimming a lot more lately, though. Partly because I'd like to get in better shape for my upcoming 30th birthday (see the countdown above) but also because I promised my mother that I'd accompany her on the cross lake swim she's doing in honour of her 60th birthday on August 10th.

It's not a big lake, by any stretch of the imagination, but it should take more than a couple hours to swim the 5k across. It should be a good swim and I'm looking forward to it.

My mom is using the opportunity to raise money for a few charities, including the one she works for, by taking pledges for the swim. Me, I've been mostly focusing on the actual experience and less on the money raising part. That said, if you'd like to sponsor me and contribute either to NSVCS or to the CanadaDave Student Beer and Pizza fund, email me using the link at the bottom. Contributions to the former as even tax deductible for Canadians. Not so much for the beer and pizza fund.

Just how cold is it?

At my house:

Where I grew up:

Where my brother (The communicator) is:


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