Sat, Mar
8
2008

Driving Through a Winter Wonderland

Sat, Mar 8, 2008

03082008.jpg

(ducks!) +CRASH!!+

All right, who threw that?

Seriously, congrats to Dan who, while he has over forty rambunctious students in tow, still left yesterday to the warmth of Italy and Greece. Despite the students, I think there are a few people out there who’d willingly change places right now.

But, personally, I find this rather exciting. It’s an impressive amount of snow out there: the sort of storm we get to tell our grandchildren about, saying “why, in my day, the snow went up to our chins, and we had to trek to school in groups of ten, leaving hunks of meat in our wake to keep the wolves fed and off our tail.” Although you do know that it’s been a hefty winter when Ottawa is about to break a snow record. Why, in my grandfather’s day, I’m told they once accumulated sixteen feet of snow over the winter, and they dumped it all in Dow’s Lake and didn’t find the lake again until late that summer.

Kitchener is not close to setting a record, though we did have the snowiest February on record. We’re several inches away from our 1924 total, when over eight feet accumulated over the winter. Still, just like my aunts and uncles up in Ottawa, we’re running out of places to put this stuff.

Seriously, though, anybody who thinks that this storm disproves global warming is full of it, and is being as silly as those who point to Hurricane Katrina as proving global warming. These storms are still in the realm of normal. And, besides, I should note that these storms are Texas lows, coming up from the United States laden with moist Gulf air and dumping everything when it collides with our cool Arctic air. More typically, we receive Colorado lows, which are somewhat drier. Now, some people could ask: why on earth would we be pulling lows from further south this winter? Or, to put it another way, why is warmer, moister air trekking further north this season? Hmm?

We’re holed up indoors for the day and I’m about to go make my pulled pork recipe, which will slow cook on a bed of onions for the next six hours, filling up the house with warm smells. We stocked up on groceries last night to ensure that we wouldn’t have to drive, and now that we’re in a townhouse condo, somebody else will be responsible for shovelling our walk. I don’t envy those who have to travel (for the love of God, guys: STAY HOME!), but for me the only thing that would make this day better would be for it to be a Friday, and we all get to stay home from work.

One minor inconvenience: the pharmacy we usually go to is closed today due to the weather conditions (read, the pharmacist couldn’t make it out of his driveway, probably). We’ll have to fill the prescription tomorrow or Monday. Fortunately, it’s no big thing.

I finished my second Science Solves It book commission late last night, on endangered plants and animals. It’s with my editor now and it remains to be seen whether he likes it or not. I have my fingers crossed. I’m still not quite used to writing in this genre, and the task was again not finding stuff to go into the book, but paring it all down to fit the 3500 word count. I have a tremendous respect, now, for those authors who know how to communicate to young readers in ways that are both interesting, accessible and informative. One of the tricks is to use words other than interesting, accessible and informative, but for me that’s easier said than done.

I have a third commission from a sister publication within that publisher. This editor is doing a series on Sports Science, and I now have until the beginning of April to write up 4000 words on the science of cycling, after which I hope to get a commission on the science of baseball. I’m not exactly sports inclined, but I do appreciate the physics involved in curve balls and aerodynamics.


Conversations With Vivian

Here’s a typical conversation that we can have with Vivian.

Us: Hello, Vivian. What’s your name?
Vivian: VIVI!!!
Us: And how old are you?
Vivian (holds up two fingers): TWO!!

Recently, my mother tried this variant.

Grandma: And how old is grandma?
Vivian (pauses to think, then holds up two fingers): TWO!!
Grandma (laughs): I can live with that.

Then, this morning, in the car, my father tried it as well.

Grandpa: And how old is ‘papa? (short for ‘grandpa’ —jb)
Vivian: Hmm… VERY!!!

I laughed. Fortunately, so did grandpa.


On This Day

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