Carnet de Voyage 2011.05.10

May 11, 2011

A carnet de voyage is French for, well, a travelogue would probably be the most appropriate expression in English.  In the past, I’ve done quite a bit of travelling, either on business or as a result of being someplace due to business that made non-work travel easy.  Not that I’m as well travelled as my friend Mark (a.k.a. Buoyguy) who regularly racks up gazillions of miles as he plies his trade around the globe.  His carnet de voyage is far more exotic than mine, but nevertheless I will occasionally post something here under the category.

I haven’t been doing much travel since returning to live in Canada after a stint working and living in France for a few years around the beginning of the present century, but events have recently meant having to fly a number of times in the past month.  Things have changed so much in air travel – mainly the tightened security and airlines that are scratching to make a profit by charging for all sorts of things one used to take for granted as part of the deal.  I won’t complain about it, there’s not much point – it is what it is, and it’s not likely to backtrack.

The most recent set of flights went fairly uneventfully (nothing got cancelled at the last minute due to equipment problems, which happened to me with a flight a few weeks back – the airline was good enough to put me up in a hotel since the next flight out was not until the following morning) – other than some worried moments about making connecting flights (twice I arrived at the gate with boarding already in progress) – but there was one interesting thing that happened yesterday: one of the passengers on the flight from San Francisco to Chicago was Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister of the UK.

May you live in interesting times

May 7, 2011

That’s an ancestral proverb/curse, and the way things have ramped up in the last few weeks it seems a bit like someone uttered that in my direction.

Fortunately, it’s been manifested in the benign sense, but it does feel a bit like a whirlwind hitting after sitting in the doldrums for some time.

More details to come in the fullness of time – patience, grasshopper.

An Island

May 3, 2011

So the votes have been counted in the 2011 Canadian federal election, and the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has won their coveted majority of seats in the House of Commons, with the New Democratic Party (NDP) taking the second greatest number and forming the official Opposition to the government (replacing the Liberals who held that role in the previous parliament).

But the small city I live in, Guelph (pronounced Gwelf, for those who aren’t familiar with it – the name comes from British royalty, via King George IV through the Guelph lineage from the House of Welf ), re-elected (result still to be officially confirmed) the incumbent Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) MP Frank Valeriote.

Which, when looking at a map of election results by riding where CPC seats are blue,  LPC seats are red and NDP are orange, leaves Guelph as one of a few islands of red and orange in a sea of blue here in South-Central Ontario:

Southwestern Ontario election results - taken from CBC website

The overall map for the country shows a little more variation from region, but it’s still (for me, at least) depressingly blue:

Canada wide election results - taken from CBC website

It will be an interesting four years to come…

Been There, Done That, Got The Badge

May 2, 2011

I see that the good folks responsible for hosting the A-Z Blogging Challenge have provided a nifty badge for participants to show the world that they managed to complete the challenge successfully. And here’s the badge:

A-Z Blogging Challenge April 2011 Winner's Badge

It was fun coming up with post topics to match the letter of the day, and it’s been a good exercise for my writing muscles.  I don’t think I will continue posting at the same pace, but it has definitely encouraged me to write more often than I had been doing.

I’d like to thank all the organizers – you can find them listed over at Arlee Bird’s Tossing It Out blog – and congratulate all of the bloggers who took on the challenge.

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give special mention to my friends Mark and Maureen Blaseckie, who also participated in the challenge (and through whom I found out about the challenge to join in) and entertained me with their posts throughout the month, as well as providing encouraging comments on my efforts.  Thanks also to everyone else who left comments on various posts.

Twas the night before Electsmas

May 1, 2011

Twas the night before Electsmas, when all thru the House
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Votes were cast by the people with care,
In hopes that Democracy soon would be there.

Inspired by A Visit from St. Nicholas a.k.a The Night Before Christmas, generally attributed to Clement Clarke Moore.

If you are eligible to vote in the 2011 Canadian federal election and haven’t already voted in an advance poll like I did, I encourage you to make the effort to get out and cast your vote on May 2nd, 2011.

Zip, Zilch and

May 1, 2011


That – nothing – was almost what you got for today’s A-Z Blogging Challenge chez Unconventional Wisdom.

You see, it’s been a long day, spent almost entirely away from home and thus not at a device from whence a post could fly out upon the Interwebs (reading that sentence should give you some idea of how tired and punchy I am at present).

We were up early to get ready for a trip into Toronto for the Downtown Knit Collective‘s 2011 Knitter’s Frolic – my wife K has just published a new knitting pattern for a beaded shawl called Hana-bi (Japanese for fireworks) and it was making it’s first public appearance in printed form (as well as having on display a couple of samples she had knitted) at the booth for Shall We Knit?, a yarn store owned by a friend of ours.  The pattern was also put up for sale on PatternFish yesterday as a downloadable PDF.

Anyway, we spent the day at the Frolic, checking out the vendors in the Marketplace, making useful connections with some and getting K some yarn for future pattern design projects, as well as putting in a couple of hours volunteering at the yarn winding table (knitters could donate money towards the Canadian Cancer Society Relay For Life fundraiser in exchange for having skeins of yarn they’d bought from vendors in the Marketplace wound by volunteers into balls on ball winders and swifts – yes, I know a lot about knitting for someone who doesn’t actually knit).  At the end of the show, we helped the Shall We Knit? crew pack up their wares and load them into the trailer for the return trip to the shop – which has moved now from New Hamburg to Waterloo.

So, a good day, an enjoyable day and most definitely a tiring day.  By the time we finished with loading the trailer, got something for dinner and drove back home it was quite late in the evening by the time I could sit down to write.  My apologies for a somewhat rambling and not terribly focused account of our day, but I hope you’ll agree that something is better than nada, or zip or zilch for that matter (er, you do know that today is the final day of the A-Z Blogging Challenge, and thus the letter of the day is “Z”?).


April 29, 2011

Tick… tick… tick… counting down the last few letters in the A-Z Blogging Challenge, with just “Y” today and “Z” (and that’s pronounced “zed” around here, OK?) tomorrow.

Tick… tick… tick… counting up the years – there have been a few elapse since I first took a breath, although it doesn’t feel like as many have passed by as the calendar seems to tell me.  Perhaps age is just a state of mind.

And things go in cycles through the years – for example, my birth being followed some years later by the birth of my two sons, and now No. 2 son (who will turn 27 in a couple of months – just realized that I was about a year older than that when he was born) has in turn had his own new baby boy arrive in his life yesterday.

No. 2 son's new baby boy: Gryphon, born April 28, 2011.

Well, I guess the years do eventually start to add up, no matter whether we ignore them or not.  So we may as well make the best of them and not have too many regrets when looking back.