We (Ms Rose and I) just returned from a trip to Lotusland (the Canadian version, didn’t see any eunuchs, though) where we annoyed some friends (mentioned already — I’ve referred to them as TV and LM) and attended a national sporting competition (a family member without a cute Rose-related name (no, not that one) was playing).
We were gone for about ten days, during which we did a bunch of things that I won’t bore you with. A number of images, though, will stick in my mind for a long time.
- One day we went for a walk in beautiful semi-downtown Coquitlam. While walking around the lake that’s not full of concrete we saw a little old lady in a track suit (and why, exactly, do little old ladies wear track suits, anyway?) feeding the birds. No surprise there, people feed birds all the time. But people usually feed ducks, or pigeons, or SCBs (small chirpy birds). This particular lol was feeding…. crows. Now, I have nothing against crows. I like crows. Crows are cool. But people don’t usually feed them in parks.These particular crows looked happy. A bit confused, perhaps, but happy.
- While visiting the Bloedel Conservatory and enjoying Carmen, Maria and their friends, I had reason to visit the Little Programmer’s Room (Oh no! It’s That Subject again! Make him stop!). After finishing my… business, I paused to admire the vintage porcelain (you don’t see that style much these days) then turned around. And there at the sink was an attractive young lady in pink pants. I had a brief moment of “Oh, no, not again!” before I remembered the porcelain and realised that I was in the right room — which implied that she was in the wrong one. Seeing her dad helped too. I was so pleased that I hadn’t blundered into the wrong room that I helped her with the paper towel dispenser. (“What do you say?” her dad asked her.)
- Curling is a game that rewards consistency and equanimity. Some of us have neither; for us it’s easy to miss a shot and become frustrated which can lead to more missed shots and more frustration. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Good players are able to put a miss behind them and move on. (I do not claim to be a good player.) Despite this, there are stories of prominent (and not-so-prominent) players losing their temper in public, on television, or elsewhere. These stories can be interesting in a horrifying, train-wreck sort of way. While attending the 2013 CIS curling championship, I witnessed a new story in the making. A young and very talented player had just made (missed, actually) a shot that resulted in the opposing team scoring multiple points. He returned to the near end (the one with windows) and… tried to throw his broom through the wall. The spectators sitting behind that wall suddenly became… alert. He then picked up his gripper (sort of a slip-on rubber boot thingy designed to provide traction when standing or walking on ice) and tried to batter down the wall with it. The spectators became even more alert. He then stormed off the ice (via the door — there was no new hole in the wall) and to the LPR. The spectators didn’t spectate what might have gone on there. After a few minutes, he calmly returned to the ice as if nothing had happened and went on to have a successful rest-of-game and rest-of-week. Despite the pyrotechnics, I have to admire his coping mechanism. Wouldn’t work for me, though.
- I’ve mentioned before — probably several times — that I dislike airports. During one layover we were cooling our heels in an airport (and for a change not running through it). Outside the building was a late winter storm and a large truck which was spraying everything in sight with pink goo. The storm (and the goo, as it happens) was playing merry hell with airline schedules — including our connecting flight. They kept changing its expected departure time and the gate it was supposed to depart from. (Hm. Suddenly I want to say ‘arrant pedantry.’) Because of the delays, the airport was full of people, all milling about with empty-eyed expressions combining despair, resignation, exhaustion with just a soupcon of “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.” Crowds. I hate crowds even more than I hate airports. This is partly because I’m a misanthrope and I hate people in general, but also because I get claustrophobic (I’m sure there’s another word for it) in crowds. To avoid unseemly panic attacks I avoid large groups of people. Anyway, they kept moving our flight; at one point I was sitting there in the latest departure lounge when our flight disappeared from the board. I wanted to know what had changed, what the new developments were, stuff like that. So I went and talked to the three harried-looking guys wearing airline logos. I could have walked the fifty or so meters to a cluster of screens, but I was tired and there was a huge crowd between me and them and did I mention that I hate crowds? And they were wearing clothes with logos — they must know something, right? And besides, nobody was talking to them just then so they were free. “Could you tell me the current status of flight number X?”One of them said he could. He turned to his computer and started entering commands. (I thought he might already know — after all, it was supposed to leave ‘his’ gate and then it wasn’t. Failing that, I thought it might be easy to find out. Wrong on both counts.) He hit several dozen keystrokes, frowned, hit several dozen more, frowned again….. After quite a while his compatriot offered to walk down the hallway to look at the screens: “No need. I’ve almost got it.” More tapping. More frowning. Finally he had something — he knew the official story about how late it was (plenty) and what gate it would be at (a hundred meters thataway — next to the toy airplanes). But the part that stuck in my mind was how mind-bogglingly hard it apparently was to look up something fairly simple. And people complain about unix.