Tag Archives: Beth

On The Topic Of Wanderlust

The world is so much bigger than North America
The world is so much bigger than North America

While my friends Beth and Rick were in town over the Christmas holidays, we spent some time chatting about travel (as we are wont to do). Both Beth and Rick have been on some pretty fantastic adventures over the past year (for example, read about their awesome but separate trips to Ireland here, and here1), and it’s always great to hear about travel related shenanigans.

One of the interesting things to come out of the conversation wasn’t exactly expected. We were chatting about off-continent trips, and I began to wonder when last I launched myself through the air in a people-filled lawn dart3. For someone who loves travel as I do, I was actually shocked by the realization. My last trip off-continent was back in the old-time-y days of 2011 when Rick and I adventured our asses off in Hawaii4, 5. The year before that also saw me in Europe twice – once for Christmas with my brother, and once to celebrate the successful completion of my PhD.

Clearly this close-minded North Amerocentric travel practice can not be permitted to continue. It’s just not right. Think of all of the cultures that I’m not learning about. Think of all of the shenanigans I’m not getting up to. Think of all the adventures that aren’t being adventured. It’s a travesty I say.

Fortunately I have a few plans up my sleeve. One involves Asia, the other involves a return to Europe. Both could occur sometime during the summer. In the former case I’m looking at a potential exchange program that would allow me to bookend a two-week teaching/researching adventure with shenanigan filled adventuring. In the latter case I’m looking at several conferences that are separated by a few weeks.

In any case, it’s very clear that I haven’t been living up to my wanderlusting potential. This is something that I must correct in 2014.


1 Also, why haven’t I been to Ireland yet2?

2 Honestly, 2013 seemed to be the year that everyone I knew when to Ireland or Scotland. I may or may not be jealous.

3 Also known as an airplane.

4 While Hawaii is politically part of the United States, it’s actually in the region known as Oceania.

5 Which means that the three year anniversary of that particular trip is only a few weeks away. I should figure out a way to celebrate said adventure-filled vacation.

The First Step Is A Real Big One

Edge Walk take 2.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, today was a random day off for me. Why today? Well, after several rather insane weeks including deadline after cutting-it-painfully-close deadline, meetings and oh-my-god-I-can’t-take-another-meeting, and more often than not needing to be in several places at once, I figured I was due. Also, there was adventuring to be had with my friends Dr. Beth, Nancy, and Jeff.

Adventure, you say! Adventure indeed. In this case I was returning to Toronto to take on – for a second time – the CN Tower Edge Walk. You may remember that I took on this challenge back in August with another group of thrill-seeking nerds.

Today’s adventure was just as good as the first. The minute I stepped out onto the ledge, I could feel the adrenalin pumping through my veins. While the weather wasn’t as nice as the first time I was tethered to the tower, it still offered some pretty spectacular views of the city, as well as the lake. Given the lack of sunshine – which significantly reduced glare – it was very easy to see both Niagara Falls and New York. And of course, getting this particular bird’s-eye view of Toronto was pretty epic.

Given that this was my second trip around the tower, I found that leaning over the edge was so much easier. Don’t get me wrong, there was still that moment when every cell in my body was crying out Hells No! You seriously don’t think you’re dangling yourself over the edge, do you? But their voices were almost instantly quieted by the incredible sense of awe that comes with leaning face first over the edge of a building; trusting in a tether that in theory could snap at any time. Unlikely, yes, but there’s still a non-zero probability of it happening.

Today’s adventure differed from the first in that the wind added a new level of holy-crap-this-is-freaking-scary-and-awesome. It’s one thing to be hanging my ass over the edge of the tower for all the world below to admire or laugh at; it’s completely another to do so with gusts of 35 to 50 km an hour blowing you around.

I’m so glad I got to do this little adventure again. And I’m sure that I’ll be doing it again next year because I have several friends that have to do this. This isn’t so much a choice of theirs, as it is Doctor’s orders. Ha! I kill me.

Now that I’m back safely on the ground, I think I should probably start planning my next adventure.


CNTowerEdgeWalk-21
Showing Toronto my butt; it’s what I do.
CNTowerEdgeWalk-26
How very Titanic of us.
CNTowerEdgeWalk-27
I wish this weren’t so fuzzy.
CNTowerEdgeWalk-31
Next time I think we should do Y-M-C-A
CNTowerEdgeWalk-32
I apparently don’t understand the instructions “Look gangsta”
CNTowerEdgeWalk-34
I really do love adrenalin.

Nerd Wars

Sweet glayven - it's almost Pi-Day.

Some of you might recall that last year a war was brewing. A war of such epic proportions that historians would surely – in years to come – refer to it as one of the greatest battles in the history of ever.

In the history of EVER.

Or, perhaps, it will be known as the date when a bunch of nerds decided to be extra nerdy in their own unique way, so as to celebrate the awesomeness that is Pi-Day. Either way, if it’s recorded anywhere other than this blog, I’ll be amazed and nerds around the world will adjust their pocket calculators and perhaps their glasses in celebration.

Ya, that’s probably more like it.

The war (and I use the term very loosely) was known as the First Ever Interweb Ganster Pi-Off. As I wrote last year, the purpose of the battle was, of course, bragging rights and the title of Nerdiest & Gangsta Pi-iest Coast, because it was a battle between the East and West Coasts of Canada.

On the West Coast, we had the team of Dr. Beth, and Rick. On the East Coast, there was me. Now, you might be thinking Two against one isn’t fair. And you’d be right. I mean, how possibly could the two of them take on me? It just wasn’t fair. Regardless, war isn’t fair and the battle ensued.

The West Coast brought their version of the Gangsta Pi symbol:

The très sexy Dr. Beth, showing off the West Coast Gangsta Pi salute...
...and Rick - trying his best to look sexy while performing the West Coast Gangsta Pi salute.

Amazing, right?

But hold on – the East Coast hadn’t spoken yet. In fact, if you recall the East Coast brought this:

Your's truly, demonstrating the proper Gangsta Pi symbol.

Clearly the superior version of the Gangsta Pi symbol was from the East. And, my dear readers, if you haven’t had a chance to review the most recent version of Canadian History, let me just say that the East Coast kicked ass. We brought it, and we brought it large. The West Coast was forced to admit defeat.

But this post isn’t about rubbing salt into old and clearly still raw wounds1. It’s about simply reminding the West Coast of our dominance when it comes to all things Gangsta-Pi. Sure, they have their mountains, oceans, natural splendor, adventure, sexy doctors named Beth, and that guy I like to go adventuring with named Rick, but – and this is a huge but – we have our Gangsta-Pi pride. And that’s something.

With that in mind, I offer you this photo of my current class of students who jumped at the opportunity2 to show the West Coast how it’s done.

From left to right: Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome.

How does that taste West Coast?

Ha! I kill me.

Anyway, tomorrow is Pi-Day, and I’m about as excited as a Pi loving math nerd can be. I hope your Pi-Day is full of whatever gets your nerd-juices flowing. And of course, since it is Pi-Day, I hope your day is also full of pie.


1 Ha. Ya it is.

2 Even after I told them there were no bonus marks associated with participating in the photo.


A Very Full Day

Beth and her dad (picture from Beth's Facebook page)

Yesterday was a very full day.

It started with the news that Dr. Beth’s dad had been taken to the hospital with symptoms resembling a stroke. Sadly, a CT Scan revealed that the symptoms were actually the result of a brain tumour. You can read more about it here (and send support via comments) at Dr. Beth’s blog. You can also read more about her dad in her post entitled “Things My Dad Taught Me” – a post to celebrate his recent 66th birthday.

Given what I know of Dr. Beth, and her sister Nancy (whom I spent most of high school sitting beside), I’m sure her dad is going to punch the tumour right in its stupid tumour-y face. I know this because his daughters are amazing, and one can’t have awesome daughters if you aren’t at least slightly awesome yourself. And clearly his daughters are amazing (need I remind you of Dr. Beth’s Guinness world record in hockey).

My day on campus was a lot of running around and thinking about Beth, Nancy, and the rest of the Dr. Beth clan. Between classes, faculty meetings, some data analyses, meetings with students, etc., it was just packed.

Then I rushed home because my friend Aqleema was dropping by and I wanted to get on the treadmill before she arrived. I realized on my way home that I was feeling quite anxious/overwhelmed and such. I think the business of the day got to me a bit.

Sadly my timing was off. Aqleema arrived about 9 minutes after I had landed on the treadmill (with beer and food related gifts for yours truly). However, knowing that I had a run to complete, she patiently sat down and told me stories as I worked my way through my run. And this is only one of the small reasons why Aqleema is awesome.

After my run, we chatted some more while I stretched. Between the run and chatting with Aqleema, the business of the day and the knowledge that I still had a lot of work to do melted away. I was also able to put a lot of things into perspective – I mean, the business of the day really means nothing compared to family and friends. There was no reason to allow it to overwhelm me when there are far more important things to think about. And considering what Dr. Beth and her family were going through, running around at work seemed absolutely trivial.

Following my visit with Aqleema, I headed down town to meet up with my friend Jordan. Specifically, we met up at the Woolwich Arrow for several pints and some wings. Given that I hadn’t eaten since my run, the wings were extra delicious. Salt and pepper wings, in case you are curious, are just about the most delicious things after a run. And while drinking beer after a run is probably not the smartest thing to do for rehydration, it too was so delicious. As I sat there chatting with Jordan I realized how lucky I was to know so many amazing people. I also realized that I need to tell them that more frequently. I really think it can’t be said enough.

My horoscope. Also known as the Universe punching me in the face with a reminder.

As if the Universe wanted to punch me in the head with that message yesterday, I also read my horoscope (something I never do; but when one is standing at a urinal – a result of several pints of beer – you tend to read whatever is in front of you). I had to take a picture of the horoscope because it really was too perfect given the day.

After stuffing my face with wings and beer I headed home to get the remainder of my work completed. I managed to finish a few of the things on my list – but not all – when Dom dropped by. That was the last and final signal to tell me that my work day was finished. And given that I had started the day at 5ish I figured I was justified. I ended the night watching a documentary with Dom called “How Beer Saved The World”. The documentary (posted below) is quite hilarious, but also quite educational. I highly recommend you watch it. It was, in my humble opinion, the best way to end my day.

Anyway, as I wrote at the beginning of this post – yesterday was a very full day.


How Beer Saved The World from College Curb on Vimeo.


Where’s The Cake?

Elliot was all prepared for a party, but has decided to retreat to his bed because there wasn't any cake. Regardless - Happy Birthday all y'alls with birthdays this month

January is a month of many birthdays. So many birthdays – Silvia, Mike, Mel, Aqleema, Matt, Paula, Dr. Beth (whose birthday just so happens to be today – so happy birthday Dr. Beth), Bum, Dr. Gerarda, George, Jeff, Val, Marilyn, Dr. Neil, and the list goes on. I’d argue that there are so many birthdays, that if I were to eat cake for each and every one of them I’d end up in some sort of diabetic coma. The quantity of birthdays in January rivals that of May and November. Crazy!

Note the first: for those not in the know, 50% of my immediate family (2 parents, 3 brothers, 2 sister-in-laws, 5 nieces, and 1 nephew – that’s 14 of us in total) have birthdays in May.

The thing that I find absolutely crazy amazing about all of the birthdays in January is so much more than their quantity. It is the fact that so many people I know share the exact same birthdays in January.

Notice that I wrote share the exact same birthdays. That wasn’t a mistake. I know several people who have the same birthday in January. But I also know other people who have the same birthday in January that is different from the first set of people. And then there is yet another group of people in January that share a birthday that is also different from the first two groups. Confused?

I was going to buy each of you this cake, because who doesn't want a birthday cake with chest hair on it? Actually, pretty much everybody doesn't want that. Consider my not buying you this cake your birthday gift. You are welcome.

To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, let me begin by telling you that I have 3 close friends who all had birthdays yesterday. While I did send out some quick emails to wish them a happy birthday, I of course will give them a giant hug/leg hump to celebrate more appropriately (or inappropriately as the case may be) when next we meet. So, Aqleema, Matt, Paula – consider yourselves duly warned.

A little later this month, Dr. Gerarda and Bum will share a birthday. And then after that, George and Jeff will also share a birthday.

What is it with people having babies on the same day in January?

Note the second: for those not in the know, November brings a multiplicity of shared birthdays as well: 2 on the 7th, 3 on the 8th, 2 on the 17th, 3 on the 18th, and 2 on the 20th. 

If I could, I'd buy each of you this Chuck Norris cake. Because when Chuck Norris wishes you a happy birthday, it's not a wish - it's a command.

Anyway, I really just wanted to wish everyone a super-duper happy birthday. I wish that I could see you all on your special days and give you the requisite hug and leg hump (your choice of course – I mean, it is your birthday) that I previously mentioned. I also imagine that these visits would involve cake of some sort. However, since I won’t be seeing all of you on your special days, and since I don’t have any cake hanging around my home (I know, what kind of home do I live in?), I will pour myself a scotch and toast you all from the comfort of my living room.

Note the third: I will pour one scotch, because if I were to celebrate each birthday right now with a scotch, I’d probably not make it to my class tomorrow. And that sort of behaviour is apparently frowned upon when you’re supposed to be professional. Pffft. 

Note the forth: I was actually going to calculate the probability of having multiple people sharing the same birthdays this month, but then I realized I was tired, and I also realized that it would make this post far too long. I’d say that not calculating the probability is also a birthday present, but I know that you all are dying to know the answer – so I’ll present that in a later post. I know, the anticipation and excitement must be killing you.


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Going To Sleep In My Forever Box

Don't fear the reaper! Happy Halloween!

Sunday was, for those who missed it, Create a Great Funeral Day. The idea behind this day – plan now, so that your loved ones aren’t troubled when you finally kick the proverbial bucket. Morbid? To some perhaps. To me, an opportunity to plan a most amazing and final adventure after I shuffle off this mortal coil (thank you Shakespeare).

Now, before reading on be aware that what I’m about to reveal is not my will. It’s an addendum to it, if you will. Some of the things listed here are suggestions. Some of the things listed here are for those adventurous few that I believe will have it in them to complete the tasks set out for them. And finally, some of the things listed here are just hilarious (to me); and I’d much rather have a big ass party after my death than a sombre mourn-fest1. And of course, I realize that this is clearly not a legal document, but it is something that I want taken seriously should I suddenly be found passing over a coin or two to the boatman on my final journey down the River Styx.

I guess what I’m trying to convey here, is that this is my real Bucket-List. That is, things that I want other people to do once I kick the bucket.

So, without further ado, and in no particular order, I offer you my AD2 -List – to be accomplished after I go to sleep in my forever box.

  • My ashes could be in here.

    After my ashes are returned to whomever is lucky enough to pick them up from wherever one picks up ashes, I want Steph to go on an adventure with them. Specifically, I want you to take my ashes all over the world. I’ll do my best to provide you with the funds to carry out this activity. I’d prefer it if you could do it in one go – that is, take a year off and go – but that’s not necessary. I’ll also try to make sure there’s enough so Eric can join you. I’ll provide more specific details later. All destinations must be documented with photos; specifically photos of me (in urn form of course) in various locations. The more inappropriate the better. The pictures and updates of my travels should be posted to this blog. When not travelling, you should take me out at least once a week somewhere nice. To dinner. Indian of course. Or sushi. Your choice.

  • Carolyn, as discussed, all computer equipment is to be crushed, magnetized, demagnetized, melted down, and thrown into the deepest part of the ocean. Or sent on a one way ticket to the sun. We both know why. That, or you can keep it.
  • Gerarda, Alan, Steph, and Eric: I expect you to take whatever collection of scotch I have gathered and have a giant booze filled night of hilarity. Preferably in New York City, or at Steph’s parent’s cottage. Or on a mountain top, because all the classy bitches drink mountain top scotch.
  • Elliot, you are instructed to snuggle everyone whenever they come by. Also, you are instructed to be the cutest cat in the history of cats forever. Note: you are one lucky cat. If I were of the ancient egyptian sort, you’d be coming with me.
  • Everyone I know should wear pi related stuffs on Pi Day. And they should sing the math song at the top of their lungs wherever they are, at Pi Time.
  • Rick, you must high-five 25 random strangers on the 1 year anniversary of my death. Each high-five must be documented, and then posted on-line.

    Rick is unimpressed by the situation. I have other feelings.
  • Rick and Beth, you are requested to remain Awesome for all time. To demonstrate this, you need to accomplish anything that I have not completed on my Not-So-Bucket-List. You may enlist the assistance of Aidan, Rob, Matt, Manon, Jana, Joni, Carolyn, Benjamin, Jhona, Mark, or Jamie to help you along with this feat. If other friends wish to volunteer, so be it. In fact, you may wish to create an army of people so that you might collectively accomplish all the items on the list within a set time period. Be creative. Further, all travel related items must include photographic evidence. Extra points if I’m in the photo.
  • The family must go on a giant wine tour. And I don’t mean just Niagara. I’m talking Niagara, California, Argentina, Germany, etc. You can opt to do this together, or split up and conquer the wine-world. Your choice. For extra points, you should document the tour with photos. These can be submitted to Steph so that she can post them on this blog.
  • Aqleema, you are requested to publish more of your work. Further, I want you to publish a book called “Adventures in Wanderlusting: The Dan Gillis Story”. Okay, maybe not. But at least keep publishing. Actually, I think you should publish a kids book.
  • Lara and Rebecca, you are requested to hold a Cribbage Bitches event on the anniversary of both my birth and my death. A glass of scotch should be ordered and consumed. Rebecca, you must double your Lara-directed zingers, since I won’t be there to assist. Lara, you must mock Rebecca any chance you get. Specifically if she ever borks up a game. Never let her forget it.
  • Beth, you must seek out and destroy all spiders in my name. And when you crush one, you must yell Zena Warrior Princess style.
  • Sean and Steph, at my funeral, you must do Spoken Word TLC. MUST.
  • Tweeps: “I love math” or “Math Rocks” should be a trending topic. I know you have the power.
  • Matt, if we haven’t done so, you must complete the insane race we’ve always talked about.
  • Nerdcaucus, you are requested to perform an interpretive dance number (choreographed by Lorna and Jasper) for the students of Math1200. The topics could be the epsilon-delta definition of the limit, integration by parts, integration by substitution, or arctrig differentiation. Your choice of course.
  • Jasper, you are requested to be the official videographer of the funeral events. I fully expect them to be turned into several YouTube posts, one of which will be a 5-Second-Friday film.
  • Rick, Mark, Beth, Carolyn, Gerarda, and Alan (and anyone else that runs), I ask you to run a half or full marathon dressed as unicorns. Because unicorns are epic. Also, they cry rainbow tears. And that is just awesome.

    Unicorn power!
  • A committee should be formed to award a “scholarship” in my name. The scholarship will be based mainly on proposals submitted by people who suffer from wanderlust. The more outrageous and adventurous (albeit safe) proposal should win.
  • All of my friends should do the no-pants subway ride. Because those of you who know me, know how much I hate pants. During said subway ride, I’d ask that all wear a black arm band with Pi on it.
  • Steph, I think another PhD Prom style party is in order. Open bar of course. And The Diana Downtown must cater it. MUST.
Anyway, that’s all I can think of right now. I may add to this list later. Or perhaps I’ll just write specific instructions inside envelopes that are only to be opened after my death. You know, all mysterious like.

Oh, and for those that might be wondering about the title – it’s a line from the Simpson’s. If you can name the character who said it, I offer you 1000000 interweb points to do as you see fit.


1 I know this assumes that people would actually mourn my great demise, but for argument sake, let’s go with this assumption. I guess what I’m saying, is let’s assume that on the day I return to that from which I came – dust – that I do so on a day that is a “good day to die”. That of course being a day when the maximum number of people will lament your new status as “life-challenged”.

2 AD = After Dan


Dear Victoria, The Doctors Are In You

Best de-planing ever!

After sleeping for only 2 hours Wednesday night, and after getting up at 3am on Wednesday morning to head to the airport, and after about 1.5 hours of sitting in said airport before boarding my flight, and finally, after about 5 hours in the air, I landed in Vancouver yesterday to meet up with Dr. Beth. And in true awesome style, Beth was waiting for me at the gate holding a sign that made me giggle out loud the second I saw it. In fact, I laughed so much (note: I may have been slightly sleep deprived) that several of the other de-planing passengers around me stopped to stare.

After hugs and chatting, we then boarded our plane to Victoria, ultimately making our way to the Inn at Laurel Point; my swanky home for the next couple of days and the location of the 7th International GeoMed Conference.

Following a quick shower to remove the smell and feel of stale airplane air off of me, we headed out to explore Victoria. First mission, lunch, or in Beth’s case, breakfast. I had already eaten breakfast about 7 hours prior. Regardless, the re-breakfasting occurred. And thanks to a recommendation from Dr. Julie Gill of The Twitter (and an awesome in-real-life person too), we headed to Lady Marmalade. I ordered the Tofu Scramble, while Beth had some Eggs Benedict with Bacon (everything is better with Bacon). Verdict – delicious. Thanks Dr. Julie for an excellent recommendation.

Tasty beverages at the Scottish Pub.

We spent the rest of the day wandering the city, taking inappropriate and appropriate photos of our wanderings and shenanigans, text messaging Rick so as to make him jealous for not also joining us in Victoria, sampling some beers at the local Irish and Scottish pubs, and pretty much catching up on the comings and goings of each others life that we didn’t know despite emailing and tweeting each other daily.

And just like that, Beth is now on her way back to Vancouver to head to work. Because she’s awesome like that. Thanks Dr. Beth for taking a day off to enjoy Victoria with me. It wouldn’t have been the same without you. And thank you Victoria for putting on a most beautiful day for Dr. Beth and me to enjoy. This city really is beautiful, and I’m looking forward to exploring it more over the next few days.

Anyway, that is all for now as I have a presentation to finalize and conference sessions to attend; the Andrew Lawson is speaking soon, and I always love his talks. W00t!


ZOMG! I almost forgot. Today is the first anniversary of World Statistics Day. The proper protocol, for those who don’t know how to celebrate, is to hug a statistician. And perhaps offer them samplings of dark chocolate, and wine-y, beer-y, or scotch-y goodness. I don’t make the rules folks, I just enforce them.

Okay, I totally made these rules.

Happy World Stats Day all y’all.



 

Tired, Chilled, And Awake At An Ungodly Hour. Still Smiling.

GeoMED 2011

The adventure continues tomorrow morning. That’s right folks, I’m heading to the airport at the ungodliest of hours; 4am. The sun won’t be up. It’s guaranteed to be frosty. I’m going to be exhausted. And yet despite all of that, I’m going to be smiling from ear to ear because I’m heading to Victoria. I’ve never been to Victoria so this will be a grand adventure indeed.

What’s even more amazing than the fact that I’m heading to Victoria, is that I get to stop in Vancouver. And if you aren’t aware, Vancouver is home to my friend Dr. Beth – you’ll likely remember her from such Guinness World Records as The Longest Hockey Game for Cystic Fibrosis. Even more amazing, is the Dr. Beth will be joining me on the second leg of my trip. That’s right, tomorrow Dr. Beth and I will be taking on Victoria. Look out Victoria; the Doctors are coming for you. W00t!

But why am I heading to Victoria in the first place? Well, I’ve been invited to speak at the 7th Annual GeoMED conference. W00t! I’m stoked. My presentation is slotted for Thursday around 3:45. Hopefully I’ll rock the conference. Of course, I’ll just be happy not to do anything silly.

The best part about presenting on Thursday? It’s the anniversary of the first World Statistics Day. Clearly I’m going to have to drop that into my presentation. Although I’m sure everyone is going to be fully aware of this and celebrating in appropriate style.

Following the conference, I’m then going to fly back to Toronto, but not before stopping in Calgary to visit the one and only Rick. While in Calgary, various shenaniganning will occur, including but not limited to hiking, mountain conquering, and caving. I’ll be sure to keep you up to date on any and all shenaniganning, because where there’s shenaniganning, there’s adventure filled stories.

Clearly, the next few days are going to be amazing. I can’t freaking wait!

Spelunking!

An adventure isn't really an adventure unless it includes The Inspiration or Dr. Beth. In this case, my adventure is doubly so an adventure as it includes both The Inspiration and Dr. Beth.

And just like that, my adventuring continues.

This time, dear readers, I have booked myself a trip to the west coast city of Victoria, British Columbia. Why Victoria? Well, as I had mentioned in a previous post, I have been invited to the GeoMED conference to give a talk about some of my nerdly research. I’m pretty stoked about it because I’ve never been to Victoria, and because there will be a large number of rock star statisticians in attendance.

Given that I will want to make the best impression that I can, I’m flying out a day early to deal with any potential jet lag. The bonus to this is that Dr. Beth is going to try to join me for the day – and since my flight takes me through Vancouver, she’s going to join me on the plane in Vancouver – which means I can check off item #144 from my Not-So-Bucket-List list. Which also means the two of us will be wandering Victoria for an entire day, taking in all that it has to offer. And I assume that it will offer beautiful scenery, great food, and tasty beverages.

Since the conference runs for only 3 days, and I figured that the cost of flying out there wasn’t worth only a 4 day visit, I’ve decided to use the trip to stop in Calgary to visit Mr. Rick. This makes up for the Calgary-trip-that-wasn’t that was supposed to have occurred in September if my silly hernia hadn’t changed those plans.

Weather permitting we’ll be able to get in some hikes, and possibly some mountain climbing (although winter is setting in to the mountains already, so that’s probably a long shot). We are also going to go spelunking. W00t!

Say what? Spelunking.

For those unfamiliar with the term, it means we are going to go explore some caves. Rick just so happened to stumble on a spelunking adventure and it really seemed like something that we had to do. The following is an excerpt from the website that describes the adventure:

Photo from http://www.canmorecavetours.com

“Along the trail, your guide will explain the geology of the area; how caves are formed; show you fossils to examine up close; look for bighorn sheep; maybe spot a bear or a cougar. Inside the cave, you’ll get to climb, crawl, slither and get muddy. Soon after entering the cave you’ll rappel 18 m on a rope (with safety line backup) then on to the Five Way Chamber, Laundry Chute, Grand Gallery and finally to the Grotto, a chamber full of stalactites and stalagmites with a crystal clear pool at the bottom of the cave. Return is via the Box.” (visit www.canmorecavetours.com for more details)

Not only will we see fossils (which makes me happy in that zone of my brain that is still a kid and giddy every time I learn about dinosaurs), but we might also run into a bear or cougar. That is amazing. I’m also super excited about the 18m rappel into the cave, and the thought that we are going to have to crawl, slither, and get muddy.

Clearly this trip has the makings of an awesome adventure; fun times with Beth in a new city; presenting an invited talk to a bunch of rock star statisticians; fun times with Rick in Calgary; and spelunking. Spelunking I says!