Tag Archives: New York City

Final Thoughts

Happy New Year all y'all
Happy New Year all y’all

So 2014 is nigh. I’ve just finished cleaning up the house, organizing some platters of food, chilling some champagne1, and am about to go shuck some oysters as I await the arrival of some friends who will be ringing in the new year with me. All told, not a bad way to spend the last day of 2013.

Looking back, 2013 has been a crazy amazing year. Despite setbacks with my exercise goals, I’ve had an adventure filled 12 months. Crushing the Goofy Challenge with Mark, wandering New York City twice, learning the true meaning of What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas2, exploring the beauty of Newfoundland and Labrador with Danny, Lee-Jay, and Corey, celebrating the 2nd Annual Big Mountain Challenge with Rick and my brother3, and various other adventures with friends in Ottawa, Toronto, and London; all have reminded me that I am one lucky bastard.

And even though work was as crazy as it was, I have to say that I love my job and had so much fun this year. I was beyond fortunate to work with several amazing students – people who have reminded me again and again that if you give students something real to work on, they can do amazingly awesome things. Their hard work led to Farm-To-Fork.ca, and all of the subsequent and well-deserved attention that it brought. I’ve been spoiled because of their talent, drive, and passion. Because of them, I was invited to speak at several conferences and seminar series. Because of them the Farm To Fork project raised and continues to raise money because so many people understand its importance. Because of them I feel that I have something significant to contribute to the world beyond academic papers. And that dear readers is an amazing feeling.

Beyond all of this, I’ve just been lucky to spend the year with some amazing people. Family and friends who look out for me, take care of me, feed me, and spoil me on a seemingly continuous basis. To all of you, thank you for making this another fantastic year. Thank you for telling me I need to sleep more or eat more or get out more, or that I need to learn to say no. I can’t promise I’ll do any of that in the new year, but it makes me smile to know that you’ll still be worried enough to tell me so.

So raise your glass and toast the year that was. To the ups and downs, the good and the bad. Here’s wishing that 2014 brings with it all the things that make you smile.

Happy New Year everyone.


1 Okay, not Champagne so much as sparkling wine.

2 Curious, aren’t you?

3 I’ve decided this must be an annual event. However, I’ve also decided that we don’t necessarily have to climb a mountain at this point in time, so long as we are doing something adventurous.

Things I Should Have Posted But Didn’t

Adventures with the Doctors in New York City
Adventures with the Doctors in New York City

Since I started writing this blog back in the old-time-y days of 2011, I’ve used it as a sort of map of my life. It provides me with the necessary bread crumbs to guide be from wherever it is I might be, back to wherever it is I might have come. It has seen me through many adventures, lots of shenanigans, ups, downs, crazy accomplishments, rants, peeves, opinions, and the like.

However, as I’ve mentioned in recent posts, I’ve done a spectacularly poor job this year of writing down the comings and goings of my life. Where last year I posted daily, this year I’ve managed to post just over 80 times at ConsumedByWanderlust1. This means that at a time when I’m trying to look back and reflect on the last 365 days, I’m coming up with some rather large gaps.

Fortunately I have other sources of data. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have helped me piece together the things that I’ve gotten myself into this year. And amazingly, there were some things that I really should have written about but I didn’t.

So as not to bore you to tears, I now present for your entertainment my list of Things I Should Have Posted, But Didn’t.

We found pie at the Christmas Market in Columbus Circle
We found pie at the Christmas Market in Columbus Circle
  1. Interest in the Farm To Fork project continues to grow. In the past year I have chatted with numerous groups within Guelph, throughout Ontario, and beyond, as well as the Ontario Association of Food Banks, and a major grocery chain. I’ve also been interviewed for Inside Guelph, and several magazines (the Portico, col.lab.o.rate, the Renegade Collective – which is based out of Australia). The support we’ve received continues to blow my mind. This includes financial contributions from TasteReal, the Better Planet Project, and the College of Physical and Engineering Sciences.
  2. Earlier this month I returned to New York City with Steph and Gerarda. The 5 days were amazing. We ate, and drank, and ate some more. The trip was filled with laughter, great conversations, and so much good food. We also saw Pippin, Waiting for Godot (with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen), and a performance by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre (which was unreal).
  3. In November I gave an invited talk at Western University in London Ontario. It was the first non-Farm To Fork presentation I had given in what seemed to be a very long time. I spoke about the use of Scenario Analysis for public health assessments. It was a lot of fun, and reminded me why I love statistics (even if my presentation offered zero equations, and very few real numbers).
  4. I was surprised and excited to learn that I was in the top 20 for the Guelphonography photo contest this year. The entries were so good, I really wasn’t expecting to place.
  5. Enjoying a brew from The Filling Station
    Enjoying a brew from The Filling Station

    During the fall semester I got to work with a bunch of great students. Some were research assistants, some were doing senior undergraduate projects with me, and others made my class that much more enjoyable. One group of students spent their semester working on The Guelph Coding Community – a student driven series of talks focused on computer science topics not typically covered in the classroom. The talks were all fantastic, and a lot of fun. Better than that, I learned a thing or two as well.

  6. On October 16th I was fortunate enough to be invited to the World Food Day Event with George Stroumboulopoulos. It was held in Toronto, and featured a panel of experts on Food Insecurity. It was also pretty cool to be that close to George.
  7. Because I don’t have enough on my plate, I decided this past semester that I’d start offering a statistics seminar. I was hoping to host one a month, but things got started late and I managed to hold two. Regardless, they were both well attended, and were a lot of fun. Since I normally only teach Computer Science courses at the moment, being able to talk statistics felt great. I’m going to continue the series this coming winter semester.
  8. I went to my first TiCats game in October. It was cold. I made it to halftime and then decided warmth trumped watching a bunch of dudes chasing around the pigskin. Can you tell I’m not really a football fan?
  9. I joined a bunch of friends at the end of October to tour downtown Guelph on a Ghost Walk. While I was hoping to see a ghost, I had to settle for being entertained by the stories. Also, it was cold.
  10. A view from our room.
    A view from our room.

    Earlier this year I was asked to speak at an event on campus where RBC donated $1 million to the University of Guelph. The money was provided to the University for undergraduate field experience related to Aboriginal water needs. The idea – get undergraduate students into the field to work on water related challenges identified by our First Nations partners. It was also pretty cool getting to hold a novelty cheque for $1 million.

  11. I finally received my Leap Motion device near the end of the summer. It is so freaking cool. Sadly I can’t tell you much more than that since one of my research assistants has been playing with it since then.

As I mentioned before, I need to do a better job of writing things down.


1 Full disclosure: I have other blogs for which I write. In total I’ve written over 150 blog posts this year: more than 80 here, almost 20 at danielgillis.wordpress.com, more than 30 at FarmToForkGuelph.wordpress.com, and more than 20 for the School of Computer Science.

 

White Whine Anyone?

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah

Several weeks ago I was chatting with someone about my lack of travel this year. To put this into proper perspective you’ll have to understand that this observation had followed multiple months of 100+ hours of work per week. That is, I made the observation at a point in time where my body, mind, and soul were beyond exhausted. In other words, I was in a heightened state of stupidity, suffering from extreme lack of awareness, and dealing with a giant case of woe-is-me-itis.

After I made the bold proclamation that I haven’t really travelled that much this year, my friend looked at me as if I were on some sort of Rob Ford bender. How could I make such a claim knowing full well that the facts of the case would clearly destroy it?

It was at this point that I felt obliged to justify my statement.

It’s true. I haven’t really travelled that much this year. Ugh. 

The ugh was delivered with probably more drama than warranted. It was at this point that I started listing where my travels had taken me, fully confident that my statement would easily be verified. Inside I felt a pre-victory party brewing, because by the end of my list I knew that I would stand point-proven and triumphant.

True story. In January I was in Florida for the Goofy Race.

February I was in New York, because, well, New York.

In March I headed to Vegas for my friends’ wedding.

It was at this point that I realized how much of an ass I sounded. Three major trips in three months. And somehow I had forgotten them. They seemed a lifetime ago.

Early in the summer I was in Newfoundland for a conference.

I trailed off. How, I thought, could I have travelled this much and still not feel like I’ve travelled at all this year. Seriously – could I be any more spoiled? I stood there smirking awkwardly because inside I realized how much of a whiney little shit I sounded.

Truth be told I’ve travelled a lot this year. My trips to Florida, New York, Nevada, and Newfoundland & Labrador were followed by trips to Ottawa, Calgary, and New York City. I’ve also been fortunate to travel for work – giving talks at Western University, and in Toronto. In essence, the year has been filled with adventures wrapped in shenanigans and deep fried in awesomeness.

And yet somehow I had forgotten.

Talk about feeling like a giant ungrateful ass.

Fortunately this is the time of year when I often look back at the things I’ve accomplished to make sure I don’t take where I’ve been and where I am for granted. I’m a lucky SOB because I am able to travel like I do, and even though I always want to travel more, I’m very grateful for this crazy life I have. Not everyone is as fortunate as I am, and it’s irresponsible for me to take that for granted.

Here’s hoping that I don’t soon forget this.

The Year That Was

I also have conquered Cascade Mountain. It's also what I do.
One of the most amazing things I did this year? The Big Mountain Challenge.

Remember back in the old time-y days of 2012? Those were good times.

Anyway, now that it’s the future I figured I should take a few moments to look back on the year that was 2012 to remember what I’ve accomplished, and identify those challenges that have eluded me for one reason or another. Perhaps the challenges were a bit too grand, perhaps I didn’t try hard enough, perhaps I realized the challenge wasn’t worth my time because something more important fell into my lap, or perhaps life just got in the way. Whatever the reason, I’ll use the things I did and the things I didn’t do in 2012 as a baseline for the things I’ll want to accomplish in 2013.

So, without further ado, I present to you dear readers my list of successes and failures from 2012:

  1. I ran 2 marathons in a 3 week period, plus 15 half-marathons in 2012 – 5 in December alone. While I hoped to run 3 marathons in 2012, the Goofy race should allow me to cross run 3 marathons in a year from my list. I also ran in 8 official races although my goal was 12. One of the eight races included my first Around The Bay 30 km, my fastest 10 km time, and my first sub 4 hour marathon. In total I ran 944.3 km despite having a goal of 1000 km. While I missed my running mileage target, I’m still excessively proud of what I managed to do over 366 days.
  2. I biked 582.2 km, although I had aimed to bike 2200 km. This is probably my biggest failure of the year, and something I’ll need to work on in 2013. Regardless, I posted my very first 80+ km bike ride in 2012.
  3. I walked over 1500 km successfully crossing another item off of my list. This challenge seemed almost too easy though, as I walk to and from the office almost every day. As such, I’ve upped my walking mileage goal significantly for 2013.
  4. I helped Rick raise over $25000 for the Kidney Foundation of Canada by climbing 5 mountains in 7 days.
  5. I went zip lining again, edge walking twice, sky diving again, bob sledding, and ice climbing.
  6. I blogged every day for an entire year.
  7. I significantly reduced my debt, and increased my net worth. W00t!
  8. I managed to reduce my original 30 year mortgage to 14 years by negotiating a lower interest rate, and increasing each payment by 15%. This year I’ll once again increase my biweekly payment to reduce the length of my remaining mortgage even further.
  9. I learned to cook dairy free treats (such as pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and Irish cream). I’m definitely going to keep exploring this in 2013.
  10. I travelled to Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise, and Ottawa. Sadly, I didn’t make it to New York City in 2012. I also didn’t travel outside of the country. Clearly my wanderlusting ways won’t allow this to become the status quo. Regardless, my trip to Banff and Lake Louise to compete in the Big Mountain Challenge with Rick was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was so much more than a vacation, and something that I won’t ever forget.

Overall I managed to cross off 33 things from my Not-So-Bucket-List list. While this is fantastic, my original goal was to cross off 42. Even still, I can’t complain. I was busy the entire year with challenges, work, and fun. I spent a great deal of time with people I love. I travelled. I experienced new things. I pushed myself further. I laughed. I laughed a lot.

To say that 2012 was fantastic for me would be an understatement. It’s not that there weren’t set backs and challenges outside of my lists – because there were. But I know it was fantastic because when I think back on all of the things that happened in the past 366 days, I can’t help but smile. Friends, family, adventures, successes, failures – all have brought me to where I am today.

Truly, looking back on the year that was reminds me of how lucky I really am.

Here’s to an amazing 2013. Happy New Year everyone.


365 Post Challenge

Challenge: blog at least once, every day, for 365 days.

For those of you who know me, you’ll know that I like to make lists and that I also like to challenge myself. Those challenges often vary in their level of insanity; from hiking mountains to running two marathons in 3 weeks. There are those challenges that are meant to push me beyond my comfort zone, into a new and improved version of myself. And then there are those challenges that are meant to teach me something, or remind me of something that I perhaps had forgotten.

This post is not about any of those types of challenges. Today’s post is about the other kind of challenge that I put to myself. The challenge that can only be described as I just thought of something stupid. I wonder if I can do it?

Of course, you may have just read that and figured that running 2 marathons in a 3 week period falls under the same heading. I won’t argue thatRegardless, today’s post is to inform you that I’ve just completed another of my challenges – item #246 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list to be precise. The challenge: Write at least 365 blog entries in 2012 (including personal, professional, and guest blogs).

Being a bit of an overachiever, I started writing a post per day on December 2o last year. Also, I wrote more than 365 posts (today’s post makes 426 since December 20, 415 for 2012). I won’t pretend that all of them were great or amazing or life changing, but they represent a reflection of the world around me and my state of mind at the time they were written. I also won’t pretend that this was easy. There were nights that I almost forgot to post. And writer’s block was always a threat. Regardless, I’m happy that I took on this challenge and rather proud that I managed to stick with it. I’m even more amazed that I completed it.

As proof of this accomplishment, I have kept each and every post documented by date in an Excel SpreadsheetBecause I’m a nerd, obviously. For your viewing pleasure, that list is provided to you below.

Anyway, I’m not sure that I’ll keep up the write-at-least-one-post-per-day writing pace in the new year. I will, however, continue to blog because it gives me so much more than I ever thought it would.

Thanks for sharing in my crazy adventures. Hopefully I’ll have many more to share in 2013.


Post Date Title
1 2011-12-20 Awesome, Or Something Else
2 2011-12-21 The Morning After The Night Before
3 2011-12-22 Wanderlusting In New York City
4 2011-12-23 Twelve Trips, Twelve Months
5 2011-12-24 Merry Christmas All Y’All
6 2011-12-25 Merry Christ-Math! Yup. I Went There.
7 2011-12-26 Extreme Pantal Dysmorphia
8 2011-12-27 Family, Nerds, And Gigantor-Jesus: It Must Be Christmas
9 2011-12-28 One Extra Day To Be Amazing
10 2011-12-29 The Year That Was
11 2011-12-30 Certifiably Certifiable
12 2011-12-31 It’s The Future!
13 2011-12-31 Scotchy Scotchy Scotch
14 2012-01-01 Someone Number Crunched For Me!
15 2012-01-01 Hair Of The Dog
16 2012-01-02 It’s The End Of The World As We Know It
17 2012-01-03 How Does One Celebrate A Job-iversary?
18 2012-01-04 Expanding My Stats-dom
19 2012-01-05 Because Ice Climbing Isn’t Adventurous Enough
20 2012-01-06 Unicorn Tears And Blasphemy
21 2012-01-07 On My Way To 42.2
22 2012-01-08 On My Way To 42.2: The Game Plan
23 2012-01-09 Beach Ball Induced Heart Palpitations
24 2012-01-09 Assignments (CIS 6070)
25 2012-01-10 The Ultra-Nerdtastic Version Of Me
26 2012-01-11 Where’s The Cake?
27 2012-01-12 I’m Suddenly Craving Wine
28 2012-01-13 Joy-Filled Vision-Water
29 2012-01-14 Happy Trip-iversary
30 2012-01-15 10 To 15 Pounds Of Fatty Fat Fat Fat
31 2012-01-15 Geographical Epidemiology
32 2012-01-15 Undergraduate Research Assistant Position Available
33 2012-01-16 I’ll Take Quotable Quotes For 1000 Please Alex
34 2012-01-17 42 Bakers Dozens Of Avoided Goo
35 2012-01-18 A Very Full Day
36 2012-01-19 525 Thousand Six Hundred Minutes Of Wanderlust
37 2012-01-20 Wee Researchers
38 2012-01-21 The Day My Face Exploded With Awesome
39 2012-01-22 A Pinochle Of Nerds Set Loose In Toronto
40 2012-01-23 I’m Not What You’d Call The Brightest Bulb
41 2012-01-24 Ever Wonder What 140 Characters Can Do?
42 2012-01-25 Happy Scotchy Burns Day
43 2012-01-26 Embracing The Mileage Whore Within
44 2012-01-27 Fridays With Elliot
45 2012-01-28 Saturday’s Just Getting Started
46 2012-01-29 Inversion Excursion
47 2012-01-29 LaTeX and Beamer
48 2012-01-30 The Baker Street Luncheoning
49 2012-01-31 Chasing Deliciousness
50 2012-02-01 Embracing Exhaustion Sometimes Means Rest
51 2012-02-02 No Friend To Suck-Baggery
52 2012-02-03 The Shenanigan Filled Adventuring Continues
53 2012-02-04 I Am A Spoiled Bastard
54 2012-02-05 Zounds! 40000 Happened While I Wasn’t Looking
55 2012-02-06 7 Seconds From Awesome
56 2012-02-06 Words
57 2012-02-07 Give Me An E!
58 2012-02-08 My Pavlovian Response – Highly Questionable
59 2012-02-08 LCBO
60 2012-02-08 Beer
61 2012-02-08 Scotch
62 2012-02-09 Working 5 To 11
63 2012-02-10 I’ve Been Qwirkled
64 2012-02-11 Captain Obvious Says: It Was Cold Outside Today
65 2012-02-12 How Many Steps Back Does One Take For Being An Asshat?
66 2012-02-13 A Serious Case Of Deep-Fried Lethargy
67 2012-02-14 Eye-splosion
68 2012-02-15 Good News: It’s Just A Migraine
69 2012-02-16 The Countdown Is On
70 2012-02-17 I Hereby Dub Reading Week Adventuring Week
71 2012-02-18 I Regret Nothing!
72 2012-02-19 Three Day Nerdfest
73 2012-02-20 A Cruel Master
74 2012-02-21 Palindate
75 2012-02-22 Brain Whoring
76 2012-02-23 I See Mountains
77 2012-02-24 Back On Track
78 2012-02-25 And Away We Go
79 2012-02-26 How I Learned To Hump Ice
80 2012-02-26 It’s Time For More Awesome
81 2012-02-27 My Everything Hurts And I Couldn’t Be Happier
82 2012-02-27 Something’s Fishy
83 2012-02-27 Something’s Fishy II
84 2012-02-28 Fuzzball – One Year Later
85 2012-02-29 Dividing By Zero Is Like A Punch In The Face…
86 2012-03-01 Good Night Sleep Tight, Etc., Etc., Etc.
87 2012-03-02 Epic Nap Fail
88 2012-03-03 Toronto’ing
89 2012-03-04 Every Good Weekend Includes Belly Rubs
90 2012-03-05 84.4 Is Going To Be Awesome
91 2012-03-05 A Science Fair At SJK
92 2012-03-06 What’s Another 67.1?
93 2012-03-07 I’ve Got That Throw-Uppy Feeling Again
94 2012-03-08 Can I Get A Squee For Math?
95 2012-03-08 Congratulations Dr. Levere
96 2012-03-09 I Believe I Can Fly
97 2012-03-10 Were You Awesome Today?
98 2012-03-11 I Did This Weekend All Wrong
99 2012-03-12 Squee – It’s Almost Nerdmas
100 2012-03-13 Nerd Wars
101 2012-03-14 The Mile π Club
102 2012-03-14 Happy Pi-Day
103 2012-03-15 Fear The Spatial-Temporal Pie-Free Singularities
104 2012-03-16 The Cost Of Running
105 2012-03-17 Things I Saw While Running
106 2012-03-18 Who Wears Short Pants?
107 2012-03-18 CIS3000 Social Implications Of Computing F12
108 2012-03-19 A Little Slice Of Heaven
109 2012-03-20 Pssst – There Is No Cake
110 2012-03-21 An Open Letter To Mother Nature
111 2012-03-22 There Is A Great Disturbance In The Force…
112 2012-03-23 Just A Tipple – I Have To Run 30K
113 2012-03-24 A Geographical Oddity
114 2012-03-25 And Away We Go…
115 2012-03-25 I Wonder Where I Am Right Now
116 2012-03-25 Amazeballs And Awesomesauce
117 2012-03-26 Now With 90% Less Evil
118 2012-03-27 It’s Just About The Best Day Ever
119 2012-03-28 More Hours Please
120 2012-03-29 The Shenaniganning Continues
121 2012-03-29 Geographical Epidemiology – An Update
122 2012-03-30 This Calls For A Double D-Cup Of Scotch
123 2012-03-30 POPM6950 Geographical Epidemiology S12
124 2012-03-30 418. Extra Special Birthday Edition
125 2012-03-31 No Need For Speed – For Now
126 2012-04-01 A Simple Universal Rule
127 2012-04-02 Dear Smokers
128 2012-04-02 Congratulations Dr. Gregorio
129 2012-04-03 Fairy Statsmother Or Statistical Gnome?
130 2012-04-04 Eyes Wide Open
131 2012-04-05 No More Pencils No More Books.
132 2012-04-06 Destination Awesome
133 2012-04-07 Oot And Aboot
134 2012-04-08 I Want More
135 2012-04-08 How Quickly They Grow Up
136 2012-04-08 Fibon-Easter Bunnies
137 2012-04-09 Awed
138 2012-04-10 Eep!
139 2012-04-11 Sunshine Filled Mountain-Ocean Steroids
140 2012-04-12 Blah Blah Suckity Blah
141 2012-04-13 All In The Name Of Science
142 2012-04-14 Say No To Floppy Bits
143 2012-04-15 A Surprising Number Of Nice Bums
144 2012-04-16 Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad
145 2012-04-17 I May Have A Problem
146 2012-04-18 The Sound Of Two Hands Clapping
147 2012-04-18 Beginnings And Ends: Winter 2012
148 2012-04-19 Holy Expletive-ing Hell
149 2012-04-20 True Lies
150 2012-04-21 Carbo Loading Is The New Gluttony
151 2012-04-22 What’s Another 10k?
152 2012-04-22 Can’t. Stop. Smiling.
153 2012-04-22 Running
154 2012-04-23 Adventures With The Warrior Princess
155 2012-04-24 Always Look Again: The May Health Challenge
156 2012-04-25 Feeling Pumped Up And Throw-Uppy – Is That Legal?
157 2012-04-26 Say What Now?
158 2012-04-27 Punching The Voice In My Head Square In The Mouth
159 2012-04-28 Apparently This Is Me Being Responsible
160 2012-04-29 Run. Chocolate. Run. Chocolate. Run. Chocolate. Repeat.
161 2012-04-30 Chocolate And Beer You Say
162 2012-05-01 Improve My Peepers
163 2012-05-02 Let’s Bounce!
164 2012-05-03 Short And Stout, Handle And Spout
165 2012-05-03 Calculus – It’s What’s For Dinner
166 2012-05-04 Suck It Up Princess
167 2012-05-04 The SSC Comes To Town
168 2012-05-05 I Don’t Actually Want To Take Over A Small Country…
169 2012-05-06 I’ve Got This
170 2012-05-07 So. Freaking. Amazing.
171 2012-05-07 Congratulations Dr. Demers
172 2012-05-08 Oh Right, There’s Still That Thing That I Need To Do
173 2012-05-09 Running With My Tweeps
174 2012-05-10 Furniture For My Face
175 2012-05-11 I Wanna Run
176 2012-05-12 The Wild Rumpus Never Ends
177 2012-05-13 Hey Mama
178 2012-05-14 Equations And Sevens! Equations And Sevens For Sale! Fifty Percent Off.
179 2012-05-15 A Double Badge Of Honour
180 2012-05-16 All It Takes Is Pie
181 2012-05-17 Service With A Smile
182 2012-05-18 Wanderlusting Monies
183 2012-05-19 Life Is Good
184 2012-05-20 A New Goal
185 2012-05-21 One Of Life’s Constants
186 2012-05-22 A Potential Derailing
187 2012-05-23 Back On Track
188 2012-05-24 Dear Guelph – We Need To Do This
189 2012-05-25 Carbo-Loaded
190 2012-05-26 Stupid Voices
191 2012-05-27 Take Two Starts Now
192 2012-05-28 Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad
193 2012-05-29 I’ve Got The Runs
194 2012-05-30 What A Difference 30 Days Can Make
195 2012-05-31 Flight Of The Nerdlies
196 2012-06-01 Stupid Head
197 2012-06-02 Feeling Zippy
198 2012-06-02 One More Sleep
199 2012-06-03 Let The Nerding Begin
200 2012-06-03 LaTeX
201 2012-06-03 R
202 2012-06-04 Dust Off Those Shoes
203 2012-06-05 Presentation Procrastination
204 2012-06-05 Over 200 Years Of Experience
205 2012-06-06 Epic Presentation Fail
206 2012-06-07 As If Getting My Nerd On Weren’t Enough For One Week
207 2012-06-07 And Just Like That The Party Ends
208 2012-06-08 The First Step Is A Big One
209 2012-06-09 End Of An Era
210 2012-06-10 A Hot And Spicy Day
211 2012-06-11 A Mad Case Of Withdrawal
212 2012-06-11 Adventures In Spatial Epidemiology
213 2012-06-12 Better Than Grass Stained Knees
214 2012-06-13 The Dangers Of My Bed
215 2012-06-13 Pathobiological Oddities
216 2012-06-14 Close – But No Donut
217 2012-06-15 Forgive Me For What I’m About To Do
218 2012-06-16 I’m Considering Something Stupid
219 2012-06-16 As Promised
220 2012-06-17 Twice As Deadly, Not Nearly As Furry
221 2012-06-18 Bing! Email!
222 2012-06-19 Sometimes It’s All About The Stomach Punch
223 2012-06-20 A Big Mountain Challenge Is Calling My Name
224 2012-06-21 Blah, Blah, Blah, Statistics
225 2012-06-22 Why Talk To Action Makes Me Throw-Uppy
226 2012-06-23 An Evening With Sarah
227 2012-06-24 Why I Should Always Ignore The Voice In My Head
228 2012-06-25 That’s Crazy Awesome
229 2012-06-26 Eff It
230 2012-06-27 On The Road With A Pinochle Of Nerds
231 2012-06-28 Bring On The Long Weekend
232 2012-06-28 And Now For A Song
233 2012-06-28 Pie Times Two
234 2012-06-29 This Is What Happens When I Don’t Pay Attention
235 2012-06-30 A Great Start…
236 2012-07-01 I Think My Cat Is A Nap-Hole
237 2012-07-02 Unwanted Neighbours
238 2012-07-03 Mmmmm, So Many Marshmallow Dream Bars
239 2012-07-03 Math Is Funny
240 2012-07-04 Pfffffft – 48 Hours
241 2012-07-05 Productive Unproductivity – That’s A Thing, Right?
242 2012-07-06 Endless Possibilities
243 2012-07-07 Blueberry Rage
244 2012-07-07 Blogs
245 2012-07-08 Extra Crispy Deep Fried Me
246 2012-07-09 Why I Didn’t Run Today
247 2012-07-10 Dear Stomach
248 2012-07-11 Kill Me Or Cure Me
249 2012-07-12 Death By Meeting
250 2012-07-13 Worst Post Ever
251 2012-07-14 Big Banana Wedding
252 2012-07-15 GPS Or Naming Fail?
253 2012-07-16 Letting Go. Getting Lost.
254 2012-07-17 The Unit Of Annoyance
255 2012-07-18 Learning To Say No
256 2012-07-19 Nerding Out
257 2012-07-20 Black Mischief
258 2012-07-20 Twitter + R = twitteR
259 2012-07-21 Fifteen Minutes Of Fame For Charity
260 2012-07-22 Another One Bites The Dust
261 2012-07-23 An Unwritten Rule
262 2012-07-24 Environmental What Now?
263 2012-07-25 I’ll Say Cheese, But I Won’t Eat It
264 2012-07-26 How To Starve A Vampire
265 2012-07-27 Suck It Up Buttercup
266 2012-07-28 Walking The Edge
267 2012-07-29 Bone Luge – It’s Funnier If You Say It Louder
268 2012-07-30 Taking A Break
269 2012-07-31 The Countdown Starts Now
270 2012-07-31 Data Collection Shouldn’t Be Rushed
271 2012-07-31 Photos
272 2012-08-01 I No Longer Care What Day It Is
273 2012-08-02 Today I Wore Several Hats
274 2012-08-03 S’Moreos
275 2012-08-04 A Certain Level Of Productivity
276 2012-08-05 A Rainy Day
277 2012-08-06 All Good Things Must Come To An End
278 2012-08-07 My Freaking Out Face Is Terrible
279 2012-08-08 I Can’t Freaking Wait
280 2012-08-09 Today Was My Monday
281 2012-08-10 The Sleepover To Slumber Party Threshold
282 2012-08-11 Two Weeks – One Per Kidney
283 2012-08-12 Lazy Is Not My Colour
284 2012-08-13 Five Thousand Loonies
285 2012-08-13 When One Equals Two
286 2012-08-14 Just A Coffee, Huh?
287 2012-08-15 Sweet 16 Plus Legal To Drink In The States
288 2012-08-16 My Newest Challenge
289 2012-08-17 Unfreaking Believable
290 2012-08-18 Zzzzzzzzzzzz
291 2012-08-19 The Edge Walk
292 2012-08-20 Video Evidence
293 2012-08-20 Morbid Curiosity
294 2012-08-21 Last Call
295 2012-08-22 Thank You Thank You Thank You
296 2012-08-22 26762 Reasons To Smile
297 2012-08-23 Is It Monday Yet?
298 2012-08-24 I Couldn’t Say No
299 2012-08-24 A Sad Day
300 2012-08-25 More Stoked Than Stoked
301 2012-08-26 Counting Down The Hours
302 2012-08-27 The Word Of The Day Is Spoiled
303 2012-08-28 The Conquering Of Cascade Mountain
304 2012-08-29 Hike. Spa. Repeat.
305 2012-08-30 What’s Another Half Kilometre?
306 2012-08-31 Grizzlies – Smarter Than Your Average Bear
307 2012-09-01 What We Do For Magnets
308 2012-09-02 Guess What I’m Doing Right Now?
309 2012-09-03 Third Times A Charm?
310 2012-09-04 Big Mountain Challenge – Complete!
311 2012-09-05 Anything But Regular
312 2012-09-06 Thank You Just Isn’t Enough
313 2012-09-06 First Day Of Class!
314 2012-09-07 Thirteen Stories – No Excuses
315 2012-09-08 All Night Long
316 2012-09-09 A New Theme
317 2012-09-10 And So The Delirium Begins
318 2012-09-11 Anti-Naparticles And The Nap-Event Horizon
319 2012-09-12 Let’s Pretend This Is A Vacation
320 2012-09-13 Healthy Indulgence?
321 2012-09-14 Thanks Guelphonography!
322 2012-09-15 Let The Reconstruction Begin
323 2012-09-16 Home Made Deliciousness
324 2012-09-16 You Don’t Look A Day Over 20
325 2012-09-17 Home Sweet Broken Home
326 2012-09-18 The Gravity Of Travel
327 2012-09-19 Next Steps
328 2012-09-20 Adieu Summer
329 2012-09-21 Road Tripping
330 2012-09-22 Cheeky Fun
331 2012-09-23 My Five-Star Weekend
332 2012-09-24 Sure Sign Of The Apocalypse
333 2012-09-25 A Cure For The Cold And Flu Seasons
334 2012-09-26 Average Zzzzzzzzzzs
335 2012-09-27 A Big Day
336 2012-09-28 The Days Are Just Packed
337 2012-09-29 The Very Serious Business Of Being A Grown-Up
338 2012-09-30 This Day 90 Years Ago
339 2012-10-01 A Simple Pleasure
340 2012-10-02 My Man-Cave To Be
341 2012-10-03 The First Snag
342 2012-10-04 In Search Of My Joie De Vivre
343 2012-10-05 Happy Teacher’s Day
344 2012-10-05 Congratulations Dr. Deeth
345 2012-10-06 Could This Be The Best Day Ever?
346 2012-10-07 The Tastiest Challenge
347 2012-10-08 One More Piece Couldn’t Hurt
348 2012-10-09 Remember That Time I Did That Thing That I’m Doing Again?
349 2012-10-10 This Is What Happens When Life Happens.
350 2012-10-10 Open Access Week
351 2012-10-11 A Proud, Beaming, Smiling Kind Of Silence
352 2012-10-12 I Can Lose Socks Again!
353 2012-10-13 Boo. Just Boo.
354 2012-10-14 I Am Inspired
355 2012-10-15 A Picture Of Grace And Charm
356 2012-10-16 The Importance Of Dining
357 2012-10-17 A Universal Law
358 2012-10-17 Almost-Master Ryan Has A Defense Date
359 2012-10-18 No Rest For The Wicked
360 2012-10-19 I’m Not Dead
361 2012-10-20 A Wedding Of Nerds
362 2012-10-21 A Cure For Last Night
363 2012-10-22 63.3 Begins Now
364 2012-10-23 A Rather Weird Review
365 2012-10-24 I Have A Weird Sense Of Fun
366 2012-10-25 May Or May Not
367 2012-10-26 The First Step Is A Real Big One
368 2012-10-27 Now I’ve Seen Everything – Maybe
369 2012-10-28 Salted Chocolate Pecan Pie – Or How To Become Pie-abetic
370 2012-10-29 A Small Taste
371 2012-10-30 Hulk Smash!
372 2012-10-31 I Forget Things
373 2012-11-01 Challenge Accepted
374 2012-11-02 So Many Places, So Little Time
375 2012-11-03 An Awesome Day
376 2012-11-04 There’s A Couch In My Kitchen
377 2012-11-05 I’m An Adult Now
378 2012-11-05 *** MoContest 2012 ***
379 2012-11-05 MoContest 2012 – The Rules
380 2012-11-06 GObama!
381 2012-11-07 My Superbowl
382 2012-11-08 A Chock-A-Block Day
383 2012-11-09 My New Favourite Things
384 2012-11-10 My Domestic Side
385 2012-11-11 Just Call Me Double 0 Pi
386 2012-11-12 Getting My Groove Back
387 2012-11-13 It’s All About Clarity
388 2012-11-14 Guess Who’s Kick-Ass-Awesome?
389 2012-11-15 A Nerd Paradise
390 2012-11-16 I Don’t Know All The Maths – Yet
391 2012-11-17 Short And Sweet
392 2012-11-18 My Memory Is A Litte Foggy
393 2012-11-18 Science And Engineering Sunday 2012
394 2012-11-19 My Other Office
395 2012-11-20 So Many Butts
396 2012-11-21 I Love Randomness
397 2012-11-22 Mon-Tues-Wed-Mon-Fri-Sat-Sun
398 2012-11-23 A Single Moment. A Single Year.
399 2012-11-24 Fa La La La La La
400 2012-11-24 CIS2170 User Interface Design
401 2012-11-25 Suck It Up Buttercup
402 2012-11-26 I Am So Smart, SMRT
403 2012-11-27 Winding Down
404 2012-11-28 Smile Worthy
405 2012-11-29 Time To Choose
406 2012-11-30 And The Golden Moustache Goes To…
407 2012-12-01 A Good Day To Be Lazy
408 2012-12-02 The Sixth Element
409 2012-12-03 Death To Goofy
410 2012-12-04 Take Two Of These And Call Me In The Morning
411 2012-12-05 Tip Of The Day: Wednesday Is Not Friday
412 2012-12-06 Blurgh
413 2012-12-07 Blurgh Part II: The Re-Blurghening
414 2012-12-08 More Hours Please
415 2012-12-09 You Don’t Know Me
416 2012-12-10 After The Scotchening
417 2012-12-11 Un-Impossible
418 2012-12-12 What I’m Doing After The World Ends
419 2012-12-13 Dear Santa
420 2012-12-14 Let The Christmasing Begin
421 2012-12-15 Goals For 2013
422 2012-12-16 Rest For The Wicked
423 2012-12-17 Wanderlusting Version 2013
424 2012-12-18 Persuasive Moves
425 2012-12-19 Dear Body – I Hear You
426 2012-12-20 365 Post Challenge

Wanderlusting Version 2013

Oh the places I’ll go…

I have a wee confession to make; despite my attempt to travel as often as I can – what with my insatiable wanderlust – I have realized that there is no way that I’m going to be able to use up all of my vacation days this year. Not even close.

Despite my failure to use up all of my allotted vacation time, I have still managed several trips this year, including Ottawa, Niagara Falls, Quebec, and Calgary. And that doesn’t even include that epic adventure with Rick known as the Big Mountain Challenge. While the trips weren’t necessarily as frequent1 as in previous years, they were fantastic, and filled with adventure filled shenanigans. I have absolutely zero complaints about any of them.

Of course, having written that, and with the knowledge that I won’t be using up all of my allotted vacation time this year, I think I need to set myself a task. Specifically, I need to ensure that next year I use up all of my vacation time and I do so by travelling as much as I can.

So, dear readers, I present to you my newest challenge. In 2013 I need to travel to at least 12 different cities outside of Ontario2,3. I think this is completely within the realm of possibility because I already have some trips in mind4 for various reasons:

  1. January – Orlando, Florida (Goofy Race).
  2. March – Las Vegas, Nevada (wedding).
  3. May – Edmonton, Alberta (Annual Meeting of the SSC).
  4. June – Corner Brook, Newfoundland & Labrador (CUExpo 2013).
  5. June – Banff, Alberta (Banff marathon).
  6. July – Calgary, Alberta (Gran Fondo race with Mel).
  7. August – Calgary, Alberta (visit Rick and hopefully climb Mount Temple).
  8. September – New York City, New York (vacation).
  9. October – Victoria & Vancouver, British Columbia (Victoria marathon & visit Beth).

Of course, I’m also hoping to cross the pond at some point, and I’d like to visit my friends Ben & Erin in Chicago, Arlene in New Jersey, and Amanda in the Great White North.

Whether or not I manage these trips specifically, or replace them with other trips, the goal is the same: twelve different cities outside of Ontario in twelve months.

I’ve totally got this.


1 Or international.

2 The further the better.

3 This does not have to be a monthly activity, although that would be awesome.

3 All of these are completely tentative and will depend both on budget and whether or not certain friends are available.


So Many Places, So Little Time

Sounds about right.

I have a mad case of wanderlust this eve.

I know, I know – that’s really not a big surprise. We all know that I’m pretty much always one with the wanderlust. Regardless, I started chatting about potential Christmas trips with my brother and now I can’t get it out of my mind. The problem is that there are just so may places to go. And not enough time. Or money.

Anyway, my options (at least as far as I can tell) are as follows:

I’m leaning heavily towards NYC given what’s happened there in the past few days/weeks. Also, because I love NYC. But visiting Chicago would give me the opportunity to visit my friend Ben, and also explore another city that I love. And then there are those other cities that I’ve never visited – Seattle and Boston to be specific. Perhaps I should visit them?

Wherever I decide to go, I know that the adventure is going to be a blast. In the meantime, if you have a preferred destination – let me know in the comments.


525 Thousand Six Hundred Minutes Of Wanderlust

January 2011: This blog was born in a volcano in Hawaii. Okay, it wasn't born in the volcano, but it was born near it.

Wow. Time really flies when you’re having fun.

It’s hard to believe that I wrote my very first blog post here at Consumed By Wanderlust 1 year ago today: January 19, 2011. I won’t say that my re-entry into the blogging world was all that profound; I mean, my first post here was entitled “My First Post (a.k.a. Worst Blog Title Ever)“. I’d like to believe that things have improved since that initial post. But let’s be honest, anything that followed “My First Post (a.k.a. Worst Blog Title Ever)” had to be an improvement, right?

February 2011: This blog may have partied in NYC three times in the past year.

When I started the blog I had fully intended it to be a place for me to write about my adventures, my academic and health related pursuits, my nerdery, and other such related bric-a-brac. And for the most part, I think I’ve been successful in that respect.

March 2011: This blog saw my family of one become a family of two when Elliot came to rule my world

I also had intended the blog to be a place where I could identify challenges for myself, set goals, measure them in some way, and further keep track of the things that I’ve been fortunate enough to do (as I am rather forgetful). And again, I think for the most part I’ve been successful in this too.

April 2011: This blog saw me conquer the CN Tower and crush my old personal best time by more than 3 minutes!

However, there were also unintended consequences of this blog that I never would have ever foreseen. First and foremost this blog has taught me a lot about myself. That’s not to say that I didn’t often stop to reflect on my life prior to the blog – I did. But having to put into words the things that I have been thinking or feeling has been a great way to evaluate not only where I am and where I want to go, but more importantly who I am and who I want to be.

May 2011: This blog saw me finish my first ever marathon.

A second amazing and unforeseen consequence has been the development of new friendships. The online community has been (and continues to be) amazing. For those Bloggers and Tweeters  that I’ve been able to meet in real life and get to know outside of the interwebs, I can’t begin to tell you how awesome this past year has been and how awesome all y’all are. You are a group of amazing individuals who are unbelievably active in the community, who are charitable and positive, optimistic about life, health-minded, and never lacking in laughter and smiles. You have and continue to inspire me to be better at everything that I do. Your lust for life is addictive, and I thank you for getting me hooked on it.

June 2011: This blog saw me travel out east for the first time.

Finally, I would also never have foreseen that my blog would be read by so many. To date, this little-old-blog has been viewed almost 40,000 times. It has received over 1500 comments and is followed by over 500 people. I’m not sure where that stands in the grand scheme of blogging, but it’s far beyond what I ever had imagined. Truth is, when I started this adventure I figured I might get a few family and friends reading my posts. The fact that this blog receives over 100 views per day astounds me.

Anyway, here’s to another year of blogging and all the awesome things that it brings.

July 2011: This blog saw me attacked by a 26 foot Marilyn Monroe in Chicago
August 2011: This blog saw me kick my hernia to the curb.
September 2011: This blog saw me hanging in Montreal with Dr. Dixon
October 2011: This blog saw me conquer another mountain with Rick, and celebrate in the manner appropriate of a classy bitch.
November 2011: This blog saw me visiting my brother in the hospital after a nasty car accident.
December 2011: This blog saw me visiting with Arlene (in NYC) - one of the most amazing people I know

Some statistics, because, well, why not?

  • Total posts: 316 since January 19, 2011
  • Total page views: 38257
  • Average daily views in 2011: 103
  • Average daily views in 2012: 127
  • Total followers: 518
  • Total comments: 1516
  • Most common search term that brings people to my blog: sad babies, followed closely by pi

One Extra Day To Be Amazing

I’m sure everyone is aware that 2012 is a leap year. That is, 2012 has 366 days – 1 day more than the common 365 day year. Generally speaking, the extra day corrects for the fact that the earth takes a little longer than 365 days to circle the sun. Personally, I look at it as extra time to accomplish things on my Not-So-Bucket-List list. It’s also an extra 24 hours where one can be awesome, or slack off, or spend time with friends, or do pretty much anything.

The point is, 2012 has 24 extra hours and they probably shouldn’t be wasted doing things that aren’t awesome. Of course, what I consider awesome and what you consider awesome might be vastly different. I don’t consider spending quality time with a giant eight-legged-nasty awesome. Someone who spends their life studying such eight-legged-nasties might clearly disagree with me. Awesome really is in the eye of the beholder. But 2012 has 24 extra hours, so that means we each get 24 extra hours to do things that we find awesome.

With that in mind, I thought I would write a list of things that I want to try to accomplish this coming year – a list of things that I think will be awesome should I manage to complete them. To make things extra crazy, I thought I’d add a specific timeline to each of them. I’m not saying that I have to hold myself to these timelines, but I always work best when a due date is involved. Also, because I’m efficient, some of these items come from my Not-So-Bucket-List.

January

  • Visit Matt in Ottawa (which makes 14 trips in 13 months – crazy!)
  • Submit 2 papers to 2 different journals
  • Start training for marathon #1 & #2 in May
  • Start training for 160 km bike ride by end of year
  • Start the push-up challenge

February

  • Visit Rick in Calgary, and go ice-climbing (15 trips in 14 months – w00t)
  • Start the pull-up challenge

March

  • Run 30 km Around the Bay
  • Paint the kitchen or bathroom (or both)
  • Raise $1000 for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowlathon

April

  • Submit 2 papers to 2 different journals
  • Submit grant application to CFI
  • Do the CN Tower Climb (for WWF) twice

May

  • Run Toronto Marathon
  • Run Ottawa Marathon
  • Travel with Rob

June

  • Attend & present at the Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada
  • Teach Geo-spatial Epidemiology
  • Visit Rick to go mountain climbing
  • Start a 30 day challenge at yoga

July

  • Bike 80 km
  • Visit Rick to go mountain climbing

August

  • Submit 2 papers to 2 different journals
  • Unicorn run with Carolyn
  • Travel to New York
  • Bike 100 km

September

  • Bike 120 km
  • Paint the guest bedroom

October

  • Run Toronto or Chicago Marathon
  • Bike 160 km
  • Learn to make dairy-free pumpkin pie

November

  • Learn to make Goulash
  • Learn to make coque-au-vin

December

  • Submit 2 papers to 2 different journals
  • Travel off continent for Christmas

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Twelve Trips, Twelve Months

On Wednesday night, Aidan and I returned home from our 4 day adventure in New York City. Aside from the obvious excellent time that we had exploring New York, be that exploration of the visual, gastronomical, or booze-y variety, two other most excellent things happened while I was away.

First, I got to see Arlene. And, since item #130 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list was Travel to visit Arlene, and since I technically travelled to visit Arlene, although I may not have visited her in her home, it still counts. Hence, I’ve scratched item #130 from my list.

Of course, I’ve added another item on my list – item #242 - Travel to visit Arlene. The intent this time is that I must travel to her home. And stay for at least 3 days. The best and completely unintended part, is that the task must be completed 1001 days from today, which just so happens to be September 18, 2014. And that date, dear friends, is her birthday. Too cool.

Arlene and me, on the subway to Prince Street.

The other most excellent thing that happened while I was away, was the completion of item #195 – Travel once a month for twelve months. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure this one would happen. Not because I didn’t think I could travel that often, but because life could have gotten in the way. Thankfully, despite some rather crazy events this year, I was still able to complete this task. And I’ve had a blast doing it. So much so that I’ve outdone the original goal. That is, I’ve travelled at least 13 times in 12 months. Apparently I don’t know how to count.

Does this mean that I’m going to stop travelling? Hells no. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I suffer from the wanderlust. Of course, I’m not necessarily going to stick to travelling once per month, although I am going to do my best to keep this up. My vacation days aren’t just going to go on vacation without me, right? Having said that, my intention this coming year is to hit up Ottawa in January to visit some friends, and I’ve already planned a trip to Calgary to see Rick and go ice-climbing (as described here). After that, I’m hoping to hit up Japan, or maybe Malaysia, or some other such country with Rob, and there has been discussion about a trip to Vegas, as well as Los Angeles.

The point is, my travel days are far from over.

How the nerds calculate circumference

Anyway, because I’m all about summaries and statistics and tables and suchlike, I offer you a summary of my trips for 2011 in table form, with means and other statistics to boot! I’ve included the length of each trip, the number of flight legs involved, the total distance travelled (round trip), and a cost breakdown (flight, hotel, and ground transportation costs).

My travels have included 4 trips to Ottawa, 3 trips to New York, 2 trips to Calgary, 1 to Chicago, 1 big ass trip to Hawaii, 2 adventures in British Columbia, 2 conference based adventures, and a trip to Montreal. In all, I’ve travelled in 5 of the 10 provinces this year, and have seen 3 different states (4 if we include the fact that I landed in California on my way to Hawaii).

The total distance travelled – 39393 km – works out to about 98.3% of the circumference of the earth (which, according to the all-knowing Wikipedia is 40075.16 km). Hmm, perhaps my goal next year should be to travel the distance of the circumference of the earth. Clearly it’s possible, and clearly it’s math-y, and clearly it’s nerdy. Three things I love. You know what, this challenge is officially on the list.

So just like that I’m crossing off items #130 and #195, and adding items #242 and #243. Next year is going to rock.

Trip summary 2011

Month Destination days legs km $flight $hotel $ground $total
Jan. (I) Ottawa 3 2 706 $245 $0 $70 $315
Jan. (II) Hawaii 16 6 15908 $971 $978 $200 $2149
Feb. New York 4 2 1172 $363 $572 $0 $935
Mar. Ottawa1 1 2 706 $0 $0 $0 $0
Apr. Calgary & Revelstoke 6 2 5413 $568 $100 $200 $868
May. Ottawa 4 2 706 $250 $253 $200 $703
Jun. Wolfville & Halifax 8 2 2528 $0 $185 $240 $425
Jul. Chicago 3 2 1402 $353 $0 $130 $483
Aug. Ottawa 3 2 706 $499 $0 $80 $579
Sep. Montreal 5 2 1008 $507 $171 $280 $958
Oct. Victoria & Calgary2 8 4 6794 $0 $0 $0 $0
Nov. New York 5 2 1172 $380 $480 $0 $860
Dec. New York 4 2 1172 $380 300 $100 $780
Total 70 32 39393 $4516  $3039 $1500 $9055
Average 5.4 2.5 3030 $347  $234 $115 $697

1 This travel was completely covered by the Public Health Agency of Canada, as the trip was related to several meetings.

2 A portion of the travel costs were covered by my job (as I was attending the Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada, or the GEOMed Conference)


Wanderlusting In New York City

The new tower at Ground Zero.

After a most entertaining few days in New York, I’m home.

Boo.

Let me repeat that.

Boo.

Our last day included more walking, eating, and drinking of the tastiest hot chocolate ever created by human hands. And that, dear friends, is the hot chocolate that comes from Choco Bolo, an awesome little chocolaterie that is nestled at 2058 Broadway near 71st street. It has now become another on a growing list of places that I will visit when I return.

For those that haven’t been paying attention, that list is growing. It includes, but is not limited to, and presented in no particular order, the following eateries, hotels, cafes, pubs, attractions, bars, restaurants, shops, monuments, buildings, districts, galleries, and museums:

 

  • On the Avenue
  • Good Enough to Eat
  • the Amsterdam Inn pub
  • the Dead Poet
  • Maloney & Porcelli
  • Ayza
  • Ed’s Chowder House
  • Lincoln Centre
  • Columbus Circle
  • Central Park
  • Macy’s
  • Michael Cluizel chocolate
  • Godiva chocolate
  • Lindt chocolate
  • Habana Cafe
  • Habana Outpost
  • Coney Island Brewery
  • Brooklyn Brewery
  • Coney Island Circus Sideshow
  • MoMA
  • the Guggenheim museum
  • the Museum of Natural History
  • Crumbs cafe
  • Magnolia cafe
  • NBC studio
  • Rockafeller Centre
  • ground zero
  • Battery Park
  • Times Square
  • the theatre district
  • Soho
  • Barrymore theatre
  • Choco Bolo
  • the Staten Island ferry
  • City Bakery

And because I’m extra nerdy, I’ve plotted the bulk of these on the following Google map. Feel free to print it off and use it on your next trip to the city. And let me know if you find any awesome little spots that I should check out on my next visit. Because honestly, the question isn’t if I’m going back, it’s when. And in case you were wondering, it looks like I’ll be going back sometime next summer. W00t!



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The Morning After The Night Before

Lincoln Centre fountain and Christmas tree

Today is my last day in New York City. And unless something crazy happens between now and the new year, it’s my last day in NYC this year. Excuse me, I have something in my eye. *sniff*

Yesterday was another walk-our-butts-off kind of day. I think, however, that our wandering was a little slower than the previous two days. The weather was grey, but the temperature was generally nice. Not too hot, not too cold.

We began our day at Good Enough To Eat. I really felt that Aidan needed to try this place because the food has always been fantastic, the atmosphere friendly, and best of all it’s a short walk from the hotel. Given that I was feeling a little morning-after-the-night-before, a shorter walk seemed far superior to a longer walk. We also figured a mimosa might be in order given the ole hair-of-the-dog theory. While it wasn’t the cure-all that I’d hoped, it was pretty good. By about 11:30, with the help of the mimosa, some hearty oatmeal, coffee, water, and bacon, I was feeling like a real human being again.

Mmmm, oatmeal at Good Enough To Eat.

Following breakfast we took the subway down to the Financial District. I hadn’t been down there in quite some time and I wanted to see how the new Freedom Tower (or whatever it’s going to be called) was coming along. At this point, they have slightly more than half of the 104 floors complete. And this thing is freaking epic. So far, the building looks beautiful. It is clearly going to tower above all the other buildings around it.

We also took some time to check out the Brooklyn bridge, Battery Park, the piers, and the Staten Island Ferry; all along admiring the architecture of the buildings. For those not in the know, the Staten Island Ferry is a cheap (read free) and very civilized way to view the Statue of Liberty up close and personal (mind you, not as up close and personal as actually visiting the statue) without the hassle of paying and dealing with a lot of tourist crowds. Simply walk to the Staten Island Ferry terminal and board. It’s as simple as that. And did I mention that it’s free? The ferry also provides some excellent views of the lower Manhattan skyline. For those interested, you can also purchase beverages inside the boat to enjoy with the scenery. Given our morning-after-the-night-before morning, we opted to simply enjoy the scenery.

Of course, walking builds an appetite. We decided that our lunch/dinner should involve something hearty, wholesome, and comforting. It seemed to fit with the weather. So, we headed to Lincoln Square to sample the wares of Ed’s Chowder House. Verdict: best idea of the day. We ordered a bowl of mussels to start, and then both opted for stuffed clam chowder. Translation: regular clam chowder with loads of shrimp, scallops, lobster, and crab stuffed into it – so much so, that the chowder transforms from soup to stew. Aidan ordered the New England version (i.e., cream based), while I chose the Manhattan version (i.e., tomato based). The chowder was fantastic. We actually might be returning there today for lunch.

The rest of the eve consisted of more wandering and such. At some point in the later eve, I decided hot chocolate was the only thing that would soothe my weary soul. Thankfully, I found a chocolate spot near the hotel that I have to return to today. Seriously, this was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had in my life. Rich, creamy, full of dark chocolate goodness. And all soy based. YUM! Sadly, I don’t remember the name of it so I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

Anyway, here’s to my last day in New York. *sniff*.

Damn, there’s something in my eye again.



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Awesome, Or Something Else

This sign wins the Best Sign of the Day award.

My vacation has been absolutely memorable for several reasons already; the least of which was the flight. I would like to take this moment to personal thank you mysterious airplane panel that required replacement. You know who you are – the same airplane panel that apparently could only be replaced after AirCanada decided to board our plane knowing full well that the panel needed to be replaced (I know this because I overheard the engineers discussing the replacement and delay prior to boarding). We, the passengers, loved sitting in a stuffy plane for a full 40 minute delay only to have our patience rewarded with a 30 minute follow-up delay. And then another 15 minute delay. And if that weren’t enough, the icing on the cake was a final further 10 minute delay. Total time to NYC – over 3 hours. Good gravy.

But don’t get me wrong – I appreciate that AirCanada took the time to fix the plane. I’d rather not explode or disintegrate before I have a vacation.

And ultimately, Aidan and I made it to New York. The city is, as always, amazing. Our first day found us wondering around a lot. I would guess that between random stops for food and drink, we walked 20+ km. We walked from our hotel (On The Avenue) at 77th and Broadway, down to 30th, and back. And then, for giggles, we did it again. It was cold and a little windy, but the city was vibrant and walking is the best way in my humble opinion to check it out, especially when one – such as Aidan – has never seen it before. Our walkabout found us in Central Park, on Lexington and on Park Avenues; we checked out the stores on 5th Avenue; explored the decorations and mayhem of the Christmas masses at Macy’s; we found ourselves in Rockafeller Centre admiring the giant Christmas tree (something that I’ve never been able to see lit up on any of my previous trips – in a word – beautiful); we checked out the Library, Times Square, Grand Central Station, the Lincoln Centre, and so many other places; and we stumbled on many tiny Christmas markets that reminded me a little of the markets we found in Germany, minus the booze-y Glühwein of course.

In short, we walked a lot.

30 Rock + Christmas lights = Beautiful

Monday morning we casually sauntered about again. Of course, this time we had a purpose; Arlene was coming to town. We met her at the bus station at 41st and 8th – a stone’s throw from Times Square. From there we just started walking; through Central park, and up to about 110th and 5th. We stopped twice – first at a Christmas store so that I could search for a tacky Christmas ornament, and second at a small cafe for some much-needed food and drink. We managed to see a lot of the city, but really it was all about chatting with Arlene. We caught up on as much as we could; her new home, her kids, my new job, my defence. It was fantastic.

Of course, walking as much as we did clearly works up a thirst. Thus, after jumping on the subway we made our way down to Prince street with the intention of wetting our whistles, followed by some shopping.

Shopping never happened.

Instead, we found the Brooklyn Brewery – a gem of a pub with a fantastic selection of beer. The bartender – I forget her name – was knowledgable, and entertaining on a level I was not expecting. The banter between her and the regulars was absolutely enjoyable to listen to. And before long, we were included. That due in part to the fact that my brother and I love meeting and chatting with new people, but mostly it was due to a regular who went by the name of Brian Moran; a retired paper delivery man who worked for The Daily News for some 30+ years; a man with an extensive knowledge of music and poetry; and an all around excellent person.

Sexy bitches. 'Nuff said.

We stayed in the bar for several hours chatting and laughing, hearing stories of his youth, about New York, about everything and nothing at all. He asked us about our lives, where we’ve been, what we’ve done, what makes us happy. He demanded I not wear my toque in the bar (a gentleman never wears a hat indoors), and insisted I not use the word awesome to describe anything unless I was actually in awe of it. Instead, he suggested I use the phrase Awesome, or something else. He was, as he self-described, the real New York. And I couldn’t agree more.

At some point I had to say goodbye to Arlene. While we didn’t get in the shopping we had expected, we still had a fantastic day; definitely not one I’ll soon forget. You see, after dropping Arlene off to catch her bus, Aidan and I returned to meet up with Brian as he had graciously invited us back to his place for drinks, to tell us more stories, to listen to music, to play the guitar, and to enjoy a smoke or two. All this, plus a lot of laughter. I can’t even begin to describe how fantastic the night was. Between the beer and the smoke, the music, and the guitar playing, the house itself seemed to add an air of old-time-y-ness that I can’t explain. He told us of his life, his friends, the art he had collected (and it is an extensive collection), his vinyl, his family and so much more. And he continually sang us songs and asked us about our lives. When his roommate Brianna arrived, the two of them began belting out Joni Mitchell songs. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

Anyway, after many incredible hours shared with Brian and Brianna, Aidan and I left exceedingly happy and ever thankful for such an amazing experience.

Thank you New York. Thank you Brianna. But most of all, thank you Brian. You are an incredible individual, and I’m so happy that I was able to meet you.



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Vacation Starts Now

Okay, vacation starts in about 2 hours. But really, I’m so stoked about vacation that my brain has pretty much checked out. Two little hours. One hundred and twenty minutes. Seven thousand two hundred seconds. I can do this.

For those of you that may have forgotten, my younger brother and I are heading to New York City on Sunday. This will be Aidan’s first visit, and my eleventy-billionth. I really can’t get enough of that city. Not much is planned apart from visits to any or all of the following:

But nothing is set in stone as this trip is really free-form. And I love travelling like this, especially since Aidan and I have a way of finding things that are awesome. Or perhaps trouble/adventure has a way of finding us. Either way, adventure is out there and we’re going to take part in it.

The extra awesome part about this trip is that Arlene will be meeting me in New York for a day. I haven’t seen her in far too long and it will be awesome to catch up. Arlene is one of the most amazing people in the history of ever. She’s someone who you can’t help but love. Seriously – I challenge anyone not to lover her. You can’t. It’s impossible.

Anyway, we met in first year – we had a chemistry lab together – but we didn’t really get to know each other until second year. Her mom (affectionately known as Toots) saw me helping people move in – I was an orientation volunteer – and told Arlene “He looks nice, you should make friends with him.” She still takes credit for our friendship. Anyway, after that Arlene has been one of the most important figures in my life, even if I don’t get to see her often. So naturally, I can’t wait to see her and give her a huge hug. Can’t. Freaking. Wait.

But as I said – two more hours – less than that even. W00t!


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Does This Spell The End Of My Wanderlusting?

A get well note for Bernie from his eldest daughter Makenzie.

After visiting the hospital today to see Becky and my brother, Aidan and I headed to Simcoe to visit my parents. We figured it would do all of us good to have a normal family dinner. And it did.

Over dinner we chatted about the obvious; that being my brother and the accident. We also chatted about Christmas and what that would entail. You see, Aidan and I had planned to fly to Europe for three weeks over Christmas and New Years. However, given the current situation with my brother, it seems like a far better idea to stick around and spend time with the family.

But don’t worry folks; this isn’t the end of my wanderlusting ways. Far from it. During our drives back and forth from the hospital, Aidan and I have been chatting about what our plans could be. Clearly we both know that being home for Christmas is the only option. But we also know that travel is still in our very near future. In fact, after our conversation today I think we’ve figured out where were going to go and when we are going to go there. So, without further ado let me present to you the

New & Improved

Dan & Aidan Fun Time Christmas Travel Adventure

2011

Destination: New York City!

Say what? New York City? Again? Weren’t you just in the Big Apple?

Why yes, yes I was, thank you for noticing. But really, this is a no-brainer. Flights are inexpensive. Hotels are inexpensive (for NYC). The time of year is right. I love the city. And even more: Aidan has never been there. This is clearly something that I should have rectified long ago. Regardless, the plan is to hit the Big Apple one more time this year. On our list of things to do:

I’m sure there will be other items added to the list, but this is a good start for now. And as always, I shall keep you posted on my wanderlusting and my adventuring.