Tag Archives: Victoria

Dan Has Left The Building

Coffee prior to the first session. Mmm, coffee

I wrote this while on the plane headed to Calgary. Of course once I landed, Rick and I had plans to meet up with his friend Paul, and I basically forgot to post it.


As I write this, I think I’m somewhere over the mountains on my way to Calgary to visit Rick. The plan whilst in Calgary – hiking, caving, shenaniganning, not necessarily in that order. My stay in Victoria was short, but it was fantastic. I definitely will be returning.

The conference was also quite awesome. It was smaller than the Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada, having about 70 participants instead of say, 500. But, I think I liked this better. It was a bit more intimate, and everyone there was interested in Spatial Statistics, Geography, Public Health, and the like. It was a giant nerdfest, and I’m so happy that I was invited to speak.

The GeoMed'ers (minus me, as I took the photo). Dr. Dean is on the far right.

As for my presentation (which is posted below for your viewing pleasure), I think based on the feedback that it went really well. My talk was only supposed to be 20 minutes, so I planned for 18 to provide enough time for questions. Sadly, my talk got started about 25 minutes late because the 2 presenters that spoke before me clearly didn’t budget their time for a 20 minute presentation. When one has 60+ slides for 20 minutes, and each slide contains more than 10 bullet points, one can’t be expected to finish in 20 minutes. But I digress.

Regardless, the talk went well. I was a bit nervous before I started as I was presenting in front of some of the rock stars of the Spatial Statistics world (yes, we have rock stars). However, that dissipated rather quickly for two reasons. First, once I got up in front of the audience, something switched in my head and I went into presentation mode (I love the adrenaline rush of speaking, and if I feel confident about my particular topic, even better, because then I can have fun with it and those that are listening to me). The second reason was random. And by random, I clearly mean Rick. You see, as I was about to speak, Rick sent me a text to ask how the presentation went. And that made me giggle just a little, and it also reminded me that this wasn’t a big deal, and there was no reason to get stressed about it. After that, things were golden.

The talk garnered several questions, and a lot of interest. Partly for my topic, but also for the manner in which I presented. That is, all of the talks save for mine were done in PowerPoint. And most went over time. And most had too many things written on one slide. In fact, the tendency these days is to use PowerPoint to lay out everything in the presentation. So much so, that I don’t need to listen to the speaker – I just need to read the slides, which is what the speakers are doing as well; they are reading the text on the slides and they aren’t engaging the audience. I do not approve.

So, as with previous presentations, I used Prezi. And as with previous presentations, I kept the number of ‘slides’ to a minimum. And I also kept the content on the slides to a minimum. Clean. Clear. To the point. For example, one of my slides simply presented 3 numbers to the audience: 2.5, 88, and 90000. And then I proceeded to tell a story around those numbers. It’s a simple trick, but it works; based on the feedback, I definitely captured the attention of the audience.

Anyway, the rest of the conference was awesome. It gave me a lot to think about, and I met some really great people. I’m going to be chatting with one rather nerdy (read awesome) student I met once I get back home (we were chatting about a potential submission for publication in the Journal of Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology). I also had plenty of time to stroll Victoria to get some snappy shots. And even with the rain, it was a beautiful city. W00t!

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!

Bonjour Montreal

After a long day, longer flight, and getting stuck in traffic, I am rewarded with a beer with Mr. Rick.

Remember that time I decided to take a trip every month for an entire year? Yeah, while I’m still doing that. W00t!

Yesterday I departed YYZ (also known as Toronto Pearson Airport) for the 10th time. That is, I started my 10th trip in 9 months. That’s right folks, I’m ahead of schedule. Does this mean I’ll slack off next month? Hells no. Next month I’m heading to Victoria to give an invited talk at the GEOMed conference of Awesome. And I believe the month after that I’m going to be heading to New York with Dr. Gerarda and Dr. Steph, hopefully to see The Book of Mormon. It shall also be filled with excellent food, tasty beverages, and lots of laughs.

Is that weird? I mean, is it weird that I think about new adventures even as I sit at an airport, watching planes load and unload, planning to head out on my current adventure? Apparently my wanderlust is just that strong. I’m not sure that I really mind though.

Back to the story at hand. My current adventure is a short trip to Montreal. I had planned to meet up with Dr. Steph on Sunday to work on a few papers, and was going to stay until Wednesday, however, the Fates conspired against me and I’ve been forced to cut the trip short in order to be home in time for a meeting on Tuesday. Thankfully, the Fates also decided that I should be rewarded for attending this meeting on Tuesday, and thus provided me the perfect excuse to fly to Montreal on Friday, instead of Sunday.

A view of the city from the plane.

What pray tell is this perfect excuse? Only that Mr. Rick (whom you’ll remember as the man who played the part of my hero when I smashed my face, and also the part of fellow adventurer while I dove out of a plane, climbed several mountains, and poked the lava, or even perhaps for this), had a meeting there on Friday. That’s right, he’s in Montreal too.

So, while the Fates have conspired to cut my trip short, they have also granted me with more than just some much-needed Dr. Steph time. They have given me some Mr. Rick time. And hanging out with those two nerds for the weekend sounds like a fair price to pay.

Getting here was a bit of an adventure; meetings that ran late meant I had to rush home to pack (with only about 35 minutes until Red Car picked me up), only to realize that I lost my glasses at the school; back to the school to do a quick search (thanks Dom for driving my sorry ass all over the place); no luck, return home; find glasses attached to my school bag (what the what?); board Red Car; head to the airport; board flight; flight delayed 50+ minutes for some odd reason (apparently only 1 runway was available at YUL); leave Toronto; land in Montreal (a.k.a. YUL); flight again delayed at the terminal for 20+ minutes (the gate wasn’t free because some silly WestJet flight was in our way – what’s up with that WestJet? I thought we were friends?); finally leave the plane to wait for 20+ minutes for a cab (really, another line?); traffic; more traffic; even more traffic (good lord I’m never going to get there); and finally, finally, I arrive at my hotel.

My view from our dinner table, minus the smoking man who really shouldn't have been smoking

And right at the moment I arrived at my hotel, Rick sent a text asking how soon I would arrive. You see, Rick being Rick, he had wandered over to my hotel from his hotel in order to facilitate our adventure, so he had been standing in the relative cold for probably 20 minutes or so. He’s just efficient and crazy like that. This means that as my cab drove up, the first sight I saw was my friend, my hero, my fellow adventurer, and the man who did this standing there with a big goofy grin on his face. And suddenly the crazy trip didn’t matter at all.

Truth be told, by the time Rick and I finally met up last night, I was tired and ready for bed. But clearly we had shenanigan-ing to get up to. And so we did. It definitely involved almost having dinner with a smoking man who clearly was suffering from something that probably wasn’t being helped by smoking. It definitely involved a highly inappropriate gift. It definitely involved a random karaoke bar. It definitely involved wandering and chatting and some tasty beverages. Most importantly, it definitely involved laughing, and chatting, and catching up, and a lot more laughing. A most awesome way to end a day that was a bit on the questionable side.

But I’ll leave all that for another post. Especially since it’s a beautiful day outside and I really shouldn’t be sitting here poking away at the keyboard.