And away we go

Later today we’ll leave on our first big trip in a while. I mean, not that Costa Rica wasn’t great, nor all the smaller trips last year, nor the Okanagan in 2014. They were lovely and memorable trips, but the last real adventure was South Africa and Botswana back in 2013, just after I started my new job. Today we return to Africa, but a few thousand kilometres away in Rwanda. We’ll stop in Amsterdam on our way back, just to hang out again in one of our all-time favourite cities.

Cheers, kids. Be good while we’re away.

Photo by slgckgc, used under Creative Commons license

I would have to drink all six bottles before I’d put that CD in

My life right now is being measured in bite-sized chunks, less than two weeks at a time.

Last Monday, the 7th, I let my colleagues know that I’d be leaving my job in nine days. I’d been there for twelve years (fourteen total if you include my first stint) so it surprised a lot of people. There were lots of last coffees, lots handshakes, and lots of questions. I nixed any formal farewell, but did spend a few final hours with my team at Hair Of The Dog, and had drinks with friends at Caren’s. My friends and colleagues, knowing me very well and spoiling me entirely, bought me six tremendous bottles of plonk about which I’m fairly excited:

  • Maison Roche De Bellene 2009 Clos de Vougeot Pinot Noir
  • M. Chapoutier 2007 Monier de la Sizeranne Syrah
  • Domaine Bernard Defaix 2010 Cote de Lechet Chablis
  • Louis Jadot 2010 Boucherottes Pinot Noir
  • Piper Heidsieck champagne
  • Glen Breton 10 year old whisky

Oh, and a Miley Cyrus CD, just to make me wince. So it was a 9-day sprint to wrap up all my work and admin tasks before Wednesday. At 5pm I handed in my pass and Blackberry (yay!) and left the building. I took Thursday and Friday off to give myself a four-day stretch in which to relax a bit, but mostly knock some travel- and condo-related tasks off my list.

On Monday I’ll start my new job. It’s in roughly the same domain, still in Toronto. I wasn’t looking for a new job — I had no particular desire to leave my old one — but this seems like a pretty great opportunity, and I’m excited for Monday. I’m not fussed about such a short break between jobs; like my grandfather always said: “A change is as good as a rest.”

So I’ll have two weeks at the new job, and then we’re off to Africa. We got the last of our shots earlier this week, and apart from some fresh bug spray we have pretty much everything we need. A few days in Cape Town, a few in Stellenbosch, a few in Botswana, and a few in the air, and we’re back.

In my Thanksgiving post earlier this week I didn’t relate any of the many things for which I’m thankful, but it’s safe to say that great friends and two new adventures would make the list.


Photo by slgckgc, used under Creative Commons license

Let's get ready to rumble!

Welcome to this bout for the superheavyweight ridiculousness championship of the world.

In this corner we have the Canadian minister of state for science & technology, Gary Goodyear (who obviously missed his true calling: cartoon race car driver), who refuses to say whether he believes in evolution:

Jim Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said he was flabbergasted that the minister would invoke his religion when asked about evolution.

“The traditions of science and the reliance on testable and provable knowledge has served us well for several hundred years and have been the basis for most of our advancement. It is inconceivable that a government would have a minister of science that rejects the basis of scientific discovery and traditions,” he said.

Mr. Goodyear’s evasive answers on evolution are unlikely to reassure the scientists who are skeptical about him, and they bolster the notion that there is a divide between the minister and the research community.

And in this corner, with a reach much greater than Mr. Goodyear’s, is Pope Benedict, who yesterday said that condoms won’t stop the spread of AIDS in Africa.

“You can’t resolve it with the distribution of condoms,” the Pope told reporters aboard his plane to Yaounde, Cameroon. “On the contrary, it increases the problem.”

While health workers — including some priests and nuns working with people with AIDS — advocate the use of condoms to curb the spread of disease during sex, the Catholic church promotes fidelity within marriage, chastity and abstinence.

More than 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to estimates from the United Nations. Since the 1980s, roughly 25 million people have died from AIDS.

Come out, touch gloves. Let’s have a clean fight. Against reality.