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The definitive host: January 2010

The definitive host

de·fin·i·tive host (duh-fin'eh-tiv) n. 1) An organism where a parasite undergoes the adult and sexual stages of its reproductive cycle 2) Someone you go to for interesting stories and/or facts, and puts on one hell of a dinner party 3) This blog, devoted to science and other geeky subjects

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ottawa Life

For an assignment, we had to observe something and write an article about it. So, I decided to observe Ottawa citizens on the Rideau Canal one afternoon.


An Ottawa winter is not complete without ice skating on the Rideau Canal.

Having officially opened on January 14 to the public, one of the hallmarks of an Ottawa winter officially began.

Even with the below zero temperature and wind cutting through jackets like a knife, the skaters were kept warm by the smiles on their faces and the excitement in their hearts, despite the consistent flailing of limbs as people fell.

"But Daddy, I don't know how!" screamed a little girl wrapped up in a pink winter coat and a Disney princess hat, as her father tied up her skates.

Her father simply grinned as he zipped up his suede jacket, and adjusted his black hat and gloves.

"Don't worry honey, I've got you," he said, as he gently helped her onto the ice.

Within seconds of taking her first careful steps onto the ice, her reddened face changed from an expression of fear to that of unabashed joy, all the while screaming for her father not to let go.

But, like all parents teaching their children to ride a bike, the father let go after a few short minutes without telling her.

"You're doing it honey!" he shouted a small distance behind her.

As she looked back at him, her smile became impossibly wide as she said; "now I'm better than you, Daddy."

Watching this as they skated by was a young couple dressed in matching brown and blue parkas.

The man's face was drenched with sweat as he was holding onto his girlfriend's arm like a vice. And, as if taking a cue from the little girl in the princess hat, she raised her voice at him and said that if a child could do it without any fear, so could he.

"I mean, you've got to be at least three times her age, Jack, and she's already a better skater than you!"

"I wanted to go see a movie," said the man with venom in his voice, "but no, you wanted to get some exercise. You know I broke my arm skating!"

Briefly skating away from her boyfriend, the woman did not see that a large man in a trench coat was passing by. She collided into his chest and fell down onto the ice with a large thud.

Her boyfriend erupted into a chorus of laughter as he helped her up, clearly enjoying the sudden reversal of roles.

As they resumed skating, holding each other tightly, they passed the young girl and her father, removing their skates.

"Did you have fun, honey?" said the man in a hopeful voice.

"I fell down Daddy, but I'm ok, see?" said the girl with an infectious smile, causing her father to give her a large hug.

"But Daddy?" said the girl once the hug was done, "can Mommy come next time? I want to show her what a good teacher you are."

Her father, obviously touched, grinned and grabbed her hand as they walked away.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Who am I?

Two interesting things have happened to me over the past few days.

1) Over Facebook, I installed an application that tested how original your parents were in naming you.

Now, I know that David is a relatively common name, but I was shocked and highly entertained about what came up.

And I quote:
"Your parents get an F+ for originality.

Ranking - 'David' was the 5th most popular boy's name in your birth year.
Rarity - 87% of boys had rarer names that year. (Grade: F+)
Peak year - 'David' peaked in popularity in 1955.
Current rank - 'David' is currently the 14th most popular boy's name.
Current name - Your parents might name you 'Daniel' today (current #5)."

Read that last line again ... my parents MIGHT name me DANIEL today. DANIEL. The name of my identical twin.

You think that means the universe is trying to tell me something?

2) This was just weird.

I checked out my Master's mail box today while I was going to go edit some radio stuff, and noticed that I had a letter. Intrigued, I looked at the envelope.

This is what I saw:

*Click on it to see a larger image, believe me, it's worth it*

Intrigued that it was from the PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE, I opened it. And, I saw this:

*Same deal. Click on it to see a larger version of the picture*

Apparently, when I called the Prime Minister's Office last term about Senate reform (see my Capital News Online article about it on the right), they actually DID receive my message. However, seeing as the letter was addressed January 4 2010, and my article was due at the beginning of December 2009, it did me little good to receive it now.

But apparently, Harper appreciated my request and asked the signer to give me his thanks.

So, Harper was told about my request. That means he heard my name, and did not want to be interviewed by me. I've only started my journalistic career, and have already been blacklisted by the PM.

I guess that means I'm a bonafide Canadian journalist!

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