gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for June 2010

Algonquin College decides not to cut their horticulture technician program

June 28, 2010 @ 12:33 By: gordon Category: Current affairs

I meant to post something about this last week, but what with the earthquake and all I didn’t get around to it.

You may recall I posted something a couple of weeks ago talking about Algonquin College considering cutting their horticulture technician program. Well, I heard from my friend last week that the college has decided not to cut their program after all. According to a story in the Ottawa Citizen, there was enough protest from industry and other sources that the program has been saved. Instead they’re going to re-vamp it, and other programs that had been identified to be cut, and take advantage of opportunities to partner with companies in the field.

I’m glad to hear this, not only because my friend isn’t going to be out of a job, but also because they’ve remembered that sometimes reducing the bottom line isn’t the ultimate goal.

Photos around Parliament Hill

June 24, 2010 @ 23:58 By: gordon Category: Cycling, Out and about, Photography

I headed out for a short bike ride this evening and ended up at Parliament Hill shortly before sunset. While I was standing at the fence behind the Library of Parliament, I watched a family taking the usual tourist shots. One of the RCMP officers that was nearby went over and offered to take their picture. He got them organized, but something wasn’t right. Reaching into a pocket in his vest, he pulled out a small Canadian flag, gave it to the little boy and then took the pictures. Then he swapped places with the father and posed for a couple of pictures with the rest of the family.

Though he wasn’t wearing the Red Serge or sitting on a horse, I’m certain the family didn’t care.

Candidate for poster child of what-not-to-do-in-an-earthquake

June 24, 2010 @ 11:23 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, In the news

This morning’s Ottawa Metro has a cover story entitled “Shaken and stirred”. It’s accompanied by a photo of Ian Vallance wearing a suit jacket and nothing else. According to the story, he’s a lawyer who was changing into his court garb when the earthquake hit. Instead of grabbing his clothes and shoes, he “just ran out of the office”.

This was probably one of the worst things he could have done and the next quote from him in the story demonstrates why:

“When we ran out, that’s when all the bricks fell down.” — Ian Vallance

It’s not unusual for things to fall off buildings. If you’re standing in the street, you’re at risk of being hit by falling debris and seriously hurt or worse. And if you’re not wearing any shoes, you may find yourself walking on broken glass.

Probably the best thing he could have done would been to have sought shelter in a doorway or under his desk, rather than run into the street in nothing but his underwear.

No argument from me that earthquakes are scary things and sometimes the fight-or-flight response that harkens back to the days when we lived in caves and hunted sabre tooth tigers (or were hunted by sabre tooth tigers) kicks in. If it does you have to try to resist running out of the building to where you’re likely to be in more danger than if you stayed put.

Post-earthquake damage report

June 23, 2010 @ 18:46 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, In the news

20100623.0000.CRLO-filtered.wf By now, you’re probably aware that Ottawa experienced an earthquake of magnitude 5.5 5.0 on the Richter scale earlier this afternoon at about 13:41 Eastern.

I was at work when it hit. For the first few seconds I thought it was just another blast at the construction site across the street, but I quickly revised that assessment to “earthquake” when it didn’t stop and there weren’t any audible “booms” like the other blasts.

The shaking started at a low level and then became much stronger. Then it ebbed to a lower level before it peaked again. I’m not sure exactly how long it went on for, but probably somewhere between 45 and 90 seconds.

After standing in my office for a couple of seconds, I hot footed it over to the door for the firestairs and stood in the doorway. Once it had passed, I headed back to my office, talked to a couple of people and decided that I no longer needed to be in the building so I grabbed my stuff and headed for the stairs. By this point, people from other floors were heading down the stairs, too.

Once out, I headed a safe distance away from the building where I met up with a co-worker and we headed across the street to a cafe while we waited for the chaos to pass.

imageOne of the other buildings where I work had been formally evacuated, so there were a lot of people milling around outside. When we saw them heading back into the building, we headed back to our building and walked up the stairs, rather than taking the elevators.

I talked to my parents who were up at the cottage. They said the cottage creaked and shook and that they felt two distinct peaks in the vibrations. Their cat who was asleep when it hit woke up and was extremely agitated for quite some time afterwards.

I headed over to my parents’ place when I left work to check up and make sure everything was ok there. I noticed that many of the pictures on walls that run roughly east-west were crooked, while those on north-south walls tended to be straighter.

imageThe biggest “damage” I came across was a picture frame on their desk that had fallen over.

At my place, the only casualty was a single picture frame that was slightly askew. 🙂

How did the earthquake affect you?

5.5 hits Ottawa

June 23, 2010 @ 14:28 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, In the news


Magnitude 5.5
  • Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 17:41:42 UTC
  • Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 01:41:42 PM at epicenter
Location 45.955°N, 75.546°W
Depth 19.2 km (11.9 miles)
  • 49 km (31 miles) N (349°) from Cumberland, Ontario, Canada
  • 52 km (33 miles) N (10°) from Gatineau, Québec, Canada
  • 58 km (36 miles) NNE (16°) from Hull, Québec, Canada
  • 61 km (38 miles) N (11°) from OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 11.5 km (7.1 miles); depth +/- 5.3 km (3.3 miles)
Parameters NST=294, Nph=311, Dmin=160.3 km, Rmss=1.12 sec, Gp= 25°,

M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=6

Event ID us2010xwa7

Selected news stories:

Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival – Race #2

June 19, 2010 @ 19:39 By: gordon Category: Dragonboats

Our second race took place around 5pm, a bit later than expected due to some delays in the morning. The wind has much more of a factor in this race because it was more of a crosswind and made lining up at the start a bit more of a challenge. That combined with choppier water meant that steering was tougher, but our finish time of 2:15.44 was still better than our best time from the last few years. (Most times in the afternoon races were quite a bit slower than the morning.)

Overall, this puts us in 32nd place for the mixed teams, which we’re very happy with.

We also raised enough money through donations that we had a third race, but that time wasn’t available when this was being written.

Many thanks to everyone who sponsored me! Your donations helped the team raise $5257.00 for the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation charities so far!

Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival – Race #1

June 19, 2010 @ 11:49 By: gordon Category: Dragonboats

The Algonquin College Singapore Slings took position at the start line in lane #6 and sped down the course to reclaim their challenge cup after a couple of years of letting other teams have it. 🙂

Our official time for the race was 2:13.18, which was more than 7 seconds faster than the next fastest team.

Our next race is sometime after 13:30.