Young Geoffrey (ed_rex) wrote,
Young Geoffrey

Random Gloats: Cheap girlfriend, soccer nerves and working-class pride

I miss the old days, when more often than not, blogging was for me, just blogging. Talking about whatever came to mind, whatever I had been doing or thinking or feeling. I miss the days when I didn't bother with the spell-check and my primary purpose on the internet was entertainment and just getting to know people.

And yeah, I even miss my experiment with living my life in a nearly clear bubble, telling all as if I were some kind of celebrity child with an axe to grind.

Or at least, with one hell urge towards ego-maniacal self-exposure.

That fit at least seems to be behind me; you new-comers are unlikely to have inflicted upon you details of my sex life or the number of hairs that reside upon my chest, and those few of you old-timers who still actually stop by to read, well, we'll always have those memories, won't we?

Onwards. This morning I will talk about neither Doctor Who nor Treme, but about my wonderful Raven, and the exciting lives we lead. And also, about my upcoming debut on the football pitch.

Doors Open

Here in Ottawa, and I think across much of the province, this weekend is "Doors Opens", when the doors to many buildings, public and private, are thrown open to allow members of the public a taste of their inner workings. Turned into Museums for a Day (or Two), as it were.

And naturally, since Raven is such an influence on my life, it was determined that we were going to take a tour of something this weekend. (Indeed, we'll be going out again later today, if plans hold.)

Raven isn't much interested in having a drink (which fact my liver no doubt appreciates quite a lot) or wandering about malls every weekend, but one thing she does love is a museum that's open for free.

Yesterday, we she decided that we would pay a visit to Ottawa's Traffic Control Centre. And — who'da thunk it! — it was fascinating. Really, it was.

We arrived at the fairly non-descript building at around 2:00 in the afternoon and spent about 15 minutes in line before being ushered inside and taken through such spaces as the Sign Room, the Traffic Control Centre and the Traffic Light Workshop. (Note: I don't remember whether the capitalized names are the official names or not. But if you have to take a test, best presume I've got 'em wrong.)

What I learned, in general, is that Ottawa's traffic control system is one of the world's most advanced, apparently on a par with those in London (England, not Ontario, sadly) and Los Angeles. The "walk" buttons actually work and there are sensors at almost every traffic light which will respond even to the presence of a bicycle by, traffic flows permitting, switching the side-street to a green toute suite.

And furthermore, most of the technology has been developed in-house, by public servants who, to judge by those who spoke to those about their work, take a great deal of well-warranted pride in that work.

We learned some of the secrets behind the making of street-signs (standard aluminum signs, stickers, backed with really strong glue and applied by hand), how to keep snow of the traffic lights (clear plastic shields, coated, to bead water) and about painting lane-markings (very carefully; if you make a mistake, everyone can see it).

We also got a look at the Control Centre itself, where operators can switch between cameras at dozens of major intersections and adjust traffic lights accordingly.

Really, it was a lot more interesting than I'm probably making it sound, and there was something almost revelatory in hearing the pride in the voices of the men who spoke to us from the various shop floors, the quiet assurance of people who did good work and who know it.

When we exited the building after about an hour, Raven and I strode hand-in-hand back towards the bus-stop nearly burbling about how much fun it had been.

So much fun, indeed, that Raven acquiesced to my suggestion that we spend some time (and money!) on an Elgin Street patio and take in some sun and street-life before heading once again for home.

And that's it, really. Today we're off to the Supreme Court and (maybe) the Governor General's residence, and then I'll be taking the field at Landsdowne Stadium(!) for my first formal soccer game since the summer after grade 6. If I don't die on the field, I'll tell you something about it tomorrow; if I do, well, I won't.

Also if I survive, there'll be another entry in my increasingly depressing series, Doctor Who: The Failures of Steven Moffat sooner than later.

Originally posted at

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Tags: museum, random gloats, raven, soccer, traffic control centre

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