September 2007

Fun facts about me

My eyes have always been odd. I was born cross-eyed enough that I was blind in my right eye, and wore an eyepatch in my preschool and kindergarten years. Corrective surgery, to straighten out that right eye, followed in the fifth grade, and I’ve been wearing glasses, on and off, ever since. To clarify, my eyes aren’t actually bad (I’ve passed a vision test without my glasses, and I go without wearing them as often as not), just odd. My right eye is slightly farsighted; my left eye is slightly nearsighted. This means that I’ll watch television across the room with my right eye dominant, and read with my left eye dominant. Binocular vision is sort of a see-saw thing with me. Glasses correct this, but I’ve been overdue to replace mine for some time — 13 years is a little long for the same pair, isn’t it?

More about my birth defects and other physical abnormalities in a future episode.

Meanwhile, it will surprise no one to know my results from a Myers-Briggs test done at work: I’m an INTJ. I certainly called it beforehand.

Catching carpool culprits

The Champlain Bridge between Ottawa and Gatineau is a mile long and three lanes wide (not including bike lanes). The middle lane is a reversible lane that follows the flow of rush hour traffic: southbound from midnight to noon, northbound from noon to midnight. It’s also a high-capacity lane, limited only to buses (the STO runs two rush-hour buses across the bridge), taxis and cars with more than two occupants. (It’s also closed to commercial traffic.)

Even so, many single-occupant vehicles take the centre lane — my guess is around half the traffic in the lane is breaking the rules. But I wondered how the two-occupant rule could be enforced: how the hell do the cops pull over traffic in the centre lane in the middle of a bridge during rush hour? (Bridge traffic is normally insane: we frequently have to wait half an hour along Lucerne Boulevard just to get on the bridge.)

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FIAWOL’s in charge

Science fiction fandom has a couple of useful acronyms: FIAWOL (fandom is a way of life) and FIJAGH (fandom is just a goddamned hobby). They’re applicable beyond fandom, and in fact are relevant to most hobbies, especially those engrossing enough to become subcultures.

I’m firmly in the FIJAGH camp, simply because I have too many interests to obsess over just one. I cannot live and breathe reptiles, for example, because I’d then have to give up my other interests. The end result is that I’m not as far into that hobby — or my other hobbies — as I might otherwise be. I simply don’t have the time.

But many hobbyists are a good deal more single-minded: they make the time. These people are usually the most visible and the most vocal participants in their subculture. They’re the ones that keep clubs going, who donate their time unflinchingly, and who live and breathe their hobby. That’s FIAWOL.

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The Shawville Fair

I spent a couple of days this weekend at the Shawville Fair, for the first time in four years. Took a bunch of pictures; they should be up at some point, but I’ve got literally hundreds of them to go through.

Two years ago the fair hit its attendance peak when Stompin’ Tom Connors had a concert. Since then, they’ve scaled things back somewhat, at least in terms of the entertainment. At one point I thought this was a case of the organizers being afraid of success, that the fair was on the cusp of being something other than what they were used to, and that they would rather have a smaller fair on their own terms than a truly successful, enormous spectacle.

But I’ve since heard that the fair was at risk of choking on its own success: the crowds were overwhelming the on-ground services, to say nothing of the parking in-town. Now I see it: any bigger and the fair would have to expand, physically — upgraded, or larger, or even new facilities. Scaling back was the only reasonable option, and by all accounts fairgoers seem to prefer it less crowded.

Of course I can’t tell the difference, since I’ve been staying away during all this growth and contraction.