plonq: (Crashing Mood)
If there is one consistency in my life it is that I was born clumsy, and clung to it like it was a virtue. I have fallen many times in the ice and snow, but the spill I took a week ago Friday was the roughest one yet. I skipped the morning at work to go into town for a scheduled dental appointment, and the mishap happened on the way home. I knew that the walks and streets were slick because I was slipping and flailing all the way from the dentist's office to the bus stop.

It was tough slogging down the sidewalk at this end of the bus trip because the folks at the Main Street end of our road had not bothered to clear the walks in front of their houses. I trudged through the snow for the first half of a block and then decided that the street looked much more passable because at least it had been plowed. The moment I stepped off the curb, I discovered that the street was not quite as benign as it had appeared. What looked like hard packed snow was actually hard packed ice that sloped away from the curb, and both of my feet shot straight out from under me before I could even even muster a pretense of reaction.

I landed hard on my elbow and hip - hard enough that at first I thought I had shattered the elbow. Had I not been wearing as many layers, I think that it is likely that I would be in a cast right now. My elbow and hip were remarkably sore for a couple of days, and the elbow is still tender to the touch a week-and-a-half later. Last Monday I woke to a sore, stiff neck. At first I thought that I had slept wrong, but over the course of the week it became progressively worse and spread to the shoulder before I finally made the connection with my fall a couple of days before.

It was very painful all day yesterday at work, and I made myself a promise that if it was that sore again today I would skip the morning and head up to the local walk-in clinic to get it checked. Yesterday evening [ profile] atara applied an icepack to it, and followed that up with a hot pad. It helped at the time, but this morning my shoulder was on fire again as I was getting up from bed. This evening I am almost feeling normal. Maybe the ice and fire treatment was just what I needed.

A walk in the park

Late last week our CEO announced rather abruptly that he is leaving. He was supposed to be around for a few more months, and had planned to stay on as a consultant for another three years after his retirement. It seems tha the has decided to sever ties with us and head off to fuck up a different railroad. If he gets his way, the CSXT can expect to be ruthlessly gutted. Good for the shareholders, but not so good for the railway. He slashed 40% of our workforce in the five years that he was with us.

Most companies have a certain amount of fat that they can trim, but almost no company can afford to lost 40% of its workforce and expect to continue operating normally. One of the ways they are making up for the shortfall is forcing managers into pulling double duties (like running trains, repairing cars and the like).

On the plus side, the scuttlebut around the office is that our VP of IT is likely going to be departing sooner rather than later as well. He was one of the departing CEO's hand-picked sycophants, and folks in the head office say that he does not see eye-to-eye with our new CEO. His long term goal for our IT shop seems to have been to turn it into a micromanaged sweatshop, so there are few who will mourn his departure if he goes.

All I can say is that unless things turn around quite dramatically in my company, my only goal at this point is to try and hold out until my earliest retirement date.

A walk in the park
plonq: (Wolfish Mood)
Our garage windows always turn very pretty with the first deep cold snap of the year.



Jul. 5th, 2014 09:31 am
plonq: (Innocent mood)
In about an hour we will be heading out the door to do some overnight camping with tent, sleeping bags, uncomfortable foam mats and all of the other indignities one associates with roughing it.

We are taking pointy sticks, marshmallows, chips and we will be stopping for wieners and buns on our way out of town. I am looking forward to it, though I would probably be more enthusiastsic if I had not eaten a large helping of very hot Mongolian stir-fry last night, which as been burning its way through my system like a magma train of pain. Ah well - these camping trips are supposed to be mildly uncomfortable, so we'll see how it goes.

I think it has been better than thirty years since I last slept in a tent. Jeez, just saying that makes me feel old. =(

I caught a nice shot of a little (well, maybe not so little based on its size compared to the trees around it) ice cave on the road between Banff and Jasper.
Ice Cave

I would have loved to go and explore it, but it was a long hike away, potentially dangerous, nobody else wanted to go, and there was an ice-laden lake of watery death between it and us.

Still, would have been totally awesome to explore.
plonq: (Derpy Mood)
One of the downsides to taking daily pictures is that some people see it as not normal. When I saw the sea of hand prints on the frosty glass of this stairwell, I immediately saw it as a photo opportunity. Passers by in the stairwell did not seem to share my opinion, and I got a lot of strange glances as I lined up 2-3 shots, tweaking settings and even swapping cameras. I was not blocking the stairs - they are very wide - but I think a few folks were annoyed that they could not walk three abreast as they passed me. Oh, the inconvenience!

Most of the prints had obviously been left by children (or Hobbits) but overall they covered a wide gamut of heights and sizes. The first were probably left by somebody leaning against the glass, trying to peer through the frost. The rest were left by people who saw it not so much as opaque windows, as a blank canvas on which to leave their temporary mark on the world.
Walking on water. )
plonq: (Grawky Mood)
We wandered down to The Forks today for their $5 charity pasta lunch. After lunch we went for a short walk, first along the Assiniboine river, and then up to the red. The Red is largely ice-free and flowing very quickly, while the Assiniboine still had a fair bit of ice cover, and was moving very sluggishly.

On the other hand, both rivers are running very high.

We stopped midway over the old rail bridge on the Assiniboine when the last traces of the river trail caught our eye. Trying to curl on this set-up would add some interesting twists to the game.

Curling Away
plonq: (Creative mood)
The city owns the fountain and surrounding park in front of the building where I work. While the area usually serves as a hangout for vagrants and drug dealers, the city often hosts events there. During the summer they have a week-long music festival in the square, where local bands come and perform during the lunch hour. The folks who organize their winter events are not quite as well organized though.

Last winter they lined the area around the fountain with a dozen or so wooden boxes which they filled with packed snow. I don't know if they were supposed to be part of a snow sculpting project, but the boxes of snow sat untouched for months through a number of freeze and thaw cycles until spring finally came in earnest. After a couple days of rain the boxes disappeared, leaving several messy piles of slushy snow where they had been, and after another week the snow quietly disappeared in the night. If that had been the plan all along then I don't think the pay-off was worth the set-up. As art projects go, the result was rather anticlimactic.

It appears that last year's debacle was not enough to dissuade the committee from trying again this year. Back in November, or maybe early December I showed up for work one morning and noticed that the fountain had been roughly encircled by vertical cardboard cylinders. It looked like somebody had raided the bathroom of the titans and made off with the cardboard tubes from their toilet paper rolls. The cynical side of me thought, "Oh look, it's another ill-fated winter project by the city." On the other hand, one would assume that they learned from last year's mistake. I wondered if they were planning to fill them with snow or water, and that question was answered a week later when I spied one of the flower-watering trailers parked beside one of the tubes while a bored maintenance worker pumped green-tinged water out of a translucent plastic water tank into the tube.

I have always wondered about the water in those tanks. I have never been sure if green tinge in the water was due to algae, plant food, or just a trick of the light. Well the pictures below tell me that it's not just a trick of the light. A couple of weeks ago they removed the cardboard wrappings, leaving a group of green ice pillars circling the fountain.

Icehenge )

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