Podcamp Toronto 2014 – It’s about the people

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I was asked to provide some training to a client and as it was through the week in a busy city, it was a great opportunity for Moe to tag along for a mini vacation.

Shortly after I booked, we found out that the weekend after I was done was the weekend of PodCamp Toronto (#pcto14). We adjusted our flights and hotel reservations and made a weekend out of it.

Thursday night, we went to a local production of Avenue Q. It was very well done and quite funny.

Once my training was done, we met up many friends who we’d met mostly through Podcasters Across Borders (#PAB). Rob and Katherine met us for dinner on Friday at Beer Bistro and had a wonderful meal paired with some excellent local and imported beers.

One of the unofficial #pcto14 events is a get together at the Imperial Pub on Dundas. After our dinner, Rob & Katherine walked up with us to see that the usual suspects were there: Scarborough Dude, Mark Blevis, Anthony Marco, Danny Rossi, and many others that I met there for the first time. Some I had seen online, others I met for the first time.

Saturday night, many of us set out for dinner, then went to Lou Dawg’s for a party. We found it too loud to socialize and found a quiet spot in the basement where we could chat. It was a much better way to spend an evening.

We decided that we’d stop by the Imperial Pub for one last night cap. How that ended was a completely different story. That is the story as recorded by our good friend Mark Blevis on his trip back home to Ottawa.

I attended sessions at #pcto14 that reinforced many things that I already knew, but needed to hear again. Probably the one that rang truest for me was a presentation by Katharine Stanbridge who rode her bike across Canada. It’s about the people that you meet was one of the key things that she learned on her journey and is something that I’ve found as I travel the world as well.

Things to remember for next time:

Public transit into Toronto
Buy tokens from the money exchange one level up from the arrivals.
Take the number 192 bus to Kipling Station and transfer to the Subway. $3 per token or ~$39 for a one week pass.

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MAVEN

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) is a mission to study the upper atmosphere of Mars. Here is a link to the NASA page.

On November 18, 2013 MAVEN was launched from Cape Canaveral.

Back in September of 2013, I heard about an opportunity to have names added to a DVD that would make the voyage to orbit Mars. The spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the red planet on September 22, 2014.

Not wanting to make the trip alone, I’ve taken my family with me.

clarencejoycemaureennicolerachaelmark

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Europe 2012 M&M Day 1

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It’s official.

The incoming Immigration documentation requested occupations. Mine was easy…hasn’t changed since “deckhand”. Moe’s has changed over the years…cook, clerk, homemaker, clerk, homemaker, clerk, lollipop lady, locker jockey and is now where it should be.

Our flight over was thankfully uneventful. We arrived at Heathrow a few minutes late after the mandatory holding pattern laps. After all that we had heard about the long waits for passport control, we were expecting to cool our heals for up to two hours, but after we made our way from Terminal 3 to T1, we walked right up to the counter and breezed through. A quick stop to the BMI counter for boarding cards and…”would you like to catch an earlier flight, sir?”

We arrived in Edinburgh 3 hours ahead of schedule to a full on gale, but it gave us time to grab a SIM card for my phone. £15 for a 300 minutes, 3000 texts and unlimited tether able data. I love you 3.

We caught a cab to our B&B (Priestville Guesthouse) where Colin and Trina filled us in all there was to see and do during our short visit. A quick rest and we were ready for the driving rain.

The weather was such crap, that we decided to take it easy rather than walk into town. We headed to the Auld Hoose…a spot that I had found during my last stay here. We had a lovely night watching the students, dogs and locals mix. A couple of pints for me and a couple of soda’s for Moe and we headed back for a game of “Who can stay away until 9″. I don’t know who won. I woke at 10pm in one chair and Moe was asleep in the other. We’ll call it a draw.

The morning has dawned cool, but sunny in Edinburgh. That’s a good sign for a wonderful day.

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Europe 2012 M&M day 0

It seems that every five years, I get the bug to travel. I know…I travel a lot for work. But personal travel is different.

I relax. I unwind and recharge. This time, I’ve even unplugged…from work anyway.

Once that five year urge comes on, I start to plan for the following year.

This time around, I’ve managed 4 weeks. Just Moe and I, with periodic meetups with friends along the way.

We’re sitting at YVR now, have just seen off Terry and Claudia Boorman and Roy and Karen Leeson who will fly 30 minutes ahead to smooth out the bumps. We’ll see the Leesons again in 10 days or so.

We’re packed and ready to go!

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Headed North

It’s that time of the year again.

Time to head to the Arctic to do some high volume water and sediment sampling in the Beaufort Sea.

I’ve been doing this for three years now and the Arctic never gets old for me. So far, each year has given new adventures and different experiences.

The first year, everything was new. Ice breaking, midnight sun and a whole new world. The second year was a few weeks later and while there was no ice to speak of, I saw new parts of the NWT that I’d never seen.

This year is later still and night has returned to the North and I’m hoping that I’ll get a chance to see the Northern Lights.

You can follow along. As much of my work is in remote parts of the world, I buy a new toy to help keep in touch with the outside world. The Spot Connect uses a GPS receiver and Globalstar Transmitter to send short messages and my location to groups of emails that I’ve predefined. It also has an SOS button that when pushed, will notify authorities that I need help. You can follow me at http://tinyurl.com/spotfergus or on the link over there———>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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