Tuesday, June 30, 2015

100 Strangers: The Movie

Yesterday marked the 100th day that I had given myself to approach 100 people, who I didn't know, and ask them if I could capture an image of them. And as you saw, last week, I finished my project early.

In addition to placing these wonderful folks, who somehow trusted me enough to pose for my camera, and agree to let me add their image in a Flickr album, I have decided to take my 100 photographs and assemble them into a short video.

So, without further ado, I present my 100 Strangers video. Enjoy!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Music Monday: Nude

I hope this post's title doesn't attract all the wrong kinds of hits. IT'S MUSIC, PEOPLE!

Once again, I've chosen a random track from my smartphone, and this time, I've come up with a band that I like because their music is as varying as all the rest of my music from the many artists I have stored on my device.

Radiohead can have loud, driving rock beats and soft, ethereal melodies. They can have a techo-synthesized sound or a catchy pop one. Radiohead is a lot of things.

As we move into the summer and vacations, where we like to kick back and relax, their song, "Nude," from their album, In Rainbows, is a soft, mesmerizing tune.

Enjoy: just keep your clothes on if you're listening to this song at the office.

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Photo Friday: Early Clue

If you're a regular follower of my blog, you know that on the first Monday of each month, I run a contest in which I take a photo of some location in Ottawa, and you are invited to identify where that location is.

I choose the spot for the contest in a couple of ways. Sometimes, I see a location and tell myself that I want to return to it at some point (usually, the weekend before the contest date) to photograph it when the light is just right or when I have the time to explore the building, or statue, or park, and can take a photo from an angle that will hopefully keep you guessing.

Other times, I find myself in a spot, with camera in hand, and I say to myself, "this is the spot. I'm going to use this as the next Where In Ottawa." I take the photo and hang onto it until the next contest date.

Just like I did last week.

I came across this place by accident. I missed a turn, got caught in the flow of traffic, and turned on some side streets for a neighbourhood in which I rarely find myself. I made several turns onto streets I didn't know, and finally pulled over when a structure caught my eye. I took several photos, enough to share over several Wordless Wednesdays and Photo Fridays. It was a beautiful surprise spot.

If you like to play Where In Ottawa, I'm going to give you an early clue: the location is a park.

That is not the best of clues, because when I finally show the contest photo, on July 6, you'll quickly figure that the location is in a park. But Ottawa must have hundreds of parks, so it'll come down to you finding the correct park.

Here's another clue: today's photo was also shot in that park.

If you can figure out this spot before July 6, I'll learn that I can't provide early clues. And, I'll have to find another spot for the actual contest.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

One Hundred

I'm still shy.

And while I might be able to converse with a total stranger, to ask him or her to pose for my camera, I still have to take a deep breath and push myself to approach the first one.

But I have completed my project, almost one week ahead of schedule. The 100-day deadline is next Tuesday, June 29.

I approached more than 120 people and I actually photographed 102. Two of my photos didn't turn out. I took photos of people in the Glebe, the Byward Market, Westboro, Sparks Street, and Parliament Hill. When I visited New York City, I even captured images strangers on the High Line.

Photo courtesy Marc Dufour.

I captured strangers. I shot 100 people I didn't know. Kind of makes me sound like a psychopath, a serial killer.

My 100th stranger.
When I took my last photo, when the final stranger was photographed, I felt jubilant, felt an immense sense of accomplishment. But I also felt sad: I wanted to keep going. Standing on Sparks Street at O'Connor, I didn't want the project to end. I remained in the downtown core, took many more photographs, but approached no people, asked for no portrait shots. And it was tough: I saw people who I would have loved to talk to, saw people who had a lot of character. Perhaps, in the future, if I see someone who grabs my attention, who has some trait that attracts me, I'll walk up to her or him, introduce myself, and ask if I can take a photograph.

To see my photos, go to my Flickr album. My family is asking me to make a short video, similar to the one I made when I finished my Bate Island Project. Perhaps I will. Perhaps, I'll have something ready for Music Monday. Stay tuned.

My 100 Strangers project is over. Thanks to all of you who offered support and encouragement over the past few months, and a special thanks to all of those wonderful strangers who agreed to participate. Without you, this project would have been impossible.

All I can ask myself now is, what's next?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lazy Post

It happens.

I miss a couple of decent nights of sleep, I get tired, and the first thing to shut down is my brain, followed closely by my body.

Sometimes, I can fight through the fatigue to finish a particular physical task. But when it comes to mental exhaustion, I can't force my mind to fight through it and come up with an idea, can't make my brain churn thoughts into written words.

I can't remember the last time I went to bed before 1AM, the last time I slept in beyond seven o'clock.

Except tonight, when I give myself a break. I leave you with an ominous sky, shot at sunset, with my daughters, at the Champlain Lookout, on Father's Day.

I'll have more words for you on Thursday. Tomorrow is a Wordless Wednesday.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Music Monday: Piano Blink

Once again, I have picked a random song from my smartphone, and this time I have come up with a song from one of my favourite Canadian songwriters, Hawksley Workman.

I have heard several versions of his song, "Piano Blink," including a slow, melancholy version when I first saw him perform live, and I love every version.

Here's a video that Hawksley shot, by the look of it, from inside Toronto's Eaton Centre, after closing.

Have a watch.

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Photo Friday: Sarah Slean

Yes, give me a small venue every time.

Give me a performance where you are so close to the artist that you can reach out and touch her. Where she not only gives a great show, not only sings with a beauty that brings me to the verge of tears, but she also talks to her audience, makes us feel like we're a smaller group than we are already, where she brings an intimacy that you cannot achieve on a big stage.

She saw me and said hello and called me a friend as she took to the stage. As she left it, she took my outstretched hand and squeezed it. We chatted after the show, as her many adoring fans came to congratulate her and thank her for the wonderful evening.

I can die now.

Yes, give me a small venue every time.

Happy Friday!

Sidebar: It should be duly noted that Sarah had to call in a last-minute change to the string quartet that so beautifully accompanied her. Ottawa's own Thaddeus Morden learned all of the numbers over the course of the day, leading up to Wednesday night's show at North on 29, in Mississippi Mills. And though he hit a slight snag at the start of the first number, "Weight" (my favourite Sarah Slean song), he shone through the rest of the night. Being the only cellist, he had no one to hide behind, and he didn't need to hide at all. Bravo!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Give Me a Small Venue Anytime

At a U2 concert, back in the 80s, I got caught in the hot and humid crush of general admission. I lost my balance at one point, started to fall over, and would have surely been crushed, had a friend not grabbed my hand and pulled me to my feet.

The same thing happened when Peter Gabriel was on his Security tour. Too many people, not enough ventilation at the Civic Centre, in Lansdowne Park. This time, thankfully, a friend and I found a spot on the sideboards of the skating rink, transformed into general admission. We were directly in front of the sound crew, who couldn't see us, and we enjoyed an unobstructed view of the show.

Getting out, however, was nuts.

When The Who played their first Fond-Farewell concert, in Toronto, I found myself, once again, in the crush of the crowd. This time, I found myself separated from my friends, and I tried to find a place where I could stand and see the stage.

When the opening act, Joe Jackson, played, he was met with an unwelcoming crowd. People threw bottles on stage, told him to get off. (He ended his show early, not surprisingly, after venting his anger at the rude crowd.)

Too bad: I like Joe Jackson.

When The Who hit the stage, the fans went wild. People started moving, and the general-admission crowd became a rolling sea. The air was electric as the speakers set spectators vibrating.

The guy standing to my left was tall, towering next to me. He jumped up and down to the rhythm, his arms stretched skyward. He was clearly enjoying the show.

He must have been drunk. Or stoned. Or both.

It happened without warning. I felt his right arm wrap itself around my shoulders and lock across my throat. With his left hand, he started pummeling me in the left side of my head. I couldn't move: the crowd was a can of sardines, and with my head in a lock, I couldn't do anything, except accept the blows.

I felt dizzy. I could hear my heart thumping in my ears, the pressure in my head heating me up. I was no longer supporting myself by my feet. I was totally in his grip, waiting until I lost consciousness. What would he do with me once I passed out? Why was no one coming to my aid.

He released his grip and turned to face me. What was he doing? Was he trying to get to the other side of me, to work on the other side of my face?

I didn't wait: as soon as he was in front of me, facing me, I brought my knee up, as hard as I could, with as much energy as my weakened body would allow, and directed it solidly into his groin. As he bent forward, in pain, I punched him in the throat.

His head snapped upward, he looked to the sky, and fell backward, into the backs of the spectators, who were oblivious to what had happened.

I didn't wait to see how he landed, and I certainly wasn't going to wait to see if he was going to get back up. I turned away and dove into the crowd, and swam against the wave of dancing motion.

I watched the rest of the show from a safe distance. A good Samaritan, who saw my swollen jaw, handed me a cold can of beer, which I held to my face to ease the pain.

I never returned to general admission again. With the exception of Bluesfest, I have avoided large crowds. If I go to a concert at a large venue, I choose ones that have assigned seating, like the NAC or Centrepointe Theatre.

But give me the small, intimate venues. Give me the places  where you can sit at a table, where the performer is so close that you feel he or she is at your table. Give me places like the Black Sheep Inn, Café Neat, and North on 29.

North on 29, in Mississippi Mills.

I'll take those over the heat, the sweat, the crush.

My body can't take the beating.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Never Let a Computer Judge You

"You're going to Europe without a chaperone?" a colleague once asked me, when my wife (who was, then, my girlfriend) and I first planned a vacation to England, Wales, and France.

"I don't need a chaperone," I said, "I'm 26."

"Oh," she replied, "I thought you were only 18."

When my wife taught ESL, before we went to Korea, a student of hers invited us over to her home for lunch. When this woman, who was possibly in her 40s, of Eastern European descent, saw me for the first time, she said to Lori, "I didn't realize you had married someone so much younger than you." She guessed my age at 22.

Lori wasn't impressed: she is three years younger than me, and I was 32 at the time.

Throughout my life, people have found it difficult to accurately guess my age. They always think that I'm younger than I actually am. I attribute that error to the fact that I usually act like I'm 12. It's only recently, now that the grey hairs are filling in on the sides, that a few wrinkles have etched in around my eyes, have my looks begun to catch up with the years.

I blame my kids, as they enter teenhood. But I wouldn't change anything for the world. I've earned every grey hair, every line on my face.

Recently, on Twitter, some of my friends have used an app that reads a portrait and uses some algorithm to calculate the subject's age. Some of my friends were surprised at how accurate the program was, as it correctly attached a number to the photo. Others were pleased, as the app would guess a couple of years younger than the person actually was.

Wanting to try it for myself, I submitted the photo that I use for The Brown Knowser (see the upper-right column). It was a couple of years old: perhaps two or three. The program guessed 48, and I was duly impressed.

I then tried a more-recent photo: the first selfie that I had shot with my new camera, and currently use as my Twitter photo. I shot it only a couple of weeks after my 50th birthday.

What resulted did not impress me.

I've never had anyone guess that I'm older. It's the glasses, right?

Stupid computers.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Music Monday: Swingset Chain

In choosing today's pick for Music Monday, I decided to pick a random song from my smartphone and share it with you. When selecting this random song, I was able to find a video that I could share with you. For as long as I can do it, this is how I will run Music Monday in the future (until the randomness looks like I only have a couple of artists. Or only a handful of songs).

Years ago, before I had an iPod, before I even had a Sandisk MP3 player, I had a glorified USB stick that was meant to hold MP3 files that could easily be played by inserting it into any device with a USB port. I had a car stereo that accepted this stick, read the metadata, and displayed the songs on my radio.

The stick came pre-loaded with five songs, and to this day I have four of them that are now stored on my Android phone.

One of them is by a California band called Loquat. They are best described as an indie-pop/folk/adult-alternative group whose strengths lie in their guitar and vocals, primarily from lead, Kylee Swenson Gordon.

The song that I have carried from device to device, over the years, "Swingset Chain," has solid strings and melodious harmonies. It is soft and lilting, and always relaxes me. I have searched for other songs from this band and was pleased to find that they do a great cover of The Smiths' song, "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out."

Perhaps, some day, I'll share that song.

For now, have a listen to "Swingset Chain."

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Photo Friday: Where Once There Were Woods

It was a small forest. It divided École Élémentaire Catholique Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau from the pathway that followed the transit corridor. When the OC Transpo buses and VIA Rail trains weren't lumbering along, you could feel a bit removed from the urban sprawl that is exploding all over Barrhaven.

Where once there was a field, I remember seeing fireflies swirling and glowing in the early evenings.

The field and forest are gone, now. Roads carve the field: new houses, made of wood, stand where trees once thrived, once provided a break between the school and the transitway.

It makes me sad.

I know, I have no ground upon which I can stand as I lament. My street, my neighbourhood, my house, are standing on what was once a farmer's field. Before the farm, no doubt, the woods in this area were vast.

It would be nice to preserve some natural green space, to leave some of the forests in Barrhaven alone. But it's not going to happen. From a public meeting a few years ago, my city councillor, Jan Harder, explained that every inch of my community has been slated for development.

I no longer live in the boonies.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

We'll Always Have Memories

It was one of the best jobs I ever had.

It wasn't perfect—no job ever is—but I enjoyed showing up, enjoyed my co-workers (not all of them—we can't like everybody), enjoyed dealing with my customers, who were, on the whole, good to deal with. But it was retail, and you couldn't please everybody, and some customers liked to complain.

But for the most part, it was a store for hobbyists, for photographers who wanted to acquire good equipment at a good price, who wanted to have their photos produced to the best quality that technology offered, that they wanted to buy frames in which to display their best photographs.

I loved photography, so when I was not serving a customer, I was learning about the features and capabilities of the newest cameras. I read about photo techniques, so that I could show customers how to get the most out of their cameras, how to get the most enjoyment out of their hobby.

I would review photos with customers, when they wanted to share, and help determine why a photo did not turn out as expected. Some customers, who were proud of a particular shot, would show me and tell me how he or she obtained the results, so that I could try it out and further improve my knowledge.

Some customers became friends. We would socialize after hours, would attend events with our cameras and share in some memories.

Before she was my mother-in-law, before I was even dating her daughter, my wife's mom was a regular customer, dropping off her rolls of film for development.

Some customers were strange, would take the oddest photos, would take nude selfies and then give me copies (I didn't keep them).

My co-workers and I had many laughs. We were dedicated to our work, but we knew how to have fun in executing our duties. I remember when Martin Short was our spokesperson, and we had a life-sized cutout of the comedian to greet the customers as they entered the store. When the mall manager made off with the cutout, I stood in Short's place for a few minutes, mimicking his pose, until I finally chased down the thief. She had him in her office, next to her desk, with several helium balloons tied to him. She was trying to see if she could make Martin Short fly.

We would spray ice-cold, compressed air into empty plastic film cannisters, snap on the lids, and hide them around the store, where they would pop open with a loud bang as the air warmed and expanded. It was great fun when an unsuspecting employee was standing next to one of these miniature time bombs when they went off.

Some of those who stood shoulder-to-shoulder at the film counter remain as good friends. Even after I left, I remained a loyal customer, kept in touch with so many colleagues. While I loved that job, I had other ambitions, other wants, and while my time at Black's Cameras was richly rewarding, it would never make me rich. I left for a better-paying job, and ultimately on a path that took me to where I am today (I'm still not rich, but my desire to write overcame my desire to sell cameras and film).

I owe my time at Black's to learning strong skills in dealing with the public and to having strong sales skills. I had a great mentor—indeed, great mentors—who made me a better person. What I learned about photography in those years helped shape the photographer I am, and I'm constantly remembering and applying techniques that I learned on-the-job.

When I learned that Black's Cameras will be closing all of its doors in August, I felt a pang of sadness. I remembered so many great memories that I felt I could write a book. I remembered faces of customers—Wilma, Mr. Yhap, Mr. Gold, Brian. I thought of the wonderful people who I worked with—Cesar, Graeme, Jim, Tony, Laura, Pia, Wendy, Joe, John, Steve, Ron, Rick, and of course, my good friend, Marc. There are so many more people who came and went, and I remember them, too. From the Merivale Mall store to the two in the St. Laurent Shopping Centre, to the stores where I helped out from time to time—Bayshore, Carlingwood, and Baseline at Fisher.

It's the end of an era. I started as a part-time employee, became a full-time staff member, an assistant manager at two stores, before I returned to part-time status, and eventually, casual. I enjoyed that job, no matter my level of responsibility.

And I will always have my memories.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Third Time's a Charm

It was done just right.

Knowing myself, I can be very lazy, especially when it comes to exercise and being active. Sure, I love to get on my bike and take long rides, to push myself to cycle to work and take a meandering route home. I have enjoyed joining a cycling club and participating in group rides that have taken me to new areas on the outskirts of our fair city.

But to get on my bike to do a vigorous workout, to build muscle and get a good cardio workout, I tend to say, "no, I think I'll sleep in," or, "no, I think I'll have that pint of ale."

I prefer being a couch potato to being any sort of athlete.

I get on my bike because I enjoy it, but because I have signed up for the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour for the past three years, I know that in order to come close to reaching Kingston and making it back to where I started, I have to train. I have to ride extended distances. I have to practice going up hills.

I've explained my first trip, in detail, of how I didn't train and struggled all the way to Kingston, over the 177 kilometres, and how, thanks to my wife injuring herself and not being able to ride on the second day, I saved myself from injury, or worse.

Last year, I trained more. I rode long distances. I swam regularly. I ate right. The ride from Ottawa to Kingston was challenging, but I felt great when I arrived. The next day, I felt confident that I could make the return journey. And then, 60 kms into the voyage home, something gave in my left calf and I was forced to stop.

This year, I promised that I would complete the route, or die trying.

But then, the weather was bad and many days of planned rides were lost. I got sick. On the week before the ride, I fell and fractured my wrist. And yet, I was determined to make the ride. Only, in the week leading up to the ride, I decided that to ensure that I made the return trip, I would start in Perth, would complete the Century Tour.

It was a smart move.

The day was gorgeous: not a cloud in the sky, not too warm. A gentle breeze, in our favour, at our tails. This year, the route for the Century Tour differed from the Classic Tour, which took you from Perth to Kingston via Westport, Perth Road Village, and Inverary. This year, where the Classic Tour continued on that route, the Century Tour took us south from Perth, through the Narrows Locks, where the Upper Rideau Lake meets Big Rideau Lake, where, two years ago, my family and I paddled a canoe through the locks as we travelled from Kingston to Ottawa.

Stopping at the Narrows
The Century Tour continued to Crosby, then Elgin, then Battersea, and then into Kingston, via Montreal Road. The rest stops were perfectly spaced at about 25 km apart. Our first stop, at the Narrows, provided shade and a cool light breeze from the lakes. In Elgin, we stopped for snacks and to refill our water bottles. In Battersea, we snacked and had a bathroom break. And, before we knew it, we were in Kingston.

The hills on this trek were gentle, by comparison. On the Classic Tour, hills were long, steep, and discouraging. On the Century Tour, to Kingston, the hills rolled gently, ascents took less than a minute, and the roads were largely downhill.

We made it to Kingston in record time. Where we allotted five hours to complete the journey, we completed it in less than four, averaging almost 26 kph.

The return trip saw almost identical weather, and though our muscles were a little sore from Saturday's ride, and the route saw more climbing, we met the challenge with little difficulty, getting back to Perth in about four hours and 15 minutes.

What was great about this ride, besides the fact that we actually finished it, was that 100 kilometres was just the right distance for us (it was actually about 101.5 kms each way, but who's counting?). We were challenged without risking harm. We enjoyed the ride, rather than simply enduring it.

My wife and I were able to commit to a ride and stick to it. Despite the obstacles I faced leading up to the tour day, I was able to get from point A to point B, and from point B to point A, without killing myself.

It was done just right.

(The doctor was right, by the way: my wrist felt every bump, every step of the way. But it was worth it.)

Near Jones Falls: on another journey, we canoed under this very bridge.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ottawa School of Art

It has been made aware to me that my Where In Ottawa contest is becoming ever-dependent on the clues that I give. To test that, I have a really easy clue on the fourth day of the photo challenge and, as predicted, the location was found.

That's okay. I want the photos to stump you.

Congratulations goes out to Mike, who correctly identified the Ottawa School of Art, in the Byward Market. Here are the clues, explained:
  1. 1879 association—back then, a group of prominent Ottawans formed an association of fellow art lovers who wanted to promote fine art throughout Canada.
  2. Half a block from home—when the Ottawa School of art moved to 35 George Street, in 1983, it was only half a block away from where it was originally located, at the corner of George and Sussex.
  3. In the Market for art—this was the giveaway clue. This art school is in the Byward Market. No further explanation is needed.

Next month, I'm going to return to posting only one photo for the contest. Like Mike, you'll have to rely on the clues and the original photo.

The next Where In Ottawa is Monday, July 6.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Photo Friday: Night and Day

One of my favourite neighbourhoods in New York City is the Flatiron District. You have lots of great restaurants, plenty of shops, and Madison Square Park. And I could take photos of the Flatiron Building all day and night.

And I have done that many times, including on my last trip.

But there's another building in this neighbourhood that always catches my eye: the Met Life Tower on Madison Avenue at 23rd Street. And no matter the time of day, it always looks great.

That's all I have to say.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

As Luck Would Have It

It was bound to happen. Perhaps, I jinxed myself.

In the four years that I have had my road bike, through the thousands of kilometres I have ridden it, never once have I wiped out, never once have I become stuck in the clips and fallen over.

Until Tuesday night, when I participated in a group ride with the Ottawa Bicycle Club, from the Nepean Sportsplex to the town of Richmond.

And it happened twice.

The first fall happened at a red light. I had unclipped my shoe from one pedal and placed it on the ground, but I wasn't quite balanced as I came to a stop, and I  started leaning to the opposite side, becoming off-balanced. Before I could come unclipped, I fell over, onto my right side. My saving grace came as I sensed that I was going to fall over, and I shifted my body so that I rolled onto my back. My right hand came down hard on the pavement, but the only thing that felt hurt right then and there was my pride, as the other cyclists looked at me with shocked expressions and asked me if I was okay.

I dusted myself off and assured everyone that I was uninjured, and when the light turned green, the group and I continued on our way.

When we returned to the Sportsplex, the group stopped in the parking lot, congratulated each other on a good ride, and we made our way to our respective vehicles. Both of my feet were unclipped from my pedals when I started coasting on my bike, but one shoe locked back in place without me realizing it had done so.

As my wife and I slowed towards our van, I tried to place my right foot on the ground, and that was when I realized that it was locked in the clip. Because I was leaning on that side and was still rolling, I went down hard on the pavement.

My final words before I came to a crashing stop were, "SON OF A BITCH!!!"

The same hand hit the ground, as did my hip. As my body rolled back my head banged on the pavement, but my helmet absorbed the impact.

A couple of our group's riders saw me fall. They had already dismounted their bikes, were on foot, and came running to my aid. This time, when I came to rest on the ground, I was hurt. I was in no rush to get back on my feet. My bike lay on my legs, and was lifted from me.

"Are you okay?" I was asked.

"My hand hurts. So does my hip," I said.

"Do you think you can stand? Are you feeling dizzy?"

"I think I can stand. I'm not dizzy."

They helped me to my feet. I took my bike and thanked them. I limped to the van and caught my breath. As I lifted my bike, which weighs very little, to put it in the back of the van, my hand hurt. The pad of my palm was swollen and tender. The wrist was a little numb.
My leg was grazed, and as I walked, I could tell that my hip was going to sport a bruise, come morning. After a couple of minutes of rest, I deemed that I was going to be all right, that the worst damage had been to my pride.

After four years without putting a scratch on my bike, I deemed that I had finally broken it in.

At home, my wife drew me a hot bath, and I soaked for about a half hour, assessing the damage I had sustained: a bruise to the side of the calf; a road rash on my hip; a swollen palm and sore wrist. A good night's sleep was what I needed, and I turned in early.

One of the great things about my neighbourhood is that we have a clinic with x-ray equipment. Many times, I find more people visiting the facility with colds, flu bugs, or other illnesses, but few people with physical injuries.

That seems to be the case any time that I've visited this clinic.

When you tell the triage desk that you have fallen from your bike and that your wrist has been aching since you awoke, you tend to jump the queue of sniffling and coughing patients, and are sent straight to the radiologist.

The results: my wrist is, indeed, fractured. It seems that when I extended my hand to stop my fall, I bruised the pad of my palm, and that caused me some discomfort last night. But it also seems to have masked the pain from where my bones compressed on the other side of my hand, at the wrist. When I awoke, my movement was limited and the pain was acute. I also had difficulty holding anything.

The good news is that it is a small, minor, hairline fracture. Left on its own, it should heal in a few weeks.

The bad news: the doctor said I shouldn't ride in this weekend's Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour. He feels that the jarring motion over the 200-kilometre trek could make the fracture worse. And, should I fall from my bike again, the risk of actually breaking the bone is significant. The doctor recommended that I not ride my bike for at least a week.

In other news, I have a tendency to ignore doctors.