Friday Wrap #13 – The “Learning the way I learn best” edition

Some people learn by cracking open a book, going to class, studying, and other scholarly methods – I learn by failing. Johnny Cash once said “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone.” Not sure what I am building, but there sure are a lot of stones at my feet. Lesson learned for this week – if you give yourself 30 minutes to find a parking spot in Ottawa, better make it 60 minutes.

I have a hate-like, like-hate relationship with Ottawa. I like things there, hate driving around the place; really hate parking in the city, but I like the food and shopping. A part of me wonders if I could handle moving back into a city. It’s been many years since I lived in Toronto and that was a flaming dumpster fire when I left. There were no bridges left to burn. So much has changed though.

Twice this week, and at least once next week, I’ve gone (or will go) to Ottawa. Maybe living in a small town has made me soft and unable to handle the nuisances of the city? But I used to commute to Montréal while living where I am now, and that didn’t bother me.

There’s something about Ottawa’s traffic situation that is annoying. I’ve driven in Toronto, Detroit, NYC, DC, Montreal, and some other US metro areas. I will take any of those commutes to Ottawa. During “Rush Hour” in those locals, people on the road are trying to get from Point A to Point B. Morning or Night doesn’t matter. In Ottawa it’s different. On top of the A-to-B commuters, are tourists, sightseers, and people going to “the city” for doctor appointments. The sense of urgency and clarity of purpose is incompatible with A-to-B people. That’s why the Queensway is a parking lot at 9:30 a.m. on a weekday. It sucks.

I’d take the train (O-Train) but there are issues. First, the O-Train is unreliable; and second you have to pay for parking to take the train. In Toronto, if I parked my car in Oshawa and took the GO Train into downtown, I don’t pay for parking. I pay for the ticket, but not parking. In Ottawa, you pay and pay again. This is why light rail in Ottawa will always fail. You cannot hit people for double to park and take the train.

Now that my ranting is over, a cool thing this week – pencils. Specifically Tombow pencils. I read on Kenneth Whyte’s SHuSH SubStack that he uses Tombow 2B pencils. Until now, I used whatever I bought at the dollar store or was left over from last year’s pencil case of one of my kids. Not anymore. I bought a pack of Tombow 2B pencils and I cannot believe I used anything else before. I find I take recommendations for little things like this rather quickly.

My co-worker Rebecca put me on to BIC Atlantis pens when I first started working at the paper – fastest writing pens I’ve ever used. Still use them. Now the Tombow is right there with it. These aren’t formal product endorsements – I will make nothing from this endorsement. But if you like pens and pencils, buy these. Yes, a pencil is a cool thing to end a week on. And sometimes learning just means not reinventing the wheel and accepting other people’s experience as easy-win lessons. Just accept and move on to the next failure.

Three things:

  • Something to read – The Real Story – Terry Glavin (lots of in-depth news about Chinese influence in Canada and more. Worth the subscription.);
  • Something to watch – Sabres and Sens pay tribute to goalie Craig Anderson (I’m a Sabres fan, and Thursday night after his final game in the NHL, both teams paid tribute to Anderson as he retires. Yes, I’m chopping onions here…)
  • Something to listen to – ‘The Distance’ by Cake. Some ‘90s nostalgia to go into the weekend. I stumbled on this podcast called “60 songs that explain the 90s” and this was on the play list. Good song to blast in the car by yourself (or with your teenage kids to embarrass them – not that I do that.)

Last note, this Wrap is #13 and while some people are superstitious about that number, #13 is my lucky number. That might explain my learning style more than anything else!

Migration Update – I noticed that I had two #12s and a #13. Sorry for the number screw up.