Furniture Shopping with a Friend

My friend needed a new couch so we marched along Queen Street West looking, and I was making us do this.

She found a couch and I found little chairs that fit me juuuust right.  It’s tough to get the perspective on them because I couldn’t get my arm out far enough when taking that photo on the right… go go Gadget dumb joke. 

They’re the size of this one I have earmarked, and one day I’d like to have only furniture that’s this size in my home; I have two already.

She always hands over her jewelry when I see her and let’s me wear it around; that one is white jade, popular in Asia but rare in Canada.  And on the right, well, you see one of those things, you stick your face in it, and take your photo, that’s what you do.

Two Parties Last Night

First to see Rannie aka Photojunkie who was kicking off his gallery opening of Sightlines: Toronto Panorama Images, two of which I’m in (click here and here), click here to see all 300 in a short movie, and all of which won him his car.  Congratulations dude, I hope you sell out (ha, see what I did there?).

At this party I met in real life a twitter friend Nico (on the left) and Jasin, a graphic artist who looked at me and said, “oh I know you, actually, I re-posted one of your episodes” and you know, I’m still not used to this, this people knowing me without me having met them and doubt I ever will be.  We’re gonna have coffee soon and he’s certain he can help me with my advertising pitch.

I skipped over to NotableTV’s TIFF opening gala at where I ran into my friend Duarte, we people watched for a second then before I left I said, “I will take a photo for my blog now, so try to look Southpark-ish again please”; he just sighs. 

How I Got Home

I’d disembarked on the first boat in the morning (we were anchored), got to the jetty, hello Sarnia, now what?  My cab driver Gord was very helpful: no bus service, the next Via train wasn’t until 7pm and sure he’d take me to the airport so I could try my out my idea.  I walked into Huron Flight Centre:

Me: Is anyone going to Toronto?
Katie: Well, a student Matt might be coming in for a lesson, maybe he’ll wanna go, you can chip in on gas
Me: Okay
Matt: Sure I’ll go
Dennis: Keri I’ll need your phone number [he’s the chief pilot]
Keri: [gives number]
Dennis: Woah the last four digits are exactly the atmospheric pressure of [something something important in flight]… it’s a sign!
Keri: So pumped

And we’re off in this, and here’s me in flight.  Ariel views never get old:

In the middle photo is a house I swear is this house, and there’s something beautiful about cloverleafs, eh.

I sat quietly in the back with my headphones on and learned:

– it’s never good to navigate using roads as visual markers, instead use towers and lakes
– you can’t really get a speeding ticket up there
– not all airports have control towers
– the temperature drops a lot between 3500 and 5000 feet

We landed at the island airport and that’s Matt and Katie, the head instructor and who I’d like to lessons from because she has this calmness about her.

Me: Hey Matt, great job, I felt safe back there
Me: Is that your longest flight?
Matt: Oh ya, before this I’ve only ever been in a 5 mile radius around Huron
Me: You’re a natural

There’s something about Porter I just love, it’s just… classy.  Right down to their symbols like that of the ferry, which I’ve already I’ve told you about, and you can’t beat that view of downtown.

Ship Facts

A list of interesting things about the HMCS Ville de Quebec, in no particular order:

– the ship is 50 000 horsepower, making it one of the fastest ships in the world.  It cruises at about 20 knots (37/km/h) and can stop in two ship lengths (approximately 880 feet) and that is ridiculously quick; a tanker will take over one mile to stop
– it’s a frigate, which means ‘warship’
– it’s pennant number is 332, and that’s what’s said during radio communication “this is Canadian warship 332”
– there’s online access for the crew and they’re allowed to Facebook and almost everything except video, that would be far too hard on the servers

– every crew member is a trained “Damage Control (DC) Operator” meaning they’re a trained fire and flood fighter; this is in addition to their everyday job
– just living aboard is a good workout because you are constantly up and down ladders, stepping through doors and all with an air of hustle
– re: the old adage “a mouth like a sailor”… I didn’t see much evidence of that, but this is coming from a girl with a slightly caustic tongue so maybe I’m just unaffected
– there were 163 crew on board, and if they were on a mission there’d be almost 200
– the entire ship is compartmentalized, divided up into sealable sections, so should it take on water it may be contained and the ship will continue to float

– the Navy will pay you to get a college education at a growing number of colleges through their recuriting program, click here
– the crew is required to carry with them their jackets at all times because in the event of an emergency you need a double layer of clothing for fire fighting
– I’ve found a group of people that love symmetry as much as I do 
– the hours they work are 7 on / 5 off, repeat… and they work
– 2009 marks the 100th year of Sea Cadets

– a ‘sparrow’ is slang for having sailed 5000 nautical miles (9260km), and is a classic navy tattoo
– when they’re on a mission or in war-mode the term is “we’re in an Operational Theatre”
– our CDN Navy is one of the few in the world that allow its crew to drink alcohol on board. A beer is $1, no one abuses this privilege, and as a result when the crew goes ashore there are far fewer incidents of them losing their minds like there are in other navies 
– I always knew they were a very organized organization but OMG they are so much more organized than I imagined.  But really, after I gave it more thought, it couldn’t be any other way
– their pure white uniforms (so sharp) are reserved for ceremonial occasions

– the environmental standards they adhere to surpass those dictated by the government, like, this is one green ship
– sailor = gentleman
– you sleep in a little bunk, three on top of another which is called a “mess”, as in, “I slept in Mess 14” (I did) 
– the air inside the ship is SO pure.  Because it’s all sealed up, and what with people sleeping / eating / living I did not expect it to smell as pristine and, well, there is no smell. Far better than many apartment buildings I’ve been in

september 9 2009

– and as for the best thing I discovered, I’m saving that for the theme of the episode along with what I did tonight, that’s for the episode’s end, and it’s epic.

NOTE: if I’ve got anything wrong above make sure to correct me in the comments kay

Me Today

september 9 2009

I’m sequestered deep in the ship, editing.  Shortly after I took these photos I fell asleep on top of my fannypack until someone woke me up and sent me to dinner.  

For a girl who has endless energy it was confusing why I was so sleepy but then I remembered something I learned from Curtis, a 20+ year Master Seaman, during ‘Operation Doors Open‘.

He said that “10 years of Navy life is like 20 years of civilian life” and I understand that now because woah, SO much gets packed into one day here that doubling the number might still not be enough.

A Favorite Operation

When interviewing the crew today so many told me their favourite mission ever was last year’s ‘World Food Program‘ (WFP), but they felt down because they didn’t get much press about it, so listen up please.

september 9 2009
That’s a mural on the ship’s main weapon housing, also see it in yesterday’s post ‘1st Day on the Ship’.  

In August 2008 they sailed over to the east coast of Africa and escorted the WFP ships through the hostile waters of Somalia to ensure the food got to the people instead of the pirates.  By September 2008 already 60 pirate attacks had occurred, making this area the worst in the world for piracy.

Then, on their own volition, they decided to extend their stay by a month… when the other escort ships were canceling their WFP contracts because they were too scared.  This mission, along with other donations, makes Canada the 3rd largest donor to the WFP worldwide.  Read more about it here.


Okay so sleeping on a ship is like being in a sensory deprivation chamber.

I Drove the Ship

Probably you’re not supposed to say “drove” but I’m not sure of the correct word.  Helmed?

While the crew was not far away, still I was in charge (way more than that time I flew a plane).  It takes immense concentration and it’s terrifying, look at my eyes:

september 8 2009
It’s worth a billion bucks, we were speeding along at 21 knots and if I were to jam the wheel too quickly everyone and everything below would start flying around.  I lasted 8 minutes before I said, “thank you no more”.  

Then I learned about navigation, and that screen there is the ship’s main navigation screen.

A path between points A and B is decided and entered into the computer based on ‘waypoints’ – little spots along the way that when you reach them in real life, a change in course is required.  To consistently hit all the waypoints you must do constant, fast and accurate math in your head which is why one is stationed here for 4 hours at a time max.  

Sea navigation is done in yards, miles and degrees, and when I asked what happens if you’re a few degrees off the reply was “this is the formula drilled into our heads – 1 degree at 1 mile = 33 yards”.  They told me to test people tomorrow to see if they knew the forumula, okay.

I also asked if anyone checks up on the actual course sailed versus the charted one, “oh yes Keri, and if they see a zigzagy line well, that’s just embarrassing”, ha. 

Me Tonight

september 8 2009

Look how red I am.  Each night the ship goes to all red lighting, because red lighting preserves your night vision.  

The bridge (the area you drive the ship from) is lowly lit only in red, and someone told me, “if someone comes onto the bridge at night and they don’t trip or walk into something, it’s not dark enough”.

1st Day on the Ship


september 8 2009

7:30am – Board the ship.  When you do you must salute her right before stepping on deck. See my face there on the left?  Taken shortly after I boarded and I’m like, “how in the world did I end up here OMG”

9 – 10am – An extensive tour of the ship.  I inhaled a ridiculous amount of information. There will be no lack of footage and how I’m gonna fit this into my usual 3 minutes will be challanging

10 – 12pm – After the tour I was informed, “off you go, you can explore wherever you like, the ship is yours, have fun” what??? Sick

12 – 12:30pm – Lunch.  There are 3 dining areas on board and depending on your rank* is where you eat.  I enjoyed lunch in the Officers area, where, and this floored me, I sat down at a table, was given a menu and asked what I would like.  The food was amazing, especially the soup.  I’m not sure where the reputation for bad food comes from in the Forces comes from, certainly not here, and I’m picky

12:30 – 5 – More exploring.  Went through 8 locks today, including the Welland Canal, the first time for this ship, and 4 in a row which was the equivilant to climbing the height of Niagara Falls.  You zoom up faster than you think, those things fill up fast

5 – 6pm – Dinner in the biggest dining area with the non-commissioned crew (oh boy I hope I’m getting this terminology correct… if not, please correct me in the comments).  Again, a menu is posted and my omlette was made-to-order come ON.  Delicious

6 – 10pm – Kicking it around the ship, more filming, chatting and a little editing because my camera is full and I’ve got to dump some footage so I can fill it up again tomorrow

10 – 11pm – I drive the ship

11 – 11:30pm – Back to ‘The Cave’, the dining/hang-out area where I ate dinner and where there’s also a bar.  A little editing and then fall on my face asleep in my bunk 

* I’ve posted the rank hierarchy in the comments