We can’t have just one!
[This is written August 2nd, 2014, but published July 1st, 2014, as it wasn't possible for me to write a first-hand account of this year's Canada Day.]
Canada Day started out like many other vacations spent in the city, with me volunteering an hour at a community booth. I was a bike valet from 11:00 a.m. to noon, watching peoples’ bikes for them. Soon after noon I rode off to find a few minutes of adventure before planning to return home to my girlfriend’s, where we were taking the kids over to a local park to meet another friend and her kids at 1:30.
I found the SaskPower propaganda booth with a game. It was a stationary bike where you could see how much power you could produce on it.
And that’s one way that SaskPower has tried to kill me ;-). As I finished at the top of the leaderboard, and biked off into the distance, I soon was collapsed on a bench near the band stand in Wascana Park. A crowd gathered, and two police officers came up to find me without a pulse and my bike helmet still on. They began CPR and called for a pair of EMTs on bikes who were on the other side of the park.
The EMTs arrived about 10 minutes later and after shocking me twice, my heart was beating again. About 40 minutes and a $325 ambulance ride later, I was in the Emergency Room of the General Hospital. I was scoring a 5 out of 15 on the Glasgow Coma scale in some regard, 8 in others. A 5 can mean that I could need to be tube fed, while 15 would be normal. So I was put onto a cooling blanket and given an immobilizing drug to cool my body down to just 32 degrees Celsius.
My first-hand memories from the next three or four days are few and I barely recognize them as my own experience. A tube coming out of my body that wasn’t there when I woke up and started remembering is one clue. In my defence, I was sedated and intubated for the first two days. Pretty extreme considering I’d not spent a night in hospital since I was born.
I then had an MRI, and various radiating scans on my head and elsewhere to check I was all there. In the coming days I managed to impress the professionals enough for them to let me out in the wild again (but not after tagging me first).
And here I am. Alive. Surprised that I died, and came back to life. Thankful for another chance, whatever that means.
The ability to photograph light from a planet around a distant star is not something that was scientifically possible in the 1990s and last decade, so far as I’m aware. This year has really been remarkable, as the announcement of hundreds of newly discovered planets was also made.
She was crunched for time in writing a speech, something she’s not used to doing either, so she wrote a diary of her recent coverage in Ukraine and made it interesting by giving the back story to reporting in a region that could break out into open war. She grew up in Winnipeg. One questioner at the end noted it was nice to be able to see her smile, since her job doesn’t permit it as she’s reporting from tense situations overseas.
She bemoaned the lack of coverage of South America in North America, and dodged the question if there were stories she’d pushed for not covered. The pictured painted was one of needing to leave news uncovered because of deadlines to file. Places had to go unseen because there’s only one reporter, one team from the CBC there. The schedule is tight, and deadlines are pushed to extremes. Social media adds another pressure, but may be essential to reach a new audience.
I think it’s too bad there’s a culture of media censorship not talked about in Canada, where some stories are shunned and journalists are not able to speak of which ones without facing retribution from their distribution owners and editors.
Overall the talk was a success, even though she’d not finished writing it on the plane to Regina. Foreign correspondents probably deliver their best material under an impossible deadline, anyway.
Saskatoon is a beautiful city, so don’t let these photos fool you. Every city has a few shiners here and there. “There”, in this case, is downtown.
This is the Holiday Inn Supermax Prison. Don’t worry, it only looks like a prison from the outside. You can leave, unlike the more picturesque Hotel California.