|Bedroom: One Mac Mini and one Dell Latitude Craptop care of my employer…|
|Kitchen: Two Dell EasyWorship PCs for the new campus, one brand new, one resurrected from old parts.|
|Bedroom closet: One Dell web server – $30 care of Craigslist.|
So last Friday we got on the Northway headed toward Quebec. Our goal was to be there around noon, so we left shortly after 9:00am. It’s an easier drive than going to Ontario, and a heck of a lot shorter. The further north you get, the more beautiful New York is. Mountains, carpeted in evergreens, random lakes every couple dozen miles, and amazing rock formations with stubborn trees jutting out of them at seemingly impossible places. Even the rest stations up there are nice. It rained off and on until we got to the border, getting more insistent the closer we got to Canada, until, just as we crossed the border into the Great White North, it turned into ice — neatly fulfilling the dumb stereotype that most Americans assign to our country.
We had decided we wanted to wait until we crossed to find lunch, but by the time we were through customs, we were both starving… and had found ourselves in the middle of nowhere. The only place we saw for the next 30 minutes was something called a “Restobar” and we didn’t think we wanted to stop there. Eventually we hit Montreal, and started looking for a way off the highway. Every exit I took seemed to lead to another highway, and all of the highways seemed to lead only one place: Casino Montreal. With a starving pregnant wife beside me, and a grumbling stomach inside, I followed the road where it went, knowing from previous experience (which is best left for another story) that the Casino had at least one good restaurant in it.
It turned out to be real blessing. Our aging windshield wipers were having a tough time clearing off the ice, and the Casino, of course, came with heated underground parking. I was feeling pretty dopey from all the driving, but the purified oxygen they pump into those places to keep you awake and gambling had me feeling alive and happy in no time. And the food… they obviously want you to spend your money at the craps table, because the extensive buffet was very reasonably priced. We dined like royalty then waddled, full bellied (one of us more than the other), back out to our warmed up car to head back to the border.
I didn’t want to risk getting lost on the stupid Quebec highways (or wind up back at the Casino) so we didn’t get to find a Tim Horton’s, but we got back to customs before the afternoon rush (although I don’t think that particular location gets much of a rush), and were re-directed inside where we sat on hard plastic seats for an hour before they even looked at us. Fortunately once we got up to the counter the process amounted to a rubber stamping, and we were back on our way with another temporary Visa.
We hit a massive thunderstorm on our way back down the Northway, and I thought for awhile we’d be camping out in the Adirondacks for the night, but I pushed on until it let up, and we made it back to our American apartment in time to repair some websites and get a good night sleep.
Now that we’re all grown up and responsible, we don’t get that many opportunities for silly adventures. We were reminiscing the other day about our foolish youth: bombing around the GSTA (Greater St. Thomas Area) in my mom’s Dodge Shadow, so it was fun to take off for a day on a little adventure again — even if the stakes were a little higher on this road trip than they’ve been before.
In more than 80 clinical trials, Dr. Glenn Wilson, a psychiatrist at King’s College London University, found that workers distracted by phone calls, e-mails and text messages suffer a greater loss of IQ than if they’d smoked marijuana.
The IQ of those juggling messages and work fell by an average of 10 points – equivalent to missing a whole night’s sleep and more than double the four-point fall seen after smoking pot. The drop in IQ was even more significant in men.
To keep sharp, resist the urge to check messages continually. Instead, schedule blocks of time throughout the day to retrieve and respond to them.
I always do this — in fact, I spend copious amounts of time making sure I’m set up so that I can always get my messages instantly. Who knew it was actually making me as dumb as a pot head? More good tips in this article, or in the sermon we heard this past weekend!
And speaking of saying no, here’s a good technology driven excuse to cut out the Christmas decorations this year.