Wednesday, March 23, 2011

meeting cancellation disconstructed

Toronto, the GTA, K-W, got pounded with snow. Way more than the predicted 5 cm. Today should have been snowmageddon. And it did not let up. In fact, it started snowing harder in the late afternoon... At some point, Dietmar and Charles contacted Ralph to discuss cancelling the RASC Toronto Centre meeting.

4:15 PM. Charles left his work. The shop is near the Mississauga-Etobicoke border. He left his staff go home early. He himself left a bit early to accommodate for the conditions. But he was still surprised at how bad the roads were.

4:34 PM. Al phoned my home and left a message in my voice mail there. He was wondering if the meeting was cancelled. He had checked the web site but not seen anything special...

4:45 PM. Charles pulled off the 407. He awaited the final decision to cancel.

5:00 PM. I left work with netbook bag (so to coach Joan on the listserv), Magic Bag v4.0, and cardboard tube, with red film (for Wolfgang). Walked along North Dr to Royal York Rd. There was a lot of heavy snow... Saw a petite woman steering her snowblower along her driveway. Caught a southbound bus. Destination: Ontario Science Centre.

5:08 PM. Dietmar sent a note on the Yahoo!Groups listserv, for Ralph, to cancel the meeting. Presumably, Ralph was on the road at this point. Too bad Dietmar didn't know how to use the web site CMS.

5:10 PM. From the bus, I phoned Lora at home. I was curious if she played White Witch with the snowblower today. That got a laugh. She told me that Phil wasn't planning to go to the meeting. Wimp.

5:13. Phil phoned me from his mobile to say that because he wasn't going to the meeting they decided to cancel it. Say what? Really? Really!

5:15. I phoned Tony to get a confirmation. Hit his mobile voice mail. Left a message. Descended into the subway.

5:16. Dietmar emailed me directly to ask that I make an update on RASC Toronto Centre web site.

5:16. Eric logged into the web site CMS and changed the Recreational Astronomy Night meeting article to tell people it was cancelled.

5:18. Guy relayed his disappointment and concern on the listserv. He intimated, given the late notice on the Yahoo!Groups, that many folk would likely not see the notice in time and continue to the Ontario Science Centre. He asked if the OSC had been informed. He wondered if signs would be posted to let people showing up know what was going on. He also asked if the speakers would be rescheduled. A bit early to say...

5:21. I hopped off the train at Old Mill to get a wireless signal. Checked my mobile voice mail to find a missive from Dietmar. He spoke of the cancellation and asked if I could update the web site.

5:22. I tried telephoning Stu thinking that he could change the web site on my behalf. Got his voice mail. Press on. I had a wifi computer with me. I could also go to the library...

5:26. Eric said, on the listserv, he talked to Doug at OSC. He said that he would personally continue to the Science Centre to redirect the "diehards." He then said that he hoped his presentation would be rescheduled. He also noted that Brenda had not yet photocopied her handouts for The Sky This Month. Good: we didn't waste paper.

5:27. Dietmar also said, on the listserv, that OSC had been informed.

5:27. Stu, another one of the presenters, said he was pleased with the decision. On the listserv, he admitted he was not looking forward to the drive in.

5:27. Tony phoned me. Twice. He first called my home line. Left a message: "WTF, man? They cancelled our meeting." Invited me over for a couple of hours. Then he called the mobile, but I missed the call. I was probably underground.

5:28. Joan left me a message at home. She said that without a home computer she had to check with another member to learn that the meeting had been cancelled. She decided to stay home and read.

5:30. Exited Runnymede subway. Headed to Timothy's coffee shop. Grabbed a Colombian-to-stay. Checked my mobile voice mail again. Tony said he was at the No Frills and suggested coming over to their house. I phoned Tony. Asked where he was; not the No Frills I was staring at. I suggested Mackenzie's. He told me to ask Grace.

5:38. Up and running, with netbook, jacked in via Timothy's free wifi. Sent Doug an email. Noted the web site was already updated. Logged into the CMS and found that all the original article content had been deleted. Too bad: some of it can be reused. Downloaded last year's council phone list. Then I phoned Sara and left her a voice mail... knowing it would probably be moot.

5:40. To the unofficial RASC Toronto Centre Facebook page, Eric noted the cancellation, as decreed by the executive. Grace and Brenda commented on it. Brenda, in particular, remarked at how the telephone was still the fastest way to convey this information. Funny that.

5:41. Asked Eric if he had backed up the meeting content.

5:55. Finished my java, disconnected, packed up, and headed to the TPL.

6:03. Phoned Grace. Asked if she wanted to get together in lieu of the cancelled meeting. At Mackenzie's. She said, "Sure!"

6:09. I popped into my local library branch to pick up an item. Quickly left as a young child ran around yelling for his mom.

6:17. I settled in at Mackenzie's, at a table for four. Ordered a Guinness.

6:22. Now up and running, with netbook, jacked in again via free wifi. Jumped into the Yahoo!Groups chatroom. Invited people to join me.

6:25. I began drafting an inclement weather meeting policy article for the web site...

6:30. Grace, Trevor, and Tony arrived at Mackenzie's. I asked Tony if he would have cancelled the meeting. His first reaction was no; but he did acknowledge it was pretty nasty driving. And that the city had done nothing to clear the roads. It was snowing heavily now.

6:54. Ralph, home after a long two hour drive from Waterloo, talked about the discussion points and weather conditions on the listserv. His drive normally should have taken one hour. He said Paul would try to reschedule the speakers. He too said OSC knew. And that Brenda and Eric were at the OSC.

7:30. I noted that it had stopped snowing.

7:50. Andrew, to the listserv, said that those who showed up at the OSC were now heading to the Granite pub. It was over a dozen people!

7:54. Ralph noted that the skies were now clear (from his home in Mississauga).

7:56. Grace, Trevor, Tony, and I departed Mackenzie's. I noted beautiful clear skies to the south and west.

8:36. Having arrived home, I reconnected to the chatroom. Noticed that a few people (including Charles) had popped in and then out, coincidentally, while I was walking home. Frig! Sent out another "I'm here"...

8:37. Realised my cat was missing, outside. And likely had been outside for the entire day! Opened the porch door and put out some food. Made and posted Lost Cat signs. Told my neighbour he had left his minivan door open.

8:38. Chatted with Paul about upcoming meetings and web page hit counters.

9:12. Replied to Eric's email. Told him I was able to regenerate the lost article content. And I urged him to consider giving his talk in the future. I said that his talk was "timeless" i.e. could be delivered at a new date. Brenda and Ralph's presentations however were timely...

9:30. Chatted Steve and Stu. Conversation covered Granite Gap, telescope mounts, CAO supervision, the upcoming Earth Hour star party.

9:52. Sharmin joined the chatroom.

9:56. Gilles joined the chatroom. Said he had gone to the OSC! Noooo!

9:59. Asked Steve how he was accessing the chatroom. On his Mac with Chrome.

10:00. It was right around this time that my chatroom session froze up. I started a bunch of things to recover... Finally reconnected 12 minutes later.

10:13. Saw that Sharmin was still not entering messages. Or maybe her messages weren't getting through... Sent her an email. I said that I thought the system used Java. I think that is OK for an iPhone though.

10:20. Sharmin replied to my electronic message. Said that she wasn't able to chat.

10:28. Sharmin sent another note. Her Mac computer was fine; but her iPhone wasn't.

10:42. My Bell Internet service was crapping out. The DSL modem would connect for a minute or two then drop. Then the CPU fan on the tower computer decided to quit. I shut it down. Also shut down my model and router for a while.

10:46. Ralph joined the chatroom. No one else was there. Paul had never disconnected. Ralph left 2 minutes later.

11:00. Reinitialised by modem and router. Even with the netbook computer, I could not connect for more than a minute or two...

11:30. Rescued my cat from the neighbour's roof.

11:31. Phil received my chat invitation (the one I sent at 6:22). Bell Sympatico issues at their end? He also noted that Ralph's 6:54 message did not arrive until hours later, either to his home mail or Crackberry. He was a little disappointed; said he would have hopped in the chat.

11:35. Eric joined the room.

11:45. Fed my ravenous cat.

11:59. At around midnight Ralph rejoined. He and Ralph chatted a bit. Ralph said that they should think about cancellation notices being issued earlier in the future.

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