Weekly Update Week 33 in 2018: Cottage Weekend
This past week, I drove up to Minden, Ontario to spend the weekend at my good friend Drew’s cottage. For those that don’t know, I met Drew in high school when I attended the Ontario Science Center Secondary School in grade 12. He is currently at Google in Mountain View, California and so I try to make sure to see him when he comes to the East Coast and likewise when I go to West Coast. For those that are curious, the drive from Princeton looks like this:
To be clear, one stop for construction is pretty optimistic. The drive is more like 10 hours once you include the inevitable car accident delays, police-caused traffic slow downs, and the dreaded border (if the NEXUS lane is closed). How does one preoccupy oneself on these long trips? Recently, I have gotten into Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast. I listened to the Kings of Kings series on this road trip which is about the rise and fall of the Persian empire. It starts with how Cyrus the Great conquers the Assyrians and becomes the first so called King of Kings because he conquered so many peoples. After two quick successions of kings, Cambyses II and Bardiya, we then get the next great king, Darius I. Nicknamed the shopkeeper, Darius I was not as good as Cyrus at conquering but exceptional at administrating his realm and ruled for an incredible 36 years and took it upon himself to challenge the Greeks. The story continues with Xerxes I and the famous battle of Thermopylae where, thanks to Hollywood and the movie 300, we know he loses. Finally, the story culminates with the downfall of the empire at the hands of Alexander the Great.
Overall, Dan Carlin does a fantastic job at story telling and putting in an incredible amount of research and effort into historical accuracy. His narrative of the events is more like a movie and perfectly intensifies epic moments in historical battles by raising his voice to such a level and passion that, if you are trying to talk to the border guard, you will be asked to turn down your car stereo as if you are listening to heavy metal. Luckily for me, Dan Carlin’s podcasts should last me a while as I still have about 100 hours left. Wait, it just dawned on me that 100 hours is like 4 round trips to New Liskeard. This won’t even last me until the end of the year… damn.
Dan Carlin aside, the weekend was well worth the drive. Seeing Drew’s family again was as pleasant as always. They treat me with such care and hospitality that I feel as if I have a second family. Drew’s parents, Andy and Franca, are both fantastic cooks. While I was not able to enjoy Andy’s meats or Franca’s homemade pasta this time, I can certainly say that the smells nearly drove me into breaking my veganism. Food aside, I definitely took the opportunity while in Canada to drink as much Canadian craft beer as possible and enjoying my favourite Canadian pop - Steam Whistle - the best Pilsner on the planet. Also, we shared a lovely bottle of this wine which I definitely need to stock up on. Between beverages, I enjoyed many boat rides and bonfires during the visit. Normally I waterski, but I wanted to give my legs some R&R, so I let Drew tear up the lake in my lieu.
It was sad to have to leave on Sunday but Drew gifted me some Steam Whistle and Muskoka Brewery Cream Ale to soften the blow.
Until next week,