The title is likely not all that familiar to the younger generations. Back in the sixties and a bit in the seventies, TV programs would occasionally crash. Since reception was typically terrible (as the TV's themselves often had issues) the station was basically saying: Hey! The problem is on our side! This was sometimes the result of someone at the station tripping over a wire that plugged into various machines needed to transmit the TV signal to the TV towers. More often it was alien space ships landing on the transmission towers. This happened with annoying regularity and although no one ever talked to the aliens. it was surmised that the TV towers somehow reminded the aliens of their landing stations back home. Most TV stations had to resort to installing elaborate UFO blocking hardware, affectionately known as "UF Off" devices.
After experiencing such a messed up year as 2020, many of us are anxious to get back to normal, or near-new normal. We are waiting for various entities (government, medical support, bars) to tell us that our TV sets should now be working properly.
I alluded to this challenge with respect to OUTRace, a series of ultra and trail races in Ontario. These races are spread across the year, starting in April and finishing in November. Timing of the lifting of pandemic restrictions will be pivotal in determining which races can proceed and which will once again be cancelled. The race directors are struggling to answer questions such as "what is the latest date on which I can commit to holding my race? When should I open registration? Are my sponsors still in business?
This becomes tricky for the runners who wish to partake in the races. We need to register before scheduling other aspects of the race weekends. If I decide to run Ottawa, I need to book a hotel. Many need to give advance notice at work, that they would like the weekend off. None of this can be done until race registration is open, and that depends on the current flavour of Covid restrictions 1 - 4 months ahead of race date. Tricky...
However these problems pale in comparison to what we experienced in 2020. The uncertainty in 2020 rivalled or surpassed any other year in memory, including Y2K (remember 1999?). I worked in IT at Honda back then, so I knew there would not be any catastrophes. However, I also knew there would be some problems, however minor, which could culminate into some serious inconveniences. Fortunately the calendar switched over without noticeable hitches. For those who enjoy reminiscing, here is a rough overview of what transpired at Honda in Alliston:
- 400+ computer systems, about half needed updates & verification they still worked
- 850 mainframe computer programs that needed updates
- 37 failures: 1 category B and 36 category C (Category A could impact or stop the assembly lines)
The above is from my very skewed memory, so please don't try to corroborate the numbers!
I doubt that everyone is looking forward to 2021... I'm thinking some business owners and anyone who is not able to work due to restrictions. This might be a very rough year for those stuck in an apartment during the winter. I live out in the country, so isolation is not much different than any other winter. However I am not visiting friends (Ontario is currently in lockdown for either 14 or 28 days), going out to eat and there is no plan to travel, as I normally do this time of year.
Aside from this, I am looking forward to 2021. I think we will all savour the easing of restrictions and appreciate our "freedom" the more so, for having experienced the lockdowns. It is now simply a matter of time before the vaccination is available to all Canadians. Yes, it will be several months, but hopefully not years, as some other vaccinations have required. I look forward to dropping into a store on a whim, as opposed to a rigidly mapped out operation, similar to mounting a coup. Hmm... Coup on a Whim. Sounds like a boutique beer.
What will I do first? Not sure, but I would love to overnight in a dwelling that is not my house! Planning a trip would be great. I am already arranging to travel to Scotland and hike with my sister, her husband and (if available) my daughter, but there is little point in planning anything at this point.
There were few good points resulting from the pandemic, but I should mention the benefit of shopping online. I am not a natural born shopper. I never enjoyed going into a store with the exception of Canadian Tire. For me, shopping online is a quantum leap in preference over driving to an overcrowded parking lot and spending time in various line-ups. And then there is wine online (www.wineonline.ca). Insert a deep sigh of gratitude here. I know this sounds like a promo, but imagine a store that not only delivers to your door, but also makes suggestions that appeal to you! Okay, I doubt there are many people out there that enjoy wine as much as I do, but this beats a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake hands down. Yes, I enjoy running and biking in NOTL and there is wine tasting, but unfortunately, I like red wine. Aside from Marynissin, most of the good red wines cost between $25 and $50 per bottle. I am talking good wine, not great. I have trouble spending $30 for a journeyman wine. No problem spending as much for a truly great Australian Shiraz, or a Cabernet Sauvignon from California.
Well, take care out there. Let's err on the side of caution until the vaccinations have been deployed. Not much fun in overloading our medical facilities now. We are all itching to get out there, but let's do so when it is safe for all.