#374: The Winter of Our Discontent

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RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#374: The Winter of Our Discontent

I don’t think there is any question that driving around here has been especially tough this winter.  There were a couple days when it was colder here in Ontario than it was in Alaska!  The snowfall has been relentless, and the roads chaotic.  Although we in Canada get to work on our winter driving skills every single year, it rarely seems to help the majority.  This winter has most definitely been the winter of our discontent for driving.

The snow banks are piled high, making it hard to see cars about to turn onto the street.  Some streets are packed hard with slick ice.  Road salt is not effective below -10 degrees, and the city has been cutting down on salt usage for environmental concerns.  Meanwhile because of the plowing and piling of snow, lanes have been rendered too narrow by the massive banks on either side.  Not to mention the visibility issues of snow blowing in front of you as the sun sets in your eyeline.

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As usual, my commuting has been done to the tune of several 8 gig flash drives in my car.  Albums spun in the last several weeks included:

  • Marillion – The Thieving Magpie (La Gazza Ladra)
  • Marillion – Live in Caracas
  • Ozzy Osbourne – Diary of a Madman (2 CD set)
  • David Lee Roth – A Little Ain’t Enough
  • Rush – Roll the Bones
  • Rush – Feedback (EP)
  • Savatage – Power of the Night
  • Van Halen – Best of Volume I
  • Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth
  • Whitesnake – Come An’ Get It (w/ bonus tracks)
  • Whitesnake – Saints An’ Sinners (w/ bonus tracks)
  • ZZ Top – ZZ Top’s First Album
  • ZZ Top – Rio Grande Mud
  • ZZ Top – Tres Hombres

That’s when I wasn’t listening to the radio.  Local radio is always helpful when one needs to find and navigate the least messy route home.  If I hear that there is an accident on King St., that means I’m taking Highway 8 home.  Most days the roads have been plugged with accidents all over the place.  My radio is good for helpful navigation, and also entertainment.  I enjoyed when, on the Friday February 27 commute home, Craig Fee played a wonderful tribute to Leonard Nimoy on the Overdrive at 5:00.  The station assembled some of the best, all time classic Spock quotes and backed them with the theatrical Trek theme.  Craig followed that with “Intergalactic” by the Beastie Boys, which of course features the line, “like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock.”  I think Leonard would have enjoyed his musical tribute.  It was certainly an emotional ride in the car that day for me.

Sadly, killer tunes on a flash drive or the radio can only do so much to ease the nerves when a transport truck is passing cars on the shoulder of the 401 in the middle of a snow storm.  There is, unfortunately, nothing that music can do to protect us from the idiots out there who somehow managed to wield a driver’s license and get behind the wheel in a blizzard.

I think in Canada, drivers should have to take an additional test.  Not only should they have to take their road test, but a winter road test too.  Only then can we know if they are up for the challenges of driving in a Canadian winter!

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26 comments

  1. Unfortunately all of the roads are closed today in the KW region. I guess today is a “stay home and rock” day. I think the region will have to call in the Kiss Army.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I once spent a Christmas/New Year in the UK (lucky me!) and I was due to fly out of Gatwick very early in the morning, but I was in Oxford. So I had to catch a bus over to the airport at some silly hour like 3:00am. It’s January, near 0C, no big deal at all. I’m the only one on the bus, and the driver says he won’t make the trip, he’s scared, because he saw a snowflake. One. Snowflake. Ooo, and then another one, two minutes later. There was no snow on the ground, the roads were dry and clear. Not safe, he says, it’s snowing. I said “I am a Canadian, I will tell you when it is snowing. We’re going. If you won’t drive the bus, I will.” We went, and we were fine. Seriously.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Some GREAT tunes. That track I posted — Silas and Jerome — is an old Ashton/Lord/Paice track. Friggin’ amazing and I’m glad to be able to let people hear stuff that has been blowing my mind!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Winter driving. Ah yes. Fact of life. Around here, along the shores of the Bay, we get lots of shitey weather. But in the ten years my lovely wife has been commuting along the highway, she’s maybe only missed five days of work due to weather. Snow tires, emergency gear, slow down, keep your head up, take no chances. Usually you’re perfectly OK.

    Mike, you’re in town. You’re fine. And tunes can help, for sure. That’s a good chunk of the rawk, right there. Just get in there and give ‘er!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah the drive for me personally has been easy…because I’m not an idiot! That’s my only real fear. If it were just me on the road, my driving abilities would get me home safe every time! But you have to count on the idiots. You have to learn how to see out of the back of your head. I’m glad to say that I have never caused an accident. I’ve been stuck a couple times, but I have new tires now :)

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      1. When I was learning to drive, my Dad taught me the mechanics of it (I learned on a standard one day, took my test on a standard, so automatic transmission is a point and shoot cake walk). Then he told me to assume every other driver on the road is an idiot and an asshole. Never be surprised when they do something stupid, but when you’re already expecting them to do it, you’ll be ready. When they don’t, and they actually drive properly, it’ll be a nice surprise and a lift to your day. But never get complacent. It only takes one moron. Always be ready for them.

        I will teach my kids the same thing.

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      1. Everything’s meltimg for us here though it was more cold than snow! I think we went a few weeks of straight -40 windchill and than a bit of a break and back to -40…

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    1. Yeah was warm here today too. I bought an ice chopper and cleared the driveway of the worst of the inches of ice (easier when it’s melting a bit). But yeah, even if it stays warm like this, it’s gonna take a loooooong time for all of that snow to go away. The banks beside the driveway, standing snow, come up to my armpits (and I’m just over 6′ tall).

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  3. Oooft! If I’m ever gonna be stick with travelling in conditions like that then first thing I’d do is check that I had suitable tunes in the car. I think that’s a law. Or should be.

    Liked by 1 person

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