I am a Canadian

Once I discovered that I had a letterpress cut of Alex B. Campbell’s signature in my collection, I needed to print something that took advantage of this lucky happenstance. And I found my inspiration in his biography, a passage from a speech he delivered at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1967 that came to be called the “I am a Canadian” speech:

I am a Canadian

This was a two month project–two months with lots of breaks along the way, so really only a day here and a day there. If you look at the original typesetting you’ll see that I started off with the text ragged right, but I took the extra step of justifying it, and I’m very happy with the result.

The small caps of “LET ME CONCLUDE” are a hack: otherwise it was too difficulty to make the justification work without some additional hyphenation.

And I’ve debated the capitalization of “am” in the heading with several people, but always came out believing it should be lower case: partly for stylistic reasons, and partly to avoid conflation with the “I Am Canadian” campaign. Even if it is, according to grammar, Wrong.

It took a lot of adjusting of the Golding Jobber № 8 press to get even impression across the text; it’s still not perfect, but it’s much, much better than when I started.

The sentiment of the passage is one I deeply believe in myself – why else would I live here?

Framed Alex B. Campbell

Preparing for The Flood

A month ago my arch enemy was snow

As spring gradually arrives, it’s water that’s the new foe: with 5 feet of snow in our backyard (and I am not exaggerating) and temperatures forecast to be above 5ºC tomorrow, we’re preparing for waterfalls in our basement.

Fortunately, unlike others with modern basements, we have a 1820s-style foundation in our house that is no barrier to water at all, and so no real expectation of keeping the basement dry. Our job is to allow the water in and then to assist it in getting out, via our team of sump pumps, as quickly as possible.

To this end, we had a plumber in this morning with a jack-hammer to dig a new trench from the area around the furnace over to sump pump number two: this has been the weak point (requiring a shovel-equipped Catherine to waft water from one half of the basement to the other) in previous winters.

Now all we can do is wait.

Meanwhile, my roof-raking strategy paid off big dividends, as you can see from the side-by-side comparison with our neighbour:

My proudest achievement: a roof free of ice dams (compare us to our neighbor to the left...)

I’ve been out after every snowfall with the roof rake – sometimes three or four times a day when it’s been storming – and so I’m happy to report that we’ve been completely free from ice dams since our original issues arose. Although I can’t believe I’m writing this, I think I’m actually going to miss raking the roof once spring arrives in earnest.

A Bus Across America

The inspiration for any travels I’ve taken with Oliver as a father flows directly from a trip I took as a son in 1980: my father and I got on a Greyhound bus in Buffalo, New York the spring that I turned 14 and traveled across the country to San Francisco, down to San Diego, across to Tucson, El Paso and San Antonio, up to Tulsa and then home. Along the way we had many adventures, including renting a car from Skip’s Rent-a-Wreck in Arizona so that we could head off into the desert:

Oliver is now the same age as I was in that picture.