Snow Job Part Two: Reclaiming The B Word

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas An Ice Age… 1pm December 16, 2007 — Photo by Me.


“My Favourite Game”; The Cardigans
Let me know if the YouTube’s missing…



Fifty centimetres of snow dropped on my Little Village yesterday. Depending on who you ask, or which metric to Imperial measurement conversion site you use, that’s about 22 inches of snow. The wind was gusting up to 130km/h which is around 80mph. My neighbour is one of the dudes who drive the big snow removal machines, and he told me some of the more country-like roads around here had mile long drifts of ten feet of snow. Of course most roads here are country roads…

My roof did not cave in, the power never even flickered, the Cubans and their Soviet masters didn’t invade and I didn’t run out of Diet Pepsi… but, more importantly, I remembered how much I love snow.

I fucking love snow. Really. Honestly. I fucking Love snow. I spent a couple of hours walking around during the “Weather Event” in snow up to my knees and sometimes higher… the snow was mostly ‘falling’ horizontally, actually it wasn’t so much snow as little stinging balls of hate. There’s this bizarre Urban Myth about the Inuit having seven-bazillion words for Snow, and how much richer their language is for having such precision. But it’s absolute bullshit. Those languages (there are several) have the same basic number of words for snow as there are in English. Every thing else are adjectives.

Heavy snow, wet snow, packed snow, fluffy snow… I love them all. But what I couldn’t understand was why the forecasters and Weather People seemed to almost deliberately refuse to use the B Word… no one called this thing a Blizzard. I kept hearing “Monster Storm” and “Severe Weather Event” and even “Extreme Snowfall”, but until tonight when the CBC finally used it there was no mention of a Blizzard.

In Case Of An Ice Age, Find A Canadian… 3pm December 16, 2007 — Photo by Me.


It’s entirely possible that it has been so long since we had a Really Good Blizzard around here the Weather People forgot about the word. We’ve had a couple of Green Christmases in a row, last January my step-father and I were building a porch under a bright and warm Spring-like day. I was actually very comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt. After that it got really cold and there was some snow, but nothing major. If you can still use the bottom three stairs on your porch it’s not a Real Snowfall.

I figure “Extreme Weather Event” comes from three sources: ratings; the week long anticipation of a Storm making its way from the Central United States north to Central and Eastern Canada, and; people have a tendency to forget which country they’re in… most of the people I saw interviewed and doing the interviewing for this story came from Toronto. Now, Toronto can get cold in the winter. But I lived there for six years or so and I think I stepped outside twice. Torontonians do not go outside in the Winter. They live in their cars, taxi’s, subways, underground walkways and Clubs.

At least the ones who are on TV warning us about this thing called a “Weather Event” which may, quite possibly, kill everyone it touches.

Canadian Weather below the 60th parallel runs from 40C to -40C (105F to -40F), I can survive the pluses but it’s the minus part I really like. You can’t dress for heat and humidity. The colder it gets the thicker the sweater you pull out of the trunk. So far this Season has been great for snow even though Winter doesn’t officially start for another couple of days… two weeks ago we received 30+cm of snow and now this. We only get Blizzards once every few years though… it’s a shame.

So… I survived the Blizzard Of 07. I’m thinking about getting T-shirts made up.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
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9 Responses to Snow Job Part Two: Reclaiming The B Word

  1. exactscience says:


    Scotland doesn’t get white Christmases, it gets Christmases of misty greys and hard frosts. It’s a shame because I love snow and I love going for walks in it too, bundled up to the point when you lose most of your points of articulation to swaddling.

    Alas snow in the U.K. particularly around cities is still something of a novelty. People will rush to windows when the first flakes fall – school child and office worker alike aside from the one cynic who asks – is it lying though? For of all weather the thing the Brits crave most is a heavy snow, because being a lazy bunch we like the idea of being snowed into our homes unable to go to work.

    The flip-side being that we panic when we realise that we might get snowed out.

    To use a manic-depression metaphor Canada with its 40C+ to 40c- is Type I the U.K. well it is cyclothymic.

  2. thordora says:

    That’s so true about Toronto. Aside from getting annoyed at tromping through the snow to get to the bus, it never bothered me much.

    I hate summer. HATE IT. I suppose if I was skinny I wouldn’t mind, but since I’m not, I have to stay covered. At least in the winter I can pile more clothing on.

    I think we have about 60 cms on the ground now-with more to come tomorrow or Thursday if I heard right…

    nice red face there!

  3. melanie says:

    Glad you like this weather. It took me HOURS to dig out and as soon as I would turn around the damn wind would blow it all back in my way again. I will admit that yesterday, once all the snow had stopped, was quite beautiful, but I still prefer summer and long for her skin tanning, cancer causing rays of sunshine.

  4. only4now says:

    I remeber the days of the heavy snow falls, jumping from the roof into deep snowbanks and having your friends dig you out.

    I do not miss the mornings walking to school and getting frost bite. But, I do miss making snow forts and being the first to walk in the fresh snow.

    I moved to Southern Texas several years ago. It has snowed here twice. But, it is not cold enough to stick. It melts as soon as it hits the ground.

    Snow is Southern Texas is very dangerous. People are so enamored with the site, that they often wreck their cars while watching the snow come down.

    It is amusing to watch people driving with their car windows down, and their arms out, trying to feel the snow. People running outside to see the ‘miracle.’ 😀

  5. dw says:

    this is such a cute little pic of you, gabriel.

    like you’ve come in for a cup of hot chocolate while your socks and mittens get warmed up in the oven until you’re ready to go back outside to play again.

    make snowmen.

  6. markps2 says:

    the temp has been cold, below minus 10 C here but that temp is tolerable. so its ok. its when it goes to minus 20 I get a perminate ice cream headache when outside I can’t take.
    Winter just started and we have a ton of snow. It’s gonna be a wild winter and springtime thaw.

  7. Gabriel... says:

    ExactScience: Funny, I always picture Scotland as having almost Canada-style winters… I think I get that from the James Herriot books. Him driving his little Mini down long country driveways and getting stuck in snowbanks. He always wrote about how bitterly cold the winters could be…
    We had a little blue Austin Mini for a couple of years when I was a young teenager. Mom called it Merlin. Great little car in terms of “hey, it started!” but in the winter we’d sometimes get stuck in snowdrifts so badly I’d have to roll down the passenger window and dig my way out of the car so I could dig us out of the drift… funny Mini Story: Mom parked at the high school to meet with someone and four other dudes and myself picked the car up and turned it so it was sideways in the parking spot.

    4Now: Every time it snows in Texas or the Carolina’s, Florida or Georgia it plays on the news here… not always in a polite way. I always think it’s sweet watching the kids play in the snow for the first time and the parents out walking around. We get a lot of accidents up here the first time we get a serious freeze or snow, so I’m never surprised at the number of accidents in a place like Texas when the snow falls… it’s not like they’ve had two months warning to put on their snow tires like the idiots up here.

    dw: I think I’m more red-cheeked from walking through the thigh-high snow than the cold itself… although, again, those little stinging balls of hate can hurt. The snow isn’t quite right around here for a snowman yet, but I did have my socks on top of the gas fireplace soon after the photo was taken. I’m doing a snow angel tomorrow… later today, I’ll try to get a decent shot of it. It’s still snowing out, we got another couple of inches on Tuesday. It’s supposed to get warmer this weekend so if I can I’ll build a snowman…

    Mark: Environment Canada’s still saying this winter will be colder than average across the Country… I’m really looking forward to it — as long as no one asks me to do anything work-like. We used to have a tradition of playing Street Hockey on Christmas Morning, we’d usually get ten or twelve people out for a couple of hours. But the last two Christmases have been green and the one before that was one of those -40C days.

  8. Pingback: No Post Day: Holy Crap I’m Not Just A Couch Potato I’m A YouTuber « …salted lithium.

  9. markps2 says:

    Good News
    “Blasted by a blizzard”
    CBC is using Blizzard, that software game design company hasn’t trademarked it.

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