Fun in the dark and on TV

1 April 2008


On a happier note, Katharine and I had an unusual and enjoyable weekend.


Saturday evening from eight to nine o’clock was Earth Hour. Cities around the world participated in this symbolic event, encouraging people to turn out their lights for an hour to heighten awareness of global warming and energy conservation. Canada got involved in a big way. 


So we went to a lakeside park to see the Toronto skyline from a distance. A cold walk to the vantage point and a colder wait by the water led to something of an anti-climax: the hour began before darkness arrived, so lights didn’t so much get turned off as not get turned on. Singularly undramatic. And, despite reports of widespread participation, many lights were on.


We went back to the parking lot (which had no view of anything) and had an Earth Hour picnic of chicken and donuts in the car, illuminated by a candle on the dashboard. Then we left the park and went home as some downtown lights flickered back on. All in all, a little disappointing, but we make an effort every day to keep a reduced carbon footprint.


Sunday we were contestants on the CBC quiz show, Test the Nation.




Broadcast only a few times a year, it’s a two-hour, play-at-home quiz on a variety of mostly Canadian subjects. In the studio are six groups of people, about 35 people per group. In the past there have been groups of doctors, backpackers, taxi drivers, celebrity impersonators, and so on. For the “Canada, Eh” edition our group was Americans living in Canada, competing against weathercasters, tour guides, and members of the Canadian Armed Forces, among others. Six celebrities also participate; we got to see Barenaked Ladies‘ Ed Robertson, stoner Tommy Chong and actress Kari Matchett.




Everyone in the studio has a device with four buttons to answer the 50 multiple-choice questions. Silly rivalries are encouraged, partial results get announced along the way, and the individual with the highest score at the end of it all gets a prize. The rest of us got a travel mug and a pen.


Wheel of Fortune it ain’t.


But fun it was. And I’m not supposed to reveal who won or lost, so you’ll have to wait and watch the program when it airs in August or September.



  1. Sounds fun! Hope you won!

  2. Hooray! So…did you win??!??!!??!

  3. So that no CBC goons will hunt me down and break my thumbs, I should not reveal the winning team. I will say that neither Katharine nor I won as highest scorer out of the over 200 contestants, but that our individual scores were respectable for ignorant Americans. I got about 80% correct.

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