Yesterday, we were blitzed by a snowstorm that caused congestion, closures, and cancellations throughout the city. Being a native Montrealer, I grew up with the stuff so am unfazed by things like three foot snowdrifts. Unfortunately, however, nine years in Vancouver has made me soft and unprepared for the inclement weather. How unprepared? Well, how about the fact that I own approximately no winter boots to Fondy’s three? “Ah, what the hell,”I figured. We’re leaving town on Tuesday. Between then and now, where the hell am I going to walk to that would require winter footwear? Try the twenty feet between my backdoor and the garage. It was unpleasant to say the least, wading through the hip-deep snow to transfer the garbage to its proper bin. Lulu followed me as far as the porch, sat down, and watched. I forged ahead, finally reached the garage, turned back – and she was gone. “Lulu?!”I called. Her head popped out of snow drift and she glanced around, bewildered, then turned and hopped her way back up the stairs and into the house.

In the garage, I helped myself to our lone shovel which I used to clear a path to our front door. As I was finishing up, I looked over and there was Lawren strolling down the sidewalk toward me. Turns out my street is so bad he didn’t want to risk driving down it so he ended up parking around the corner – where he got subsequently stuck. “I’m going to need you to give me a hand,”he informed me as we headed in.

Once inside, I gave him an overview of the place – security system, t.v. remotes, doggy eye meds. He assured me that he’d be spending most of the holidays indoors, cooking and writing. And, of course, spending quality time with the pooches.

After he left, Fondy and I hopped into the Q7 and went on a grocery run. We pulled in and parked and as I opened my door and stepped out, I put my foot down in a huge slush puddle. I quickly lifted my foot.  To my dismay, my shoe stayed put, the surrounding snow caving inward to fill up my Cole Haan like a frosty sundae. I drew small comfort from the fact that my sock was already wet.

They say you shouldn’t shop when you’re hungry and, truth be told, “they” are right. For dinner tonight, I’m having a rib steak, beet salad, couscous, candied carrots, and a tarragon chicken sandwich. While we were there, we also picked up some goodies for Lawren: chicken, bananas, and a bag of cheddar popcorn. There! He’s set for the holidays!

According to reliable sources (a.ka. my writing partner, Paul) it won’t snow for the next 48 hours, meaning we should experience no problems flying out tomorrow – on December 23, only the busiest travel day of the year. Fortunately, I’m packing away some reading material just in case: Terrry Pratchett’s Guards! Guard!, Thomas M. Disch’s 334, Jeffrey Ford’s The Physiognomy, Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell vol. III, and David Lindsay’s A Voyage to Arcturus.

Which reminds me to remind you that all that January is almost upon us, bringing with it our very first Book of the Month Club discussions of 2009. In the scifi category, we’ll be talking about On Basilisk Station with author David Weber. In the horror category, we’ll be discussing The Living Dead with editor John Joseph Adams. And, in the fantasy category, we’ll be chatting with author Jeff Vandermeer about his City of Saints and Madmen. Check the right sidebar for the dates.

Today’s entry is dedicated to birthday gal Ytimynona.

61 thoughts on “December 22, 2008: Snowbound

  1. Fondy is very beautiful =)

    Have fun traveling tomorrow. I hope you do not get stuck or stranded anywhere.

    PS: Please feel free to send some snow this way, as its getting far too warm for my liking. The last waist deep snowfall I experienced was a few years back in Ohio. I remember looking across the street when I heard a muffled “Help me!” There were these two mittens sticking up in the deep snow where the neighbor’s 5 year old had fallen in, while her older brother laughed himself silly not more than a foot away. lol. Those were good times.

  2. Joe, She’s beautiful ,thanks for the pictures. You two would make gorgeous children ,but I think I got the hint on how you feel about kids! To each his own! That’s what makes the world go around! Have a wonderful holiday and a safe one. Please let me know when you DO pick up the chestnuts. Cheers! , Sheryl

  3. You might have mentioned it before, but have you tried the Kindle? As much as I adore books I can’t afford to collect many of them (in terms of money AND storage!). The Kindle would appear to be a good answer (cheaper and NO storage…). Unfortunately they’re a bit of a dodo in New Zealand (much like an iPhone), in that most of the features that make it really cool aren’t available.
    Anyway, safe and prompt travels! While you slug through the snow I’ll be sitting in the summer sun on my front porch holding a cold drink and a good book :p

  4. Ahhhh snow.

    Funny thing happened today..well, not funny ha ha.

    So, I braved my way up to my local Chapters for a nice hot bevy from S$’s and a poke around for some more books (I read through books like an android on crack). While I was there perusing the bargain aisles, as is my habit, I looked down and saw a familiar title poking out from beneath the bottom shelf. “The Traveler” was innocently laying there. It was such a weird little coincidence that I grabbed it up and am now looking forward to a nice glass of Shiraz and an evening of good reading.

    Thanks for the recommendation, I hear it’s good. 😉

  5. Joe wrote:

    To my dismay, my shoe stayed put, the surrounding snow caving inward to fill up my Cole Haan like a frosty sundae. I drew small comfort from the fact that my sock was already we

    So, was Fondy having a quiet chuckle to herself at the Shoe Stuck in the Snow at Christmas Karma? **rubs chin and reflects back to last year**

    Rose – Hope the news continues to get better.
    das – Score with the Tim Tams!

    Joe as for your short story. I think a lot of us have been where you are describing but to correctly articulate is always difficult. This may be from a different viewpoint to your character but I’m going to bore you anyway.

    When I went back to my Grandparents’ houses, after they were no longer living in the homes we’d grown up in, I was trying not to take in the changes. Why? Because then my memory would be forever tarnished. The happy memories I have as a snap shot in my mind of would be altered. The huge backyard with the big fish pond, the scary back room, Grandpa’s bungalow with his fob watches, trinkets and journals he wrote during the war – now the backyard seems normal size, the scary back room is just any other room, and the bungalow now empty.

    The innocence in which you view the world growing up is gone. Adult eyes never see the magic of a place like a child does.

    In Summary, Reality – it’s a bitch.

  6. Hi Hoe:

    Hmmm…no wedding ring. Are you sure she isn’t a model you hired for the occasion?
    Just kidding. Happy Gatemas to you!

    Patricia (AG)

  7. Oh my, Fondy is beautiful! You so don’t deserve her! 😉 (kidding!) I love the last picture, ya know…the one where she looks like she’s gonna kill you… 😀

    Thank you both for sharing! And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why I keep thinking Lawren is a girl. 😕 And poor Lulu – would loved to have seen a video of pop-’em-up puppy in the snow!

    Enjoy your holiday back home! Safe travels!


  8. Have a safe trip Joe. All the best to Fondy, the furry kids and the rest of the fam.

    We don’t get much snow here but here’s two “You really shouldn’t tell people that” efforts of me in the snow.

    1. As a 9 year old in our local ski fields Dad pushed me down a toboggan run that just happened to be empty. Why was it empty you may ask? Because when you get to the bottom you get a good 2 metres of air before you land nicely in the icy lake. Lucky for my snow suit, which turned out not to be water proof and don’t forget the ever stylish moon boots that were hip in the 80’s but also became great weights when logged with water. I still don’t know how I didn’t drown. But perhaps the deprivation of oxygen explains a lot.

    2. As a 13 year old in Yosemite National Park I was on a ski lift with a much older and bigger friend. I said something, he laughed and smacked me on the back. I fell off the ski lift, fell around 20 feet into fresh snow. He said I resembled something from a Warner Brother’s cartoon with arms and legs splayed and ski’s sticking up out of the snow. Glad he enjoyed himself.

    Seeing as the fingers are already typing, here’s another.

    3. On the same day as the falling off the ski lift, I put my ski’s back on without realising I was standing about a foot away from a 6 foot ditch with a tree in the middle. Ski’s go on, Narelle goes backwards, the ditch takes a victim.

    Ok, last one.

    4. On the same days as the falling into the ditch, my Brother dared me to try one of the advanced runs. Why the hell not. Aside from the fact this was my first real day of skiing. So I hiked up the mountain, started down the very steep run, got through that no problems but the run joins with the Beginner’s run and as I hadn’t mastered going down a hill slowly yet or stopping (there was only one pace for me, straight down and fast until I made contact with something that stopped me or joined the ski lift line again – whichever came first) I yelled to the beginner’s to get out the way. Clearly speaking another form of English they all stared back at the approaching female thrashing her arms around trying to communicate via sign language rather than moving. In an attempt to not run into anyone, I veered off to the side only to collide with a tractor.

    And yes I have had one too many concussions.

  9. So nice to “meet” Fondy! (Nice pic selection!)

    Of course a woman has at least 3 pairs of snow boots…but we never intend to actually WEAR them in the snow!! The “pop up Lulu” sounds adorable! Hmmm…a children’s book in the making?

    “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” has been sitting on my “must read” pile for ages. Perhaps on the upcoming training trip to Tucson I’ll find time to at least start it. That or “Labryinth”.

    Safe home & Happy Holidays!

  10. Fondy’s gorgeous!

    And don’t worry, Das, I automatically associated the name Lawren with ‘girl’ as well, if that’s what you mean.

  11. Hi Joe!

    Your wife is beautiful!!

    I wish you luck getting out of Vancouver, I thought there was another snowfall warning for tonight. I still say you are lucky out there, at least you don’t have the -35C windchills we have here right now!
    Best of luck getting to your final destination………

  12. Hi Joe!

    Your wife is, indeed, beautiful. Not that we’re surprised, BTW! You are quite handsome in your own right. 🙂

    Pop-up Lulu?! Awesome!

    Chicken, bananas, and cheddar popcorn? That’s almost Peppermint Patty-quality holiday fare. Can’t you at least get him some salami sticks or maybe a can of cranberry sauce? Oh, wait. You’re leaving tomorrow? Never mind.

    Hey, have a safe trip, eh? I’m heading out too – not across the country or anything, but still – I hate traveling on the “busiest day of the year.” Makes me feel like a pathetic average travel whore. You don’t feel that way, do you Joe? Do you?

    I’m gonna try very hard to participate in Jan’s or Feb’s BOTM club discussion. I really enjoy them. 🙂

    Stay warm and keep your feet dry!


  13. There’s a fatal flaw in your proof of Fondy’s existence, Joe. All we see in the photos is a women (a beautiful women, I’ll give you that); her name may even be Fondy – but how do we know that she’s your wife? You’re not in any of the photos. For all we know, you just found these photos on the Internet using Google Images.

    I declare that the proof is not a proof until we get proof of your relation to this mysterious women in the photos. Perhaps a photo of you two together. I have spoken! 😉

    Now that you are no doubt impressed by my sense of logic and thus are more likely to acquiesce to my demands, here are those questions that I asked a few hours ago that are in dire need to be answered:

    1. Who is writing episode 6?
    2. Who is writing episode 7?
    3. Who is writing episode 8?
    4. Who is writing episode 9?
    5. Has the director schedule for Universe been lined-up yet?

    Thanks! And have a good flight! 😀

  14. Based on Fondy’s pictures, you are a man of luck as well as wit. Congratulations on having managed such a fine match. (Though I think Artic Goddess may be onto something with that idea of you hiring a model). Please thank Fondy for us for allowing herself to be photographed.
    Enjoy Guards! Guards! I’ll never think of dwarves in the same way after reading about Carrot, and if only we could create swamp dragons with modern genetic manipulation….now I’m goiing to have to go reread my Diskworld books.
    Thanks also for the amusing visual images with your adventures in footwear. Coming from a warm weather state, I find myself ill equipped when the thermometer hits 0 C or below(as it has tonight). My saving grace are some of my workboots, which are reasonably warm, and somewhat water resistant. Of course, there is the fact that they are on the heavy side, being steel toed and shanked, but it’s hard to justify purchasing much in the way of true cold weather gear when the uses for it are so limited. Have a safe, pleasant, and delay free flight, and looking forward to hearing about your misadventures.

  15. Oh my god, Narelle, how the hell did you make it to adulthood? You make me sound co-ordinated! And yet, despite that you still have a good memory … Fondy’s-shoe-in-the-snow incident from last Christmas. Whaddya know – what goes around sometimes does come around!

    Great photos of Fondy – she’s very beautiful. And she must be very patient, to cope with your daily blogging – I’m sure some days she wishes you would give it up (that’d be those days you sit there swearing at the computer as you moderate your comments.) Have a great Christmas!

  16. Hi Joe – Wishing you and the beautiful Fondy a very Merry Christmas and a joyous, successful New Year. I hope you have a safe and uneventful flight to Montreal.

    I have 10-1/2 inches of snow in my backyard and driveway in Seattle. I can’t even make it a block from home without getting stuck.

    I’m sure the pups will be safe and sound and amused with “Uncle” Lawren watching over them.

    Peace and Happiness

  17. Ah can’t help but giggle at your story Joe.

    Though I must share the two odd ones from today.

    I’d slogged my way out to the road in the makeshift path I’ve carved over the last several days, and when I got out there realized that the lovely snowplow had covered the hole we’d carved to the mailbox. So I go to step out onto the road when I realize that:
    A} There is a car coming
    B} The neighbor dogs are there with me and want to follow me.

    So i quickly scrabbled through the snow bank and was sludging my way to the mailbox(in a very very deep drift) when the car reaches me, slowing down and rolling down their window, one of my neighbors looks out with that mildly concerned ‘Oh goodness another freak in the neighborhood’ look on their face, to ask if I was all right and might need some assistance.

    the other one happened when i got back to the house.

    We had yet to do any sort of decorating for the upcoming holiday(something about we’ve been snowbound for nearly a week) and so i’d decided to dig the stockings out of storage. Well the storage unit is on the faaaaaar side of the parking lot from our pre cut trails. So I start wading across the barren snow when suddenly I tripped and fell face first. Couldn’t get up and so I lay there for a moment, struggling my way forward on my belly until i hit some solid footing. Now it looks vaguely like there was some kind of monumental death match in the snow *sighs*

    I think tomorrow I’ll just stay in!

  18. Joe

    What you have no entry to Garage from your house? What’s up with that most people do they have a door leading to their garage through the house.

    I bet now you are sorry that you do not have boots. Joe Cougers are good boots and so are Sorels. I have 2 pairs of Cougers and one pair of Sorels. I’ve lived in Toronto all my life so I know what to expect in weather here. Fondy and I have the same amount of boots. Cool must be a woman thing. Time Fondy takes you shopping.

    Fondy is cute, thanks for sharing pics of her. Let’s see pics of the dogs too.

    Joe you mentioned one of your dogs having a hard time getting up on beds and such? I found a Web Site that sells Products to Aid dogs with poor mobility. Here is the Link.

    Have a great Christmas Joe


  19. On the way to the airport, PICK UP some BOOTS!!! I’m just west of Montreal on the Ontario side and have been out shovelling for a couple of hours every other day for the last month! It’s -21C right now – so some of the snow should hold off… a little. But Montreal should be Slush Central!

    Anyways, hope your flight is direct… AVOID Toronto at all costs! And have a safe flight and great holiday! Oh, and remember NOT to try any *new* restaurants with your Mom!


  20. Thanks so much for the blog dedication! 🙂

    After my Continuum marathon with mi padre today, I got to hang out with my best friend who is in the Coast Guard, and she told me all about how she got to spend her summer off the coast of Alaska, venturing into the Arctic! I got pretty excited. I think I’ll be hosting another Continuum party (she’s never seen it!) in the near future… 😀

    Fondy is gorgeous… but of course, you knew that!!!

    Have fun in Montreal, and here’s hoping you get to enjoy the journey too!!!

  21. Addendum: Just in case of confusion, the episodes I asked about in my previous comment refer to, of course, those of Stargate Universe.

  22. Have I been involved in some alternate Fondy timeline where I’ve always known what she looks like (and compliments to her parents DNA)? Maybe she used to make more regular appearances here? Perplexed. May still be a side effect from the ski lift fall.

    Riley – My journey to adult-hood was almost brought to a sudden halt after “one too many concussions” and swelling and bleeding occurred on the brain. No obvious side-effects, but my Mum encouraged me to colour my hair blonde just in case 😉

    What is odd is that I am actually co-ordinated – but was always a clumsy kid. Ask me to tumble, dance, swim, hit a ball – no worries, but as a kid I could trip over a line in the pavement or break a rib when sneezing. Then I received some amazing advice, “Have you tried concentrating?”. Brilliant!

  23. Safe journey – I’m sure you’ll enjoy Pratchett’s Guard! Guard!, I find the Watch books in his Discworld series to be his best – hilarious and insightful with terrific characters. If you’re in search of something with a bit more of a holiday theme, I recommend Hogfather – it’s very Pratchett.

    Merry merry and have a wonderful time!

  24. Please don’t take this the wrong way Joe, but as you are kind of hot in a mean, moody, Italian sort of way, I naturally assumed that you would have chosen a bimbette for a wife – all hair and teeth and legs that reach your shoulders, you know the type. Somehow, you have managed to escape this stereotype and found yourself a beautiful and from all accounts intelligent woman (who, looking at the photo’s, must have been 12 when she married you)! Congratualtions!!

    Living in southern England, I have forgotten what snow like that was like. I seem to recall as a kid, way to far back to admit to when, we had some of the white stuff that we could make snow angels in but now, thanks to global warming or that alien armada bombarding the earth with lasers and heating up the earth’s crust, we only get a dusting of icing sugar wet stuff. Forget the shoes, go out a roll around in the stuff, you lucky boy!!

  25. Hey Mr. M.,

    Some friends of mine were supposed to leave for Toronto this morning but their flight was canceled. I hope yours won’t be.

    And expect delays. The planes need to be de-iced and I heard there’s a line-up at the de-icing ‘station’.

    And Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 🙂

  26. I mean ‘congratulations’ not congratualtions. Congratualtions only happen after a night of pre-christmas revellry down at the kKingon Arms in St Albans, which of course I would never dream of going to – nasty, nasty place!!

  27. Happy Holidays to you and Fondy! Have a safe and joyful trip!


    Patricia Lee

  28. OMG now the Klingons have been taken over by the kKingon’s, I’m going for a breakfast fry up hangover cure all at Tony’s diner before I do some real damage.

  29. @Narelle from Aus

    Thanks so much. We’re keeping our fingers crossed tight!



  30. I did that same with with the shoe and the slushpuddle. Only it stayed on my foot, while the cold wetness seeped in around my ankle. Unpleasant.

    I’m fine with the snow part, and the everyone freaking out about driving (Funny story, apparently smart cars aren’t so smart in the snow) part, but the part I hate most about the Vancouver winter is when a) everything starts to go melty and turn into slush and b) when it warms up enough that it is raining instead of snowing but the drains are all blocked up with slush and you have a slush lake, which is always deeper than your shoe. Always.

  31. Fondy is truly beautiful. Thanks for sharing the pics. We all were wondering if she was “real” and not some left over prop you brought home. j/k One can never have enough boots. I am sure after this snow you will go buy yourself like 5 pairs. Just in case it snows again. 😉 Have a good holiday trip, I hope your not delayed. Merry Christmas Joe!

  32. Hey Fondy! long time no piccies! Geez lady I take my hat off to you for doing such an outstanding job of care in the community with Joe, I dread to think what state he’d end up in if he didn’t have you to keep an eye on his meds and the shock therapy. You truly are an amazing woman and absolutely gorgeous to boot. Keep up the good work I’m sure there’s an award in somewhere for you.

    Cheers *raises coffee cup*

  33. As usual my fingers work faster than my brain before coffee….hell everything works faster than my brain with or without coffee see what I mean? anyways you know what I mean I’m sure if not just fake it for crying out loud!

    *tries removing straitjacket with teeth*

  34. *ROTLMFAO* @ Narelle!

    I went blonde for similar reasons (camouflage, and to convincingly feign cluelessness when sh*t happens…) yes, I rolled off the dining room table when I was a bub and have never been the ‘sane’ since….

    Well, Joe – you did well scoring a doll like Fondy! Does she know you eat all that weird food? And she’s cool with it? Must be love then…

    All the best for the silly season – I’ll be thinking of all you Northern Hemisphere lot freezing your bums off, while I bask in 40 degrees of tropical heat in Exmouth West Oz…

    Shrimp on the barbie rules over turkey anyday! Ripper Boris!

  35. bonjour joseph!
    Vous allez bien? Moi oui trés bien =)

    Waaaouuuu Fondy est vraiment trés jolie!! Lol ah oui aimez vraiment l’asie ^^!

    Oui Noel approche, en plus c’est moi qui va préparer le dînner cette année, j’espere que cela sera bon lol.

    J’ai une question?

    A Montréal, dans la rue vous parlez français ou anglais?

    Passer une trés bonne journée! Bisou. A bientot.

  36. Pleased to meet you, Fondy.
    Wishing you and Joe having a great success and happiness for the coming year 2009. And ….. Merry Christmas !

  37. Joe,
    THE news here in VA says “Canada has been blanketed by snow storms from coast to coast” this true??By the way Joe you have a Lovely wife. She is pretty.

  38. A quick note to say “Merry Christmas” to all it won’t offend and “Season’s Greetings” to those it would.

    Thanks to everyone for all the cards and letters.

    Here’s hoping 2009 is your best year yet!

    Anne Teldy (medical update below; feel free to skip)

    A minor setback (two different bacterial infections running concurrently) has kept me offline recently as I can’t seem to gain any energy/strength back. Even though the infections — after temperatures hitting +103 twice — seem to be in check now, I’m still exhausted all the time. I’m up an hour or so and then sleep a couple of hours 24/7. Everyone tells me to sleep if that’s what my body says to do, so I’m not fighting it.


  39. @ dasNdanger

    Of course you do – lawren is a girls name!

    /me channeling River Tam *g*

  40. WOW Joe, *that*’s the one that puts up with *you*?

    Amazing. Who’d have thought. 😛


  41. Awww! Joe she is so cute and pretty 😀

    My wife is from the Philippines. I get a similar reaction when I show her pictures. Other than just looks, she is an amazing person and I don’t care if I lose an arm tomorrow. I will still feel luckier than the guy who won the lottery twice.

    We are two lucky men 😀

  42. Thanks for the photos Joe, they’re gorgeous. I love the last one, she looks really pissed at you. What did you do?

    @das & Christle – I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought Lawren was a girl. It wasn’t as much the name as the way Joe wrote about him. It wasn’t until he posted a photo that I knew I was so wrong. I felt silly so I didn’t say anything. Now I’m amongst friends I can own up. Sorry Lawren, me I blame Joe. 😀

    Cheers, Chev

  43. I wonder what bananas and cheddar popcorn taste like together? Hmm, what’s your favourite weird food combo? I don’t think I have one.

    With regard to the BOTM club I’d love to know what we’re reading this time next year. I might have it read in time. I’m sooo far behind.

    Cheers, Chev

  44. Hey Joe!
    I just wanted to pop into wish you and Fondy…and the pooches…a very happy Christmas and a safe 2009!
    Thank you for all the fun this year and good luck with your next adventure!

  45. *looks* Nice pics and yes it’s the same lady. You posted pics of Fondy before this.

    In Summary, Reality – it’s a bitch.
    Believe me, I know. And comes with a shrill unpleasant voice.

    Everyone have a safe & lovely Happy and Merry holiday(s),
    Brightest Blessings to you ALL.

  46. Hi Joe!

    Fondy is a VERY beautiful woman! But as someone else said we need proof that she is your wife! 🙂
    A couple of photos from your wedding would be great! With both of you on the photo! And where Fondy is a bride and you’re the bridegroom! At the same time! Please!

    Thank you!

  47. You lucky guy- Fondy has such a sweet smile that I found myself smiling back at the pictures. You must be smiling all the time! 🙂

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and happy and safe travels!

  48. Are we to assume that Fondy was a child bride?

    I can’t believe someone said that……

    Gonna be 28 deg C in our part of the world Chrissy day and we’re headed for the sun and surf later on in the day.. wouldn’t mind some snow JUST to see what a White Christmas is all about.

    Ever spent Christmas in hot weather Joe?

  49. @ Narelle: You’re not crazy – Joe used to post photos of Fondy, I remember what she looks like from then, too. I guess he musn’t have posted any for quite a while, judging by all the requests for pics. “Have you tried concentrating?”. Brilliant! Ah, you crack me up. That’s so funny, given your history, that you would be so clumsy but I guess the concentrating does make a difference!

    @ Anne Teldy: Take it easy and get better, matey. Merry Christmas to you.

    Bon Voyage, Joe! Have fun in the airport lounge.

  50. Wow, thanks for those pics Joe, it’s so nice to finally put a face to the name. Fondy is beautiful by the way, and I love the variety of her expressions in every photo. 🙂

  51. Hi Joseph, gorgeous pug! What province were you in during this terrible snowstorm? Cheers, Charlotte

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