Yes it is Friday the 13th but who cares?

Nov 13 – Yes it is Friday the 13th but who cares? Port Dover does. It will be interesting to see how well attended the traditional Friday the 13th Bike Ride turns out to be, as generally speaking the weather is not the best, some roads in Port Dover are closed to all but local traffic due to construction and a November “Witch” is churning up Lake Erie and creating flooding issues along the waterfront. All in all, not a very conducive environment for the locals let alone the biker dudes.

Suspect this will be a very low participation day.

Way to go Melinda – My cousin Bonnie’s daughter Melinda is somewhat of a celebrity up in her neck of the woods Melinda lives with her mom and dad just outside Rostock – near Stratford. As fate would have it, Bonnie’s family lives on the same farm and in the same farmhouse that I grew up in many, many, many, many years ago. I think I remember it is referred to as Lot 22 (or was it 21?), Concession 10 Ellice Township. How’s that for an address? Try and find that in your GPS! I digress so back to the important stuff.

Melinda was featured in today’s (Nov 13, 2015) Stratford Beacon Herald for the launch of her third annual “Angels” calendar. “Third annual calendar by local artist Melinda Mulligan set for release.” The calendar will be officially launched next Saturday, Nov. 21, from 1-3 p.m. at Yesterday’s Things on Ontario St. (Stratford). If you are anywhere close by – go in and buy one (or more) and Melinda will personally autograph it for you.

Rostock-area resident Melinda Mulligan is set to present her third annual angel calendar featuring her original artwork. (SCOTT WISHART, The Beacon Herald)

In a world that features news and stories that always seem to depict the negatives or worst in human nature, this is a very positive and refreshing item. It is a nice article about Melinda and her artistic endeavours – please read it (and buy a calendar or two or three. . . ).

Congrats to you Melinda.

You can also check things out via Melinda’s Facebook page.

Barbarians – went out to Barbarians for a great steak dinner last night. It has been a “few” years since I had been there but the steaks were just as tasty as I remembered. Glad I was not paying though. The farm boy in me still goes into shock when I see an 8 ounce filet mignon on the menu priced north of $50! And, that 5o only gets you a potato with it. Everything else is plus – plus. Basically with a beverage, an appetizer, any sides and dessert, there is no way you are escaping without leaving at least a Borden behind.

Have to enjoy these meals now as they will not figure in my retirement plans.

On the Road Again – I hope. Had to take The Gold Rush in for an electrical issue last weekend. No biggie but I wanted to make sure it was a warranty covered item. All things being in place I should be picking it back up tomorrow (hopefully fully charged) so I can make the 30+ k trip back to base in Oakville. This should be a less “battery intensive” run as the wind should be at my back this time and I think a Burlington to Oakville run has more “downhill” stretches than the other way around. We hope!

Posted in General | Tagged , , , ,

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day

Nov 10Tomorrow is Remembrance Day, once known as Armistice Day, which should be an important day for all. The most visible manifestation of support for this day is the poppies on sale at a variety of locations as well as by Legion members and related service groups.


It is disappointing for me to see how many people who are NOT wearing a poppy. Hopefully this is a dress code issue and not a lack of interest, recognition, support or respect

WW ended 97 year ago so there are no veterans left from that conflict. WWII has now been over for 70 years so the number of veterans from this conflict is dwindling quickly. Korea is over 60 and Vietnam over 45 – not to mention the varied and sundry conflicts since then that while not as “extensive” still cost lives.

People of my genre mostly have one or more relatives who were involved in one of these two conflicts. My father was too “young” for WWII but my Grandfather was a WWI veteran who like most veterans had little to say or was reluctant to talk about what he went through in the war. What he did say though was enough to give some appreciation of the circumstances (he was a sapper in the front line trenches in Europe – one of the worst battlegrounds ever) but there is no way that anyone who has not been there can really appreciate the horror of what men (and women) went through and the memories the survivors brought back that they carried with them for the rest of their lives. Hence the debt we owe.

Buy a poppy, give generously and wear it proudly in recognition of those who can’t and never got a chance.

That’s it for today as this topic deserves single minded attention.

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month – take a minute!

Posted in General | Tagged , ,

Nobody’s talking

Nov 9 – Nobody’s talking. It is hockey season – everywhere except maybe Flint Michigan.

Flint firebirds

The OHL Flint Firebirds (get the GM reference) beat the reigning Memorial cup champions (Oshawa Generals) Sunday and then apparently the head coach and entire coaching staff were turfed. Maybe that is strange enough but the players took it one step further and all, including the owner’s son, turned in their sweaters and quit. No communications from the team since, their web has not been updated and they have a game coming up this weekend with the Sarnia Sting. So what’s up.

It seems that David Branch – never at a loss for words or an opinion and never met a mic he didn’t like is on route to flint to find out what the heck!

Keep an ear out for Bob McCown as David will like end up there for one of his numerous appearances.

What do you do if the whole team quits? No coaching staff or even a new one with no players makes the on ice a bit of a problem.

Leafs – As my Facebook / twitter readers know I was at the ACC Friday to watch my wings vs Toronto. Neither team acquitted themselves well. It had to be one of the worst games I have ever watched. It was like watching Ali fight himself with both of them doing the “Rope-a-Dope”. Fortunately I did not have to pay for my seats as I would have wanted a full refund and boredom pay if I had. The game was awful and as it relates to the Flint Firebirds situation above, both teams were trying to show how to play a game with no on ice effort.

A win is a win, but if I was Detroit, I would be embarrassed taking that one.

Ripped off – And, I freely admit it was my own fault. I had been working around the house and had my ever present Swiss Army jackknife in my pocket – and forgot about it – that is until we hit the scanner line at ACC. Like an idiot, I reported it upfront to the robot on duty who offered no grounds for consideration. It had to be confiscated as a dangerous weapon. No exceptions – he would not even call a supervisor. They also will not keep it and return it after the event. His suggestion – why don’t I go out and hide it somewhere and pick it up after the game! Brilliant – I go out skulking around ACC with the security out there looking for a safe place to hide my weapon! Doh!

Since I also had a fairly substantial metal ball point pen with me (which is apparently OK) I suggested to him that if I really wanted to, I could do as much if not more physical damage with the pen than I could with a simple jackknife. Did not care – knife gone – pen stays – have a nice day. Welcome to our current world where 60+ White Males are terrorist and mayhem threats and a simple penknife that everyone used to carry (farmer types anyway) is now a societal “no no”.

Reminds me of the time I triggered a security alert at Pearson because I forgot I had a simple “sample” box cutter in my carry on!

I suspect that the minions at ACC have quite the fun apportioning out their confiscated items.

Road Trip – Gave “The Gold Rush” a road trip Saturday. Had to have an electrical issue checked so I needed to get it back to the Retailer in Burlington. Weather looked like it would be OK so I headed off with a “full charge” around 11:00 AM. Cooler weather, wind in my face all the way, some fairly steep hills and a “big” guy on the bike. Was hoping I would make it before the battery died. Ran on “low” power all the way and kept a close eye on the battery indicator – not that I could do anything about it but . . .

Turns out it was over 30 k door to door and we made it safely. Not sure I would have wanted to or been able to go much farther under those conditions as the gauge was riding pretty close to the “0” – Empty line.

Interesting to see if I do better heading home – theoretically I will have any wind at my back and I think it is more “downhill – I hope so. The trip (on slow) took about the hour I expected.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , ,

Zapped by PRESTO

Nov 4 – Zapped by PRESTO – insidious little game. Due to the vagaries and infighting of various transportation and governmental agencies, there is not yet a universal GTA transit pass program. The PRESTO banner is leading the way and to all appearances has won the war. But, it has not made it into the full TTC network yet which was the final major holdout. A number of the surrounding and linked systems are PRESTO-ized, including Oakville Transit and GO Transit – both of which I use in addition to the TTC. My challenge is that I still need to deal with a Metro Pass since my Yonge-Eglinton office location does not have a PRESTO terminal on any of the subway entrances yet.

So, this morning I was wandering through the Union Station crowd in my usual daze. Union Station at the subway side has been mostly finished off and has a long and hungry row of turnstiles in the main entranceway. Many of which are now also equipped with spiffy new PRESTO terminals on their front ends. Anyway, I went to “swipe” through a terminal with my pass and did the lurch into the bar that did not move. I swipe again – no joy. Figuring I had an overly sensitive reader or a poor card I went to go around to the “Left” to the next turnstile and had my PRESTO pass in my ‘Right” front pocket. Close encounters of the Worst Kind.

The wonders of modern technology made the unintended connection with a bright green light celebrating to the world that I had made the connection and paid the fare – with the PRESTO card in my pocket! The TTC has hungrily sucked $2.80 out of my PRESTO account for no value and my good old pass worked just fine in the terminal (probably because I had it backwards in my first attempt).

Which brings us to another topic. Why can’t folks standardize on which way cards should face, or insert, or swipe and where and what the messages are. It seems like every payment device I use seems to have its own idea of the best way to present, interrogate and process payment events. Tim Cards point one way – Metro Passes the opposite! Hence my problem.

I have contacted PRESTO Customer Disservice to see if I can get my $2.80 back and was advised I have to wait five business days to hear whatever answer I will get. I will let you know.

End of Rant (EoR).

NHL – things are coming off the rails. Toronto beats a hot Dallas team with superb goaltending – Huh! C McDavid sidelined for an extended period with a broken clavicle – bye, bye Edmonton. C Price down for the count and so is the Habs winning streak. Rumour has it the players hate the 3 on 3 thing. Juries out on the new defensive zone face-off rule and the season is still young.

1922 – On this day in 1922 the entrance to King Tut’s tomb was discovered by Howard Carter with all of the stories, curses and strange deaths that went with it. The artifacts, especially the gold burial mask were amazing and have lead to a number of national exhibits as the pieces were allowed to go on tour. Tut came to the AGO in Toronto in 1979. 36 years ago. While I did not go to the Tut Exhibit while it was in Toronto, there is one thing that still sticks in my memory. This was in the early days of expanded merchandising for events like this and I still recall what I would consider one of the all time classic T-Shirts – the “Keep your hands off my Tut’s with two strategically placed Tut faces on the front of the shirt.

Tuts 1

Consider that as politically incorrect if you will but it was considered as very “risqué” at the time. Judging by the number and type of folks that wore them, I think the humour of the situation was well shared. Now, Tut is apparently coming back.

Posted in General | Tagged , , ,

I may have misspoke

Nov 3 – Mark it down as this past weekend I may have misspoke. A rabble rouser south of the border read about my chocolate excess supply (based on my 5 lb bar, my candy basket silent auction win and my lack of customers on Halloween. I only had 9 lucky Caramilk bar recipients (the basket had a box of 48 Caramilk I was trying to unload).

As a transplanted TO boy he asked about the continued availability of “Sweet Marie”, a bar (chocolate not liquid) that was one of my favourites as well

sweetmarie-candy bar

. It was “only available in Canada” you say. I blithely reassured him that it was and went out today to buy none (like I need more chocolate) to send him a picture and lo and behold, I am told that it is no longer available.

Introduced by Willard’s Chocolates in the early 1900’s, it ended up with Cadbury Canada, moved to Nielsen (George Weston in the 1990’s and subsequently got returned to British Cadbury sometime after that. So it is gone. You can theoretically order it online – but the CyberCandy store is currently out of stock.

The poor replacement for it is a Mr. Big which is a competitor for the O’Henry style bar.

So – Brian – there’s the update now I need to hear about this Sweet Marie song you were mentioning.

KC – World Series Champs – and who cares. How many can honestly say they stayed up until the wee hours on a Sunday night to watch for a potential win? I know I didn’t – either stay up or watch any. Apparently there was some drama in the 9th when Harvey talked his manager into leaving him the game – did not end well as a 2 – 0 lead ended up as a 2 – 2 tie after 9 and went into extra inning that NY then went on to lose. Little lesson there Mr Yost – you make the calls – not your pitcher and not the crowd. You had a closer all year – that is his role – why not use him!

It seems that the Canuck media also pulled a boner by announcing that the Mets had won game 5. They forgot to wait for the game to be over. Funny how the KC guys did that against the Jays in their series – in their case it was a minor “oops” whereas this one is getting a fair amount of US Media play. A Yogism – “It ain’t ovah til it’s ovah”.

Getting in the TV Mood – As the weather cools off and the nights become longer, thoughts turn to hibernation. Part of my winter hibernation plan includes lining up TV viewing material – series and movies. The series challenge is that I have now become disenfranchised with watching any show one weekly episode at a time. The concept of having a “stable” of series and stockpiling episodes so that you can sit down and watch three or four at a time is much more civilized. Especially if you download episodes and therefore avoid the hassle of having to fast forward through commercials. Does anyone watch anything other than sports “live” anymore?

Case in point – last Saturday we decided to watch some TV and picked Season 5 of Suits to watch. We had stockpiled the entire 10 episode season so we figured that would be good. Ten episodes later it was an Oh Oh moment as we realized we had burnt the entire show.

On my list of stockpile candidates that I watch and Jane doesn’t are:

  • Downton Abbey
  • The Walking Dead
  • Fear the Walking Dead
  • Vikings (if it comes back)
  • Reign
  • Ballers (a new one recommended to me)

We have a number of other shows we watch – the NCIS trilogy, Castle, Bones, Blue Bloods, Hawaii 5 O, Criminal Minds but are looking for some new candidates there as well.

Movies – are tougher as I have not paid any attention to what is hot and what’s not. Of course Martian is worth a watch and who knows if the Bond and Star Wars releases will become “available” Other than that I have no idea.

If someone wants some mindless plot and great special effects, I did watch San Andreas over the weekend and it was not bad for mindless entertainment. I have a few others that I have downloaded but am open to suggestions.

Posted in General | Tagged , , ,

Keep Me Away

Oct 28 – Keep Me Away – From Silent Auctions. We had another one at the office today and while I was off-site for the morning I had a proxy bidder in place with some specific general guidelines. Clearly he was out of control as I raced back in at the bell to realize I now had a second Doodle Bike under Moorehead management plus a monster basket of goodies which when combined with my previous shrewd purchase of a 5 lb bar will definitely tip me into a diabetic coma.

Basket c

This is what you can see from one side!

I keep telling myself it is all for a good cause but stop already!

Bye, Bye, Abbey – The local rag is reporting on potential plans afoot to redevelop the site of the “famed” Glen Abbey golf course into houses, houses and more houses. Coincidentally the owners of Glen Abbey – Club Links is also in turn owned by a development company – who in turn could do the development. Nice plan if they have been plotting this for a while. I have to believe that Glen Abbey has been a good money maker over the years with the aura of the Canadian Open around it, the fact that it is a Jack Nicklaus designed course, that it is a great course to play, convenient to a large number of people with fat wallets and corporate expense account. As it churned out the coin, the property it was sitting on has continued to escalate in value and now with that value to roll into nice pricey homes this can turn into a very fat payday for some already fat cats.

Not a done deal yet, has been talked about before, but this time things sound a little more serious. I am by no means a “golfer”, have actually played it a couple of times and would really hate to see it go as it has become an Oakville icon.

As if – I don’t have enough goodies as noted above, we need to head off to Canadian Tire and stock up on even more as this Saturday is Halloween. While I have no idea on how many critters will show up at the door, you need to be prepared for them. The “bad” news is that if you stock up and then attendance is a bust, you are now sitting with bowls full of candies and chocolate bars that you really do not need. Last year we had around 30 to 40 munchkins show up so we have to plan for that order of magnitude or a bit more so we will see what happens.

Hockey – Burlington also has those dreaded 5:00 PM practices which are a real challenge for working families. As an aside, Oakville did have them as well when I was involved but we set them as part of a rotation (not every week) and we put the Timbits on the weekends only – so no weekday 5 PMs. Apparently Ben (GK#1) has a 5:00 PM every Tuesday – not great. Anyway, Shaun could not make yesterday so I was voluntold to fill in.

Took off early and we picked up Ben and were off to the rink – Mainway. I had not “dressed” a kid for hockey since I helped Andrew a bit probably only at the then Minor Novice level. Ben is a 5 year old Timbit and it was hilarious to see the size of the equipment as he got all geared up. He wouldn’t need a hockey bag, a small sports / duffel bag would have lots of room for it all. Fortunately I still remembered what went on and in what order so in less than 10 minutes Ben was transformed into Number Four – Bobby Orr of the “Wilde”.

I did have a good chuckle and the old pro was helpful to the young bucks. As we were standing by the rinkside waiting to go on and I introduced myself and was chatting with a coach. The coach looks out to the ice – hardly scratched from the last group on it and says “we don’t need a flood – we could have an extra 10 minutes of icetime”. Ever helpful I tell him – So – go tell them you don’t want one and they will be happy to head back to the break room. He looks at me, wanders down to the rink rats and guess what? They got ten extra minutes of icetime – thanks to the wily old vet.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , ,

How quickly baseball fever dies!

Oct 27 – How quickly baseball fever dies! The World Series starts tonight but it seems to be sparking little or no interest in the GTA. No Jays – No Interest. Have to admit that I am not overly enthused either. Mets and Royals. Nothing like the old Yankee / Dodger battles. Besides, I have other choices now – NFL – NHL but no interest in the NBA Roundball starting up.

Jumpstart – Every year around this time we do internal Corporate fundraising for the Jumpstart charity. A great cause and we have fun with it – hence my 5 lb. chocolate bar from yesterday’s silent auction. I got a bit carried away at the auction as I bid on a number of items to “spur” activity and ended up with a couple. I’m good with that as they will make good Xmas gifts for the GKs. Since lily and Oliver can’t read yet, I can mention that I picked up a Doodle Bike for the Princess (hopefully it is big enough) and a Tonka Tricycle for Oliver! At 4 months I may be pushing him a bit on the trike so we may need to hold that off until next year. Got some other Kid stuff too so we will have to sort that out as well – can’t leave Ben out.

Now off to buy some draw tickets for electronic gadgets from my IT friends who have scrounged a bunch of prizes from their vendors. Given this is a draw, based on my past “draw” record I have basically “zero” chance of winning but what the heck – it is a good cause.

Sport Oakville – held our annual Sport Recognition Awards this past Sunday. I got to hand out about 300 medals, shake an equivalent number of sweaty little hands, poke fun at the Mayor and meet Melanie Hawtin one of Canada’s Panaparam basketball athletes who is headed to Rio for the Olympics – a very nice lady. Busy and exhausting process so I came home and crashed afterwards. A big thanks to my team who organized all this and made the event happen so flawlessly.

Fear – The Walking Dead – Part of my “crashing” was plunking myself in my office in front of my TV with my downloads and watching the first six issues of this Walking Dead spin-off. Bit of a slow build but it looks like it has potential – as long as Ghouls attract the general public interest and they work on the plot. Given that Season 6 (I think) of the parent “The Walking Dead” series is back on the air, it gives me a chance to stockpile some additional macabre viewing for those quiet spooky nights.

Downton Abbey – I also broke down and watched the first two episodes of the current and last season of this show that is now currently airing.

DA 2

Given this is announced as the final season (too bad), it will be interesting to see how they tie up a number of the ongoing plot lines or if they just let things fade away, I have watched two episodes, have two more in the bank and there will likely be a total of ten at most unless they do a final Xmas special as the final wrap episode. Need to ID some additional viewing candidates.

Need some challenging new series to replace some of the good ones that are gone or not announce back yet – like Sons of Anarchy, Vikings and The Newsroom.

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , ,