Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hey I'm an uncle again

This morning I became an uncle again, Jason Wong. Good stuff!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Childhood Nostalgia

When I was a kid my father got me a subscription to a wildlife picture card collection. Every month a packet of animal picture cards would arrive. On the front of each card would be a photo with pictographs/maps showing the specimen's habitat. On the back a detailed description of the animal. I thought they were beautiful then and still do.

The cards were stored in provided trays and indexed. As the cards came in each month I tried to keep up the sorting.

Today I found a company on the internet who is selling these original mint collections. There were other types of collections as well, e.g. cards, places and people.

I think my parents threw my collection out, I'll ask them tomorrow if they still have it but I doubt it. I was thinking this would be a nice gift for Aidan one day and me might appreciate it like I did. I'm tempted to order a set :-) Here is a link to the company just in case anyone is interested. It's amazing what can be found in the internet these days.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New World Fear

So I'm talking to someone in the office today and happen to mention the Taliban.  I can't even remember what the conversation was about. This person says to me, "Do you know what the Taliban really means?"

I say that my definition is the former ruling party in Afghanistan. But they say it really means "Student". I can't confirm or deny that, then I say that "Nazi" is short for National Socialism but that's not what people know it as. He then says that it's the media that has brainwashed us into using these terms. I couldn't agree more.

Then I tell him he should watch a movie off the net called "Zietgeist", which is about conspiracies (Christianity, 911, and the US Federal Reserve). But then he tells me "No way", I don't my IP address tracked.  He's serious about this.

I don't believe all the conspiracy theories but I do like them because they are in a way entertaining.  I have alot of fun talking about this stuff because people get so worked up about it. But what he said about tracking IPs etc, and all that's going on in this world today just goes to show how much our view of the world has changed since that fateful date.  As a society we are starting to believe that there is a big brother watching us. Sad.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Market makes one do desperate things

Usually I don't pay much attention when the price of gas at the pump goes up or down .10 because i figure "I need gas" so why worry about it.  Dollar cost averaging should work in my favor to net out the highs.

However after today seeing a 35% drop in unrealized losses in my RSP account I'm in a totally different mindset.  Tonight gas dropped below $1 per litre for the first time in a while. I threw my jacket on at 1am this morning and filled up the tank. Sure I lost some sleep but saved 11 bucks on a 57 litre tank.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lease inspection passed

It's almost time to give back the Mazda 3 to the leasing company.

The last time I leased a car (also from Mazda) I was unfairly dinged for $600 in incidentals, e.g. tire wear, door dings and bumber scuffs. I though it was pretty BS too because the dealer knew I was not going to lease another car from them.

This time I was prepared for the worst. That is because Mazda along with many other leasing companies began outsourcing inspections to an independant outfit called AutoVIN. I read alot about the terrible experiences that other customers had, $150 for every little nick and scratch regardless of what was deemed acceptable by the manufacturer.

Anyways I escaped unscathed, $0. But I did spend most of my weekend vaccuming the interior and buffing out the minor scratches around the doors. I admit the left side door had a couple of larger dents and the front grille was cracked but I guess the fact the dents did not break the paint was a positive consideration. I also found the inspector very courteous, fair, thorough and efficient. There wasn't anything I would consider unfair.

I doubt though that I will lease another car. Most likely because I don't like the scrutiny of the return inspection. Also if anyone has noticed most companies are doing away with the cheap leases. That's because at the end the period, the company's is stuck with a used car with ridiculously high residual value which in these days makes more sense for the consumer buy a brand new car for a couple thousand dollars more. For example, the buyout for my 2 year old car this car is $13,999 but you can buy a brand new one for $14,999.

The cheap leases have been replaced by ownership with 60 month payments, but who wants to commit to paying for a car for 5 years even it it only costs $300 a month?

I'm actually looking forward to the Subway.

Monday, October 06, 2008


In a previous post I wrote about the questionable safety of a rider and passenger on an eBike.

Today I saw a cyclist rear-end an automobile while riding up a gentile hill on Yonge Street (just by the Sony Center). I don't know how that happened but she fell off her bike and landed in the gutter. It was clearly not the automobile driver's fault at all but the driver did get out to help the cyclist. I don't think the cyclist was a regular bike rider given the way she walked her bike and the way she was dressed.

Later in in the afternoon I saw another eBiker ride up on curb and almost hit a couple of pedestrians.

I guess my point is, as more and more people find more creative ways to get to and from work there are going to be alot of new emergency room visits. I can't wait for the study on this one.

In November I plan to return my auto and take the TTC, I think that's pretty safe. We'll see.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Aquarium update

Some good news! Ammonia is down to 0 ppm. Fish seem to be pretty happy and hungry so that's good. 

We lost a Red Platy though, but I can't be sure if it was the other one or the Zebra Danio that pecked it to death.  Unfortunately we only have 1 Danio left which caused the lone one to become very aggressive to the point where I had to isolate it to another tank.

I bought a bunch of Neon Tetras. They are a good passive schooling fish and look nice against the real plants. I tossed all the plastic plants  and am trying to build a lush aquascape.  We'll see what happens.

Lastly, I have two new algae eaters. They are helping keep the tank clean but they don't like the limelight so we don't see them very much.