Monday, August 31, 2009

To commemorate our landing, here is a rock.

This week the Dutch National Museum discovered that what they had been given by the United States during a goodwill moon landing tour was really a petrified piece of wood, instead of what's always been known to be a moon rock.

I really don't know what to make of this one, but here are the choices:

a. The US never wanted to give a moon rock to the Dutch so they gave them a fake hoping they will never notice.

b. There is wood on the moon.

c. No moon landing ever happened, ergo no moon rocks. ( I know I'm going to get emails on this one).

d. Packaging error.

Occam's Razor says that I should pick the simplest one, so (b) it is!!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Toronto 2015?

With 23 public school pools on the chopping block, the Province of Ontario and Greater Toronto Area is somehow able to calculate that it has $1.7 billion dollars to pour into hosting the 2015 Pan Am games. Mayor Miller says they city is broke. And the province is running a $900 million deficit, not to mention the $4 billion loan to GM and Chrysler that has the potential of never being paid back if they don't survive.

So really the only percievable way this could happen is if a heck of alot more taxes and fees are on the way. Hmm, how about 30% increase in tuition to help U of T and the city build that olympic pool? And a city Sports and Arena user fee, kind of the like new garbage fee on top of what our city taxes are supposed to take care of.  Don't forget about the special security fee just to keep the citizens safe during (and after) the games.

I'm not opposed to the games being in Toronto, but as an over taxed tax payer I just don't want to fork out an additional penny to support these games. If Ontario and Toronto can afford it, it should be solely paid out of revenue that already exists. If the revenue is not currently there, then revenue needs to be created out of infrastructure or similar investments that will drive tourism and business. Even if that means waiting 10-15 years from now.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Auburn, New York

This weekend we're in Auburn, NY. It's a small town of about 28,000 people situated on the northern tip of one of the Finger Lakes known as Lake Cayuga. We had planned to day in the picturesque town of Skaneateles but our plans were a little last minute so most inns there were booked for the weekend.

A couple famous notables who hail from here are Wilard Bundy, the inventor of the Time Clock (i.e. Punch Clock), and John Walsh from the America's Most Wanted TV show. There's a pretty big and somewhat infamous federal prison here as well. The the Inn where we are staying is quite comfy and clean so there's nothing to complain about. Believe it or not, there is aTim Horton's here as well!

It's been mostly rain here so hopefully the next couple of days will be decent so we can tour some of the gorges and waterfalls. We're also making a special trip to Albany to visit and deliver some goodies to a niece who is starting college.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Toronto Island Airport Tunnel

In 2003 David Miller campaigned as Mayor and promised that if elected he would kill plans to build a bridge connecting downtown Toronto to the Island Airport. Miller became mayor and the bridge was never built. However, then bridge proponent and fledgling Porter Airlines still became successful without the bridge.

Now again in 2o09 the bridge debate and boxing gloves are being re-laced. And again between Miller and this time the Toronto Port Authority (TPA). The TPA is asking for Federal stimulus money to fund half the cost, and Miller is once again opposed.

I can tell you this. This summer I flew Porter Air to Chicago. It's a delightful and professional airline where people actually care about passengers. The Captain came out and invited my son to the flight deck (while still on the ground) and presented him with a signed postcard of himself, the co-pilot and crew. The airport lounge is civilized and very comfortable; free wi-fi, beverages, and snacks. Check-in for international flights takes 10 minutes because US customs is on arrival at the destination. Totally different experience compared to Air Canada.

So rather than supporting an infrastructure that fosters great Canadian businesses and services Greater Toronto travellers, Miller tried to pull a fast one and spend it all on streetcars. If I recall correctly, Miller supported the disastrous Toronto to Rochester ferry.

This should be an interesting fight, especially if Jack Layton and wife and councillor Oliva Chow get into it. But this time I wonder how many people will be listening to the guy who caused the garbage fiasco of 2009.

Apple Snow Leopard OS

On August 28th, 2009 Apple will make available it's next operating system called Snow Leopard. It won't be a total redesign like Microsoft OS upgrades, but rather significant refinement to an already an excellent OS.

I like what's changed, faster file searches for an already incredible "finder", smaller footprint (7GB of disk recovered), 80% faster backups, and leaveraging 64 bit computing technology. The latter means applications can actually harness theoretically limitless amounts phyiscal RAM at a time rather than swapping 4GB at a time like most 32bit OSes. In simple terms, way faster processing per clock cycle. But these are just a few way cool things to expect.

All this for a mere $35. No hardware upgrades needed either. Bonus.

When I compare that to the $109 Windows Vista upgrade, RAM and video card upgrades needed, I'm pretty sure my existing PC will be staying on Windows XP SP2 forever.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shin Splints

I knew something was seriously wrong when I started an easy morning jog today and all I could do was hobble, and ungracefully at that. It seems like time, age and most likely bad technique have caught up with me.

I'm quite certain that what was the usual minor strains, compounded into shin splints when I started running home from work with a backpack. Although the pack only contained my work clothes and shoes it was enough to change my natural running posture.

So for the next week, it'll be rest, ice, compress and some other type of cross-training activtiy. Them's the breaks.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is coming up fast, September 27th. I've been slacking with my Sunday long runs. Today was was determined to catch up to the schedule and do 30km. 

We'll I did it, and it was about the hottest day of the year in Toronto. About 35C. 3 hours and 32 mins., 3 litres of Gatorade and 2 packs of energy chews. 

How do I feel?  Baked and tired, but happy I made up for it. This afternoon Marissa wanted to go to Ikea and I followed along, hoping I wasn't going to pass out on one of the isles.  Their staple Swedish meatballs and gravy actually gave me some energy back.

Here's to a good night sleep.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Latte Drinking Left Wing Composters

I had a suspicion that during the Great Toronto Garbage Strike of 2009 my neighbors had been busily composting their kitchen scraps. In a urban city like Toronto, there is no need to compost unless you live in area zoned for farming (there are none).  Organics are picked up weekly and that goes to composting.  

Most people have no idea how to do it properly and it just turns out to be a gross and disgusting mess (think flies and maggots). I have first hand experience because I'm surrounded by neighbors who think they are doing the right thing but my nose says otherwise.

Most Torontonians have small backyards, so generally composting bins are placed at the back behind a shed away from nicer outdoor living spaces. This is already a bad idea because it's human nature not to spend a lot of time back behind a muddy shed. To properly compost one has to only put the right stuff in, keep it moist, turn it frequently, and aerate it. I know for a fact that this isn't done,  most people can't even maintain a lawn. The result is pretty much what rotten garbage smells like, yet they claim it smells "sweet".

Last week I got a whiff of some that made even my 4 year old son say "Ewwww!! What's that?!".

So do me a favor tree you hugging neighbors. Stop thinking that you're saving the planet by composting, especially if you don't have a garden. What are you going to do with this stuff anyways?  It's attracts raccoons and rats and really reeks. Honestly, you'd never find a Chinese person composting, it just makes no sense.