Monday, May 29, 2006

No Buses. Strike. Wildcat.

This is the note I saw in the elevator when I was heading down this morning to catch the bus and subway into work at a little after seven. Seeing as it was a little after seven and I had not had any coffee yet, my first interpretation of this note had something to do with bowling, and really bad beer. (Wildcat is the bad uncle used to call it "Panther Piss.") A couple floors lower I clicked in to the actual meaning of the note but didn't believe it. When I entered the lobby of my building and saw a similar note on the door I started to get a little worried. So, I asked a girl that was sitting there in the lobby if she knew if it was true. "I've been sitting here for fifteen minutes and haven't seen a bus."


Now I am sure that I am not the first Torontonian to blog about this, but for the sake of some of the people who stop by that are not from the Tdot, and for some like Sandra who I know are public transit commuters, I am going to give a brief explanation of what happened today.

Early this morning, union workers staged a Wildcat strike by blocking yards and not letting buses or trains out of their terminals, essentially shutting down the mass transit for all of Toronto, the biggest city in Canada and fifth largest in North America.

How did I not know about this? Oh yeah, I hate the news so I rarely listen or watch, especially on the weekend. And even the usual routine of lying in bed listening to morning radio was cut short this morning as I had to leave early. It's a good thing I did, too. I drove in and parked and had no problem. Some of the people on my team took upwards of two and three hours for a usual 30-40 minute commute. UGH!

And, it figures today is the first smog warning in Toronto. It was pretty gross, and I like the summer heat. At one point Kinch looked at the weather site and it said it was 42 degrees with the humidex. (That's about 110F for any Amarcans.) And, I swear it was hotter in the shade. That is the crazy thing here in the Tdot: on the sticky humid days, there is nowhere short of an air conditioned room that you can go to escape the heat. Like they say, it's not the heat, it's the stumidity. As if we needed another 500,000 cars on the road today, adding to the problems causing Global Coastal Flooding. They forced them back to work at about 3:00pm but a lot of good that would do considering everyone had already taken their car in today. Now the commute home has all these extra cars AND the fricken' buses!

But speaking of smog, today was a training day. Another brick. But, I couldn't bring myself to bike and run out in the blast furnace. So, I went to the gym to do it. There is good and bad in that. The bad is that I am not riding my bike, I am riding a stationary bike that is not set up the same and had bad pedals and probably a hundred other things that are not as good as a real bike. The good is that running on the treadmill gives me a chance to train at a constant pace and learn what that competitive pace feels like.

Enough of that, just thinking about it makes me feel like a marshmallow. My fan broke and I didn't go to the Tire today to get one like I'd planned. I think I'll go melt into my bed now.

The transit better be going tomorrow or I'm gonna... ok I got nothing, that was kind of an empty threat.

All for now,

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Global Warming? Sounds kind of nice.

This is the problem we face with an issue that has the potential to be disastrous world wide. Marketing.

I was talking about this with my family a few weeks back but I was urged to write about it after seeing this article via BoingBoing. It seems that even the President, (of the United States if you were wondering,) has admitted that there is a problem with climate change and has urged us to stop arguing about the problem and start implementing a solution.

You see, it is not that surprising that people don't take Global Warming seriously. As my Dad put it, "Who wouldn't want it to be a little warmer? Sounds kind of nice." Marketing.

Society has been doing this for a while when it comes to the "accepted label" for a variety of issues. Unemployment Insurance became Employment Insurance, short people are Vertically Challenged, bald people are Follicly Challenged, etc. These make sense. They try to show these things in a more positive light, or at least give them a name that makes people feel a little better about their situation. I know I would rather be Temporally Gifted than old.

Kidding aside though, Global Warming is not something on which we want to shine a positive light. There is a danger that a climate change on a planetary scale could affect major population centres. This is where we need to hit the masses, with the fact that people will be affected negatively. That is why I propose a new name for Global Warming. A new marketing campaign as it were. One that will cause everyone to stop and consider the issue and even what they might do about it.

Global Coastal Flooding

Now I'm am not big on scare tactics usually - I think that some politicians do too much of this to advance their own agendas or justify military actions - but I think this is something on which we need to drastically change everyone's outlook. What are people going to be more worried about: that it will be five degrees warmer at any point during a year, or that Vancouver, Seattle, and Los Angeles could be under water?

Global Coastal Flooding. Think about it. Spread the word. Write a letter to your MP/Governor/Congressman. Start to do something about this problem before ozone is just something they put into designer bottled water.

Or, move to Colorado.

All for now,

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Long Weekend!

Is over...BOO!

Despite being cold, windy, and sometimes rainy, I had a great Victoria Day weekend. (Or, as most people call it, "The May 2-4") Saturday was sunny but windy. I was over helping the Beast and Kaibob with some stuff in their garden. I just called them up on a whim as I was out driving around and visiting some of my favourite stores, (GolfTown, Chapters, Starbucks,) and Kaibob says, "sure come on over, we're planting!" They didn't actually work me that hard and we had a good dinner afterwards. Later that same evening we went out to Linds and Hopper's place to play poker with a bunch of the crew. I was short stacked for a while but eventually was heads up with Beast and we were about even. He ended up beating me with a pocket pair'o'somethin's.

Sunday was cold and not sunny. In fact it was rainy and windy and down right miserable for most of the day. I was supposed to go up and golf with Michael at Cardinal, the West Course, but we cancelled once we got there. Still wasn't a complete loss of a day because we went to TJ's for wings.

Monday was golf again and this time we toughed it out. Pastor Steve, the Roomy and I went to Rolling Hills, the Championship Course. It was cold, windy, but luckily not raining. I didn't golf well at all but like they say, "A bad day golfing is better than a good day working." Incidentally, the Roomy beat me and PS both by two strokes...but I am not telling you what we shot.

Tuesday I took an extra day off. And what did I do on this extra day off? I golfed! I went up to Woodington Lake. It is a beautiful course up in Tottenham, (about an hour outside of Toronto.) When I got there I asked if they could get me on since I was by myself. The guy in the proshop says, "I think we can squeeze you in. The last group went off about 45 minutes ago and the next booked time is an hour from now." It was awesome. Like having my own private golf course. And despite not having any witnesses, I still didn't shoot very well: 97. I blame it on the fact that it was my first time there and it was still a little windy. I'm not too worried though. I'll be in shape for the Hargreaves Golf Classic, of which I am the defending champion.

So, even though today was the first day back at work, nothing was going to ruin the mood I had going on today. Lots of golf. Lots of sleep. Good times with friends. First day of work on Wednesday when they are kicking us out at noon on Friday to move us to a new floor. All of this makes for one of those bubbly, cheery, don't-you-just-want-to-smack-the-grin-off-his-face moods. Not even losing our second ball hockey game 4-1 can kill it. I kind of think I'd better go to bed so I can wake up the same way. I do feel a little bad because the Magazine Man is in the opposite kind of mood. Seems a little upset about the birthday this year. Something about middle age. Maybe I'll send him a big grin to try and snap him out of it.

Then duck so I don't get smacked!

All for now,

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Back in the saddle... er, net.

Tonight saw my return to net for the start of the 2006 summer ball hockey league. It was my first competitive game since 2000.

That was back before I hurt my ankle and when I was somewhere in the range of 210 to 215 lbs. That was by no means my heaviest, (I made it all the way up to 240 after I hurt the ankle and got a desk job,) but the team I was playing on back then did call me the Buddha and rubbed my belly for luck before each game. That was a fun time. We came out every week and gave our best effort and lost almost every game. We did have a great time doing it though. We were playing with some good friends and even made good friends with the convener and sometimes ref in the league Peter. Before our first playoff game that year, Peter comes into our dressing room and Beast looks up and asks:

"So, what the word on our chances."

Peter responds, "Well, I've heard Slim and None. But, Slim left town."

He didn't mean it as a shot, in fact it got a laugh from everyone in the room. See, the thing with these kinds of leagues is everyone makes the playoffs, but the last place team has to face off against the first place team. Our goal differential for the other times we'd faced this team in the season was around -150, (or was six years ago.)

Tonight was a different story though. I got out the equipment and loaded up the bag. I discovered I need a new bag. I put the new cage on the bucket, (that's helmet for you hosers in the US ;) I taped up the new stick. I get to the rink and donned the armor for battle, and realized that 35 lbs. makes the armor fit a little looser. But let me tell you, I can move now. We faced off against our rivals. We played hard for the two stop time periods of the game, (two not three, I think it's a ball hockey thing.) We lost 2-1.

Ok, so it wasn't a completely different story. I didn't feel too bad about this loss though. Half of our team just met tonight. We didn't have enough guys for a full bench, so they put some individuals that signed up for the league without a team with us and despite that, we played well together. The goals I let in weren't too bad either. One long shot that I was screened so I didn't see it until it was almost past me, and the second one I went down a little early thinking wrap around and he pulled back and picked the corner over my shoulder. Plus, Beast says he knows this team from last year and they beat his team in the semi-finals of tier one or two. We are supposed to be in tier four, so it may turn out that they are one of the better teams.

I just hope the shot off the inside of the foot doesn't hurt too bad tomorrow.

All for now,

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bricks, two stacks of bricks

That is what my legs felt like.

Tonight I did what they call a brick training session. It is a simple way for someone doing their first triathlon, (like me,) to get used to the feeling of getting off the bike after a hard ride and immediately going on to run several km. So, now I know the feeling.


Doesn't seem like such a strange name for a training session now. See, the problem lies in the way your legs are used for each of the bike and running disciplines. When you ride, you generally push through the power stroke on the pedal. Granted, with cycling shoes that clip to the pedals, (which I have,) you can get a good push over the top and even a bit of lift on the up stroke, but for the most part your legs are pushing in a circular motion. Then you get off the bike, put on your runners and try and switch your legs to more like a swinging, pounding motion. (I am sure there is a better way to describe that but I can't come up with one right now.) Making that switch is a fight. I almost tripped over my own toes a couple of times in the first km because I didn't feel like I could get my feet up off the ground.

Once I transitioned fully into running mode however, I felt pretty good. I did about 14km on the bike and then a 3km run and I didn't feel winded at all. I am still working on picking up my pace a bit on the run but I think I can do it because I felt like I had lots left in the tank today. My pace was off a bit due to fighting the bike legs, and due to the wind being mostly in my face on the first two thirds, uphill portion of my run.

I have to remember to order no wind for race day.

All for now,

Friday, May 05, 2006

Ok, one more!

I have to do one more Retrans. (I am hereby coining my fun as Retransing: the act by which one translates text to a foreign language and then retranslates it back to the original language using an online translation program.)

Here is a favourite song of mine. If you guess it first, you get a prize. The [something]'s are parts that actually got stuck in the foreign language. I find it strange that it could go from English, but there was no available translation back.

Also, if you see the Ohio state and think that might be a clue, think again. I have NO idea where that came from because the song makes no reference to Ohio or any other of the 49 United States. Baffling.

The light/write you go out, I rescue ask,
defend and when me trying the fact
that it re-arranges, me my knee,
can in order to put me in Ohio state which I ask sing.

Coming out of the fact that it is not said,
you shoot the apple trouble and my head
which cannot show from [something]
which it waits because you are domesticated separated and sing

Certain. Certain. Certain. Certain.

It does not stop confusion under any condition.
The wall of closing and the clock which builds [something] sound,
returning, taking the house it goes.
Now having known be able to stop me, you sing.

I was denounced my sea of remedy
of the sickness, in the opportunity
which is let escape the part,
or to be, me you divide and start, sing.
[whoa, this verse actually rymes!]

Certain. Certain. Certain. Certain.

And it compares what.
And it compares what.
And it compares what.

Certain. Certain. Certain. Certain.

When you think that I would like to go, the house house.
When you think that I would like to go, the house house.
When you think that I would like to go, the house house.
When you think that I would like to go, the house house.

Nice! If you know the song it actually sings along quite well to the original music. But now I promise I'll stop,

For today at least.

All for now,
[yes, when I retrans my name it comes back as Cabin...go figure!]

Web sight of my present taste

I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but there is a website with which I am - I can't think of the best adjective here, I'll go with - enthralled. This website is Altavista's Babelfish. This is a useful site for some quick translation work. I have used it several times when I come across a tidbit of information in other than my native tongue, or if I need help with my rusty high school French, like when I got my new bike. The bike was made by a small company in Quebec and the manual is only in French. Some of the more technical terms were escaping me and I didn't want to read, "Proper use of this bicycle requires one to X" when it actually read, "You may die if you try X."

But, there is a much less useful, but much more amusing way to use this wonderful tool so generously provided to us by the folks at Altavista, (by Overture Services, Inc. Owned by Yahoo, (don't they make a search engine, too?)) The hilarity of which I speak is accomplished as follows:

1) Type any English phrase, (or short paragraph,) into the Translate box.
2) Select a foreign language for translation purposes and receive the result.
3) Copy the result back into the Translate box and go back to English.
4) ROFLYFAO (which of course is roll on floor laughing YOUR friggin' ass off)

I can seriously spend upwards of tens of minutes at this, (I was going to say hours but I am not that big a nerd...shut up JWE.) I usually fall back to song lyrics and then try to sing the result along to the music, or I come up with challenges or insults that I can then send off to various friends/enemies. I find the Asian languages work the best, probably because their syntax is so different from English.

Here are some examples using what should be familiar text:

Humpty Dumpty was put in the wall
Not too bad here
Humpty Dumpty passed falling which is large
um, kinda losing me here
As for the person of the horse or all kings of all kings
ok, it's gone
it was not possible for the second time to assemble Humpty
Hey, we brought it back, although it no longer rhymes

Here is a song. Bonus points if you know what it is before seeing the answer, (which I have "hidden" later.)

Keep accompanying me in circumstance.
Keep accompanying me in crowd.
Certain peanut and popcorn buy.
If I return, you do not worry.
We in order to become fixed, become fixed in order to support the foam. [??]
If they do not win, that is shame.
Because of that with you of one and 2 are three assaults which is old circumstance.

And finally, a tongue twister with a unique...ok, twist.

Peter's Piper chose peck of the pepper which makes the pickles.
When it chooses peck of the pepper which makes the pickles which have peck of Piper which makes Peter's of the pepper where Peter's Piper is chosen pickles.

Wow. Ok, I should go to bed before this gets out of hand.

For the present entirely,

ps. here is the answer, (highlight this: [Take me out to the ball game])