Saturday, February 28, 2009

Egg Timer

If you spend lots of time on the net and sort of forget the soup on the stove or the fries in the oven as you surf around, here's a handy web app you might like. Might even save your house from filling with smoke. Just open another browser window or tab and click here, add the time you want tracked and hit enter. 

Jill's In Again

Alaskan blogger Jill Homer is in Anchorage for another Iditabike, 350 miles following the dogsleds around Alaska in the dead of winter. Good luck, we'll be following from a nice safe and warm distance.

North American Handmade Bike Show

I vow to get to this show someday. Custom frame makers, that should read craftsmen, gather every year to display their creations and are joined by the biggest and smallest names in the component industry. This is the first one that caught my eye, a singlespeed from Signal. Great colour  scheme.

Makes Sense To Me

Urine Test -- This guy has a point!!!  
This was written by a construction worker in Fort McMurray.  Read on . . . 
 I work, they pay me.  I pay my taxes, and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit.  In order to earn that pay check, I work on a rig site for a Fort McMurray construction project.  At any time I am required to pass a random urine test, with which I have no problem.  HOWEVER, what I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test.  Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them?    Understand - I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do on the other hand have a problem with helping someone sit on their fanny, drinking beer and smoking dope.  Could you imagine how much money this country would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?   
If you agree, please pass this along, or simply delete if you don't.  Hope you will pass it along though, because something has to change in this country, and soon.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Won't Say Another Word

It seems my forecast for the weather a few days ago has had the same effect I had on the Habs last playoff season. Not only are we getting more snow but tonight is supposed to go down to -27, -35 with the wind. Yea. At least it is light while I trudge along, makes me feel like I'm always late. The way things are going here in Tbay it just might not matter much longer. It feels like everything is collapsing around us.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On the Ipod This Week

Jude Cole:I Don't Know Why I Act This Way (***)
Genesis:Invisible Touch (****)
Sting:Nothing Like the Sun (***)
Audislave:Out of Exile (**/*)
Mark Knopfler:Shangri-La (**/*)
Tonic:Sugar (****/*)

It really feels like old man winter has run out of steam. Even the cold days aren't as bad and the snow predicted keeps missing us. It is so tempting to start riding every day, but I really enjoy the walks so maybe another week. Last year March 1st was the start of everyday riding so another week won't kill me. Down girls, soon I promise.

Monday, February 23, 2009

It's Official

Our passports arrived today so I guess we're actually going. An ex-Northwwod coach was dropped off at the shop today by a current Northwood coach to hand deliver our new documents. One is a cab diver and the other a substitute postman who figured no one would be home to sign for them so he took a little detour on his way to work, it always helps to have all those contacts out there.

I'm running an NHL hockey pool to help support the cancer ride. If you want to get in check out the link HERE


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Batter Up

I forgot I had this video from Brandyn's birthday party. Hats off to Amber who refused to carry out the violent act of beating on the defenseless pink bear. Keep the sound down as there is some howling when the Ginko and his buddy make head to head contact.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Not Me

I read this morning that one of Lance Armstrong's bikes was stolen from a team trailer at the Tour of California yesterday, yes one of the nice black and yellow models I recently said I wanted. No it wasn't me. I wish I was in California, not to heist the bike but maybe to see it fly by, and the weather might be nice enough to enjoy. 

Friday, February 13, 2009

School Day

While the kids were on a pd day I went to school. Bike Assembly 101 as they call it at Petrie's. I met Farzam at 8 and got into the first box right away, a Commencal 'Normal' mountain bike. He did most of the assembly, I listened and watched. Number two was another Commencal, the Combi-Disc. I did most of the work on this one as Farzam was busy with skate sharpening. When it came to the disc brakes I stood back and took it all in again, I hope. The third was another Normal and I did about 90% of that one and called it a day. Sal came by with cinamon buns that were a big hit.
I was very surprised that what comes out of the box doesn't just get slapped together, not at Petrie's anyway. The allen headed bolts holding most components are removed, greased and torqued. Wheels are trued off the bike and bearing hubs are checked for play and over tightening. Brakes and deraileurs have to be fine tuned. In the case of the second bike the chain had to be shortened. In all they spend a good hour or more on the stand being set up. Getting the wheels straight and bearings are the most challenging for me. The truing stand depends on hearing the wheel rubbing on an indicator and with my suspect ears, skate sharpening about 12 feet away and the off and on of the gas heater it takes a great deal of patience. Getting the bearing right is all feel. Not too tight, not too loose. All in all I had a great day.

Monday, February 9, 2009

First Trip to Mission Marsh

I spent a few hours with Farzam watching a few of the new arrivals being put together. I'm on the list to start doing some assembly so I wanted to see how they come out of the box and the steps to get them ready for the floor. I guess being around all those bikes and parts got into the system along with the nicest day of the year. I had to take a longer ride. I stopped in at home to grab the Vado and headed over to Mission Marsh with Eyowen. The cars aren't as close as they look and it really is that noisy going down the bridges.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

This Week on the Ipod

What I listened to this week. (album:artist(rating))
Walking has me listening to a lot of tunes so I decided to share a quick list and rating. 5*'s is tops and /* is a half. I'm in the process of putting all my cds onto a portable hardrive so I can listen to more. I never use the stereo system anymore, its either my ipod, sony walkman phone or on the pc.

Today's weather was a real tease. On the way in I was taking things off and opening vents within a block of home. On the way home I could actually see the white line on the pavement. Not the one in the middle, the one on the outside of the lane where I would normally be riding. It's getting closer.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Look Ma I'm on the TV

I can't say it was all bad but the process is frustrating at best. It all started a month ago when the company was asked to sign a petition requesting curbs, storm sewers and gutters on our crescent. Because of our location on the 90 degree curve in the road we face a huge bill for the added goodies based on frontage. The petition was successful as 14 of 16 property owners were in favour. The other nay was on the opposite side of the same corner. Here's where it gets ugly.
The petition form clearly states all rules must be strictly adhered to. One of those rules is that signatures for incorporated or limited companies must be beneath the corporate seal. Most of the property owner's signatures should have been topped off with a seal, none appeared. When we brought this to the attention of the city clerk he just waved it off as 'not a big deal, it's an old form'.
Next we asked how to appear before council to speak to them about our position that the tax to be charged would be unfair. We were told to put the request in writing. That was done in an e-mail (not my choice) and rejected. We were then told we had to explain the who, what, where and why of our position. We did that and it was allowed. Upon delivering the document the clerk's assistant gave us the outline of how to apply, prepare and deliver a deputation before council. Just a bit late. The day of the council meeting we checked the agenda online and there was another accepted letter that looked very similar to our original.
We were told that our submission would be distributed to members of council and they would have time to read it over so we were not to read it before them. I prepared a synopsis and delievered that, while trying to word in some last minute suggestions from another source. We were asked a few questions from an obviously unprepared council, dismissed and then had most of what we said negated by the city engineer. The other presenter (another issue before council) read his every e-mail and showed pictures and maps etc. If I had known a laptop was available I could have done something far more convincing. 
I had spoken to one of the two aldermen I know and thankfully he guided us through most of the process and asked questions and got the whole mess put back to the engineer for options to be presented later in the budget process.
Our position is that council is dicriminating against a commercial property. The provincial municipal act provides them a means of charging out the improvement but also has guidelines for reductions where frontage is not 'just and equtable'. They use one part of the act and then apply the 'residential only' term where they see advantage.  They say they have a written policy, which they can't seem to find. We say even so the policy is breaking the municipal act so it does not matter. The act defines a lot, and also defines a citizen. If they can discrimnate against one type of lot, can they then discriminate against one type of citizen? I think we know the answer to that one. Stay tuned...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Somebody's Messin' With My Scale?

Yes, I walked to work every day and pedalled 400km in January. Yes I stayed away from snacks some of the time. When I got on the scale this morning I was still expecting either no progress or a gain, especially after Super Bowl Sunday. I ate a few no-nos but rode for a the first half and a bit of the third quarter then had supper when Sal got home. So when the scale came to rest on 233 (or 7 pounds less than the last time I checked about 3 weeks ago) I have to say I did not trust it. I checked it was zeroing, flipped it over looking for anything that might be causing it to lie, to get me pumped up for nothing. I got back on and it was still the same. I'm going to stop in at Dr. Holtby's to check with a true scale but for the time being, yeehaw!

Speaking of the Super Bowl, I thought it was a pretty sloppy first half but the second half was actually good. The Cards had the game in hand and just couldn't hold on. Bruce and the E-Street band put on a lievly show, surprised 'Born in the USA' never made the list though. The biggest disappointment was watching the Canadian cut-in commercials. You'd think for the biggest day in tv advertising they could seel enough ads so that we wouldn't have to see the same 6 over and over again. The 'mericans get the best ads of the year and we get re-runs. 

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Complete the Set

For Christmas AJ ordered me a Livestrong hoodie and base layer shirt which I really love. Livestrong is Lance Armstong's cancer fighting foundation. Now if someone would be so kind as to complete the set with the matching bike I'd be ever so grateful.

January Recap

I managed to hit my biking goal for the month just topping 400k, 28% more than January'08. February will be tough to stay ahead of last year with only 28 days and 500+ km to mash. I'll weigh in tomorrow morning to see if all the pedalling and walking has made a dent in the 30 pounds I'm trying to shake. I walked every day to work and was only picked up for Brandyn's birthday and once for Dim Sum. The coldest days should be behind me. The sun is just turning the horizon pink as I head in and still up as I make my way home at 5, so spring is coming, slowly. Get ready girls.

I had a nice surprise to finish the month off as a long lost friend traced me down through Facebook. We've e-mailed and talked on the phone a few times in the last 30 years or so but I think this time we're going to stay in touch. Right Bear?