Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Imagine if as voters we had as many good choices in any level of government that Steve Yzerman and his crew had when selecting Team Canada.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Source of Energy

I witnessed the exchange of at least a dozen Snuggies (4 million sold in 3 months) or their clones the Slanket, the Nuddle, the Cozies, the Cuddlies (who knows how many more!) over the holidays. Across North America there is a new, cheap source of electric power. Just hook up a battery and every time grandma heads off to the kitchen or bathroom the static discharged by the removal of the 'blanket with sleeves' could power a tv through the next commercial break. Better yet, we could power up all those Slap Chops into Zap Chops. The next twist in the viral blanket market is expected to be 'team' Snuggies, I can't wait for the Bears version. When the Leafs Snuggie comes out they'll have to open a new factory solely to produce enough cheap blue fabric to keep up, we can just forget about wind, solar and hydro-electric power. Save the Norwesters, buy your neighbour a Snuggie and a case of beer.

I went to Petrie's early this morning and assisted in the making of two new wheels for Molly. Gone are the rusting, heavy, steel rimmed originals. Now with aluminum rims, new hubs and spokes she'll be more reliable, lighter and have brakes that work. Time to strip off all the components and give her some new paint.

Had a nice dinner with Mike, Mel and the Merciers last night. Then went back to their place to witness the miracle in Chicago on the high-def big screen. Me in my Payton jersey amongst a family of Viking fans. It worked, guess I'll have to wear one for every game.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas '09

Another Christmas is upon us, complete with snow, rain and wind. Sal is busy making cabbage rolls for supper tonight. No not the M&M heat 'em ups, the boiling and rolling real deal. There's even a special batch with caraway seeds for me. I think I'm going to keep that girl.

Our Christmas Eve plans were altered slightly by the weather. Instead of making the trek to Blake Hall (the big gym as Ginko calls it) we all rerouted to my sister's place. Everyone had a great time, especially all the little kids who just don't get together often enough. Thanks for saving Christmas sis! The two hams in the pic were inseparable all night.

Fingers and toes are crossed around town hoping that flights will come in today as Mike & Mel are scheduled to arrive this afternoon. Spending the day in an airport would really be a downer.

I'm all set for cold weather walking or riding, Sal got me a sweet hat.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Honey, It's Mr. Ballard

A 15km ride on Ethel tonight got my total for 2009 to 6000km, nowhere near where I wanted to be. Lots of excuses but none that are really valid. I'm not going to set any wild goals for 2010, just keep riding and see where I end up.

At the next LMHL meeting I'm going to make a motion that referees pay per game is cut in half. Hell they get so much help from the parents and coaches I'm not sure why they get paid at all. I witnessed a Novice coach on Monday that was unbelievable. Referees call a game that turns into a circus a 'gong show'. This guy was a one man gong show, bellowing from the drop of the opening faceoff to the end, at the refs, his kids and nearly at the opposing fans. His team won 4-0 and I swear the kids on the other team were afraid to score. They probably had friends on his team and didn't want them to get yelled at. I wouldn't be comfortable with him coaching a  teenager nevermind a seven year old. At the end of the game I looked over at a grandfather I recognized and we both mouthed the word, "WOW". Yes the Leafs brass is watching your every move and the phone call is going to come, just make sure you are the loudest thing in the arena.

Brandyn was here last night and he read me a story before bed. He needs some help on new words and rushes through but he is reading extremely well.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Great Party

The annual Northwood Christmas Family Skate was a huge hit with the kids and parents. Three hours of skating, lots of baking and munchies, prizes, music and no injuries. And to top it off the raffles for Crosby jerseys and signed t-shirts raised $400 which is being donated to the George Jeffrey Children's Centre.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Long Christmas Break

After a hectic day trying to tie up lots of loose ends I'm of until January 5th. This will be my longest break from work in years. Today I was doing deliveries, relining some shoes for a ship that has to sail, packing 3 skids of returns along with normal phone calls. It's not busy but I was. The day went by fast, just what you want on the last one before a long stretch of time off. Since I don't have to run around trying to find last minute Christmas gifts it will be a real relaxing couple of weeks.

I got an extra couple of games in at Neebing last night, young timekeepers are bailing on assignments at the last minute. AJ and Sal had a little miscommunication so we ended up running out of time. AJ had to be at Norwester school by 5:45 (we were just getting to the airport at 5:35) and I had to be at Neebing for 6:30. I hiked in from Highway 61 in lots of time but sweaty from my partial walk home from work and then the 3.5 km to the rink. I took off my inner layer and wind breaker, and then froze for 3 hours. Shivering keeps you awake on the clock. Had a great night without any problems and even helped a former Northwood coach avoid some serious suspension trouble.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

RC Hockey

I often wonder as coaches and parents try to direct their players or children on the ice or diamond, whether A: the kids even hear them or B: if they have any clue what it all means when they do hear it. "You're too high", "push it up", "bring it home", you're too deep", "move into the hole". All terms that have been around the game forever but the kids haven't. Instead of letting them learn to play by making decisions they often spend too much time trying to figure out what dad/mom or coach is yelling about. They're not remote control toys.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Impreza Puts Fun Back Into Driving

I guess too many years with vans, suvs and trucks had made driving a chore. The Dakota went back today so the Impreza becomes the number one ride. (Easy girls we're talking cars here). I've always liked smaller cars and most specifically the imports. It handles like it's on rails, has a very peppy 2.5 engine and best of all during the cold snap, warms up rapidly. It's a blast to drive around town getting things done, small enough to park quickly and easily.

We have almost everything ready for Christmas. The tree is up but not yet adorned with lights or baubles, guess I'll tackle that tomorrow. I'm looking forward to a good long break.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Putting on the Layers

I started walking to work as soon as the snow fell. The last few mornings have been pretty cool but I just keep adding layers as the mercury disappears in the bottom of the thermometer. I got called in to do a couple of bantam games on Wednesday. The older divisions get two man timekeeping crews so the pace is pretty relaxed, at least until the ref starts doling out misconducts like Santa hands out candy canes. Met and worked with a very nice young LU student who plays junior hockey and timekeeps for some extra cash. Got to work at the Gardens so it was even warm.

Got up at 6:15 this morning and AJ was studying. Looked like he had been at it a while, empty mug beside the desk and instant coffee jar on the counter. He's getting serious and what I've seen of his marks it's paying off.

A combination of stat days, holiday remains and workshare days leaves me with just 3 more days of work before the New Year. Hopefully it warms up a touch.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The New Ride

With the lease on the Dakota running out (finally) next month we started seriously looking for a new vehicle. I wandered across the street last Thursday to the Subaru dealer and ran into one of the mechanics who is a really good customer. He towed me through the shop and located a salesman, before I knew it I had an overnight test drive. The '07 Impreza 2.5 Wagon is the perfect size for me but I wan't sure about Sal who is accustomed to riding higher since all we've had in recent decades has been a van or truck. I went for a long test ride before she came home from work and found the newport blue pearl all wheel drive had everything we need. Better gas mileage, super reliable, fun to drive and not bad looking (even if AJ doesn't agree). Once Sal got home we took it out and to my surprise she seemed to like it. I did some online research and was impressed by everything I read. I took it back Friday and made arrangements for Saturday morning and we finished up the deal. The car was traded for another bigger Subaru the day I first walked over, has only 32000km and we got a bumper to bumper warranty through 2014 so we'll know our vehicle costs every month.

The Northwood kids and parents (210) all took in the Thunderwolves game last night and they had a blast. The game was lost in a shootout but by then they were all ready for bed anyway. I talked the team's management into a moment of silence before the game for the player that passed away last month and every kid is now wearing a decal with her number on their helmets. We found one good picture and a dvd of one of her games after the family requested a picture of her in her hockey gear. The team pictures were taken 2 weeks too late.

Rather than posting hundreds of pictures here I opened another blog called Travels with a Tailwind for rambling about flight simulator.

No I haven't posted my food intake, that just didn't keep me out of the fridge. But I have tapered it and started walking and riding Ethel just about daily. Control seems to be returning.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Goosenecks State Park

Oh Ethel... I haven't missed you. I'm determined to ride 20km every day in December and like someone hit the big switch in the sky, snow. I bolted a saddle to Ethel and hopped on for another 5 km to make my daily quota. Listening to an MP3 book that makes walking a breeze but just doesn't cut it when pedaling somehow. It's going to be a long winter.

Thunder Bay in Flight Simulator with the Tile Proxy utility running from Yahoo Maps