Sunday, August 29, 2010

People Are Strange

I have been mailing last year's parents once a month since April and then more frequently as registration filled up, even had a running line on the % of capacity on our website. I called the coaches and left messages for others that I hadn't heard from. We hit 100% of capacity Friday evening, went over by 1 and then had a space open up and got back to full. This morning two of last year's parents called saying "I understand you are full but...". But you didn't have 5 minutes to do an online registration, heck I've filled out a half dozen of them for those that at least bothered to pick up the phone and call. As much as I hate saying no I can't risk taking too many kids and then not having enough of everything, ice, equipment, coaches and so on.

Sal and I went for our (just about) weekly Sunday morning ride, or as we call it 'destination Timmy's'. I was back on Eowyn after not riding her for a week, sure felt odd. A few handlebar tweaks and she's good to go. Farzam and I are dreaming up a new bike we will build (at least in our heads) over the winter. I'm hoping for a Rohloff 14 speed internal hub. One of the best engineered parts you can get for a bike it gives you the equivalent gearing of a front and rear derailleur system with 27 speeds.

View Track 8 in a larger map

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Can You Heimlich a Choking Horse?

Dear Direct Energy,
A few years ago I made the mistake of falling for the horror stories of impending doom as told by one of your door-to-door youth movement clones. With his help, fears that the price of natural gas would spiral ever upwards blossomed in my mind.  I would be facing monthly heating bills that a horse couldn't swallow without being assisted by the heimlich maneuver. So I signed up and 'locked in' those great prices you offer as a supplier of natural gas. Last year I read the price was dropping, you offered to renew my plan with just a modest increase. I declined. After 7 months of equal billing at a savings of $16 per month without your assistance, I received four straight bills of a whopping $5 each. Then I got my end of year settlement invoice from Union Gas and received a CREDIT of $214.
I know last winter was warmer by comparison so Mother Nature gets at least part of the credit for lower bills, but I didn't move to Vancouver. I pity your customers that simply resign and then sit back smiling when they open their bill thinking they have outsmarted someone. Actually, they have.

With your special locked in pricing

  • January 2009 Gas Used 664 units - $329.29 added to equal billing plan

Without your special locked in pricing

  • January 2010 Gas Used 640 units - $147.39 added to equal billing plan
  • 3.61% less gas used and 55.27% less cost

To summarize, it wasn't that warm, thanks for nothing and keep the clones away from my door.
Yours truly,
Outsmarted but learning in Thunder Bay

Monday, August 23, 2010

Faster Than Expected

New carpet is in. Sal just couldn't wait to put the vacuum to it. Project one is nearing completion, only about 300 more to go.

That New Carpet Smell

Since Behr Ultra+ (paint and primer in one can!) has virtually no scent, the house is beginning to smell like new carpet. Quickly checking the progress I'd say another couple of hours before the installation is done. Then we get to start moving back in. we're going to leave out things like the stereo equipment we never use and the 100's of cds. The living room will be a bit sparse for a while. We could have saved ourselves a bit of work by leaving the nailed edging in place, a real chore to remove. Later we'll be going for supper and then to look for a vaccum.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Second Coat

Well the 2nd coat went pretty well, other than being blinded by staring at painted/unpainted walls for another 8 hours. Everything evened out with the additional coat and I'm not even crabby anymore, well maybe a little.

Hockey is going well, 93% full. I called a few of the coaches who haven't singed up just to be sure they weren't just being lazy and then expecting a spot. Almost every eligible player from last year has registered so I guess that's enough of a 'keep it up'. The new phone makes a contact list a breeze. It syncs with google so whenever I add or edit a contact in gmail, my phone gets updated. Far easier than trying to type them all in again on the screen.

I hit 53 tomorrow on what should be an interesting day with both the carpet guys and Shaw guy working in and around. Funny after getting over the 50 hump another year is just that.

I seriously need to go for a ride!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Live Painting Updates

9:59am - nooks, crannies and crevices of hallway cut in, Coldplay on the boombox and apparently I'm crabby
11:54am - half the living room edges cut and I know why I'm crabby, PMS or Painting Man Syndrome, John Mayer on the box
1:33pm - lunch break, Sal brought dim sum, just about done with the brushes, Payl Carrack supplying the distractions
2:29 - break out the rollers, finally some progress, Michael Buble crooning on the box
3:15pm - hallway now has one full coat, Train making the noise
3:54pm - two walls done, Crowded House on the box, running out of steam
4:41pm - another 30 minutes should finish coat 1, just can't wait to get up and do it all over again tomorrow
5:08pm - one gallon behr ultra & one coat done, Led Zep taking us home, time to clean up and chill for a bit

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dear Brett

Borrowing from one of my favourite bloggers I am posting an open letter, to Brett Favre.

As a long time Chicago Bears fan I hated you with a passion for years. Your success generally meant the Bears did not fare too well. In the 13 years you spent at the helm of the Packers the Bears took the division only 3 times. You were easy to despise as the gunslinging leader of the opposition in football's oldest rivalry.

Then after a successful season in 2007 you announced your retirement. Every sports channel reviewed your long and stellar career. The clips showed you as a cut up on the sidelines, it really looked like you were playing for the fun, the sheer enjoyment of the game. I really got a laugh from your Keith Jackson impersonation. Somewhere in my mind hate turned to admiration of an old guy who paid his dues, made good and then said goodbye after one of his best seasons with a youthful, surprising team. I think the game in 2003 where you lit up the Raiders a day after losing your father softened the grudge I had held.

And then the rumours started. Would he come back for another season? You toyed with the notion, to the point of turning the team where you made your name into traitors because they wouldn't take you back. They decided not play your little game. They named their new number one, their future. You signed with a mediocre Jets team, just for fun, and 12 million. You got the Jets to an 8-3 record with your record setting arm (most touchdowns) before the tailspin began because of your record setting arm (most interceptions). Yes you were hurt, but that's what happens when you get old. You managed to play the game again with the Vikes last year, were hailed as a saviour but still came up short in the end.

Here's an idea for you Brett.  You want to go out on top, that's obvious. You can't give it up after last season, losing in the playoffs, your last play an interception. So when you have that game that has everyone saying 'he's still got it', retire in a blaze of glory (ie. last minute hail-mary against the 49'ers). Don't throw away what respect your fans and fellow players still have for you. You have your rings, your championships and your millions. Go play with your kids and let someone else play football.

Birthday Plans

What do I want to do for my birthday I was asked. I guess I should have said leave the country or ride a bike a 100 miles. Instead it will be new carpet, phone and internet day. Which in turn means I have 3 days to remove the old carpet and paint the living room. Oh Happy Birthday. It will all be worth it but I can't wait for Tuesday.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Morning Ride

Sal and I got out for another Sunday morning ride. It was so nice and cool with a welcome headwind. We went along the bikepath and wound up at Timmy's out by Thunder Bay Mall, our longest to date. Sal even wanted to do some exploring in and around Parkdale before heading back. The way home was littered with more pedestrians and dogs on the bikepath so we went to Petrie's for a bell, for my bike. Molly has become my 'old man' bike. She's set up for easy, comfortable riding on Sunday mornings so I guess a bell was a necessity.

note to Timmy's: get some longer straws!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Doesn't Feel Like Hockey Season

I spent the morning at Petrie's pricing hockey equipment, a new experience. Now if there was just room to display it all.

I rotated my collection of bike parts a bit giving Eowyn and Molly different sets of handlebars. Just like having 2 new bikes. I'm still deciding what I want to work towards. I'm thinking a singlespeed 29er like the Felt Solo9.

I finally finished the Quest 2the West blog. A few things slipped through the cracks but it's done.

Northwood is sitting at 60% capacity. I may not even need a walk-in registration. One downer is our first day on the ice (wish I was there right now!) is the same day as the Caribou Charity Ride so that's probably not in the cards for me. Just too many things going on first day to spend it riding. Can't wait to see Ginko out on the ice. Wendy just called and Conquer the Dog is a no go also.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Here It Comes

Hockey season is coming at me faster than a transport on the other side of a narrow highway. I'm at 55% of capacity for registration and our first ice is already scheduled. Ice rentals went up more than $13 per hour with a slight increase and the addition of HST. I raised our registration price by $10, dropped the credit card option (was costing about $15 per player) and the cheaper fundraising option. If they want to save now they work first and then get the credit. I put up an online form so people can still sign up online and that seems to be working well. I get an email seconds after they register and then send them an email to confirm. Pretty slick and doesn't cost a dime.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

By A Whisker

After some gathering of goods for the diabetes pickup this week we headed to Mom and Dad's for supper and alleys, a new game they have which is played on a board the same as tock but with dice rather than cards. The score remains deadlocked, scotch drinking men 2, slush drinking ladies 2.

On the way home a deer decided to play chicken with us. I was following a pickup hauling a boat (with 2 kids riding in the bed!) about 6 car lengths back. Sal made a noise and then the windshield was full of brown. I tapped the brakes and twitched the Impreza to the right and missed the tail of a huge buck by a whisker. He nearly got hit by opposing traffic as well. I never thought they were dumb enough to run between cars. So much for that theory.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

What Have I Become

I just realized I've become a slave to a piece of hardware. I carry it everywhere, hell even to the bathroom. I just went on a 24km ride on Eowyn and it was right there in my pocket, tracking my every move. It tells me what to do, reminds me, even nags me. I have cut back a bit, for a while there I was charging the battery every night. There is some good coming from it, I spend less time on an actual computer. With my plan I have 5 totally free contacts so I can call or text Mike, even send him pix without additional cost. I added Kev and Sue today too. Time to cut the lawn, so I'll plug in and listen to tunes thanks to my master.

View Eowyn, Aug7/10 in a larger map

Bikes, Boxes and Coffee

Mike has his bike, Rachel. He got her all together and then went for a ride to school. I guess I missed a loose couple of allen keys and the crank which is an eccentric slipped. He had Mel pick him up and as I was panicking and trying to find info on the web he had it fixed. I called Farz and he gave me quick instructions. I went over to Petrie's to eyeball a bike with the same setup but there were none on the floor. Mike has had her out again so I guess he fixed it, but I still want to understand how the thing works.

The map is Mike's route from home to work courtesy of  Google My Tracks on his Android phone. What I wouldn't give to do that ride every day. As you exit the 'burbs and ride straight west to the Bow Valley Pathway you get an eyefull of Rockies and then turn north and the downtown skyline rises 30km away.

View Home - Work in a larger map

Rachel ready for the trip to Calgary
Sal got to use her cup holder on what's his name?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Famous Grouse

Just cracked open a bottle of the Famous Grouse single malt scotch. It was the go to drink in a series of books I read and man it is smmmmmoooooth.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Well our little league team made the final but their luck ran out there. We never did make the gold medal game at the Worlds, once Canada was out and the clouds rolled in my interest waned. We used some Keg gift cards and just had a relaxing evening. Much better than sitting through the 2 hour rain delay.

I went to Petries this morning but left at 11 as there wasn't much doing. Sal and I went to run some errands and got caught in the brief downpour. When hail came down I headed for shelter but it ended before I could even get off the road. Looked like a blowing snowstorm for a minute of two. There was a tree knocked down on Miles near Patterson Park and as we drove home a fire truck followed us. "Just hope it's not going to our place", Sal commented. As we turned the corner onto our street there was a fire truck already surrounded by pylons further up our block. We went around and saw that another tree had sheared off a major branch and was leaning on a house about 4 down.

We're getting ready for new carpets. I took out the french doors tonight and put them up on kijiji. If the weather cooperates I hope to paint before the carpet arrives but not with the humidity we're having lately.