Saturday, July 31, 2004

Thank goodness for the heat....



A nice fine night in Aurora, as you can see from the above photo copied from the New VR webcam in downtown Aurora.

If you remember, in one of my previous posts I wondered if there would be warm weather before I left for New York City. Well you get what you ask for sometimes with tonights temprature hitting twenty-five degrees celcius plus the humidex. I hope to get out and about town tommorrow on my set of wheels (aka bicycle) and feel the wind rushing through my hair. One of my favourite pass times has been to see what is going on throughout town while riding my bicycle.

Dangerous Baby

In case you thought you had problems with government, take a look at the reasons this baby's passport photo was rejected by the Canadian Passport Office on Victoria Street in Toronto. The full story will also knock your socks off. Remember this is a person less than a year old looking only to travel with her parents on her first trip abroad.

Wheres the beef?

"In the voice of a drooling Homer Simpson: Mmmmmm, ridiculously large hamburger. ahhhhhhhhhhh....."

TheStar.com - Registration

TheStar.com - Registration: "Registration at thestar.com
We are introducing registration on thestar.com. At first, registration will be voluntary. Later in July we will move to mandatory signups."


Late July? It's the last day of July and still no mandatory registration at the Toronto Star's website. Something wrong with this picture?

Superman and sneezy guy

The fun of taking transit everywhere is possibly the people that you meet along the way, the different foibles that you observe, the weird looks that people give, the different characteristics people have and what pet peeves people have.

The above link provides a good indication of what irritates a lot of riders. These include everything from that person who must hold up the train with a thousand people on it so that they can get through those closing doors, to the people that wear headphones and yet share their music with everyone else cause the tunes are so loud.

Revenge of the Tattooed Nerds

um...I can see this becoming a cult following....right....another entry into the file of "all things wacky" or "What is wrong with this world?".

Friday, July 30, 2004

2004 Democratic National Convention Blog

One reason there is more press at the DNC than delegates is the fact bloggers have gotten press passes to cover the DNC live online. Just think, a bunch of people running around with lap tops trying to get sound bites (or is that keyboarding bites?) from delegates.

Sadly, I don't see any Republicans blogging from the above list. Hmmm...I guess I had better not go to a link provided by the Democratic National Convention organizing committee. No wonder all the bloggers linked from the site above think Kerry is so dreamy and the best thing since sliced bread.

NOTE TO SELF: smarten up!

Republican National Convention

Yup, you guessed it, I starting wondering when, what, where, etc. the Republican National Convention would be held.

Great...50,000 Republicans running amok in the Big Apple at Madison Square Gardens. If it is anything like the Democratic National Convention then half of Manhatten should be closed off to traffic. Should be fun being a newbie in New York trying to figure out how in the heck I am going to get around. One question: WHY NEW YORK? Why not Houston, Texas? Houston, or even Dallas, would be a heck of a lot closer to the Bush home ranch than New York and would make my life so much easier. Please Mr. Bush and company....Please?

Yet more DNC

Queries about the Democratic National Convention....

Such as, did the Democrats have to pay at least six different national networks for last nights hour long Kerry Speech (read: Democratic Party informercial)?

Why was Kerry out campaigning in Virginia and other places when he had yet to win and accept the presidential nomination from the Democrats?

Why was there more press than delegates there when everyone already new the outcome already?

Why was Letterman and Leno pushed back last night by Kerry's speech when all the other American networks, short of ESPN and HBO, were covering it? Couldn't they have said, "HEY EVERYONE ELSE IS COVERING IT! SO IF YOU WANT KERRY GO VISIT PETER JENNINGS ON ABC!" Then gone on with regular news programming and put on Letterman and Leno at their regular 11:35 P.M. EST times? Was the local news of yet another fire in Buffalo really necessary? Everyone knows at least a major house fire occurs just before 7:00 P.M. in Buffalo every night to be presented as news on Buffalo Television news stations at night. So how is that news?

Does Howard Dean know he has lost the Presidential Nomination yet? Could he now go and challenge for the Republican Nomination? Just a Canadian asking here!

Did anyone else find it surprising that Michael Moore was a Democrat after 9/11 ?

Just some questions I would love answered but don't expect to be answered.

More DNC

Anybody else out there that [insert own Democratic Presidential candidate name here whose name was not Kerry] would still win? I know I wanted Howard Dean to win. Talk about anticipation! :)

Coldex website continued.... plus other musings

yup...didn't post yesterday...I know you were all dissapointed...but after staring at html code for hours on end, I started going blind.

The updates to that website haven't gone live yet and won't until they have been approved by the owner.

Today I had breakfast at the Galaxy Diner in Aurora with a good former co-worker from my days at the church. The food was good, and so was catching up on things since I resigned my position.

I also complimented him on the Faith and Arts presentation at last weeks church service. He inquired about why I liked the presentation so much. I guess it must be because this was the first summer in 8-10 years where I haven't been involved in municipal day camp in some way. So if your a former camp counsellor that used to work with me...I miss those times and the fun we had.

Not wanting to end things on a sentimental note, I look forward to the new friends and colleagues I am going to meet when travelling to New York while remembering those I have met in my time in Aurora, Ottawa and wherever else I have been. But I also look forward to thought of living in one of the most biggest cities in North America (including Mexico) as well as taking advantage of the rich cultural museums and open space that New York City has to offer (i.e. beaches and Central Park) as well as simply walking down Broadway and through Times Square to see what is going on. All in all, I look forward to taking a bite out of the Biggest Apple I know....

The big DNC

Anybody else have their fingers crossed that John Kerry would accept the Presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Boston?

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Coldex...

Going back down to Coldex tommorrow. Should be fun, they want me to fix up their website so that it works for some reason. Apparently their CGI bin or whatever the heck is not working (great, some programming that is completely beyond me that I have to bs my way through...sounds fun).

They also want delivery schedule uploaded and completed and whatver the heck else like the competitors. Seems to me they just want to be like the "Joneses."

And to think I left the company on good terms (left for school at York after being a good rep at Ottawa U) with a decent looking websit that was working perfectly and was easy to change and upload (I used MS Publisher to make it simple enough for them!).

Why does this stuff always come up during their busy times and needs to be done pronto? hmmmm...I will never know.

Well, at least I get to see some of my former co-workers again. There's always a plus. Enough ranting and time to get back to work.....

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Summer....where are you?

Anybody know where summer is? So far it has been cold with a lot of rain (just ask Peterborough!).

I hope it warms up in the next two weeks so I can enjoy it before leaving for New York. However, I doubt it.

Well, I hope summer is better in Central Park of New York or at least cruising down Broadway. I can only dream right now.

Can you tell I am excited yet about going to New York and starting to teach there?

I think I got it right now....

You'll notice, if you've been here before, that I have changed things around again.

This is because I felt adventurous and visited a few other blogs out there. I thought mine was kinda boring compared to the others and thought it needed some more colour and other stuff. So I started experimenting and re-doing, scrapping and starting over... until I got this.

Don't know if I am happy with it. We'll see.....

Stay tuned!

Work visa shenaggins......

Finally got the papers to get the work visa at the border today.

A brief sense of panic hit me when I read, in the accompanying package, that I had to take all of this stuff to the U.S. Consulate in Toronto today and wait four weeks. PROBLEM! I leave in less than 2 weeks. So I called twice in an hour and received voice mail. K....Who's bright idea was voice mail anyway?

Finally, on the third call, I talked to the guy and he said all I needed was to present the numbered form he sent me, my passport and my extensive agreement with his company to the border guard. He said he sent me the usual package he sent everyone else, but that Canada was different.

Right, so why didn't the package say that in the first place instead of me placing three long distance phone calls to New York City in the middle of the day?

Right, that would be too easy and wouldn't fit proper bureacratic protocol. And you thought the Canadian government was bad!

Let the fun continue!

Monday, July 26, 2004

Best line of the day...

"Failure is not an option. It comes bundled with the software."

Too true, too true, especially doing a last minute essay for school on a Windows based product.

A very good question.....

A very good question......

from today's Toronto Sun letters to the editor....

We now pay health premiums in the form of a tax. In addition, OHIP has delisted a number of medical procedures. This means that we can now claim the cost of these procedures as medical expenses on our income tax return, resulting in a larger tax refund. Where is the logic in this, Dalton?

Anne Segers

Hamilton

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Toronto Star- TheStar.com - A city newbie's guide to blending in

TheStar.com - A city newbie's guide to blending in

If only everyone would obey these simple rules....

Especially the escalator one on the weekend while trying to get to the subway train. During th week people would be crushed for standin' on the left side. Next time you see one...hand them the article above and tell them to "get to school!"

Toronto Star - the star.com - Slaves to the hot dog

TheStar.com - Slaves to the hot dog

I never really thought about street food before. But after this article I took a second thought about what was available in terms of variety. Think about it, when was the last time you ordered anything else besides a Shopsy's hot dogs (Maple Leaf foods owns Shopsy's if you're wonderin') from one of those hot dog style carts in Toronto? About the only thing I have consumed that was different was ice cream or french fries. What else could these fine eating establishments on wheels sell? Perhaps a little salad for those who are counting their calories. Perhaps a nice peanut butter and jelley sandwich (made right before your eyes of course). Just think of the possibilities.

The whole handwashing issue, that the article mentions as being a requirement, could easily be fixed since these carts don't really move during the day. One could easily set up a tank with water in it that was heated by either generator, gas or even solar panels (why not go green?). A piece of cake to solve. The large trucks that sell fries and ice cream could even have these funky handwashing stations in the back or on the side for people to utilize.

Well, on with the rest of the day,

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Who reads this stuff?

I had my internet explorer freeze up recently (and on Microsoft's own windows update site I might ironically add) and submitted an error report as most windows users typically do. I got to wondering who actually sifts through these errors and figures out the fixes? If nobody reads them, then why create this little error report program in the first place? Customer service perhaps?

The jury is still out on this one....

Friday, July 23, 2004

My sister's present...



My sister got home from work today with the above present for me. Apparently watching the local council meeting gets me some appreciation from the mayor (his sig is above). Well the sillyness at the meetings makes these meetings even more entertaining than some of the sitcoms on the major networks.

TheStar.com - Sleeman sees opportunity in new rivalry

TheStar.com - Sleeman sees opportunity in new rivalry


Um...who thought the beer brewing business would require a program to figure out who is related to who and why one side can't get along with another? Seems worse than the royal family tree and the royals respective relationship squabbles.

Toronto Star - Toronto shuts out private parking tags

Toronto Star - Toronto shuts out private parking tags

Toronto City Council, after four long years of neglicting the issue despite it being brought up by Councillor Howard Moscoe on a number of occasions, has finally made the right move.

Private lots have been issuing tickets in the past that looked a lot like City of Toronto parking tickets. Well, now the city has struck back saying only city owned tickets can be used and not privately issued ones.

However, I do agree that revenue should not just go to the city for the use of the tickets because hospitals, schools and other public facilities have come to rely on parking fines in order to operate their facilities because of lack of government funding. But the ticket issue had to come to ahead at some point as police were receiving about five hundred complaints a year about the private tickets because people thought the city of Toronto had issued them.

Impark, a private lot operator, also has a right to complain because the tickets it issued also serve to ensure that payment for parking is made. But we all know how private operators in Ontario have been doing lately over charging motorists for use of private services. The Highway 407 came to mind recently of a Toronto Sun article on one guy who lives in Thunder Bay and has never been on the 407. Victor Bochko, who lives in Thundar bay, received a bill for as the Sun's Christina Blizzard noted in her February 18th column, "...for a drive on the toll highway on June 14, 2003, when Bochko was in Victoria, B.C., and his car was at home in the garage." In fact, Bochko has never driven in Toronto! To make matters worse, he asked the 407 to check the photo of the plate and the car which turned out to be a Buick. Bochko drives a Suburban. What happenned, according to Blizzard's column, was that the reader mistoke the 'L' for an 'E'.

Yet another report in the Toronto Sun (I am having problems finding the article) says he was billed for $25 for apparently using the 407. But here's the problem, he claims he never used the highway. So he refused to pay the bill. Some YEARS later the interest had gone over a hundred dollars and was removed and interest has started piling up again. A collection agency has even sent notification to his house as well. Yet he still refuses to pay the bill. Why? Because he has repeatedly asked 407 to provide a picture of either his car or his license plate entering the highway. Still nothing from the 407.

Now back to the ticket problem. What is there to stop the private operators from mistakenly issuing ticket to a car that was parked legally because the ticket on the dash was obsured by window tinting or other glass problems? Add to this the possibilty of human error in writing the wrong letter or number down. This last problem could be done because of simple human error, numbers or that have been misconstrued for something else, or the simple fact that in Canada it snows which might obscure the license plate or other identifying numbers. What then? Who does the car owner appeal to if a private ticket is issued? The courts? Several thousand dollars later in legal fees seems a little obnoxious compared to a $37.00 ticket.

Thus, I propose the city provide the tickets and sworn in officers in a bid to keep this problem under control. If the private lot is interested in issuing parking tickets, the sworn in officers would be paid by the private agency to issue the parking tickets on their property or properties alone. The ticket revenue from the issuing on private property would go back to the city and re-distributed back to the private operators based on the tickets issued. However, the private property owner would have to pay for the issuing of blank tickets from the city (like the owner would from a private firm now for their own private parking tickets) in order for the city not to be at a loss. The tickets would be tracked back to the private owner based on the serial numbers on the tickets. In other words, each ticket would have an owners code (like a UPC code) and the individual tickets would also have a number similar to a personal cheque number for tracking purposes. This way, the city of Toronto could track the tickets to both who is responsible for issuing the ticket (i.e. the owner) and provide a concrete way to track individual tickets through a dispute resolution system. Finally, the city of Toronto would have the right revoke the right of private property owners to ticket if they believe their is fraud going on. Currently, there is no recourse for individuals, except through a costly court case, to complain about being ticketed improperly. The city could provide this by providing the investigative services needed as well as manage the records of inquiries based on other infractions and, ultimately, remove the right for the owner to issue tickets and gather revenue from the issuance of tickets. Of course this process would have to be revenue neutral for the city (i.e. the costs of providing the service meet the revenue coming in).

But, again, this would be too simple of a problem for the politicians at the city to grasp and probably will never happen. So really its up to you, or better yet, take the TTC and to heck with parking your car!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Fulcrum "brews keg of trouble"

The Fulcrum Website

Hmmm....seems the SFUO wants to have a politically correct Frosh week...er....101 week.

Seems to me the politically correct have gone to far this time. Frosh week has been a right of passage for many a first year university student. Everything from dying yourself purple at the University of Toronto to walking sloshed accross the front of Parliament Hill while covered in various raunch condiments (e.g. mustard, ketchup, etc.) and yelling obsenities at the University of Ottawa. Seems to me everyone I saw of those poor engineers were having fun.

But the politically correct SFUO at Ottawa U says, according to the Fulcrum,:

"In previous years, the school’s introductory week has been known as 'Frosh Week'. This name, according to Justin Tudor 101 Week Logistics coordinator, is associated with inappropriate hazing and initiation rituals.

'We don’t want our event associated with those ideas. People have a preconceived idea of the word ‘frosh’ and if we can work away from their notions of that, all the better,” said Tudor."


Right, the word frosh is synonamous with hazing, so we must change that, no running around Parliament Hill while being soaked in various food products. A big exneh on that eh.

This policitically correctness didn't stop there, according to the Fulcrum's editorial:

"The 101 Week coordinator told the Fulcrum there would be “consequences” for underage students caught drinking during Frosh Week."

Hmmmmmmm....seems to me Here’s the reality check:

Lets see, some first year underager gets there hands around a couple beers and passes out with alchohol poisoning. His/her friends know he/she is underage and does not want to tell the frosh...er...101 leaders because it will get the underager in a heap o' doggie do do. What to do? You are new to the city and don't know the first thing about it...you are totally lost, possibly in Quebec surrounded by a bunch of drunken people. What to do? If I was the drunkert's parents and heard about this and also heard the SFUO responsible people refused to help, I would have my Bay Street lawyer in court to sue their asses for all their worth.

Finally, the fun doesn't end there. When the summer edition of the Fulcrum was published and distributed, the SFUO thought of having the issue pulled because,..........OH YOU WILL LOVE THIS!.............................there was a picture of a beer on the front page and because the paper called frosh week "frosh week".

Seems to me these politically correct people need their heads examined. Glad I graduated and left there, because it seems the SFUO is going downhill pretty fast!

Finished a book....

I recently finished Mark Starowicz's book Making History last weekend. Originally when I picked it up at Chapter's I thought it would be a decent read on how to produce and direct a television history series. For those of you completely confused, Starowicz was the main producer for the CBC series Canada: A People's History.

Well, I have put off a review of the book for most of the week and may finally get around to it tomorrow for my website. No promises though.

But in the meantime, if you want to read a book on the tortorous process of making a television documentary series of great length at Canada's public broadcaster, then this book is definately for you. Starowicz endures a divorce, nearly drowning after a boat he was on sank, major illnesses in his documentary production team in key positions, death, CBC staff cuts, strikes and a dysfuntional and untrustworthy CBC bureacrats and board members. Still he manages to produce an award winning documentary series that received rave reviews. Go figure.

Toronto Sun: NEWS - Court OKs 21% judges' pay hike

Toronto Sun: NEWS - Court OKs 21% judges' pay hike

According to the story, linked above, judges will be getting a 21% pay hike as well as 3% in retroactive pay. Hmmm...can I get 21% pay increase next year in my first year of teaching? I doubt it.

Do I agree judges deserve a pay hike? Nope, not one bit considering the provincial government is trying to keep costs under control and probably wants to freeze raises. These judges make, according to the article $170,000 a year. Hmmm....and these same judges give a slap on the wrist to some of the worst offenders in Canada (read: two parents convicted of child abuse for thirteen years and only receive 9 month sentence) and allow a repeat convicted offender out of jail to re-offend in less than a day and then sentence this guy to only 2 years. Am I frustrated with the judicial system? Not really, just trying to figure out the logic behind it all (which may take a while).

A small increase might be more in order, like say a 3% increase that each of the other public sector unions and some politicians are receiving. The optics of a 21% increase in the publics eye don't seem right at all, especially when these judges are making $170,000 a year and are far from poor.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

typoGenerator






A little word artwork? I thought this was cool for new desktop themes and have tried a few different combinations. Just remember to keep it short and snappy otherwise you get a wall of white with a black pencil mark looking dots. Great entertainment for the wife & the kids.

Modern Moist Towelette Collecting -- The Gallery

Modern Moist Towelette Collecting -- The Gallery

Talk about a weird hobby. Collecting moist toweletts packages and then scanning them into your computer. Then uploading them to the web? nuff said.

Michael's Blog Update

Finally got this thing looking decent. I will still be screwing around with the colours and other crap until I am happy (which may take a while. Until then..... watch the rainbow of colours.

Idiot thing from yesterday...

I got this daily calendar last Christmas that has hilarious observations about the world around us. I thought I would share this one from yesterday:

"Not dishwasher safe" - printed on the packaging of a TV remote control.

Who would have thunk it?

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Creating a blog ain't easy....

Here I thought creating this blog was so easy. However, I have learned it requires going through endless strings of html code in order to change the colours (which is driving me crazy!).

Anywho, off to bed I go...hopefully some more things will change as I get the hang of it. In the meantime, sorry for the purple links on this page. I haven't figured out how to change them and keep them a perdy blue.

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