Wednesday, 31 March 2010

There Goes The Neighbourhood

The folks at these three conferences probably thought they were in for a relaxing week of meditation and self reflection in beautiful Canmore, just outside of Banff National Park.

Here we see the "Stress and Meditation" seminar.


Next door is the Life's Journey workshop in the tranquil Lady Slipper Room.

Life is a journey, my friends. Enjoy the ride.

And later on, the Healing Conference pow-wow.

I say pow-wow because this was a native group, complete with burning sage grass (I think that's what it was) and traditional drummers.

So imagine their surprize when the oil boilers with the big rigs rolled in next door! For our Mega-Drilling In The Arctic conference.

Okay, so we weren't the most popular group there. Those drill rigs are a bit loud.

And messy. Probably should have left them outside.

But I'll tell ya, there were no government dollars going to fund our conference, unlike I'm sure all the other La De Dah seminars.

Unless, of course, you count accelerated capital cost write-offs and resource depletion allowances. Oh yeah. And royalty holidays. We love them royalty holidays!

They make life's journey stress free every time.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

How Many Air Canada Employees.....?

Does it take to check in luggage?


[Double click picture to viewed failed attempt at creating dramatic panorama view.]

Big line up of people trying to get their luggage checked in. I watched while two women slowly worked away at reviewing boarding passes, ticketing bags and explaining to people that they can't bring eight suitcases the size of small houses, as I came to a slow boil.

Then, one closed her lap top, stood up, looked at the line...and left. Leaving one woman to deal with the entire line.

I'm pretty sure I made a clever comment like, "What the hell is going on here?", before the woman staffing the "Executive" or "Elite" line at the far end signalled that she would allow one of the great unwashed to approach her.

When I got there, I said, You need to have more staff on. She said, No, we're reducing staff.

And I know where they all are. See earlier post on "How Many Air Canada Employees does It Take To Do....Nothing?" to find out.

Man, oh, man! If the company didn't let me keep my Aeroplan miles, I'd...I'd...well I'd probably still fly Air Canada, because that's what I've always done.....

Waaah! Nobody Loves Me!

Poor old Olympic ski jumping and bobsled centre in Calgary.

Yesterday's news.

Very Impressive

Although Canmore may be Banff's poor cousin, there is still lots of dramatic scenery there.

Even from a hotel room window.

I was going to do the previous three knitted together into a glorious panorama view. But based on the one of the Air Canada counter, will continue to work on that technology.

Here is a shot of a brown bear I was able to capture.

And it is a myth that these beautiful creatures are dangerous. When this one raised its head, sure, it startled me, but it exhibited no other aggressive behaviour.

And I also came virtually face to face with a Grizzly bear! My heart was racing, but it, too, was very docile. Almost sounded like it was saying "Moooo". No time for a picture, though. I'm the Urban Cowboy, not the Urban Dumboy!

It's A Freakin' Sleigh Ride, Okay?

Selected the wrong line when we had a group outing one afternoon.

Assumed it would be a nice mix of girls and guys going on a sleigh ride around beautiful Lake Louise.


Seven middle aged guys, all in black leather jackets and sunglasses, average weight pegged at about 230 (from the looks in the horses' eyes anyway) being carted along the hiking path all by ourselves.

Even the driver was shaking his head.

Before we got on, as he brought the sleigh down the path towards us, he wasn't slowing. I gestured and said, "Yo, we're your four o'clock."

He just kept on going.

And from the looks of everyone within fifty feet, the usual patrons are grandmothers and little eight year old girls in colourful snowsuits.

Now the worst part was, as we were on the hiking path, hiker's - mainly Swedish models - would have to step down off the path to let us pass.

We could see them smiling as they looked at the horses. Then the smiles changed - okay, vanished - as the seven of us lumbered into view. I kept pulling my red shawl up over my face, trying not to be embarrassed.

But again, dramatic scenery all along the trail.

Here our guide, trying to pretend he's not really with us, stops us in front of a frozen waterfall.

Others were climbing this with ice picks and mountaineering boots. We just pulled our shawls tighter.

So although I don't recommend this activity, the seven of us did feel a lot closer afterwards.

But only in the most manly, masculine sort of ways, of course. What ho!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

L'il Piece Of Paradise

Where else can you get this privacy living in downtown TO?

This cosy balcony is also just around the corner from me.

But I don't think the the fellow that punks himself on this chair wil be shopping at the aforementioned Maserati dealer down the road.

But with such a lovely retreat, why would you want to go anywhere......

Saturday, 20 March 2010

He Did It Again

The Condo Critic has taken aim at another condo in my neighbourhood.

He must be getting soft, because this is also a good review.

This is a condo at Av & Dav; Avenue Road and Davenport. A funky little enclave just west of me.

Breakfast at The Avenue Diner is always an interesting experience, as anyone who has been served by their one, colourful waitress will attest.

And I think she's been serving there since 1944.

Many beautiful buildings, that have remarkably avoided the wrecker's ball.

Which is good news for the little guy.

Although some of these classics are not so little.

And with a Jaguar dealer in the area, likely not so cheap.

Okay, the Ferrari & Maserati dealer seals it that I have now strayed from my neighbourhood.

But a cool walking tour nevertheless.......

Maybe the condo guy will feature mia casa next.


Friday, 19 March 2010

Is That Like When We Used To Meet The Svenson Twins Behind The High School?

Well, I was never asked, but I heard......


Oh well, it won't be long now. This course opens April 1st.

Although I haven't golfed in over five years, I doubt if there will be any appreciable change in my game.

The upside (only?) of being a duffer.

But the course is breathtaking, gently nestled under Highway 401.

And like most exclusive courses, like Augusta National, the overhead expressway provides shade on those muggy summer days.

And if doesn't, there is always a cool beverage waiting on the patio.

I think that's the patio.

Or a house waiting for demolition.

I'll report back in a couple of months.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Get A Life

What kind of loser is reading this?

Oops, gotta go. My copy of Modern Drunkard just got here......

Sunday, 14 March 2010

My Evening With Gord

It was raining last night, so drove over to the pub instead of walking.

Obviously started off with some nice beverages.

Wait a second, that's not right.

Okay. Obviously started off with some nice beverages.

And wound up the evening listening to an excellent guitar player.

Who remembered us from last year's pub crawl.

Which is what any good musician expecting a tip would say. "You guys are from Tennessee, aren't you?" He should have quit with the "I remember you guys".

Sorry no video this evening. Going to keep those for special occasions. Like lunch in a bar.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

My Afternoon With Gord

Can't a couple of guys try something a little different once in a while?

Friday, 12 March 2010

And Then It Got Very Cold

The next few shots didn't turn out well at all.

Crossing the Bow River in Calgary as the ice starts to break up.

Now I've rafted on the Bow in summer, but would not want to try it now.

Well, actually, I'm not sure there is much difference.

We rafted on a 30+o day in July. We were like little potatoes frying in a pan in that raft. So about half way along our three and half hour tour, I popped over the side.


But about five seconds later, as my body went numb, it changed to AGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Apparently that glacier fed river water never really gets too warm.

And I think the raft store woman was having second thoughts about renting us the raft after meeting me. After explaining the safety rules, etc. I asked hopefully, "Can we bring beer on the raft?"

She said, "I can't tell you that. I can't tell you to tie a string around your six pack and drop it over the side."

"Why can't you?"

My friend punched me in the arm and said, "Let's go, Einstein." I cottoned on later to the secret code in which she was talking. Message received.....

[To take a walk - or raft - down memory lane, try "Floatin and Boatin" Or, on the right there, click "2007", "July" and go to July 22 to follow along.]

Or, for you lazy sons of guns;

"Big Daddy"
"Rafta Disasta"
"Not Here"
"Alls Well"

[P.S. The skinny guy in the photos is not me. That's rafter #3.]

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Make Up Your Mind!

The City of Toronto has just spent over five million dollars installing these count down traffic signals all over town.

That's a great idea. "The devices provide a numeric count down display that indicates the number of seconds remaining for a pedestrian to complete their crossing of a street" according to the City of Toronto web site.

It was a great idea til the police got wind of it.

I suspect as a result of a dozen pedestrian fatalities in the first two weeks of the year, police began fining people crossing on the flashing red hand. They did a blitz for several days.

Rather than ticketing the cars running people over, they took the easy route.

Many people very plenty upset.

Police said the rule is, as soon as the flashing red hand comes on, you cannot cross the street. You must stop. If you've already started okay. But if you see it, you must stop or pay the consequences.

So why spend five million dollars to install all the count-down timers, if you can't use them? If it comes on once you are in the intersection, it's of no value. Are you going to turn back?

But if it comes on and displays "15", the obvious reaction is "I can make it in 15 seconds" and away you go.

But if you are not supposed to cross once it is on, what possible value is it? Except for the police to hike their revenues.

The left hand doesn't know what the the right hand is doing.

Sounds like the government hard at work.

[P.S. I didn't get one of those tickets. I'm just a whiner....]

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Hey! The Condo Critic (Must) Read My Blog

So a week after dissing the building outside my office, (see "Last Week's Slagging") probably because of my snooty comments, the Toronto Star condo critic took aim at my neighbourhood this week.

Although the title sounds like he also slagged us - and there is lots to slag - he said this was actually a good example of a building fitting in to the neighbourhood.

The developer kept the historic building, TeatrO VerdE , and built over & behind it.

And it is a Home & Garden store now.

An expensive Home & Garden store, as I awkwardly found out.

But although this is a good example of fitting in, what is that crane farther down the street silhouetted against the sky?

Let's get a little closer.

A little closer....

Oh oh....

Ah ha!

Now that's the stinking behemoth I love to hate.

55 stories, starting at one million dollars, 2,000 square feet and up. The one that knocked down all those little guys I posted earlier.

I'll be interested to read his take on this hunk a junk once it's completed.

[Ed note: to see some earlier rants on this same topic, may I suggest "So Long, Yorkville" or, "Still Hanging In"]