Archive for March, 2007

It’s Spring!

It’s Spring — as of 8:07 pm last night! So I thought a shot of a sunny crocus from last spring would be a nice way to celebrate since it still looks like winter with snow covering the ground, melting under the sun where the sun can catch it, and no sign of a crocus, nary a shoot in my garden, the usual sure sign of spring. However, is it my imagination or did the squirrels suddenly get skinny and acquire afterburners yesterday? They’ve gone completely bonkers. One keeps crashing into the base of a nearby tree, and another goes back and forth, back and forth at hyperspeed. The flowers may not have noticed the change in season, but these critters sure have!

The Budget Is Out… Are The Gloves Off?

Gee has anyone finished reading the 478 page budget yet?

I guess a few people have skimmed it. The Bloc seem to be OK with it (more money for Quebec is MORE MONEY FOR QUEBEC). St├ęphane Dion and the Liberals don’t like it too much. Toronto’s Jack Layton and the NDP. Even Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party didn’t have many kind words calling it “a budget that is heavy on public relations but lacking any real substance when it comes to the key issues”. So does this mean that the gloves are off and an election will be called due to a non-confidence vote?

City #54: Kuala Lumpur

Apa khabar and welcome to our newest sister city, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Visit and say hello to our friends from the other side of the world.

Malaysia is a beautiful country and Kuala Lumpur is a gorgeous city. I suggest everyone visit it at least once in their lifetime. Can’t visit in person right now? Why not head over to Metroblogging Kuala Lumpur and visit via the vast Internet. You won’t be disappointed.

The Reality of Raccoons

I hate raccoons. I haven’t always, only when they insisted on holding their screaming matches during final exams. But now I do. They’re vicious, dangerous to humans and dogs with their sharp claws and teeth — except possibly pit bulls where I think it’s the other way around — and filthy vandalizers. They dump garbage everywhere, toss garden furniture, poop on the patio or the patio chair, threaten your dogs, and kill each other off. They have always been a fact of urban life, at least in Toronto, but because of city regulations, they have become more than just a nuisance. They’re become the summertime horror show.

TTC Reality Toronto Style

I’m unmoved. The TTC and the city with great fanfare unveiled last week a huge plan to build 120 km of surface and underground LRT lines for a measly $6 billion (or $2.4 billion, depending on who you read). This sounds exactly like what James Bow was talking about on his blog and my recent post. You’d think with our spirited debate about subways vs. LRT, I’d have a strong opinion, a negative one perchance, on this plan. I have none. None, nada, nothing, zilch, no comment. Why? Because it’s reality Toronto style. This is the way reality Toronto style goes: Announce a huge plan. Show pretty pictures. Use big words like “strategy” and “stature” and “leader.” Give details. And then in small print, buried in the big words, happen to mention, as a by the way, we can’t afford it. Quickly whisper we haven’t actually had profitable discussions with the province or the Feds, so there’s no money, and then speaking forcefully say that we have a plan! Proclaiming “We simply have to make it happen,” as Mayor David Miller said in the Toronto Star isn’t going to move me to believe that anything will happen. When city politicians and planners unveil their plans without any money backing it, it’s even less believable than the endless waterfront promises. And the icing on this reality-Toronto-style cake is that they think by unveiling it last Friday that they will move Finance Minister Flaherty to include funds for their plan that doesn’t include downtown Toronto, the most congested and densely populated part of the city (did you notice?), into the Conservative budget being tabled today. Are they stupid? Or do they think we are, that we don’t know budgets are months in the planning and finalized at least a week before the unveiling to allow for the printers to print the gazillion copies needed for the politicians and media?

Totally fed up with yet another waste of my reading energy, I’m going to blog on something real, something that affects all of us Torontonians, something that needs to be fixed…once Flickr heals itself and I can upload the photo.

Toronto E-Waste Event

Amazing! Computation, one Toronto’s best spots to refurbish, retire and recycle your old computer system is having a special event this week. All week (from March 19th – 25th) they are asking the general public to drop-off their unwanted computer equipment for recycling. Even larger organizations or businesses are encouraged to drop off machines and systems (AS400, RS6000, etc).

A really great service and a great way to keep computers out of landfills. You may even help put systems in the hands of people who normally don’t have access to computers or indirectly donate to charitable organizations as these are few of the beneficiaries of their work. Of course anything that is salvageable is done in a secure manner.

So head to Computation and retire your old PC or Mac that maybe catching dust in your basement. Toronto and Montreal areas have a Computation. Drop off recycling is available weekdays and weekends (and of course can be done during or after this “event”)!

Computation Computer Recycling Event
Toronto facility, 2444 Bloor St. West (entrance at rear)
10:00am until 7:00pm Monday through Friday
10:00am until 6:00pm on weekends.

PM Motivational Speech

You may have heard that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in town as part of an “election preparedness” training session. Sounds more like a Tony Robbin’s style campaign kick off. Canadian politics seems to have taken new lows with this and U.S. style attack ads.

Be sure, I’m not really a fan of any of the so called “front running” parties be they Conservative, NDP, Liberal or Green. The formation of the little mentioned Progressive Canadian Party was an interesting development after the merger of the Alliance Party and Progressive Conservatives.

The upcoming budget will be an interesting development. The last thing people want to have to deal with is another election and it appears that we may get one and soon. The current Conservatives may not be as bad as the Chretien Liberals but are almost hungry for a “legacy”.

Take Home Some Manufactured Landscapes

Didn’t realize that the great documentary featuring Toronto’s own Edward Burtynsky was already out on video. I guess with the advent of downloads movies hit the DVD shelves that much sooner. Turning out to be quite a movie weekend…LoL

Would have thought that Manufactured Landscapes would have been a contender this year but Mr. Gore’s message did cause a complete shift in conciousness and won a well deserved Oscar. That doesn’t diminish this film’s strength and it did win a Genie. If you haven’t already checked out this film now’s your chance. Not just a photographer’s log, an interesting take on the world we live in. This is definitely a four star film and you can catch it at the Bloor this weekend!

300 is not a 10 but…

Caught up with the hype of the current box office champ, 300. The movie’s strong points are the action and effects. Computer generated animation has come a long way. This movie is testament to that as it was filmed in Montreal using a bluescreen. BRILLIANT!

A must see on the big screen if you are a fan of BC era macho power violence. This movie is rated R for good reason and any action lover wont be disappointed. While there maybe some glaring historical liberties taken it’s still watchable (barely). To be fair not many things are “known” about the Battle of Thermopylae and this is an interesting Hollywood take on Frank Miller’s graphic novel.

This film doesn’t move me to jump off my couch to catch more Hollywood flicks. Foriegn and Canadian films of late have been interesting (and worth checking out since they aren’t on the big screen very long). A trip to the local video store will still suffice for much of slather on the big screen and I’d rather pay less than half the price to see it.

I wonder what happened…

This mornings “metro” paper’s headline read ‘Light rail network planned’. This system is to be around 60 – 80 km long and cost about $2.4million.

This is all funny to me because I don’t know how to take it. One one hand I should be happy that something may finally happen. (see talk talk talk’s post below) On the other hand I worry that all this attention transit has been getting lately will still result in nothing more than normal Toronto idiocy. (let’s build a small Sheppard line!) In all fairness the TTC has not yet actually held the press conference to announce the details, it will be held this morning at 10:30am in Toronto’s City Hall. We can only wait and see…

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