Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Memories courtesy of Cyberspace

One of the Blog's I read on an occasional basis is Jack's blog. I just happenned to peruse the blog and, for whatever reason, took interest in his "Live Traffic Feed" (see his extensive right hand column). "Live Traffic Feed" records where the last 10 hits came from in the world to that particular page. I always find these feeds interesting as it shows from where in the world people come from to visit you or the page your looking at.

On this particular evening I took interest in his first three entries from Jack's Live Traffic Feed (Bold letters below are my emphasis):

Aurora, Ontario arrived from michaelsuddard.blogspot.com on "Random Thoughts- Do They Have Meaning?: A Transition- Call it a Blog's Midlife Crisis"

Buffalo, New York arrived from google.com on "Random Thoughts- Do They Have Meaning?: What Do You Call Your Blog?"

Brooklyn, New York arrived from superraizy.blogspot.com on "Random Thoughts- Do They Have Meaning?"

Now these three entries are pretty special places in my life. Back in 2004-2005 I left my hometown of Aurora (the first entry) to teach in New York City. Twice during this time period I would leave Aurora and head to Buffalo (the second entry) to fly out of Buffalo Airport to fly back to New York City after a little holiday with the family.

But number one of all of these places will be Aurora. This is where I grew up, got married in and currently reside.

New York City was where I found my future wife. I met her as a fellow teacher trying to make sense of the New York City Department of Education. To say the least I still have yet to find anyone who understands the Department of Education in that City with it's huge bureaucracy and several ways of doing things all of which someone somewhere will tell you are doing it wrong. Nevermind the a teacher's worst nightmare, the kids are out of control and virtually run the classroom! But nonetheless I did meet my future love of my life. There truly is something good to find amongst the chaos sometimes.

Buffalo is where the travel began between Aurora and New York City. The go between place where I grew up and the place where I met my wife. Buffalo in my life is like the bond between two items that never can be separated. Buffalo could also be considered part of the great distance between Aurora and New York where I switched from ground (car) to air (plane) transportation on my journey from Aurora to New York.

So these three entries on Jack's blog do provide a lot of gladness to me and many, many memories.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tennis Elbow and Skiing at Wye Marsh

On Saturday January 16th I headed out with my parents, sister, brother and other "hagers on" to Wye Marsh in order to Cross Country Ski. I have been to Wye Marsh in the past to Cross Country Ski so this time I felt like a professional!

Of course while Cross Country Skiing one runs into hills and the like. Alice Xu, my brother's wife, was the first time on cross country skiis and eventually mastered a hill! CONGRAT'S ALICE!




Then of course there is the obligatory feeding of the Chickadees. Obligatory? Have you ever had a miffed Chickadee chirp at you for seed?



I came home and the only soreness I experienced was in my legs for a little bit here and there.

Then on Monday, at work, I experienced some pain in my elbow and a little in my wrist. I had experienced this similar pain the week before at work and thought I just needed to rest my wrist and elbow.

So I headed to the local walk in clinic where I was diagnosed with "Tennis Elbow". Weirdly I spent all day Saturday Cross Country Skiing at Wye Marsh and didn't feel any pain but a little bit into the morning on the office computer and my wrist and elbow were feeling it.
Next I booked an appointment at the Aurora Physio Therapy clinic. After some Ultrasound Therapy, Massage and Eletromagnetism my right arm felt better than the left one.

The only pain I have felt since then was on Friday on the office computer when I didn't wear my brand spanking new elbow brace for an hour. Hopefully after this coming week I can give up the elbow brace for good and return to normal.

The best part of it all is according to the Physiotherapist I have a mild form of "Tennis Elbow" compared to others she had seen in the past. She believes I shouldn't need any further treatment after this coming week.

Weird, a full day workout on the ski trails and no pain but a little mouse clicking on a Monday and there is pain. GO FIGURE!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Childhood Memories: GOOD FOOD!

Leblanc Patate on UrbanspoonOne of my favourite childhood memories was driving from Aurora to Huntingdon, Quebec to visit my Grandmother. While in Huntingdon (population 2,500 and change) I would love to go down and visit "the dam" on the Chateauguay River and walk down Rue Chateauguay through Huntingdon's downtown.

Also while in Huntingdon I always wanted to visit at least two places Grant's Bakery and "Pivens". Grant's Bakery always had the best hot cross buns and freshly baked bread. My mother apparently used to work there as the bakery, ironically, was located on the same street she lived on. Of course she and I always got a warm welcome when returning to the bakery for a few goodies.

Then there was Pivens. Hotdogs and french fries in cardboard containers to bring back to Grandma's house for everyone. I would sometimes go down with my father or, at least once, with my Uncle Bob to pick this up. I always loved going there as it smelled so good there.

So to my surprise I found the below video that explains why I the sign out front never said "Pivens" but "Leblanc Patate" Apparently it was not some weird french spelling of "Pivens" like my five year old brain back then thought. Anywho...on with the video...ENJOY!


Monday, January 04, 2010

There is NO SERVICE!

I came accross the video below today while making my rounds of the blogs I normally read (see blogroll in the column to the right).

I came across this post and clicked on a link to another of Gothamist's posts which had the below video embedded. I nearly killed myself laughing.

The video is captured in 23rd Street Subway station serving the C & E Trains in Western Midtown Manhatten. For those not in the know "Downtown trains" are headed Southbound (toward Battery Park and Brooklyn) whereas "Uptown Trains" are headed northbound (toward The Bronx and Central Park).

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Aurora United Church has gone...

Aurora United Church has gone paperless on Sundays!

Before Christmas, the church was creating two services worth of bullitans and announcement. This resulted on average of at least two pages per person per week. This translates into over one thousand pieces of paper plus staff time to prepare.

Now for each Sunday Worship Service (at 9:00 & 10:30 A.M.) those attending can view the announcements and order of service on two large screens. The service and announcements is easily created using Microsoft Powerpoint software and moved through via the audio visual booth.

There are issues that are currently being worked out. The first is how does one remember to RSVP to something either via e-mail or phone without the contact information on a paper copy. Hopefully this will be resolved by ensuring the announcements are viewable again on church website at http://www.auroraunitedchurch.ca/ or a limited number of paper copies of the announcements being available in a central location of the church for those interested to pick up.

Another issue is the choir currently cannot see the two screens. The two screens were created when the Sanctuary room of the church went under extensive renovations. Hopefully a large screen television would assist with issue mounted in a convenient location for the choir members to utilize. Until then copies of the powerpoint presentation will be created in order for them to follow along.

Hopefully the church will have these and other issues with going paperless will be resolved. Usually with changes there are a few kinks to worked out. But nonetheless Aurora United Church should be applauded for both ensuring their resources are being used wisely as well as taking a look at how they can do their part in for the environment.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

When do you dump a Blogroll Listing?

I'd been watching for months for new content at Subwayblogger and was getting ready to hit the proverbial "delete" button it's listing in my blogroll. I kept asking myself how a blogger with such a good gig (read: a wide and varied readership) would abandon a blog for months on end without leaving even a single note. A single note of "we'll be back in a couple of days/weeks/months so stay tuned" would have sufficed. This would have left me with some hope that new interesting and entertaining posts were coming. But sadly no, not even a note since the end of July. It was like this blogger had been hit, for lack of a better term, by a subway train and was never coming back.

Then finally a note! All but very late, but a note! Apparently there had been something in the blogger's life that needed to be attended to for quite some time with work and their own personal lives.

But Subwayblogger left me with a major question that other bloggers would have come accross, "at what point do you 'delete' a blog from your blogroll for inactivity?"

Personally I was leaning towards four months of inactivity (no new posts) unless there was a note posted to say "we're away and will be right back...". But something about Subwayblogger tweaked a little voice in the back of my brain to say "hold on...he/she will be back...don't delete the listing quite yet." And surely enough Subwayblogger was back.

So this left me in a quandry, again, "when do you delete a blog from the blogroll for inactivity?" I've come to the conclusion that after six months of inactivity a blog can be deleted from my blogroll. Why six months? This provides enough opportunity for a blogger to get their life together or at least post a note to say "we'll be right back". Finally, after six months of inactivity, is there really any reason to continue blogging? It just seems to most readers that the blogger has given up on blogging and moved on with their lives.

Anywho, any input from other bloggers would be most welcomed in the comment section of this post. I'm eager to listen (er...read?) what others have to say on this issue.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Airport Style Security

Recently a plane from Amsterdam bound for Detroit was almost blown up by a male passenger. This lead me to review the security measures I've come accross in the past five years as an airline passenger. The main question is "would the security measures at the airports attended have prevented a situation like the one faced by the passengers on the plane bound for Detroit?" During the past five years I've been through security at four airports in two countries:

1. John F. Kennedy (New York, New York, USA)

2. Buffalo International Airport (Buffalo, New York, USA)

3. Lester B. Pearson Airport (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

4. McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA)

5. Liberty Internatioal Airport (Newark, New Jersey, USA)

Out of the five airports only one would have successfully found the explosives.

Buffalo International, which I have been through twice on my way to New York City, has passengers go through an explosives detecting machine. The machine is an archway with doors on one side. Passengers walk up to the footprints, stand there and the machine gives a quick burst (puff) of air. The puff of air is just enough to lift long hair in interesting patterns that can be funny for people waiting in line. The burst of air is then analyzed for any traces of certain materials that go in to explosives. This machine would have easily detected the material and stopped the suspect before he even boarded the airplane.

The only problem at Buffalo International is that only half of those in line go through the explosive detection machine. There is only one line for passengers departing from Buffalo International. However, the line is split into two with one set going off to the traditional metal detectors and the explosive detection machine while the other only goes to the metal detectors. Thus it is easy to avoid the machine by simply ordering yourself so that you go through in the line with the metal detector only. Hopefully in the near future at Buffalo International Airport this issue will be solved with another explosive detection machine being installed.

The other airports, both Canadian and American do not have the explosive detection machine. These airports include two New York area airports (Newark and John. F. Kennedy) who are located within 100 KM of where the World Trade Centre was levelled in September 2001. Thus it is surprising the lack of security measures at these two airports in terms of explosives.

With all of the above in mind, how does a law abiding passenger get through airport style security quickly, thoughtfully (for both yourself and the security agent) and legally? Try these tips:

1. Check any liquid in your checked baggage. Liquids include shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and bottled water. Side note: After going through airport security I find it humourous that one of the first items available for sale from concession stands is bottled water and soda pop.

2. While in line at security, take out all pocket change, your watch and anything else metallic on you. Put these items into your carry on luggage bag. By putting all of these items in your carry on bag you can quickly and easily get through the metal detector and pick up your carry on bag from scanning without fumbling for things in the bottom of the plastic container. Tip: For pocket change and your watch bring a ziploc bag with you to hold all of these items. The ziploc bag can easily be pulled out of your carry on bag and items put back in your pocket. Airport screeners loved my idea of the ziploc bag for making their metal detection sweep of me easy and for scanning purposes on their end.

3. Plan to be in airport security lines for at least two hours before your flight. So check in early and get in line early with a good book (The book should fit in your carry on bag for scanning purposes!).

4. Have your passport and boarding pass ready. Use your boarding pass to bookmark your the page with your photo on it in your passport. This makes identifying yourself to airport security and, eventually, airplane boarding easy.

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