dino out

Aargh, I hate finishing an Eric Garcia Rex book. I don’t get lost in too many books, but Eric’s ones do that for me. I’d finished Hot & Sweaty Rex, then re-read Anonymous Rex ‘cos I couldn’t get enough of that dino-noir (dinoir?)

Garcia’s books are clearly works of fiction. I mean, to say that 5% of the population are dinosaurs in heavy disguise — the real number’s much higher

This wind study brought to you by the Canadian Nuclear Association

So there’s a new report on wind integration in Canada, written by The Conference Board of Canada. People are picking up on it, and even the doughty Refocus quotes… electricity from onshore wind is uneconomic in comparison with traditional alternatives“. Hmm.

So I read the report, and what do I find in the Preface?

As part of an ongoing initiative to investigate energy policy options and the future of the Canadian energy system, the Canadian Nuclear Association contracted The Conference Board of Canada to conduct a comparative study of various countries’ experiences with supporting and implementing large-scale wind projects.

So we’re expected to believe that the CNA would wish to have an objective and non-partisan report written on wind power, eh?

second place

… but not very surprisingly, the Raptors came in second. Again.

I don’t think we have enough tall Lithuanians on the team.

In Edmonton, but no thanks to WorstJet

Edmonton: view from my hotel

Jet lag, lack of sleep, and a whole day of company orientation isn’t doing much for my clarity of thought right now. What I need is steak and beer.

Last night’s flight was supposed to get in at 10:30, but what with WestJet‘s faffing around, we got in well after midnight. It was about 1am (or 03:00, Toronto time) before I got settled in the hotel room.

I’ve never been in a city with trolley buses before. Guess I can’t say that any more. It’s also the furthest west I’ve ever been.
I wonder if the snow drawing below (as seen from my hotel window) is supposed to be a hometown homage to Bob The Angry Flower?

hometown homage to Bob?

Chicken Payback

I had the misfortune to have a Swiss Chalet lunch near an argument. It was actually more of a harangue since it was very one-sided, and I was on the verge of getting up to tell the antagonist to shut up.

I don’t know the relationship, but it was an older guy and a younger woman, possibly his daughter. He was going on and on about how she was cutting work to go to the gym, how she was being paid for working 37.5 hours a week but was only working 35, did she feel good about stealing from the company, it didn’t matter if she got the work dones, she was paid to be there, her a manager too, etc, etc.

What was particularly pathetic was that he only ever gave her a couple of seconds to answer before launching another tirade. I think she maybe said about 10 words in a fifteen minute period.

I suspect he thought he was making a good point, but he was just coming across as a complete dork. And he was putting me off my food, too.

Ontario Government Giving Every Household a Say in Province’s Electricity Future

The Energy Minister wants your thoughts on the Supply Mix. Quick, do you know what the supply mix is? Do you care?

I’m guessing that, as long as the lights are still on, that you can read my blog, the fuel bills aren’t too high, and acide rain hasn’t caused the cat to rust, you don’t really care about the Supply Mix.

But Donna Cansfield wants you to care. She’s sending everyone a brochure Our Energy, Our Future (online here) to make you think that they’d give a one before they go build nukes anyway. And since you were consulted, it’s your fault when the cost overruns roll in.

shavin’

They’ve just discontinued my razor of choice — the Wilkinson Sword/Schick Diamond — so I’ve decided to go old-school. Now that Wilkinson Sword has the four-blade Quattro, and Gillette their five-bladed monstrosity, I’ve realised that the whole multi-blade thing is a load of hooey.

Consider this: if the first blade was supposed to do most of the work, then draw the hair out a bit to be cut below the skin level, further blades would have less and less effect. It’s just as likely that the whole multi-blade cartridge thing was a scam to sell more, and non-standard, blades that could easily be made obsolescent by the time generic manufacturers caught on —  the old Instamatic effect.

So I bought a Merkur safety razor (from Toronto Salon Supply, at Bay and Dundas), and a bunch of Merkur blades. I didn’t shave particularly close today, but it’s just as close a shave as the old twin-blader I used to use.

The plus side is that I’m throwing away no plastic with every blade, so I’m shaving the planet.

my letter to etymotic

To: Etymotic Research Inc. Customer Support

I recently placed an order with you for accessories for my Isolator ER-6i headphones. I was very disappointed when UPS added an additional brokerage charge of approximately US$27 (plus taxes and duties) to the order. Since the value of the the order was only $43, your courier’s brokerage charge was almost two-thirds the value of the goods ordered.

Please consider using another courier for Canadian orders. USPS/Canada Post’s brokerage charges are much smaller, of the order of $5.

I would also like to note that none of your agents in Toronto seems able to stock these spares. I visited all three of the dealers mentioned on your website:

  • Long & McQuade had no stock, and didn’t seem particularly keen on ordering any for me.
  • Carbon Computers, though very helpful, only had eartips for the ER-6, and didn’t know that they wouldn’t work with the ER-6i.
  • CPUsed sold me an incomplete bag of ER6-14 eartips; only 6 tips for the full price of 10. When they weren’t assuring me that they’d work with the ER-6i, they were trying to sell me a set of Shure E2C headphones, which they said were better.

Up until now, I have been widely recommending your products. Until I know that you’re serious about supporting your Canadian customers, however, I cannot recommend your products to anyone in this country.

a few loose tools on the workbench

Lee Valley make and sell good (if doggedly non-metric) woodworking tools. It would seem, though, that LV proprietor Leonard Lee has a rather unhealthy problem with Canada Post: postalproblem.ca.

His lengthy letters and full page ads in the Ottawa Citizen have an Incensed of Tunbridge Wells quality to them. It might be an idea to start hiding the sharp things when Leonard’s around.

idle thought

Walking past the Ford dealer today, I saw that they had all the used cars idling. While the swirls of exhaust were quite pretty in the winter morning sun, I had to wonder what they were achieving.

Toronto Subway Station GPS Locations

After seeing the various nifty web-enabled transit maps, I realised I had the data handy to get things started. A while back, I georeferenced the TTC Ride Guide, and digitized all the station locations. I cleaned them up today, and in the hope of being useful, here are the files:

These are simple three-column CSV files, stating latitude, longitude, and station name. They should be in order of stations. Locations are probably within about 50m of real life, but don’t bank on it.

I’ll get these into more useful formats soon, like GPX and KML. For now though, if you can use ’em, go ahead and do something.

Stewart’s long walk

After picking up my UK passport form at Bay & College, I walked to Spadina Subway. Not far, you’d say. It is if you go via College all the way to Dufferin, and back. 7.3 km, I make it, from the amazing Gmaps Pedometer. I went via Canada Computers (where I got a fantastically quiet Vantec case fan) and Soundscapes (where, of course, I bought too many CDs).

And you know why it was such a long walk? I was looking for a Timmy’s. Sad, isn’t it? It would seem that Little Italy is almost totally free of Tim’s. Yes, I know I could have had fantastic espresso and some kind of pastry there, but I wanted Tim’s, and I was prepared to walk for over an hour in sub-zero temperatures to get it, dammit.