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Sunday, August 29, 2010

One duffle bag ... for two weeks.

So here's the challenge. I am travelling next week, and although I have done a lot of travelling in the past few years, it was always by road. This will be my first time on a plane in ten years. I will be gone a couple of weeks so I am determined that I need only one duffle bag for my clothes. I was inspired by the fact that the last time Neil flew from Vancouver to visit, he carried only a backpack ... and he was visiting for two weeks. So today is my rehearsal. I am going to see how much I can stuff into a 24-inch duffle bag. My Motto: If it doesn't fit, I don't need it! I kind of like the idea that I can sling it over my shoulder without a lot of trouble. Oh, I should mention that I will also bring my laptop and case, and my cameras, which I stuff into a little packsack. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's a Gillis thing.

I am losing my hair … from two directions! I really don’t think it bothers me too much … I look in the bathroom mirror in the mornings and I start laughing. First of all, I have a high forehead … that means my hairline is heading backwards. I also have a bald spot in the back that is slowly moving forward. I think I get the high forehead from my Dad’s side of the family. Many of the Gillis men have it. I get the bald spot from my Mom’s side the family. Many of the MacLean men are balding. I mentioned it to my son Neil that my hairline is getting high enough I could show a movie on my forehead. He said “Yeah, Dad … Imax!” That was so funny! He is such a smart-ass at times. That’s a Gillis thing.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Trains, books and church music

Wow, it must be the rainy weather. I can't believe I slept in to 8:30 this morning. Oh well the coffee is good. And I am listening to church music. Yup. There is a small congregation that meets about half a block away from my building and between now and noon, they sing up a storm. It's not too bad.
I am also exploring the idea of e-books right now. When I go on vacation I plan to go bookless. But I will try to download a few books on my laptop (Yes! I am bringing my laptop of vacation. I am a news junkie and I will be updating my blog)So today I am looking at downloading books, but the choice is limited, unless I want to re-read old classics by Mark Twain or the Bronte sisters. I am going to be on the VIA Rail Canadian for a few days, so I am sure to have some time.
I have booked a roomette on the train, so it means I get my own bedroom, which is good. And all the meals are included. (You should see the menu!) I have one worry. When I go to sleep I might miss some nice scenery. I like riding trains for that reason. The scenery is amazing. I still remember the last time I travelled through Saskatchewan... I loved seeing the wheat fields. Even at night, the scenery is nice. My last train trip was last summer and I remember looking up at the moon through the trees and the forest. It was nice.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Legendary prospectors and Minefinders!

I was pleased this week to cover an announcement in Timmins by the local prospectors association. They announced a $200,000 legacy project in honour of the three fellows who found the Big Three gold mines in Timmins. They will be creating three bronze statues of Jack Wilson, Sandy McIntyre and Benny Hollinger. They found the orebodies for The Dome, The McIntyre and The Hollinger gold mines. Forget whatever you've heard about the great gold rushes in history. The Timmins gold rush and the creation of the Porcupine Camp (in the early days gold towns were called camps) is by far the largest in North American history. The big rushes in California, the Cariboo, Cripple Creek and the Klondike were dribbles in the bucket compared to Timmins. They're still finding gold in Timmins. So it was nice to cover that announcement. By the way, the announcement was made this week at the Gold Mine Cafe and as I was driving up to the building, I couldn't help but notice there was a diamond-drill rig running not more than 50 feet away. Right now, Timmins is the mining exploration capital of the world. More than a hundred different companies are out there looking for new mines. This other photo (below) shows the guys from the prospectors association making the announcement and holding up the bronze castings of the prospectors. Heres' something interesting. The prospectors being honoured are all in the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame and are known by the unique title of Minefinders -- those rare individuals who have actually discovered a mine. There have been hundreds of famous prospectors in Canada, but not all become Minefinders. Take a look at the ordinary-looking fellow on the far right there. (click the pic to enlarge it) That's Brad Wood of Timmins. He is a modern day Minefinder. Back in the day, more than 20 years ago, when Brad was a student geologist, he spent one weekend fishing along a Northern Ontario river. That's when he found some kimberlite rock samples. Where you find kimberlite, you might find diamonds. Sure enough, Brad's discovery resulted in the first ever diamond mine in Ontario. It's now called the De Beers Victor Mine. But those in the know at the mine still call it Brad's Pit. How cool is that?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Books and Movies.

I had a nice chat with Jennifer a few days ago to get caught up on everything and she is well. She went for her latest blood test and she is confident all will be well. So am I. I will be traveling to Sudbury at the end of the month so I can depart from there for my trip west. I am doing that because on the trip back home I will be riding the train. The VIA Canadian (that's the name of the train) doesn't stop in Timmins, but it will stop in Sudbury. So it will be nice to spend a bit of time with Jenn and her men before heading out.
I am in book withdrawal this week. I had half a dozen novels on my desk at the end of June, but I've read them all. So I have to go to the bookstore this weekend. I have decided to do a bit of research on the net to find some new authors and new novels. Jenn says she likes to read true crime. Never would have guessed that. But maybe I will try a few chapters. I can't wait to see what Neil has on his bookshelves. He always surprised me with his choices. He has read some pretty interesting books.
I have been researching on the net and have found a wealth of amazing movies available for download. In the past week I watched Motorcycle Diaries, a fantastic tale of the early days of Ernesto Guevara, also known as Che. Great story. I hate to admit it, but some movies are just too good and I am confident they're better as a movie than as a book. Tonight I watched Julie and Julia; a story about the famous chef and cookbook author Julia Child. Another great movie. If you get the chance, see it.
On the weekend I did something quite different. I went to an old-fashioned cocktail party. A friend and his wife were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. It was quite nice. Everyone was dressed up. There were fresh flowers, wonderful drinks and they even had a chef who came to the house to cook. Incredible food. A fabulous way to spend a summer evening. Keep smiling.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

I'm addicted!

I spent nearly three hours last night reading blogs! Other people's blogs. I'm addicted. If you look toward the upper left area of this page you will see a line that has the phrase 'Next Blog'. Click on that and it will take you to other blog pages by other people. Keep doing it and you travel the world. It's fantastic. And the photos are amazing. People like to snap pictures of their children, their families and where they live and what they do. Some people are beekeepers, some are farmers and some are high-tech graphics programmers. And pets! I am amazed at how many people are so attached to their pets whether they're cats, rats, horses or reptiles. People get comfort from other creatures. Some people have music piped in on their websites too. Usually that uses up a lot of bandwidth, but I am going to look into it. Keep smiling.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

They took a look inside me.

I am easily impressed by things I am not familiar with. That’s how it was today when I had an ultra-sound and biopsy on my neck. Lots of people have ultra-sounds. It’s really amazing technology when you think about it. Well, I am old enough to remember when they didn’t exist. The idea of sound waves taking a picture inside you impresses me. I had to turn my head for the procedure so that allowed me to watch the monitor. Then they inserted a needle to take a tissue sample and I could see it on the monitor as the needle moved around. That made me a bit nervous. So I gulped. And I saw that too! Everything moved. Cool. Then I had a CT scan where they injected a fluid dye into my arm that would show up on their X-ray video. The guy says it will be in my system for 24 hours before I “pass” it. Gonna turn off the lights in the bathroom and see if anything glows. LOL Will keep you posted.