Sunday, December 29, 2013

Winter nights

One of the nice things about winter in Northern Ontario is just enjoying a nice winter night. That's how it was over Christmas at Jenn and Scott's place. We had time to enjoy a nice bonfire and the boys had fun on what they call the ODR (Out Door Rink). Scotty hung little frying pans on the goal net as puck targets, because the styrofoam targets you buy at the sports store get shredded quickly from all the practice shots.  Another fun thing that I enjoyed was actually shovelling all the snow off the rink. It was great exercise after enjoying all the food, the drink and the amazing christmas pastries and treats. This is also my first video on here. If people like it, I will post more.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Roku. It rocks.

Roku. I have no idea where the name came from, but I was introduced to my Roku-3 on Christmas morning. Thanks to Jennifer and Scott. It's an amazing little electronic device you hook up to your TV and it brings in hundreds and hundreds (not kidding here) of TV shows, movies, e-Games, and free music channels. You can also buy into some programs if you want. But already I have spent hours browsing the free stuff.  Basically it works to connect your big-screen television to your high-speed internet and is pre-programmed to bring in every FREE multi-media service in the world. It just made my DVD player obsolete. It's the best techie thing I've seen in years! Just sayin... :)
If you want you can Google it to see what the Tech magazines are saying, or check out the website here:   CLICK

Friday, December 20, 2013

Back on the bean!

Yup, having coffee again. I cannot say why or how, but for some reason I stopped drinking coffee -- about three months ago. I was on a tea thing only. Tea in the morning, tea in the afternoon and sometimes even tea with supper. I remember wondering why. I even told people I was going to donate my Keurig to the church thrift shop.  Then last week I was at an assignment around 2:00 p.m., when I was offered a cup of coffee. I took it. It was great. So now I am back on the bean! Can't tell you why or how... but it sure tastes great. And just in time too. Next Christmas morning at Jenn's place, it will coffee and Bailey's!!! Yum.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Minus 28

It was a bit cool today, but the sun was shining. I had to get out and get some fresh air. Oh it was fresh alright. Took a nice hike out at Hersey Lake. Lots of snow shoers on the trails. But the ground and the snow was solid enough that I didn't use the snow shoes. To be honest, I forgot to bring them. But it was a beautiful day and great way to spend a couple of hours relaxing. I was shooting photos and took my mitts off too much. My hands got so cold, I had to use a couple of those handwarmer packs. First time this winter... and they worked great. One of my cams froze up, or the battery died. Either way it did not work. That never happened with my film cameras. I remember being in the Arctic years ago, with my Nikon F2 slung around my neck all day, and it never froze. Digital cams are nice, but they're not always reliable.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

C-c-c-cold these days in Timmins.

Timmins is in a cold snap these days. I don't mind it. For some reason, I find minus 38 weather to be re-assuring. It's how things should be in Timmins in December.  Crazy eh. I find that when I dress for the weather, I don't mind it. I am definitely going to get heated seats next time I get a new vehicle.
My Nitro seems just fine in the cold weather, otherwise. I think it's because the Jeep engine does not let one use heavy oil, never, ever. Also, I find that driving in second gear for the first 10 minutes in the morning is a good thing when it is this cold.
By the way, here is the photo I snapped Friday morning. This is a sun dog, caused by the ice crystals in the air.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

No kidding eh?

Sometimes, the stuff people put on Facebook is so interesting.
So I stole this to re-post it here.
The following information will be appreciated by at least two people that I know... Jenn & Neil!


1. If you don’t have a thick skin and complete abandonment of political correctness, don’t go near the kitchen. You will immediately learn there that what you consider to be off-limits is just the baseline of someone else’s sense of humor.
2. Bad tippers are the worst kinds of people, and are often terrible in many other ways than just being cheap.
3. Correction, the worst people are those who don’t tip or tip very badly, and accompany their financial insult with a snarky note left on the receipt.
4. The pain of a bad seating chart is a real one, and not a single customer will care or understand that you got slammed while someone else is totally dead.
5. The difference between the people who have never worked in food service, and the people who have, is always clearly visible. And a lot of time it has to do with the basic degree of respect they give to the people who are serving them.
6. Make back-of-house’s life easy, they will make yours easy. Working is always about scratching someone’s back so they’ll scratch yours, and you’d better not break that chain.
7. The only people you’re going to be able to hang out with — and often date — are by default going to be other people in the industry. So you better like the people you work with it, because no one else is going to be coming out with you at 1 AM.
8. There is absolutely zero shame in eating the plate that gets sent back barely-touched because someone either misunderstood what they were ordering or is incredibly fussy about their perfectly-good food. People who will judge you over shit like that are people who don’t know the joys of a pristine plate of onion rings coming back to you when you are starving.
9. The most important friend you will make is the one who will cover for you while you eat, crouched next to some appliance in the kitchen. True friendship is about taking the fall so someone can eat.
10. There are a lot of people who are going to look down on you for working a restaurant, and treat you with massive disrespect, and you just have to get over it and remind yourself to never be like that in your own life.
11. If you are good to your server, your experience will be about a thousand times better, and you might even get free stuff if you’re lucky.
12. There is nothing better than a chef who is currently trying out new stuff and has tons of excess food for everyone to try. The best friend anyone can have is a good chef.
13. Line cooks are some of the hardest-working, most humble and honest people in the working world. And many of them happen to be felons. And when you see them get off a 14-hour shift and still manage to make jokes with you at the end of it, you realize that every judgment we make about the guy with neck tattoos is completely off base.
14. If you’re a female waitress/hostess/bartender, some of the more drunk male customers will take it upon themselves to also designate you “professional receiver of gross comments and inappropriate touches.”
15. A good manager is the one who will shut shit like that down, because they would rather lose the money from that customer than have someone who mistreats their staff.
16. Even the best establishment can be run into the ground by a petty, spiteful manager.
17. There is no worse an experience on this planet than working a busy brunch shift when you are brutally hungover.
18. If you don’t make friends with the bartender from the get-go, your life is going to be difficult. And you quickly learn that this also applies to the places you don’t work at — treat your bartender well, reap the rewards.
19. The calm before the storm (also known as the rush) is one of the most precious, fleeting moments in life. And as soon as you see that first customer looking at the specials board just a little too long, you know that it’s already over.
20. Never be the person who comes in just as the kitchen’s closing and orders something really complicated. Just don’t be that person.
21. In the best restaurants, you’ll become like a little family, and live through several very important moments together (especially because you don’t get days off for normal, human things such as holidays or birthdays).
22. There will be one item on the menu that you fall in love with so much that you actually start having dreams about it, and go through withdrawal when you don’t have it for a long enough stretch of time. You can actually get that way over, say, a cream of crab soup. It’s like heroin.
23. Going back to a place you used to work and seeing all the old group — and getting to eat and drink all your favorites again — is one of the best feelings you can have.

Credit for this item goes to Brooklyn, NY writer Chelsea Fagan.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Just a chat

December is one of those months where you’re at work, and somebody suddenly blurts out “Oh my God, it’s December 6th… where did the year go.” Yup, that happened. So here we are with the new year just a few weeks away, but it is still a nice time of year. People are already going to Christmas parties. The media crowd here in Timmins had a party Friday night, but it wasn’t for Christmas. It was just a potluck thing because one person got a new apartment. So we went and carried on for four or five hours and it was nice.

  I noticed at the party that somebody would say something and I was struggling to hear it. I think my hearing is crapping out on me. Or maybe it’s because too many other people were talking. Then again, when I listen to my emergency scanner radio, I can immediately hear the message, despite any static or background noise. I’ve always been good at listening. You have to be when you’re a reporter. Listening and taking notes is essential. But now when I am in a courtroom or important meeting, I use an electronic recorder to get everything.

 Today is Sunday and I am moving quietly and gently. Had a few glasses of whiskey last night and I enjoyed much laughter. The event was the after – party for the annual Christmas Telethon in Timmins. I really hadn’t planned on going and helping out, but I knew I would feel guilty if I did not. So I showered, shaved, put on a fresh shirt and blazer and headed out to the TV station. It was nice. It’s one of the few places where I can relax and put my feet up because the folks there know me. The Telethon was a success and more than $80,000 was pledged to buy grocery vouchers for needy families.

Timmins is not in a slump economically, but it feels like it. Normally with the price of gold things are soaring and there is much excitement over mining exploration. The price of gold is hovering at about $1230 per ounce. A year ago, it was over $1800. So that means prospectors are having a hard time finding money from investors to go out in the field looking for prospects. That’s a big change. So the city continues to move forward, but just not with the hoopla that we’re used to. Also, there’s not as many players investing in the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) or the TSX venture exchange… just so you know, mining is still the biggest part of the TSX.

There is excitement though about a huge new mining venture north of here. It’s called the Ring of Fire. It’s a chromite prospect. You need chromite to make stainless steel. Stay tuned, this is going to be as big as the tar sands in Alberta.

 I am looking forward to Christmas. I will be joining Jennifer, Scott, Tyler and Nathan as usual, but I am looking forward to just unwinding and shutting down for a few days. The news game has been running in high gear for the past few weeks and I will be glad for the break.

 I had a very brief chat Friday with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne who was in Timmins with several of her cabinet ministers for a meeting with Northern leaders. I always like to meet with these people and offer them a genuine welcome when they come to Timmins. But it’s not the same as it used to be. Politicians now seem more on their guard than ever before when speaking with media. I always regarded such a chat as off the record and just like to just have a quick one-on-one chat about the weather, or the Maple Leafs, or whatever, just to be human for a few moments. I have met all the premiers since Bill Davis and interviewed five prime ministers. I was always relaxed and comfortable with it. Now it seems everyone is too worried about political correctness and everyone is just to tense. That’s discouraging.

Well, the elevator in our building has been acting up for a few weeks now, not working properly. Living on the third floor, I was annoyed at first. But now I am getting used to using the stairs. The elevator is partially back in service this past week, but it is still not fully repaired. So I will be getting a bit more exercise. That’s not a bad thing.

As a follow up to last month’s posting about Ron’s adventure with prostate cancer, I went to a doctor to get a referral for blood testing. So I will find time Monday to get bloodwork done. Will keep you posted.