Thursday, July 30, 2015

Things sure change eh?

What a change eh? This is the area of Vipond Road in Timmins, the one that separates Schumacher and the old town of Timmins. With the new mine in place, Goldcorp has installed a massive berm, about 25 metres high to surround the entire open pit. This week, they began a hydro-seeding project to add grasses and vegetation to the berm. This is going to become a permanent part of the new landscape of Timmins. On the other side, once the mining is done, there will be a new lake.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A moment of appreciation ...

I rushed into my apartment this afternoon for a quick sandwich and a coffee before heading out to a meeting at city hall. I stopped dead thinking I was in the wrong place. The breakfast dishes were done. The bed was made. The cupboards were closed. The place looked really, really tidy. I had a sudden moment of appreciation. Yup, daughter Jennifer dropped into for a visit this weekend. It was so nice having company. Thanks Jenn!

Elections were fun ...

One of the fun things about news work is planning for election campaigns. I don't think mainstream Canadians get caught up in politics as much as reporters do. We were just discussing this afternoon how NDP leader Tom Mulcair will be touring Ontario as a run up to the October 19th election. I mentioned to the news gang that I remember covering NDP leader David Lewis in the '74 campaign, with Trudeau and Stanfield. To this day I remember that I was more star struck by the veteran journalists on the campaign bus than with Mr. Lewis himself. I was a cub reporter on a hot summer morning who got on the bus north of Kirkland Lake and we were doing a quick tour of the riding. The first guy to say hello was a very tall, smiling and forceful fellow who handed me a beer (It was before noon)and asked me if I wanted a bologna sandwich with or without mustard. It was reporter Henry Champ of CTV news. He would become a superstar foreign correspondent with NBC News. Also on the bus was Mike Duffy, then with CBC Radio and Mark Phillips of CBC TV, who would become famous for his work with CBS News, all over the world. I don't know how these guys managed to get their work done with all the beer and joking around on the campaign bus. It sure was fun.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

People talk

One of the things I so enjoy about Timmins is that people talk. I was driving back from the grocery store this afternoon, along a quiet residential street and there was a former well-known police officer out walking his dog. I rolled to a stop, said hello and we ended up yakking for a good 20 minutes. Of course anyone following the news in Timmins this year would know what we were talking about and so it was that we threw ideas and opinions back and forth, and it was just the best thing to do. I know that some of the things I said might eventually filter through the department, and he knows some of the things he said might eventually be mentioned in a news story. That's okay. Sometimes, that's how stories get told. The other thing was in the grocery store, my quick trip to pick up some vegetables and juice became an hour-long gab session with other people I bumped into. Saturday afternoons are not the best time to do anything quickly.

Friday, July 17, 2015


With all the strange things that go on in the world, I am always amazed when NASA reminds us there are worlds beyond our own. I was amazed this week to see the new images of the planet Pluto along with information about the size of its atmosphere. Pluto is so much smaller than Earth, but the atmosphere is much bigger; but it's mostly nitrogen so you can't breathe it. Here is something interesting from NASA. If you weigh 180 pounds on earth, you will weigh about 11 pounds on Pluto. Cool.
I cannot help but think that some day, people from our planet will move to other nearby planets to live. I don't know how long it will take before than happens, but I am pretty sure it will happen one day.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Never saw this before ...

We had some thunder and lightning in Timmins Saturday night. It appears lightning caused a house fire and also split open this hardwood tree. I've never seen this before, and so I snapped a photo. One fellow on the street suggested it might have been caused by the intense heat of the lightning cooking the inside of the tree to the point that the sap was boiled, steam was generated and the pressure exploded all the bark off the bottom portion of the tree. It also scattered several chunks of wood all around the yard, the street and neighbouring driveways. Bizarre eh.

Guilty pleasures

I watched a movie this week where the lead actor, John Travolta, was lighting a cigar. Oh my goodness, I suddenly stopped listening to the movie and just focused on the cigar. I LOVE cigars. I wish I could smoke one, but I am sure that if I did I would be so tempted to begin smoking again. Anyway, the scene in the movie was about 30 seconds long and you could tell that Travolta was really enjoying the moment. It is one of life's guilty pleasures to pick up a cigar and inhale that fabulous smell of dry, cured tobacco and to anticipate the first puff of smoke once you light it. And then the smoke is sweet and it lingers around your head and takes over your senses for a few minutes.  My mouth is watering at the thought of it. I think I am going to have a cigar ... on my 80th birthday.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

One of those days ...

Today is one of those hot summer days that so many people enjoy. The sun was high in the sky and there was barely a breeze at noon, but I could hear kids out there shouting and playing despite the heat. I am betting the beach down by the lake was packed. I stayed in all day reading, except for a brief trip to the recycle bin. Oooh I could feel the heat beating down and I began to sweat within minutes of stepping outside. A couple of the older neighbour ladies were sitting in the shade, so I had to say Hello. Of course they were the kind of people who just loved this weather and the heat. Maybe there's something about getting older, that you get colder.  I don't know yet!
Well I have made a big jug of iced tea, and I was going to have fried chicken for supper, but to be honest I don't feel like cooking. Did I mention that I broke my Nestle boycott for one product? Yeah, I am not proud of it, but I like sweet iced tea. I looked all over for a non-Nestle product, but I found a non-sugar product called Nestea Zero, which I like very much. I mix it with my own ice tea and it is very refreshing. Oh yea, it also tastes quite nice with bourbon and a bit of lemon.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy July

July has been miserable so far in Timmins. It was cold last week ... so cold and rainy that everyone was wearing jackets. No worries, it will get better. I am thinking at least the bugs aren't bad. Here's something funny. Visited a house last week where there was a party. A good friend was coming through town, and she invited many of us out to see her. So I did. I always bring a few beers to enjoy and I always leave several behind. I figure it is a small gift for the party host. So I had my three drink limit after about four hours, and decided it was time to go home. All good, except I forgot that I had pulled out a brand new bottle of Muskol lotion (bug dope) and left it at the party. Arrghh. I hate that. I don't mind leaving the booze, but that bottle of Muskol cost $6! Am I cheap or what eh?
That reminds me... I have the camera-buying bug again. I have been checking out prices on new photo equipment. Some of the prices are pretty amazing. I am also looking at UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that can carry a camera. Amazing stuff. Yup, drones are gonna be the hottest new thing.  A bit costly right now, just over $2,000 ... but I am watching the prices closely.