Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's All About the Numbers

It has been 3.5 months (that’s 16 weeks) since I started riding my bike to work. Each way, it is 14.8 km (according to Google maps) door – to – door. On that stretch of road / lake path, there are 23 traffic lights going and 24 coming back. On Queens Quay there is a ‘half’ light on the north side of the streetcar tracks.

During that time, I have only skipped the cycle 2 times and taken public transit ~ the $5 express. Both times were due to rain. I have still been soaked to the skin twice, both on the way home, having been caught in summer afternoon thunder showers. Quite pleasant actually as there is no one else about and it saves a shower when I get home. I jest of course. Or do I?

On my route, there are also 8562 Canadian geese. That count is, of course, subject to change as those pesky things keep moving about. Scattered about the path is a corresponding 8562 pounds of goose poop.

My advice, keep you mouth closed as you ride over those heavily soiled sections of path, your eyes too if you are not wearing glasses of some sort. It tastes just about as bad as you would imagine, especially being flung off your tire.

I save myself $13 parking everyday (if I were to drive) or $10 on transit. Come winter, I won’t have a choice, but for now, I consider that a savings. In my old job I didn’t have to pay for parking at all, but that luxury only applies in the burbs I guess. I also bought new clips and shoes at a cost of $197.56. Still, less money on gas and less wear and tear my dear Liza. I also see myself needing some warmer pants shortly.

According to the MSN calorie counter, I burn 546 calories in the 30 - 35 minutes it takes to make the trip. Good thing too, since I no longer have access to a free gym and haven’t touched a weight in 3.5 months. Thank goodness for the bike and yoga. They help me keep my whippet thin waist in tip-top shape.

I have dropped my water bottle once and done a farmers ‘nose clearing’ onto my own shoulder an equal number of times. You really need to pay attention to the wind when you do that.

The one thing I do not have an accurate count on is the number of bugs I have managed to swallow. Best guess is 10 – 15 big ones. Where you actually feel them smack into the back of your throat and there is no getting them out. One of those also resulted in the dropped water bottle.

I figure I have another 10 weeks to go but we’ll see if the constantly dropping morning temperature changes that.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm?

I have heard, and confirmed through the Google, that airlines don’t play disaster movies as in-flight entertainment, especially those that involve planes that crash and burn. I would argue Independence Day fits that bill, but let’s not split hairs.

Assuming the same principle applies to other modes of transportation, I would guess that cruise lines don’t play Titanic or The Poseidon Adventure. That last one could be due to Ernest Borgnine running around in a wife beater rather than the disaster element. “Linda, I told you to put something on under that dress”. Classic.

So I had to raise an eyebrow this morning when I boarded the elevator at work for my trip to the 25th floor. To alleviate awkward, and more often than not boring, conversations all the lifts have a screen.

Weather, sports and odds and sods of news flash across the screen to entertain you for your 45 second trip. I was surprised though to see a trailer for M. Knight Shyamalan’s new movie “Devil”.

From what I can gather, an elevator gets stuck, the lights go out and the devil starts having ‘fun’ with the occupants. I have been stuck in an elevator thrice in my life (more if you count the on purpose times) that I can remember. Once the lights went out to boot. Not good times I can tell you.

For kicks, I think the captivate people should deliberately stop the elevators during the morning rush and play the second scene from the movie Speed. That’ll calm everyone right down.

Monday, September 06, 2010

A Tale of Two Cities

Really, it is one city, but two different neighbourhoods. There are parallels between this tale however and that of the book. One is relatively calm and quiet while in the other you are as likely to have your head lobbed off as not. I exaggerate of course but this week I did noted a difference between the east and west ends of Toronto.

My east end story goes a little something like this; two boys were looking after a friends moose (a puppy really, but so big she has been given the aforementioned nickname). Although said animal resides in the west end, she is famous throughout the entire city. The boys were walking about with their pet-for-a-day and wanting to spoil her silly, took her to bark and fitz in the beach.

Dropping her name in the store, the lady behind the counter said, “oh is that the dog named after the bird in the movie ‘Up’? I said it was and she went on to say that she had heard all about her.

Celebrity dog in tow, we headed to Meat on the Beach (see what they did there?) to grab a little something for dinner. No dogs allowed of course, so I stood outside while IronMan fetched salmon for me and steak for himself and moose.

Meat is one of those impeccably kept and presented little stores that you pay through the nose at. Giving it its due however, I must say, fabulous. Outside they have the latest produce of the season on display in their vintage GM truck and this time of year includes concord grapes.

I was having a good time people watching and listening to the conversations of others while I should have been minding my own bees wax. I was not standing there very long, but still managed to hear someone refer to his Johnson (at least I assume that is what he was referring to given the context) as “the chief” and a mother drop the f-bomb twice as she pushed her toddler along in an over-priced pram.

What put a smile on my face though was the girl who excitedly turned to her friend while pointing at the concord’s and stated “oh, those grapes taste just like wine”. Really dip shit? What’s next, apples that taste like apple juice or oranges that taste like orange juice?

Glad that kabala string didn’t last very long….so much better to judge.

Back in the west end, others were busy with more worthwhile, though illegal, activities. While I judged the mental intellect and inane comments of others, someone was judging concrete steps on ninth street…..and mine won!

I know I should be proud and happy that my step won. Chest puffed out, free cigars and all that, but I kind of wish I had lost and kept my step.

Yes folks, someone was so desperate, and obviously in the middle of a construction project, that during the night they stole my stair! At first my neighbour and I thought each other, for some bizarre reason, had moved it. No.

Drunk punk prank? Smashed to bits in the middle of the road or made off with only to discover it’s too heavy to make it worth while? No.

Just gone. Sunday night there, Monday morning, not-so-much. Thankfully my urn and hydrangea were left in a non pillaged state (and are now chained to my post) but I have to worry about the mailman twisting his ankle.

On the plus side, it is a ‘common element’ so the condo corporation has to replace it and I finally see a positive to that $188 maintenance fee!