Showing posts with label Ottawa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ottawa. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June update

It's been a while and I thought I'd post an update.

The good: My "bad" (left) shoulder is doing fantastic. Much better than I expected. Weather permitting, I bike to work on a regular basis. Unfortunately, due to the weather, that hasn't been as often as I would like. I have a goal of riding 90kms in one outing before the end of the summer. I managed to do 68.8kms once without even trying so I think I should be fine. I've already reached 40% of my 2000km overall summer goal.

The bad: My good (right) shoulder is bothering me. I think I have a pinched nerve in there somewhere. I didn't do anything to injure it, as I did with my left shoulder, but it really hurts if I move it in certain ways. Thankfully, cycling isn't affecting it. Sleeping on it seems to have the most adverse affect on it. It's been like this for a couple of months, but I've decided to give it more time before becoming too concerned with it. Besides, I'm almost due for my annual physical so I'll bring it up then, but I suspect my doctor won't be too concerned about it and may just refer me to physio or something.

The weather for the rest of the summer is supposed to be much better than it has been for June, so I'm hoping to get in a lot more cycling. Despite my goal for 2000kms, I think I might push for 3000kms. :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Free body work, courtesy of Jim Keay Ford Lincoln

We have a bit of a history with Ford and Jim Keay Ford Lincoln. Click here to read if you're interested.

We've been dealing with them for about 15 years now. We've leased 4 vehicles and purchased one in that time. There's been good times, and there's been bad times. After today, regardless of the outcome, I think we'll be severing our ties with them.

My wife brought our 2008 Ford Escape in for an oil change, check-up and tire rotation. After the service and paying the bill, they mentioned to her that they "noted" there was some door damage. She didn't think too much of it. We have the odd minor door ding here and there, received from not-so-careful people who park beside us in mall parking lots. Who doesn't?

When she got to our Escape she saw this.

She walked back into the dealership and told them that this was not there before she brought it in.

The guy at the counter went to speak with the people who worked on our vehicle and, not so surprisingly, came back to say that nobody knows what happened.

They told her that the customer service manager would call her on Monday. She tried to get the name of someone higher because we've dealt with him before and he lacks customer service skills. She didn't get very far. Apparently, his boss is Jim Keay himself, and nobody there seems to have any contact information for him.

She also had to tell them to take photos of the damage for their own record. She had two photos taken with her cell phone, but they would have had none.

I'd like to think that they'll immediately own up to this and make good on it, but based on our history with them I fear this isn't going to be easy. Someone there already had the chance to come clean and chose to lie.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dear dumbass...

Instead of yelling "you ran a red light!" at me as I rode my bicycle through the intersection this morning, perhaps you should be watching for the "walk" signal.

The light changed to amber as I entered the intersection. It changed to red when I had to come to a near stop because your ass had stepped into the dedicated bicycle lane — while the "don't walk" signal was still on — as I got to the other side.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rain sucks

The topic says it all.

It was bound to happen sooner or later, and Monday was the day. I got rained on, while cycling home. Up to then, I was fairly lucky and the worst I got was a light misting.

The worst part wasn't so much the rain, but the puddles I had to ride through at the side of the road. My shoes were soaked.

I got a sports cam for my Birthday earlier in the month and I've begun filming most of my rides. Sometimes there's an asshole who cuts me off, and other times there's something cool to see. This is one of those "something cool" moments.

I'm really pleased by the steadiness of the camera, considering it's mounted to my handlebars. It's a Contour ROAM, but it doesn't have any kind of stabilzation feature. I've tried mounting regular video cameras or pocket cameras and the quality of the footage is terrible. I plan to eventually post a video of an entire ride (sped up around 300%), just for fun. By the end of summer, I may also have enough for a compilation video showing how bad some cyclists are.

Friday, September 23, 2011

If you have a bike helmet, why not use it properly?

I'm not one of those who thinks everyone should wear a bike helmet. To each his or her own. If I didn't have to buy one to participate in a charity ride years ago, I might not even have one today. I paid for it, so why not use it? And yeh, there's the whole safety aspect of it. :)

I've seen two examples of bike helmet stupidity this summer that puzzle me.

  1. cyclists who wear their bike helmet tilted back on their head, and
  2. cyclists who ride with their helmet hanging from the handlebars or strapped to a carrier

Regarding the first one; if you're not going to wear it properly, why bother wearing it at all? There's no law that says you have to, if you're over 18. It also makes you look rather stupid.

As for the second; why the hell did you bring it with you? I don't understand what the point is. If anything, I think it's more of a hazard swinging from the handlebars, and at risk of falling off and into your path or someone else's.

Neither of these is going to do your head much good if you fall off your bike.

Can someone please explain these to me?


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Feeling a little deflated

In the months that I've been cycling to work, and even in the years prior that I cycled only on weekends, I've never gotten a flat. I've often seen cyclists at the side of the bike path or road fixing a flat on their bike. Every time I see it, I can't help but feel for them. "That must really suck."

This morning I got to know what it feels like to be one of those cyclists. :( But I wasn't able to repair my tire.

I was about half way to work, not far from Major's Hill Park, when something didn't feel right about my bike. The rear wheel felt like it had a little too much side-to-side movement. I glanced down and it seemed ok. My first thought was that maybe the rear wheel was loose. I stopped at a traffic light and looked at it again. The wheel was fine, but the tire pressure seemed a little lower than a minute earlier. The light changed and I kept riding.

I decided that when I got to the top of the steep hill leading down to the Rideau Locks, I would get off the bike and have a better look at it. The last thing I was for my wheel to come off or have a full flat when I hit ~40kmh going down that hill.

As I approached the hill, I looked down at the tire again. It was flatter. I got to the top of the hill and dismounted. I pressed on the rear tire. It was definitely going flat.


I have a repair kit and pump with me all the time, but I don't have the tire levers. I'm not sure why I bother to carry anything with me when I don't have the tools to remove the tire.

I grabbed my cell phone and called my wife, whom I was sure would almost be at work by now — she was just passing my work, so yeh, she was almost at work. I told her I had a flat. She got off the highway, turned around and I met her in the Byward Market about 10-15 minutes later. We put my bike in the back of the truck and I drove her to work.

I'll be heading to the bike shop at lunch to pick up a new innertube and some tire levers.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beware of National Home Services

This past Saturday a representative from National Home Services rang our door bell. I don’t normally let anyone get much of a word in when they ring our door bell and try to sell us some kind of service. In fact, I have a small sign on our door to ward off Direct Energy and Rogers reps. I usually interrupt them to say “No thanks” and close the door on them.

He identified himself and asked to speak with the owner of the house. I told him that was me. He said National Home Services was taking over for Direct Energy and that he was booking appointments to have our hot water heater rental checked to see if it needed replaced, free of charge. If it was replaced in the last year or two, it probably wouldn’t need to be replaced.

Perhaps that was the hook that kept my attention.

I told him that I wanted to check with Direct Energy before making any commitments. He said that they had nothing to do with it.  I told him that I’d still like to verify with Enbridge or Direct Energy. He actually said he would wait if I wanted to confirm with them over the phone. He even added that if I checked my gas bill, I would see that National Home Services was listed as a partner. I went paperless a while ago, so I couldn't verify at the time.

I asked him if he had any information he could leave with me. He said he didn’t because he wasn’t the sales guy, he was just booking the appointments and head office would follow up.  I asked him if he had a business card. He said he didn’t, but he did offer to write down his name and phone number so I could call him once I had contacted Enbridge.

I got a piece of paper and he wrote it down. He also explained that it was his cell number and he was heading back to Toronto.

It all seemed pretty ballsy if it was some kind of a scam.

We thanked each other, shook hands, and off he went to the next house.

I went to Enbridge’s web site and pull up my recent bill. There was no mention of them. However, they are in fact listed on the Enbridge web site as a "participating company”.

From a customer point of view, that adds a little legitimacy to the situation.

I next visited Direct Energy’s web site. I couldn’t find any warnings. I have heard their radio spots in the past warning people that they do not solicit door-to-door, but this guy never claimed to be from Direct Energy.

My next stop was Google. I searched for “national home services” and “water heater”.


I found old forum posts from people warning about National Home Services. I also found and old Toronto Star article online with the same warnings to consumers. These are warnings from 2007, 2008, and 2009.

I’m still puzzled why there’s nothing more prominent on Enbridge’s web site, or Direct Energy’s web site for that matter. My brother in-law sent me a link to something he found on Direct Energy’s web site. Even in that article, they quote an old Toronto Star article.

I can’t, for the life of me, find that article by going to the main page and digging for it myself. Seriously. They’re running the risk of losing customers to a competitor — you would think they’d be a little more concerned about it.

After some more digging I did eventually find someone else’s blog post from March 2011. That’s part of the reason I decided to make my own post. The more warnings out on the web, the better off we all are.

In retrospect, I should have asked him if he knew my name. If he was in fact “taking over” for Direct Energy, I would think that Enbridge would have supplied him with more contact information. I found out from a neighbour later that he had visited their home as well, with the same story. They own their water heater, they don’t rent it from Direct Energy. The guy even questioned whether they were sure they owned it.

I never did call the rep’s phone number to see if it’s even a legit number. If I can find the paper, maybe I will. Or maybe I’ll post it here. :)

I'd like to add that they are a legitimate company; it's their sales tactics that are sleezy and scammy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The ride home yesterday and day 2

Cycling home yesterday afternoon was busier, traffic-wise, but the overall ride was good.

I picked a slightly different route than the one I took into work, so there was less fast traffic and less potholes. I was happy to see that Byron Ave no longer has construction and most of that road is a downhill coast. :) This allowed me to skip nearly all of the pothole-ridden Scott Street without much effort.

Riding through the downtown core was a little scarier, but not enough to make me want to change that part of the route. I heard that the city is putting bike lanes on Laurier, or maybe they've already done that. I might take that route one day and see.

This morning I cycled into work again. I rode most of the same route that I took home last night. I skipped Byron since it would likely be a long, gradual uphill ride, and rode on Wellington & Richmond, again skipping Scott Street.

The geek in me is thinking of putting a video camera on my bike and filming the entire ride to work and home again, just for fun. The only thing I'm a little worried about is how the crappy roads will affect the camera.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Weekday cycling

The weather forecast for this week looks pretty good. Last night I decided that I would cycle in to work this morning. I've done the route before on the weekend, but never during rush hour.

Aside from nearly getting clipped by a cabbie as he drove past me too close, it was much better than I expected. The downtown core was a piece of cake.

According to my GPSr, the route was 19.4kms and it took me just a little over an hour. That's better than my weekend test runs that took me about an hour and a quarter.

The worst part of it all was getting all my shit together to take with me, and then carrying it all in a backpack. I felt like I was packing for a vacation. It might not be as bad if I do this again tomorrow since most of it is ready to go already. I should really pick up saddle bags for my bike if I'm going to do this more often.

I'm looking forward to the ride home. I'm pretty sure there's going to be a lot more traffic after 5:00pm than there was between 7AM and 8AM.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

7/52 — Week 19

I didn't shoot any photos all week. The weekend was mostly crap, weatherwise.  When I went cycling today, I brought along my trusty S3 IS again and managed to play a little catch up.

This is the new Ottawa Convention Centre. It wasn't a very good shooting angle, but photography wasn't my point of going out today. This just happened to be along my route.

This was my intended destination, where I work. I didn't have to work; I went there to see how long it would actually take me to ride there on my bike.

On the way back, I decided to stop a few times and shoot in Chinatown on Somerset. These kids were drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. A few people were stopping to take pictures. I stopped on the other side of the road to shoot mine.

Ever since the archway went up in Chinatown, I've been meaning to take a picture of it. Today, I shot a few. :)


Sunday, March 6, 2011

7/52 — Week 9

I have plenty of photos for this week, and didn't have much difficulty in choosing which ones to post. Oddly enough, it turns out that all of those I chose were shot today.

First up, is my son hugging our cat. Our cat is 17 years old. My son is 15. It's only been in the last two or three years that she let anyone, aside from my wife and I, go near her. She used to be extremely timid and cautions of our kids. I'm pretty sure she lost her hearing in the last two or three years, which seems to have contributed to her calming down. Sounds weird, but I can't explain it any other way. She'll even sit in his lap as he uses the computer. They're best friends now.

Sam watching the bird feeder and "chattering" at the birds.

Today I took a trip out to Rideau Falls, with the hope that I'd be able to shoot massive chunks of ice piled up at the bottom of the falls. They did the ice blasting last weekend. It was not to be. Maybe I'm still too early?  It was damn cold with the wind coming off the river though.

A closeup of the cool ice formations at Rideau Falls.

I saw a couple of workers on the bridge just before leaving Rideau Falls. I think what they were doing was thawing the sluice gate with hot, pressurized water.

There's a somewhat humourous story to these next two. As I drove to Rideau Falls, I passed a cool, snow covered tree that I thought would make a great photo. I decided I would stop on the way back and shoot it. So I did. Kinda.

In the winter, there's only one parking lot open along the Rockliffe Parkway and I knew it would probably be a fair walk to get to the tree. I parked and walked. And walked. And walked. In foot-deep snow. I kept thinking it had to be "soon". I couldn't find the damn tree. Either that or it looked much different than what I saw when I first passed it. After about 30 minutes of wishing I had brought my snow shoes, I knew I had to be mistaken about what it looked like. On the way back, so my walk wasn't all for nothing, I shot some of the trees. This isn't what I saw, but it's still cool nonetheless.

Looking back to where I went...

At least I got some decent exercise. I also realized that it didn't tire me out as much as it used to, when I smoked and was more out of shape.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A message to Sens fans

... in particular, the Heatley-hating fans:

It's cool that you're all excited about the game tonight and being able to boo and trash the much-hated Dany Heatley. It's great that you seem willing to display a little energy and emotion for once because we're certainly not known for being anything but comatose.

But what do you say to sharing some of that energy, emotion, and excitement with the home team for once? How about more than a couple of Go Sens Go! chants that don't die the second the other team touches the puck?

Seriously, how embarassing will it be to hear more Heatley boos and jeers at the game than cheers and rallies for the Ottawa Senators?

Very. And to be honest, not too surprising.

Surprise me.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Week 47 - Wax Monkey Frog

Wax Monkey Frog (47/52), originally uploaded by Twister65.

We visited the Canadian Museum of Nature on Monday, along with my sister and her family. It was the first time I've been to see the exhibits. I did go once for a wedding a long time ago. It was the first time for all of us since they renovated the museum and built the large glass structure – now named the "Queen's Lantern" – to replace the stone tower that was sinking.

One of the exhibits was frogs. These little guys are Wax Monkey Frogs and look so laid back. The second coolest frogs were the Poison Dart Frogs, but I messed up the exposure settings on my camera so the photos didn't turn out very well. :(

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Relay for Life – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

After sleeping away most of Saturday, catching up on a sleep and fighting off whatever cold bug I caught between Friday night and Saturday morning, and now feel rested and pretty good.

The good

Our team goal was blown away this year!  “Lassiter Walks to Fight – Team WTF” raised $6,660, achieving the “Bronze” level status. That is incredible!


Great job team!

The experience, once again, was amazing. There seemed to be a lot more people on the track in the wee hours of the morning than I recall in previous years.

The bad

I didn’t reach the goal of $1,500 that I set this year. In fact, I didn’t even make it half way, leaving me below last year’s total. I raised $730; nothing to be ashamed of, just not what I would have liked. It happens, I guess.

Once again, a HUGE thanks to everyone who did donate toward my participation! I got to see some of the people that your donations help and they are indeed grateful.

The ugly

It was disappointing to hear that due to complaints in previous years from some residents in Orleans, they were going to shut down or turn down the DJ music at 11:00pm. The music plays throughout the night to help give people energy to keep walking.

This is a once-a-year charitable event for a good cause. A cause that will likely help you or a member of your family at some point in the future. It’s not some kind of profit-making carnival or concert. What’s wrong with some people?

Thankfully, the music did NOT turn off. I think they did turn it down a few notches though. Or perhaps they decided to continue until someone complained? I don’t know, but I’m glad it kept going.

Sure, it’s easy for me to say because I don’t live out there, but if I did live out there I still wouldn’t complain because I’d be participating.

If you’re one of those people who complain about it, why don’t you drop by next year at around 10:00pm for the Luminary ceremony and see if it changes your view. I think everyone should experience that at least once in their lives.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Habs are not Canada’s Team… sorry

I am an Ottawa Senators fan.

I stopped watching all hockey when my beloved Ottawa Senators were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in round one of the playoffs. That’s my choice – why can’t some people respect that?

I don’t believe that once your team has been eliminated, you should now cheer on the remaining Canadian teams fortunate enough to remain in the playoffs. That’s not my thing.

We have one Habs fan on my team at work. For the great run that the Montreal Canadiens are having in their playoff run, the Habs fan is not a problem. I’m happy for him and his team. He doesn’t seem to have any problem with me not cheering on his team or watching the games.

Which makes this somewhat amusing, and confusing.

The problem I am having is with a couple of non-Habs fans who have jumped on the Habs bandwagon and feel that, being a Canadian Citizen, I should be cheering on the Habs because they are “the last Canadian team in the playoffs!”

They feel that, because I am not also on the Habs bandwagon, I am a “jealous Sens fan”, and anything I say that they feel might bring bad mojo to their adopted team, makes me evil.

Let’s be clear here. The Montreal Canadiens, or any “Canadian team” for that matter, is not “Canada’s Team”. The NHL is not the OIympics. The NHL is not the IIHF World Championship. Team Canada is not playing in the NHL playoffs.

The players on each “Canadian” team in the NHL aren’t even all Canadian Citizens. The only thing that makes a “Canadian” NHL team Canadian is their home city.  (We’ll ignore the fact that the Montreal Canadiens play for a city in a province that has tried to separate from Canada… that’s a whole other story) :)

“The cup needs to come back to Canada!”

Sure, that would be nice. But my cheering or not cheering for a team is not going to make a difference in whether or not the Stanley Cup comes back to Canada. That’s up to the mixed bag of nationalities playing for the Montreal Canadiens. Direct your energy into positive vibes toward the team, not as negativity toward me.

My decision to not cheer for the Montreal Canadiens does not make me a bad Canadian Citizen, nor does it make me a “jealous Sens fan” anymore than it makes you a “jealous {insert your team here} fan”.

Good luck to whichever team you cheer for, but please stop telling me that I have to cheer on a team that is not my chosen team.

My cheers are reserved for the Ottawa Senators.

GO SENS GO… maybe next year. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Week 39 - Tulips

Originally uploaded by Twister65
I took this at Rideau Falls on the way home one day. I stopped to look for a monument or sculpture for the photo and they had tulips. It was really windy, so it made it a little difficult to get a nice shot. About 30 minutes before this, it was raining heavily.

Here's an amusing story about this location. About 5 minutes before I took this shot, there was a woman here pushing a child in a stroller. As I walked toward the tulips, camera in hand, she approached me and asked "Can you take our picture?" I paused for a moment wondering why someone would want me to take their picture with my camera... she didn't have one visible. I then asked "With your camera?" She nodded, and THEN she took our a small point & shoot from her bag. Now it made sense. Oops. I agreed and then she posed in front of the tulips with her son.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Week 37 - Go Sens Go!

Go Sens Go!
Originally uploaded by Twister65
A co-worker brought in a little luck the the Ottawa Senators. Unfortunately, as of last night, they were eliminated in game 6 of round 1.

I was messing around with my 100mm Macro at lunch one day earlier this week and took this shot. I really like that lens. Can't wait to get outside with it and shoot some stuff.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Week 35 - Nickelback wait...

Nickelback wait..
Originally uploaded by Twister65
My wife and I went to the Nickelback concert here in Ottawa tonight. The show included Sick Puppies, Shinedown, and Breaking Benjamin.

The show was to start at 6:30pm. We were a little late in arriving due to me misplacing the stubs. As we drove to the parking lot, we were shocked to see a huge line-up, stretching around the corner of Scotiabank Place, after 6:30pm. WTF?

We weren't quite sure why, so we followed others to the front of the arena, skipping past the line-up. This photo shows where we were, and the time we were there.

By the time we got into the show, we had completely missed seeing Sick Puppies. Our friends, who got there earlier, told us that the doors didn't open until 6:00pm.

Seriously.... they opened the doors 30 minutes before the concert, where 17,500 people were attending.

I read this evening that the Prime Minister and his son were there, and security was tighter as a result. I guess it took them time to sweep the building for bombs? I don't know, but it sucked... and I sent Scotiabank Place a complaint email. Someone should have know about the PM's attendance way before and this shit should have been taken care of earlier.

Anyway, it was a great concert. Shinedown rocked. Breaking Benjamin rocked. Nickelback rocked. I'm not a huge fan of Nickelback, unlike my wife, but they sure know how to put on a great show.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Week 30 - Rideau Falls, Spring 2010

I drove out to Rideau Falls on Saturday morning hoping to snap a few shots of massive ice chunks flowing over the edge, as it did around this time in 2007. I guess the milder winter played a large part in disappointing me this year, or maybe missed it?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Uh oh… it’s the cops!

A little while ago, I wrote about all of the illegal left turns coming out of the Esso/Tim Horton’s at the corner of Ogilvie Rd and Montreal Rd.

A day or so after, I actually sent the Ottawa Police an email about the issue. It took them a while, but they did respond saying that it was forwarded to the department(s) in charge.

This afternoon I received an email from a constable asking for my name, address, phone number and birth date so he could follow-up on my “complaint”. I sent it to him.

He called me this evening.

He gave me a brief rundown of the history of the signage – how it started off as a single, waist-high sign at the Tim Horton’s drive-thru exit, and eventually became a larger sign, with an additional sign on the median. He acknowledged the fact that despite the multiple, clearly visible signs, many people are ignorant of them.

He said one day when they were enforcing the signage, they gave out over FIFTY tickets, and he had to call for assistance because while he was issuing a ticket, someone else would make the same illegal left turn.

Unreal. But based on what I see every morning, not too surprising.

He thanked me for the update that it’s still occurring and said that they would likely be out enforcing it again in the near future.

Like I said before, they could make some serious $$ in handing out fines.

Anyway, it was cool that they followed up. I wasn’t expecting it since I don’t really consider what i sent to be a “complaint”, but more of an “FYI”.

One of these days I’ll get some video footage of all the City of Ottawa trucks ignoring the sign and post it. :)