Friday, July 29, 2011

A Long Walk Avoided?

Things are looking up a bit for those of us who use the bus a lot.  Workers at Saskatoon Transit, represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615, are currently without a contract.  The last one ended 19 months ago.  When the union announced this week that it would not accept overtime, starting today, as part of a job action the city retaliated by threatening to lock them out Monday.  Fortunately both sides have now agreed to a mediator,  and the lockout has been lifted.

Back in 1994 we had a transit strike.  The strike started when I was across town at the Mall at Lawson Heights.  I was standing at the bus mall, waiting for a bus, when a city employee showed up to let us know there would be no more buses that day.  As I result I ended up walking home, which is quite the trip.  Fortunately this was during the Summer, so it was just a long walk.  I hate to think what it would have been like  if it was Winter.  This all but certainly wouldn't have happened this time, since I would have had ample warning, and Monday is the Saskatchewan Day public holiday anyways.  But I'm sure there are others who would have had to use the bus Monday who would be in a bad spot.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hit The Streets.

Canadian visitors who watch much Canadian TV have probably seen a recent series of ads concerning children's health by now.  They feature a parent talking about how their kid does some activity, and how that's plenty of physical activity.  The ads then go to state that no, that isn't enough, that kids need 60 minutes of physical activity a day to be healthy.  It seems to me that there's a simple way to help meet that goal for many kids.  Have them walk to school.

No, it's not practical for all kids to walk to school.  Some live too far away to do so.   But I have the suspicion that lots of kids who could be walking to school don't.  There sure seem to be a lot of cars parked in front of the typical school at the start and end of the school day.  Get some of these kids walking from an early age and the chances of them being obese are likely to be greatly diminished.  And frankly many adults would probably benefit from walking their kids to school if they just can't let them walk there alone.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I regularly examine my blog traffic, but it's for the actual reasons for it, not sheer numbers.  So I completely missed that my hit counter has gone past 30 thousand.  Of course that's because I don't take the sheer numbers it indicates too seriously.  Still, I figured I should mention it did happen.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


It was 42 years ago today that Apollo 11 landed on the Moon.  So here's some appropriate music.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Not My Style.

I was just out running errands.  Leaving the parking lot of Varsity Common shopping centre on 8th Street I saw a man in a long denim skirt walk out of Sobeys.  Before you ask, yes, I'm sure it was a man given his beard.  It would be interesting to know why he was wearing that skirt.  Personal choice?  A lost bet?  Or some other reason?  Whatever the case it was an odd sight for Saskatoon, but that's cultural.  In North America men don't wear skirts,  and even certain types of long flowing robes are likely to be a more familiar sight on a man than the kind of skirt a woman would wear.  This is something I doubt will be changing anytime soon.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sorry To Disappoint.

Checking out today's traffic to the blog I found someone in Brazil came here by doing a search for "gueguen gay."  Sorry to disappoint you, whoever you are, but I'm straight.  If you're looking for a gay Mr. Gueguen he's elsewhere. 

Mr. Gueguen Predicts!

Today I was walking downtown when I noticed a young woman walking towards me.  She came to a stop beside me as we both waited for the crossing light.  Getting a bit better look at her I had a vision of her future.  What did I see in that vision?  Plastic surgery.

No, I hadn't suddenly fallen victim to wooitis.  Rather I noticed that she was one of those folk who decided piercing her ears and then sticking ever larger things in the hole to distend the earlobes was a good idea.  She had a pair of disks in the holes that looked about the size of quarters, if not bigger.  That's not the kind of thing that will just go away if you remove the jewelry, unlike more modest piercings.

Remember, kids, extensive tattooing and elaborate body modifications are hard if not impossible to get rid of, and what looks good at 25 may not look so good at 45.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Digital TV Update.

Time to follow up my previous post on the transition to digital TV.  Today's Star Phoenix has an article about the switchover, including the fact that CBC may no longer be available over the air after August 31st in Saskatoon.  If you watch TV via cable or satellite this won't effect you, but if you do need a CBC signal via antenna reception you may be out of luck.  And as I previously mentioned if you do wish to watch Global and CTV in the Saskatoon area via antenna you need to go out and buy a digital capable TV or converter box before the deadline, or those stations will be lost to you as well. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Wouldn't Do That.

A rather disturbing incident is causing some controversy here in Saskatchewan.  A couple living near the village of Springside were found dead in their home last week after not being heard from for 2 weeks or so.  Unfortunately there were also 7 dogs living with them, and the dogs began to eat their dead owners after whatever food they might have had access to ran out.  There is currently no indication the dogs had any role in the couple's death, there being some suggestion the male of the duo committed suicide after she died. 

The Saskatoon SPCA is currently in custody of the dogs, and currently hope to have them adopted.  A neighbour of the dead couple, Magaret-Ann Irving, feels the dogs should be put down, as she claims the dogs already had behavioural problems.  Many people who responded to articles and radio news reports on the case feel the dogs should be allowed to live.  Frankly if I were the SPCA I would probably have the dogs put down.  It seems to me that letting the dogs be adopted after what happened is just asking for a major lawsuit if the dogs do even minor harm to someone.  Even if new owners sign some sort of waver acknowledging the dogs have problems there could still be others who would sue.   It may be unfair to the dogs, but I'd say better safe than sorry.

Harry Potter And The Animator's Storyboard?

This week sees the debute of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, the final big screen adaptation of JK Rowling's ultra popular book series.  Hearing a news report this morning on the film made me wonder if there was ever any attempt to make a Potter cartoon series.  It seems highly likely that it was done.  Many franchises have hit the TV screen in cartoon form.  Some were successful, such as the 1980s cartoon version of Ghostbuters and the current Star Wars:  The Clone Wars series.  Others never made it to air, such as the proposed cartoon version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, despite a short pilot animation that included voice work from much of the cast of the TV series.  Then there are such bizarre examples as Rambo and the Forces of Freedom, based on the Stallone movies.  Perhaps Rowling didn't like the idea of material being produced that wasn't directly based on the books, as the movies were.

For that matter I wonder if there was ever a pitch for a Harry Potter ongoing comic book.  Again this would obviously have revolved around stories not created by Rowling, which is perhaps why it didn't happen.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Intelligence Implications.

The ongoing British tabloid scandal seems to just keep growing and growing.  The list of victims of cell phone hacking includes former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and may include Prince Charles on top of several lesser members of the Royal Family.  But in the reports that I've been exposed to I have yet to encounter any discussion of the possible espionage implications of all this.  If unscrupulous journalists, reportedly with the help of British criminals, can hack people's voice mail then what can professionals from the various intelligence agencies or the more sophisticated terrorist groups do?  The growing number of capabilities of cell phones and their cousins bring to mind all sorts of possible tricks that could be done by pro hackers, like say accessing camera functions to take pictures of secure locations, or tracking the movement of targets by GPS data.  But even access to voice mail could allow all sorts of mischief with proper analysis, especially if the target or those that contact them are less than careful with what they say.

Conversely the members of some organisations may not be happy with this scandal.  It has revealed the vulnerability of these technologies, and their current targets may as a result become more cautious with their phone use.  

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hey, Cat People.

What does it mean when you walk past a cat siting in a window, and it licks its lips twice as it watches you go by?  Should I be worried?

If you don't see another post on here you'll know the International Kittycat Konspiracy has done me in.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, July 8, 2011.

The decline in gas prices has reversed.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 122.9 cents a litre at most locations.  And as I predicted the price went up several cents instead of just one.

A Note To Skateboarders.

The middle of the road is not an appropriate place for boarding.  Furthermore if a vehicle comes up behind you get the hell off the road so you don't slow up traffic.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

A Note To Bicyclists.

If you're driving on the street you count as a vehicle.  So please don't drive through red lights and stop signs without stopping.

Friday, July 01, 2011

The Things I Eat.

A dietician would not be happy with my diet.  I don't eat enough fruit and vegetables.  And I have a habit of trying stuff like this:

This is roast beef and gravy from Hormel's Compleats line.  Honestly it doesn't look all that appealing on the package.

Here you can see the nutrition information for this product.  Quite a bit of salt for a single serving.

And what do we find under the plastic after we microwave it? (FYI, you're supposed to poke a few holes in the covering before microwaving, which I did.)

No, it doesn't look particularly appetising after it's cooked.

My verdict?  Edible.  The beef is kind of stringy, and a bit red for my taste since I like my meat well done.  But the overall taste isn't bad.  It's definitely not going to be any threat to your mom's roast beef supper if you have a mom who makes roast beef.  But if you need a quick lunch it will fill you up a bit.

Gas In Saskatoon, July 1, 2011.

It was another week of dropping gas prices.  Gas in Saskatoon is currently 118.9 cents a litre at most locations.  Interestingly I saw a promo for the newcast of a Detroit station, and gas prices there are apparently going up.  Perhaps retailers there are trying to cash in on the July 4th long weekend.