Monday, August 22, 2011

Good bye Jack

City Hall at night

At 4:45am today Canada lost a really great person. Jack Layton, of the NDP died from cancer. At 4:00pm today an impromptu gathering at Nathan Phillips Square (City Hall) was held to pay respects. I didn't make it there until later that evening but there were still people present as well as some TV reporter doing a news segment. The curved wall going up to the second floor was filled with messages by people in chalk.

What follows are just some samples of the wall and ground.

The TV reporter

"A Vote for Jack is a Vote for Roller Derby"

Jack left this letter that showed up in many of the local newspapers...

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

A few additional thoughts:

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made an historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,
Jack Layton

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lamont at the Drake

Lamont James at the Drake

Went to the Drake to take photos of a friend playing there. For a limited time you can hear his music here...

Captain Hill versus the Air Duct

The entrance to the air duct

I woke up this morning to what sounded like a squirrel trapped between the floors trying to eat it's way out. I've seen squirrels outside trying to get in because at one point they had a nest. Being tired I didn't really think much of it. It was 3:30 after all and I had just plopped into bed about three hours earlier after a long day at work.

The scratching kept going. It seemed loud. So not being able to get back to sleep I went up stairs to feed Captain Hill. I had only fed her part of my pork souvlaki on a bun that I grabbed as part of our second meal last night so thought I should feed her some supplementary hamster food (the dry stuff).

When I got upstairs I noticed that she wasn't in the POD. "Uh oh" I checked to see if she escaped the same way as a few weeks ago but the doors were still taped shut. Upon further inspection, I found that one of the tube caps had fallen off. She probably pushed it off and it had landed right into the air duct. Cheryl had moved the POD over the air duct to make room for the new furniture she acquired. The weird timing and coincidence allowed the hamster to most likely fall right into the duct. ugh.

Drop ins welcome

It's now 5:52. I've opened up some of the vents in the basement hoping the hamster will drop in. I've also placed a peanut at the entry to the air duct in the case that she's alive she'll return to the familiar place and eat it if she's hungry. I've also placed a peanut next to the open duct in the basement to hopefully lure her toward the opening. Below I've put a pile of peanuts in a box with a towel as a cushion.

All I can do is wait. That is unless I can find out how to take apart the furnace. This is logically where I think the hamster would be as it's the lowest place to go. I'm not sure if there's a filter that would grab the hamster before going into the body of the furnace. I'll have to wait for Cheryl to wake up and ask her.

"One ping and one ping only."

In the meantime I'm trying to listen for any sounds that might give the position of the hamster away. It's so quiet right now the ticking clock on the wall seems loud. I'm hoping that Captain Hill has found somewhere comfortable and is sleeping right now. It would be around the time she was sleeping.


I thought I heard the air duct upstairs make noise so I went to check and the peanut was gone. After lifting up the grill and looking in (I found a quarter) I didn't see any sign of the hamster. Then off to the edge of my eye I caught movement. Captain Hill not only had the peanut jammed in her face but was looking at me at floor level. How did she get out of the duct?

Yay! Captain Hill returns to the POD.

I returned her to the POD with food and fresh water. I taped the cap shut. The Captain ate some, drank a lot, and went to sleep.

That concludes today's air duct adventures.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday the day of rest

The cat in the bookstore

I woke up today at 15:00 translating to sleeping for about twelve to thirteen hours. With work and going to Hamilton yesterday I suppose my body needed catch up on sleep. I was actually looking forward to waking up late as I didn't have anything scheduled to do.

I was thinking noon or even 13:00 would be good. 15:00 though, it seemed like the whole day had passed me by. Normally I make up for this by just staying up late but Monday I'd have to wake up at 05:30 for work so having a normal span of hours awake wasn't going to happen.

I thought about going to get groceries then realized that I hadn't seen a movie in a while. I ended up going over to the Scotia bank theatre to see Captain America: First Avenger. Yes they've renamed the Paramount theatre to Scotia Bank theatre, after a bank. The film industry really is being taken away by creative types and going to accountants.

After the movie I walked back home. According to Google it was a good 6.9 to 7.4 km walk. I took some photos along the way. For some reason seeing a cat in a book store was interesting enough for me to take the camera out of the camera bag, power it on, and shoot.

The Beer ad.

The other thing that seemed interesting to me for some reason was this beer ad. Obvious, to the point, and a good chance it was telling the truth. Kind of like an ad for lawn chairs stating that they don't contain peanuts. In the age of American lawsuits and a sometimes overly sensitive population printing ads like this is a great way to avoid from being sued.

Cheryl with her first home made pie.

I got home around 23:20. Just in time to sample Cheryl's fruit pie. It was her first pie and it was good. (note: the pie shell was premade but the pie overall was still tasty).

Sunday, August 07, 2011

This is not a routine, I swear

Blue, the grey cat from next door

So I woke up again this morning... late. It was 15:00 and I would have kept on sleeping if Leanna hadn't called me to see what I was up to. Apparently nothing. The Blueberry lemonade vodka didn't have the same effect as the previous night's vodka lemonade. Thank the stars.

Still, I was tired. So tired that I didn't really get up, or my brain didn't kick in until about 16:00. It was around that time I decided to call back people that had been trying to get a hold of me through email (Bless them for not calling me on a weekend early in the morning).

Dave eating a pizza slice

I called my cousin Dave to see how he was doing and as it turned out he was working in the neighbourhood. He had gotten a job working on someone's backyard garden. Since he was in the area and I was hungry I invited him over to go for pizza at the local King Slice on Bloor.

As time crept by I woke myself up. Looked out the front door and stepped out side (still in bare feet). Cheryl was on the porch lounging or resting from a skate with Natalie Hurlin Wall down by the water front. I was immediately head butted by Blue, the grey cat next door.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

My Wobbly Brain, My Ill Stomach and Destroyer

Sometime in the night maybe two hours or so after falling asleep I woke up to run to the bathroom where I would revisit those two filet-o-fish sandwiches I ate on the way home. They were completely digested but I suppose my body didn't like them mixed with the alcoholic booze and needed to reject them as quickly as possible despite what my brain wanted to do.

In my haste while attempting to find the light switch, the light switch that's been in the same place since moving in over six months ago, I missed the centre of the toilet bowl. At that point it wasn't like I had any control of what my stomach was going to do. Five seconds more and I would have made it.

Luckily the majority made it in leaving the rest dripping off the far side of the bowl onto the floor corner for easy clean up.

Still feeling hungry I scooped out three spheres of ice cream (mint chocolate), inhaled them, then fell back asleep.

14:30 woke up exhausted. Logged on to facebook to catch up on my reading.

19:14 while on my way to the Rock pile it started raining. I am liking this weather after being in the desert for a week.

20:39 listening to the opening band. Not sure who they are only that they're from Toronto. Name got garbled when they announced it. Sounded like 'Burning Danny'

There seems to be a birthday party going on over to the left side of the stage.

'Burning Kennedys'. They mentioned their name for a third time. I'll go check a roster layer on tonight to see if I was right.

21:16 Broomfillers. The band I was strong armed to see. They sounded okay. At least the instruments did. The lead vocals levels were pretty low so I couldn't really tell what was being sung. The band members did a lot of moving around on the stage, the lead singer (and also the guy from work) jumped off the stage into the darkness of the under lit bar. I hope he didn't want pictures of that because I couldn't see him let alone focus the camera on him.

22:30 One night stand did a cover billy idol's 'rebel yell'. The lead did a great job with the vocals. The band sounded great. From a photographer's point of view they didn't do much other than stand behind their mics.

Destroyer, KISS tribute band

23:30 Destroyer (Kiss cover band)

Wow, these guys were incredible! They even had the moves down. Anyone who has seen the way Gene Simmons stands while holding his axe knows what I'm talking about. They even had the platform boots!

This alone was worth the $10 admission. Up until this point I didn't really have much hope the night would be that interesting.

The Demon

The Catman

The Starchild

The Spaceman

KISS moves!!

Total cost of going out to photograph Broomfillers

Ticket (in advance) 10.00
TTC (return) 5.00
Ginger ale 4.50
Burger and fries 9.50
Mike's hard lemonade 8.50

total $37.50

Friday, August 05, 2011

Leanna and the Tattoo club

01:00 woke up early. That's what I get for sleeping since Wednesday. Yes, my time table of sleep is messed up. Since I couldn't get back to sleep I stayed up for another five hours then went to work.

I got to work an hour early, call time was 08:00. So I spent the hour talking to Paul the hair guy about Still Seas, a movie coming to Toronto and used a bit of time to optimize the computer set up.

Luckily work was pretty simple today. Some inserts were canceled at the last minute and big decisions on wire rearrangement and set set up could be put off until next week. I found out today that my computer work space would be replaced by elevators so I'd have to rewire everything in the next day or so once I got back to work.

by the end of the day 20:45, I was ready to pass out. I was on the subway when I got a call from Leanna. She wanted to go see some band one of her friends was in but didn't want to go alone.

21:55 dropped off computer gear at home.

22:30 met Leanna at Bathurst station

We ended up at some Tattoo bar. $10 later, inside the dark venue lit mainly by purple and blue lights we saw the band on stage. I took about three photos but only one turned out and not that well I'm afraid.

We talked to some people Leanna knew, went downstairs to hear 80s music (I think it was the Cult) danced a bit, returned to the main floor where more 80s music was playing (Billy Idol "Rebel Yell", Ramones "Blitzkreig Bop"), danced a bit more, then sat down and talked to more people.

Leanna outside the Tattoo bar in front of a parked Hot Rod.

While all this was going on I had finished a bottle of Smirnoff Ice and while normally I'd probably be okay I think the combination of loud music, lack of sleep, and the booze did me in. I had a buzz the rest of the night. Did I say I hadn't eaten anything since lunch?

I got into a cab with Leanna, got out at Spadina station and took the TTC the rest of the way home. I picked up two filet-o-fish sandwiches from the Dundas West subway station and inhaled them. As soon as I got home I fell into bed and conked out.