Showing posts from March, 2009

Who needs a bait shop?

I grew up in a small town in central Ontario, but we never had live bait vending machines in my hometown. I guess this kind of thing is what makes Orillia special.

I remember being surprised when I was an ESL teacher in Japan that they had these beer vending machines all over the place. As far as I could tell, there was nothing that would prevent a five year old with some coins from getting a beer out of one of these things.

The other good vending machine in Japan were these ones that sold coffee in cans. In summer the unit was set to "cool" so the coffee came out cold, and in the winter the unit was set to "warm" so they came out warm. They were great.

Orillia millennium trail

In Orillia we have the Millenium Trail which runs for about 10km along the shore of Lake Couchiching.

One annoying quirk of the trail is that right about where the 3 is in the above map, the trail is dissected by a boat launch. In the photo below, which is looking west to east towards the lake, the launch is just out of sight behind the clump of trees on the right, and behind the little monkeybars / playarea that you can kind of see behind the trees.

The photo below shows.. on the right side... Centennial Drive, which is the road that runs north/south along part of the lake... currently the Millennium Trail is further to the right of Centennial Drive, along the lake. There is now a proposal to move the bike trail in this area away from the lake and put it (i.e with a marked bike lane) right on Centennial Drive... getting cyclists away from the boat launch.

What you're also seeing in the picture above - the wide dirt strip in the center/left - is the railbed for the trainlines that us…

declare the pennies on your eyes

The provincial Ontario government just released the provincial budget for the coming fiscal year. The main change is the inroduction of a harmonized gas tax. Previously we'd been paying two separate taxes - an 8% provincial tax, and a 5% federal tax. Now, they're lumping them together and we'll be paying a 13% harmonized tax.

Image above is from Marc Engblom's Comic Coverage blog. The post covers an issue of Superman where the Taxman tries to get Supes to pay billions of dollars in backtaxes.

So the harmonized tax sounds simple - but there is a catch (which I like). The provincial tax was primarily on goods not services, and so many things were exempt from the 8% PST. Now they won't be. Apparently this includes gasoline, which I don't really understand, because my understanding was that the provincial government collected tax on gas, and then gave a cut of it to municipalities in order to supplement public transit funding.

In the Globe and Mail, New Democrat Leade…

the republic of active transportation

Me Likey!!!

So many bikes, so little time. I have no business owning another bicycle, but these Republic Bikes out of Florida look awesome - especially after a long snowy winter in central Ontario.

Although a small-town newspaper story about a city council meeting isn't usually the most interesting news in the world, it is this time.

City Staff are urging Council to officially hire a consultant to devise and write an Active Transportation Plan for the City of Orillia.

From the article:

Recognizing a provincial shift toward encouraging and creating active transportation in municipalities and following up on a deputation from Orillia's Trails for Life Committee, city staff are recommending council look at creating an Active Transportation Plan.

The recommendation that council committee will discuss tonight is for staff to prepare a capital budget request for the 2010 budget process to hire a consultant to develop a standalone active transportation plan for the city.

Active transportati…

Battlestar is over

Battlestar Galactica is all done.

In an article called The Way We Were - Newsweek magazine called it the best TV show to represent arts and culture over the last 8 years.

Battlestar Galactica
By Joshua Alston

An orchestrated terrorist attack. An inexorable march to war. An enemy capable of disappearing among its targets, armed with an indifference to its own mortality. It sounds like a PBS special on Al Qaeda. In fact, it's a synopsis of the Sci Fi Channel series "Battlestar Galactica," which—for anyone who manages to get past the goofy name—captures better than any other TV drama of the past eight years the fear, uncertainty and moral ambiguity of the post-9/11 world. Yes, even better than "24," with its neocon fantasies of terrorists who get chatty if Jack Bauer pokes the right pressure point. Of the two shows, "Battlestar" has been more honest about the psychological toll of the war on terror. It confronts the thorny issues that crop up in a…