About Me

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Andrew was born in London, UK, raised in Toronto, Canada, and cavorted in Ohtawara, Japan for three years. He is married, has a son and a cat, Freddy (after the dude in Scooby-Doo). He has over 35,000 comic books and a plethora of pioneer aviation-related tobacco and sports cards and likes to build LEGO dioramas. Along with writing for a monthly industrial magazine, he also writes comic books and hates writing in the 3rd person. He also hates having to write this crap that no one will ever read. Along with the daily Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife blog, when he feels the hate, will also write another blog entitled: You Know What I Hate? He also works on his Pioneers Of Aviation - a cool blog on early fliers. He also wants to do more writing - for money, though. Help him out so he can stop talking in the 3rd person.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Raccoons Getting Into My Raccoon-Proof Food Waste Bin

You know what I hate?

I hate raccoons getting into my raccoon-proof food waste bin.

Raccoons… trash pandas…

Living in the suburbs of Toronto isn’t such a bad thing. There’s plenty of space to raise a family, convenience to subways and buses and highways, schools of every kind imaginable, grocery stores, convenience stores, shopping malls—all sorts of everything one could want.

While there are a plethora of fast-food restaurants… and while they don’t like you calling them that, that’s what they are. There is a dearth (lack) of decent and inventive restaurants where I am, but I suppose I could always go downtown to the more urban part of Toronto if I so desired.

While there are always plenty of things one could point at in a negative manner re: the suburban life, today I’m just going to pick on the raccoon.

I’m sure raccoons serves some sort of purpose on this planet—I’m just not sure what it is except to annoy Andrew every Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

That’s when I put my garbage out and when the garbage is picked up.

Recently, the City of Toronto—in response to rising complaints of raccoons constantly getting into people’s garbage bins and food waste bins, developed after much ballyhoo a new plastic food waste container with a lock, and delivered them to homeowners around Toronto.

Everybody cheered. Even I did.

But no longer.

Raccoons are still getting in to the bins, scattering stinky, smelly food waste all over the place.

I’m sure some of you might tell me to simply NOT put my food waste bins et al out until the morning, after all raccoons are nocturnal.

Great point. If that works for you, by all means do it.

It doesn’t work for me because the waste collectors in my part of the city are near nocturnal, too, driving by to pick up and dump the bins BEFORE I wake-up or BEFORE I am full-dressed and out the door in the morning… so let’s say some time before 7:45AM.

I don’t see or hear them—and here I am talking about the waste collectors, , so I assume it’s being done at some time just after 7AM. 

This is not a complaint even though the early start seems extraordinarily early… but NO… it’s well within the City’ of Toronto’s guidelines about pick-ups… just NOT before 7AM.

Background on Raccoons… these omnivores (they eat veggies and meat) have a life span between three to five years, which seems entirely too long to me.

They eat, according to www.sandswildlifecontrol.com, “everything including dog and cat food, birdseed, many fruits, carrion, fish, eggs, fresh water mussels, Cray fish, campsite foodstuff, lawn grubs, sweet and field corn. Will kill and eat chickens and ducks.”

They left out garbage. My garbage more often than anyone else’s.

Here’s the deal regarding the City of Toronto’s new food waste (organics) bins:

According to the City of Toronto, almost 50% (by weight) of household waste is organic material.

The City says that: “There is no limit on the amount of Green Bin materials that may be placed for collection each week, however a Green Bin cannot weigh more than 20 kg (44 lbs).
Note: The weight maximum only applies to older Green Bins that are manually collected.”

Confusing… Just tell us:
  • Older Green Bin: Maximum weight of 20 kg (44lbs) for manually-collection.
  • New Green Bin: No maximum weight.
Hmm… still, I would have expected a manual weight on the new Green bins… you know, so as to not over-feed the raccoons.

Content that can go into a Green bin are: breads, cereals, baked goods, pizza (why aren’t you eating your pizza!?), fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds, filters and tea bags, house plants, diapers and sanitary products, napkins, paper towels, facial towels (unsullied by chemicals of make-up), meat, fish, shellfish, nuts and its shells, grains, egg shells and dairy products (don’t pour milk in there).

Basically… everything that raccoons seem to have developed a taste for as suburbanite dwellers of the night.  

These new Green bins are, according to the City of Toronto:

  • easy for residents to use;
  • a new animal-resistant latch;
  • more capacity for increased diversion (37% of garbage is organic material);
  • designed for automated collection
When they say animal-esistant, they meant raccoon-resistant… but I can tell you that it is not.

I'm not saying anyone is lying, I'm just saying they really didn't do a proper test... or if they did, they sure as heck didn't perform the test in a known raccoon-area. Uh... you did do real live wild raccoon testing right? City of Toronto, you saw those results, right?

The results were negative, right... which in this case means they are negative in success, not negative as in not letting raccoons in... we're talkin' negative results.... right?

Here’s a photo of the two types of Organics Green bins given to residents of the City of Toronto. The tall bin on the RIGHT, replaced the one one the left.

Very tall... and with bags of organic waste placed in it, the centre of gravity is low, making it easy to push over... I guess I could put more waste in it to fill it to the top - to also make it heavier... but it would have to be other types of organic waste, if you know what I mean. Oh no! Sugar Honey Ice Tea!

Of course, I have pretty big raccons in my neighbourhood, so I'm sure that the bigger the pile of organic waste I place in my Green Bin the harder it will fall...

I use a spade to shovel up the spilled organic waste.

What ticks me off even more, is that the raccoon doesn't even take everything that spills out... like it it knocks over bins all over the neighbourhood and gets into several of them to pick and choose what it wants to eat like it was in a cafeteria!

In the photo at the top, it left a chicken leg!!! WTF, raccoon?! I know I didn't scare it away!

"I had chicken last week! Somebody toss me a pork chop!"

Raccoons... picky effing eaters! Who knew?! 

  



Here’s what I saw at Midnight May 31, 2017:

A raccoon came from the right of my house (the neighbour’s believe there’s a family there behind a shed), sniffed my Green Bin, got on its hind legs and pushed it forward towards the road.

The bin did not open. Why would it? There’s a lock on it. I set the lock as I always do, turning the plastic dial to the lock position.

That was a midnight right on the dot… the witching hour.

I watched as the raccoon scurried across the street, sniffed the neighbour’s collection of waste and garbage… moved on, continuing left (north) to the next house… snifffing their bins…

Not finding what it was looking for, the raccoon crossed back to my side of the street and sniffed the organics waste bin two houses to my right.

Jackpot!

It reared on its hind legs and pushed it forward towards the road.

That Green Bin was either unlocked (human neighbour’s fault), or it was locked and quickly manipulated… and by quickly, I’m saying within 30 seconds, because I was outside snapping a photo…

Could a raccoon manipulate the dial from Locked to Unlock in less than 30 seconds and start ripping open a bag throwing organic waste everywhere on the road?

I didn’t see it… so maybe the raccoon grabbed a bag and went off somewhere to eat it… though I’ve only ever seen them eat-in, rather than do take-out.

Poor neighbour… but since I don’t know them… they never say hello… screw them.

Karma…

I went out and righted the Green bin.

Then, at 12:37AM, a bang outside as the smaller garbage bin was tipped over by a raccoon.

Looking out the window I didn’t see the raccoon, but I put my shoes on again and went out to right the bin. Two bags of garbage had spilled out, and had clawed a single tear into each of the two bags. However, nothing was ripped out…

I didn’t scare it away, I’m just guessing it didn’t find what it was sniffing for.

I went to bed at 1:15, content that I was safe.

I went outside to go to work… stepping over the displaced shingles on my steps as the roofing crew got an early start on replacing my roof… and there… there it was… the damn raccoon(s) had tipped over my green organics bin, ripped open a bag and spewed food all over the road… well, actually under the trailer of the roofing crew who was nice enough to have picked the bin back up rather than drive over it.

Apples, French fries, and orange?!

I assume that raccoons actually eat the organic waste I leave bagged in clear bags inside the bin, and don’t just do it out of spite to merely rip it open and throw garbage everywhere. But who knows…

So… Karma came to me in raccoon-form.

I know the Green Bid was locked, and locked properly.

I can only now assume that the raccoons are knocking the bins over and are manipulating the locks to open the bins…

or, when the bins are tipped over the weight of the bagged organic waste pushes the lid to a slight opening allowing a tiny access point for a raccoon claw to grab it and pull it out… I expressed that thought a few weeks earlier… 

Recently, the Toronto Star newspaper published an article on how great these Green Bins were - how raccoon proof they were.

Myself and a few other folk wrote to the author and told them that he did not have the complete story…  that just because people don’t call the city to complain doesn’t mean the problem doesn’t exist.

I described my thoughts on how I thought the raccoons might be getting into my locked organic bin…

The Toronto Star—a newspaper publisher I was a reporter for years ago—screwed my name up, placing my surname first. That could be a whole other “You Know What I Hate” blog.

That news article is HERE. The photo mentioned in the article is the one taken at the very top of this blog article.

Anyhow… since the City of Toronto has only provided its residents with a green bin that is sort of an upgrade on the older version in the fight against trash pandas, perhaps it would be nice if they either provided residents with a brand new shovel to better scoop of the waste from their roads after the waste is dumped upon them.

It’s not my road… it’s the City’s.

Either that or get more people-power to trap and release the suburban raccoon problem back into the wild.

By the way… for those of you who might suggest that the raccoons were here first. Not true. 

The house I occupy was built in 1946… my family moved in in 1973. I can guarantee that we never had issues with raccoons until the 1980s… though of course that may just be revisionist thinking.

Do you know what I hate?

I hate raccoons getting into my raccoon-proof food waste bin.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sears Sucks!

Do you know what I hate?

The customer service at Sears.

Every day at lunch, I drive my car to Fairview Mall and walk the aisles in air-conditioned comfort - with my only concern the meanderings of women pushing baby-strollers, love drunk couples who suddenly have no concept of a straight line, and those idiots who are constantly checking their mobile phones for non-existent messages (no one likes you) or those who are talking on the phone while standing in the middle of the aisles being complete dicks.

Along with the walk, I will sometimes frequent various shops.

I am well-known and loved at LEGO, and am treated well at Shoppers Drug Mart, Coles, and EB Games. I've hit various other places as well including Manchu Wok, where they greet me with a friendly smile and decent friendly conversation because everyone is very nice there. I will add that the McDonald's is also very efficient, and I will forgive their very short shortcomings in the friendliness department only because they are so efficient with the larger hungry crowds.

And then there's Sears.

Sears - like many large retailers - has been having a tough time of it sales wise and I feel a tinge of sorrow for all large retailers.

While I have requested help (once) and was efficiently helped at Sears, my experience at lunch time on October 8, 2015, left me with a bitter bile taste in my mouth and a desire to never shop there again.

I needed a new belt for my pants, and easily found what I was looking for and moved towards the checkout.

There is only one checkout on the second floor - and that is a central one near the escalators, where there are four cash registers…

I got in line… standing in one line that would break up to the corresponding checkout depending on which one opened up first. Fair and easy to follow.

The line-up, however, was 12 people deep when I arrived. That's not a lot, so no big deal for me or the other patrons waiting to cash out.

After some 10 minutes of waiting, things hadn't moved up much—there were only two clerks working the check-out, when a third clerk arrived.

Of course, by that time, I saw three people leave the line in disgust throwing down their purchases at the long delay in being served.

Their departure, of course meant that I could move up in line a bit quicker… hence I only had to spend 12 minutes in line. Moving up via attrition.

So… I hand my belt to the clerk, she looks at it, asks if I will be paying with my Sears credit card - I don't have one.

She then suggests cash, but I suggest I would pay by my bank debit card.

She then tells me that the debit line is down and they can only serve me if I have cash… or if I would like to sign up for a Sears credit card.

How many people carry around hundreds of dollars with them anymore? I saw a man with a couple of pairs of coats and pants throw down his purchases with disgust earlier because of the wait.

What if he only had a bank debit card to pay for his purchases?

Sure many people have credit cards already in hand - I do - but most of us already have a lot of credit card debt, and perhaps like myself don't have the room on the card to add more.

I know I don't want any more credit car debt and am doing my best to make my monthly payments, let alone knock it down a wee bit every payment.

Earlier in line, I had watched the same clerk's incompetence in helping one woman start up a Sears Credit Card - couldn't spell the customers name correctly… it took her and the customer some five minutes… maybe more… I was only there for five minutes of it…to get a card... and another minute to pay the bill for her purchases.

I did have enough money in my bank account - today - to make the purchase, but did not have any cash on me to cover the cost of the belt.

In disgust at not being able to pay for a belt I can afford at this time, I take 10 seconds to complain to the clerk that at some point in time over the past 10 minutes-plus when I had been standing in line, they could have told us and the other customers that the bank debit line was down.

She says they had been making announcements.

Uh - no. If they had been, one had not been made in the 10 minutes I had been standing in line, or the five minutes I had spent finding a belt in my size that I liked.

I leave the clerk with the belt I was going to purchase and walk out of the store empty-handed.

Hey Sears… ever wonder why profits and sales are down, down, down?

You don't train your staff to provide even the most basic of customer service.

Sears as an entity deserves a belt.

Do you know what I hate?

The customer service at Sears.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Rogers Communications Doesn't Care

I should mention that over these past few years, I have ripped into many a wide range of general social behavioral topics, and into a few companies themselves, such as KFC, McDonalds, CIBC and Rogers Communications for their poor customer service.

I'm not saying things should go back to the good old days of the pre-1960s when everyone at at the dinner table, and mom and dad wore good clothes (picture Ward Cleaver in a suit and tie!), but the 21st century has already seen (by me) some pretty crappy customer service levels.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't say that I have enjoyed EXCELLENT customer service from many a restaurant, shop or service - so: Kudos to LEGO (in-store and help line), Coca-Cola (marketing), Fat Bastards and Burrito Boys, Manchu Wok, Mister Sub, Quiznos, Shell, and of course all of the small business I deal with such as my garage, barber, etc.

I'm a pretty friendly guy, and will not have to go out of my way to ask how someone is doing… it's as easy as a smile, which I also provide for free.

So… it is troubling when I feel compelled to write a diatribe about some crappy customer service received.

It IS my right to expect excellent customer service. And yes, you are correct… if I don't like it, I can go somewhere else… and I have. Crappy haircuts from First Choice no more - regardless of the fact that I enjoy the rapper between myself and the hairstylist.

Now.. while I have railed on, in the past about CIBC - and I know many of you loyal readers have as well, I will say that I was impressed by them when they tracked me down and physically telephoned me to discuss my complaint.

Someone was actually monitoring their social media (Twitter, Google, Facebook etc.) and saw my complaint.

It took two days, but they spent the time to track me down and actually apologize for the shoddy behavior of their credit card department - even though it is essentially a separate entity from the bank.

Now, now… I know nothing is perfect, and many of you have issues with the CIBC and CIBC Visa - I know.

Just know that social media is an effective tool.

Except when it comes to companies that simply don't give a crap about you and your opinions… like McDonalds, KFC, and god help me - Rogers Communications.

Anyone can mess up an order for food, or have delays - it just shouldn't be a 15 minute wait for an Angus burger or 15-minute wait for a burrito (that happened last week at KFC). Meanwhile… the drive-through is served quicker and sooner… I watched cars move in and move out, with packs of food larger than my own.

It's an Angus burger… a common product, not a camel hotdog that needs to be found in the bowels of the freezer in the basement!

But Rogers… Rogers….

My wife's great aunts used to babysit Ted Rogers father… and the Rogers family put the great aunts through school.

My father-in-law wrote a book on Reginald Fessenden - radio inventor - and met with Ted Rogers.

Myself, I have sat in Ted Roger's private box for numerous baseball and soccer games, as an employee of Rogers Communications.

We have a history… and a good one.

But one, whose near past and present continues to be tarnished by incompetence and plain old rudeness.

It's sad, really.

Maybe I expect too much… Maybe CIBC shouldn't have tracked me down after I wrote a nasty blog, and maybe shouldn't have apologized… then I wouldn't feel so slighted by companies like Rogers Communications.

It's been weeks, months and even years - with nary an acknowledgement. Granted this is a pretty small blog… but is there not someone monitoring social media to respond to either libelous comments or legitimate complaints?

I've previously beat my head against my desk trying to deal with people at Rogers over the incredible lack of service regarding my E-mail address that suddenly became blocked… with them simply stating there was nothing they could do about it.

There were all the people - twice now - calling me up offering me fantastic savings… but when one was interrupted by a fire alarm (yes, a legitimate excuse), they never called back.

When one called to offer me a MORE than half-price bundle that would save me around $1300 a year if I switched to Rogers for a 2-year plan… after I mentioned that I was a loyal Rogers customer, I was hung up on with nary a word.

And still… no one from Rogers has ever reached out (the way CIBC did) to apologize.

As such, I'm going to write about Rogers more often. Like now. At least one of us is trying to communicate… you know… like that big word that makes up part of your name… 

So… Rogers Communications doesn't care… I have experiences (and lack of experiences) that effectively back up that statement. Rogers does, too… as I would imagine it monitors it's call centers for accuracy… they can check their own RECORDED phone records to see if I am lying or mistaken.

I'm not.

The in-store folks at LEGO had previously thanked me for a compliment mentioned in an earlier blog - showing that some companies keep an eye out.  

Which also worries me regarding Bell Canada - hello?  

Andrew Joseph

Monday, May 25, 2015

Commercialism Of Memorial Day

Do you know what I hate?

It's the commercialism of Memorial Day as celebrated by the U.S.

Despite being a Canadian, I like and respect the United States of America.

While there are many things to like about my cousins to the south of the true North America (Canada, aka USA Jr.), I have always truly admired their patriotism.

It doesn't border on fanaticism, but it is something that all its citizens are keenly aware of and respect (for the most part).

Which brings me to Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is a U.S. federal holiday designed to honor those people who have died while serving its military.

Canada, like much of Europe and other Commonwealth countries, honors its fallen via Remembrance Day on November 11. It's a very solemn occasion. Although businesses are open, we make time during the day to stop whatever we are doing and salute the dead with a moment of silent respect. There no Remembrance Day sales. And that's fine by us.

So WTF is up with Memorial Day in the U.S.?

Memorial Day is the last Monday of May, so its actual date floats around the calendar a bit, but what it stands for shouldn't.

While I am sure the various military branches and towns and cities throughout the U.S. are very respectful of the day and what it stands for, how come retailers are not?

What's up with all the effing sales?

Yes, I'm sure I would like to save a few dollars on my car purchase, sofa, and even on my freedom fries... but to use Memorial Day as the springboard for such crass commercialism?

For shame! Shame!

Shame on everyone offering sales and deals on anything on such a solemn day.

Shame on those who try and save a buck on such a solemn day.

The fighting men and women who died fighting for global freedom - for all these life liberty and pursuit of happiness ideals you yearn for and have - to celebrate their sacrifice in such a crass manner is disrespectful beyond contempt. You might as well go and spit on the flag, ol Glory, herself.

This is MEMORIAL day… a day to REMEMBER and pay one's respects.

You don't have to have actually lost anyone during any particular conflict - you just need to show respect for those that did.

Have a picnic, be with your family. Be with friends. Watch some fireworks, if you will. And pay your respects.

But… paying respects by offering deals to sell your products or services? That's just crass!

Maybe retailers COULD provide special deals to actual serving military personnel and their immediate families… to thank them for their sacrifice in protecting your borders. But these folks are Veterans (Veterans Day honors the living who have previously served), and this isn't their day. It's a day to honor the dead who died wearing a military uniform.

The dead.

The dead shouldn't shouldn't have their memory desecrated by mega retailers seeking greater profits. What… do you think they are doing this to honor the fallen? No… they are doing this to grease their own pockets.

And anytime you have made a purchase thanks to a 'Memorial Day sale', you have fallen into their trap.

I'm not picking on any one retailer in particular, but I like how Walmart's tag line (in the FIRST page of my internet search engine, image above) states one should "Live better."

Yeah… all you dead people who gave your life for America and the concept of freedom… Walmart wants you to 'live better'.

It's not just Walmart, it's damn near EVERY American retailer.

As in any war, there are always profiteers. This, in my opinion, is no different.

Stop trying to capitalize on people's greed and your own! If you didn't need a twin bed two weeks ago, you don't need to get one on this date.

While this may be what America has become, it's not what it was founded on.

Even I, a stupid Canadian, know that.

Wake up, America! Stop celebrating Memorial Day with commercialism. Honor it.

And yeah, I know you enjoy all of those Rights given to you in the Constitution, and all those other ones via Amendments, but the right to dishonor the military fallen? I'm know that's not in there.

Hey look... U.S. retailers have every right to hawk their wares, and they have every right to offer you all fantastic Memorial Day savings. You also have the right to tell them that's not patriotic by not purchasing products listed as such.

I used wish Canadians were half as patriotic as Americans... now, I'm not so sure.

Do you know what I hate?

It's the commercialism of Memorial Day.

Tsk. Tsk.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rogers Communications

Do you know what I hate?

I hate Rogers Communications.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are aspects of Rogers that I like and respect, having once been an employee of Rogers Communications - a writer for an industrial magazine they owned until they sold us.

No hard feelings, because I like my new overlords, but I do still miss my Rogers 50% employee discount on TV, Internet, Telephone and even Blue Jays baseball tickets. Who wouldn't? Oh yeah, I don't have a cellular phone and don't want one.

As of now, I spend around $205 a month on the TV, Internet and Telephone. That's what it is, and I'm not complaining, though five years ago, that was only around $90 thanks to the Rogers employee discount.

Anyhow, today, May 23, 2015 at around 7:15PM, the telephone rang... a 1-905 area code number, implying that it could be from somewhere outside the city of Toronto boundaries (though not Mississauga... you don't need the 1 to dial Toronto).

Whatever. The missus and boy are in Thornhill, Ontario tonight for a family reunion, and I'm at home playing MLB 2015: The Show.

I answer the telephone, I'm told that the gentleman calling is from Rogers and he asked me how I was. I responded politely (as usual) with a 'fine' and asked how he was this evening. A 'good, thanks for asking' was offered.

All great, right?

Then he goes into the spiel... but it's an interesting spiel.

Rogers is offering a two-year bundle for Television, Internet, and Telephone for $92, with no strings attached, no hidden fees... just a two-year contract.

Now... the implication from the Rogers representative (and thus Rogers), was that it seemed like he wanted me to join Rogers, so I said:

"Uh... I'm all ready with Rogers."

CLICK.

He effing hung up on me.

He never said a word... just used his Rogers tool to say everything that needed to be said.

No offer given to me to accept this great deal that would save me money. Nope.

No apology for the confusion and thanks for being a loyal Rogers customer. Nope.

Just CLICK.

A big EFF YOU.

Thanks, Rogers. It's great that you not only know WHO your customers are, but that it is apparent you know how to treat said customers with respect.

Let's make some new commercials showing Canada just what you are really like!

Do you know what I hate?

I hate Rogers Communications.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Driving In Toronto

Do you know what I hate?

It's driving in Toronto.

Image above: @BlueBunnyBlog/Twitter from November 19, 2014 - Avenue Road, Toronto. 

I'm a good driver. I don't have any tickets, I don't swerve in and out of traffic. I will let cars change lanes in front of me if they are signaling to do so. I drive the speed limit and even more if that is what traffic around me dictates - keeping up without being stoopid.

I even keep my car in good shape, topped up - thanks Kelly's Garage in Etobicoke - tires filled… I even clean off the snow from my car so that it doesn't blow all over the cars behind me… you know… because I don't want to be an a$$shole.

Also… I don't (no longer) drive excessively fast… not that I could even if I wanted to.

Welcome to Toronto… a supposedly world-class North American city that now - infamously - has longer traffic commutes than even the oft-parodied Los Angeles.

Yeah… next time you see Hollywood or TVLand make fun of the pains of driving in LA, just know that it's worse in Toronto.

Plus we have snow.

Now.. we don't have as much snow in Toronto as say… Buffalo… or Minnesota - just two examples that come to mind… in fact, I wonder if we even have as much snow as Boston, Chicago or New York… you star athletes keep that in mind when choosing your destination - I'm talking to you NBA players! yeah… I'd rather play in Miami or someplace warm, too. Wimps.

I don't mind the cold. It's 24F this day, and I'm not wearing a sweater and I'm still wearing my spring jacket. It's Toronto and it's not really that bad yet.

Yesterday evening - Wednesday, November 20, 2014 - it was a nice brisk day… I went for a drive at lunch - just around the block because sometimes one has to clear the mind. No snow on the ground… nothing.

But… by 4PM, snow had fallen. Big whoop, I thought. How bad could it be?

Snow wise - no big deal… maybe two inches (five centimeters) - maybe three inches (7.5 cm).

Maybe.

I left work at 4:15PM.

I essentially drive on Highway 401 (4-lane), get off at Highway 409 (3-lane) (grand total of 20.5 kilometers), exit onto Martingrove Road (2 and then 1-lane) and drive the remaining seven or so kilometers to my house.

It's 27.5 kilometers. Not much.

Back in 1999 I first worked in the very same area (one street over).

Travel times (average):
1999: 20 minutes
2014: 40 minutes
November 19, 2014: 3 hours and five minutes. Yes… 185 minutes.

Take into account that the last bit of that ride - the 7.5 kilometers was done on city streets and only took about 15 minutes.

That means it took 170 minutes to drive 20 kilometers.

I'm not even going to talk about my bladder, suffice to say I did painfully walk up the stair of my house to get there in time.

Granted we had our first snowfall in Toronto - for fer crissakes it was only 5 centimeters (2-inches)!!!!!!

Look at the photo above... that was last night... not even any accumulation on the vehicles. 

I can't even blame construction - which is constant activity to prep for the games… Commonwealth? Pan Am? Whatever…

Olympics and World Championships… the rest is just a cash grab. You aren't even up against the best global athletes in many cases at events like the Pan Am Games or Commonwealth Games.

There were no accidents along my route. It was just traffic. 

Now… there was a salting truck on Highway 401 going westbound - but it was salting the shoulder.

I don't blame it… there was no need to salt the four-lane highway because there were NO snowplows doing their job - at least not in front of us.

Why should snowplows be on the road? It had only been snowing for three hours by the time I left work. Why would our already snarled highways need to be shoveled for the completely incorrectly termed "rush hour" commute.

We've elected a new mayor, but he doesn't take over for a while...

We still have another mayor, but he's in name only as he had most of his powers stripped away BEFORE the election owing to personal misconduct.

I don't even effing know who to complain to about the snowplow thing.

It doesn't matter.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Oh… It IS the Pan Am Games? When is it? July 2015? Good. Construction might ease up a bit by then… then again there might be more crowds (might)… but surely they will all take our superior city transportation system known as the TTC.

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! Sorry… I couldn't even type that with a straight face.

I still love Toronto for some reason but…

Don't move to Toronto.

Do you know what I hate?

Plenty of things, but let's stay on topic.

I hate…

Driving in Toronto.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

People Who Don't Understand Halloween Rules

Do you know what I hate?

People who don't understand Halloween rules.

(Photo above by Sandro Mancino, clearly shows a house that likes and understands Halloween.)

I'm not talking about the folks who either don't have any more candy to give out, or don't have the funds to blow on candy, or simply don't believe in it - that's your right.

What pisses me off are people who don't follow the known Halloween rules.

Look... I know that there are no written down rules for Halloween - unless some dumb author has created some... but really, it's a tradition where kids walk around in a costume, ring a doorbell or knock and scream out: "Trick or Treat!" The door opens, treats are given out. Kids say thank-you and then check out what they got before moving on to the next house. Kids don't do tricks anymore - at least not usually.

Now... if you are new to the country from a place where Halloween isn't done - that's cool... you just don't know how things work...

How do the kids know which houses to go to for the treats?

First off... as a former kid, we used to have an unofficial grapevine where kids would go out with buddies and talk to other kids - strangers - and find out which house was giving away cans of pop or popcorn balls or the best candies. It was always worth the hike to find a house that gave away cream soda - not the pink stuff, but rather the clear or so-called white variety! Parents stayed home and doled out candy and were only seen on the street with kids under the age of 7. Maybe.

You hit every house on the street because every house on the street participated and you'd end up with three garbage bags filled with candy and a surefire bellyache and dentist visit later.  

Now... it's different. Not everyone participates... so how do you know which places have treats?

1) Well... you don't bother the houses with the lights off. That's a rule. That house has decided to not participate in Halloween... or they had to go out somewhere - fair enough. At least they are telling you not to bother them and are saving the kids some time.

2) The outside lights are on at a house. That's a rule. That house has candy. Go and do your quasi-legal begging.

3) You have a pumpkin outside your door. That's a rule. That house is into Halloween and will supply you with candy. Outside lighting is optional.

Which brings me to what happened this evening, as two dads, a mom, a grandfather and I paraded our kids around the cold and wet streets of suburban Toronto - Shaver North in Etobicoke. An area I have lived in for over 40 years... and I can tell you that it is a pretty damn White and affluent area... and everybody knows what Halloween is... and you can participate or not participate as you choose. 

The second house we visited - the second - had a large pumpkin sitting outside the front door. Lights were on in the very visible living room, but the front lights were NOT on.

Still... the pumpkin outside is an invitation for kids to come and ply their trick or treating on the members of the household.

After the kids ran up and rang the door bell... we waited 10 seconds... no one came to the door... but we did see two middle-aged people inside come up to the living room windows right beside the front door and lower and then close the Venetian blinds!

What complete a-holes!

Why sucker little kids in by showcasing the very large pumpkin outside the front door and then tell everyone via the window blinds, that you aren't interested in Halloween?

What's with the damn pumpkin?!

Was it just for decoration?

Why? You obviously don't care about Halloween, because you chose not to participate in the fattening of the children.

So why purchase a pumpkin and place it outside the door?

Vanity? you suck.

If my kid wasn't there, I would have egged your place myself. Or stolen or destroyed the pumpkin you obviously don't deserve. 

You don't fug around with kid's emotions. Get with the program! Learn the rules of, in this case, Halloween! Ignorance of the rules, as the police will tell you about various things, is no excuse.

Do you know what I hate?

People who don't understand Halloween rules.