Archive January - February 2005

Week One of the Resolution Monday February 21, 2005
It's been a week since my Valentine's Day resolution and things are going pretty well. You will notice that the scale on the top doesn't say 220 anymore. My new number is 217. I do have one problem though. My electronic scale is a little erratic. It will give the same reading three times in a row and then go 3 pounds off. We already have two electronic scales. They both give different readings. I like 'mine' because it shows lower than the real weight. The other thing is that I weighing myself everyday which is supposed to be as bad as watching your stock portfolio every day. You're supposed to be in it for the long term. For me the long term is May so we'll see if the downward trend continues (I don't mean the stock market).
Also on my page, you will find two other charts of people hovering around the 100 kilo mark and set goals and are going about in different ways.

A Weekend for the Birds Sunday February 20, 2005
Today, my friend Murray, picked me up to go see a bird that is even rarer than the Great Gray Owl in this area. Many real birders already know about the lonely Mandarin Duck that has wintered in St-Eustache accompanied by a flock of about 100 Mallards. These ducks are as common as Mallards in Asia and Japan but they are not supposed to be in these parts. Most of my research has come up with recipes for Mandarin Duck, but I was trying to get an idea of how rare this sighting was. Anyway, if you want to see the both Mandarin and the Great Gray Owl you can probably do this in less than hour with the drive from Two Mountains. For instructions to get to the Mandarin and its 100 Mallard friends, click here. 

Great Gray Owls in St-Eustache Saturday February 19, 2005
For some unknown reason, the Great Gray Owl (Strix Nebulosa for you Latin people) has come more south this winter and many are being spotted. This morning, we went to see one near Two-Mountains. It's north about 3 kms on 25th avenue in St-Eustache. There have been sightings in Ile Bizard too. When we were there an American from White Plains, New York has just driven 8 hours just to get a look. He had read about it on the internet. We are a mere 8 minute drive and it's well worth the trip. We went back a second time to see it again and someone told us that last week they have seen 4 there. Apparently, the others arrive later in the day around 4pm. Last week, I assumed that the owl we saw in Mike's backyard was a barn owl but perhaps it was one of these Great Gray's. These birds are big (29 inches tall with a 5 foot wing span) but weigh a mere 3 pounds. Click here for directions and the video I took. If you have dial up, this page will take about two minutes to load.

Valentine's Day Resolution Monday February 14, 2005
Some of you know this, but that last year, while I was walking to work from the Metro on Ash Wednesday, I decided I should give up something for Lent. This was one of the first times in my years as a Catholic (all my life as proven by my front page) that I was going to give up something for the 40 days of Lent. So right there, I made a decision to not eat chips or French fries until Easter. I kept my promise and lost a couple of pounds in the process. This year, I made the same promise which was good timing since it was only 3 days after Super Bowl which is probably the number one day for chip consumption for the year. I should not have a problem keeping my resolution again this year and I won't use the Lent loop-hole I found out about last year. What is the Lent loop-hole? If you count the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, there are actually 46. The little known loop-hole is that Sundays are not part of Lent. That means that if you cheat on your Lenten sacrifice, you should do it on a Sunday. I got this trick from a man of the cloth. Of course, when I was 13, I was told by the priest taking my confession that I didn't have to confess using the F-word because it was not considered a sin. Not only did I space out my confessional visits after that advice but started using the 'now legal' F-word  more and more.

As usual, I digress. What is my Valentine resolution you ask? It's more than giving up French fries and chips. I got the idea from NBC's Dateline last night. Actually I got the idea on Saturday when I stepped on a bathroom scale much like the one above. I was sure it was broken since the needle was flirting with the 230. Yes, 230 lbs! Granted I was dressed with shoes on and in the middle of full evening of snacks and various beverages but the needle was way to close to a number I had never seen. I thought the scale might have had metal fatigue but I probably caused it. Right there I decided to do something about it although it wasn't until last night that I figured out how to do it. For the next three months (at least), you can click on the scale above and hopefully follow a trip down memory lane. Memory lane was a place that I could walk up two flights of stairs without losing a beat. Now, I still use those stairs but after two floors I feel like I have gone two flights of stairs with a 50 lb bag of corn except that I am the 50 lb bag. Click on the scale above to learn more about my plan and some of the obstacles that stand in my way.    

Big Milestones for Garry Mason and Mike Fitzmorris Sunday February 13, 2005
The reason I wasn't more specific yesterday is that there 2 surprise birthday parties in the works. One for Garry Mason who turns 50 today and Mike Fitzmorris who turns 30 on Valentine's day. We had to start the party at Mike's then drive up to Lake Macdonald for the annual Dixon's bonfire. Click here for a whirlwind photo tour of Saturday's activities.

Stay Tuned for Pictures on Sunday Saturday February 12, 2005
We have a busy day today and my camera will probably get a good workout. Depending on how I feel tomorrow , I may post some of the better pictures. Meanwhile, I have a couple of new jokes on my joke page to keep you occupied. 

Thanks To All My Visitors Wednesday February 9, 2005
I just want to thank all my visitors. I have had over 2000 visits since the inception of My best month on Yahoo was 967 visits. I can't wait to have something interesting to post here. Do you have any suggestions? I haven't updated this much lately because of a couple of video projects that have been taking up my time. One of the projects I have promised is 7 years in the making. It's the DVD of the LTM class of 73 reunion in 1998. My goal is to finish this by the May reunion. So far, my experience has been one hour of work for every minute of 'montage'. Hopefully the ratio gets better soon. The other video project I have is the DVD of the pub night. I also have another one to finish for St-Paddy's day. Add a busy social life to that and you see why this website is sometimes neglected. Keep visiting though and I promise some surprises. (Like my new front page),

ExpressVu Comes Through February 7, 2005
After many inquiries to Bell to establish whether or not I would get the American feed on HD. I did and got to watch the real broadcast for one more year. Thanks ExpressVu. If you want to see the ads you may have missed go here. They are all here and more.

Super Day in Two Mountains February 6, 2005
It certain doesn't feel like a cold February day. Today's high should be around 4 and sunny. The outdoor UFO driving range is open today for the third day in a row. You guys that laughed at me for getting my clubs re-gripped last week I am going to need them today and/or tomorrow. By the way, Golftown has a grip sale until February 28th. This would be a good time for you to get your putter re-gripped with the official Team Canada leather grip shown on the right. It's a very nice grip with an inset maple leaf. When it comes to voting you on the team, this grip could make the difference although it counts for only 2% of the eligibility criteria. This grip will set you back around $10 during the sale and they will do it on the spot if you ask them.
About the Super Bowl. This could be a bad year for my Super Bowl. Not because of the teams in it or the anticipated blow out. Not because Paul McCartney's breast does interest me in the least. The problem this year is that Global in carrying the game in High Definition. This could mean (as no-one at ExpressVu could tell me for sure) that my American HDTV feed will be changed to the Global coverage. That would mean that the American commercials that I have been watching for the past 4 years will be replaced by Canadian Tire ads and worse at least 25 ads for the same Global show. I predict it will be Malcolm in the Middle or Without a Trace. I am keeping my finger crossed because this will be Global's first attempt at an HD broadcast and that doesn't usually go well on top of that.

Second Annual Holy Family Pub Night Another Success February 6, 2005
Holy Family parish hosted its second annual pub night last night. I am not sure of the exact number of people that attended but it was a full house. They watched the local talent play until 1am. Harry Brooks emceed the proceedings. There was some very good entertainment in the line-up organized by Jennifer Peters and many other volunteers. Look for the DVD coming out sometime in the spring and for now you can look at some pictures of the show.

The Freddy Beaudoin Show at Monday Hockey February 1, 2005
Two weeks after turning 61, Fred Beaudoin scored 4 goals to lead the White team to a 4-0 romp over the Blue team. Glenn Hogan registered the rare shutout although the White team did everything in the last minute to lose the shutout. The peculiarity behind Fred's 4 goals was that he did it playing left wing. Fred shoots right. Last week, astute veteran Ron Fitzmorris suggested that both Fred and I should switch wings around our centre Gary Campbell so that we would have a better angle at the net coming in on our off wing. It worked for Fred on his first 3 goals as these would have been tight angle shots on his normal wing. Of course, it doesn't seemed to have helped me but I often play right wing.
Other than the rare shut-out, another rare event occurred when I actually back-checked, intercepted a pass and fed Fred the puck back up the ice for his third goal. This was the fourth shutout of both the Monday and Friday league. In the past years you would see maybe one shutout a year. Are this year's shutout a result of better goaltending or are the aging players having a hard time getting it up into the net. Believe it or not, there are only 21 games left in the (combined Mon/Fri) season plus the 3 games of the tournament on April 16. That means that the golf season is just around the corner. A picture of Fred's 60th birthday is in this archive page.

What's Up? Not Much Saturday Jan 29, 2005
This is the weekend before Super Bowl. There not much going as everyone is getting ready for another Patriot parade. It doesn't look good for the Eagles with Chad Lewis out for the game. A lot of people are talking the Budweiser commercial they probably won't show next week. Click here to see it. Choose the player and speed according to what you got.
The LTM reunion count is up to 460 people. We need more representation from the Class of 73, so sign up you almost 50 year olds.
On the LTHC front, the 31st Annual Boston Trip is on. Departing on April 1, the game will be played on Saturday April 2 at 11:30am. Go to the LTHC Hockey link for more info. 

Friday the 13th on the 21st Saturday Jan. 22, 2005
I am sure everyone has had one of those days, but yesterday it was my turn. Friday I always leave early from work (around 3:15) to catch the 3:45 train. I have a hockey game at 5:00 in To Mo and this gives me plenty of time to get to the arena. If I miss that train, the next train only gets into To Mo at 5:08 so I would miss most of the game. First I have to catch a Metro to Central Station. When the Metro finally shows up, it pulls out of the station and stops between stations. My first thought was that this was going to be the first time that I miss the train and to forget about hockey. Finally, the Metro starts again and I don't miss the train (3:45). I miraculously get a seat so I get a bonus nap on the way home. Half way home, I awake to an announcement that the train has had an 'accident*' and that it would be stuck for at least an hour. I make phone calls to advise the hockey guys that I, along with Alex, who takes the train at Bois Franc would probably miss the game. It is also announced that the 4:30 train would pick up the stranded passengers though it is running 20 minutes late. There was a glimmer of hope that I could maybe make the last m15 minutes of the game. That glimmer was shattered when my 9 year old battery decided that it would no longer work at minus 24. After a boost, I decided to go to the arena anyway to see the results of the game and 'enjoy' the usual post-game banter. When I left the arena, I decided to slowly back my car into a large pickup truck, so that the corner of his bumper would hit my rear lights just enough to shatter them into a multitude of fragments. At minus 25, this type of plastic doesn't seem to be resilient. This was witnessed by Gary Hill who 'forgot' to beep his horn to warn me that the truck was indeed directly in my arena escape route. Anyway, I came home, put away all sharp objects and went out for a beer and tried not to move until midnight. As you will see below, my day was not that bad as I am here to write about it.

* the train accident unfortunately was someone trying to cross the tracks and getting hit by our train. This is the third time that this happens in the last couple of years at least two of them at the Bois Franc (old Val-Royal) station. There has to be a better configuration than an over-track crossing, especially where there are double tracks. Of course, if someone purposely throws themselves on the tracks, there's not much prevention that can be done.


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