Thursday, 26 September 2013


10 CC's classic album  How Dare You from 1976 featured "Don't hang up" and other great songs. The Godley/Creme videos bench marked the art at the time and the album covers like the one above were innovative and striking.

Did they know that they were prescient?

Nowadays it seems that no one is hanging up, much to the glee of telecommunication companies. Everywhere I go I see people talking into, talking at, typing into, fiddling with or otherwise playing/using cellular phones in their many guises. In a Toronto newspaper the other week the statistics of pedestrian fatalities and injuries were published and there was an indecently high percentage of victims who were hit/maimed/ killed while texting or talking into a hand held device. On the subway the percentage of young people who use their phones while travelling is about 90% (from observations I've made). The first thing that they do is text, scan photos , make calls or listen to music. On the streets the percentage is slightly less but this is where the real danger is. It is quite the usual thing to have some young thing charging along, narrowly missing people on the footpath (sidewalk) and being narrowly missed by cars on the road while they are texting/phoning/listening. Some are oblivious to how loud they are talking and carry on intimate conversations at full volume. The ones that get to me are people who have those annoying blue tooth contraptions fitted to their ears and have the phone in a pocket. They carry on loud conversations seemingly to themselves. This can be a bit disconcerting when shouting is involved as you are never sure if they aren't one of the non-committed loonies that big cities have roaming around sans medication. Whilst not as bad as San Francisco which must have the highest number of brain-fried damaged people per capita, Toronto as a city of many millions of people has its fair share.

To be fair, I have joined the ranks of lemmings who support telecommunication companies as I upgraded my 12 year old Nokia for an iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5 has all sorts of marvellous wizardry in addition to phone and text capability. The Nokia provided me with phone and text capability. I used the Nokia mainly to capture phone messages and to receive (and sometimes send) the odd text. I am using the iPhone 5 (after a period of experimentation with e-mails, internet trawling, GPS navigation, news updates etc) for capturing phone messages and  receiving (and sometimes sending) the odd text.

The phone has a damn good camera however and, as Toronto is a flat city with no major landmarks, has a very useful built-in compass. The monthly payments (with the rent to buy built-in) including unlimited phone calls and texts and a huge amount of data is less than I was paying in NZ for just calls and texts so it can't all be bad.

Next step for me might be to get a blue tooth earpiece and join the other loonies.

Monday, 9 September 2013


OK, nor spell but that's what IKEA grinds you down to.

Here's a chest of drawers I assembled.
What's wrong with it? Can you spot the mistake?

No, not the fact that the drawers don't open, nor the hole on the left hand side where a dowel peg poked through the flimsy particle board.


We went to Niagara yesterday for the first time. The falls are impressive with millions of tons of water thundering down.

Horseshoe Falls (Canada side)

Even though it was raining we spent a couple of hours wandering along the edge looking at the three falls and down at the river below the Horseshoe Falls (the biggest and most impressive).
A tourist boat was making for the base of the falls and even though this was huge with a great number of people on it, it looked like a small cork in the churning water.

We opted for the walk behind the falls rather than the boat ride as we'd done  similar boat ride below the Huka Falls and all you see is mist and spray. I'm glad that we did because it was great. We went a long way down in a lift and along tunnels below the falls. There were viewing chutes dotted along where you can stand just behind the water.

A solid wall of water blocks the exit
We went out onto a viewing platform at the edge of the centre of the falls. The spray was intense and you could just about lean out and touch the water (I didn't).

First 'selfie' with i-phone - not quite right

No, not quite ....

This'll have to do

The noise of the water was deafening, so much that when I said to The Old Girl "Will you marry me?" she replied "What! Of course not!" When I asked why not she realised she had misheard me and said she thought I asked "Are you mad at me?" I then told her what I'd asked but said that the moment had passed and won't come again for another 25 years. We'll have to revisit Niagara when I'm 85.

Saturday, 7 September 2013


IKEA Swedish word that has multiple meanings and interpretations. Principal translation is crap. Popular interpretation is cheap. General meaning and synonyms are: frustrating, annoying, impossible-to-assemble and shoddy.
Well, we made our first ( and last) purchases at Ikea. Having to furnish an apartment and knowing that we will only be here short term, we decided to use Ikea for some of the simpler items (TV stand, bedside tables, chest of drawers). We were gobsmacked when we visited the massive Ikea store. The selection was great and the prices even more so. The problem is though (and we should have known, "you only ever get what you pay for"}.

Assembling the items in the condominium several things were soon apparent:
  • The instructions were obtuse, confusing and generally lacking
  • The screws, nails and assembly items were small and next to useless
  • The quality of the 'timber' is crap.
It is virtually impossible to assemble this stuff without bending, breaking or otherwise disfiguring it. It is so flimsy.

I'm glad that the Old Girl spent proper money on the lounge suite, bed, and bed-settee at a regular furniture place.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


Not that I've been posting much recently (busy exploring Toronto) but I'll be off the air for a week from tomorrow. We are finally moving from the short term rental apartment (condominium for Richard) to the long term one. This is unfurnished so we've been busy buying furniture and things to furnish it. Fortunately The Old Girl's relocation allowance covers the cost of this so all is sweet. We have to get WiFi set up though and this will take a week. It will be worth the wait though as the plan we've signed up for will give us instant speed connections much better than we have in the short term rental. The Internet capability will likely mean that we won't bother signing up for cable TV (like SKY) and will use the computer Internet instead. The TV programme options (out of hundreds of channels) is so shite that we won't miss it. We'll buy a smart TV though and use it as a monitor for the computer and to watch DVDs.


I like John Oliver. His retakes of the news are insightful and very funny. Have a look via the link below at his latest review of Facebook...