Your weird factoid of the day: today, at nine and a half years old, Ian got his first barber shop haircut. 🙂

Ever since he was a toddler, I have been cutting his hair. But today, I was going to get a haircut, and I invited Ian along to get one with me. Miranda jumped at the opportunity to go to Chapters, so we headed out. We went to Denim and Smith at Dalhousie.

Ian being sheared

I got my hair done first, and then it was Ian’s turn. The barber took more off the sides and back than I usually do, but did a really nice job of blending it with the top where she left about the same length I do.

Couple of good looking haircuts

Hello from Toronto

I am in Toronto for a couple of days, running a two day workshop for Hydro One. It was a hectic day, getting everything ready before I had to leave for the airport. When I got to YYC, my flight had been delayed, so I had an hour’s extra wait. I got some reading and prep done for my workshop.

The flight was pretty uneventful, other than it being quite full, and all the overhead bins were full before I got to my seat. I watched Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and then most of 20 Feet From Stardom, a documentary about backup singers. Both were entertaining and helped pass the time.

Of course, I arrived an hour later than expected. It was dark and wet (but not raining). It took a half hour for my bag to arrive, and then another half hour to take the UP Express downtown. Then about a 20 minute walk to the hotel. Checking in, getting dinner, ironing my shirts, then getting down to work preparing for tomorrow, and it was almost 10 pm local time.

Me tired. Time to try to unwind and get some sleep. That eastern time zone morning comes early.


Today, Miranda and I spent the day making books. Actual handmade, hardcover notebooks.

The finished product

Miranda asked if we could do this yesterday. She has been spending a lot of time lately typing out some of the stories that she has found written by the fans of the same shows she likes. She’s been correcting their grammar: she thinks that these were written in Japanese and then run through Google Translate. She wants to print out her typing and bind it.

So I found an instructable. I read it twice over breakfast and then got Miranda to do the same. I weighed the time we had and suggested that we start with a simple lined notebook, because printing her story out so that the pages all line up would be a multi-hour job itself. Even with only making a notebook, we started around 9:00, and just finished at 5:00.

Miranda gluing the “super” to the binding block

There were steps where we were gluing and waiting for the glue to dry. Even with blow dryers, that takes time. The hardcovers are foam core, the spine is cardboard, and the covering is a simple plaid material that Tammy had in her collection. Part of me thinks that it’s one of the pieces from Mom’s collection, because it looks very familiar.

In the end, they weren’t perfect, but they are certainly better than I hoped. Now Miranda can figure out how to print her story, and she can do it again, better this time.

Our books

The Vinyl Café Rides Again

Stuart McLean passed away two days ago. It made me sad to learn it for many reasons, some of which are:

  • He was only 68 and
  • He reminded me of the time when I lived in Ucluelet.

When I lived there and worked at Pacific Rim National Park, there were only two radio stations that came in clearly: a soft hits station from Washington State, and the CBC. So on my drives to and from work each day and on the weekends, I listened to a lot of the CBC that summer. The Vinyl Café was on from time to time, and it always seemed I started listening in the middle of one of Stuart McLean’s stories about Dave and Morley and their family.

Moving back to Victoria and then on to other things, I didn’t listen to the CBC as much, and didn’t listen to the Vinyl Café except on rare occasions.

This morning, I was sitting at the breakfast table with Ian (Tammy and Miranda were still abed upstairs) and I ran across yet another obituary piece on Stuart McLean, and Ian asked me who the man in the picture was. I started to explain, but thought it would be easier to show Ian. The CBC has a podcast stream of Vinyl Café episodes and I started up Overcast and found an episode that looked promising.

At first Ian didn’t know what to make of it. It was boring him. But then the story started to get rolling and the situation was getting ridiculous. Soon Ian was laughing at the table as we listened to the master storyteller work his magic. That was only the first: later we listened to the second half of the episode where Dave’s kids go to camp, and this evening on the way home from Sobey’s and then at the dinner table we listened to the classic Dave Cooks a Turkey. Then we all listened to the story that Ian and I listened to at breakfast. Tammy and Ian were crying with laughter by the end.

It looks like it might be a new thing for us. I feel good to have passed along something to Ian and in a way, helped the memory of Mr. McLean to endure.

Preparing Miranda for Braces #2

Today I took Miranda to the orthodontist so that they could take a plaster form of her upper teeth and place spacer elastics between the molars in top and bottom. Next week, she’ll be a metal-mouthed monster again. This is the last round. Thank goodness for that. 💸

Roof is Finished

The weather has gotten warmer, and with it the roofers returned. They started on Friday, and worked all day Saturday and today.

Saturday roofing

Today we went to Nakiska, and they were working on the roof when we got back. They finished up just before five. No pictures from Nakiska this time. I forgot to take my phone with me. We had a good time, though. I was feeling really confident with my turns.


They will be back tomorrow to clean up, and hopefully our driveway will be our own.

On a different note, it worked out that Tammy and I went to work together on Friday, had lunch at the Pita Basket together, and even came home together. I took this picture of us when we met at the bridge over the Bow River, before we walked to Safeway in Sunnyside before heading home on the train.

It’s warm enough to not wear a touque!

First Bow Cyclists Virtual Club Ride

Last year at this time, I was test riding bikes outside. This year, riding outside is only a dream with every road a snowy, icy mess. So, I’m riding the trainer and enjoying virtual rides in Zwift. A number of my club mates have also started Zwifting, and we were discussing it at the service school this weekend. The question was asked whether or not we had ever seen each other online, and we hadn’t. There’s normally over a thousand riders on at a time, and you can’t see more than those who are around you. Also, we all ride whenever there’s time, and there’s lots of time in a 24 hour day.

Tommy suggested that we try a group ride, so I started a comment thread on Strava. There were a lot of comments and suggestions, and in the end, we agreed to tonight at 7:00, and I set up a Discord server so that we could talk to each other while we rode online.

Tommy, Francois, Derek and I all met up, and it went off without a hitch. We did two laps of the Richmond VA UCI Worlds course, and it was fun and engaging. It’s a challenge to stay together, but with the ability to speak to each other, we managed it. It was cool when we managed to come in second through fifth on the Broad St. sprint (I was the one in second). It was also cool to compare with Derek and Tommy, who are 66 kg and 75 kg respectively, compared to my 100 kg. The game takes weight into account when you’re going up and down hills.

Our virtual group as seen on Strava


We’re going through our second round of deep-freeze weather right now. When Dad arrived and stayed over Christmas, we had a dump of snow and extreme cold, but then the weather went warm and everything was melting. It was twelve degrees the weekend before last. Now, it’s in the minus twenties and it snowed all weekend.

For the first time ever, Tammy couldn’t start her Golf because she parked in in the driveway and forgot to plug it in last night. Yesterday, I drove the kids to school and she did it this morning.

It’s supposed to get warmer as the week progresses, but it’s still dangerously cold out there at the moment.

Service School, Year Two

In the late fall last year, the Bow Cyclist club prez Mark sent around an email asking if anyone was interested in taking service school courses at the shop. The idea was that if we got a group together it would be fun, but we could also get a discount. Lots of people chimed in, and we scheduled a two-day bike overhaul course for this weekend.

When I did this last year, it was just the instructor and myself. This year, there are seven people all tearing their bikes apart, and two instructors and Mark as well. This means that things are going more slowly, but that’s a good thing, as I am able to stop and digest the information before rushing on to the next task. Ben and Michael are the instructors and Sarah, Peter, Ed, Kevin, Tommy and Phil are in the course with me.

Today was all about taking everything apart and cleaning it. Everyone else tore their bikes down to the frame, but we left the hydraulic brake lines intact on my bike. Everything else went, though.

Mark and my stripped Roubaix

The pile of parts

It was a fun day and it ended with a beer. I got my shifter cables re-routed, which is a finesse job when they are routed internally through the frame. The major points that we discovered today were:

  • My wheels weren’t true: the rear was especially bad, and may have been the cause of my high-speed wobble last year, and
  • My rear brake pads were pretty worn, so I’m replacing them.

Other than that, there will be parts costs for the shifter cables and new bar tape. My tires I will replace in the spring,

The biggest drama of the day was probably Phil’s bike. It’s a 2005 Specialized Tarmac. It’s top-flight bike, but twelve years old. When they took the fork off, the bottom bearing came apart, and it wasn’t a part that Specialized sells any more. For a bit, it looked like Phil might have to scour the used market for the part, or buy a new frame. But Mark came to the rescue, and measured the bearing and discovered there was a Campagnolo part that would fit. All’s well that ends well.

Day two and everything will be back together tomorrow. Thanks Dad, for the Christmas gift! 🎄

Updated Sunday

Now day two is over…

Continue reading

New Roof

I write this from work, but I expect that by the time I get home tonight, there will be:

  • A dumpster in my driveway and
  • Bundles of shingles on the roof.

We’ve enlisted Meerkat Roofing to replace the roof on our house. When I was installing the Christmas lights this year, I got a good look at it and it worried me. We also looked at a metal roof as an option, but we don’t have the $$$ to throw at it.


Yep, the bin and shingles are there now. We had a skiff of snow last night. It’s not as wintry as it looks. But I wouldn’t want to be working on a roof in the cold.

Ready for roofing

Updated Friday, Feb. 3

Now the weather’s turning. It’s supposed to be cold and snowing starting this afternoon and continuing all weekend. I don’t expect to see many people on my rooftop for the next few days.