Sunday, April 17, 2016

New Blog

This blog is now an archive. For any new posts, or to see what I|'m up to these days, check out  http://bright-suburbanite.blogspot.ca/

Thursday, November 14, 2013

An Old Friend Visits!

I've been back in Canada now for just over three years. The first year I spent just recovering from the change, relaxing, finding a light job. The second year, I continued to work, and to think ahead and start planning how to rebuild my life properly. The third year, I moved away from my home-town of Montreal again, leaving behind my friends, again.

Now, I'm not far away at all, but still - I don't get to just go take a walk or have a chat any more. So, when Denis (Bernicky) and his daughter decided to come spend a day in Aylmer and Ottawa, I was thrilled.

The idea was to go on a proper photo safari - to go out specifically to make photos.

Well, the best laid plans and all that - the weather was cold and far too rainy to have the cameras out. But the visit was not a waste; after a brief trial run at photographing the marina, we went to the Byward Market area and did some touristy things, like eating Beaver Tails (fried bread with sweet stuff on it...hmm...not too healthy, but a tradition, I think.).

[caption id="attachment_2934" align="alignnone" width="300"]Aylmer Marina in the gloomy autumn rain/snow Aylmer Marina in the gloomy autumn rain/snow[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2935" align="alignnone" width="300"]Denis and his girl! Denis and his girl![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2937" align="alignnone" width="300"]Beaver Tails at the Byward Market in Ottawa Beaver Tails at the Byward Market in Ottawa[/caption]

Following our outing there, we ate hot dogs and poutine, and warmed ourselves up in the hot tub back at my place.

All too soon, my friends had to get back on the road and head home themselves.

A short visit, but really, really enjoyable! Can't wait for the next visit...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

風力発電機 (Fuuryokuhatsudenki)

I recently had the pleasure of escaping my office and working in an 'isolated location' for a few days. The hotel room was away from the actual office, but beside the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station (which was ordered to idle since the recent unpleasantness, and to review nuclear plant safety). I was surprised to find that the area has sprouted lots of wind turbines since my last visit, two years ago.

Here is my gas-guzzler contemplating a sustainable energy future:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blowtorch Breakfast

It is still rainy season here, so not 'summery' hot yet, but hot enough that turning on the stove for more than a minute can push morning apartment temps to uncomfortable heights. Experimenting with ways to cook more quickly led me to the blowtorch; it works for my sous vide steaks, gives the local bacon a bit of a crisp, and makes short work of eggs, as seen here:

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Beauty of the Early Morning

Starting yesterday, I am now working days rather than evenings. While at first I had been a bit disappointed at the idea, as I had really been enjoying the evening shift and found that I was, overall, much more energetic and productive in my personal life, already, only on day two, I am happy with the day shift, happy being back to normal.
What is normal? Well, for one thing, I am up today, with no alarm, at 5:20 a.m. And one thing Montreal and my Japan city have in common is that they are both ethereally quiet at this time of the morning. There is a kind of peace over the land that makes this time of day special for me.
Other normalities that have already returned include being active in the evenings rather than the day time.

Yesterday after work, I sat in the yard and read my book, I went roller-blading for an hour, ate a good dinner and prepared a good lunch. This evening I've got plans to see friends and be social. So - maybe the day shift is a good shift!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Beauty of the Early Morning

Starting yesterday, I am now working days rather than evenings. While at first I had been a bit disappointed at the idea, as I had really been enjoying the evening shift and found that I was, overall, much more energetic and productive in my personal life, already, only on day two, I am happy with the day shift, happy being back to normal.

What is normal? Well, for one thing, I am up today, with no alarm, at 5:20 a.m. And one thing Montreal and my Japan city have in common is that they are both ethereally quiet at this time of the morning. There is a kind of peace over the land that makes this time of day special for me.

Other normalities that have already returned include being active in the evenings rather than the day time. Yesterday after work, I sat in the yard and read my book, I went roller-blading for an hour, ate a good dinner and prepared a good lunch. This evening I've got plans to see friends and be social. So - maybe the day shift is a good shift!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Where Are the Vending Machines??

Some things you start to take for granted once you settle in somewhere. For example, I had begun to take car ownership for granted since I'd had a car for most of my Japan years. Moving back to Montreal, I had been car-free for several months, and finally gave into the need for wheels.

The car is something that was in my power to remedy. Other things are out of my hands, however. Other things, such as the dire lack of vending machines. Yes - I who may once have thought the ubiquitous "jidou-hanbaiki" (vending machine) a blight in nature, found even at the peak of Mt. Fuji, had certainly grown dependent on and appreciative of their presence. And now, with summer and humidity finally here in Montreal, I rue the loss of the "ji-han-ki" (short for jidouhanbaiki, aka vending machine).

As I walked to a workshop downtown this morning, I quickly became parched, having forgotten to bring my bottle of water. I found myself casting hopeful -even expectant - glances around street corners, having to remind myself several times that, no, I would not find any vending machines here. I would have to wait until I hit the city centre, and then I would have to join the hordes of trendy city-ites in long lines at Tim Horton's...

Perhaps this is not out of my hands...perhaps I can start a petition. Would anyone consider signing a plea to have vending machines places every few hundred feet across the country??

Next post - Lack of any 24 hour convenience stores. This may be a Canadian or a Quebec phenomena, but there are no 7-11's, no Circle Ks, no Family Marts... A person could starve or die of dehydration right here in the middle of so-called civilization, just for the want of vending machines and convenience stores!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another Year of Britannica!

Once again, we are very fortunate here at Japanrider.com, because, as web authors, we have qualified for another year of free access to Britannica Encyclopedia online. Our free subscription includes the ability to share full articles with our readers. So, for today's perusal, you can check out Britannica's information on the earth quake and tsunami of 2011...

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1761942/Japan-earthquake-and-tsunami-of-2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rolling Thunder?

As a fun project, I decided to try to fine-tune my bike's power curve while keeping an ear out for change or improvement in the tone and timber.

With less than $2 in hardware, I put together an adjustable lollipop baffle, and now have a wide range of tunability:



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For tight mountain rides, a 45 degree angle is ideal as the torque noticeably increases allowing fewer shifts with stout pull under steep but relatively short sections.

Turning the baffle to 180 degrees still creates some back pressure and improved torque, while allowing the engine to spool up quickly in longer sections of road and straightaways.

The sound is improved, a little lower tone over the rpm range and a little quieter, too. Still wakes the neighbors tho!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What I Did Today

Because I often feel that I'm doing nothing, I have decided to write a bit about things that I HAVE accomplished.

Wrote two emails
Attended a workshop at La Passerelle about harnessing the power of Linked In for a job search
Walked my dog
Cleaned the yard
Did groceries
Set up my D90 for the first time in ages and did some self portraits for my Linked In profile

Ok-not much, but not bad either!