In this day and age... Really?

I'm not going to start a whole religious debate on here, and that's not what I'm after. I am genuinely surprised at this billboard that I saw the other day. It's not that I'm terribly surprised that there still exist fundamentalist christians who have a hard-on for end-times. I understand that there are some people who can't wait to see any prophecy come true, and the prophecy of choice always seems to be Judgment Day!

Now I for know that this billboard is lying. It's hopeful, but it's just that and nothing more. The reason I know that is simple. Their were men who put this together (admittedly they could have used a few classes in Photoshop, but that's a different rant.) These men were not clairvoyant, nor do they posses any powers that I do not. They are no less human that you reading this text right now. There is no way to know categorically what will happen May 21, but I'm putting my bet on the side of reason.

If you still think that maybe these guys are on to something - maybe you crept on to their website foolishly and actually believed any of the dribble - I present you with this: 

Top 10 Failed Apocalyptic Prophecies 

I think that title is sort of self-explaining. The fact that this billboard was erected is no surprise; The location, however, is what disturbs me. It was placed South of the Bible-Belt. It's not on a road-side somewhere in East-Texas or South-Louisianan... no, this billboard is brightly lit on the side of Prince Charles Rd. in Welland Ontario. A full 800 kilometers North of the belt.

I would think in a place like this we wouldn't have these insane billboards. Traditionally our churches have made it difficult for the atheists of the area to make a cogent argument against organized-religion. Our churches, for the most part, have donated money to the poor and helped the needy. They have been an arguably positive addition to rural townships and they have been a, albeit slightly corrupted, force for good. 

Thanks Ontario's religious for the reminder that wasting money and being ridiculous and slightly cynically-insane is at the forefront of what we perceive as "organized-religion".


Chopper Chassin'

As a reward for hard work, the students of Niagara College's Digital Photography program were treated to a couple of helicopter rides and several landing and take offs for shooting. Below are a few photos taken at today's event and following the gallery is the press released statement given to students of Niagara College earlier this week. 

Helicopters Visit Niagara College
Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Niagara Helicopters will be landing two helicopters on the lawn of the Welland Campus in front of the new Athletic Centre at Niagara College on April 28. Top Digital Photography students will be rewarded for their hard work at 1:30 p.m. when the helicopters pick up the students for an extended aerial tour. Following the tour, the helicopters will be taking off and landing numerous times, and will hover over the campus buildings for photo opportunities. The helicopter tour is the Grand Prize for the Digital Photography student who won "Best Photo-Journalism" and the four students who won "Picture of the Week" assignment/competitions during the school year.

Cheers to the success of these students in their future endevours, and cheers to a school that lets students go out with a bang. I'm sure this will be an opportunity remembered by these students for the rest of their lives. 


St.Catharines hit with major winds

A major windstorm knock power out to thousands of St.Catharines residence today. The century old neighbourhoods surrounding Geneva Street were the epicenter of destruction as ancient trees were broken like twigs in the 90+ km/h winds. 

The clean-up is expected to take days and the power authorities warn that it may be 48+ hours before power is restored to the 70,000 homes and businesses. 

Luckily the weather is fair and there is no vital need for airconditioning or heating so, as storms go, the time this one struck is ideal. Citizens are showing a great deal of understanding and cooperation. Simply walking the streets today we witnessed many neighbours pitching in for a quick clean-up. Drivers were forced to yield to oncoming traffic on Geneva St. which somehow was not prioritized over Maple St. for clearing. (Photos of crews clearing the way on Maple are in the album) Police did not intervene in the traffic direction at Geneva and drivers took it upon themselves to take turns using the one open lane.

 Update: A tree fell on a car [at Maple St.] while a man and woman were inside. That's why it got priority over Geneva. 
 (Thanks to Tiffany Mayer for the info.)

Some vehicles, buses and large trucks, made awful scratching noises as they passed the fallen tree.

So far the city seems to be responding with a valiant effort and citizens are pulling together for the most part. We wish those affected the best of luck in the clean-up and we can all be proud to say that we're all in this together. 

Side note: Many reports say that the BeerStore on the South side of town is still open. What better excuse for a patio bbq than this! Cheers to opportunity and the optimism that makes St.Catharines and Niagara an amazing place to live.

For larger images, click on tumbnails below:
Update: At 7:30pm power has been restored to about 13,000 homes and businesses across the city.

Rewarding participation

The City of St.Catharines has recently been very active on their Facebook account. It's interesting to see that the city if being represented online by their Corporate Communications Assistant Tiffany Mayer. The idea of the city encouraging people to become active online is a great thing, in my opinion. I think more towns and cities should really consider a digital representative. 

You can find the City of St.Catharines on Facebook by clicking on their name in this sentence. Liking them and participating in some of their contests is actually quite fun, and best of all they may even send you a little treat if you win.

I just received this letter from the corporation's Recreation & Community Services Dept. with a two-for-one coupon at the city-owned Garden City Golf Course. All it took was answering a fun-fact trivia in a status update. (I don't Golf, but my father will likely get use from the coupon so it's still a fun prize.) The best part about this is that it's clearly being run by people who care. No auto-filled forms and cheap cop-out prizes. The card was filled and signed by hand by someone who clearly enjoys their job and their city.

Stay in touch and keep up-to-date on what's happening in your city and region. Talk with representatives and get answers to civic questions. Share ideas, stories, pictures, memories and more and connect with your community! 

Cheers to St.Catharines and their progression into the digital age. A great big thanks to those who make our region one of the best to live in throughout all of Southern Ontario. 

Great work :)

What's life without whimsy?!

There was once a point in my life where I hoarded money and try to save every dime. I thought that it would make me happy to have numbers on a screen that represented my bank account... I didn't do much other than work and sleep and occasionally spend a dime or two around town. This lifestyle left me rich in money, but poor in every other aspect.

A few years ago I had an epiphany; I just realized that what I wanted most of all from life wasn't to be rich. Money didn't matter as long as I had a roof over my head and food on my plate. I knew that I had to make some changes and refocus my efforts. I started to volunteer here and there for random charity events. I donated money and realized just how great it felt...but I think, most selfishly (unfortunately), some of the greatest times I've spent were spending on incredibly useless things. 

To call them useless is in the old mind-set. I would have once deemed these things irrelevant to my life and worthless. Little did I know then that their worth was much greater than cash. What they were worth was smiles; they put smiles on the faces of my friends and have given me memories that I will take to the grave.

Sometimes it takes a lot to remind yourself to live it up, but you really only get one chance at life. I'd love to spend mine broke and cheerful as opposed to rich and miserable. I'm not saying you can't be happy with money, just that sometimes the justification for spending the money is simply to have fun. 

Go out and buy something silly... learn to walk on stilts, unicycle, paint, dance... just do what you love and spread some joy. That is what life is all about!


The Manhattan Project

It's not hard to find me at a party... people often describe me as "that guy over there with the fancy drink." 

(Ok, some people refer to me as "there guy drinking that gay-drink," or "the guy with the chick-drink," but I would like to mention that there's an inerrant flaw in the logic that states that a drink at 38.8% alcohol is somehow wussy in comparison to American beer... but that's a rant for another time!)

Anyways, I'd like to share with you the makings of a drink that I've loved since I was [19]. (For legal reasons I should just put in the age of majority here)

It's called the Manhattan and no one is entirely too sure where it comes from. What we do know about it is that it's quick, easy, delicious and will kick your [donkey] if you're not careful!

The recipe is simple:
  1. 5cl Rye or Canadian Blended Whisky
  2. 2cl Sweet Red Vermouth
  3. Dash of Angostura bitters
  4. Cherry.

All-in-all it amounts to a drink that's spicy, sweet and will more than likely leave you wanting more... or after a few, wanting floor.

To all of you who love to set the room spinning every now and again, Cheers!

Lately I've been on a bit of a health kick. The natural question was to ask myself if it was time to hit the gym. Luckily, I found an alternative. I found a  gym that's 10 km's long and free of membership fees. People often talk poorly of Welland as a city, but for someone trying to stay fit, this place has a lot going for it. From running tracks to biking trails to today's excursion down the "Recreational Waterway", formerly the Welland Canal, there's a ton of ways of staying in shape. 
Over the summer I plan to use the blog to keep up tips on my personal fitness. This isn't going to be a work-out guide or any sort of health-nut retreat... just some quick tips on how to have fun and help your body out while doing it. 


A Sign from Above...!

I spend a lot of time looking up. I'm not looking for answers, or trying to contact a divine creator or deity of any sort. I'm just an average sized guy and so there are plenty of things above my head... I was thinking the other day about signs. The random things that we read every day, usually without really giving any of them much thought. There are so many signs in the world that give us useless information. It's not the sign's fault, nor is it really the sign itself that's the issue... just the application.
Take this sign for example... 
I don't think many people would ride this bus, sans the sign, and fall down the one step that leads to the back seats. I don't think this sign is really all that necessary, but imagine it in a different location. What if this sign wasn't on random buses, but in a useful place like a dictator's mirror. It would have to be written in another language I'm sure, but how nice you it have been if Mumbarak had subconsciously registered the message.
Alas, the sign clings so casually to the ceiling of the bus... so uselessly warning riders of the step in a round-about way. 
Cheers sign.


Memory lane is on a bus route...

I was sitting at the bus station the other day, in a daze. Just staring straight forward and I couldn't help but think to myself, "What the hell are those?" Strange and enormous boxes hung from the wall into which people stick a couple quarters and rub a questionable hard-plastic device against their head. Was there really once a time when these were the portals that linked far away places? Were these onces reliable and trust-worthy methods of communication in public places?
These thoughts didn't last long though. It was only about another 30-40 seconds of staring before I looked around. Everyone in the bus station was doing the same thing...staring blankly at their smartphones... so I followed suit. Wouldn't want anyone to think I was a bit nutty, sitting there, blankly staring at these phones.


I'm not always against a beer at lunch...but :S  .  

So I can't be entirely sure alcohol was involved in the making of this sidewalk, but we can be sure it hasn't gone entirely as planned. It looks like a wide sidewalk with mud pilled on it, but if you look closely you'll notice that is the sidewalk's shape.
 I suppose there's probably an explanation for its wonky appeal... maybe this is a take at post-modern art?





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