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Planting raspberries

29 May

Victoria Day has come and gone.
Memorial day is today.
This means – the start of summer and planting season in the North-East part of North America.
The garden centers are packed with people buying more stuff than they actually need for their gardens.
I was on the lookout for Raspberry bushes.
Mine got destroyed when a neighbor replaced the fence in the back last fall.
The raspberry bushes on sale looked rather weak and pathetic – they retailed for about 25 bucks per bush. This is a bit dear and over the top in my opinion.
The funny thing about plants and seeds and nature in general is that it has a way of regenerating itself. I had stuck a few twigs of my ruined raspberry bushes in the ground late last fall and after coming home from the garden center empty handed I checked out the twigs.
They were starting to sprout.
Sure – I might not have raspberries from these bushes this year but I can buy many raspberries for the price of that one bush for the one year. The raspberries will be fine next year.
My philosophy of gardening is that I do this to have fun and watch things grow. I am not doing this to stave off starvation.
Three out of the five twigs that I stuck in the ground are growing – so it seems. The bushes are coming along fine. I am content.

Sad Jag

22 May

I was walking on a street a day or two ago.
I did not have my camera.
I did not have my phone – with a camera.
I saw a fancy car.
A very nice car.
A Jaguar in fact.
It was an X-Type. Perhaps 10 or even 15-year old.
But it still looked elegant.
It still had class.
Except for the packing tape on the roof, plugging the leaky sunroof.
Shades of duct tape on old convertible British sportscars.
But that looked natural.
This … was a travesty – packing tape sealing an elegant Jag.
I wish I had a camera.

Grand openings

15 May

There have been a few openings of new retail outlets in Toronto in the past few years. They have been enhanced with great promotion and fanfare.
There have been pop-up retail places that appear and disappear – also to great media hubbub.
I ignore all of this because it does not interest me.
There have also been some notable closings of major retail here, but that is not part of this story.
I inadvertently attended a grand opening a week or so ago. It was packed. It was a mad-house. It was a feeding frenzy. It was a Value Village … a big-box thrift store.
It was rather depressing come to think of it.
I was there because this place opened in the same retail plaza as the grocery store I was shopping at. I was shocked at the people`s attitude to this opening. It was astounding. This was used stuff after all. I remember pitching a story to a financial magazine a few years back with the idea that buying used clothing and household items was not a trend derived from an environmental perspective – it was the way the middle class gets buy now. The Goodwills in Toronto have all been closed. There are a few SallyAnns – but not in our neighborhood. I guess our middle-class neighborhood needs this type of outlet and the people responded.
I like frequenting these types of stores but the shopping frenzy put me off and I bought nothing.

Tools and Stuff

8 May

Frequently, when starting a project, I look at the tools I have and the tools I allegedly need.
These are usually pretty hefty lists – sometimes in terms of volume and sometimes in terms of price. I tend to think this is to make my projects better or my tasks easier.
The desire to add to the tool collection is strong and irrational. One can say that there are few things better than a new implement to create project. But there are many better things and that is what stops me from purchasing tools willy-nilly.
One has to balance between want and need.
Do I need a chop saw to cut metal lengths? I use a grinder with a cut off disk now and it works OK. So, do I need this or want this?
Do I need a belt/disk sander to sand wood and metal bits to final size. I use a grinder, bench and hand. I use my Dremel or Foredom rotary tools. Do I need this? It would be convenient but can I justify it?
It is quite easy to justify new tools and equipment. Too easy.
And these are just the wood working and metal working tools. Let’s not talk about computer gadgets, other electronic gadgets, kitchen gadgets, car gadgets, gardening gadgets … and so on.

May Day

1 May

To celebrate May Day I am catching up with all the work that I have neglected for a while. There is a huge pile so it will take me a while. Hopefully not until Labour Day.

Signs of spring

24 Apr

Spring is in the air and things are starting to grow all over.
All sorts of birds have come back to our area of town. We have cardinals, crows, red-winged blackbirds, sparrows and starlings among others. A few starlings made nests in my vents in the house – I evicted a few before they laid their eggs but one was persistent and I grabbed four eggs and sealed that vent tight.
I felt bad but there is no way I could have allows a whole family of birds to live in one of my vents.

Video cassettes

17 Apr

Video cassettes.
I have a bunch of them,
Not enough to count and brag, but more than just a handful.
There are some neat things on the cassettes – music videos, movies and documentaries – all recorded of the TV back in the day. Some of the video cassettes are well more than 30 years old.

And this is a problem.
I put one of them in, to show my daughter some music videos, and the cassette played for about two seconds and then ripped.
Not good.
I am going through all of them now – two others have ripped as well. Some of them have a very deteriorated recording – I’m not sure if I recorded it that way or what. It looks and sounds horrible. I’m playing this all on an old standard tube television and I remember the recordings being much better. Another issue is the tracking – there are nice lines throughout some of the recordings.
As I am digitizing some/most of this content I am experiencing a great trip through memory lane. I particularly like seeing some of the commercials – they are cheesy and in all honesty not radically different from the ones you see today.
But my favorite is all the music videos that I recorded. Some are horrible, some are fantastic – but most, if not all, are interesting.
My there isn’t a channel that plays this all the time is beyond me.