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Oct. 11th, 2033

Tikki

You deserve to be happy and healthy

If you're on my friends list, you're important to me. I want you to be safe, healthy, happy, and enjoy life as much as physically possible. If there's any way that I can help alleviate some of life's annoyances and pains, please just comment below. Post an address that I can send stuff to (doesn't have to be yours, your post office may accept it for you - ref. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Poste_restante ), tell me what you need, and a package will be on its way.

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Sep. 12th, 2016

Tikki

Headline Coffee

The Toronto Star is struggling to get revenue, as fewer people want dead trees delivered to their doorstep every morning.

Someone at the paper realized that their paper delivery system could be used to deliver other things. Their Headline Coffee subscription will get you a constant supply of fair-trade coffee beans delivered to you.

I pointed out a bug in their ordering system, and got a 75% off code as a thank-you if anyone in the Toronto area wants it.
Tikki

Rice milk

I've been changing my food intake to reduce my carbon footprint. Eventually I'll be able to live on a few sacks per year of easily-transported, easily-stored, low-waste vegetable-based powders and seeds.

Half of my nutrients come from Soylent, a bland, boring, dense powder. It's vegan, does not require refrigeration, and lasts forever, with minimal waste. It's packaged in lightweight, recyclable plastic bags. Once a month, a small box arrives on my doorstep. I put some in the bottom of a glass Mason jar (with some frozen berries for flavour), add water, shake, and drink. Add coffee, and that's my breakfast and lunch.

I definitely am not giving up coffee, and I need milk (or something similar) with it. Switching from methane-producing cow milk to rice milk was easy. However, the rice milk comes in non-recycleable Tetrapaks, and it uses a lot of fuel to transport something that's 99% water. So I decided to try making my own rice milk. Instead of spending several dollars a week to buy a water-and-rice drink, I could buy a sack of rice and make my own for pennies a week.

I cooked up some rice, and threw it into a blender with water, vanilla and other ingredients. It became a smooth liquid that looked and tasted exactly like store-bought rice milk.

I poured it into a filter to strain it before putting it into a bottle.

Nothing came through the filter.

I accidentally made rice-based vanilla pudding.

At least my failure tastes good.

Aug. 28th, 2016

Tikki

100 km by bike in eight hours

This morning, I went to the gym for a vigorous cardio and upper body workout. I loaded up my bike with six litres of water, two kilos of trail mix and cashews, and a change of clothes. I then started pedaling towards the little town of Port Hope, Ontario. 113 kilometers away. My goal was to stay at a bike-friendly hotel overnight, and then bike back.

The first twenty-five kilometers were on paved roads, in city traffic. Lots of stop-and-go, lots of up-and-down hills, lots of being chased by taxis. Plus lots of really expensive cars nearly swiped me off the road. I got quite hot, and noticed that I had stopped sweating. Chugging a bottle of water at a stoplight had my arms bead with sweat within minutes. Interesting - I didn't know my body could absorb and use water that fast. I had gone through a third of my water before I finally reached the Waterfront Trail.

The Waterfront Trail is a nice interlinked series of bike trails and parks running along Lake Ontario. It's mostly shaded with trees, and cool breezes make it very pleasant. There are few stop signs, and the paths are curved to minimize steep slopes. Excellent bike riding conditions! Picturesque beaches, butterflies, meadows, and tons of wildlife kept popping up. I saw more bunnies and egrets in an afternoon than ever in my life.

By the time I neared Oshawa, I had gone through two-thirds of my water, and had eaten nothing. So, I tried a handful of trail mix. That turned me into a ravenous zombie; I'd pause to stuff my mouth, and pedal while chewing furiously. That went away quickly, and instead the thought of food made me ill. I had to force myself to finish the 200-gram bag I was eating from. It had a hole in it, so I didn't want to put it in my bike packs and have it spill. Foolish of me; I should have just let the squirrels finish what I didn't want.

In Oshawa, the halfway point to Port Hope, I stopped for the first time. I sat on a bench at Intrepid Park, near the former commando and spy training facility. My dad would have liked it. Just a few days ago, someone found some WWII explosives in the area.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_X

I called ahead and found that there were no available hotel rooms in Port Hope. So, I turned around and went back.

It started getting dark, and I was hurting.

  • My neck hurt from looking up.

  • My wrists hurt from holding the handlebars.

  • My palms felt like they were about to become huge pads of blisters.

  • My little fingers were numb from vibration. A day later, the right one still won't work.

  • My back hurt, especially my thoracic muscles, but not as much as on previous trips.

  • My behind really, reeally, reeaaaally hurt.

  • The folds of skin between my thighs and groin hurt.

  • The tip of my penis hurt. I later found a patch of skin was abraded off.

  • My knees hurt. Turns out I forgot to put sunblock on them.

  • My feet hurt from bending around the pedals, and my shoes felt like they were filled with water.



Oddly, my legs felt perfectly fine.

I had been rationing my water, but ran out. At that point I was back in the city of Toronto, going up and down steep hills while being chased by taxis in the dark. I had just reached 100 kilometers of biking, and decided that was good enough. So I steered to a bus stop, and fell off my bike. Just as I had removed my bike packs and bottles and shut off the bike lights, the #54 Lawrence bus arrived. I threw my stuff onto the bus, pulled down the bike rack on the front of the bus, and loaded and latched my bike. The driver was very patient, and told me not to rush. For the next 40 minutes I got to enjoy sitting on a flat seat in air conditioning. Then a 1-kilometer bike ride home from the stop. Hot shower, with soap stinging all my abraded bits. Several litres of water, then bed at around 10:30 PM. I had lost 3 kg / 6 lbs on the trip.

Woke up 5:30 PM the next day. I was now down 4 kg / 8 lbs. Probably dehydration. It wasn't until around 8 PM that I started peeing again in any quantity.

=================================

By the numbers:


I left at 12:30 PM.
I got back home at 9:20 PM.
I spent 40 minutes on the bus, and about 10 minutes snacking in Oshawa.
So, total time pedaling was 8 hours.

I started the day at 99 kg / 218 lbs.
I ended the day at 96 kg / 212 lbs.
The next evening when I woke up, I had dropped to 95 kg / 210 lbs.
I drank six litres of water, and until the next day I peed almost nothing.
I ate about 200 grams of trail mix and cashews.

Aug. 26th, 2016

Tikki

Anyone in Toronto want to ride an antique streetcar on September 25?

PCC Streetcar Tour and Brunch, and Guest Speaker

The East Toronto Chapter of Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) is proud to host a tour through Toronto on one of the TTC’s two remaining PCC (Presidents’ Conference Committee) streetcars. We will be joined by guest speakers as well as leaders from the TTC and the PEO leadership.

Toronto Historian and author Mike Filey will host our tour around the City’s streetcar network. Mike’s talk will be: Toronto and its Streetcars from 1861 and into the future!

Mike has planned a route expressly for engineers. His route will highlight the development of Public Transportation in our city. Mike has written almost two dozen books about Toronto’s history including the popular “The TTC Story, the First 75 Years”. Mike’s popular Toronto history books will be available on the streetcar at a discount for anyone who wants them.

Admission includes the Hot House Restaurant’s famous Sunday Brunch. We will be dining in the private Library Room where TTC’s guests and PEO’s leadership will be giving greetings. Before we depart on our tour, Mike Filey will give a presentation priming the group for the trip to come.

Date: Sunday 2016 September 25 11:30

Time: Brunch 11:30 AM Tour 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM

Tour Pick Up and Drop Off: Hot House Restaurant - 35 Church St. @ Front
Transit: From King Station walk east to Church then south to 35 Church Street (Church St. & Front St.E)

EDIT: The tour is full, so I can't bring any more friends. I've put myself on the waitlist, and will let you know if there are any cancellations.

Aug. 22nd, 2016

Furious

Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

realinterrobang linked to an article about a serial killer. More than 27 kids disappeared, and the police did little or no investigation. When mass graves were found, the police stopped digging once the number of bodies became embarrassing. And even despite evidence to the contrary, the police continued to blame the victims for being responsible for their deaths.

This is exactly what is going on with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canada's missing and murdered Aboriginal women. At least 285 dead or missing, with those supposedly protecting the public not taking action, or even keeping an accurate count.

http://www.cbc.ca/missingandmurdered/

Aug. 21st, 2016

Tikki

50 kilometer bike ride

This weekend, I biked the longest distance I've ever done. Not as epic a trip as stormdog or kishenehn do regularly, but far for me.

The heatwave had finally broke, and it was a beautiful day. I mixed up some Soylent with frozen blueberries in big glass Mason jars, making sort of smoothies. This was the first time I tried version 1.6. It tastes a bit more like bland cake mix, while version 1.5 tasted more like bland pancake mix. I cut up a bowl of watermelon into cubes, and put it in a glass bowl. All this fit nicely into my panniers. A few litres of water, and my bike tires were sagging from the weight. Next time I'll use plastic instead of glass containers. Then I started pedaling my bike off to High Park for a picnic with Sandy.

It's 23 kilometers to High Park from my place! My sense of geography isn't all that great, and I had the impression that it was somewhere near Sandy's place. But I kept pedaling, and pedaling, and the park still never showed up. I was completely wet by the time I finally got there and met up with Sandy.

We flopped out on towels under a tree. Sandy picked at the watermelon, while I chugged the Soylent and water. I had brought a 26800 milliamp-hour battery and a USB fan for Sandy; he used that to cool me down. We then biked around the park for a bit, and then pedaled off together to Sandy's place.

I had just wanted to refill my water bottles, but Sandy invited me in to sit and talk. He is planning to move out of his apartment and live in a camper or van, so we looked at web pages for them. The last time I was in his place was when he dumped me, so I was nervous about being there. Too many memories, and I'd want us to be together again if I was going to be in his place.

Then I biked back home. Either I'm getting stronger, or I'm getting better at using my gears. There is a steep hill near Avenue Road that I've always had to walk up. For the first time, I managed to pedal all the way up without stopping or walking.

Total distance was about 46 km on the road, plus another few kilometers pedaling around the park.

Today, I made up for all that biking by napping outdoors on a lawn chair outside my door. My body can only take so much.
Tikki

Recent books read

Transference, by Kate Blair. 19th-century experiments, instead of creating Frankenstein's Monster, instead revealed how to transfer diseases from one person to another (curing the disease donor). In the 21st-century UK, a politician's daughter realizes that the poor really don't like getting forced to suffer the colds and pneumonia infections of the rich and powerful. I didn't finish this.


Running On Fumes, by Christian Guay-Poliquin. Translated from the Quebecois. After something knocks out the power grid, and society starts to crumble, a man drives across the country to see his elderly father. Theoretically a retelling of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, but it's rather a thin linkage. Interesting imagery, not much story.


Exit Zero, by Neil A. Cohen. A zombie apocalypse starts in New Jersey. Rave reviews from Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, who apparently stars as a zombie on some reality show. I had to give up after the first few pages, it was so badly written.


Corsair, by James L. Cambias. In the near future, fusion reactors power
society, fueled by lunar He3. Most books using lunar He3 mining to justify space missions are implausible, because it's quite easy to make it on Earth. Just stick lithium hydroxide into a nuclear reactor to make tritium, and let it decay to He3. However, this book acknowledges that, and explains that technological advances make it CHEAPER to harvest it using autonomous robots and tiny robotic spacecraft than to
manufacture it on Earth. The tiny robotic return capsules are compact and high-value, and the characters point out that isotopes don't have serial numbers. Hackers try to override the guidance systems and land the capsules in the territorial waters of their sponsors, while the USAF tries to keep the robotic spacecraft from being remotely pirated.


Underground Airlines, by Ben H. Winters. Hardcover. Alternate history where the Treasonous Slaver's Revolt never happened in the US. Giant food processing plants and textile factories operate with slave labour in four US states. International sanctions limit technology and goods; cars are imported from Pakistan or South Africa instead of Japan, US cellphones don't have cameras, and MP3 players are cutting-edge technology. Constitutional amendments prohibit the other states from
interfering with the slave states. US Federal Marshals are required to actively track down and return any escaped slaves, and severely punish anyone who helps them. An "Underground Airline" exists to help whisk escapees to Canada. A former escaped slave is used by the Federal Marshals to infiltrate this network.


Stiletto, by Daniel O'Malley. Hardcover. Very similar to the Laundry series by autopopeCharles Stross. People with supernatural talents are taken in by a secret UK government agency. The agency is initiating a pre-Brexit merger with an EU group bsed in Belgium, which focuses on biological augmentation. There is some animosity due to an attempted invasion of the UK centuries before by the EU group. Politics and backstabbing ensue.


The City of Mirrors, by Justin Cronin. Hardcover. Centuries ago, experiments with a virus from the Amazon led to a vampire-like plague. More like photophobic fast zombies than traditional vampires, though. Civilization dwindled to a few communities protected by walls and lights. Outlying farms and oil wells had metal boxes where workers could hide until dawn. After a generation without seeing any vampires, everyone assumed they had starved, and left the protected cities. The walls and lights were no longer maintained, and the metal strongboxes were left to rust. Then people start disappearing.

Aug. 14th, 2016

Tikki

Sandy, and "Train to Busan"

Last weekend, Sandy and I saw the latest Star Trek movie. It was OK, I guess. I was more interested in Sandy. His arm was hurting him, so I spent the movie massaging it. We then went down to the lake and sat on a bench, and I massaged him more. I really really really wanted to take him home and massage him everywhere, but no luck,we went our separate ways afterwards.

This week was incredibly hot and humid. I've never been able to fall asleep without a blanket or something covering me, but this week I managed to sleep with no clothing or coverings. I have a nice red Vornado fan, but even with that I was too hot. So, I reluctantly dragged my air conditioner over to the window and ran it all night long. I don't like using it because it's noisy, expensive, and environmentally unfriendly, but the alternative was sleeping in a pool of sweat. Even so, it was like my bed was a marsh.

http://www.vornado.com/circulators/VFAN

Finally, the humid weather turned into a massive downpour on Saturday. When I left my apartment to go see Sandy, the water was ankle-deep on the crosswalks. Good thing I was wearing sandals. When the rain stopped, the heat came back, this time with 100% humidity. Sandy and I went to Vegetarian Haven, and I gorged on their amazingly realistic fake seafood, before we went to see a movie.

"Train to Busan" is a Korean take on the typical zombie movie. A divorced dad takes his daughter on a high-speed train from Seoul to Busan to visit her mom. As they depart Seoul, a fast-zombie plague breaks out, and one infected person gets on the train. The train soon becomes filled with zombies. Despite traveling almost as fast as flying, the zombie plague precedes them to the stations down the line. The armed forces respond (and are overwhelmed) very rapidly, considering that the train trip to Busan is only a bit longer than the duration of the movie.

The photography was quite clever. Many of the scenes are filmed in the washrooms on board the high-speed train, where the survivors are hiding. There are several shots where the camera pans around the actors, filming them from all sides in one continuous take. Despite the washroom having mirrored walls, the camera never appears in the shot. The only way I can see that they could have done that would be to build a washroom set made of multiple removable panels. As the camera slides around the actors, the panels would shoot upwards out of the way, slamming back down as the lens passed by - all soundlessly, and with the actors managing not to react to parts of the set moving at high speed right next to their faces.

(spoiler alert)

In a departure from typical North American zombie movies and shows, all the main characters end up dead. As in "Yeonpyeong Haejeon", the stars have heroic death scenes.

Aug. 12th, 2016

Daniel

Rob Ford video

Dear friends,

Yes, I am aware that the videos of Rob Ford smoking crack and having sex have been released. Thank you for remembering that I live in Toronto, and thought of me when you heard of the videos. I do appreciate the thought. And yes, Rob Ford was indeed hot in a hot-mess sort of way, but I do not want to actually see those videos.

Thank you.

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