The Bell That Got Away

I wrote about the bell I bought, and I showed you a picture of it on my bike.  In both of those posts, I also wrote about the other contender.  The bell that was also a mount for the Garmin I don’t actually have.

I stopped by the bike store today to pick up some UV protecting and cooling sleeves.  While there, I stumbled across the one I didn’t get.  And, after looking at it, I am really happy I didn’t chose that one.  It didn’t sound that sonorous.  Perhaps, it would be great for someone with a Garmin.  That person just isn’t me….yet.

They had a whole wall of stuff a typical biker doesn’t really need, but may want just because they can get it. I looked at new gloves, a new helmet, and even an awesome all carbon bike….So much stuff to blow your money on.

 

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Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, cycling, cycling gear, equipment, requirements, review, shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Picture of the Bell

In my rush to get my post about the bell out, I forgot to put a picture of the thing on the bike.  Seeing it in the package probably isn’t good enough.

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20190406_133406 I am generally happy with it.  I won’t really know until I need to use it.  Hopefully that won’t be too often.

It went on quite easily and there was space for the cables had I chosen to mount it further left towards the handlebar tape.   The hex nut appears not to be metric, so I had to use the allankey they provided rather than my own set.  I did not require the spacer that was provided, but I have kept it in case the need arises.

Working near the handlebars, it became obvious that my cycle computer needs new batteries.  Better to find out before the ride, I guess.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, cycling, cycling gear, Newmarket Eagles, review | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ring-a Ding Ding

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One of the interesting things that is required of anyone riding a bike here in Ontario is to have a bell on their bike.  Having had one on the bike in Vietnam, I suppose that need to signal to people you are approaching from the rear, signalling people around you, and scaring off dogs (in Vietnam) is real enough.  For the past few years, I have not had one, and like most of the riders I know, just pleaded ignorance when mentioned at club meetings.

I had heard there was a mount for the Garmin that incorporated a bell underneath the mount. This would certainly meet the legal requirement, but I wondered how easy it would be to reach.  Also, I don’t have a Garmin, and I am not sure I have the financial capability of buying one this year.  If I want to take the cycling vacation to Chile, I am pretty sure I do not have it.

While at the bike store trying to quickly get ready for this year–getting my electrolyte solutions, paying my memberships, looking at new socks, and a variety of other things, I came across a bell for my bike. It looks pretty sleek and won’t take up too much real estate on my handlebars.

Hopefully by the end of the week, I will have been out on the bike.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, club, cycling, cycling gear, Newmarket Eagles, requirements | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Friends

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I last wrote this blog five days ago. This might be the longest I have gone without a post since the start of the blog.  Even when I was on vacation, I managed to blog every couple of days.  I have no idea where the time went.

I could probably just skip ahead to today and talk about Today’s Perfect Moment. However, quite a lot of things have happened during the week that I feel are worth addressing.  I don’t want to dismiss something just to get caught up with the day.  This means that I might have to write more than one blog a day–or just stay a week behind for the rest of my life.

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In blogs past, I have remarked that my friendships have remained stable since Junior high school and high school. I am a pretty friendly guy and can make friends easily.  I just don’t make close friends that easily.

My friends and I got together on Monday to catch up, hash out our highs and lows, drink beer in a bar that had it’s washroom as far as possible from where we were seated (three flights up, a bit of a traverse, and then one flight down–I kid you not), and give us a chance to embrace our inner child. We do this a number of times per year.  It usually includes food and sometimes we managed to catch a movie.  This time we got some decent food and the chance at some craft beer.

Just a side note, while I like the name “craft beer”, I think the term “artisanal beer” which is used in Central and South America has a more interesting tone and I think it should be adopted here. I know I appreciated it when I was in Costa Rica.

Having a night out with my friends was definitely a Perfect Moment. We’ve had thousands of conversations, but we never run out of things to talk about.  We repeat some of the same stories, but we never get tired.  That I was totally exhausted the next day didn’t bother me one bit.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, beer, comfort food, conversation, food, food blogging, friends, friendship | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Last Gasp

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On Friday, one of my students asked me if winter was truly over. Before I could answer, she started making declarations like; “It’s Spring.”  “Winter is done.”  I wasn’t in the best of moods and though not as grouchy as I would become by the end of the day, I just didn’t have it in me to lie to her.

“There’s going to be at least one more day of snow”, I asserted confidently. When she developed a deep frown, I relented and explained that it would happen, but probably only last for one day.

So, last night, after watching a little late night television, I peeked outside before going to bed. The result is the picture you see above.  I suppose that I should feel vindicated in my assertions.  That would certainly make it Today’s Perfect Moment.  It was beautiful.

However, that is kind of bittersweet. I like snow, and it is awfully pretty.  However, after the incredible weather we had on Friday, I secretly wished I could have gotten out on my bicycle.  I had even gotten my gear together and started stretching.  I want to get in a few solo rides before I join the club.  Remember, one of my goals this year is to be a consistent B rider, rather than a lonely C. (There are fewer riders in this group and as painful as it is, I need some better pace setting.)

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When I woke up this morning, I was greeted by a winter wonderland in my backyard. It was definitely pretty, but it wasn’t something I could go out and ride in.  I suppose, if I had a fat bike…….

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bicycles, cycling, group rides, New Year's Resolutions, Newmarket Eagles, seasons, snow, training, weather, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It Strikes Me As Odd

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Way back on Thursday, just after I purchased my coffee maker, and shortly before I purchased the chicken burrito that I was planning on devouring for lunch, I came across the scene pictured above.  Just a few weeks earlier and I probably wouldn’t have seen it for the snow.

I definitely thought it worth a picture, but then it started a storm of questions and ideas in my brain. These included, but were not limited to:

  • Why were there so many?
  • Did this person just add a new one to the mix every month or so?
  • Was this person’s car so incredibly dank and stinky that they needed all of these at one time?
  • I didn’t know they still sold these things.
  • When they threw these ones out, did they replace it with another one or another dozen?
  • Why did they throw them on the ground? There are several trashcans close by.
  • What was their budget for these things?
  • Just how big an obstruction to sight were these things?
  • Was blue their favourite colour?
  • How close is the smell of these things to real “new car smell?

As you can see, the firestorm did erupt in my brain.  I wouldn’t call this Today’s Perfect Moment, but it was interesting.

What thoughts does this evoke in you?

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, cars, unbelievable | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Coffee Old School

20190328_112132If my coffee maker had died after it made my coffee yesterday morning, I could have then gone out and bought a new one (fixing the old one would be preferable, but it was beyond my skills). Since that is not the way it transpired, I had the makings of a modern dilemma on my hands.  I would have to leave the house without my morning coffee to go out and purchase the new coffee maker.

Yes, there are obvious solutions. I could “suck it up” and go and get the coffee maker and return and make my coffee.  There is a slight problem with that.  I dislike dealing with retail people normally.  Without my demeanour caffeinated…..I would rather not think about it.

I could go out and buy a cup of coffee. Yeah, that works.  The Roll Up The Rim promotion appears to be over though and I really don’t want to do anything that could be habit forming.  Besides, one cup isn’t really enough for the morning.

I went for option three. I pulled out my miniature percolator and made my morning coffee old school.

I have a bit of history with this device. My Oma (grandmother for those of you who did not grow up with German (or Dutch) speaking grandparents) always made coffee on the stove using a large glass percolator.  I always enjoyed the smell of the thing when I was at their house.  Often I thought I should buy one for myself.

 

When I lived in Japan, home coffee makers weren’t very common.  We had one in our apartment, but based on the English only labels on the controls, I knew someone had brought it from the US.  It was a legacy item for the apartment, but it died at some point in my stay.  So, when I came home for Christmas one year, I bought a percolator just like the one you see in the picture.  I don’t know if the other apartment dwellers enjoyed the aroma of coffee the way I did.  They never told me, but I like to think it got them talking about the coffee crazy Gaijin in apartment 203.

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I left that one in Japan with a student who liked to make coffee and purchased this one from the same shop (Pro Hardware) when I moved back.  I used it a few times, but mostly on days when I had a lot of time for the aroma of the percolator to fill the rooms in my place.  I put it on a high shelf in my pantry until I needed it.

The first couple of cups were not particularly good, but the second attempt was much better. Unfortunately, it requires more time than I have in the morning, so I went and bought a new drip model in the afternoon at Canadian Tire.  However, I think I will keep this one out of storage to use on the weekends when I have the time to make and drink my coffee.

The cause of Today’s Perfect Moment isn’t great, but the slightly nostalgic result feels pretty good.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, Canada, Canadian Tire, coffee, nostalgia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

And She Didn’t Order Coffee

It’s been a while since I wrote about a character from my bus ride. And I suppose it will be a little longer because this character actually comes from the coffee shop.

The back-story

My coffee maker died this morning. There was no last gasp or pungent cloud of smoke.  I ground up some of the coffee beans I brought back from Costa Rica and I loaded up the hopper with them.  I pressed the start button and walked away to send a quick email to someone.  I figured that when I came back, the coffee would be ready.

Sadly, it was not to be. No amount of rebooting (turning off and on, unplugging and plugging back in), pleading with both the coffee pot and the coffee god, or “slight taps” to the coffee maker apparatus seemed to do anything.  My coffee maker was dead.  It lasted a few years; maybe less.  I am pretty sure my previous coffee maker lasted a dozen.

With no coffee in my system the bus ride to work was a little less pleasant. I checked my pockets and saw that I had a winning “Roll Up The Rim” voucher and decided that I had better stop in before I went to work.  I had a lot to do before classes started, so I reminded myself not to dawdle.

The place was practically empty, and luckily, I did not see any of my students lounging there or doing “homework”–I put that in quotations because I often chastise my students for not doing their homework at home.

Service was slow at this once fast paced shop. Construction in the area seems to have reduced the traffic.  The place used to be full and there always  used to be a street beggar holding open the doors for people.  Since I haven’t seen one in a while, I am convinced they have all moved to more lucrative locations.

While waiting to be served, I noticed a stunning woman walk in. I could describe her by saying that she was not conventionally beautiful, but I think that is a bit of a cop out.  What I mean is, such a term is lazy and probably inaccurate.  I think many people would agree with me in declaring her beautiful, but I wouldn’t describe her as the kind of beauty that haunts the neighbourhood that I work in.  She had dark hair, somewhere between dark red and blue/black.  She had on a dark shade of lipstick that I could not recall ever seeing on someone.  Maybe it was navy or maybe it was a dark blue green shade.  She  was fashionably dressed, but not predictably so.  She wore a print skirt and a leather jacket.  It wasn’t rebellious fashion, but rather confident and personal. And importantly, for this story at least, she moved like a dancer who wasn’t dancing, but kind of was.

I stood, almost next to her, wondering if she was an actor (we are using this term for both male and female now, aren’t we?. My instincts are not great about this, but it was the only conclusion I could draw.  As she was the most interesting person I had come across in a while, I wanted to meet her.  The problem was that I couldn’t think of anything to say that wouldn’t sound like a pickup line.  If only we had been in a bookstore.

She approached the same counter I had used as I was putting on my gloves–partly to protect me from the cold weather that is still hanging around and partly to protect my had from the scalding hot coffee in the cup, which was only barely kept from spilling by a flimsy plastic lid.

She ordered a hot chocolate.

It isn’t that this is so incredible, but rather because it is relatively normal, but so against type for those that frequent the coffee shop.

I gathered up my coffee and didn’t look back. My mind lingered though.  I had the distinct impression that I had missed something.

Posted in actor, actress, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, chance meetings, coffee, dance, dancing, free stuff, taking chances, Tim Hortons, Yonge and Eglinton | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Digital Experiment

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I tried an experiment in my class on Monday, and I am a bit at a loss as to what to do with it.

You see, my students need to write better in English to progress through their levels. They are not allowed to progress on only one aspect.  They must show/make progress in the four skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking).  Generally, I feel confident that my students do make progress—except when I don’t feel that way and feelings of inadequacy and job disillusionment take over, or when students don’t make progress based on their own laziness.

Nevertheless, the one skill that seems to get the least attention is writing. It could be because teachers don’t like to assign writing because it become homework for the teacher as well as the student, or because students grumble and complain or refuse/forget to do it.  I need them to do it, and I need them to do it quicker.  I also need them to take it seriously.  They also seem to love the digital world and crave the approval of others.

So, my novel idea was to set up a blog. That way, they could use the computer (replicating their test experience) and also up the stakes a little by making it public.  I considered that they might like it more because of the use of technology.  Sometimes, they criticize me for not being so technically “with it”.  Sometimes, I am not living in the 21st Century.  Additionally, this method makes it easy for them to submit it to me without giving them my email address.  My only problem is how to highlight their errors, and exploit the learning potential.

I have edited two of them, (purposefully not catching all their mistakes/perceived mistakes/ perceived errors in creativity). Basically, I have given them a road map they can follow to fix their blogs.

I am not sure this is the best way to help them. Perhaps, I should do what I have done, but in the classroom (traditionally what I would do).  Then, I could have them correct and edit their blogs again.  I just don’t know if this makes it serious enough for them.

Here is the address:   https://anthonysclass.home.blog/

If you prefer hyperlinks, Please check it out here.

I invite you to read them and give me your thoughts on how best to help them.  If you want to encourage them, they would like your positive comments.  No need to correct their English as that is what I am getting paid to do.

I will continue to be the administrator of the blog and might get other classes involved in it. I am not sure.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, blog, blog posts, blogging, blogposts, digital, ESL, experiment, growing your blog, increasing blog traffic, starting a blog, students, teaching, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Joiners and Non Joiners (Catching Up Part two)

A long time ago, one of my neighbours, when talking about her husband and his hobby of running, explained that he joined a running club. She said that it was a little “unusual” because her husband was “not a joiner.”.

I really liked the phrase. It is so much better than “loner” or “shy” or “introverted.”  It sounds like a choice.  It sounds like a statement.  It sounds rebellious and defensive.  The best part of it is that I understand it.

I am not a joiner either. I like belonging to groups, but I seem to find myself on the periphery.  I can contribute, and sometimes, I can draw in a crowd with the power of my voice. I don’t seek out the spotlight, though, and I don’t always want to follow the group..

For four years, I have belonged to the Newmarket Eagles cycling club. I go to the group rides and I keep my eyes peeled for them riding on other days.  What I don’t do is wear the club uniform.

There are reasons for this. When I first joined the club, I had already bought a pair of bib shorts from a local cycling shop and a jersey online and didn’t want to spend more.  I had also bought a bike, pedals, shoes, a helmet, and various other things.  I wanted to control my finances, but I also wasn’t much of a joiner.

In subsequent years, I really didn’t give it much thought. I was quite fine being the rider who wore black while everyone was in red and white.  I wasn’t looking at myself anyway.  I also thought the uniform looked a bit busy.

Now, in my fifth year, my feelings have possibly changed. I got an email saying that the new kit (as the clothes are referred to by cyclists) was designed and available to order.  The club had decided to go to a made on demand supplier rather than buy a bunch of kits and spend time flogging them.  As a result, they were having a fitting of the clothes on Saturday and while it wouldn’t display the colours, it would fit the same.

So, I went to fitting. It was being held a small distance north of where I live.  It wasn’t close, but not so terribly far that I felt like it was a hassle.  Besides, It was interesting to drive the roads we often cycle and realize just how far we go on some of these rides.

It was nice to see some of the club members out and I could sense the enthusiasm for the upcoming year. It seems many people have been training on Zwift and I am likely to be behind in my training for the upcoming season.  Still, it was good to talk bikes and everything that goes with it.  They even had coffee for everyone.

The only bummer was that they didn’t have the shorts in my perceived size for the try-on. They had the next bigger size.  It certainly fit, but I had nothing to compare it to.  Maybe it was too loose, but I felt like it was okay….It is when things like this happen that I get annoyed and start to change my feelings.  Now, I am back on the fence. Do I need another jersey?  Do I want to advertise for the club and its sponsors every time I go on  a ride?

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, clothes, club, coffee, cycling, cycling gear, jersey, Newmarket Eagles, sw, zwift | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments