Monday Musings of The Urban Daddy: Toronto Traffic SUCKS!


Happy Monday!

How was your weekend?  Have to drive anywhere in the City?  I did… It was not fun, and quite frustrating…

What the heck is going on in my City?

City Construction

This is the view from the stop light heading north from the downtown core.  The right lane, as you can see, is blocked.  The right lane has been blocked for a while, during the construction of this building, but the other northbound lane was closed so that stuff could be dropped off / picked up from the right lane.

It boggles my mind and makes me really angry that the City;

  1. Allows developers to take out an entire lane of traffic to help them with their construction for as long as they need to take.  The same annoyance is occurring at Bathurst Street, just south of St. Clair Avenue.
  2. Allow builders to build to the capacity where they cannot do so on their own space that they need to use City streets.
  3. With the addition of bike lanes, parking restrictions and general congestion, that this is even allowed to happen.

Yes, this rant is a real one, and comes from a resident of the City who pays taxes… Lots of taxes, and has to struggle to drive in the city because lanes are closed, construction is taking WAY too long, the Eglinton LRT is dragging along and the roads are AWFUL.

I’ve had 7 flat tires since the LRT construction has begun.

You want pot holes and shitty roads?

Forget the odd pothole that pops up here and there.  Try living around the LRT construction where your only access to the main streets are via roads which should have been torn up and paved over years ago.

In our area, for example, near Allen Road and Eglinton Avenue, the only ways out are Glen Cedar Road – which is an absolute disaster, or to the West, heading towards Oakwood, the roads are worse.

Where is the compensation coming from the developers for taking up our roads, so we can drive where we need to go?

Where is the compensation from the City for either picking terrible contractors, or for not doing their jobs and keeping our roads safe so I don’t have to keep repairing my tires from driving on these roads?  My dealership told me that if my car keeps driving on these roads for a couple more years, the car will be a write off.  The potholes, bumpy and buckling roads and vibrations from these horrid streets are shaking my car apart.

But hey, we’ve got bike lanes, one way streets, no cars on King Street and the Gardiner is falling apart.

Toronto City Council really messed this up… Big time.

Hey Council… You want to put a giant park over the railway tracks in the downtown core?  Before you do that, move the tracks, add a driving tunnel, add a subway or LRT, and then once you’ve used that space to the max, then bury it and put a park on top.  Then above the park, put a bicycle path – enclosed or covered or not – where bikes can shoot across the city and not interfere with traffic and visa versa.

It’s not rocket science…

It has to get done.

Speed it up, make it safe, and remember that there are cars who have to drive in the city.  By pretending that by adding a LRT line I’m going to stop using my car – that I pay lots of fees to the city for, if an exercise in nonsense.  I’m not going to all of a sudden pack my kids and their sports equipment and them and hop onto the subway to take them to their games and practices.

It’s not practical, and is never going to happen.

 

In other Toronto-news:

The Toronto Rock Lacrosse team is the BEST game in town that no one goes to see.  These games should be sold out!  Best game in town!  The Rock destroyed the 1st place New England Black Wolves 21-9 in front of just 9,125 fans at the Air Canada Centre.

As a LONG time season ticket holder, I’d like to see more fans venture down to the ACC to take advantage of a great event.   Coincidentally, the Rock play the Calgary Roughnecks Saturday February 3rd at 7pm at the ACC.

 

The Royal Rumble was last night.

The Grammys were last night.

The NHL All-Star game was yesterday.

 

Great time of year to be a fan.

As long as you’re not driving.

 

Oh, and we take the subway to the Rock games… Convenient, cheap and reliable.  Good thing the games are at the ACC, or we’d drive.

 

 

 

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So THIS is How Children Get Interested in Things…


I’ve been trying for what seems like forever to get my children interested in sports, but to no avail.  Even when my middle son, Stewie, went from not being able to stand on ice skates just 2 years ago, to playing houseleague hockey this year, I cannot convince him to watch hockey on TV.

Frustrating!

Plus, I LOVE watching baseball on TV, win-or-lose, Blue Jays or any other team, yet my kids would sit for a minute – declare it boring – then move on.

I did manage to get them to like / love the Toronto Rock Lacrosse team – as a season ticket holder since their inception – I always thought it was because of the in-game activities like the lights, music playing throughout the game and food, more than the fact that the Rock were the team that won the most in a City starved for sports success.

I remember when the Boston Bruins were good, just a couple of seasons ago, and my oldest son Linus declared his love for Tukka Rask and other Bruins over the hometown Maple Leafs.  I was disappointed but it was then that I realized kids what to support a winning team.  How else can you explain all those fans of the Montreal Canadiens?!?

Now that my oldest is 10, I’m noticing he is paying attention to everything baseball, and why not!  The Toronto Blue Jays staved off elimination last night with a 7-1 win over the Kansas City Royals and for the past month instead of playing hockey in the basement, we play baseball.

Winning gets the kids attention!  It is winning that get children interested in sports and other events… Other events like politics.

With the Canadian Federal election a couple of days in the past, I can tell you that my children sure as hell know more about the next Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau than I do.  They know he was “Just Not Ready” and that he walks a lot (up a down escalator in one campaign ad, and in a field in another).  They also know that he dropped out of a lot of courses in University and that he is going to spend Canada into massive debt.

They’re not impressed but they are listening to the TV and radio and they are reading articles about the PM and they are watching Trudeau and the Liberals (both Federally and Provincially here in Ontario) like hawks.

It’s also the age.

My 10-year-old and now 9-year-old know every player on the Blue Jays.  They know the scores, they know the batting averages and as a result of post-season baseball for the first time in their lives, they know about stealing signs, the pop-up slide and catchers framing pitches.

I’m excited.

They’re excited.

This is how kids get interested!  It’s part parental encouragement (which sometimes acts as a detriment) part success and part coming of age.

In the meantime, I cannot get my kids to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs – the main discussion here surrounds the proposed name change to Toronto Maple Leaves and my child’s constant joke about the 1-3-2 Leafs and how they, like the “real” leafs “fall” this time of year… Every year.

Ouch.

Go Jays Go!

#ComeTogether

Funny Things Kids Say…


My kids are nowhere near as sporty as I was growing up, and I don’t blame them.  My favourite toy was a tennis ball because I could use it with my baseball glove or my hockey stick.  When we bought new tennis balls that I could actually use for tennis… Look out!

My kids, on the other hand live in a Toronto where ball hockey playing is prohibited or frowned upon in the streets and with advent of iPhones and iPads, they can read, play, learn, etc instead of waste time outside…

So hearing my kids talk about sports makes me laugh and makes me wonder if they get teased at school by the sporty kids for their lack of knowledge of terminology.

For example;

Saturday night, Toronto’s best sports team, the Toronto Rock lacrosse team, played the 2nd game of a best of 3 semi-final at the Air Canada Centre and me and my boys went to the game!  I’ve had season’s tickets since their first season and I cannot explain enough how nice it is to have one Toronto-based team that competes night-in and night-out and that wins having won 6 National Lacrosse League Championships.

The game is fast, exciting, hard-hitting and not for the faint of heart.  If I knew about this game growing up, I would have been a great defenseman – being able to whack the daylights out of guys!  Oh the fun.

So Toronto won the game over the Rochester Night Hawks 11-8 and as a result, they tied their series and a 10-minute game was to be played right after with the winner going to the Champions Cup Finals against the Edmonton Rush.  The outcome was never in question as Toronto scored a goal a minute for the first 7 minutes, hanging on for an 8-2 victory.

Just before the game ended, my son tried to impress the girl in the row in front and wanted to tell her that the game was “sudden death”.  I guess he thought if they lost they’re done, which they would have been but sudden death in sporting terms means the next goal scored sends one team on, and the other home.

Instead, he said this;

“Wow, I hope Toronto can win this game in instant death!”

“Instant death?”

“Umm, me too” was my reply.

The girl in front of us – who turns 18 in 4 months – smiled at my son, and said, “No, I hope it doesn’t get that far because we (Toronto) are destroying them right now.”

She winked at me.

This Saturday, we are heading back down to the ACC to support the Toronto Rock in game 1  of the NLL finals.  Hopefully they will exceed their previous crowd of 10,200.  I remember the ACC being packed full for many years.  I think we owe that to the team and to owner Jamie Darwick for fielding a winning team year-over-year.

Instant death.

lol.

Randomness of my thoughts – Parenting, Life and the Grammy Awards


Grammy silueta
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve got a lot of stuff floating around my head and I started dumping it all into this post last week so that my head would not hurt so much.  As such, I was fully prepared to finish and publish this post Saturday night but it got delayed when I realized the amount of work needed to edit it for poor grammar and spelling.  Saturday became Sunday, which bumped into Monday, then Tuesday… OY.  So I’m hoping you are reading this and today is Wednesday.

So what happened you ask?

I sat down Sunday to work on this post and when I logged onto the Internet, I found the Twittersphere was abuzz with the Grammy awards.  I used to LOVE the Grammy’s because it regularly fell on my birthday, February 21st and it was the only award show that recognized talent, not just popularity.  Quality over quantity.  In addition, many of the singers actually sang during their performances, and that made the show much better than other award shows where the artists lip synched and were there to look cool, and not to be respected by the music community.  Those shows, ahem, MTV music awards, always looked like a giant scripted video where artists dress in torn jeans, get loaded and swore on stage.  The Grammy’s, on the other hand, have always had much more class… Until this year!

I still was not going to watch the show, but someone tweeted that Bruno Mars and Alicia Keys shared the same hairstyle, and that peaked my curiosity, so on went the TV and I was hooked.  To be honest, the Grammy’s and Twitter make for a great pair.  I watched, tweeted, re-tweeted and met some new cool people, and got to know some of my contacts better,  It made for a very interactive event and I got to share my love of music with others also in the know.

So back to my comment about how classy the Grammy’s are and how they failed Sunday night… The Grammy’s not only had two performances from Chris Brown, but they also gave him awards,  Two of them.  Chris Brown. 

For those of you not familiar with him, he is the former boyfriend of singer Rhianna and one night he lost his temper and beat her.  She went public with the picture of her battered and bruised face and instead of coming clean, Brown put a sour look on his face and carried on with his life.

So he thinks it’s okay to hit women.

That’s so not cool.

If I’m a woman (which I’m not) and I’m a R&B fan (which I’m not) or a human being who loves music (which I am), I would NEVER EVER buy, or download another Chris Brown song again.  But instead of ignoring him, the Grammy’s had him perform and man the Twittersphere was not amused.  What were the Grammy’s thinking???  As a matter of fact, the best R&B award had him and R. Kelly – who videotaped sex with a 15-year-old, and Kanye West is a hot-tempered, spoiled brat and a sore loser and this is the cream of the R&B crop?!?  I think this category can do better, don’t you?

But what saved this award show was Adele.  She was appreciative and she has a magnificent voice.  That and she’s not 98 pounds means she is a role model for the next generation of woman, now Lady Gaga who looked like she got caught in a fish net on the way into the award show.

LL Cool J called Sir Paul McCartney his “homie”.  LOL.

Dave Grohl, of the Foo Fighters dissed pretty much every other band by saying they recorded their Best Rock Album in their garage with a tape recorder.  I believe he also dissed the performers who were not really singing.  Classic.

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Other random stuff:

Why do guys have to non-verbally announce the impending of bodily functions in public washrooms. The grunts, groans, “Oh my g-d’s” before and “whews” after are so not cool. Entertaining but not cool.  Especially when one of my kids asks out loud why was that person grunting before they poo’d, loud enough so they can hear too.

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Everyday driving home across Eglinton Avenue in Toronto, I pass a strip mall (pun intended) which has the following businesses;
A XXX Adult video store – tinted covered windows so the perverts cannot see inside
A Ready Lube
Aromatic Sensation “Massage” parlour.

I think the Ready Lube has to go… It’s bringing down the neighbourhood. lol.  But seriously, do you need the ready lube to visit either of the locations?

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Speaking of “massages” has anyone heard the song Pornstar dancing by My Darkest Days?

Or what about I’m Alive by Anthrax? my new favourite song next to “Call my Mamma” the WWE Brodus Clay theme song.

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I’m working on a new blog post based on a comment made by TTC Chair and Toronto City councillor Karen Stintz that “Council is supreme”. Yes it is… Karen… Yes it is.

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Tuesday night the Leafs lost their 4th game in a row and the Raptors lost on a last second 3-pointer from Lin-sanity himself, David Lin – in his 6th professional ball game.  All this losing makes me thankful the Toronto Rock play this Saturday at home, and makes me REALLY look forward to next week when pitchers and catchers can report for Major League Baseball (MLB) spring training. 

On February 19th it is the voluntary report date for pitchers, catchers and injured players to report to spring training.

February 24th, full squads may report

February 29th, is the first exhibition game between the Philadelphia Philies and Florida State University.

YAY!  The truest sign that spring is on the way!

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Last random thought of the day: Have any of you seen the show Ink Master?  If so, it’s crazy, right!  If not, let me tell you a little about if from the 20 minutes I caught yesterday. 

8 people are competing to find the next best tattoo artist.  The “artists” have to tattoo their “canvas” aka human beings in the manner they want.  For example, one guy wanted a head tattoo, the other a celtic braid around his flabby bicep with the New York skyline sitting on top of the braid.

The concept seems completely fucked up and then you realize how truly messed up it is when they show the work done by these “artists” such as crooked work, poor shading,and pain.  One guy having a head tattoo done needed to be taken to the hospital by EMT.  UGH.

The way I see it the “artists” are up and coming tattoo artists and as such are prone to make mistakes – such as crooked designs or poor shading and they have to complete their art within a limited time frame, like 4 hours.  So one of the tattoo artists had to do a head tattoo in 6 hours but he didn’t finish it.  Then in the next competition, he got another head tattoo to do and the poor guy that wanted it must have seen the look of displeasure on his face but still went through with it.  Yeah, that’s what I want… Some guy doing a tattoo on my head when he a) did one that was brutal and b) doesn’t want to do another.  Yeah, stick that needle in my head, buddy.  NOT.

If the intention of this show is to dissuade kids from wanting tattoos then it worked.  Personally I cannot think of anything I would want to get tattooed permanently on my body, let alone by some amateur during a contest for TV.  Yikes.

 

Happy New Year! Goodbye 2011, Welcome 2012.


Hey look at that.  2011 is done and 2012 is here.  Time sure flies when you’re balancing a full-time career, three children, programs with the kids, blogging, Cityville, ball hockey, and most importantly but unfortunately equally as busy, a spouse.  It really seems like every minute of every day is accounted for and that makes for a very tired me.  Heck, I try to do all my blogging at night when everyone is asleep so that I don’t take up precious family time but I’ve been so exhausted being sick, having sick children and just plain tired that my blogging has suffered and I’m not just talking about lack of posts, I mean look at this terrible run on opening paragraph… My English teach with give me a hashtag fail on this one!

But I’m not complaining.  I love being a dad and wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.  What I would change is coming up in my very brief 2012 New Year’s resolutions for myself and wishes for the world. 

Before that, here are some stats for 2011 for this urban daddy.

Number of 2011 blog posts: 176.

Approximate number of Tweets: 2700

Approximate number of new visitors to this blog: 18,000

Most read blog posts:  Posts on the Canadian live-in caregiver program, the Ontario election and just about anything political which resulted in me being pro-conservative and my series on IVF.

Most commented: My post on changes to the live-in caregiver program.  I have a new post coming out soon on this exact topic.

Where did you all come from?  The majority of my views came from www.facebook.com, www.twitter.com and www.,atomicreach.com.  Of course subscriptions and just coming to my URL were far and away the most common.

Geographically, you’ve come from everywhere in the world.  That’s cool.  Also cool is the fact that some of you take the time to “like” me on Facebook and when I periodically drop by to see if you’re a blogger too, I see things that humble me (and make me think you’ve made a mistake) when you’re list of likes include; Lady Gaga, Green Day, MTV, Politics, and me.    

It’s all quite crazy, and a lot of fun.

So my 2012 New Years resolutions:

  • More quality time with my wife – including more frequent date nights!
  • Drink more water
  • Exercise regularly and not just 2-3 times per week.
  • Regular push-ups and sit-ups.
  • Update my work wardrobe… Quickly.  I have longer than normal arms and pretty big shoulders from working out periodically so as a result I have a hard time getting dress shirts that fit.  As a result, I have them custom made through www.maxwell.com and in that area, I’m doing great but I’ve got nothing else… Socks, pants, jackets… Old and boring.
  • More pictures on my blog, including a picture of me to replace Linus’ yucky kitty picture.
  • Squeeze in some courses into my already packed schedule.  Either complete me CMA or CSC… Not sure which or where or how, but soon.
  • Find greater consistency. 
  • Get the job done – even the yucky tasks and fast.
  • Change for the sake of change.
  • Get a real URL

Now for some general wishes for my city and my sports teams:

  • Toronto Maple Leafs @Leafsbb20 Either make a trade for a bona fide 1st line centre to boost scoring or trade your most expensive players and make a run for a top 5 pick and try again next year with Coach Wilson. 
  • Playoffs for the Leafs, Raptors, Jays and Argos.  We know the Toronto Rock compete night in, night out, but these other franchises are stuck in a rut it would appear to me.
  • Peace in the Middle East.  No more settlements.  No more rockets.  It’s time for all sides to grow up.
  • Syria and Russia… You;’re next.  Corruptions must go.
  • Rob Ford, you know I support you, but stop making it easy for the left to attack you.  You need to get control of your public image and do it fast.  That means lose some weight, stop drinking so much, and be clear and upfront with your intentions.  If you failed or made a misstep, it’s okay.  The right support you.  We just find it hard to defend you on that other stuff you’re not managing well enough.
  • Check out my stuff at www.pinkandbluebaby.com
  • I hope my wife completes her holistic nutritionist courses and gets her business up and running.  She’s a super smart cookie (you didn’t think the kids got that from me, right?) and has great ideas.

What are your resolutions and wishes for your family / community?

 

And for the new readers, I periodically like to (re)introduce myself to you all.

My name is Warren and I’ve been blogging here since 2004, or just over 775 blog posts.  I post about my family, politics, coffee and things that annoy or piss me off.  🙂  I’ve been married just over 10 years and my wife and I have 3 children; Linus is 7, Stewie is 5 and Berry is 2.  I refer to my oldest as Linus because he reminds me of the character from Peanuts who carries his blanket around everywhere he goes for security.  Stewie is named after the character from Family guy because we are convinced this child is going to kill us with that sweet yet intense personality.  Berry, well, she’s like a strawberry.  Cute and sweet.

My wife and I have masters degrees, so we expect a lot from our kids, especially them to behave and respect others.  In a recent post I was having a conversation with Linus about respect and he told me it was the second most important thing in the world, next to not dying when you are born.  See.  Our kids get it too…

Linus is a whiz with numbers.  Scary good with them.  He also likes to trace out items with his fingers and touch items to get a feel for them.  He’s a hands on kid who is as smart as he wants to be and as goofy as he possibly can be.  He gets the goofiness from, ahem, me.

Stewie seems to be amazing at whatever he does.  Besides being the same height his brother was at the beginning of this school year, Stewie is catching Linus at karate, swimming, piano, reading and pretty much whatever else he can get his hands on.  This kid waits for no one and the more goofy Linus is, the more amazing Stewie becomes and that’s an understatement.  Stewie, if you recall from previous posts, was ready to quit Senior kindergarten because it was “boring”.

Berry… Ahh, sweet Berry.  She looks like Linus but has a little more of Stewie in her.  At just 2-years-old her vocabulary and comprehension are through the roof.  She can count to 10 in Tagalog, Spanish, English and pretty soon Hebrew and French.  She forgets nothing and talks like she is 4.

I work in the taxation industry, so you may see some tax posts go by, although I try to keep them together on www.intaxicating.wordpress.com.  That’s my tax resource blog.

To sum me up, I hate to lose more than I like to win.  I believe in the good in everyone and I hate conflict.  I will go out of my way to make others feel comfortable to compensate for the many years I was uncomfortable, shy and reserved.  I’m not that anymore… Not at all.  When I tell me staff I used to be painfully shy they laugh at me…

I have 2 sides to me.  The public, professional side and the angry sports side.  Polar opposites.

 

So welcome 2012.  Welcome to all my readers, I hope you have a wonderful 2012 too, and if there is anything I can do for you, feel free to comment on a post, or drop me a note at realurbandaddy@gmail.com  

You can subscribe to my posts, you van like me on Facebook and support me on Circle of Moms, or Top Blogs or anywhere else my blog pops up.  It’s those clicks that tell others that you appreciate my writing and just reading my stuff and sending notes on Facebook or in person tell me you read my stuff and I truly appreciate that.

All the best in 2012.

The urban daddy!