April 2015 Archives

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Police Academy Gas Station Turned Grill & Lounge

At the 1:05:00 mark of Police Academy, Hightower is speeding down Lake Shore in New Toronto while Mahoney teaches him to drive. He blasts by a gas station, as you'll see in the screen cap below.

police-academy2

That gas station is now Maple Leaf House, a grill & lounge. But it still looks like a gas station.

20150430_082038

And what's up with the ladies only discount on oil, lube and filter? And was it really only $4 in the early 80s?

Discuss "Police Academy Gas Station Turned Grill & Lounge" (11 comments so far)


Andrew Wiggins: 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year

The 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year is GTA native Andrew Wiggins. This is the first time a Canadian has won the award.

Wiggins averaged 16.9 points and 4.6 rebounds while playing all 82 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

andrew-wiggins

Nice start...

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New Logo for Second Cup

Second Cup was founded in Toronto in 1975, and it remains Canadian owned and operated to this day. They're re-branding, and here's their new logo:

second_cup_coffee_co_logo_detail

Here's the old logo you've likely seen around town:

SECONDCUP®:MD_4C

[via Brand New]

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Will You Cheer for the Habs?

Five years ago, I wrote this entry about Leafs fans always rooting against Montreal. In the most recent Open Mike, a new commenter named Roger suggests Canada should unite behind the Montreal Canadiens as they play in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. I find that notion nauseating.

This question is for all readers who live in the GTA. Will you be cheering for the Habs to win the Stanley Cup this year?

habssuck

Let me know in the comments. I can tell you I'll be rooting passionately for Montreal to lose four straight. What about you?

Discuss "Will You Cheer for the Habs?" (38 comments so far)


Summer is Coming

20150428_082203-1

Discuss "Summer is Coming" (10 comments so far)


Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 120: Roz Weston

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 120In this 120th episode, Mike chats with Roz Weston about his internship at The Howard Stern Show, his gig at ET Canada, his Kiss 92.5 morning show with Mocha and much, much more. Oh, and there's a Grey's Anatomy spoiler embedded within. This episode is exactly 1:02:28.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd at http://www.torontomike.com/podcast/.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

Discuss "Open Mike" (156 comments so far)


Lois Lilianstein of Sharon, Lois & Bram, Dead at 78

Lois LiliansteinLois Lilianstein was 78. She was a member of the children's musical trio Sharon, Lois & Bram, best known for "Skinnamarink".

If you were born in the 70s, you were likely raised on Sharon, Lois & Bram. They starred in The Elephant Show on CBC and seemed to pop up everywhere, from Sesame Street to Today's Special. And throughout their run, this song was omnipresent.

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Windows Ain't So Bad

Prior to four years ago, my work machine always ran Windows. At home, I usually had a desktop running Ubuntu Linux, but the laptop was Windows XP for a solid decade.

Then, I was issued a MacBookPro, and quickly learned to enjoy OS X. What I liked best about the MacBookPro wasn't the software, but the hardware. It was incredibly stable and almost never crashed.

I speak about the MacBookPro in the past tense because it was recently replaced by a Dell laptop running Windows 7. I've been working exclusively in Windows for the past 3 weeks and I must admit I prefer the Windows OS to OS X. I've just had to remember to CTRL instead of CMD.

Windows gets a bad rap, but it ain't so bad. Of course, I haven't tried Windows 8 yet... and I don't ever plan to.

What OS do you prefer on your desktop or laptop?

Discuss "Windows Ain't So Bad" (32 comments so far)


Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 119: James Mirtle

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 119In this 119th episode, Mike chats with Globe and Mail hockey reporter James Mirtle about covering the Leafs, his use of Twitter, analytics in hockey and why he doesn't ask questions at press conferences. This episode is exactly 1:04:40.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

James Mirtle and Me

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd at http://www.torontomike.com/podcast/.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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The Veggie Burger

Yesterday, I ate my first veggie burger. I picked it up from South St. Burger, a fairly new chain owned by New York Fries. New York Fries, by the way, is a misnomer, as it's a Canadian company, but that's a discussion for another entry. This entry is about veggie burgers.

I'm not a vegetarian. I have greatly reduced the amount of red meat I consume, but as recently as Sunday I enjoyed extra lean ground beef in my pasta sauce. And I love a good burger.

But the idea of a veggie burger always turned me off. It looks like a hamburger, but what the heck is it? Wikipedia tells me it's "vegetables (like corn), textured vegetable protein (like soy), legumes (beans), tofu, nuts, mushrooms, or grains or seeds, like wheat and flax". That's never really appealed to me.

But I'm here to tell you it was pretty damn good. In fact, if you had told me it was beef, I'd have believed you. I still can't believe that thing was meatless.

Fear not the veggie burger, my friends.

Discuss "The Veggie Burger" (13 comments so far)


Easier Isn't Always Better

I discovered this video by Dr. Mike Evans via Twitter. He wants us to make our day harder, and it's music to my ears. Here's the video... I'll share more of my thoughts after the jump.

I really like this video because it jives with most of what I already practice. Before going anywhere, I ask myself if I can walk or bike it. If I can, that's exactly what I do. It's non-negotiable.

I also use a push mower, manual snow shovel and stairs whenever possible. It's a decision I've made to make some things harder because easier isn't always better. All of these examples show up in the video.

I haven't gone to the extreme, I still own a car and drive it when necessary, but I've made a concerted effort to "tweak my week". Let's make our day harder.

Discuss "Easier Isn't Always Better" (8 comments so far)


Mitchell Marner: Future Leaf?

The Toronto Maple Leafs hold the fourth overall pick in this year's NHL entry draft. Will they select London Knights center #93 Mitchell Marner?

Discuss "Mitchell Marner: Future Leaf?" (23 comments so far)


CFNY FM 102's Humble Howard & Fred Patterson

Here's a 1993 1989 or 1990 ad for Humble and Fred's morning show on CFNY FM 102. In terms of branding, we're not quite Edge yet.

Thanks again to Retrontario for the upload.

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My Mid-90s Entertainment Centre

tv

And here's my mid-90s bookshelf.

bookshelf

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House League Title #4 for James (Yawn)

My son won his hockey league's house league championship this afternoon. Stop me if you've heard this one before.

He also won it all last year, and the year before. That's three titles in three years, if you're keeping track at home.

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This is James's fourth house league title overall. He won his first in 2010, the same day Sidney Crosby scored the golden goal for Canada.

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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The Toronto Mike'd Rogers Hockey Bundle

With the NHL playoffs off and running, you'll likely see a lot of the Rogers Hockey crew over the coming weeks. I've had the pleasure of sitting down with a number of these guys over the past year for episodes of my podcast, Toronto Mike'd.

For your convenience, here's the Toronto Mike'd Rogers Hockey bundle.

George "Strombo" Stroumboulopoulos

Jeff Marek

Elliotte Friedman

Damien Cox

And Ron MacLean, if you're reading this, I'd love to have you on. Contact me!

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The Raptors Need to Win a Round

The Raptors finished the regular season 49-33, easily winning the division. We're the 4th seed in the East, which means we'll face #5 Washington in the first round. For what it's worth, we swept the Wizards in the regular season, beating them three times.

It's rather important the Raptors win a round this season. We've only won one playoff series in franchise history, and that was way back in 2001. A loss in the first round this year could and should mean serious changes are in store for this rather likable squad.

The thing is, it's a tale of two Raptors teams. There's the juggernaut that burst out of the gates 37-17, then there's the Raptors team that underwhelmed down the stretch, going 12-16 since February 20. Heck, we've lost 10 of our last 11 games against opponents above .500. Not so good, Al.

Beat Washington or bust. It all starts Saturday afternoon.

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Who Wants to Help Me Digitize Some VHS?

I recorded some sporting events I thought I'd want to see again. Specifically, I've got the last Jays game at Exhibition Stadium, the 1991 MLB All Star Game, the first ever Raptors game, the final Leafs game at Maple Leafs Gardens and Gretzky's last NHL game.

Here's a pic of my actual VHS tapes.

Sporting Events I've Taped

Who can help me convert these dusty old tapes to digital?

Discuss "Who Wants to Help Me Digitize Some VHS?" (22 comments so far)


Percy Sledge, Dead at 73

Percy SledgePercy Sledge was 73. He was the soul singer best known for his classic song "When a Man Loves a Woman."

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My Losing Picks for 2015

Yesterday, our long-time annual tradition continued as we collected to draft players for our NHL playoff pool. Although my digital records only go back to 2003, we've been drafting together since the 90s.

Over so many years of participating, you'd think I'd accidentally win once or twice. Instead, I lose... every single year. I've finished second a couple of times, but I've never, ever won.

Here's the team that will lose for me this year. If you're following along at home, all that matters is points. A point is a point is a point.

  • R. Getzlaf - ANA
  • Z. Parise - MIN
  • R. Kesler - ANA
  • J. Pominville - MIN
  • J. Hudler - CGY
  • T. Vanek - MIN
  • S. Vatanen - ANA
  • C. Kunitz - PIT
  • J. Silfverberg - ANA
  • C. Fowler - ANA

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 118: Dani Stover

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 118In this 118th episode, Mike chats with Dani Stover about her years producing the Dean Blundell Show on Edge 102, why she was fired, her battle with depression and her life on the air in Peterborough. This episode is exactly 1:18:07.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd at http://www.torontomike.com/podcast/.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

Discuss "Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 118: Dani Stover" (19 comments so far)


Thankfully, It's over

What an awful, awful, awful, awful, awful 2014-15 season that was for our Leafs.

So little passion, so little skill, so little entertainment... For the first time I can remember, I stopped tuning in. It's never been this bad, this early. But there are a few positives from this horrific season.

We Fired Randy Carlyle
He wasn't a very good coach and we finally parted ways. Sure, things were worse with the replacement coach whose name I never bothered to learn (just kidding... his name is Peter Horachek and he's getting fired Monday), but Carlyle still had to go.

We Traded David Clarkson
Yes, that actually happened. We managed to trade the untradeable. That was very, very good.

We Finally Learned How To Lose Right
I was so sick of the Leafs finishing somewhere between playoffs and draft lottery. That was our specialty, finishing 9th or 10th in the conference. Finally, in a deep draft year in which we own our own first round pick, we figured out how to suck properly and will draft no worse than fifth.

Ok, there's one other positive takeaway from the 2014-15 Leafs season...

It's over.

worst-leafs-season-ever

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The Effect of Morning Show Changes at The Fan 590 and Virgin 999 on Toronto Radio Ratings

Toronto radio ratings came out yesterday, and I was interested in what effect recent changes at The Fan 590 and Virgin 999 have had. The Fan 590 recently moved Brady and Walker to 1pm and brought in long-time Edge 102 morning man Dean Blundell to host their morning show. Virgin 999 recently fired Jay "Maddog" Michaels and replaced him with someone named Tucker.

First, let's take a look at the numbers for The Fan 590. Keep in mind, Dean Blundell debuted on March 2 after a great deal of promotion.

Males, ages 25 - 54
590 Mornings

Jan 2015: 4.9
Feb 2015: 4.4
Mar 2015: 4.4

Males, ages 18 - 49
590 Mornings

Feb 2015: 4.5
Mar 2015: 4.2

Males and Females, ages 25 - 54
590 Mornings

Jan 2015: 2.6
Feb 2015: 2.4
Mar 2015: 2.3

The needle barely moved. I'm certain Rogers executives expected a much bigger bump, or at least a bump. Instead, the numbers are going in the wrong direction. And remember, Blundell is a controversial figure in this town. You've got to assume many would tune in during his first month to see how he sounds in the new format. Curiosity alone should have resulted in an increased share. The numbers will likely only go down from here.

The 4.4 share Dean Blundell got in The Fan's key demo is particularly devastating for Rogers when you consider Brady and Walker earned an 8.5 share last March.

Now, let's look at the numbers for Virgin 999. Maddog was fired on March 4, so he's responsible for February.

Females, ages 25 - 54
Virgin Mornings

Feb 2015: 6.6
Mar 2015: 4.3

All Females, all ages
Virgin Overall

Feb 2015: 6.4
Mar 2015: 3.4

That's a significant drop in their targeted female audience gone in 30 days. Ladies seem to love Maddog. It's important to note, however, that Tucker didn't start until very late March.

I reached out to Maddog, who appeared in episode 92 of my podcast, and here's what he had to say.

The listener response has been overwhelming and completely humbling. You always hope your connecting with people but I had no idea how much and how many. Between the petition, Facebook and Twitter, WOW. Blown away daily by the support. And the fact that they say they'll follow me wherever I go next? That's proof that Radio personalities are still a huge part of people's lives in Toronto. I Can't thank everyone enough... but I sure plan on trying.

What are your thoughts on these numbers for The Fan 590 and Virgin Radio's morning shows? Were the big changes worth it?

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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Happy 1st Birthday, Jarvis!

Happy 1st Birthday, Jarvis!

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Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

Last night, after watching a rather unfortunate comeback by the Sens against the Pens, I listened to Nirvana's MTV Unplugged in New York. Young Mike likely would have spun Nevermind or In Utero, but yesterday I was craving the acoustic performance taped at Sony Music Studios in New York City on November 18, 1993.

All of Nirvana's MTV Unplugged in New York is amazing, but it closes with a mind blowing cover of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night". It still blows my mind. Here it is:

"Where Did You Sleep Last Night" is an old folk song that dates back to the 1870s when it was better known as "In the Pines." We don't know who wrote it, but we know whose rendition Nirvana was interpreting. That would be Lead Belly's 1944 rendition.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 117: Retrontario

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 117In this 117th episode, Mike chats with Retrontario about retro Toronto television from TVOntario to CityTV. We share memories of old ads, jingles, psas and all the nostalgia you can stomach. This episode is exactly 1:12:09.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd at http://www.torontomike.com/podcast/.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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James Best, Dead at 88

James BestJames Best was 88. He played Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane in The Dukes of Hazzard.

I loved The Dukes of Hazzard so much as a kid my bed was adorned with The Dukes of Hazzard sheets and covers. Daisy Duke was my very first crush.

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Rhythm & Blue Jays - Hoodat Singer

I've been sharing retro Blue Jays songs on this blog for over a decade. I loved those old cheesy Jays songs from the late 80s and early 90s.

With the Jays set to start their 2015 season in just over an hour, I thought I'd share an old Jays song I've never shared before. The reason I've never shared "Rhythm & Blue Jays" by Hoodat Singer is because it's pretty awful. It might just be the worst Blue Jays song in my entire collection.

Here it is, if you dare listen.

Other Blue Jays audio from Toronto Mike:

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Exploring Canadian Gambling Laws in 2015

Online gambling represents huge business in 2015, with the remote gaming sector set to achieve a cumulative value in excess of $182 billion by the end of the year. It is even beginning to achieve greater levels of popularity in the U.S., where several states including California are striving to offer legalised gambling to their residents.

While legalised gambling is only legal in three U.S. states at present, there is at least a clear distinction with regards to where this type of gaming is permitted. The same cannot be said for Canada, however, as the gaming represents a something of a ‘legal grey area’ north of the U.S. border.

So what exactly do we mean by ‘legal grey area’? To begin with, Canadians who enjoy playing a few hands of Internet poker need not be concerned at the prospect of being investigated for pursuing their past-time. The issue of legalised gambling in Canada is both topical and ongoing, and there is certainly no risk of gamers being prosecuted for indulging in after-hours casino games or visiting sites such as Royal Vegas in Canada. There are legal considerations that these individuals will need to bear in mind, however, especially as the laws continue to change.

The main issue is that Canada has fallen behind other nations in relation to its ethos concerning gaming. While states in America are beginning to revise their laws and embrace the demand for online gaming, Canada has remained entrenched in a more traditional philosophy. Whether you consider offshore gambling sites or file sharing, Canada’s laws do not respect the progressive or inter-connected world that we live in today. More specifically, while the nation itself operates provincial laws that prohibit online gambling, the Internet knows no provincial boundaries and therefore creates an uncertain climate.

This means that Canadian gamblers are not technically doing anything wrong in relation to the law. There is no clause or specific item of text that makes visiting an offshore gambling site illegal, although authorities are beginning to understand that the existing ambiguity is enough to deter some citizens.

This has prompted Canada to consider revising its Internet gaming laws, with a view to legalising some aspects of remote gambling and monetising its revenues in the process. This has certainly been beneficial in Vegas, New Jersey and Delaware, where online gambling is well-regulated and generates huge amounts of capital for public bodies.

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TVOntario Bits and Bytes 2

Here's Billy Van keeping us up to date with personal computing back in 1991. I learned WordPerfect in high school, became incredibly proficient in the application and promptly watched Microsoft Word supplant it as the word processor of choice.

Billy Van, of course, brought us The Hilarious House of Frightenstein. He also hosted the original Bits and Bytes on TVOntario back in 1982.

This clip, like many clips I share on this site, was uploaded to YouTube by Retrontario. Early next week, I'll be meeting the man behind Retrontario as we record episode 117 of my podcast. It'll be quite the trip down memory lane.

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Rainy Day Activities in Toronto

Living in Toronto has one major drawback and that is receiving more than its fair share of rainfall. There’s nothing worse than a rainy day to dampen your spirits especially if you had an exciting outdoor activity to look forward to. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot still enjoy yourself when the clouds decide to open and leave you soaked through and wishing the rain away.

So when the rain begins to pour run yourself to the closest theatre or cinema, where in Toronto there is no shortage of. If you happen to be facing a regrettable downpour in August then why not check out the excellent line-up at the Summerworks festival. There is music, dance, exhibitions, live art shows and a whole host of special presentations and concerts. If none of the main festivals such as Summerworks or The Toronto Fringe are out of season then you can always head to the Soulpepper, Tarragon or Annex theatres to see what’s on.

If you can’t find a show or a movie to go and check out then you can always head on over to TIFF's Film Reference Library. The library is full of thousands and thousands of various movie related books, scripts and magazines to keep any avid movie lover content for hours on end. If you like your entertainment a little more visual then there’s also thousands of viewing stations where you can watch endless TV shows and movies.

For those with more of a competitive streak you may be interested in heading to just one of the increasingly popular board game café locations around the city or a local bingo hall. On the other hand you may just to sit around and play a few games with your friends at an online casino.

Whilst it may be teaming down with rain outside this doesn’t mean you cannot still enjoy a sporting activity. There are plenty of indoor sports you can participate in with both family and friends on a rainy day and Toronto has plenty to offer. You can take in a game of Badminton at the Boulevard Club or perhaps some indoor tennis at Rosedale or the North York Winter Tennis Club. There’s skating, curling, swimming and even table tennis but if you would like to get involved with more of an outdoor type sport but indoors then look no further than Beach Blast or the North Beach Volleyball centre where you can play real barefooted beach volleyball on the sands without the risk of adverse weather affecting play, which is terrific fun for all the family.

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Open Mikes Returning to Their Roots

In the beginning, the Open Mike free-for-all entries only appeared on Fridays. If anyone had something to share or ask that didn't fit in any other recent entry, they could drop it there.

There was a lot of activity in the Friday Open Mike, so it became bi-weekly, with another Open Mike appearing every Tuesday. It's been that way for years.

I'm going to return the Open Mike to its roots, returning it to its Friday-only glory. So if you have a rant in you, or a story to share, or a question for me or the hivemind, please use your reliable high speed internet and drop it in the most recent Friday Open Mike.

The Tuesday Open Mike is dead. Long live the Friday Open Mike!

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Friday Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Friday Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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Subscribing to Podcasts Using VLC Media Player

I'll bet you already have the VLC media player installed but had no idea you can use it to manage podcasts. VLC does indeed have an integrated podcast-subscribing feature.

To access this feature, open VLC, click the View menu, and select Playlist. Click the + button beside "Podcasts" under "Internet".

1

Simply paste the podcast URL into the window. For my podcast, it would be http://www.torontomike.com/torontomiked.xml.

2

You can now double-click an episode in the right pane to play it. There's not a lot of features, you'll just be able to stream episodes, but it's lightweight and handy.

3

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Mad Men's Back

I know what I'll be watching Sunday night. There are seven episodes to go.

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Cycling: March 2015 vs. March 2014

Yes, March was unseasonably cold in Toronto, but compared to February it was paradise. Here's how my cycling in March 2015 compared to March 2014.

March 2015: 492.44 km

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 8.53.47 AM

March 2014: 139.58 km

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 8.54.37 AM

In defense of March 2014, I disappeared for a week to visit Germany. But there's no doubt I'm biking further, and after a terrible February, it was nice to complete a ride while still feeling my toes.

My goal for 2015 remains a personal best 5,000 km. I'm currently at 1102.07 km with nine months to go, but the best cycling months are ahead of me.

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What's the Best Online Storage?

I have another question for the hivemind. What is the very best online storage?

I'm speaking of Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive and the like. Which do you use? Which is the best online media storage?

Discuss "What's the Best Online Storage?" (13 comments so far)


Remembering it's Just a Game

This has been an awful season for us Leafs fans. It's certainly the least amount of Maple Leaf hockey I've watched since I was a youngin, and I've been rooting for losses most of this calendar year.

But last night, I enjoyed the in-game experience through my daughter's eyes. It was her first game, and she excitedly donned her Leafs jersey and took in the spectacle. We had a blast.

20150331_185259

It helped that our Leafs played well, even scoring three goals, and our favourite goaltender James Reimer was spectacular earning the first star.

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So yeah, this season sucked, but last night I remembered it's just a game and left feeling thoroughly entertained. My daughter will never forget it, and neither will I.

20150331_220050

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