Walking along the lower Don river

These days, I stay in all day, often days in a row without even opening my front door. I only come out for the Japanese classes in the JCCC where I am volunteering, and to buy some food when I have nothing left. But from time to time, I go stir-crazy, and feel like a walk. Yesterday, I decided to go for a walk along the lower Don river, one of my favourite walks. There are very few high buildings along the way, and therefore, the GPS is pretty reliable.
Although I thought abut it, I didn't stop at Todmorden Mills this time. I decided to concentrate more on the river, just in case I would see the salmon run. I did, but unfortunately, there was no running. All the salmon I saw were dead.
The Don river is obviously a difficult river to conquer for fish that hope to spawn, but it is nevertheless fascinating to see these majestic fish in this urban environment. Posted by Picasa

Chipmunk in the Don river valley

I saw this chipmunk running over the trail along the river (which is paved in asphalt, by the way). These creatures are so fast and agile, that I was convinced I would not see it anymore. But there it was, just sitting on this tree.
I think it is just unbelievable that wildlife like this can be found in the centre of Canada's largest urban development, at walking distance from Bay Street, the economic centre of the country. Posted by Picasa

Chipmunk in the Don river valley

The quality of this picture is not as good as I had hoped. The reason is that I had to change the camera sensitivity to 400 ISO, making the picture more grainy. Nevertheless, I was very happy to be able to make this close-up of a chipmunk. It shows that even a casual photographer can spot and take pictures of these extremely agile animals, without all the gear and time professional photographers usually need. This picture is a good example of what I am trying to show: things anyone can see, things that are more or less common, and therefore never make it into the tourist brochures and books that typically only show unattainable dreams. Posted by Picasa

Dead salmon

It seems that the fall Toronto salmon run has started. This is a dead salmon in the Don river. I saw several of them today (October 1st, 2005), and I also saw several of them last week (September 24th, 2005). Unfortunately, so far, I have only seen dead ones. I hope to be able to see a few jumping ones as well. The pictures probably won't be as sharp, but it would be a pleasure to see the spectacle.

Unforunately, not all of the little dams on the river have been prepared for the salmon, so their chances of spawning successfully are not too good. Nevertheless, it is fascinating to see that the Don river, probably the most urbanized river in Canada, still sees salmon going upstream to spawn. Posted by Picasa

Raccoon in the Don River

This raccoon was looking for food in the Don river. Maybe it hoped to find a dead or dying salmon. It was slowly getting darker at the time (18:49) but it was definitely still a lot lighter than when I took pictures of the raccoons closer to the downtown core. It seems that they adapt to the circumstances. They need, or feel that they need the protection of darkness in the core, but not as much in places where there are less humans around. Posted by Picasa

Reliable high tech?

LG likes to portray itself as a leader in electronics. That may very well be, but I was really amused when I saw this gigantic advertisement on Toronto's Dundas Square.

It is no secret that Toronto can be quite hot in summer. However, this picture was taken on September 22nd, 2005. I have never heard of a temperature of 57C on that day. Actually, according to the Weather Network, the maximum temperature that day was 25.4C. 16.7C was the minimum temperature. So, just in case you were wondering, this wasn't a Fahrenheit temperature either.

I wonder how reliable a company's electronics are, if it doesn't even manage to get its advertisements right? Caveat emptor! (Let the buyer beware). Posted by Picasa

Trousse pour sains personnels?

As you know, I am a programmer.
Not one of those "highly skilled, highly educated specialist professional and ultra arrogant expertologists" of the current generation that don't even know the difference between a bit and a byte, but an old fashioned programmer of the first pre-IBM desktop microcomputer generation. We had no career planning, no where-I-want-to-be-in-five-years goals, no SUV-and-high-maintenance-bitch dreams, and we used no unintelligible lingo. In other words, we couldn't care less about our "professional image'. We did however have a simple goal: to use computers to their fullest, and to make sure they were reliable.

Our type of zeal does not only apply to computers, but it applies to any field of human endeavour. Language, for example. A while ago, when shopping in the Dominion on Toronto's Gould Street, I couldn't help but notice this fascinating "Trousse pour sains personnels".

No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. The rotating light of a police car might distract a driver and make him cause an accident. A lonely mosquito in an operating theatre may cause the surgeon to forget his scalpel while closing up his patient. A screaming boss might cause the programmer to forget a minus sign and hence send the rocket into deep space instead of to the moon. But, what could possibly cause people with even the most mediocre of skills to let this type of thing slip by?

I truly wonder what type of language/printing/advertising/... "professionals" one needs to come up with this type of phrase. They must be true geniuses. Posted by Picasa