gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Taxi drivers blocking traffic

September 16, 2015 @ 00:17 By: gordon Category: Current affairs

I want to say up front that my experiences with taxis in Ottawa have generally been positive over the years. Most taxi drivers work long hours and take pride in their cars and the service they provide. But a few are going to ruin it for all of them and it’s to this minority that I’m referring to below.

So, I’ve been thinking about writing about the taxi drivers blocking traffic on the Airport Parkway because of their dispute over pickup fees with Coventry Connections and the Ottawa Airport Authority for a while now. Last week, the “protesters” attacked a taxi with a passenger, breaking the windows. Fortunately, the perpetrators (or at least some of them) have been arrested, so hopefully some of them will be held to account for their actions.

It’s completely unacceptable for this behaviour to be tolerated. I have no problems with the taxi drivers picketing in front of Coventry Connections or the business offices of the airport authority, but they have no right to block the Airport Parkway and certainly no right to cause damage and attack people as some of them have done recently. If/When they block traffic, they should be arrested and their vehicles towed.

My mom summed up the situation nicely last week in a letter to the editor in the Ottawa Citizen:

I am appalled at the violence of the protesting locked-out airport fleet taxi drivers on Tuesday. Why are they able to block a public road — the Airport Parkway at the Uplands Drive overpass — and attack the vehicle of another cab driver in such a violent manner with complete disregard for the safety of the public? Why did the police who were out there not act to stop the violence?

The citizens of Ottawa and our visitors arriving at the airport should be able to travel safely on our public roads without fear of being attacked by these people behaving like thugs. I sincerely hope that the perpetrators of this violence who were captured on video will be charged and that it happens before someone gets seriously injured.

I’m not a supporter of Uber because they’re are operating unlicensed taxis, but if some of the licensed cab drivers are going to act like asshats, perhaps it’s time to figure out how to allow Uber to operate legally in the City of Ottawa.

Last practice before the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

June 24, 2015 @ 16:23 By: gordon Category: Dragonboats, Weather

Both of the teams I’m steering for at the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival have their final practices this evening, so naturally the weather is shaping up to be a little more exciting that necessary:

TAF CYOW 241740Z 2418/2518 27010G20KT P6SM FEW060
FM241900 29012KT P6SM BKN050 TEMPO 2420/2424 P6SM -SHRA PROB30
2420/2423 21/2SM TSRA BR BKN020 OVC040CB
FM250200 31008KT P6SM FEW050
BECMG 2504/2506 VRB03KT
FM251500 33007KT P6SM SCT050 BKN120

Hopefully, the 30% chance of moderate thunderstorms will not interrupt the light rain showers (which, frankly, I could do without).

Perfect weather for dragonboating

June 19, 2015 @ 14:58 By: gordon Category: Dragonboats, Weather

Compared to this time last week, the weather this evening looks perfect for dragonboating:

TAF CYOW 191738Z 1918/2018 30008KT P6SM FEW040
BECMG 2001/2003 VRB03KT

Almost no wind or clouds in the forecast. I think this will make three practices in a row that I won’t have needed head-to-toe Goretex. :)

It’s raining, so I must have a dragonboat practice this evening

June 12, 2015 @ 16:41 By: gordon Category: Dragonboats, Weather

As you’ve probably noticed if you live in Ottawa, it has been raining all day today. That means the chances are high the I have a dragonboat practice this evening (which I do) and it looks like it’s going to be (another) wet one, at least for the first part of the practice:

TAF AMD CYOW 121851Z 1218/1318 VRB03KT 6SM -RA BR OVC030
TEMPO 1218/1220 3SM -RA BR BKN020 OVC050 PROB30 1218/1220 2SM TSRA BR BKN008 OVC015CB
FM122000 18005KT 6SM -RA BR SCT006 OVC012
TEMPO 1220/1302 2SM RA BR BKN006 OVC012
BECMG 1222/1224 06006KT
FM130300 05006KT P6SM BKN012 OVC090
FM130500 33005KT 3SM BR FEW015 PROB30 1305/1312 1/4SM FG VV001
FM131200 31010KT P6SM FEW025

Thank goodness for GoreTex™!

PRESTO not-so-autoload annoyance

June 11, 2015 @ 13:10 By: gordon Category: General

My physiotherapist moved a while back from being within walking distance to a bit farther away that has terrible parking options, so lately, I’ve been taking the bus once or twice a week. I acquired a PRESTO card a few months ago because I rarely have bus tickets and I don’t tend to have a pocket full o’ coins most days.

I checked the PRESTO website to confirm my balance and found it’s sitting at -$2. Odd, I thought, because I have an autoload set up to load $20 whenever it drops below $5. The website even said the autoload was active:

Based on that, I concluded that everything was set up properly and that the problem of my card not auto-loading was on their end. When I called the PRESTO customer service number, the person I eventually reached told me that the autoload was expired, even though the website said it was active. Apparently, I didn’t tap my card within 30 days of setting up the autoload, even though I’m reasonably certain I did. I can’t confirm this with 100% certainty because you can only pull up transactions from the last three months and this would have been sometime in November or early-December.

So, the customer service person resent the autoload confirmation so it’ll be added to my PRESTO card the next time I tap it. But, because the card has a negative balance, it won’t automatically load money to the card until after the balance is brought above $0. And loading money onto a card can take up to 24 hours, so even though I loaded money today, it’s highly unlikely that it’ll be there when I tap my card to go to my physio appointment this afternoon. Fortunately, I think I have some bus tickets in my wallet. (Hopefully they haven’t expired, too!)

There is no obvious way I could tell from the website that the autoload had expired. PRESTO/Metrolinx needs to update their website so that it clearly indicates when an autoload contract hasn’t been completed within the time limit. Other autoloading things I use let you know right away when there’s a problem and there’s no excuse for the PRESTO card website not to do the same. 

Exciting weather for dragonboating

June 10, 2015 @ 16:55 By: gordon Category: Dragonboats, Weather

We’re in for some exciting weather during the next few hours:

TAF CYOW 102040Z 1021/1118 19010G20KT 6SM -SHRA BR OVC080
TEMPO 1021/1023 VRB15G30KT 2SM TSRA BKN008 OVC030CB
FM102300 19010G20KT 6SM -SHRA BR OVC080 PROB40 1023/1024 VRB15G30KT 2SM TSRA BKN008 OVC030CB
FM110100 24010KT P6SM FEW020
BECMG 1106/1108 24010G20KT
FM111400 27015KT P6SM BKN040

And there’s a severe thunderstorm watch warning in effect as of the time of this post, and up the Valley they’ve had tornado watches
A quick peek at the radar right now shows that a bunch of rain has passed south of the city, but there’s still a couple of fairly energetic cells making their way down the Ottawa River towards us:

Naturally, I’m supposed to be on the water steering for a couple of dragonboat teams this evening, when it’s probably going to be quite windy and probably rainy. Yay Goretex™!

Happy Towel Day!

May 25, 2015 @ 07:42 By: gordon Category: General

Douglas Adams (1952-2001)

Wikipedia has this to say about towels:

A towel is a piece of absorbent fabric or paper used for drying or wiping. It draws moisture through direct contact, often using a blotting or a rubbing motion. Common household textile towels are made from cotton, rayon, bamboo, non-woven fibers, and a few other materials.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy has this to say about towels:

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value — you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-tohand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough. Read the rest of this entry →