London Ontario Canada

June 23, 2011

Stuff I Meant To Type But Didn’t and Carfree Saturday

Filed under: London — Tags: , , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 10:44 am

I got this title from another potential blog title that passed through my thoughts: Tweets I Never Twittered. I think of my best mega-favestarfest tweets when I am away from the computer, like when I am in the shower. By the time I get back to my chair the tweet is gone. The same thing goes with blog posts. I think of some brilliant topics and even write them in my head; usually when out walking. By the time I get home, like the shower tweets they are all fragmented or gone. I posted the Tweets I Never Twittered title on Twitter as a “Working blog title” tweet, so maybe it has already been published. I should Google that to see how many people thought about it before I did. Whatever, original thought is very, very rare.

Yesterday the first Tweet I read was about George Carlin. It was something about if he were alive he’d own us all on Twitter. It didn’t take a mental debate to agree with that sentiment. Yeah, he’d own. The point is my first thought was, George Carlin is dead? I praise all your respective Gods for Google. A quick glance showed he died on June 22.  That worked in my favour. I had yet to read the news (I include blogs when I say news) so how was I to know he died that morning? When I Google I am lazy. I just scan with my eyes for keywords in relation to whatever I am trying to research. In this case it was the day, not the year so I missed the 2008 bit. So,the tweet was an homage. Well played, sir. My 10 minutes of confusion was for a good cause.

Carfreefest <– Look, I added some colour. Go me!

My plans and intentions for Carfree Saturday were to go down early, help out some, then meet up with the twitter pack and hang out through the evening’s entertainment. On Twitter, the MET was giving away table space and I thought it would be cool to hang a @thatguyinlondon #freegolf sign, just to engage people in conversation. That would have worked, I think. Instead I felt I need more purpose than that so I figured the #freegolf would be what got the most attention, so I called the course and got a bunch of pamphlets, passes and trinkets. I packed up a bag and bussed my way downtown.

Let me interrupt with this. I got off the bus at Richmond and Oxford to transfer onto a bus going south on Richmond. There were two there and another pulling in as the light finally changed. I was weighted down, I couldn’t run and all three buses pulled away before I got there. I looked back up Richmond and there wasn’t another bus in sight. I still had an hour on the transfer so stuck it in the schedule sign for someone else to use and walked. That’ll teach ’em!

Back to Carfree. When I got to the MET I strolled around and started getting the idea that it was not a golf venue. It was arts and crafts, design and not sporty at all. Nothing wrong with that, bu I started getting the feeling of not fitting in. But, I said I’d be there so I hunted down a person in charge. I was shown a table at the front by the door, not far from a band performing. An electric band. It was around 1pm and they were finishing up around 3, so I went off to offer my services to the festival saying I would return.

There were two duties offered to me. One was manning the information booth, the other was to go to a side street location and keep an eye out for trouble. There was something about liability and spotters were required. That sounded helpful so I asked for more detail. There wasn’t any. I asked what would I do if there were trouble and was told to let her know. How. I asked. run a few blocks and tell you? Yes, was the reply. I opted out of that one. I didn’t want to be a mannequin for the sake of satisfying an insurance company. Besides, if there were trouble, there are plenty enough cell phones the proper services would be notified long before I schlepped 3 blocks to say call 911. I took the Information Booth gig.

This too was right beside a band. At first the band played classical and all was good. Then a solo acoustic guitar player/singer. That was good too. Then it got electrical. Though the bands were excellent and I enjoyed watching them, they made the giving of any information impossible.  That duty became more of making sure the programs and pamphlets didn’t blow off the table. Someone had tapped them down, but there must have only been the slightest breeze so they did so lightly.

The loud music didn’t start until about 4:30 (I had completely forgotten about the MET and #freegolf) and I spent my time standing and foisting programs upon people. Most shied from my offering until I said “free program”. When I first walked by the booth I just glanced down to see what it was about. There were no indications it was an Information Booth or that the stacks of weighted down papers were programs. I swear, my first glance made me think of those gas providers that go door to door selling service plans. I think it was the colour of blue mostly, but also the sense of shadiness by not being obvious of purpose.

I met a few Twitterers. That was really exciting and welcome. I must say though, that few looked liked there pictures. But to be fair, Twitter avatar pictures are quite tiny and my eyes aren’t what they used to be. I met one Twitter that I had wanted to meet for a long time. He was one of my first”local stranger”  follows. The bummer part of that was I barely remember. I didn’t even know I had met him until he tweeted that it was nice to meet me there. You can imagine how embarrassing that was. I didn’t admit it. I covered and said it was nice to meet him too. It was. I do recall the meet in a hazy fashion. We were both on our way somewhere with purpose, so it was very brief. In hindsight though, I wish I knew it was him I was meeting when I did. I would have changed my priorities and spoke more.

Around 4:00 I was joined in the booth by Gina Barber. We talked local and provincial government until the bands began to play. It was a great pleasure meeting her and talking with her.  I think if not muted by the band, we could have talked all shift. I would have liked that.

Sometime around six, after Gina had left, a couple came to relieve me of my duties. I schlepped my 50 lbs of golf literature back to the MET to find it was closed. Ooops. I hope they weren’t counting on me. Not that I can see why they would. But I did say I would be back and I was disappointed in myself for possibly disappointing someone else. I took my poundage back to the booth to stash it under the table. Armed with my camera I wandered about. I saw the water park for the first time in ages and thought it a great scene. It was a hot day, and though late, much fun was being had by a good number of people.

I eventually went back to the booth and the couple left early. They were not so keen on sitting in a booth that served little to no purpose. I stayed there until 8 or so. I liked it there because even though I wasn’t serving a purpose, I had the sense of purpose. I had a perceived reason to sit there, as opposed to wandering around aimlessly. The closure of the booth was when my day/night started to fall apart. I had intended to give away the bulk of the weight I was carrying. That never happened so whatever I was going to do I had to do with about 50lbs of weight digging into my shoulder and amplifying the force of gravity. It made me think Roy McDonald must be a very strong man.

My new intention was to pass time until 9 and go see Fusion Forge (?) in front of the Bell Building. My wandering led me to Snoop Dogg’s encampment. I was surprised by the level of security. Everyone was being physically searched. Quite thoroughly, too. The whole stage area was blacked out by fence so those without a ticket could not steal a glance. It was only a 7 or 8 foot fence, so standing on a curb and tip[ toes afforded a peak. I shot some pictures with my camera held high. I would have snapped quite a few good ones had it not been for the cursed setting sun. Of about 50 shots taken, maybe three really turned out. None of Snoop. All this lasted maybe 20 minutes. I walked up to Vic Park to see the Kid’s Expo. It was wonderfully quiet and cuss free, compared to Snoop up the street. There was a woman singing onstage with a cute little girl, maybe 5 years old, dancing about. I watched for a while and wandered on.

It was now about quarter to 9. I had yet to hook up with anyone. I was tired from carrying the weight and standing at the far northwest corner of Vic Park. To the south, a  goodly number of blocks, was the Bell Building and the musical blacksmiths I was interested in hearing. To the north, quite a few more blocks was home. I rationalized that by adding the walk back south and north again to where I stood then home, was likely farther than just walking home from there. Being without cash or bus ticket I knew I was walking. So that’s what I did. I schlepped that weight on my tired frame to Adelaide and Huron. For the rest of the night I tried to talk myself into going back after lightening my load. The tweets I read made me feel I was missing out on a lot of fun but my energy level, or inspiration level was too low to get me up and out. Regret is too strong a word for this occasion, but I do ponder that I made the wrong choice. It seemed a day full of them beginning  with thinking I needed more than just me to justify standing in the MET. Just me would have been a better fit without the golf trappings. Just me could have talked about Twitter, social media and golf just by using the #freegolf hashtag. Lesson learned. Next event I will go unencumbered with gear or preconceived plans. I’ll just go, and go with the flow.

Blogs in gerneral:

I read a lot of blogs. Most inspire a lot of thought. That is a good thing. What I find most blogs lack is a “READ” button. That read in he past tense as in I have read this blog. As far as I can tell, on most blogs, the only way to acknowledge reading it is to leave a comment. Sometimes I am not ready to comment or have nothing to say. Still, I want to let the blogger know they have been read and their efforts are not futile. All I am suggesting is a wee counter button, clickable by all, whether registered or not. This blog doesn’t have one. It has a STATS page with counters, but that counts bots as well. So if you do read this and other blogs, take the time to type at least: Thanks for sharing.

My last blog post was a train wreck of an idea. Well, not the idea itself but the presentation. I tried to be cute and creative. I guess I better stick to plain and simple. I’ll repost that concept in a separate blog later and hopefully do so without garnering emails that say simply, “Huh?”.

I have yet to read my emails or Tweets so have no idea what today holds for me. Now seems like a good time to do that. Cheers.

June 18, 2011

The Perils of Not Getting Out Much

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 10:01 am

I don’t get out much. I am not a total recluse, but my sallies forth are limited to walks, the dog park, Timmies, Price Choppers and the occasional errand elsewhere. And golf. Let’s not forget that! I used to get out all the time. There were periods in my life where out was where I spent most of my time. Being in (home) was only for sleep, changing and parties. Oh yes, thatguy was once a partier. Every bartender knew me on sight and it wasn’t a bad thing. Those were the good old days. Or were they? I spent money as fast as I got it. That is pretty much the same now, only then it was booze, dining,booze and parties and booze, now it’s rent, food and Rogers.

I smoke. Yeah, I know it is the worst but it is also the deepest rooted of all addictions. So when smoking in bars was banned I pretty much quit going to bars. Eventually I pretty much gave up drinking. (if you are buying I’ll rarely turn one down, but a lot of food can be bought for the price of a beer) Bars, drinking and smoking were the biggest part of going out.  And dating. I gave that up long ago too. As far as dating and the whole spousal unit thing goes, I just can’t play the game. I don’t get the rules and trouble usually ensues. Best to leave that stuff up to those who can handle it. I bowed out of that game years ago with only a few regrets.

This weekend requires me to be out all day Saturday and again all day Sunday. I am so totally unprepared. My son lost my messenger bag, so I have nothing to carry my stuff in. And of course today I need to carry lots of stuff. The best I have is a cloth shopping bag. It will be clumsy and oh so not fashionable. I have absolutely nothing to take as a lunch except bread and butter, with empty pockets and no cash until Monday. No bus ticket either, but I would have walked anyways, I am sure. This sin’t so bad for Sunday. That day I will be acting as Marshall (no 10 gallon hat or six shooter, so I hear. Damn!) at River Valley Golf Course, up near St. Marys. I can mooch grub and water from the clubhouse and pay them when they pay me. Saturday (today) I will be downtown all day and into the night. Or so goes the plan. It is a good opportunity to be out. I don’t want to miss it. This is where I wonder about food and water. Oh, I’ll manage. John downstairs at the variety store will front me, but I hate asking.

Getting out. That’s the hardest part. Look, it is 9:28am and I have yet to shower. I do not have a mobile device, so tearing myself away from the computer is harder than for most. The hardest part of getting out is knowing I will be away from all my comfort zones. I’ll be out there. Out there where anything can happen. I have ventured out a few times recently. I survived and so did those I encountered, as far as I know. I had fun too so I don’t know why the procrastination persists. Must be that comfort zone thingy.

I have pledged to help at the Carfreefest downtown today. It goes all weekend, but today is the day I’ll go. Not sure what helping I’ll be assigned. I’ll push for clean-up since that is what most dislike the most and it doesn’t matter to me. I saw on Twitter where the MET was giving away free tables space (that must piss off those who paid). Years back I would have jumped on that, as I was always selling something, but when I read it I couldn’t think of a thing to do at a table. My first thought was to sit with a sign saying “ready for hire” or some such job seeking slogan. I quickly put that aside; the MET probably wouldn’t have gone for it. I got to thinking of how I cannot manage to give free golf away on Twitter so I wrote to the Met saying I could engage people at a table talking about golf, specifically the Twitter #freegolf hashtag I have been tossing around. But really, is that much of a table? Then came the final product idea. I called the course and asked for brochures, scorecards, discount coupons, green fee fact sheets and whatever other promo hand-outs they had.  They delivered and even threw in a shirt.  Now I have stuff to put on my table. Professional looking stuff. 🙂  My intention is to make a sign saying:

@thatguyinlondon

#freegolf

and just going from there. #freegolf didn’t work on Twitter. It went mostly ignored which surprised me. I am told it is because people are suspicious of “free”. I switched “free golf” to “$20 golf lessons” but that still didn’t get any attention. Some say because I do not charge piles of money, “customers” don’t put a high value on my expertise. And rightly so. I am not an expert but figure I can certainly give $20 worth of golf instruction. The whole “free golf” thing is two-fold. The main reason is so I can get to the course. You drive, you golf free. Simple as that. The offshoot advantage is I am trying to find people who never golfed at River Valley before so I can introduce them to the course, and hopefully they’ll return….often., making a win situation for the course. Having the owners know it was because of me they got new golfers cannot hurt my image, either. How can I give free golf when I am dirt poor? I help the course with online stuff like Facebook and Twitter. In exchange I can golf for free. Since I don’t have a car, I get another free round for my driver. If they come out under the auspices of golf lessons and want to pay me, that’s fine too, but I do offer a money back guarantee. 🙂

Yeah, so like I was saying. I am getting out today. First some strolling. I’ll check in  at the Met. Do some work then sit at a table and talk golf for a few hours (at least). I was told my spot was right by the door so I can act as a greeter too. Maybe with that on my resume Walmart will be interested in me. For the evening I hope to have hooked up with a group and catch some of the entertainment. It looks like a full day and I am sure I should be getting ready for it, not sitting here typing about it.

I hope to see you….out there.

May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Laden Is Dead…or Hanging Out With Elvis

Filed under: World — Tags: , , , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 12:14 am

The President of the United States was to make a statement tonight about the death of Bin Laden. Instead, he came out and said, “Well, you’ve seen the news and Twitters….so…uhm…goodnight.” Okay, so it didn’t go like that but CNN kicked the shit out of the strength of his speech. All he seemed to do was repeat the news.

That aside, I guess I am okay with him being dead. It sounds like it beats the alternative. At first I was confused. Was Osama coming out to announce something about Obama, or the other way around. Blitzer started hinting about it, but kept saying he didn’t want to burst the President’s bubble. But I guess Obama took too long making sure his notes were in order or whatever and CNN started giving bigger hints and then just came out and said it. After that the damn was open. Blitzer said “Obama is dead” so many times I was sure he was looking for the big soundbite, just in case he was the first to say it.

I found the clips with all the cheering and national anthem singing a bit odd. They have been “hunting” this guy for over 10 years. I am thinking the response would have been more akin to a national sigh of relief. What I liked best was that there was no mention of Canadian troops. It would have been good press if they had a hand in it, but I didn’t want anything said that our current government might take credit for the day before an election. Before I knew what the Breaking News Regarding National Security was, I had visions of Obama and Harper having sweetheart deals, so Obama was going to say, “buy our jet’s or else!” Not that I am ruling that out.

To sum up. Too much drama for an “its about time” event. Glad it didn’t have anything to do with moods at the polls. Osama’s “cave in Afghanistan was really a mansion in Pakistan. Nice digs until that getting killed bit.

Some time later….

Canada receives news of Bin Laden’s death with “sober satisfaction”: Harper, speaking in BC. (a twitter feed). That about says it. It fell upon Harper as present “leader” of Canada to say it. He didn’t get political. ‘nough said.

On another note, the jokes are Twittering around (#thatguyinlondon), The best so far was that Trump will be screaming for the death certificate. Or is it a joke? Someone was about to start a Bin Laden/Elvis thing, but got lost and didn’t get around to it. Oh, wait…that was me. Bin Laden and Elvis, talk among yourselves.

@strombo G. Stroumboulopoulos–   “It was a house with high value, with no Internet, phone, incredible security, and regular courier service. Plus they burned their garbage.” (all except that one iPhone. Oops. How do you feel about tracking now?)

@Cornies Larry Cornies  by fowgre —“Some guy is gonna return from vacation Tuesday to find the royals married, bin Laden dead and Layton prime minister.”

@phronk Mike–“Did you know that Hitler, Biggie and Tupac also died on May 1st?!#fakefactspeoplewillretweetwithoutchecking

How did they find Bin Laden? They looked on Google Maps and saw he was marked with a “B”.

April 30, 2011

Vote Mob Election 2011 – London, Ontario

April 30, 2011 London, Ontario Vote Mob

My dog and I walked down to Victoria Park today to witness the London version of The Vote Mob. Did you see me? I was the guy with the dog who wouldn’t stop barking. He barked whenever the crowd applauded. He barked at other dogs, squirrels, stroller (or anything with wheels) and I am sure he also barked at his shadow and for no reason at all. He did growl at one guy. I suspect he was a Conservative.

I was talking to someone and didn’t really see or hear one speaker. I asked my friend who it was and he told me it was Joe Fontana. Ooops. In my defence I was not very close. Is he really short? Or was I THAT far back. Not that I care if he is short, just asking. mY friend also said he saw Pearson and a couple other Liberals, but none were flying their colours or campaigning. Only the Green Party seemed to be visible, but they kept way back with a table far from the crowd.

There were purple people there and even an old guy. The purple guy told me they said fly your Western colours.  And so he did. Who is The Purple Guy? There was even a guy with a bent nose walking around saying, “fogetaboutit” over and over. I think he was confused by the term “vote mob”. There was lots of red, but it was Canadian red not Liberal red. I was worried about that when the organizers suggested wearing red, but it worked. The turnout was of all ages, but us old folks were well out numbered. If even half the people who showed up actually go and vote I think this event can be called a success.

Rick Mercer spoke for a long time then gave what seemed to be a lesson in photo-ops. He had the crowd do the wave and set up the “Surprise! We’re voting” clip I expect to see with the evening news, looking like it wasn’t staged.  No problem with that. I guess that is how TV works. I was too far away for Rick to see me, but I said hi just the same. Somewhere in the cosmic make up of life he’ll get the greeting.

One thing I noticed was there were only three London Police there for a crowd of (reportedly) 1,000 people. 10 days ago in the same park there were 25 police for a crowd of about 200 people for the 420 Celebration. I guess students aren’t as risky as anti-prohibitionists.

For more Vote Mob photos CLICK HERE


Mayor Joe. I don’t know. He seemed out of his element. Still, he got them cheering and that inspires them and all is good.

Okay, here is another video which I stopped watching at 1:33 so I could post it. I am endorsing this as the “best video ever”, then going back to watch the other half. More than once, for sure.  Got more videos? Send them in and I’ll post them.

This is one from London Fuse, including an interview with Rick Mercer.

As a matter of perspective and contrast or whatever the right words are, but mostly  because I can, here is a shot from Victoria Park (close enough to the same angle as the purple guy) of April 20th 2010, 420.

Click to enlarge

(okay, there wasn’t a confused mobster walking around)

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