Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Jazz Fest July 4

In my mid to late teens I attended the Montreal International Jazz Festival on numerous occasions with my group of friends. Since then I attended perhaps only once or twice.

I went last night, just on my own, and I really enjoyed two of three shows I saw, all free which is the great thing about this festival.

First show I saw was Laila Baili with her double-bass and drummer accompany.


She has a delightful voice, great piano playing and stage presence and excellent rhythm section. From where I was standing there were moments when it seemed like she was looking directly at me when she would look out to the audience; that was neat.

Next was Melissa Laveaux:


She has a sultry voice, fantastic clear riffs, a rock-jazz-fusion with some songs with tempo changes and some songs fully in an odd time signature like 5/4 or what I think might have been 7/4.

I really enjoyed both of the above shows; here is a photo from the second one, looking back from where I was at the front.


The last show I attended was Lee Fields.




Motown sounding, trumpet, sax, keyboards, drums, bass guitar and electric guitar mostly as rhythm, charismatic singer with frequent audience interaction. Some good songs, but not really to my taste.

I quite enjoyed going, so I'll try going again this week.

Monday, July 04, 2022

image

I decided a few weeks ago to go to Toronto over the Canada Day weekend to catch some Blue Jays games. The Tampa Bay Rays would be in town for a Friday game, two games on Saturday and a final game on Sunday.

My original thought was to spend Friday and Saturday night to be able to attend perhaps all four games. Then I started to look at accommodations and found that they were too expensive for me. Irrespective of location (close to stadium or far on a subway line) or be it hotel or AirBNB I did not find it reasonable to spend ~500$ per night.

So I reduced my plan to catch the two games on Saturday, figuring I could take the train there in the morning and take the train home. The problem with taking the train is that the earliest train to Toronto arrives at 12h03 and the first game starts at 12h07, so that isn't ideal for getting to see the start of the game, but would have been acceptable had the departing train from Toronto not have left so early. To get home, the last train leaves at 17h02 which is over an hour earlier than the second game start time of 18h07.

I did not give up - turns out I rode on this:


It was ~70$ each way and conveniently for the purposes of attending the two games they have a night bus that goes in each direction. So I boarded the bus which left very early Saturday morning at 12h30 and got in to Toronto at around 6h30. To return home I boarded the bus which left very early Sunday morning which got me back at around 6h30. Doing this completely removed the need for any accommodations.

While I was in Toronto an extra travel option I hadn't considered was to fly Porter Airlines which flies directly into an airport on an island just outside of the city. Situated where it is this airport would be very convenient to get to the stadium. I just checked now and there is a flight in on a Saturday morning that is well timed (8h45 -> 10h04). However, their last flight back is too early. So perhaps to do this again I'd have taken Porter to get to TO and Megabus to get home.

With the bus arriving at about 6h30 and the first game starting at 12h07 I had plenty of time to kill. One plan I had was to play my Resources mobile device game to build some distant mines and to attack some mines other have built. I had pre-researched a spot to have breakfast and on the way there visited Jack.

While I was walking around I happed to see this:

And this:

I wondered if there was anything in Toronto, or, perhaps in all of Canada, that has been photographed more than this tower.

Eventually I made my way back to the stadium to find there were crazy long queues to get in. This did not make sense to me as the first pitch was scheduled to be thrown at 12h07 and doors would open at 10h so why would so many people queue up more than an hour before the game?

I worked my way through the crowd to get to my suggested entry gate (5) and queue jumped a little by finding a not dense of people spot in the crowd, perhaps 80 people from the front of the queue. A few people nearby grumbled a little and others were commenting about more egregious queue jumpers. I figured I was a single person and so it wasn't like I queue jumped with my family of 5. Later on I found out that the reason for queuing was because this was a Bobblehead day where a Vlad & Dad was given out to the first 15k attendees. I did not end up taking one.

This was my seat's view for the first game well before the game would start:

To my right were seated two Quebecois who I found out live in Repentigny which is just east of the island of Montreal and so we live not too distant from each other. Later on, but before the game started a second solo attendee sat down to the right of these two Quebecois and he (the other solo) was far more gregarious and talkative. Given this they were more engaged with him.

Before the game started the two Quebecois went to get food and I saw them come back with a nice looking burger, so I asked if they could keep an eye on my bag and went to get one. The burger with a coke and with a tip came out to ~25$. Crazy stadium prices.

And then the game started. At around the second inning the pitcher got struck by the ball in his shin area after a Rays player got a hit and hit the ball directly at the pitcher. He had to be pulled from the game as the injury had been sufficiently severe. There wasn't anything else really exceptional about this game.

At the end of the game they announced there had been 39,426 people attending the game. We had to exit the stadium as the second game was a differently ticketed event, and while exiting, announcements after the game were letting people know to not linger so that the clean up crew could attend to the stadium before the subsequent game.

As I had nothing better to do or any place to go I exited the stadium at the gate (11) that would be my entrance gate for game 2. Standing there also waiting were just a few other people who, like me, had nothing better to do. I started talking with this guy who I found out lives about 15 minutes away and attends many games. He was the one who explained to me that the reason for the long queue ahead of the first game was for the Bobbleheads (he had one).

This was my seat's view for the second game well before the game would start:


Unlike the Olympic stadium in Montreal, the Roger's Centre in TO has an operational open and closing roof.

When I got into the stadium for the second game the left semi-hemi-spherical roof shape (the left part in the photo above) had been fully extended to it's roof position and about half an hour before the game it started to move to the right where it would nest in with the other sections of the roof where the top one is a fixed semi-hemi-sphere shape. The photo was taken a few minutes after it had started moving.

To my left at this game were a threesome of elderlies who kept to themselves, to my right, a dad and his daughter, from New Brunswick, the dad sitting next to me. I spoke with him a little bit ahead of and during the game. Ahead of any of these people arriving I bought a poutine, a Coke and a water bottle, the latter to accompany me on the way home, all costing ~26$. Outrageous stadium prices. Fortunately I finished the poutine ahead of anyone else arriving so I wasn't encumbered with food when they arrived.

There's not a lot to note here about the game except that the starting pitcher allowed 12 hits in 4 innings of play. It wasn't a very effective day for Toronto pitching.

The game ended at 20h50 (24,180 attendance) so I had more than three hours to kill before my return bus home. I stayed in my seat for a while so I wouldn't have to deal with moving through thousands of people on my way out. Then I walked around the city a bit, doing some more Resources game stuff and made my way back to the bus terminal where I arrived with about 2 hours left. 

Queued up for the bus, got on, and this time was able to sleep for a fair portion of the ride.

A few thoughts after this experience. Having the first sleepless night due to taking that night bus made the day a little bit difficult, so if I was to do this on a future trip I'd either bite the bullet and spend on accommodations for one night, or now that I have researched it, take Porter Airlines into the city (at a cost of double what the bus was). I'd be okay taking the night bus home so long as the day I get home I have nothing else planned so can sleep when I get home.

If I was to go again I'd bring a pencil and a scoring chart. I bought a program during the queueing of the first game and in the center of it was a score chart which reminded me that this is something that can be done. I'd need to brush up on how the scoring works, but definitely this is something I'd like to do.

For sunshine avoidance it seemed to work out mostly well for the seat positions I picked; along first base line for early game and along third base line for late game. At all times the sun was mostly behind me and so I had to worry most about sunscreening the back of my neck and my ears. For the second game the sun very soon after the game started progressed low enough that the upper part of the stadium blocked it out, so I was in shade there for almost the whole game. What I might consider doing differently in the future is to buy a seat in a further row on the first base line for the early game as the back few rows are shaded by the stadium seating which is above it. This would be a less expensive ticket and so for the late game I could buy a more expensive ticket to sit closer.

A final thought was how helpful the CN Tower was for locating where I was wandering. I do not know the street names in this city or where they are located, but as seen from the photos above, the tower is adjacent to the stadium and so wherever I was, if I could spot the tower, I knew what direction I needed to head.

Sunday, July 03, 2022

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 So my concern of higher blood pressure as indicated in this post were perhaps overrated. Two weeks ago my blood pressure measured 142/88. Here was my most recent reading:


They were short staffed that evening for nurses, so there were some interruptions in getting me hooked up at appropriate times during the hook-up procedure. Sitting and donating directly across from me was a woman who started after me and her donation ended before mine. This speaks to rate of flow our heart pumps out as well as the 'bandwidth' of our veins to allow the flow through. There is a visible guide on the machine that is doing the work of extracting the plasma that shows what the flow rate is in three basic settings, low, normal and good. My flow is always in the normal range but this lady's flow was in the good range meaning her blood flows faster and her donation time is reduced.

This lady was very gregarious and so I found out that she also donates every two weeks on Thursday evenings (the same schedule I have) so likely I will be seeing her again.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

two times two is parenthetical too

When a Blue Jay is calling, just outside the windows of my apartment, it is a very distinct sound that, if I was a nematode, I probably wouldn't notice or care too much about it.

When a nematode is just outside of my apartment, in the ground doing what nematodes do, I would highly doubt it would be aware of the muons that occasionally pass through it at high speed.

We as people certainly don't notice.

I won't question what the muon is able to recognize from its source somewhere many light years away to its final destination embedded in the rocky crust of our planet.

Blue Jays have an average length of about 25cm and mass of 80g.

Nematodes are typically about 50 µm thick, and 1.5 mm long

Muons have a mass about 207 times that of an electron 

Monday, June 20, 2022

what else can be said about the limit

In this post I mentioned I'd call again, and I did. This time I did not reach a person directly and was compelled to leave a message, which I did.

No indication as to how soon I would get a call back, but hopefully it won't be long.

I'm leaving soon to attend a Montreal Alliance game; this will be the second time I attend a game this season.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

twice now, the tooth fairy

Today I begin a trip around the sun that will end with me having earned half a century of existence.

Whoop-de-doo.

I've never been a fan of celebrating those even tens of numbers of ages as measured in years. It is all so arbitrary. It is equally meaningful or meaningless to say I turned 17897 days old today.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

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As the pandemic started, Hema-Quebec ceased measuring blood pressure at each donation. Yesterday when I went, they started again though the nurse indicated that the results would not block the donation irrespective of the values.

My systolic is significantly higher as compared to my last reading back in January of 2020 where I had 127/81. My diastolic has also risen. I dread to go on blood pressure reducing medication, so I will now need to do some research to see what I can do that would lower it. Undoubtedly it will be diet and exercise.

A very quick preliminary search gave me this article which summarized, lists these items:

1. Lose weight - I am already at a good weight
2. Exercise regularly; coincidently I had just started a daily exercise plan a few days ago
3. Eat healthy - this is where I need the most work
4. Reduce sodium - this is something I've never focused on, I'll pay more attention
5. Limit alcohol - I mostly don't drink alcohol any longer after I've accepted that it is poison
6. Quit smoking - I don't smoke
7. Cut back on caffeine - I don't drink coffee but I drink too much Coca-Cola, I will try to decrease this
8. Reduce stress - I do not get particularly stressed

So; stop ordering food from Dominoes, decrease the Coca-Cola I drink, pay attention to salt, and keep exercising.

Hopefully Hema-Quebec will continue to measure blood pressure at each of my donations so I can keep track if any of my change of behaviour has any effect.

 At 17889 days old today I'd like to see about doing my best to have very good days past my 27889th day.

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Sinewy blank

It is unfortunate that the fortunate have a fortune. 

It is appalling that when stuck between a rock and a hard place that the only solutions that present themselves are self-damaging. 

It is undoubtedly mundane that to walk it takes nothing but to place one foot in front of the other in a repetitive way.

If having a half hour of questions and discussion aren't the best way to start.

No one would ever be reminded of the time they ate lunch four or seven years ago on the second Tuesday of March with respect to what they consumed.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

lintel bintle

If you'll recall this post, you'll know I've been waiting. Today is day 1000.

Who would have guessed 1000 days could pass. Of course, no one would have guessed that a pandemic would happen during those 1000 days.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

tennis

I've been watching the French Open, I suppose more commonly known as Roland Garros. There are quite a few different tennis players that I like to watch. Of course, there are all of the Canadians: Bianca Andreescu, Leylah Annie Fernandez, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov. New in the first round this year was also Canadian Rebecca Marino, but she lost in her first round match against American Coco Gauff.

Of the five of them, only Annie and Felix have made it to their fourth round match, both of which are being played tomorrow. First Annie is facing American Amanda Anisimova and Annie faces a good chance of winning the match based on how she has been playing. Unfortunately, Felix is playing Spain's Rafael Nadal who is favoured to at least make the final. Felix's match is immediately after Annie's on the primary court (Court Philippe-Chatrier). Her match starts at 6h EDT, so likely I'll get to watch the whole match, but his match will start likely at about the time I have to leave for church, so I won't get to watch it apart from perhaps the first one or two games, and if Felix manages to win a set, perhaps the last few games.

By making it to the fourth round, both Annie and Felix have won €220,000 and if either of them manage to get to the next round, the quarterfinal, that jumps to €380,000. Annie is 19 and Felix is 21 years old; it is just amazing at their ages they are earning so much.

Other athletes I follow are Greece's Maria Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas, American Jessica Pegula and  Poland's Iga Swiatek who is ranked number 1 and is overwhelmingly favoured to win. Of course I'll watch the Rafael Nadal and Serbia's Novak Djokovic matches, as well as Russia's Medvedev and Rublev.

Sometime in the future I think it would a fun trip to go to Paris and attend a couple of days of events; maybe I'll look into this for next year.



Friday, May 20, 2022

when all else melts

At Alorica we could only chat on Teams.

At WK, we create a group call in Teams and we speak in person; cameras off. There are about seven of us and the number of incoming calls at the moment is quite low, so if a call comes in, the next queued agent leaves our group call and takes the incoming call while the rest of us carry on. That person eventually rejoins.

All of my compatriots are natural French speakers who also happen to speak English well enough to service our customers. I, on the other hand, am a natural English speaker who happens to speak French well enough to service our customers. So while I understand all of the conversation that happens, I only contribute a small percent of the time if I find I really have something to chime in with. I am not skilled enough in speaking French to be a story-teller in that language. It doesn't help that in groups this large, even in English I am a reticent story-teller.