Tag Archives: Saint John

Round here

The last 48 hours it was storming so much that at times it reminded me of Hurricane Juan back in 2003. This morning I found out that apparently the wind was so strong that it had blown the BBQ upside down. If you think of it: the thing is heavy enough for me. This also serves as a reminder to at least clean the BBQ out so once in a while.

Sticking with the weather, the local residents informed me that this year’s Summer was probably one of the better ones since, well, ages. Indeed it had been extremely warm during July and August: compared to the year before where it seemed to be raining every day (delaying the painting of the deck), I prefer a moderate climate with moderate temperatures. Then at least I don’t have to worry about the ground water level. Seasonal forecasts from Weather Canada promise a nice amount of snow: today, I don’t care if we’ll have snowstorms or not.

And earlier this week, New Brunswickers went to the polls and voted out the mr. Graham’s Liberals: I read the conservatives easily managed to get a majority in the province’s assembly (42 versus 13?). I’m only surprised that third parties (like the NDP and the People Alliance) did not manage to get any seats.

The odds?

IA bench discovered a couple of coincidences the other day:

1. Hurricanes: I noticed that they (the hurricanes) always seem to hit during the weekend. Bill did so last week and (the remnants of) Danny did this weekend (oh, that was a lot of rain for sure). Mark my words.

2. Traffic lights: Every time my bus stops at King’s Square, Saint John, the (pedestrian) traffic light hits green. Last week this happened to me every day and if I was religious I could have claimed this to be an act of god. I’ve asked for a peer review of my observations.

3. People: I hardly run into people I know (that is people outside of my profession) and if I do, it’s because I recognize them and not the other way around.

Reminder to self: bring some dice in next time.

The sound of the season

NowFall around the corner that Summer is almost over and the weather is bringing us more of the wet stuff (I look at you hurricane Bill): the last couple of nights, I noticed that the crickets (Wikipedia) were out in full force doing their things with their legs. I had a theory that there’s a correlation between temperature and the noise they make and, apparently, I wasn’t too far off.

So, yes, logically, my brain is now thinking that “when chirping crickets == Fall is around the corner”. This is of course so obvious. I find it funny that I’ve been starting to associate particular sounds with seasons, as I did before when birds marked the return of the new growth.

Saint John, Blues

Yesterday,A graduation sign I saw a drunk man hailing a cab. Eventually, he ran towards the other side of the road trying to get his two pals who were also drunk. One of them fell to the ground while trying to walk over to the cab. The last thing I saw was a crowd gathering around the men and a cab driver shrugging, too perplexed what to do about it.

A couple of days before that, a bunch of kids were walking around downtown in fancy suits and pretty dresses. Apparently, this was part of a graduation ceremony, which obviously was different from the one I attended last week.

There are giant ants swarming around the area where we buried our dog. We recently bought 5 bags of soil at a local building supplies store, which we all emptied around that spot in the woods. I tend to believe this soil was probably infested with these ants. Maybe the soil originated from a place in South America. Make that China.

And: it’s totally true that New Brunswickers only start talking to you after you’ve settled in for a year.


YSome Greenard work season has finally started and the routine of mowing the lawn can be described like:

  1. Start lawn mower.
  2. Decide which part of the yard to do first.
  3. Stop lawn mower.
  4. Calculate the cut height: I use a simple formula which includes several variables:
    • The number of hours of rain and sun before the next cutting day
    • The surface measurements of the yard minus the size of the cutter (me)
    • The rotating speed of the cutting blades squared and times 2
    • The speed photons hit the greens of the grass (if this number approaches light speed, you can ignore this because this may cause you to age faster than your twin brother)
    • My favourite, the acceleration of gravity.
  5. Restart lawn mower.
  6. ????

The other thing I’ve been considering is to follow a unique mowing pattern: Currently I mow straight lines (my world renown ’45 degrees cut’, which I, incidentally, have a formula for too1) but in the future I foresee a circle pattern or even a parabola cutting pattern. However, the calculation of these patterns is still ongoing.

1 Exact science, exact science…


The weather has beenPrincess Street, Saint John fairly mixed the last couple of weeks and the only word that correctly describes it is the Dutch word ‘onstuimig’. At least I find there is some consistency: the weather is fairly unpredictable.

Last week, I wanted to mentionthe attack on the Dutch royalty in the town Apeldoorn but ended up being too busy to even bother. I’m not sure why someone would attempt an attack on the royal family: It’s not that they’re hated nor would I say that Dutch people are proud royalists. I gleefully found out that major news outlets correctly described Apeldoorn as a ‘town’ and not as a ‘city’. If I remember correctly, the number of residents living in Apeldoorn is approximately 1,001 (+/- 153,000). I have good memories of Apeldoorn, but honestly, I don’t remember seeing a lot of the town itself: it’s not really a city with a notable past or significant landmarks, except for the royalty’s Summer residence, Palace ‘Het Loo’.

The other thing I noticed that foreign news agencies always use the city of Amsterdam as a marker whenever something serious happens in The Netherlands:

The royals, who were unharmed, watched in horror as the car ploughed into bystanders in Apeldoorn, about 90km (56 miles) east of Amsterdam.

Dutch people frown on these kind of quotes and that is mainly because the distance between Amsterdam and Apeldoorn is considered to be fairly distant (so to say). From a North American view, 90 kms is just a stone-throw away. Foreigners who have driven on the highways over here can attest to that. This brings me to a silly anecdote from 2005, when my dad visited us when we still lived in Nova Scotia. We decided to drive around, go south to Lunenberg and then hit the highway 10 to Annapolis Valley. After returning home, I jokingly asked him to point out the route we took. He was 100 percent certain that we had driven all around the Nova Scotian coast and it took me a while to convince him that we’d only seen probably half or less of it. It then finally dawned to him how small The Netherlands actually is.

Oh. So. Quiet

The Dandelionslast couple of days (or weeks, so you will), I have seen the weather go from cold, to mildly-cold, rainy to overly sunny and warm. This weekend we’re supposed to hit the 20 degrees, which is quite a difference from the 4 or 5 degrees it was a couple of days ago. Obviously, it does miracles to the grass on the lawn and the trees, all of them now rushing to compete for as much sun as they can get.

Before the snow started to disappear, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that a bunch of dandelions (or rather, some first generation off-spring of that stuff) had apparently been growing underneath the snow, and the warmer temperatures, of course, have also spurred their growth. This is generally signal to start the ‘dandelion’ onslaught. I mean, before you know, these things transform into triffids (The Movie!).

The return of warmer temperatures also hailed the return of the ‘morning bird noises’ outside: I never really paid attention to this, but it just struck me the other day: Spring indeed returns if the birds start to make their noises (or songs as some people call them). Particularly, the cardinals.

Savings Time

We’re going to DST this weekend (as shown in this picture with so many pretty colours), which came to a surprise to many. Currently, at 6:30 AM, there’s already plenty of light to shoot photos at 100 ISO: By Sunday, it’s probably time to change your pants into shorts. If I’m not wrong, Europe is still basking in the dark at 7 AM: compare Amsterdam, NL (haha intentional abbreviation pun) with Saint John, NB: there’s almost 20 minutes difference there.

The only reason why we’re going so early to DST is (of course) because of the silly US Energy Act of 2005 (previously at xsamplex). Now might probably a good time to follow-up on this.

Update 1: DST in Europe starts on March 29th.

Roll Up The Rim 2009

OhRoll Up The Rim 2009 Contest Rules yeah: I happened to walk downtown and found a couple of Roll Up The Rim cups laying around, which effectively means that that specific time of the year has arrived. So, yeah, the contest rules are right above (or on the right side, depending on your geographical location), they are there once again (notice that the Tim Hortons site still has the year of 2008 in its title tag).

No breakdown of winning cups per size this year: the numbers don’t look really appealing either (open these two in separate tabs: 2008 and 2009). BC, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces are the losers in the amount of winning cups, Ontario leading the pack. Alberta and that area north, south, west and east of Tikrit Calgary is the big winner this year: it looks like we see the same pattern as last year (Both Quebec and the US once again are winning out here). Be advised: If you recently moved away from Nova Scotia to, lets say, New Brunswick, just to get a bigger chance in winning something, you’ll be disappointed. New Brunswick is considered part of the Atlantic region. This is a a lame attempt to make a joke. Thanks.

The actual prize distribution hasn’t really changed either: I find it funny that the price this year is a Toyota Venza AWD V6 (obligatory link to Toyota): Since 2006 Hortons opted for Toyota cars as the first prize. Maybe that’s telling. This year (“The Year of the Ox”1), cash prizes seem to be the preferred choice and yes, Toshiba laptops. These are not overly expensive laptops and they carry that boring T3400 processor: However, Toshiba is so happy to be part of the Tim Hortons Roll Up The Rimmm-uh-whatdoyoucallit, that the laptop comes with a special sleeve (obligatory Toshiba link. with photo of sleeve).

You’ll look so hot when you bring that to school. Who’s bringing the donuts today?

1 The Year of the Ox has of course nothing to do with the topic. I just brought it up for no particular reason. Get it?

Previous entries: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 and 2002. Or click this tag for all posts tagged with ‘Roll Up The Rim’.

The reds, whites and blues

I slightly follow US politics now: even after a historic change of presidency, my general impression is that it’s just politics as usual and that is not really of interest. The other day, I noticed that Fox News is spearheading ‘the warnings on the wall’ shows, where the usual pundits warn of an impending US collapse (or apocalypse) because of the the ‘socialist’ tendencies of the Obama administration. Too much static. Too much noise. I predict that in a couple of years the differences between a Bush and Obama administration will be hardly noticable.

We were hit by a snowstorm last (was that Thursday) which added another 10 or 15 cms snow to the pile in the yard. There’s another storm forecasted for Sunday night, Monday morning and I bet, it will probably arrive on schedule with more of that white stuff. Where am I supposed to keep this snow now?

On the good side, there are signs that Spring is slowly turning the corner: the weather has been moderately cold at night (between -11 and -15) and is slowly becoming bearable during the day, almost sub-tropic when temperatures hit the magical 0 degrees mark.

Update 1: The official warning says 25-35 cms.

Update 2: A CBC report about the snowstorm, today (02/23/09)

Spring? Is that you?

You can almost hear Spring coming! There’s 10 – 15 cms of snow going to be piling up tonight. This means we finally get a break from those -20 degrees mornings, because it will be a hot Winter day with temperatures around the -5 degrees! Yes!

And then in the morning, the snow will slowly change into freezing rain as the temperature will creep up to the 0 degrees (subtropical temperatures, no really), possibly to +2 degrees. Oh, then the storm will move away and the temperatures will sink down the drain, back to the double digits (minus) again. Oh noes…

Wait a second: didn’t I see the same pattern a week or so ago? No Spring in sight, just yet, then. On the plus side: at least the freezing rain will make everything look like a shiny ice palace.

This. means. Winter.

The last couple of days I had the tune of the game ‘This Means War’ (Microprose, 1993? 1994?) in my head and that, generally, is not a good sign.

I mean, from Thursday to Saturday the thermometer hit a new low with 30 degrees Celsius at night and in the early morning. If you can’t imagine how that feels, lets say it this way: -19 degrees is a lot warmer than -30. You can also easily tell the difference between the two temperatures: if it’s -30, whatever you breath out will freeze right on contact with the cold air. This doesn’t happen rightaway at -19 degrees Celsius.

There were also early warnings that we’re were going to get snow on Monday (tomorrow), but today, I have already cleaned the deck twice. Tomorrow it will be a bright white day, I think.

But I don’t want to close on a bad note, though: As they say in the US, ‘the state of the climate of New Brunswick is strong’. For example, I was always convinced that February was the coldest month of the year: However, Weather Canada says that statistically (the numbers, the numbers), January is the coldest month:

January is the coldest month in New Brunswick… [ ] … At Edmundston, the January mean temperature is -12.2C. As we move south, however, this coldness is gradually tempered by the effects of latitude and, to a greater extent, the sea. Along the south-eastern shores, the January mean is around -7.5C.

Uh, although I think they have to include this years temperatures. That will probably bring the average down to, a uh, slightly bit more.

The 100 Lunar Pound Question

To my surprise, Some Coins in the Shape of a NineI found out that New Years Day started with a (white) bang in Nova Scotia: In New Brunswick we got away with a couple centimeters and mainly the cold wind. Justice was served, I believe and I’m looking forward to a snow-free Winter. Uh. Yes.

Talking about Winter: I hear that there is a shortage of ice skates (nee, speed skates or ‘Vikings’) in The Netherlands. At Christmas. Where are Bob Geldoff and his gang of crack-musicians and crack-singers to help these poor people out? On the other hand, there is something about skating (nee speedskating) on natural ice that is, as long as you watch out for ‘wakken’ (spots of thin ice).

So it’s 2009, it’s a new year and there goes nothing above ditching those new year’s resolution and gain another 10 metric milligrams (for people used to the Imperial system, that is 100 Lunar Pounds). Change your science teacher can believe in! This year’s The Edge question is all about change too: “What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?” (Earlier on xsamplex). If you’re bored for the next couple of days: there’s plenty of reading to do there.