Monday, December 31, 2007

Marshall family Christmas

This year because of my wife's work schedule we were not able to celebrate Christmas with her family until last Friday. We spent the weekend up north at her brother's place. Here are some pictures for you to enjoy.
Opening presents.

And it can't be a party until everyone gathers in the kitchen...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Facebook, you're OK!

I am on Facebook. And for me its been a love/hate kind of relationship. Its great to reconnect with friends from your past, and at the same time sometimes there are friends from your past that you just don't want to reconnect with. Facebook doesn't differentiate between either so its up to you to decide who to be friends with and who to ignore. I have no problem ignoring request for friendship from those I don't know or don't want know again. My problem is that it is a great big time waster. Sometimes I'm conflicted between writing on the blog or surfing Facebook. And I'm ashamed to admit, when I'm at a loss for what to post, I head over to Facebook instead. I enjoy it, but its almost like a guilty pleasure for me...
But for the second time in less then a month, Facebook has been the cause of two reunions with friends I haven't seen since high school. Yesterday a few of us got together for some drinks to catch up with an old buddy of ours, Dave Shacket. Its amazing to know that even though its been almost 20 years since we graduated, those guys that you were friends with back then, are still as cool as ever now. And I owe it all to Facebook...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thomas family Christmas

Here are some shots from yesterday's festivities. Enjoy.
We went over to my sisters yesterday morning to open presents.
Even Calvin and Hobbes came along.Sam shows off her new scarf.The hat dance begins.The table after everyone was done. Turkey picked clean!

Monday, December 24, 2007

T'was the night before Christmas...

It’s Christmas Eve so I thought I’d get away from the usual tone of this blog and extend my best wishes to each and every one of you. May your day tomorrow be filled with many wonderful memories of family and friends. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

What a difference a week makes

It was just a short week ago that we were all cursing the snow and wondering where we were going to put it all. Flash forward to today and its starting to look like a white Christmas may just be a dream. If it doesn't snow again before Christmas and just keeps raining, there will definitely be no joy in the Beaches.
As for our neighbourhood? Its going to be close.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Winter finally arrives

In astronomy, the solstice is either of the two times a year when the Sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator, the great circle on the celestial sphere that is on the same plane as the earth's equator. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs either December 21 or 22
The winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, and its noontime elevation appears to be the same for several days before and after the solstice. Hence the origin of the word solstice, which comes from Latin solstitium, from sol, “sun” and -stitium, “a stoppage.” Following the winter solstice, the days begin to grow longer and the nights shorter.
Winter offically arrived at 1:08 a.m. ET this morning, but if you looked out a window, you would think it started weeks ago. Take heart. This is the shortest day of the year, it only gets better from here on in!

Friday, December 21, 2007


That's it! I am done. I bought my last gift this morning and just finished wrapping everything,(you have got to love gift bags!). Now I'm going to sit back, open up that bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream and add some to my coffee. For those of you who still have some shopping to do, have fun with that! I will watch for you on the news. I'm off for the next week, time to get into the "festive spirits".

Hamming it up

Calvin and Hobbes hamming it up for the camera. pictures courtesy of the wife!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Racing News: Steeleback dropped as TO GP sponsor

Toronto car race organizer yanks plug on brewery after viewing the extent of debts in protection filing Sputtering Steelback Breweries has spun out of the Grand Prix of Toronto. The Grand Prix Association of Toronto confirmed yesterday that insolvent Steelback won't be the title sponsor for next year's car race.
"Steelback will not be returning as our title sponsor," said association president Charlie Johnstone. Wasanda Enterprises, which has financed money-losing Steelback Breweries and related beverage producer D'Angelo Brands Ltd. since 2002, gained court protection from creditors for the two companies last month.
Court protection under the federal Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act negated all contracts with the two companies including the four-year sponsorship deal for the Grand Prix, according to Johnstone.
"We had been optimistic about them continuing until we saw the extent of their debts in published reports," Johnstone said. Steelback and D'Angelo Brands owe Wasanda more than $120 million in loans and interest.
Court filings show Steelback's spending on marketing and promotion far outpaced its beer revenue.
The brewery, which is a small player in the Canadian market, secured title sponsorship of the marquee summer event on Toronto's western waterfront for an undisclosed sum last March, replacing long-time sponsor Molson Breweries.
Sponsorship gave Steelback naming rights, extensive promotional opportunities and exclusive control of beer sales at the event and other accompanying festivities.
Johnstone stressed that even without Steelback, the event will proceed July 4-6. About six parties have expressed interest in becoming the event's title sponsor since Steelback's troubles emerged, Johnstone said. "There's a lot of interest out there," he said, without naming any of the inquiring companies.
Johnstone said Steelback has no debts with the Grand Prix. A creditors' list in Ontario court shows claims from numerous other sport-related entities, including the Toronto Argonauts football club, the Ottawa 67's junior hockey team and the Steelback Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.
courtesy of , picture courtesy of me!

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

Did you know that to have a white Christmas in Toronto, certain conditions have to be met before it can officially go down in the history books as a white Christmas? Check out the article below...

A white Christmas is declared if there is 2 cm of natural snow on the ground at 7 a.m. on Dec. 25. "Most people aren't aware there is a very specific definition," Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips said. "You can't just measure the piles of snow near the side of the road. To be safe, walk to the middle of your backyard and take the measurement there first thing in the morning." If the snow isn't there at 7 a.m., but comes later in the day, it is not an official white Christmas, he said.
In recent years, there's only been a one-in-three chance Toronto has seen enough snowfall to make the call. The expanding "urban island" -- pavement and buildings that melt the snow -- combined with global warming and natural weather cycles has warmed up the city. "Sometimes you'll have snow in the suburbs but none in the downtown core," Phillips said. "This year we should see snow throughout the GTA on Christmas."
Warmer weather is on the way, but it won't be enough to melt away our chances of a white Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Racing News: F1's Lewis Hamilton loses driver's licence.

PARIS -- Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton's driver's licence has been suspended for a month after he was caught speeding.
Hamilton was clocked going 196 km/h in a Mercedes on the A26 highway near the northern town of Laon on Sunday night, a police spokesman said yesterday.
"He (Hamilton) recognized the infraction he had committed straight away," the spokesman said. "He was very courteous. The police officers then took him back to his hotel."
Hamilton's car was taken away by police and picked up by a friend on Monday. The spokesman said the police officers did not recognize Hamilton, who was alone in the car, until they looked at his identification papers.
"They did not know it was him. All they saw was a car going too fast," Dujardin said, adding that Hamilton is banned from driving on French roads for one month.

courtesy of

Monday, December 17, 2007

The day after the big storm

To the rest of Canada and our friends in Buffalo, yesterdays snowstorm was just another snowstorm. Don't get me wrong, Toronto is in Canada, so we do know what snow is, but we don't usually get as much as we did yesterday. 2-3 cms is whats normal in Toronto, 26 cms is crazy! So yes it was a big deal for us in the big city. Laugh if you will, but here are some interesting facts from yesterdays snowstorm.
26 cms the amount of snow that fell in the city yesterday.

28 cms the one day snowfall record which occurred Dec. 11, 1944.

Winter does not officially start until Dec. 21st which is still 4 days away.

60 cms the total accumulation of snow for all of last year.

55 cms the total accumulation of snow so far this year.

Toronto has 5,200 kms of road which needs to be cleared of snow.

Total cost for the clean up by the city $2-3 million of the city's $67 million snow budget.
Pilar ankle deep.
Nice job cleaning your car buddy!

Happy Birthday!

Today my "little buddy" becomes an adult. Today my puppy turns one! Cookies for everyone! Happy birthday Calvin!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snowstrom buries Toronto

GTA Buried By Near-Record Snowstorm
It looks as if the forecasters were right on.
A big, blustery almost blizzard-like storm that on Saturday predicted a dumping of anywhere between 25 cm to 40 cm of snow across Southern Ontario came Sunday and well into Sunday it showed no signs of stopping.
The storm, which actually began in Texas days prior, moved into the province overnight and dumped about five centimetres in Toronto. Areas to the southwest got even more.
But that was just the opening number in Mother Nature's snow show. The bulk of it came down before 1pm leaving places like Toronto and Vaughan with at least 20 cm. Those in Mississauga, Oakville, Hamilton and the Niagara Region got even more, and could wind up shovelling out 30-40 cm when all is said and done Monday morning.
According to CityNews Meteorologist Michael Kuss, the downtown core had received 20-25 cm by the dinner hour Sunday.

This is 8am Sunday morning. Woke up to a dusting of snow and thought it was just another overblown snow warning.
At about 8:30 am, just as I was getting ready for work, it started to snow. This is the view from my front door.The ride to work. I almost didn't make off my own street, there was so much snow. Thankfully it was also Sunday morning, and the traffic was extremely light.My car in the parking lot at work. Approx. 12 pm.Ready to leave at 6pm. The snow is up to the bottom of my car, ankle deep. Or how about this perspective. That's about a foot and a half of snow that accumulated on those picnic tables in the span of about 5 hours.This is what my street looked like when I got home. Not only did I have to wait for the ploughs to come through before I could even get close to my house...... but then I had to dig out a place to park! This is my wife's car. Hope she doesn't need to go anywhere until summer!

Racing News: Is Forsythe showing Tracy the door?

Aside from John Menard, nobody on this hemisphere has spent more of his own money on open wheel racing than Gerry Forsythe.
Since losing his partner, Player's, after 2003, Forsythe has fielded two cars with little or no sponsorship in Champ Car in addition to splitting the day-to-day operating costs of the series with Kevin Kalkhoven.
Throw in the millions he lost on CART stock (he was buying when everybody else was bailing) and his outlay this past decade has got to be somewhere in the $125 million neighborhood.
Not many people could swallow that number without choking but the Chicago native never seems to flinch. His power generator business (Indeck) is massive – just like his wealth. Forsythe's commitment cannot be questioned, although his logic certainly could since he's reportedly turned down $3-5 million sponsorships in the past. The story goes that Monster Energy Drink wanted to back Paul Tracy this season for a couple million but supposedly was told by Gerry the price was five times that.
Maybe in 1995, but not now. Not for ESPN Classic at 7 a.m.
Which brings us to the fulcrum of this story.
Forsythe suddenly wants Tracy to renegotiate the remaining four years of his contract, presumably at something lower than the estimated $2.5 million a year he currently receives. Not an unfair request some would say. At 39 (next week), PT is on the downhill run of a checkered career that includes 31 victories, 15 brain fades while leading, one championship, miles of dazzling passes, several altercations and 17 years of brutally honest quotes.
He's only had one win during the past two years and struggled to come to grips with the new Panoz chassis for most of 2007.
Naturally, race drivers (unless of course you're in NASCAR) don't have the luxury of gradually fading away like baseball, basketball and football players who reap big money and fabulous retirement packages for their years of service.
That's why what Forsythe did last year was so rare and yet so cool and so professional. He gave the "Thrill from West Hill" a five-year contract to finish out his open wheel days at Forsythe Racing and, in return, was promised no more dallying in NASCAR from the '03 CART champ – just total focus on Champ Car.
It was a nice 401K and a reward for staying loyal to Champ Car.
Now Mr. Forsythe has evidently changed his mind about the price or maybe the length of the contract, which is certainly within his rights. But it's the wrong time, the wrong guy and the wrong message.
Because, to be completely honest, Tracy is all that Champ Car has left with the fans, general public and what little of the mainstream media that still pays attention to this series. If it somehow survives the next couple years, Graham Rahal will emerge as the poster boy but, right now, it's just the crazy Canadian.
Tracy still packs star power and still sells tickets because he still hangs his ass out at speed, still takes chances and, bless his heart, still says whatever comes to mind.
In the worst case scenario, PT refuses to re-negotiate, gets cut loose by Forsythe and is out of Champ Car. Can you imagine having three races in Canada without Paul Tracy? The Toronto promoter can't.
The best case scenario for Champ Car is that Paul Newman, Carl Haas and Mike Lanigan sign him to replace Sebastien Bourdais and team with young Rahal.
But, if I was Tony George, I'd do whatever it took to get Tracy into an Indy Racing League ride. Honda always had a good relationship with him and maybe they'd help with his salary like they have other drivers.
Because, if the heart of Champ Car ends up in the IRL, this insane, costly, brutal open wheel war would be over.
Game, set and match.
courtesy of, picture courtesy of me!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

"Storm of the Century" coverage continues....

Weather alert issued for southern Ontario and the city of Toronto. Looks pretty serious, I wonder if the army is mentioned in there somewhere... As of 5pm this afternoon walk the dogs down at the Beach. Thats snow blowing past me. Sorry about the poor quality.

And so it begins...

GTA Braces For What Might Be The Worst One Day Storm In 60 Years
It happens at least once every winter - a storm so fierce and so serious that you'll remember it for years to come and maybe one day tell your kids how you lived through it. Whether that happens to be the storm that's coming Sunday remains to be seen. But forecasters are calling this a major weather event with potentially serious consequences. Others just call it a good old fashioned nor'easter.
Whatever your name for it - printable or otherwise - the system that started deep in the heart of Texas is expected to strike right in the face of southern Ontario and leave few areas spared. We could get up to 25 centimetres of snow or more if it tracks the way experts think, potentially making it the biggest such one day snowfall in Ontario for the month of December since 1944.
The weather experts' one sentence prognostication speaks volumes: "25 centimetres in 24 hours." That's more than a centimetre an hour.
Current projections indicate it will start with snow late Saturday night, along with the possibility of some ice pellets or freezing rain, along with gusty and cold winds that will blow it all around and make driving more than just an adventure. There could be whiteouts in spots as the new day dawns and the wind chills will add to the misery.
Here's how it may play out on Sunday:
Midnight-8am: 5 cm of light snow.
8am-1pm: Heavy snow, two-plus centimetres an hour, for a total of at least 10 cm more.
1pm-9pm: The worst is over, but there will still be light snow with another 5 cm or more possible.

courtesy of the fear mongers at

SIDE NOTE: Toronto has seen a total of 27 cm of snow to date this season. Last winter, it did not accumulate that much until Valentine's Day and temperatures were balmy at 12.5C at this time last year. The first snowstorm was Jan.8.
courtesy of the Toronto Sun