Sunday, September 28, 2008

Double Take

Check this out. I was surfing and came across this picture. It was taken the exact time I took my shot of Paul Newman. This is my shot below.
And this is the shot I found on the web. Only this is from the photographer's view on the other side of the fence.
Pretty cool!

Saturday Ride

I went out for a ride with my brother and nephew yesterday.Not many Saturday rides left in the season, so when the opportunity arise, you take it, even if it is raining. Started from their house and ended up in the Cherry Beach area where my brother had a surprise.
If you may remember, the last time my brother and I went for a ride we ended up at a boat show in Port Credit. Yesterday we ended up at Outer Harbour Marina in the Cherry Beach area. See: (I should of seen thiss coming...)
Apparently Captain Highliner (aka my brother Barry) is interested in buying this baby! The closer of the two boats.
My nephew Joshua is all for the idea.Taking all suggestions for a name....... never a dull ride when I ride with my brother.

A Legend Dies

Many of you will remember him for the mark he left in Holloywood as a screen legend. To me he was a legend in motor car racing. On Friday, Paul newman died after a long illness with cancer.
The racing and the entertainment worlds simultaneously mourn today as the word slowly spreads that actor, racer, philanthropist, humanitarian, colleague, and to many, friend, Paul Newman, has succumbed to his long battle with cancer, passing away quietly and privately at home on Friday, surrounded by loved ones.
The 83 year old Ohio native was best known for his accomplished career as an actor, which spanned over 5 decades garnering a number of accolades, including ten Oscar nominations (acting's highest honor) one of which he took home for The Color of Money. But to racing enthusiasts around the world, Newman was best recognized as part owner of one of American open wheel racing's most successful teams, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, who since it's inception in 1983 has won 8 Championships.
Before becoming a team owner however, and in a case of life imitating art, Newman became an avid and accomplished racer in his own right following the filming of the 1969 movie "Winning" in which he aptly played a racecar driver.
Competing in his first professional race in 1972, Newman would enjoy a long and lucrative career behind the wheel as well, participating in some of the worlds most famous races including the 24 Hours of Lemans and the 24 Hours of Daytona, during which he became the oldest driver to be part of a winning team in a majorly sanctioned racing event.
In 1982, Newman founded "Newman's Own", a product line who's complete proceeds go solely to charity, and which has impressively raised hundreds of millions of dollars since it's creation. Among the beneficiaries are the "Hole in the Wall Gang" Camps, another of Newman's philanthropic creations, which play host to over 13,000 seriously ill children each year, free of charge to their families, thanks to Mr. Newman's efforts."
Paul Newman's craft was acting. His passion was racing. His love was his family and friends. And his heart and soul were dedicated to helping make the world a better place for all." said Robert Forrester, vice-chairman of the Newman's Own Foundation this morning in a moving statement about his longtime colleague, summarizing Mr. Newman's life and legacy.
Interestingly enough, Newman got the chance to get out on a race track one more time before he died...
"Wednesday, August 13, 2008 Lime Rock Park was closed down for an hour and a half today to honour Paul Newman. He was attended by his family, close friends, Skip Barber, mechanics on his race team, and those who happened to be at the track. Newman toured the track in his Corvette race car with his Buick V8 powered Volvo station wagon following. He had come to say goodbye. Diagnosed with terminal cancer he is not expected to live beyond September. Race driver, actor, humanitarian, family man and friend -- they did not come any better."
pictures courtesy of me!
Paul Newman R.I.P. 1925-2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Here Comes Fall

...and just like that, yesterday the first official day of Fall arrived. Here is the first sunrise of Fall in the Beach, enjoy.

Crazy Jobs

And you thought your job sucked ... hows this for crazy jobs ... putting the finishing touches on the smoke stacks at the new power plant down in the Portland's. Careful, don't look down.....

Movie Movie Everywhere!

Here are some shots of various movies and commercials being shot around town that I happened to come across on my daily bike ride. For a while there, it was like there was a movie being shot around every corner. The demise of Hollywood North has been greatly exaggerated.
Cherry street, this is a popular spot. Scenes from The Incredible Hulk was shot here as well.
This was along the boardwalk in the Beach. This was a period piece set in the 70's.
And this was a commercial shoot I stumbled upon last week on Leslie street near the Spit. Not sure what the product was but quite the production!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Toronto Indy Returns With A Bang!

The Toronto Indy scored a major title sponsor yesterday, ensuring it will return with a bang next year. And I will be the first to admit I am not the biggest Micheal Andretti fan, but I have to give him kudos for bringing back the Thunder down by the lakeshore for 2009. Check it out:If success is bred from one part luck, one part enthusiasm and one part hard work, Andretti Green Racing already is two-thirds of the way to making the return of the Toronto Indy in 2009 a hit.
Yesterday at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place, AGR unveiled Honda as the title sponsor for the freshly minted Honda Toronto Indy. In these uncertain economic times, to get such a deal is indeed the apex of luck.
Then AGR's chairman and No. 1 cheerleader, Michael Andretti, kick-started the enthusiasm the event will need to come back from a year off of racing on the temporary street circuit along the shores of Lake Ontario.
It would seem that all that is needed now is for AGR team members to roll up their sleeves and get to work putting Toronto's premier summer sporting event back together again.
Just six months ago that seemed a Herculean task, especially after the merger of the Indy Racing League and the Champ Car World Series resulted in Toronto being left off the 2008 schedule -- marking the first time in 22 years that the roar from open-wheel race cars would not be heard in this city.
After two years of fading attendance, poor promotion and weak grids after Molson left as caretaker of the event in 2005, the decision by the IRL not to include Toronto on its race calendar this past season easily could have been its death knell.
But by sheer force of his iconic racing heritage and the fondness he has for the race where he won an astonishing seven times, Andretti vowed he could not let the Toronto Indy die.
"He must have sent (IRL racing boss) Brian Barnhart 1,000 text messages, arguing that Toronto had to be put back on the racing calendar," AGR public relations chief Al Larsen said yesterday.
According to Andretti, as soon as word began to leak out that he was trying to purchase the Toronto race, he got a phone call from Honda Canada executive Jerry Chenkin saying that if AGR was intent on going ahead with the deal, Honda wanted in.
It must be understood that finding a title sponsor for any sporting event usually is the hardest and final thing that gets done to make it work. In this case, the Honda deal was done before the ink was dry on AGR's agreement to buy the Toronto Indy.
That gave AGR a running start to force Barnhart and the IRL to give them the traditional second week in July race date for Toronto in 2009.
"Since 1986, (Toronto) has been a can't-miss event in racing," Andretti said. "It always had the biggest crowds and the solid commitment from community, government and industry in Ontario."
He said that it is his goal to bring back the glory days when the downtown core was the place to be for race fans and tourists alike when the green flag dropped at Exhibition Place.
Kevin Savoree, Andretti's partner, will be the go-to guy for the Honda Toronto Indy and he said yesterday that the Japanese manufacturer's participation is key to rebuilding the event.
"The Honda brand is very powerful and is one of the true driving forces behind the growth and success of the IndyCar Series," Savoree said. "Andretti Green and Honda have a long legacy of successful partnership and the Honda Indy Toronto will benefit immeasurably from the strength of that relationship."
Of course, it was cheques from the province, the city (via Exhibition Place) and Tourism Toronto -- believed to be about $2 million a year over the next three years -- that sealed the deal for AGR.
"We simply could not have done this without the support of all levels of government," Andretti said.
What he didn't mention was the $50-million windfall the race will bring to Toronto next summer.

Not a bad return on an investment of $6 million.
article courtesy of

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cottage Life

I went up north this week to help the in-laws shingle the roof on the cottage. Can't really complain about the working conditions though, if you have to re-do a roof, no better place to do it then at the cottage! Here are some shots of our adventures....
Calvin and Hobbes waiting for my father-in-law to arrive in the boat to take us to the island. It is important when doing work at the cottage that you always bring the proper tools ... see case of beer.Enjoying the boat ride.Working on the roof.
Hobbes spent his time at the cottage standing in the water barking at us up on the roof.
Life is tough up at the cottage ... not!

Look Out World!

Lock up your daughter's, there is a new Saarenvirta male in this world to make the woman swoon!
Check it out:
Hope this email finds you well.
Some pictures of our newest family member - Grayson Ilmari Saarenvirta born Sept.15th weighing 8lbs 8oz.
Everyone is doing well."
Tony & Linda

Monday, September 15, 2008


Congratulations to my buddy Tony and his wife Linda. Early this morning they welcomed their second child into the world, a healthy baby boy. Baby weighed in at 8 plus pounds. Mom and baby are both doing well and Tony is as proud as a dad can be! No word yet on a name or any pictures ... stay tuned for more details!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

F1 Becomes Exciting Again

Rain shook things up yesterday for qualifying for today's Italian Grand Prix at Monza.Under a deluge in Monza, Sebastian Vettel shone once again to post a shocking pole position for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix, the first P1 start of his young Formula 1 career and the maiden pole for the third-year Scuderia Toro Rosso team.
McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen was the only of the “big-team” drivers to sneak into the front positions and will start alongside Vettel, as Red Bull-backed cars swarmed the first two rows with RBR’s Mark Webber in third and Sebastien Bourdais in fourth in the other STR, also a career-best qualifying result for the Frenchman.
Williams’ Nico Rosberg completed the top five.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa is the best championship contender in sixth – bad timing with the rain meant Kimi Raikkonen in the second scarlet car and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton were relegated to 14th and 15th respectively, being left stuck in Q2 when the downpour increased and times could not be bettered.

Here's a look at the shocking starting grid:
1) Vettel, Toro Rosso-Ferrari ,
2) Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes ,
3)Webber, Red Bull-Renault ,
4) Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari ,
5) Rosberg, Williams-Toyota ,
6) Massa, Ferrari ,
7) Trulli, Toyota ,
8) Alonso, Renault ,
9) Glock, Toyota ,
10) Heidfeld, BMW Sauber ,
11) Kubica, BMW Sauber ,
12) Fisichella, Force India-Ferrari ,
13) Coulthard, Red Bull-Renault ,
14) Raikkonen, Ferrari ,
15) Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes ,
16) Barrichello, Honda ,
17) Piquet, Renault ,
18) Nakajima, Williams-Toyota ,
19) Button, Honda ,
20) Sutil, Force India-Ferrari
info and picture courtesy of

I'm sitting here watching the race live. What an exciting race. Wet conditions have made for an interesting race. Race starts under yellow behind the safety car.
Vettle turns P1 into a real lead.
Bourdais had problem off the line, has to let the field go by and has to start at the back of the pack.
Hamilton is tearing it up, moving through the field. Lots of action in the mid pack as the points leaders try to fight to the front.
Where is Kimi? Not so good in wet conditions.
Entire race is run on rain tires, due to wet track, but no rain, which has threatened all day but has not yet appeared .
10 laps left.
Track is drying up.
Hamilton's gets caught up behind Massa for 7th. Pace dropping off.
Massa getting closer to Webber in 4th.
Kimi still 10th, mid pack.
Lots of action on the track for positions.
6 laps to go.
Nice move by Kimi for 9th.
Webber all over Hamilton's ass.
Mark Webber tries to get by Hamilton, contact into the corner, Webber goes wide, Hamilton keeps the position.
4 laps left, Vettle still 14 seconds in the lead.
Nakajima tries to go around the othside of David Coultard into the corner, contact!
Nakajima goes off, Coultard keeps going.
Concern for debris from contact with Cultard and Nakajima on track.
Last lap, Vettle wins.
Shocker! Announcers gush like little girls at the achievements of Vettle.
Kovalainen second, Kubica thrid.
Massa 6th, Hamilton 7th, Raikkonen 9th.
Great race!

Friday, September 12, 2008


Yesterday as I drove in to work, I noticed gas station after gas station with cars lined up at the pumps. I checked the price, $1.22 a litre. What gives?! This morning it all becomes a little more clear. Prices are now $1.36 a litre in the blink of an eye.
Here are two facts that are bound to drive GTA motorists crazy - although they may no longer able to afford to drive.
The price of gas spiked to one of the highest rates ever seen in the GTA Friday - $1.36.6 for a litre of regular.
And the price of oil fell below US$100 a barrel on world markets for the first time in five months.

To read the full story, click here:

Why is it that prices can jump more than 10 cents overnight, but prices never come down more than 1 or 2 cents at a time. If that's not a conspiracy, I don't know what is. Hosed again at the pumps and there is nothing we can do except open our wallets and bend over. What a crock of shit!
picture courtesy of

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Canadian Idol

What can I say? Yes I watched Canadian Idol, and I even like Ben Mulroney as the host. I started watching from the beginning and then sort of stopped watching once it got down to the top 10, but kept tabs on who was dropped each week. Why am I telling you all this you ask? Well for the record, I called Theo Tams to win from his first audition. I told my wife when we were watching and now I get to rub it in. Congratulations to Canada's latest Idol, Theo Tams. Now if only I was a betting man ...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Batman:The Dark Knight

Finally saw the latest Batman movie with the wife last night ... and although I didn't hate it, I really can't say I loved it either. My first reaction was way too long. Of the three comic book movies I have seen this summer, Ironman, and the Incredible Hulk ... Batman would come third. I know I'm in the minority here, but what can I say? Batman did not live up to the hype for me. I asked the wife what she thought and she said she slept through most of it. So there you go, If you haven't seen it already, I say save your money and wait for the DVD.
On a side note, Heath Ledger as the Joker was very good. Academy Award winner for best supporting actor ... not so much. If he gets it (and I hate to say it), but it will be because he died, and not because of his acting skills (as good as an actor as he was.)

Lance Armstrong to come out of retirement

Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong will come out of retirement and compete in next year's Tour de France, VeloNews reported Monday, citing sources close to the situation.
Armstrong, who will turn 37 on Sept. 18, will join the Astana team and compete in five road races, the sources told VeloNews.
He will compete in the Amgen Tour of California, Paris-Nice, the Tour de Georgia, the Dauphine-Libere and the Tour de France. The sources told VeloNews that Armstrong will receive no salary or bonuses.

And here is where it gets really interesting ... because I can always find the racing angle...

Are you familiar with The Butterfly Effect? It states that small changes in the initial condition of a dynamic system can result in large variations over the long term.
Despite being a guy who competed in a comparatively obscure sport like Cycling, Lance Armstrong has become one of the most recognizable names in all of sport. He’s up there in the “Tiger Woods” and “Michael Jordan” level of recognition, due largely to his compelling story of overcoming a life-threatening bout with cancer and emerging victorious in an unmatched SEVEN straight victories in the Tour De France. But you already knew that.
Armstrong retired from cycling in 2005, deciding to dedicate more time to his children, his numerous charities, and any number of smitten Hollywood starlets. It’s hard work but somebody’s gotta do it, right?
By casting all of that aside in 2009 to train for a return to the Tour De France next July, Armstrong has suddenly guaranteed that millions of otherwise passive sports fans will once again be watching cycling on TV. Yes, just as the presence of “Tiger” in a golf tournament dramatically increases the TV ratings, Lance’s historic attempt to return to glory will likely provide a huge boon for the network of the Tour De France.
And that network? Oh, that would be Versus. You know, that channel that was just handed all but a handful of IRL races next year.
Maybe the popularity of Armstrong’s quest will help get Versus in those missing 20 million homes. Maybe those fans of Lance figure out what channel Versus occupies on their cable provider’s list. Maybe while watching Armstrong they get to see lots of ads for events featuring Danica! and Helio! and the rest. Maybe next summer they stop by for the cycling but stay for the higher speed racing action. Maybe all of this “maybe” stuff makes it easier for the league and it’s teams to sell all sorts of sponsorship packages.

Racing Chatter...

Apparently I was not alone in thinking that Lewis Hamilton got screwed. Here is a post I stumbled upon while surfing the other day and it pretty much says exactly what I was thinking ... (only someone actually wrote it down and posted it!) Check it out and see if you agree with what this guy has to say.
7 reasons why Hamilton's penalty was bullshit...

1. What was Hamilton supposed to do?
Much of the discussion hinged on what Hamilton should have done to avoid a penalty.
Some criticised him for cutting the chicane. But what was his other option? Given how close he and Raikkonen were, and how sharply Raikkonen turned in on him, I don’t think he would have been able to avoid hitting Raikkonen just by braking. In which case,
If he stayed on track and caused an accident with Raikkonen he would have gotten [Kovalainen's] penalty, instead he went off, spared both cars and gets penalised for having a competitive advantage.
Hamilton himself said: “Kimi ran me wide. To avoid an incident, I had to go up that part of the track.”
If Hamilton had no choice but to cut the corner, what did he need to do to avoid a penalty? He let Raikkonen go entirely past him. Presumably the stewards wanted him to let Raikkonen go further ahead. But how far away did he need to let Raikkonen to be sure he wouldn’t get a penalty? There’s no way of telling by looking at the rules.
2. Inconsistency
It almost goes without saying that the stewards’ decision makes no sense in the context of recent decisions. Felipe Massa went off the track and gained an advantage at least once while racing Robert Kubica in last year’s Japanese Grand Prix:
Was Massa punished? No.
Adding to the inconsistency, race director Charlie Whiting told McLaren he thought what Hamilton did was legitimate.
3. A great race ruined
After the race many people on the live blog remarked on how exciting it had been, especially after the dreariness of the European Grand Prix.
If there’s one thing all F1 fans like it’s a proper, wheel-to-wheel battle for the lead. The stewards interfering with that not only spoiled the race, it gives the impression they don’t want drivers overtaking in Formula 1.
4. Punishment out of proportion
Assuming Hamilton did gain a slight advantage by not letting Raikkonen past by enough, the punishment seems grossly disproportionate to the crime.
The stewards could easily have instructed him to let Raikkonen past again - indeed, they’ve done it in the past in F1 and it’s common practice in other motor sports.
Instead, they relegated Hamilton behind two drivers who weren’t even involved in the battle for the lead. Where’s the justice in that?
5. Ferrari
The innuendo about the FIA favouring Ferrari has hung around F1 for years. The barge board and Michelin tyre scandals in 1999 and 2003, Fernando Alonso’s dubious penalty at Monza in 2006, and McLaren’s staggering punishment in spy-gate last year are just a few examples of occasions when the FIA has been accused of protecting F1’s most famous team.
Hamilton’s punishment is just one more reason why so many F1 fans think the FIA is biased in favour of Ferrari. And if the game is rigged, no-one will want to watch.

6. Another court room battle
The 2007 season was ruined by a seemingly unending string of controversies that ended up before the FIA Court of Appeal. And here we go again.
Many F1 fans are sick of the politics. They want to see races decided by the racers.
7. F1 brought into disrepute
We may grumble and groan about its idiosyncrasies, but F1 fans at heart are passionate about motor racing and see Formula 1 as one of the top forms of motor sport.
Decisions like this which seem unjust, out of all proportion, and designed to favour one team over the others, are hugely damaging to F1’s public image.
No-one wants to admit to liking a sport if the rest of the public see it as being corrupt. The FIA stewards brought Formula 1 into disrepute yesterday.
More on the IRL Did He or Didn't He?

Installation error ?
Target Chip Ganassi Racing is as talented a bunch of folks as you'll find. They dedicate millions of dollars and thousands of hours to researching innovative methods for getting their IndyCars to go as fast any others on any type of track, working tirelessly so that every part is properly assembled and optimally configured.Well, almost.
Upon review of its Timing and Scoring process following the conclusion of Sunday's race, IndyCar Series officials have confirmed that the transponder on Scott Dixon's No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car had been improperly installed, resulting in Dixon being shown in the top spot on the Indy Racing League's T and S system rather than race winner Helio Castroneves."
The improperly installed transponder clearly affected the data we were receiving from Dixon's car," said Jon Koskey, the Indy Racing League's director of timing and scoring. "
With the signal going the wrong direction, it could have bounced off of any number of things and made it difficult for the antenna to pick up an accurate signal. Because there's always the possibility of electronic equipment failing and the possibility of human error, we have multiple systems in place to insure the accuracy of the data."
This will not result in Scott Dixon having to forfeit any points or the 2008 title he won.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Racing News: ABC Almost Blows the Call on IRL Race

What a day for some motor car racing!
Just finished watching my second race of the day, gotta love rainy Sunday's! I got to hand to to the IRL, last race of the season and it comes down to Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon in points and for once, that's where the focus is, instead of the always non-factor side show that is Danica Patrick. Helio has to win the race and lead the most laps to stand any chance of winning the championship. Scott has to finish 8th or better to put it to bed. Well Helio does it. He starts from 28th, gets to the front and ends up leading the most laps, then goes on to win the race by 1/100th of a second over Scott Dixon. The race is that close. But the announcers get it wrong and call Scott Dixion the race winner and series champion. Viewers at home have all seen the replay of the two cars crossing the line and know Dixon did not win the race. Congratulations are given and then they review the tape ... oops!
The tape clearly shows Helio in the lead by the slimmest of margins at the finish line. Helio is given the win seconds before show ends and ABC/ESPN look bad. Nice save, but next time check the tape before you call a winner when its that close!
Scott Dixon won the IndyCar Series championship Sunday in dramatic fashion, finishing second to his chief challenger, Helio Castroneves, in the closest race in series history.Castroneves’ No. 3 Team Penske Dallara-Honda hit the finish line 0.001 second ahead of Dixon’s No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Dallara-Honda, but Dixon finished 17 points ahead of Castroneves in the final standings. Scoring monitors initially showed Dixon as the winner, but video replays showed Castroneves hitting the stripe first.Castroneves’ teammate, Ryan Briscoe, finished third, followed by Tony Kanaan, Will Power and Dan Wheldon.
info courtesy of, picture courtesy of

F1 News: Hamilton Gets Screwed!

Did you catch the F1 race this morning? What a finish! Lewis Hamilton and Kimmi Raikkonen duelled it out in the last three laps as rain started falling. Hamilton tried to make a pass on the outside, but Raikkonen closed the door and Hamilton had to run wide which ultimately gave him the lead. According to the rules, because he didn't make the pass "on track", Hamilton had to give the place right back to Raikkonen. Which he did, but then he went on to make the pass again, and this time it worked. Hamilton went on to win the race and Raikkonen crashed out in the rain. A few hours after the race the FIA posted this:

Felipe Massa has been declared the official winner of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, after stewards penalized Lewis Hamilton.
25 seconds were retrospectively added to the British championship leader's finishing time, meaning his victory at the checkered flag now becomes third place, behind Massa's Ferrari and BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld. The amended result also means 23-year-old Hamilton's lead in the drivers' standings is reduced from a potential 8 to just 2 points with five races to go in 2008.
Stewards deemed Hamilton did not properly allow Kimi Raikkonen to re-pass after overtaking the Ferrari driver by cutting the Bus Stop chicane with three laps to go.
Hamilton did let the Finn pass him after the chicane, but he then used the slipstream of the Ferrari to immediately launch a successful overtaking move at the next corner.
Stewards also gave Toyota's Timo Glock a 25-second time penalty for overtaking the Red Bull of Mark Webber under yellow flags, which were waving in the wake of Raikkonen's race-ending crash.
The penalty promoted Webber back into to eighth place.

All I have to say is bullshit! It was a great finish to a not so bad race. The FIA should let the results stand as it ended. And why does Ferrari always come out smelling like roses whenever there is a decision by the FIA and Mclaren gets the shaft. McLaren should tell the FIA to get stuffed. What a bullshit call!
info and picture courtesy of

Downtown Saturday Night

Downtown was crazy busy last night. Why? Cheech and Chong, nope ... try the Toronto International Film Festival. Yonge street was closed between Queen and Dundas for the festival and there was people everywhere looking for movie stars. I did see Eugene Levi, but by the time I figured out it was him, I had missed my picture opportunity. I'm much better at picking out race drivers then movie stars...