Monday, June 30, 2008

Victoria's hot and dry June

Click here for the The Live Bourke Street Webcam, Mount Buller

I have, for some curious reason, left, the webcam widget that shows the main slope at Mount Buller, Mansfield, Victoria, Australia, on my computer. I started watching it in the summer of 2006 (winter in Victoria) when we began to prepare for our year in Australia. It was one of the shortest ski seasons in Australia. No sooner had the snow arrived, it began to melt and was gone by September. Of course, I watched it frequently while we were living downunder and 2007 was a longer than normal ski season. We were able to ski in early September.
This year, the austral winter of 2008 is notably late, and The Age (Melbourne) reports that this is the warmest June since 1957 and that the drought has continued. Last year, it came early and stayed until late September, after we visited for 2 days of spring skiing.
I watched the first snow fall on the webcam in May, but it has never stayed on the ground. Ski season "started" on the first weekend in June, but without snow, it was in name only.
Reasonable snows have fallen over the last few days, but will it stay?

Read on...

The Age article is linked here.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Stuff White People Like

If you haven't heard, or you don't read the Toronto Star on Saturday (I sometimes do 'cause they deliver it free to me on Saturdays), a new book based on the Toronto born writer's Blog of the same name will be published July 1st. Christian Lander's Stuff White People Like is a hilarious insight into, well, stuff white people like, like me, and my stuff.
Organic Fair Trade coffee, Apple Computers, dinner parties, scarves in the off season, recycling, kitchen gadgets, public radio...does this sound like me? Of course it does. In fact, it sounds even more like the town I live in- Oakville, Ontario, Canada (which is one of the whitest places I know of).

Have a look.

Stuff White People Like

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Carbon Footprint Reflection

I was reading Steve Hawkins' musings on his travelling Blog "The Grumpy Traveller- Complaining my way around the World." Steve is on his way to North America, ultimately for his brother's wedding. He will stop over here in Toronto. He mentioned his travels here will include 19 flights on this trip alone, each with a significant impact on the world's carbon emissions. Hmm.
I started to add up the flights we packed into one year:

1- Toronto- Chicago
2- Chicago- Honolulu
3- Honolulu- Kona
4- Kona- Honolulu
5- Honolulu- Sydney
6- Melbourne- Brisbane
7- Brisbane- Cairns
8- Cairns- Sydney
9- Sydney- Melbourne
10- Darwin- Brisbane
11- Brisbane- Melbourne
12- Melbourne- Sydney
13- Sydney- Melbourne
14- Melbourne- Christchurch
15- Christchurch- Auckland
16- Auckland- LA
17- LA- Toronto

I am curious to research just how much of an impact our year away had, and to explore the paradox that visiting other countries and cultures in a low impact way has, when we use airplanes to get to them.

I trued out a few online Carbon calculators. We added at least 25,000 kg of Carbon Dioxide with our flights alone. Next up, some research on how to offset our impact...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Melbourne outranks Sydney

In a new poll of the top 20 most liveable cities in the world, Melbourne now tops Sydney and has broken into the top ten, also leapfrogging Paris. It now ranks 9th just behind Vancouver. Transportation concerns and some alcohol related violence kept it from moving higher, the article says. Copenhagen is #1. Montreal was 16th. Toronto, uhemmm...did not make the list. Read for yourself:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Exchange friends meet old friends

While in Melbourne last year, we became good friends with fellow exchange family Cam Kilgour and Kathy Boote and their son Josh. Over dinner one night last year, I discovered that Cam had graduated from Jarvis Collegiate Institute in Toronto in 1975 and was best friends back then with my old friend Tom Lewis, whom I have known since 1972, when we were at Pioneer Camp together.
It was time for them to reacquaint. We hosted a BBQ and the 3 families shared stories, drink, food, and cappuccinos. It was great for Cam and Tom to catch up after all these years (30+). It was fun for us to share friends.