Year: 2011

I love the blues

ronnie earl, ray bonneville, jj cale, chris rea, eric clapton, koko taylor, canned heat, joan armatrading, tab benoit, buddy guy, allman brothers, abert collins, angela strehli, janiva magness, roxanne potvin, bb king, big joe turner, bob dylan, van morrison, junior wells, mofro, john fahey, ella fitzgerald, billie holiday, elmore james, phoebe snow, rolling stones, etta james, fats waller, gary buford, bonnie raitt, james belushi, keb mo’, john mayall, larry mccoy, luther allison, mighty blues kings, otis rush, ry cooder, susan tedeschi, taj mahal, stevie ray vaghn, robert cray

to name but just a few

Posted by Martin Jones in the blues, 0 comments

Romanian Photographer – Mihai Ciama

A friend of mine told me about a friend of his in Romania – a photographer.  He is marvelous:

Mihai Ciama

Check out his photos when you have a moment.
Posted by Martin Jones in mihai ciama, photographer, romania, 0 comments

Driving around horse country

Went for a drive late in the day yesterday to try and catch some late in the day sunshine.  There are tons of wonderful back roads outside of Calgary.  This was taken a little north and west of Cochrane.  If you can catch some of the roads when they are not covered in snow, it makes the driving a little safer.  I saw about 20 people up on a hill having a great time tobogganing down a large hill.  Looked like they were having a great time. This picture taken at the same spot, different angle.  Part of their view from their perch on the hill while sliding down.

Posted by faffyrd007 in #cochrane, alberta, alberta horse, back roads, calgary, gwen van kleef, toboganning, winter, 0 comments

Okotoks Masters Swim meet

I’ve been swimming for years a few times a week – tomorrow is the first time I will get to race in something like 24 years!  Wish me luck:)

Posted by faffyrd007 in masters swimming, okotoks, 0 comments

Press pot coffee

We use a press pot to make our coffee.   When I make it – well, it is not nearly as good.  I went to this site: Coffee Geek and checked out a section on how to use a press pot and discovered what I was doing wrong. That was good but the site is great!  If you like coffee or would at least like to do a better job of brewing it no matter how you make it, there are great tips here for learning those little bits that make a difference.

Posted by Martin Jones in coffee, coffeegeek, press pot, 0 comments

Toronto Brickworks – Evergreen Brickworks

Twenty-five years ago, I was a brick layer in Toronto.  We used to purchase a lot of brick from the brickyard on Bayview Ave in the Don Valley. It was called Toronto Brick at the time. So, for me it was a treat recently to back and see what has been done with the place.  It was closed years ago and for a long time just sat there.  I’m not sure who decided to do something with this but I like what they have done with it.  There are all the kilns that I never really saw way back when.  They have left these pretty much as they were. 

There is a very nice restaurant and a shop there that we saw.  We were there on a rainy day in the fall so it was kind of dreary but I love the chance to walk about. 

The picture here is of a steel piece of art representing Toronto with the rivers coming through it into Lake Ontario with plants behind the metal growing through to show the parks along the rivers – very cool.

There is a lot more information at Evergreen Brickworks(Toronto Brick)  as to what is going on and the activities.

Posted by Martin Jones in bricklayer, evergreen brickworks, fall, toronto, toronto brick, 0 comments

How long should you keep your mattress?

Maximum – ten years or so.  Lots of factors will go into this.  One is the quality of mattress you purchase in the first place and the type.  A water bed will likely last longer.  A regular ‘spring’ mattress, I figure, maximum ten years.  Now this will be affected also by who is sleeping on it as well.  If you have someone 300 pounds it likely won’t last as long as a child of 50 pounds.

Also, certain types of mattress are more prone to having dust mites as well as certain climates.  I would probably tend to recycle a mattress that was in Florida more often than one in a dry climate, all other things being equal.

I travel a lot and stay in various hotels and also people’s homes.  Some of those mattresses are OLD.  To me it is totally worth it to spend the money on a decent mattress.  If I sleep well, I’m more efficient, get more done, etc.  A good sleep is worth a lot.

When you shop for a mattress next time, try out a number of different kinds.  Air bed, Tempur-pedic, pillow top – see what is comfortable and don’t go for the cheapest.

Posted by Martin Jones in dust mites, mattress, sleep, 0 comments

Thrill Calgary – Michael Jackson’s Thriller at Eau Claire

Here are a couple of photos of Thrill Calgary – the practice, the performance and some of the costumes.  More at

 This event was put on by Thrill Calgary along with hundreds of cities around the world with the goal of getting food donations for the Interfaith Food Bank.  Trying to break the record of the number of registered participants.  Not sure if they made it but it was a blast watching them.  Check out my other site for more photos.

Posted by faffyrd007 in alberta, calgary, downtown, eau claire, interfaith food bank, michael jackson, thrill calgary, 0 comments

Egyptian ‘cotton’ sheets

I have attended a LOT of trade shows and I have been watching people purchase thousands of the inexpensive sheet sets that were originally touted as Egyptian cotton.  Most places you go now will no longer have the word ‘cotton’ in their promotion or on their banners.  This is because the products were never cotton and regulatory boards in different areas forced most people to be a little more honest.  Any of these sheets that I have found are 100% synthetic. 

I cringe every time I see someone carrying these cheap sheets around at trade shows!

The best thing for sleeping is to use cotton sheets.  There is a great article/video here by Dr Mercola that tells you why this is so.  Dr Mercola about bedding.

Synthetic sheets are less expensive but you will pay for it in less restful sleep.  He likes wool as a filling – personally, I prefer silk.  Silk is lighter and I find cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter and is lighter.  And dust mites and other insects will not pass through it.

Posted by Martin Jones in dr mercola, egyptian cotton sheets, egyptian sheets, silk bedding, 0 comments

Manners and Travel

My son and his girlfriend have gone to travel Europe for a year or two.  They have saved a bunch of money and have it arranged to work in the winter.  They told me they were going to visit Paris and stay for a bit about the same time that I spotted a book that interested me.  The book is called The Sweet Life in Paris.  I lived in the US for years and have always been curious about a sort of animosity between the French and the Americans.  I always thought that it was that they were BOTH so arrogant.  But I although I have been to the US and lived there, I have never been to or lived in France.  Now it may be the case that both the French and Americans are arrogant but I have also met many of both that are not.  Unless it is only the arrogant ones that travel.

David Lebovitz explains things a little better in his book mentioned above.  The problem is basically a difference in what is acceptable manners. Many people, and this is not only with Americans, do not find out what the local manners are when they travel.  Travel books really do not cover these points in a useful manner.  Even the way you greet someone – what is considered good manners – can be hugely different from one culture or country to another. 

David points out in an early chapter in his book that, for example, when you walk in to a store or any place of business in Paris that one should say hello to each person when you first arrive.  In America this is not done as a rule. In some places it is done but it would not be considered bad manners if you did not.  It would, though, if someone said hello to you and you did not return the greeting.  Asking something about a price or some such before doing this would be deemed improper.

In Paris it seems to be the responsibility of the person entering the place of business to initiate the greeting. 

I have found that in some other countries or cultures that a man does not approach a woman directly or commincate to a woman that he has not been introduced to.  He should have a relative or friend, someone that knows the woman already, introduce him before speaking to her. 

It really doesn’t help to think someone else’s customs or manners are stupid or silly.  When going to someone else’s country treat them with respect and learn what is appropriate and what is not. 

When I was in India an aquaintance of mine there expressed dismay at western women and their clothing.  It was hot there and many western women from North America and Europe would wear shorts and sometimes tank tops or sleeveless shirts.  He considered this terribly inappropriate.  It embarrassed him and made him very uncomfortable.  He was not the only one that felt this way.  I would say to people going to India to wear shirts that bear the shoulders – this for men and women. 

If it is too hot go in a cooler time of the year.  Or don’t go – go to a country that is more comfortable with this kind of attire. 

If you do not like to adapt your manners to the people you are visiting then I strongly suspect that do not like people.  You at the very least will not respect them. 

I assure you that learning the manners of an area will open doors that you never thought possible and make any traveling much more enjoyable.

Posted by Martin Jones in india, manners, paris, sweet life in paris, travel, 0 comments