Sunday, August 30, 2009

Margin Notes: Drill, Repel, Jackson, Bicycles

A drilling rig installed a post near the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario on 27-August-2009

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Are they drilling for oil near the CN Tower? (And if so, who are "they" with the black drilling rigs?) It sure looked like it for some of this week, as the above drilling rig roamed about the area south and east of what until recently was the world's tallest free-standing structure. However, after a "drilling session" next to one of the paths, a post was found left behind, so apparently that's all the exercise was about--why a drilling rig was required for that is not clear. File it under you never know what you'll see in Toronto.

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A man repelled down a support column of the Canadian Pacific bridge over the Humber River in Toronto, Ontario on 26-August-2009

Even mundane places can provide surprises. While waiting along the Humber River for rail photography possibilities near sunset last Wednesday, I was surprised to see a man repelling down one of the bridge's support columns above the Humber River. I'm sure the Canadian Pacific would not have been happy to know he was engaging in that activity.

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This Union Pacific concession car, named the "Sherman Hill" as it passed through Carkeek Park in Seattle, Washington on 18-May-2007, will soon be re-named for Reed Jackson.

Out west on another railroad, the Union Pacific decided to name one of the cars in its excursion fleet after the recently-deceased steam program conductor Reed Jackson. The "Sherman Hill" concession car has been renamed the "Reed Jackson". While this is certainly a classy move on the part of Union Pacific, I have to admit that it would be a bit weird to me if I were working on their train. The concession car is often a focal point of on-board services, and I remember many times in 1995 being told "go to the Sherman Hill and get {something}." It would be distracting to be told "go to the Reed Jackson and ..." as my mind would drift off the memories of Jackson--and I barely knew him. I have a feeling the on-board crews may have to just call it the "concession car" now in day to day operations.

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Sometimes when hauling things from the concession car to the end of the Pacific Limited train, I wished I could have been riding a bicycle. That's one area where a bicycle is not allowed, and apparently the drive-through lanes at the Burgerville chain was another. The Vancouver, Washington-based burger chain with most locations in Oregon has apologized to a cyclist for not serving her at their drive-through window. Long-time readers of this blog know that I have been a fan of Burgerville and see no reason why they should not serve bicycles at the drive-through; it matches their green image.

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It certainly helped my self-image to be reading Ruth Walker's column in the Christian Science Monitor and find her citing the same episode of WNYC and NPR's On the Media that was my weekly radio pick a couple weeks ago. I guess I may be operating in the media bubble after all.

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