Simba is in da’ House! The Foster Family Experience Begins.

Here’s a rather significant update on my application to be a foster family for a Mira Foundation Guide-dog puppy… while I was in Niagara Falls, I got a call that my application had been accepted and that puppies would be available the following week and if I could come and pick one. So last Tuesday we all jumped in the car and headed over to the Mira Foundation offices in Saint-Marie-Madeleine in Quebec and came home with Simba:


Simba was born Mai 10th, 2007 and is a Labernese, the patent breed created by Mira formed by a mix of Labrador and Burmese Mountain Dog. The end result is a stockier looking Lab with a bigger build and gentle temperament and extremely intelligent. He’s been with us now for 2 days and already has been catching on to the concept that if you need to pee, you go to the door. We’ve obviously had a few accidents (oops, I hear my wife scolding him as I type this lol!) but that’s expected and will continue for quite awhile but we’re working on it.

So that’s about it for now… If you’ll excuse me, I need to get my ass in gear and but together the newsletter after a 2 week hiatus.


And I’m Back… FINALLY!

Went out yesterday and shot some high res images of the falls from various look-out points around Niagara Falls. Ended up getting some great shots and I’ll be blowing one up to print and frame for a wall in the house. It was a gorgeous final day just like the entire week… Sunny and hot with a nice breeze coming off the water, it was awesome.

It was a long drive back home today though due to traffic, so after leaving at 9:45AM, we crawled back in to the house at around 5:30PM and then it was right back out to the grocery store for food as our fridge was completely empty and Corina has summer camp day tomorrow and needed a snack and all that good stuff. Plus I needed milk… if Dan doesn’t get his morning cereal, things do NOT go well for anyone. But seriously, it was GOOD to be home and now I am just contemplating where I need to go first to tackle the ridiculous pile of work I’ve collected since leaving.

Speaking of ridiculous, should you be traveling to the Niagara region and you are looking to book accommodations, DO NOT book the Embassy Suites Fallsview, it is a complete rip off. We somehow managed to book this hotel, which ended up being one of the most expensive places to stay in the entire region. Everywhere we walked, you would see hotel signs showing “Free Parking”, “Free Wireless Internet in all rooms!” etc etc… Well, I managed to book the hotel that charged $20 a day for pain-in-the-ass-valet parking (only service available) AND $12.95 a DAY for internet!!! And no bloody wireless… thank God I brought a LAN cable with me just in case. Oh but wait… I know what you’re thinking… Yes, I did in fact call and ask about this. Prior to booking I asked “Is there parking at the hotel?” and the answer was “Yes sir” and I also asked if the hotel had Wireless IN ALL ROOMS” and it was “Yes sir”. So I booked with them.

Now for anyone that knows me for a few years, you know that I used to travel EXTENSIVELY for the company I used to work for, so I have stayed in hundreds of hotels and I have NEVER IN MY LIFE heard of ANYONE charging extra for internet in the hotel. So you can imagine how livid I was to find out that not only did I have to pay $13 a day, but that the wireless was only available in the lobby and in the business center. I have no words for this other than “what a fucking joke”.

Next up is the restaurant connected to the hotel, which in this case was TGI Friday. Now look, I understand that a hotel restaurant will be a bit higher than normal, that’s fine, I understand. This was the last day, we were tired, we just wanted to eat and go back to our room to pack and get some sleep. But come on, $4 for a glass of Coke, are you serious?! Then I ordered Chicken Quesadillas, which is pretty standard fodder for these diner type places, and those were something stupid like $18 for a TINY serving!!

Moral of the story is that if you plan on staying at Embassy Suites, get ready for a fairly deep and unsatisfying ass reaming.

There’s no place like home… Amen.

Niagara Adventures Continue

Ah finally, a few minutes to sit down and write a few words… man this vacation has been exhausting! We’ve done all the fun stuff to be had in the area and here’s a few pics:

Corina and I in front of the main falls from the Canadian side:

The Killer Whales swimming in Friendship Cove at Marineland:

Feeding the bears (apparently they eat Cornpops, Marshmallows and Ice Cream Cones):

And here we are after going on the Maid of the Mist ride, which is the boat that takes you right in front of the falls. When you get the main part of the horseshoe falls, it’s like torrential rains in your face:

So there’s a little bit of what we’ve been up to!

Now time for bed… going to be a long day tomorrow 😉


Vacation Time and Helping Support the Mira Foundation

Vacation time is almost here! We’ll be heading out to Niagara Falls, Ontario, on Wednesday for a 5 day vacation with the family. My daughter is really stoked about going to Marineland to check out the Killer Whales and the Belugas and I was showing her some video of the Maid of the Mist and she’s REALLY looking forward to trying that out. The Maid of the Mist is a boat that takes you right next to the falls and it’s really amazing… the falls are super loud and you get soaked (They give you these plastic rain coats when you board so your clothes don’t get drenched). We might also check out Wonderland if we get time, but we’ve already got quite a bit planned to do, plus I’ll be visiting a friend who is working on a Star Wars fanfilm on the weekend. We’ll be staying in a nice hotel facing the falls, so it should be pretty spectacular and I’ll be taking TONS of pics. I won’t be completely gone from the face of the web though… my hotel is equipped with wireless and I will have my laptop with me to do some minimal work such as approving tutorials and such. I definitely won’t be in front of the PC all day, but I’ll check in daily for an hour or two at night.

In other news, I just applied to be a Foster Family for the Mira Foundation. Mira is a Quebec based foundation that provides guidedogs to disabled people free of charge, despite the dogs costing well over $25000 to raise and train before being assigned to an owner. I’ve been a long time supporter of this foundation and we decided we would like to take it one step further and offer our home as a foster family for a puppy that needs to be socialized and provided basic training and guidance. We’re REALLY excited about this opportunity so we are now just waiting to see if we pass their intial screening based on the application we submitted. Obviously it’s very strict and a carefully monitored system, so they don’t just hand out dogs to everyone. So fingers crossed and we’ll see what happens.

Mira Puppy

Mira dogs are seen throughout Quebec and in the rest of Canada and are easily identifiable via the trademark Mira scarves the dogs all wear. I see the working dogs quite a bit, and occasionally see puppies in training. When raising a pup, you have to bring her everywhere with you… the mall, restaurant, work etc. In fact, one of the most stringent rules of the program is that you can not leave the dog unattended for any reason for more than 4 hours. With almost all families having two fulltime working parents, you can see why they are having so much trouble finding qualified foster homes for these dogs.

So, we’ll see what happens… if we qualify, you can bet your butt you’ll be seeing doggy pics on here soon 😉

Other than that, Go Media is still working on the final coloring of that neat little drawing project for me. I’ve seen a sweet color proof, but there were a couple of things I wanted changed, so it should be finished in the next week or so while I’m gone.

So take care and I’ll update you from Niagara Falls!