$1 a day…

You can’t beat the price of renting a car with CityFlitz! At a flat rate of $1 per day… Yes… that is one dollar, a mere Loonie per day !

For the outlay of $1, a choice of fuel-efficient cars (MINI Coopers, MINI Cooper Clubmans, Smart cars, VW Beetles and Toyota Prius),  you have free 24/7 pick up and delivery, free WiFi in every MINI, and unlimited mileage.

“Catch?” you ask? Well, yes. There is a catch. A number of catches to be precise.

Catches…

  • The car you get is essentially a moving billboard for companies and events.
  • You have to drive at least 30 km per day
  • You have to stay within the CityFlitz “zone”
  • and you have to register as a CityFlitzer*

* Cost for CityFlitz “membership”

One-time Security Deposit (fully-refundable)    $350
Annual Registration Fee     $35
Monthly Membership Fee     $7
Daily Car Rental Rate     $1

Oh… and currently, the company is only in Toronto, but plans are afoot to open outlets in Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

CityFlitz promotes itself as a members-only “car-sharing” service rather than car “rental” company. This means that rather than simply renting and returning, you are responsible for adhering to a series of membership rules (which include being least 23 and have had a license for three years, with no speeding convictions 20 kilometres above the speed limit and no at-fault accidents in past two years…).

There are 120 members and a waiting list of 4,000. Members can only book a car for one day at a time and can’t make a booking again until 48 hours later. Given the number of cars and the number of members, it is obvious that demand outstrips availability. However, the company says that with increased demand, they are adding new cars to their fleet.

Members are responsible to filling the gas tank and topping up the windshield fluids, as well as any bumps and dents that they get in the car. As well, they pay for any kms below the 30 km daily minimum ($4 per km).

If renting a car in a single day or for a whole week without any sort of responsibility beyond making sure you don’t have an accident and MAYBE filling the gas tank before you return it is all you are interested in, I would suggest using Hertz or Avis. But if you want the semi-regular use of a car and can work withing the rather large list of rules, perhaps “car-sharing”, whether with CityFlitz or some other company, this might appeal to you.

City Flitz Cars

City Flitz Cars

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People that burn my butt…

Today, my mother and I went to the Sears store at Carlingwood Shopping Centre to get a new strap for her watch. Unfortunately, despite the fact that her watch is a reasonably well-known make of watch, the shape was unusual and the watch repair kiosk didn’t carry the strap she needed. So, I suggested we simply get Mom a new watch.

So, we toddled off the the watch department (the watch repair kiosk is privately run and the watch department is Sears-run) to look at the watches.

After looking at some of the cases, we waited at the counter to be served.

There was a male clerk serving a customer and a woman doing something at the other end of the counter. We waited for about 3 or 4 minutes before the the female clerk came towards us and I thought she was going to help us. Instead, she evaded our gaze and walked out and down the aisle. I thought she must be on her break.

We waited another 3 or 4 minutes. Then, while Mom stood at the counter, I leaned over to a nearby rack and looked at the watches in the case and when I looked back a mere 6 or so seconds later, the man who had just finished with his customer (who didn’t actually want to buy anything) walked right past my mother and down the aisle.

By now, the woman clerk was back but she was standing in the aisle about 3 feet away, talking to another woman who appeared to be either a friend or a coworker who was there on her own time.

I waited for at least a full two minutes for her to acknowledge us and then finally said “Excuse me…”

Well!!! She turned her head really slowly towards me and glared at me and turned back to her friend and finished her conversation. So I said “Never mind.” and took my mother’s arm and started to walk away. The clerk said “Can I help you?”

I said “Well, I WAS going to buy a watch but obviously it is too much trouble for you to stop your private conversation while customers who have been standing here several minutes wait to be served”.

I then walked down to customer service and made a complaint.

I worked retail for QUITE a number of years. I can understand when a store is busy that customers have to stand and wait. I can understand that people have to go on breaks. I understand seeing a friend and saying hello to them. I can understand waiting on a talkative customer.

I CANNOT understand steadfastly ignoring a customer and failing to say “I will be right with you” or “I am just on my break but XXX will be right with you”.

I cannot understand standing talking to a friend and co-worker while customers, one obviously old and frail stand waiting.

The behaviour of both the clerks was inexcusable and they both lost a guaranteed sale.

AususTek Eco-friendly laptop

While it isn’t going to cure the world’s eco problems overnight, every little bit counts.

Ausus has unveiled its eco-friendly bamboo-clad laptop.

U6V Bamboo

U6V Bamboo

“ASUS has achieved international renown for its research into, and inspired use of, biodegradable materials such as leather in its products, but its decision to embrace bamboo is nothing short of ingenious. Through the use of bamboo which has an immense tensile strength that rivals that of many metal alloys, the ASUS Bamboo notebook is highly resilient – an attribute proven conclusively by the fact that it is the first notebook to have survived the unforgiving conditions of snow-capped Qomolangma Peak, which stands at a staggering height of 8,848 meters (29,028 feet). “

Naysayers point to the fact that trees are a “renewable resource”. They conveniently forget that while trees ARE renewable, they do not regenerate on their own and require planting, are easily damaged in the planting, and require years to grow to the point where they can be harvested.  Bamboo, on the other hand, regenerates itself, requires no care or management, and with less cost outlay, reaps high reward.

“Bamboo also has a renewal rate that no other plant can match. It has been known to grow 60cm in just 24 hours, reaching its maximum height in several years. Bamboo is also capable of regenerating itself upon harvesting without necessitating replanting, making it possibly the perfect renewable resource.”

Of course, there will always be people who pooh-pooh the small steps towards solutions to eco-problems as not “curing” all the world’s problems and, therefor, not worth bothering with. The fact is that ANY small change we can make is PART of the eventual solution. You can’t build a house with one brick, but many with many bricks.

PhotoHunter: Purple

My Purple (suede) shoes…

One Foot

One Foot

Two Feet

Two Feet

photohunter7iq1

Purple Columbine from my brother’s garden, Brockville…

Purple Columbine

Purple Columbine

Lupine, near Red Rock, Ontario (North of Superior)

Lupine, near Red Rock, Ontario (North of Superior)

Vetch at sunset, Helen Lake (North of Superior)

Vetch at sunset, Helen Lake (North of Superior)

What Artist Should Paint You? Gustav Klimt, of course!

What Artist Should Paint Your Portrait?

Who Should Paint You:Gustav Klimt

Sensual and gorgeous, you would inspire an enchanting portrait… with just enough classic appeal to be hung in any museum!

Thanks to Raincoaster via Az.

Certainly got THAT right. I love Klimt. Since he is dead, however, I will have to do it myself

The following are from a series I started called “Alter Egos”… myself as the subject in famous artworks.

The Klimt ones are some of my favorites.

Frau Fritza Riedler

Frau Mudhooks (aka "Frau Fritza Riedler")

Moi as "Eugenia"

Moi as "Eugenia"

Muddy in Blue ("Portrait of Emilie Floge")

Muddy in Blue ("Portrait of Emilie Floge")

As Judith (Judith and Holophernes)

As Judith (Judith and Holophernes)

A little “Je ne sais quoi” de chat…

On Saturday, I took my nephew’s cat, Ace, into the vet.

Ace is not yet fixed. Neither is his brother, Onyx. The reason that neither Ace or Onyx are fixed is directly because of Ace not being fixed…. I explain…

My nephew has set up repeated appointments to have both cats fixed. Every single time, the night before, Ace has escaped and stays out for two or three days. Each time either another appointment has been set up and he escapes again, or he has come back all torn up from a fight with another cat, had to be repaired at great cost or gotten an infection which has prevented the vet from fixing him… OR… it has cost so much to repair him that they have to save up in order to be able to afforfdthe neutering…. Then, they make another appointment and Ace does a Houdini and is gone for another three days…. and the cycle continues.

This time, having JUST been repaired after having his leg bitten, he escaped again and came back with an infected eye.

So…. off to the vet.

My nephew lives in Pickering and the vet is in Etobicoke which are something like 45 minutes apart. My nephew said we didn’t need a carrier and that the last time being in the carrier “freaked him out”. Wisely… and fortunately, I decided to take the chance on him being “freaked out” in the carrier and we bought a carrier for him.

So… of we headed to the vet. We were almost at the vet’s when we got slightly lost and just as we got on track, again, my niece said… “Do you smell something?”. Indeed, I did.

Quite quickly, the car filled with the most horrendous stench of cat pee I have ever encountered.

Ace had had an “accident”. Not just had be had “an accident” he had had a 25-car pile-up of an accident in the carrier. Poor fellow. I guess because of the infection, he had a case of the runs.

The entire inside of the cage was swimming in pee and poo and Ace was saturated…. and it STANK! Even with the windows open, we were gagging.

We arrived at the vets to find a huge line up so I was forced to stand outside with the carrier. But it was so cold that I was worried about him catching cold. Eventually, I went inside…. to the obvious “delight” of the other people waiting. Thankfully, the vet’s assistant took him in the back and more or less washed him up. He still smelled horrendous.

After the vet saw him, I got a garbage bag and lined the back seat with it. Even so, that night, despite having sprayed the car down with Fabreeze and leaving th4e windows open, it still smelled as bad as it had originally. Imagine, if you will, 35 cats have been spraying in your car. That will give you some idea of how bad my car smells.

Unfortunately, my nephew had just the day before paid one of his employees to clean the car, shampoo the upholstery and rugs, and wash the outside of it. Aside from the rusty areas, the car looked almost brand new. It smelled really nice.

Ace

Ace

Carol

My dear friend Carol passed away tonight. I didn’t get a chance to see her again before she died. I was suppposed to head to London from from Pickering to see her in the morning and spend as much of the weekend as I could with her. At least I got to spend some time with her last weekend when she was still at the point where she was comfortable and somewhat at ease.

Thirty years apart were too long. It is hard to believe that the photo below was taken just last summer and that someone so vibrant and beautiful, in spirit and otherwise, could die less than a year later.

I will miss her.

Old friends

Old friends

Decaying Beauty – photos by Carey Primeau

As many people know, I have a love of abandoned buildings and spend a lot of time photographing them. However, I don’t think I will EVER be as accomplished in capturing them quite like Carey Primeau. These photos are so awesomely (and sadly) stunning.

unFILED - Carey Primeau

unFILED - Carey Primeau

“When I was introduced to photography many years ago I instantly knew it was a medium that fit my personality perfectly. Photography quickly became an outlet for communication, an illustration for my ideas that sometimes were too complicated for me to put in words.

With a camera in my hand and a bike below my feet, I live, work and play in the City of Chicago in the same way that my mother, father, grandparents, and great grandparents have.

Most of the photographs featured here are from the Neglected Beauty Project that I have been working on for the past 4 years. By inspiring dialogue about forgotten historic structures, there is hope that the general public and our politicians will once again learn to appreciate their existence. Historical buildings are crucial for future generations because they not only provide direct connections to our past, but can be focal points for a shared cultural experience in the future.”

No. 2 pencil ONLY - Carey Primeau

No. 2 pencil ONLY - Carey Primeau

Centrality Amongst Chaos - Carey Primeau

Centrality Amongst Chaos - Carey Primeau

PhotoHunter: Triangle

Architectural triangles.

While I am two days ahead for posting this, I will be slow to acknowledge your comments and to visit everyone else’s contributions. My reason is this…. and this. I know you will all understand. I will try and make my visits, slowly but surely. If I miss you, I am sorry.

"The White House"

"The White House"

photohunter7iq1

"St. John's Church, Pierce's Corners, Ontario"

"St. John's Church, Pierce's Corners, Ontario"

How I Did it….

Image progression… Making photographic lemonade.

I was more or less just fiddling around but I like many of the resulting images.

I started off with a simple and not very good image of a CD disk which I had been experimenting with.

First image

First image

In Image 2, I had played around with isolating and softening the prism effect of the reflection.

Image 2

Image 2

After playing around with the image for some time I sort of set it aside.

Today (four years later) , I was looking for an image for this week’s PhotoHunter, which is “Triangle”.  I decided to try a few tweaks which I have discovered recently.

Image 3

Image 3

In Image 3, I solarized it and then did it as a negative and enhanced the colour and light. Then I solarized it, again, and increased the colour saturation.

Image 4

Image 4

Image 4 shows the changes using my RGB colour balance, reducing the yellow and enhancing the magenta.

Image 5

Image 5

In Image 5, I, again, increased the colour saturation.

Image 7

Image 6

Image 6 is after shifting the colour tone to a monochrome.

Image 7

Image 7

In Image 7, I solarized it again and increased the colour saturation.

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