Niagara


This is a pretty amazing look over Niagara Falls. As its creator notes in on youtube, only folks to get this look were anybody who went over or Nik Wallenda. Only decent pics I have ever seen from a helicopter were ones my brother took on tourist rides. This chopper couldn’t accommodate passengers.

It is deeply cool

Good job, questpact

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These Boots were made for walkin’


by his momma.

I readily admit, it was pretty cool to see Nik Wallenda succeed and even attempt his walk across Niagara Falls last night. It was pretty easy to be snarky about all the hype, the buildup and especially the blathering from the commentators from ABC.

In all fairness to them, they did break the story of the fact that the water in the Niagara mist was indeed “wet.” The visuals were impressive, the falls looked great and many instances, less would have been more on the analysis front from the ABC folk.

It’s hard not be taken with the images, like this one from the  Buffalo News. I respect Mr. Wallenda’s abilities even more so, watching him not only do this, but talk both with the commentators and his dad. There would have been times I might have asked everybody to “shaddup, I’m a little busy” with all the verbal back and forth. But maybe that’s how you stay centered walking uphill on a wet wire into Canada. It should be noted that he made better time than some Rainbow Bridge commuters.

Wallenda proved to be a skilled athlete and a real nice guy, calling grandma was a nice touch. I’m sure the “stumble” in Baltimore was a bit of hype, got to keep ’em watching, but the run to the finish last night was pretty good. I had made a few jokes on twitter how roller skates or hopping would be really awesome too.

Aside from admiring the thesaurus laden commentary from the commentators, the incredible feat itself (“I just walked to Canada and boy, are my arms tired”), it can be easy to read to much into one event. Probably isn’t going to change folks perspectives of the American Falls too much, but to get a few thousand more folks to the American side on a Friday evening is a good thing.

I was driving home from a wedding reception and purposely took the Moses Parkway so it would take me back through Niagara Falls proper and it was nice to see things lively on an early sunday night. Hopefully, more folks are thinking about how nice it can be and might take a visit..because it’s there.

I think I’ll go for a walk outside


As a news anchor, Ch. 7’s Keith Radford makes a pretty good photographer. Of all the many images making the rounds on the internets of Nik Wallenda and the high wire walk across the Falls, this is one of the cooler ones to emerge. It sure beats the shadow and “Walk into History” graphic that another station is using. I wish Mr. Wallenda all the best, hope it’s great show, but am personally kind of meh about the whole thing.

I’m sure he’ll do fine. The ruckus about a safety harness has the feel of manufactured drama to me as no sponsor spokespeople have appeared before microphones, not that there is any shortage of those.

I wonder more about the other hazards like: without proper id, will customs make him walk back? Will he have anything to declare?

Or will any harness actually cause some issues?

Either way, like everybody else, I’ll watch, won’t pay money for a “free” tioket on Craig’s list, when my tv will do.

Slowly, I turn…


Having lived here all my life, Niagara Falls was a pretty regular fixture. From out of town family checking out the wonder that is the Falls, to the occasional family jaunts, there has always been something kind of compelling about the American side of the Falls. It has forever seemed like it can’t work right, mostly because the Canadians continue to build and build, but my inner tourist finds something of interest in the whole mishagas.

A tourism show had me up at the Conference Center setting up a booth this afternoon. After seeing to that, I had a little time before the obligatory “ice breaker” so I went on walkabout in this weirdly wonderful place.

It’s a little sad to see things like the “Turtle” still sitting dormant and the Casino casting a glow, but nothing else of the nearby church.

Maybe it is the perspective of the whole thing, see the growth across the river from the stillness of the American parkland

Maybe not.

Got on my boots….


Now what?

One of my favorite bands has been U2 since my halcyon years in college radio. They’ve endured fairly well. The last record that I was really fond of “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” The recent records since have had their moments, but as a whole, are well, okay. The lads did provide me, however indirectly, with what might be my zenith in parenting when I took my eldest to her first rock show when U2 played Buffalo toward the end of 2005.

That said, I thought it was pretty interesting that there were many great reviews from the shows played then because they were in arenas with the focus on the music.

I saw the attached photos from the National Post in Canada and thought maybe stadium shows are getting too large. When it is that big, how important is it to say you were in the building, when all you did was pay lots of money to watch the Edge on TV?

It is an awe-inspiring site and a cool picture, but I must be getting old.

I was at a free show last week and somebody complained that I was blocking their view of a tv-screen at a free show. It happens more at the free shows and there are plenty of great ones in our area, but they do attract folks who go so they can say they were there, not because they were interested in the show.

It’s interesting to see and I think paid shows aren’t immune. I was fascinated by the amount of people who used the slow songs at the April Bob Seger show in Buffalo for beer runs. Really? There must be something I’m missing in those eight dollar beers that make them so addicting.

By all means, do check out the pretty fair review from U2’s show on Monday, found here at http://arts.nationalpost.com/2011/07/12/concert-review-u2-at-the-rogers-centre-in-toronto/

It’s interesting to me that great songs transcend anything and when Seger was here, he said the heck with everything and just played.

One of the forum posters on the National Post site hit it on the head that the band would be great in front of a brick wall.

Play decent music and people will come….

Greetings from Buffalo, Ontario


Remember the scene in Family Guy where Peter and Brian were landing in Ireland, debating about the irish drinking stereotype, while their plan lands in a sea of empty beer bottles? I couldn’t help but wonder if the Canadian hockey fans leaving HSBC Arena waded through a sea of Molson Canadian cans as they skulked to their cars and hotels for the trip back north.

While wading through the happenings of this week, I just wanted to congratulate the new speaker of the house as the first person of color to hold that position. I just didn’t think orange would be first, but I’m sure his constituency of oompa-loompas are quite proud.

Do all white house press secretaries go stale after two years?

I was reading some of the articles criticizing the Albright Knox for hosting the “Forty” exhibit. After careful consideration, I think the critics should put a sock in it. The Knox family were principles in both the gallery and the hockey team and if the hockey team can indirectly get some more folks interested in the real work of the gallery, that is a good thing and what really matters. If hockey fans help the gallery avoid a lean time financially, then there is a second bonus. Sometimes being a purist is just annoying, ya know?

Besides, I enjoyed it immensely. There was a nice pleasure in telling the gallery work that “I have already seen it” when she asked if I wanted to see the Stanley Cup.

Back to the folks chanting “this is our house” at HSBC Arena during the Canada vs. US and the Canada vs. Russia games, the worry about this shouting is kind of silly. I think we’ll get our deposit back next time the Maple Leafs come to town.

Speaking of which, can the Sabres play them soon. It seems our home team has been a lot more interesting off the ice than on lately. Personally, I’d like to see that trend reversed.

Interesting watching the tweets after the Bills’ final implosion for the year, kvetching about draft order. It doesn’t matter. When you are suffering from bullet wounds, picking out just one band-aid is only stop so much bleeding.

But, I won a Fantasy Football championship, which is just slightly about emerging triumphant from a Dungeons and Dragons tourney. T’was satisfying in an odd way. Fought the temptation to order the commemorative trophy from yahoo.

Happy 12th Day of Christmas

How I Spent my Winter Vacation


After a week away, I am a refreshed and energized Zoo marketing manager, looking forward to the challenges of the calendar year. Even brokered a couple of deals during the breather to stay trim. This is a good thing as I am one exhausted Arena usher. I have been moonlighting at the arena for events and service during the World Juniors Hockey Championship Tourney as me seeing the Sabres’ home ice like this.

It is an interesting event to be sure. It is fun to talk hockey, troubleshoot stuff. An international roundtable of your friendly neighborhood usher (me), a gentleman from Simcoe township, and a trio of chemically serene young fellows from Kitchner have addressed how Canada hasn’t played anybody yet, why Sam Hoyt was right, why Sam Hoyt was wrong, why wasn’t the rink at Buff State used for some games to regionalize the tourney into Elmwood which would have given the USA forward something to do other than to whine on twitter about how boring Buffalo is. Think about it, if you are 17 and marooned at the Adam’s Mark, it is pretty easy to be underwhelmed by the area.

Sure, he shouldn’t have said it, but we sure didn’t need to give it any heed.

We also decided that tripleheaders pose more problems than they are worth, that given the heavy passionate interest from Canada (for them, this is personal), perhaps the Canadian games should have dominated prime time, since that would keep more people in the building, thereby selling more souvenirs, more Labatts, and more souvenirs…and probably more higher priced ad time for the good people from TSN.

But you learn by doing and from where I sit, it’s been done pretty well all told. Changes got made to make the whole thing work and as the Swiss and Slovaks showed today, there is some good hockey to be had. There have been a lot of routs in what I’ve seen so far, which is occasionally fun, but if you are either getting routed or impartial, or just spent from a long day, you tend to think “Feh.”

Sure, I could have done with perhaps, a day less of this, and a decided decrease in the alcohol fueled shenanigans, but it has been a good event thus far, even if the local beer distributors are the ones making out. I like seeing these types of things unfold and it is the little things that stick with you. I don’t know how many times I saw mostly guys go past holding three large cans of beer. The large can, I should point out, goes for $8.50. I, like the Dude, “respect the beverage,” but who has all that flippin beer money.

Boggles the mind.

I got one more day, sports fans, that I am out, so all you headed to 305-306, let’s relax and have fun. Being a hockey nerd, it’s been largely entertaining, with only a little peril. Let’s lose the peril

Blame Canada!


The World Juniors Hockey Tourney formally kicked off Sunday at the arena. I spent the day camped at sections 305-306 for the day.

And I’m glad I have the next day off. Overall, it was an entertaining experience.  One actual brawl between a quartet of ugly americans over seats was thankfully ended before anybody got hurt. It did take a little bit for my nerves to resume normal operations. This aging usher isn’t crazy about that sort of fun when I’m outnumbered by a bunch of guys hellbent on proving how tough they are. Thankfully for swift security response, I could employ my older brother’s floor hockey technique of avoiding the actual action, but looking busy at the same time.

That was to start my third game of the day, the eventual US victory over Finland. Understand, this is basically a big Canadian party and much of the crowd was left over from Canada’s win over Russia (that was the best game of the day.). The building was jammed and energized and felt like a hockey game. I got a feeling we were looking at the two best teams. The first game of the day was between Switzerland and Germany and was played to a roughly half full arena. Some of the crowd was actually there for that, others were there to check their sightlines for the Canadian/Russian battle at 4.

I don’t know if the Bills games had anything to do with it, or if the Fins aren’t a big name opponent, but it was a little off to see the USA playing in prime time on National television in both the US and Canada (and presumably Finland) and the place wasn’t entirely full. If you are in to hockey at all and have the post Christmas means, I’d recommend checking it out. For the same reason college basketball is more fun than the pros, these young bucks move. International rules means fewer offsides, no fights, arguments get broken up quick, so the game really does move along. And even the trash talk is mostly good natured, one of the canadian partisans invented the fried bologna/pretzel sandwich at the concession stand and stood eating that gastrointestinal miracle while explaining how if Finland beat the US, that would be good for the tourney. That bit of barstool philosophy was impossible to be an audience to without laughing.

A Day at the Beach


Nice escape yesterday. Some of my family took up residence in Ridgeway, Ontario (right near Sherkston) for the past week and I took the day to come play yesterday. Aside from a nasty mosquito issue near the house, the beach was pretty close to perfect. It was a lot of fun to fall in the water, splash wars and even fit myself into a kayak and get back out with bruising my dignity too much, even got enough sun that my farmer’s tan from events at work may have disappeared a little bit.

Got to kayak, even sail a little. It was a most satisfactory way to deflower my new passport card. Cherry on the cake of the day was the Duty Free having plenty of Sleeman’s Draught in stock.