Definition of Blackmail

Ok, this is SO unrelated to this blog, but I needed more space than 140 characters to think through something, so here it goes.

It references a twitter conversation; here’s a link to the middle of it:


So, here are my thoughts.

For Blackmail:

  1. Video holder demands a large sum of money from target, in exchange for giving up video to target, so target can fully control who sees it.
  2. if target pays video holder a large sum, target acquires video and video does not go public.  Video holder receives a lot of money.
  3. if target doesn’t pay video holder, video goes public, video holder does not receive a lot of money, but they get vengeance by releasing video.

For the Rob Ford situation:

  1. Video holder demands a large sum of money from any person, in exchange for giving up video to that person, who can then fully control who sees it.
  2. if target pays video holder a large sum (before anyone else does), target acquires video and video does not go public.  Video holder receives a lot of money.  (target becomes “that person” in above point)
  3. if target doesn’t pay video holder before anyone else, then either
    a) video goes public, video holder DOES receive a lot of money, just from someone other than target
    b) video goes public, video holder did not receive a lot of money, but they still get vengeance by releasing video.

(There is technically another option for #3 in both of the above situations, where the video holder fails to get money AND doesn’t release video because they aren’t into vengeance, but even if you think this is likely enough to consider, it’s identical in both of the above cases, so moot).

So I highlighted in red the only differences between the two situations.  These blackmailers are rather clever in that they stand a good chance to profit even if the target DOESN’T pay up – genius, really.

In conclusion, if this Rob Ford situation is not considered equivalent to blackmail, I think there’s something wrong with our legal system. If one is allowed, so should the other be.  Please comment with counter-arguments, I’m willing to try to be convinced.

As an afterthought, it’s been made clear by the media that it’s the drug dealers themselves that are trying to get the money, or at the very least are the ones appearing in the video along with Ford.  So… drug dealing is illegal last time I checked, why is nobody talking about arresting these clowns, if not for blackmail, then for… I don’t know… selling crack to the mayor?


Most signals in Waterloo are independent

This is more of a driving post than a cycling post, but I needed a place to put something on the web, and this seemed simplest.

Email I sent to the City of Waterloo in October 2012:

My morning commute Westbound along Lexington/Columbia has been very painful lately, hitting every light except one.

Could we do something to synchronize these a bit better?

That small Dearborn intersection always changes so quickly for a single car, and it ends up causing traffic in both directions on the same road to hit 2 additional red lights. Perhaps the minor traffic could wait until the timing fits with the cycles of traffic on pace for a green light at Weber or Davenport.

It’s also always frustrating that one is often stopped at both Weber AND King. Even with no traffic, I had to accelerate (after waiting for green at Weber) at an above average pace to get through King just before it went yellow.

And then again, why do I get stopped at Hazel AND Albert AND Phillip? I understand I can’t expect green lights all the time, but surely the goal should be for smaller intersections to hold off until main traffic would have to be stopped at the next lights anyway, then take that chance to stop things, let the small streets go, and then release the main streets in time for them to approach their now-green next one?

I’m just wondering if it’s just an issue of city vs region being on different systems, or is there just no policy of prioritizing smooth traffic flow on the bigger streets first, even if it means longer waits at the smaller ones.

And the response:

Good afternoon David – I understand and appreciate your frustration. Please be advised that all traffic signals are under the jurisdiction of the Region (irrespective if it is city street or not). Most signalized corridors in the whole of the Region are not coordinated due to the limited/age of technology being used, essentially most intersections act independently. This is an issue often raised. The Region are aware of this and are looking at a future system that can improve traffic flows around the Region, but I have no information on details or timelines to offer you.

The city also provided contact info for someone at the Region.



Great to see an elite athlete commuting the healthy and enviro-friendly way:



Final official Ziggy’s Freewheels Ride

Last Saturday was a 40 km day for me, because I rode from my house to Ziggy’s for my final inspection (the bike is now legally mine!! yay!!!), and then from Ziggy’s, John O. and I rode to the meet point at the south end of Wilson Ave, where there is a tiny parking lot for some trails.

Ziggy's Ride to Cambridge

Margaret and Jade

Ziggy's Ride to Cambridge

John and Kevin

Ziggy's Ride to Cambridge

In the forest

Ziggy's Ride to Cambridge

Proving we made it to Cambridge!

Unfortunately John O. didn’t make it this far, because of a torn tire and popped tube.  Warning – if you go to connect to this trail, do NOT take a bike on the hiking part that goes straight down to the river from that lot at the end of Wilson.  Instead cut through and continue on Mill Park Dr.  After that you can access the Grand River trail down near the creek.   But for us, we took what must be a new pedestrian/cyclist bridge over the highway.  I’m pretty sure it connects Doon Valley Dr. and Morningside Dr. (map here, but it doesn’t show the bridge – might be an old satellite photo).

Special thanks to Kevin (the hands-down km winner from the Freewheels project) for the ride home, so I could not have to make it a 60km day and be late for the children handoff with my wife 🙂

Thanks again to Ziggy’s for the quality bike, care, and experience.  Since Saturday we’ve done another family bike ride – this time almost 5k on the trails in and around our Eastbridge neighbourhood and the close part of RIM park.



23.77 km day

It was a bit colder today!  I’m going to have to get some cycling gloves next time I’m at Ziggy’s.

I almost reverted to car at the last minute, but then my loving wife pointed out that I could be ambitious and take my bike to that Dr. appointment that I remembered just before heading out.

So after walking my bike and daughter to school, showing it off to all her friends, my riding went from Home to Work to Doctor’s (Kitchener – took Laurel Trail through Waterloo Park, and then took Park St. down behind hospital), to Pharmacy (Iron Horse trail and a little bit of street riding to Belgage), back up to Work, then partway home, then back to Work, then all the way home.

Total 1 hour 8 minutes of riding time, 23.77 km, bringing the project total up to 378 km!

Why did I go back to Work after partially going Home?  Because I lost my GPS unit for the Regional Study near the bike room… right near the end of the study period!  All the data would have been lost.  Luckily I had the foresight to attach my business card to it.  And it turned out another RIM employee who was on his way back to UW to return his unit, noticed it on the ground, so he just returned it anyway – so at least the data and the unit are safe, although I had planned to log a couple more trips before handing it back.  Oh well, good enough.

I’m having some trouble with my brakes – specifically the right rear pad is now squealing.  I’ve noticed for a few days that if I spin the rear wheel slowly, a very tiny warp in the rim is enough to cause it to slow or stop at that point in every rotation.  I think I’ve even felt it drag me a bit when I’m riding somewhere and noticing a slight energy drain.  For my final Ziggy’s check-up, I will ask them to show me how to adjust this, to even out the space with the left pad which seems to have plenty by comparison.

Looking forward to the group ride to Cambridge on Saturday!



Strong headwinds suck

Today 18:27 to get into work.  Saps all the energy out of you.

I think the wind had turned a bit because it seemed that some of the time there was a decent headwind on the way home too  – but I was pretty pumped for some reason and pushed pretty hard.  I am pretty sure I set a new record:  12 minutes 42 seconds, which roughly matches the first time I timed myself by car.  Pretty amazing.  If I didn’t think I had met that goal before, I did now.  Up to 354 km total.

In other news, a cycling article from Ottawa:



We did it!

Riding under Lexington St. near Dearborn

Riding under Lexington St. near Dearborn. Yes, I needed to duck.

Arrival at daycare

Arrival at daycare

As you can see from the pictures, we finally achieved my final goal for the Freewheels project.

I am very happy.  My daughter was not so happy for most of the ride, as she didn’t like the fact that I insisted on closing the mesh, easily see-through cover over her for extra protection for this trip.  In the end, she enjoyed seeing the sights, like the forest we rode through, the Canada Geese, and some construction equipment in action.

Some of the trails to the east of Marsland Rd have horrible loose gravel that even a mountain bike would be lucky to get through, nevermind a road hybrid with a trailer.  I’ll be reporting that to the city/region.  I also went an extra km because I initially forgot my GPS for the regional bike study, and went back home to get it.

9.16 km.  36:33 travel time  (longer to avoid the major roads for most of the ride).  Total kms for the project up to 329 (but 6 more coming to get home tonight)

Yay!  We did it!

April 2019
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