As we were driving up to Uptown Waterloo the other day, Erin looked ahead and spotted one of those bumper stickers with a two or three-letter code that people sometimes use to display their ancestral national pride. She saw the above sticker with the code “EVL”.
ERIN: “What country is represented by the code EVL?”
ME: “I have no idea.”
ERIN: “Is it the Kingdom of Evil? Because I think it’s the Kingdom of Evil!”
Turns out, it was the town of Endicottville, New York. How evil.
And why is he so proud to receive just five T4 slips?
It should be said that there may be spoilers for Icarus Down in this post. I'll try to keep plot details circumspect, but tread carefully if you don't want to be spoiled.
For some additional publicity for Icarus Down, I invested in some rather neat swag. The pewter figures above measure around an inch high, and from left to right are Rachel, Simon, Eliza and the Elder. I had a whole batch of them molded by Valiant Enterprises and delivered to my door, and I will be giving these away at future events.
The idea came to me from comic book artist Shawn French, who alerted Erin and me to the company and an sculpter who worked for them. The sculpter could create any figurine you would care to describe, and send the "greens" to Valiant who would create molds off it and then run off any number of pewter figurines you'd want. Given the number of figures that Valiant could create quickly, the cost of the figurines amounted to just spare change per figure, making them very reasonable items to give out as swag. The molds could also be reused for future runs, should I run out.
Shawn put me in touch with the sculpter, Nicolas Genovese. I described to him the figures he wanted done and he set to work, producing the prototype "greens". Once I was satisfied with the results, he shipped them off to Valient, who created molds and did the molding, and the result is as you see above.
Hero Forge offers a similar service, where you can design your own figurines based on their templates, and they will render them in plastic, steel or bronze via a 3-D printer. However, these are a lot more expensive (they tend to sell single figurines, rather than in bulk), and with human artist Nicolas at the construction end of things, I could be sure of getting exactly the figure I wanted.
Thanks to Shawn, Nicolas and the good folks at Valiant Enterprises for giving me a piece of publicity swag that should stand out a little from the usual bookmarks and postcards. And come see me this weekend, next Tuesday or the following Saturday to get your own set of Icarus Down figurines.
My latest column for The Kitchener Post is now out, and you can read it here.
Don’t be afraid to ask for better service
In commuting, as with everything else, little things make a big difference.
Earlier this month, Metrolinx launched its expanded train service between Kitchener and Toronto’s Union Station.
Two new inbound trains were added in the morning, and two return trains were added in the afternoon. This combined with express buses to Bramalea every hour on weekdays mean more options for getting around the Greater Toronto Area.
But there was one frustration. One of the four inbound trains operates express between Bramalea and Union, chopping twelve minutes off of the travel time. It departs Kitchener station at 6:04 a.m.
Initially, Grand River Transit’s first 204 iXpress bus of the day was scheduled to arrive at Victoria and Weber at 6:06 a.m.
This was frustrating, because it meant that if I wanted to take the 6:04 train without driving to the station, I’d have to take a taxi.
I expressed my frustration through the customer comments form at Grand River Transit’s home page (www.grt.ca). To my surprise, a GRT representative called me back a couple of days later.
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On This Day
- 2011: "It Looks Like Freedom, But it Feels Like Death..." Closing Time Reviewed
- 2008: Quick Hits -- September 29
- 2007: You are *SO* Going to Purgatory!
- 2006: Reviews Taken and Given
- 2005: What's the Word?
- 2004: Canada -- no, the West's -- Looming Health Care Crisis
- 2003: Some Facts About Canada
- 2003: No Remnants This Time.