Toronto Bird Photo Booth is a Storytelling Exercise, A Friendly Match for Businesses

2014 Toronto Bird Photo Booth Business Challenge is the original bird ‘selfie’ portrait contest that was made back in May 2014 to showcase custom loyalty program software through storytelling, and is not a true photo contest, but more like a friendly match between businesses hosting the booth.

Emma from Spectacle Loves U aims Toronto bird photo boothWhat is the Toronto Bird Photo Booth? If you don’t know already, a bird photo booth is a feeder attached to a digital camera, triggered by a motion detector. Its a wonderful piece of technology that makes art to serve nature.

There are two cameras here – one is an iPhone 5C purchased by John Conn of Standard Telecom, office phones service in Toronto who hosted Week Three,  and the other is the WIngscapes BirdPro trail cam which is a handy back-up unit.

Would you like to host the Toronto Bird Photo Booth for a week on your GTA business property?

The rig is programmed to take pictures of any wild birds that land at the feeder. The idea is to see who has the best wild birds. Businesses hosting the Toronto Bird Photo Booth can enter their pics into the friendly bird portrait photo contest for prizes.
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SMOJoe launches Birds of Toronto, and now I chronicle developments on the blog and also write weekly Bird Photo Booth updates for Toronto is Awesome magazine.

Look below at this English sparrow that thinks its a terrifying huge hawk; its emulating some larger bird of prey as it tries to scare away another fellow from the feeder.   
Scary Sparrow 2Like any playground, It isn’t long before an even meaner House sparrow with a distinctive white stripe on his wings appears to scare everyone away for a spell. You’ve never seen these tiny birds up close like this! I’ve gained a new appreciation for these sparrows by seeing them so close and full of emotion, and I imagine these birds are reacting the same way humans would fight over a big pile of cash left in the street.

House Sparrow, Birds of TorontoThese birds really do have lots of have personality ! See again how white stripes simply refuses to share the bowl.

white strips at feeder dish, dominatesThis storytelling started back in June and the photography is getting better each week.

The Toronto Bird Photo Booth Challenge was on Bird Canada, last week. This story is where tech meets nature and the arrangement yields visually stimulating content. Each update chronicles the last host’s contributions, and features a new competitor’s story alongside their gallery of pictures.  At the end of the summer, Judges will review the best photos and reward the best ‘birders’ among the people who positioned the cameras . And there will be prizes. TBD

Smojoe SEO Show at Chalkers Pub 17 June 2014

Neville Pokroy and Rob Campbell at SMOJoe SEO Show 17 June 2014A really great Smojoe SEO Show was held at Chalkers Pub in Toronto on Tuesday the 17th June 2014 at 7pm as thirty people braved extreme thunderstorm alert, and severe weather to attend the inspirational web marketing event. They gathered in the dining area at the south end of the restaurant complex to soak up as much knowledge as possible for the $10 entry fee charged by Leeann Jenson the administrator of a popular Life After 40 Single Meetup Group. I joked that this evening was SEO for Singles with websites and that wasn’t far from the truth; the one complaint I got was that there wasn’t enough networking time!

Without any interruptions, not waiting on weather or late arriving attendees, the Smojoe SEO Show was performed live by myself Rob Campbell starting at 715pm. The ‘show’ starts by me explaining what we have to do today to get page one presence, and why and how we do it. Then, after a tiny break, I go around looking at everyone’s websites and we all together set about figuring out how we can help these attendees and their struggle for subject matter relevance and higher rankings.  Its quite fascinating if I don’t say so myself… and its starting to get some big name business attention from Bay St consultants and business growth authors and business marketing gurus of all stripes. Who doesn’t want to be first on Google for something. Neville Pokroy brought his business growth book along to this show and he gave away six signed copies to people brave enough to share their site’s meta data, and suffer the scrutiny of the crowd on stage at the front of the room.

Inside this SEO workshop attendees find new ways to help each other.  Everyone in the crowd becomes a little bit more SEO savvy and certainly more social media friendly as they quickly become aware of how to increase their reach and authority.  Glenda MacDonald live blogged SMOJoe SEO MeetUp 17June2014; she did a terrific job communicating the entire ordeal, blow by blow, with original pictures, on her blog.

The best part of the night was when people won prizes!  Dr Archer, Toronto Dentist at Archer Dental donated twenty travel toothbrush kits and mini toothpaste tubes which I gave away to people who asked intelligent questions and did the social media exercises to benefit other attendees’ websites and blogs.

SMOJOe SEO show, June 17Some of the sponsors attended the event in person and they brought products to give away to anyone who would help them get along, and link to them and say kind words so they can get more recognition by earning higher rankings on Google; just showing up with something in your hands to give away at the SMOJoe SEO show makes you more important in this life.

Here is Angelo Tramonti from Sarafino Olive Oil who offered up these exotic liquids as a grand prize for live bloggers – Glenda MacDonald won!

Rob Campbell performing SMOJoe SEO Show live at Chalkers Pub 17 June 2014We could have improved the impact by setting and tweeting a certain hashtag, and I could have passed around a paper blog resource sheet for people to write down their blog URLs and Twitter handles, and these are good ideas for next time

Overall, I think everyone had a great time at this unique event, and Leeann has already asked when I’ll be available to do it again.

Spinrite, Perfect Knit, Supplies for Knitting, Buy Yarn in Listowel Ontario

Thanks to internet shopping nobody has to drive seventy two miles west to Listowel Ontario when you can buy knitting supplies online but if you do happen to find yourself in the Queens Bush region of Ontario you could travel and shop at the Spinrite Factory Outlet Store which has all manner of coloured wool including button and bows and zippers and satin linings and hundreds of paper pattern books and thousands of balls of yarn for sale.  Here’s a nifty Urban Exploration discussion forum post offering a secret glimpse inside the Spinrite wool mill in Listowel Ontario.

dying wool at Perfect KnitListowel locals have been dying wool for half a century or more. Look here at the Victorian Era wool dying machines that occupied the buildings in the late 1800s.

Read about John Binning the Founding Father of Listowel Ontario on Dumpdiggers; he’s outlined along with mills on the Maitland river and the settlers of the Queens Bush.

West40, Toronto Movers Help Clean St Marys of the Virgin Church at 40 Westmoreland

Its a sign of the times that churches are now going condo all over downtown Toronto.  West40 is a loft conversion by Dog Day Developers in what was once St Marys the Virgin Church at 40 Westmoreland Ave.  This stunning example of Neo Gothic architecture stands out as being ultra unique in an age of steel and glass condominium towers. This is living in history.

Toronto movers at West40Architects Asen Vitko and W. A. Langton have combined history,  grand architecture and urban living into this unique project. West40 has been designed with attention to brick detailing, a stunning bold tower and Tudor-arched openings.who was recognized for his attention to brick detailing has clearly demonstrated his flare on this century-old church.

Other key elements include a stunningly bold tower and Tudor-arch openings all of which will be restored to its original glory.

The style was distinguished from the late 19th century Gothic Revival by its reduced scale and more restrained interpretation of design elements associated with early medieval English architecture.

Seventeen one-of-a-kind residences will be carved from the church, each one incorporating the beautiful interior details that include soaring cathedral ceiling with heights up to 21 feet

Toronto movers are clearing out the appliances found in the makeshift worker’s Kitchen as the property gets another overhaul by the sandblasters who are due to arrive

moving fridge, Toronto movers, automatic tailgate on truck

YELP Josephson Opticians is a neighbourhood optical shop ; buy glasses in Toronto

In the 1920s and early 1930s there was reknown Anglican ministers who made St. Mary’s Church popular with the people of the city. The church always had a rich Music Ministry, and was known for some measure of Liturgical Reform.

St Mary’s Parish remains at 130 Bathurst St, Toronto Ont.

Spray foam guys insulate upscale Toronto

What is it like to be a spray foam guy?  There is a good story on Bizcovering magazine with an inside look at life as a spray foam insulation guy in Toronto and the piece used some pictures seen below.  This is Tim, a spray tech, who is also the truck driver and generator operator.  He’s on site to meet me first thing in the morning, opening up the back of the company truck and getting ready to help his teammate, the prime applicator. The prime is the rock star spray foam applicator who has had lots of training in the fine art of insulating residential houses with polyurethane rigid foam insulation. The pictures below shows Rob Campbell’s ride along on Oct 22nd to document a Toronto spray foam insulation company at work insulating a new home construction in a posh Forest Hill neighbourhood.

Opening Sprayfoam truck , day in the life  of spray foam guy

Spray foam insulation is an excellent albeit more expensive choice for home insulation.  The cost is minimum $3 per square foot of wall and roof, and the price varies depending on whether its open cell or closed cell foam being installed. Spray foam comes in two varieties, open-cell and closed-cell composition, and both types have different properties which make them good for one thing or another.. i might explain. Of the two options, closed-cell foam is the better insulator. Once cured, it also becomes a vapor retarder (because the tiny cells are closed moisture cannot enter the foam). but its disadvantage is price and weight.  Its heavy and expensive and sometimes you dont need that much insulation , and sometimes its too much and open cell is better.  Open cell foam has open bubbles Open-cell foam has a lower R-value, and acts as more of an air temperature and acoustic barrier; open cell foam is not an effective vapor barrier. Open cell foam is lighter, less dense and cheaper (because less material is used as it expands larger) and is applied as interior wall home insulation in places where moisture isn’t a variable.

Below Montana Mike puts on a full has-mat suit with respiratory system, boots and gloves, helmet and visor. Its intense.

put on suit for spray foam insulation application, back of truck,

Like any good chemical reaction there are some rather noxious chemicals produced as a bi-product of spray foam reaction between Isocyanates and the Walltite resin, both components are prepared by BASF and detailed on Fuel Ghoul blog about spray foam insulation in Toronto which outlines the process by which a Graco H40 component proportioner heats and pumps both liquids to the sprayer unit whereupon they combine at the nozzle tip of the gun.

mixing spray foam components together on job site with Graco H-40 Plural Component Reactor

The two substances must be hot when they combine to create the best chemical effect, and to make the best R-value rigid foam insulation. In the photo below, the tech tweaks a Graco H-40 Hydraulic Series Plural Component Reactor‘s front panel , adjusting temperature on the 12.0 kW heater in the machine. From residential foam insulation projects to high-volume commercial projects, Graco brand proportioners are a mainstay in the mobile spray foam industry. This rig alone, not including the truck and generator could cost about thirty five thousand dollars and comes with fifty foot of hose, and ten feet of heated whip and a Fusion AP  spray gun applicator.

Graco H-40 Hydraulic Series Plural Component Reactor With 20.4 kW Heater

Spray foam insulation is a bit of phenomenon especially here in Canada partly due to celebrity endorsements the home renovation TV shows that have propelled spokespeople to fame and fortune. These TV personalities have made deals with spray foam insulation manufacturers to endorse the product as being green and environmentally responsible, energy efficient, and 100 % cost effective – all of which is true.

spray foam tech basement wall headers in Forest Hill neighbourhood TorontoAll the same, spray foam insulation has been in the news lately and the people and processes have been called into question by a CBC Marketplace TV news doc that shows ‘how spray foam can go very wrong’ by examining the unlivable homes of unhappy customers.

The History Spray Foam Insulation

Otto Bayerm Germanchemieist who created polyurethane riigid foamWhat we know today as rigid foam insulation was invented in the 1950s by the German scientist Otto Bayer. He was trying to come up with something to replace rubber tires. He was eventually quite successful, but polyurethane wasn’t used to make wheels until the 1970s . Today the wheels under the folding metal steps of modern escalators are made of polyurethane, as are skateboard wheels.

Polyurethane has been around for about sixty years now – it has history stretching back to Germans scientists who pioneered many synthetics before World War II.  They were searching for synthetic textiles, rubber and silk. Twelve years after the war ended, in 1957 Otto Bayer and a German research team made advances with alkyd resins when they modified them with diisocyanates for the first time and made coatings and the first ever rigid foam products.  Today, anyone that has ever taken high school shop class, or refinished furniture, or stained a deck knows something about urethane wood finishes and the hard substance created when it hardens on the brush.

spray foam technician doing basement headers in Toronto Here is the crew starting work insulating the basement of a new home in Forest Hill.  They start at the bottom of the building doing the exterior wall ‘headers’. The team takes over the job site for a few hours each day and they often work lunches and late into the evening to be there when the other contractors are absent.  These guys are very careful not to expose any other tradespeople to the noxious gasses often created during the spray foam application process (I had to wear a breathing mask, visor and cover-alls as I followed the applicator around the basement).

Spray Foam in Toronto

Fuel Ghoul reports that the Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association (CUFCA) estimates that spray foam insulation was installed in approx 350,000 homes in Canada last year, a number that has been growing by 33 percent every year over the last decade. Part of the product’s appeal is that, when properly installed, spray foam insulation can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to fifty (50) per cent, according to the Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association (CUFCA) and so this really is advanced chemistry at work.

Residential Basement Waterproofing After Summer of 2013 Flood Raises Toronto Real Estate Property Value

On weds Sept 9th 2013, a wet basement calls forth a couple of very experienced ‘Dry Guys’ who tackle the waterproofing project from inside the house!  They make it look easy because they’re very efficient, and full of handy DIY tips and tactics.  These guys are good people and I learned a lot while hanging out with them for an afternoon.  a couple of dry guys do wet basement waterproofing remedyScarborough Jack and Ian Boghagdan know that a good happy house has to have a warm and dry cellar, and they know that a house for sale has to advertise that is has a warm dry basement esp after it flooded in the July 2013 storm of the century.

345 Godsen Ave, wet basement

The Summer of 2013 will probably go down in history as being one of the wettest seasons on record. It rained for weeks at a time and one flash flood in late July dumped an entire month’s worth of rainwater onto the city in one night.  People who have never had a basement flood were suddenly deluged, and one such residential property was the house across the way… just fresh on the Toronto real estate market.

Myself and a nosy neighbor had the pleasure of watching a residential DryShield Waterproofing Solution Corp team tackle the job from inside the house. They were in and out of the space of a week, and they didn’t make a lot of noise about it.

taking out the trash1The first phase of the assignment was to remove the moldy drywall and wet insulation from the summer flood.

Six garbage bags of material were brought outside on the very first day, and a few more the next.  The wall was filled with old newspapers, fiberglass insulation and sawdust as the piece on Dumpdiggers blog illuminates no animals were seen or harmed.

The house is very clean at the moment, as the homeowner has moved out of the domicile on account of the flood.  The torrential rain drowned his prospects of a quick summer sale, but the waterproofing work is also fast and relatively painless. While I watched, the DryGuys went about clearing the wall under which the run-off entered the basement and they began cracking away the concrete under the wall to make an eight inch gully along which they ran a long length of perforated plastic pipe covered in a course silky hose . The trench slops down into a well in which there’s an electric sump pump.

shovel gravel in trench, waterproofing wet basementThe internal gutter remedies wet basement in Toronto story on Fuel Ghoul outlines the building supplies and gives more details alongside original pictures from my Typepad photo hosting account.  There is another story about how frost action cracks Victorian era brick walls on the Distillery District blog.

The wall of the basement is then affixed with a thick plastic membrane that has nipples and runnels to drain away any excess moisture down into the freshly dug gutter at the bottom of the wall.

Here is Scarborough Jack cutting the plastic waterproof membrane with a special blade; this stuff is hard to cut.

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Next it must be nailed to the wall.  Look how Bogdhon has maneuvered the piece to fold it over the joint between the wall and the floor.

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Membrane_overlap_gravel

This is literally a ‘dry shield’ that covers the cement wall and forms a barrier between the wood and drywall and wet concrete.

Do you see how it overlaps? And how it ends over top of the eight inch gulley.  Wall panels will cover this trench with a special wainscoting or floorboards trim.

There is a Bizcovering article about waterproofing wet basement from inside the home which also outlines these procedures and has even more original pictures and DIY tips.

Snow Removal Service Uses Beetroot Juice as Natural Deicer

snow removal in Durham region Dan Shephard of The SnowmenDan Shephard operates a successful snow removal service in Durham region and is testing the water (literally) after trying a new natural deicer made from beetroot juice.

Geomelt is made here in Ontario.

Featured in a popular Bizcovering article, Snow Removal Service Uses Beetroot Juice as Natural Deicer, Dan was again chronicled in Fuel Ghoul blog about the green snow removal solution simply because he agreed to help test the beetroot snow melt product.

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Rock salt depositories – rock salt is very toxic substance and is harmful to the ecology of many sensitive freshwater systems. Any reduction in the use of this compound to keep highways safe for drivers is a step in the right direction for the environment.

ImageWhen red beet juice is added to rock salt water it lowers the mixture’s freezing temperature which keeps the cement wet on cold  weather days when the rest of the landscape is frozen solid. By making the salt more effective, contractors can use less.

Dan is among the few professionals selected by researchers to help advance the science by conducting real-world testing as a professional contractor. The GeoMelt product is being tried all across Canada and the US in several climates and ‘test counties’.

Drivers who live in test counties  where highway maintenance crews spray the beet juice compound on the roads should experience fewer delays behind snow plows and salt trucks.  Ideally, the deicer will be so effective that snow plows wont make second runs.

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Beetroot Juice is a Powerful Natural Deicer for Concrete Sidewalks, and Asphalt Roads

Applying a NaCl salt brine and beetroot mixture to paved surfaces will make them safer by melting slippery snow and ice, but the spring runoff should also be much safer for the environment.  Water quality tests will be performed by public and private agencies all winter and spring 2014.

How Does it Work? After a parking lot or street has been treated with beetroot juice and salt mixture, further precipitation should melt on contact with the ‘wet’ surface because the beetroot juice and salt doesnt freeze. .The frozen water particles are excited by the beet juice (and NaCl)  on an Atomic level, and do not freeze solid into ice.    Dan Shephard has committed The Snowmen to trying the beet juice deicer in the upcoming winter season,

Post by on Aug 31, 2013