A Fledgling Hi-Bird Landing in Harley Land

Here’s a tale of a Chinese company supposedly copying an American design. Hi-Bird of Chongqing, China, vs Harley Davidson of Milwakee, Wis, USA. Both have developed their versions of a flat tracker motorcycle.

Hi-Bird Motorcycle Company is from Chongqing, China, and have been manufacturing motorcycles since 1999. This sport cruiser is a 250cc V-twin, capable of 17 HP. The bike uses an old 1980s Yamaha engine design, one similar to the Yamaha V-star 250. I estimate this bike will sell in the neighbourhood of $4,000 in North America. In North America this bike would certainly be classified as a beginner low budget bike. The overall quality of your average Chinese motorcycle is, being polite, middling at best. Chinese bikes also lack a dealership network, necessary in order to obtain parts and authorized service. Hi-Bird does not make large displacement, performance oriented, and expensive bikes.

First try with Drupal on Site5

So my plan is to eventually migrate my website DonTai.com from Doteasy to Site5. I’ll use Drupal on Site5. Originally I wanted to get Drupal running on Site5, and then change my domain registrar. This way I don’t get any downtime on my site, not that this matters.

Interestingly, using Fantastico it was very easy to create a Drupal web site in my root directory. Fine. Unknown to me is the fact that the Drupal site is configured to http://dontai.com, which still points to my original site on Doteasy. I therefore cannot get to the new Drupal site using my domain name.

Summer comes in winter, from Site5

I was researching all day on the web, hard at work looking at some new-to-me web technology and where it might lead the world. It’s all part of the fantastic world of web 2.0. There’s a 15% off sale for web hosting at Site5 that ends today. Dave says Site5 is good, and from what I’ve read they seem great. I sign up and in the middle of the transaction I wasn’t clear on an issue and clicked to the previous screen, when Summer popped up on my screen and cheerfully upped my discount to 20% off. Whoa, was I surprised, in the middle of my kitchen. Here she is.

Icicles Hanging Down

They are so very interesting. Icicles look like they have concentric rings, but are formed by single drops of melted water that refreeze as it gets to the tip. The wind and temperature influence their shape. Don’t they look like limestone stalactites, the ones you find in caves? They have a screw shaped design. Quite pretty and very organic. One icicle at the side of the house is quite long and needs to grow only about 3 feet before it becomes an ice column.

Maybe we should call them winter carrots because of the resemblance. The kids want to eat them.

Snow Day, 20cm accumulation

Gonggong's bicycle snowed in

Gonggong's bicycle snowed in

A whole lot of snow has fallen in Toronto, and I’ve been shoveling once last night and twice today. While the temperatures are -4C and the snow is fluffy, it looks like around 20cm, which builds up and becomes heavy. It is not cold outside.


Crabapple tree in winter

The trees have snow but not ice.


Icicles by security light

We have some icicles growing from various parts of the eavestrough that are melting, so there’s a constant drip, drip onto the snow outside. They will freeze solid tonight. The kids want them to eat, but they’re too high up and when you crack them off you don’t want to be underneath when they fall.

Hotwheels, Hotwheels, Everywhere!


Almost his complete collection of Hotwheels

Hotwheels. So many cars, picked up from here and there. Does he really play with them all? Not. Nevertheless there are all sorts of cars, trucks, emergency vehicles and a couple of motorcycles. We needed 2 cases to put house all his cars, and we keep finding more in the house. They’re like weeds. It’s all for fun.


Hotwheels ramps down stairs, blurry

Guess who took the blurry photo, that’s close in height to the handrail?

Learn until you’re Dead

?????? Huo dao lao, xue dao lao.

I continue to learn everyday. The internet makes this continual search for knowledge convenient. All from the comfort of my kitchen. It’s a far cry from just a few years ago. While I’m a strong supporter of the internet, note that there are dangers that lurk, and there’s a great portion of life outside of the internet and computers. Are we destined to be stuck indoors in front of our collective computer monitors? I say not. Use the internet for research, but live life outside.

Advantages of Local Chinese Grocery Stores

While the large big box grocery stores (Loblaws/No Frills, Price Chopper, Food for Less, Metro) duke it out with themselves, a large contingent ethnic Canadians continue to shop locally, shunning the local big boys. Why is this? There are many advantages to our local Chinese stores: Produce, of course, is specialized to Asian tastes, fruits and vegetables are so much fresher, grocers speak Chinese, checkout is usually extremely fast though a bit rough, and costs of goods is usually cheaper.

Getting the most out of Wal*Mart

Shopping at Walmart can be a bear. Little to no service is common. Employees have little knowledge of products and bar code readers are often broken. Yet their prices are low, and you could use the extra cash. Fear not, here are 10 hot tips for getting the best out of Walmart:

  1. If you’re frustrated, leave. Vote with your feet. Is the checkout line 40 deep? Drop your buggy and leave. Let them cleanup. After all they should have more cashiers at the checkout shouldn’t they? Walmart profits on a “No/low service” philosophy. You are rewarded for this lack of service through low prices, but that does not mean you need to like it.