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Sunday 15 May 2016

Western Rock Nuthatch

Western Rock Nuthatch.

Location: Delphi, Greece
Address:  Τ.Κ. 33054, Delphi
Date: Aug 2015
Website:  odysseus.culture.gr

  When we visited the sacred site of Delphi, Greece we noticed more than just ancient ruins.  Some little birds hopping amongst the rocks grabbed our attention.  These are the aptly named Western Rock Nuthatch and are found in rocky, mountainous areas throughout Greece.

Camouflaged Western Rock Nuthatch.

  Their colouring often makes them difficult to see against the rock, but the fact that they are constantly on the move and constantly chirping makes it easier to spot them.  We took the video below of nuthatches singing while we tried to keep the camera on them as they bobbed about.

    The rock nuthatch prefers being on the ground and spends its day looking for insects.  They build their nests in the crevices of the rocks and the nests are made mostly out of mud.  While our tour guide explained the history and significance of ancient Delphi, we found ourselves distracted by our small, feathered friends.  That is okay as the history will always be there for us to read about later, but we were enjoying the sights and sounds of the moment.

Nuthatch on the rocks.

Map of Our World
Western Rock Nuthatch

Post # 113

Tuesday 10 May 2016

Headquarters of The Man

Mr. Feather, The Man wants to see you.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 2701 Queen St E
Date: May 2014
Website:  www1.toronto.ca

  How would you like to visit a place where Doogie Howser, The Godfather of Soul, Sistah Girl, one of the Butabi brothers, Charlie Sheen's ex-wife, and Lando Calrissian all came together?  Well you had better go to the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant in Toronto.  Throw in comedians Eddie Griffin and Dave Chappelle and you have most of the cast from Undercover Brother.  The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant appears in the movie as the headquarters of The Man. It is shown as a fortress situated along the cliff edge of a tiny island. Undercover Brother (Eddie Griffin) and the members of the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. are trying to stop The Man and must infiltrate the fortress.

Say it loud.  I'm black and I'm proud.

  James Brown (aka The Godfather of Soul) appears as himself in the movie.  He is kidnapped and taken to the headquarters where Mr. Feather plans on administering his mind control drug.  This is the same drug they used to control General Boutwell.  Mr. Feather is played by Chris Kattan who is best known from Saturday Night Live and as Will Ferrell's brother in A Night At The Roxbury.  General Boutwell is played by Billy Dee Williams who is best known as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars movies.  James is seated in front of the signal pylon (above) which is found in the rotunda of the water treatment plant.  Behind Mr. Feather you can see other workers in the long hallway of the Filter Building.

Very clever Mr. Undercover Brother.

     The rest of the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. which now includes Neil Patrick Harris (child star of Doogie Howser) and White She-Devil (Denise Richards), sneak into the headquarters under the guise of being the Island Fortress Cleaning Service.  They are let in by the guards located between the buildings of the Pumping Station.

I'm with Island Fortress Cleaning Service sir.

  Then they pull their van up in between the pumps and all exit out the rear of the vehicle.

Hey, this isn't Taco Bell.

  The movie ends with a final fight between Mr. Feather and Undercover Brother as they battle just outside the entrance of the Filter Building. They fight on the elevated platform that the movie uses as a helicopter landing pad.  Below you can see the area through the staircase window and again in the picture at the top of this post.

 Showin How Funky Strong Is Your Fight.

  They battle it out while the Michael Jackson classic, Beat It, plays in the background.

It Doesn't Matter Who's Wrong Or Right.

  Mr. Feather ends up chopping off a chunk of Undercover Brother's afro which turns the tables.  You mess with the fro, you got to go!

You mess with the fro.  You got to go.

  The Man's helicopter tries to land and then decides against it.  Mr. Feather grabs onto the helicopter and hangs from it as the copter heads out over the lake.  Mr. Feather falls from the helicopter and is eaten by a shark.  Most sharks could not survive in a fresh water lake, but the bull shark can.   We could not find any record of a shark ever making its way into Lake Ontario.

Shark Infested Lake Ontario?

  Undercover Brother was a fun movie that we enjoyed very much. We recommend you grab an orange Big Gulp from 7-Eleven and try not to spill it as you drive on down to the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant to check out where the movie was filmed.

You can read more about the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant here.

Map of Our World
Headquarters of The Man

Post # 112

Thursday 5 May 2016

R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant

The Palace of Purification

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 2701 Queen St E
Date: May 2014
Website:  www1.toronto.ca

   The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant produces about 950 million litres of water per day.  This is almost half of the water required by the city of Toronto.  Not only is this building providing an important service, but in its Art Deco style it is also one of the most interesting buildings in the city.  The plant opened in 1941 and was named after Commissioner of Works, Roland Caldwell Harris.  We visited the buildings during Doors Open 2014 and learned how the whole process works.

RC Harris from Lake Ontario

  The first step for getting clean water to the citizens of Toronto is to pull the water through intake pipes that reach as far as 5 kilometres out into Lake Ontario. 

We are here to Pump.. You Up.
  The water is pulled in by huge pumps in the Pumping Station.  When it first arrives the water goes through a screening room to remove larger objects and debris.  One need only walk along a Toronto beach to get an idea of what some of those objects may be.  At the end of the Pumping Station is what looks like an elevator.  This is not an elevator at all but an elaborate way to display which pumps are active.  There are numbers from 1 to 13 which light up when the pump is being used. Also for some reason 3 and 4 have both an A and B.

Going Up!  Next Floor 4B.

  This building warned of hearing damage if spending too much time surrounded by the buzz and noise of the pumps.  The large pumps on the upper level send the treated water for distribution across the city.  The smaller pumps on the lower level send the water to be filtered.  We took a few pictures and then followed the water to the largest building which is the Filter Building.

Pumping Station (Left) Filter Building (Right)
Filter Building Entrance.

  The entrance to the Filter Building is very impressive.  You enter through a huge arch and head up the staircase.  There in the rotunda you see the signal pylon.  It looks like a clock and is made of different types of marble along with chrome and bronze panels.  It does indicate time as well as filter backwash conditions.

Signal Pylon.

  The water has chlorine added to it to kill bacteria.  It also has Alum added which causes small particles to clump together and form larger groups called "floc".  The heavy floc settles to the bottom of the tanks while the water is drawn into the filters.

R.C. Harris Hallway.

  The filter rooms are located along 2 long hallways which run east and west from the rotunda.  The water filters through layers of carbon, sand, and gravel to remove impurities.  Below is a picture of one of the filter tanks.

Filter Tank.  No Lifeguard on Duty.

  After being filtered, the water goes into storage tanks where more chlorine, fluoride, and ammonia are added before finally being pumped out of the plant and across the city of Toronto.  There are other smaller pumping stations and storage tanks, like the one below on Warden Avenue, that help get the job done.

Warden Water Tank.

  The R.C. Harris building is a beautiful piece of architecture doing a beautiful job of providing clean water to the largest city in Canada.  To really appreciate it you should try to see it from the inside, or at least view it from the Lake Ontario side.  The plant was designed so that its grand entrance faces out over the lake keeping watch across the precious water supply.

The Back Of The RC Harris Plant Facing Queen Street East.

  Below is a video of some swallows which make their homes along the Art Deco edges of the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant.

Map of Our World
R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant , Warden Water Storage Tank

Post # 111