I’ve Been Travelling

by Frank Fulton

Originally published in Glass Canada Magazine, December 2016 Issue

Rambling man

Another year has blown by and we’ll soon be looking at 2016 in the rear view mirror.  I’m still looking at the grass from above, so all in all, I don’t have much to complain about. After my rant about our Ontario provincial government in the last issue, the Attorney General finally released the expert review of the Construction Lien Act I’ve been ragging on about for the past few years.

At 497 pages long, it’s a nice easy read packed with extensive discussions, assessments, precedents, arguments, and recommendations covering every aspect of the Act. The good news is that the report strongly recommends legislated prompt payment, interest on late payments, timely release of holdback, an expedited binding dispute resolution process and the right to suspend work.  Now, it’s up to the government to enact the recommendations into a new Act, expected to be put into law within a year.

I’ve been doing some travelling in the last while. For the first time in a few years a small assembly of cronies and I headed down to Las Vegas to attend the GlassBuild show. I was impressed by all the portable equipment on the market today to move, lift, turn and install glazed curtainwall frames and large lites of glass. The people at Walker Glass also were very informative on the technology behind bird-friendly glass. But the real reasons for going to Vegas were firstly, it’s Vegas, and secondly, to celebrate a major milestone birthday.

My first column for Glass Canada in 2008 was about the OGMA honouring Bill Parkin of Burlington Glass with its Lifetime Achievement Award.  Bill and I have been friends since we first met on the board of directors of the Metro Toronto Glass Association in 1982.  Well, the old bugger just turned 80 so it only seemed fitting to drag him to Sin City to see if he could survive three days of gambling, over-eating, drinking, and debauchery. He did, so I guess I’ll have to endure his insufferable golf game for another year.

I also went to Iceland in October to visit one of my daughters and two grandchildren, one of them being brand new. I’ve been there a few times and consider Iceland to be one of the most remarkable and ruggedly beautiful places in the world. It’s a volcanic island located in the North Atlantic between Greenland and Norway just beneath the Arctic Circle.  Its name is somewhat misleading in that, courtesy of the effects of the Gulf Stream, it doesn’t really get all that cold. The population of the entire country is only about 330,000 and 130,000 of those live in Reykjavik, the vibrant and happening capital city, but they also had over 1.3 million tourists visiting this year, providing five per cent of their GDP.  What is amazing is their use of green technology. All their electricity is produced from steam harnessed from the ground. Almost all buildings in the country are heated with hot water pumped directly from the ground through a network of pipelines into radiators. Hot and cold water coming out of your taps comes directly from the ground and is the purest in the world. About the only fossil fuel used is in cars.

People’s names in Iceland are not what you’re used to. Instead of having a family surname that is passed on for generations, all children are named after their father’s first name. For example, if I lived in Iceland, my son’s last name would be Franksson and my daughter’s last name would be Franksdottir.  Not only that, but children’s first names must be selected from a government approved list.  “Moon Unit” and “Dweezle” just will not do.

This being the Christmas season, children around the world are anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus, but not in Iceland. They don’t have Santa in Iceland, but instead have 13 troll brothers called the Yule Lads. For the 13 nights preceding Christmas Day, children leave a shoe in their bedroom window and a different Yule Lad visits each night leaving candy, toys, or rotten potatoes in the shoe. The troll’s ogress mother, Gryla, accompanies them to town and if a child has been bad, she captures them, throws them into a big sack and drags them back to her cave in the mountains where she boils them and eats them.  The child will be released, however, if they repent their bad behavior. Also, Gryla has a huge black Yule Cat that eats children who do not get clothes for Christmas. Merry Christmas!

Frank Fulton is president of Fultech Fenestration Consulting. He has been in the industry for 30 years and can be reached via email at fultech.fc@gmail.com

Categories: You Bet Your Glass