You win this round, Christmas Spirit.

    Posted on: Monday, December 13th, 2010

Merrymeeting Sobeys, circa 6pm.

Groupon is here. Just in time for Christmas!

    Posted on: Monday, December 13th, 2010

If you haven’t heard of Groupon before, they’re the world’s leading deal-a-day website — so much so that Google recently tried, and failed, to buy them up for a cool $6 billion dollars.

I’ve seen ads on the internet for Groupon Toronto for some time now, but alas no St. John’s option was available. Just recently Groupon St. John’s ads started cropping up, and I didn’t waste a moment clicking through. It was all coming soon this and sign up that, which I totally did.

And then the waiting began.

And now the waiting is over. Groupon officially launched their deal-a-day offers in St. John’s today, and with a sweet American Apparel deal to boot.

The way it works is that every day Groupon offers a different local deal. The deal could be for something in retail, restaurants, services, whatevs. Take today’s deal for example: $50 worth of American Apparel purchases for $25. So you pay the $25 and you get a coupon for $50 at American Apparel.

Some restrictions will apply, like whether or not your deal counts towards sale items, or how long you have to redeem it (three months for the American Apparel deal, for example), but they make these restrictions very clear before you decide to purchase a deal or not.

I’m by no means a deal hunter, but that’s why I love Groupon. They e-mail you the different deal every day, and if you don’t like it you can just ignore it.

If you want to sign up, and you don’t mind the fact that yours truly may benefit as a result, click here.

Groupon rewards people who refer others to the site with $10 towards a future deal purchase (so long as the person being referred signs up and purchases a deal within three days of doing so). So if you’ve got friends or family who you think would benefit from Groupon, you can ask them to sign up through your personal referral link. It doesn’t change a thing about how they sign up or what happens with their account when they do.

Of course, if you want to sign up but don’t want to do so on my referral, by all means click here and have at it.

What do you think? Is Groupon something you could see yourself using or not? Let us know in the comments!

The Metrobus strike and you: great roundup from The Scope

    Posted on: Monday, December 13th, 2010

The Scope has done their homework, as usual, and published a comprehensive listing of what’s been going on with the Metrobus strike so far, including things you can do to try and influence its outcome and how take your public transit matters into your own hands.

Check it out here.

Even if you don’t give a rat’s bus pass about the strike, it’s worth a look if only for the accompanying illustration.

I got the impression from reading this that The Scope, or at least the round up’s author, the very talented Sarah Smellie, are leaning towards supporting the workers on this one. I realize this is a complex issue, affecting a lot of people, and I’m not totally up to speed on it all; I just know in my experiences with taking the bus, especially on time sensitive occasions like the morning commute, I’ve been dismayed far too many times by the carelessness, and dare I say selfishness, of some of the drivers.

Rushing past bus stops way ahead of schedule to arrive at transfer points in time to give themselves an unscheduled break, for example.

Refusing to make eye contact or acknowledge a greeting in any way — I mean, whatever happened to the friendly neighbourhood bus driver of lore?

No doubt a case of a few bad apples spoiling the bunch, but when I think back on my times taking it easy, as the Metrobus jingle goes, I don’t remember them all too fondly. So my sympathy for the workers, whom I albeit realize are made up of more than just drivers, is somewhat lacking as a result.

How’s about you?

Keep it clean.

    Posted on: Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Water street, circa 11am.

Will you be cycling this winter?

    Posted on: Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Photo by Christopher Baker, via Boing Boing.

This was the scene yesterday in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they were pummelled with upwards of 22 inches of snow. The brave soul on the bicycle pictured here in the thick of it is one of an estimated 4,000 winter cyclists in this American city, which Bicycle magazine named the country’s #1 for cycling.

As you might be aware, there’s a cycling plan being implemented here in St. John’s, putting a mixture of signage and lanes in place throughout much of the city (ok, maybe if you don’t count the East End). Here’s a map detailing what’s going where:

Cycling in the city. Click for larger image.

There’s been a fair bit of back and forth on when and where the proposed plan is being implemented. I know The Scope’s been keeping tabs on the situation, but ever since my bike got stolen early last Summer I must admit I’ve been paying less attention to the details.

Cycling has never really taken off as a popular mode of public transit in St. John’s, but with the combination of the cycling plan coming to fruition and the current Metrobus strike, it may just see the surge in popularity it deserves.

If you do plan on taking your bike out this winter, be it for a joy ride or as your preferred method of transportation, be sure to check out The Scope’s guide to winterizing your bike and yourself.