Ivo's Blog

"It's not the time to look for excuses." – Rafael Nadal

Where I Live


So we meet again, earthlings! 

I wouldn’t close this tab if I were you because the Comox Valley is truly beautiful.  Today I am going to be writing about the best destinations of the Comox Valley.  Some of them are spontaneous, and some are just very calm and peaceful.  I hope that this post inspires some international visitors.  If you have any feedback, be sure to leave a comment. 

Now, as we all know, nearly every town has a very nice café or restaurant, and the Comox Valley has quite a few.  Whether there is chocolate, ice cream, or tasty dishes, standing beside them will have you drooling like my Labrador Retriever.  Here are a few examples:

  • Locals – This restaurant is quite pricey but is a perfect place to enjoy yourself.  If you are a seafood lover, try the West Coast seafood trio, which will fill up your tummy at the price of thirty-two or thirty-five dollars.  Vegetarian?  No problem, if you like baked portabella mushrooms.  This restaurant offers very perfected dishes. 
  • Benino Gelato – This café, located near the Comox town park, offers delicious ice cream, yummy paninis, and coffee.  They have a huge variety of ice cream flavours, including pear, apple pie, and tiramisu.  If you are looking for an Italian dinner…
  • Martine’s Bistro – …Italian food lovers, step right up!  You will love your meal, whatever you order.  The seafood linguine is extraordinary, with prawns, clams, smoked salmon, and more.  The pan-seared red snapper is also great, offering a side of creamy risotto. 

Well, you won’t be staying in Comox just to eat (hopefully), so look around, enjoy the scenery, and pick up a map!  Here are some beautiful destinations in the Comox Valley: 

  • Goose Spit Park – Here’s a chance to use your track pants, and get a workout!  This brilliant beach is accompanied by 168 stairs, which are known by locals as the “Comox Grind”, after Grouse Grind in Vancouver.  At the very top of these stairs, cameras will definitely be snapping beside you.  The view is even nicer on clear days, when the sunlight bounces off of the waves.  If you want a more quiet scenario… there is a beach beside Goose Spit, with an apple tree and an interesting bench.  If you bring a book and a coat, you can stay there all day.  It may be the most peaceful spot in the Comox Valley. 
  • Nymph Falls – There is a short walk to the waterfalls, and if you stay in the summer, you can cool down in the tiny pools surrounded by rock.  Nature must know humans’ interests very well because there is a natural waterslide, probably created over many years of erosion.  Staying at Nymph Falls is a lovely way to spend the entire day! 
  • Paradise MeadowsThis trail in Strathcona Provincial Park is remarkable, and you will feel that you could wander forever.  Paradise Meadows does live up to its name, summer and winter.  A combination of boardwalk and forest trail, it’s very relaxing and peaceful. 

There are also two other rather obvious things in the Valley; you’ll see them as soon as you get here.  They are the Comox Glacier, and… deer.  Yes, our town is filled with hundreds of deer.  Slow down, and don’t let them get caught in the headlights (ha ha!).  Though they can be a bit slow at times, their adorableness will pardon them, and… it will be a nice test of your patience. 

Unfortunately, some days in Comox will be rainy and gloomy, but there are always ways to entertain yourself and others indoors.  Don’t just stay in and watch television.  Come on in to… 

  • Comox Recreational Centre – Do you like sports?  When the weather does not look too good, stop by the rec centre to play sports in a gym, whack some table tennis (for free!), or to spend some time in the fitness gym.   
  • Courtenay Museum – Interested in history and paleontology?  If you are, come to this museum, where actual dinosaur bones are on display.  Also, if you would like to know more about the city of Courtenay, that is mainly what the museum offers.  Lastly, for some reason, I liked looking at the old packages of food, from the early twentieth century. 
  • Comox Valley Aquatic Centre – Our pool has a wave pool, lanes, a steam room, hot tub, and more!  Personally, my favourite things to do are ride the waterslides, play catch in the wave pool, and relax in the steam room.  Even though my fingers will get very shrivelled, I could stay all day. 

Well, that is the Comox Valley, a wonderful place to live.  If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment, and I will be sure to answer it as soon as possible. 

Thanks, and have a math-crammed day. 

Ivo N. 

(Photo Credit for Peninsula: Guinness323, Wikipedia)
(Photo Credit for Local’s: Local’s)
(Photo Credit for Goose Spit: Comox Valley Regional District)
(Photo Credit for Rec Centre: Town of Comox)

A Harris Burdick Mystery: The Third-Floor Bedroom





Hello, friends!

Lately, my class has been learning about the amazing illustrations that Harris Burdick drew with charcoal.  We had a wide variety of pictures – fourteen in total, and in the end, I had chosen “The Third-Floor Bedroom”, though “Missing in Venice” and “Captain Tory” would have been my other choices.  I love the fact that every illustration leaves you wondering what will happen next.  We had to write one paragraph that will open a story; an introduction.  I hope you enjoy reading it, and I will tell you what happens, because it is quite funny!


Although the boy’s scream was muffled, the whole town sensed that something was wrong.  His father darted up his stairway getting to his child’s bedroom, and felt a winter breeze flow through the air, as fluid as a gentle wave.  He pounded on the door, hoping that the kid was not just testing his temper’s limits.  A jolt of shock shot down his back when he found the room empty.  Determined to find his son, he dashed down his stairs and into his car, only to discover that his tires had been slashed gruesomely.  The man cursed under his breath, because he couldn’t catch those scoundrels with a bicycle!  Unfortunately, it was his only choice, so he hopped on, now pondering how he could catch up.  He eventually thought of biking to the police station, where he would explain his situation. 

The poor child’s dad, who was quite active, got to the station smoothly in around fifteen minutes.  Since he notified an attentive policeman, the other officers got excited, because there was rarely any crime in this village.  Their investigations started soon after, and they traced fingerprints on the youngster’s nightstand.  But maybe the answer was held in the third floor bedroom… 

Now, if you would like to know what happens next, keep reading.  If not, scroll down, but the truth is humorous.  Are you ready?  The boy is hiding under the bed, just hoping to get attention.  I would say, “Poor father!”, but sometimes not everybody is happy in the end.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the story, and if you have any feedback, please leave a comment.

Thanks, and have a math-crammed day!

Ivo N.


Step into my Shoes; A Homeless Person’s Life


Greetings, bloggers!

This year our teacher gave us an assignment; we had to respond to homelessness in a unique way.  I decided to write a story about how the man lost his job, and I also included a “Day in the Life” story.  I hope you enjoy yourself while reading it; I tried to incorporate some humour.


By Ivo Nikov

I was in pain.  Around six months ago, my back quit on me, and I worked as a carpenter.  I went to my local pharmacy to get some painkillers, and I found myself asking for more as often as the hammer hits the nail.

With no job and terrible pain, my painkiller dosage became higher and higher.  Eventually, nearly all the money in my bank account had been spent, and I clung to my friends’ couches, hoping to find a job.

I could easily describe myself as a person who panics when facing pressure, and every interview was going great until… I would say something unnecessary and embarrass myself, leaving with red cheeks.

I would have the employer laughing at my jokes, cracking some himself, and just having a lovely time.  A bit later, he would glance at his watch, and he’d realize that it is time for the next hopeful to come in.  I would panic and blurt out something like, “Oh, you look pretty darn chubby in that suit. Ha ha ha…”  He would give me an evil eye, followed by a nervous laugh.

After five months of enduring the embarrassment, I started to feel guilty because I hadn’t realized that I was staying at my friends’ houses.  I felt like I was letting them down, so I packed up my belongings, which were few – I had sold the rest to feed myself, and left.  My pals must have wondered, “Where is he? Let’s put up some ‘MISSING‘ posters,” because after hardly sleeping in my old box of a Volvo, my eye caught a flyer flailing off of a pole.  I slashed the paper off, my eyeballs nearly popping out of my head, staring at my own picture.

I took a walk to clear my mind of the strange flyer, and I found a poster that read, “Lecture on the Homeless, at 1867 Olya Avenue (the Community Centre, Presentation Room ‘C’), from 5:00 P.M. to 6:30 P.M. on October 5th.”  I thought that it would be interesting to hear what others think of people like me.  And with that, it was settled.  I just needed to know which day it was today, so I jogged to the nearest shop and asked an employee.  She told me it was the fourth of October.  Yahoo, I thought.  Tomorrow I would be listening to some people blabbing about their opinions and thoughts about people like me!

I woke up early the next day.  My watch read 7:00 A.M. I was starving, and I was thinking, “Where should I eat?”.  I decided to spend my day on Olya Avenue.  There was a nice little breakfast café that I entered.  I asked if they could give me their cheapest item, and in exchange, I would complete a task of their choice.  That bagel was delicious, and their floor now shimmers.

Here is one thing you don’t know about me: I am a decent singer, and who needs instruments? All you need is a simple beat, and it could come from a stick hitting a wall, or your hands clapping.  I took out a paper napkin from my breakfast, and laid it out on the ground.  I sang around twelve songs, including “Sweet Home Alabama”, and “Sharp Dressed Man”.  Earning around twenty-five dollars, I tucked the money into my pocket for later, but singing leaves you thirsty.  I didn’t want to spend some money on water.  There should be a fountain somewhere, and there was… approximately two kilometers away.  By the time I got back to Olya Avenue, I was dehydrated again, since I ran (silly me) in my winter coat, on a fairly warm day.  It was drenched in sweat, and I laughed sarcastically… at myself!

As time passed, I got tired and hungry, but I shoved back the urge to eat, and decided to take a nap on a street bench, though it was quite hard to fall asleep.  Annoyed by my restlessness, I went to read a book… not store bought, of course; what’s the point, when you have a library?  I jogged down to Boabby Road and entered their library, hoping to find a book that hooked me.  I asked a librarian what author he would recommend, and he kicked me out.  Why are people so threatened by others who simply do not have stable housing?

I stomped out, angry, and marched back to Olya Avenue.  I asked a resident what time it was, and he told me it was 4:45 P.M., so I rushed down to the Community Centre, getting there at around 4:48.  The clerk told me that the admission was ten dollars, which I thought was a bit too much, but I paid up, and dashed to Presentation Room “C”.

I honestly thought that I would be the only homeless person there, but two others showed up as well.  I did not just make an assumption, mind you – I started with a bit of small talk, and eventually dropped the subject into conversation.  They gave me a glance that made me feel uneasy, but let it go almost immediately.

After we talked for a few minutes, I had to say that they were nice people with deep pain inside. One of them had suffered from domestic abuse at sixteen by her stepfather, and had turned to alcohol.  She told me that her drinking was a mistake, but by the time she had realized it, she had no job and little money.

The other had left home at six years old.  He stated that his older brother struggled with addiction, and his parents argued over whose fault it was.  The little one just got caught in the middle of it, and decided to run away.  Being a six year old, you cannot find work; all you can do is sing, beg, and hope that somebody takes you in.  Unfortunately, the small child was mostly ignored on the streets, except for a few people dropping some nickels in just to look good.  He received just enough for the cheapest meal, but some employees at stores took pity on him, and cut him some slack.

By the time they had all told their stories, ten minutes had passed, and nearly everyone was seated. The three of us joined them, and the host started flapping his gums; thanking everyone for coming, acknowledgements, et cetera. Shortly after, he passed the microphone to somebody, and he actually started to talk about the homeless…

… opening by stating that far too many individuals are homeless in Canada; 150 000 to 300 000 people, out of about 36 500 000, are homeless in our country. That is nearly one percent of our population! After using numbers to bore us, he talked about the reasons for becoming homeless: with evictions, alcohol and drug abuse, gambling, poor health, major injury, unemployment, poverty, domestic violence, family conflict, and more, ending the subject by saying that the main cause for homelessness in Canada is evictions, because of the high rent and people’s low income.

The audience gave him a round of applause, and only then did I realize that he was done. Behind him were others waiting for their turn to speak. The one in the front of the line stepped up to the podium. She looked like a nice person, and I thought to myself, “One is a host, one provides some information, and two lecturers talk about their opposite feelings on the topic. She must be the one who says that ‘it is not your fault'”, which turned out to be true. She said that our community is not working hard enough to maintain everybody’s housing, and focusing all the property on people who are very wealthy. “Sometimes your family is to blame. They might have suffered from domestic abuse, or such intense arguments that they left home. Other cases of homelessness are because of drug and alcohol abuse. This mostly applies to adolescents, because of their vulnerability to manipulation. Their peers could pressure them into trying dangerous recreational drugs like cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl”, she said, adding that rent is very high in Canada, and income can be the opposite, resulting in eviction because they cannot keep up with the rent.

And with that, she stepped off, and one final person rose and calmly walked to the podium. He started by saying, “Those hobos, living on the streets, it’s all their fault! They are always acting like they’ve gone through so much, and that life is unfair. They just have to suck it up, sober up, and get a job”, he said, not knowing that nearly every case of homelessness isn’t the homeless person’s fault (well, okay, sometimes it is, but it is never one hundred percent the person’s fault). They could have made terrible decisions, but those events are triggered by a previous one, in which another person was involved.

To be honest, I wasn’t listening to the final lecturer was saying; I only took the napkins out of my ears at the end, when he finished, saying, “So, all the homeless people are just a liability that made horrible decisions. It is all their fault. They are just less important than more financially successful individuals“.

He came off with a smug look on his face, and the host snatched the microphone out of the last speaker’s hands. He stood up straight, and said, “Well, I hope you have enjoyed these lecturer’s speeches. Do you have any questions, comments, or solutions to this issue?”. A couple of hands rose, and were called on.

One said to simply live on smaller properties. “We can still live happily without our 100 000 acres of land. What is the problem with living in apartment buildings? They have more than enough room”, he wondered.

Another requested a free session in which homeless people can talk about what is wrong, and others could offer a solution. The host said that that was a great idea, but they had to find someone who is willing to do that; maybe a counsellor.

The last person just asked what our community is doing to help. The host answered by saying, “We have two shelters in the city, and we are opening an area with beds; just a warm place to sleep. The food bank will provide some things to eat; and not just food out of a can. It will be prepared by some workers there, and they’re paid by the government. This place will open this January!”

After hearing the host saying goodbye, I took off with my two new friends. I still had hope – I would find myself a home. Not now; I was exhausted, but I felt that tomorrow I could surpass my panicky instinct at interviews…

Well, I hope you enjoyed the story, and I encourage you to write one as well.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for this piece of writing, feel free to comment!

Thank you, and I wish you a math-crammed day.


Ivo N.


The History of McDonald’s


Big Mac

Phil Dragash via Compfight

If you are a Canadian or American, you probably know that the demand for “grab ‘n’ go” food is very high.  In fact, approximately three million McDonald’s meals are served every day in Canada, and about 6 480 000 in the United States per day.


Founded in 1940 in San Bernardino, California, Richard and Maurice McDonald did not sell burgers – they owned a barbecue restaurant.  In 1948, they made McDonald’s a hamburger eatery.  An entrepreneur named Ray Kroc joined the business in 1954, then bought McDonald’s from the McDonalds.  Kroc moved the company to Oak Brook, Illinois, shortly after.


The first McDonald’s restaurant owned by Ray Kroc was opened on April 15th, 1955, in a city close to Chicago – Des Plaines, Illinois.  This was the first of 34 other McDonald’s outlets he would own by 1958.  By 1959, the number grew drastically; Kroc now owned 102 eateries.  In the early ’60s, McDonald’s had matured, selling it’s billionth hamburger in 1963.  Six years later, in 1969, the company sold it’s five billionth hamburger, making it the most popular fast food branch in North America.

The business continued growing in the ’70s, since at that time, people didn’t have the time or desire to eat at home, thus popularizing fast food.  By 1972, the company’s annual sales exceeded one billion dollars.  That same year, the Egg McMuffin was released, creating a breakfast for people who are “on the go”.  In 1975, McDonald’s had developed a whole breakfast menu in some locations, paving the way for unhealthy food to start off your day!

Also in 1975: McDonald’s introduced the drive-thru window in an outlet around Sierra Vista, Arizona.  They were the second to do so, though – Wendy’s were the first, back around 1971.  McDonald’s recognized the potential of this phenomenon fairly quickly, because by the 1980s, customers pulled up to the window about half the time.  At that time, McDonald’s history had grown a lot.


  • The first drive-thru in Canada was opened in Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1977.
  • McDonald’s first restaurant in Canada was in Richmond, British Columbia.
  • McRecycle U.S.A. started in 1990, and tables, wrapping for burgers, even toilet paper are all recycled products, to get into that “environmentally friendly” spirit.
  • The chain’s orange glaze and cilantro-lime dressing both contain propylene glycol alginate, which is also an ingredient in traps for bugs and insect attractant.
  • One of the ingredients in McGriddle sandwiches is sodium acid pyrophosphate, which they use to sustain it’s moisture and colour.  It also helps as an ingredient in hair remover.
  • Globally, McDonald’s serves 68 million meals per day, or approximately one percent of the human population.  Did you eat at McDonald’s today?
  • The famous Big Mac entered the menu in 1968.
  • Chicken McNuggets debuted in 1983, and are now served in many Happy Meals.
  • Ray Kroc’s net worth was about 600 million dollars by 1984.
  • The “Golden Arches” logo, the large “M”, was first used in 1961 for Ray Kroc’s “McDonald’s”.
  • Before the Golden Arches, the “Speedee” character was how people recognized McDonald’s.  He was a chubby cook with a rounded “moon” face, and a chef’s hat.
  • Ronald McDonald, the company’s redheaded mascot, has helped kids recognize McDonald’s since the clown’s release in 1963.
  • By 1976, McDonald’s had sold it’s 20 billionth burger.
  • How many have been sold by 2017?  The company doesn’t know, since they stopped keeping track in 1994.  I am a bit skeptical; were they really counting, or was McDonald’s just approximating to impress customers and the general public with a questionable fun “fact”.
  • Back in the late 1960s, McDonald’s sent meals to homesick American Olympic athletes.
  • From 2011 to 2013, the company had an ambitious goal: to open one restaurant every day for two years in China (no word on whether they achieved this or not).
  • In 2015, McDonald’s profits actually declined, and to try to fix this problem, they started to offer the breakfast menu all day – not just in the morning.
  • Originally having only nine menu items in 1955, this has expanded to one hundred seventy items as of August 2015.


Every business has to try and add new things, and sometimes these attempts to throw a party for your taste buds aren’t exactly successful.  On some occasions, they could taste good, but they aren’t why people go to McDonald’s.  Here are some examples:

  • By 1991, McDonald’s usually attracted customers during earlier hours of the day; for breakfast and lunch.  This led to the company’s strange idea to introduce things like spaghetti and fettuccine Alfredo.  This could have tasted nice, but it brings customers to a repetitive question: who goes to McDonald’s for Italian food, when they could either go to a restaurant to sit down and have a quality meal, or make pasta at home?
  • Everybody likes bacon, but five slices in a hamburger is overdoing it.  Unfortunately, in 1992, some restaurants in Australia offered a new meal, the “Bacon Bacon McBacon”.  Unsurprisingly, the very unhealthy burger flopped.
  • To satisfy seafood-loving customers, a sandwich called the “McLobster” was introduced in 1993, and it never really caught on.  The meal, which was lobster, lettuce, and lobster sauce, served on a hot dog bun, cost a whopping $8.99, proving that people would rather have a cheaper beef or chicken burger than something from the same restaurant, that costs about four times more.
  • For Catholics who don’t eat meat on Fridays, a burger with pineapple instead of meat was sold in the 1960s.  It even had cheese!  McDonald’s had the right idea, but people didn’t like it’s taste.  This burger died, but another meal, the “Filet ‘o’ Fish“, was more successful than the “Hula Burger“, the pineapple experiment.

Unfortunately, there are more, but we hope McDonald’s has learned from their mistakes.


In case you’re wondering, I don’t eat from this restaurant every day.  I actually eat there about once per year, or even less.  My parents almost always have a nice scent in the kitchen around dinnertime.  Nearly everything you make at home is better than fast food, unless you’re eating a handful of flour, or drinking motor oil .  (Okay, that might have been an exaggeration).

That brings me to the end, and I would like to conclude by saying that unhealthy food is okay every once in a while, but it is certainly better to keep a balanced diet, and stay active.

If you would also like to see some videos of interesting facts, here are some videos:

Thank you for reading this blog post, and I hope to see more visitors popping up on my map.  Make sure to comment if you have any thoughts or questions; I’ll answer, so keep my URL!

Have a math-crammed day!


Ivo N.

(Two facts and two flops came from a book.  The facts come from Uncle John’s 24-Karat Gold Bathroom Reader on page 119, and the washouts are from Uncle John’s Factastic Bathroom Reader, on page 42).

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