Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope Santa is good to you all, and that you are safe, healthy and with the people you love. Here is a little Christmas animation I created as my gift to you all- don't say I never gave ya nothin!





Actually I created it a few years back as a animated gif tutorial for my students, but hey, you have regifted before too! Come on, fess up. I know you have.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

'We wish you well': Williams to AbitibiBowater

I have been following this story for some time now, and have found myself feeling warm and fuzzy feelings towards Danny Williams. Feelings I never really felt before. It made me feel strange. It made me feel icky.

So today, as I read the latest chapter in the Danny verses Goliath saga: 'We wish you well': Williams to AbitibiBowater I could not help but read the comments made by other readers. I was appalled and unnerved by what I read. It was no the number of positive responses that surprised me, it was the number of references to Danny's balls. Specifically the size and physical make-up of the boys below.

I shit you not. Check it out yourself:

"Danny Williams needs to take the show federal and start swinging his big brass balls in Ottawa!"

and

"I like this guy Danny Williams. He is just the type of man we need to run this Country. Big Boots and Big Balls. He got my vote."

and

"A politician with bollocks? Wow!" Is the word bollocks code for balls? I don't know but it sounds suspect to me.

and

"Way to go!! DANNY BOY you got BALLS !! "

and

"If we "Steve" had half the balls that Danny has, the whole country would be better off than it is right now. Way to go Danny!!! "

and from the Globe and Mail, a favourite word of mine, the rarely used cajones:

"More leaders in this country should have Danny's cojones. Government subsidies to most large companies in this country have been greater than any benefits they provided."

I could list many more, but I think you get the point, and I need to have a shower. Suddenly I feel very dirty.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Newfoundland expropriating Abitibi assets

According to the Globe and Mail, Danny has decided that Newfoundland will be expropriating Abitibi assets, including all hydro electricity rights from the generating station at Star Lake, as well as all timber rights to forests on Crown land.

I know this will cause a lot of people on the mainland to scream and shout about how this is just another example of heavy handed Danny stepping in where he should not, and while I am not one of his biggest fans, I am not sure I can condemn him here.

Maybe because I am too close to the issue emotionally, that is my hometown. I don't want to see it die.

What is really going on here? Some say the Abitibi created a deal the workers couldn't accept- they wanted to shut the mill down. Others say the workers would not negotiate.

When the mill was operating in Grandfalls it was given timber and power rights- and in exchange the mill employed thousands of people over the years. They don't access to those assets anymore, because they closed the mill. So the use of those leased assets should now revert back to the province.

Maybe I am just failing into the big bailout frame of mind. Bail out Wall street. Bail out banks. Bail out the big three. Bail out my home town. Heck why not?

I do not have all the facts- I know that. And yes, I am allowing sentiment to cloud my judgment.

I guess I just want the people back home to have a chance at starting something new. A chance at starting fresh.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sad Day for Grandfalls-Windsor

AbitibiBowater announced today that it will close the mill in my hometown before the end of March. The closure will put about 450 people out of work at the mill, my uncle and several in-laws and friends among them, and many more who work in forestry, shipping and other jobs that depend on the paper mill.

The town has grown up around that mill since 1905. My family really sprang forth from the opportunity that the papermill provided, my grandfather raised ten children on the salary he made there. They were never well off financially, but he provided well for them, he worked very hard. My dad too worked there a few years, and many summers- it enabled him to save money to go to university. My Uncle Bill works there still, I am not sure what there will be for him after the mill closes. And I am willing to bet he is wondering the same thing.

The mill allowed people to build a community where everyone knows everyone else, and cares about each other in a way that is simultaneoulsy loving, and smothering. The residents of Grandfalls-Windsor are connected to each other in a lot of ways, but the epicenter of those connections was the mill.

And now it is gone.

When I read the report I was hit first with a worry, it knotted in my belly and tighened there, a hard lump. And then came the anger, and boy there was a lot of that. I wondered how things got to this point? Why had Abitibi not kept the mill in pace with the times? How did the union fail to realize playing hard ball with a company already losing millions was not the best plan? How, especially given the current recesssion, could 88 per cent of the workers reject Abitibi's final offer knowing the company was looking for any excuse to close shop? I just don't get it.

I am not sure what is next for people home. I guess some could find work in Alberta, but even that wellspring is drying up. I know Rex says that the town has diversified, but I don't think it will make it for long without the mill, not without something to replace it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Now That's a Gingerbread House

Barry over at Rock Recipes has done it again! He has created one of the most stunning pieces of edible art I have ever seen. This year Barry features a house on Gower Street, in St John's to act as the muse for his latest Gingerbread creation. The result makes me homesick, and a little hungry! When I think of St. John's I think of these types of homes, with their brightly coloured exteriors and large windows. The colourful splash of these townhouses, or the large heritage homes, have become an iconic image for the city.

For those of you who are lucky enough to live and work in the city, Barry is allowing this yummy concoction to be raffled for a fundraiser to benefit Bishop Field School in downtown St. John's. Tickets are $2 each or 3 for $5 and will be available from the school or on Sunday evenings at the Avalon Mall flea market.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lest we forget.

This was sent to me via my web board today. Thought I would share it with you all.

"On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the stores PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us. Terry was impressed with the stores leadership role in adopting the Legions two minutes of silence initiative. He felt that the store's contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable. When eleven oclock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the two minutes of silence to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect. Terry's anger towards the father for trying to engage the stores clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, A Pittance of Time. Terry later recorded A Pittance of Time and included it on his full-length music CD, The Power of the Dream. "

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Reads

Yes, tonight is the night, when all the little ghosts and goblins come to your door and demand candy. You comply, because cleaning egg off your windshield is no way to spend a Saturday morning.

I loved Halloween as a kid. When I was too old to go door to door, I became the one who decorated the house and gave out the candy. In university, October became the month when I would rent bad slasher flicks, eat lots of junk, and read strictly horror novels.

This year I thought I would share some of my favorites with you all, and request you share your favorites with me. These are not nessessarily the scariest books I have ever read, but they are the books that I remember best. They have a certain magic to them.

  • Salems Lot, Stephen King's dark homage to Dracula. Some really great scenes in that one. The kind that linger in your mind long after you turn off the light.

  • Moon Dance, by SP Somptow. There are relatively few books about werewolves out there, but there are even fewer that don't come off as comic like and childish. This one works well.

  • Vampire$ , by John Steakley. The book is a fun ride that reads like a movie. Sadly, John Carpenter turned it into a movie and it sucked ass.

  • The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty. Scared the crap out of me. Movie is even more powerful. It could have something to do with the fact I was raised Catholic, or the fact that I have an overactive imagination, either way, this one gave me nightmares.
Got any suggestions for me?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Do not bother.

Awhile back I ranted about Telemarketers, and I spoke about the Do not call service that was in the works. Well, it was launched, unsuccessfully, yesterday.

Unsuccessful is is a bit of an understatement.

According to the Globe and Mail, demand was so high the CRTC had to publish a note on its site advising people to try later.


Local radio stations and media outlets have been allowing consumers to rant and rave about the inability of the site to handle the load, and question the effectiveness of the program. That aside, I have to wonder, would it not be easier to have everyone on the "Do not call list" by default- and only those interested in receiving calls should sign up on a "Go ahead call me, I've got no friends list".

Surely that would be easier than the clusterfuck that was yesterday.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Well, we have moved.

First, I want to give a shout-out and a huge thank you to the Honest Movers. They showed up with two men, two trucks and a work ethic that cannot be beat. It is no coincidence that this company is run by Newfoundlanders. They worked hard all day, respected our things, and even put the beds and my son’s crib together for us. If you are in Ontario and you have to move, I suggest you give this fine crew a call.

Now let’s get on to the not so warm and fuzzy bits.

The people who owned the home we bought were slightly crazy, very dirty and quite dishonest. And they were going through a divorce. The home was in very poor shape as compared to what it was when it was on the market. It is like they made the sale and then said: “Screw it, let’s live like animals”.

And so they did.

The floors were gunky, I made actual squelch sounds as I walked. The fridge looked like Dr. Alexander Fleming’s lab during the early years of mould research, and the kitchen cupboard and microwave required a Hazmat suited lab nerd to clean them safely.

But that could be handled with a little elbow grease- and mom and I had tackled a lot of it the night before we moved. It was the other stuff that really got me angry.

Like what you ask?

  • Well the siding at the back of the house was burned by the top of a BBQ, so now it looks like melted squiggly lines instead of siding.
  • She took the California shutters in the family room and master bedroom, filled in the holes from the removal and painted over the plaster.
  • She took the door handles off the front doors, and replaced them with different, shorter ones, so that now there are two holes in the front doors.
  • She removed light fixtures and replaced them with different ones. Uglier ones.
  • And just as a bonus, she left garbage on the front lawn, in the garage, and in the cupboards.

Gah. We are still digging out and unpacking.

After we bought a new home, I swore I would never buy new again. So this time around we bought a resale home.

I swear I will never buy resale again.

I am just going to have to rot here.

It is not all bad I guess. Once we work out all the kinks, we will make it ours. The bonus of this place is that there will never be anyone behind us- just a drainage pond and a walk way. So that is what I tell myself as we slog through the mess we did not want or expect. I am hoping as things settle down, I will have more time to blog, and to read other blogs.

A shower would be nice too…

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I am still here

Just trying to recover after the move and going back to work.

Updates soon.

Ciao.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My hate-on for cardboard boxes.

I live in a world of boxes and packing tape.

I no longer know where anything is.

For someone who has very few things- I sure have a lot of crap to pack.

Next time I say I want to move, some one duct tape me to a street light and set my toes on fire.

God I hate moving.

D-day is next Wednesday, if you want to come help me load a truck. They tell me it is the perfect way to end a summer vacation.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Loans that Change Lives

What do you give the person who has everything? Why not give a loan to someone in a developing nation?

What am I rambling about?

Kiva is a person-to-person micro-lending website. A place where people like you and me, are able to act as a bank (except not a real bank- because you have integrity and are motivated by a desire to help) directly to entrepreneurs in the developing world.

The process is quite simple, according to KIVA, you can browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.

Sounds like a plan to me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Randy Pausch

I imagine many blogs are buzzing about the death of Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist whose “last lecture” about facing terminal cancer became an Internet sensation.

Pausch was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer in September, 2006. His lecture focuses on his choice to live the life he had always dreamed of instead of concentrating on his disease. He wrote the lecture with his children in mind, but millions of hits to his video prove how many others saw value and truth in what he had to say.

If you haven't seen it, take some time with it: share it with your significant other, and your children. We all know these lessons already- but oh how easy it is, in the repetition, the duty and doldrums of daily life to forget the important stuff. The things that matter.

My favourite part is when he describes when he was finishing his undergraduate degree, and discussing with his mentor his next step. Randy was thinking about entering the workforce, and his mentor, Andy van Dam, urged him to consider going to graduate school, and become a professor. When Randy asked him why he said "Because you are such a good salesman, and any company who gets you is going to use you as a salesman, and you might as well sell something worthwhile, like education".

Thank you for the reminder Randy Pausch, it is a beautiful tribute to a life well lived. A life well loved.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Watching what we say.

I haven't been blogging, or reading blogs much these days. I have been a very busy bunny. Each day follows the same routine: I wake up and get my son and husband ready for work, drop the big guy off, and take the little guy to the gym with me (I am trying to shrink my circumference- I noticed a few weeks ago I had a few small moons orbiting around my ass). The gym is a sweaty and thus far, fruitless endeavor which has yet to yield any shrinkage. But I still go, clinging to the hope it will work eventually.

Next I head back home with Wil, we play a bit outdoors, or inside, have lunch and then he has a nap. While he naps, I check my email, and tackle the day's project. It could be packing, or gutting, or cleaning. Good times. Yesterday for example, I cleaned out the garage. Packed up what I could there, dodged spiders and large freakish blue ant like monstrosities that kept flying into my hair, and threw out a lot of junk.

Once the daily task is complete, I wake up the little guy and we a) go to park, b)play in the back yard, c) go to Little Feet d) go to the mall.

Then we pick up husband, get dinner, clean up, bathe boy, catch up with husband, go to bed, start the whole mess all over again the next day. Aren't you envious?

Yesterday I checked my email, and saw one from Karen, with the subject header "busted". In it was a link to Wayne's blog to a page where this blog was called out. It was a sad day folks.

It seems that Missing the Rock is one of the NL blogs with the highest Cuss rate. When I first read Wayne's post, I was indignant, my blog isn't that bad! I might let the odd shit and ass go, but rarely the F bomb! Did ya check out Adam Fire Fist Shows No Mercy Wayne? Did ya, huh?

And then, I remembered what happened the morning before, as we were rushing to get Don off to work on time, and Wil ready to go to the gym with me. First Don couldn't find his wallet, then I couldn't find my keys, then Wil was running off with his sandals. I chased after him, tackled the slippery little wiener and started putting on his sandals: "Come on Sweat Pea, help Mommy, we can't be late." I whispered, struggling to get them on his feet, then I realized his little toe was caught: "Oh Shit!" I said, flustered.

And then, in the sweetest voice, on a register and tone reserved only for angels and toddlers: "Oh Shit" followed by a giggle.

Oh shit indeed.

There are times when I have to watch my mouth, and by extension, what I type. I really do need to make an effort to watch what I say at home- because I have a young and impressionable audience (who is learning to talk). I must consider how I want him to speak. However, what I do here is a little different. I do tend to write very casually here, this is something I do because I enjoy it, I have fun with it. This isn't The New Yorker (thought they seem to get into enough trouble without the cussing) or The Globe and Mail. Nobody is paying to read what I write. (Sometimes I wonder if anyone is actually reading what I write) A few colorful metaphors here and there can't hurt- not here. Right?

Wayne's post made me wonder though. Should blogging be something that is a little more formal in tone? Do we need to censor ourselves? Do you think it bothers the average reader? What do you think?


Oh and for the record, this blog's cuss level was medium...See Wayne, I am no Andrew Dice Clay!


The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Where the hell is Matt?

And man, would I love to do whatever it is that you do- which allows you to do this:


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day!

I am at home sick, but what the hey! It is a holiday.

And since I am not well, and I am kind of sooky I am going to ask you to do the work.

Tell me what being Canadian means to you.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rick Hillier makes Newfoundland proud.

General Rick Hillier named Memorial University chancellor

Awesome news. This is a man who represented the Canadian Forces with integrity and honesty. I am bursting with pride over this appointment.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It will be sad to see her go.

I find it difficult to find new music that I enjoy. I hate the pelvic thrusting dance music, I don't enjoy the hatred and anger that rap seems to pilfer, and county music makes me feel like I am flossing my teeth with my spine.

A couple of summers ago I heard Amy Winehouse sing live on the BBC, and I was hooked. He voice is profoundly beautiful, and I love the style of music: it is a throw back to an age where talent ran the music business, not image and spin.

It is sad, but this young woman will likely be dead soon. Amy is barreling down the same road Brian Jones, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin , Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain; it's a dead end at two hundred miles an hour. If the drugs and alcohol don't kill her soon, they will surely end her career. The 24-year-old, a crack cocaine addict, is suffering from the early stages of the incurable lung disease Emphysema.

It is sad, this woman is a gifted singer. I have to wonder if she has anyone in her life that can stop her from killing herself. It is always hard to watch someone suffer- but it is damn frustrating when it is self inflicted.

Check her out live on the BBC last year:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No longer homeless.

We bought a house last week- I waited until the home inspection, financing and all the I dotting and T crossing was complete before I posted about it. Funny thing is, I expected to be ecstatic when we finally found something, but I wasn't. My reaction was really odd. I almost felt kinda let down.

We bought in another community. It means the drive to work now will be about 20 minutes, but I am hoping it will be worth it. The house backs on to a man made pond (for drainage) so there will be no homes behind us. There is a playground less than one minute away. The community is not very old; is mostly residential- and a lot of people want to move there. The basement is finished and will be a great place for the little guy to play. So on paper it is really good. I should have been doing the dance of joy; but I wasn't. Why not?

Well I haven't got it all figured out, but I am guessing now at a few of the reasons. Part of it is that I know I am headed for a huge lifestyle change. We are so spoiled where we live now, it is ten minutes away from Don's work, close to the GO if we want to head into Toronto, close to the lake. Close to an A&P, Wil's Montessori School. But the truth of the matter was, our house was too small, and houses more suited to our current needs in our neighborhood were out of our price range.

It was also our first home, and as much as we had problems with it, we did spend the last 8 years there, early married couple years...wink wink, nudge nudge. It is the home where I planted my first garden. The home I bought my son home to. The home I have shared with family and friends. The first place that was really ours.

We don't move until late August, so maybe as the date gets closer I will get more excited about leaving and starting to make a new life in a new home. Until then I will enjoy the place I where I live now, and get ready to pack it all up and start anew.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

How did this even make it to court?

"A Canadian court has lifted a 12-year-old girl's grounding, overturning her father's punishment for disobeying his orders to stay off the Internet, his lawyer said Wednesday.

The girl had taken her father to Quebec Superior Court after he refused to allow her to go on a school trip for chatting on websites he tried to block, and then posting "inappropriate" pictures of herself online using a friend's computer."

WHAT? Are you kidding me? This man wasn't beating his kid with a lead pipe, he was grounding her from the computer because she went out of her way to defy his rules, put in place for her protection. He was actually being a concerned, involved parent, and there are damned few of them these days.

What knob took this case on? And more importantly: how the hell did he win it?

The way I see it, one or more of the following options must be true:

- this judge has no children
- this judge was toilet trained at gunpoint and resists any form of discipline
- this judge does copious amounts of crack
- this judge seeks to champion the rights of online pedophiles everywhere
- this judge sucked her way to the bench as brains and common sense are clearly lacking.

I am really at a loss here folks, I cannot understand this ruling. Any thoughts?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Newfoundland Word For June!

Sleveen:

This is a word I heard my Granddad use often, and it is one of my favourite words in the Newfoundland dictionary. It means: "guileful fellow, a schemer, a trickster. A sly deceitful man; a mean fellow; rascal; a mischieyous child".

I have met a few of them in my time.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sad news- Harvey Korman

When I was little, there was one show the entire family could agree on, The Carol Burnett Show. We would watch it together and laugh until our cheeks ached and our sides were sore. I must have been in repeats when we watched it because there were some shows we saw a million times; yet somehow it made us laugh like it was the first time. They were a talented bunch who worked well together. There has been nothing like it on television since.

Here was one of our favorite skits, funny in no small part to Harvey's dogged determination not to lose it completely on the set:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Still homeless

We put a bid on a home last week. A older home, one that has been on the market for 3 months, one that needs a new kitchen, all new appliances, new bathrooms, updated wiring, a new garage door, and new driveway pavement. Oh, and the basement had a leak we never did get full details on. Our agent (Frank) presented them with a figure and it was rejected soundly. Very soundly. Their faces dropped, and their eyes clouded with anger.

First they kicked Frank out of the house.

Then their own Real Estate Agent was tossed to the curb.

And there both agents sat for 45 minutes until the homeowners called them back in with an ultimatum: "We will only sell at this amount. Take it or leave it"

And so Frank left it.

"Aren't you going to call your people?" They asked his back.

"I don't need to." he replied. "They aren't going to pay that for a home in need of so much work." He left them slack jawed and angry.

"We're taking the house off the market!" They wailed.

You do that folks. Go right ahead. But I am not paying over $300,000 for a home that needs a minimum of $50,000 in work.

It is still on the market.

Our search goes on.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Signing it all away

Last Tuesday our house went on the MLS, and we had an offer last Wednesday night. House inspectors came over the weekend, found a few missing shingles and a small crack in the exterior basement wall. A small heart attack later, we discover the deal is still on, we just have to address those two problems before we close in September. We sign the papers tonight.

While I am very pleased our house is sold, and that worry is now out of the way, I am dismayed that we haven't found something we really want to buy.

It could be that I want the impossible.

I want a medium size house, on a lot that doesn't have my neighbors up my ass on all sides. Preferably a slightly older home that has been updated, separate rooms (screw open concept!) and a finished basement. Is that too much to ask?

I don't want a new home, as they are so poorly made here in Ontario. I swear they are slapped together overnight with glue, duct tape, matchsticks and a prayer. And they are built too close together! Some "detached" homes have just enough space between them to pass a lawnmower through- not that grass ever grows between houses right atop one another.

We don't want anything so old that it is in dire need of repair because Don and I have neither the time (we both work, and have a little guy) the talent (I take cover when Don grabs a screw driver) or the money for a fixer upper.

I am asking for the impossible. Sigh.

There is very little in the area we wish to buy that appeals to us. The one house that has potential is asking a nice chunk of dough for a home that has no appliances, needs a new kitchen, has dated bathrooms, and carpeting on the upper level that needs to be burned and buried. Oh, and there was a leak in the basement which we have been told was filled with epoxy and fixed. But we love the layout, and the lot size is good enough for us and has been well groomed.

The plan now is to low ball them by about 30, 000 and see if they go for it- it was a rental property that the owners now want to offload. It has been on the market for about 59 days now. Part of me is hoping they go for it and I won't have to worry about it anymore. And another part of me hopes we don't get it, and we are forced to gamble on finding the home that is ready for us to just move right into. No fuss, no muss. But that is probably a pipe dream isn't it?

Wish us luck. Because if we don't find something before our September 2nd closing, I may have to move in with you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Attack of the Telemonsters

Does this sound familiar to you?

“Hi is Mrs _____ there?”

“Who is calling?”

“Is Mrs ____ there?”

“Who is calling?”

“We will call back another time…”

Click.

Just a typical supper hour with the phone ringing; calls from people I don’t know, and don’t want to know. If it isn’t the Weedman, it is the phone company, or a charity which may or may not really exist. Like dust mites and bedbugs, these vermin invade the comfort and privacy of your home, and seem impossible to exterminate. As soon as the caller starts with the Mrs. crap, I know this person has no idea who I am. I never took my husband’s name. Anyone important to me knows that. I cut them off at the sound of my Mother in Law’s name- politely but firmly.

“I am sorry, we don’t take telemarketing calls of any kind; please remove us from your calling list.” And I hang up. But I can only do that when they identify themselves, I try to keep a track of who is calling, that way if I get a second call, I can get nasty sans guilt.

But the annoying fucktard who called me on Saturday with the above script did not identify themselves, and when I did a reverse look up on the number that called me- it of course had little information listed. When I called them back, they never answered their phone- funny that. What gives them the right to call me, refuse to identify themselves, and then hang-up when I won’t play ball? It should not be allowed.

There are things you can do to reduce the amount of phone spam you get, I know, because I used to process a lot of phone lists when I worked as a DBA. I will share with you what I know- and while I can promise a reduction in calls, it will not get rid of them completely.

1) Most legit companies who use telemarketing firms also keep track of who they call, what
the response was and try to remove people from their lists when they express a wish not to be called. Legitimate companies don’t really want to piss off potential customers. Every telemarketing company is required by CRTC rules to keep a "do not call" list (and similar "do not fax" list for faxes). So next time they phone tell them you do not want to be called again, and asked to but put on their do not call list.

2) Register with the CMA . The Do Not Contact Service enables individuals to reduce the number of marketing offers they receive by mail, telephone and fax. Consumers register to have their names removed from marketing lists held by members of the Canadian Marketing Association.

3) The CMA will not run the phone portion of the Do not Contact Service by the end of the year, instead Bell (ugh!) Canada will take over. Canadians will be able to register online, by phone or by fax to be added to the list, entirely free. Once added, telemarketers have 31 days to stop calling, and must refrain from calling for three years.

4) Participate in the Red Dot Campaign. This does not address telemarketers, but their print equivalent- Junk Mail.

5) Finally: when the next telemonster calls do not buy anything from them! The reason why you are interrupted daily by these companies is because it works. Don’t make it work for them. If they call you again, complain in writing to the company, and if they are members, to the CMA as well.

Good Luck!

What is the worst telemarketing experience you have ever had?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Call me crazy

May and June is a really busy time of year for me. My students who are working on the Skills Canada have their big competition early May (we just got back from Waterloo), the Communication Technology ISUs are due, and we start the final preparation for exams in June. In addition, the the two School Board committees I am on all seem to want final documentation and meetings around this time as well. And I have to juggle all these airborne balls with a nineteen month old and a husband who would like to see me from time to time.

But somehow, I have added a new task to my list.

We are selling the house.

Putting it on the market this week in fact.

Holy crap.

That means I have to paint, clean and gut the house, weed and plant, re-arrange and de-clutter and pack up what we can, before this Monday. Because, as the Real Estate Agent tells me, spring is the best time to sell, and there is not much up in our area now. If that weren't enough to consider, once the house goes on the market, I will have to keep it in pristene condition until the house is sold. Not sure how well that will work with the nineteen month old- or the husband for that matter as I am pretty sure that underwear in front of the shower stall will not be a selling feature.

I must be freaking nuts.

Does anyone have any tips to share?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Men, how exactly does this do it for you?

I am the kind of person who doesn't care much what curdles your cream- whatever makes you go to your happy place. As long as I don't have to see you do it, as long as no innocent bystanders get hurt: I say fill your boots.

But I have on occasion wondered, how exactly does that work? I watched a documentary while in university about sadomasochistic practices ( it was for Psychology 3050, honest) and I remember watching this one guy, dressed in a diaper and a baby bonnet, being yanked from room to room in a brothel by a chain wrapped around his neck. Occasionally the Mistress used a riding crop to swat his diapered ass and further direct his movements. Now, I thought that was odd. And again, I wondered how it all worked sexually. I never did figure it out.

So today when I heard about Richard Quest I found myself returning to that question. The CNN broadcaster was busted in the wee hours in Central Park yesterday with a rope tied around his neck and genitals. Richard and his friend were approached by Police because they were in the Park after hours. When the police questioned Richard he blurted out helpfully: "I've got some meth in my pocket,". No shit. The resulting search also revealed a sex toy in his boot. Can you say career over?

I am no prude. I think a healthy sex life is good for you. Have at it. Honestly. But this does not strike me as sex really. I don't know what this is.

I can see how porn might turn your crank, I can see how maybe a little role playing might be fun. Sex Toys? Hey, whatever floats your boat. I can even see how some people like to have sex in public places, I don't recommend it, but I can see how people might find it exciting.

But I just don't see what a rope around your neck, and scrotum does for a person. Gentlemen? Care to explain?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Cheers!

It is Friday, and for those of you who are lucky, you will welcome the weekend with friends, family and a drink of your choice. It has been one long week for me, and I do think I will have a drink this evening. Screw the diet. Screw the brain cells.


For those of you who need a little convincing I present this little gem:







Tuesday, April 15, 2008

He has my sense of humour

This is currently my 19 month old's favourite video. Damn, there is nothing like the Muppets.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring has sprung...

Those of you who have pets may be noticing the little guys want to get out more now, and some of the young ones seem rather adamant about it. You may have friction burns on your leg to show for it. It is springtime; the season of love. As the great Robin Williams once said: "Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!' Even flowers are crying out "Oh baby give me your hairy stamen now!"

Ahh but there is a price to be paid for all this fun and frivolity. For those of you who have not spayed or neutered your pets, it could mean little additions to your family in a few short months. So if you don't think you can find a home for all the cute little furballs, it might be best to bring them to the vet. And soon.

Remember it is not just your leg Fido is humping.

If you don't believe me; just get a load of what your cat is doing:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Air Canada reaches new lows

Awhile back I posted about Air Canada's less than stellar service, but a story carried by CBC today just blew all that ranting away.

It appears our national airline had to make a decision between leaving a few pieces of luggage behind, and irritating a few passengers, or leaving a casket behind and devastating an entire family. Air Canada's choice? According to the CBC: " Body bumped from flight to make way for luggage: family"

I will just let that sink in a bit.

Kinda leaves you speechless doesn't it?

Dennis Hamilton died suddenly last week while working in Alberta, and while the news of his death hit the family hard, the phone call telling them his body was bumped in Montreal must have been harder. This profound display of insensitivity was not just an insult to the family, it delayed both the viewing at the funeral home and the funeral service itself.

Of course, Air Canada has no comment. Why would they? They have never taken responsibility for anything before, why start now? And when I think about their announcement last week of their plans to add a fee for customer service, I begin to really understand the term "going postal".

My condolences to the Springdale family, you did nothing to deserve this, and I am so sorry this experience added to your grief.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Eat this Charlie

Today Premier Danny Williams denied suggestions that his government knew about flawed breast cancer test results for about 18 months before the public became aware of problems at a St. John's lab.

"I can tell the people of this province that [neither I nor anyone] in my government under any circumstances would attempt to conceal or prevent the disclosure of information that would affect the health of people in this province," Williams said.

Even though exhibits tabled at the Inquiry showed that the premier's chief of staff and communications director were informed in July 2005.

Makes me sick.

I have two things to say to you Danny boy, two very simple things. If you have to skip a photo op or two to digest this information, so be it:

1) I don't believe you were not informed.
(And even if I were dim enough to accept your denials)
2)It is your job to know.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fools

I used to be known as a bit of a prankster, I have settled somewhat in recent years, but I had a good run there for awhile. I think the best prank I ever pulled was on a coworker of mine when I worked as a D.B.A. He sat in the cubical next to mine, and we had a pretty odd relationship- we got on well, but we tortured the hell out of each other on a daily basis. It was my goal to prove him wrong on occasion, and it was his goal to see if he could do something to “Break Nadine”- meaning to get me laughing to a point where I couldn’t stop- couldn’t breathe for that matter. Our office wasn’t that large, so when it happened people knew Nadine was broken.

He didn’t have to pull out all the stops either; sometimes it was the sheer incongruity of his statements combined with his impeccable timing. I remember once I was freaking out over a piece of code, trying to get something to run the way I wanted to, and failing each time. Of course Karl could hear me threatening my computer, and cursing the data I was working with. It was probably my lowest point of the day when he popped his head over the divider and asked:

“Historically, which came first, Snoopy as the Red Baron, or the Steve Miller Band?”

It took me a second to actually rip my eyes away from my computer and focus on the nutbar next to me. “What?”

Historically, which came first, Snoopy as the Red Baron, or the Steve Miller Band?”

“I think it was Snoopy as the Red Baron” I replied, still somewhat confused, and having trouble focusing.

Silence from my colleague. He liked to float the punch lines out slowly, like a balloon rising from the loose grip of a child who is helpless to stop its ascent. And then:

“So you could fly like a Beagle before you could fly like an Eagle?”

And I was toast. All the stress of the day and the complete randomness of his joke just cracked me. It was a while before I caught my breath.

Now there are only so many times a girl can be broken before she starts to plot her revenge. My opportunity came one spring when Karl and his wife took a holiday. I had a plan to do a little redecorating in his cubical. I got permission from the VP and the night before Karl returned, I made my move.

It took 15 boxes of cellophane to complete- but when it was it was done it was a masterpiece.

I started with his pens, pencils, staples, his favorite coffee mug (the one no one else was allowed to use) with coffee still in it, and his little troll dolls on the top of his computer monitor. I wrapped them all, ever so lovingly in cellophane. Then I wrapped his computer, his keyboard, his chair. Nothing on his desk was left unwrapped. Then I wrapped his desk shut, and his cupboard doors and his file cabinet. And then I just wrapped his entire cubical. From top to bottom. It looked like an ice cube in the middle of the office.

When he returned, he was in complete shock at the state of his cubical. He stood there for a few seconds, looked at it, and left.

Then I was in shock.

Where the hell did he go?

It turns out the bugger went home, to get a video camera so he could record it. He had to cut his way into his cubical, and actually seemed to like it in there, all wrapped up in his little plastic product cocoon. The only sound of displeasure that came from him was when he saw his coffee mug wrapped up.

That was my last big prank- I haven’t done anything like that in awhile. Did anyone play any pranks on you today? What is the best prank you have ever seen? Or pulled yourself?

Monday, March 31, 2008

On this Day in History

On this day in history, Newfoundlanders chose between confederation and dominion status by a vote of 51% to 49% for confederation with Canada. Not everyone was satisfied with the results, however, and validity of that vote has been debated in the years since. I am a proud Newfoundlander, I love that rock in the Atlantic like no other, but I also love Canada. It took a year living away overseas for me to discover just how lucky I am to be Canadian. I know many Newfoundlanders feel we would be better off on our own, and I am not sure I agree. Besides, the rest of Canada needs us- we brought a soul to the country, our artistic talents, our unique sense of humor, our quick wit and ability to cut through the bull. One need only to look to Ray Guy, Rex Murphy, Rick Mercer, and General Rick Hillier to see those qualities in action. We should be proud of all we have given Canada, and recognize that Canada has given us a lot too. It hasn't been a perfect union by any measure, but is something we are working on. It is something worth working on.

Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Turn it off.

There has been much talk about Earth Hour this past week. Some people seem to embrace the idea- seeing it as a positive step, though largely symbolic in nature, while others seem to mock the whole idea, seeing it as a feel good frivolous activity that will accomplish nothing. To those folks I ask: "What does doing nothing accomplish?". That kind of cynicism is of little worth.

I don't think anyone who is participating in Earth hour really believes it will have a huge impact on climate change- that one hour really isn't supposed to do that. It is more an exercise about ideas, about raising awareness, about showing our kids we are all trying to make a change, and above all, it is about how small changes can make a difference.

We all need to participate because climate change is not someone else's problem, it is ours. No one is exempt.

Yes, it is just an hour but it can be so much more if we just drop the attitude and try to make the changes we can. We need to be more proactive as a population- after Earth Hour we must continue to conserve, to reuse, to recycle. We need to demand better packaging, and more responsible waste management of our manufacturers. We need to ask of our government, of our communities, of ourselves, what next?

Earth Hour will not make the changes we need, but it is a step. As the Chinese proverb says" A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step".




Side note: Whomever the dimwit was at the CBC who labeled the Earth Hour activity a bandwagon should be tarred and feathered and hung from Gallows Hill. Way to set the tone for the cynics and lazy arses, Dilbert.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Newfoundland Artist Peter Jacobs

I have been a Facebook now for about half a year- and as much as people complain about it being highly addictive and point to issues of privacy, I think it has been one of the Internet’s savviest offerings. It has been great for me to connect with friends I have not spoken with in ages, and family I seldom get to see. But it’s also a wonderful platform for talented artists to engage a wider audience.

Recently my Aunt Minnie and I became Facebook friends and knowing how much I missed home she sent me a link to a song called Take Me Back, by Newfoundland artist Peter Jacobs. I think I must have watched it about eight or nine times, nodding my head to the lyrics, and trying to ignore the lump that formed in my throat. This guy was singing what I feel in my heart when I think of home. It is almost anthemic in sentiment and it reminds me of “Song for Newfoundland”, by Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers.



I contacted Peter to ask him about his music and the story behind it. Like many Newfoundlanders he left the Rock in search of work: "I left like most everyone else, having too, not wanting too. Lucky enough to get a job in the forestry industry. But like most everything else it didn't last…Take Me Back came from seeing some of my family members, friends and even people I didn't know having to leave everything they own and move away. And being from a small town when you hear that someone is going away; it's the talk of the town months before they leave and months after they are gone. Counting the empty houses over again, counting the people that are left. You can see it in most everyone's eyes that they would rather stay, and if everyone had the choice to come back having found work back home I’m sure they would... seems like resettlement of outport towns all over again. After I thought about the first few words to Take Me Back, I think it was written in about 20 minutes. The words flew almost too fast to write them down and could have went on and on”

Peter has been playing music most of his life can remember a time as a young fella performing in pool hall with a crowd of “older ones” paying him quarters to sing “made over three dollars one night, thought I had her made!” He laughs.

Like many Newfoundlanders, Peter’s family figured largely in developing his talent for writing and performing. He would often go to his Aunt Daisy's house at recess time and sing for her. Everyone in his family loved music and his parents always encouraged him to play. His brother is also a singer, songwriter who plays guitar and the accordion. “Well, growing up…my brother, he was away a lot and I always loved it when he got to come home and I could hear him playing and singing. Good ole Kitchen party was always the best thing to be a part of.”

Peter started to think about making a CD with his music after seeing an ad in the local paper calling for local song writers. The CD he has out now was a collaborative effort with Devin Robinson of http://www.sweetmusic.ca/ , guitarist Clint Curtis, accordion player Aubrey Cull, and drummer Stefan Davis. A new CD is also in the works and should be released in a few months. His current CD is available for purchase on his website.

I asked Peter what he thought it was about Newfoundland that keeps calling people home, and whether or not he would consider leaving the Rock again. He credits our love of the Island with “the friendly, kind, generous, atmosphere that most everyone that comes here sees. A very laid back, slower pace of life”. He does not want to leave the Island, but believes that choice is “something me and lots others really haven't got much control over” We discussed the future for Newfoundlanders, specifically those who had to leave the Rock, to return only on special occasions and holidays. I wondered how Peter felt about claims The Rock was about to see better times, that people may be able to return.

“They (the MPs) have been talking about better time ahead for years. But as I say in a song I wrote a few days ago:

So we go on and wonder how much more we can take
MPs say they can do the job they have a plan in place
The’re not the ones who pay the price for mistakes they make
It's the loved ones from our down-home shores that have to move away

I honestly don't think that it's gonna change anytime soon”

Sadly, Peter, I think you are right.


Anyway folks, have a listen and pass it on to another homesick Newfoundlander.


*Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me Peter.
I wish you all the best in your music career.*

Thursday, March 20, 2008

That has got to suck...

Picture it, you are checking your lotto numbers and see one by one the numbers matching the winning number. Your heart is racing, your palms are sweating, the ticket is shaking in your hand: so far you have all of the numbers correct...except that last one! Damn!

But hey, that is still worth a nice piece of coin right?

Normally, yes.

Not this time though.

Not for you and 238 other people who had tickets with five of the six correct numbers, plus the bonus number, in Wednesday night's Lotto 6-49 draw.

I haven't checked my numbers yet- but I am sure if there is a lotto draw win slated for me in my lifetime, this is the one I will hit.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Peep Show for the Easter Season

Just wanted to wish you all a safe and Happy Holiday this easter! Go easy on the Peeps.


And for more Peeps on display check this out. (Thanks Karen!)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Education is not a liability

It is an investment; like all good investments it takes years to pay off. You would think a Finance Minister would be aware of this basic fact of economics. If he is aware, it appears that Jim Flaherty cares less about that then he does getting those photo ops with the wife and kids just right. Stop sending that crap to me in the mail Jim! I don't want a Christmas card from you. Or a bulletin from your wife on her community contributions. Can't you people think of better ways to spend that money?

Apparently he can't, because that little prick is going to quash a bill that would allow parents to contribute up to $5,000 annually for each child to a Registered Education Savings Plan – and deduct the amount from their income taxes.

I guess it sounded too much like a good idea. One that will help families make a better life for their children. Children who, as well educated, trained, skilled tax paying adults would help to make a stronger Canadian economy. But who needs that hey Jim? Your kids won't have to worry, and I guess that is all that really matters.

Isn't it ironic, after all the Conservatives whining about the Senate, that they spent a great deal of time trying to convince that very same Senate to kill the bill. If not kill it, have the Senate Tories two-step around it long enough for Jimmy to get his work-around in place.

I don't believe he is really killing this bill because he feels it "imperils the fiscal plan of the government". Nope, this is more about forcing an election at a time when his government is comfortable no one really wants to vote for the other guys in the big house.

Be that as it may gentlemen, but I will not be voting Conservative this election. I am sure there is a Green Party Candidate in the woodwork somewhere who will get my vote. Cripes, at this point I would seriously consider the Yogic Flyers.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Great. Just freaking great.

More snow.

It is bad enough that we have been dumped on time and time again, but we have to put up with people who feel the need to say things like "Cold enough for ya?" .

In the nine years I have lived in the GTA, I have never seen this much snow on the ground, for this long. It is so unusual for this area that there is an actual snow shovel shortage.

It is not just the snow, it is the grey sky, the lack of light. It is really starting to mess with my head. The poor shaggers at the Weather Network are getting desperate too- they just don't know how else to say more snow is coming. The latest warning for our area reads : Menacing Snowstorm for Southern Ontario. Jeeze b'yes, what the hell do you mean menacing? It is just a bit of snow.

Yes the sight of it makes me want to ram hot pokers in my eyes. Yes, you mainlanders have no idea how to drive in the stuff. Yes, it is going to be a bitch to shovel. But it is just snow. Not the Lord of the Nazgul, hungover and horseless.

All the same, I am sick of winter. Steve had it right when he posted this lovely postcard to Mother Nature.

Hey Ma Nature, whatever we did to piss you off, we are sorry, and we won't do it again. We would like a new season please.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Kids music, to whose ears?

I never planned on having children. Kids under five confuse and terrify me, and they know it too. Some of them take advantage of that fact and dance on my head, knowing I will go tharn; stare off into the distance and wait for the parents to come save me. Others are more wary- they retreat to a corner and play quietly, eyeing me slyly from the corner of their eyes. I do the same. While the quiet ones are easier to manage, I always viewed them with even more suspicion and fear then their more demonic, louder counterparts. I knew what to expect from the loud obnoxious kids, the quiet ones could plan, they could really do some damage.

So when I found out my womb had been invaded I knew my life was in for some major changes and that I was not going to enjoy some of them. Kids music and entertainment is probably the big one for this stage of the post gestation period. From those bloody inane Mommy and Me groups with Circle Time and Musical Babies to the god awful Story Hours from older women with big poppy eyes and high pitched voices, kids entertainment can really make you want to drink the Kool Aid.

Don and I really could not do it for long, we made the effort but after a time we could not stomach the music anymore. We play stuff that we listen to for The Boy, which is quite the range of music, pretty much everything except country (I would rather floss my teeth with my own spine than listen to that twanged out caterwauling) and rap (Kill whitey, bang da ho, pop dis one or dat one, are messages my son can do without). So when I saw this video on You tube I could totally relate.


But yeah , we do make concessions. There is a fair amount of Baby Einstein viewing that goes on in our home. I try to look away- but it is oddly compelling stuff. We have a friend who survived the 60's who upon seeing the videos described it to being stoned and watching a Lava Lamp. After awhile, you start to understand what the lamp is trying to tell you.

If you haven't seen a Baby Einstein video before- count yourself lucky and then go Google one before you look at this dark offering. This video is not what we show The Boy but it is exactly what those wacked out videos look like to adults. Enjoy:

Friday, February 29, 2008

New Beginnings

It is funny you know, you meet all kinds of people in your life, some become permanent fixtures, others are simply funny anecdotes. I have been lucky in my life to have been surrounded by really good people. Funny, talented, loving, generous people who have all taught me something about who I am, and who I want to be.

Growing up I moved all over the Rock, and then to the Big Land, then back to the Rock, and then off it, and back again, and off once more. The only constants in my life were my family, and my childhood bestest bud Maddy. We grew up together as little kids and when I moved away, we would see each other on summer holidays and the odd Christmas. We would always pick up where we left off. Quickly, easily, effortlessly. And eventually, when my family moved back to the Rock we soldiered through high school together, we were inseparable.

We grew apart a little during university, and I think it was hard for us both. Life took us by the hand and lead us in seperate directions. Cripes, at one point she was up North, and I was in South Korea. Before I knew it, ten years had gone by. I think of how often something was going on in my life, and I had the urge to pick up the phone and call her. But I didn't. Too proud.

A few years ago I heard she had moved to Ontario, and I called her. And in the years since we have talked a bit, trying to pick up where we left off. It is not as easy as it was when we were children, we both live far apart, we both have jobs and families, and a gulf of lost years we need to bridge. But the foundation is good, and I know it is just a matter of time.

Maddy is getting married today. She invited me a few weeks back, and I was so hoping I could come. But the weather out there is not co-operating. It is a bitch to get from Durham to Brampton during rush hour as it is, but in the slush, ice and snow it is dangerous on top of it. These mainlanders cannot drive in the winter I tell ya. And so this is an event I will miss.

And I hate it.

I know she will make a stunning Bride- Maddy has a face and smile that brightens a room. I just wish I could be there to see her for myself. Tell her that for myself.

Maddy & Geoff: I am holding your wedding gift hostage until we finally get together.

My love to you both.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I read the news today oh boy

A couple of articles had me doing double takes today.

The first, 'Doomsday' vault opens its doors, had me wondering if this group of scientists are optimists or pessimists. The Norwegian vault is protecting close to 300,000 different seed samples from around the world and plans store more than two billion seeds. Doing nothing to avoid the stereotype, Canada’s main contribution was barley, 3,777 different lines of barley to be exact. It appears a new world order would hardly be worth starting without beer.

The other article that had me doing a double take: NASA Takes Aim at Moon with Double Sledgehammer. Scientists are priming two spacecraft to slam into the moon's South Pole to see if the Earth’s pale sister reveals hidden water ice.

"I think that people are apprehensive about it because it seems violent or crude, but it's very economical," said Tony Colaprete, the principal investigator for the mission at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

Plus it will be really cool to explode stuff right guys?

Methinks these fellas need a girlfriend, or a hobby that does not involve explosives. Yeah, yeah, I am all for science and progress, but this plan comes from the same group who sent the Mars Climate Orbiter on a suicide mission because they did not know if they were supposed to be using english units or metric. So allowing the b’yes to send what amounts to giant fiery missiles at the moon doesn’t seem like an incredibly prudent idea to me. Stick with the rovers and a probe kids, please.

Speaking of probes: the headline Que. Crown ponders charges after woman dies during sadomasochistic sex was a bit of an attention getter. I understand it is news, but I think what two consenting adults, crotchless chaps, anal plugs, breathing apparatus, and small furless animals do in their own home is really none of my business. Or yours, for that matter. So to release the names of the couple involved was not right. If charges are laid, well fine, but until they are let’s leave their names out of the papers, if only for the sake of the people left to mourn. The last thing little Johnny needs to deal with on top of his mom’s death is the fact that she died while engaging in "uncommon sex practices using very particular accessories."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Newfoundland Comic in New Fox Series

Burlington, Newfoundland native, Shaun Majumder has got a new gig. Known to many for his work on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Just for Laughs. Cendric the Entertainer Presents, and a short acting stint on Fox's 24, Majumder returns to FOX with another series, Unhitched.
He plays Dr. Freddy Sahgal, a successful surgeon who doesn't quite know a thing about women. After his divorce, he finds being alone difficult, thus turning to his three friends who also have separated from their life partners. How convenient.

While the show's premise is hardly new or inventive, Shaun can make almost anything appealing. After all, this is the man who somehow makes the sweaty, horny, Indian Raj Binder quite entertaining. So give this one a go, if for no other reason than the main character is playing for the home team. Unhitched premieres 9:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, March 2nd.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Blog Heading

Thank-You Karen! What a beautiful new banner you have given the blog! Really smartens the place up.

Ok, now for your next project: I was thinking about doing a series of greeting cards....

Friday, February 22, 2008

Well my camera is dead.

And I am a little broken up about it. I loved that thing; it was practically a part of the family. We took it with us on our trips back home, took it camping, on company retreats, parties, heck, it even went into the delivery room with us. Now it is just another piece of technological gadgetry that will sit in a junk drawer until the next manic urge to purge useless crap from my home overtakes me.

Sigh.

Since I have a little guy you know I can’t go too long without a new one, lest the multitudes of aunts, grandparents, and cousins rise up in anger and beat me with my own limbs.

So now we are looking for a new digital camera, one that is fast can record movie files, and is not going to cost me my first born. Is this within the realm of possibility or is this kind of like Hilary asking Bill to stay away from the interns on the campaign trail? Any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Goodnight, moon

Wednesday night North Americans will witness the astronomical beauty of a total eclipse of the moon. The shadow of the Earth will loom over the full moon transmuting the pale orb into a sore red eye in the sky. That is of course, providing the weather is good and the skies are clear. Since I live 40 minutes outside Toronto, a clear sky is not a given.

The cosmic performance gets under way around 8:40 p.m. EST with the total eclipse by 10:00 And if you are late for the show there won't be another one visible from Canada for nearly three years - Dec. 20, 2010. Get your binoculars or telescope and get out there- grab your thermal undies too; it is damn cold out there.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Black History Month

To the kids who told me I was racist because I asked him to remove his hat in school:

  • Learn something about racism
  • Learn about the people who fought for all the freedom you take for granted
  • Learn what racism really is and stop using the word as a free pass. To do so is an insult to all those who came before you. People who really suffered, people who really understood the word racist. People who were crushed under the weight and reality of that word.

The lesson starts here:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A thought on Valentine's Day

My colleagues were teasing me yesterday because they found out that I was married on Valentine’s Day. Make that, married 10 years (Holy crap) today. I don’t exactly come across as a sentimental person at work so I took quite the ribbing.

“How sweet, I never knew all this time you were such a softie!” Ugh.
“So I guess you have big plans for the day?” They wondered.
“I don’t know, I guess I will shave my legs for something a little different.” Came my reply.

While it amazes me that ten years have past, it does not surprise me that we are still together. We have had our moments to be sure, but somehow I have always known we would make it. I don’t know how I know that is so, I just do. He has got my back, and I have his.

Among other parts.

But I digress.

I get annoyed when I hear people talking negatively about marriage; referring to the wife as the old ball and chain or to the husband a useless tit. But what really makes me mad is the term “Starter Marriage” Oh man does that ever boil my boot! It completely negates the importance of a marriage- it becomes just something you do, property you acquire, something you can upgrade or trade in for a newer model.

It makes me mad, yes, but under that is a little sadness.

This is a crazy world, and in many ways an unfriendly one. I think it is important that the person you choose to share your life with is someone who will worry about you when you are driving on a wintry highway slick with ice; someone who understands you in a way that is intuitive and clear; someone who will tell you when you are being an ass; someone who will hold the bucket for you when you are sick (see, I told ya I am not all warm and fuzzy!). If you don’t have that in your marriage I feel for you.

Think back: what made you fall in love with your significant other? What was it about them that set them apart from all the rest? Has that really changed? People make mistakes, sometimes big ones, sometimes it is the same one over and over again, but I think you can work through it- and come out stronger for each other. It is a commitment, it is work, and it is not easy.

But it is worth it.

Happy Anniversary Buddy; thank-you for holding the bucket for me.

Monday, February 11, 2008

February's Newfoundlandisms

Here is this month's entry for Newfoundland phrases:

"Done it brown" You overdid something, the allusion is to burnt bread.

"Don't cut tails" Don't be too particular. Fish tails were cut as a mark.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Pan Cake Day Traditions

We had friends over yesterday for pancakes, as it was Shrove Tuesday. Because the friends who came over were mainlanders we did not put any money in our pancakes; we did not want any trips to emergency.

It is a tradition in Newfoundland to put money or other trinkets into pancake batter. My Aunt told me once that each trinket was symbolic of the future. As a kid, I always wanted the money and that is usually what we got, but as kids my Aunts and Uncles might have received:

  • A penny, to symbolize tight times ahead
  • A nickel, to symbolize money coming to you in the future
  • A string, to symbolize becoming a fisherman if a boy got the string, if a girl did she would marry a fisherman.
  • A ring, to symbolize that you would marry soon
  • A button, to symbolize that you would never marry
  • A nail, to symbolize that you would soon pass away (well yeah, if there are nails in your food I can see how that might happen)

Does anyone still do this? What sorts of things did you get in your pancakes as a kid? Did anyone get any money in their pancakes yesterday?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Local Politics from a Distance

Because I don’t live home anymore, I hesitate to comment too much on local politics. You can follow it from afar but it is not the same when you don’t live it. So this might explain why the current curfluffle with St. John's Mayor Andy Wells and his new job with the Public Utilites Board is really beyond me.

“Pick a job!” Cry the Liberals.

“I don't particularly care what the Liberals say … they count for nothing," Retorts Andy, in his usual diplomatic fashion.

“Cut Wells’s salary in half!” Suggests councillor Colbert

“Yeah!” Puddister puts in. “It's impossible for Wells to do both jobs completely.”

“I am doing this for you, for the citizens of this great land” Says Wells, as a small tear trickles down his face. "If I can save the citizens of St. John's a half-million bucks, you know, I will…”

Aww, shucks Andy. I think I am going to cry a little myself. It is so selfless of you to stay on as Mayor, just so that a byelection need not be called, thereby saving St. John’s big money.

So you will forgive me Wells, but I do have a couple of questions:

1) As I said, I am not home anymore, so it is likely I may have missed something, but did someone shoot Dennis O’Keefe? You know, the Deputy Mayor? Just what does a Deputy Mayor do anyway? Why is it we have one of those again? If Andy were to be hit by a snow plough, what would Dennis O’Keefe do? Has anyone asked him?

2) Does anyone know where Danny Williams is? After all he appointed Wells to lead the PUB. He has been a little quiet on this topic. Surely our great leader has something to say? Surely there is something Danny Almighty can do, a hidden obsure clause in the Statutes of Newfoundland and Labrador that he can dig up? Maybe he can postpone Andy’s new job for just a couple of months until we get things sorted out?

There must be something that can be done, we cannot allow Andy to suffer and toil under 16 hour work days, he has already done so much for us…just think of Mile One.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bitstop's Fog Doc

I know I have talked about Bitstop before- it is a beautifully done site by a friend of mine. Her stunning shots of places back home leave me speechless. Yesterday she created the coolest entry: documenting the steady creep of fog skulking its way over the ocean, quickly swallowing the cliffs of Signal Hill, and moving on to consume the city.

Have a look through Karen's blog, and her website too, she has a ton of photos there as well. I have stolen one of her more recent photos of Cabot Tower and put it here just to entice you. I keep telling her she should sell her work, and she keeps telling me I am foolish to believe so. Perhaps she is right on the foolish bit- but I know I am right about her talent.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Flying the Crazy Skies

Co-pilot 'falling ill' forces Air Canada emergency landing in Ireland Monday after he began "acting in a peculiar manner and talking loudly to himself..." Officials at the Irish airport confirmed that the co-pilot was admitted to the psychiatric unit of the Ennis General Hospital. No surprise there - I go a little crazy when I fly with Air Canada too.

What really made me laugh though was Air Canada's statement: "The captain and crew of AC 848 followed standard operating procedures in light of the co-pilot falling ill. The captain elected to divert to Shannon and landed without incident. At no time was safety compromised."

Really? The poor guy was playing with his lower lip and singing "It's Raining Men" in a keening falsetto and you don't think this posed any danger to the safety of passengers or crew?

It hasn't been a good week for Air Canada, this comes just days after they stomped their feet, proclaimed "It's not my fault I am always late!" and stormed off to their room.

Air Canada needs to take a long hard look at how it treats its staff, its customers and the equipment they own. The arse is coming outa her b'ys, and I am not sure how much longer she will hold together.

Share your Air Canada horror stories... I know you've got them...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Only in Newfoundland...

A reader sent this to me today, and it cracked me up.

I sometimes think that the moose outnumber people in Newfoundland, and there are about half as many moose warning signs. Most of them are just black on yellow silhouette moose on your typical road sign, or the large scale moose like figures on sticks lining the edge of the TCH. However, the Gros Morne National Park has refined the moose warning sign by making it perfectly clear to motorists the destruction these massive animals can cause. Take care on the roads b'ye, if the weather doesn't get ya, the moose might.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Newfoundland Herald's Subliminal Message?

Have you seen this week's cover for the Newfoundland Herald? Does it strike you as a little odd? I don't know about you, but I think someone at the Herald is trying to tell us something. There are a number of possibilities as to what exactly he or she is trying to say. Let us consider each.

1) This could simply be nothing more than the graphic artist's Freudian presentation of Steven Harper assets (considering Ole Stevie's turgid stance on gay marriage, let's just assume the graphic artist responsible for this cover is a she). Perhaps she thinks a lot of the Big PM and all he has to offer. Now I always thought he presented as a rather rigid individual, but this tumescent depiction is ridiculous.

2) It is possible this cover is the complete opposite of romantic glorification of the PM private member. No, this could conceivably be the downstairs version of the evil eye. Representations of the phallus abound in both the art and literature throughout the history of human kind; on frescoes, on amulets, statues, etchings, tripods, drinking cups, vases, and architecture. In the 1st century Roman world, these were apotropaic symbols used to protect people, to ward off evil. What could be evil about Stevie? Or Danny for that matter?

3) Look closely at the photo, those two are standing ever so close together. Look at the PM's tender smile, as he gazes at Danny's profile. Notice how he turns inward, pulling his form toward Danny's frame. Meanwhile, Danny looks coyly to the side, avoiding Steve's attentive countenance. Maybe they got together after dinner last week, maybe they had a few drinks, caught a film, Brokeback Mountain perhaps? It could be Danny was telling the truth when he said the dinner was a "political charade". It could be things are looking up for Newfoundland.

Wait a minute...what is with all the money in the lower left corner, and the prime St. John's real estate in the background?

Maybe that is not a loving grin, perhaps that is the smirk of a man who has you by the short and curlies. The churlish grin of someone who has the upper hand and knows it. Is that why Danny is not facing the camera? Come to think of it, I have never known him to miss a photo opportunity. Just what is going on here?

Only the Herald knows I am afraid. Only the Herald knows.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Way to go MUN!

Some of my students are preparing for exams now- and sadly, many are just hoping for the best. Others also have the added stress of preparing for life after school- which for many simply means more school.

Students often ask me about different universities and different programs- and I tell them what I can, and try to point them to someone more knowledgeable on the subject.

While helping out one of my kids today I discovered something I did not know about Memorial University- it is the only English Language university in Canada to offer programs in Folklore. Which only makes sense, the Rock is the perfect location for such a field of study. We have incredibly rich oral traditions, ballads and songs, distinctive dialects and a heritage woven from the threads of many different cultures.

So way to go MUN!

Friday, January 11, 2008

January Newfoundlandisms

Each month, I am going to add a Newfoundland saying to our growing list of Newfoundlandisms here on "Missing the Rock"

This is one for January 2008:

"Fair weather to you and snow to your heels" (Good Luck to you as you go on your way)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Saying goodbye.

Did I ever tell you about the great Job search of 1999? That summer, my husband and I, with our three degrees and our hot-off-the-press Information Technology Diplomas were hunting for work in the IT field. By 99 that field was barren. The market that had been hot in the early to mid 90’s, so hot that if you had a pulse and could turn a computer on, you were considered hired. But we entered the program as the mad rush was winding down, and the market was flooded with IT grads just like us.

So, 1500 resumes, and 12 headhunters later, Hubby and I took my cousin Bob’s offer of his bachelor apartment in Toronto. He was going to let us stay there, rent free for a month and look for jobs in person, instead of trying to do it over the Internet back on the Rock. We took the last of our savings, bought ourselves two tickets to Toronto, and left.

During our long distance job search on the Rock I collected contact information for companies in the GTA, and the day we landed in the Big Smoke we yanked that list out and we started cold calling. We went building to building, door to door, with resume in hand and our hearts pounding in our chests. The rejection was unbelievable, almost unbearable. We had one dick tell us, and I will remember his exact words until the day I die: “You people are a dime a dozen, you will not get hired here. You may as well pack it up and go back to Newfoundland.”

We had one week of job hunting left, before our time at Bob’s was up, and we had to go back home. It was a 5:00 on a Friday, and we had almost worked through a skyscraper on King- there were only two more offices to go. We were hot, we were tired, and we were sick of the rejection. Besides, we could not seem to get past any of the secretaries at the front door of any of these offices. Don wanted to pack it in for the day- and so did I. But there were two more companies to go, and we could at least say we cleared that building. So we went for it.

We opened the door, expecting to see another bubbly secretary stop us at the door, politely take our resume, and our arm, and guide us back out to the hall. All the while assuring us that she would place the resume in the right hands. Instead, no one was at the front desk, and just about the tallest man I had ever seen was walking up the hall towards us. He said hello, and asked us what we were doing there. We gave him our well rehearsed spiel and waited for him to take us by the arm and guide us out with a smile and a nod. He seemed a little amazed, and curious, and he said: “Let’s do something a little wacky.”

He brought us into the board room where the company heads were seated for a weekly meeting. Turns out, one of the main topics of conversation was finding help for upcoming projects. We had a little impromptu interview, and we were sent on our way again. But we were called to come back for a more formal interview- and from there (and after much turmoil within the company as some believed we were not what they needed because we were newbies to the craft) we were each given an offer. It floored us.

To this day, I have no idea why the Big Man hired us. We were probably not the best choices at the time- but we worked hard, we learned lots and we contributed. I remember one of the VP’s telling me over drinks that she thought the Big Man hired us for the story. It is one he told often.

It was hard for me to leave a few years back, given that history. But I had burned out with what I was doing, and I missed teaching. Plus the IT market had suffered somewhat, and contracts were drying up. It was a scary thing for both of us to stay in the same industry, but it definitely was not a good idea to stay in the same company. I dreaded telling my boss, but I gave him about 3 months notice, and said my goodbyes. It was difficult to leave the very people who had given us a shot at something, the only people who had given us a chance.

And now my husband is, for a variety of reasons, in the same spot. He started looking over the holidays- just putting out feelers to see what was out there, and he got a bite right away. Which was a surprise to us. Such a contrast to 8 years ago. It is an excellent offer, with better pay, training, it is closer to home, and something new and exciting to build on. It is clear to him that he has to say goodbye- and it is torturing him because it is the worst possible timing for his current company. He has to accept a dream offer within 24 hours, and has to be ready for work in two weeks, or he has to let it go for good.

It isn’t an easy spot to be in. But I am proud of him.