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.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Promise of a New Year

What is it about the New Year that has everyone jumping on the quitting bandwagon? Quitting eating. Quitting drinking. Quitting smoking. Quitting Swearing. Is it the new part of the New Year; the fresh start? Or is due in part to the three or more weeks of excesses we have allowed ourselves over the holiday season? Too much eating, too much drinking. Not enough exercise.

I resolved not to make anymore resolutions years ago. While I do use the New Year as a time to try to introduce small manageable changes, I kissed the quitting bandwagon goodbye.

This year though is a bit different. It was not one of our better Christmases. Our son was very sick, the sickest I have ever seen the little guy. On top of a double ear infection, he had a stomach virus and a cold. When I wasn’t cleaning up puke, changing a dirty diaper, wiping a snotty nose or soothing the crying lad, I was staring at him in horror, waiting for his head to spin around. While he did not pull a Linda Blair, he came very close. My husband and I were exhausted.

On New Years Eve we found ourselves looking back at the year we were passing by, thankfully, on this side of the topsoil. It was rough. Adjusting to life with both of us working with a young child (one who has been sick too often), and Don gone 12 hours each day has been difficult. My Grandmother passed, my Aunt C was in and out of hospital, my sister has some strange tumor thingie on her thumb no one seems to be able to identify (I think she should call it Fred and move on) and so on…And each time something happens we are too far away from family to really be there for each other.

Something has to change. I am not sure what will ease things for us, but I know we need to release the pressure valve somewhere. And so, that is what we will be working on this year, 2008: easing some of the pressure.

I do wish that whatever surprises the New Year brings you that your health, happiness and prosperity is a part of it.

Here is hoping 2008 is a good year.