Thursday, December 22, 2011

I wish it was Christmas today...

This update on their old tune almost perfectly sums up how I feel about today- two days left until Christmas break, and stuck in Ontario.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Messiah at the Mall

You probably have heard of Flash Mobs even if you haven’t been present for one. A Flash Mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place to perform an unusual act like a dance, or a pillow fight, for a brief time; and then disperse as quickly as they appeared. Most times Flash Mobs are heavily reliant on social media and are often organized via cell phones, Twitter, Facebook and the like.

This past weekend, shoppers at the Avalon Mall in St John’s were pleasantly surprised by a Flash Mob. Members of the Philharmonic Choir of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra treated shoppers with a sudden performance of the famous oratorio from Handel's "Messiah." The video below was provided by Nine Island Productions. Thanks to my cousin Emily for the link.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Muppets

For a large chunk of my childhood I had a secret wish: I wanted to be a Muppeteer. It's not something I shared with many people because I knew almost everyone would think I was strange but I truly loved the little world and the quirky cast of characters that Jim Henson created. As a very young child I knew it wasn't real, but I loved The Muppet Show all the same.

We introduced Wilson to the Muppets when he was about two years old. Many of the popular song segments and special guest appearances are on You Tube. Wilson loves everything we show him - the music, the slap stick, the exploding Muppets, and the Swedish Chef. I am really looking forward to seeing the Muppet Movie with him over Christmas holidays.

So earlier this week when I heard about the frenzied tirade Fox News anchor Eric Bolling spewed about the latest Muppet Movie, I was instantly angered and offended. The moron suggested that the movie was aimed at planting the seeds of "class warfare to brainwash our kids". He took issue that the villain in the film a character named Tex Richman, a greedy oil executive who wants to drill under the Muppet's theatre.

Bolling's Fox News colleague Andrea Tantaros added to the flummery: "I just wish liberals could leave little kids alone." To which Bolling wondered aloud why the Muppets couldn't, for once, "have the evil person be the Obama administration" and then "Where are we? Communist China?"

I was going to put the link to a clip of the show here, but decided against it. Fox News doesn't need anyone else pushing up their viewership- even if it is only to see the new definition of stupid in action.

The Muppets are communists? Really?

I have never been a fan of Fox News. I reject their obdurate pursuit to redefine reality where all those who do not spew the same vitriol as themselves are somehow part of a large leftwing propaganda machine.

Just as I was starting to really work myself into a lather about it all- I remembered: It is Fox News.

Who gives a shit?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We have to Remember to Remember.

Remembrance Day commemorates the sacrifices of people in all armed conflicts. Every year, we are asked to take a few short minutes out of our day to remember the sacrifices made for our freedom and safety. Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the few provinces who have made the day a statutory holiday. As they should.

As all provinces should.

It is a disgraceful fact that Ontario does not currently recognize Remembrance Day as a holiday. God forbid anything get in the way of the almighty dollar.

In Newfoundland, it is different. We still remember and honor those who fought. For us, Remembrance Day is far more than a 2 minute break in the middle of your working day.

We remember the stories of the “Fighting Newfoundlanders”, The Royal Newfoundland Regiment, "The Blue Puttees" and those who continue to serve with the Canadian Armed Forces. We remember the battle at Beaumont Hamel, in fact we still honor the Danger Tree- a tree half-way across No Man's Land. It marks the most forward position Newfoundlanders reached before they were shot down. We remember the merchant mariners, while not part of the armed forces, faced constant threat from enemy submarines, destroyers and aircraft. Some were killed at sea; still others captured and kept as prisoners of war.

I remember the stories I learned in school of bravery and ingenuity displayed by Newfoundlanders who fought in the Great War. The Royal Newfoundland Regiment received 280 decorations. Names like Tommy Ricketts, a Newfoundland awarded the Victoria Cross and Lieutenant Cyril Gardner, the only allied serviceman to receive the German Iron Cross. He captured an entire German Patrol and then stopped a British Officer who wanted to shoot the unarmed German prisoners. Mariner Edmund Wagg who after the oil tanker he worked on was attacked by an Italian submarine, rescued 18 of his shipmates before an Allied ship found them. Wagg received a commendation from the United States government for his efforts. We remember Newfoundland soldiers Justin Peter Jones, Cpl. Thomas James Hamilton and Pte. John Michael Roy Curwin, Cpl. Brian Pinksen, Sgt. Craig Paul Gillam, and Sgt. Craig Paul Gillam, killed serving in Afghanistan.

I remember my Poppy, Wilson Price, who served our country well and came home to build a life for his family.

I wish I was home this Remembrance day- because I would take my son to the Cenotaph and I would tell him about our troops. I would spend some time at the Legion and talk to the veterans there. Though their numbers are fewer now. I would go home and spend time with my family- thankful for the opportunity to raise my son in a country like Canada.

But I am not in Newfoundland, I am in Ontario. So I will be at work, like so many others this Remembrance Day. While I know I will take the two minutes asked of us to pay my respect, I wonder, just how many Ontarians out there in Cubical Land, or on a job site will do the same? I am not optimistic.

For all too many, this is just another day.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Prepare yourselves!

Today is All Souls Day, so I guess now is as good time as any to warn you about the coming Zombie Apocalypse. I even have the Center for disease control to back me up on this.

The CDC is advising all its citizens of the impending Zombie invasion. Nope, not kidding.

It is a slick little campaign which attempts to connect with a younger demographic by tapping in to the current popular obsession with zombies. The article actually offers a useful set of preparedness tips which include stockpiling emergency medical supplies, food, water and tools.

All of the tips will help you survive a Zombie attack; even though there is no mention of a twelve gauge. These tips also come in handy for an extended power outage, a natural disaster, or (insert your favorite animal prefix here) ____ flu.

The over hyped prognostications of disaster, world wide panic and widespread infection of bugs like SARS or Bird or Swine flu have resulted in a population of people who are now immune to future dire predictions of humanity’s potential demise. Ironically, this creepy little campaign gets the message across without the fear mongering, and gets past our “I heard this crap before” censors. And let's face it folks, this whole idea is just plain cool.

Check it out at the CDC website.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Your Man Reminder

As many of you know, October is the Breast Cancer Awareness month. No doubt, you have seen people getting their pink on this month. You may have sponsored a friend for The Run for the Cure or perhaps you ran yourself. Maybe you played Boobyball, bought a bracelet, or a pink t-shirt or other such swag. And good for you if you did.

It is important.

I support all these initiatives, however sometimes I worry that another message is lost in that sea of pink. It is a given that we need to fundraise cancer reasearch to beat this disease. However, early detection can be quite literally be in your own hands: checking your own breasts regularly ( or perhaps the breasts of someone you love- wink wink, nudge nudge) is profoundly important.

The folks at Rethink Breast Cancer have come up with an unforgettable, entertaining and stimulating way to make sure women remember do their monthly checks: the Your Man Reminder app.

That is right, hot guys in the service of your boobs is only a click away. Have a look:


Friday, October 7, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving.

In honor of the Thanksgiving weekend, I give you this: "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly"

Enjoy the long weekend everyone.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Damn you Plantar fasciitis! Damn you!

Two summers ago I started a jogging program. There were many nights I simply wanted to jump in front of a bus rather than continue, but continue I did. I made it all the way to eights and ones (jog for eight minutes, walk for one, repeat this cycle a few times). It was an activity that was good for me, and I surprised myself by sticking with it.

However, I broke my foot that Halloween. I am still not sure how I managed to do it: one moment I was walking happily along, and the next I was suddenly tits up, and in a great deal of pain. Fast forward a few months past me hobbling around in an air cast, and then a few more months of physiotherapy, and then a couple of months of simply walking- I began the jogging program again. Starting at the beginning with twos and ones: walk two minutes, jog one.

About three weeks in, I was noticing pain in my feet. In the beginning, the pain flared up mostly after a period of inactivity, but as the weeks went by I noticed more pain through-out the day- especially after longer periods on my feet, in the middle of a walk, or halfway through my jog. It was getting worse. I thought it was just because I had broken the foot before, and it was always going to hurt when I was active so I ignored it as best I could. Tried to stretch it out.

One night, around 4 o’clock in the morning, I awoke to the sound of Wilson screaming- poor little shagger was having a nightmare. I leapt out of bed, and promptly fell to the floor, crying out in agony. I could not stand up.

The next day I went to the walk in clinic, and was diagnosed with Plantar fasciitis.

That was over a year ago.

The Plantar fasciitis is still not better.

Here is what I have done to address the Plantar fasciitis:

Rest: Stopped walking, and jogging. Which has been demoralizing.

Physiotherapy: Have been to two different physiotherapists. Mixed reviews on this. The first lady was very sweet and tried her best. She gave me a number of exercises to try. After a few months with her, I ran out of coverage, and was still not better. The second physiotherapist actually helped me reduce pain quite a bit, but has not gotten rid of the problem. She also gave me new exercises, did ultrasound and some sort of electric pulse thingie. But I have used up coverage with her now as well.

Sports Medicine: Went to a Doctor who specializes in sports medicine. He told me not to get the cortisol shot and sent me to a physiotherapist.

Massage Therapy: Again, two different masseuses. I find that they ease pain somewhat (though the session itself is painful) but massage really has not been a cure for me.

Strassburg Sock: Bought it at the running room. I think it helps a little. But is no cure. Have been wearing it about a month now.

Orthotics: $1000 wasted – I had a pair for my running shoes, and for dress shoes. I wore them for almost a year. No benefit. Zip. Ziltch. Zero. Matter of fact, I had the running orthotics remade three times. The last pair that was made for me are brutal. I can’t even stand in them.

New Sneakers: Outfitted at the running room. Meh. No big difference.

Ice/Stretches/Anti-inflammatories: daily, immediate relief only.

Chiropractic: Have just started this, and have only been at it two weeks. So far, I am not overly impressed but am going to hang in there until the coverage runs out for sure. He seems somewhat hopeful that he can fix this, and I am hanging on to that, because at this point I am terrified that this damn Plantar fasciitis is never going to go away.

What the heck am I doing wrong? Am I ever going to be able to go for a jog again? Cripes at this point I would settle for a long walk without crying from pain hours later. Have you ever suffered from Plantar fasciitis? What did you do to get rid of it? How long did it take? Did it ever come back? Is this thing curable or not?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pure Energies and Rick Mercer

This week on the Mercer Report, Rick was with Mike Holmes to install solar panels on the roof of a home in Oshawa, ON. David Suzuki makes an appearance as well. They are working with an innovative Canadian company called PURE Energies. Based in Toronto, this company was created by solar specialists who design, install, finance and operate residential rooftop systems. They offer a no cost profit sharing lease or the option to buy a system for your house.

I think this is a fantastic idea! While this is something I would seriously consider, I have to admit, I am still looking for the catch.

Also, I wonder how the solar panels will affect the cost of replacing the roof? Eventually those shingles are going to need to be replaced. Would I have to call PURE Energies back to first remove the panels, and then get them to come back and put those suckers back up once the roof has been redone? What about a leak? How much more would the panels complicate things?

Regardless, this is something I plan on looking into. Have any of you had experience with this kind of thing? Suggestions? Concerns?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Goodbye summer

It was a good summer, but damn short. I don’t know where the whole thing went so fast, but I sure do wish I could have hit a pause button there somewhere. While the summer was short, it was productive. I got most of the house painted and new blinds installed. Don looked for and found a new job. My son grew at least an inch, and learned how to play baseball and soccer. And we were lucky enough to have visits from family back home, my parents (not one, but two visits with my mom!), an uncle and aunt and a side order of cousins. We also managed a short, but wonderful trip to Niagara Falls where I learned that my little boy loves thrill rides and room service. Little man after my own heart.

Now, back at work and in the grove, I am looking at how fast our days are passing. My son had his 5th birthday last week- how the hell did that happen? Wasn’t he just learning to walk yesterday? He just started hockey this weekend past and gymnastics starts up on Friday.

Don is back into Jujitsu, and I am contemplating starting up Yoga in the Fall. I am desperately trying to get rid of this damn Plantar Fasciitis so I can get back to jogging. Heck, at this point I would be happy to stand or walk for longer periods of time without wanting to chew my own foot off.

I had to say goodbye to a childhood friend this month, and I think that is playing with my mind some. Toying with my perception of time. I was helpless to do anything useful when he went missing- and I could not be there to say goodbye when he was found. It all hurt rather sharply.

The speed of life of late has left me feeling unsettled and nervous.

I sometimes feel like the proverbial hamster in a wheel, running and running, going over the same old track day after day, without the benefit of the calorie burn.

I have to work on finding that pause button. Until I find it, all I can do is appreciate the time that I have.

And I do.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Zombie Invasion

The world is dealing with some wild, dangerous weather. Japan is still struggling with the aftermath of a devastating tsunami and recent earthquakes. Wildfires and flooding plague wide swaths of the US and Canada and Australia.

In Newfoundland?

A Zombie invasion.

According to CBC commuters were alerted via electronic signs of the coming invasion this morning.

No word yet on casualties.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Game of Thrones

Years ago Don and I wondered into a store in downtown Toronto called Bakka Booksand fell in love with the little bookstore. It focused mainly on science fiction and fantasy novels and featured write ups on a variety of different novels that the owners, employees and patrons favored. We really enjoyed reading the reviews and picked up some really great reads because of them. It became a monthly ritual to drop into Bakka and see what was new.

Don, the lucky bastard, went to Bakka one afternoon without me. I am not sure why we weren’t together but I missed out. Big time.

He walked in on a book signing. It was quiet, but a few people were gathered around a desk at the back arguing with a man about putting the books one the small screen. One kid was even offering screen play suggestions. Don looked at the books stacked to the side of the desk, and selected one: A Game of Thrones. He read a few pages and was hooked.

After purchasing the novel he brought it over to the author, George RR Martin, and asked him to sign it. Not having read the novels, or knowing much about the series, he was at a loss for words when Martin asked him what he wanted on the book. Martin took the book and scrawled across the page: “Don, Keep your sword sharp!” and then signed his name.

Days later Don began cursing himself at fairly regular intervals. “I cannot %^$#ing believe I met the guy who wrote this book! I had the chance to ask him a ton of questions and I could not because I had not read it yet.”

We both blazed through the novel, and read all the books that followed it in the Song of Ice and Fire series. We have been waiting for the latest in the series, A Dance of Dragons, for years. (YEARS MARTIN DAMN YOU! YEARS!)

And now the series is on television, and it is awesome. Unfortunately, Don’s self flagellation has once again become a problem: as soon as the end credits roll he once again starts in on the “I cannot %^$#ing believe I met the guy who wrote this book and I had nothing significant to say to him!”

If you haven’t been watching the series on HBO, don’t start now. Go get the book, read it, thank me profusely for the suggestion and then watch the series. It is a fantastic world that Martin has created- but it is the characters that really make the novel sing. These are people you root for, mourn, love and hate. It also the characters that make the book better than the television series- and that is to be expected I think. You get so much more about who they are, what they are thinking and how they plan to act.

The series is exceptionally well done though, I thought it would be impossible to bring this particular work to the screen but they have managed nicely. We look forward to it each week- although I could seriously do without Don’s griping at the end. Come on Don, it has been about 8 years since you lost your only opportunity to speak with the author of one of your most favourite books in the world.

Let it go.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dammit it Jim, You're a Doctor!

Captain Kirk beamed down to earth yesterday to get an honorary doctorate from University. At spring convocation Thursday Shatner joked:

"Don't be afraid of making an ass of yourself," he said. "I do it all the time and look what I got."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

News Junkie No More

I try to stay informed.

Everyday I read the important bits from a variety of online newspapers. I listen to the radio news casts, and I also watch a variety of news stations and every night, it was our habit, my husband and I, to watch the National together before bed.

Not so much these days.

I have had to cut back on the television news in recent weeks. The disaster porn was just getting to be too much. Some stations are worse than others to be sure, but they all gleefully wallow in the misery. The misery that hasn’t really changed much since their last “BREAKING NEWS” update on the topic…an update on the update they pronounced ten short minutes ago.

So I gave it up for a bit.

My husband has kept to his news watching habits though, especially the National at 10:00 pm. While he is glued to the set I am puttering around getting things ready for the next day, or working on the computer.

I think he might be missing me a little because he seems somehow compelled to fill me in a variety of details while I am most doggedly doing something, anything, else. I could be cleaning out the fridge and hear him call out some random headline from the living room:

They said the radiation not be as bad as they thought it was. Looks like a mistake”

“Some house exploded in Woodbridge!”

“Looks like the radiation is worse than they thought it was. It is in the groundwater”

And last night:

“Apparently there seems to be a trend in Nursing Homes now where seniors are beating each other up”

To which I replied. “Now there is something to look forward to”

I guess I should head back to the gym.

Tonight when the National comes on, I am going to bed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

We Have Come a Long Way Baby

But have we come far enough?

Today is International Woman's Day, and yes, we have many things to celebrate and be grateful for but it is clear there is still a great deal of work to be done.

Women in Canada struggle with our lack of parliamentary representation and resent that our average wage is less than that of our male counterparts. We are more likely to live in poverty and become the victims of violent crime than men. However, we have recourse in many cases to try and address these issues- all the women who struggled before us have given us a voice.

We forget that far too many women in this world do not have a voice at all. Too many women on our planet live in a society where rape is a weapon of social control, where women struggle for reproductive rights and have limited access to education (if at all), where women continually suffer at the hands of men, in the name of religion and politics.

James Bond (Daniel Craig), traditionally the very example of a character who uses and objectifies women to further his own needs, takes a turn at highlighting many of the issues women struggle with daily- not just in the developing world- but everywhere.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Force Still Moves Me.

I was only around four years old when Star Wars a New Hope opened in theaters- and I was immediately hooked. Not just on the Star Wars franchise- but anything space, science fiction or fantasy related. Cripes, I remember having an unhealthy fascination with Boney M's Night Flight to Venus just because my mom told me they were all astronauts. She flashed the cover of the album just to prove it. I swear I never would have listened to that crap otherwise...honest.

When the disco glow of Boney M grew dim, my Aunt Catherine, desperate to hear something, anything, else introduced me to the Carpenters- who covered the old Klaatu song "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (the recognized Anthem of World Contact Day). I played it over and over and over again- it mesmerized me. Before the end of my visit home that summer my Uncle Billy snapped the album in half.

While I was jonesing for the next installment of Star Wars I was taken in by its more cerebral cousin: Star Trek. The reruns used to play at suppertime everyday on CBC- and I never missed one episode. I even watched Spock's Brain.


Now that is devotion.

Most of my favourite books, music and toys had a space theme- with the only notable exception being all things Tolkien. All my stories and games I created in my head were set in the distant future where everyone knew how to fly, technology was a saviour and women could kick some serious ass. Especially the green women.

It appears I am not alone.

George Lucas created a winning formula: the ultimate quest with heroic and compelling characters who millions of people grew up with, rooted for and loved. Lucas took us on an intergalactic joy ride for those first few magical years and then brutally; without compassion or finesse, unleashed the prequels to the original series upon his unsuspecting fans- ramming the entire mythology down the crapper of popular culture. He didn't even bother to flush.

And yet, the magic of the original series still has power. It still speaks to millions of little boys and girls who tinker with Star Wars figurines long after bed time- hiding under the sheets with a flashlight and a makeshift rebel base made of stuffed animals and books. There, locked in a noble battle for the safety of the universe, they lovingly create their own star wars until sleep overtakes them.

And all those kids, myself included, who so loved the series as children hold a place in their hearts for it still. That is why Williams Sonoma can sell a mock up of the original lunch box, or ThinkGeek can hook you up with a Tauntaun Sleeping bag (it was on my wish list this year, but Santa didn't figure it was worth 100 bucks). We have also introduced the magic to our kids. Somehow, in this age of ADHD they don't seem to find Jar-Jar Binks as offensive as their adult counterparts. Star Wars, despite George Lucas' recent fumblings, remains popular; from the Clone Wars cartoons to the Star Wars Lego products it still speaks directly to our hearts.

This would explain why the recent explosion of genuine affection for the recent Volkswagen commercial. How many millions of parents have a little guy or gal at home exactly like this? How many of us could put ourselves in this pint size version of Darth Vader's shoes? A lovely little take on the magic of childhood, and the power of creative parenting.

For the two of you who missed it:

As with all good things on the Internet- there is a parody to be found as well. This time with Toyota at the wheel. Perversely enough, I believe I found this one even funnier then its forerunner. It has quite a different take on children today and creative parenting... and car companies?

May the Force be with you.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stream of Consciousness

“Dadda has icicles on his car and when you eat them they go down in your belly. Dadda is a transformer and he gets the bad guys with his sword and the bad guys get on the fire truck and they go to his house and they break the windows and then I smack them with the light saber and they fall on the ground. Don’t clip my toes. I will put my toes under my bum so you can’t clip them. Ok. Not today. Tomorrow. Look at the woobbies on my toes Momma. They are silly. Get them off Momma. Don’t clip my toes. My red car is fast. It wins. The blue car is fast too but it doesn’t win. Dadda plays with the blue car. Sometimes when it snows outside you can make a snowball but you can’t throw it or you will go to the office. Noah was singing “Who let the dogs out..who who who who”. I like that song. And you dance like this .... put your bum out like this.

Momma, I have to go poo!”

By Wilson
Age 4

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Life in a Day

One of the most talked about movies at Sundance this year was Life in a Day. Dubbed an experiment in citizen film making, this documentary makes use of YouTube videos shared by thousands of people across the globe- sharing the silly, mundane, disturbing, poignant and achingly sad moments in brief snatches of time. The aim is to show the shared experience that is our lives in one single day (July 24, 2010).

The result can be seen tonight at 8 p.m., when Life in a Day is screened live on YouTube from its Sundance world premiere. Ridley Scott, and Kevin Macdonald direct.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I envy her the energy!

Holy crap! Is this young woman from Kilbride, Newfoundland happy to be on the Ellen show or what? She is the second contestant. Trust me, you can't miss her!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Yer Spring

I could use some Spring right now...until then, Hey Rosetta will do.

Yes it will do nicely.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Busy Bee

I guess it is a little late to wish you all a Happy New Year as we are now at the end of the first week of January. However, I am going to do it anyway- I do hope this is a good year for everyone.

I have been far too busy the past little while. I don’t know what I was thinking back in September when I signed up for assorted committees (Grad, SAT, and the PRO), an online course, Skills Canada, and more recently to create a pilot course for the Adobe Creative Suite 5 package our board is considering buying. Seriously, what was I thinking? I have a family I need to fit in there somewhere!

I installed CS5 last night- we had to buy a new computer to load and run the sucker because this puppy is huge. When it finally loaded, I had a quick look-see and immediately started to panic. It is so much different than I am used to. The last version of Flash I worked with was Flash MX…same with Fireworks. It doesn’t even look like the same product. What is the difference between a Page and a State? Photoshop and Illustrator were not as terrifyingly different, but there is a still lot to learn. I broke out into a sweat just looking at the new tools and panel arrangement. I just used the plain old CS versions of those packages before and then only to manipulate a photo or create a graphic for a website created in notepad, or on an adventurous day- Dreamweaver- which has also gone nutso (in a good kind of way).

So lots to learn, lots to create, lots to prove, and little little little time to do it.

How is your new year shaping up?