23 December 2009

Penance

It is disturbing how this year and decade has been ending on such a sour note for so many people. My partner was admitted into the hospital yesterday and will be spending Christmas there. I left the hospital yesterday evening and was running to our apartments picking stuff up and dropping stuff off when I ran into our friends D and I.

I went out for a quick bit of sushi with them and gave them the update on what has been going on. They had several incredibly disturbing stories from the weekend they had to share as well. D is convinced that The Higher Power is kicking us all in the ass right now as penance for our excess, selfishness and lack of stewardship over the past ten years. I can only hope that we will act more mature in the next ten and 2019 ends on a high note.

If you are having a blue Christmas, stay positive and appreciate the wonderful things in you have in your life. They are fragile and precious; just realize how things can flip topsy-turvy on you in a moment and those things can be gone. Nothing is more important than family and friends. Let them know at this time how special and impactful they are on your life. Appreciate all that you've accomplished and the things you've been able to do and experience that so many other people in the world have never nor ever will have the opportunity to do, see and feel. We're so very blessed in the developed world and most of the time don't even stop to marvel at how bloody lucky we are that we were born to the right people at the right place at the right time.

Please say a prayer for my M. I love him so much and my only wish for Christmas is for him to get better soon and come home.

18 December 2009

Oh no! It's the "Top 10 Best/Worst (insert topic) of (insert year)" time again!!

Gods, how I hate the incessant need to do end-of-year compilations of the 'best of' by so-called 'experts' in so-called 'disciplines'. Especially in the arts. I mean, how big of an attention-whore are you?

"I'm a loser and I watch movies/game/listen to music 25 hours a day, therefore I have a duty to inform you, oh, of the untalented, film-school dropout/carpal tunnel/tone-deaf horde, what was the best and worst of this year. I am divine, I am god."

- umm, it's quite likely your opinion has always sucked, in my opinion.

And on and on...movies, music, performing arts, quotations, celebrity scandals, world events, political moments, sports, and on and on...

Hey, guess what? You have tastes and opinions, I have taste and opinions. You may or may not agree with me and I may or may not agree with you. Leave it at that, and shut up. I'll continue to enjoy my personal best of/worst of without an influence from you and your ilk, with this egotistical need to tell me what's right/wrong with what I like and what interests me. You're an idiot and insulting to my intelligence.

Now, here's my top 10 of 2009.....

15 December 2009

DOOMED! DOOOOOMED!

What a joke. Meh, we had a good run...hopefully the next iteration of dominant species on the planet has a more intelligent go of it....in another 50 million years or so when the oil reserves are replenished with the remnants of industrial human society -- oh, the irony! ;P

Recent polls have shown that belief in global warming is waning.

Last month, Cardiff University found an increasing number of Britons are becoming more sceptical about climate change.

It found that 29 per cent believe the threat has been exaggerated – compared to just 15 per cent five years ago. One in five are hardened sceptics who believe manmade global warming is a myth. In the U.S. polls have shown that nearly half of Americans no longer believe in global warming.

Only 57 per cent of Americans agree that world temperatures are rising, while just one in three believes humans are causing climate change, the survey carried out by the Pew Research Centre based in Washington showed.

Andrew Kohut, director of the think tank, said: ‘The priority given to environmental concerns and other issues is down because of the economy and the focus on other things.


I'm laying bets nothing definitive will come out of Copenhagen, which means it'll be another 10 or 15 years before the collective get together again for two weeks of chattering, wining and dining. Canada couldn't even come close to keeping gas levels at Kyoto Protocol-agreed levels (we're, like, 26% above 1990 levels or something when we are supposed to be at -5% levels or something???). There has been no dispute in the belief among climate science and bio-systems academic circles for a decade now that anthropomorphic climate change is real and that temperatures are rising. Yet, here we are.

ROTFLMAO

what a bunch of maroons...we deserve everything we get. As with everyone else, I'm planning to burn up as much as I possibly can now before it's unaffordable and I have to start growing gardens of food by hand again. Sooner it's gone the better...let's get this shitshow on the road. Laissez les bons temps rouler.

08 December 2009

ClimateGate and perspectives on scientific method, Or, What, me worry???

Exerpt from "Climate, Oil, War and Money"

"Against a greater welter and flow of incoherence jerking the nation this way and that way en route to collapse comes "ClimateGate," the latest excuse for screaming knuckleheads to defend what has already been lost. It is also yet another distraction from the emergency agenda that the United States faces - namely the urgent re-scaling, re-localizing, and de-globalizing of our daily activities.
What seems to be at stake for the knuckleheads is their identity, their idea of what it means to be an American, which boils down to being an organism so specially blessed and entitled that it is excused from paying attention to reality. There were no doubt plenty of counterparts among the Mayans when the weather changed and their crops failed, and certainly the Romans had their share of identity psychotics who doubted reality even when Alaric the Visigoth was hoisting off their household treasure."


Response by cougar:

The fabrication involved in ClimateGate is that there is a ClimateGate.

This was about the process of deciding what papers would be included in the IPCC report, and on what grounds they might not be. Some were marked for non-inclusion because they would be taken out of context by the deny-o-sphere to damage the IPCC report as a whole. The papers were eventually included anyway but that there was ever a discussion on the topic is illustrative.

Climate scientists have been badly burned by the professional deny-o-sphere and the corporate and government demagogues they serve. Climate scientists are now gun-shy. They see their work and their reputations dragged over broken glass for the profit of a few. It happened with the tobacco "debate" and it's happening again with climate research, and we all know how this movie ends and nobody likes it.

Climate scientists would need to be insane to *happily* continue to leave themselves open to random and baseless attacks simply because their observations and recommendations run contrary to the will of the majority. They continue to do so only because they are compelled. That compulsion ought to count for something, but clearly it does not, and they will continue to be slaughtered in the press for simply saying what is true within the context of climate research and their growing understanding of how the universe operates.

On honest reflection it might be that science is even dead, killed at the altar of corporate profits and mindless BAU, and has been for a long time. If so, then so be it. I say this as a scientist myself. If my practice is destroyed, I can do other things. Actually I can survive just fine as I have many fine skills outside investigations and data analysis. The goal of science always was to inform the interactions between humankind and the universe, but if that is no longer valued and is seen even as suspect or fraudulent... then we can probably do without it. Perhaps we have learned all we will ever know about the universe and anything more is too much information. The world used to be simpler and people lived and died (and suffered) without knowing why things were the way they were. Maybe that was a good thing. When troubles mount the people can turn to religion and mob violence -- as always they did before -- and over time reduce to a period reminiscent of the Middle Ages.

This is probably fine, and in any case may be inevitable. I don't think I can allow myself to have a problem with that if that is how the majority of the people want it to be.

Oh, but destroying climate science won't automagically restore gasoline supplies at $.17 a gallon. Everyone needs to understand that going back means having less, or even having nothing. But in fairness most won't know where the oil disappeared to, why the climate is changing, why they have less security this year than least year (every single year) or why much of anything else is happening.

But they'll be happier for not knowing. I think.

Though I don't pretend to understand that.

cougar

Response from Keithishere:

we have gone from morons to knuckleheads but I'm thinking JK's clueless is the most appropriate moniker of all.

I'm one of the old time faithful who would be proud to wear a 'peaker' T-shirt but I would seriously think twice about taking the effort to put one on.

Nobody cares because there is no benefit in accepting reality. People believe what they want to and in what benefits them. They don't care about what is really true.

Caring about truth and caring about others outside ones own tribe are acquired skills. It really is too much to expect clueless knucklehead morons to accept reality unless it feels good to them or something else is in it for them. To expect more from uneducated cheese-puff munching masses and their cheerleaders is irrational and ignores human nature.

Talk about the sky falling all we wish, it won't matter to a knucklehead until he/she gets hit on the head with a big chunk of blue.

The truth is out there and has been for years now. History is proving that people won't look for or accept inconvenient truths until they have suffered personal negative consequences. This is a truth that playing out right now.

Climate change is an inconvenient truth but it pales next to the inconvenient truth of resource depletion and it's inevitable consequences.

But knuckleheads won't accept reality until a die-off is well under way. But it won't matter then if climate change is true or not. All a good knucklehead will be caring about are selfish needs and survival.

Sorry to be so inconvenient but its not a matter of clarification explanation or persuasion. You can lead a knucklehead to the waters of knowledge but you can't make him think.

I wish it were not so.

07 December 2009

Lemmings

As much as I'd like to rant right now about my first two weeks dealing with Translink and public transit in general, I'd like to rant instead about the lemmings that use the system every day. Despite all intentions to maintain a civil society, some units in the machine will do anything (or maybe that should be 'do nothing'?) to ensure we can demonstrate having no intelligence whatsoever as a group. There is no better place for us to collectively look like morons more than on public transit.

The Broadway-Commercial interchange on the Skytrain system is wicked enough just the way it is...a complete bottleneck, however the eastbound Millennium Line train causes even more problems when it doesn't come. Twice in the past week, the service has knocked out a couple of trains heading eastbound. Of course, the ones that did come from VCC-Clark were only double cars. By that time, the crowd has ballooned in size to double what it should be as the train comes on its 15-minute interval so everyone is sardined in the cabs once loaded.

But this morning, several test trains came through and announcements on the intercom very clearly stated that the next trains were out of service trains and shouldn't be boarded. What happens? The trains arrive, and EVERYONE clamours on! Once on, the soothing intercom voice says once again, "this is an out of service train, please get off". Everyone gets off again, completely packed against the yellow security lines waiting for the next operational train. Then one comes, and the Voice of Reason comes on the intercom again, "there is another train immediately after this one", and should have continued, "...so there is no reason for everyone to pack on the first train". No matter, everyone packs on the train anyways, apparently overjoyed about the prospect of rubbing up against all the other lemmings packed into the cars.

It was a wonderful example of our lemmingness. And it was almost as fun as my transit party at the corner of Hastings and Willingdon on Friday evening, but that's another rant for another day...

23 November 2009

The Theoretical Truth

"IF YOU LOCK THREE ECONOMISTS IN THE BASEMENT, THEY WON'T WORRY ABOUT STARVING - BECAUSE THEY THEY KNOW THEIR GRUMBLING BELLIES WILL CAUSE SANDWICHES TO APPEAR."

- Chris Martenson, 2009 ASPO Conference

24 October 2009

Because Everyone In Canada Lives In An Igloo

Now that Vancouver has won the chance to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, these are some questions people from all over the world are asking. Believe it or not these questions about Canada were posted on an International Tourism Website. Obviously the answers are a joke; but the questions were really asked!

Q:I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow?(England)
A. We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

Q:Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? (USA)
A: Depends on how much you've been drinking.

Q:I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto-can I follow the Railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only Four thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q:Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada? (Sweden)
A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATM's (cash machines) in Canada? Can you send me a list of them
in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax? (England)
A: What, did your last slave die?

Q:Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Ca-na-da is that big
country to your North...oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in
Calgary. Come naked.

Q:Which direction is North in Canada? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees Contact us when you get here and we'll
send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada?(England)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-t ri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is...oh forget it.
Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and in Calgary,
straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)
A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Where can I
sell it in Canada?(USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population
is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada? (USA)
A: Only at Thanksgiving.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round?(Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegan hunter/gathers. Milk is illegal.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada, but I forget its name. It's a
kind of big horse with horns. (USA )
A: It's called a Moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone
walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine
before you go out walking.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

Love this collection. Thanks Mali Na! ;)

16 September 2009

Holy crapola!

It's been forever since I posted here - for multiple reasons (or excuses) - including, um, summer, boys, travel, focusing on the other blogs and Facebook instead, summer, boys, travel...

I skitted home for a week at the end of June for my mom and dad's 40th wedding anniversary just as the heat wave was warming up in BC, jumped to Montreal for August long weekend just as the heat wave peaked and British Columbia was seemingly entirely on fire, and just got back from a long weekend in Los Angeles visiting friends during a party weekend event over yet-another-missed-in-Vancouver long weekend. In between all that I've been trying to work, look for new work, meet people in my new city, and host a lot of old friends coming through Vancouver on vacation from points east. All in all it's been a crazy busy summer and not-so-surprisingly it has sort of blown by.

I have been keeping up pretty good cycling and running form this summer, doing lots of climbing in North Vancouver. The cycling highlight of the summer was definitely the climb day up Mount Baker in Washington State. Hard to believe that the track cycling season here starts in a couple of weeks. It boils down to a very different racing schedule than what I've become accustomed to over the past decade. I'm really looking forward to racing indoors over the winter though....should be a lot of fun to meet an entirely new group of people....well, not entirely new. There are a lot of ex-Alberta pats out on the wet coast, so it seems.

I'm flying to Toronto over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend to catch the Kylie Minogue concert. I've been a huge fan since the 80s and almost herniated when I found out she was finally touring North America for the first time. Despite her relative low-letter-list status here, she still has lots of die-hard fans here and they have filled most of the dates on her six-city tour. There are still tickets available for Toronto though, so it is not sold out yet.

It was only by accident that I decided to go to Toronto. Other options were L.A., Las Vegas and Chicago, but none of the dates really fell anywhere that I would be able to integrate a minimal number of vacation days in order to get a reasonable number of days away. Toronto was the option that looked best. It was only after I bought the concert and flight tickets and talked to friends in Montreal that I realized it was also Thanksgiving long weekend...which also means....Black & Blue weekend in Montreal! Yipe! Too much suddenly going on. I ran into my friend Paul from Toronto while in Montreal and he informed me about the tentative itinerary for the long weekend, which I anxiously wanted to be a part of. Hopefully that all works out.

Air Canada had a kickass seat sale on a couple of months ago where I managed to get the flights from Vancouver to Toronto and return for $380.....super cheap. At the same time I booked my flight back to Calgary for family Xmas in November for $230. Super cheap.

Unfortunately the American destinations did not come across as cheap. I had to pay more for the Vancouver - Los Angeles flights than I wanted to (with disgusting flight times and transfers as a result of still trying to book as cheap a flight as possible). For the Chicago trip in November, I decided just to use Aeroplan miles. $80 instead of $750, yeah I can dig it.

So what's on the travel agendy for 2009? Time will tell. I already have some obligations to get down to Seattle and Portland ASAP, Palm Springs at the beginning of February, Phoenix and Houston/Rio Grande Valley around the same time, Chicago in the spring, in addition to the big Tour of Germany (Frankfurt-Cologne-Dusseldorf-Amsterdam-Hamburg-Berlin-Prague-Vienna-Munich-Frankfurt) I would like to do coinciding with the Gay Games in August next year. Of course this all hinges on where exactly I'll be working in 2010. My current role is done at the end of October and I am sort of hoping not to get a renewal so I can get a package and embark on a new path with a new organization. I guess we'll what happens soon enough.

If the job market isn't looking that stellar at that time, I'm planning to do some skill upgrading in January/February for Sharepoint/MOSS 2007 Administration, and maybe, just maybe, keep my options open to be available for the Winter Olympics in February/March.

On top of that, I'm dating a wonderful guy. We're spending inordinate amounts of time trying to figure each other out, which is leading to a lot of days of exhaustion, but smiles on our faces. We'll see how this all develops, so far so good.

Anyhoo, just wanted to put some filler in here. Not sure when I'll next post, but FB is where I am most of the time now. Plus some of my other blogs garner a lot more traffic and interest from me.

30 July 2009

*Ugh*

Vancouver registers hottest day on record as BC is hit with heat wave
By The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER, B.C. - The city of Vancouver has registered its hottest day on record.

Environment Canada says a temperature of 33.8 C was recorded at Vancouver airport on Wednesday, shattering the previous high of 33.3 C that was set in 1960. "A very strong ridge of high pressure is currently dominating all of B.C.," said Gary Dickinson, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

"The ridge of high pressure also brought up from the south very warm air, which was responsible for the record-breaking temperatures."

And Dickinson says Vancouver wasn't the only city to record its hottest day ever.

"Abbotsford beat their all-time record as well. The previous record was 37.9 C and they reached 38.0 C," he said.

A number of municipalities throughout the province set daily records.

Victoria reached 35.0 C, besting the old mark of 31.1 C.

Port Alberni hit 40.0 C, with the previous record being 37.8 C.

And Bella Coola reached 41.2 C, bettering the previous high of 34.3 C that was set in 1898.

Dickinson says the sweltering weather is something British Columbians, some of whom are uncharacteristically hoping for rain, will have to get used to over the coming days.

"The ridge of high pressure responsible for the warm temperatures will continue to hold over the province for the remainder of the week and going into the weekend," he said.

"The temperatures will gradually cool over the course of the weekend."

The high temperatures have brought with them an air quality advisory for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

27 July 2009

"Oh, they're just that way"

Here's a strange Canadian phenomenon that needs discussing - Torontonianism. It's the strange affliction any native or former Torontonians have with their intense need and desire to frame the reference of ANY topic of conversation into such a way that Toronto is involved and whatever it is you're discussing happens more profoundly there.

The most recent example of this was on Saturday evening. The lightning storms were sweeping into the Lower Mainland. The conversation obviously went to the rarity of lightning storms on the West Coast, however the former Torontonian of the group had to pipe up how much more intense the storms are in Toronto. I had to channel all the power in me to bite my lip. First of all, this guy's been in Vancouver for 15 years -- give up the Torontonianism already! Secondly, has he ever seen Prairie storms before? Oh yeah, right, no. Toronto is the only place in the country that gets intense summer storms, I guess.

I think we need to start up a foundation that will help all these hapless Torontonians to break their addiction to Toronto. It's there and by christ it's awesome! We get it, okay?

23 July 2009

Celebration of Light: Night One



Crowds cheer fireworks wizardry at Celebration of Light

By David Karp, Vancouver Sun
July 23, 2009 8:31 AM

VANCOUVER — Spectators whistled and cheered, aiming their cellphones and digital cameras at the sky as Canada launched this year’s fireworks competition with a spectacular burst of colour and pyrotechnics over English Bay.

“It’s awesome — bright colours — it’s mesmerizing. It just gives you a good feeling,” said Cathy Cardoza, who was visiting from San Francisco. “It’s longer and fuller [than Fourth of July] fireworks in San Francisco. There is more fullness in these fireworks. It’s not just one at a time.”

Overall, she said: “It made our vacation.”

An enormous crowd turned out for the show, and Davie Street was jammed with people trying to work their way toward the beach just before it began.

Canada, which is trying for a third straight victory in the annual HSBC Celebration of Light event, put on a Wizard of Oz-themed show titled No Place Like Home.

The music accompanying the show was from the Wizard of Oz, with the finale song Somewhere Over the Rainbow, accompanied by a spectacular rainbow of fireworks.

Earlier, the president of Winnipeg’s Archangel Fireworks Inc., which put on Canada’s show, said he was saving the best for the 12-second finale.

“The finale’s a nice size this year,” said Kelly Guille. “I don’t really want to ruin it.”

As for the rest of the show: “I’m shooting to the Wizard of Oz original soundtrack, trying to evoke the emotion of the story in the scenes of the fireworks.”

Guille said he has been preparing for the show since November. It took 12 people three days just to set up the 25-minute performance, which included roughly 3,000 fireworks.

Many people staked out spots on the beach hours before the fireworks began.

Among them was Vancouverite Darren Childs, a fireworks aficionado who has missed only three performances since the annual Vancouver event began.

Childs, who uses a wheelchair, arrived at 5 p.m. to claim a place by the inukshuk on English Bay, bypassing his normal spot in the wheelchair seating area on top of the English Bay bathhouse.

“I kind of like it because you are part of the people,” said Childs. “It’s a lot more fun being part of the festivities right on the beach.”

The next fireworks event is Saturday, when South Africa puts on a show, followed by the United Kingdom next Wednesday and China on Aug. 1.

dkarp@vancouversun.com

20 July 2009

Raindrops

The vid for Basement Jaxx' new single, "Raindrops" is out now. I love it. Erotic art-- music made into moving images.

17 July 2009

Since it came up in conversation...

The worst interview and resume mistakes
by Tara Weiss, Forbes.com
Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A few minutes into an interview with a promising advertising sales representative, the candidate's cellphone rang. Instead of being embarrassed that he forgot to shut it off, he asked the recruiter, Debra Wheatman, "Do you mind if I grab this for one quick sec?"

Of course she minded.

That he answered the phone spoke volumes about him. His résumé went straight into the trash. It didn't matter how qualified he was; Wheatman wasn't hiring someone who valued a cellphone call over a job opportunity.

"I was flabbergasted," she says. Wheatman was an in-house recruiter at Condé Nast when this awkward incident occurred. She is now a career counsellor for the job Web site Vault.com.

Answering your phone during a job interview is obviously inappropriate. But there are many much more subtle mistakes job seekers make on their résumés and during interviews. With so much competition for jobs, don't let one of these faux pas hurt your chances.

Your résumé is your first chance to make a positive impression. Make sure there aren't any typos, grammatical errors or spelling mistakes in it. You must do more than just spell check it. Print it out. It's easier to detect errors on paper than after your eyes glaze over from staring at a computer screen. Also, have a friend or mentor proofread it.

One version of your résumé won't be right for all the jobs you apply for. It's better to tailor it to a handful of openings that directly relate to your experience rather than to write one and spam dozens of hiring managers with it. Also, use the keywords that appear in the job ad to describe your skills.

"The biggest mistake people make on a résumé is they think everything they've ever done needs to be in there," says Rich Thompson, vice president of training and development for the staffing firm Adecco Group North America. "The résumé is the bait to get you the interview."

Managers are more likely to take that bait if you describe your accomplishments instead of listing your daily responsibilities. This will set you apart from the competition. Quantify those accomplishments when possible. Describe what you made, saved and achieved for the firm.

Once you get the interview, dress professionally. Men should wear a suit and tie and women a nice top with either slacks or a skirt. It doesn't matter if the company's typical attire is business casual. "You're there to make an impression," Debra Wheatman says.

Nothing frustrates recruiters more than when a candidate doesn't know enough about their company. Before the interview, learn all you can about the company's products, services and competition. Check out the press room on the firm's Web site to see what the latest news is.

All this information will come in handy when the hiring manager asks why you want the job. That's the perfect opportunity to explain how you'll be an ideal fit for the position.

Joan McGrail, human resources manager at the footwear company New Balance, sees many avoidable mistakes when she conducts interviews. Among the most common: asking about vacation policy before you've landed the job, long answers that never really address the question, trying to dominate the interview and failing to show respect for all interviewers and company personnel, like the receptionist and security person.

Among the silliest errors she's seen: A job candidate wore a competitor's sneakers to the interview.

McGrail recommends being prepared to discuss specifics. For example, many managers will ask questions like, "Tell me about a time when you had to overcome a challenge on the job."

Always come prepared with questions. Wheatman recommends asking, "Can you tell me about the characteristics of a person who held this job who was very successful? What about someone who held the job before who wasn't successful?"

Many interviewees get tongue-tied when asked the open-ended question, "Tell me about yourself." "People often start babbling," Wheatman says. "It's meant to get you to open up and talk about something not on your résumé."

She recommends discussing something interesting you've done that illustrates your character. Typical good options: having recently trained for and run a marathon or recent volunteer work.

As for salary, don't discuss it until you've been offered the job. If you toss out a number before the interview, it may be higher than they wanted and you'll take yourself out of the running. Show them during the interview why they can't live without you. Then they'll be more likely to give you the pay you deserve.

Many recruiters create an uncomfortable situation by asking what your current salary is. That shouldn't have a bearing on what you'll make in your next job. The company should pay you the market rate for your unique skills set.

If this comes up, respond by explaining that you're really excited about this opportunity and you're sure you can arrive at a salary you both feel comfortable with. If that doesn't work, Wheatman suggests, ask how much the position is budgeted for.

Don't underestimate the power of a good interview. "We find the overwhelming percentage of people who get the job are not necessarily the ones most qualified," Thompson says. "They're the ones who do the best in the interview."

Whatever you do, don't forget to shut off your cellphone.

08 July 2009

Craiglist post from the Bike Shop

A few things from the bike shop.
Date: 2009-05-27, 4:05PM PDT

Whoo-hoo Seattle, the sun is out! Let's discuss a few things before you fumble with swapping the unused ski rack for the unused bike rack on the Subaru.

So yes, you've noticed the sun is out, and hey!- maybe it would be cool to to some bike riding. Let's keep in mind that the sun came out of all 600,000 of us, so for the most part, you're not the only one who noticed. Please remember that when you walk into my shop on a bright, sunny Saturday morning. It will save you from looking like a complete twat that huffs "Why are there so many people here?"

Are we all on the same page now about it being sunny outside? Have we all figured out that we're not the only clever people that feel sunny days are good for bike riding? Great. I want to kiss all of you on your forehead for sharing this moment with me. Put your vitamin D starved fingers in mine, and we'll move on together to some pointers that will make life easier.

SOME POINTERS FOR THE PHONE:

- I don't know what size of bike you need. The only thing that I can tell over the phone is that you sound fat. I don't care how tall you are. I don't care how long your inseam is. Don't complain to me that you don't want to come ALL THE WAY down to the bike shop to get fitted for a bike. I have two hundred bikes in my inventory. I will find one that fits you. Whether you come from the north or the south, my shop is downhill. Pretend you're going to smell a fart, ball up, and roll your fat ass down here.

- Don't get high and call me. Write it down, call me later. When I have four phone lines ringing, and a herdlet
of people waiting for help, I can't deal with you sitting there "uuuuhhh"-ing and "uuummm"-ing while your brain tries to put together some cheeto-xbox-fixie conundrum. We didn't get disconnected, I left you on hold to figure your shit out.

-I really do need to see your bike to know what is wrong with it. You've already figured out that when you car makes a noise, the mechanic needs to see it. When your TV goes blank, a technician needs to see it. I can tell you, if there is one thing I've learned from you fucking squirrels, it's that "doesn't shift right" means your bike could need a slight cable adjustment, or you might just need to stop backing into it with the Subaru. Bring it in, I'll let you know for sure.

- No, I don't know how much a good bike costs. For some, spending $500 dollars is a kingly sum. For others, $500 won't buy you one good wheel. You really need to have an idea of what you want, because every one of you raccoons "doesn't want to spend too much".

FOR YOU INVENTIVE TYPES AND DO-IT-YOURSELFERS:

- Just because you think is should exist, doesn't mean that it does. I know that to you, a 14 inch quill stem makes perfect sense, but what makes more sense is buying a bike that fits you, not trying to make your mountain bike that was too small for you to begin with into a comfort bike.

- If some twat on some message board somewhere says that you can use the lockring from your bottom bracket as a lockring for a fixie conversion doesn't mean that A: you can, or B: you should. Please listen to me on this stuff, I really do have your best interests at heart.

- I love that you have the enthusiasm to build yourself a recumbent in the off season. That does not mean however, that I share your enthusiasm; ergo I won't do the "final tweaks" for you. You figure out why that Sram shifter and that Shimano rear derailleur don't work together. While we're at it, you recumbent people scare me a little. Don't bring that lumbering fucking thing anywhere near me.

A DEDICATION TO ALL THE HIPSTER DUCHEBAGS:

-If you shitheads had any money, you wouldn't NEED a vintage Poo-zhow to get laid. Go have an ironic mustache growing contest in front of American Apparel, so that I can continue selling $300 bikes to fatties, which is what keeps the lights on.

- Being made in the 80's may make something cool, but that doesn't automatically make something good. The reason that no one has ridden that "vintage" Murray is because it's shit. It was shit in the 80's, a trend it carried proudly through the 90's, and rallied with into the '00's. What I mean to say is, no, I can't make it work better. It's still shit, even with more air in the tires.

SO YOU'RE GONNA BUY A BIKE:

Good for you! Biking is awesome. It's easy, it's fun, it's good for you. I want you to bike, I really do. To that end, I am here to help you.

-Your co-worker that's "really into biking" knows fuck all. Stop asking for his advice. He could care less about you having the right bike. He wants to validate his bike purchase(s) through you. He also wants to sleep with you, and wear matching bike shorts with you.

- You're not a triathlete. You're not. If you were, you wouldn't be here, and we both know it.

- You're not a racer. If you were, I'd know you already, and you wouldn't be here, and we both know it.

- So you want a bike that you can ride to work, goes really fast, is good for that triathlon you're doing this summer (snicker), is good on trails and mud, and costs less than $300. Yeah. Listen, I want a car that can go 200 miles an hour, tow a boat, has room for five adults, is easy to parallel park but can carry plywood, gets 60mpg, and only costs $3,000. I also want a unicorn to blow me. What are we even talking about here? Oh yeah. Listen, bikes can be fast, light, cheap and comfortable. Pick two, and we're all good.

ABOUT YOUR KIDS:

Your kids are amazing. Sure are. No one else has kids as smart, able, funny or as good looking as you. Nope. Never see THAT around here.

- I have no idea how long you kid will be able to use this bike. As it seems to me, your precious is a little retarded, and can't even use the damn thing now. More likely, your budding genius is going to leave the bike in the driveway where you will Subaru the bike to death LONG before the nose picker outgrows the bike.

- Stop being so jumpy. I am not a molester. You people REALLY watch too much TV. When I hold the back of the bike while your kid is on it, it's not because I get a thrill from *almost* having my hand on kid butt, it's because kids are unpredictable, and generally take off whenever possible, usually not in the direction you think they might go. Listen, if I were going to do anything bad to your kids, I'd feed them to sharks, because sharks are FUCKING AWESOME.


I hope this helps, and have fun this summer riding your kick-ass bike!

Ross posted this one on FB. Priceless!

24 June 2009

22 June 2009

Why Superclubs suck

Friday night Jer and I went to Celebrities to catch the Sneaky Sound System show. We got there early (9:45) got our entry stamps and then went over to Numbers for a few drinks. We got back to Celebrities around 11:00 when the lineup was getting genuine, walked in and danced for a couple of hours. The place was packed, but where was the band? Jer was so tired he went home. I escorted him then went back to the bar. The band finally came on at about 1:10. WTF? People were leaving already. This late start was ridiculous. It was a $160 evening and I didn't get anything out of it (except some time with Jer which made it worthwhile!).

I'm not sure if I'll do this type of thing again. Both Celebrities and the Odyssey (where we went Saturday night as Doug was in town) were...meh. I'll stick with the locations I find at least a bit rewarding.

The Soccer Team T-Dance at Soho on Sunday was a blast! I'll definitely hit those events regularly.

10 June 2009

Manitoba

Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Heaven, God was missing for six days. Eventually, Michael the Archangel found Him, resting on the seventh day. He inquired of God, "Where have You been?"

God sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, "Look Michael, look what I've made!"

Archangel Michael looked puzzled and asked, "What is it?"

"It's a planet," replied God, and I've put life on it.

I'm going to call it Earth, and it's going to be a place of great balance.

"Balance?" inquired Michael, still confused.

God explained, pointing to different parts of Earth, "For example, Northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth, while southern Europe is going to be poor; the Middle East over there will be a hotspot. And over there I've placed a continent of white people, while over here is a continent of black people," God continued, pointing to different countries. "This one will be extremely hot and arid while this one will be very cold and covered in ice."

The Archangel, impressed by God's work, then pointed to a large land mass and said, "What's that one?"

"Ah," said God. "That's Manitoba, the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful lakes, rivers, skies, sunsets and rolling hills. The people from Manitoba are going to be modest, intelligent and humorous, and they are going to be found traveling the world. They will be extremely sociable, hardworking and high achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as diplomats and carriers of peace."

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration but then proclaimed, "What about balance, God? You said there would be balance!"

God replied wisely, "Wait until you see the dingbats I'm putting around them in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario & Quebec...

02 June 2009

Goodbye, GM

by Michael Moore

June 1, 2009

I write this on the morning of the end of the once-mighty General Motors. By high noon, the President of the United States will have made it official: General Motors, as we know it, has been totaled.

As I sit here in GM's birthplace, Flint, Michigan, I am surrounded by friends and family who are filled with anxiety about what will happen to them and to the town. Forty percent of the homes and businesses in the city have been abandoned. Imagine what it would be like if you lived in a city where almost every other house is empty. What would be your state of mind?

It is with sad irony that the company which invented "planned obsolescence" -- the decision to build cars that would fall apart after a few years so that the customer would then have to buy a new one -- has now made itself obsolete. It refused to build automobiles that the public wanted, cars that got great gas mileage, were as safe as they could be, and were exceedingly comfortable to drive. Oh -- and that wouldn't start falling apart after two years. GM stubbornly fought environmental and safety regulations. Its executives arrogantly ignored the "inferior" Japanese and German cars, cars which would become the gold standard for automobile buyers. And it was hell-bent on punishing its unionized workforce, lopping off thousands of workers for no good reason other than to "improve" the short-term bottom line of the corporation. Beginning in the 1980s, when GM was posting record profits, it moved countless jobs to Mexico and elsewhere, thus destroying the lives of tens of thousands of hard-working Americans. The glaring stupidity of this policy was that, when they eliminated the income of so many middle class families, who did they think was going to be able to afford to buy their cars? History will record this blunder in the same way it now writes about the French building the Maginot Line or how the Romans cluelessly poisoned their own water system with lethal lead in its pipes.

So here we are at the deathbed of General Motors. The company's body not yet cold, and I find myself filled with -- dare I say it -- joy. It is not the joy of revenge against a corporation that ruined my hometown and brought misery, divorce, alcoholism, homelessness, physical and mental debilitation, and drug addiction to the people I grew up with. Nor do I, obviously, claim any joy in knowing that 21,000 more GM workers will be told that they, too, are without a job.

But you and I and the rest of America now own a car company! I know, I know -- who on earth wants to run a car company? Who among us wants $50 billion of our tax dollars thrown down the rat hole of still trying to save GM? Let's be clear about this: The only way to save GM is to kill GM. Saving our precious industrial infrastructure, though, is another matter and must be a top priority. If we allow the shutting down and tearing down of our auto plants, we will sorely wish we still had them when we realize that those factories could have built the alternative energy systems we now desperately need. And when we realize that the best way to transport ourselves is on light rail and bullet trains and cleaner buses, how will we do this if we've allowed our industrial capacity and its skilled workforce to disappear?

Thus, as GM is "reorganized" by the federal government and the bankruptcy court, here is the plan I am asking President Obama to implement for the good of the workers, the GM communities, and the nation as a whole. Twenty years ago when I made "Roger & Me," I tried to warn people about what was ahead for General Motors. Had the power structure and the punditocracy listened, maybe much of this could have been avoided. Based on my track record, I request an honest and sincere consideration of the following suggestions:

1. Just as President Roosevelt did after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the President must tell the nation that we are at war and we must immediately convert our auto factories to factories that build mass transit vehicles and alternative energy devices. Within months in Flint in 1942, GM halted all car production and immediately used the assembly lines to build planes, tanks and machine guns. The conversion took no time at all. Everyone pitched in. The fascists were defeated.

We are now in a different kind of war -- a war that we have conducted against the ecosystem and has been conducted by our very own corporate leaders. This current war has two fronts. One is headquartered in Detroit. The products built in the factories of GM, Ford and Chrysler are some of the greatest weapons of mass destruction responsible for global warming and the melting of our polar icecaps. The things we call "cars" may have been fun to drive, but they are like a million daggers into the heart of Mother Nature. To continue to build them would only lead to the ruin of our species and much of the planet.

The other front in this war is being waged by the oil companies against you and me. They are committed to fleecing us whenever they can, and they have been reckless stewards of the finite amount of oil that is located under the surface of the earth. They know they are sucking it bone dry. And like the lumber tycoons of the early 20th century who didn't give a damn about future generations as they tore down every forest they could get their hands on, these oil barons are not telling the public what they know to be true -- that there are only a few more decades of useable oil on this planet. And as the end days of oil approach us, get ready for some very desperate people willing to kill and be killed just to get their hands on a gallon can of gasoline.

President Obama, now that he has taken control of GM, needs to convert the factories to new and needed uses immediately.

2. Don't put another $30 billion into the coffers of GM to build cars. Instead, use that money to keep the current workforce -- and most of those who have been laid off -- employed so that they can build the new modes of 21st century transportation. Let them start the conversion work now.

3. Announce that we will have bullet trains criss-crossing this country in the next five years. Japan is celebrating the 45th anniversary of its first bullet train this year. Now they have dozens of them. Average speed: 165 mph. Average time a train is late: under 30 seconds. They have had these high speed trains for nearly five decades -- and we don't even have one! The fact that the technology already exists for us to go from New York to L.A. in 17 hours by train, and that we haven't used it, is criminal. Let's hire the unemployed to build the new high speed lines all over the country. Chicago to Detroit in less than two hours. Miami to DC in under 7 hours. Denver to Dallas in five and a half. This can be done and done now.

4. Initiate a program to put light rail mass transit lines in all our large and medium-sized cities. Build those trains in the GM factories. And hire local people everywhere to install and run this system.

5. For people in rural areas not served by the train lines, have the GM plants produce energy efficient clean buses.

6. For the time being, have some factories build hybrid or all-electric cars (and batteries). It will take a few years for people to get used to the new ways to transport ourselves, so if we're going to have automobiles, let's have kinder, gentler ones. We can be building these next month (do not believe anyone who tells you it will take years to retool the factories -- that simply isn't true).

7. Transform some of the empty GM factories to facilities that build windmills, solar panels and other means of alternate forms of energy. We need tens of millions of solar panels right now. And there is an eager and skilled workforce who can build them.

8. Provide tax incentives for those who travel by hybrid car or bus or train. Also, credits for those who convert their home to alternative energy.

9. To help pay for this, impose a two-dollar tax on every gallon of gasoline. This will get people to switch to more energy saving cars or to use the new rail lines and rail cars the former autoworkers have built for them.

Well, that's a start. Please, please, please don't save GM so that a smaller version of it will simply do nothing more than build Chevys or Cadillacs. This is not a long-term solution. Don't throw bad money into a company whose tailpipe is malfunctioning, causing a strange odor to fill the car.

100 years ago this year, the founders of General Motors convinced the world to give up their horses and saddles and buggy whips to try a new form of transportation. Now it is time for us to say goodbye to the internal combustion engine. It seemed to serve us well for so long. We enjoyed the car hops at the A&W. We made out in the front -- and the back -- seat. We watched movies on large outdoor screens, went to the races at NASCAR tracks across the country, and saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time through the window down Hwy. 1. And now it's over. It's a new day and a new century. The President -- and the UAW -- must seize this moment and create a big batch of lemonade from this very sour and sad lemon.

Yesterday, the last surviving person from the Titanic disaster passed away. She escaped certain death that night and went on to live another 97 years.

So can we survive our own Titanic in all the Flint Michigans of this country. 60% of GM is ours. I think we can do a better job.

Yours,
Michael Moore

29 May 2009

Soon-to-be crazy person


UK frets over Susan Boyle's talent-show finale

By RAPHAEL G. SATTER

LONDON (AP) — Britain and the YouTube-watching world is fretting over the pressure being piled on a Scottish songstress as her final test approaches.

Susan Boyle's big finale in a TV talent show contest won't come until Saturday. But the country is buzzing with concern over whether the 48-year-old church volunteer's nerves will rob her of the victory many feel she deserves.

"Britain's Got Talent," the venue for Boyle's unlikely success, did nothing to dampen the hysteria, with one judge going on national television to say Boyle was so upset by the superheated media coverage she had packed her bags and threatened to quit.

But on Friday her spokeswoman confirmed the final would go ahead as planned.

Boyle became a favorite to win the competition almost immediately after her first appearance, early last month. Her frumpy appearance drew looks of disbelief from the television audience, but her voice silenced the doubters — and turned her into an Internet star.

Her life story — she cared for her widowed mother for years and said she'd never been kissed — also helped win over the world's media.

Boyle has not performed since Sunday, when she made it through to the finals. But that hasn't kept her off Britain's front pages: "Boyling Point," was the Daily Mirror's headline Friday. "Susan Axe Threat," claimed The Sun. "Fears For TV Talent Star Susan," the Daily Express warned.

Concerns have been sparked by reports of erratic behavior. Boyle lost her cool after being harassed by a pair of journalists outside her London hotel Wednesday, her spokeswoman said, speaking on condition of anonymity because she represents all the contestants.

Earlier, a media report claimed that witnesses saw Boyle make an obscene gesture at a hotel television set when judge Piers Morgan lavished praise on fellow contestant Shaheen Jafargholi, 12, during another semifinal broadcast.

Morgan, himself a former tabloid editor, took to the airwaves and the Internet to defend the singer.

"Susan Boyle has never experienced anything like this and is like a frightened rabbit in headlights," Morgan wrote on his blog Thursday. "I am calling today for everyone to just give her a break."

Others in the media raised concerns that Boyle, who had learning difficulties when she was younger and was bullied by other children, was in for a ride too rough for her to handle.

David Wilson, who served as a psychologist on "Big Brother" — a British reality television series routinely accused of being exploitative and crass — said "Britain's Got Talent" made the other show look saintly by comparison.

Boyle was "a psychological lamb to the slaughter," he wrote in The Daily Mail.

Boyle's spokeswoman said the newly minted star was getting the support she needed from the show's producers.

And Morgan, writing on his blog Friday, assured readers that Boyle was "one tough lady who has had to fight since the day she was born, and there is no way she's going to quit now as some of the papers seem to be suggesting, trust me."

28 May 2009

Happy Birthday Kylie!!!


Today is Kylie Minogue's birthday.

20 May 2009

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

What I meant to say was...how can we possibly express our profound gratitiude to the person who was the first to hold us, the first to feed us, and the first to make us feel loved?

From a distance we watch you move about, doing the mundane tasks that to everyone else seem so routine.  But for us, the tasks you lovingly completed year after year built and reinforced the foundation, the structure that made our world a safe and comfortable place to grow.

All that we are and all that we have can be traced back to you.  Whatever accomplishments we have made along the way would not have occurred without you first believing in us.  And you, you were the person who always believed in us.

Now with our family, we are amazed at the number of times we hear your words flow form our mouths.  This ventriloquistic phenomenon was at first most irritating, but now warms us as we have come to understand that there is a part of you that will live on in us forever.

When time parts us, we pray that you will reach across from the other side to again touch our face and whisper into our ears.

For your warms and gentle presence in our lives...for this, we will alwasy be most thankful.

Yes, Mother, you inspire us!

This is a letter I got a copy of from Murad that I wanted to pass on to my mother and all the mothers out there.  Happy Mother's Day, mom!  I love you very much.

07 May 2009

OMG OMG OMG OMG


KYLIE ANNOUNCES HER FIRST EVER NORTH AMERICAN TOUR!!!
06.05.2009

Kylie's North American fans will finally get a chance to experience the pop superstar live in concert when her 6-city tour kicks off in Oakland (San Francisco Bay Area) on September 30th!

Over the course of her extraordinary 20-year-career, Kylie has undertaken 8 sold-out world tours including last year's KylieX2008 tour which traveled to 21 countries throughout Europe, South America, Dubai, Asia, New Zealand and Australia, generating an estimated $70,000,000 in ticket sales. Kylie
couldn't be more excited about her first ever tour through North America.

"I've wanted to tour in America and Canada for years," admits Kylie, "I know that fans have been waiting a long time for this and I'm thrilled that the opportunity has finally arrived."

Kylie's eagerly-awaited North American concert debut is being produced by Los Angeles-based concert promotion firm Bill Silva Presents (BSP).

"Kylie has such a successful career outside of North America that it has taken quite a while to find a window in her schedule for the U.S. and Canada," said Silva. "Her amazing fans in North America will be well rewarded for their patience when they experience her show and its entire spectacle. We are confident in the tour's success, and hope that Kylie will make this the first of many tours to our shores."

Tickets will go on sale in each market on the weekend of May 15, however early access to tickets in the U.S. will be available to American Express Cardmembers beginning this Thursday, May 7, through Ticketmaster. Members of Kylie's mailing list via her official website www.Kylie.com will receive an
exclusive email that contains information of special ticket pre-sale offers.

Kylie Minogue North American Tour

Thu 30th Sep Fox Theatre - Oakland (San Francisco Bay Area)

Sat 3rd Oct The Pearl 'Palms Resort & Casino' - Las Vegas, NV

Sun 4th Oct Hollywood Bowl - Los Angeles, CA

Wed 7th Oct The Congress Theater - Chicago, IL

Fri 9th Oct Air Canada Centre - Toronto, ON

Sun 11th Oct Hammerstein Ballroom - NYC, NY

Eek! I have to find a way to get tickets, flight and accoms somewhere to see her. One of my 'must-do-before-I-die' things to do is see Kylie live before she's too old.

04 May 2009

Arrival

I made it into Vancouver around 5:30pm on Saturday. I left Calgary around 6:30 PDT so I made decent time. I can't thank my Calgary friends that helped me load up the van enough. The way Myles, Tim and Craig layered everything in the cube allowed for me to pull things out like layers of an onion. While Greg, Ryan and I brought stuff down from the apartment on Friday night the guys got that put together. 1.5 hours to load, 3 hours to unload.

Once everything was in the 600 sq. ft. apartment I realized that I had brought a lot of extra shit I wish I could rid myself of, however as I've been unpacking the amount of stuff really isn't too bad. There's a lot of stuff like photo albums, pictures, music and special books that you just can't easily part with.

Today was shopping day: new TV, new wall unit (for all the CDs, DVDs, cassettes, etc. etc. that I was obliged to bring even though I didn't really want to). The Visa was burning through charges so quickly today the Fraud Detection group gave me a call in the middle of the day!

I figure I'll take the rest of the week to complete the transformation enough that I will no longer need to be obsessive-compulsive about everything. I can't wait until next weekend when I'll finally be able to debut! LOL

I'm looking forward to the Frontrunners run on Wednesday night. It looks like it's supposed to rain all week off and on, so that will be a good initiation to the southern coast climate.

...Almost back to regular posting; it's that close.

29 April 2009

Reality

Well, the final inspection of the penthouse was completed yesterday and we passed with flying colors. Three solid days of cleaning really do pay off! It's pretty surreal to see the old apartment completely emptied and no longer ours. It was a great pad, and I'll miss it dearly.

But with that behind us, the attention is now focused on getting everything of Joe's unpacked in his new apartment and me getting everything properly packed for the trip on Saturday. I've been living out of towers of boxes in his spare room while sleeping on the couch. Telus finally transferred the phone line service to the new place this morning so I'm back on the Internet and don't have to go into the office today! Woo hoo!

I got my kitchen stuff packed last night plus the remainder of the clothes. Now there is the matter of errant open boxes of crap that were thrown together plus looking for things that I know exist but I'm not sure are packed. A few of those things might have to wait until I'm back in Calgary in November for Christmas and can drop by Joe's place to pick up or drop off whatever (that includes you, Xmas decorations).

One more day of honest packing, tracking down people to take a few remaining donatable things, and that should be it. I hope to be free Thursday night to have one last evening at the Ship & Anchor and then pack the U-Haul truck on Friday. Right now, it's only me so if anyone wants to help...

Next report - most likely from Vancouver!

...my thoughts these days are with my friends Jerome and Bruce in Montreal who had a condo fire on Monday morning. Jer just happened to be getting up for work early in the morning and noticed the fire in the back of the condo. Within five minutes the entire back wall was in flames. Had Jerome not been awake, it's quite possible neither of them would be with us today. A lot of Jerome's art collection was destroyed, but fortunately all of Bruce's snakes survived. Terrible, terrible news, but luckily the boys are okay.

28 April 2009

Happy Birthday Sheena!

The big 5-0 on April 27th. Happy birthday Sheena! You're still looking great!

This live video from maybe ~1995 (only guessing by the hairstyle...I'm so gay)

Special 2008 concert in Santiago, Chile, 2008

17 April 2009

10 Reasons

10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is "Wrong" (This is floating around Facebook)

1) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Newt Gingrich’s many marriages would be destroyed.

6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

9) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Go, America, Go! Don't spin your wheels in one spot (that's religion's job). Leave the old paradigms behind and move ahead with the rest of the socially progressive nations of the world.

15 April 2009

Leaving

My move date has moved up another two weeks for complex reasons I won't get into here. Now the planned move date is May 2nd. I have two weeks to collect my life and my stuff and get it packed and moved to Vancouver! Yipe!

Lots to do...I probably won't post here again until I get settled in my new rockin' apartment in the West End. Wish me luck. I'll post as soon as I can.

07 April 2009

Brüno

The trailer for the new movie came out this week. It looks like its going to be just as hilarious as Borat.
Bruno goes to Alabama (Ali G)

Trailer is here. Embed doesn't seem to be working correctly.

31 March 2009

Living the Dream

Here is an exerpt from Liz Reap Carlson's blog, lizreapcarlson.wordpress.com. There are so many gems of information and inspiration in here, I just had to post it.


Ok, so it’s not technically a photo. It’s a GPS file my coach captured while racing at the 7-Eleven Velodrome in Colorado Springs. He superimposed it over a Google Earth map. If you look closely, you can see where he rode on and off the track, burned laps around the warm-up circle and covered every inch of the track throughout his night of racing.

According to Ben’s notes, after warm-up he raced the Scratch race, Match Sprint and motor-paced points race with his Garmin Forerunner in his jersey, tracking a typical day at the velodrome.

It cracks me up every time I look at it.

Why? Because in my past life I was an editor at Backpacker magazine. My peers and former colleagues swap GPS maps of their treks through tropical rainforests and up mountain peaks like personal trading cards. I’ve gone on such adventures and even photographed a few for Backpacker, Mountain Bike and Runner’s World magazines. Long before GPS became a training tool and I became a track racer, my bike took me to places I’d never been. I’ve spent vacation time riding and even racing through tropical rainforests.

But never in a million years did I think a neon blue oval would so aptly capture how I spend my time and the route I cover weekly, often daily, by bike.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve found myself in warm-up a few times, staring at the wheel in front of me, watching my speed tick from 32 to 36 to 40kph, around turns one, two, three, then four, again, wondering “How did it come to this?”

One day, I gave riding a bike with no brakes on a banked cement oval a try. Ten years later, here I am . . . still riding in circles, trying to perfect the chemistry that equates to performance and keeps me coming back for more.

There’s a saying in velodrome circles (no pun intended) that there’s no hiding on the track. That goes beyond fitness and race preparation to how you carry yourself both on and off the bike. My sports doc calls the track ‘racing in a fishbowl,’ which isn’t far from the truth.

Unlike the road, where you can wander aimlessly, anonymously for hours—track training is a discipline of accountability. There’s structure to the time you spend there. A session typically starts with warm-up before moving on to big gear starts, 2K repeats, a 20-minute tempo effort behind the motor or reaction drills on the whistle. There’s both an art and science to what you do any given day. The outcome depends largely on that mix, how it’s applied and how much you commit in the process.

I love the track because I like the discipline. I always learn something new and it’s a challenge. Like the racing—the lessons come at you fast and furious. One minute, you’re exhilarated, the next, humbled to the core. There’s no hiding on the track.

And as with all sports, the magic is buried within the madness. To take stock of my circular route the past two years, I wanted to recap a few things I’ve learned. Feel free to share your own. Some of these may not be new, but at this time of year, it’s good to be reminded. Here goes:

You’re never too old to learn a new discipline or take sport to another level. You can always get better and improve; there are that many variables.

If you train with a group, get to practice early, make sure your equipment is tuned up and ready to go. If you’re always late, get comfortable with training alone.

Training alone isn’t so bad. Sometimes it’s better than training with a group. It helps you focus on what you’re doing, and teaches you to rely on yourself.

Good training partners can make you. Bad ones can break you.

That said, chasing people who are better than you is the best way to improve.

You can always go harder than you think you can.

The best way to prepare for racing is to race. Following wheels will teach you how to follow wheels.

Winning is a cultivated skill.

Self-belief and self-doubt are equally powerful.

Injuries happen. The best thing you can do is work at recovery as hard as you commit to training. Rest, stretch, and cross-train. The worst thing you can do is get frustrated and give up. Be patient, bodies heal.

If you want to improve, read a lot or hire a coach. There are always people who know more than you.

A good coach will invest as much in you as you are willing to invest in yourself. They can make the difference between sitting in, being a factor and setting personal bests.

But don’t be naïve. There are also coaches who are just as happy to take your money, so ask your questions.

A coach won’t shoot the hole for you. You have to do that one yourself.

Money will not make you a better bike racer. But, money can open up opportunities that can lead to your becoming a better bike racer.

If you keep making the same move, you’re asking to be passed at the line.

Training and racing is about applied stress, recovery and adaptation. Nothing happens overnight. You have to allow time to adapt both mentally and physically.

It’s harder to heal from a mental injury than a physical one.

Most people give up before they reach their potential.

If you do something in training, you’ll do it in racing. This applies to both good and bad habits.

You put together a successful season one thought, one workout, one meal and one night's sleep at a time.

I know my strengths and weaknesses better than anyone.

Simple is better. Think less. Do more.

The human body is an amazing thing. The more you know about it and how it works, the better you’ll be at sport and at life.

Keep good notes.

There are a million reasons to ride or race bikes, all of which are right.

There’s a fine line between passion and crazy and it takes both to succeed in this sport.

Liz Reap Carlson is a nationally ranked track sprinter and member of the Verducci-Breakaway UCI Track Trade team. Follow along on her personal blog at lizreapcarlson.wordpress.com.

24 March 2009

Changes

I just had a conversation today with my deployment manager at my company and it looks like there should be no barriers to making a hasty departure from Calgary and setting up shop in Vancouver. It is so preferable to move out there while still working and getting a paycheck than having my contract date expire while still here trying to find work out there remotely. Everyone seems to be in agreement.

How exciting! My head is still spinning; this is happening way more quickly than I had anticipated and now it looks like as soon as I get back from Vancouver after Easter I will have an apartment secured for May 1 and can begin packing in earnest immediately. I still have a LOT of work to do; particularly what to take with me, what to give to Joe, what to store, what to throw away. My intent is only to have enough stuff with me to pack into a minivan.

Holy cow, does this bring back memories of my move to Alberta 15 years ago. I reduced my entire life up to that point into what I could pack into my car. I headed west from Manitoba not really knowing what I was going to end up doing or where I was going to be living. 15 years later, I look back with great appreciation on all the experiences I've gained during my existence in Alberta. I can't believe some of the things I've done and accomplished nor can I emote strongly enough the bonds I feel to the friends I've made and the communities I've belonged to. It's all going to be sorely missed. Then again, I think Vancouver is a natural choice for me; I'm not too far away from friends and family, and a destination for many heading West. Everyone out there is excited for me and already welcoming me with open arms! I can only hope that all my friends and family in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta will continue to come out to the coast and stop by for a visit. You're always welcome!

It's time for me to move on; time to get some new inspiration, direction, and energy in my life. Once again, I'm not completely sure what experiences I will find or what I may end up doing out there, but I look at it as the continuation of a journey. I wish I knew what I was looking for, but I don't, so I must continue to search for it. I need to leave some things behind, take the best things with me and apply this over a new location and lifestyle. The adventures that await thrill me!

Wish me luck on the apartment hunt....

23 March 2009

Supernews!

Here is a great take on Twitter...hilarious!

18 March 2009

Eeeek!


Friday, April 3 at Snatch!

Sten 'Stonebridge' Hallstrom


Tomorrow night at the Tangerine Supper Club!

13 March 2009

The One-Straw Revolution

Quotes from Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008):

"The more people do, the more society develops, the more problems arise. The increasing desolation of nature, the exhaustion of resources, the uneasiness and disintegration of the human spirit, all have been brought about by humanity's trying to accomplish something. Originally there was no reason to progress, and nothing that had to be done. We have come to the point at which there is no other way than to bring about a 'movement' not to bring anything about."


--excerpt from The One Straw Revolution

"...if modern agriculture continues to follow the path it's on now, it's finished. The food-growing situation may seem to be in good shape today, but that's just an illusion based on the current availability of petroleum fuels. All the wheat, corn, and other crops that are produced on big American farms may be alive and growing, but they're not products of real nature or real agriculture. They're manufactured rather than grown. The earth isn't producing those things... petroleum is!"


--Mother Earth News interview, 1982

In Cramer We Berate

Man, was Jon Stewart good last night! I am SO impressed how Jon prepared for the show; he seized the opportunity while Jim Cramer was there to basically express how people are feeling towards the financial architects of the massive ponzi scheme that has created the mess we're in. Cramer was unfortunately the whipping boy of this tirade, but he's most likely the best representative of this entire fraudulent system. Jon realized this and did a very good job of 'blowing off some steam' and definitely making some valid points to which Cramer had a hard time coming back to.

I loved his closing comment: "I hope this was as uncomfortable for you to watch as it was to make."

There is lots of commentary on the evening all over the place if you Google it. Clips are available on The Comedy Network in Canada.

03 March 2009

Shimano Di2

Here's the first look at the Di2, out in retail locations in the next few weeks. For how much $$$? You know it's going to be a lot.

23 February 2009

Lots of Hockey Sticks

Oh exponential growth, how you blow our minds...



This is the first (and most likely last) time I reference Glenn Beck on this blog, since the guy drives me nuts most of the time, but he's right to be very alarmed and ensure that as many people hear what he's saying as possible.

If charts like this one and the one produced by Al Gore for the increase of CO2 levels in the atmosphere don't scare the bejesus out of you, then maybe the fact that there are many other exponential growth 'hockey sticks' all occurring at the same time (that would be right now) will?

We're in uncharted territory, folks. Big time.

Quoted from Universal Jellyfish:

In the 1970s, World Bank economist Herman Daly wrote Steady-State Economics to outline the future of ecological economics. Daly makes a distinction between 'sustainable growth', which is 'impossible', and 'sustainable development', which is natural. "The larger system is the biosphere and the subsystem is the human economy," says Daly. "We can develop qualitatively, but we cannot grow beyond the biosphere's limits."...

"We are dying of consumption," says Peter Dauvergne, sustainability advisor at UBC and author of The Shadows of Consumption. "The unequal globalisation of the costs of consumption is putting ecosystems and billions of people at risk."

To honestly achieve a "sustainable" economy, humanity must step through a paradigm shift, as profound as the transition in the sixteenth century when Copernicus showed that the Earth is not the centre of the universe. Likewise, ecology teaches us that humanity is not the centre of life on the planet. Just as the Pope's henchmen refused to look through Galileo's telescope, some economists avoid looking out the window to see what keeps humanity alive: photosynthesis, precious materials, and concentrated energy.

"Sooner or later," as ecologist David Abram puts it, "technological civilisation must accept the invitation of gravity and settle back … into the rhythms of a more-than-human Earth."

My new favorite quote:
“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is the inability to understand the exponential function.” - Dr. Albert Bartlett

06 February 2009

If You Knew - Chris Lake feat. Nastala


Another fantastic tune from Chris Lake!

31 January 2009

Crash Course

I'm finally getting around to watching Chris Martenson's "Crash Course". It's fascinating and horrifying all at the same time. A must see for everyone.

Building a Container Ship

Amazing video of the building of the world's largest container ship (Emma Maersk) in the Maersk shipyards in Denmark.

30 January 2009

Haggard and his Demons


...and you know what flavor of therapists he's been going to. "Heterosexual with complications"? Pul-leaze.

It's sort of sad. He's really dug himself into a deep deep hole and will probably be haunted by his denials and self-identified demons for the rest of his life. Too bad his religion says his natural urges are evil!

Interesting that he says he's read that religions are superstitions (presumably he's read Richard Dawkins) and this strengthened his faith. I hope he finds his true path and direction, and I really hope he can eventually be comfortable with who he really is.

28 January 2009

I Love My Nieces!


I had such a great time visiting with them this weekend. It's sad to think that if I move to Vancouver this fall I would miss out on them growing up when seeing them evolve and discover is such a positive awesome thing.

22 January 2009

The Culture of Canadian Frugality...

Low debt load will help us weather recession

It can't save us from recession, but it will certainly reduce the pain. Canada's low debt burden - among governments, businesses and households alike - gives the country a crucial advantage as it heads into what threatens to be a long haul. Backed up by stability in the banking system that has become the envy of many countries, the Canadian advantage is solid enough that even the global recession and financial crisis can't destroy it. “The advantage is fundamental. It's not cyclical,” said Sherry Cooper, chief economist at BMO Nesbitt Burns. “Nobody can take away the fact that Canadians are far less burdened,” both compared with other countries, especially the US, and compared with their own past. At the heart of the global recession is the fact that the US government, financial institutions, households and companies lived way beyond their means for a long time. The effects of too much debt are being felt everywhere. But since Canada's governments, financial institutions, households and companies aren't facing the same high debt problems, the country doesn't have to fix those problems to muddle through. “So much of what is happening in the United States is because of the credit freeze. There's no comparison here. Canada is in a far better condition,” Cooper said. The Canadian economy can't go so far as to claim it's not being “bothered” by the global recession. After all, it is contracting, too. The pain is mounting in many industries, and the ranks of the unemployed are growing. Recovery is a long way off. But Canada's reduced exposure to the unseemly debt loads at the heart of the crisis will stand us in good stead, economists say.

The most obvious Canadian advantage is government debt load. After fighting down the deficit in the 1990s, the federal government has been able to pay off more than $100B in debt in the past decade, and most provinces have vastly improved their books as well. Not so in the rest of the world. The US deficit has ballooned and Japan's is enormous. While most European countries have kept their debts under control, Canada's total debt burden is still lower. As Ottawa and the provinces ready themselves to spend billions in an attempt to mitigate the recession, Canada can well afford to do so. “The debt [burden] gives us lots of room to manoeuvre. This is the time to raise it,” said Andrew Sharpe, executive director of the Centre for the Study of Living Standards. “We've built up this big advantage, so let's use it. But wisely.” The Canadian banking sector has also gained international recognition for its ingrained conservatism. While major banks around the world have toppled and have required government bailouts, Canadian banks remain somewhat profitable and well capitalized. Unlike their global competitors, they are still lending, and are able to raise money in financial markets, albeit at steep prices. The corporate sector, as a whole, has been equally thrifty and conservative. Debt levels are low, and companies generally have high cash balances at the ready - useful for plugging holes due to sudden collapses in revenue that could well hit in the next few quarters. As corporate income surged over the past few years, economists were worried that Canadian companies weren't putting their newfound bounty to good use, by leveraging it for further expansion. Now, the companies' tight fists seem to be paying off. Canadian consumers have shown a similar conservative attitude toward debt. While US homeowners were using their houses as ABMs, and buying homes with spurious loans, Canada also experienced a housing boom and embraced the US practice of borrowing against our houses to finance consumption. But mortgages here were not nearly as high risk. Housing prices are now falling, but not to the extent as in the US or Britain.
(Globe and Mail 090122)

Canada has always been the voice of moderation and reason, internally and internationally. What in our culture makes this such a fundamental virtue of being Canadian? First of all, we're not as rich as some others and know that saving for a rainy day is something still somewhat admirable. We also plan ahead...the fact that if you're caught unprepared in our climate, you could potentially die does not go unheeded; in fact, I think it is deeply embedded in our collective psyche. I think that's where the frugality comes from. We may not be the life of the party acting like there's no tomorrow when times are good, but we also avoid the worst of the hangover when reality comes crashing down on us the following day, and have enough of our faculties to properly clean up the mess because we planned ahead a little bit!

21 January 2009

Heart of the Poisoned West

Tar sands smog seen worsening

Pollution will continue to plague Alberta's oil sands despite plans to pipe harmful greenhouse gases deep underground, according to documents obtained by the Toronto Star. Part of the task of cleaning up the oil sands involves capturing carbon dioxide emissions and storing them in geological reservoirs in western Canada. But chemicals linked to acid rain, respiratory problems and ozone depletion could escape into the atmosphere at an even faster rate, thanks to an estimated tripling of production from one million barrels a day in 2007 to 3.4 million barrels a day in 2017. That could occur despite proposed national caps on air contaminants. By capturing about 200 megatonnes a year of carbon dioxide, sequestration (as carbon dioxide storage is known) is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 80% in 2017, says an Environment Canada study obtained under the Access to Information Act. But, the study notes, "there are emissions of CO2 and air contaminants resulting from the generation of the energy required by (carbon capture and storage) facilities. The CO2 emissions offset the volumes captured by the facilities, while the air contaminant emissions add to the load on the environment." The June 2008 study predicts emissions of sulphur dioxide, the main ingredient in acid rain, will rise by up to 34% by 2017. Nitrous oxides - responsible for ozone layer depletion - will rise by up to 24%. Ozone depletion is linked to higher rates of skin cancer, among other health problems. Tiny particulate matter is set to jump by more than 60% in the oil sands and could lead to hazy skies and aggravate existing lung and heart problems. "It is dirty oil for any number of reasons, and it's not just carbon dioxide, " said Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence, which has researched the links between oil sands production and health problems. "It's very clear that we need to turn our attention to those other types of pollutants or else it's going to be a disaster in the future."
(Toronto Star 090121)

Peak Demand?

Slump raises spectre of peak oil demand

Oil demand may never return to growth in the US, Europe and parts of Asia, easing the strain on long-term supplies and prices as emerging countries burn ever more fuel. The surge in oil to a record near US$150 a barrel last year heightened concern the world will run out of crude and supply will start to dwindle--a theory known as "peak oil." Now a deepening recession and oil price collapse have raised the issue of whether demand, not supply, is nearing its peak. US February crude, which expired Tuesday, settled up $2.23 at $38.74 a barrel, while March crude fell $1.73 to $40.84 a barrel. London Brent fell 88 cents to settle at $43.62. "There is a reasonable likelihood that OECD oil demand has peaked," said Peter Davies, former chief economist at BP who was in charge of preparing BP's annual Statistical Review of World Energy, a standard reference work. Among OECD economies, the US had sustained robust oil demand growth due to an expanding economy and less focus on conservation, while western Europe and Japan were posting declines. US patterns could be about to change as the recession erodes consumption. By the time rich countries return to economic growth, their efforts to use less oil and slow the impact of global warming could be taking hold. However, the peaking of OECD demand will not choke off growth in oil consumption worldwide for the foreseeable future as emerging economies expand and billions of people seek to improve their living standards. "The West no longer rules the world," said a senior oil executive who requested anonymity. "Whatever the OECD is doing, it will not prevent worldwide energy consumption from growing, due to emerging country growth."

Meanwhile, Gary Dirks, president of BP for Asia-Pacific, said it is impossible to tell how much deeper oil prices will fall this year as demand for energy shrinks for at least the next 12 months. He also warned that decisions to delay investment in "diverse" energy sources because of the current global economic downturn will create a "black hole" in international energy supplies in years to come. "Big energy projects take 10 years. If we see a pause in investment today, we will not see the impact for 10 years," said Dirks at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong. His comments echo fears expressed by the International Energy Agency, which said last year long-term energy supplies are insufficient. The IEA estimated $26-trillion will have to be invested between now and 2030 to avoid a crisis. Even that level of investment might not be high enough, Dirks said.

In related news, Deutsche Bank said in a report that the crude-oil market needs more speculators to help stabilize prices six months after the traders were blamed for pushing the commodity up to its record highs last year. A lack of liquidity is distorting prices, particularly for near-term delivery, amid an oversupply of oil at Cushing, OK, said analysts led by Paul Sankey in New York in the Deutsche Bank report dated yesterday. This is sending the "wrong" price signals to refiners and producers. "We clearly have a fundamentally imbalanced market, with far too much crude, that needs to be resolved," the analysts said. "We need more market activity to correct these issues, but for technical, political and financial reasons, the liquidity of the market has dried up and the long-term price of oil is partly distorted." Analysts added, "We are now in an over-supplied bust cycle, and we need lower prices either to encourage demand or decrease supply. Production cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries haven't helped enough because lower oil prices haven't spurred an increase in demand."
(National Post, Calgary Herald 090121)