It’s Good To Know I Can Still Count On Jeeves

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It’s comforting to know that in an unpredictable world, Jeeves is still there for us.

I’ve been Googling my new album to chart radio airplay and on a lark I though I would use the ancient search engine, Ask Jeeves. (it’s now Ask.com apparently) 

And lo and behold, Jeeves told me the CBC North has been spinning some tunes!

Boo Google!

Yay Jeeves!

If only he were able to refill my coffee cup…

The Mighty Chibi Deluxe!

Before I had my first “real” motorcycle, I had a cute little 60 cc mini bike called a Chibi Deluxe.

I had so much fun on that little thing zipping around the farm roads near my grandparents place in Ladner, BC.

I think I paid $75 for it.

I remember the second gear being busted so you needed to really rev it in first, then pop er’ down into 3rd and it would build slowly from there to a wobbly top speed of about 35 mph. That seemed plenty fast at the time.

Looking online, it seems that a lot of people have fond memories of these little machines that were made in the early 70’s. If you’ve got an extra $600 lying around you can find them on eBay!

 

MVC-047S copy

 

My First Motorcycle

She was a beaut!

A 1976 Yamaha DT 100 I think. I bought it in 1986 off of my friend Dave. It ran great!

The gas mileage was ridiculous and the feeling of freedom at that age? Amazing!

In those days you could get a licence by driving around a few pylons and insurance was less than $100 a year.

I moved on to a road bike after that but after a few close calls, due to no fault of my own, I put an end to my Fonzie days at age 19.

If I ever end up out in the country it would be fun to have a trail bike to putter around on.

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Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!

Anyone remember that show?

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It’s been taken to an extreme in Madrid, Spain.

It’s actually an art installation by an artist named SpY.

Over a hundred CCTV cameras  (not functioning) were set up on a wall, all trained at passers-by.

Yes, it’s true they weren’t functioning, but it gets ya’ thinking doesn’t it? Now go comb your hair!

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Another Vegan December Draws To A Close

I don’t talk about it really, and here I am blogging about it…Oh well, the secret is out to the both of you reading:) (Hi Mom!)

It’s a fun little challenge I do every year-mainly to avoid holiday overeating, but being vegetarian the rest of the year it’s not that much of a stretch. The whole “nutrition thing” has been a work in progress the last 20 years or so. Avoiding certain foods does not necessarily equate to better health that’s for sure, but it doesn’t seem to be hurting any as far as I can tell. Protein comes in many forms and besides, humans don’t require much. The kids around here are ovo/lacto like their parents but I could see a shift towards veganism around our house over time.

At any rate, less cheese equals looser pants.

The real story is over in China where veganism is growing by leaps and bounds.

It seems that 5 % of a billion people is quite a few people.

 

Oh Happy Day! A New Router! I Love Apple Products! …

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It’s the little things really…Or in this case, a fairly large router compared to what I was used to.

The time certainly does fly! I did the math recently and determined that my little Airport Express was 6 years old already! Not old for a parrot, but you know…technology changes quickly.

For some reason I missed the UPS person three times so I drove over to Albany to pick it up at the warehouse. Talk about a “King of Queens” moment…Just me, the baby and 50 or so Doug Heffernans loading their trucks.

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What precipitated me doing the math is that our place here in Corvallis is quite a lot bigger than our apartment was in Montana so the wi-fi wouldn’t reach far enough to use the internet in the other rooms of the house.

So I picked it up, took it out of the box and 2 minutes later there it was: lightning fast internet.

Thank you Apple for being so easy to use!

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Oregano tea on a rainy day

Oregano
Oregano

A tasty beverage recommended to me by my friend Carla.

Even I was able to follow this recipe!

-Grab a handful of fresh oregano from the backyard

-Add boiling water

-Drink

A handful of oregano
A handful of oregano
Ready to enjoy!
Ready to enjoy!

Very tasty and refreshing! And chock-full of health benefits!

It too me back to the 90’s when wild mint was growing in abundance at the entrance to my suite in Vancouver.

Mint tea was a staple for me for me and my friends that would stop by for a visit.

There is something truly amazing about the taste of fresh fruit, veggies and herbs straight out of the ground!

And not having to go to the store to get them…

It’s that time of the year again!

SPRINGTIME has arrived in Montana! It is unseasonably warm in fact. Up into the 80’s the other day.

So…it’s time to pull out my favourite warm weather jacket! It’s taken a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’!

I bought it at the Ladner Thrift Shop more than 20 years ago! For a dollar!

Awe yeah….admire the beauty! Long live my green jacket!

I thought I had a picture of it somewhere but…

The Mail

I prefer having the mail delivered in the morning. Somewhere around 10:30.

Since moving here to Montana the mail usually arrives at 3:30 or so.

It’s just different opening it up in the afternoon.

It feels like reading a day old newspaper.

Meat-Free McDonald’s: Fast Food Chain To Open Vegetarian Restaurants In India In 2013

I guess it’s kind of cool that McDonalds is is flexible enough to alter their menu in different countries with different dietary requirements, but something seems a little weird about it. What about 99 Billion Served? That’s a lot of sacred cows.

I’m sure there will still be dairy on the menu but that’s a whole different discussion. I’ll leave that part of it up to the vegans. And how nutritional are the new menu items in question? Apparently the most popular “burger” in India has a deep-fried potato patty. And what about the tremendous amount of consumer waste that goes along with fast food?

Would it be be novel to see one in North America? Perhaps in San Francisco or New York City? It might help their image that some see as tarnished. It is interesting to see massive corporations moving with the times.

Here’s the article~

 

Banning Bagpipes & Bongos?

How can the city of Vancouver ban two of the greatest inventions ever? Lame.

CBC News New rules quietly introduced through Vancouver’s city hall ban bagpipes, bongos and other percussion instruments from the city’s street busking program.

After receiving complaints about noise levels, the city’s street performance permits program began refusing applications for acts that included drums, bongos, tambourines, and bagpipes.

‘Instruments not permitted for street performance: percussive instruments and bagpipes.’—City of Vancouver busking permits, April 9, 2012

James McNair, a competitor in the BC Pipers’ Association’s 80th annual bagpiping competition on Saturday, was among many who were shocked to learn of the ban.

“That would be a cruel idea… [for] the citizens of Vancouver not to be able to hear the glorious bagpipe,” he said.

Simon Fraser University’s award-winning pipe band is playing a 30th-anniversary concert at the Vogue Theatre on Sunday, but the pipers might not be welcome to warm-up outside if they passed a hat during the performance.

The city’s street performance, or busking, permit information page was amended sometime over the past year to include the rule, which reads: “Instruments not permitted for street performance: percussive instruments and bagpipes.”

BC Pipers’ Association president Rob MacNeil said it goes against the grain of the city itself.

“This [area] has the highest concentration of world-calibre players and pipe bands outside of Scotland,” he said.

Scottish culture is entrenched in the city’s history, which became a magnet for Scottish immigrants in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Descendants of many of those Scots have stuck around and the culture has stayed with them, bagpipes and all.

“That’s what makes Vancouver such a vibrant city, being able to display the best of culture that we have in this area. And bagpipes and piping and drumming are top of the mind on this,” MacNeil said.

The city said the rules are there because music, no matter how good, can be disruptive.

MacNeil said the BC Pipers’ Associations understands and agrees permits should be handed out in a way that’s respectful to listeners and local businesses. But to ban an instrument outright is not acceptable.

“I think it’s not an informed decision,” he said.

Mayor Gregor Robertson — a proud descendant of Scots himself — was away over the weekend but he and his city staff have said they will be reviewing the policy.

Snow In The Front Yard

It was the first major snow storm of the season in Missoula this week. Apparently a record that had stood from 1970 was broken for single day snowfall. It was really pretty to see the snow piling up. I was happy that we didn’t need to drive anywhere. We towed the boys along in a sled behind us when we did go out and that felt rustic. So many vehicles got stuck, but there were so many people willing to help out so it all worked out. I helped our neighbour dig out his 4×4 that had gotten stuck over a snow plow berm. That was my good deed for the morning. Makes me want to do more good deeds. It feels good to help people.

Closet Industry

Closet Industry: Whereby and individual can fit everything necessary to run a small business within the confines of a closet.

*If this term has already been termed then I apologize

Our current closet

Halfway Through Vegan December

It hasn’t been much of an issue really. We went to a friend’s place and they made us Kale soup which was nice and Amanda brought along a Greek salad with marinated firm tofu as a replacement for the feta cheese. I’ve been eating a lot of tofu and spinach and if I feel a little hungry in the afternoon i might have a spoonful of peanut butter. For lunch today I had a whole wheat burrito with refried beans, spinach and diced onion with some really tasty tomatillo sauce. Sure, some sour cream and cheddar cheese would have been nice, but it was still quite delicious. It went well with a strong cup of coffee!

It’s That Time Of Year Again~ Vegan December!

This will be the third year that I’ve done this. It’s kind of a personal challenge that hopefully inspires me to make other positive changes in my life. Having a goal, no matter how seemingly trivial, and sticking to it just feels good. It may not compare to flying to the moon or walking a high wire across the Grand Canyon but that’s not really the point.

Winter Arrives In Missoula

It really was a magical summer in so many ways. It took us a few weeks to get settled but once we got our bearings it was time to explore the town. You really can’t beat Missoula in the summertime. We were mostly on our bikes with the boys in the trailer behind us checking out the river trail, concerts at Caras park, frequent trips to the carousel, bbq’s with friends, hikes up the M trail and over in the Rattlesnake and a nice visit with the grandparents. Almost every night after dinner we would go to the park and kick the soccer ball around and watch the beautiful sunsets.

Even though I could see the leaves changing colour and the days growing shorter it still feels like something shifted overnight. It is currently snowing and lows are expected to dip to -22 this weekend. I’ve spent a lot of time travelling in cold climates over the years but I’ve never actually lived in a snowy place. I am looking forward to bundling up the boys and having lots of wintertime fun followed by  cozy nights by the fire. Actually, we don’t have a fireplace so that Yuletide DVD will have to do…

My Old Apartment In Vancouver In The Mid-90’s

me & my friend dawn playing some tunes in the attic

Such a great place in the heart of Kitsilano.  2525 West 6th Avenue. Close to the beach. Close to the coffee shops. Not too far from the trails around UBC. And it was affordable back in the day. I was there for 14 years! Lots of good times. It would be nice to live in a character house in a funky neighbourhood somewhere in the world one day.

To Comment Or Not To Comment

That is indeed the question when it comes to news and music sites and especially the grandaddy of them all, Facebook. 800 million strong and continuing to grow. That little news feed is always there tempting me to comment. Often times I think about writing a comment before saying to myself “what useful purpose is this serving? I should pick up my guitar or wash the dishes or really do anything somewhat constructive…” But alas, like most people I can resist anything but temptation…

Missoula Independent
Street Talk! First question: What do you think of cross-dressing?
    • Trevor Rogers I think one should wait until they calm down before assembling their daily attire.

      2 minutes ago · Like

Obama’s Tribute To Steve Jobs Upon His Passing At The Age Of 56

“Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.

By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.

The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve’s wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him.”

Canadian Politician Jack Layton Passes Away

It doesn’t matter if you did or didn’t vote for the New Democratic Party, Jack just seemed like a cool guy who really cared about Canadians. He wrote a really beautiful letter several days before his death.

This was the last paragraph:

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

Here’s the entire farewell note:

August 20, 2011

Toronto, Ontario

Dear Friends,

Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.

Unfortunately my treatment has not worked out as I hoped. So I am giving this letter to my partner Olivia to share with you in the circumstance in which I cannot continue.

I recommend that Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel continue her work as our interim leader until a permanent successor is elected.

I recommend the party hold a leadership vote as early as possible in the New Year, on approximately the same timelines as in 2003, so that our new leader has ample time to reconsolidate our team, renew our party and our program, and move forward towards the next election.

A few additional thoughts:

To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.

To the members of my party: we’ve done remarkable things together in the past eight years. It has been a privilege to lead the New Democratic Party and I am most grateful for your confidence, your support, and the endless hours of volunteer commitment you have devoted to our cause. There will be those who will try to persuade you to give up our cause. But that cause is much bigger than any one leader. Answer them by recommitting with energy and determination to our work. Remember our proud history of social justice, universal health care, public pensions and making sure no one is left behind. Let’s continue to move forward. Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government.

To the members of our parliamentary caucus: I have been privileged to work with each and every one of you. Our caucus meetings were always the highlight of my week. It has been my role to ask a great deal from you. And now I am going to do so again. Canadians will be closely watching you in the months to come. Colleagues, I know you will make the tens of thousands of members of our party proud of you by demonstrating the same seamless teamwork and solidarity that has earned us the confidence of millions of Canadians in the recent election.

To my fellow Quebecers: On May 2nd, you made a historic decision. You decided that the way to replace Canada’s Conservative federal government with something better was by working together in partnership with progressive-minded Canadians across the country. You made the right decision then; it is still the right decision today; and it will be the right decision right through to the next election, when we will succeed, together. You have elected a superb team of New Democrats to Parliament. They are going to be doing remarkable things in the years to come to make this country better for us all.

To young Canadians: All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada. Young people have been a great source of inspiration for me. I have met and talked with so many of you about your dreams, your frustrations, and your ideas for change. More and more, you are engaging in politics because you want to change things for the better. Many of you have placed your trust in our party. As my time in political life draws to a close I want to share with you my belief in your power to change this country and this world. There are great challenges before you, from the overwhelming nature of climate change to the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and the changes necessary to build a more inclusive and generous Canada. I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today. You need to be at the heart of our economy, our political life, and our plans for the present and the future.

And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change. In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

All my very best,

Jack Layton

A Pat On The Back

Today I was flying down Higgins Street on my ten speed. Somehow a wasp got in the back of my shirt and started doing what wasps are known to do. I started vigorously patting myself on the back.  And I really haven’t even done anything that particularly awesome lately. The scenario must have seemed amusing to people roaring by in their cars. The stinging eventually stopped. Montana wasps pack a punch.

 

 

 

Hockey Cards & Disco Lights

Man, did I ever love that disco light! I think it was $12.95 at Radio Shack. Now it’s where I keep my old hockey cards from the early 80’s. I’ve got a Messier rookie card but back in those days we used them to play with, or attach to the spokes of our bikes so they are all worthless in a financial sense. But from a nostalgic viewpoint, those tattered cards will be fun to look at sometime in the future.

Messier rookie card in primo condition

A Friend In Chicago’s Facebook Status Update

Julie D
A nice lady is sharing her umbrella with me while we wait for the bus. What a sweet small act of kindness.
  • You like this.
  • I think most people want to do kind things for others, it just seems that there is social pressure to not go out of ones way to offer assistance as it may be misconstrued, or seen as weird, or you might want something back…especially in the urban environment. It wasn’t the world’s greatest movie but I remember enjoying “Pay It Forward” with the “I see dead people” kid. That movie had a nice message.

Epic Resignation Letter

We’ve all worked in less than stellar work environments at one time or another, but I don’t think I could come up with a list this long…or be bothered to…Nevertheless, it’s a fun read:)

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Dear Whole Foods Market,

My experience at Whole Foods was like an increasingly sped up fall down a really long hill. That got rockier with every metre. And eventually, just really spiky … With fire, acid and Nickleback music. I was hired about five or six years ago. I appreciated and respected what the company said it’s philosophies were at that time. The “core values” essentially. However, it didn’t take long to realize what complete and utter bullshit they are:

Oh, you don’t recycle properly? (Caring about our communities and our environment)
Oh, you throw out enough food to feed a lot of hungry university students.(Caring about our communities and our environment)
Oh, you’re asking me to put latex gloves on the sales floor so customers can throw a pair out for every handful of gummy bears they take? (Caring about our communities and our environment)
Oh, you’ve installed massive television screens all over the store, sucking up energy and polluting the environment with tacky advertisements.(Caring about our communities and our environment, Supporting team member happiness and excellence)
Oh, you waste an absurd amount of energy, ink and paper in your offices for useless bureaucratic nonsense. (Caring about our communities and our environment, Supporting team member happiness and excellence, )
Oh, you just write off 10-20% of the product that you buy for your bulk department because the bins look nice. (Caring about our communities and our environment).
Oh, you sometimes intentionally order too much just to guarantee a full shelf, knowing full well the product will most likely be thrown out? (Caring about our communities and our environment)
Oh, you don’t actually audit or evaluate each product you sell? (Caring about our communities and our environment, We sell the highest quality natural and organic products available)
Oh, you force team members to come in to work, on their day off, once a month, at 7 in the morning, knowing a lot of them live an hour away and the TTC isn’t completely running that early in the morning and then force feed them useless updates on the company and embarrassingly artificial pep talks ([Redacted] once compared Whole Foods Market to religion… had to throw that in there. That was definitely a “Did she really just say that moment.”)? (Supporting team member happiness and excellence, Caring about our communities and our environment)/
Oh, you buy poorly made, ugly t-shirts for your employees that will just be thrown in the trash and pretend they’re gifts when they’re really just advertising tools? (Supporting team member happiness and excellence, Caring about our communities and our environment)
Oh, the food here is really quite awful on average? Almost everything that prepared foods makes is terrible. The pizza used to be pretty good but the slices have shrunk, the toppings are sparser and it’s usually extremely overcooked. The sandwiches are the stuff of nightmares. (It’s amazing what advertising can make people think. It can even trick their senses.) (We sell the highest quality natural and organic products available)
Oh, you let some customers abuse your employees and then actually reward the customers for their behaviour and then trample on the integrity and honour of your abused employees? (Supporting team member happiness and excellence)
Oh, you practice discrimination by offering “healthier” employees better discounts? And you think having different rules for new smoker employees versus old smoker employees is a good idea? (Supporting team member happiness and excellence)
Oh, you purchase products from Israel (Or any distant country) if they’re slightly cheaper than local alternatives? (Caring about our communities and our environment)
Oh, you’ve somehow created the worst computer program I’ve ever used to run your entire buying system? IRMA is some Windows 95 era stuff, guys. I could design a significantly better interface in 30 minutes on a pad of paper. I know several students who could create a superior program in their spare time. Was someone actually hired to create that thing? Was it the Realplayer dudes? Even Captain Picard couldn’t facepalm hard enough to express the amount of failure in that… that, thing… (Supporting team member happiness and excellence)
Oh, you push employees into greater responsibilities without compensation? Often having them essentially do all the work of a higher position without the pay? (Supporting team member happiness and excellence)
Oh, you ambush employee’s using two managers when you want to write someone up? No warning. No representation. All reasons and excuses fall on deaf ears. (Supporting team member happiness and excellence)
Oh, you’d rather attempt to create some sort of fake “culture” with signs and forced meeting than let it happen naturally by letting employees socialize lightly as they work? (Supporting team member happiness and excellence)
Oh, you like to manage “systems” instead of people? You don’t hold critical thinking and discretion in high regard? You encourage blindly following rules? I.e., no recourse in challenging write ups. Employees given cold shoulder when they attempt anything like this. (Supporting team member happiness and excellence)
Oh, you want us to politely call and let you know if we’ll be late… but you’ll still write us up when we arrive? Kind of a dick move, guys. (Supporting team member happiness and excellence)
Oh, you actually think being 20 minutes late matters? You know Whole Foods Market is just a grocery store, right? (Supporting team member happiness and excellence)
Oh, you don’t believe inflation exists? Cost of living raises aren’t given here? (Supporting team member happiness and excellence)

I notice a trend… Honestly, I could go on and on and fill out the details but since most people will just dismiss this email I should probably not put too much effort into it. I should have kept a blog…

Now the employees have lost a lot of their former power and the store is being sucked into some centralized monster. Quality is being thrown out in favour of the people at the top having to do a little less work. Competition is being destroyed and you’re not even pushing that many healthy products. Every second endcap is potato chips or pop or some sort of salt filled snack (Promoting the health of our stakeholders through healthy eating education). A lot of the stuff in Whole Body doesn’t even work or has absolutely no credible evidence to back any claims up. You’re kind a faux hippy Wal-Mart now. Great. Job.

Dear [REDACTED],
How you haven’t been fired by now is a massive mystery to, not just me, but many people. You probably belong in a psychiatric ward. If you didn’t have such a constant negative impact on everyone around you I might just feel sorry for you. BUT, you’ve hurt too many people. You create a hostile work environment with your flashes of insane anger and passive (I hesitate to use the word passive…) aggressive behavior. Please, just leave and piss all over the patio at [REDACTED]’s again. Maybe [REDACTED] will help this time. Her childish, two-faced personality suits you quite well. The fact that you still have a job is also a massive failure by your department’s leaders as well. I’d be ashamed of being such push-overs who refuse to support good people if I were them. Quite ashamed.

Dear [REDACTED],
I don’t think you could calm down enough and become a happy, tolerable person if you were to do yoga in a hot spring while high on ecstasy. Daily. For the rest of your life. Just wouldn’t happen. I haven’t met a single person working under you or who has worked under you who doesn’t loath the way you treat people. Your job doesn’t matter AT ALL. Get over it, relax and start treating people with a shred of respect. Chances are, you’ll improve a lot of lives. Possibly even your own. I do have a suspicion that you’re a sociopath though. Especially now, after seeing your reaction to you-know-who’s hospital visit. If that is the case, this was futile. May I suggest some acting classes? You’re not very good at pretending to be a complete, emotional, sincere human being.

Dear [REDACTED],
You win a lot of awards in my book. Best at being a chauvinist. Least likely to realize he’s about to walk into someone. Just another sign that shows how inconsiderate and egocentric you are. Or, if you do realize you’re plowing through people… well, I won’t get into that… Best at ruining the entire meat department vicinity by blasting terrible music. Do you ever think about the people around you? By the way, how did you manage to spit on the back hallway’s floor with your head so far up your ass? I guess I can at least forgive you for never learning employee’s names because of that. It’s probably difficult to hear up there.

For the love of god, learn to respect women. You have no idea how insulting and aggravating it is to be around someone who is so condescending to all the women you work with. Stop calling them “mamma” don’t refer to them as “beautiful”… for christs sake, just keep all pet names off the table. You are NOT complimenting women, you are being open about not knowing knowing their names, and lazy enough to not read a name-tag. Lazy, or you are just that self centered? You have no clue. Take notice of people around you. If you are dumping work on them without real communication we are going to think you are a dick. Take the holiday table for example. You have nothing to do with it, take credit for it and can barely remember the people who run it so smoothly. Who do you think you are?

Dear [REDACTED],
You confuse the hell out of me. Sometimes you seem like a reasonable person and then sometimes you refuse to support your employees and in some cases even treat them quite terribly. Unfortunately, you’ve been hanging out mostly in Terrible Person territory lately. You’re not welcome there! [REDACTED] owns it. You show little to no support for your team members and turn everything into a boy’s club. You rant and bitch and moan to the wrong people, because it always get back to the people you rant and bitch and moan about. Quit rolling your eyes and let people speak. You might actually like and understand more of your employees this way. Respect your employees and the precious time that they are giving up to work for you. Perhaps take some time yourself and relearn the core values you are supposed to hold so dear. Stop taking your personal life out on everyone and have some compassion for the team members you disregard so much.

Dear [REDACTED],
Your dot idea was a really, really stupid idea. Try to learn how an operation works before trying to “fix” it. All of your suggestions so far have been outdated, time consuming, poorly thought out nonsense. You aren’t impressing anyone or increasing your chances of moving up in the company with these terrible attempts at seeming proactive and full of “ideas.” You’re just frustrating to work with. Also, I think you should stand a little further back from people when you talk to them.

Dear [REDACTED],
We get it, we get it. You go to the gym. Nobody is impressed. In fact we all just laugh at your inferiority complex.

Dear [REDACTED],
Stop being such a cowardly weiner, hiding behind your emails and that awful hallway grin. Try communicating with people under you. Face to face when it’s possible. If you’re overworked you need help. Especially if your lack of time is affecting other people’s jobs and the store/company.

Dear [REDACTED]/[REDACTED]/Anyone else who visits our store,
Do you guys realize that the store NEVER looks as good as it does when you arrive? When word spreads that you’re coming to inspect the store almost every team leader begins running around like Brampton teens on PCP. They whip their employees into a frenzy. They sweep anything under the bed that they think you won’t like. They attempt to make the store look like nobody ever shops there. This stops us and them from doing actual productive work which in turn impacts sales and creates a lot of pointless stress. Then you arrive, hand out your almighty advice. The team leaders grovel at your feet and follow your advice. Then you leave and they put everything back the way it was. Undo a lot of what you suggested. Oh, I’m sure there are things happening that I don’t see. But you really do waste a lot of time. Even making our efforts regressive sometimes. Meanwhile, if I’m awesomely efficient at my job and take a moment to chat with a fellow employee, I’m bitched at. Seems to me a costly double standard.

Consider checking some of the “stats” and “facts” used in your in store education. They’re often faulty logic, myths, misconceptions and lies used by so-called “environmentalists”. I agree we’re currently destroying our environment and I’m quite liberal and all for natural living. But evidence and credible sources very often disagree with the propaganda spouted to us at Whole Foods. It’s just a little too extreme and biased sometimes which I believe just discredits the environmentalist movement in general, sadly.

Dear everyone else,
As I’ve said above a few times: you work at a grocery store. Go ahead and relax. Also, Whole Foods will try to make you feel like they are doing you a huge favour by employing you. It’s really a mutual agreement or transaction. Don’t fall for the guilt trips. Call in sick if you need to, etc.. There are laws in place to stop them from taking advantage of you. And if you’re thinking “This is just the way it is. Suck it up!”. You’re the biggest part of the problem. I’m afraid we can’t be friends.

Just enjoy life. It’s pretty short, you know?

Good luck,
[REDACTED]

I love Craigslist!

Rhubarb


Date: 2011-07-18, 8:26AM MDT
Reply to: sale-jmcnd-2491762550@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]


 

I am looking for anyone who has rhubarb growing in their yard and they are not going to use it. I would love to have it. I would come and cut it. I make a great sauce for meat with it and would give you some of the sauce in exchange for your rhubarb. Thank you so much. Let me know.

  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 2491762550

5k

I’m back on the jogging bandwagon. Well for 2 days now. I sure wish somebody would pay me $1000 dollars a kilometre. Right now I can comfortably do 5k at a pretty good pace, but I think monetary motivation would have me up to 20k in no time!

I was really impressed that my Amanda ran the 10k Vancouver Sun Run this weekend. The boys and I were waiting for her at the finish line when she arrived. It was great to see so many thousands of people so jubilant to finish. It reminded me of being in Boston and watching the marathon at the 25th mile marker. It was truly amazing to see all the runners bearing down for that last mile.

Looking back to Boston, what I remember the most was that the spectators were so amazingly supportive to those that were needing a little, or a lot of encouragement as they made their way towards the finish line. A friendly crowd too. Towards the end of the marathon, a group of people walked by and asked me if I wanted to watch the rest of the race from their balcony. So I did.

9 Questions with Tim Readman

Name: Tim Readman [pronounced Redman ;-)]

Birthplace: Seaham, County Durham, England

Currently residing: Vancouver BC (East Side)

Musical past and present in one rambling run-on sentence:

First paid gig at 15 years old in the brutal working men’s club circuit back home, then on the North-Eastern English folk club scene, then Hawkwind-style space rock then prog-folk and on to new-wave then up to Newcastle upon Tyne for northern soul/ska and political world pop and a quick burst with 80’s hitmakers The Kane Gang…to Vancouver BC all sorts of music including funk and dance leading me back to folk roots and Celtic/folk …Got Fear of Drinking twice in my beloved East Side haunts on Main Street…played with The Arrogant Worms…did some producing…released 2 CDs of songs about Newcastle United Football Club …Artistic Director at Vancouver CelticFest…writer for Penguin Eggs…recorded a few Beatles tribute songs and now on to 2 theme songs for Geordie charity runner Mark Allison’s historic sponsored run which will take him across the whole of the USA in 2011…with a bit of other random shit in between for good measure.

Website: timreadman.com

1.  Who are some of your favourite composers, musicians and bands from the past and present?

The Beatles, Steely Dan, Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Iris Dement, Bjork, Bob Fox, Jez Lowe, Vin Garbutt, Chick Corea and Return to Forever , Mahavishnu Orchestra, Chumbawamba (Acoustic), Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Elvis Costello, Free, Frank Zappa, Lunasa, Gentle Giant, Gil Scott Heron, Lindisfarne, Liz Carroll and John Doyle, Los Lobos, Massive Attack, Madonna, Was Not Was, The Streets, The Unthanks, Led Zeppelin, Sandy Denny, Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick, Wishbone Ash, Hatfield and the North…it goes on forever!

2.  Is there a particular song or musical passage that never fails to move you emotionally?

The Blaydon Races – by Geordie Ridley – The National Anthem of the Geordie Nation

3.  How would you describe your perfect day?

Newcastle United 5 Sunderland 0

4.  What would your friends say they appreciate the most about you?

Not drinking them under the table and then keeping them up all night anymore

5.  What is your most valued material possession?

My Larivée acoustic guitar

6.  Who were you, or would you be nervous to meet?

The devil at the crossroads

7.  If you could blink your eyes and be in a favourite place right now, where would that place be?

St. James Park, Newcastle upon Tyne (when we are 5-0 up against Sunderland)

8. Is there something you would like to do more of in the future?

Co-write songs with rich and famous pop stars

9. Where would you like to find yourself in ten years?

In my own private box with my rich and famous pop star friends at St. James Park, Newcastle upon Tyne (when we are 5-0 up against Sunderland)

Yesterday’s Experiment

I love the concept of putting something on the curb to see if someone picks it up. The boulevard is the last hope for old fridges, couches and bikes before they hit the landfill.

I watched for a little while and I noticed a small percentage of the cars passing by were hitting their brakes to take a quick gander before driving on by probably thinking “Wow! I miss 1976!”

I do think that if that love seat could talk it would be saying how much fun it’s had comforting the posteriors of all the friends and family who have stopped by the homestead over the years.

Or how fresh the air is in the great outdoors…

This Confirms It, I AM NOT Moving To Calgary

Not that I was planning to, but you get my point.

Calgary cafés hit by coffee price hikes

CBC News
Local coffee shops are struggling to keep java prices down as South American crops are hit with bad weather. The price of coffee has more than doubled in the last year, said Canterbury Coffee sales manager Gord Chester.

“And that’s just not good for coffee-bar owners, and it’s not good for us to be telling people, ‘We gotta raise prices,'” said Chester. “But unfortunately there’s such a supply drought right now of high-grade arabicas, this is the byproduct of it.”

“As supply shrinks or as there’s problems in the world like they had in Brazil this year … typically, the price goes up.”

David Hockey, owner of the independent Kensington café Higher Ground, has increased his prices twice in the last six months, so he decided to get proactive.

“Recently I just locked in my coffee [supply] prices for the next year because we’re anticipating even more increases,” he said.

 

Rainbows, Garbanzo Beans & A Twinkling Science World

I think this is the first rainbow I’ve seen since we’ve been living in this apartment. It reminds me of how amazing the view is from way up here.

One thing that cannot be denied when I look out the window is the abundance of cranes. Everyone wants to live in Vancouver it seems. I can’t really complain about the changing urban landscape as I live in a recently built building, I just hope that as Vancouver moves towards higher density structures, the charm of the neighbourhood isn’t completely destroyed. Can you trust city hall to make the right decision with all the political forces that must be at play?

There is a proposal for a 26 story high-rise right at the corner of Main & Broadway. It will dwarf the 8 floor brick building across the street that was built in 1912. We’ll see what happens.

On this day I cooked Garbanzo beans for the first time.

I normally use the canned variety but this way is much cheaper, there is no added sodium and there are no cans to recycle! Just doing my part to make the world a better place for future generations…

I am lamenting that our view of the ever-twinkling Science World will most surely be mostly obscured depending on how high up this new building continues to climb upwards.

Yes! The perfect opportunity to quote Cat Stevens from his classic Where Do The Children Play, from the album Tea For The Tillerman:

Well you’ve cracked the sky, scrapers fill the air
But will you keep on building higher till there’s no more room up there?

I listened to this album over and over again one summer on my Sony Walkman cassette recorder while I was painting a house for someone. They wanted their house painted pink for some reason. It looked OK when it was done even though I didn’t stir the paint well enough. The colour got lighter and lighter as I painted upwards as the stir stick I had wasn’t long enough to get to the bottom of the 5 gallon pails. I probably should have been listening to this classic album from The Band:

While sometimes it seems that life is standing still, there’s certainly a lot going on over here in Mount Pleasant. Things are good right now, and hopefully will be the same or better in the future but they will most certainly be different. I can’t help but think that by the time our view of Science World is obscured, some life changing events will have transpired.

This Is Difficult To Even Remotely Comprehend…

Vancouver sure is a big city!

Milky Way home to 50 billion planets: NASA

The Associated Press

Scientists have estimated the first cosmic census of planets in our galaxy and the numbers are astronomical: at least 50 billion planets call the Milky Way home.

At least 500 million of those planets are in the not-too-hot, not-too-cold zone where life could exist. The numbers were extrapolated from the early results of NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler telescope.

William Borucki, who heads the Kepler project, says scientists took the number of planets they found in the first year of searching a small part of the night sky and then estimated how likely stars were to have planets. Kepler spots planets as they pass between the star they orbit and Earth.

So far Kepler has found 1,235 candidate planets, with 54 in the zone where life could possibly exist. Kepler’s main mission is not to examine individual worlds, but to give astronomers a sense of how many planets, especially potentially habitable ones, there are likely to be in our galaxy. They would use the one-400th of the night sky that Kepler is looking at and extrapolate from there.

Habitable zone

Borucki and colleagues figured one of two stars has planets and one of 200 stars has planets in the habitable zone, announcing these ratios Saturday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington.

And that’s a minimum because these stars can have more than one planet and Kepler has yet to get a long enough glimpse to see planets that are farther out from the star, such as Earth, Borucki said.

For example, if Kepler were 1,000 light years from Earth and looking at our sun and noticed Venus passing by, there’s only a 12 per cent chance Earth would also be seen, astronomers said.

To get the estimate for the total number of planets, scientists then took the frequency observed already and applied it to the number of stars in the Milky Way.

For many years scientists figured there were 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, but last year a Yale scientist figured the number was closer to 300 billion stars.

Either way it shows that Carl Sagan was right when he talked of billions and billions of worlds, said retired NASA astronomer Steve Maran, who praised the research but wasn’t part of it.

Scientists estimate there are 100 billion galaxies.

The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

We heard this song in the apartment earlier today.

It really makes me happy when I see Levi, and now baby Travis hearing an iconic song for the first time. All these songs are so ingrained in our subconscious memory, but it’s hard to remember the first time we heard Get Back, Smoke On The Water, Dust In The Wind, Stairway To….

It made me kind of sad this evening when I saw this article on the CBC website:

CBC News

Terry Clements, a Detroit native who played guitar for Gordon Lightfoot for 40 years, has died. He was 63.

Clements died on Sunday, 10 days after suffering a stroke. A posting on Lightfoot’s official website acknowledged Clements as “an integral part of the signature Lightfoot sound.”

He plays the haunting guitar solo on The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and is a dexterous guitar picker onCarefree Highway. The two created more than 15 albums together.


They met in 1970 while Clements was working on the soundtrack to an early Burt Reynolds movie. When Lightfoot’s then-partner Red Shea wanted to get off the road, Lightfoot called Clements to ask him to join the band. He eventually accepted and the two played together since 1971.

“He was always so creative, yet never repetitive, his style inhabiting the music, never seeming to be added on as an afterthought, but instead always feeling like a part of the fabric of the song,” said a tribute on Lightfoot’s website.

Clements was born in Detroit and grew up in California, before joining the navy, where he hurt his hand. He always played with a flat pick and his ring finger.

In the 1960s he wrote and arranged songs for a group called Golden Sunflower, managed by Lou Adler, who also steered the careers of the Mamas & the Papas and Carole King.

He then got into working on film scores, where he met Lightfoot.

“Gord is personable and more down to earth than a lot of people I’ve been around, people who believe their own hype and have heads the size of watermelons,” said Clements. “Gord doesn’t have many airs about him. I guess to be in the business this long, you have some sense of decorum.”

He said Lightfoot often left it to him to hit on the right sound for a song.

“If Gord has specific idea, he’ll tell me. Otherwise, it’s, ‘Come up with something,'” Clements said.


Search Engines

It’s fun to check the WordPress statistics on my tiny little blog to see how random people arrived at my site. Today these terms brought people based on previous entires that I have written:

 

farsighted eye chart
dippity doo gel
how to type with only one hand

 

I wonder what the archeologists of the future will think about our society when they dig up our digital records!

Chanterelle Ma Belle, Sont Des Mots Qui Vont Très Bien Ensemble

One of the nice things about living near a forest is that you can go off in search of edible mushrooms. The crown jewel in the mushroom category seems to be the chanterelle. They are really expensive to buy fresh in the store so if you like mushrooms, why not spend the afternoon in nature trying to find some?

We picked a few pounds of mushrooms on the Sunshine Coast last year and dried some of them for future use.

Amanda had a hankering for what the restaurants on Main Street like to call “comfort food” so we made mashed potatoes and vegan chanterelle mushroom gravy. That would look good on a menu somewhere.


The end result was quite tasty.

To quote Sir Paul McCartney:

I love you, I love you, I love you

That’s all I want to say

Give it a listen substituting Chanterelle every time Paul sings Michelle.

It’s really fun!


Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?

They wouldn’t have had to worry about getting caught back in the 16th century…

In Text Messages, Signs of a Rigged Sumo Fight

New York Times

TOKYO — It was a sumo bout like any other: two wrestlers grappled at each other at the ring’s edge, before one sent his opponent tumbling to the dirt in a move known as the over-arm throw.

Hanaregoma, chairman of the Japan Sumo Association, apologized at a news conference on Wednesday as new allegations of fight-rigging emerged.

But a text message exchange between the two wrestlers the previous day suggests that the match was rigged — part of a raft of evidence examined by the police that points to widespread match-fixing in Japan’s time-honored sport, prompting a public outcry.

“Please hit hard at the face-off, then go with the flow,” one of the wrestlers, Kiyoseumi, texted on the afternoon of May 10, according to a transcript of the messages leaked to local news media and published this week by the daily newspaper Mainichi.

“Understood,” Kasuganishiki, his opponent in the following day’s match, quickly replied. “I’ll go with the flow and put up at least a little resistance.”

Stage-managed bouts may be a staple of American professional wrestling, but sumo is Japan’s national sport, in a different league from World Wrestling Entertainment, many Japanese would say. Though allegations of match-fixing have accompanied sumo for decades, no wrestler has ever been caught orchestrating a match.

The police recently found text messages on confiscated cellphones that link as many as 13 wrestlers in match-fixing schemes, Japan’s sumo association said this week. Two wrestlers and a coach have admitted to fixing bouts.

“It is as if the heavens and the earth have been turned upside down,” said Hanaregoma, chairman of the Japan Sumo Association, who in the sumo tradition uses only one name. “I am very sorry.”

The scandal has outraged a public that considers sumo — which traces its origins to rituals of Japan’s indigenous religion of Shinto — a venerable tradition. Wrestlers, their hair in samurai-style topknots, have been seen not just as athletes, but as upholders of a stoic work ethic and noble public behavior.

 

 

 

 

Vegan December Update

All in all there is nothing much to report.

I had a few cravings for cheese.

I ate a lot of homemade hummus and a little peanut butter instead.

I lost about ten pounds.

Mid-January, Amanda suggested that I maintain my nearly vegan lifestyle at home but why not indulge in a little dairy now and again if I feel like it when I go out.

Sounds good to me.

Distant Memories~ Galiano Island

A long time ago when I was still eating fish, I went over to Galiano Island on my bike bringing along nothing but a can of tuna. I rode around all day exploring, eventually falling asleep on the beach in my clothes. I remember a bunch of raccoons woke me up in the middle of the night. The next morning I got up and took the ferry back to Vancouver. It was therapeutic.

This Land Is Their Land

Can you imagine owning this much space? I comfortably utilize 730 square feet in Vancouver with my family of four. If my calculator is correct, this guy is now going to have to get by with a paltry 91 476 000 000 square feet of land.

Tiny. Tiny. Tiny.

He can have the 30 square feet we rarely use if he starts feeling claustrophobic sometime down the road.

The New York Times

John C. Malone, a media mogul who is on the verge of buying nearly one million acres of timberland in Maine, could soon become the largest private landowner in the United States, catapulting him ahead of Ted Turner on the list of those who accumulate earth the way others accumulate, say, bison.

The Flying D Green Ranch near Bozeman, Mont., accounts for part of Ted Turner’s domestic land holdings.

Mr. Malone, who lives in Colorado, is chairman of Liberty Media and has extensive holdings in QVC, the cable channel; Expedia.com, the travel Web site; and Sirius XM satellite radio. Liberty Media also owns the Atlanta Braves, which Mr. Turner once owned. Last year, Forbes ranked Mr. Malone as the 110th richest person in America, and though he has been an aggressive media player for decades, he has operated largely out of the limelight.

He intends to keep the land as a working forest, aides said, and will continue to supply timber to local paper mills and keep the land open to the public for recreation. Environmentalists are “cautiously optimistic” that Mr. Malone will not develop the land, said Cathy Johnson of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Mr. Malone owns various parcels of land around the country, including more than 68,000 undeveloped acres in Maine and the 290,000-acre Bell Ranch in New Mexico. Once he buys roughly 980,000 acres in Maine’s North Woods and about 20,000 acres in neighboring New Hampshire, under a deal to be completed by Tuesday, he will own 2.1 million acres nationwide.

Mr. Turner, who is a longtime friend of Mr. Malone’s, owns about 2 million acres in the United States, much of it ranch land, and he also owns about 100,000 acres in Argentina. He raises more than 50,000 head of bison across his various ranches and has long reined as America’s No. 1 land holder.

“The odds are, when the tabulations are done and this transaction closes, Mr. Malone definitely will be America’s largest landowner,” said Eric O’Keefe, editor of The Land Report, a magazine that keeps track of such things.


Darn~ I Think I’m Farsighted!

I first noticed things appearing blurry close-up about a year ago when I started doing the “old man giving a wedding speech who needs to almost extend his arms fully to clearly read the type manoeuver” when reading the paper.

Small print on things such as raisin boxes and shampoo bottles (who reads shampoo bottles? Hasn’t it always been lather, rinse, repeat?) were blurry unless I held them under a bright light at the right distance.

Farsightedness (hyperopia)A common vision condition in which you can see distant objects clearly, but objects nearby may be blurry.

According to my trusted sources,  (ok- the internet) this condition affects one in four people, is easily corrected and my faraway vision will still be perfect! Or  pretty close to perfect as far as I know…

Anyone have an eye-chart I can borrow so I can officially confirm?

Like several thousand people on the planet, I’ve always mixed up near and farsightedness. I think it’s a common phenomenon that one doesn’t really pay attention to the myriad of ailments and conditions out there until they affect oneself or a loved one. I’ve always mixed up nuclear fission/fusion and Laurel and Hardy too but that’s a different story…

I temporarily confirmed my self-diagnosis of farsightedness a few weeks ago when playing music with a couple of friends. While I was straining to look at a lyric sheet, Gibson strummer David reached into his pocket and pulled out some reading glasses. I tried them on and everything was sadly, chrystal clear.

It blows my mind to think that if I was a caveman living a million years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to properly enjoy “The Sun Also Rises” by firelight in a cave at a close distance as to the best of my knowledge, K-Mart was still on the fence as to whether or not they were going to stock reading glasses. They eventually caved-in about 400, 000 years ago. Wikipedia

Here’s to looking distinguished!

A Big Tub Of Gel

Certain items generally come in small containers, therefore the common convention is to limit the application or consumption of the material in question. For example, Dijon mustard, saffron, caviar, (although I have no interest in trying it) and of course hair gel. Unless my hair is really short, I need to apply more than the dime sized portion recommended by hair stylists. So of course I jumped at the opportunity to plunk down a meagre $4 dollars to purchase this mammoth sized container outside of Seattle last weekend.  I require about a half a handful after a shower or I end up looking like one of my old professors. But maybe looking like “this” isn’t such a bad thing. And I would save $4 dollars a week…

Wow! What A Massive Undertaking! And Good For The Planet Too!

Solar Power Rocks!

So cool to see that we as Canadians have gotten our priorities right for a change. By the look of these gigantic objects on the move that shut down the streets of Canada’s biggest metropolis, we will soon be saying hello to the most modern of the newest of  technologies! I’m guessing solar power? Satellite technology? Wind turbines? Wait a second…

The Canadian Press
A kilometre-long convoy of beer vats is on the move, shutting down roads and downing hydro and cable lines in its path.

Massive vats that can hold six million bottles of beer are being hauled from Hamilton Harbour to a Molson Coors facility near Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

The trip, which is expected to take four nights, began Friday night as the vats — loaded on six flatbed trailers — were slowly pulled out of the docks by transport trucks.

The beer vats are huge — 45 metres long, eight metres high and more than seven metres wide.

The company in charge of their transport says planning the journey has been no easy task.

Challenger Motor Freight Inc. has worked with 70 different organizations in planning the route.

Challenger had to plan a route that would avoid overpasses and then coordinate with police forces to close intersections, raise or cut hydro and cable wires to get the vats through, steer trucks by remote control through tight areas and remove metal poles then weld them back in place.

Sarah Sheehan, a spokeswoman for Challenger, said power, phone and cable outages are expected to last about half an hour.

The 40-vehicle convoy, which includes some 20 police cruisers, will wind its way through Burlington, Halton Region, Oakville, Milton, Peel Region, Mississauga, Brampton and York Region before arriving at its destination on Tuesday morning.

Challenger’s Frank DeVries said Friday night that he expects a lot of people will come out to see the convoy.

“It’s not every day something like this rolls through town,” said DeVries.

Penny For Your Thoughts?

Not for very long in Canada it seems…

Nickel for your thoughts?

Penny should be scrapped: Senate panel

Canadians are hoarding the coins, not spending them

CBC News
The Senate finance committee is considering getting rid of the penny because it costs more to mint than it's worth. The Senate finance committee is considering getting rid of the penny because it costs more to mint than it’s worth. (Timothy Neesam/CBC)The Senate finance committee is recommending that the federal government remove the penny from circulation and that guidelines be established for rounding off purchase prices for cash-only transactions.

The committee also recommends that production of the penny for circulation cease “as soon as practicable” with 12 months notice, until the copper is no longer considered legal tender.

Canadians’ emotional attachment to coppers gathering dust in their jars, cars, pockets and cans “far outweighs their value,” said Senator Richard Neufeld, the committee’s deputy chair.

“The fact is, the penny is not much use anymore,” Neufield told reporters on Tuesday in Ottawa.

The report also recommends that the Bank of Canada continue to redeem pennies indefinitely, while banks could choose how long they’d redeem the one-cent pieces.

It also called for the federal government to encourage charitable organizations to implement fundraising campaigns that would assist in removing the penny from circulation.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty thanked the committee for its study of the issue and said the federal government looks forward to “carefully reviewing” its findings and recommendations.

Cost to make a penny: 1.5 cents

The Bank of Canada says the copper-plated coin has lost 95 per cent of its purchasing power since 1908, when it was first produced in Canada.

According to a Royal Canadian Mint survey released in October 2007, 63 per cent of small retailers said they were in favour of getting rid of the penny, citing efficiency as their prime motivation.According to a Royal Canadian Mint survey released in October 2007, 63 per cent of small retailers said they were in favour of getting rid of the penny, citing efficiency as their prime motivation. (iStock)It now costs more to produce the penny — about 1.5 cents each — than the coin’s actual face value, while items that cost a penny 100 years ago now cost 20 cents, the report said.

The Royal Canadian Mint has been forced to sharply increase penny production in recent years as more and more Canadians hoard, rather than spend, their one-cent pieces.

The committee recommended that the mint be allowed to decide whether it is profitable to continue limited production of the one-cent coin for direct sale to collectors.

The senators estimated that hoarding of pennies amounted to 600 coins per person across the country.

 

Milk From A Cow

As a kid growing  up, I remember drinking milk from a 5 gallon bucket-still warm from a farmer’s barn. That was a  long time ago and unless someone has hacked my computer post-mortem, I still seem to be doing just fine. I generally lean towards veganism, but stories like this make me wonder if we are applying our collective energy in the right place.

B.C. farm defies court ruling on raw milk

CBC News

Members of a Chilliwack cow collective say a court injunction won't stop them from distributing raw milk.Members of a Chilliwack cow collective say a court injunction won’t stop them from distributing raw milk.(Home On The Range Dairy)Members of a cow-sharing collective in B.C.’s Fraser Valley say they will continue distributing raw milk, despite a court ruling. 

The Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled the Home on The Range co-op in Chilliwack is “willfully causing a health hazard” by supplying its members with unpasteurized milk.

The collective was formed to get around a B.C. law prohibiting the sale of raw milk.

The 400 members own shares in 21 cows and pay the operator, Alice Jongerdon, to take care of them.

“The key point is that it’s not in commerce. It’s not for sale, it’s never for sale,” said co-op member Gordon Watson.

“Therefore we got around the idea in the Milk Industry Act [that] if milk is for sale in British Columbia, then the government has oversight over it. And so we just went ahead and took our property home and we paid Alice to look after the cows for us.”

However, the provincial government wants to stop the distribution, saying it’s against the law and dangerous.

“[We have seen] many, many, many, many, many cases of diseases ranging from tuberculosis to Streptococcal poisoning to E. coli, et cetera, associated with the consumption of raw milk,” said provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall.

But despite the risks of raw milk, Watson thinks the benefits are far greater. He said the pasteurization process kills vital enzymes in the milk.

Watson said he expects the court will order Jongerdon to stop distributing the milk. If that happens, Watson said he will take over distribution himself.

The Letter Of The Law

I guess the law needs to be applied equally to all, but come on…

81-year-old protester loses court appeal

The Canadian Press

Betty Krawczyk talks to reporters before entering B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver in March 2007.Betty Krawczyk talks to reporters before entering B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver in March 2007. (Richard Lam/Canadian Press)B.C.’s Court of Appeal has upheld a 10-month sentence for an 81-year-old environmentalist. 

Betty Krawczyk was convicted of criminal contempt for violating an injunction to stay away from logging crews in West Vancouver as they began work on the Sea-to-Sky Highway expansion in 2006.

Krawczyk, a great-grandmother who has been jailed before for her environmental activism, appealed both her conviction and sentence.

She had already lost the appeal of her conviction, and earlier this year the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear the case.

This week, the B.C. Court of Appeal rejected Krawczyk’s sentencing appeal in a unanimous decision, ruling that although the 10-month sentence was high, it wasn’t unreasonable.

Krawczyk refused to be released while her appeals were heard, and has already served her sentence.

Krawczyk’s conviction for blocking the highway, which was being upgraded in advance of the 2010 Winter Olympics, was the latest in a string of convictions and jail terms that began with her arrest for blockading logging trucks in Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island in the early 1990s.

Parsnips

 

Ladner Parsnips

My dad picked these this morning from the back garden. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that food isn’t cultivated, nourished and harvested at the local Safeway. For me personally, I like to eat parsnips about as often as I eat Brussels sprouts but I still think it’s cool that seed, soil, sun and water can bring to the table fresh vegetables in the middle of winter.

 

Vegan December

I quietly tried it for the first time last year. It took a few days to adjust but it really wasn’t that bad. I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time so it was only eggs and dairy that I had to say “so long” to for the month. It ended up being an amazing month for a long list of reasons:

-I set a goal and achieved it.

-I felt slightly kinder to the planet.

-I had extra energy for long walks and being that it was the festive holiday season, we tried to visit as many friends and family as possible.

-As a bonus, I was able to reel in my belt-buckle a notch or three and like Oprah before me, parade around in my “skinny jeans!”

Last year I made it until January 8th. I had a bagel with cream cheese and that opened up the floodgates.

I’ll keep me posted. And you too if you happen to be reading…

Movie Date

We leaned on mom and dad to watch the boys and took in a movie tonight. I wasn’t expecting much from Due Date but I’ve got to tell you, we laughed our asses off! There is something about the bearded Zach Galifianakis’s face that puts me in a good mood. It’s similar to the way Bill Cosby, John Candy and even Will Ferrel make me feel. They turn my frown upside down. 🙂

I wouldn’t compare Due Date to Annie Hall or even Planes, Trains and Automobiles but let’s face it, sometimes it just feels good to laugh a little extra long at a scene that really isn’t even that funny. While the two actors ended up having a deep affection for each other in the movie, it turn’s out that in real life they disagree on the notion of second chances:

THERE’s a new feud in Hollywood — between actorsZach Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr., according to a new report.Robert Downey Jr. and Zach

E! News says Zach — who stars alongside Robert in new movie Due Date — has riled the Iron Man hunk for getting Mel Gibson fired from The Hangover 2.

Mel — who has faced a string of personal problems over the past few weeks — had signed on to play a tattoo artist in the eagerly awaited movie sequel, which stars Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Justin Barthaamong others.

Robert — who told Parade magazine it was Mel who taught him about second chances, casting Downey inSinging Detectives, his first flick fresh from jail — was instrumental in convincing Hangover director Todd Phillips to give Gibson a role.

According to E! News:

After director Todd Phillips’ failed to bring Gibson on for The Hangover 2, we’re hearing RDJ wasn’t too thrilled with his Due Date costar Zach Galifianakis.

Here’s why:

Robert has told Parade magazine it was Mel who taught him about second chances, casting Downey in Singing Detectives, his first flick fresh from jail, even though an insurance company wouldn’t cover it.

So, RDJ thought it was time to return the favor.

He has the same rep as Gibson, and obviously got close with Todd during the filming of their hilar flick Due Date, and was very involved in getting Mel’s name into the mix.

But the entire Hangover cast was über-pissed when Phillips sprang the Gibson cameo on them. So ticked off, that sources on the way secretive Hangover set confirm there were a lot of threats made by the stars of the sequel if Mel came onboard, with Zach on the front lines (can ya blame him?).

Apparently, tensions have been running high between Zach and Robert during the promotion of Due Date.

(Reps for both RDJ and Z.G. declined to comment.)

We’re told from knowledgeable sources that Downey thought Mel really deserved another chance—and that he’s subsequently been “pissy” with Zach, since he had a big part in getting Gibson axed.

The two did pose together at the end of the carpet at the Due Date premiere in L.A. last night after being asked, but they weren’t exactly as buddy-buddy as usual.

Todd skipped most press because he didn’t want to answer Mel questions, which was a big topic of convo on the carpet.

Ken Jeong said he wasn’t allowed to say anything about Gibson-gate, while RDJ still defend him when asked.

Leslie Nielsen

Wow! What a life this guy must have had. A life lived on-screen for over half a century! It’s kind of hard to believe he was a dramatic actor way back in the 1950’s. Who knew that he would later become the face of slapstick comedy!

CBC News

Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen, who went from drama to inspired bumbling as a hapless doctor in Airplane! and the accident-prone detective Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun comedies, has died. He was 84.

Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen, seen in this 1996 photo with Nicollette Sheridan at the premiere of Spy Hard, died Sunday at age 84.Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen, seen in this 1996 photo with Nicollette Sheridan at the premiere of Spy Hard, died Sunday at age 84. (Michael Caulfield/Associated Press)His agent, John Kelly, said Nielsen died Sunday at a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he was being treated for pneumonia.

Nielsen, who was born in Regina, went to Hollywood in the mid-1950s after performing in 150 live television dramas in New York. With a craggily handsome face, blond hair and 6-foot-2 height, he seemed ideal for a movie leading man.

He quickly became known as a serious actor, although behind the camera he was a prankster. That was an aspect of his personality never exploited, however, until Airplane! was released in 1980 and became a huge hit.

Nielsen was in more than 100 films, including the 2002 film Men With Brooms, co-starring Paul Gross. In recent years, he appeared on the Canadian TV series Robson Arms.

He had stars on both Hollywood’s and Canada’s Walk of Fame and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002.

This Class Would Make University Fun!

I really got into this incredible HBO series a few years ago during some of our long van rides across the United States with the band. It’s a compelling look at life in a big American city. Maybe I’ll move to Baltimore and complete a degree not in philosophy or something just as boring, but a degree in The Wire! 🙂

The Wire prompts Baltimore university course

Johns Hopkins class studies 60 episodes of defunct crime drama

CBC News

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., has created a class around the gritty TV series The Wire, which was set in the city.

The undergraduate class in public health examines 60 episodes of the award-winning series as a way of looking at the problems of big cities in the U.S.

The Wire creator David Simon, a former Baltimore crime reporter, spoke to the Johns Hopkins class about the show, which last aired in March 2008. The Wire creator David Simon, a former Baltimore crime reporter, spoke to the Johns Hopkins class about the show, which last aired in March 2008.(Reed Saxon/Associated Press)The series, which ran from 2002 to 2008 on HBO, was a highly acclaimed crime drama that cast an unflinching eye on various aspects of Baltimore — such as the city bureaucracy, the drug trade and the school system.

Called “Baltimore and The Wire: A Focus on Major Urban Issues,” the course is the brainchild of Peter Beilenson, a former city health commissioner and now a county health officer. Beilenson said he felt the show depicted real-world challenges that would benefit his students.

“It is a frighteningly accurate portrait of life in some parts of Baltimore … and in many other cities through the United States,” he told the university newspaper, the JHU Gazette, in October.

“Instead of just having students read in a book about the problems plaguing modern American urban centres, they could watch them played out in The Wire and then hear them discussed and dissected by leading experts who are working to address those problems.”

Students suggest solutions to city problems

Co-created by former Baltimore crime reporter David Simon, the show has been lauded for its sociopolitical bent and its realistic explorations of life in the city for different citizens and of how civic institutions fail individuals. Simon was also the creator of the police drama Homicide: Life on the Streets.

The Wire’s stories are based on the experiences of Simon’s writing partner, Ed Burns, a former homicide detective.

So far, the class has had a host of guest speakers including Simon, Ed Norris, the former Baltimore commissioner who became an actor on the show, and Baltimore schools CEO Andrés Alonso.

Students also visited needle-exchange sites and juvenile justice centres.

Their final assignment requires them to write a memo that would suggest solutions to fixing problems in the city.

The Wire is already taught in other post-secondary institutions including Harvard and Duke universities but this marks the first time it’s being utilized by a Baltimore learning institution.

The Johns Hopkins course is the only one to tap into the people who worked on the show and the city officials whose jobs are portrayed in the series.

Me And Brett Down By The Schoolyard

 

Me And My BFF Forever!

 

When I was woken up Sunday morning I was in the middle of a dream about NFL quarterback Brett Favre. We were chumming around in Mississippi talking about life from the perspective of two guys in their 40’s. Important topics such as whether or not to dye the grey away, how to effectively discipline our children, and the best season for deer hunting. For me personally, October is the best month to kill innocent animals. Brett is the NFL equivalent to hockey’s Mark Messier in my opinion. Amazingly talented, durable and they both come across as straight up and sincere even though they are both probably intolerable in real life.

In my dream I was telling Brett the season was only going to get better and he might even throw for 600 yards this afternoon! Impossible of course, but I was merely offering my support. Keep in mind this conversation never really happened. So I taped the game to watch later in the evening after everyone went to bed and guess what? 600 yards wasn’t in the cards, but he did throw for a career high 446! I can’t take full credit of course, but the least he could have done was called. You are currently in my bad books Brett Favre but I’m still pulling for you to win the Super Bowl. And play until you are 64…

 

The Queen Is On Facebook?

I can’t wait to see her rowdy “girls night out” pics!

Liz Ready For A Night Out On The Town

The Queen is joining the likes of US President Barack Obama in launching her very own Royal page on Facebook.

British Monarchy Facebook page

Those who ‘like’ the page will be able to write comments on the Royal wall.

sky.com

Ugandan Lemons

Ugandan Lemons

My mom’s friend Pat is staying at their place this week. Pat has been working with children in Uganda for the last twelve years. These lemons were picked fresh off the tree in Uganda last week and were added to my latest batch of tasty hummus tonight as I begin to gear up for my 2nd annual Vegan December!

A $3 Dollar Bulb Of Garlic

It was about nine times more expensive then the regular variety you might find at your regular grocery store, but it was well worth it in my opinion. I purchased it at the Ladner farm market from a charming elderly gentleman who has a five acre garlic farm on Gabriola Island. Expensive yes, but sometimes it feels good to support people growing food, playing music, riding their bicycle across Canada for charity…etc

And it tasted good too!

 

 

 

Summer In The City

The heat has been a little stifling lately. It feels a lot like Florida in the wintertime and Florida in the wintertime is way too hot for my liking. Even weirder, Vancouver is currently covered in an eerie haze due to smoke from forest fires that are burning nearby and it hasn’t really rained in over a month. Very unusual. It is hot AND humid. But the cooler weather and incessant rainfall will be here before too long I remind myself. Actually, I’m looking forward to it. But it has been a treat to be out and about in flip-flops enjoying all that Vancouver has to offer in the summertime.

When I wish for cooler weather, I’m always reminded of a conversation I had with the owner of a restaurant where I worked years ago. OK, his name was Tony.

In the summer, that kitchen was hot. With a pizza oven set at somewhere around 600 degrees in a tiny kitchen with little to no ventilation, the only place to find refuge was to stand in the refrigerator for a while. I spent a lot of time “organizing” the cooler in the summertime. When we would complain to the boss, he would always say “give it a few months, you’ll be complaining to me about how cold it is in here!” Well, it never really got “cold” in that kitchen as it  would dip down to about 80 degrees from 110 for the rest of the year, but I got what he was saying I think.

He was more than likely just too cheap to look into air conditioning, but perhaps he was just trying to remind all of us that life is short and given that our time on the planet is finite, one should not be impatiently angling for next fall when the beauty of a Canadian summer is currently within our grasp.

 

If I Had A Million Dollars

As of today, the jersey worn by Team Canada’s Paul Henderson in the 1972 Summit series with the Soviet Union has a current bid of  $1,067,538 dollars. Last week, John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics to “A Day in the Life” sold for $1.2 million. If you had asked a Barenaked Lady back in 1988, (thank you Wikipedia) four out of five of the guys would have considered purchasing a house, a K-Car, a Picasso or a Garfunkel with their imaginary million dollars. I guess my almost new 1989 K-Car was a bargain at $3700 in 1992. Currently a house in Vancouver costs about a million dollars. Or you could drive yourself around in a rare Ferrari.

Sure it might be fun to purchase a million “scratch and wins” from the BC Lottery Corporation, or bet everything on the Canucks to win the Stanley Cup, or have a lock of Elvis Presley’s hair or some other bizarre historical keepsake, but I would like to think that I would put the money into a savings account for a while until the dust settled, not worry about the reality of inflation eating into the principal and live a simple life somewhere on $18,000 dollars interest a year. Then when the time was right, Amanda, Levi and I would trek down to the fairground and ride the Tilt-A-Whirl until the money ran out.

 

Rediscovering The iTouch

I’ve been leery of using my iTouch for anything other than listening to music. It seems that one could easily become obsessively compulsive about checking email, the news, Facebook, Myspace…etc

Today I rode the Peugeot up to Queen Elizabeth park and packed the iTouch along in my pocket to listen to music. Being that it’s an iTouch and not an iPhone, and therefore requires Wi-Fi to access the internet I only used it to listen to some new songs I am working on, along with Cat Stevens, Radiohead, The Beatles and the Terry Jacks’ classic “Seasons in the Sun.” Haven’t heard that one for a while. But sitting under an enormous tree full of blossoms in the bright sunshine I was hard pressed to think of a song I would rather be listening to at that moment.

On the way home I stopped for an Americano at a cafe at 10th and Main. They actually call it a Canadiano there. I refuse to call the Hemingway inspired Americano I’ve been drinking for years a Canadiano.

Waves is right on the bike path and is a great place for people-watching in the afternoon sun. It was awesome to see see so many happy people getting to-and-fro on their bicycles.

I picked up the Georgia Straight to get tuned into Vancouver happenings, put some Robert Nesta Marley on the iTouch and was thoroughly enjoying my coffee in the sun when it dawned on me that I could check my email. So I did. And I continued to check every five minutes or so for over an hour, thus confirming my initial hypothesis that having an iTouch/iPhone/Smartphone encourages obsessive compulsive behaviour.

Beans And Rice

Easy to make, delicious and packed full of nutrients, beans and rice stopped by today for a visit. They make a wonderful couple and have been together for thousands of years. This dynamic duo also combine to form an awesome vegetarian protein source. Just what is their secret to a successful partnership? Let’s leave that to Dr. Phil to decipher…

I started out by heating in a large frying pan 6 or 7 cloves of crushed garlic, a tablespoon of crushed chilli peppers, lots of black pepper, a little sea salt and a half an onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil. I had already put on some brown rice to boil and I had a few cups of kidney beans I had soaked overnight and cooked for a couple of hours in the morning.

I then added a big can of whole tomatoes before adding the previously cooked kidney beans and let everything simmer for a half hour or so.

I put some rice in a bowl, added a little sprinkling of olive oil for flavour and put the tomato/bean mixture on top. With a fresh cup of black coffee to enjoy alongside-perfect on a cold winters day.

Costing less than three dollars for all the ingredients, it easily provides five good sized portions. For this little family it’s lunch and dinner and the next days lunch too. Be warned though, don’t let beans and rice overstay their welcome. Ask them gently to come back again next week, same time same place so you’ll never tire of them!

Chinese New Year

Vancouver’s Chinatown is a colourful place with a long history. It sits just east of downtown and and is about a twenty minute walk from our apartment. Today was the start of the Year of the Tiger. I’ve actually been humming Eye of the Tiger all day. It was really fun to be out and about on a sunny Sunday morning. Firecrackers, marching bands, classical gardens, smiling children, cultural diversity…I love Vancouver!

 

 

Olympic Opening Ceremonies

On a tragic day that saw the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumartashvili, the opening ceremonies at BC Place took on a bittersweet quality. It was incredibly moving to see his teammates hoist the Georgian flag, and the moment of silence amongst 60,000 attendees was spellbinding.

I would have preferred it if long time Vancouver Canuck singer Richard Loney had been asked to offer up a plain jain version of “O Canada” to start the event rather than the Mariah Careyesque version they went with, but  all in all I really enjoyed the music.  It seemed like a lot of the vocals had been previously recorded and the song selections were oozing with sentimentality but the overall effect was great. The special effects were awesome, and the major themes were tasteful, cultural and patriotic. They really encompassed all that is Canada.

We watched it on the TV but it was super cool to look past the TV through the window and see the stadium off in the distance and the fireworks that followed. It was also special to see some peers participating in the ceremony. What a thrill it must have been for them. And how Canadian was it to have Wayne Gretzky in the back of a pick up truck  heading across town to light the outdoor flame on the waterfront!

Let the games begin!

 

To Sprout Or Not To Sprout

I’m currently back on the sprouting bandwagon. It just makes sense. They are easy to grow, inexpensive and incredibly nutritious. I purchased a few pounds of organic seeds that will last for a very long time. Two teaspoons of dry seed will fill a jar with sprouts in three or four days. Just rinse every twelve hours for up to a week and lo and behold, an edible chia pet in jar! It will amaze your friends and family.

 

A Walk On The Ladner Dyck

Bordering the village of Ladner, there is an awesome network of dykes that were built in the late 1800’s to protect against flooding. You can walk for miles and miles and depending on the time of year you might not see another person for a long time. But seeing as how it was a sunny day in December, there were a couple of dozen people enjoying the scenery on the section of the dyke that is across the river from theReifel Bird Sanctuary. It’s pronounced the same way we pronounce rifle. Yes, it’s ironic. This time of year the sky and fields are filled with Snow geese that fly 4000 km’s from Siberia to hang out in Ladner for the winter.

I’m not sure what the rules are regarding hunting along the dyke and the river bordering the protected bird sanctuary, but along with bird watchers and walkers there were at least a dozen hunters in the vicinity firing every minute or so. It was quite a contrast for sure. The beauty of the Fraser River with the snow covered North Shore mountains in the distance and the serenity of flocks of Snow geese flying overhead punctuated by frequent shotgun blasts. Both sides of my family would hunt out in these fields over the years but that tradition ended with our generation. We are the walk on the dyke generation.

Something seems a little dangerous about having pedestrians and hunters within a few hundred metres of each other. However, it’s probably not as dangerous to the walker as it is for the goose. How does that old expression go? “What’s bad for the goose is good for the hunter?”

And it’s funny walking by burley men with shotguns and not really finding it odd. If I happened to be in a 7-11 in Philadelphia at midnight and the same guy walked past it would be a different story that’s for sure. I would hit the deck. It was good to get out for some fresh air and exercise on Boxing day.

I Liked This Guy

9798 Photos

It’s hard to believe I took that many photos the past thirteen months. For sure, it was a monumental year. Getting married, a new baby and traveling to Cuba, Kentucky and a bunch of other places…

I’m feeling fine but my Canon Powershot 1100 keeled over and died yesterday. That camera did do yeoman’s service that’s for sure. Lots of precious memories. So I bought another Canon. The Powershot 1200. They’ve come down in price and have more features. All for $179! That barely buys a spare tire these days…

 

Baked Vegetables-Vegan December

Started out the day with a nice veggie pita, had a simple dinner at mom and dad’s then a late night chick pea salad prepared by the lovely Amanda.

I still have a closet full of stuff from the past stored at my parents so I spent some time getting a box ready for the thrift shop. What a trip down memory lane…My 1983 yearbook, my trip to Japan when I was 16, all my SFU textbooks, a newspaper from 1982 when the Canucks went to the Stanley Cup…the list goes on. I’m trying to pare everything down to just a few boxes of memories:)

Arrived home to four Christmas cards in the mailbox! It really is true that one needs to be proactive to maintain friendships. It was fun getting our Christmas cards together and sending them out to family and friends.

Hummus-Vegan December

I avoided hummus for a long time after having a bad experience at a friends place back in the early 90‘s where I ate a container full that was way past it’s prime. Certain foods can carry associations for decades sometimes. But I’m firmly back in the hummus camp. Personally I prefer tsaziki but of course that has dairy in it and it’s still vegan December after all. The history of hummus is actually very interesting from what i read on Wikipedia.

Apparently it’s one of the world’s oldest prepared foods. Depending on one’s personal taste preference, the ratio of chick peas to tahini to lemon seems to be the most important factor. I’ve been using less tahini and more lemon juice the last few batches and upping the garlic quotient to give it more of a kick.

Olives, Walnuts and Almonds-Vegan December

Healthy snacks help fill the void between the two main meals I normally eat when I am at home. Thankfully I don’t generally long for sweets. If I had to choose between a chocolate bar or a bag of Miss Vickie’s Salt and Vinegar chips  I would choose the chips for  sure. Because both are equally bad in different ways I generally choose to not  have either around. Too tempting.

I do think moderate snacking is good for the metabolism, maintains healthy blood sugar levels and reduces the portion size of your main meals as you just aren’t that hungry. So here’s to snacking!

Lunch-Vegan December

Beans and rice can get a little boring so today I mixed it up and went for pasta. Normally I make it with tomato sauce but for a change of pace I seared some soft tofu with garlic, chile’ peppers, and a little soy sauce and served it with whole wheat spaghetti. Tasted pretty good.

Down For The Count On Main Street

It felt like kind of a long day today. Levi woke up about 6 with his usual beautiful smile and wanted lots of attention so we were up and running a little earlier than usual. Not that there is a usual at this early stage. He has been waking up a lot through the night but sleeping until eight lately so that’s been nice.

This morning at 9:30 I had my first structural integration session! Rolfing is something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. Several good friends have recommended the therapy for improved posture and dealing with aches and pains that have accumulated over the last 40 years. Trauma left over from playing sports as a kid, car accidents, hunching over a guitar every night, sitting all day in a van, spending too much time on Facebook, writing blogs and general wear and tear have left my body feeling like it’s been rung through the wringer….

In my opinion, Rolfing is truly the deepest of massages. It really was amazing. I wouldn’t call it pleasant per se’ but it sure felt therapeutic. The idea is to do ten sessions and hopefully not ever have to come back. I’ve tried different things over the years and they all diminish the symptoms but none of them have seemed to get to the root of the problem. Barry Davison is a neat guy and a qualified practitioner so I am looking forward to my next session in the New Year. 2010 already!

So there I was afterward walking down Main Street a few blocks from my apartment feeling empowered that I was doing something good for my health when I heard a man frantically yelling for someone to call 911. There was a lady in her mid-fifties lying face down on the sidewalk not breathing and literally turning blue. He asked me to help roll her over to administer first aid. A passerby called 911. It seemed like she had choked on something so he was trying to sweep her mouth. I am trained in first aid but have never had to use it. He was too and started doing the Heimlich. I could hear the sirens fire up further down the road. The guy/hero doing the first aid was doing everything by the book but emotionally he was totally losing it so I was trying to calm him down as he was continuing the Heimlich. When the fire department and ambulance quickly arrived he was gone like a flash sprinting to catch the bus he had been waiting for. He made it.  I was hoping he would stick around as I was going to take him out for a cup of coffee or something. But he was gone like Superman. Only in Vancouver do superhero’s ride the bus.

The professionals cut the distressed woman’s shirt off right there on the cold wet sidewalk and applied the defibrillator. A fireman came over and asked me the timeline. I saw them shake their heads a few times. People walked by all the while. Some were horrified. Others were nonchalant and seemingly disinterested. Maybe it was a built in defense mechanism.

Those awesome professional people that do all the things they do day after day put her on a stretcher and took her away in an ambulance. The remaining ambulance driver came over and told me that they were able to find a pulse but I could tell by her face that things didn’t look good. I was thinking maybe there was no pulse. She told me to call a number if I wanted to talk to a grief counsellor. It was surreal. Time slows down dramatically in these situations.

But it’s also the way of the world that we live in. Nothing is permanent that’s for sure. Today was a harsh reminder to make the most of the days we are given. That woman out to pick up groceries or do a little Christmas shopping probably wasn’t thinking her day was going to go that way. I said a little prayer in my mind for her and her loved ones and hoped for the best.

Earlier in the morning, Barry had noticed during the Rolfing session that my shoulder felt kind of weird. So we talked about the night we rolled the van in Utah and how my shoulder hasn’t felt right since 2002. And how one can go from playing an awesome rock show in Salt Lake City during the Olympics; meeting celebrities, greeting the locals…to lying upside down in a van on the side of a snowy highway a few hours later. We talked about how the highs and lows in life can happen pretty close to each other without fair warning. And I was thinking as I was walking home in the sad rain that one of the songs I wrote this year is called Sirens on Kingsway. A song all about knowing those sirens are heading somewhere for someone and maybe tomorrow or the next they might be headed your way. But today you can rest easy and count your blessings, but maybe feeling a little survivor’s guilt that it had to be someone else…It’s a work in progress. All I know is the sirens are going at least once an hour past our place on Kingsway and they are all headed somewhere.

I was happy to find Amanda and lil’ Levi at home when I arrived. We had a chat and some playtime with the baby. He’s so much fun and such a joy to be around. Later I took him for a long rainy stroll way up Main Street and back all the while thinking about the events of the day. On the way home, we went past the spot that had been the scene of so much commotion earlier on. On the surface it looked the way it always does, but the feeling I had walking by Main and 11th was quite different from the way I normally feel at that corner.

Homemade Sushi-Vegan December

Sushi is economical, tasty, fun to make and is a great choice for vegan December!We already had Nori paper so we cooked up some short grain rice and cut up cucumber, tofu, savoy cabbage and grated Daikon (a kind of Chinese radish) and carrots. Who knew you could find all these exotic foods at the Kingsgate Mall?

I’m not really very precise when it comes to making sushi but luckily Amanda is. When I awkwardly assemble ingredients it definitely looks like a 5 year old prepared it. We soon ended up with a nice big plate full. Eaten with a little soy sauce and wasabi, we closed our eyes and were  transported to sushi heaven.

 

Pomegranates, Pasta And Peanut Butter-Vegan December

So far I’m not missing anything in my diet that isn’t plant based and I’m in no real danger of wasting away. Lets face it, there’s a lot of alternative caloric sources out there. Three out of four chubby vegetarians could tell you that much. Especially if you include the faux meat/cheese substitutes. But that’s never really been my preference. It tastes too disturbingly real for my liking. I am planning to broaden my horizons in terms of my menu choices for the rest of the month!

The Dreaded Treadmill

The good new is I can still run five miles on the treadmill after a two month layoff! The bad news is by about mile four I felt like I had a Shaq on my back…But after a nice hot bath I actually feel quite good as I sit here. It’s so obvious how important it is to try and exercise, sleep enough, eat well and to keep everything in moderation but it’s very easy to let good old fashioned apathy get in the way. There are things that need to get done during the course of the day for sure but it shouldn’t be impossible to find an hour or so to get in some physical fitness in one form or another.

It’s has been fun taking the baby out for long rainy walks in the afternoons to the beach, local parks and the one and only Main street. There’s a lot of beautiful tree lined streets in the neighbourhood that we tend to gravitate towards but walking in and of itself doesn’t seem to leave me feeling like I’ve had a workout. And with having a fitness room in our building five floors down it’s ultra convenient to pop down there when the time, and more importantly the motivation, allows.

Today, via my Ipod, i was hanging out with Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, James Brown, Flatt and Scruggs, Pearl Jam and Billy Idol among others. It was good to connect with them again. They say hello by the way….

To Eat Or Not To Eat, That Is The Question

It was typical November day today. Dark and blustery and rainy. I like these kinds of days generally but apparently there’s some kind of flu bug going around this world of ours and we fear we are in the throes of it here on the ninth floor. It feels like a really bad cold but it’s making us dizzy and sleepy and achy. The baby is still too young for the vaccine and we thankfully aren’t in a high risk category so immunization is out of the question for the time being. I’ve never thought to get a flu shot in the past, but having an infant in the house means I’ll need to think it through when the time comes. But hopefully we’ve already had it and will have immunity built up to fight off a future threat. There just seems to be so many unknowns and the whole thing seems to be ultra-sensationalized when compared to the regular flu. I guess because seemingly healthy people are getting hit hard. Anyways, let’s leave the statistical pronouncements to the experts…

So, after being mostly indoors all week we decided to head down to one of my favourite walking areas near the UBC campus for some fresh air. It was beautiful under the trees along the ocean but Amanda and I both felt kind of weak. Along the way we spotted hundreds of mushrooms of all shapes and sizes and varieties. We found several pounds of Chantrelles last year on the Sunshine Coast so we were keeping a keen eye out as we walked hoping that we might spot the gold standard(chantrelles) here too. I feel reasonably comfortable identifying chantrelles but that’s about it. Amanda on the other hand was a card carrying member of the University of British Columbia Mushroom Club and went on many excursions over the years to collect mushrooms of all kinds. She spotted a bunch of what she figured were Boletus zelleri mushrooms so we picked a few to take home. We looked online to verify they were not poisonous as best we could and had a few with dinner tonight. Tasty for sure but if you don’t hear from either of us in the next week or two, contact the authorities…