Friday, 30 December 2011

Gone!

The glasses I broke a while back are now gone. I went snowboarding (first time of the season, it was great!) and left them in the washroom when I changed into my contacts. Also, I had been using up a bunch of old 'dailies' I had, which were a slightly older prescription. However, I am running really low on those so have had to use my new 'monthlies' most days. They are admittedly more comfortable, but once you take them out they go into a container then and get washed - you can't put them back in for 6 hours. I still have no money to get new ones...

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Twas the Night Before Christmas

A Visit From St. Nicholas
(1823)
By Clement Clarke Moore
(or maybe Henry Livingston, Jr.)

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A Happy Brother At Last

I have known my little brother for his entire life, all 24 years of it. I have watched him date a number of girls who ended up being, for lack of a better word, crazy. He would stay in horrible and destructive relationships becoming more and more miserable. From about mid-high school onwards it is hard to think of a time he was truly happy with all aspects of his life, especially romantically.

It was such a relief a couple of years ago when he started to date his best friend, Aimee. They had met a few years before, in the Army. She was one of his roommates in Edmonton and they really were great friends; hanging out, having fun, and supporting each other. During this time I knew her by her last name, which I gather is how everyone refers to each other in the Canadian Forces. When she and Mike became romantically involved it was a bit of time before my mind switched over to using her first name.

These recent years as Mike and Aimee's relationship grew I watched him move forward with his life filled with hope. Mike has always bested me with growing up, despite being younger - owning property, getting a career, etc. However, with Aimee he seemed even more excited with each new stage of life. They stopped renting and bought a condo together in Edmonton. While Aimee was away 'on tour' they purchased a house, which is still being built. I don't know what either of their plans are for after this first contract with the Army is over, but whenever I hear them talk about it they are excited about the future.

It has been wonderful to see my brother happy. He loves Aimee so much and I totally understand, she is pretty awesome. She puts him in he place. They share a lot of the same interests. They are kind with each other and have fun, even when doing mundane tasks. It is a great relationship.

I am happy to say that last week my brother proposed! Of course Aimee said, "Yes!" So, now I am going to have a sister. I could not be more happy for them and am glad that it is such a great person who will be added to our family.

Congratulations Mike and Aimee
I love you and wish you both the best!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Email Was Hacked

Note: I have a special email that can be used to publish blog posts, so the following got sent to, and posted on, Always Standing when I had to respond to everyone on my contacts list to apologise for my email spamming them. The previous email sent by the spammer also ended up being turned into a post, but I deleted it.

Hello Everyone - I am sorry for the previous email, my email got hacked. I do not think you should visit that 'interesting' site as I'm sure it leads to something...not so good. I have changed my password and hopefully that will be the end of it. (The grammar of the previous email hopefully tipped you off a little, I am a Master of the English now..) Sorry for the annoying stupid emails. Thanks, Chris

----

From: Chris Tine
To: My Whole Contacts List
Sent: Wednesday December 21, 2011
Subject: Re: 1

...I have never thought that sites can be such interesting! http://hosting.nborges.net/friends.group.php?lalucky=76fy4

Why Now?

I can't afford this right now!! Seriously, in the weeks leading up to Christmas two very important, and very expensive, things in my life broke. First my glasses snapped in half right in the middle. Then the mouse for my laptop (the little pad thing) stopped working. I now am using an external mouse but it is a big pain. I taped my glasses together but I can't wear them out like that so have been using my contacts everyday. I don't know when I will get a new computer or new glasses but it won't be until the new year when I actually have some money.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Sim Me

(From Facebook The Sims Social)
This is not exactly what my sim looks like in the game but instead what I would look like as a sim.

Friday, 16 December 2011

In Ottawa

Two and I are on a whirlwind visit to Ottawa. I wanted to do some Christmas shopping here as well as visit as many of my friends and family who live here as possible. I am also hoping to pop to Montreal to see Yen and his new house. I don't know if I can get it all done!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Good Habit, Bad Habit

It is just after 6am right now, as I write this. I went to bed at 10pm last night, after watching Jeopardy with Kristen of course. This is pretty insane for me. I never go to bed that early unless I'm sick or recovering from a string of late nights - not the case this time. I worked 3 opens in a row at Tim Horton's, normally I just do the two weekend days. The store opens at 5am, which means the opener has to get there for 4:30am; I wake up at 4am when I am doing this shift. Now my sleeping pattern has changed to bed early and up early for the first time in my life! I am going to be productive before my office job starts this morning too! I need to do some things for it, my MRP, and TAing. It seems like a good sleep pattern to be in but I doubt it will last.

Friday, 9 December 2011

The Office Dog

I have a new job and started training this week. The office has a resident dog. Since it is still a puppy she only comes in some times but as the puppy grows, she will come more often. Today was the first time I met her. Cutest co-worker ever!!
Me, Puppy, & Some Terrible Photoshopping

Two Too

Two has a Christmas List too!!

-crumpled pieces of paper, bills are good for this
-feathers on a string attached to a stick
-small fake mice
-empty toilet paper rolls
-laser pointer
-treats that make breath smell less like a^^
-old/broken shoe laces
-purple collar

I Would Never

"Going to McDonald's for a salad is like going to a whore for a hug."

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Christmas List - 2011

Big Ticket Items
-Ownership papers for The Toy
-Snow tires for The Toy, used is fine
-Point-and-shoot digital camera
-Good warm but stylish winter boots (7)
-Running Shoes (7)
-BlackBerry Torch
-Tablet
-Cordless Drill
-A nice watch
-Good TV speakers

BOOKS!!
-Any!
-Used is great
-Easy book to learn Bridge, basics
-Books on Social Media Marketing

Gift Cards
-Sears
-Smart Set
-Victoria Secret
-Chapters
-Ikea
-Lululemon

Games
-Taboo
-Scatigories
-Boggle
-Apples to Apples
-Just Dance for Wii

Everyday Essentials
-Toothpaste
-Hard alcohol
-Liqueur
-TTC tokens
-Thin black socks (7)
-Athletic white socks (7)
-PJs (M/L)
-Milk chocolate, not with nuts

House & Home
-Extra long twin bed sheets, normal and flannel
-Throw blankets, burgundy/maroon
-Big purple bath towels
-Cheap guest pillows, small and thin so as easy to store
-Nails and such to hang things
-Simple jewellery box, black or dark brown
-Fun ice trays
-Black slotted-turners/spatulas
-Wooden mixing spoons

Useful Things
-Small set of binoculars
-Lens cap for 72mm camera lens
-Small umbrella
-Flashlights of various size
-Humidifier
-Air purifier that can remove pet dander

Electronic-Like Products
-Sims 3 Expansion packs (not Ambitions)
-Wii Remotes (x2)
-AAA and AA batteries

Health & Beauty
-Foaming hand soap
-Lip balm
-Eye shadow primer
-Eye make-up remover
-White nail polish
-Apricot Scrub (Blemish and Blackhead)
-Pretty forehead sweat bands

Random But Specific
-Moleskin 2011 Planner, 12 months, weekly, horizontal, hard cover, large
-Small Address Book, very small and with the alphabet things but then only lines so the addresses can be as long as I like
-Euros, Pounds, and American money, small bills and change would be welcome
-Small Swiss-army-style knife for purse that includes good scissors
-Dove deodorant, ultimate, visibly smooth, nature fresh

Happy Holidays to all!!!

Monday, 5 December 2011

For My Dad

I often wonder about the idea that picking up a penny from the ground is not worth the energy it takes to do so. (This isn't my concept, I'm sure I read it somewhere or that someone mentioned it to me.) I assume this is figured out by the cost of food against the amount of energy needed to bend down, probably done using the slightly faulty unit of 'calories.' Also interesting, and a little easier to conceptualize, is the idea of something not being worth the time taken to do it.

Please note that the following has been taken from an xkcd comic; all credit for the mathematics involved and innovative view of the common concept goes to the author, Randall Munroe. (I'm assuming that the calculations are based on American standards, measurements, and money as of Fall 2011.)

If you spend nine minutes of your time to save a dollar, you're working for less than minimum wage.

And if you drive a typical car more than a mile out of your way for each penny you save on the per-gallon price, it doesn't matter how worthless your time is to you -- the gas to get you there and back costs more than you save.

However, what the above fails to consider is the enjoyment from 'saving.' Therefore there is potential that doing these things is entertainment to some and might actually be worth paying for, despite the apparent illogical aspect of doing so.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

I Want An iPad

I am writing this post on Jeska's iPad, which is amazing! I have seen them used but never actually touched or used one myself. It is just like a big iPhone - I just love it. Totally going on my Christmas list, which I promise will be posted soon.

Monday, 28 November 2011

More Two Photos

I have some more photos of Two, which Steph sent me. It is fun to look back at them because Steph and Dave visited only about a month ago but Two was so much smaller then. She is growing like a weed - actually I'm worried she is going to be a big cat. I want her to stay tiny forever!! She is just so cute.

Click the links to see the photos on Steph's Photography Blog

Two and I are the featured photograph for the first post of her blog's new feature called Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC) Sunday. She posts an image as she took it (straight out of camera) and then the final image after she finishes the alterations in Photoshop. It is really fun to see the, often very subtle, changes. She also gives a quick how-to about the applications, which so far have been way too advanced for me. I really need to step up my photography and Photoshop game.

Steph makes the best digital photo collages. She did one for Two, however has not sent it to me yet - though I do have copies of all the pictures it contains. I love the collage though. The little picture at the bottom right is probably the best for showing her true-to-life personality and appearance (when she is being quiet and sweet.) I absolutely love the picture with her around my neck, the fact we are looking in different directions is cool and she is just so pretty. The other photo of the two of us, at the bottom right, is hilarious and super gangster - "What are you lookin' at? Don't you mess with us!"

Right now, Two is again at the foot of the bed. She is lying on her side attacking and chewing up a piece of paper. She will chase crumpled up pieces of paper and also plays an interesting game of cat-fetch with them. She will bring them back to you so that you can throw it, she then chases it and brings it back, this can go on for quite a while. However in true cat fashion, there is no way to command her to do this and she decides when to play it.

Friday, 25 November 2011

FINISHED!!

I have heard back from my supervisor and second reader - my MRP passed!! I am finally finished my Masters, the paperwork is started for my graduation. It feels so strange to be in Toronto and not have any more school. I think this whole program has been one of the hardest things I have ever done, at some points it literally nearly cost me my sanity. Wow! It is over. Done.

I am FINISHED!!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Today's Advice

Adjusted from a commercial for "Kourtney & Kim Take New York" . . .

You should not have to learn that your husband is in another country via Twitter.

Oh, the Kardashians . . .

Monday, 21 November 2011

Cute But Confusing

Two was doing this again just now at the end of my bed. She doesn't do it all that often, but when Steph was last visiting she captured it perfectly. I can't really figure why she does it or what it is she is doing, but she just basically flings her back legs around in the air for a while.

The Multiplicative Inverse Of Two
By Stephanie Beach Photography

Sleepy

I'm tired. I can't think of a post. I just wanted to wish everyone a great week and hope that I have time soon to get all the blog post ideas I have typed up. Best wishes!! (Christmas is coming!! Tim's was playing carols tonight.)

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Tim's Shift - Saturday Morning

Why right now sucks a little bit.
See yellow circles below.
(Click for larger image.)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

So Close

I am finishing up my MRP, finally. It is taking some fine detail work as I go through each line and review each comment made by my two readers. It is slow going but I will have it done by Friday! Kristen has a countdown going for me on the whiteboard above our stove - "Freedom: MRP done in 3 days." I have "carrots" waiting for me too, things that I will reward myself with upon completion. One of them is sitting down with The Sears Wish Book and going through it page by page to make my Xmas List. The other might be a trip to the Dominican Republic - however, I won't even allow myself to research that until this paper is done. I am in the home stretch. Light at the end of the tunnel. Nearly there. Or any other cliche phrase you can come up with!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Crazy Tree

----- from Facebook
Photo Courtesy of Pakistan the Only Choice

"This was taken in Pakistan after the floods and given the scale of damage the floods did; this photo is truly amazing. Here's the story that goes with it - The Spider Web consumed trees! An unexpected side-effect of the flooding in parts of Pakistan has been that millions of spiders climbed up into the trees to escape the rising flood waters. Because of the scale of the flooding and the fact that the water has taken so long to recede, many trees have become cocooned in spiders webs. People in this part of Sindh have never seen this phenomenon before but, they also report that there are now far fewer mosquitoes than they would expect, given the amount of stagnant, standing water that is around. It is thought that the mosquitoes are getting caught in the spiders web, thus, reducing the risk of malaria, which would be one blessing for the people of Sindh, facing so many other hardships after the floods."

Find A 'Mo Bro'

It is Movember again and, just like last year, I donated to this great cause. The Canadian campaign raised $22.3 million in 2010. The funds raised went directly to Prostate Cancer Canada. It is such a great cause and such a cool idea - visit the website to find out more.

Friday, 11 November 2011

A Kitten Nap

Two Doesn't Let Me Rest
"I only lay down for a second!"
5:00am - All Night Marking
Self-Portrait Online
By Christine Sweeton

Aged Or High?

Throughout both my Masters and Undergraduate work I have had many 'all-nighters.' Recently, I discovered that I really enjoy working at night with jazz music playing. I have never been the type of person who can listen to music or watch tv while doing homework. In High School, Teri used to do her Math work while watching tv and I never understood how she did it - I would just sit there with the text book open on my lap doing nothing. Anyway, I discovered this year that jazz is perfect. There are rarely lyrics to distract me. It is soothing but not in a 'put you to sleep' way. It also creates some nice background noise so the quiet doesn't freak me out.

Kristen, coming home late one night and discovering me up working on a paper with jazz playing, mocked me a little. I have to admit, it does make me feel old. My grandfather absolutely loves jazz. We get a lot of local radio stations through cable, so I listen using the tv. I listen to Jazz FM 91. According to the station's website: More than just a radio station, JAZZ.FM91 is Canada’s only broadcaster and registered not-for-profit charitable arts organization dedicated to enriching the cultural, educational and community experience of their audience. The station began life more than 60 years ago as CJRT-FM, Ryerson's university radio station, broadcasting an eclectic mix of educational programming, classics and jazz. Then in 1996, it was transformed - embracing the concept of an all-jazz format within a non-profit, educational context and highlighting diversity and musical sophistication. This is all very nice, but still makes me feel old.

Then, tonight, a song came on with lyrics - these are quite rare. It is quite late and I am running on sugar and caffeine, soon to be infused with 5-Hour Energy Drink. I swear I didn't know if I was sleeping or awake. The song was just ridiculous. I kept listening to see if it was somehow a metaphor for something larger, but it didn't seem to be. At one point I actually questioned if I was high. Seriously, this is a song? From 2008 too! Yeah, I just don't get it. Click the video below to listen.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A Ginger Female

Two is a little ginger kitten. Actually she isn't even that little anymore but she still is a she. When I first got Two, Kristen kept saying, "I thought ginger cats had to be boys" and I thought since she was a dog person she didn't know what she was talking about. Well, I took Two for her second vet visit a couple of weeks ago and the vet was very excited to see a female ginger cat since they are so rare. In fact the vet double checked the sex even though the previous vet had already confirmed. I decided to I should look into this female ginger thing.

In order to explain this we need to consider kitty genetics. All cats have 19 pairs of chromosomes, and like humans, cats have one pair of sex chromosomes. These are the ones that make them male or female and they also play an essential role in determining their colour. Like humans, in female cats, both sex chromosomes are X making females XX. Males are XY, the Y making them male. The gene which makes a cat ginger (or orange tabby) is located on the X chromosome. This gene is a recessive gene, meaning it will be overrode by other colours. So, to be ginger, a cat has to have ginger gene switched to "on" on ALL X chromosomes. For a male, this is not hard to come by, because males have only one X. But since females have two Xs then its harder to come by one that has an orange gene on each X. So about 75% of ginger cats are male, and 25% are female. It's just a matter of odds.

Turns out that Kristen was onto something. So it is uncommon but not really rare. However, I have learned to pay attention to Kristen's cat knowledge now. She had also mentioned something strange about calicoes having to be female. I thought I should look into this too.

It turns out that a ginger female is different than a calico (or tortoiseshell) male. To be calico, a cat MUST have two Xs. That is almost impossible for boys, as they are XY. That is why almost all calicoes are female. However, occasionally there is a rare genetic mutation that makes a cat XXY and it appears to be a boy. It can be calico, as it still has two Xs. Since it is a strange genetic mutation they usually end up being sterile.

So, Two is not a not a genetic "slip up" like calico males, she has just "beaten the odds" by being a ginger female.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Other People Write My Thoughts

JennB really should start her own blog - though as a public servant and a very private person it probably wouldn't work very well. However, she is often sending me awesome things to post. If she isn't going to blog than I hope she is writing a lot, she is a significantly better writer than I am. I know this because she edits my work and understands things about the English language that still boggle my mind - even after she explains them for the third or fourth time I still don't understand. Also, we have tossed around the idea of writing a novel together a few times, and her ideas are stellar. I still really love this plan, mainly because I think it would let me get rich and famous on her coat tails.

JennB obviously reads Always Standing so is really good and identifying things that I would want to share or discuss. Her latest offering is from Hyperbole and a Half and is both sadly true and absolutely hilarious at the same time. "Adventures in Depression." The few drawings with the little character lying on a couch are my favourite. The quotes that accompany those hit home - hard.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Steph's Many Hats

Steph got to be on TV the other day - she (or her hat) got caught on camera while she was on location as both as a participant in an awesome engineering project and as a journalistic photographer.In Ottawa on Friday, they started tearing down the South Side of Lansdowne Stadium. The company that Steph works for, as an environmental engineer, is involved with the project. One of the senior principals of the company requested that she come on-site to take some photos for them. CTV was part of the media who were also covering the event. So during the news for a split second you can see a white hard hat behind Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson (see red circle) and that is Steph! She was too short to get seen. However, I am very excited for her professionally - both as an engineer involved in this interesting endeavor and as a professional photographer attending a media event. Congrats Steph!!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Two Helps Out

Binx and Two are very different. However, I guess all cats can be annoying around computers because both Binx and Two seem to drive me crazy. Binx once contributed to Always Standing by doing her own Blog Post - she was very social, for a cat, and quite connected to many of the people who read the blog. Today, Two decided to help me with my MRP. She actually contributed to an area of the paper that does still need a lot of work. Two is a smart little kitten so it is fitting that she would be interested in academic writing:

Sharpening My Mind

A while back I bought two used games for the Wii. (Noah has lent Kristen and I his Wii so we have one at Bayit now.) The first one I got was Mario Party, which Steph had shown me and I loved. Kristen had also heard of it so we played it often. Basically it is a boardgame - on the Wii. The second game was Big Brain Academy. I often asked Kristen, and others, to play with me but she never wanted too. I finally convinced her and she loved the game. It is lots of little mind games to do with memorization, visualization, etc. I can really feel it quickening the way I think. In fact, when I did testing with the Wii Fit, I get much lower age scores now because my mind is faster.

I like the idea of warming up my mind, so now before writing I usually play a game or two of Freecell. These are my current statistics, not very good - I hope my writing is better!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

I'm Going To Lose You

I try to post at least every other day on Always Standing, ideally I post once a day. After my flurry of kitty pictures you may have noticed that the postings have trickled off, as have the visitor numbers too. My excuse is threefold: MRP, Illness, and Cottage.

I will be submitting the final draft of my MRP before the end of the month so have been working full steam ahead on that. I also have been sick off and on lately. I seem to get sick around Halloween a lot, a couple of years ago I had a cold and as a kid I often didn't feel well, but thankfully never had to miss out on trick or treating. Lastly I have been visiting my parents at The Cottage a bit more frequently which means less time spent on my computer.

I promise to pick up the pace soon and hopefully that will mean my visitor counts pick up too.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

A Quick Note

This summer I learned to eat corn on the cob with out butter/margarine.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Some Quick Updates

There have been some posts recently that I realise I should quickly return to...

Update on TA Feedback:
When I finally braved reading the TA Feedback from my two tutorials it was very nice. For the most part they had nothing negative to say, which in fact was a tad detrimental because I couldn't learn anything from these glowing reviews. The few notes of criticism were really helpful and I hope to adjust my teaching slightly accordingly. However, yesterday was my TA Assessment when the professor comes in so I will be dealing with more feedback from that shortly. Though I'm looking forward to it because I enjoy how she teaches and would like to learn how to improve. I think it will be a positive experience when we meet to discuss my review.

Update on the Ad Banner:
I don't like the look of the banner and totally agree with Taylor's comment that it deters from the look of the blog. However, in comparison to the $0.02 I made last month, thus far this month I am up to $0.60, so that is a huge increase. You may think that is just a tiny amount of change, and it is, but remember it is basically free money. (If I ever make it up to the $100 it takes to get a pay out.) The banner stays for now.

Update on My New Facebook App:
I have not had the time to update it and add all my trips. I'm looking forward to completing to though when my MRP draft is done.

Update on Much Overdue Congratulations:
I know that at the end of this post I said, "More details on all of the above to follow, at some point. I promise." Well, some may not get much more mention just because that means a lot of posts and for some a lot of time has past. However, for those big exciting ones stay tuned, I will be posting details and probably pictures and lots of good stuff. I am proud of all my friends for all of their accomplishments and am very excited to talk more about them.

Yelling At Two

I haven't seen my kitten for a while now. I'm going to visit The Cottage next week and take her to her second vet appointment. (Kittens get a lot of shots!) Then I'm bringing her back to Toronto with me. Hopefully my parents have been taking care to continue to train her as I was. I'm sure they are since they too enjoy well training animals.
Mom Scolding Two
"No, Not Allowed On Side Tables"
(Taken within the first couple of days I had her.)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

No, I Was't A Hooker

Conversation with a Tim Horton's customer:
Upon hearing that I used to live in Ottawa,
Him: Oh, what did you do there?
Me: I was a public servant.
Him: Whaddya mean you were a public servant? Is that like a prostitute?
Me: Uhh, no - I worked for the government.
Him: Ahh, so you were on welfare.
Me: What? Speechless at this point...

Monday, 24 October 2011

Much Overdue Congratulations

-Aimee is in Afghanistan
-Aimee and Mike bought a house
-Anna finished her masters
-Anna got into an amazing intership program
-Erin AH went back to school
-ERin and Matt moved to Ottawa
-ERin started the pastry program at Cordon Bleu
-Heather moved into a new apartment
-Heather got a wicked museum job
-Kristen got hired full-time after her internship
-Kristen became Marking and Special Events Coordinator
-Noah started his Social Services Worker program
-Steph & Dave bought a house
-Steph & Dave are engaged
-Taylor and Mark got married
-Taylor and Mark went to Scotland
-Taylor got a Social Work job
-Teri got her B.Ed
-Teri rocked her first year of teaching High School
-Teri became a sixth of a teacher
-Yen bought a house

CONGRATULATIONS to all ! ! !

More details on all of the above to follow, at some point.
I promise.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

My New Facebook App



Thus far I have only listed where I have lived, which is why Ontario is red. I like that I can do the provinces and states individually. That is why I went looking for a travel-based application for Facebook in the first place - I wanted to start keeping track of the various states I had visited in the US. You get to put a bit of information into the map as well, like who you visited places with and when. Unfortunately I have been to places multiple times, which different combinations of people. I don't know if it will allow me to put that in. We will see.

Friday, 21 October 2011

The Bad Side Of Photoshop

I love photoshop. I love using it and I love when I model for Steph and she uses it. But, I can see the downside. Despite being very familiar with the tool, I forget about. I look at pictures and think they are real. We must never forget that everything in magazines, and advertising in general, has been altered.

Check out this:
The Girls of Mad Men - Rolling Stone Cover
Dianna Agron of Glee - Cosmo Cover

Jezabel is an interesting newsite/blog tagged "Celebrity, sex, and fashion for women" and "Celebrity, sex, and fashion...without airbrushing." Whenever I run across it I find whatever I'm reading quite amazing. I should definitely visit the site more often. They have a photoshop tag, which links to all their photoshop related stories:
Jezabel - Photoshop of Horrors Stories

Bad Joke Of The Day

A man walks into a doctor's office. He has a cucumber up his nose, a carrot in his left ear and a banana in his right ear. "What's the matter with me?" he asks the doctor. The doctor replies, "You're not eating properly."

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Final Statement

---In case anyone is interested in what my MRP is finally going to be about. The thesis statement below was officially approved earlier this month:

Published just three years after the British invasion and occupation of Egypt, Karl Baedeker’s 1885 guidebook, Egypt: Handbook for Travellers, is a text that reinforces colonial ideology and legitimates its practice. This guidebook was produced for British travellers; owing to Baedeker’s prominence and popularity, Egypt was sold across England and was even purchased and read by those not planning to travel. As Mary Louise Pratt discusses in Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation, travel books, including guidebooks, are significant ideological tools of colonialism. Following Michael Foucault’s definition of discourse and the work by Edward Said and David Spurr on, specifically, colonial discourse, I explore the language and images used in Baedeker’s text that reflect the colonial ideology of the late 1800s.

However, Baedeker’s text also suggests apprehension by the British, as they question their authority and ability to rule the new colony. The British anxiety shows through the text’s promotion of colonial ideology in Egypt in the same manner as described by Ali Behdad in Belated Travelers: Orientalism in the Age of Colonial Dissolution. The text shows a disruption in the dominate colonial discourse with a questioning of this very ideology. The anxiety that surrounds this questioning stems from the psychological effects of colonization as explained by Albert Memmi in The Colonizer and the Colonized. Despite the examples of subtly hinted at foreboding found in Egypt, the overarching message in the text promotes colonialism and celebrates the recent British accusation of the nation, which remained under British rule until 1922.

A Window For Two

Catching Raindrops
Photo by Carol Sweeeton
Adjustments by Me

Interesting Note: The font is called "Kristen ITC"

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Ad Banner!!

Yes, there is a glaring advertisement front and centre!!. (I'm a sellout - I'm also poor.) This choice comes from a long period of ad revenue coming in at under a dollar a month. So I moved the long vertical ad on the right side up, it is now above the huge list of Tags that I have going on for Always Standing.

I also changed a couple of other things in terms of format/template. I have moved My Links further down the page until I get time to update them. I have adjusted the look of the Blog Archive and I have moved the Search Blog Archive further down, since I think I am the only one who uses it.

These changes may not be permanent, just something I'm trying out.

Happy Face Game

----- from Facebook
So, What Did You See?

I am a little disappointed in what I ended up with! The first word I saw was LOYAL, which I thought was pretty true and I like it. Then I got LETHARGIC, which isn't very positive but as I take a break from working on my MRP to post this on Always Standing I realise it is extremely true. Then I found LOVELY and thought, "Well, that's okay" and that I maybe was being drawn to words that started with 'L', I also thought I was done until I saw that it was the first four words, not three. Then I saw what I thought was independent, but instead of the first 'n' it was a 'k' making it DEPENDENT.

So, I'm LOYAL, LETHARGIC, LOVELY, and DEPENDENT.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Binx's Frame

I have been planning to put together a frame (actually a shadow box) for Binx for a long while. I finally gathered all the pieces for it tonight and it is now hanging in my bathroom.

Binx's Frame
As you can see it has her red collar, various black cat things I have gathered over the years, pictures, a broach/pin, and a little plaque. It hangs in the bathroom above the radiator where she spent a lot of her time at Bayit lying under, and startling Kristen most mornings.

Plaque Close-Up
I had two small plaques made. I did not ask/pay for her remains, so instead this is how I am choosing to honour her. One of the plaques is on the beam in my parent's room at The Cottage, facing out the window to the beach and walkway (with a view of all the dogs being walked.) The other is in the frame which will move around with me. They are identical and read:
BINX Rhrr "RapKat" Sweeton
RIP Baby Girl 1995-2011
Special Thanks: My parents for allowing me to put the second plaque up at The Cottage. Julia for the frame, which was a Christmas gift. My aunt for the pin, which she gave me years and years ago. Steph for the photographs, which she obviously took but also printed for me.

LGBT Ally

"Straight but not narrow."

TA Feedback

I asked for feedback from my two English tutorials this morning. (Something positive about tutorials, something negative about tutorials, and a general comment.) I have them all stuffed into my backpack at the moment and am saving them to read at home. Sometimes feedback is really hard to take, I'm worried that they are unhappy with my teaching style or my attitude or my lesson plans or anything really. I want to improve but at the same time I fear criticism. I asked for it, so I will man up and read them. I will learn from them and work to make the tutorials better but I really hope they aren't too mean.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Daily Kitten





Two - The Chair Series

My parents came yesterday to pick up Two, so she is going to stay with them for the next month. I'm going to miss her but she is a tad distracting. I thought I would post a picture, though despite the title I won't be doing this daily. If you want to see a picture of a kitten every day you can check out:
The Daily Kitten -- HERE.

Kristen is back at Bayit!!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Impressive Online Presence

I stumbled across this (Canadian) guy who builds Sim houses. I don't fully understand but I have subscribed to his YouTube channel so I can figure out a little more about how that works. (You can go to his website and request a house, which I don't quite understand.) Anyway, his website, and social media/online presence in general, is very impressive. Everything is easy to understand, interesting, and he covers all the bases, so much so that he even has Google+. (Ironically, I could not find an email address so as let him know I was posting this, which I like to do most times I post about others.)
-- Check out The Curtis Paradis Show HERE

Always Standing Update: I hope to someday soon get a Twitter account. Not to rush anything so don't hold your breath, but it might be time to enter the 140 character world. (The English Major in me just cringed.)

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Introducing You To Two

I would like you to meet my new cat -- Two.
Over the next month or so she will be living both in Toronto with me and at Long Point with my parents. We are currently in the process of training her, and if anyone has seen me with dogs, I like my animals very well behaved.

She Looks Like A Little Tiger


For Perspective - She Is Pretty Tiny Right Now


She Is Adorable When She Plays
Basically Adorable ALL THE TIME!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Very Retired

My dad retired about a year ago. It has been strange for everyone adjusting to this, since he worked full-time (for the same company) since he graduated university. The past few days I have been staying at The Cottage and he seems to now be fully in retirement mode...
-He put his socks in the cat litter because it was where the laundry hamper usually is
-He put grated cheese on his coffee because it was beside his eggs

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Kitten Test Drive



I Think I Want To Keep This Kitten

Monday, 10 October 2011

MIAW - An Amazing Bank

The Royal Bank of Canada has been promoting its Children's Mental Health Project a lot recently over the radio. I decided to look up what it is all about. Since 2009, the RBC Children's Mental Health Project has donated more than $6.5 million to 125 organizations across Canada.

RBC narrowed their focus to two areas so that their donations can make a significant, measurable impact. They give their grants to programs that focus on early intervention as well as those that help reduce stigma through public education.

Since most mental disorders begin in childhood or adolescence, early intervention is extremely important. If the signs of mental illness are recognized early and appropriate interventions are taken, children can go on to lead normal and productive lives.

Sadly, there is significant stigma attached to mental illness, which often discourages individuals and families from seeking help. RBC looks to also fund organizations that provide public education to reduce stigma. Parents, caregivers, teachers, and professionals who work with children can all benefit from increased education, so they can recognize the early signs of mental illness, and help or encourage the family to seek treatment from a health professional.

This isn't my bank, but I think much more highly of them now!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Handgun In Vegas


Rocking The Glock

This picture is from my trip to Las Vegas. Teri wasn't interested in going to a shooting range but M & M were, so we decide to check out The Gun Store. It was an interesting experience, don't get me started on "The Kids Package" for those under 12. We got "The Ladies Package" which gave us a chance to shoot a pistol (Glock 19) and a fire assault rifle (AR15), which is the semi-automatic version of the M16 made for civilians.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Overheard

Overheard on the subway today. One young female (possibly fine arts) student talking to another:
"Uhh, I have done nothing this week. Oh, but I punished myself for not doing school work by not doing anything fun. So I really did absolutely nothing all week."

Thursday, 6 October 2011

MIAW - Go Globe!

It may have been a long time ago, but in 2008 The Globe And Mail ran what appears to have been an amazing special series on mental health - Breakdown. So interesting! The part of the website dedicated to the series is still running but sadly some the features are no longer active (like where you could share your experiences and describe what single change in society or policy would help the most then The Globe sent all of the messages to every member of Parliament in Canada, in hopes they could help to break down the stigma of mental illness.) The articles, discussions, and other items of interest are still worth checking out. The most recent of which is from the end of February 2009. I hope they return to this series or do another one soon. Amazing journalism. Great information. Interesting stories.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Sadly True

A friend of mine sent me the following link:

The link above goes to the first post from a new blog. The post, entitled "Oops, I Got an English Degree," is brilliant. I don't know if it takes a fellow English Major to enjoy the humour of the piece and the clean prose of the writer or if it is funny across the board. Have a read and let me know!

Besides a small "About" section, this is the only post up, and it was just posted yesterday. The author promises a new post every Tuesday, so we will have to wait a week to see what is next. I feel very much on the cusp of wherever this writer is going. (It could be great and it could be one of the millions and millions of blogs that falls into obscurity everyday as writers stop posting and people drift away - a fate I am worry about for Always Standing.)

The post just calls out to me to write a detailed response, "Oops, I Decided to do an English Masters." However, sadly the aforementioned Masters program eats up all my writing time and all I'm left with is the occasional chance to throw out a quick post alerting you all to a great writer. One day, maybe I could be said great writer... one day...

Monday, 3 October 2011

MIAW - CAMIMH

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is organized by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) which is a group of mental health organizations comprised of health care providers, as well as the mentally ill and their families. I basically think that this is the main lobby group for mental health as the website says: CAMIMH’s mandate is to ensure that mental health is placed on the national agenda so that persons with a lived experience of mental illness and their families receive appropriate access to care and support.

Don't confuse it with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), which is a nation-wide, voluntary organization that promotes the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness. The CMHA accomplishes this mission through advocacy, education, research and service. They organize Mental Health Week in the first week of May each year.

Also don't confuse them with The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) which is Canada’s leading addiction and mental health organization, integrating specialized clinical care with innovative research, education, health promotion and policy development. CAMH is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health.

The acronyms are all similar. Their mandates all appear similar as well. They are all different and I don't know how they interact or work amongst each other, however the more mental health related organizations etc. the better!

MIAW

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is this week (October 2-8, 2011). This is so fitting as I have been in what Kristen describes as "a funk" lately. The goal of MIAW is to end the stigma associated with mental illness, and ensure better understanding and access to diagnosis and treatment.

Stay tuned for a series of posts this week related to mental health. While many will be related to Depression, I promise they won't all be depressing.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Found It

Item Lost: Kristen's Red Spring/Fall Coat that I often borrow.
Time Lost: A week or so ago
Last Place I Remember: At The Cottage
Place Found: Hanging up in the back at Tim Horton's

Sometimes Part 2

Sometimes you wake up feeling ill.
Sometimes you discover a badly written poem posted online.
Sometimes you don't remember writing said poem.
Sometimes you can't really figure out who or what the poem is about.

And sometimes, or maybe always, you should consider not uploading bad drunken poetry until the next morning.

Sometimes

Sometimes you drink too much.
Sometimes it is all already in the cards.
Sometimes you don't know what else to do.
Sometimes it is all that is left.

And sometimes then, it still doesn't work out.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Final Week

I have gained some (actually a considerable amount) of weight over the last month or so. I have decided that I need to seriously evaluate my activity level and diet. I will be starting the Curves Diet again and follow it religiously. This means not drinking for the first week (Stage One) but I don't know if I want to give it up all together again. Either way I'm not going to worry about it until this weekend, especially since a bunch of us are going out for Teri's birthday on Friday. I'm going to have a few more days of food and booze fun then I need to get serious about what I'm eating.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Missing My Kitty

Have Litter Box, Will Travel
Binx packed up in the SUV leaving Ottawa, Summer 2010

Sunday, 25 September 2011

WOTS Was Wonderful

After a very very long day, I am sitting down and reflecting on the last 17 hours. It was an amazing experience to witness first-hand the inner workings of a huge Toronto festival. I was on site starting before the break of dawn until well after sunset. There is great news to report: The Word On The Street went off without a hitch, and thankfully got treated to a beautiful sunny day.

I have been writing reviews for WOTS Blog and I go into the office to visit, hang out, and help Kristen on occasion. However, I was actually hired for the day as Kristen's production assistant. I was given a walkie-talkie, which made my week. The area was divided into zones so our team had 6 other walkie-talkies and our own channel to communicate on - which was good because we (I) had no trouble filling the air time. I also got to drive around in a golf cart for a couple hours which was quite a relief after walking back and for across Queen's Park seven times within the first hour I was on site.

Being a production assistant meant that I was the direct line for the 24 volunteers Kristen had for the Exhibiting team, so that I could screen questions and concerns. This meant that Kristen had to coordinate all the large issues and spent the day trying to work her way around to personally checking on each of the over 250 exhibitors. She did an incredible job. I have watched her work on/with this festival for over a year now and she is obviously very dedicated and very talented. However, today I got to see someone who I feel rose beyond intelligent, elegant, and hard working and became almost superhuman. There are no words for how well she did today. Everyone involved should be very proud, it was a truly magnificent event.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Hello?

This is a new post!

(Yes, this is all I can sum up from the deep recesses of my tired mind. I promise to put up something slightly more inspired soon. I would love to claim that it stems from the fact that comments have been a tad sparse lately and lay some of the blame on you, the readers, - but that would not be true. I just have a tad of a blog-writers-block at the moment.)

Monday, 19 September 2011

WOTS Review #2

You can see more of my Toronto Book Awards posts on the WOTS blog. The second book I did was Étienne’s Alphabet which really was an amazing read.
- See it featured HERE
- See it reviewed HERE

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Always Running

I set a goal and I met that goal! Today was the 2011 Canada Army Run and I wanted to run the whole thing. I ran in the 5km race. I set the "run the whole time" goal every time. Both in 2008 and 2009 when I did the Army Run I wanted to not walk at all (I didn't do the 2010 race last year.) However, it never happened - I always had to stop to spend a bit of time walking. Even when I was training up for the 2008 and 2009 races, and going for 6km jogs, I always walked for a portion.

Between the 5km and the Half-Marathon, 16,000 people took part in the race this year. This is much more than last year and way more than the other years when we ran it before. This year I ran with my mom instead of doing it apart. Her pace is slower than mine and by keeping with her I am able to run for longer. She has never run a race and had to walk; she was worried that for this race she might have to. We decided to run together to help me stay running and to make sure she didn't stop either. And it worked!!

My time was pretty good too, seeing that I did a terrible job training this time and thought that the race would kill me. However, it felt good. I am very happy with it!

My Canada Army Run Results
2008 -- 44:22:0
2009 -- 39:09:6
2011 -- 39:30:0 (And no walking!!)

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Interesting Feature

Facebook adds strange new features to the right hand panel of their website. The most annoying one of course is the "suggested friends" one. Basically they provide names of people who have a lot of common friends, usually you have made the conscious choice not to add them as a Facebook friend. For a while they were putting up old tagged photos of friends, which was nice but sometimes confusing. I thought one picture had been recently taken and someone had gone on a trip, when I commented on the picture without really looking at all the details I was later informed that the picture was years old. Anyway, the new one provides you with what your status update was on this date in the past:Well Facebook, now that song is stuck in my head again, 2 years later! It is funny to look back at it though, you can also click and see the comments left on the status updates as well. So far this is the best little feature that Facebook has come up with. Mind you, my updates in this instance are odd, they might sometimes be depressing to see again. But still, better than the "suggested friends."

Monday, 12 September 2011

Almost Moved In

My New Chair!

Sitting In Bed - Looking At My New Chair

My parents visited me in Toronto recently and helped me continue to set up my bedroom here. (Yes, I moved in over a year ago.) While they were here I bought a chair to go in my room, I love it. The purple pattern along the back and bottom is actually a scarf that Heather bought for me in England; I will miss wearing it this winter since it looked really good with my wool coat - but I looks great on the chair. You may also notice an awesome bookshelf behind it filled with leather bound books, more on those another time.

WOTS Review #1

My first actual review is up now on the WOTS blog. Seriously the book was incredible! I read it so quickly. As soon as I was done my mother borrowed it and trumped my impressive two day reading by finishing it in an afternoon. Check out what I say about Alissa York’s Fauna HERE.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Quote Of The Day

"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
— Albert Einstein

Friday, 9 September 2011

Ford's Funding Cuts

Will September 19th be the date of the death of The Arts in Toronto?
That is the date of the city’s executive committee meeting where a proposal suggesting massive arts funding cuts is planned to be presented.

The purpose was prepared in response to a request from Mayor Rob Ford’s office by city manager Joe Pennachetti. If passed by city council, the plan would eliminate more than $6 million of annual funding that goes directly to 10 of the city’s top arts organizations.

But there is hope -- There are other options under consideration. Ford agreed there would be no cuts to the arts in order to get his arts advisor Jeff Melanson to work for him. “I can’t imagine city council would approve drastic cuts,” says Melanson, who has been the mayor’s adviser since November 2010. “And if it did happen, I would feel betrayed.”City council also gave its blessing earlier this year to a long-term culture plan calling for the city to increase its arts funding.

But there this is less hope -- These days Melanson has little contact with the mayor; at the end of this month he will leave Toronto and his job as co-CEO of the National Ballet School to take a job at the Banff Centre.

The purposed funding to be cut is different from that of the Toronto Arts Council. The council hands out $10 million in arts grants from the city, but the $6 million in the proposal, for the top arts groups in the city, comes directly from city hall.

For example
Canadian Opera Company: $1,317,015
National Ballet of Canada: $1,148,600
Toronto Symphony Orchestra: $1,134,036
TIFF: $800,000
AGO: $540,000
Caribana: $494,190
Luminato: $200,000
National Ballet School: $137,332
Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art: $135,980
Pride Toronto: $123,807

I am interested to see how this story develops over the upcoming 10 days and am worried about the outcome of September 19th's meeting.

"my blog contradicts"

From Tube Sock Army by Kim Duff.
The following was originally published by LINEbooks, Burnaby, BC.
Copyright 2008 Kim Duff.


my cultural production


today:
processing produced culture.
purchase

my local politik
is in the digital massification of


this is also a love poem:
a romantic notion of
globality
mired in the move sequence
distance.

IM's and comments
posted on my pages
my profiles
locally produced
globally disseminated

the mailer daemon sent me a message
to tell me my message was undeliverable


I am writing this email
to tell you that today I became postmodern
in a postgeographical sense


because there are no maps
for these territories

my blog contradicts what
my myspace profile
suggests.

dispersed identity
I am not to you what I am to them
identity
makeshift and posted
ephemerally temporal

post-spatial?

I thieved these ideas
from the emissary of time.
a sickness called nostalgia

we logged in
and timed out
mediated
your cultural production
budged in line
and took the last moment:

wedged in at
the moment of blame
working out connections
at the crux of biography and production

the claustrophobia
of urban capitalists
pushes us further

desires for need.


trappings trapped
in an architectural scale of time
we exist in the riffing off
of Banana Republic khakis and
coffee.

coffee and khakis.

the ceiling of online banks
pushes my banking needs
into a nighttime obsession
checking balances against
checks bouncing
a metronome of debts
we flow in
whisper

your password softly

Thursday, 8 September 2011

WOTS Featuring Fauna

Looks like I'm posted more on the WOTS blog than here at the moment.
Check out the next one HERE.

Pros & Cons of Tims

I worked my first shift at Tim Horton's this morning. Yes, I have returned to the food-service industry after quite a few years away. It fits well with being a TA and finishing my MRP. Here is a quick Pro & Con list from my first day:

Cons
-Slip resistant shoes are really ugly
-Waking up at 4am for a 5am shift
-Sore feet from standing all day
-Carb temptations
-Doesn't pay particularly well
-Working weekends

Pros
-Fast paced, won't get bored too quickly
-Co-workers seem really great
-Location is very close to home
-I'm pretty good at it
-Canadian company
-Lots to learn

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

WOTS Again

Another post I did is up at The Word On The Street blog...
Check it out HERE

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Here Again

I still need to work on my MRP so have to register for the Fall 2011 semester at Ryerson. I never finish degrees in time. 6 years to do my a 4 year undergrad and it looks like 4 semesters to do a 3 semester Masters. I doesn't quite feel like I'm starting a new year of school. It feels a bit like purgatory, not in a horrible way or anything though. I have no classes but am still going to be a TA. Things are starting to roll out though: TA orientation, lecture schedules, meetings with professors, new books, etc.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

WOTS Guest Blogger

As part of her job as Marketing and Special Events Coordinator for The Word On The Street (WOTS) festival, Kristen manages the WOTS blog. There are a number of guest bloggers who review various books, I am going to do a series on The Toronto Book Awards. I have already started and it is a lot of fun. I will let you know when various posts go up. I have also added a link to the WOTS blog on the right.
See my bio HERE
See my first post HERE

Monday, 29 August 2011

A Famous Boat

My parents big sailboat, Meridian, was featured on the Weather Network website for Port Dover. I gather people can just post photos that are weather related on the site - the sailing one mentions that it was choppy and windy that day. Someone on the shore took a picture of them heading out on Race Night.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Waking Up

Life is shifting.
Waves pushing through weak currents.
New directions, not just on TV.
Lost but not drifting.
Broke and broken.
Sleeping, yet thankfully not sick.

Monday, 22 August 2011

A Sad Day For Canada

It was announced this morning that Jack Layton has died. We have lost a great political mind today. And I am sad that there is one less Canadian silver fox, quickly becoming an endangered species. I'm glad that he brought such hope, vision, and victory to the NDP and it is so tragic that he will no longer be there to lead them as the Official Opposition. I saw him three times when I lived in Ottawa (two of which he was biking) and I was always so excited. It is a very sad day indeed. RIP Jack and condolences to your family.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

BUI

Have water on the water and leave the beer on the pier!
--Don't Drink and Boat--

Friday, 19 August 2011

Random Post

Heard an advertisement on the radio that used the word napsack, I always say backpack.

DeVry University set me an email with the subject line: Earn a degree that makes a difference in your career. Hey, what are they trying to say? What do they know?

English is his second language but Yen might be schooling me in poetics. In a reply to an email that I signed off as Where does the summer go? Chris, Yen added at the end of his response, BTW - The summer went in your memories.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Are You A Donor?

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, Blood Donation is an important and amazing thing. I have been unable to donate blood for the last year since you have to wait a year after visiting Northern China, but I plan to make an appointment by the end of the month. They called me to tell me my wait time was up and I'm nervous but still excited to get back into that chair and give blood again.

But this post is about another type of donation - organ donation. There is such a huge shortage of organs and tissue in Ontario that the need outweighs the availability. More than 1,500 Ontarians are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant and thousands more are waiting for a tissue transplant. Every three days someone dies in Ontario waiting for a life-saving transplant. It is frightening that it could end up being someone I know and love, or that it could even be me one day.

One donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation, and help up to 75 others through tissue donation. You may have signed your donor card but that isn't always enough. (I actually don't even know where mine is, though I know I have signed at least two of them in my lifetime.) The card may not be available when the information is needed, so be sure to discuss your decision to donate with your family and friends. My parents know that I am a full organ donor with no exceptions. Though I'm sure medically a number of my organs will not be viable (eyes for one, and if I keep drinking maybe the liver and kidneys.) They also know that I am open to donating my body to science if that is a more viable option. Also, I know that my parents are organ donors but not comfortable donating to science. Discuss these things with people close to you. Everyone has different preferences and it is important to be clear what they are.

Even beyond the donor card and making your decisions clear to family and friends, the best option is to register the information with Ontario Health. When you register your consent to donate organs and tissue, this information is stored in a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care database. The ministry will disclose information about your decision to Trillium Gift of Life Network, Ontario's organ and tissue donation agency, for the purpose of ensuring that your decision to donate is known and respected. By registering your consent to donate, you ensure that your decision is recorded and can be made available when it is needed.

REGISTER NOW

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Bugs And Bad Internet

I know I complain about the internet every single time I come to the cottage. It takes me forever to get on it and then all I do once I'm finally connected is check a few things, look at emails, and write a quick post about how horrible the internet is here.

However, this is the worst so far!! It is 1:15am and I am out back (non-beach-side) with my laptop plugged into the outside outlet sitting in a lawn chair as far as the cord can reach, which is the very end of the slab of concrete that is the back porch. Seriously I needed the extra three feet that this gives me past the back of the actual cottage so as to get signal to send an important email. Sure it is lovely with the crickets and sounds of waves. However, it is dark, the back light is dim, I'm tired, and totally getting eaten alive by bugs!!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Missing Mike

I'm missing Little Brother Mike! This happens occasionally but especially in the summer since I enjoy hanging out with him at The Cottage, swimming, playing games, etc. His girlfriend is overseas with The Canadian Forces so he took a job at a base in the middle of no where so as to keep distracted and make some extra money while she is gone. The problem is that it doesn't really have cell reception so we can only chat if/when he goes back to Edmonton on the weekends. Luckily I got to visit with him on my recent trip to Calgary and Banff. He came down and went on a pub crawl with us, where all these pictures are from, I believe that they were all taken by Teri.

A Picture For Mum - Smile!
-
"Did you smile nicely?"
-
A Better Picture For Mum
-

Monday, 8 August 2011

Almost Perfect

I'm hanging out at The Cottage for most of this week and it is sheer bliss. However, there is one super annoying factor, and it isn't even that my cell phone costs a lot of money here and doesn't work well - it is the internet! It has some how gotten worse since the last time I was here. You have to huddle in the upstairs back corner to get any kind of signal, and even then it is just one bar. It is difficult to reach a plugged in laptop into a good position and since my computer is so old it has no battery life, it is also super annoying to lug it upstairs when I am predominately spending time at the dining room table working on my MRP. So I go on my parents tiny netbook to access the internet. Even though I used this thing throughout my big Russia trip, I'm finding it hard to adjust. I have a bunch more emails to do but I think I will just save them until I'm back in Toronto for a couple of days mid-week. Bliss is only truly complete with good internet.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Comments?

I have noticed a sharp decline in comments. There is also a slight decline in visitors to Always Standing; I went into Google Analytics to check that someone somewhere out there was still reading the dribble that I post, and a few people are. But I live for the comments, I post better and more often if I am getting feedback of some sort. I guess I'm one of those people, like Tinkerbell, who survive on applause.

Update On Me:
Finishing the last touches on my MRP. Hanging out at the cottage with my mom and having to deal with terrible internet. Starting to think about finding a job and really wanting to get a car.

Update On You:
(Respond in comments, don't be scared.)
What are your plans for the last remaining weeks of summer?

Friday, 5 August 2011

Quick Quotes

The Las Vegas trip was epic! I will do my usual post of point-form observations soon. However, Teri and I noted two amusing quotes that we should remember. We both wish we had kept a log of quotes for the trip; Teri did that for a trip once and JennB, the girls, and I had one for the insane New Years trip in New Orleans. We didn't do a log for Las Vegas though, but besides these two I don't think it was much of a funny quote filled trip. Here are the two good ones:

At one of the pool parties...
Cute Bartender: Wow, you have really nice ears.
Me: Thank you.
Cute Bartender: Yeah, they look like little vanilla wafers.

At one of the nightclubs...
Sleazy Guy: So, I think you should come back to my room.
Teri: Uhh, no, I have a boyfriend.
Sleazy Guy: I have a cat.
Teri: Huh?
Sleazy Guy: Oh, I'm sorry, I thought we were talking about things that didn't matter.

Besides the jerk quoted above, a rude waiter, and numerous airline staff, everyone we met on this trip were amazing. It felt like a city filled with friends; everyone just wandered around smiling and chatting.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Dancing In The Sky

M & M joined Teri and I in Las Vegas for the weekend. They left this morning so we had to make last night count. We grabbed a quick dinner at a casino bar at The Rio, then went to a Chippandales show. After the show, we popped up to the 51st floor of The Rio to go to the nightclub VooDoo but were not totally impressed. We decided to just leave because we hadn't had to pay to get in, we used passes from a promoter. (Ter and I have been totally hooked up the whole time we've been there - it is all very baller, or some other cool term.) We walked next door to The Gold Coast and drank some cheap drinks since the prices in the actual clubs are insane but at some of the casinos, especially the older ones, the drink specials are amazing. After that it was over to Ghostbar at The Palms, another roof top club. This one was awesome and we stayed there for the rest of the night. So much fun!!
Above The Las Vegas Strip
Self Portrait

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Las Vegas Tidbit - #4

Fun Fact
The Golden Gate casino/hotel was the first to serve a fifty cent shrimp cocktail in 1959. This is now a Las Vegas cliché. The Golden Gate is best known for its "Original Shrimp Cocktail" served at the San Francisco Shrimp Bar and Deli inside the casino/hotel. It is served in a regular-sized sundae glass filled with small salad shrimp and topped with a dollop of cocktail sauce. Unlike many other places in Las Vegas that advertise a cheap shrimp cocktail, the one at The Golden Gate is not padded with lettuce or other fillers

It serves a ton of cold-water shrimp each week. The sheer quantity of shrimp sold gives the small hotel the leverage of a large mega-resort with orders. In 1991, the price was raised from 50¢ to 99¢. In 2008, The Golden Gate raised the price to $1.99, due to a rise in fuel costs. To offer a trade-off, the casino now uses larger shrimp in the cocktail. Prior to the fuel increase, the casino lost about $300,000 a year on shrimp cocktails.

They just want your money but they have to get you in somehow...
The price of a shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate is $2.15 after tax; it is a pile of shrimp served with a lemon and help-yourself crackers from a bucket.

Great Quote
"In Vegas, I got into a long argument with the man at the roulette wheel over what I considered to be an odd number."
- Steven Wright

At A Loss For Words

Teri and I visited the Grand Canyon the other day. To do the trip in one day is a little tough, but we found a bus tour that goes early in the morning and comes back late at night. We did have to spent around 12 hours on a bus though and only got to hang out and hike along the rim at the canyon for a couple of hours. But it was so worth it. The Grand Canyon is absolutely mesmerizing. I have no words to describe it and I doubt our pictures will do it any sort of justice. It really is one of those places that needs it be visited and experienced.

"The human quest to conquer and possess began a new chapter in the history of Grand Canyon. John Hiller, the first to seriously photograph the Canyon, began what no one could ever finish. The Canyon challenges and then defies man’s passion to capture and communicate. No picture or word, no brush or palette, no lens or paint, can extend the wonder of Grand Canyon beyond itself."
- Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets (IMAX)