Vic Toews wants to know

Vic Toews, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, had no idea what he was getting into when he sponsored legislation calling for government monitoring of the Internet.

In the interest in ensuring that Vic Toews is kept fully up to date, be sure to let him know what you are up to on the Internet. The following was my email.

Dear Vic,

Since you are so concerned about the activities of Canadians on the Internet, I thought I would fill you in.

I am currently updating my Facebook and my Google+ account.

I will be updating my blog shortly.

To assist you in keeping track of what we are all doing, I will be posting your email address. I know you will appreciate Canadians being proactive in ensuring that you have the latest information of our Internet activities.

Sincerely, Anneke Dubash

vic.toews@parl.gc.ca

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Photo Hunt: Busy

This week’s Photo Hunt challenge is “Busy”.

Friday was Canada’s birthday… Canada Day. In past years, I have gone downtown to take part in the daytime celebrations, usually with my sister, niece, and my Mom. However, Mom just isn’t able to walk and it is always too hot, crowded, and noisy to be really enjoyable. This year, Prince William and Kate are in town and participating in the official celebrations on Parliament Hill, it promised to be much more crowded than usual. I don’t like crowds to begin with. Being jostled and knocked about by far too many people and not being able to see anything, anyway, I just didn’t relish the idea of going. It’s just too busy.

Once evening falls and the crowds get even bigger because of the fireworks… and many of them are drunk it gets insane.

Instead, Mom and I went for a drive down to Kemptville, south of Ottawa and the town where we lived when i was between the ages of 2 and 6. We anticipated that there would be some festivities going on and we weren’t disappointed. We arrived in town just before the Canada Day parade and were able to get a prime spot to set up our camping chairs, in the shade of tree and waited for the parade to begin.

The beauty of the small-town parade is that everyone is really friendly and the streets are NOT busy.

We didn’t stay for the barbecue afterwards but went for a great drive in the country and then got home in tome for a really terrific fireworks display put on by  the recreation committee in our co-op. It was really quite good!

Thus, the end to a busy but not tiring day!

Killing time blowing bubbles

“Here is comes!”

The Canadian Legion (veteran’s association) and Pipe band

Vintage Canadian Tire Truck with CCM bike

Not sure who these guys were protraying

The Strawberry Tarts

And of course, The Shriners

It’s snow cold!

We had snow last night (and freezing rain). Time to get out the snow shovel and by some salt ‘n sand. ‘Tis the season!

Vodpod videos no longer available.
Police Chase – Midas Commercial

It pays to ask…

This evening, while I was driving my mother and her friend to the theatre, the friend (who lives in our co-op) told me that there were certain people upset over the decorations that had been put up on the co-op office for the “Christmas” season. She stated that the Muslim people in our community, which is about half the population of the co-op, were upset that both Hallowe’en and Christmas decorations had gone up.

As I am on the Board and we have a General Members Meeting coming up, she “wanted to give me a heads-up that there were people who would be bringing the matter up at the meeting”. She said that they were upset about Co-op funding going into Christian decorations on property that was for “everyone’s use”. She said that they had been particularly upset about Hallowe’en but were now “really upset” about the Christmas decorations.

I said to her that if anyone was upset, they had every right to approach the Board and let us know of their feelings. I said that the Board didn’t authorize the decorations and that no co-op money went into buying these decorations. Nor did we know who put up the decorations. She said that SHE didn’t like having the decorations up on property owned by the members. We were getting into a rather heated discussion in the car and she kept saying that “they are upset” and that “they can’t get onto the Board to change things” and that “they feel helpless”…

I fumed all the way home. Not because of the fact that someone might be upset about the decorations but that, again, no one was coming to us to express their own feelings but that I was, as usual, being approached by a third party over issues that I can’t do anything about unless someone approaches me directly.

Finally, I decided that in order to take the bull by the horns, I needed to speak directly to one of members of the supposedly offended group and find out 1) if there was any discussion about the decorations 2) if so how upset were people and 3) if people were upset, how we could rectify the problem.

I am glad I did.

This was the first she had heard about the “problem”. No one was “talking about it”. No one was “upset”. Further more, members of this same community who are on the Recreation Committee were wanting to plan a Christmas party for all the members of the co-op… Now… to make this completely clear… Muslim community members were wanting to plan a Christmas party for ALL members of the co-op…

Someone please tell FOX News that Christmas is alive and well in multicultural Ottawa!

More on 2 minutes….

 

Earlier today, I got a call from someone at Rexall head office about my complaint about a company directive ordering 30 seconds of silence at 11 11 11 instead of the traditional 2 minutes.

I was pleased to hear that they are taking this seriously. I had been worried when I got an email asking which store this occurred and that this was going to turn into a hunt for leaks. Instead, I found a concerned voice and a desire (at least it sounds that way) to address the issue and repair the damage done.

It helps, I think, that I don’t appear to have been the only person who complained.

The caller wanted to know what I wanted to happen as a result of this. I said that I wanted them to ensure that this was an “error in judgment” by someone and a one-off… a learning experience. I worked retail for many years and that I understand that there will always be people who will complain about having to wait 2 minutes but that this is a long-standing and important tradition that should not be compromised by a few idiots.

I made the suggestion of putting a sign on the counters at the beginning of the 2 minutes informing people that “in honour of those who gave so much…” etc. If people have a problem with that, that’s their problem. I said that it is a right that employees should have the chance to be able to take that 2 minutes like every other Canadian and that this should not be watered down to “satisfy” the few people who don’t “get” the concept.

Apparently, someone “high up” at head office is going to call to get more feedback.

I want to make a point that often decisions are made because they get a couple of complaints but that the each complain needs to be evaluated on its own merits. In this case, there are larger issues to be considered. Some things are important for their own sake and you just cannot compromise on them. While pharmacies and certain other retail businesses are “required” to be open during this time that this should not negate the responsibility of the corporation to enable employees to show their respect. There should be an official response available from management when someone complains about having been “inconvenienced” by the 2 minutes of silence. Management and staff should feel that the company has their backs when an issue like this arises.

I mentioned the fact that the video “A Pittance of Time” gets thousands of comments every day around Remembrance Day EVERY YEAR and that those comments are almost universally in support of the staff and management of the store that stood its ground and ridiculing the “complainer”.

I also made the point that this isn’t about forcing people to stop and to remain silent. This is about respecting the right of those to do so.

 

PhotoHunter: Technology

This week’s PhotoHunter theme is “Technology”. I wasn’t sure what to do for this, at first but then I remembered having entered a photo of mine for the same theme on Fotki, the photo-sharing site I use. I thought I would use the same photo and contrast it with a photo of something else.

When I initially thought of this, I was looking at the images as contrasting “low tech” and the other as “high tech”. On the other hand, both are really representative of the highest technology of their times. In fact, the first photo, in its own way represents technological skill and true craftsmanship, whereas, the second represents brute force on the grandest scale.

Perhaps you will see other contrasts and other meanings. Let me know your thoughts.

The first image is of stone points, scrapers, and flakes from the making of points and scrapers. Created by Eastern Woodland Indians, perhaps 700 -900 years ago. Found along the Upper Ottawa River, near Fort William, Quebec.

Stone points

The second image is of one of the old Cold War air raid sirens sitting outside the main door of the Diefenbunker (pronounced Deefenbunker), in Carp, Ontario.

The Diefenbunker was Canada’s official government nuclear fallout shelter.

In the event of nuclear war, government officials and designated military personnel would have descended underground while the rest of Canadians fried. Formerly top secret, it is now a museum open to the public and is designated a national historic site. It was dubbed the Diefenbunker after Canada’s Prime Minister when it was built, John Diefenbaker (familiarly known to most Canadians as “Dief the Chief”). It operated as a secret facility for 33 years before it was “decommissioned” and the land sold to the Township of West Carleton, which is now part of the city of Ottawa.

Until it was decommissioned, the Canadian public, even residents of the nearby town of Carp were unaware of its existence. Interestingly, my friend Carol (who did earlier this year) was unaware that for the entire time she and her family lived in Ottawa, her father had spent every working day in the Diefenbunker and, should nuclear war have broken out, he would have been obligated to continue working while the family would have had to fend for themselves.

Siren, the Diefenbunker, Carp, Ontario

I should say that these sirens and the Cold War were what caused me nightly terrors and nightmares as a child living along the St. Lawrence River in Southeastern Ontario. I was small during The Cuban Missile Crisis. We had a bomb shelter in the basement — basically, a cot, cook-stove, and provisions under the basement stairs. We’d not have survived anything.

Sirens were tested with regularity and scared the crap out of me all those years.

Years later, in 1978, when I was living in Toronto one of the few remaining sirens went off, I am guessing by accident, and I sat bolt upright. The friend I was with looked at me quizzically. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

Air raid siren… We don’t hear those very often any more!”

“What’s that?” Not only did she not recognize the sound she didn’t even HEAR it until I pointed it out. I had to EXPLAIN about the Cold War…. about air raids… about bomb shelters… She had never ever heard a siren in a war movie!

T-Shirt Friday…. Repost

This is a repost of something I posted earlier in the month. However, since this is T-Shirt Friday I HAVE to post it again!

My “new” shirt, and a favourite, already.

My Lug*Tread T

My Lug*Tread T

Beau's "Lug*Tred" Lagered Ale

Beau's "Lug*Tred" Lagered Ale

Favorite Tee, favorite beer….

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PhotoHunter: “Rock”

My “rock” is part of the Canadian Shield. The Canadian Shield (aka the Precambrian Shield, or Laurentian Shield) is the Precambrian rock that covers about 8 million square kilometers of Eastern and Central Canada. It is comprised of some of the world’s oldest rock, dating back approximately 4.5 billion and 540 million years.

Some of that Pre-Cambrian rock.

Some of that Precambrian rock.

Over successive ice ages, mountains (including some volcanic) as high and awesome as the Rockies have been scoured down to bare rock over which lies boreal forest. You can find evidence of the last ice age all over the place.

The view of the Laurentian mountains from Mont Tremblant, Quebec

The view of the Laurentian mountains from Mont Tremblant, Quebec

In the photo below, you can see the edge of the Shield where it is cut off by the Ottawa River Valley, a great, wide valley which extends from the St. Lawrence River in the east and swings west and then northward towards Hudson Bay. It is a rift valley, formed when the bedrock dropped down tens of kilometres deep. Several major fault-lines run through the area and we experience frequent earth tremors, as a result.

View from the Champlain Lookout

View from the Champlain Lookout, in the Gatineau Hills

The edge of the Shield which bounds it on the northern edge rises up about 300 metres.

Parts of the Shield extend down into the US.

The Ottawa Valley and Canadian Shield

The Ottawa Valley and Canadian Shield

The Ottawa River Valley

The Ottawa River Valley

The Ottawa Valley was once part of the great Champlain Sea, a huge brackish inland sea where whales once swam. The Champlain Sea formed when the great ice sheets of the last ice age pressed down on the land and when the melted, the Atlantic Ocean flooded in. When the last of the ice was gone, the continent tipped back and the water flowed out, again.

My new t-shirt…

Mom and I drove out to Vankleek Hill last week to visit the Beau’s Brewery.

You will recall that I happen to LOVE Beau’s Lug*Tread lagered ale. Well, actually, maybe you don’t. I did post a photo in one of my PhotoHunter postings a few weeks back.Here is a link to the original photos).

Beau's "Lug*Tred" Lagered Ale

Beau's "Lug*Tred" Lagered Ale

So, we made the pilgrimage our to visit the brewery and to pick up some loot, including a couple of bottles of Lug*Tread. They sell it by the jug and by the stoneware bottle.

Beaus Fancy-Schmancy Bottles

Beaus' Fancy-Schmancy Bottles (via GCPB blog)

I also bought some glasses (which have an etched (I think it is etched…) tractor at the bottom of the glass and the tractor logo (as seen above), and a really nice t-shirt.

My Lug*Tread T

My Lug*Tread T

It was drying, otherwise I would have been wearing it.

On a side note, on the way back, we took the scenic route home (the “scenic route” usually entails letting the car decide what route to follow. It is ALWAYS an adventure and we never know what we are going to discover) and near Carsonby, a baby Downy Woodpecker flew into the grille. Poor thing didn’t have a chance. It was NOT pretty.

Downy Woodpecker (via Animal Discovery)

Downy Woodpecker (via Animal Discovery)

I hate Canada Day…

Flags

Flags

Okay… I don’t hate Canada Day…. What I hate is having to drag my ass down town on the bus and wade through 1/2 a million people hoping to actually enjoy myself…. which I invariably don’t.

Yesterday, my mother wanted to go to see the festivities. I had been hoping to go and meet up with my sister, wander about, have a meal, and come home. I didn’t want to leave Mom at home but I knew Mom wouldn’t be up to the amount of walking required. So we decided on a modified plan. Shirin and Gabby were going to eat and meet us and just sit at the War Memorial and watch the crowds walk by.

You can’t park anywhere even remotely close to the activity so it required taking the bus at least part of the way.

My niece, Ange, had asked if she could borrow some camping chairs for the day so I decided that we would go to her place, drop off the chairs and park near there and take the bus. We left for Ange’s. Ange wasn’t home… Luckily, when we left home, the bus was just leaving so I anticipated that we would be able to park along the route it takes, get the bus, and then pick up the car on the way home.

While we were waiting for the bus, I discover that Mom has removed the bus tickets that she keeps in her wallet and we have no tickets. Since I hadn’t been to the back, planning on going to the bank machine right near the bus stop right down town, I had a $5 bill and no change on me.

Right. The bus comes and we have to let it pass. Just as well, because Mom also took her pain pills out of her fanny pack and put them in the glove compartment of the car…. Why? I don’t know…

So…. we head back home, get the bus tickets and the pain pills and take the bus from near the house.

The bus we had planned to take was nearly empty. The one we ended up taking was jam-packed and I gave my seat up for an elderly woman who spent the entire ride glaring at me. My arm was aching from hanging on for dear life on the twisting route. We arrive down town and I mistakenly got off one stop too early which put an extra 4 blocks on our walk to the War Memorial which is where I normally meet my sister. This means an extra several stops for my Mom to sit for her hip to stop hurting.

While my Mom took a breather across from my bank, I went in to go to the cash machine. Long line, of course.

My sister called and said that she and Gabby would walk over to where we were sitting and I knew that would give Mom a little extra recovery time.

Shirin and Gabby arrived and moments later, Mom said…. “I’m feeling dizzy”… which is ALWAYS a sign that she is about to pass out.

With the help of a very nice young man selling t-shirts, we got her lying down with her feet up, gave her some water and, thank GOD, she did not actually pass out because that would have meant a trip to the hospital. Finally, after about 10 minutes, she was feeling back to normal and I decided that we should go back home.

Luckily, it is just two short blocks to the bus stop and we were able to walk down there without incident.

Shirin and Gabby left and I took Mom in to the bus shelter where there was a single seat left on a bench but just as we get there, another woman took the seat. Both were seniors but both were much more able than my Mom and I asked “Would it be possible for my Mom to sit?”. The woman who had grabbed the seat before we got there ignored us and the woman who was already sitting glared at us, looked my mother up and down and said “I’m probably as old as your mother is…”. She did get up but she was loudly remarking about “what nerve” I had in “expecting” her to give up her seat to someone.

I said “Oh Heavens! I wouldn’t want to deprive you of your seat!” and we turned away. Meanwhile, she was loudly informing all her friends about how rude I was and how my mother shouldn’t expect to get “special treatment” (what “special treatment” this was, I don’t know. I simply asked if she could sit in one of the only four available seats).

When we turned away, two ladies on the other bench gave up their seats quite cheerfully. I sat Mom down and went back to the woman who was still ranting on to her friends and said “My mother is 85 and recovering from a broken hip. But thank you so very much for feeling it necessary to be so rude”. She was still standing and you could see that she was perfectly fit. She had runners calves for Pete’s sake! She was surrounded by a group of women and it appeared that she was obviously the “leader of the pack”.

How is it that someone who is a senior, herself, could not understand when another senior isn’t as well as herself? She should thank her lucky stars that she has her health and has the luxury of being fit at whatever age she is. Many seniors aren’t so lucky. I could have pointed out that Mom had nearly passed out barely 15 minutes before… I could have pointed out that she has dementia… I could have pointed out that she was just lucky that she wasn’t in my mother’s shoes. Instead, I waited until our bus came and went over to her and said “Thanks for being so fucking rude!”

Not my finest hour but it was better than punching her which was what I felt like doing. She must be some prize at the seniors home.

We are buying a wheelchair.

When we got home, I was still seething so we took the car, Mom, and Mom’s friend, Selene out for a drive to Kemptville.

We had a terrific time.

We stopped for hot dogs at the chip truck/ice cream place we love, and then stopped to see how some of the Osprey nests were doing.

The first one, the adult was out of the nest preening on a nearby pole, allowing me to get a number of really good photos.

Adult Osprey at Nicholson's Locks

Adult Osprey at Nicholson's Locks

Then, instead of going back along the main highway to Kemptville, we took the River Road and found another Osprey nest that I didn’t know about. An adult and two babies on the nest!

New Osprey nest, River Road

New Osprey nest, River Road

We stopped in Kemptville to get gas before heading home and I spotted a large moth lying on the cement at the pumps. I thought it was dead but it was barely hanging on to life. I put it over in the brush on the toher side of the parking lot. It is a Pachysphinx modesta or Modest Sphinx or Modest Sphinx moth. So beautiful!

Modest Sphinx moth (Pachysphinx modesta)

Modest Sphinx moth (Pachysphinx modesta)

Then we headed home, after stopping to check on the Osprey nest on the East shore of the Rideau River. Parent, and two young actively bobbing about the nest.

We went out to the Rideau Falls to watch the fireworks and it was a terrific show. I managed to get the entire thing in photos, as well as one short video. 500 or so photos!

Fireworks By Moonlight

And that fricking bird is out there AGAIN today chip, chip, chipping!

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