For you, the dress code is casual.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Miss Serendipity

Long before that stupid movie came out, that was my nickname with a couple folks I knew. Others said it with more colour, that I needed to surgically remove the horseshoe that was perenially stuck up my ass.

Fortune has often found and favoured me. So has misfortune. That's life. I've never become the self-pitying type as a result. Life's too short to see yourself as a victim. The negatives that find you aren't what you think they are -- they're opportunities to excel. They're opportunities to be that person you always hoped you'd have the balls to be.

This week, I have that opportunity. I've had some interesting happenings this month, from good to bad to everything in between, and I love the dynamic swirl my life has been -- now that I'm out from the nebula's center and can see it for all the splendid colour and craziness it has to offer.

It's all so odd how pieces of your life seem to be falling apart, but when you get a little distance and stand back from the painting, you see they're falling into place, not apart, but you had to abstract it to see the unity of it all. Life really does imitate art, not just in its aesthetic, but in its treatment of truth.

Lately, I've lost clients and have had others recommended. I lost photos and expensive programs off my hard drive and had to visit a friend from a couple months ago to get new programs so I could start printing resumes to find a job that would compensate for the unstable clients once I no longer have the government cheques to fall back on when things go awry. This friend told me about a course he's signed up to take, one that I'll tell you all about in a moment.

There's been a few other things going down, too, but in a strange way, they've all been tied up into one strangely delightful package this week. This fall's been an interesting time for me. I began teaching students on the university campus and found myself resenting the fact that I'd never really enjoyed school when I've had the chance to do so. I found myself wishing I had the opportunity to go back to school, but knowing I was over 30 and had to support myself made it all so improbable.

Now, though, I've found out about a start-your-own-business course offered by the government. It's 48 weeks, teaches you everything you need to know, provides you with assistance for developing a working business plan, helps you get yourself on your feet, and provides you with a spending allowance while you're in the program. In addition, unlike other forms of social assistance, every penny you earn from your business is yours to keep without having to be penalized with the allowance. How cool is this?

Fact is, working for other people has been killing me. Some "employees" out there may find it offensive that I seem to think I'm better than that, but that's not the case. I'm a driven person who has never, ever been utilized to the best of my capabilities by the people I've worked for. Nothing I've ever done has been the kind of thing that best uses every skill I have. I'm dying for the opportunity to really live according to my talents and abilities. I'm dying for the chance to prove I do or don't have what it takes to get to where I think I can be.

For once in my life, I need to know if I can put my cards on the table. Really, really play the game. The kinds of dreams I have aren't the kinds that come to life between nine and five. It's time to see exactly when it is they do indeed come alive, and whether I can breathe that life into them.

Things are getting fun. Tomorrow, step one on this new path. I do love the excitement of it all, I got to say.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Here's a new one for the files

It seems my neighbour has been boiling hot dogs, and lots of them, all night long. The odour has wafted into my bedroom through the washroom. In here it now smells like the elementary school kitchen would on Hot Dog Day, each Wednesday.

I remember you always had only two choices: With mustard, or without mustard. It was Catholic school. They didn't splurge on the extraneous shit like ketchup and relish. No. Margarine and mustard (or not).

And now, my boudoir, my chamber of secrets, my love shack, smells like boiled wienies.

Yeah. That'll be good for a sex life.

Common Sense: Email Fraud

Today, I received an email message from a major Canadian bank requesting verification of my account in order to deter a "fraud" attempt on my banking information.

A few problems.
  • One, there was a spelling error in their message. (Usually not found in professional form letters.)
  • Two, I've never banked with them.
  • Three, I checked out the link offered, which was this: First of all, folks, if you see an IP address like that in an URL for a major company, it's very likely fake.
  • Four, the real TD site is found here: . Unfortunately, aside form the obviously fake URL versus the real URL, the sites look exactly the same.

If this should happen to you, there are two things to note. One, it's bullshit, so don't go there. Two, you don't know if anyone else has complained about it, and it's real fraud and hurts real people. Your obligation is to take a moment to go to the official company's website via typing an URL in or doing a Google Search, then choose"contact us" and give them the URL and the email info and the sender, so they can do their jobs and bust those asses.

Some fuckers were doing this with the Red Cross after Katrina. Never, ever donate or anything through email, and never presume a clickable link leads you to the legit address, even if it LOOKS real. Always go there manually through typing or a Google link.

-Citizen Steff, who hates defrauding motherfuckers who try to scam old ladies.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Evening thoughts

Sitting there just now, I started missing my mom so much. I imagined a conversation I would have with someone and my imagined answer called to mind the worst moment in my life. Not the death of my mom, but sort of this moment in which I felt she lost all dignity. What a horrible thing to witness.

She’s been in the back of my mind since early this afternoon. A realization had hit me then and I think its significance never left. What I don’t know if I said about my recent (now mostly departed) depression that the worst of it was how fucking terrified I was. When logic absolutely escapes you, there’s no telling what impulses might hit.

I think I’m above any really hazardous impulses, but who’s to say? It was chemically-induced. I have a good, good life right now, and no reason to be depressed. Three weeks ago, I wasn’t. And then, black.

I’ve seen things happen on chemically-induced depressions. I saw my mother attempt suicide during hers, a decade and a half ago, when I was 17. Until her death, she never remembered it happening. I remember the pills, the booze, it all. I can’t write about it. Not directly. I’ve tried. Maybe now’s the time, but I haven’t the balls to go there. Not tonight, not now.

Suffice to say it wasn’t until this past August that I realized my walking in on her trying to off herself wound up colouring every relationship and friendship I’ve ever had. My fear of abandonment, my fear of risks, my fears in so many areas. Many of them I’ve now dealt with or keep well-managed.

There was this time I just felt like a spineless pussy, but knowing there’s a root cause of your actions is pretty fucking wild. It’s like a key to get out of the hatchback on the guilt-trip.

I used to be angry at her, but I let go of most of that before she died, since we spoke of it one afternoon. I let go of the rest of it in August, upon my realization.

It’s simply amazing what some of these pharmaceuticals can do to us, isn’t it? Ah, medicine.

This was the first time I realized how absolutely black a chemical depression is. Real depression, you can sometimes discern a happy moment. Chemical ones, though, seem to pull a thick curtain over it all. Nothing, but nothing can get through.

For the first time, I think I realize the battle my mother waged then. As fucking evil, albeit thankfully brief, as that 7-10 day period felt, this little packet of post-mortem absolution has somehow given me just a little more freedom from my past. In a sad, doomed kind of way, of course, but understanding my mother’s obstacles gives me better perspective on her.

And really, when they’re dead and gone, you take what you get. Something’s always better than the alternative.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

the Ditch LIVES, baby

Call me a flake, call me an alarmist, call me anything you want.

The Last Ditch is staying alive for at least the foreseeable future. I just updated the sidebar with all my decent posts from the last three months and it occurs to me that I been through too damned much in the last year, mentally and emotionally, on this board to stop running it now.

I like the fact that it's an ongoing journal from a year of incredible, mind-boggling personal growth. You don't know me, you can't possibly understand what it's been like in my head, but that's all right. You get these strange, diverse snapshots of it all anyhow, and maybe it's as interesting to you as it is deeply personal to me.

If I ran off and started a new blog, I'd just be continuing in a pattern of behaviour I've always indulged: Cutting and Running when an obstacle arises.

The obstacle? Nothing more than stagnation. I hit a dry patch, and that happens to us all. I'd be really proud if I could get this blog up to the quirky/fun/odd level it was earlier in the spring of this year, but I also want to continue with the self-reflecting posts. Self-indulgent, yeah, but so is the very act of blogging. We think we have something to say, so we say it. It's all good.

So, for as far as I can see, this lowly rag is going to continue. Keep your bookmarks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

RIP, Rosa

Rosa Parks has passed away.

I bitch and moan a lot these days about the modern sense of entitlement. People use the phrase "I deserve" far too often, I feel, and much of the grief that is inflicted on me on a daily basis arises mainly from people who think they're entitled to this, entitled to that. "It's my right," they'll grumble. It's really the bane of my existence -- these petty people of the present who some how sanctimoniously believe there's a universal right of way or something that allows them to disregard others and override consideration.

Today, though, I found myself reflecting on the illustrious Ms. Parks and her sense of entitlement that helped pave the way to a newer America. (I won't say "new" because I think there's still a hell of a lot of race problems that need fixing, but it's Rosa's day, so fuck all that shit.)

A misnomer exists, that Rosa was "tired" after a long hard day at work and thus refused to give her seat up to a white man. Rosa said otherwise, back in 1996, when she stated, "No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

Rosa rightly felt that she was as entitled to rest her sorry, tired black ass as much as any white fucker was. She stayed put and found that ass in jail. A young dude decided this was time to change history and held the imprisoned Rosa Parks up as a martyr for their cause, something he would become himself in a few short years. Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Bus Boycott captured headlines and provoked national unrest over the course of the 381-day protest that followed.

I wonder today if it all woulda shaken down different had it been a black man. Was the fact that it was a woman, a tired working woman, the spark that made this somehow more socially relevant? Who knows.

In her quiet and passionate sense of what she was entitled to, what "right" was, Rosa Parks sparked a protest that ignited a nation and changed the path of America's future. She became the catalyst for the strong black woman who took no shit. She was the cat's meow, man.

These days, the guy who shouts the loudest gets the most air-time. Rosa, though, changed her country and her race's status by simply saying no and staying put. Quiet defiance, to my mind, is one of the most admirable battles one can wage.

We were fortunate to have her around so goddamned many years. I'm thankful she was able to stick around and see the world change. Not heal completely, since that's a long ways off from happening in America, but at least she saw a changing mentality and a people go from being extremely oppressed to whatever the hell the Black is today in America.* Come a long way, baby, but there's still so far to go.

In 1996, she went on record saying, "We still have a long way to go in improving the race relations in this country." Who can argue that?

Rosa wasn't just some chick who stayed seated. She spent the rest of her life working for the Black cause. She started organizations to help kids develop character, that taught about the Underground Railway that helped spirit blacks to freedom during Slavery. She was enormously involved with the NAACP. And she always, always was embarrassed to be thought of as the godmother of race equality, since she says she was only one of many in the bad old days of Montgomery, that it all boiled down essentially as a fluke that she was the one who provided the spark.

A fluke it weren't. It was her grace, her poise, her style, her class that made this not just some mamie refusing a man his rightful resting spot. This was a classy Black woman asserting her right to have a cushy tushy.

This was a woman with dignity, and she wasn't gonna apologize for it. Rosa, you rocked, honey. Enjoy the after-party, baby.

*Before my ass gets chewed off, this isn't a slam on Blacks, but a slam on the reality that in many places they are still not equal -- not financially, judicially, or socially, as Katrina illustrated all too well. I think it's still changing, and for the better, but let's not delude ourselves that the work is done. Some more seeds to be sown, my friends.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I am a danger to myself and others.

I bought chicken today... and declined a flu shot when offered one by my doc.

The Deed is Done

I've ordered cable television. I can't live without the hockey season anymore. I want to watch Grey's Anatomy. I want to see real news from a real network, IE: PBS, CBC, anyone but CTV's Canadian version of Headline News.

But mostly, I want my hockey. It's fucking cruel knowing my team's kicking ass nightly and I'm not watching. Go Canucks, Go!

I *am* Canadian.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Can I have "Ritalin" for a Hundred, Alex?

re: the post below this.

it's absolutely fascinating what can happen when you finally figure out that your new insanity's just because of some bubble-wrapped crystalline mini-tablets. everybody, let's take a deep breath -- it's the pharmacopia. is chill.

it's freaky when you realize how fuckin' good you got it, and you know you feel so goddamned bad. very, very strange little juxtaposed world to hang in. logic over emotion? oh, sure. let me just click my heels three times here, and while we're at it, wave at the flying monkeys?

tonight, i'm enjoying an otherworldly frozen pizza that's been ramped up with three-year old cheddar and some trusty oregano. i'm also enjoying a little herb that was recently deposited here as a token of appreciation by an acquaintance. sadly, a lack of vino. i'd like to imagine i had a bold pinot noir. i'd use the crystal. [wistful sigh]

it's the first time i've relaxed since monday and it's doing a world of good for the psyche. maybe it's because in honour of the cheesy pizza, i caught a little "cheese" in the form of the ghost whisperer. tell me something. could jennifer love hewitt be any less plastic? i mean, really. she's riding along in the car, and flip! up goes the shoulder-- annnnd... dip! with a-- oh, yeah, there it is! a head toss! ding, ding, ding. we have a winner.

come the fuck on, honey! oh, my god! clearly a graduate of the Barbie School of Acting. i bet my ass she's got "gosh" as a regular exclamation or utterance. right up there with a sharply pointed "tsk!" when ranking on her husband's manly guffaws.

ah... friday. the basement of television. "hmm... this fall schedule's a bitch to figure out. all right, what's next? "crap, but watchable?" yeah, friday. definitely friday. more "crappy" than watchable? oh, 8:00, hands down."

i hearby announce the potential that i may keep this blog running after all. clearly, this depression thing? perhaps that choice was made under duress. one never knows. i'm opposed to regret, ergo, i shall decide in a slow, measured manner whether i was being a fool or not. after all, i'm rather obsessive-compulsive, you know. i mean, look at the punctuation. need i say more? i think not. to just unleash myself from my backlog, no matter how convoluted and ADD-ish, is a rather everest-like chore. so, let's wait for a clear head (because this is obviously not that time either, eh?) and make the decree then.

so, i met this cute guy. it's fun. a distraction. quel change. mais c'est bon. "ooh. so good she spoke in french. wow. bilingual attraction. quel neato."

this posting? i blame it, too, on the pharmacopia. bad pharmacopia. bad.

Down in the Deeps

Depression’s like a fog. When it rolls in, it’s amazing how dense and impermeable it seems.

I started some medication lately that I have just realized has triggered a massive depression episode for me. I’ve been irrevocably depressed for the last week, and it’s only dawned on me today that It Just Ain’t Right. You know that feeling -- something’s off?

Oh, very, very off.

I’ve made a doctor’s appointment for Monday, but I am just so grateful to know the signs of what depression is like. Having ridden this ride before, I have to tell you, I know I don’t want a repeat. Any friend I speak to in the next couple days will hear that I feel depressed and just want to alert them.

The fact is, while I’m sure nothing stupid will occur to me, when it’s something like a chemically-induced depression, you just shouldn’t take chances.

I don’t know what suddenly stopping these pills will do to me, so I’ll have to stay on them until Monday, but geez... I hope just being aware of the state they’ve put me into is enough to fight it off. What a dreary world depression is. I had this memory of it being as dark as hell, but couldn’t have remembered this, this feeling of bleak hopelessness and utter despair, all for no proper reason.

There’s no reason I should be depressed. None. Life is swimmingly good. Met a man, keeping the bills paid, and the weather’s even cooperating some. Yet there it is: Darkness.

How strange a beast it can be. So, while I suspect I know the cause, I’m not exceedingly worried that this will last. The depression tells me otherwise, but that’s the only voice it has.

It’s taken me a week or more to realize that this is depression. Last week, I thought I was just tired and stressed out. The mood progressed, when it should have improved, given certain events that transpired, and now here I am, swimming in my sorrows that are all so very misplaced.

Depression’s not something you can outthink. “Hey, dude, I got it good. Life’s cool. I’m totally on top.” You can’t outtalk depression. It has all the right answers.

“Yeah, but it won’t last.”
“You don’t deserve it.”
“You’re only kidding yourself.”
“That’s just what they want you to think.”

And I'm smart, I'm passionate, I'm tuned-in, I'm clued into the reality of it all, so where the fuck does that pissant voice of doubt come from? I’ll never understand it. Fortunately, I think the clock is ticking on it, and within the week, I’ll be back to Zippy Steff again. At least, these are my hopes.

Depression, though, likes to really grab hold of its victims, so we’ll have to monitor this and see where it goes.

Me, though, as long as I’m having this cloud hanging around, I’m gonna be open and real about it. Not enough people are, and I figure it might be a good way of keeping this shit in check. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"Damn you, Cosmos"

So, today I have had a work-at-home day after a week that's been somewhat gruelling, albeit in a good way. It was nice to laze around to some extent. All my clients were women, older ones. I finally figured out why something was bothering me from earlier in the week, and life generally had that "Easy like a Sunday Mornin'" Motown rainy day feel to it.

Except for the fucking telemarketers.

What the hell is this? Do they have beacons pinging in the night? Morse code tapping out that says "B-o-t-h-e-r S-t-e-f-f?" I swear, I'm a nickel and five away from changing my number to 1-800-H-A-S-S-L-E-D.

There's been a carpet cleaning agency, two surveys, and a visit downstairs by Census Canada, plus a "Donate, please?" call from Big Brothers. In six hours. Naturally, the phone never rang during the two-hour tutoring window with a client, so that means five calls in four hours, really.

All that aside, though? I try to be polite to the poor fuckers who have the misfortune to call me, since I'm a dead-end every single time.

"Uh-huh, and I appreciate that, but I'm not interested."
"Sorry, I'll participate in your survey if you pay me for my time, but.."
"Um, due to tragic cosmic circumstance, I have been fiscally wounded and no longer have the funds to be a humanitarian. Yeah. Broke off my ass."

Fact is, I think people who "play" with telemarketers by leading them on, by being rude, by freaking on them, well... I think they're dicks.

These poor bastards were so hard up for money that they accepted a job as a telemarketer and you think you're entitled to shit on 'em? Fuck, no. Cut a brother a break, man.

That shit ain't right. Life's short, yeah? A little respect takes the sting out of it. It'd be nice if displaying it would become the norm again.

Sigh. Ever the romantic. And how they'd get my fucking number anyhow? Damn you, Cosmos, and your listings service.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Too dry to cry: The Amazon

There is some debate amongst the scientific community, which seems to depend on their geography moreso than discipline, as to what the cause has been of the severe drought afflicting Brazil's Amazon forest region right now.

Some say it's the constant burning in the cutting down of the rainforest that is inhibiting the formation of clouds. The Brazilian government's docs speculate instead that it's the above-normal temps in the Atlantic causing the drastic change in their climate -- similar to the causes cited for the harsher-than-historic hurricanes season of late.

Either way, it's a tragedy. Rains are evidently beginning to return, but those in the know state it's unlikely to have much of an effect for some time as the drought has been crippling the rainforest for months on end.

This week, it has been declared a state of emergency. Fears rise as waters continue to recede, causing the deeply polluted shallow rivers and nearly non-existent tributaries to create concerns regarding the potential for yellow fever to spread throughout the region.

The above photo doesn't show the dried and crusted river basins, but instead the Amazonians questing for water. I found the photo evocative of the hardships brought on by droughts of legion. It conveys for me some remembrance of John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath and the dustbowl of the '30s... incidently the last time the Amazon was hit this hard.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

To blog or not to blog

Hanging with a friend tonight for an end-of-season beer-and-pizza conversation at the beach, and I confessed that I think this blog's days are numbered.

I've had fun with it while it's lasted. It served me in a very crucial way during a crucial period of my life, but honestly, it's been shit since about June. I've had a few really good postings since then (really good, and I know it), but there's something preventing me from trying most of the time. I'm considering a new blog, but I've not committed to it yet.

"The Last Ditch," the title, refers to my last ditch attempt to become a writer after all those years of writer's block. The blog did for me what it needed to do: It got me back in touch with words. These days, I put so little thought into my posts that they're tantamount to blowing smoke out my ass. I had thought recently that I would try to really vary my postings, but I don't seem to care anymore.

That said, my sex blog won't fit the entire bill for me, not in a permanent kind of way. I'll need something else. My life is pretty hectic right now, though, so I'm not sure when the motivation to create something new will arise. I'm also not sure whether I'll publish the URL on here, but I probably will. My ego will probably keep me from favouring anonymity.

I won't kill this blog. It'll stay up as a testimony of my year. That said, the "year" doesn't end until November 3rd. I will keep this blog going until a year to the day that it began. Hopefully I'll top 20,000 hits before that happens. Speaking of hits, I'm on the verge of 45,000 at my new blog, in 2.5 months, which astounds me.

Maybe I'll change my mind about this, but I really think it's time to pull the plug, take a couple weeks or a month or so off, and start fresh. They say that any new writer should write a novel, then throw it out, and write the "real" novel. Why? Because the first one's almost always self-involved bullshit... which this blog has been, save for some really fun posts in between it all.

The trick is in being mature enough to know when that's what it is: Self-involved. I know. I'm certain. It's that. So, these are the thoughts running through my mind. Stay tuned.

(I thought my one-year anniversary was Nov. 4, but I was wrong: Nov. 22. I'll be posting until November, at least, and maybe until the one-year... or else that's the day I'll launch a new blog to replace this. Haven't figured it out yet. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Floods, earthquakes, and bombs, oh my

Mother Nature continues to kick our ass, story at 11.

Pakistan and Kasmir have been felled by that horrific earthquake, and my heart goes out to ‘em, if my funds do not. My reality doesn’t afford me the opportunity to be generous, and that’s just how it goes. This weekend, I’ll probably round up some toonies and contribute a meagre $10 or $20, which is all I can muster.

As a tax-paying citizen, whenever tragedy like this hits the world, I demand my government give when I cannot.

Fortunately, I live in a country where the government has adopted a terrific strategy for monster catastrophes such as this, which it first implemented in response to Asia’s Tsunami last Boxing Day. The government announced yesterday that it would repeat the program in which whatever funds are contributed to legitimate NGOs by the Canadian people, the government will match.

It must be difficult to know, when you’re a government official, just how much leeway the people are giving you in order to respond in times like these. To put the weight on the shoulders of the people inspires us to put our money where their mouth is. It worked phenomenally well last year, when Canada wound up contributing more to the Tsunami per capita than America, thanks to the matching-funds scheme.

If governing is truly about adhering to the wishes of the public, then this is really a great example of that plan in action.

Here in Canada, one of our largest groups of immigrants comes from India and Pakistan. I imagine the fundraising being done in those communities will test the federal coffers. I hope the remainder of the country also reaches deeply.


In other news from that region of the world, I want to express my disappointment in learning that my government has agreed to contribute nuclear elements to India in an attempt to solidify a trading future with the growing industrial giant that nation is becoming.

Canada has been a major player in the disarmament movement, and to brush all that aside in order to provide India with nuclear materials that may well be used in weaponry flies in the face of who we are as a nation. India has apparently “promised” not to use the materials in a militaristic fashion, but their track record screams otherwise. India and Pakistan have combined for more near-nuclear threats in the past few decades than most nations.

With the now-beleagered region of Kasmir still being disputed, the tensions between India and Pakistan are unlikely to settle down at any point in the future.

Nevermind the fact that in 1974, India exploded a nuclear device that held Canadian materials, causing Canada to refuse providing further nuclear supplies to the nation, a policy which has stood until now.

Shame on Ottawa. And it’s a pity this story has received so little press.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Got Wood? Got Energy

Today, Canadian Thanksgiving, I’m happy to announce yet another reason I’m a thankful, proud Canadian.

Dynamotive, a BC company, has created a world first -- a clean source of energy from wood waste.

Forestry is one of the most profitable industries here in British Columbia, a fact that enviro-friendly folks like myself accept with great chagrin. Now, though, it seems we are seeing positives from that dubious distinction.

Disgusted by the prospect of simply burning up wood waste and further polluting our planet, the folks at Dynamotive conceived this brilliant product. Wood is chipped, turned into sawdust, then through some magical process probably involving elves and wood sprites, BioOil is created.
BioOil is an ideal clean fuel because it is greenhouse gas neutral, does not produce SOx (sulfur dioxide) emissions during combustion and produces approximately half the NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions in comparison with fossil fuels.

It also doesn’t emit CO2, if I understand the figures right. But it’s really all Greek to me. You can click here for the scientific breakdown comparing BioOil to light and heavy fossil fuel oils.

The firm is seeking to do more with the product, which is a very recent creation. The benefits are two-fold. One, the plants which would be making the wood products and creating wood waste will no longer be disposing of the wood in archaic fashion, thus reducing both waste and harmful emissions resulting from burning chemically treated lumber. And two, it will be providing clean energy to local homes, thus reducing the use of fossil fuels and the emissions thereof.
The Company and its strategic partners are currently in construction on the worlds's first BioOil co-generation facility located at Erie Flooring and Wood Products in West Lorne, Ontario. The 2.5 megawatt plant combines DynaMotive Energy Systems' fast pyrolysis technology with Magellan Aerospace Orenda Division's OGT 2500 gas turbine. Erie Flooring will provide wood residue from its operations and utilize electricity produced from the turbine to power its mills and steam to heat its lumber kilns, with the balance of the electricity exported to the Ontario power grid. In addition to providing the energy needs of the sawmill, enough green electricity to power 2500 homes will be realized.

But wait, there’s more. The extraction process for BioOil isn’t just applicable to wood. It can be used with cane sugar, wheat straw, and rice hulls. While Canada may be the world’s bread basket and leading lumber supplier, this flexibility of the product means that Asia and the Carribbean and probably Africa, if not the whole world, can all get in on the program, and probably even create great new financial dividends for each nation, through residuals of products they’re already creating.

It’s still early in BioOil’s lifecycle, but the potential is amazing. Simply phenomenal. I’m thrilled to see big industry not only cleaning up its act, but cleaning up for others, too.

Let’s hope more corporations take the innovative lead and try to conjure other enviromentally beneficial advancements so we can all breathe a little easier.

Gobble, gobble, gobble

To Canadians everywhere, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

To Americans wondering what the hell we're doing Thanksgiving so early for... well, that's because harvest time always came so much earlier for Canada, and Thanksgiving is more a harvest celebration for us. To you, I wish a Happy Columbus Day.

Now, if only I was able to sleep in. Grr!

Friday, October 07, 2005

ABCs and 123s

So, I recently returned to teaching ESL after an extended 7 year break away from it.

I spoke this evening with a gentleman who had initially gotten me my early ESL jobs, almost a decade ago. Back then, I primarily taught high school kids from Taiwan who needed assistance with English.

I just found out that two of my earliest students, one just graduated with a Masters degree in Physics, and the other just graduated with honours in Engineering. How cool is that shit?

The one who just graduated with the honours, I remember getting him into writing. He wasn't interested at all, at first. Getting him to write me a full page was as fun as pulling teeth, really. Somehow, somewhere, some way, I managed to flick a switch in him and he realized that writing creatively was fun.

Next thing you know, I was getting seven-page tales written about dragon-slaying and shit like that. I thought it was cool then, but knowing now that he's graduated with honours just blows me away. I know that I helped him get there, and that's pretty wicked for this non-University educated gal.

(I have a lowly college degree, since I've always hated institutions. Had I it all to do over again, I'd love to do university via living on campus. But I didn't, and that's how it goes. I should've listened to my mother when she told me at 17 that one of her biggest regrets was never having gone to university, and never having lived on campus. Listen to your folks, kids.)


And apparently all my new students this week have told the dude who referred me to them that they "love" me. Yay!

I am teacher. Hear me roar.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Wake me, I'm dreaming

They say that politics ultimately defines art.

Well, get ready for the big return of Surrealism, my friends. It’s unavoidable now.

I get my Daily Shows administered in bulk. I record it, then at some point in the week I’ll watch two or three at a time. These days, it could be the Dali Show, with all the surrealist bullshit coming off the wires.

So, I was watching my bulk dosage of Stewart and friends when Lewis Black launched into the Bush administration’s fiscal brilliance down there in New Orleans. Remember hearing the first news of the remedies being undertaken by relief operations? They negotiated with Carnival Cruises (the world’s most successful cruise line) to house displaced NOLA folk off the shores of the Big Easy. I’m sure that everyone thought, like me, that Carnival was doing “the right thing” and helping at a bit of a loss to their bottom line, like any good American would.

But as Black points out, at over $1200 per resident per week, the government is giving Carnival more than double what a week-long Carribbean trip would go for to the retail public.

Doesn’t it just baffle the mind? Do you really need commentary on that? Is it necessary to point out that “profiteering” used to be illegal during wartimes, back in the day? This is just doubly offensive for that reason alone, not to mention all the other practicalities that are sure to have Carnival’s board of directors laughing a mirthlessly ironic laugh all the way to the bank.

Such as: No need to market the cruise for three months. No need to book port landing fees. The ability to cut back on staffing. And-and-and wait for it: No need to worry about the highest cost of fuel in American history, for three full months. Coincidentally, by that time, the fuel prices will have probably stabilized, and Carnival's operating costs will return to a more fiscally happy place.

Carnival is an American company. As a Canadian, it pisses me right the fuck off that our national airline, Air Canada, has donated flights for New Orleans residents needing air passage, and a fucking American company is profiteering as it claims to be coming to the aid of its fellow people.

The government should have demanded better. Carnival should have offered more for less. It’s disgusting.

But you want more surrealism? How about this Harriet Miers nomination?

Oh, my god. This is so fucking weird it deserves a narrator and creepy theme music. Where’s Rod Serling when you really need him? Death is such a cop-out. Someone, get me some smelling salts.

Miers in a nutshell: This is awoman who looks like she raids the drawers at the morgue for leftover makeup supplies, who has no judicial experience, but thank god for defending the President in his East Texas fishing cabin debacle back in ‘95, the Prez knows he can count on Miers.

If I had an active imagination, I’d be surmising that he can count on her for “20 years” or more simply because he’s got the key to her skeleton closet.

But I don’t have an active imagination, and I can only surmise instead that Bush has entered orbit on his disconnect from reality. I don’t have a fucking clue what the man’s up to on this occasion. (Not like my Bush decoder ring works often at all, really.)

I hope the Americans who voted for Bush see the incredible insult being doled out for them by this laughingstock of a leader. Do Americans today realize that the appointing of judges to the Supreme Court is second only to a president’s war record as far as its importance to the nation? The only difference is, that while a war may affect a country’s future for more than a decade, a Supreme Court appointment most certainly will affect it for the minimum of a decade -- and in John Roberts’ case, perhaps up to four or five decades.

Honestly, if this wasn’t so important, it’d be uproariously funny. At least when Bush was listening to Rove there seemed to be some sense behind his actions, but this... THIS truly is one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen done in politics.

Think about it: It’s not specificed that a nominee have judicial experience for the Supreme Court... but isn’t it fucking implied? Hell, we all know we’re physically able to jump off bridges, but isn’t it implied that it may not be the wisest move?

Is someone spiking this dude’s Wheaties again? When even Bill O’Reilly finds the event laughable, you know you’re in trouble.

Bushie, you’re doing a heck of a job. Really.

Classic: "Bush Sells Louisiana Back to the French"

Excerpted from

BATON ROUGE, LA. – The White House announced today that President Bush has successfully sold the state of Louisiana back to the French at more than double its original selling price of $11,250,000.
“This is a bold step forward for America,” said Bush. “And America will be stronger and better as a result. I stand here today in unity with French Prime Minister Jack Shiraq, who was so kind to accept my offer of Louisiana in exchange for 25 million dollars cash.”

The state, ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, will cost hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild.

“Jack understands full well that this one’s a ‘fixer upper,’” said Bush. “He and the French people are quite prepared to pump out all that water, and make Louisiana a decent place to live again. And they’ve got a lot of work to do. But Jack’s assured me, if it’s not right, they’re going to fix it.”

The move has been met with incredulity from the already beleaguered residents of Louisiana.

“Shuba-pie!” said New Orleans resident Willis Babineaux. “Frafer-perly yom kom drabby sham!”

However, President Bush’s decision has been widely lauded by Republicans.

“This is an unexpected but brilliant move by the President,” said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. “Instead of spending billions and billions, and billions of dollars rebuilding the state of Louisiana, we’ve just made 25 million dollars in pure profit.”

“This is indeed a smart move,” commented Fox News analyst Brit Hume. “Not only have we stopped the flooding in our own budget, we’ve made money on the deal. Plus, when the god-awful French are done fixing it up, we can easily invade and take it back again.”

The money gained from 'The Louisiana Refund' is expected to be immediately pumped back into the rebuilding of Iraq.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The tops, baby. The tops.

The Economist Intelligence Unit has decided that Vancouver, BC is the best city in the world to live in.

Yeah. We think so, too.

The BBC reports.

(I'd post a photo, but... Sigh.)

Monday, October 03, 2005

That Moment

There comes a time when you realize, in no particular order, that:

  • That was an incredibly stupid mistake
  • Jesus, does that suck
  • There's sweet fuck all I can do about it now

And you finally realize that there's just no sense in thinking about it anymore.

I mean, bad moods suck, right? And life's too fucking short. So, moving on.

(I think.)

From the cosmos, a giant "fuck you"

So, I've never been good at backing shit up, and never bothered to learn how to do it on my Mac. Some will say I get what I deserve, and I suppose that's just the way the dice rolls.

Still, I'm pissed. At me, at the cosmos, but mostly at the fucking motherfucker who could've saved me all this grief if he did his job right the first time. I should've been pushier. I should've been more thorough that my use of basic English terms like "I need the "pictures" folder in entirety..." was effective enough for him to grasp.

But I wasn't, I didn't, and now I need to live with the fact that my computer crash on the weekend has resulted in my having lost 95% of my photography taken since April of this year.

On the upside, all of my writing has been saved. Thank GOD for small miracles. Writing cannot be replicated. It is what it is, a passing mood, a particular phrase...

I'm really crushed about the photos, though, because he was archiving all my shit, transferring it all off. I mean, I paid the motherfucker to get my ass out of dodge with this... and here I am, about five minutes from bawling. Shoulda coulda woulda. Sometime in the next month or two, I'm buying an 80GB external drive and This Will Never Happen Again.

Fucking hell.

A lot of my photos aren't exactly brilliantly original in that it was "a moment in time" and that's that. I am a better photographer than y'all have seen, but I'm too lazy to go through the effort to really get the kind of shots I wish I'd take more of.

A lot of the pics I've lost is stuff I can replicate if I go to X spot and take X angle shot again, but there's a few I'm pretty choked about. Fortunately some photos of my nephew have been saved... and that's really important to me, if nothing else is. The kid's too cute in a few of those photos... the kinds that really capture his essence. That's the important shit.

Sigh. What a fucked up start to my week. Oh well. I think this calls for a 1pm beer.