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Yearly Archives: 2009

Bah. Effin. Humbug.


Yep, it’s that time of year again.

You know what I’m talking about.

Christmas.

It’s that magical time of year, when people lose their fucking minds in the name of Christmas cheer and holiday spirit.

I hate this holiday.

Why? Because things changed so much that it no longer became a fun holiday. Reason for this is simple. I grew up. Scary ain’t it?

When I was a kid, I used to get so excited about getting dressed up in my tights and shiny tip-tap shoes and the standard fancy holiday dress, then going to Grandmom’s house Christmas eve.

Grams’ place was the awesome place. She would go all out for decorating. Lights, tree, ornaments. Now Grams’ house was small, it was only her and Grampy there except on Christmas eve. Then it was Grams, Grampy, Uncle Mike, Mom, dad, Me and then later on there was my brother, Aunt Jen, and my two cousins.  With everyone there, all the gifts, and all the food, plus furniture it was cramped. But we loved doing this every year.

The year I was considered no longer a kid, was kind of a shock. The living room was usually packed with the kids’ gifts. Four or five of us kids at times. When I turned 18, my gift pile got smaller, and my stuff was moved to the adult stuff. Now I loved all of my gifts that I got and was thankful them but I couldn’t help feeling like the fun of Christmas was over.

No longer was I asked for a Christmas list, I was an adult.

There was also the year my family started to fall apart.  That was a painful. Thankfully there was enough of a facade of a happy family to make it through one last Christmas together.  Opened up presents in the morning, Dad got to smile to see his family happy because they had things they wanted. But… when January rolled around, and the power was shut off, we knew why.

It wasn’t until recently that I explained to both my parents that I knew how much they did for us, and how much the sacrificed to make sure we had everything we wanted for Christmas. Many people see me ditzy and unobservant, but that’s just a mask. I knew what issues my parents were having, but it didn’t matter to me at the time.  I was a kid, and it was Christmas. Mind you this was all after I stopped believing Santa.

Now I have a kid of my own and I would do anything to see him smile. Including watching my accounts go negative for the millionth time, paying the NSF fees, letting my rent and other bills lapse just so I can make sure that he has a great Christmas.

In doing this it’s made me realize I understand what it means to give up everything for someone just to make them smile. I understand why my dad never gave us a Christmas list. All I want for Christmas is to see my family smile.

However, it doesn’t make me like the holiday anymore. I’m just better at hiding it.  Every year I drag out my decorations, tree, and make 3d paper snowflakes. And every year I smiles and pretend to be cheerful so my son doesn’t worry. But I know in my heart one year he’s going to know I’m faking it. I just hope by then he’ll be old enough to understand.

A big reason I dislike Christmas is the fact it cost so much money. Gifts. Now I don’t have a lot of money, I never have. So when my family sends money for their gifts, I take one and make it the to so and so; from some family member. Everything comes from Santa. Mom told me this is the way it should be, and it probably is. But really it’s more like easing my conscious for being so poor I can hardly afford gifts. Santa is a good scapegoat.

I do hope that one year I do get my Christmas spirit back, but for now, I’ll just keep wearing the mask.

Keep it real and rockin’

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2009 in Life, Opinion, Rants

 

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Sask Books: Dancing In My Bones


“Dancing in My Bones”
by Wilfred Burton and Anne Patton
Published by the Gabriel Dumont Institute
Review by Arnold J. Isbister
Price $12.95 ISBN 978-0-920915-89-9

I found this book insightful and entertaining. It is a good read for young people and adults as well. It takes you into a young boy’s life and shows how his culture plays such an important part in his upbringing. The language of the story is simple with the words written as the people would talk in such situations. I love the full page (21×28cm) colored illustrations with the story in English and below in Michif. These dimensions make the book more entertaining and engaging and make it feel good in the hands as you read, especially to kids who want to see the images whilst peeking over your shoulder. They are big, full of color and full of life, making the imagination ‘dance’. I greatly admire the imagery like the supper scene or the scene where Uncle Bunny is sitting and starting to play his violin as his foot taps the floor. These bring back fond memories that most can identify with. This is why I recommend this book for adults as well because most who have lived this life will remember and go back to their younger years. This book is perfect for a Moushoom to Nooshishim bedtime story where I see both falling asleep with smiles on their faces.

In addition to being a good read with fantastic imagery, I thought the glossary was a great idea. The recipe idea and add-on was genius and should be expanded on, maybe including some cultural staples such as bannock and Muskeg tea. Last but not least is the CD with actual music from this culture that makes you live the story. Play the tunes as you read and the imagery becomes that much more vivid.

THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE OR VISIT WWW.SKBOOKS.COM.

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2009 in Sask Books

 

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Online reading list


There’s a ton of indie authors that are out there.  I mean, let’s face it, I don’t just write and post up the episodes at the blog, I also read.  Because I can’t just write all the time.  I need to be entertained as well.  Here’s a checklist of online novels and serial series I’m currently taking a look at.  This doesn’t include podcasts, but I’ll make a list of that sometime as well.  Each description of the story is taken direct from the synopsis from the Web Fiction Guide.

Now that he’s of age, Prince Temmin must leave his childhood home behind for a new life with his father in the capital.  King Harsin plans to educate his son in the ways of all the kings who have come before.  But the family’s immortal advisor, Teacher, has other plans: to bring Temmin closer to his people, to bind him to a Temple devoted to eroticism, and to set him on a path that will lead ultimately to unimaginable glory for the House of Tremont—or its end.

Brave and beautiful young Treasury agent Annabelle Duniway is sent undercover to the wide-open mining town of Scryer’s Gulch to track down the villain poisoning the magic-boosting ore known as hermetauxite.  If she doesn’t succeed, this unscrupulous evildoer may take over the world!  Is it the kindly mayor?  Or the ruthless mine owner?  How about his gold-digging wife, or his disaffected son?  The local madam says she wants to destroy the town and everyone in it.  Is it her?  Or worse, could it be the rugged sheriff Annabelle yearns to trust with her mission—and maybe, her heart?  The only one she can trust is her cat, Misi, and she’s not too sure about him, either.

The enigmatic Peacock King, ruler of half of the known world, seeks to possess the land itself by enslaving the spirits of the wild.  Gerald, a newly initiated Poet whose magic is as real as he can write it, is also one of the Armed—enforcers of the Law who wield guns with souls.  His mission: infiltrate the Peacock King’s Court and gather intelligence.  Unfortunately for Gerald, things quickly go awry . . .

Can he outwit the Peacock King?  Will he be able to save his long-lost brother, who is the King’s new spirit-tamer?

The Peacock King is an illustrated fantasy epic that’s unfolding via free web serial novels and short stories.

Life above ground is something Lilith has never experienced. When she gets the chance to visit the outside world, to see, firsthand, the monsters that roam the surface, she’s understandably ecstatic. But the infected have a reputation for being dangerous for a reason, and Lilith is about to find out why . . . .

This is the story of Lilith, and her struggles for survival as she is plunged into an unfamiliar world that is far more dangerous than she could ever have imagined.

314 Crescent Manor

Welcome to Crescent Manor.  Where the rent is cheap and your neighbours are dead to the world.—The Landlord

Mark and Nathan Connor are twins, but in name only.  There is little to connect them, save their current residence in Crescent Manor, an old building situated in the centre of a mid-sized city.

They are unaware the tenants of Crescent Manor are never housed at random.  With its large, brooding stained glass tree bearing down on them from the fourth floor down to the first, it watches, and waits for one world to topple angrily into the next.

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

A winter survival guide


There’s nothing worse than stepping out on a cold winter morning to start the car and the engine rolls over, but refuses to hit that spark and fire to life.  It’s that realization that suddenly strikes you.  “You mean I have to walk in this crap?”

Well, the only thing to do is ensure that you have the necessary means to survive the cold and ward off anything serious, like frostbite.  I’ve had frostbite, it isn’t fun.  With all the fashion crazes out there, I have to say I go for functionality over fashion.  I want to be warm.  I’m sure I’ll look much better being warm than with the latest trend, but looking like an icicle.

The key is layering.  Make sure you’ve got enough layers on in order to keep warm outside and warm inside.  You don’t want to wear a big bulky sweater inside, only to find that it’s too hot, but removing it will mean you’re too cold.  So start off with something simple.  Like a turtle neck shirt.  Thin, but warm, it’s the basis of the layering.  It’s the last article of clothing that will be worn should it get too hot in the office.

Next on the list is something warm that goes over the shirt.  In this case, I chose a bunny hug hoodie (yes, dammit, I said BUNNY HUG HOODIE) and a fleece lined vest.  Stylish while at the same time very warm.  As it is, neither of these articles of clothing ever goes out of style, plus it gives to look that tells people “I’m damn warm.”

Of course, the next item has to be something that covers up your neck.  Sorry, but the turtle neck alone ain’t gonna do it.  You’ll need a scarf for this.  A good, heavy scarf will do the trick.  Me, I’ve got a few, which includes this lovely number I got for Christmas a few years back.  In extreme cold situations, I also have a scarf my mom knitted for me, that’s about six feet in length.  If that won’t keep out the cold, then nothing will.  The scarf, if long enough, can also double as a neck warmer and be wrapped around your head to help keep you warm.  Combined with the hood of the BUNNY HUG HOODIE, that should do the trick.  Alternatively, a tuque will ensure that your forehead and ears are kept snug and warm.

Next on the list is a decent jacket.  Depending on the temperature, you can settle for a good fleece lined wind breaker.  Especially if there is little to no wind.  On much windier days, get ready to pull on a thick, down filled jacket, like a parka.  I honestly like the military surplus jackets, which I bought in Saskatoon at Quinn the Eskimo.  But for days like today, which are still cold, but not too bad, I opted for the fleece lined wind breaker.

Gloves come next, as you have to keep the fingers dry and warm.  The three places that cold air can affect a person are the head, the feet and the hands.  Keep those three warm and you should be safe.  A pair of gloves made with Thinsulate should help, and it doesn’t matter what they look like, as long as you have good mobility in your fingers.  For colder weather, keep the smaller gloves, but have a good, thick pair of snowmobile gloves on standby.

Let’s not forget the last piece of clothing that you will need when getting ready to head out on a walk in the winter wonderland of Saskatchewan.  Shoes.  While you don’t need a pair of snowmobilie boots, as the snow is not that deep, nor snow shoes, you still need a good pair of shoes to keep the toes warm.  So your loafers, no good.  Leave ‘em at home.  I’m sure everyone in the office can forgive you if you’re wearing a good pair of insulated hickers.  Hickers are good, because they are tough, durable and warm.  Combine that with the fact that many look really good, and you’re good to go.

With all of these little tid bits, you’ll be good for the cold weather outside.  Just make sure that you have a good route to go that keeps you sheltered if the wind does decide to pick up.  Keeping warm is the key, and keep your thoughts on that destination, because at the end of it all is a good cup of coffee or cocoa that could very well be waiting for you.

Stay tuned, because in the coming days I’ll take a look at what your car needs for continued winter survival.  From the outside to the inside, in the event that you ever should become stranded.

Until next time…

…keep ‘em flyin’!

Edits brought to you by Zodi. Keeping Tim Americanized (sorta) since 2007.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2009 in Life, photos, randomness

 

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Canada’s most vibrant job markets


Stats Canada has released the information on the top ten best places to work in Canada.  these ten Canadian cities have the lowest unemployment rates in the country.  It’s interesting to note that number 1 and 2 are Saskatchewan cities.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

SaskatoonNovember ’09 unemployment: 4.6%
October ’09: 4.4%
Source: StatsCan

Population: 202,340
Main Industries: Potash, Agriculture

A new analysis and research centre is to give a boost to Saskatoon’s mining industry. Where once firms had to send testing out of the province, the city’s $1.3-million Advanced Microanalysis Centre will create jobs and a

Regina, Saskatchewan

ReginaNovember ’09 unemployment: 4.9%
October ’09: 5.1%
Source: StatsCan

Population: 179,246
Main Industries: Oil and Natural Gas, Potash

Perhaps surprisingly, Regina’s retail development has kept the city strong. Its retail vacancy rate – in a town of over seven million square feet of working space – is a modest 2.7%.

llow it to be performed locally.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Winnipeg

November ’09 unemployment: 5.4%
October ’09: 5.8%
Source: StatsCan

Population: 633,451
Main Industries: Financial, Transportation

Manitoba’s capital has been strong, and new funding to the University of Winnipeg’s science departments should stimulate research in the province. Winnipeg is even considering an expansion of the city.

Quebec City, Province of Quebec

QuebecNovember ’09 unemployment: 5.3%
October ’09: 5.4%
Source: StatsCan

Population: 491,142
Main Industries: Public Administration, Manufacturing

According to updated economic indicators, many insurance companies in the Quebec City area are continuing to boom. A local industry that increased its workforce by 9.5% between 2006 and 2008, the city’s insurers seem primed to open up more jobs by the end of year.

Gatineau, Province of Quebec

Gatineau, Quebec

November ’09 unemployment: 5.4%
October ’09: 5.48%
Source: StatsCan

Population: 242,124
Main Industries: Government, Public Administration

Despite declines similar with other Quebec towns, Gatineau’s strong public administration field has kept the city above the majority of Canada’s recession. “That’s sort of helped (Gatineau) not to follow the national trend too much,” said Vincent Ferrao, an analyst with Stats Canada.

Sherbrooke, Province of Quebec

Sherbrooke, Quebec (The Canadian Press Images/Charles-Antoine Auge)November ’09 unemployment: 5.7%
October ’09: 6.4%
Source: StatsCan

With the help of the federal government, Sherbrooke has been building employment modestly throughout the downturn. Ten local jobs will be added upon the completion of Tekna Plasma Systems’ new factory next year (thanks to $1 million from the feds), and another 17 are coming soon from biosecurity firm Laboratoire M2, which just got $830,000 in federal loans itself.

Ottawa, Ontario

Ottawa

November ’09 unemployment: 5.8%
October ’09: 5.9%
Source: StatsCan

Population: 812,129
Main Industries: Government, Wood and Paper Production

Things have already started to rebound for the nation’s capital, which saw a “significant” increase in jobs lately. Nine thousand more people were already working in August compared to a month earlier.

Saint John, New Brunswick

Saint John, N.B.November ’09 unemployment: 6.0%
October ’09: 5.2%
Source: StatsCan

Population: 68,043
Main Industries: Forestry, Shipbuilding

The New Brunswick city is doing “fantastic” in comparison to other Canadian locales struggling with the downturn. “Saint John is definitely booming and in the next three years will be a place to watch in Canada,” said one analyst.

Kingston, Ontario

Kingston, OntarioNovember ’09 unemployment: 6.2%
October ’09: 6.1%
Source: StatsCan

For all the talk about green jobs, Kingston is moving. The city is in the process of building a $500 million solar panel factory as a division of Toronto-based Everbrite Industries Inc. Good business, sure, but the investment also allowed Kingston to create 1,200 new jobs in the area.

Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria

November ’09 unemployment: 6.9%
October ’09: 6.8%
Source: StatsCan

Population: 78,057
Main Industries: Technology, Tourism

The future looks bright for B.C. as 2009 university enrolment spiked across the province. Expecting a modest 3% growth, the University of Victoria found an impressive 6.1% increase in students for the fall semester.

Reprinted from MSN Money.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2009 in randomness

 

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I survived H1N1, and the needle


As the title states, I survived H1N1.  No, I didn’t contract it.  As I’ve heard, the only way you can tell the difference between H1N1 and regular flu is when you’re dead.  And I’m still alive and kickin’.  But I just returned from getting the vaccination shot.

I hate needles, let me just say that.  I remember as a child, going in for a blood test or inoculation for measles or mumps (yes, I’m that old) and screaming because the needle was so huge.  As I grew older, the needle got smaller, but the fear was still there.  So today, I just kept blathering incoherently to the nurse, who took my ramblings in stride, while she stabbed me in the arm.  Oh, I felt it, boy did I feel it.

But I was a trooper, and no scream came forth.  At least, not as far as I know.  When I went to sit back down for fifteen minutes no one was staring at me as though I’d just made a scene, so I’m going to say that all went well.

Did I mention that I hate needles?

This isn’t so much about the vaccine and getting the shot as it is about my incredible fear of needles.  Even the conversation about people who’d received the vaccine, and how they felt the next day like they’d been hit by a truck didn’t phase me.  It was all about the needle.  Don’t ask me how big the needle was, because I’m pretty sure that if I looked the five strapping cattle handlers that I spotted in the line up would have had to hold me down while the nurse administered the shot.

It’s the old adage; you may be weak in body, but that is made up for when fear is involved.  Then I bet I could take on the Incredible Hulk.  C’mon, Green Guy.  Bet I’m a lot tougher scared then you are mad.  I don’t need alcohol to feel ten feet tall and bullet proof.  Just threaten me with a needle and my juices start flowing for that monkey survival instinct in the primitive part of my brain.

Maybe it was that inherent fear of the needle that made me wait until the last minute to get my H1N1 vaccination done.  After all, in this one instance, I want to be part of the in crowd.  I wanna be like everyone else.  Sure, I worried about H1N1.  But when I got to the clinic, all that worry about the strain of flu faded away.

At that point, it was all about the needle.

Until next time…

…keep ‘em flyin’!

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2009 in Life, randomness

 

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Fast paced and violent


Last night, the Outlook Ice Hawks played a close game to long time SVHL rivals the Conquest Merchants.  Some good skating in a real back and forth tight game.  The only slow down came in the second period.  A Conquest player did his job and finished a check on his man while going for the puck.  For the Ice Hawks player, Travis Erlandson, he lay on the ice as trainers, team mates and the crowd watched.  Travis took a pretty hard hit, and he took a ride in the ambulance as a result.

Was the hit malicious?  No, far from it.  The hit was exactly what the Merchants player was supposed to do.  Finishing his check.  Travis was even doing what he was supposed to do.  It’s just something zigged when it should have zagged.  These things happen.  Fortunately there were two nurses in the stands and they came out to assist as ambulance was called.

Hockey is a fast paced and very rough sport.  There’s a reason why players wear equipment.  Over the years, more and more safety features to protect players have been developed.  From the goalie mask that began with Jacques Plant, right down to the skates, neck guard, shoulder and shin pads.  Hockey isn’t the only sport that is that fast paced and violent.  Football is as well, but it’s in short bursts.  As TSN’s Chris Schultz said, it’s controlled chaos.  Hockey is fast and continuous.

The good news about Travis, he’s wearing a neck brace and is up and walking around.  He’s probably very sore and very stiff, but for the most part he’s alright.  I make mention of this not to give argument to those who find hockey to be such a violent game that it needs to be banned (because more than likely someone has had that thought).  But I mention this because these things happen.  Hockey is a sport, and the players know the risks of playing.  It’s a lot like the rest of us knowing the risks of living.  There was no malicious intent in the hit that Travis took, it’s just a part of the game.

The good thing is, that Travis is alright.

Until next time…

…keep ‘em flyin’.

Sask Valley Hockey League  Standings :  2009/2010
Team GP Points Wins Losses Ties OTL GF GA Last 5 Streak
Kyle Elks 8 14 7 1 0 0 72 20 5-0-0 7 W
Elrose Aces 8 14 7 1 0 0 50 23 4-1-0 1 L
Delisle Bruins 8 14 7 1 0 0 45 32 5-0-0 5 W
Rosetown Redwings 8 12 5 1 0 2 63 40 3-1-1 1 W
Lucky Lake Lakers 6 8 4 2 0 0 30 28 4-1-0 2 W
Loreburn 19ers 7 6 3 4 0 0 39 40 1-4-0 1 L
Conquest Merchants 8 6 3 5 0 0 34 35 3-2-0 2 W
Central Butte Flyers 9 6 3 6 0 0 26 48 1-4-0 4 L
Kenaston Blizzard 8 4 2 6 0 0 36 55 1-4-0 1 L
Biggar Nationals 9 2 1 8 0 0 32 77 1-4-0 2 L
Outlook Ice Hawks 7 2 1 6 0 0 28 57 1-4-0 1 L
GP – Games Played, OTL – Overtime Loss, GF – Goals For, GA – Goals Against
 
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Posted by on December 6, 2009 in Life, Opinion, randomness, Sports

 

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