Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Chance To Be A Little Less Alone

"... and uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.

How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace... that love? The world is barren enough.

It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?"

Adventures in Edmonton

It started innocently enough… but then, isn’t that always the case?

A woman in a semi-frantic state approached us at a store in Terra Losa while I was picking Duncan up. She said “My kids are in the hospital. It’s an emergency, can you give me a ride?” We were only about 5 minutes from the hospital so how could I say no to that? We weren’t in the car for more than 45 seconds before she asked me if I could cash a cheque for her. I said “No, I can not” in my best Hillary Clinton voice.

What I should have asked her was if she needed a ride to the hospital, because, well, I just assumed. When I got to the hospital and went to turn in she told me to keep going as she actually wanted to go to a house a couple of kilometers away. That irritated me a little but it was cold out so I figured a couple of kilometers couldn’t hurt.

It only took me a few seconds to change my mind. She looked at me and said “We know each other... the last time my kids were kidnapped you gave me a ride. We went to California.” I glanced at her, thinking this was going to be the longest two kilometers I had ever driven, and decided there was something very wrong with her but that she wasn’t much of a threat.

When we finally got to the street she wanted it was kind of dark and a tad bit too deserted for my liking. She said to keep going to a house down the street with a light on where people were “waiting for her.” That was enough for me; I pulled over and told her this was as far as we were going. She did get out then but walked up to a different house. We kind of had a chuckle at her crazy antics, until I got home and found a cheque book belonging to some guy on the floor in the back of the car. It had a few cheques in it written out for 1000.00 each, obviously forged. So in addition to being used as a free taxi (or perhaps a get away car) Duncan and I had to spend a good portion of our evening in the community police station relaying the story to an officer whom I am sure has heard it all.

Best reaction to my story so far goes to Adam B. who exclaimed “Geez Allie, you’re like frickin’ Gandhi!

Maybe I am too nice.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Alberta Meteor Event

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Mickey!

Eighty years looks good on you!

PS I miss you. We should reconnect soon!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In the Service of Peace

In the Service of Canada

In addition to remembering our Veterans today my thoughts drift towards friends and strangers serving in Afghanistan who are on the front lines of what has been Canada's most dangerous United Nations Mission to date. My thoughts, prayers and thanks are with you all.

Last Post.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Basement FINALLY Reclaimed!

It's been a project months in the making (from first conception through actually cleaning out six years of household accumulation) but we have basically reclaimed the basement, just in time for the winter months where we are all confined inside!

The Warhammer Space

This space was previously occupied territory: bikes, boxes of Christmas decorations, and some stuff that was so important it hadn't even been unpacked from our move almost six years ago! Now the boys have a 4 x 6 Gaming table for their shared Warhammer habit and I get my kitchen table back. The table and the area around this will continue to be developed over the next few months, but they are down there right now playing - success!

The Art Studio!

My daughter is an artist and art needs a space all of it's own. Space can be at a premium in a 3 bedroom home that houses 4 people but I was more than happy to allot this space just for her. It is also a developing project - she still needs a large easel, a chair (apparently) and many more types of materials available for creativity and production.

As for me... I guess my space is the laundry part or the Food Pantry! Hmmm, that doesn't sound like much fun... I think I deserve a wine cellar!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Why is the Sky Red?

During the day the sun warms the surface of the Earth and creates wind which lifts dust particles into the air and upper atmosphere. The intense red and orange hues of the sky at sunset are mainly caused by the scattering of sunlight across these particulates floating around. This phenomenon can be further explained through scientific understanding as the process of Discrete Dipole Approximation, the Mie Theory or in some cases by the Rayleigh Scattering of sunlight by air molecules rather than dust particles (Rayleigh is responsible for why the sky is blue).

Sunset goes through many stages of brilliance as the sun disappears. Some of them most intense moments only last for seconds - after I had got back in the car from taking these photos all of the dark reds and oranges had already faded. You can see more of my sunset and sunrise pictures here.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Tired of Discrimination Blamed on God

Ignorance and hate does not come from the heart or spirit of God. This is my favourite West Wing moment - it always drives me crazy when holier than thou scripture adherents pick and choose which laws they will follow and which laws they have decided no longer are valid in today's society. Especially since they use this as an excuse to bully, hurt, judge and condemn other people.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Vote NO on Proposition 8 in California

Proposition 8 in California is a terrible thing to have to contemplate in this year of 2008. All you have to do is insert "interracial marriage" into the argument where instead they say "homosexual marriage" and already you will recognize that the the argument is wrong. However, many people have presented these kinds of ideas in the blogosphere and I am not wanting to add to that today.

Instead I want to talk about our rights as people and what they mean to us. I am a strong believer in equal rights for everyone. When it comes to the core fundamental rights that we all enjoy, fair is fair. If they are not equally distributed then they are not rights but more like rules for a privileged sect of people.

When a group organizes to remove some rights from another group that they themselves wish to continue enjoying I get concerned. And maybe even a little angry. This is what is happening with Prop8 in California, entitled "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry." If passed, the proposition would "change the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California."

Our rights are things that we should cling to and uphold for everyone. If one group of people can have their rights eliminated then whose rights, pray tell, are safe?

Our rights are either equal or they're just not rights. They have to be applicable to everyone for them to have any real meaning. If you can allow one group of people to eliminate the legal rights of another then you must know in your heart that your own rights are a little less secure.

When Martin Niemöller wrote his poem in 1946 he was describing this kind of phenomenon with the hopes that it would never happen again - that people would heed his words, learn from his (and others) mistakes and have the courage to stand up for what is right, not just what they want.

I've heard all of the arguments, both for and against, and I understand where people are coming from even if I don't necessarily agree. I know there are some people out there who really want to vote Yes on Prop8 but have the nagging thought in the back of their mind that this proposition is unfair and wrong. Please, trust your instincts and Vote No on Prop8.

Vote No on Prop8.

Beware Canadian Paintball

I ordered something online from Canadian Paintball. The shipment arrived on Friday - and one of the products (the most expensive one of course) had a small but important piece broken off. I looked in the box for it and it was not there. It is obvious that this product was broken before it was shipped.

I emailed them immediately, with no response. Today I emailed their Sales asking for directions to return it for new product or to get a refund as this item is totally unusable without this part. Their website has all sorts of guarantees to make you think they are a legitimate business yet when faced with this type of problem their response was it's not their responsibility, it must have happened during shipping and the best they can do is advise me to file a claim with Canada Post.

This post might evolve as the interaction with this "company" unfolds. Obviously I will file a Paypal dispute as I am tired of internet rip off artists taking my money (hundreds of dollars in this case). Anyone considering buying online with Canadian Paintball - my advice would be to pay a little extra and actually go someplace reputable where you can see the product before you pay for it. Buyer beware!

Update: Canadian Paintball informed me today that they have no intention to participate in the Paypal dispute and have ended it. There will be no refund or exchange. I shall leave Canada Post to it's investigation of the the situation regarding the insurance AND surprisingly enough I am starting to find others on the web who have had issues with this company.

Last Update: We will never use Canadian Paintball again. For anyone looking for Paintball products and materials in Edmonton and area I wholly recommend PaintBall Action Games where we had wonderful hands on client service and they fixed up everything that was wrong with our faulty marker, for free!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Front Row to History

As Election Day in the USA quickly approaches I am finding myself holding my breath, excited to see the results. I have long learned not to under estimate the american voter but if is right with their electoral simulation predictions, then Obama will be the next President of the United States. Indeed if their predictions are correct then, even with 46.6% of the popular vote, McCain has only a 3.8% chance of winning.

History will ultimately be the judge of the next POTUS, but I believe that one voice can change the world; I dream it will be for the better, for everyone every where. Certainly the last eight years has not been that great.