Thursday, July 31, 2003

Where is this Hell you speak of?

"Prime Minister Jean Chrétien risks burning in hell if he makes same-sex marriage legal in Canada" says Bishop Henry (RC from Calgary).

Gimme a break. If this hell is where all people are equal and everyone shares the same rights then count me in.

It's Only Rock and Roll, but I like it!

We just got back from the Simulcast of the Toronto Rolling Stones Concert... it was great! I love the Rolling Stones! I love how sexy their music is! It looked like it would have been so much fun to be one of the 500 000 people there in TO - but as we had decided alot earlier not to go (given expenses coming up and all) this was the next best thing! Duncan says next time the Stones come to Canada we have a date to go!

Anyways, it was good - we saw ACDC as well, and the 90 minutes of the Rolling Stones... "we" (by we I mean the crowd) eventually "convinced" the security gaurds to let us dance on the floor of the Saddledome, which was soon full as we all spilled over the boards and began dancing (dancing at some point quickly turned into moshing and crowd surfing amongst clouds of ummm... flowery smoke...). WAY more fun to be out there and moving around to the music then sitting in a chair with the other more sedidentry people. Lots of cheering, singing, dancing and it almost felt like a real concert! I LOVE DANCING!

Duncan and I walked down 17th ave to find a place to eat after the concert let out and eventually settled on a wonderful Italian resturant by his old High School called Fiore. We shared the soup, which was Spinach Sambucha Bacon Soup. It was both delicious and interesting (the Sambucha gave it a very sweet taste). I had a half order of Fettuchini, but couldn't finish it. Not bad for someone who has been on liquids only-ish for 4.5 days. Was proud of myself.

We were going to go out dancing with a couple of friends (who I know are reading this...) and their plans changed at the last minute - so I am issuing fair warning that we are all going to reschedule for after Edmonton. Dancing, who can get enough of it? Anyways, it was actually a pretty full evening - so I am going to finish blogging and go get ready for bedtime!

Long Live the Rolling Stones!

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Heritage Park

Today was a long day - we all saddled up to go to Heritage Park. We had a lot of fun... I haven't been there in years, and Duncan had a lot to show me. The kids went on all the rides, but Duncan and I decided that we would go on the Caterpillar. It's a circular ride that was designed with courting couples in mind - once the ride gets going a canopy lowers down over the riders so that they can't be seen by anyone else. It was semi difficult to "make out" on a circular up and down ride, but we sure gave it the old college try. It was fun. We spent some time after that trying to speculate what courting was like "back in the days" and how it is different from today's courting rituals (for example, Duncan and I played Diablo over the internet together).

We ate at the Wainwright Hotel - me still on my "liquid" diet ordered a French Onion Soup only to discover most of it actually more non liquid than not, but c'est la vie; it was too hot a day to eat anyway. The food was good, but the portions perhaps a little too large. We had some fun "girl watching" - or perhaps made fun at the lack of girl watching... I had suggested to Duncan earlier that day there might be some girls in bikini tops to admire out at the park today (he had enjoyed quite the treat the day before at Eau Claire) but we didn't see anyone even remotely close to that state of undress all day, even though it was so very hot.

The train ride home was a blast, we had so much fun, but I almost can't describe it here (you would have had to been there) so I might just skip it. I am pretty tired though from the day - feeling much better though - so I am about to go to bed. Good night everyone!

Monday, July 28, 2003


According to this months Cosmopolitan, a 15 minute tryst with your man burns 64 calories! Don't the experts recommend getting your heart rate up for an hour 3 times a week? Thats 768 calories well spent!

Well, I did indeed survive the Blogathon. I am still a little sick - I have been on a mostly liquid diet ever since (Duncan has been taking very good care of me) and I have lost 8 pounds. Its ok, thats 8 pounds I am happy to see go, just wish the circumstances were a little different...

I must admit though, after Blogging for so much during the Blogathon, I am a little Blogged out. 48 posts, 48 topics, thats more then I usually do in a months time... so you may forgive me if it takes me a while to get back into the groove of things. It will happen, though, have no fear!

Having said that though, this post feels "unfinished". I am scheming in my head how to tempt my love to stay home with me tomorrow... I have been so sick that I miss him terribly... so I will take my leave to go and work my magic ;-)

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Good Things Happen After a Summer Rain

Well this is it, the last post! I survived, and the Blogathon has been completed without me missing a post at all (although not all the posts are always coherent). I am proud of myself! I really want to say thank you to all my sponsors (I raised $77.00 in pledges for Doctors Without Borders), and thank you to my friends and family that supported me through out the 24 hours straight of blogging, even while I fought back surprise flu. It really was all of you that contributed to my success, and ultimately the success of Blogathon.

This was my first time with Blogathon, and I will certainly consider doing this again next year! I think next year I might have a themed blog like so many of the bloggers this year, but I have a long time to think about it.

Show of Hands Survey from Blogathon 2003

1. How many of you are tired?
(waving hand frantically)
2. How many of you are grumpy?
I am rarely grumpy. What’s the point of being grumpy? It’s over now, this is the last post! I made it! Grumpy is for someone else, not me!
3. How many of you have whined about this not going any faster?
Bleck. I would like to think I haven’t whined about it at all.
4. How many of you thought about giving up?
Giving up wasn’t an option to consider. People sponsored and supported me, and my charity deserved me to follow through on my commitment.
5. How many of you have napped?
I napped. I had the flu. When I was my most ill, I took a whole bunch of meds and they made me very sleepy. Felt better though, and didn’t miss a post.

Well looking back at the night in the cold light of day, the past 24 hours doesn't actually seem that long. I feel happy that I was able to raise money for a charity I believe in. It feels like in some small way I helped out today.

Stats available right now indicate that this years Blogathon was the most successful ever - we had 432 participants and 2991 sponsors, for a collective total of $86,386.95 raised for charity. Thats not a bad job for a 24 hour period. We should all pat ourselves on the back!

I am SO TIRED. I am going straight to bed after this post. Straight to bed.

World Breastfeeding Week is Aug. 1-7 2003

I am a huge supporter of Breastfeeding. I believe in giving your child(ren) the best possible start in life. I believe that the bond that forms between child and mother in a breastfeeding relationship is superior and unrivaled by those that mother baby couples that bottlefeed experience. Breastfeeding is about nurturing your children. My best friend Dawn can attest to this, she has had three kids and nursed them all to varying degrees, and found the most satisfaction in her breastfeeding.

My children never had bottles - we used cups for water and then later juice. Breastfeeding was very important to Wesley, whom I nursed until he was three years old (all the way through my pregnancy with Raven and after her birth). For Wes, breastfeeding provided comfort and security. My daughter nursed until she was 2 years old and then gave it up the moment I suggested we wean (I was thinking we both would take 6 months to wean, like Wes and I did). For Raven, breastfeeding was almost always about food and food only. She found her comforts somewhere else. Regardless of how different they both were, I really did enjoy my time and experience nursing my children. It is a time I cherish, a time I will never get back, a time I am happy to have used well.

Apparently, studies show that breastfed babies are healthier than bottlefed babies. Breastfed babies show lower rates of SIDS, meningitis, childhood leukemia, allergies and infections. The mother’s species-specific milk contains all the nutrients and fat that babies need for proper brain development and physical growth. Breast milk is produced to the exact needs of the age and stage of the nursing baby, something you can’t get from formula or cows milk. Human milk is for human babies (Our milk has a higher content of fat in it, which our babies need for their brain development in the first year of life, as opposed to cows milk, which has a high content of sugar because a baby cow needs to be able to get up and run as soon as it is born). Further, a study published in the October 2002 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (University of Kentucky) shows that breastfed infants tested 5.2 IQ points higher than formula fed infants (11 different studies and over 7000 children).

All in all, breastfeeding is the most natural and healthiest choice for your baby. Every parent wants to give their child the best start in life. Breastfeeding is a great first step and an easy gift to give.

Guestblog: Joel McNally's Night Out on the Town

The n00b:

My name is Joel and, if I were to get around to having a blog, this is what I would blog about. More or less. Hopefully mostly less loaded. Mostly.

Met a fellow at the bar today, and not in the usual sense that this person has similar genitals to myself; he was a fellow piercing afficianado. He was a fellow drinker. He was a fellow freak, I suppose you might say.

I met him as part of a package deal - two friends and I were at the pub talking about Transformers and He-Man and, at the precise moment in question, a puckered-ass growth on a friend's head that required that he not shave his rapidly balding melon. Poor bastard.

Anyway, two chicks, one Fat one Hot, walked up and pointed out that since the bar was empty except for us and them and that we might as well join them. We agreed.

Stuff happened. Names were exchanged. People got to know that these people were sloshed, that they worked at Starbucks, and that they were basically uninterested in people that weren't themselves except that Fat was maybe hoping to score. All barely interesting. All tangental to the story.

Not tangental was that Hot was dating a fellow in the group that we joined. A fellow whose moniker shall remain the same as my pops' and who shall be the focus of this slanderous ramble. The nOOb.

This guy had it all: He bragged about how much of a drinking problem he had; he mentioned a large variety of piercings. He claimed they hurt not at all and that, when pressed to choose between lying and insanity by a person (me, with an extremely painful piercing and no problem admitting exactly how much it genuinely hurt), decided that he just loved the feeling of things piercing his body.

Me had a serious internal struggle about whether or not to offer to pierce the n00b's manhood and dignity prison-style.

As events progressed, the nOOb and Hot spent a lot of time licking each others' tounge-studs and, as the topic of piercing popped up, made sure to wiggle their tounges in a freaky manner at the other people at the table.

What. A f**king. n00b.

I mean, for God's sake! I remember when the quantity of booze that I drank was not a source of embarassment. I remember when something like a piercing was hot shit to talk about. I remember when beautiful animals and ugly people wore fur. I remember when I thought I could freak out the normals.

What do you call that? Being young. Being green. Being pathetically, almost willfully, ignorant of the way that things work.

In l33ts-speak such a person is a n00b. A pathetic mouth-piece with no apparent knowledge about how things work. Someone making retarded claims designed in the restless depths of a friendless night to convey a wrong-headed inpression of coolness. Someone using every breath to make me question the notion that people are equal in any sense of the word.

All cleverness aside, I wanted to fold him in half because of how much he reminded me of myself as a callow youth.

Anyway, there is no moral to this little tale. There are no guiding answers except this: Don't brag like a retard to total strangers if you don't want to be exposed as one and extensively mocked in a public forum.

Joel McNally, BA., is a student at the University of Calgary, and was a little drunk when writing this.

Out Of The Strong Came Forth Summer Rain

In the depths of winter, I finally realized that deep within me there lay an Invincible Summer (borrowed from Albert Camus). Yes indeed, invincible.

I love quotes. I have collected them from the earliest time when I could both write and be aware of the quotes I was coming across. Most of my quotes were scribbled down on many thousands of pieces of scrap paper, and scattered through out my life to sometimes resurface. Later, when they did resurface, I would jot them down into books, and then I would have random quote books kicking around, almost just as scattered. I guess I sort of thought (when I was a kid) that I would eventually put them into useable book format and publish them. But little quote books were made obsolete byt the internet.

Today, being the grown up that I am, I have made web pages to display my Collection of Quotes. It is much better to type them into a web page then to write them into a book... and anyone who wants to see them can.

This Blogathon has been an eye opener. I am glad that I stuck with it. I know that alot of it wasa determination, but I do owe a lot to the supportive comments, blog posts and emails and instant messages I have got today.

I will save my book writing efforts for some other project.

"The willow knows what the storm does not, that the power to endure harm outlives the power to inflict it."
Inscribed on the Ancient Taoist Sword of Balance

The Crack of Dawn

The lighter it gets outside, the closer to sunrise I know we are, and henceforth the end of the Blogathon. Yet I look upon the encrouching dawn with mild indifference, perhaps something I shouldn't be doing, but nonetheless just wanting not to impede the passage of time.

My son told me the other day that if he ever found out he was dying, what he would really want to do is watch every sunset and get up for every sunrise. Thats a pretty big endorsment if you ask me. I wish I could feel his excitement and awe and the sunrise right now.

All hail the sunrise.

This is a crazy time of day to be awake. Ok, so maybe I am not completely awake. Maybe I am not awake at all. Who will wake me up?

My computer need a reboot or something

When I type, it is adding letters, extra letters, letters that don't make sense, letters that I am sure I am not meaning even though I am tired, as are my fingers. I should go and restart it.

Being Sick Sucks

I need to drink some water, but I am afraid it is just going to come up again. Am carrying around a bucket with me... our friend Deven is still here playing Zelda, and I don't want to puke while he is still in the house. I guess that is understandable.

What bad timing to get sick. I really had wanted to enjoy my Blogathon Experience.

I am hanging in there. Thanks for all your comments and notices of encouragement. There is only three more hours, and 5 more posts to go!

Mean People Suck

Mean People Suck

Summer Rain, Take Me Away

I love Hockey.

I think that Hockey and the Stanley Cup was why god sent me to live in Canada, the first nation of Hockey (and the best part of North America). There is something about Hockey which makes it part of who I am as a Canadian.

Maybe it is all that ice.

I nurse my flirtation of hockey as a cat rubs itself up against someone who pleases it.

I am tired. I feel my faculties, and my coherence, slipping away.

Check out Canadian Hockey.

Watching from a distance

Allie has been blogging for 19 hours straight and it has been a rather odd experience for me. I, for the most part, have no idea what she had been writing about. I am an observer to her physical state, bringing food and what not, but on the whole, I have been absent to the process. She has laid down for half an hour, and asked me to do a guest post, so here I am. Now, what to blog about...

Watching Allie do this, I am reminded of doing essays in university. Being the constant procrastinator that I am, I rarely worried about an essay until there was only hours left to do them. In fact, 10:00 the night before it was due was the traditional time I actually sat down to said essays. So it is a kind of odd trip to the past of sitting late at night, with some coke and in front of a computer writing when all of the lights in my townhouse complex are extinguished except for our own. Deven is still here, playing Zelda (he is about half way done the game, having come over before to play it overnight) but my cat has long since given up and passed out after a hefty catnip dose.

Regardless, this still isn't a real post. Hmm... reading Photojunkie's blog has made me think we need a real camera. I don't like my picture being taken but my Grandma came over today and shared some older photos of me and Allie shared her meagre collection of photos of me. I say meagre because as an adult I now feel enough ownership over me to stop photos from being taken and have cleverly shied away from cameras. I wonder if I am being too harsh. So with that in mind, perhaps I should get more on finding an appropriate camera for our family and get over my phobia of having my photo taken. Then the question becomes digital v. film. Being the geek I am, I am drawn to the wowee factor of a digital camera, not to mention virtually unlimited shots with no development costs for shots that can be stored on a computer and used for things like blogs. Then again, film cameras are ridiculously cheap and I am about to head back to university. Well, good ones aren't cheap, but ones that would more than suffice for our purposes.

I have blogged about this before (on my blog, silly). Perhaps this is a sign. Also, a new(-ish) camera would make Allie happy. And I am all about making Allie happy.

Taking a Break

Just a quick break. Will be back shortly.

He's got the Whole World in His Hands

Recently some studies were published by Australian scientists regarding men and masturbation, stating that frequent masturbation (especially in their 20/30's) help prevent the growth of Cancer in the prostrate gland.

"Australian scientists have shown that the more men masturbate between the ages of 20 and 50, the less likely they are to develop the disease that kills more than 500,000 men each year."

Apparently, the more you ejaculate the less chance you have of building up dangerous carcinogens inside the prostrate. The fight against prostrate Cancer is now in everymans hands...

So, well, do with that information as you please.

I Drive, Therefore I Am.

I have been driving since the day I turned 16, legally anyways.

Driving is an art, and something that not everyone should be doing. Some people think there are good drivers and bad drivers, but I think that the reality is that some people can drive well, while others can't. I personally believe that the latter shouldn't be on the road, yet I have found most of them are oblivious to their bad driving habits and near misses.

I love to drive. I believe that I can drive anything, and would never pass up an opportunity to drive something I havn't driven before. I have driven Army Trucks, tractors, luxury vehicles and even a Zamboni, which may be the coolest thing I have driven so far.

I like to drive fast. Sometimes very fast. I like to know the full capacity of my vehicle in accordance to road conditions and whatever else may contribute to the performance of the vehicle. I know lots of people like to drive fast and I witness people's fast driving sometimes and it is so obvious that they are not in control of their vehicle it is almost like the train wreck you can't help but watch.

A word of advice: If you can not keep your vehicle within the handy painted lines (yes they are there for a reason) on the roadway, then you are going too fast for your skill level. Back off a bit, or you will likely find yourself losing control of your vehicle.

Why do men think that women are after their money?

This is a challenging topic for me to write about, for a couple of reasons. First, and the most obvious, I am not a man and therefore have a limited understanding of why men think the way they do. Secondly, I don’t have a concept myself, as a woman, of loving someone, or being with them, just for their money.

So why write about it at all? One of my sponsors asked me to… and I am always up for a challenge.

So… Why do men think that women are after their money? Well… some of them are. Some women have been raised to believe that the man they marry will take care of them, and therefore believe that a man makes money to both spend on them and be spent by them. Other women are more malicious with their intentions and actually assume ownership over a man’s monetary resources and future earning potential.

I think that for men, the amount of money that they earn, save, invest, spend and ultimately associate with themselves becomes a part of their self identity and security. Most men earn more money then their partners, and therefore have more money to be nervous about losing. If a man doesn’t trust his partner, or has previously experienced a divorce where they have been monetarily “punished” they might begin to worry that every woman is potentially "out to get them just for their money."

However, thinking like this could ultimately be very detrimental to forming permanent trusting/romantic relationships with another human being. Lack of trust is both a serious impediment to the natural progression of a relationship, and perhaps a warning signal to the man that the relationship isn’t right for him in some way.

Each circumstance should be considered carefully as it arises, and depending on the consequences to the relationship, be dealt with on an individual basis. While a man worries that all women are after his money, he runs the risk of missing that perfect woman he would gladly give it all to anyways.

Closing Time?

Not yet! There is only 7 or so more hours to go! The Blogathon is more than half over now. Jessica, one of the blogathon monitors, says that she has heard from some Bloggers that they want to quit, and she has posted the Top 5 Reasons NOT to quit!

1. There is no experience like this in the world.
2. You feel WONDERFUL when you're done.
3. You're a part of something bigger than yourself.
4. Karma comes back to you in the end.
5. You already went half way. Why waste what you've already accomplished? Don't waste 12 hours blogging, spend 24 doing something GREAT. :)

Aw, I could use some good Karma right about now. If I can blog while feeling outright terrible I am sure that all of us can stick with it!

In other unrelated news, our friend Deven has just arrived and Duncan and him are watching Iron Monkey. Good movie.

Hmmm. I am hungry. Thats a good sign, if my body is ready (finally) for food.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

The Trial of God

I was thinking of Agnoticism, the uncertainty that god exists, or does not exist. When I think of Agnoticism, I think of times of trial in somebody's religious life where they not just come to doubt the existance of god, but can't fit the existance of said god into their current experience.

Agnoticism shouldn't be confused with Atheism. People who are agnostic feel that there is something there, somewhere, but the just can figure it out, or they can't bring themselves to believe a strict set of religious dogma within the box of that dogma.

The book of Job is the ultimate text for addressing the the relationship between god and his people, but I think that the biggest and best real world example of justifiable agnostic tendencies would be the experience of the Holocaust for the Jews in World War II. Here is a people who have a long and rich history with their god, a god who's actual providence has been evidenced and chronicalled through their Holy Books and history. It is a belief that must have been challenged during the Holocaust. Where was god's providence then? Why did he chose to let his people suffer this horror? Did they deserve punishment, had they fallen from grace... or was god just not there? If he wasn't there, was he ever there? Where did he go? Didn't god say he would always protect his people?

While he was a young boy in the Auschwitz death camp Elie Wiesel witnessed three Jewish scholars?rabbis put god on trial. After much discussion and deliberations, this court found god guilty of crimes against humankind, guilty of not protecting his people.

Later, after surviving Auschwitz, Wiesel wrought a play based on this trial, called The Trial of God. In his play, Wiesel's absentee god never speaks for himself - rather Wiesel introduces an unlikely character to serve and present god's defence. This character is Satan.

In Prof David Diewert's review (see link above) he says:

"The critical difference between the Book of Job and Wiesel’s play is that he omits God’s presence. God never speaks for Himself and, therefore, no one responds to Him. Instead of God being the central and controlling character, it is Sam—the satan—who precipitates the trial with the original pogrom, saves the trial by coming to God’s defense, wins the judges over to his argument, and concludes the matter with the final destruction. God’s absence must be Wiesel’s intentional portrayal of his own experience. The rampant evil of the world, epitomized by the Holocaust, demonstrates that the satan is near and destructively active while God is distant and seemingly uncaring or impotent. Wiesel makes this clear when one of the judges points out that someone is missing from the court and Berish sarcastically responds, "Who is that? The defendant? He’s used to it" (p. 70).


So I took a whole bunch of pills (a nice little assortment of Flu meds and Painkillers) and feel asleep on the couch, so I am feeling better already. I was dreaming about something when I was snoozing, but I can't remember what now. Its all hazy and the memory faded too fast. As I usually remember all of my dreams, I can likely attribute this to the drugs I just took.

Because of this little episode I was thinking about dreaming.

I always have the most interestingly vivid dreams, and lots of them have a real feel quality to them. Lots of my dreams cause me to ponder, atleast breifly, what it is that my mind is trying to tell me. I certainly am a dreamer (daydream all the time as well) and do work out all sorts of complex problems in my sleep or daydreams. I think maybe lots of people do, but they just don't remember their dreams long enough to get any benefit. I no longer keep a dream journal (did when I was a kid), but still recognize that dreams are an important tool of communication between my conscious and sub conscious minds.

I dream in color. I have never dreamt in anything else, and surprising enough I have discovered that this is not always the case with people - lots of people dream in black and white, or both. My dreams are usually intense, and despite having been told that you can't die in your dreams, I have dreamt of dying (all the way to the black out of death) about 6 or 7 times. These deaths are usually from falling or murder of some kind. Interetsingly enough, everytime I dream of nuclear war I survive.

I can dream lucidly, which means I can control my dreams and my actions in them (almost like a director in a movie). I can influence the outcome of a dream, or tell myself to just wake up - I did this alot as a pre teen when I was having scary dreams every night.

My dreams constantly challenge me to consider if I am awake or not. Where does the dream world end, and the "real" world begin?

I almost forgot!

Almost missed this post. Took a whole bunch a meds to make me feel better, so I hope with a little break I can get back onto track.

Looks like, if I am not better soon-ish, Duncan will have to go see the movie tomorrow with his Dad. We had planned to see Johnny English. We shall see what tomorrow brings.

Grandma was here earlier, over for tea. She brought photo's for me to look at. I love her photo albums. I love seeing Duncan's tracks as he grew up to be the Duncan I know today. It was a nice visit, but I sure hope I didn't give here this flu thing. Yikes. Well, Wesley was sick yesterday (threw up all over me so I guess I was doomed from the beginning to suffe through this...), and I phoned mark earlier to make sure he is ok (he is at his Dad's for the weekend) and he is still sick. Lets hope I kick this thing fast. I don't need it.

PS. I am excited to be almost done. Well, we are over half way any hows.

Exercise Ideas

I was asked to blog about excerise ideas... I had to think for a bit what that meant, given my earlier post on being active to loss weight.

I think, when some people just want excerise ideas, what they really need is a plan. When a "snack attack" is coming and you feel the munchies creeping up on you, get out of the house and away from the snack food temptations.

Go for a walk, grab the bike and ride 5 kms, slap on the roller blades and hit the path! Make sure you take plenty of water with you, and don’t go to 7-11 on your excursion! If it is winter time, have some free weights at home, a walker, or call a friend who talks for a long time!

The aim I guess is to replace the satisfaction of excersice with the satisfaction of "treats".

Thanks to my Sponsors!

I have a new sponsor! Thanks!

With my combined number of Sponsors at 4, my total is now $77.00 for Dr's Without Borders. Thanks to everyobe supporting me. If your reading, leave me a comment to keep me going! Yay me!

You can still pledge! Sponsor me in the 2003 Blogathon!

I just heard that The entire Blogathon collectively has now raised $80,000 for the charities represented.

Any time, Any place, Summerrain….

One of the best things about the internet is the glory of odd and crazy pages out there. It warms my heart to know that any cuckoo can have a page and share his or her opinion's with me. There are a lot of pages I come across by accident, and some that friends have shown me. Bless them.

A good three years ago I was working with this guy Eric. We were running an visitor information booth at the U of C together as co-cordinators. Our policy was really easy to write, and so was our training, and faced with the fact that we had hours left to be paid for, he booted up ol' internet explorer (actually, it likely was Netscape, shudder), and he showed me this page:

Land Over Baptist.

It's where the worthy pray. The "unsaved", such as myself, are not welcome (they even post a restraining order against the "unsaved").

I p**sed myself laughing for a couple of hours reading through this site. Save it for a day when work is slow, or you are looking for a gift for Allie.

West Nile...?

Ugh, I am sick. West Nile perhaps? Sigh. Am going to go deal with myself for a while.

"Many infected people have no symptoms and do not get sick or have only mild symptoms. When infection does cause illness, symptoms will usually appear within two to 15 days. The extent and severity of symptoms vary widely from person to person. In mild cases, there may be flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache and body aches. Some people may also develop a mild rash, or swollen lymph glands."

Well, atleast it doesn't say anything about the debilitating bowel movements I've been having. Thats promising...

48. My Favourite Onion Story: God Angerily Declares No Kill Rule

I love the Onion. Enough so that Duncan bought me every Onion story ever published for a Christmas gift last year. Its hard to pick just one story as a fav, but given my academic back ground in Religion and Politics (fundamental terrorism) this story is likely it!


NEW YORK—Responding to recent events on Earth, God, the omniscient creator-deity worshipped by billions of followers of various faiths for more than 6,000 years, angrily clarified His longtime stance against humans killing each other Monday.

"Look, I don't know, maybe I haven't made myself completely clear, so for the record, here it is again," said the Lord, His divine face betraying visible emotion during a press conference near the site of the fallen Twin Towers. "Somehow, people keep coming up with the idea that I want them to kill their neighbor. Well, I don't. And to be honest, I'm really getting sick and tired of it. Get it straight. Not only do I not want anybody to kill anyone, but I specifically commanded you not to, in really simple terms that anybody ought to be able to understand."

Worshipped by Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike, God said His name has been invoked countless times over the centuries as a reason to kill in what He called "an unending cycle of violence."

"I don't care how holy somebody claims to be," God said. "If a person tells you it's My will that they kill someone, they're wrong. Got it? I don't care what religion you are, or who you think your enemy is, here it is one more time: No killing, in My name or anyone else's, ever again."
The press conference came as a surprise to humankind, as God rarely intervenes in earthly affairs. As a matter of longstanding policy, He has traditionally left the task of interpreting His message and divine will to clerics, rabbis, priests, imams, and Biblical scholars. Theologians and laymen alike have been given the task of pondering His ineffable mysteries, deciding for themselves what to do as a matter of faith. His decision to manifest on the material plane was motivated by the deep sense of shock, outrage, and sorrow He felt over the Sept. 11 violence carried out in His name, and over its dire potential ramifications around the globe.

"I tried to put it in the simplest possible terms for you people, so you'd get it straight, because I thought it was pretty important," said God, called Yahweh and Allah respectively in the Judaic and Muslim traditions. "I guess I figured I'd left no real room for confusion after putting it in a four-word sentence with one-syllable words, on the tablets I gave to Moses. How much more clear can I get?"

"But somehow, it all gets twisted around and, next thing you know, somebody's spouting off some nonsense about, 'God says I have to kill this guy, God wants me to kill that guy, it's God's will,'" God continued. "It's not God's will, all right? News flash: 'God's will' equals 'Don't murder people.'"

Worse yet, many of the worst violators claim that their actions are justified by passages in the Bible, Torah, and Qur'an. "To be honest, there's some contradictory stuff in there, okay?" God said. "So I can see how it could be pretty misleading. I admit it—My bad. I did My best to inspire them, but a lot of imperfect human agents have misinterpreted My message over the millennia. Frankly, much of the material that got in there is dogmatic, doctrinal bullshit. I turn My head for a second and, suddenly, all this stuff about homosexuality gets into Leviticus, and everybody thinks it's God's will to kill gays. It absolutely drives Me up the wall." God praised the overwhelming majority of His Muslim followers as "wonderful, pious people," calling the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks rare exceptions.

"This whole medieval concept of the jihad, or holy war, had all but vanished from the Muslim world in, like, the 10th century, and with good reason," God said. "There's no such thing as a holy war, only unholy ones. The vast majority of Muslims in this world reject the murderous actions of these radical extremists, just like the vast majority of Christians in America are pissed off over those two bigots on The 700 Club."
Continued God, "Read the book: 'Allah is kind, Allah is beautiful, Allah is merciful.' It goes on and on that way, page after page. But, no, some assholes have to come along and revive this stupid holy-war crap just to further their own hateful agenda. So now, everybody thinks Muslims are all murderous barbarians. Thanks, Taliban: 1,000 years of pan-Islamic cultural progress down the drain."

God stressed that His remarks were not directed exclusively at Islamic extremists, but rather at anyone whose ideological zealotry overrides his or her ability to comprehend the core message of all world religions.

"I don't care what faith you are, everybody's been making this same mistake since the dawn of time," God said. "The Muslims massacre the Hindus, the Hindus massacre the Muslims. The Buddhists, everybody massacres the Buddhists. The Jews, don't even get me started on the hardline, right-wing, Meir Kahane-loving Israeli nationalists, man. And the Christians? You people believe in a Messiah who says, 'Turn the other cheek,' but you've been killing everybody you can get your hands on since the Crusades."

Growing increasingly wrathful, God continued: "Can't you people see? What are you, morons? There are a ton of different religious traditions out there, and different cultures worship Me in different ways. But the basic message is always the same: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Shintoism... every religious belief system under the sun, they all say you're supposed to love your neighbors, folks! It's not that hard a concept to grasp."

"Why would you think I'd want anything else? Humans don't need religion or God as an excuse to kill each other—you've been doing that without any help from Me since you were freaking apes!" God said. "The whole point of believing in God is to have a higher standard of behavior. How obvious can you get?"

"I'm talking to all of you, here!" continued God, His voice rising to a shout. "Do you hear Me? I don't want you to kill anybody. I'm against it, across the board. How many times do I have to say it? Don't kill each other anymore—ever! I'm fucking serious!"
Upon completing His outburst, God fell silent, standing quietly at the podium for several moments. Then, witnesses reported, God's shoulders began to shake, and He wept.

My favourite Satire Wire Story: Axis of Just as Evil

Some people have tried to attribute this brilliance to John Cleese, but it was written by Satire Wires beloved Andrew Marlatt, the Oligarch of

At first I was going to just present the link, But I think that I will post the entire story here, since I got such a kick out of it, and every subsequent reading of it. It's one of those things that gets better with age.

ANGERED BY SNUBBING, LIBYA, CHINA, SYRIA FORM AXIS OF JUST AS EVIL; Cuba, Sudan, Serbia Form Axis of Somewhat Evil; Other Nations Start Own Clubs

Beijing ( — Bitter after being snubbed for membership in the "Axis of Evil," Libya, China, and Syria today announced they had formed the "Axis of Just as Evil," which they said would be way eviler than that stupid Iran-Iraq-North Korea axis President Bush warned of his State of the Union address.

Axis of Evil members, however, immediately dismissed the new axis as having, for starters, a really dumb name. "Right. They are Just as Evil... in their dreams!" declared North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. "Everybody knows we're the best evils... best at being evil... we're the best."
Diplomats from Syria denied they were jealous over being excluded, although they conceded they did ask if they could join the Axis of Evil.
"They told us it was full," said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "An Axis can't have more than three countries," explained Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "This is not my rule, it's tradition. In World War II you had Germany, Italy, and Japan in the evil Axis. So you can only have three. And a secret handshake. Ours is wicked cool."

International reaction to Bush's Axis of Evil declaration was swift, as within minutes, France surrendered.
Elsewhere, peer-conscious nations rushed to gain triumvirate status in what became a game of geopolitical chairs. Cuba, Sudan, and Serbia said they had formed the Axis of Somewhat Evil, forcing Somalia to join with Uganda and Myanmar in the Axis of Occasionally Evil, while Bulgaria, Indonesia and Russia established the Axis of Not So Much Evil Really As Just Generally Disagreeable.

With the criteria suddenly expanded and all the desirable clubs filling up, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, and Rwanda applied to be called the Axis of Countries That Aren't the Worst But Certainly Won't Be Asked to Host the Olympics; Canada, Mexico, and Australia formed the Axis of Nations That Are Actually Quite Nice But Secretly Have Nasty Thoughts About America, while Spain, Scotland, and New Zealand established the Axis of Countries That Sometimes Ask Sheep to Wear Lipstick.

"That's not a threat, really, just something we like to do," said Scottish Executive First Minister Jack McConnell. While wondering if the other nations of the world weren't perhaps making fun of him, a cautious Bush granted approval for most axes, although he rejected the establishment of the Axis of Countries Whose Names End in "Guay," accusing one of its members of filing a false application. Officials from Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chadguay denied the charges.

Israel, meanwhile, insisted it didn't want to join any Axis, but privately, world leaders said that's only because no one asked them.
Copyright © 2002, SatireWire.

Web Video Art

For a few years now I have been a big fan of the social commentary that springs up from the genre of web video art - CGI (computer generated imagery). Even before it began to gain popularity there were some very interesting and critical works of art out there.

I remember being struck by the genius of the Neo-futurist's BINGO the very first moment I saw it, about three years ago. I remember assuring myself that I would never be "convinced" to be a good little Bingo. Its a great movie short, not too long, total social commentary on our ever expanding capitalist, corporate driven society.

All your Base is also another Movie short worth watching. It is funny, interesting and makes fun of us. In almost every way.

And finally, I present, Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. It has to be seen to be believed.

Oh, and btw, we now have bright, beautiful sunshine. I love Calgary.

Stormy Weather!

All of a sudden a huge Lightning Storm is upon us! Typical here of our ferocious Summer storms where the lightning is so close and you can feel the thunder reverberate through your jaw bone. Normally, I would just turn my computer off during a storm like this and wait until it passed before booting back up again. Can't really do that in a Blogathon though can we?

I decided that I would try to assess just how great the risk is to my computer, so I checked the internet, ofcourse. Apparently there is a greater risk of power surges from lightning which could possibly enter through the power and telephone lines, then from any other kind of regular electrical damage. But I have carefully considered the current state and have decided that the risk of my house actually being hit by lightning is pretty minimal. And even further to that, given that my house was hit by lightning when I was a child (it melted out telephone) I doubt the odds of my house being hit twice in one lifetime are very high.

So the Blog goes on...

Guestblog - Deven Singhal on Doctor's Without Borders

Lots of people have heard about msf, and most know that they go into war torn countries and disaster areas to give medical aid and care to those most in dire need. But what would it actually feel like to be one of these souls to go into darkness so that others might have a chance to again see the light?

I'd like to think that I'm capable of such selfless action, to risk my position of privilege for others in less fortunate positions but I don't know for sure. War and disaster scares me, as well it should.

Could I deal with sleepless nights, malnourishment, constant stress with only my co-workers and my belief that I'm doing the right thing to sustain me? I suppose there's something else that would support me at those times... the reaction of the people whose lives I influence.

I don't mean gratitude.

The notion of gratitude seems misplaced when stitching together someone who's just been rent apart by a landmine. What I mean is the feel of their life, their breath, their spirit. The idea that this is someone who probably wouldn't have been helped if I wasn't there.

Maybe shows like MASH have romanticized the idea of a doctor, on the brink of something terrible, saving lives while retaining a sense of humanity and wit, but I believe there is a truth there. That there sometimes is a such thing as absolute good, and that fills me with hope.

Which is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Deven Singhal is a second year law student at University of Victoria, who is currently working with at risk youth in Banff, Alberta.

MOVIE REVIEW: The Pianist, 2002

The movie, The Pianist, is the true retelling of the escape of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jew in Warsaw, from the complete cruelty of the Holocaust. It is a poignant telling of the story. The movie begins in 1939 with the creation of the Warsaw Ghetto, in the opening scenes of intermitant german bombing Szpilman's family is listening to a BBC radio broadcast announcing England's declaration of War on Germany...

"... Poland is no longer alone..."

The Director (Roman Polanski) manages to well portray that the Polish people were far from understanding how terrible the war would be, and just how alone they truly would be. As the Germans begin their campaign against the Polish Jewry Polanski outlines the terror - unleashed in a way that is so raw, so nonsensical, so absolute, that it is hard to make your self watch it. I am thinking of one scene, the horror... late at night, for no real apparent reason, German Soldiers run into the Ghetto, up three flights of stairs and enter a seemingly randomly selected unit of a large family having their dinner. They are all commanded to stand. At the head of the table, the grandfather sits in a wheel chair, unable to stand. He is commanded one more time, and as he struggles to pull himself to his feet, two german soldiers pick him up in his wheel chair, throw him out the window, and leave.

But truly Polanski's greatest achievements come near the end of the movie, when the story becomes the story of humanity, of survival and of healing. Polanski brillantly uses the absence of sound during this time, no background soundtrack, no surpluvious sounds for the entire time that Szpilman is alone in hiding. It is uncomfortable for the audience, who may mistake it for boredom intially, but realize that there is no sound beyond what Szpilman hears. And he is alone for a long time.

Eventually Szpilman is discovered by a High Ranking German Officer who, instead of killing him asks him to play the Piano. The reintroduction of sound here is sharp and purposely dramatic. As the notes rise and fall with crescendo the music tells the story - a vast array of emotions all of a sudden expressed across a barren landscape of despair. The two people are caught forever in this moment together.

It was as if the World needed to hear music again.

A coup d'état?

President Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO was sworn in as President of the Phillipines in 2001 by the Supreme Court after the previous President was found unfit to rule in the face of mass government resignations (CIA).

Today, according to news sources, dozens of armed men, calling themselves the "Soldiers of the Nation" stormed a major commercial center in Manila’s financial district, only hours after the President herself had ordered the arrest of the mutinous soldiers, who deserted with their weapons, and are believed to be plotting a coup.

The "Soldiers of the Nation" issued a statement early today demanding their government resign. The group states they are prepared to die to force regime change at this time.

“We are not attempting to grab power,” said Antonio Trillanes, one of the "officers" Arroyo had ordered arrested. Trillanes adds, “These explosives are set to defend our position. If they try to take us down, we will be forced to use (them)."

Not attempting to grab power? Whoa, talk about misunderstanding the consequences of your actions.


Time in

In the army, among the ranks, we denote experience and worthiness with “TI”, or “Time In.” It is a way to universally express acceptance, respect, authority and trust. A new person is always subject to scrutiny and is never completely trusted until something happens that, in your own mind, makes you realize that you can trust this person, no matter what. There are potentially a lot of “no matter what” situations in a soldiers life.

I was familiar with my Unit, The Princess Mary’s Canadian Scottish Regiment, before I joined it as a member of the 2422 C Scot R Cadet Corps. When I was a cadet I served a lot with the parent regiment in the store room, weapons depot and running the cadet store room. I went on weekend exercise with the reserves and knew all them personally, so when I got to the actual unit level I didn’t really have to worry about being a ‘new guy’. Actually, to the contrary, they already had all my papers down up and marched me over on my 17th Birthday to sign them.
But I did have to worry about NOT being a guy. Being young and somewhat naïve I thought to myself that I would have to ‘prove’ myself to be “one of the guys.” I didn’t quite realize that the term “I’m one of the guys” is a term people use to console themselves when they can’t actually be a player and are only tolerated by a certain group of people. Luckily I soon realized that approaching this new challenge in this way was ultimately neglecting who I was as a person and what I had to offer my Unit, and my Regiment. I was not about to negate myself or my potential.

I was soon accepted as “one of the team.” In certain situations where you aren’t only in direct competition but also where you depend on someone for your life, you want to know you can trust him or her to watch your back or carry through for you. Being in those situations is about being a close knit group, a team, a family. The army is where I learnt that being accepted as “one of the team” is far more important, always, then the frivolous notion of being “one of the boys.” Why would I want to be a “guy” anyways?

Old Turtle

When I was pregnant with Wesley I got rid of the cable and our TV. I didn't want my children's first impressionable childhood years masked by the influences of the television world. My family didn't have a TV reintroduced until Duncan came to live with us, a good ten years later.

We read many books during our TV free period, and we discovered many gems in a sea of childhood stories. I want to share one with you.

Old Turtle is my favourite children's book, although we have also very much enjoyed other books by the same author, Douglas Wood and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel to Old Turtle that will be published this year. Old Turtle won the 1993 Abby Children's Book of the Year award and is beautifully illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee.

The story of Old Turtle tries to convey some deep wisdom and manages to do so for children and adults. I have even used this book in class presentations at school, reading it to my fellow students in order to spur dialogue about the belief that a certain people(s) hold ownership over or of god(s) to the detriment of another. Old Turtle addresses and attempts to dispel the notions that "my god is the right and only god" and why these ideas can make it so hard for us to live together as a group. Its not a religious book, its more of a story of people from our beginning's when we first searched for stories to explain our meanings and our purpose in life.

Old Turtle's wise voice is heard only in quieting the bitter arguments the animals (and later people) are having about the nature of god.

"But the people forgot... And they began to argue... about who knew god, and who did not; and where god was, and was not; and whether god was, or was not... And often the people misused their powers, and hurt one another. Or killed one another. And they hurt the Earth... because the people could not remember who they were, or where god was. Until one day there came a voice, like the growling of thunder; but as soft as butterfly sneezes, Please, STOP." (My paraphrase).

Web Blogathon is a World Wide Effort!

Just found a Guestmap on the Blogathon Page for all the Blogathon Participants to sign up on, so we can see where everyone is from. It's neat to see - most particiapants are from the US, but Europe, Canada, Australia and others. You can go to the list and visit the blog addresses, or click on the map button to see a map of the world. If you are blogging with Blogathon today, make sure that you go and sign the map!

Also, you can find blogs to visit on the Blogathon participant list. Lots of people have interesting themes this year.

It's been 6.5 hours... I know there are many more to go, but I need a wee little break.

Email Netiquette

Anyone who knows me knows my biggest all time pet peeve is people who won’t get out of the way for emergency vehicles when they are responding. I mean how important can you be to impede the progress of an emergency vehicle? (Next time you think you are too good to get out of the way, think about how you would feel to arrive home and find that the ambulance was going to help your loved one, but it was just moments too late).

BUT I have another pet peeve that runs a very close second.

Those stupid email chain letters that some people (hoping for some unparalleled benefit for their menial efforts) insist in forwarding to my inbox. These “letters” that induce guilt, cause fear, prey upon the haplessly superstitious or portend to warn me about some dire computer virus (do me a favor please, before you send me an email virus warning, please bother to look it up first to see if it is a hoax, thanks).

It's hard to believe (sometimes) that adults actually believe in this sh*t, but they do. Some people actually believe that if they pass the email on, some poor 6 year old girl in Nigeria with a breast on her forehead will be able to raise enough money to have it removed before she is relegated to a life in the traveling freak show, or that Bill Gates is going to send them $1000.00 (dream on), or that some graphic will appear on their computer screen or their phone will ring (it really works!) within seconds of them forwarding the “letter” to all their poor unsuspecting (soon to be ex-) friends.

Chain letters are annoying and waste both people’s time and internet resources (bandwidth). “Netiquette” (and most corporate appropriate use policies) would demand that you delete any chain mail you receive without forwarding it, but would suggest that you request the sender to not pass on more chain mail to your email address. Don’t perpetuate the stupidity by passing them on (especially to me) - None of their curses come true… the dire consequences promised for non compliance aren’t actually real, and I don’t see anyone richer than Bill Gates. Facts show that most email chain letters are begun with malicious intent, but it can’t be carried out without someone to forward it onwards.

Oh, and never, ever delete a file from your computer that a “warning email” instructs you to do. Yet, if after considering all this, you are still tempted to do so, go ahead, you deserve it.

I found a directory/database of chain letter examples, from the very funny to the very obscure!

Four charged on Iraqi POW abuse

Four American Soldiers (so far) have been charged in abusing Iraqi POW's at Camp Bucca in Iraq, while at least three others are being investigated.

The Soldiers, all members of the Reserve 320th Military Police Battalion, are "accused of punching, kicking and breaking bones of prisoners." Breaking bones?

Each of the accused face up to five charges each of assault and mistreating prisoners. Other charges being considered are making false statements, obstruction of justice, and dereliction of duty.

Other allegations are that the MPs dragged prisoners along the ground eventually breaking a prisoner's nose.

One of the Soldier's father's stated "I wasn't there, but I know my son. "He's not a bully."

Not a Bully? defines "bully" as someone who acts "in an overbearing or intimidating manner". Maybe a reading of the Geneva Convention (Treatment of the Prisoner's of War) is in order.

If the American's are doing this to their Prisoner's of War in Iraq, pray tell what is going on with the Political Prisoners in Cuba that aren't protected by the Geneva Convention?

Which Direction is Perfection?

I love movies. I have a particular fascination with the relationship that each Director attempts to create with his/her viewer while trying to convey a message through the story. In many film studies courses I have learned that everything occurs in a movie for a reason, placement of objects in a room, certain dialogue, the way a shadow falls across the screen. I especially like movies that you are prone to watch again and again, and each time you do, something new and different leaps out at you.

We certainly are gifted with some very talented Directors. I particularily like Martin Scorsese (Last Temptation, Gangs of New York, Goodfellas, Casino, Bringing out the Dead), M Night Shyamalan (Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs) and Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, Empire of the Sun, Minority Report).

I did recently see a very good movie - The Pianist. I will likely write a review of it later on in my day today so make sure you check back for it!

A Picture's Worth

Any one who knows me, knows that I love pictures. I love to look at them , take them, be given them and display them. I have more pictures then even I know what to do with sometimes. I have always intended to get a nice camera and actually take up photography as a more serious hobby, and I can almost guareentee that when I finally get a digital camera I will start a photoblog of my own.

I like the trend that blogs are taking world wide as a means of reporting on life in different areas; eye witness accounts of events and the real story about how we live and think our ways through each day. I like photojournalism, and appreciate a pictorial journal of an event, it's like being able to see what is really going on somewhere. I guess I am in particular thinking of Kevin Site's Online in Iraq, or atleast before he was asked to shut down the photoblog.

Heres a couple of my favourite photoblogs for you to peruse. Enjoy!

Photo Junkie (also participating in Blogathon this year)

Urban Legends

”An urban legend is a story or a rumor that originates in obscurity but everybody who propagates it very much believes it to be true”.

Urban legends usually contain elements of humor or horror that often makes people want to believe it, even though most urban legends are false or based on manipulated facts. Urban Legends are not just spooky stories told around the camp fire by people exploiting their youth. Humans in general are oral creatures and love to tell stories. Kick yourself for every one of the following that you have told someone as being “true”:

You will not be killed by gangs (or otherwise) if you flash your headlights at another car that doesn’t have its headlights on.
A baby was not kidnapped, hollowed out and used to traffic cocaine across the Mexican/American border.
KFC does, actually, serve chicken, and not some genetically mutated substitute.
Nobody insured their cigars in order to claim their loss after smoking them.
No, somebody from Nigeria doesn’t really want to give you 30 million dollars (USD, of course).
The flight number of one of the planes involved in the Sept 11th attack DOES NOT convert to a dire warning.

Culture Jamming

I actually get only one magazine delivered to my house (for me ofcourse). Adbusters has long been one of my favourite magazines, I like the way it presents challenging thoughts about the state of our society. Ofcourse, being a student of the Humanities and the culture that we choose(?) to exist in, anything that isn't afraid to take a critical look at the failings of such societal/cultural directions is a welcome reprieve for me. (I often find the touted perfection of our society weary).

Recently, Adbusters helped sponsor the unbrand America campaign, which aired some fantastic (shocking/insulting/challenging) critiques about American culture, idealism and notions of self, debuting on July 4th 2003, and through the rest of the month.

If we don't challenge ourselves about notions we are asked to support and believe how, in the end, will we ever be sure of what was our own thoughts or not?

The death of the twins…. On what side of the River Styx are the ethics of death to be found?

When the twins, Ladan and Laleh Bijani, died chancing an operation to separate them (they had lived 29 years joined at the head) controversy emerged from the grief and centered on the ethical dilemmas of the procedure itself.

It was sad, yes. But ethically wrong? Who has the right to chose life for another? Who has the right to define quality of life? When the ethicist said: “For an operation that was not medically necessary, a 50 percent risk of death was too high. Such high risks are acceptable when a patients is likely to die without surgery, and the surgery, though dangerous, offers at least a chance of saving the patient's life”, upon what does he presume that this wasn’t about saving two lives? Are we truly ethical creatures if our so called ethics can't extend beyond these notions?

These women, well educated, highly intelligent, very aware and active in their world around them, were perhaps the only ones who could understand why this operation needed to be done. They had reached a stage in their life where they would rather take the chance of death then have to continue in the manner with which they were made to. Essentially for them their lives had ended, as they couldn’t proceed any further together. They couldn’t get married, have a family, pursue separate careers, or even discover who they were apart from each other. They had never been able to even look each other in the eye.

I think that this operation was about saving the patients lives. Perhaps the operation itself could have been approached in a different way by surgeons - and it is unfortunate that it didn’t result in a successful separation, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the (almost inevitable) outcome wasn’t a considered and maybe even a welcomed outcome by the two, in comparison both to the life they lived and for the prospective chance that it offered them.

Let them rest in peace. Al-Fateha!

The Marre Man

During my limited research on Crop Circles I came across some scattered information on what has become known as “geoglyphs”. Geoglyphs are "artwork" or figures drawn in the sand/rock that can only be viewed properly from above. Perhaps the most famous (and worlds largest) geoglyph of recent memory was captured on film by aerial photography from satellite, the "Maree Man", so dubbed because of its proximity to a small aboriginal village called Maree in New South Wales, Australia.

It is the figure of an aboriginal man, 4km tall and 28km in circumference. The figure has been “ploughed” perfectly into a thin layer of red soil (located across a plateau of white chalk) about 60kms from Maree.

This huge line drawing, claims Dr Philip Jones (Head of Anthropology at the South Australian Museum), is an aboriginal hunter with a boomerang.

No one knows how or even when the Marre Man appeared. Possible culprits include the local people of Maree, land artist Christopher Headly (Headly, who constructs land art of approx 300m wide claims that the Marre Man is not his), and Miners, among others (conspiracys abound). In Australia the issue is shrouded in controversy as different factions argue about whether it is art, vandalism, historically correct, or holds a deeper meaning for us all.

Am experiencing some technical difficulties getting blogger to publish my posts, but I am sure they are still there.

Crop Circles – “The Missing Planet” - 1995

Crop circles have held the imaginations, fears and attention of humans for more then a few years now.

After watching M. Night Shyamalan’s SIGNS late one night, Duncan and I decided it would be a fun pet project to find out a little more about Crop Circles. So, next time we were at the library, I picked up a book about it. Surprisingly, the topic is full of controversy and intrigue that encompasses a field of study that includes a large array of academics: Astronomy; Engineering, Anthropology, History, Math (fractal geometry), Weather experts; Bio-whatevers; Archeo-Astronomy, Psychology; etc; and other people that have now become known as "crop circle researchers".

Crop circles in the British Isles (and likely worldwide) have occurred since mediaeval times, especially around Stonehenge, but they began to create a stir in the early 1970’s when they began to attract public attention when two witnesses claimed to have watched a circle appear in less then one minute. Every new circle since August 15th 1980, has been scrutinized to determine which “type” of formation it is. The determinations are as follows: "Authentic Crop Circles" are formations that can’t be proven as hoaxes. These formations exhibit certain criteria and characteristics that have been determined to frequent formations that are considered authentic and can not be replicated by humans outside of labs. These include: perfect geometric symmetry; bent stalks without breakage (stalks appear to be super flash heated), no evidence of human intervention, results from soil and seed samples, among others. "Fake Crop Circles" are crop circles purposely made by humans (in an effort to reproduce, or in some case, communicate). "Hoaxes" are considered to be crop circles obviously made by humans in an attempt to pretend or present an apparent crop circle.

Crop circles come and crop circles go, but every once in a while one particular formation grabs at the attention of the world. In 1995, a recognizable 240-ft wide depiction of our inner solar system appeared in a field in England. It has been dubbed the “Missing Planet”. Both Mathematicians and Astronomers have been curiously involved in trying to unravel the inner meanings, if any, of the Missing Planet crop circle formation. Interestingly enough, the depicted planets and our sun were placed with exact orbital ratios using thin bands of upright crop, and the sizes were to scale, except for the Earth which was notoriously missing from the illustration. Professor Gerald Hawkins (from Boston University) was one of the people who worked on the formation, utilizing the significant mathematical equations as pertaining to the diatonic ratios that the design contained and eventually posited that it was referring to a specific astronomical date – by considering the planetary positions over the period of one hundred years he found the following dates to be contenders: November 1903 (correlates to the first flight of the Wright Brothers), and July 11 1971 (when Mariner 9 was on its way to Mars). Further, the difference in years between these two dates is 67, also the exact number of asteroids depicted orbiting in the design.


Why is the Earth missing?

My Jouranlistic Stint

When I was a more regular student I had the privelege of writing for the student newspaper at the Uiversity of Calgary, The Gauntlet. I had lots of fun as a news writer/journalist and actually had lots of front page stories to keep me busy in the year I worked there. I had a lot of fun, developed many skills, and was actually published. Some of my favourite stories follow:

Fear and Loathing on a Thursday Night
Iron Monkey no battle
Gauntlet Men's Supplement

It was suggested however that I write about my big story of that year, The David Gould Story. Our Campus, as well as Mount Royal Campus, was being targeted by an offender who was sexually assaulting studen women, in broad daylight, right amongst us. It was a story that the local big media neglected, but I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to raise awareness of safety on campus. I wanted women to know they were in danger. I wanted this guy caught.

Working in media gives you a chance to see just how much the journalist can influence the readership and the collective public. Because of this awareness I was always careful with my wording (in News Stories), trying to present that facts to allow the reader to come to their own opinion. But in this case I decided to use my position of influence to get the word out. I let the police know I was more then willing to operate as a tool for them and they in turn gave me the story of the year. I was given the composite drawing of the suspect to publish front page and I scooped all the big papers. They in turn the next day all used my story as breaking news (with minimal credit I might add). It was a crowning moment for sure (Campuses on Alert). As a result of his picture being splashed all over Campus (the student newspaper actually completely sold out that week, within two days) the Police took him into custody that weekend (Suspected Offender Nabbed). Not only was it a scoop, I got what I wanted, and so did the police.

View all my stories

Web Comics: Laughter is the Worlds Best Medicine

I enjoy all kinds of humor and take laughter where I can get it. I appreciate a talented and satirical approach to life’s experience within the web comics I enjoy. Often comedy is the only safe way to truly address the human condition and the problems we face individually. My favourite web comics are usually to be found at RED MEAT, I’ll post two here for you to enjoy.

Web comics have a long tradition of entertaining me. The medium has certainly come a long way, and now many different pages of comic entertainment can be found for the pleasure of the seeker, ranging from the traditional dark humor of life's gravest challenges to the more light modern hilarity some people demand.

Recently I have also been enjoying PENNY ARCADE, with it’s portrayal of popular culture and the overall gaming industry/world.


Calvin and Hobbes
Get Your War On

Arms and the Man

For an interesting and well informed view of the latest round of social and economic inequities in Iraq you could check out Major Barbara's blog (as recommended to me by a friend). She explores and discusses the economic motivations behind certain American policies and isn't afraid to approach issues head on. Go read about the 1.6 Billion dollar oil recovery program and see if it leaves a bad tatse in your mouth.

In other news, apparently Iraqi's are glad to be rid of Saddam's son's, but would like the US to get on with it - killing Saddam's son's have done little to repair their fractured infrastructure and power grids - and they want utilities restored, please and thank you. I would have to agree with Duncan on this one, the US is not doing the best job that it could be doing in Iraq, and considering its past history of broken promises when it comes to restructuring/rebuilding, I don't know if we can expect them to do the Iraqi's any good by the end of this conflict. I am almost positive though, they will do themselves some good.

"It's about the economy, stupid."
- Bill Clinton

Trendy Diets and Weight Loss

A friend suggested I blog about the Hacker Diet. I'd never heard about it, so I was intrigued. It seems to be one of those new trendy diet schemes heralded by people who want a quick fix to their current weight situation, which isn't in itself the worst thing - but not always the best thing either.

When most people say they want to lose weight, what they really mean is they want better form - building muscles and toning. You don't need to be on a diet to do this, you need to run and do crunches and lift weights.

Truth is though, anyone can lose weight. I lost 65 lbs, in just over a year. As I previously have had two children, my body shape was not what I particularly wanted for myself. I wanted and needed a change.

I didn’t use the hackers diet mentioned above, but I incorporated a bunch of different elements into my lifestyle that worked for me, and I will share them here. First I considered very carefully what I ate, and then I began to eliminate the less healthy choices (junk food, pop, candy, fats) in favour of more healthy choices (rice, fruits, veggies) and I observed how much better my body felt when I ate them. I quit junk foods cold turkey. I realized that in our western society we ate too much, so I toned down my actual portion consumption (they say the suggested portion should be the size of your fist) and found that eventually I just wasn’t hungry all the time, like before. Then I changed the way I expected to eat – I started to eat when my body told me I was hungry, and I didn’t eat if I didn’t feel hungry. I drank water - lots of water. Through all of this I used coffee at times as an appetite suppressant (still do, and I love coffee so it’s a bonus) but never gave up chocolate (have to have your vice and rewards right?). Most importantly, I also started to exercise, mostly mountain biking (would ride 3-5 times a week for about 2-4 hours a time) and working out (3-5 times a week, running 2 kms each time), but also stairs (running up and down), roller blading, ice skating, hiking, walking and weights at home. Find a friend to do each activity with, which always makes it more probable that it will get done, as well as being much more fun. Whether running on my own or with a buddy I found fast paced music took my mind off of any discomfort.

Losing weight is also about presence of mind. If you have an eating problem, or a disorder, get some help. Any weight you lose merely by starving yourself will come back when you begin eating again - You have to convince your body that you are meant to be a different weight then you are now. Then change your lifestyle to reflect the new you that you envision: Demand your food be of a high quality; serve yourself smaller portions; Get rid of the cable; Don’t drive when you can walk or ride; Stop eating cookies, for crying out loud!

Sadly, if you aren’t ready to make these kind of choices for yourself you are likely not going to be successful with any weight loss program. Ultimately, in the end it is up to you to decide the type of person you would like to be and how much you are willing to do to achieve that. Weight loss isn’t hard, but if you continually sabotage yourself (like eating foods you know you shouldn’t) it certainly isn’t going to be an easy process. If you don’t really want to change your lifestyle, then consider accepting yourself the way you are, because it is ultimately more important to feel good about yourself.

Girls Game Too

I like to play games. I grew up with some of the first home video game systems (it was called a Coleco Vision) and eventually we got a Nintendo (which was my first major purchase when I moved out on my own, soon followed by a Super Nintendo). But as classic as those first games were (and still are, like Mario Brothers) I think any other modern gamer would understand when I say that the standard for video games has improved to such a degree that playing the games of my childhood again offers little but nostalgia for me.

Preferring consoles, I never have been much of a computer gamer, although I totally love Diablo II and Duncan and I used to play it for hours together over the internet when we were courting, and have since then as well. I have also enjoyed Civ III, the SIMS and sometimes Sim City on the PC.

Since Duncan moved in with us he brought with him his collection of console systems and games (Super Nintendo, Dreamcast, N64, Playstation 2, Game Cube and the XBox) and I have redisovered the gamer in me. Games like Metroid Prime, Splinter Cell, Eternal Darkness, Halo, Zelda: The Windwaker, and yes, even Animal Crossing, have kept me up for many hours. The most recent game addition to our home, KOTOR, has consumed much of our collective family time.

It was suggested to me to blog about my favourite games. Yet, there are so many. All the games I mentioned above are worthy of your attentions if you are looking for a game to try. If you want a deeper review, check out Duncan's online game collection.

Live life, play hard!

Good Honest Summer Rain Since 1972

I love school, but I didn't always... That statement would seem to be in direct contrast with the teenage Allie that sought (and succeeded) to find an escape from high school (I quit school at 16 years old, moved out and joined the Army) and from a school system I found suffocating. Eventually, when I was 19 I realized that I needed to finish High School and went back to finish it in a year, with honors. That year began as whet seemed like a neccessity, but with the addition of Law 12 (a locally developed course that I loved), Model UN and Work Experience with the RCMP, I learned that school was a fun place to be, and I discovered that I was most fond of learning.

By the time I began (had children first) University I was like a sponge soaking up whatever knowledge I could find. I am currently a Humanities student working towards completing a BA in Religious Studies with a Minor in Political Science. My main area of research lie within Fundamental Religion/Politics and how they relate to Terrorism (and visa versa), and International Relations.

In the future I am considering doing my Masters in Politcal Science to study terrorism more closely, and eventually maybe even law school. I am also a British Citizen, so I do everyonce in a while think of studying abroad and working in the EU for a while. But we shall see what life brings.

You're Never Alone with Summer Rain

I have a wonderful family!

Sometimes it amazes me to look at my children - I mean really look at them. It's like a shock to my system... how did they get so big? How is it possible that such perfection comes from myself? How is it possible that the tiny helpless little creatures I held in my arms those years ago are the same creatures I see before myself now? And yet they are... "they grow so fast" is no longer a mere cliche in my mind, but wisdom whispering to pay attention. My son Wesley is 10 years old now, already. His height brings him to above my shoulders. Someday real soon he is going to tower over me. My daughter Raven Dawn is almost eight. Is is a dainty 50lb girl who who somehow knows what it means to be a girly girl (unlike her mom). They are my children. They are mostly busy with kids stuff.

My boyfriend Duncan both completes our little family unit (I always said that when Duncan moved in with us he made our house a home) and brings with him a greater extended family that is wonderful to be a part of. Duncan is currently the Consituency Office Manager for Calgary Varsity's MLA Murray Smith. He will be 25 years old (soon enough) and is starting his Masters Education at the U of Alberta after completing TWO Undergraduate Degrees last year (BA History, BA Political Science) at the U of Calgary. Duncan works hard, rides a mountain bike, likes to watch movies, argue about politics and he Blogs. He loves to play video games, likely his most favourite hobby, and currently is playing his way through KOTOR again (this time as a dark Jedi). You can read about his Jedi Travels too!

In the shelter of each other we face the world. I know that together we can handle anything.

Anything Boys Can Do, I Can Do Better

Might as well tell you some little known stuff about myself to start out with.

Always a tomboy, I gained semi notoriety at 13 when I became the first female Boy Scout on Vancouver Island (BC) when I decided to leave Girl Guides in order to join the Venturer program. I couldn’t stand having to be “proper” and have my hands clean any more – I wanted to climb trees and repel down cliffs, canoe in the ocean and hike the west coast trail. I loved playing war games so I naturally found myself in Army Cadets at the same time.

In what seemed as a natural progression, I joined the army when I was 17. For six years I was schooled in a vast array of skills, including combat, small arms training, hand to hand combat, recce, night patrols and all sorts of in your face get real dirty fun. Driving cool stuff around. Shooting neat weapons. (I like to shoot). Sometimes it bothers me that I am a trained killer, but other times I am sure it supplies some confidence, and my experience with it certainly aids a deeper understanding of the situations in the world recently.

I am totally an outdoor creature and the army certainly fulfilled outside time for me. I have a passion for all outdoor activities – camping, hiking, climbing (was afraid of heights but I met that fear head on and found it to be not so bad after all), hunting (people/war games and I have had my hunting license since I was 14), I especially love mountain biking – I have a Specialized Rock Hopper and it usually goes everywhere with me… although I definitely prefer the open dirt trail to pavement (although stairs and cement barricades and sometimes even curbs atleast make urban riding interesting). I love speed, and am a natural driver, which is likely why I get paid so much to do it. I have driven many neat things (Army trucks, Armoured vehicles, Zambonis, huge 4x4 trucks, tractors, fast sports cars, etc etc…) and I don’t think there isn’t anything out there I couldn’t drive.

A grounds worker at the U of C dared me once to drive his tractor (as if being an attractive young girl means not having the skills to operate a tractor). You should have seen him jump up and run after me as I drove off with his tractor. Anything boys can do, I can do better…

Well its hard to sometimes think what to say about myself when a great deal of my audience knows me already so well. I will say it has taken me a few years to figure out who I am enough to be comfortable with my own femininity while at the same time being a tom boy! I am a woman. Here me roar!

I have always made my way in traditional male held careers, jobs or hobbies, but I claim them for myself as I am not an outsider trying to get in, but I am me.

“I am the invincible sword goddess”
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Friday, July 25, 2003


1. Anything Boys Can Do, I Can Do Better!
2. My Family
3. It's all Academic
4. Girls Game too!
5. Trendy Diets and Weight Loss
6. Arms and the Man
7. Web Comics: Laughter is the World's Best Medicine
8. My Jouranlistic Stint
9. Crop Circles
10. The Marre Man
11. The Death of the Twins
12. Culture Jamming
13. Urban Legends
14. A Picture's Worth
15. Which Direction is Perfection?
16. Four Charged in Iraqi POW Abuse
17. Email Netiquette
18. Web Blogathon is a World Wide Effort!
19. Old Turtle
20. Time In
21. A coup d'état?
22. MOVIE REVIEW: The Pianist, 2002
23. Guestblog - Deven Singhal on Doctor's Without Borders
24. Stormy Weather!
25. Web Video Art
26. My Favourite Satire Wire Story: Axis of Just As Evil
27. My Favourite Onion Story: God Angerily Declares No Kill Rule

And 2003 Blogathon is upon us!

First of all, I want to send a BIG THANK YOU to my sponsors. They have contributed $65.00 sponsorship to my cause of supporting the organization DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS. Check it out, I think you can still make a pledge to support me!

Also, while I am awake all day and night tomorrow please feel free to send me feedback either through email or the remarks/comments section... I will also be online to chat if you would like to add me (just mention "blogathon" so I don't think its my crazy stalker).

MSN Messenger -
Yahoo Messenger - walks_like_summerrain

Tomorrow's Blogathon will also herald the launch of my new blog template. I hope you like it, and luckily there wont be too many bugs to iron out during the blogging process. Anyways, I know how patient and considerate all of my readers are!

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Girls Kick Ass.

Went out for coffee with Jolene tonight (at Higher Ground in Kensington) and it was fun - we talked about girl things, did some hair stuff and she painted a cute flower on one of my nails. Oh my goodness. I am a girl! I have decided that the best part of being a girl is that it is fun to be pretty. I have spent most of my life in boy focused environments doing traditionally male jobs, and I realize that there isn't much difference between me and a guy. Anything they can do, I can do better (winks). Yet there is much that is special about being a woman. We are mysterious and beautiful creatures.

When I was a younger girl, and considering getting married, my Great Aunt had some advice for me that she really wanted to pass on. She took me aside and said "If you want to keep your man, put on make up everyday". In the harsh judgement of my youth, and being both a Tom Boy and a child of this generation, I rejected her advice mostly as old fashioned poppycock passed down in a patriarchal society. I may have even felt a little resentful that she wanted me to play the role of the submissive little woman who knows her place. But now, 16 years later, I look back upon her message with a wisdom garnered slowly over that time, and I realize what she was really trying to say.

What my Aunt was trying to articulate to me that day, was more of this: Taking care of yourself - your pride and confidence in your own body image illustrates that you love yourself AND the person you are with. Some women let themselves go once they are married because they believe they do not have to be attractive anymore, or that it is now too much work, but taking care of yourself (and it doesn't have to be putting on makeup) shows pride both in yourself and them. I am happy that my mate finds me attractive. I am willing to be more creative in my self expression when I feel attractive and it makes me happy to be pretty.

I am no beauty expert, and I am not always a girly girl (ok, maybe hardly ever), but I am happy to have found the wisdom in my Aunts words all these years later. I am confident that my beauty is not a threat to my intelligence (as maybe some of my more feminist friends would have me believe), and I might as well dress like a girl, cause well, I AM a girl! I am lucky to have girl friends around me to teach me how to do more girly girl (never learned when I was younger) things, cause it really is kinda fun.

A lifetime ago, when I was working my way into what seemed like a male dominated world, I often wondered if I would give up being a girl if the chance was offered. But having traversed those obstacles and dispelled those myths, I realize that now this is MY world, and I like being a girl. Girls Kick Ass.