Saturday, March 22, 2008

Smoke and Mirrors

Friday, we headed to The Thatch pub on Hornby Island for dinner. Friday is the only day that we can go because the ferries run later. Although they have some great jazz on Fridays, we hurried back to Denman Island for the Ian Tamblyn concert at the Hall. I remember listening to him in the late 70's. I came across this you-tube of one of his songs about saving the BC "raincoast". It made me realize how lucky I've been to have experienced the close encounters I've had with whales, dolphins, and bears. The BC coast is a truly unique place that deserves to be free of development forever.

On April first
, all British Columbia pubs, restaurants etc., will be truly smoke free.
That means no more of those "smoking rooms" that really didn't work. Stores in B.C. will no longer be able to display cigs or cigars. The next step may be to start surcharging our public health insurance system for those that wish to continue the habit. After all, life insurance premiums are considerably higher for smokers, why not health insurance?

I like the Olympics. While the Olympics are taking place, my TV is usually tuned in. But I'm not so sure I'll be watching this summer when the events take place in Beijing. I no longer buy any Chinese made products, if at all possible. The message that the world should be sending China is blurred by corporations clambering to capitalize on the huge consumer base and brutally low paid labour force. Basic human rights are overlooked if you can pay your bills. It turns out that china also has a virtually unknown export to Canada.... and it lands right in my backyard! Look at the label... if it says: "Made in China", see if there's an alternative, and pay the difference.

For Spring Break, we've mostly been childless. Tyler came to visit for a few days on the weekend and we tapped into the labour source on Friday with a "site clean up". Thanks Tyler. We ended the weekend with a Salt Spring Island, mussel feast. For the most part, we eat as vegetarians. Red meat is now a once-a-month affair and seafood, perhaps once a week, (and for the most part locally caught). The biggest hurdle for me to become a vegetarian is my love of seafood..... OK, and cheese.

While we're told that the atmosphere now contains more carbon dioxide that it has in the last 600 thousand years or so, we assume it's man's increased carbon emissions. One has to wonder if there would be a problem had we not eliminated 54% of the world's forests in the last 65 years.. While writing this blog, we coincidentally received this link from Fireweed relating to the subject. Check it out.

As our ferry rates are about to increase, yet again, I wonder what BC ferries does with all that revenue. This picture pretty much sums up the mismanagement of funds.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy spring equinox

We managed to get to the beach for a walk this week... something we should do more of. The herring spawn has finished, but the gulls don't seem to have noticed. The gull population explodes during herring season and one must be lucky or carry an umbrella if venturing to the beach... (we were lucky.) (Picture quality is poor, as I forgot camera and phone acted as backup.)

Straw Bale House Update: Now that I'm mostly over my flu-bug, things have picked up a bit. The main roof is strapped and ready for the metal roofing material. The beam vaulted roof in the living room, obviously is not ready. Next week, the dormer roof can be sheeted and a decision made whether or not to begin the beam work or roof the portion that's ready for it. I'm estimating that I'm about two months away from beginning the baling process. Work to be done prior to baling.... Completion of roof, plumbing stacks and chimney. Plumbing, electrical, in-floor heat, gas line rough-in and slab pouring. It'll be a busy spring.

Last weekend we had a few friends over for an informal wine-tasting. No rules, just bring your favorite red or white. In both categories the most expensive wine did not win on the score sheets.
Winner in the white category: Undurraga Sauvignon Blanc (Chile) $12.87
Winner in the red category: Southernmost Red (Argentina) $12.95

Hillary and
Barack both are promising to re-visit NAFTA. When NAFTA was introduced, I was in the textile industry. There were about 20 mills in Canada at that time and most of the manufacturing component was unionized, paid decent wages and provided employee benefits. Within 5 years all but three mills were closed and to my knowledge two of the three remaining in Canada are now American owned. NAFTA was a great deal for the huge corporations that lobbied for it. But no one I know has ever told me that they've personally benefited by NAFTA. It was a great deal for the U.S.A. that could buy Canadian resources at bargain prices (against a weak currency). Now that the Loonie is flying..... maybe not such a good deal for the U.S., so it's time to change the rules. It'll be interesting to see the outcome of the election down south. Obama is definitely the "wild card". It's strongly rumored that both Clinton and McCain have attended "Bilderberg" which would indicate that they are the chosen ones. Should Obama come through without the blessing of Bilderberg.....? Let's just say, I hope he beefs up his security. (Yes, Steven Harper attended Bilderberg.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Shell Games

Straw Bale House Update: My youngest son, Curtis, made the train trip from Victoria to give me a hand on the house last week. Tax time, lack of help and a dose of the flu had slowed progress. But, we were able to strap most of the existing roof and hang the upper floor collars while the weather cooperated. Roofing material quotes are in the works.

I'm not much for meetings
, but I dragged Curt to a public hearing regarding the expansion of a shellfish tenure on Baynes Sound, (the western shore of the island). Most of our western shoreline is shellfish tenure and I personally don't have a problem with the farms themselves. Two things do concern me... First is the amount of garbage that washes up on the beaches from the farms. To me this makes them bad neighbours. If every time the wind blew someone dumped their garbage in your back yard, that would make them bad neighbours, even if they offered to pick up the big chunks. Every year, hundreds of pounds of plastic debris is collected from our beaches, mostly by the residents themselves. Secondly, I have this really strong adversity toward modified or foreign species of life being test-driven in our forests, lakes or oceans. (The hybrid species of scallop to be farmed is outlawed in U.S. waters). The high point at the meeting, was when a representative of Edgewater Foods, (a Nevada based company) stated that their product was helping with the 100 mile diet concept and that "they were just trying to grow some food". This cracked me up, (I guess you had to be there.) I had another chuckle when I later checked out their website to find their biggest customer is in France.

The weekend was spent at an intensive fire-fighting course in Comox. I have a whole new respect for my protective gear, as there was no lack of heat in the "burn house". It peaked on a basement fire scenario on Sunday afternoon, where no less than 5 visors were melted off their respective helmets on the way down the stairs, (mine included). Tough on the gear, but a great confidence builder.

March 15th is " Zeitgeist " day, where millions of people will be watching this thought provoking movie.