Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Canadian's Point of View

A Canadian's Point of View.
You've just gotta love American politics. Isn't it just the great stuff that soap operas are made of? I'm just fascinated by the strangeness of it all. I've been trying to figure their system out for a year or so and I've been wondering..... Can they possibly make their electoral system more complicated or confusing? I highly doubt it, but it's sure entertaining, isn't it? So, I'm thinking to myself, if this McCain gets elected and a little way down the road has a jammer...(he's seventy something, and not looking so good, so not a long shot.) This makes the self proclaimed "hockey mom" p
resident of the United States. How weird is that? OK, she's been in the PTA, a councilor and mayor of a town of nine thousand, and Governor of Alaska or something for two more years.... why do I still find that a little scary?
One thing I've noticed, is that if you're non-religious in the States, don't bother running for political office. Ms. Palin seems to fit the mold of right wing evangelical bible thumping, pro lifer and that should get (them) lots of votes. And let's face it, she's kinda cute, so how bad could it really be,... and could she do any worse than George W.? Isn't it also so strange that they've been campaigning for a year and a half for an election in November....spending hundreds of millions of dollars meanwhile we'll have a six week federal campaign blitz, don our touques, head to the polls (on the way to Tim Hortons) and have a new government in October. Now that's efficiency!

The Denman Island Blackberry Festival was held on Sunday. It's a quasi traditional fall fair with a Gulf Island twist. The Fire Dept. Took part with their burger BBQ and annual slow-pitch softball game... (in which we didn't get our butts kicked this year)... in fact even held a lead at times.... end result was a tie and several promises (or threats) about next years' game.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Gone South

Straw Bale House Update: It's been busy! Friday the 15th, the garage slab was poured. We ended up hiring the finishing out, mostly because of my fear of concrete (pour days are stressful) and also the lack of labour. The slab became a priority as we need the storage space. Clay arrived the same day to take charge of the plumbing operation. The in-slab portion of the plumbing is a bit tricky. If you make a mistake, it's jackhammer time! (thanks Clay) The skylight is still waiting for installation and the daring feat will be attempted as soon as I can drum up enough bodies.
The following Friday, (after a brief holiday) we arrived home (from vacation?) with something in excess of 5 tonnes of St Astier hydraulic lime, which we picked up in Seattle. Trans Mineral out of California had shipped it to Seattle for us... we then rented a (35 foot) truck and picked it up on our return from Portland. (an adventure in itself) Canada Customs wasn't too interested in 5 tons of white powder coming across the border, but were more than happy to collect the GST.

Kari + Ash left for Portland on Friday the 15th for Kari's conference. Ashley tagged on and power shopped in the mall next to the hotel for a few days. Tuesday, I flew down to meet them at McMenamin's just outside Portland. I had never heard of the place before. It's an old "Poor House" converted into a .... hotel/hostel/brewery/distillery/winery/golf course/poolhall/spa/theater. I'm not quite sure how to describe it. The rooms are the old wards and cost about $80/night. There's no TV or phone in the room and the biffy is down the hall (on the left). They have concerts on the lawn every weekend, with the likes of Ringo Star, Sheryl Crow, Billy Idol, Black Crowes, John Butler Trio, and BB King performing concerts at very reasonable prices. There's a theater, several pubs, (8, I think) restaurants and a pitch n' put golf course, where they encourage you to drink on the course.
The next night we ended up in Olympia and again Kari found us some unusual acommidations at the Swantown B+B, which looked like something out of the Munsters.

* I made it through the Olympics with my boycott intact (if you don't include 5 minutes of the closing ceremonies.) yawn.

What is a Canadian? A Canadian is a fellow wearing English tweeds, a Hong Kong shirt and Spanish shoes, who sips Brazilian coffee sweetened with Philippine sugar from a Bavarian cup while nibbling Swiss cheese, sitting at a Danish desk over a Persian rug, after coming home in a German car from an Italian movie... and then writes his Member of Parliament with a Japanese ballpoint pen on French paper, demanding that he do something about foreigners taking away our Canadian jobs.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

$44 Billion Well Spent?

One can only do, what one can do. I'm still boycotting watching the Olympics on TV. It's a great sacrifice, because I love to watch. What am I proving and what are the consequences of not watching? First off, I have to say that I do support the concept of the Olympics, just not the policies of the host country or the money spent on impressing the world. In the case Beijing, some 42-44 billion dollars. So, I guess the only message I send, is to the advertisers selling their wares to the viewing TV public.... sigh.

Kari & I went for a short hike along the east shore of Chickadee Lake on the weekend. So, this next rant is about the beer cans left by (young adult) partiers along the lake shore. Other that enjoying the great outdoors, there is very little for the youth of Denman Island to do, except party and indulge in a few wobbly pops. (and that's all good) As the Island is extremely clean and litter-free.... I guess I just expect more from the people who grow up here. Another disillusionment. (another sigh)

Straw Bale House Update: The garage/guesthouse has been the focus over the last week or so. The concrete slab pour is scheduled for Friday morning. Once that's done, we can lock it up and have storage for our straw and lime plaster. (and a workshop if there's any room left) There's a good chance my over-buying in the straw department may (in fact) fill it to the brim. The gaping hole in the house roof (on the east side) is for the twenty foot skylight. The track is now in place and the glass is on site, (in three pieces). We'll be working on that as soon as the labour is available. The biggest sheet of glass is about 150 pounds.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Dear Mr. Falcon

Kevin Falcon, British Columbia Minister of Transport
Dear Mr. Falcon,
I say... "good on ya". I'm a resident of a gulf island that has been sponging off the rest of the province by taking full advantage of the subsidization for ferry travel provided by my fellow BC taxpayers. It was high time you put an end to that! I'm more than willing to pay my way to and from my home to buy food (and take part in other such frivolous activities). My fellow taxpayers shouldn't have to pay so that I can enjoy my life on a beautiful gulf island. Damn it, I should have to pay my own way to live where I do. I'm proud to live in Province that promotes a "user pay" philosophy. As the Provincial Government has taken on this policy, I can hardly wait until my tax dollars no longer subsidize snow removal on provincial highways in northern B.C. Please also count me out on participating on the upgrading and maintenance of the most expensive piece of highway in BC., the Sea to Sky Highway. I'm sure residents of Whistler will feel the same as I do and look forward to paying their way. I'm sure you'll want to toll those Olympic patrons also, hell if they can afford $1000 for an event ticket, what's another hundred for a highway toll? The current $700 million upgrading of that highway will be a drop in the bucket for those guys. Please reduce my taxes accordingly as I don't think I'll be traveling on the Sea to Sky Highway, but feel free to charge me accordingly if I do. Oh, and Kevin, While you're at it, count me out on the subsidization of the current BC transit and Skytrain Line and any future expansion(s). I promise not to use it! Can you also tell the Minister in charge that I won't be using the convention centre, so don't count on me for a contribution to that $200 million. Last but not least, please send a rebate cheque for my portion of tax dollars used to run all the freshwater ferries, which are free. (Please Google "longest free ferry ride in the world") Wha-hoo!, I love this user pay stuff. Living on a little gulf island has never been so affordable.

"I have opinions of my own --strong opinions-- but I don't always agree with them."
-George Bush