Sunday, December 20, 2009

Medic life on the rigs

This was originally a 'GCS joke' (uh, more on that later) blog, but then I was hit by the absolutely brilliant idea of spinning it into an update as well. On rig medic life. So, here goes. Hold onto your chair. Ahem.

It's been two months since the day I first hit the rigs. It started with a call from (insert company's name here - oh right, no I won't) to come up for 'orientation'. Orientation? Does that mean I'm hired? Just like that? While most other companies were performing interviews, this one just wanted to test you out in the field and see what you were made of - that was your 'interview'. I drove up anyways to chat money and hours with them and set up an actual orientation date. First things first, I obtained my H2S; hey, I was even 'taught' CPR by a firefighter! Turns out these firefighters are not just doing CPR fast because of adrenaline, they are being taught to do CPR fast.
"Faster, faster!" the man yelled, snapping his whip as we did CPR. Right, sorry, there was actually no whip snapping. But moving on.
Sweat flew and eyes bugged as we did our best to keep up to the beat he was drumming out. Actually, to be honest, no sweat flew either, but my eyebrows did raise at his request.
"100 beats per minute! FASTER!"

Later, he explained that CPR should be done according to the beat of the song "Staying Alive". This is also what we are taught as medics, so it made sense to me. It helps to think of the song when you're doing CPR because it gives you a steady beat to work off of; you do not end up rushing your CPR (and thus making it inadequate) due to the adrenaline rush you experience in that type of scenario. But Staying Alive is not the 200 beats/minute that he was enforcing like some drill seargent.

Anyways, it provided a good (albeit internal) laugh for me. Firefighters. *sigh*.

My orientation consisted of paperwork and a 4+ hour Petroleum Safetey Training course. Thrilling. Since my employer did not have the time for a 'truck' (etc) orientation, he/she promised to do it when I was next in to work. In a few days.

I arrived the morning I was to work, to be - to put it simply, shuttled into a truck and pushed out the door. No orientation. Is this a diesel? Is it Ford? Dodge? How do I work this radio-looking thing? AND HOW DO I GET TO THE SITE?!

Well, 8 hours of driving later, I finally arrived on site. I won't mention the part where I got lost. It was rather embarassing, until I realised it was not my fault - the directions were faulty. Just imagine an entire network of roads with signage galore, none of which you comprehend in the least. Roads leading everywhere and you have no idea where the fuck you are. Oh, and you do not have cell service for much of it. Yay! Because there's nothing else I'd rather be doing, than losing myself on rig roads! We won't mention either that I am not calling my kilometres on the radio because a) I have no idea how the radio works and b) I have no idea how or what I am supposed to be 'calling out' anyways. I had a good laugh on my way in though as I passed the 70km/h signs denoting that radar was present and would be enforced. Meanwhile I am using 4Low to get myself back onto the road I slid down as I rested on the edge to let an oncoming truck pass. I couldn't imagine someone travelling 70km/h on this road or anywhere near this pace, and the thought of police tramping through that muck...well that just made me giggle in joy at the prospect.

My first night in camp I was rather stressed as I tried to remember names of important guys, take in new information critical to my survival out there, and shelve further info that I wuold require later. By morning however I was feeling pretty confident and was getting along well with the crews in camp.

To say my first week in a camp was bliss is an understatement. I slept, I ate, I slept some more...and I was spoiled rotten. Apparently a ratio of 20 guys to each chick in camp is a favourable one for the girls. The guys were on their best behaviour and treated me like royalty (I was even privvy to special-made coffees and treats!). Hehehe. Oh yea, workin hard and livin the life. What I found to probably be the most amusing, was my befriending one of the guys that the previous (male) medic really disliked. While sitting in our truck, donning our PPE, the medic warns me in a grave tone that the guy we are about to meet is a 'real asshole'. But, we have to meet him and the man in question has to give me a company-specific and site-specific orientation. I waited an entire week and never met the 'asshole'. In fact, he was kind enough to take me on two rig tours and show me my way around, explaining everything on the rig down to the littlest detail - details I did not require to do my job proficiently, but details I was personally curious in myself. I'm a bit of a curious cat and love to learn how everything works. I actually admitedly really liked him, to my great amusement. Man, I love being a chick!

All in all, my first week was a success and resulted in a nice, fat paycheck. I was disappointed to leave the rig crews I had befriended, however a week and a half (or so) later I returned, though this time just for the weekend to relieve the medic on site.

It has been another three weeks since those jobs and I am now up at a new rig. The call from my dispatch came with a warning concerning this rig:
"Don't take what these guys say to heart, okay?"
"Well, they've run off all medics I have put in there. They even ran off the VP of our company when he went in there after so many unsuccessful medic runs."
"Oh." I narrowed my eyes. Did I mention I am highly competitive? This sounded like a challenge to me. No one had ever lasted long with this rig crew...but I was going to. Just watch me. Muahahaha, MUAHAHA-...right. Back to the story.

So with only slight trepidation, I packed my bags and headed up to our company base, in (oh wait, yea, not giving out that information either). I was to attend a two-day 'pre-scrub' (a bunch of meetings and orientation ++ prior to the job starting), of which 99 percent of the content did not apply to me - the 1 percent that did...I already knew, from being on this company's sites before. The second day of meetings centered around a 4-hour discussion of well casing sizes. Which sizes are to be used and in what ares of the well, what type of material is to be used, etc etc. I figured this would take maybe all of - oh, let's exaggerate here, and say ONE HOUR. Nope. Four. Long. Hours. I tried to pay attention to it, however it just didn't apply and was not even useful information I could log away for some later date. So I spent much of my time staring at the wall. I am all seriousness here. I literally stared at the wall. I am continually astounded at the amount of patience I have stored up for times like these. At least I was well paid. All the guys seem really nice and are willing to joke and play around with me. I think I like this rig, but what happens at the office might not be what happens at the rigs...

Day three was to be spent driving out to another of my company's locations prior to driving out to the rig site the following morning. I arrived at the shop to find them not in the least prepared for my departure. An hour and a half later, I was finally suited up and ready to go, truck in hand. 45 minutes on the road I get a call from dispatch.
"Can you do me a huge favour?"
Alarm bells ring and my normal 'without-even-thinking-twice-yes' becomes a "uh...yea?"
"Where are you?"
"About 45 minutes away."
"Can you turn around? Please."
Oh no, a pleading voice. I can't resist a pleading voice! I sigh as I hit a turn-around exit.
"There's another employee who needs to go up to (place) as well, and we were hoping you could take them?"
"Yea," sigh, "I'll be there in about 45 minutes."

Almost two hours later, I am BACK on the road, headed to (place). Cuz nothing sounds better than 10 hours of driving!! At least my passenger was good to drive a couple of hours from our destination, because by that point I was pretty dead tired.

I arrive at (place) and call the company's rep, HR. HR tells me, in a slightly-stressed voice, that they have been trying to call my boss all day (since well before I left for place) but have been unable to get a hold of her. The rig move is not taking place for another few days - it has been delayed. So I call dispatch. I notice that she had tried calling me only a couple of hours ago.
"Yes, I know it's been delayed, I called you earlier just to let you know, but we wanted you to go up anyways."
And what? SIT??! Are you PAYING me to sit here and do nothing?!! Oh, right, no, no you're not.

The night before I am supposed to go out to supervise the camp move, I call to confirm. The camp move is still on. The next morning I wake up bright and early and am ready. Only problem, is that the staff is not yet up and the main gate to the compound the trucks sit in, is locked. Of course I had no idea it was to be locked, or else I would have made previous arrangements. But it is. I sit, and I wait, and finally I decide I cannot wait any longer, so I wake the staff up. We get everything figured out, I run my truck in the -20-something (practically balmy considering previous temp's were sitting at -44 plus windchill) for 5 minutes, and take off. Of course, at those temperatures, 5 minutes is not sufficient to defrost anything. Did I mention there is no snow brush in the truck? Oh, well, there's no snow brush in the truck, which serves as an added annoyance. I finally make it to my meeting spot with the rig consultant, and we head out to the actual rig and camp sites...2 hours away. I follow them through the twisty, windy roads, and do my best to refrain from looking down when the slippery road drops off in sheer cliffs at times. At one point, we had to descend into a valley, then back up the other find a truck unable to make it up the hill. Finally the truck is helped up the road and the road is made a little more passable. My hands were quite sweaty by the end of the drive and I felt exhausted from the mental stress.

I spend the day in my truck, watching the men set up camp, and catching up on some reading. All in all it was not a bad day and was another show of my newly-found seemingly-unending patience. I skitter back home that night to sleep another night and pass by a couple more 'sitting' days. So far, so good, and everyone seems far (cue creepy music).

Luckily for me, the days pass by rather quickly and include a couple of day-jobs I take in. Easy stuff like switching out trucks at other rig sites, or dropping of supplies. Plus, I supervise (safety-wise) the camp move (for the same rig I am to work for) for a day. So I still earn some decent money, even for 'sitting' for 4 full days. Bonus, I also see plenty of moose and deer outside in the backyard of the place where I am staying - booya!

Finally it is camp day. The rig consultant gives me the option of coming in the day prior to the rig move, or coming in the early morning the day of. Uh, night owl here, I'll come in the afternoon prior. Plus, I earn an extra day of pay - no brainer decision here! This time, with my renewed rig-road confidence, I taunt the roads on my way in. I make it in safely to settle in my new 'home'. The consultant seems pleased to see me, and over dinner so far everyone is pleasant.

I am up the following morning just shy of 6am and spend the day idling in my truck nearby as they set up the rig. It's a bit fascinating to see a rig - and particularly this one, as it is a little unique - be set up from the ground up. The next couple of days pass easily and quickly with movies, some self-study from my medic books, and jokes with the consultants and anyone else I have the pleasure of being in contact with.

As I sit, I am in a shack on site (going back to camp for lunches and each evening) typing this up. Behind the shack I am cozied up in, sits a breath-taking forest lay spread before us. Meadows laden with several feet of snow lead up to a treeline that continues on for miles. The trees, tall and skinny Christmas trees, are frosted with a layer of snow as they sway in the light winds. Beyond the forests, hills rise and fall to eventually lie in defeat at the feet of towering, snow-encrusted mountains. It's an absolutely inspiring panaramic view. I can honestly say I could now probably drive the twisty, windy road from camp to lease with my eyes closed now. The road, which lines the western provincial border, silently cuts through meadow and forest alike and includes a bridge that gaps a frozen brook below. It is a beautiful place to be. The lease itself lies within a territory of land that keeps relatively warmer temperatures than the rest of the province, in fact, its temperatures approximate those in a town several hours off, the next province over. It is also a place though where several feet of snow can hit over a matter of hours. As I speak, snow drifts quietly by.

I sit facing the front of the shack, with my computer at the feet of a window overlooking the rig itself. Men swarm around either on foot or in various machines. Huge cranes tower over the lease. Each day, each hour even, visible progress is made. The rig has already grown an easy 30' taller just today. The derrick lies on its side on the ground, ready to be booted up tomorrow. It is an interesting sight to observe; I love the business of the place.

The best part is that I think I am starting to earn my way into this rig. I spend all day in a shack teasing and prodding the consultants, safety tech, and other members that cross my path. Soon (once the rig 'scrub' is completed), I will be spending my days instead up in camp, but you can bet I'll be back down here visiting often. I think I might almost be sad to leave here come the 23rd! Luckily for me, I can spend my January here as well as most of March if I want it (which I will, I could use the moula). Then I can return for June/July/August. So, looks like I might be here to 'stay', at least for a little while ;)

In the mean time though, back to my original reason for posting. So here I am, self-studying, and I figure I should re-study the GCS - a scale we use to rate the level of consciousness in a patient (minimum of '3', completely unconscious, and maximum - fully conscious and oriented, '15'). So I write it out on one of my many cue cards. And it occurs to me, these could be used to rate men! Like for example, under 'motor', for a patient to score a 6, they have to 'obey commands'. See where I'm going with this?? Yea, that's right, you medics out there know what I'm talking about. *Ahem*. Yea...too much time here. It was really funnier in my head, too...

UPDATE: Turns out the rig I was previously warned about turned out to be just another great crew - even they don't seem to know where the rumour arose of medics being run off. Who knows *shrugs*, but I am glad to have been posted there! After my previous-mentioned hitch there, I was home for a bit then returned for another 3 weeks with them. In total though, this last hitch I spent 4 weeks away from home - the first week being spent with a wirelining crew and another oil and gas company consultant. The three spent with 'my' rig proved to be uneventful and allowed for a lot of catch-up sleep (yay!), hehe. The boys are all great and each consultant has also been fab to work with. Unfortunately the road leading to the camp and rig site is falling away (into a canyon, to be more specific), so the rig has been shut down early :( I have since left for the Olympics and am hoping to get back on with the same crew and rig this summer, when they fire back up...we'll see!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Elk v/s Wolves - a doomed relationship?

This blog will likely be a bit of a work-in-progress as epiphanies hit me, as my theories evolve, and as I do more research. (DT, I fully expect you to challenge some of this and to perhaps refine or evolve my theories by bringing up new points I had not yet considered (haha).) In the mean time, consider the following links I have dug up thus far concerning the effects of wolf re-introduction on elk (and other) populations:

Yellowstone National Park's gray wolves impact elk

These following two links (to one study) do not directly address the effects of wolves on elk herds, however it can be noted that wolves are likely not decimating elk populations...

Winter Severity and Wolf Predation on Formerly Wolf-Free Elk Herd

Full study (full version of the above)
"In summary, the relationships between reintroduced YNP wolves and previously wolf-free elk did not differ in any way that we could detect from wolf-prey relations in long-extant systems. This was true despite the high ratio of prey available to wolves and the large number of unculled prey."
"As wolves recolonize areas of the West outside Yellowstone National Park, concerns will be voiced about the possible effects of wolves on elk populations. Although this article does not directly address that issue, it does emphasize that the effect of wolves on elk numbers will be related to winter severity. Thus, any population modeling, hunting regulation changes, or other management reactions to wolf predation must consider this important relationship."

Petition - An interesting study-backed petition that suggests that wolf-introduction numbers are not yet sufficient.

Elk Having Fewer Calves due to Changes in Nutrition
I found the above study quite interesting, and it is logical. So then we are led to questions such as this perhaps being a learning curve for the elk? Rather than hunting wolves to 'control' elk populations from being indirectly pressured into having fewer calves (thus creating a population growth decline), perhaps we need to sit back and see whether this is a trend that continues, or if elk populations 'bounce back' as the elk acquire new survival skills that also allow them to reproduce successfully. I would be willing to bet that this sort of trend was observed when wolves were first re-introduced to some areas - within the first few years: more elk were likely killed than in later years as the elk adjusted to living with, and being preyed upon by, wolves. Prior to the wolf's re-introduction, elk were not required to strategize the same, as they were not significantly preyed upon by large predators (excluding humans).

Parks Canada - Elk management in Banff, courtesy (in part) of the wolf
"Strong limiting effects of wolves on elk appears essential to maintain integrity of the park ecosystem."
I think that it is very important to note how wolf populations mirror elk populations; check out the wolf graph and how it either increases or decreases according to the previous year's elk populations.

Elk Population Dynamics - another very interesting study re: wolves versus elk

The basis of my thoughts are the following: where were humans to 'control' animal populations prior to our habitation of, say for example, North America? I honestly doubt vikings and the First Nations people were counting elk and wolf populations (or other animal populations, for that matter) and hunting accordingly prior to 1492. Heck, I highly doubt even European settlers were counting and hunting accordingly, so as to 'control' populations (hence how the wolf was eradicated to begin with). Yet this earth has existed for hundreds of millions of years, and elk and wolf populations have evolved over the past 1.6 million years (Quaternary period, Cenozoic) co-exist together. Somehow, these populations all sustained themselves just fine without our intereference to 'control' them. In fact, it is human interference that created these ecological unbalances to begin with, from the Dodo bird, to Grizzly bears, to Wolves. On that note, it is also important to note that populations will fluctuate in nature - some time periods we will see larger elk populations than the land can sustain, and other time periods we could see wolf populations outnumbering elk populations, perhaps, even eradicating certain species (such as elk). That, however, is...nature. Species evolve, shaped by their environment, or are eradicated and a new species fills the ecological void created by the species 'lost'.

I think the key to elk-wolf balance are:
- large conservation areas with a suitable prey base
- prevention of population pockets isolated to small areas where migration and natural 're-introduction' is inhibited - spatial distribution
- low human impact and interference

Elk (and other prey species, such as Caribou) need access to large areas of diverse land so they have the best chance of survival - to find sustenance and avoid predation. On a related note, the potential for spatial distribution is also important, as prey-predator species need to be able to migrate so as to fluctuate and self-regulate populations in specific areas. For example, if wolves are decreasing elk numbers in a particular area, wolf packs need to have the ability to migrate to a new area and/or elk herds need the ability to migrate into different, wolf-dense areas. This in turn creates a balance in populations, through migration, and thus specific populations are not completely eliminated, particularly as wolf-elk relationships strive to attain their balance point (which will require years before relative stabilization). Much of this restriction though seems to be due to humans - housing developments, highways, direct human interference, etc. So what if we were to focus more on controlling/restricting human interference and impact moreso than direct animal populations?

As far as hunting goes, reducing or controlling human impact and interference and taking a step back from direct species population control could, in fact, result in there being less prey available to hunters, particularly short-term. Nothing against hunting, I fully support it, however I think we need to put the needs of our environment above our own - which may require us to chew down a few cows in lieu of elk (or caribou - the species of course depends upon the area and its individual situation) for a short while. Maybe. I realise unfortunately this is as unlikely a request as would be asking the American Quarter Horse Association to move futurities (detrimental to horses' health) from a horse's 3-year-old year to their 4-year-old year. Humans are involved, which invites Greed of earthly objects such as (waaait for it...) Money.

The other 'problem' with our limiting our impact and interference on Nature is then finding a way to co-exist with Nature. For example, if we do not 'control' coyote populations in Calgary, then we are dealt the card of learning to co-exist amongst a population(s) perhaps not regulated at a number we are particularly comfortable with. To elaborate: each year the Calgary Herald is ripe with letters to the editor from Calgarians concerned about the increased coyote population. They are concerned for their pets, for their children, for their health. However I think that, rather than resorting to 'control' of a population, it is perhaps our job then to better learn to co-exist with a population (from wolves to elk to coyotes). There are a number of ways to enable co-existance, from fencing Banff to keep elk outside the town and thus expose them to predation beyond the town's borders (such as lions and wolves, who will not come within a certain distance of the town's borders), to eliminating wild animals' access to garbage, and placing up electric fencing in certain situations to restrict wild animals from clashing with humans. Education (of humans) is also key.

On a personal level, I don't think we can, or should, kid ourselves in thinking we are so superior as to need to control nature by managing predator and prey relationships. Nature will balance itself out, though now we could (and are likely to) experience some drastic population fluctuates as nature seeks to repair the mess we as humans have created. For those who say wolves do not self-regulate - who regulated them prior to our presence and 'control' measures?

I just think we're getting into the same issues as those surrounding Grizzly and Great White Shark hunting. On that note, if you're interested in Grizzly behaviour and how we can co-exist with these bears, check out Grizzly Heart. It's a great read and for me, really confirmed what I felt in my heart. Perhaps I am wrong on this whole wolf issue, however I just feel it ignorant and proud of people to think that we, measly little humans, hold the Earth in our hands and are granted the knowledge and power to control and manipulate Nature, to its benefit. I think for certain we need to clean up some of the party mess we have left behind in particular cases, however I think we need to think deep and really consider our impact, even in 'fixing' our 'mess'. Our touch on Nature needs to be limited.

Furthermore, I think our previous experiences 'controlling' nature has further demonstrated our inability to do so. I feel like this is simply a repeat of our other similar failures, from decimating the shark and fish populations (shark populations stand at only 10 percent of their original populations - the Great White in particular is in danger of extinction), to elimination of the wolf in the first place, to placing our Grizzlies on the endangered list. Who are we to attempt control of a force larger than our own?

One last point to consider: where were 'we' when people are/were going up in helicopters and slaughtering entire herds of elk and deer, for that 'one good trophy rack'? What about when we 'bountied' the wolf to extinction in its native areas? Whilst we fatally and detrimentally affect our earth and its species, we propose to regulate the impact of a natural predator on its natural prey in its natural setting?

I'm not sure, but it's a complex issue with a lot of food for thought to consider.

How to be the perfect boyfriend

1. When she asks how she looks , shrug and say "could be better" - this will keep her on her toes. and girls love that.
2. Never hold her hand. This can be interpreted as a sign of weakness. (or if she grabs your hand , squeeze hers really really hard until she cries. This will impress her by showing her what a strong man you are.)
3. Once a month , sneak up on her from behind and knock her over. Girls are like dogs. They love to be roughed up.
4. Call her in the middle of the night to ask if she's sleeping. If she is, say you better be , repeat this 4 or 5 times until morning - this will show her you care.
5. When she is upset about something, suggest to her that it might be her fault - this will pave the way for her own personal improvement , and every girl needs some improvement.
6. Recognize the small things . . . they usually mean the most. then when she's sleeping, steal all her small things and break them , because jewelry is for pussies and asian ladies.
7. If you're talking to another girl, make sure shes looking. When she is, stare into her eyes mouth the words f**k you and grab the other girls ass...girls love competition.
8. Tell her you're taking her out to dinner. Drive for miles so she thinks it's going to be really special , then take her to a burning tire yard. When she starts to get upset , tell her you were just kidding and now you're really going to take her to dinner. Then drive her home. When she starts crying and asks why you would do something like that, lean over and whisper very quietly into her ear "...because I can."
9. Introduce her to your friends as "some chick". Women love those special nicknames.
10. Play with her hair. play with it HARD.
11. Warm her up when she's cold...and not by giving her your jacket...then you might get cold. Rather, look her in the eye and say "if you don't stop bitching about the cold right now you're going to be bitching about a black eye." The best way to get warm is with fear.
12. Take her to a party. When you get there she'll have to go to the bathroom (they always do). Leave immediately. Come back right when the partys dying and yell at her the whole way home for ditching you at the party.
13. Make her laugh. A good way to do this is if she has a small pet. Kick the pet. I always find stuff like that funny. Why shouldn't girls?
14. let her fall asleep in your arms. when she's fast asleep, wait 10 minutes then JUMP UP AND SCREAM IN HER EAR! Repeat until she goes home and you can use your arms for more important things. Like drinking.
15. Spit often. I hear girls like guys that spit.
16. If you care about her never ever tell her. This will only give her self confidence. Then you can never turn her into the object she deep down desires to be.
17. Every time you're in her house steal one of the following: shoes, earrings, or anything else that comes in pairs. Only take one of the pair...this way she'll go crazy.
18. Take her out to dinner. Right when she's about to order, interrupt and say no, she's not hungry. Make her watch you eat. Girls love a guy that speaks for her.
19. Look her in the eyes and smile. Then clock her one. Girls love a spontaneous guy.
20. Give her one of your t-shirts......and make sure it has your smell on it. But not a sexy cologne smell. A bad smell. You know what I'm talking about.
21. When it's raining keep asking her if she's crying. She'll say no it's just the rain. Ten minutes later turn to her and just scream at her to stop crying you @#%$ baby. Girls like a tough I've already stated.
22. Titty twisters and plenty of them.
23. If you're listening to music, and she asks to hear it, tell her no. This way she'll think you're mysterious.
24. Remember her birthday but don't get her something. Teach her material objects aren't important. The only thing that's important is that she keeps you happy. And your happiness is the greatest present she can ever get.
25. When she gives you a present on your birthday, Christmas, or just when ever, take it and tell her you love it. Then next time you know she's coming over on a trash day leave the trash can open and have the present visibly sticking out of the can. Girls actually don't like this one that much but I think it's funny.
26. If she's mad at you for not calling her when you say you will promise her that you will call her at a certain time of the day. This will make sure that she waits by the phone. Tell her when you call you're going to tell her a special surprise. Now she'll be really excited. Now don't call.

31 things to do in an exam when you know you're going to fail anyways

1. Get a copy of the exam, run out screaming "Andre, Andre, I've got the secret documents!!"
2. Talk the entire way through the exam. Read questions aloud, debate your answers with yourself out loud. If asked to stop, yell out, "I'm SOOO sure that you can hear me thinking." Then start talking about what a jerk the instructor is.
3. Bring a Game Boy. Play with the volume at max level.
4. On the answer sheet find a new, interesting way to refuse to answer every question. For example: I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that it conflicts with my religious beliefs. Be creative.
5. Run into the exam room looking about frantically. Breathe a sigh of relief. Go to the instructor, say "They've found me, I have to leave the country" and run off.
6. 15 min. into the exam, stand up, rip up all the papers into very small pieces, throw them into the air and yell out "Merry Christmas." If you're really daring, ask for another copy of the exam. Say you lost the first one. Repeat this process every 15 min.
7. Come into the exam wearing slippers, a bathrobe, a towel on your head, and nothing else.
8. Be as vulgar as possible during the exam, make sure every sentence has every other word as a swear word or some sexual innuendo for example.
9. Bring things to throw at the instructor when s/he's not looking. Blame it on the person nearest to you.
10. As soon as the instructor hands you the exam, eat it.
11. Every 5 min. stand up, collect all your things, move to another seat, continue with the exam.
12. Turn in the exam approx. 30 min. into it. As you walk out, start commenting on how easy it was.
13. Get the exam. 20 min into it, throw your papers down violently, scream out "Fuck this!" and walk out triumphantly.
14. Arrange a protest before the exam starts (ie. Threaten the instructor that whether or not everyone's done, they are all leaving after one hour to go drink.)
15. Show up completely drunk (completely drunk means at some point during the exam, you should start crying for mommy).
16. Comment on how sexy the instructor is looking that day.
17. Come to the exam wearing a black cloak. After about 30 min, put on a white mask and start yelling "I'm here, the phantom of the opera" until they drag you away.
18. If the exam is math/sciences related, make up the longest proofs you could possible think of. Get pi and imaginary numbers into most equations. If it is a written exam, relate everything to your own life story.
19. Try to get people in the room to do a wave.
20. Bring some large, cumbersome, ugly idol. Put it right next to you. Pray to it often. Consider a small sacrifice.
21. During the exam, take apart everything around you. Desks, chairs, anything you can reach.
22. Puke into your exam booklet. Hand it in. Leave.
23. Take 6 packages of rice cakes to the exam. Stuff at least 2 rice cakes into your mouth at once. Chew, then cough. Repeat if necessary.
24. Masturbate.
25. Walk in, get the exam, sit down. About 5 min into it, loudly say to the instructor, "I don't understand ANY of this. I've been to every lecture all semester long! What's the deal? And who the hell are you? Where's the regular guy?"
26. Do the entire exam in another language. If you don't know one, make one up!
27. Bring a black marker. Return the exam with all questions and answers completely blacked out.
28. Every now and then, clap twice rapidly. If the instructor asks why, tell him/her in a very derogatory tone, "the light bulb that goes on above my head when I get an idea is hooked up to a clapper. DUH!"
29. From the moment the exam begins, hum the theme to Jeopardy. Ignore the instructor's requests for you to stop. When they finally get you to leave one way or another, begin whistling the theme to the Bridge on the River Kwai.
30. After you get the exam, call the instructor over, point to any question, ask for the answer. Try to work it out of him/her.
31. In the middle of the test, have a friend rush into the classroom, tag your hand, and resume taking your test for you. When the teacher asks what's going on, calmly explain the rules of Tag Team Testing to him/her.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The $350,000 dog house

Paris Hilton spends $350,000 on a dog house

Here's another article of the same ilk

Sick. What is wrong with this world?! People are starving throughout the world, people are homeless for lack of jobs, mental sanity, or luck. People are dying on a daily basis because they lack the financial means to pay for life-saving healthcare. Yet we've got people spending $350,000 on a dog house. Pampered dogs? Spoiled dogs? No, dogs who are not happy, whose mental and emotional needs are not being met. What use do dogs have for "mansions"? Dogs who live better than someone down on their luck in the street. What kind of sick world do we live in?

Grits Fly Away

Just fooling around with this blog thing and embedding things ;)

Hopefully it works! This is one of my new fav songs - I LOVE how it's put together. Enjoy!

UPDATE: SWEET! I am SO stoked it works! Oh yea, totally goin' pro now...hahaha.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

High River Toyota

I'm no lawyer, so I am not sure how this all works, but I wanted to recount our woes of working with High River Toyota, without slandering their name. This isn't about gossip or about defamation, it's about our experiences with this particular dealership. Make your judgement call according to your opinion of the situation. This will be pure fact.

To start off, a little background on the matter: my car, a 99 chevy cavalier (2.4L), broke down in Westlock, Alberta, on my way back down to Airdrie, Alberta. It needed a new engine and we felt the high expense of doing so wasn't really justified (particularly after having the car in the shop twice already this year after only purchasing it last fall) and so began our search for a new vehicle, in particular a small-sized 4X4 truck (Sonoma, Tacoma, Dakota, S10 etc), which would be particularly practical for my work with the horses as well as driving Alberta's "wonderful" wintertime roads.

I was stuck in High Prairie and thanks to the boyfriend's work schedule, we did not get down to Airdrie until last Tuesday late evening. Wednesday we spent the day searching for vehicles and getting things done around home that needed doing (including preparing one of our horses to ride in the Calgary Stampede Parade), Thursday we spent the day searching for vehicles and preparing our horse, Friday we were in the Stampede Parade and looked at vehicles once more, and Saturday we spent looking at vehicles again. We had until Sunday morning to find a vehicle; my boyfriend would be headed back to work that morning and thus would no longer be able to help me in our purchase of a vehicle. Saturday, our first stop was a 2000 GMC Sonoma ZR2 at High River Toyota. The vehicle was advertised for I think it was $7,000 and had the most potential yet - worth the one-hour trip down to High River.

The dealership was very busy when we went down, so we were understanding when the salesmen were unable to be as attentive to us as usual and seemed a bit rude (we brushed it off to his being busy). The vehicle was red, had a front grill, a box liner, had a third door, was a standard, and had only 120,000km on it. We took it for a test drive around town and on the highway and fell in love with it. It was the best vehicle we'd seen yet. We found the salesman once more, returned the keys, and followed him inside to sign some papers.

After some deliberation, he agreed to sell the vehicle to us for $6,500 on the conditions that it met inspection (and thus any repair needs would be met at that time) and the windshield would be replaced. He refused to write down the conditions in full detail because he didn't want to "tell the mechanics how to do their jobs" and so simply wrote, "inspection" and "glass". After signing the appropriate papers, he then sent us on to a man in financing.

At one point when going over financing the vehicle, the Financer commented something to the effect that "oh, so you're leaving it to the last day" in regards to our purchasing a vehicle. We felt the man was critical and judgmental of us and did not leave with a good feeling. However, it was a good price, though we needed to find our own financing. We thought, though we weren't particularly fond of the Financer or Salesman, that we could get a good deal and be rid of them soon enough. Rather than looking for further vehicles, we spent the day rushing back to Airdrie for some paperwork and back into Calgary to a bank appointment to acquire the appropriate financing. Afterwards we took a well-deserved break after so little sleep the past several days, as we had finally found the vehicle, signed the papers, gotten the financing, and were simply waiting for the red tape to clear. Or so we thought.

The vehicle was not to be inspected until Monday, so I vowed to call on Tuesday to see where it was at. Monday I received a call from Salesman guy telling me there were a few things wrong with the vehicle as per the inspection. It needed rear brakes, the windshield needed replacing, so did the power mirror switch, the rear shocks were leaking fluid, and the outer tie rods needed replacing. It could not pass inspection until this was done, yet for the dealership to do the work would cost them a lot of money (= less profit). So, he made us a deal. $4,500 for the vehicle, as is - we do the repairs ourselves but we still get the 1,000,000 warranty provided we service the vehicle at their dealership as specified. I did the research and calculated that to do the repairs ourselves would actually save us money on the vehicle, and the repairs were all minor. I countered back at $4,200, he said he'd call me back. He returned my call shortly after, telling me he'd spoken to the owner, who'd said that $4,200 was the absolute lowest he could go on the vehicle. I told him we were in, just that I wanted to see the inspection report and that we had a few minor details to work out. I had a few questions, and Salesman guy tells me he'll return my call with the answers, and the inspection report, the next day.

Tuesday I call by the end of the day and Salesman guy's got no answers for me. The mechanic is not in so he's got no inspection report for me. (He didn't know the mechanic wouldn't be in yesterday when I spoke with him?) I say fine, call me tomorrow when the report is in.

Wednesday I get a call from Salesman guy telling me there's more wrong with the vehicle. I ask him what is wrong, he replies the Mechanic is saying something about the tires being too big? I tell him that's not a problem (we'd planned on replacing the brand-new tires, which had DEEP tread, with some more moderate tires anyways), is there anything else wrong with the vehicle?
-Well, yea.
-Okay, like what?
He mumbles something or other about nothing in particular - he doesn't have the inspection report in front of him, he doesn't know the full details, yada yada yada
-Okay, is there anything else wrong with the vehicle other than the tie rods/rear shocks/rear brakes/power switch?
-Well, yea, the windshield
-Okay, but is there ANYTHING ELSE wrong with this vehicle other than what you mentioned to me yesterday?
-Well, no
Okay then, what's the problem (my thoughts). The guy starts rambling on again, and I get the feeling he is trying to convince me NOT to buy the vehicle now. Yesterday he was desperately trying to convince me TO purchase the vehicle. What the heck? I call the boyfriend up and explain to him the situation - I'm frustrated and confused as to what is going on with this truck. He calls the owner. The owner explains to him the Mechanic's report is not ready for him today but that he will get it to him tomorrow. He'll sell the vehicle to us for $4,500 though - as is, without warranty. Okay, fine. Wait, $4,500?? My boyfriend points out we'd already agreed to $4,200. And hadn't this allegedly been discussed with the owner yesterday when I went back and forth with the Salesman? Did he forget? Or was he never asked? Okay, $4,200 then.

We're still thinking this is a good deal for the vehicle, even without the warranty. But things are looking a little fishy, so we decide between us to get a second inspection on the vehicle. Either way, my boyfriend is set to finalize the details tomorrow and I am set to pick the vehicle up Friday.

Thursday (today) my boyfriend calls me to tell me there is more wrong with the vehicle. Not only that, but the dealership now wants $4,200 for the vehicle, PLUS $2,500 for the repairs for it to pass inspection. And we still don't get any warranty. Wait a minute, weren't we purchasing the vehicle as is to have the work done ourselves?? So now, somehow, we're expected to pay $6,700 for this vehicle, despite the contract we drew up last week? Then we get the inspection report in. Not only has this vehicle allegedly been used for off-roading (news to us, despite being obviously being in contact over this vehicle for the past week), but it has an entire plethora of problems. Not only are we being told that the Salesman we originally dealt with has not shown up for work (in this economy??) the past two days (and he doesn't work Friday), but we are also being told that the vehicle can no longer be sold to us for the above agreed-upon price and that the owner would rather take the vehicle to auction, where he can get more money for it. But, they have a 2007 Ford Ranger they (the dealership, according to the owner), are willing to sell to us at cost!

So this past week we were jacked back and forth - we're buying the vehicle, we're not buying the vehicle, we're buying the vehicle, we're not buyi- it was frustrating, disappointing, and, to be honest, disrespectful. I do not know whether these "mistakes" were made honestly or if we were simply duped, but I'll leave the fishiness and holes in the story up to you. My sole intent in writing this was to perhaps help get the word out in regards to this dealership's scrupules. I will update as necessary. I was really looking forward to picking up this vehicle and now instead have to look forward to searching for a new vehicle on my own, in between work, without the aid of my knowledgeable boyfriend (who cannot get away from work), which will admitedly be a financial risk for us (though there are some precautions we will be taking for sure). I would never recommend this dealership and will be taking my complaints as high up as I possibly can (Toyota associates? BBB?). So much is just not adding up about this vehicle. I also wanted to point out that the vehicle drove great. Despite tie rods allegedly needing to be replaced. It drove great on the highway, at highway speeds - no steering wheel shake, no nothing. It braked fabulously, shifted smoothly, had no apparent leaks, and was all-round a great vehicle to drive (and in great shape too - a very flashy truck). Yet it is allegedly falling apart and was used for off-roading (which we were only told afterwards?).

Good luck to those of you purchasing vehicles, it's a rough world out there and seemingly no-one is to be trusted.

Friday, June 19, 2009

2010 Winter Olympics

We'll be there! We've rented a beautiful little B&B for the two weeks and have tickets to an event nearly each day of the event. We're pretty excited to be a part of it!!

So now that Vancouver has won the chance to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, these are some questions people the world over are asking! Believe it or not these questions about Canada were posted on an International Tourism Website. Obviously the answers (in blue, not written by me) are a joke but the questions were really asked.

I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? (England)
We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? (USA)
Depends on how much you've been drinking.

I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto can I follow the Railroad tracks? (Sweden)
Sure, it's only four thousand miles, take lots of water.

Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada? (Sweden)
So it's true what they say about Swedes.

It is imperative that I find the names and addresses of places to contact for a stuffed Beaver. (Italy)
Let's not touch this one.

Are there any ATM's (cash machines) in Canada ? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax ? (England)
What did your last slave die of?

Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA)
A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Ca-na-da is that big country to your Nor...oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked.

Which direction is North in Canada? (USA)
Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Can I bring cutlery into Canada? (England)
Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is...oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and in Calgary, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)
No, WE don't stink.

I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you sell it in Canada ? (USA)
Aywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population ? (Italy)
Yes, gay nightclubs.

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada ? (USA)
Only at Thanksgiving.

Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round ? (Germany)
No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegan hunter/gathers. Milk is illegal.

I have a question about a famous animal in Canada, but I forget its name. It's a kind of big horse with horns . (USA)
It's called a Moose. They are tall and very violent. They roam the city streets eating the brains of anyone walking close to them. Spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking will scare them off.

Will I be able to speak English most places I go ? (USA)
Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

Will there be a heater in my igloo? Or should I bring some wood to burn?

Have they discovered fire up there yet???

God v.s. Science

A science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the students, 'Let me explain the problem science has with religion.' The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and the asks one of his new students to stand.

'You're a Christian, aren't you, son?'
'Yes sir,' the student says.'
'So you believe in God?'
'Is God good?'
'Sure! God's good.'
'Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?'
'Are you good or evil?'
'The Bible says I'm evil.'

The professor grins knowingly. 'Aha! The Bible!' He considers for a moment. 'Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?'
'Yes sir, I would.'
'So you're good...!''
I wouldn't say that.'
'But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could.Most of us would if we could. But God doesn't.'

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. 'He doesn't, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?'

The student remains silent.

'No, you can't, can you?' the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

'Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?'
'Er...yes,' the student says.
'Is Satan good?'
The student doesn't hesitate on this one. 'No.''
Then where does Satan come from?'

The student falters. 'From God'
'That's right. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?'
'Yes, sir.'
'Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything, correct?'
'So who created evil?' The professor continued, 'If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.'
Again, the student has no answer.

'Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?'
The student squirms on his feet. 'Yes.'
'So who created them?'
The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. 'Who created them?' There is still no answer.

Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. 'Tell me,' he continues onto another student. 'Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?'
The student's voice betrays him and cracks. 'Yes, professor, I do.'
The old man stops pacing. 'Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?'
'No sir. I've never seen Him.'
'Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?'
'No, sir, I have not.'
'Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God forthat matter?'
'No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't.'
'Yet you still believe in him?'
'According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?'
'Nothing,' the student replies. 'I only have my faith.'
'Yes, faith,' the professor repeats. 'And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.'

At the back of the room another student stands quietly for a moment before asking a question of His own. 'Professor, is there such thing as heat?'
'Yes,' the professor replies. 'There's heat.'
'And is there such a thing as cold?'
'Yes, son, there's cold too.'
'No sir, there isn't.'

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. 'You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.'

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.
'What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?'
'Yes,' the professor replies without hesitation. 'What is night if it isn't darkness?'
'You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?'

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. 'So what point are you making, young man?'
'Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.'

The professor's face cannot hide his surprise this time. 'Flawed? Can you explain how?'
'You are working on the premise of duality,' the student explains. 'You argue that there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it. Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?'
'If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.'
'Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?'

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

'Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?'

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided. 'To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.'

The student looks around the room. 'Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor's brain?'

The class breaks out into laughter.

'Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the professor's brain, touched or smelt the professor's brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.'

'So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?'

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable. Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. 'I guess you'll have to take them on faith.'
'Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,' the student continues. 'Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?'
Now uncertain, the professor responds, 'Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.'
To this the student replied, 'Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.'

The professor sat down

Thursday, June 18, 2009

One liners

Here are a few of my favourites:

Ninety-nine percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.

Never answer an anonymous letter.

I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

Always go to other peoples' funerals, or they won't go to yours.

Few women admit their age, few men act it.

If we aren't supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?

We have enough youth. How about a fountain of "Smart"?

Campers: Nature's way of feeding mosquitoes.

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

There are three kinds of people: those who can count, and those you can't.

Why is "abbreviation" such a long word?

Save a tree. Eat a beaver.

Out of my mind. Back in 5 minutes.

Sometimes I wake up grumpy. Other times I let her sleep.

The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the ability to reach it.

We are born naked, wet, and hungry. Then things get worse.

Be nice to your kids. They'll choose your nursing home.

DNA: National Dyslexic Association.

If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.

Eat right. Stay fit. Die anyway.

Nothing is fool proof to a sufficiently talented fool.

On the other have different fingers.

Dyslexics of the world, untie!

I don't find it hard to meet expenses. They're everywhere.

I just let my mind wander, and it didn't come back.

Don't steal. The government hates competition.

Humpty Dumpty was pushed.

All generalizations are false.

The more people I meet, the more I like my dog.

Work is for people who don't know how to fish.

IRS: We've got what it takes to take what you've got.

I used to think I was indecisive, but now I'm not too sure.

I can handle pain. Until it hurts.

No matter where you go, you're there.

If everything is coming your way, then you're in the wrong lane.

This statement is false.

Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

We are all part of the ultimate statistic: ten out of ten die.

Nobody's perfect. I'm a nobody.

The hardness of butter is directly proportionate to the softness of the bread.

Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else get your way.

If ignorance is bliss, then tourists are in a constant state of euphoria.

If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

I intend to live forever. So far so good.

What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques.

What's another word for "thesaurus"?

Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.

A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Quotes to make you think

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

Those who can't hear the music, think the dancer is mad.

Don't talk unless you can improve the silence.

Ignorance is curable, stupidity is fatal.

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Who is General Failure and why is he reading drive C?

Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.

The ultimate measure of a person is not where one stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where one stands at times of challenge and controversy. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare. Benedict Spinoza: The Ethics V

Those who cannot remember the past, are condemmed to repeat it. George Santayana: The Life of Reason.

People don't see the world as it is, but as they are.

Science is everything we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else. David Knuth.

Anatidaephobia: the fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you.

Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. F.Scott Fitzgerald.

Simplicity of character is the result of profound thought.

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers. Voltaire.

Many ideas grow better when they are transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up. Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools talk because they have to say something. Plato.

Usually I try to take it one day at a time, but lately several have attacked me at once...

In politics, stupidity is not a handicap. Napoleon Bonaparte.

The trouble with ignorance is that it picks up confidence as it goes along.

The probability of finding me in this office is inversely proportional to the magnitude of your urgency.

Push to test...release to detonate.

Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side.

Happiness is not a destination, but a manner of traveling.

Never anger a dragon, for you are crunchy and you go well with Brie.

Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence. Napoleon Bonaparte.

Living in fear is the same as fear of living. Either way, you have no life.

Could crop circles be the work of a cereal killer?

Be alert - the world needs more lerts.

To know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded. Ralph Waldo Emerson.

When their numbers dwindled from 50 to 8, the other dwarves began to suspect Hungry.

Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff that life is made of. Benjamin Franklin.

Due to operational requirements and financial constraints, the light at the end of the tunnel will be switched off until further notice.

A good pun is it's own reword...

You know you've spent too much time on the computer when you spill milk and the first thing you think is, "edit, undo".

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Toronto Welfare Department letters

I ran across this sheet of paper while cleaning house a couple of weeks ago and thought I'd pass it along. It admittedly got a few chuckles from me. I was originally going to write comments to each one...but...well...words seem to escape me.

Sentences taken from actual letters, received by the Toronto Welfare Department, from applications for aid and assistance.

I am forwarding my marriage certificate and six children. I have seven but one died and was baptized on half a sheet of paper.

I am writing to the welfare department to say that my baby was born two years old, when do I get my money.

Mrs. Jones has not had any clothes for a year and has been visited regularly by the clergy.

I cannot get sick pay. I have six children, can you tell me why?

I am glad to report that my husband who was reported missing is dead.

This is my eighth child what are you going to do about it?

Please find for certain if my husband is dead. The man I am living with can't eat or do anything until he finds out.

I am very annoyed to find you have branded my son illiterate, as this is a lie. I was married to his father a week before he was born.

In answer to your letter I have given birth to a boy weighing 10lbs is this satisfactory?

I am forwarding my marriage certificate and my three children one of which was a mistake as you will see.

My husband got his project cut off two weeks ago and I haven't had any relief since.

Unless I get my husband's money pretty soon, I will be forced to lead an immortal life.

You have changed my little boy to a little girl will this make any difference?

I haven't any children as yet as my husband is a bus driver and works both day and night.

In accordance with your instructions I have given birth to twins in the enclosed envelope.

I want money as quick as I can get it. I have been in bed with the doctor for two weeks and he doesn't do me any good. If things don't improve, I will have to send for another doctor.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink (For Free)

Watching Gran Torino and I thought I should probably update this blog a few humour blogs to go in the near future. First up, an article by Dave Barry, I believe from one of the Kamloops newspapers, written a good 7-8 years ago or so. I hope it's okay to re-produce it here (with credit to Dave Barry, of course), just it's much too funny to resist!

Water everywhere and not a drop to drink (for free)

Gatorade is now making water. I know this because I saw a Gatorade commercial that asks the intriguing question: "What if Gatorade made water?" (Intriguing answer: Gatorade will charge you a dollar for a small bottle of it.)
The commercial features the usual cast of hyperactive Gatorade people, who have to constantly ingest massive quantities of fluids, or they shrivel up like dead toads on hot asphalt. Gatorade people dehydrate rapidly because they are fanatically dedicated to exercise, and as a result, perspiration-wise, they are human fire hydrants.
Even when they stand still, sweat gushes from their every pore, so that within seconds, they're surrounded by an expanding puddle of their own bodily secretions. People are constantly slipping and falling around them, but the Gatorade people don't notice. That's how dedicated they are.
The Gatorade people are similar to the Nike-commercial people, another group of fierce, focused, grunting competitors who give a minimum of 175 per cent and would not hesitate to elbow their own grandmother in the teeth if she stood between them and their objective (usually, a ball). The message of these commercials is that Nike people are winners, because they have heart, willpower, and the one "intangible" asset that all true champions possess: severely overpriced sneakers.
Here's an intriguing question: What if a Gatorade man married a Nike woman? THAT would be a competitive wedding. The happy couple would race each other down the aisle, the bride gaining a momentary advantage by jamming her bridle bouquet into the groom's eye, then the groom countering by stomping on her bridal train, snapping her head back like a Pez dispenser, while the guests cheered and jumped up and down in their sweat puddles. At the reception, everybody would eat a wedding cake made entirely out of Power bars, and take turns bench-pressing members of the band. Blood would be shed during the limbo competition.
But getting back to my point: Gatorade is now making water. It joins the rapidly growing list of companies, including Coke, Pepsi and (any day now) Yoo-Hoo, getting into the highly-profitable, multi-billion-dollar busines of making water.
Of course, when I say that these companies "make" water, what I mean is that they "do not make" water. There's no need to actually MAKE water, because there's already water all over the planet - water in lakes, water in rivers, water falling from the sky, water in your home plumbing system, water escaping from your home plumbing system causing your ceiling to collapse when you're away on vacation, water just EVERYWHERE.
What the bottled-water companies do is get some of this water, put it in bottles, give it a brand name, sell it to customers, then smack themselves in their corporate foreheads and say, "We can't BELIEVE we're getting away with this! Do you think they'd buy air? What about dirt?"
Incredible as it may seem, there was a time, years ago, when people right here in America actually drank the water that came out of their taps. Back then, if you had tried to "brand" water and sell it, people would have laughed and squirted you with garden hoses.
Today, of course, thanks to the educational efforts of the bottled-water industry, we consumers are terrified of our tap water, because we know that it contains some of the most deadly substances known to man: chemicals. To cite one example: Bottled-water-industry researchers recently issued an alarming report stating that virtually every sample of tap water they tested contained large quantities of hydrogen, which is a type of atom believed to have caused the Hindenburg dirigible disaster.
"We're not saying that people who drink tap water will explode into massive fireballs," assured the researchers. "We're just saying they should avoid open flames."
This is why millions of consumers now prefer bottled water, which - we know this, because we have seen it with our own eyes, in the commercials - bubbles up from pristine underground mountain springs, and thus does not contain any impurities, unless of course you count worm droppings.
I mean, let's face it, underground is where worms live, and very few worm species wear diapers. But big deal, bottled-water consumers! Ingesting worm poop (which is very low in fat) is a small price to pay for the security of knowing you are drinking water that is backed by the highest scientific quality of marketing campaign, right? So let's raise our glasses of brand-name water in a toast to health and fitness!
Ok, you Gatorade people, please put your arms back down.

Dave Barry is a humour columnist for the Miami Herald.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I want to tell you lies

A good friend showed me this one; I'm not sure who wrote it but it's a pretty strong poem and I think is one of those that will really keep me grounded and appreciative of every day, particularly as an EMT.

I want to tell that little boy his Mom will be just fine
I want to tell that dad we got his daughter out in time
I want to tell that wife her husband will be home tonight
I don't want to tell it like it is.....
I want to tell them lies.

You didn't put their seat belts on, you feel you killed your kids
I want to say you didn't ... but in a way, you did.
You pound your fists into my chest, you're hurting so inside
I want to say you'll be ok......
I want to tell you lies.

You left chemicals within his reach and now it's in his eyes
I want to say your son will see, not tell you he'll be blind.
You ask me if he'll be OK, with pleading in your eyes
I want to say that yes he will.....
I want to tell you lies.

I can see you're crying as your life goes up in smoke.
If you'd maintained that smoke alarm, your children may have woke.
Don't grab my arm and ask me if your family is alive.
Don't make me tell you they're all dead........
I want to tell you lies.

I want to say she'll be ok, you didn't take her life
I hear you say you love her and you'd never hurt your wife.
You thought you didn't drink too much, you thought that
you could drive.
I don't want to say how wrong you were......
I want to tell you lies.

You only left her for a moment, it happens all the time.
How could she have fell from there? You thought she couldn't climb.
I want to say her neck's not broke, that she will be just fine.
I don't want to say she's paralyzed........
I want to tell you lies.

I want to tell this teen his buddies didn't die in vain
Because he thought that it'd be cool to try to beat that train.
I don't want to tell him this will haunt him all his life
I want to say that he'll forget........
I want to tell him lies.

You left the cabinet open and your daughter found the gun.
Now you want me to undo the damage that's been done.
You tell me she's your only child, you say she's only five.
I don't want to say she won't see six..........
I want to tell you lies.

He fell into the pool when you just went to grab the phone.
It was only for a second that you left him there alone.
If you let the phone ring perhaps your boy would be alive.
But I don't want to tell you that.........
I want to tell you lies.

The fact that you were speeding caused that car to overturn
And we couldn't get them out of there before the whole thing burned.
Did they suffer? Yes, they suffered, as they slowly burned alive
But I don't want to say those words........
I want to tell you lies.

But I have to tell it like it is, until my shift is through
And then the real lies begin, when I come home to you.
You ask me how my day was, and I say it was just fine
I hope you understand, sometimes............
I have to tell you lies.

Dedicated to all the Police Officers, Firefighters, EMTs,
Paramedics, Emergency Flight Crews and all Civil Servants
who deal with the tragedies of life and death.

The saddestof all, bein g those that could have been prevented.
Wear your seat belts.
Keep poisons, flammables, fireworks, etc. out of reach of children. Keep
your smoke alarm in operating order, if you don't have one, get one.
Never, ever drive if you've been drinking.
Never leave your toddler unattended.
Teens, be responsible drivers, obey all traffic lights,
posted limits, warnings and signals at RR crossings.
Keep your guns locked and out of reach, buy a trigger guard.

Am I preaching?

Am I nagging?

I guess I am just telling it like it is.......

Or I could just tell you a lie.

And the next time you hear a siren in the distance, don't just say a
prayer for the victims and their families. Say a prayer for the people
that face these tragedies every day and do the best they can to save
someone that is loved. We never see the tears of these brave men and
women, but God does.