Ink & Paper

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Is this the end? I wish.....

Ok so here is how it all worked out.

I have decided to take a job with the Edmonton branch of the Alberta Heart & Stroke Foundation. I will be responsible (well, as much as I can be anyway) to promote the Hoops for Heart and the Jump Rope programs to the various schools in my district, which stretches from Edmonton to Jasper and up to Grande Prairie. Some travel involved but mostly in Sept/Oct and May/June. I am really excited about the position and it is nice to be getting paid decently for something I like doing and should be relatively good at, fingers crossed.

I looked hard (and had an offer from) the Action Group in Lacombe for a position that would see me basically setting up a new community program for people with disabilities, but in the end it came down to a few things that made the difference. It would have been a great opportunity, but I felt that I wasn't ready for it just yet. Probably one of the few times I have said to myself to not bite off more than I can chew. Maybe I'm getting wiser.....

Anyway, this means that Megan and I are moving back up to Edmonton, probably in the Leduc/Beaumont area and may even be buying a house/condo. It looks as though Megan (again, fingers crossed) should be able to transfer to a physio position in Wetaskawin, which is still within her health region. This is all still waaaay waaay up in the air, but I'm hoping to have it all settled by Oct 1, or if we are lucky Sept 1. We may be pulling what I call a Turner-Heykants manouver and living with family, but that has yet to be decided.

So that is that. I start work on Tuesday and I'll figure all of this stuff out in time, as I go along. More than a little stressful, but not "plane landing in Kuwait in August" stressful, so it'll be fine. Apparently December is a down time for both of our jobs, so we are thinking a week away after the wedding might be in order. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other.

Monday is still a happy dog and has no stress in her life, except for maybe a dog walking by the window or something like that.

Will post more, but could be sporadic. Hope all is well and that you enjoy/enjoyed your long weekend.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 8:25 AM ~~ 1 bonsai trees

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Thursday, July 28, 2005

My life (re: jobs) is insane. I will post more Friday night or sometime on the weekend. Oh ya, and there is a loose cow running in my back alley. I called the RCMP, but only after the SPCA was closed. The cop laughed at me, but I was laughing at me too, so its all good.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:38 PM ~~ 4 bonsai trees

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Just a quickie today, baby.

Got three phone calls today.

#1- Lacombe called and they want me to meet with the head honcho tomorrow night at Tim Horton's. Coffee talk, I guess. When I talked to her on the phone, she said something like: "I really want to meet you, I am looking forward to seeing you walk on water."

Now, I am pretty great and some people think I am the Messiah, but I think this was more in relation to my awesome interview that she was obviously told about. So tomorrow night I'll try not to spill coffee on her.

#2- CMA in Calgary called, they want to set up a 2nd interview in early August.

#3- Mothers Against Drunk Driving called, they want me to call them back. I will, sometime soon.

Then I drove to Edmonton and impressed (I think) the Heart and Stroke Foundation. I should hear back from them on Friday. I should also know about Lacombe by then. I have a good feeling about both of them but I don't know which way I'll go if I get both offers. Chat that on up with Megan, and to a lesser extent, Monday.

Hmmmmm. My life is tiring sometimes.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:08 PM ~~ 3 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Here is the latest in the "Make me a (job) offer" Jay sweepstakes...

I went to the job interview in Lacombe and things went well. You know, I made 'em laugh, told some awesome Kuwait stories, basically was
on fire. I think it went well, we'll see.

Then I came home to my loving fiance and loving dog and checked the messages. Lo and behold, I'm still awesome. The Edmonton Heart and Stroke (insert dirty 'stroke' joke here) wants me to drive up some evening this week to meet with the other two Program Coordinators that I would possibly be working with. I can't think they want to meet me at night unless they are pretty interested, so looks like some more highway kilometers for Franz, the Ford Truck.

Anyway, things are crazy and cool at the same time, so we'll see how my wacky life plays out.

I want to say something about Lance Armstong. For those of you who don't know, Armstong recently won his 7th consecutive Tour de France, a feat that had never been done and may never been done again. This is truly a remarkable achievement. A lot of sports broadcasters have been slagging Lance, saying shit like "well I can ride a bike" and "anyone can pedal a bike, I learned when I was 5" etc etc.

Garbage. Especially coming from some fat slob sitting behind some desk who probably would crush any bike he managed to get his fat ass onto. I hate it that sportscasters feel they can insult such a monstrous record. Even more so when one considers that Armstrong, prior to his first Tour win, nearly died from testicular cancer that mestasized to his brain. Yeah, after beating cancer, he only went on to win 7 Tours in a row, consistently beating Jan Ulrich, probably the best racer never to have won a Tour.

So I say kudos to Armstong. Seven dominating Tour wins a row is something that no ignorant sportscaster can take away from him.

Some Lance stats

Resting heart rate: 32-34
Max heart rate: 201
Average HR during endurance
rides (4-6 hrs):
VO2ml/kg: 83.8

Compare Lance's VO2ml/kg with this
VO2 Max of an average male 20-29 years of age is
: 38-43
VO2 Max of an average male on college track team is: 48-53

And his resting heart rate with this
Normal resting heart rates ranges anywhere from 40 beats per minute up to 100 beats per minute. Ideally you want to be between 60-90 beats per minute, with the average resting heart rate for a man being 70 beats per minute, and for a woman 75 beats per minute.

Whew. Have a good day.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:11 PM ~~ 5 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Monday, July 25, 2005

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 7:33 PM ~~ 1 bonsai trees

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Just a quick blog today. New job went well. Nice people, interesting work, waaaay better than the last job I had. But because I am always looking out for #1, I have another interview tomorrow night at 5pm (tentatively) in Lacombe for a position that pays a fair bit better. Plus I am still waiting on another two call backs from interviews last week. So, as always, we'll see. I have nothing to lose, as I think I will like this job I have now. Life ain't so bad.


A Brazilian man mistaken for a suicide bomber was shot eight times by police, an inquest heard hours after the British prime minister apologized for the slaying.

Jean Charles de Menezes in 2001. (AP photo)

Jean Charles de Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder, a senior British police officer told a police complaints commission hearing into the death on Monday.

Some reports on Monday suggested that Menezes ran from the police officers because his British visa had expired.

Via Matt Good....

Imran Khan very poignantly stated

“Some history is in order. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the US used Islam to counter the occupation. It sponsored an international jihad in the Muslim world and encouraged volunteers from Muslim countries to join in it. Thousands, including Osama bin Laden, flocked to Pakistan, where US-funded training camps were set up under CIA supervision. These plucky mujahedin were glorified in the West. But once the Soviets were defeated, both Afghanistan and the mujahedin were abandoned by the US. Afghanistan descended into chaos, from which the Taliban emerged.

Pakistan paid a heavy price, being left with sectarian militant groups trained in terrorism and four million Afghan refugees. We were swamped with drugs and Kalashnikovs. Meanwhile, those Muslims glorified as heroes for dislodging the Soviets now turned their attention to other countries where Muslims were being oppressed. As this brought them up against the US, they went from being heroic jihadis to “Islamic terrorists”. The culmination of this was 9/11.

But rather than trying to understand why 9/11 had happened, Bush and his colleagues took refuge in such inane expressions as “they hate our freedom, our way of life, our democracy” and, even more ridiculously, “they love killing”. The main stakeholders used 9/11 to pursue their own agendas for which it was convenient to conflate Islam and terrorism. Hence wherever Muslims were involved in a freedom struggle, they would become “Islamic terrorists”. This is no mere semantic point. Ariel Sharon used the excuse of terrorism to use his formidable military might against the civilian Palestinian population. Similarly Russia would use the magic word al-Qa’ida to squash all accusations of genocide and human rights abuse in Chechnya. But the chief grievances were political, not religious.

Then India claimed that “Islamic terrorists” were operating in Kashmir when that freedom struggle dated back almost 150 years. George Bush would use the term to attack Afghanistan weeks after 9/11, making war a first option rather than a last resort. And later he would use the same pretext to invade Iraq.


“The war on terror will never be won as long as we do not address the root causes - as long, for example, as the leadership in the US and UK denies that the horrific London bombing had anything at all to do with Iraq. The great danger is that sooner or later some suicide attacker will get hold of chemical or biological weapons and cause far greater damage in the US or UK than we have seen to date. When episodes such as Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib are broadcast widely, the Muslim perception grows that it is not a war against terror but a war against Islam. The risk is then that the terrorists become “defenders of the faith”. For that cause they will have no shortage of recruits.”

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 6:53 PM ~~ 2 bonsai trees

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Creeping Conscription?
NY Times

The Army's top personnel officer acknowledged this week that the service will probably miss its recruiting goal this year, the first public admission by a senior Army official and a stark reminder of the Iraq war's impact on enlistments.

The officer, Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck, said in testimony to the House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee on Tuesday that an improving economy, competition from private industry and an increasing number of parents who are less supportive of military service meant that the active-duty Army, as well as the Army Reserve and Army National Guard, would fall short of their annual quotas.

"We will likely miss recruiting missions for all three components," said General Hagenbeck, voicing publicly what many senior Army officials have said privately for weeks.

The Army has not missed its annual enlistment quota since 1999, when a strong economy played havoc with recruiters' efforts.

Maj. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, the commander of Army recruiting, has expressed cautious optimism in recent weeks that the active-duty Army could still eke out its annual enlistment goal, especially with 1,200 additional recruiters on the street for the peak summer months.

The Army met its monthly recruiting goal in June, the first time in five months, and is expected to exceed its July quota, recruiting officials say. But through June, the active-duty Army had enlisted only 47,121 recruits of its overall goal of 80,000, a rate that leaves too great a gap to make up, officials said.

In addition, the Pentagon this week formally asked Congress to increase the maximum age for military recruits to 42, in all branches of the armed services. Currently, the limit is 39 for people without previous military experience who want to enlist in the reserves and the National Guard, and 35 for those wanting active-duty positions.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 3:32 PM ~~ 1 bonsai trees

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Read this article.

The war in Iraq is now joining the Boer War in 1899 and the Suez crisis in 1956 as ill-considered ventures that have done Britain more harm than good. It has demonstrably strengthened al-Qa'ida by providing it with a large pool of activists and sympathizers across the Muslim world it did not possess before the invasion of 2003. The war, which started out as a demonstration of US strength as the world's only superpower, has turned into a demonstration of weakness.

The government, whose members seldom emerge from the Green Zone, make bizarre efforts to pretend that there are signs of a return to normality. Last week a pro-government newspaper had an article on the reconstruction of Baghdad. Above the article was a picture of a crane at a building site. But there are no cranes at work in Baghdad so the paper had been compelled to use a photograph of a crane which has been rusting for more than two years, abandoned at the site of a giant mosque that Saddam Hussein was constructing when he was overthrown.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 11:50 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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I can't say I wasn't shocked to hear this....

London's police chief has apologized after officers killed an innocent man whom they suspected of being a suicide bomber, but warned that similar incidents could occur. Sir Ian Blair said it was a "tragedy" that Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian national who was living and working legally in London, was shot and killed by police on Friday as he entered a subway train in south London. On Saturday, London Metropolitan Police said they made a mistake, admitting that the 27-year-old electrician had nothing to do with the failed attempts to bomb three subway trains and a bus two days earlier. They had originally said he was "directly linked" to the botched bombings. CBC

I don't really know how to react to this. On one hand, I think it is absolutely deplorable that an innocent, law-abiding man was brutally executed in front of bystanders because he had a bulky jacket on and ran from police. But on the other hand, I do feel some empathy for the police officers directly involved.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: "It is obviously deeply regrettable but what we have to appreciate is the very intense pressure under which the police officers have to work". BBC

Glen Smyth, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers in the capital, said: "Police officers in these circumstances are expected to make split-second decisions that have life-long consequences." The Independent Online

I think that what scares me the most about this incident is the seeming desire for the London police powers-that-be to try to move past this shooting. After reading a few articles online, I was left with the impression that the death of Jean Charles de Menezes was something like collateral damage. Indeed, Sir Ian Blair called the death "regrettable," a word I find lacking in empathy and fails to address the long term implications of this incident. As well, the police seem unwilling to truly address their earlier claim that de Menezes was "directly linked" to the July 21 bombing attempts.

I have made mention about the differing reactions of British vs. Americans in response to attacks on home soil. But after two attacks in two weeks, plus the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, I am sure that the London population is leaning towards nervousness instead of stoicism. What would be truly scary (and sad) would be the acceptance of de Menezes's death as a necessary evil, something "regrettable" but part of the messy business of protecting Londoners.

If his death does become something uncomfortably accepted, then I can't help but draw comparisons to Orwell's 1984, particularly this passage that occurs in Part Two, Chapter Five, which immediately came to mind as I researched this blog:

Syme had vanished. A morning came, and he was missing from work: a few thoughtless people commented on his absence. On the next day nobody mentioned him. On the third day Winston went into the vestibule of the Records Department to look at the notice-board. One of the notices carried a printed list of the members of the Chess Committee, of whom Syme had been one. It looked almost exactly as it had looked before -- nothing had been crossed out -- but it was one name shorter. It was enough. Syme had ceased to exist: he had never existed.

Will Jean Charles de Menezes cease to exist, lost in the din of panic and increased security measures? Or will his senseless death serve as an early wake-up call to the police and security divisions to rethink their tactics when it comes to dealing with potential threats? I think I know the answer, and I'm not happy about it. Often the deaths of innocents simply becomes a hard, cold statistic.

London mayor Ken Livingstone, in an article I read in the Edmonton Journal on Sunday, July 24, mentioned that de Menezes's death
"...has added another victim to the toll of deaths for which the terrorists bear responsibility." I am sure that I'm not the only person to vehemently disagree with this statement.

To attempt to blend the death of de Menezes into the deaths of July 7 while trying to pin the blame for this death
directly on the terrorists, cheapens de Menezes's death. That is not to say that the people who died on July 7 are somehow "lesser" deaths than that of de Menezes, far from it. But the death of de Menezes, resulting from the actions of the July 7 bombers, still came at the hand of a British police officer, not a indiscriminate attack.

I found myself squirming as I re-read that quote from Livingstone, a feeling of disgust at his attempt to shade de Menezes death as a direct result of terrorist actions. I will concede that de Menezes would still be alive had the bombings on July 7 never happened, but to attempt to lump de Menezes death in with the deaths of July 7 is irresponsible at best, disrespectful and misleading at worst.

As I write this, the police commission is promising an independent review into the shooting and the Brazilian government is demanding answers, as they should. While I feel empathy for the police officer(s) directly involved in the death of de Menezes, I have very little empathy for Sir Ian Blair and the politicians who are denying that British foreign policy has anything to do with the recent attacks. While I understand that the bombings are perhaps the most difficult issue Scotland Yard has ever faced, this senseless death of de Menezes is a tipping point in modern British history, as Britons must decide if they will let the police and government trivialize the execution of a law-abiding, innocent man.

Time, as always, will tell.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:22 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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