Saturday, 20 December 2008

Liquidation

This is a picture of my sister and her friend in our living room. I'll stick with her original caption:

"So uh, we had to sell our furniture in order to pay for the grocery bill last week. The economy has taken its toll on our household, as well as on [sister's friend's family], so they've sold their house and moved in with us. My bedroom is being rented out so we're sleeping in the living room now. And no Christmas gifts either... as you see, we have none under the Christmas tree. If you feel any compassion..."

Off on a tangent:
“There are two types of people – those who come into a room and say, 'Well, here I am!' and those who come in and say, 'Ah, there you are.'” Frederick L. Collins

Monday, 15 December 2008

Cold Shoulders

I was shoveling the other day, and planned to push my brother into the waist-high snowbank, but I forgot to. Not that it mattered. He threw himself into the snowbank to cool off from the shoveling. I'm sure there'll be ample opportunity to push him some other time this season. My dad said it's about 30 degrees below zero today. Even for us Calgarians, that's considered cold... although, despite the title of this post, it's usually my fingers that get cold, not my shoulders. I am so glad that I don't have to stand around outside, watching my hair freeze, waiting for buses anymore. I am DONE FINALS and can take a break!

I'm a little disappointed because I'm used to being at least within the top five students in most academic settings, but I have the official results for one class already, and I placed 60th out of 115 people in the class. It's largely my fault, because had I really tried to read the material and study (as opposed to just recall the lecture notes on the day of the exam) I would have done better. But I claim that I should not have had to put a lot of effort into it. The professor did not do a good job of teaching, but was very vague, wordy, and repetitive... and generally quite dull. A very nice man, but I did not benefit from his teaching style. And I'm not sure how anyone could do well on those multiple choice exams. I pretty much gave up trying to figure out what the questions were asking and just looked at the key terms, then decided which three of the four "answers" were furthest removed from them.

I suppose this is an example of a self-serving bias. I attribute my success to myself and my failures to outside circumstances... at least partially. That being said, I attribute my success to outside circumstances somewhat, too, so maybe I'm not completely irresponsible.

Anyway, Stephane Dion has been given the boot by his own party, and shall be replaced by Michael Ignatieff. He'll be serving as the interim Liberal leader until it can be finalized next year. Ignatieff seems a little more grounded that Dion (or Layton), and he's got a lot to lose, unlike Dion, so he may not try to push the coalition through come January. We'll see.

Meanwhile, if you want to see the final straw that got Dion ditched last week, you can find it here. I don't feel like posting his big long boring speech on my blog. Suffice to say, it's more interesting to know that although it's a national address, it came to the TV stations over an hour late (thus didn't even make it to air in some cases), was out of focus (at least his face is - you can read the books on the shelf behind him), and the general consensus is that it must have been recorded spur of the moment on a webcam or cell phone or something. The unprofessionalism is appalling. And when it's compared to the PM's address... hah.

"What's on your mind? If you'll forgive the overstatement." Fred Allen

Sunday, 7 December 2008

White

Today is a snow day. Really, the first big snow day of the year, which is quite something given that it's December already. The sky is the same colour as the ground, and in some places you can't tell the road from the grass, except that the grass has trees sticking out of it. About four inches of snow collected on the windshield while we were at church, and I had so much of the fluffy white on my hair that I looked like a Mrs. Claus wannabe.

Dad wanted me to drive the car home from church, but I talked him into letting me, the inexperienced female, take the SUV while he, the pro alpha-male, took the rest of the family in the car.

They got stuck. I didn't. Or more technically, they started rolling backwards down a hill, steered into the curb, got pushed by a benevolent stranger, spun around and drove the wrong way through a red light.

I left church later, so my sister called to tell me to stick the SUV into 4-wheel drive and take a different route home. We agree now that it was good that Dad didn't make me try to drive the standard home.

The protest may have fizzled had the snow come yesterday. And people would have had trouble getting to the school for exams on time if it had started snowing tomorrow. What beautiful timing.

"When I die I, want to go peacefully in my sleep like my Grandfather, not screaming like the passengers in his car." Glenn Satchell

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Protest Pics











































































































































The first few pictures are of the anti-abortion display, then the later ones are of the coalition protest.

1. At the anti-abortion display, it was mostly the amateur camera men and obnoxious ladies from off-campus that caused the noise. This is the guy who was trying to preach.

2. This is a bit of the display I helped set up. The pictures are rather graphic, but only because they're real, and not created on a computer.

3. These are some of the guys that came to support the display, even though they disagreed with it. Go freethinkers!

4. This is the coalition protest, lined up on along MacLeod Trail, getting the cars to honk in support. Only one unamused Liberal fingered us. One of my friends and I tried to get people to chant "Let's go, Harper!" hockey style, but I guess it was too late, and people were starting to break up already.

The crowd at the coalition protest was quite polite, actually. I guess everyone figured we all have a common enemy, and so that made us friends. There was one lady in front of us that gave me a bit of a glare every time I screamed, but the other lady chatted with us. Apparently there one disabled lady that drove by the protest about fifteen times just so she could honk and be a part of the action.

In case you haven't gathered, it was outside after all. Still not really sure why we weren't allowed to hold it at City Hall, though.

5. Even the kid has the math right.

6. I think this sign might be a little extreme. It did make me laugh, however.

7. Whole families were there. I ended up crossing paths with a few different people I know, but somehow never found my sister. I guess I could have texted her. Oh, well. Slipped my mind. I was there with a few friends, one of whom I kept accidentally poking with my flag. She eventually took it away from me, and someone else gave me a sign saying "Harper Rocks". Shortly after I took it, everyone started chanting it. Made me happy. :-)

8. I think so, anyway.

9. These were some fellow university students. In case you can't read it, it says "Jack and Gill went up Parliament Hill to make a coalition. Dion fell down and broke his crown, and joined the seperatist (sic) position."

10. I thought some of the signs were a slightly harsh. There was one sign that proclaimed Layton, Dion, and Duceppe were "Wanted: dead or alive for conspiracy". There were some other kind of witty ones, however, like "Hit the road, Jack", and "Just say no to LSD: Layton, Separatists, and Dion". One called them the "Unholy Trinity" and had pictures of them as devils.

Man, was I wired after that. Try to study after protesting - I defy you.

“Here's my Golden Rule for a tarnished age: Be fair with others, but keep after them until they're fair with you.” Alan Alda

Friday, 5 December 2008

She Doth Protest Too Little

There was going to be a protest tomorrow at City Hall, but for some reason it's been moved to Epcor Centre, instead. Apparently whoever is organizing the protest worried we'd run out of room at City Hall due to the vast number of protesters. It doesn't make any sense at all to me. Epcor Centre, if I remember correctly, is a building. If you're worried about running out of room, why on earth would you move everyone indoors? And why even bother protesting at all if no one can see you? I'll go anyway, but I'm a little less excited now. Hopefully the media will still be there to cover the whole thing so that the Three Stooges can watch it in Ottawa and lose lots of sleep over it.

It'll be my first official protest as a university student. No, scratch that - it'll be my first official protest ever. The anti-abortion thing at the uni was kind of a protest, but nothing on this scale. I figure being part of a protest is sort of a university rite of passage. Isn't that what students are supposed to do? Take part in protests and change the world? Not sit around on their butts being brainwashed and trying to be "tolerant"?

I got rather ticked off at a couple of friends today. What happens in school finals over the next ten days is too important, I guess, to take off a few hours to try to keep the nation from flinging itself into the abyss of debt, corruption, and general lack of democracy. People are entitled to choose their own priorities, but come on - like you're not going to take a few hours off studying, anyways. And yes, I realize that whether the protest makes a difference or not does not likely hinge on me personally being there. I, however, will at least be able to say that I resisted, and didn't just resent, being a Canadian under the rule of a Frenchie, a Separatist, and a Socialist. The whole thing is being called the 'Coupscam' now.

If I'm rather heated when I get going on this topic, my excuse is that I'm in university, and still supposed to be idealistic enough to get angry over this sort of stuff, and not just sadly resigned.



"Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." Ronald Reagan


"Politicians say they're beefing up our economy. Most don't know beef from pork." Harold Lowman

Thursday, 4 December 2008

So Critical

You've probably seen this before, but if you haven't, have fun.

Test of Cognitive Ability and Critical Thinking: (this test predicts how well you will succeed in life)

1. How do you put a giraffe into a fridge?
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A: Open the fridge door, put the giraffe in, close the door. This was to test whether you make simple things complicated.

2. How do you put an elephant into the fridge?
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A: Open the fridge door, take the giraffe out, put the elephant in, close the door. This one was to test both your foresight and how quickly you learn.

3. The Lion King calls a conference that requires the presence every animal. Only one animal doesn't attend. Which one is that?
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A: The elephant. He's stuck in the fridge. This tested your comprehensive thinking.

4. You have to cross a river that's inhabited by ferocious crocodiles. You have no supplies. How do you get across?
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A: Swim. The crocodiles are at the animal conference, so it's perfectly safe. And this was to test your reasoning ability.

If you got:
4 correct - success in life is inevitable. There is little, if anything, you cannot do.
3 correct - if you practice a little, you might be able to catch up. You can be mildly successful.
2 correct - consider flipping burgers for a living. It's the only thing you'll be successful at.
1 correct - sell your organs. At least you may help someone else be successful.
0 correct - consider a career that needs no critical thinking at all - like being a politician. More particularly, a left-wing Canadian politician.

Speaking of which, Her Excellency Michaelle Jean has thus far proven to have some sense. She suspended parliament until January, by which point in time the lawyers may decide that the Three Stooges can only force a re-election be rejecting the budget, and not simply stage a coup. Plus, there'll be more time for people to stew about it and get angry and decide that anyone who aligns with the Bloc sucks.

At any rate, for the first time in several days, there is a faint wisp of hope in the air. That's kind of a nice thing right around Christmas.

On a completely unrelated note, here's a snippet of tonight's dinner planning conversation:

Lisa: I know the restaurant, but not exactly where it is. It's right by a strip mall.
Mahabba: What?
Lisa: It's right by a strip mall. I've been there before.
Laura: I've been to that strip mall.
Mahabba: I don't like that it's at a strip mall.
Laura: Oh, it's a good place. Good stuff, lots of fun.
Melissa: Mahabba, your mom is driving. Does she know where the mall is?
Mahabba: Guys, I really don't like that it's at a strip mall.
Me: A strip mall is just a normal mall with the doors on the outside.
Melissa: An outlet mall.
Me: The stores are lined up to make a strip.
Mahabba: *Ohhhhhh*

We laughed about that pretty hard. A strip mall. Great place for a Bible study dinner. :-D

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Two Quotes

...that made me laugh, even in the last throes of the dying nation.

(8 yr old, in Sunday School) Julie: If your name was Miss Carlo, then your boyfriend's name would be Mister Carlo's!

Me: We would have to do some major research, first.
Emily: Oh, I don't know. I think we already know everything.

P.S. I changed the pictures on my sidebar.

Monday, 1 December 2008

I Know I'm a Doomsdayer

What with the coup that's about to utterly destroy everything good and praiseworthy about Canada, I felt motivated enough to write the idiots responsible. First I emailed the Liberal Party.

Dear Liberal Party of Canada,
As a university student who hopefully has a long life ahead of me as a citizen in a stable, democratic nation, I am asking you please, please do not align yourself with the party whose main goal is to destroy Canada. If the Bloc Quebecois gets into power, it will not be just Canada that will be deeply scarred, but also my belief that the members of the Liberal party have a conscience about them which they would like to keep clean. It is an absolutely ridiculous idea that Harper must be overthrown at any cost up to and including all provinces but Quebec.
Please look at this from the point of view of a proud citizen, and not from that of a desperate party who sees no other way to reclaim power that it democratically lost.

Then I pretty much copy and pasted and fed my thoughts to the NDP. I changed a few key bits to make it more relevant and so that whoever reads it won't know that they're second to the Liberals.

Dear NDP of Canada,
As a university student who hopefully has a long life ahead of me as a citizen in a stable, democratic nation, I am asking you please, please do not align yourself with the party whose main goal is to destroy Canada. If the Bloc Quebecois gets into power, it will not be just Canada that will be deeply scarred, but also my belief that the members of the NDP have a social conscience about them which they would like to keep clean. It is an absolutely ridiculous idea that Harper must be overthrown at any cost up to and including all provinces but Quebec.
Please look at this from the point of view of a proud citizen, and not from that of a desperate party who sees no other way to get the power that it is having trouble democratically claiming.

Then I wrote to the Bloc. I figure since they know I can never vote for them anyways (because I wrote them in English), and they really don't care, there was no sense in being diplomatic - if they even understand what I wrote. This was just therapy. Did you know that on their site they don't even claim to be working for Canada? Just Quebec. They state it right there (in French, of course).

Dear Bloc Quebecois,
I'm sure you're giggling with glee over this coup. If you do get in power, please make sure that the first order of business is to secede from Canada. If you really are all about Quebec, then I am imploring you, please don't touch the rest of Canada. And if you are only the worms you make yourselves out to be, don't be spiteful when people step on you later.

When I went to write the Conservative Party, I was forced to choose the topic of my comment as either membership, donations, or the website. At first I figured "political advice" didn't fit under any of the three, and so honestly navigated away, but, after a moment of crafty plotting, went back. I don't suppose their website techie will be able to do much about my comment, but at least I wrote someone...

Dear Conservative Party of Canada,
Your website is lacking an easy-to-find place in which to contact you about anything other than membership, donations, or the website.
Where am I supposed to appeal to you as a young, interested citizen to please dissolve the government before letting Michaelle Jean hand everything over to Dion? I voted Conservative, and the last thing I want is the Bloc or NDP to have more influence than they already do in Alberta.

I tried to find Michaelle Jean's email, too, but from what I gathered, you actually have to use the snail mail to contact Her Excellency, so I contacted the secretary's office, instead.

Dear Office of the Secretary to the Governor General,
I am a university student and proud citizen of Canada who is more than a little worried about the future of my homeland. Nobody voted to give Her Excellency the position of Governor General of Canada, so I do not understand why Canadians must entrust the future of our nation to her. If the non-confidence motion goes through, I believe it would be much more democratic, and generally more honourable, for the Governor General to force another election rather than appoint Dion as the new Prime Minister. The coalition parties lost the last election for a reason. Please don't hand to them what they rightfully lost or never had.

I tremble for our nation. Many prayers requested!

"Thank you for sending us your comment. We take good note and we will give it the attention it deserves. Come back to our site and thank you for your interest in the Bloc Québécois." -Bloc Quebecois website. I suppose my comment won't have any merit deserving attention.

And the wind shall say: "Here were decent godless people: Their only monument the asphalt road and a thousand lost golf balls." T. S. Eliot