Is the Election Over Yet?

I’ve been reticent to blog about the Canadian federal election because I’m thoroughly bored by the punditry and annoyed that we have to have one in the first place. Despite what the Rt. Hon. Mr. Harper might believe the government can be run by a coalition in a minority situation. Or it can go it alone. Quite frankly I am of the opinion that the Governor-General should take the notice of dissolution, say thanks for your time you be on your way now, and call up the next in line. If they can’t form a government, and they need to declare it, then it goes to the next person and so on and so forth until you begin ambushing regular parliamentarians in the hallway and beg them to try and drum up, say, ten friends who are willing to act as ministers.

Every other country with a multi-party legislative chamber goes through these exercises. Hell, Japan and Israel appear to go through a new government every nine months. It’s all part and parcel of having an elected assembly. What Canadians, and most legislators forget, is that the MPs represent a riding, not a party. As a member of the party you generally agree with the overall policies and tend to vote that way but this should not preclude the possibility of voting against the party line if you think it is in the best interests of the country in general and your riding in particular.

My wish for this election would be that His Excellency would announce that this is the last Federal election for another four to five years. If you don’t like how your party ended up, too bad. If those bullies in the opposition are being mean, too bad. If you don’t want to govern you don’t have to. He’ll just pick someone else. If you don’t like that then you can try and break that government. Will it mean that the markets may be a bit unstable? Sure. But that hasn’t stopped the rest of the freaking world now has it?

Another round of connectivity

I’m currently watching PATV (penny arcade television) while simultaneously enjoying the hockey game on my television. Now I’m blogging while doing those two things. This is really becoming favoritest gift. Indeed it is beginning to rival Christmas sweater and slippers.

Epically useless cats

I swear we have three of the most useless felines known to humanity. All three of these creatures have come from outside. One of them may be semi-feral for crying out loud (she’s never had people before and doesn’t really know what to do with us). You would think that one of them would be able to kill a mouse. No, no they just chase it around the house and bop in on the head until the human (me) finds a container he can use to throw the thing into the backyard where it can live its happy rodent life.

Stupid cats.

This is so awesome

I am currently watching Penny Arcade TV in High Definition on my television while blogging using THE EXACT SAME SYSTEM!!!!

In other news my birthday laptop is now connected to my monitor as an extended screen.


Awesome food idea from the Joy of Cooking

Peel and cut lengthwise firm ripe bananas.
Place between the halves canned pineapple sticks.
Wrap the bananas with bacon.
Broil until the bacon is done turning frequently.

It’s in the Joy of Cooking therefore it counts as culinary.

Revealing a not really secret

It is with a small bit of trepidation that I announce that I am a Freemason. In fact, I have been a freemason for over a year now. On March 11, 2010 I walked into the Lodge for the very first time. On March 23, 2011 I went through the cermony to become a Master Mason, otherwise known as receiving the third degree. I am announcing it not so much as to advertise the fact but in simple recognition that I cannot remember who it is I told and who I wasn’t really telling. This brings us back to the trepidation. I wanted to be certain of what Masonry was before coming out of the regalia closet.

The simplest explanation is best described in terms of an RPG: Freemasonry is a lawful good society with members who range from lawful good to neutral good in their moral alignment. Freemasons do not control the world although those who do control the world (or at least North America/UK) have a tendancy to be freemasons because they generally have that alignment. Neither does it mean that every Freemason is a wonderful person. You can still be an asshat and pass an alignment check. Those who know someone who is extreme in their lawful good alignment also know that you can be an asshat and not need to pass an alignment check.

All this means is that every second Thursday I put on a fancy apron covered in funky doodads over my suit and hang out with other men who happen to have the same alignment as I do.

Why did I join? The truthful answer is that I needed out of the house and wanted a group of friends that was not dependant on the fact that they know my wife.

Why am in staying? It turns out that I rather enjoy it. Part of being a freemason is reciting memory work and performing rituals. In we keep with the RPG theme, those who know me well enough understand that I essentially have what amounts to a class bonus when doing those actions.

So welcome to my little not-so-secret secret. If you have questions feel free to ask them. Remember of course that my email is mike at my hostname.

Oshawa Home and Garden Show: Review

In a fit of planned randomness I dragged my wife down the road to the Oshawa Home and Garden Show, aka the Oshawa This Week Home and Garden Show, aka the Metroland Media Presents Home and Garden Show. Since I cannot think of a witty sentence that points out how absurd it is that the show doesn’t even have a proper name we’ll just meander right into the review.

The Good

It was free! I call this event an act of planned randomness because I found coupons in advance. The first coupon was in the Oshawa This Week (our Wed/Thur/Fri newspaper) for buy one get one free. The second coupon was a free entry for two in the local coupon envelope. I would normally feel far more special about having succeeded in thwarting the culture of paid entry into an event designed to get you to buy things except that when we got to the door we discovered that they had a box of printed coupons which they were using to justify letting everyone in for free. This was a box with coupons still in their bundled and elastic bound form. Why you don’t just say free admission and get more people to attend? I have no idea. But it was free and for that price it was worth it.

The Bad

Maybe its the former event programmer/coordinator  in me but if you have an event that exists on two separate floors of an arena would it not make sense to place signs saying THIS IS HOW YOU GET TO THE GOES UP PART WITHOUT BACKTRACKING THROUGH EVERYTHING YOU JUST WALKED PAST? An arrow pointing on an upwards slant? Anyone?

The lack of direction once you got past the entry table was ridiculous. The only signage in the entire place was one of the honey vendors saying they were upstairs. I kid you not. Someone printed up their own sign saying they were on another floor. Does this not speak to “we’ve been here before and we know it sucks” to anyone else? When your vendors have a better concept of the general lack of direction than you do there is a significant, reoccurring problem. Speaking of the entry table it was in a horrible location. Put it in a spot that encourages people to move in the direction you want them to move. Don’t just throw it to one side at the main entrance and hope to God that people can enter and exit in a reasonable fashion.

The main floor setup was such that the presentation stage was hidden from view, there was no clear path to make sure you walked past every booth, the announcements were made using some sort of bullhorn (this may just be my perception, I could barely hear the one that was announced so I’m guessing it wasn’t using the full sound system of the arena and if it was then the volume was set wrong), the map they gave us at the bottom of list of vendors which was so noticeable I found it this morning while writing this review had three points of “egress” but no indication as to whether those “egress” points got you anywhere useful, and to get back to the main entrance you had to walk past the same tables who were oblivious to the fact that you had already declined a free spinal scan.

The Huh?

Given the state of my computer’s ability to check my email I am fairly certain I simply missed the memo mentioning that chiropractors, spinal scans, holistic treatments, and physiotherapy were part of the “home and garden” section of my community. Now I don’t begrudge the conveners letting them in, after all they paid for their spot and you have to make money somehow. What confuses me is that there were over a half-dozen of these vendors and not a single hammock store and none of the local plant nurseries. The hammock store was my own desire and quite frankly the only thing I was really hoping to come across. The fact that there were no hammocks in evidence could be a lack of hammock stores in the general area but combined with the lack of exterior furniture period makes me wonder what the hell was happening. There were plenty of hot tub vendors, plenty of landscaping and general contractors, plenty of people willing to build decks, a fireplace and firepit vendor, and at two very nice wife-dragging-husband-away barbeque displays but there were no vendors selling things to sit on to experience the lovely exterior you just created. As for the nurseries, I have no idea why they were not present and if was at all interested I’d call them up and ask them why. There are three major places to buy plants within a twenty-minute drive that I personally know of and yet there was no indication at this event that they even existed. Maybe they’ve been before and found it not worth the time and money. I don’t know.

The other hilarity is not the fault of the home and garden show but the GM Center. If you are going print coupons on the back of your tickets could you pay attention and not print ones that have a coupon to Jack Astors that expires Dec. 31, 2008? This is 2011. That is totally unacceptable.

The End

I’m glad it was free. I did not enjoy my experience to any great extent and am very hesitant to even think about going next year. Perhaps it is the former professional in me but this is why you should pay someone to set up your event for you. And if you did pay then you need to pay more to get someone who is qualified to do this properly. You need someone in sales to start walking into managers offices and finding out why the plant nurseries aren’t showing up and doing whatever it takes to get them to attend. You need to show people how to get around your site. You need to make a decision to either charge or not charge. You need to print where the event is on the coupons. The same goes for the advertising. Telling people it exists is wonderful. Telling them where it exists is better. You have the newspaper as your partner in this event. If you cannot convince them to put the location in the full pull-out section you had them create (and sorry I could tell they made it for you) then you need to sit down with them and hit them repeatedly with a dead fish until they do.  Just because this is a “local” or “community” event does not mean that a lack of professionalism is acceptable.

That Ending Feeling/Chicken Little?

Remember a few posts back when I said I’d like to experience the end of a job? Well I just finished two jobs back-to-back (leave stalled one, do another, come back).  It’s anti-climactic. Maybe if I’d been at the site from the beginning I might look at it differently but the only thing that really comes to mind is, “damn all these tools are heavy.”

And in a bit of scary I managed to eat 4-6 boneless chicken wings – tiny less breaded chicken fingers really – that were not cooked. They weren’t slightly pink. They were translucent.

My stomach is fine (so far). My brain? It’s not handling it all that well.

The more things change the less I can figure them out

I swear there is nothing more odd than trying to figure out where things are in a building you worked in over six months previously when it has been taken over by the occupants and finished. Everything looks weird when you are staring at a high-class restaurant that used to be the temporary bathroom.

Living in the present with cats

No that was not a murderous rampage crashing through my house.

It was this.

My boot in the living room

My boot in the living room

My boot belongs in the kitchen beside my other boot. It does not belong beside the PS2&3.

I don’t know how the cats did it other than loudly. Everyone is fine. Freya is sitting on the couch and looks as confused as I am about the whole thing.