Saturday, October 31, 2009

The greatest show on earth

I'm in the middle of "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins. Its an irreverent and thoughful look at evolution. I didn't expect to run into Monty Python but there he is, or more accurately, there is Eric Idle. For those of you who don't recognize the name he's the author of such classics as "I'll Bet You They Won't Play This Song on the Radio" and "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". I just have to quote the entirety of his "The Lord God Made Them All" parody because it's too good not to share:

All things dull & ugly
All creatures short and squat
All thing rude and nasty
The Lord God made the lot

Each litte snake that poisons
Each little wasp that stings
He made their brutish venom
He made their horrid wings

All thing sick and cancerous
All evil great and small
All things foul and dangerous
The Lord God made them all

Each nasty little hornet
Each beastly little squid
Who made the spikey urchin?
Who made the sharks? He did!

All thing scabbed and ulcerous
All pox both great and small
Putrid, foul and gangrenous
The Lord God made them all

Sunday, October 25, 2009

We gotta get out of this place ...........

Murray & Jill's yard doesn't look too bad in this picture but that's mud to the right. The mud is left over from the snow that covered the yard a few days earlier. So it seemed like we were living on borrowed time. We got an early start on Friday morning so that we could travel on the frost. Their yard is at the end of about 20 miles of gravel - the bottom sides of the bus show evidence of the gravel & mud on the trip out to their place. We took a shortcut down to highway 7 and our plan to travel on the frost worked. Then we headed west for Airdrie.

But then Airdrie was a whole lot worse when we woke up Saturday morning to this crap and more falling. I checked the internet and Camiel checked his $4000 airplane Garmin and we decided that we would likely drive out of the gack at Cochrane which is exactly what happened. We had a glorious drive through the mountains.

The only time the weather intervened was at the top of Rogers Pass and that didn't last long. Once we got west of the pass we got into autumn leaves and even the occasional green deciduous trees. We got to Sicamous as it was getting dark. It was strange driving south down Mara Lake with no boats on the lake and none in the slips. We briefly debated spending the night in one of the rest areas along the lake but decided they would be too noisy so we carried on to Grindrod.

It was getting pretty dark by the time we pulled into town but the park was open so we pulled in there and spent a quiet night beside our favorite river. This morning we got a leisurely start, had lunch in Kelowna and ended up coming all the way back to Chilliwack where we found our Holiday Trails membership park was still open. We both thought it closed on Oct. 15 so this was a great surprise. Our Thousand Trails park is open too but we like this one better. We're also limited to 50 nights a year in the Thousand Trails system before we have to start paying $5 per night compared with unlimited nights in the Holiday Trails system so we might as well use the nights on the Holiday Trails system if at all possible. So tonight we're tucked into a 50 amp site at Holiday Trails listening to the warm rain fall. Life is good.

(Monday) The rain is over, the sun came out, the temperature is about 10 degrees higher than what we left behind. We should have done this a month ago. Tomorrow I'll get the boat out of temporary storage and get it winterized. I've been worrying about it for the last month.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Counting the days now

We're back west of Saskatoon in Murray & Jill's yard counting the days until we can leave Saskatchewan. Marilyn got back from her last trip up north and shortly after she got home we got kicked out of 16 West. They said they were closing for the season and they made everybody leave but they lie. We left there on Thursday and today when I went by the owner was still camped there but I guess he must be happy because he is all by himself.

Today I got the 2nd muffler hooked up on the genset. I'm not sure that it made a whole lot of difference in the racket that the gennie makes but it must have helped a bit. Grandma used to say "every little bit counts like the old lady said when she pee'd in the ocean". I've got some soft mounts to put under it that should take out some of the low frequency vibration noise but I think I'll wait until we find a warmer place because that project could quickly turn into an ordeal.

I've got a contract through BDC Consulting that I am working on right now. I made a roadtrip to North Battleford and I've got a meeting with one of the principals on Wednesday and then I think we can leave here. If the weather doesn't go completely to hell we'll pull out Friday morning and go as far as Airdrie that night. We'll drink some wine with Al & Camiel and then be on our way through the mountains, probably arriving in Kelowna sometime Sunday afternoon.

Tomorrow we are headed for Regina to check up on father. He's back in the hospital because of a bedsore that has turned into a major issue. The details aren't important and they're too messy to include here but suffice it to say that our so-called healthcare system has so far failed miserably in its feeble attempts to treat this latest indignity. The owner of his care facility put her foot down last week and forced the system's hand so he is in the hospital until they get the wound to at least start healing. In a nutshell the problem is that the care facility isn't allowed to change the dressings and the (taxpayer paid) staff that is tasked with changing the dressings won't come often enough to actually cure the wound. Meanwhile father is caught in the middle with a deteriorating and debilitating out of control bed sore. Thanks a bunch Tommy Douglas.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not evil - just wrong

This is too good not to share. Turns out there's a Irishman named Phelim McAleer who has made a movie called "Not Evil - Just Wrong". Phelim calls himself an environmental journalist but don't hold that against him because this guy might just have it right. He's taken a direct run at Al Gore. You remember Al - the guy who invented the internet that makes it possible to read this weblog. You may also remember that he made a pseudo-documentary called "An Inconvenient Truth" that has made him a bunch of money. Its also made him the darling of big environment and that was what brought him to a convention in Baltimore where Phelim was able to ask a question. That's newsworthy because apparently Big Al is too much of a celebrity to actually answer questions anymore.

Apparently a British court has been asked to rule on the veracity of Al's movie because the schools want to use it to brainwash British children and it turns out ................. wait for it ............. there's some mistakes in Al's movie. I know - it's hard to believe but apparently it isn't as pure as the driven snow that Al claims is no longer falling. Those mistakes were the subject of Phelim's questions to Big Al and Al was squirming. He didn't answer the questions and the organizers cut off Phelim's microphone but I think that was probably Phelim's objective. He wanted some publicity and I'm happy to do my little bit to help him out.

Not Evil - Just Wrong is the web address but don't be surprised if you can't log in because I think they are experiencing a lot of traffic.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Debasing the coin of the realm

The morning after the US dollar closed at roughly $1.05 Canuck bux it is somehow completely appropriate to wake up to the news that the promised one has been annointed with a Nobel Peace Prize. Leaving aside the fact that he would have had to be nominated within weeks of taking office at a time when he clearly had done less than he has now this is a very bad joke. The Nobel committee has become nothing more than a UN cheerleading squad. I've heard comparisons to the Academy Awards this morning but that does ill service to the Academy. They at least provide employment and some measure of entertainment.

So far all the annointed one has done is not be George Bush. He hasn't implemented any policy domestically let alone internationally. What he has done is promise to spend money on a scale never before seen and the world has rendered its judgement on the wisdom of those announcements. That judgement can be seen in the chart above.

So it seems appropriate that the man who is debasing the greenback is now also debasing the Nobel Prize.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Not good - seriously not good

I knew better than to trust the damn weather forecast but I still want a refund. This sux big time. And its cold too.

Tomorrow morning I have to get up early to take Marilyn to the airport and the truck will be frozen up. There will be frost on the windshield. This is a serious error on our part.

This morning I got a phone call from father's care home operator. Some geniuses from "Home Care" stopped in yesterday and read her staff the riot act. Their sin? Regarding father as a person. Home Care is obsessed about a sore that the home has been medicating for over 2 weeks now. The government solution is to put him in bed and keep him there for as long as it takes.

Yesterday the home had him up in the living room - in his $2500 specialty wheel chair that is specifically designed to avoid pressure points I might add - when the Home Care Gestapo arrived. They periodically get these oldster bands in and the inmates seem to like them. Apparently father was singing along the last time Diane saw one of the bands there which is a scary thought all by itself. We always said he was an economical singer - he uses the same tune for Oh Canada, The Old Rugged Cross and For Auld Lang Syne. And anything else that he sings too. Anyway, the point is he was enjoying life as much as he is able when the Gestapo descended on him and on the Dove House staff.

Marilyn said today that Home Care sees father as "wound #127831" and I'm sure that is exactly the problem. They have such narrow compartmentalized lives that they are simply unable to provide compassionate care. Our so-called healthcare system is irrevocably broken. I was skeptical about the health of healthcare prior to my parents' experiences with the system but now I know that the system is broken beyond repair.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A serious navigatory error

We've been here before on the day they blow the waterlines. I would have wagered money that I wrote about it last year but I can't find any record of it. Today they blew the waterlines for 2009 so our days are numbered. They're going to lock the gates Thursday-week so we will have to move as soon as Marilyn gets back from the mine. She's leaving to go up there over the weekend and won't be back until Wednesday. Jorgito will be my little buddy again by the time she gets back. He's such a fair weather friend.

I've got a business plan to write for a company in town so that will keep me entertained while Marilyn is gone. I'll have to do a little travel in the course of writing that but I should have most of the data now. Its always a challenge getting a client motivated to provide the necessary information at the start of a new project and this one was complicated by the fact that two of the principals were leaving for an international farm show. However I think I have all that I need now so I just need to get motivated to dig into it.

We keep hoping that we will eventually be able to get the hell out of Saskatchewan. There's really no good reason to be here past October 1 even in a good year and this year has been anything but good. There's a miserable cold bitch of a wind blowing out of the northwest today which constantly reminds me "you're in the WRONG place, stupid". One thing that is a bit reassuring though is the fact that the trees still have most of their leaves and most of what they have is still green. Go figure. I keep checking Accuweather for Chilliwack just to punish myself.

I'm feeling strangely isolated today. Marilyn is in P.A. for some meetings and she has the trucklet. Yes, she finally sold the big white cop car. Some oldster was happy to give her $1200 for it earlier this week so we are now sort of a 3 vehicle family but since one of those vehicles is the cube van we're really just a 2 vehicle family and one of us doesn't drive one of those vehicles.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Simply amazing technology

Today I downloaded the current update to Picasa - version 3.5 The amazing new feature that prompted me to download it is the ability to recognize faces. Ever since the download it has been

Site 82 - 16 West

chugging through my pictures looking for faces and it is remarkably good. Evidently it sees similiarities that I can't notice. It doesn't always get the faces right but there is usually a family connection when it does screw up. It had trouble with mother & auntie Anne but other than that when it made a mistake it was usually mixing up sisters or offspring. Its about half done now and so far has found over 24,000 faces. That's not hard to believe when you realize that it looks at absolutely every face in every picture. It even identifies the faces in the pictures on the wall in the background.

You know that technology is becoming ubiquitous when you get frustrated with how slow it is. You know -- your computer is copying a couple dozen photos onto the internet and each photo is maybe half a meg -- you get pissed off because it takes a couple of minutes. Well the same thing is happening with the facial recognition thing - here it is going through literally a lifetime of photo images and I find myself getting impatient because it doesn't go faster.

Jorgito in the Cat-Cave

We're back at 16 West, north of the Saskatoon airport. We got here on the 30th. Marilyn flew back in the evening on the 29th and we spent that night on the Flying J lot. This place closes on the 15th of October so we'll have to get out by them but by then Marilyn will have been back up north and I will know how my latest project is progressing. With any luck the weather won't get too bad between now and then although it is certainly trying its hardest to go to hell. I tried to do some work outside today but finally gave up because it was too wet and too cold.