Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Bane Of Technology

This morning I got out of bed
      (clean sheets, room warmed by natural gas)
I went to the bathroom and had a shower
      (hot water heated by electricity)
I got dressed
      (clothes cleaned in the washing machine by my wife yesterday)
I was hungry so I went into the kitchen and had breakfast
     (food kept fresh in the refrigerator, cooked food on electric stove,
      put dirty dishes in the dishwasher)
I needed to go down to the military base to check on my job application
    (a half hour walk but it is raining today so I drove my car, powered by gasoline from the US)
On the way home I stop by the local hardware store to get supplies to fix the leak in my garage
    (flashlight  made in China, tarp made in Ontario, rope made in Mexico)
After picking up the supplies I stopped by the library to check my email and post this blog entry
    (computer made in Taiwan, internet services provided by Shaw in Alberta)

My life is pretty easy.
I need something, there it is.
Someone, somewhere has produced it for me and managed to get it to where I can access it.

Tomorrow, that could all change.

Kicking it Old School

Last night was the first night driving shift I have taken in ages. To be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to it but the realities of the budget demanded I get my butt out there and hustle up some cash.

I got into my car, hit the power buttont ( it was a Prius, I love driving Prius as a taxi), flashed up the engine, turned on the radio and then hit the switch for the dispatch computer. The computer refused to connect so I turned it off and back on again. Still no joy. I turned both it and the radio off, counted to 10 and then turned them both back on again. Damn, what the $#%@ is wrong with the damn thing. It is pissing rain, getting dark and I want to be paying the mortgage. I pulled out my cell and called up the office and was told the computer was down - dispatch was by voice tonight. Sweet.

Okay, turn the radio to channel 2, and log myself in

"Car 4, 10-8, 83" (that would be my car, starting shift in zone 83)

"Rodger 4, you are #2"

Screw that, I am not sitting #2 up here, time to go to the busiest zone in the city - right beside the Walmart. I pull into zone 68, check in and park the car to wait to be called. Two  minutes later the sweet voice called out (dispatch was a lady tonight)

"Car 4, 1180 Lovat #20"

"1180 Lovat, #20, thank you " and away I went. 5 minutes later, I realize the address given was incorrect and called it in.

"Sorry 4, go to Starbucks at Mayfaire for Alex."

"Starbucks, thank you". Dang, I hate that mall spot, a real pain to get into. Not withstanding that, with it being rush hour all of the roads surrounding the mall are packed with cars. Ah well, my first trip of the shift is always the best part of the shift so away I went.

I pulled into the mall and up to the Starbucks, listening to dispatch ask a couple of cars to go up to St Margarets School to clear up a back log. Two drivers respond and dispatch asks them to report how many other trips are up there. St Margarets is a private girls school we have exclusive rights to, generally a very good trip to and or from.  I stop my car and see two teens in short skirts approach my car. Hmmm, I am guessing St Margarets girls. Sure enough, they get in and say "St Margarets please. And please, as fast as you can."

 I turn back and looked at these two over privileged teeny preppies and say "Ladies, it is dark, raining cats and dogs and rush hour. I promise to get you there as soon as I can." What I didn't say was "did you really need to tell me to hurry you stunned #$%^*? I make a whole lot more money getting you to where you need to be faster than if I take my sweet time. Oh, by the way, in case you had your heads so far up your @$$*$ and didn't notice, the streets are clogged with rush hour traffic and its pissing rain. Sit down, shut the (#%) up, enjoy the ride and I will do my damndest not get you to your nice little escape from reality." I have learned that sometimes it is best to say some things out loud and some things to yourself.

The trip to the school took about 15 minutes, not too bad all things considered  By the time I got there, I passed 4 of my wingers coming back from the school and there was another one at the school when I arrived. It was busy time for us at St Margarets.

The rest of the shift went well, other than the occasional whine from someone who didn't get a trip because of an error at dispatch. Gee guys, get a life, grow up and stop with the crap. Dispatch is only human and errors happen - get over it.  Someone fixed the computer about 1 hour before my shift ended and then I stopped getting trips, go figure. Ah well, I got home with $70 to my name so I was happy.

And that was a night shift, in the rain, using the radio.

Time to get myself attending to life again
TTFN

Monday, 29 October 2012

Time

Tick Tock and Tock Tick

The hourglass is full

Your new life begins



Tick Tock and Tock Tick

Your life grows and matures

Creates life again


Tick Tock and Tock Tick

The sands have drained down the glass

Tired and must sleep


Tick Tock and Tock Tick

He comes to take you onward

Death is but a guide


Tick Tock and Tock Tick

Weary eyes close and at rest

Tick Tock tic tock tic......



Sunday, 28 October 2012

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Australian Navy

In my travels with the RCN, I have had the pleasure to work with the Royal Australian Navy. These sailors are cut from the same cloth that we in the RCN, that is to say, we work hard, we play hard, and our ships are wet (meaning are permitted to drink on board).

The first time I did the RIMPAC exercise (off of Hawaii) I got to meet my first Auzzies. My ship had just docked in Pearl Harbour (another great story will ensue from this event). Once we had cleared customs, landed the garbage and made the ship nice and neat, we were permitted to go ashore. Sweet, my first look and feel of a US naval base. It was (and still is) huge and very well put together. After wandering around for an hour, I found myself at the Enlisted Members club, another very large and well put together outfit. I made my way to bar at the back of the complex and sat down in the dark (a movie was being shown on the far wall). I got myself a pitcher of beer, sat down and enjoyed the cool darkness.

Red Light, Green Light

Within each driver is the desire to see a green light and a clear intersection. During one night shift I had the blessing to see an unbroken string of them, for 30 kilometres. To give you a bit of geography, to leave the city of Victoria BC by plane or ferry, you have one 1 direction you can go, and that is North, up the number 17 highway. This highway begins right down town and extents all the way up the Sannich  Peninsula. There are about 15 light controlled intersections along the 40 km length of it and this particular stretch of road is a favourite for the local law enforcement to get their daily quota of speeders.

It was about 8:25pm one Wednesday evening when I was trolling the streets down town, waiting to be dispatched or to have someone flag me down. There at the corner, arms waving frantically, were two young adults with back packs. I pulled up to the curb and they piled in and said "Ferry, please. Can you get us there in time?"

Two thoughts immediately came to mind. $60 and Damn, it will be right close.

Okay folks, buckle up and lets do this. I clicked the meter on and away we went. 2 minutes later we were on the right road, pointed the right direction and faced with those 15 lights and the police. I crossed my fingers, said a brief prayer to the Gods of taxi drivers and went for it.

Every light went green, I didn't stop once for a light, someone being stupid in front of me or a cop. As we closed in to the ferry terminal, one of my passengers sais they needed to pay by credit card. No problem, I reached for the terminal and handed it back to them. I told them the meter would read $60 when we got there and I talked them through processing the payment.

At 8:50 pm, I pulled up to the terminal, and saw that they were still selling tickets. They jumped out of the cab, handed me the credit card payment ($70), they both kissed me and ran to the ticket counter. As there were no other cabs or busses left there, I decided to hang around just in case they weren't allowed to by a ticket. I watched as they got to the counter, paid for a ticket, run through the gate an onto the ferry.

Good trip, got them where they wanted to be and got a pretty penny for it. Not a bad way spend the middle of a shift. Of course, there was a price to pay for it.

Every light I hit for the rest of the night was red.




Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Unemployed? Not for much longer

Well, it looks as if my days being a bum are about to end. The place I was working for as a civilian has finally gotten around to making it know that they require a Master Seaman who knows computer stuff. Hmmm, I seem to remember a bit of computer stuff, not only that, I am still a MS in the reserve world.
The last time this position was announced to the reserve world no one applied for it.
I am feeling pretty confident that I stand a better than average chance at landing this one.

Fingers and toes crossed

Cheers

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Another blockade running attempt


And it happens again, some activist group makes a big media storm by trying to run the blockade of the Gaza strip. Time and time again people are sticking their noses into places they have no right to be in - do they really think that they are doing something useful, or is it that they are just doing it to make themselves look more important than they really are.

What is happening over there, does anyone really know? Does anyone really care or are they just looking for their 15 minutes in the spot light? There are enough horrible things happening on both sides of the border to say that neither side has the moral high ground.

For sake of argument, here is what I see as having happened.

From the Jewish side of the line. There have been many instances of Jewish settlers moving into areas controlled by the Palestinians, effectively pushing them out. Extremist groups of Jewish folks have been working to have their government take all of the Palestinian lands.

Since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, there has been a continuous state of unrest in that region of the world. Israel was created by the League of Nations, in an attempt to give the Jewish people a place to call home, where they would not be persecuted for being jewish. The country that was Palestine was divided in 2, half to the Jewish people, half to the Palestinians. Was it the right thing to do? Was the division of land equitable? No one can make that judgement.

Almost immediately after the creation of Israel, the Arab world that surrounded the new country, declared that the jews where to be destroyed.  The jewish state fought back and parts of what was in Palestinian control was now under the control of Israel. There were 7 more wars launched against Isreal by various parts of the Arab world. After each war, Israel grew in size and Palestine shrank.

Since the creation of Israel, there have been numerous attempts by world powers to cause harm or destruction to the jewish homeland and each time, Israel has responded with quick and decisive force. Iran has consistantly called Israel a place of evil and has vowed to wipe it from the earth, by any means possible. Of all the threats that have been lobbied at Israel, this one is the most credible. Iran has and has used weapons of mass destruction - against its own people.

I am not saying that all that Israel has done in response to what has happened in right. As I mentioned earlier, there are things that have happened that do not paint a good picture of Israel. Be that as it may be, Israel is not raining rockets on children going to school, nor is it sending suicide bombers into public places. Israel is not working to destroy an entire nation, nor is it threatening other nations.

Israel is trying to survive, just as every other group of people out there. For all of you activists out there, stop with this trying to get the spotlight crap and keep your noses out of other peoples business - all you are doing is prolonging the problem and making it worse, for both Israel and Palestine.




Saturday, 20 October 2012

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Puppy Love






Black and white

Streaking across the floor

COOKIES PLEASE

Why did this happen

Miss Amanda Todd

A young life taken from this place
All over the world people are mourning what happened to her
The classmates who have spoken out saying how strong she was, how great she was, how what a wonderful person she was.....

What happened should never be, not to anyone.
Today I heard of a group of vigilantes on the web who have found a target to paint the blame for this death on. Did this man prey on Amanda? I won't begin to guess or believe what is told of him.

Who to point the finger at...

Those classmates who said all of those wonderful things about her, should we not start looking at them? Amanda had to change schools because of her classmates where doing to her.
To all of those classmates who are wondering what happened, how this could be, take a look in the mirror.

Did the person looking back at you know what was going on?
Did the person looking back at you participate?
Did the person looking back at you do nothing to stop it?
If the person looking back at you says yes to any of the above - stop wondering what happened and who is to blame

Schools don't need another STOP BULLYING policy.
Everyone needs to stop doing it.
Not because someone thinks it is bad
Not because there is some rule against it

Stop doing it because the next time, it could be you on the receiving end

Monday, 15 October 2012

I BELIEVE

And really, that says it all, very neatly.

A great deal of organized religion these days seems to run on the ideals of-
-believe in this story, all others are evil
-do as I say or be condemned to eternal agonies
-give us your money so we can spread the good word
-push my word to the unwashed masses so that they will know me

Just to fill in some questions before you ask

I believe that there is an existence beyond what we can physically see, touch, hear or measure. Call this existence God, or The Force, The Great Spirit, Allah, Buddah........ or what ever you wish.

I believe that this existence, who I choose to call God, is a part of us all. We are all a part of God, and as we are as humans, we have chosen to be here to learn something new. The best evidence of this, to me, is the last trip I made to Hawaii when I was still in the Royal Canadian Navy. The ship went through the roughest storm the western Pacific had scene  in 50 years and my ship sailed right through the middle of it. We sailed through 11 meter (33 foot) seas for 6 days. Now I know that 11 meters isn't the worse that anyone has ever done but for me it was.

I was terrified for 6 days.

For 6 days the ship bounced back and forth, doing 20 degree heels to port and starboard.
The upper decks had been placed out of bounds making all of us enclosed in this 100 meter steel tube. For six days I learned that I could be terrified but would still have the strength to carry on and do that job at hand. During that six days I was part of the bridge team, part of the medical team, part of the janitorial staff, part of the galley staff. I did it all because it needed to be done. I learned that I could do all of this while being terrified.

On the seventh day, the sun came out from behind the clouds, the seas flattened out and I knew I had learned something important about myself.

This is what I believe we are all here to do. To learn something, so that the sum total knowledge and experience of us all can be added together for the betterment of us all

Omnipresent? Omnipotent?
I don't think so. There is always something else to learn, there is always some place new to see.

This is what I believe.

My beliefs are the correct ones, for me. If you want to know more about how I believe, ask and I will answer. If I want to know more about what you believe, I will ask and hope you will answer me. I will not come up to you and tell you that what you believe is wrong and I will not listen to you doing the same to me.

If you wish to believe that someone born 2000 years ago died to save you from sins that you did not commit, so be it. I believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a real live person who was conceived and born as we all have been and will be. I believe he lived his life the best he could, helping those who he could help. Did he cure blind people? I believe he could have. We have doctors today who are giving sight to those who can not see. Did he raise Lazerous from the dead? I am sure he could have, I did once. There was sailor on the ground in front of me who was not breathing and had no pulse - Dead by all knowledge that existed way back then. I and two of my mates brought her back to life.

My beliefs, I have them, they are mine. Your beliefs, you have them, they are yours. Keep yours to yourself and I will not push mine on you.

As a parting thought, I friends who have very strong beliefs in several different religions. These people I count as people as friends, not because of what they believe or don't believe, because of the actions they take towards others. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Athetiest. We are all capable of improving the world around us just as easily as we are able to ruin.


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Rain

drip drop and slash

liquid gold falls to terra

life drinks deeply

Sunny Days

At long last, the clouds have moved in and unloaded upon us. It has been close to 90 days since we have seen any sort of rain fall and I am very greatful to see it. It has been nice not having to mow may front yard but we have few salmon rivers up here that are in danger of drying up completely.

Notwithstanding the fishes, rain tends to bring a few more people into my cab

Cheers

Friday, 12 October 2012

Shift report

It sucked, badly, so badly I decided to end it early.

Ah well, any day that I spent learning something - or relearning something, is not a wasted day. 
I came home and had a mid afternoon snooze, now almost ready to face the world again

Cheers

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Ready for shift two

Tomorrow is shift two. Lessons learned from shift one

1. The Marriott hotel is only booked at 30%, do not sit infront of it for an hour, waiting for a trip.

2. Stop chasing for empty zones. Go to where you decide and stay there.

3. Remember to put the car in Park and ensure it is there BEFORE getting out of the car.

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain. I don't particularly like driving in the rain, but the rain does tend to attract a few more customers. With that said, time to find the portable umbrella to take with me.

Cheers,
Bed time for this cabbie

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Shift one, from behind the wheel

Well, I survived my first shift behind the wheel, and didn't even crash into anything. Not a bad way to begin. Heck, even made $120. Not great but not too horrible. Apparently there a few bugs I need to work out of the system.

2 of the 12 hours I spent sitting in my car, twiddling my thumb, watching cars from other zones getting trips - EVERYONE BUT ME!!! If I learned anything from those two hours it is - give up sooner. The moment I gave up sitting where I was, I got trips. Murphy watches all, Murphy knows all.

Shift number one, done. Hopefully I will not be needing to do this for long. I enjoy it but 12 hours is a long stretch.

Cheers


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Back on the road again

This time for sure.
Drivers Licence - check
Chiefs permit - check
Training - check
System Login - Check
Scheduled Car - Check

This time for sure. I have 3 shifts booked for the week and with a little bit of luck, the bus drivers will be going on strike. The strike will make things hellishly busy but busy means $$$$.

I am really looking forward to getting behind the wheel again. The thrill of the hunt for the next fare, the exhilaration of being told "Airport", finishing the shift and heading home are all the high points for me. Sure, there can be periods of sitting in the car and watching everyone else get a fare but you can't have the highs if you don't get the lows.

First shift, Wednesday morning at 5am(my favorite starting time).

Setting my eyes on the first fare of the morrow, I bid you adieu.



Monday, 8 October 2012

Fired !!

Its official folks, I have been fired from the "cooking the turkey" duty for thanksgiving.
Three years running I have messed up the bird.

Year One. Read the holy book "Joy of Cooking". It says oven to 450. Right, I set the oven to
450 and figure out how long it should sit in the oven. Two hours later my wife looks at me
and asks "Why is the oven at 450?" I open the holy book and read it to her - "set oven to 450
for 30 minutes, then down to 350." Errr, the bird is the constancy of shoe leather.

Year Two. Read the holy book again and set the alarm for 30 minutes. I answered the buzzer
and turned the oven down appropriately. Somehow the turkey was finished cooking about an
hour before supper was to start. Damn.

Year Three. Read the instructions right off the package the turkey came in. 6kg=4 hours.
Good. Prep the bird and into the oven, set the timer and go. Two and a half hours later
my wife asks me if I have been basting the bird. Errr, no. We pull the bird out and it looks
done, we give it the meat probe, Yup, its done. This year 90 minutes early.

Ah well, all is not lost. I won't have to cook it next year <g>

Happy Thanksgiving All



Turkey

Stuffed and buttered

Into the oven you go

Belly over filled


Teaching your children about sex


Nice, clear, easy to understand.

What  more do you need?


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Treat

Hard yellow kernal

Spun fast with heat and then POP

Add salt, butter, hmmmmm

Comet

Night sky

Search all the heavens black slate

Blinding white streak

Darkness

Night falls upon Terra

Luna rises with pale light

Await the dawn

Time is passing

This morning it is cool and clear outside. We seem to have been blessed with an abundance of sunshine this summer, all in all a very good thing. With little rain I have very little grass growing and that mean one less thing to be thinking about. While I wait to be able to drive taxi again, I have started collecting all the garbage we have and get it ready to be dumped. With it all sitting in one place I am surprised at just how there is. What is scary is that I have yet to go looking in the corners of the property to see what else needs to go

Beyond the garbage I have studying to do and other general clean up bits.

Happy thanksgiving everyone

Cheers

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Denied!

Le Bummer. The powers to be at the office have decreed that I must take the refresher training before they will allow me to drive. DAMN! I did that training about 8 months ago and now have to do it again? BAH!

Ah well, I didn't really want to work this weekend anyway <pout>

More stories from the front seat will have to wait until next week


Back Behind the Wheel

So, I am currently between jobs again, it is time to take up the roll of cabbie even if it is only for a couple of months. I am looking forward to seeing new faces - and a few I have seen before, waiting for that trip to the airport - two or three a day would be nice, and spending some time driving around the city. What I am not looking forward to is getting up to get an early start

Ah well, I am sure I will have a few more cabbie stories to post as the weeks carry on

Cheers

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Stew

Light tinge of garlic

Wafts through the air touching all

Supper awaits

Lit up

Solid gray above

Parted fluff allows one beam

Sun upon daisy

Autumn

Tired and worn

Colour explodes and fades

A leaf falls

Wave Comes

Pristine white sand

A stone sits untouched by time

Sea crashes through

Lunch

Silver scales drift

A tasty morsel awaits

Hook sinks deep

Waiting

Nary a ripple

Mars the surface of the pond

Sharp bill seeks meal


Mr Harper, this one belongs to you as well

"Changes to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will not harm the health and safety of Canadians in any way, says Canada's agriculture minister, despite warnings this week from the union representing food inspectors that budget cuts will see up to 100 food safety inspectors lose their jobs."
(interview with Argiculture Minister Gerry Ritz)

69 Items on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency "Food Recalls and Allergy Alerts - High Risk" website.

In 2008, that is 4 years ago, 23 people in Canada died from a listeriosis outbreak. In response, the federal government put 70 more food inspectors on line to help ensure that another such event didn't happen again. Now those 70 plus 30 more are being removed from service and this is not supposed to increase the risk of another such event from not being found.

What is it with our Ministers who don't seem to have a clue about the real world, or is it that they are really puppets, doing and saying only what they are told by the leader of their party.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Pro Life

Kansas Doctor Under Attack For Not Forcing Ten Year Old Rape Victim To Give Birth

***

That is the headline folks. A 10 year old girl was raped by her uncle, a fine outstanding example of "manhood" and became pregnant. What a horrible thing to happen to a child. Not only was she attacked by her own family, now the state has decided that this child should have carried the baby to term.

Who the hell are these people to want to put this child through that hell. Kansas state medical board has decided that it is better for a 10 year old to give birth than to stop pain and terror for that child and the life long problems she would face with her child.

The pro life movement has struck again, this time they aren't killing adults, they are going after children

Dr. Ann Neuhau, I am appalled at what has happened to you. Know that there are still decent people in the world

*** Taken from this site

Fox "News" apoligizes

Fox "News" is dreadfully sorry for the human error that lead to them broadcasting someone shooting themselves in the head after losing a car chase.
Does anyone out there really believe this was an error? Someone at Fox had 5 seconds to see what was happening and make a decision. "Holy F$#@, that will make people talk about us, AIR IT!" As the saying goes, there is no bad press.

About a third of the people who witnessed the shooting will be up in arms saying "OMG! How could Fox "News" show such an evil act, how could they exploit that poor man?"
Another third will be going "OH COOL! Did you see what Fox "News" showed? It was awesome!"
Everyone else will be saying "Oh yeah, Fox "News" did that, and your point is what?"
The point of the decision that was made is that Everyone will be talking about Fox "News".
There is no bad press here.

Putting aside the decision that was made, really, why is this such a big deal anyway? Some guy shot himself, so what. How many TV shows do you watch that has someone being killed as the main theme of the show? CSI, Bones, Dexter, the Mentalist, all shows where you see someone being shot, run over, hit with a base ball bat, cut open, all in very clear, up close, in your face colour. The producers of these shows take great pain and pride in the work they do to make these images as lifelike as they can and yet there is no hue and cry. Why is it that Dexter is acceptable with its IN YOUR FACE brutality when watching it live from 100 feet away isn't?

Come on, if it is so bad, just stop watching it - of course that will mean you will have to stop watching about 90% of all electronic media. That might just be a good thing for you, that is until someone finds a way to have that cause cancer in laboratory rats.