Tuesday, 31 March 2009


One of the minor issues I have with life over in BC is the lack of variety in things like savory pastries, so in a moment of madness last night I attempted to cook something I have never successfully attempted before. A Pork pie made to this recipe. Be warned, the video starts automatically so turn the volume down, but this is food pron of the highest order. My attempt is pictured below, and Mrs S and I are looking forward to consuming it with or without gusto, but with english mustard.
First verdict? Slightly different, but very good. No gelatin (Didn't feel ambitious enough). Substituted beer for chicken stock, parsley for sage, and soy sauce for the anchovy oil specified; oh and I used butter, not lard in the pastry. Pork pie for supper then. Drool.

Must do it again.

Monday, 30 March 2009

The case of the missing paperwork

One of my great failings is that when it comes to Admin I'm atrocious. You know the sort of thing; I lose documents, my filing system is based on anarchy, I'm utterly crap at filling in forms (Because the bloody form never has a field that I can honestly fill in properly). Today is filing my first ever Canadian Tax form.

The UK Inland Revenue as was, now the monolithic HMRC used to have the saying that 'tax needn't be taxing'. Well it is. I often wonder if those who design tax forms are descended from an arcane sect of Alchemists and Druids who have handed down the occult wisdom that if people can understand their forms, then they're not doing their job properly. On the other hand, perhaps I'm being unkind. it's probably the politicians screwing things up as usual; changing the regulations in the vain hope that they might get it right this time (Hah!). Perhaps there's a secret society of lobbying Tax Accountants, who nag the politicians to keep the tax regulations complicated so that only those with specialist knowledge can work out what in the name of the devils steaming turds you have to claim, and what not to claim.

Of course I keep a receipt for everything; but those receipts sit in a large buff envelope and have to be sorted out into chronological order and cross referenced every 12 months. I'd keep a weekly spreadsheet, but I'm so damn preoccupied with the day to day business of working and chasing the money that I still lose track after a month or so. Mrs S tries her best to keep me up to snuff, but in truth I think that I'd rather have someone do all the dull admin while I get on with the really interesting stuff that I do for a living.

I think it may be genetic. My Dad was just the same. Every March there were three or four whole days when the entire kitchen floor (And we had a large kitchen) was carpeted by forms, cheque stubs, receipts and other financial paraphenalia (This was in the analogue days before computers). Dad was constantly cursing and bitching. Mum was always upset because some piece of paper wasn't accounted for. The whole household was in chaos. Despite being pretty IT-savvy I'm just as bad, if not worse.

One of these days, or so I keep telling myself, I may strike it rich, and be able to afford the services of some clever dry as dust academic type who can be bothered with all the nitpicking detail. Until then, I'll be stuck with burrowing through disorganised piles of paper to find the bloody receipt that proves I bought the gasoline to justify my mileage claim. Oh gawd.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

I really ought to have posted this last night

Human Achievement Hour. So what was to celebrate?

Hmm.... so much to say, so much to choose from. Here's a brief top of my head short list.
For many of us it is freedom from disease and hunger. Come on guys, when was the last time you were really hungry - I mean really unable to get any food at all for days? Not just that your next 'snack is only four hours away' hungry. BTW, not seen any people with Polio or a host of nasty permanently disabling / fatal diseases recently? A Human achievement.
The knowledge that for most in the West that any child given life has a better chance of survival to adulthood than ever in history. Even children with major birth defects. Oo goodness - another Human achievement.
Better and more well insulated housing. Well it didn't happen by accident did it?
Easy communication with friends and family all over the world. Well the fairies had nothing to do with it.
Widespread travel across the world. Damn those pesky innovative humans.
The Internet. Ditto.
Space flight. Earth may be the cradle of mankind, but we cannot live in the cradle forever.
Linux. Just installed Fedora 10 and given an old laptop a whole new lease of life.
Methods of killing so awful that a rational being should always think twice before initiating conflict. Not that the old ways were all that people friendly.

To all the pioneers of Medicine, Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Electronics, Communications, and every other field of human innovation - This blog and its author at least - salutes every single one of them. From the guys who first learned to bang the rocks together, from the stereotypical garden shed inventor, right up to the people unravelling the secrets of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and those working towards taking humankind out to the stars. Keep up the good work.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Earth Hour - Notification of non participation

This March 28th, there is a body of folk who will be switching off their electricity and sitting in the dark to 'celebrate' (Although if that's their idea of a party - I truly don't want an invitation) 'Earth Hour'. Mine's a Single Malt.

For my part, I shall be quietly enjoying the alternative event, strangely enough at exactly the same time, called 'Human acheivement hour'. In blessing counting mode I shall be mindful that humanity has overcome many things (Wars, plague etc) to survive and prosper over the past few millenia. Members of my species have stood on another world and explored others remotely. Our view of the Universe is immense, yet many of us still acknowledge that we have far to go.

There are those who would posit that humanity is bad and therefore doomed to extinction, and the sooner the better, dragging the rest of us down to the gutter in which they would have us live. I say humanity can do more, and we are on the edge of a new era of wonders. Not that we regognise all the benefits of recent advantages. Could you do without your mobile phone or Internet? Would life be more or less rich? Could we feed the planet properly without the advances in agriculture?

Not that the social studies student types who insist all those who want progress are 'bad' will listen; for no matter how many modern conveniences are created, no matter how much disease is consigned to the history books by advances in medicine, no matter how far we can see towards the edge of creation; they will always project their own personal guilt trip onto the rest of us. These are the creators of 'Earth Hour'. The anti-science faction. The self haters who have the bizarre psychic dichotomy of loathing their fellow humans, while publicly espousing 'love for all humanity'. The social flagellants whose only contribution to the betterment of humanity is a memory of their constant negative whining.

I say we should celebrate the technology that makes most of modern life practical. Salute the pioneers of medicine, agriculture, and other useful technologies. I shall be raising a glass to them all on the 28th of March with the lights on, and a full table, recognising that without these advances, we'd all be sitting in mud huts in the dark. Bugger 'Earth Hour'.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Some thoughts on the cult of 'Celebrity'

Statement of fact; I'm a nobody. A Technician, a functionary who fixes things and performs various useful tasks; yet I have a bit of a beef with the cult of 'celebrity'. Most of the time I keep this to myself, but after an exchange of amusing e-mails with elder sibling, I feel I would like to put my thoughts in the public domain; for what it's worth.

There is a BBC quiz show called 'Mastermind', where those who are inclined to try their luck answer specialised and general knowledge questions in a contest to find those with good memory / recall and extensive reading. Recently it appears that a 'celebrity' edition was screened, and here are a set of sample answers from one contestant;

1. What was the surname of the physicists who did pioneering work on radium in the early 20th Century? Their first names were Pierre and Marie.
Answer given: Antoinette (Correct answer = 'Curie')

2. What is the name of the 14th Century fortress originally built to guard one of the gates of Paris?
Answer given: Versailles (Correct answer = 'The Bastille')

3. Which king succeeded Henry VIII?
Answer given: Henry VII. (Correct answer = 'Edward VI')

4. Which blue cheese is traditionally served with port?
Answer given: Red Leicester. (Correct answer = 'Stilton')

The candidate was David Lammy, UK Minister for Higher Education.

No wonder the UK is in such a state. The people supposedly in charge are only good at getting elected. When it comes to the delicate and complex details of the real world, they're thicker than plank sandwiches. Honours such as Knighthoods are given out like sweeties to failed politicians, actors, pop singers etc. They are feted at number Ten Downing Street as politicians cosy up to them in the vain hope that some of the gloss will rub off on the politicians' tawdry bedandruffed shoulders.

Fortunately we don't seem to be as obsessed with celebrity over here in BC. Ice Hockey yes, 'celebrity' - not so much.

Slightly off topic, but still funny all the same. All the way from the 1980's

Monday, 23 March 2009

Thank you

I'd just like to say a really, truly, big, thunderous, ground shaking thank you to Canadian Immigration. Good show chaps. Well done Jason Kenney. Keep up the good work.

It's just a pity the UK politician in question didn't try to force the issue physically at Toronto or Vancouver Airport and so give the RCMP a good excuse to double Tazer the bastard. Notwithstanding, while attending a film festival this weekend at Vancouver Island University I noted that someone was gathering signatures on a petition to reverse the immigration ministers decision. This is only to be expected in Canada, where fair mindedness is not so much a way of life as a national obsession. On the other hand, the petitioners seemed only to have gathered less than a page full of signatures come close of play. Unless of course they were frightfully good at hiding the finished sheets.

The film festival was good though. I saw seven very interesting documentaries which all (Except one) shared the same fatal flaw; they all made sweeping generalisations that in effect ended up, at least for me, undermining their central premise. All sharks are 'good'. Not so, Tiger and Bull Sharks do kill and eat people; All Americans are 'bad'. Not so; warmer weather is 'bad'; it's all a CIA conspiracy against everything. Catch my drift?. The film makers almost all fell into the trap of trying a little too hard, although I can heartily recommend 'The Devil plays Hardball' about a 10 month mentoring programme trying to get homeless people off the streets of Vancouver. That was the exception (At least of the movies I saw). Non judgemental and fair minded. It's an eye opener.

Saturday, 21 March 2009


Apologies to those of you wondering where I've been. The last few days have been spent in introspection and making up after the relationship quake of last week. It has taken me a few days to fully appreciate the gravity of what happened and organise my thoughts once more.

For almost forty eight hours after my wife stopped talking to me, I was literally speechless, stuck for words, call it what you will. My normal glib eloquence had taken on a negative value. I was rendered mute by her refusal to speak; and genuinely thought that our marriage, the bedrock of my existence, was about to shatter and cascade around my ears like shards of broken glass. Mrs S was mad at me, that much was pretty self evident, but I just could not voice how low that had laid my heart. For the first time in many years I was genuinely terrified. Like a Deer mesmerised by the approaching headlights of a truck my leaden emotional feet would not stir to sidestep the oncoming juggernaut. I genuinely thought it was all over between us, and where would that have left us both? Adrift in a still-strange land with no one to turn to. I saw myself dragging my feet back to the UK with my metaphorical tail between my legs to an unforgiving family, no job, or prospect of gainful employment in the near term. Our dog having to be given to the uncertain hands of the SPCA (Not PETA, I'd rather kill him quickly myself than let him fall into their clutches). Everything we've worked for so hard for in fragments around our feet, followed by the echoing emptiness of our remaining lives.

Early Thursday morning I found myself staring haplessly out of our kitchen window. Hands thrust into jeans pockets and jammed in petrified introspection when I heard Mrs S say bluntly from behind me; "I don't want to be in a relationship where no one talks."
"But you stopped talking to me." I said plaintively, turning to face her. "You ignored every little gesture, every little olive branch I put your way."
"Some Olive branches." She said derisively, eyes lined with red. I was thunderstruck.
"Every time I asked you anything, you hardly answered." I complained.
"Maybe you need better olive branches."
"I don't get it." I said. My Dog slunk off to his box and put his paws over both ears. At this precise juncture I would have given the world to have joined him.
"You told me to sod off!" She was openly crying now. Tears running like a river in full spate. What?
"I did no such thing." My heart was in my mouth, and it didn't taste very nice. "I never said anything like that!" At this point my throat was tight and my eyes were beginning to fill. I was in complete comprehension failure. Where was this coming from? For fucks sake I love this woman like no one else and she was telling me she didn't want to have me around any more? Had I been suffering from a heart condition I swear the shock of the accusation would have killed me right there.
"Don't you lie to me Sticker!" She railed. "I only wanted to know what you were up to and you told me to shut up!"
"What?" I gaped. "Oh Jesus." Was that it?
"Jesus yourself."
"I didn't mean it like that." I replied plaintively. "But you did ask me the same thing three times like you thought I was lying to you."
"I only wanted to know."
"Yeah but..."
"But nothing! Don't you dare treat me as if I don't exist!"
"What?" The ground was giving way under my feet and I was powerless to stop it happening. "I never meant to. You stopped talking to me."
"Right!" She snapped.
"I've been stuck for words these past two days trying to think how to fix what went wrong, but I can't." I responded.
"You?! Lost for words?" Each syllable felt poisoned at the tip.
"You see me naked." Was my weak rejoinder.
"Well I don't feel so good about it myself."
"I don't know what to say."
"How about sorry?" She snapped, tearfully.
"If I was going to be sincere about it, yes." My major fault is that I am, at least with my dearest one, 100% honest. "An apology is no good unless I really mean it." This much seemed to strike a chord, but as I was hanging on to the last shreds of my self control, I wasn't paying that much attention.
"Well if you can't say sorry."
"You wouldn't respond to anything I said."
"So is that it?" The hopelessness in her tearful voice tripped one of my last fully functional neurons.
"I don't want to lose you. Not over this." I couldn't help myself. Somewhere within me a dam broke and all my careful defences were swept before the flood, all my mental armour crumbled like the rusty fake it was and I began to cry like I haven't cried since I was very young. Mrs S wrapped her arms around me and we both wept for my failure of intelligence.

Despite having faced down angry people waving fists under my nose, had any number of close shaves of the physical variety, and even on two particular occasions had loaded firearms brandished in my face. Despite pain that has literally stopped me in my tracks from various injuries, I have never let more than a few drops of moisture leak from my eyes. Now there I was, sobbing like a bairn because my wife was mad at me.

Thinking about it; Mrs S is my one weak spot, my emotional Achilles heel. I would cheerfully walk barefoot through all ten circles of Hell for her and never breathe a word of complaint. For this woman I would happily take a bullet, smiling as I did so. I don't think I could bear it if she and I were permanently parted.

"Now look at me." I sniffed away tears, mad at myself for being so weak.
"Look at us both." She sniffed and kissed me on my neck.
"I haven't cried like this since I was a boy." I let her go and grabbed a tissue, passing one back to her. "Look what you do to me."
"Well at least we're talking." She sniffed, and noisily blew her nose.
"I never meant to stop."
"Didn't feel like it." For the moment, our storm seemed to have passed. "But you told me to shut up."
"I didn't mean it like that. I just felt you were pushing me into a corner and I had no way out, so I bit."
"You shouldn't have."
"Well I did, and I'm sorry it happened." I said. That seemed to lower the emotional temperature somewhat and I gave her a deep hug. She hugged me back just as fiercely. We stood like that for a while.

"You know, I didn't mean you to shut up. I just wanted a little space. You shouldn't take me so seriously." I said at length.
"Yes, but you don't like it when people take the mickey."
"Them, no. You can do it all you want." I replied. She brightened a little and gave me a playful slap on the arm. I gave her another hug. "I still love you, you know." It may sound lame, but I still mean every word. "Couldn't live without you." I held her as close as I could.
"I couldn't live without you." She buried her head in my chest, still wet face leaving a large damp stain on my shirt front.

We hugged a little longer until a plaintive whine from nearby broke our mini reverie.
"Haven't you fed the dog?" She asked me. Dog was sitting there, head on one side, just staring at us in affronted canine disbelief. He wanted his breakfast, and wasn't about to take no for an answer. Bugger the human kitchen sink drama.
"Haven't had much time in the last ten minutes." I gave her a real smile. Our mutual good humour seemed to have seeped back. I hugged my (much) better half again and we disengaged.

"Come on, trouble." I said to my dog, and he bounced after me as I picked up his dog food and decanted the mornings rations into his food bowl. Mrs S finished getting ready for work. Back to normal.

Postscript: Since Thursday Mrs S and I have been making up with one another. My good lady and I are back on the same wavelength once more, and happier with each other than for several months by my counting. The small affections are once more common and we are communicating properly, fooling around like teenagers when the mood takes us. For my part I will heed this warning, and take good care to ensure I never put my most cherished possession, our relationship, in such peril again.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

I'm in trouble now

I have managed to seriously upset Mrs S and she has stopped talking to me. All the little Olive branches I have motioned her way this morning in order to reopen a dialogue have failed. Didn't want the tea I made for her. Didn't want me to make her breakfast. Barely said a word to me except in a very tight little voice. All the little affectionate gestures that populate our behaviour have vanished like snow under a blowtorch. What this means is that I am in real stercus profundus.

Sometimes when a conversation goes wrong it is like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You can see it coming, but there's not a damn thing you can do about it. All you can do is wait for the crunch.

So it was yesterday evening. I was a bit distracted and let my metaphorical eye drift off the ball. "What are you doing tomorrow?" I was asked. Had I been a bit quicker on the uptake I would have seen this as the first warning sign that things were not as they should be. "I'm in the office. I've got a few things to do." I replied distractedly. Tell you the truth I've had quite a few things on my mind of late and wasn't paying attention.
"Like what?" Mrs S asked with a certain edginess in her voice which Mr Klutz here missed completely, but in hindsight was glaringly obvious.
"I'm trying to get the fixes for that laptop."
"Which one?"
"The older one. It's proving problematic. Needs a BIOS upgrade and I've no floppy drive to boot from." I said, wondering why she wanted the information. Normally her eyes tend to glaze over long before I've explained this much.
"Whose is it?"
"Terry's. You know the guy you spoke to on the phone last week?"
"I thought it was Larry." The sharpness in her tone should have made me pause for thought, but by the time Mister Brain had figured out what was going on, it was too late to stop.
"No, Terry." I said. "He's promised me the old machine as payment for fixing his other one."
"Why's that?"
"I thought it would be nice if we both had machines to work off."
"Yeah but it's Terry's machine."
"No, he's giving it to me for fixing his new one." At this point I'm starting to get a little uncomfortable. "Why the interrogation?" I asked, a little tersely. Well big dumb and ugly had to put his foot right in it didn't he? My other half gave me a long cool look that could have frozen the Georgia Straits. "You don't normally want to know this much." I added and her mouth tightened in a line of disapproval. Impact! Ouch.

Upon reflection I should have asked what she wanted to do this morning, as she was obviously angling for a favour. That simple act would have kept me out of trouble. Unfortunately now I have to figure out how to mollify my best beloved without a) totally screwing up our relationship, and b) feeling like I'm making an insincere crawling apology for being an unthinking cur.

Relationships are complex.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Homesickness, erm...

Sometimes I get a little homesick, remembering good times when I used to live in the UK. Sunny days bowling down some Roman Road in bright sunshine. Bright early mornings in Summer heading down to visit friends in Cornwall. Full speed ahead and damn the speed limits. Not that I would speed that much, because firstly, I have this little habit called breathing I'm rather fond of, and secondly; sometimes I just liked to pootle sedately down uncongested 'A' roads, getting van drivers tan on my right arm, and taking in the scenery at my own leisurely pace. Hang on Bill. Uncongested 'A' roads? In the UK? Where are they then? Isn't nostalgia wonderful?

I know I'm better off six thousand miles away when I hear of plans to interrogate everyone leaving the UK about where they are going and what they are going to do when they get there. I mean you're hardly going to have someone intent on a terrorist act write on their form "Yes, I'm off to a training camp for a couple of weeks to learn how to slaughter infidels." Oh for crying out loud. Their form will say "Off to spend two weeks with my ageing relatives who are all very ill." It's a meaningless, useless, pointless sop which will further increase the queues at airports. Lord help us. That and it's a UK Government IT project, doomed to failure. Those guys couldn't run a bloody bath properly. They're too busy ticking boxes. More taxpayers money down the toilet.

Upon reflection, maybe the nostalgia is better being just a memory. We cannot live in our past, only our present; while the past may be a different country and maybe you really can't get there from here, every time I look at the small print in the brochures, I'm less and less tempted to try.

St Whatisface, oh who cares

Well jaysus me bhoyo's. Tis grand old St Patricks day and the Sticker household will be celebratin' with a couple of the pictured to remind ourselves of our vague and very nearly non existant Irish connections.

Monday, 16 March 2009

A.K.A. Soap dodgers

They call themselves the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality, but the shadowy group that organized Sunday's protest-cum-riot through downtown Montreal clearly does not stop there. Other things they oppose, judging from the destruction they left behind: fast food, pharmacies, comfortable hotels and symphony-going suburbanites.

Since the 'protestors' were able to trash half a neighbourhood in Montreal, maybe there wasn't enough Police brutality in the first place to stop them.

In all my dealings with Police on both sides of the pond, I've never had to raise my voice. In fact to do so would have been counter productive. One polite enquiry got me a friendly half hour talk with the local RCMP watch commander, who was kind enough to point me in the direction of a job (Not Police related). I hope to be able to pay him back for his kindness one day.

The idiots who think going toe to toe with the riot squad makes them some kind of 'heroes' are sadly mistaken. A gentleman by the name of Mohandas K Gandhi proved their approach wrong, and managed to get the British out of India in the process. Maybe there's a lesson there. For those that would learn, certainly.

Well, I agree with him...

The mainstream media seemed to have missed quite a thundering address by Lord Christopher Monckton at the New York ICCC.
"There was no climate crisis. There is no climate crisis. There will be no climate crisis. “Global warming” is not a global crisis. It is a global scientific fraud."

Sooo, that would make him a 'denier' then? And therefore all like opinions, thus demonised, will be studiously ignored at the coming G20 conference. Yet no one in the AGW camp, especially the godfather of climate change, a certain Albert Gore, will debate the science and evidence with Lord Monckton or others who are specialists in the field.

Lord Monckton also hints darkly that the philosophy of "Anthropogenic climate change" and measures being undertaken to 'stop' it, may even be racist because the people who are suffering as so called 'green' biofuel production reduces and inflates the price of their staple food supplies are;
"only black people, poor people, in far-away countries of which we know little, with no voice and no vote."

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Minor emergency

The Sticker household has run out of black tea. There's lots of the Orange Pekoe on local market shelves which is a bit too aromatic for our tastes. Ergo Mrs S and I will be hunting high and low for our usual brand, Red Rose, which seems to have evaporated from supermarket shelves around here. Normal service will be resumed as soon as the Tea supply situation is resolved.

Update: 19:00 hrs PST We Have Tea! and have stocked up a little, just in case.
Domestic harmony resumed; Gods Descend from Heaven, Demons arise from Hell, alarums and diversions and all that Jazz (Why do certain people like Jazz?). Sarcasm levels will be restored shortly.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Write out 100 times...

I must be more precise in my use of English.

Dropping a comment on the Watts up with that climate blog (A very good science blog BTW, one of, if not the best) I came in for a little ridicule when I naively asked about the comparative numbers present at the New York ICCC conference, and the IPCC conference. I asked for enlightenment on how many properly qualified climate scientists were present at each conference. Several other commenters took pains to have a little dig at my expense. The IPCC conference attendance of course is widely toted as having 2500 attendees, and the ICCC 600 or thereabouts.

No contest, right? Of course there were more at the IPCC, stands to reason? More people, more properly qualified scientists, yeah? A-hem. I should have been more precise in my use of English. My question should have been; how many of the attendees at the IPCC and ICCC conferences had no real qualification in 'climate science' or associated discipline like atmospheric physics etc? Also how many were primarily economists, personal assistants, politicians, and their associated hangers on etc?

I really must be more careful how I frame my questions in future. It's at times like these the shade of my old High School English Teacher speaks unto me in sonorous tones; "Okay Sticker, now write that out 100 times, and don't do it again."


Thursday, 12 March 2009

"You were right...."

So opened an e-mail received from my older brother this morning. We've been having a protracted online conversation about the decline of civil liberties in the UK, and he's finally seeing the effects first hand what I and many others have been observing for some time.

It's rather nice to get things right, correct, conclusively proven. There's a certain satisfaction in being proven to have had your assertions arranged in a prudent and timely fashion to arrive at an accurate conclusion. To be scrupulously exact reduces the anxiety of life. Takes out the guesswork, too.

Now if only we could get the same response from people who seem, to this poor wannabe scribe, to be howling at the moon because life isn't 'fair', or their pet theories / belief systems are not 'believed'; then insisting that the creed they espouse should be followed by everyone. Take your pick; even the weather seems to have been politicised nowadays. I recall a person I used to share a house with (A card carrying socialist, no less) who used to insist that 'politics' was the answer to everything. "Only if you really want to screw it up." Was, and still is, my response to that unproven assertion.

To any objective standard, life isn't 'fair'. There are many far more cogent and talented than I. Healthier, better looking and luckier. Those who made better life choices, were supported better at critical moments in their life. To insist that they are brought down to my level because it's 'fair' doesn't make sense. Besides, 'fairness' is relative. What might be considered a stumbling block for some would be a positive jump off point for many. All it takes is energy and persistence. The old adage "When you're down, the only way is up" when coupled with sheer bloody minded and unswerving, never-say-die, and dare I mention the unfashionable word; courage, is never more true than when rigorously applied. Life is only 'unfair' if you sit on your arse and expect other people to do all the work.

Notwithstanding, one of the things I got out of my days walking the streets on foot patrol was a commitment to getting things correct and in their proper place. The 'proper place' being those locations agreed by the interested populace for a given activity. At the time I worked in Parking, so I determined to do the right thing as laid down by the guiding principles I was given. Not always adhering to the strict letter of the law, but certainly it's spirit. During the years I was on the public payroll, contributing towards the taxpayers dollar (Parking used to subsidise other local council services, I'm told it still does) I did my best to do the correct thing. That attitude has stayed with me. It is a good attitude to have because it works; ergo it must be correct.

Just nice to have my elder sibling confirm it, that's all.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Obama disses Britain?

I want to make one thing clear; I think Gordon Brown is a disaster as Prime Minister of Britain, as was that grinning idiot before him. Their government is one of the reasons Mrs S and I are emigrating. However, his treatment by the new US president was quite insulting, and quite frankly it makes Obama and his administration look like a bunch of incompetent amateurs. Why? Watch what Glen Beck has to say on this matter.
As for the statement "Britain is no more important than 190 other countries". Well next time the Obama administration calls for the support of other nations in their various adventures, maybe the other nations should just hang up the 'busy' sign. Allies? Someone had better send the boy president a dictionary so he can look up the meaning of the word.

I like the yanks, great people, great country; but I'm severely disappointed by the actions of their current administration. They can't even suck up to the Russians properly. If this is how they treat 'friendly' nations, then maybe the friendship of the friendly nations like Britain and Canada (Who, incidentally are both losing servicemen and women in US led fights) should get a bit more conditional until the Americans see sense and kick this bunch of losers into the political bleachers. Yes, I know there wasn't much of a choice at election time, but come on guys? Is this administration the best America has to offer?

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Where's the heat?

Occasionally the mainstream media monster seems to wake from it's journalistic slumber and actually ask a question that really matters. One of those questions that strikes to the heart of a belief system showing that the emperors new clothes are not really clothes after all, and that someone is indeed "avin' a larf". Mostly at our expense.

Today it is the turn of the Boston globe, which thoughtfully asks "Where's the global warming?". The comments section is alive as usual with verbal warfare between the believers and sceptics. One might get the impression that there is a whole sector of the population who require carting away to 'green re-education camps'. Yet despite all the rhetoric, the straw men arguments, the appeals to authority, and all the other symptoms of extreme cognitive dissonance; the salient question remains as the heat only occurs where it has traditionally done so, and the rest of us on planet earth are finding it a trifle chillier than usual;

Where's the warming?

Update 11am PST 9th March: I know that "weather isn't climate" (However, climate is the 'sum' of the weather) but if it's getting warmer, why is it bloody snowing? It's not supposed to snow here in our part of BC. Warmer my arse.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

'Deniers' to be arrested?

At a conference at the University of West England this weekend, eco-worriers have been calling for people who do not believe in the science of climate change to be arrested and sent to 're-education' camps.
"It's quite an exciting concept." One conference goer was heard to remark. "We could round up anyone who complains about the cold and the lack of electricity and lock them up for their own good."

Working parties are reported to have been formed at the conference to discuss subjects such as;
'Deniers' whither electroshock?
The use of wind power in recharging electric cattle prods.
Eco-lobotomies, cutting to the chase?
Reducing the carbon footprint of concentration camps.

In other news today, Lake Superior was reported to be freezing over.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Britain governed by Aliens! Shock! Horror!

Proof that once proud Britain is now governed by a secret clique of space aliens was seen today when Peter Mandelson's nose exploded in central London outside the Royal Academy. The event was witnessed by a shocked young enviro-weenie protestor carrying a paper drinks cup. Mandelson's own security people looked on paralysed with fright as gobs of vicous green fluid rained down onto the asphalt, making it sizzle.
"There's no procedure for this." One was overheard saying as Lord Mandelson was observed bent double, trying to conceal his now-obvious extra terrestrial origins.

The Metropolitan Police have begun an immediate enquiry into the incident, and the resulting shortage of McVities Rich Tea biscuits has been reported as affecting Canada because supplies have been withdrawn from export to meet the sudden increase in UK demand. UK expatriates in British Columbia are said to be 'concerned' over this sudden withdrawal of a staple foodstuff. Addiction counsellors have been put on emergency standby by the provincial government in case the world supply of Digestive biscuits is hit by the same market surge. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was not available for comment.

In an unrelated incident, Gordon Brown was prevented by eagle eyed secret service agents from sucking out US President Barack Obama's brains during a state visit.
"He didn't pose a threat to the president as we confiscated his drinking straws." A source close to White House security is reported to have said.

More news as it doesn't happen.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Would you?

It appears that this US Politician is being offered a British Knighthood by this UK politician. To be frank, I am completely underwhelmed by both parties. The US Politician because of this incident and his support for the murders committed by the IRA and their camp followers. The UK Politician because he is in his current post without having been elected to it in a general election. The UK politician is further despised because of his handling of the UK economy. My attitude to both can be summed up in this quote from an old drinking buddy; "I wouldn't piss down their throats if their lungs were on fire."

A plague on both their houses. May said award bring them both closer to their much-deserved downfalls.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Would they?

Reading the UK press and blogs, there's a lot of anger out there in the comments section, with people urging armed middle class insurrection. There is even talk of a 'Summer of rage' with the governments mismanagement of everything. This makes me worried for my family members still left over there. However, phone calls and e-mails have allayed my concerns that any of them would be daft enough to 'take to the barricades'.

I was amused when one of those internet rumours surfaced recently to the effect that soldiers who indicated a willingness to fire upon civillians were being quietly transferred from the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan back to holding areas in the UK. The idea presumably being to use live rounds upon the rioting UK population. After a perusal of the British Army rumour service, the concensus I found amongst the squaddies who posted there was that the rumour was utter nonsense; and if they hadn't heard anything, then the 'recruitment' rumour sounds pretty baseless.

By the by; a number of my old boon companions in the UK many years ago were serving squaddies and officers, and as I recall during a particular drinking session when a similar subject was raised; the discussion raiser was hooted derisively out of the room. One officer indicated that he might refuse as such an order might not be 'lawful'. However, from the others there was always the jokey undercurrent that they would happily open up on those they called 'chavs' and 'soap dodgers'. To wit, members of the 'underclass' (Unemployed, unemployable and lawless) and 'professional protestors'.

End of rumour, I think.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Screwing up the system

Living and working in British Columbia, Canada as I do, in many opinions (Including mine) one of the greatest places on Earth, and populated in the main by some lovely people. Their generally positive attitude never ceases to amaze and amuse both Mrs S and I. We're even getting used to the humour.

In particular, Mrs S and I even get on well with the folks at the immigration and tax offices. Two officers in particular seem to look after us personally, and have been about as helpful as public servants can get. Despite the monolithic look of the immigration process, when you get up close, you find it's made up of people. Specifically Canadians, who are famed for their polite correctness (Although gangland Vancouver and Toronto are notable exceptions). In our experience you only get the "No you can't" stonewall attitude from the semi automated call centres. Ergo, we take time out from our working days to go and talk directly to experienced officials who know what they are talking about, and whose word enforces the immigration and tax laws.

Asking nicely, for us at least, has often brought a positive outcome, so long as you are ready to meet officialdom at least half way. Especially in our little corner of BC where everyone knows everybody. However, I suspect the big city guys might see things differently.

At some stage Mrs S and I intend to invite our helpful folks over for a party when our immigration papers finally get processed. You can't let the officials in question know this of course, because that would be trying to unduly influence or corrupt a public official. That would be illegal.

Being the sweet natured and sentimental old fool that I am, I do think that rewarding helpfulness is a good thing. Positive behaviour should engender positive outcomes. Your simple people skills should tell you that. Shouting and hectoring doesn't work unless on the truly subservient, and public servants, despite the nomenclature, should never be treated as servile. It just puts their backs up, and is almost always counter productive, human psychology being what it is. Treat someone like an arse and they will respond in kind, if not to you, then to the next poor zeeb who crosses their path. If confronted by opposition, you can either figuratively throw shit about like some petulant teen, which covers everyone and causes all sorts of annoyance and unhappiness, or be grown up, helpful and smooth the way, which lowers almost everyone's stress levels. Apart from psychotic misanthropes who are only truly happy when everyone else is as miserable as they are.

Thus it was, on one particular occasion recently we were confronted by an issue when Mrs S and I went to visit Service Canada. Previously, Mrs S had some documents 'seized' by a customs official when we were at the border getting my work permit. Getting a work permit means getting a written offer of a job and the time and content of the advert, taking a correctly filled in form, note of National Occupation Code for your job, copies of bank statements, positive Labour Market Opinion and all that jazz out of Canada, reaching the US side of the border, turning around and heading back up to Canadian customs (Called 'doing a flagpole' by the US Customs guys) after getting a slip to say you'd been to the US border post. Then you present your documents to the officials at immigration to apply for the Work Permit. We were given a receipt for our seized documents, but firmly told that because of immigration rule changes it would be an offence to use said documents. Later on, a rather embarrassed official (One of our 'helpful' people) told us; "Oh, they shouldn't have done that. You can carry on using the reference." A-hem.

Turns out that with regard to this particular document, which Mrs S had been issued with long before she and I got hitched; you only ever get given one. You cannot be issued with another, as, to directly quote one red faced official "It would really screw up the system.".

Being the people we are, we shook hands cordially, and walked away with apologies ringing in our ears. Outside, Mrs S and I exchanged grins. We felt another little step on our journey had just been completed.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Links revisited

I've been tidying up the old sidebar as I dust the cobwebs off this blog and send it creaking back into life again. Some old friends have stopped, others are going strong, others like me stopped, started, and just to be cussed about it started a new blog because the old one wasn't appropriate and more. Writing of which, I popped over to the 'Walking the Streets' blog and lifted a few contacts off the old sidebar who were still going, and removed a few that had stopped posting or been deleted. Added to sidebar;

Town Mouse (Ex Disgruntled commuter)
Accidental observer
London underground blog
Trauma Queen
I work with fools
Post Secret blog
Al’s blog

As previously; any links to this blog will be reciprocated (Even if I don't agree with what you have to say - You still have the right to say it.)

Feeling warmer?

Original source; National Post
H/T This post on Watts up with that c/o Smokey (09:09:49)
Original graph from University of Alabama, Huntsville.

Looks like evidence to me. Case closed. Game over. Now can we get on with our lives without all the extra taxes please?
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