The 20th Premier of the Province of British Columbia was Simon Fraser Tolmie. I have no idea if he was related to the explorer Simon Fraser after whom the University, the river and a billion other things in BC were named. He doesn’t appear to have been a direct descendant, as Simon Fraser the Explorer immigrated to Canada from Scotland, settling in Quebec, in the 1780s, while Simon Fraser Tolmie’s father was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada, arriving at Fort Vancouver, in 1833. I’m sure there’s a very good chance they are related, but (a) there seemed to have been tonnes of people named “Simon Fraser,” including the lion’s share of the line of “Lord Lovats.” At this point in my research1 my head hurts, so we’ll just leave this issue as “currently unresolved)). And now, onto the useless fact-listing!
Simon Fraser Tolmie
January 25, 1867 in Victoria, BC
October 13, 1937 in Victoria, BC
August 21, 1928 – November 15, 1933
he had a “pioneer lineage” on both sides of his family:
his father: “Dr. William Fraser Tolmie, a prominent figure in the Hudson’s Bay Company and a member of both the colonial assembly of Colony of Vancouver Island and the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia”2
his mother: Jane Work, “daughter of John Work, a prominent Victoria resident, Hudson’s Bay Company Chief Factor, and member of the former colony’s assembly”3
1891: graduated from vet school at the Ontario Veterinary College4
1917: entered federal politics as an MP for Victoria City in the Unionist Party; served in this role until 1928, although under the Conservative banner after his first Parliament
1919-1921 and 1926: federal Minister of Agriculture
1926: elected leader of BC Conservative Party (although stayed as a federal MP until the next provincial election in 1928)
1928: elected as a provincial MLA in Saanich and, as his party won the most seats (32 of 48), he became the Premier and Minister of Railways
his party had a “commitment to applying “business principles to the business of government””5, which really didn’t work so well when the Great Depression hit
the whole Conservative Party fell into chaos after this, with a Royal Commission that Tolmie established (at the request of the business community) suggesting drastic cuts to social programs to fix the dire finances of the province – and people freaking out over this suggestion. The party was in such disarray, in fact, that they didn’t run *any* candidate in the 1933 election
1933: some former Tories ran as independents or “independent Conservatives” or Unionists (if they supported Tolmie) or “Non-Partisans” (if they supported former Premier Bowser); not surprisingly, with all the vote splitting, the Liberals won a majority government and the NDP-forerunner party, the Coopeartive Commonwealth Federation, became the Official Opposition. Tolmie lost his seat.
holds the dubious distinction of being the last Premier of BC for the Conservative Party6
1936: won a federal by-election in his old riding of Victoria
there have certainly been other conservative premiers, including the current one, but they’ve used other names, like SoCreds and the current BC so-called “Liberal” party, but none using the Conservative Party name [↩]
in name anyway. Their pro-business agenda lives on in Gordon Campbell and his ilk [↩]
For the last few hockey seasons, I used Fusecal to turn my hockey team’s online schedule into items that go directly into my Palm Pilot calendar. It was very cool – my hockey schedule comes out only a few weeks as a time and by using Fusecal to subscribe to my schedule, I would get automatic updates to my hockey team’s schedule sent directly to my calendar. And when, after a given game, the schedule was updated with the score from that game – that went right into my calendar too. Because you never know when you’ll be out and about and need to double check what the score from that game three weeks ago was.
So, with the hockey season a mere two weeks away, I hopped over to the Fusecal website to set up this season’s schedule. And saw this:
Au Revoir FuseCal
July 8th, 2009 by mrh
This past weekend, we took FuseCal offline. While we’re hopeful we can someday revive it, for the time being the economics just aren’t working in our favor.
Our apologies for not giving any advanced notice. We had hoped to avoid this situation but had to make the decision precipitously when it became clear that the several alternatives we were pursuing were not going to be realized. We’ve always worked hard to actively communicate with our users and we’re sorry we were unable to do so at such a critical time.
We’re all proud of the progress we made but very disappointed that we haven’t been able to get it to the finish line. We can’t thank you enough for your support and again send our apologies for not communicating better. All of your comments, criticisms or suggestions would still be, as always, greatly appreciated.
The FuseCal Team
So I guess it’s back to t-y-p-i-n-g my hockey schedule manually into my calendar. And that’s so 2006.
HOV, for the uninitiated, refers to the “High Occupancy Vehicles.” On highway 1 in Vancouver, you are required to have 2 or more people in your car1 to use the HOV lane. But here’s the thing – Smart cars have only 2 seats. Thus, when I’m driving by myself, my car is 1/2 or 50% full. In a regular car that seats 5, if you have 2 people in the car you can use the HOV lane, but you are only 2/5 or 40% full. So my car is more full – it has a higher occupancy– with 1 person is in than a regular car is with 2 people in it.
On the way to work the other day, I saw the wreckages of THREE car crashes. Fortunately for me, they were all on the opposite side of the road to me, so I wasn’t slowed down1. And it doesn’t surprise me, given the horrible, horrible, horrible drivers I’ve seen lately. Seriously, how do these people get their driver’s licenses?
Examples of atrocious driving behaviours I’ve seen lately include:
countless people who drive 80 km/hr in the fast lane on roads where the speed limit is 90 km/hr (and most of the traffic is going 100-120 km/hr and so have to slam on their brakes when they get to the asshat who doesn’t know the meaning of the words “fast lane”)
conversely, the asshats who driver 140+ km/hr when there’s thick traffic that’s all going 95 km/hr. They zoom up behind you and then change lanes aburptly, despite the fact that there are two cars driving side-by-side in front of you on the two lane road. Do they really think they are somehow going to get ahead? Where exactly do they think they are going??
And then there’s the jerkwads who drive really, really slowly in the fast lane, forcing you to change to the right lane to pass them… and then they speed up the moment they see you trying to pass them in order to block you from passing them. I hate that.
Also, people who are averse to getting into the turning lane. In Vancouver, there are a fair number of right hand lanes that aren’t for driving – they are parking lanes, or they are bus only lanes during certain hours. And when people want to turn right, instead of getting into those lanes once they are passed any parked cars (or buses), just turn right from the left lane. And, of course, they have to slow down pretty much to a stop before they turn, meaning I have to slow right down and it’s all for no reason seeing as they could just get in the goddamn right lane to turn right!
one car who decided he was going to come into my lane while I’m driving right next to him. I’m not in his blind spot, mind you (and even if I were, he should be checking that), but directly beside him. He doesn’t look in his mirror or over his shoulder or even signal – just abruptly turns his steering wheel to the left. Only my quick wits in the swerving and honking departments saved me and Zaphod from this man’s idiocy.
a car driving right up to the end of an on ramp lane – and then onto the shoulder – because the driver was incapable of figuring out how to merge. And – surprise surprise – when I drove past the car, the driver was on her cell phone.
Two cars, parked in adjacent parking stalls, who both started backing up out of their spots at the exact same time. When I was already in the lane. And neither noticed that they were backing up directly at me until I honked at them.
a woman – and I’m not making this up – who was plucking hair from her chin at a stop light. Seriously. She pulled up to the stop light, pulled her visor down to look in the mirror, grabbed a pair of tweezers and started plucking away. Now, this might not be the most dangerous driving behaviour I’ve seen – she was stopped at a light – but… gross. 2
Incidentally, if you search “bad driver” on Flickr, you will find plenty of photos of license plates attached to cars driven by drivers who have done something to piss off someone with a camera.
Image Credit: Posted by billypalooza on Flickr.
but those poor schmucks heading *into* Vancouver were pretty hooped [↩]
If I hadn’t been in extreme pain at the time and just trying to get to Tod’s so I could take my T3s and curl up on the couch, I would have rolled down my window and yelled “DO YOU KNOW WE CAN ALL SEE YOU???” [↩]
This is Paul blowing out the candle for his birthday cake. Alicia & Paul held a BBQ on Saturday and, since Paul turns 24 on Wednesday, we celebrated with cake. Delicious cake with fresh mango and blueberries and whipped cream inside. Mmm, cake.
This cake was my motivation to run 16 km yesterday evening.
Today’s entry in my BC Premier Series is going to be short, as apparently John Duncan MacLean was the least memorable person in history. There’s a teeny tiny entry on him in Wikipedia and there isn’t even an entry on him in the Canadian Biography Online and you know as well as I do that I’m way too lazy to go beyond those two sites to find out more1.
December 8, 1873 in Culloden, Prince Edward Island
March 28, 1948 in Ottawa, Ontario
August 17, 1927 to August 21, 1928
practised medicine (presumably he went to medical school for this, but I have no idea when or where. According to Wikipedia, John Duncan MacLean and his medical practice sprung fully formed from the sea in 1916. The Mason’s website indicates he traveled west in 1892 and was a school principal before he became a doctor)
1916: was elected to provincial legislature
Minister of Education and Provincial Secretary under both Brewster & Oliver
So, it has occurred to me that despite having now had laser eye surgerytwice (!), I have yet to give you a blow-by-blow of how the process actually goes down. I mean other than my live blog, of course. I’m I’m guessing that people who come here by way of Googling “laser eye surgery” or “LASIK” might actually want to know what it’s like. And my regular readers – I know you are just dying to hear about it too, right?
Before you can get surgery, you have to go for a consultation to make sure you are a good candidate. They test your vision to see if your prescription is one they can fix with surgery, they tell you all the risks & benefits, they make you watch a cheesy “educational video” and they also test the thickness of your cornea. The latter is done by freezing your eyeballs with an anesthetic drop and then touching the cornea with a little ultrasound device (sort of a thin tube hooked up to a machine). Due to the anaesthetic drops, you can’t feel it, but when they touched the little device to my cornea, I was actually able to see the thickness of the cornea as it sort of bends under the slightly pressure of being touched. And, it was kind of neat, in an academic sort of way, to see my own cornea, as it’s not something you are usually aware of. Anyway, if you have thick corneas, like I do, you can get the LASIK1 surgery; otherwise you have to have PRK2 (with thick corneas, you can actually chose between the two options). With LASIK, a flap is cut in the cornea and flipped out of the way to allow the laser to zap the underlying corneal bed, and then the flap can be flipped back over the eye. This is why you need thick corneas for LASIK – there has to be enough cornea for there to be a flap cut. PRK, in contrast, involves stripping the outer epithelium (i.e., skin) of the cornea right off and just lasering the underlying cornea. And although, when given the two options, the thought of having my cornea sliced through with a big knife freaked me out more than the idea of stripping the epithelium off, I opted for the LASIK because it heals much more quickly, your vision stabilizes much more quickly, and it is pain-free (whereas I’d heard stories of post-operative pain with PRK).
Before The Surgery:
In the week before the surgery, you have to stop wearing your contacts and you aren’t allowed to wear any makeup. The former is to ensure that your cornea is in its natural shape, as apparently contacts can change the shape of your cornea a bit. The latter is to minimize the chance that you have any makeup debris in your eyes on the day of. Also, since I knew that I wouldn’t be able to rub my eyes for *three months* after surgery, I spent about a month before surgery making a concerted effort not to rub my eyes at all in order to get out of my eye-rubbing habit.
On the day of the surgery, a number of things happen:
They re-test your eyes to make sure they have the best possible measurements to set the laser.
They give you drugs. I honestly don’t think I could have gone through with the surgery without the drugs. It was a cocktail of, if memory serves me, Gravol, Valium, and Ativan. Not enough to knock you out, but enough to make you relaxed enough to let someone cut your eye open.
They lead you into the surgery room. The surgery room where I went looks like somewhere that alien autopsies might be conducted3. But by this point (a) they have your $4,000, and (b) you are drugged up, so you just go with it. Also, my surgeon has a very calming British accent and he calmly and patiently told me everything that was about to happen, so that helped too.
You lie down on the surgery bed and they put a pillow under your knees to make you comfy. They put an eye patch over the eye they aren’t going to be operating on so that you can concentrate on the operative eye. At this point, you can pretend you are a pirate.
The laser is positioned above you and you can see a bright green light. You will focus on this light for the duration of the surgery4.
They tape up your eyelids and then put an eyelid holder, a la Clockwork Oranage5, in place so that you won’t be able to blink. You are also given anesthetic drops to prevent your eye from feeling stuff.
Next, they put a suction device on your eye. And this is the only part of the procedure where I could really feel anything and I will admit that it was quite uncomfortable. It didn’t hurt exactly, but it was a really foreign feeling and I did not like it at all. The suction device holds your eye steady so that they can cut a flap in your cornea. As the suction is applied, everything, mercifully, goes black. I don’t think I could handle watching what comes next.
Next, you hear a buzzing noise, which is the “keratome” (i.e., knife) being run across your cornea, slicing it in order to make a nice flap. The suction is turned off (thankfully!) and then the corneal flap is flipped over, exposing the corneal bed. At this point, everything is fuzzy, because you no longer have the cornea in place to refract light. So that green light you’ve been focusing on sort of becomes a green blur. [Note: when getting the surgery done the second time, even though it had been a year since I’d had the first surgery, the surgeon didn’t have to make another cut, as he was able to flip up the flap that seemed like it would have already healed, but was clearly still there6. He just ran something over my eye (I think it may have been a needle, but my eye was frozen so I didn’t feel it and it was too close up for me to actually see it) to catch the edge of the flap and then was able just flip the flap open. I was very, very happy about this, because it meant I didn’t have to endure that unpleasant suction again!]
Next they zap you with the laser. The surgeon said “We are going to start now, focus on the green light” and then I heard a bunch of clicking noises. The first time, when they were correcting my massive prescription7 this took, I would guess, about 20-30 seconds. For surgery #2, where they were only correcting a tiny prescription8, it was more like 5-10 seconds.
The flap is flipped back into place, they make sure that it is positioned correctly and then the eyelid holder is removed. [Note: for surgery #2, since they haven’t made a clean cut like the first time, they put a “bandage contact lens ” in your eye; basically, this is just a contact lens that holds your flap down for that first day.]
All of the above is repeated for eye #2. And then your surgery is done!
After The Surgery:
Immediately after the surgery, I could see quite clearly. Seriously, it was the most amazing thing. Before my first surgery, I was very, very blind. Very. Like can-only-read-the-giant-E-at-the-top-of-the-eye-chart blind. But right after surgery, when I very slowly opened my eyes in order to walk to the next room, I remember thinking “omg! I can see the technician’s face!” Before surgery, without glasses or contacts his face would have been a blur.
After they lead you into the recovery area, you rest there for a while and then they check your eyes to make sure all looks good before you go home. At home, you are supposed to keep your eyes closed as much as possible for the day. There is a slight risk of the flap becoming dislodged, so keeping your eyes closed for the day gives the flap time to heal down. When you do have to open your eyes – to walk out of the surgery room or to put eye drops in, for example, you have to do it very, very slowly and no more than halfway.
And then there’s the eye drops.
The first two days after surgery, you’ll be putting in eye drops more than 20 times per day. These include:
Prednisolone: a steroid to promote healing
Tobradex: an antibiotic to prevent infection
A preservative-free eye drop lubricant, such as Celluvisc or Endura: because your eyes will feel a bit dry after surgery [although I’ve found it to be much, much less after surgery #2 than surgery #1].
Saline: to rinse eyes out if necessary and to unstick your eyelashes, which tend to get all goopy with all the drops and you can’t get the goop out because you aren’t allowed to touch your eyes9.
The Days and Weeks Following Surgery:
In addition to the eye drops, there are a few other things you need to do following surgery:
wear either sunglasses or the sexy eye shields (below) to bed for the first two nights
If you choose to wear sunglasses to bed instead of eye shields, which I did every night except the one wear I took the above photo, it is required that you sing “I Wear My Sunglasses At Night.”
no rubbing your eyes for 3 months (as you don’t want to dislodge the corneal flaps)
You also have to do a number of post-op follow up visits. First, you have a one-day post-op visit with the surgeon to test your vision and to make sure your corneal flaps are still in place and, if all looks good, you are free to keep your eyes open from then on. [And, in the case of my second surgery, to take out the bandage contact lens. The contact lenses make your eyes swell a bit, so everything is blurry for about 8 hours after they are taken out and thus I had to see the surgeon again three days after surgery to make sure I could see]. Then you have follow up visits with your optometrist at 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and a year. These visits are fairly standard eye exams – they check your vision, check your your flaps to see that they are healing and look at the level of dryness in your eyes.
So, there you have it. All the nitty gritty details of getting laser eye surgery!
And now, a video of the LASIK procedure ((not mine. I didn’t even think to ask if they could video record it. I totally wish I had!)). Not for the squeamish!
I have been re-reading The Golden Compass, so when I went into the surgery room this time I thought “Wow, this totally looks like a place where they would cut away one’s dæmon” [↩]
well, at least for the portions of the surgery where you have vision [↩]
OK, they weren’t quite as sharp as the Clockwork Orange ones look, but the idea is the same [↩]
which, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure they told me the first time I had the surgery. It was something like, “it’s mostly healed down after the first few days and weeks, but it’s not fully healed back down for more than a year” [↩]
I believe it was -7 in one eye and -8.5 in the other eye [↩]
about -1.25 in one eye and -2 in the other eye [↩]
I’m usually very proud of my long luxurious eyelashes, but in this case they seem to be a hindrance as they sure hold a lot of icky white goop from the drops! [↩]
although I don’t really understand how you can wear eye makeup in that first 3 months, since you have to *rub* your eyes with eye makeup remover to get the make up off! [↩]
I wear my sunglasses most of the time outside anyway. I figure if the sun can burn your flesh, it can’t be too good for the old eyeballs either [↩]
I even wear my sunglasses in the shower, just in case [↩]