Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Happy Canada Day!

Don’t you just love when a holiday falls on a Monday? And don’t you extra super duper love it when it falls on a Monday and the entire long weekend has been super hot and sunny?

In honour of this glorious holiday, I give you a picture of me at the Pacific terminus of the Trans Canada highway.

Beth at the Pacific Terminus of the Transcanada Highway

I hope to visit the Atlantic terminus someday soon!

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Important Issues in Canadian Politics – Is Canada a Safe Haven for Zombies?

From the Canadian House of Parliament:

Props to Kalev for bringing this important piece of Canadian politics to my attention!

For those who are interested, here’s a link to the CDC’s zombie preparedness plan, as referred to by the Honourable Pat Martin in the video.

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Montréal, You Fatten Me So

If I lived in Montréal, I would surely weigh 1,000 lbs. The food here is so freaking good, but so freaking not good for you.

Last night after my day of traveling, I arrived at the hotel have only had a bagel and a coffee, a muffin and a tea. After sitting on planes all day, I felt the need for some movement, so I hit the hotel gym for a run on the treadmill, but it ended up being very short because (a) I was soooo hungry and (b) I kind of hate treadmills. After that, I headed out to Old Montréal to find some grub. And find it I did, in the form of this well-rounded meal:

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Braised pork poutine, bread, and beer. All of the food groups!

The beer in that glass was a Griffon Extra Blonde, which was freaking fantastic. To be honest, I mainly ordered it because of the name – I have Griffin ancestry, and I figured that Griffon was close enough. Though I did do a quick Google search and found that it got pretty high reviews. I’d highly recommend it if you like light beers – it’s 100x better than your average light beer!

And then tonight I hit Schwartz’s for a smoked meat sandwich and one of my beloved spruce beers!

Schwartz's Charcuterie Heraique de Montreal

Spruce Beer

This spruce beer was actually by Colt, which I’ve never seen before. It was delicious, but I still think that the Kiri one that I had at La Belle Patate was better. It was just more sprucey. More sprucey = more delicious.

Schwartz's smoked meat sandwich

Smoked meat. Ever so much meat.

Likewise – and I’m probably going to get shot for saying this – I think I liked the smoked meat sandwich that I had at Reuben’s when I was here last November even better than Schwartz’s.

At any rate, I’m very lucky that the meeting that I’m here for is feeding us lots of healthy foods, so I’ve been loading up on fresh fruits and veg during break, lunch, and breaks. Which is good, because I’m pretty sure I can actually hear my arteries hardening thanks to my dinners from the past two days!

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Did You Vote Today?

So it’s municipal election day in British Columbia, the day we get to vote for mayors, city councillors, and school board trustees. And given that I know jack squat about Surrey politics, I decided I should read the candidate statements before I headed off to the polls.  First of all, there about about eleventy billion people running for council, so it took me ages to get through the statements. Secondly, it’s pretty challenging to figure out what everyone is really about from these short statements, especially when so many people, just spew off platitudes. Of course everyone wants to make the city a safer place with good schools, nice parks, better roads, better transit, businesses that succeed, and unicorns covered in pixie dust. But how, exactly, they are going to do that is never mentioned. Is it so much to ask to see some concrete ideas?

What’s particularly galling are the candidates who are making claims they will provide all sorts of things – new stadiums, new schools, new hospitals, more Skytrain, better pay for municipal employees, more teachers in schools, etc., etc. AND no increases in taxes. I mean, seriously, do these individuals have no idea how a government works? Governments get money from taxes. Buying things costs money. It’s not rocket science, people.

And finally, what’s the deal with political parties calling themselves “non-partisan”? Our good friend Wikipedia tells us:

In politics, partisan literally means organized into political parties. The expression “partisan politics” usually refers to fervent, sometimes militant, support of a party, cause, faction, person, or idea.

Presumably these so-called non-partisan parties are trying to distance themselves from the of “fervent, sometimes militant,” connotation of the word, but technically they are saying that they are a political party that is not a political party. Am I the one one who finds this ridiculous?

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Today, It Rains

Jack Layton, Leaders Tour - Tournée du Chef - Jack LaytonI woke up to the news that Jack Layton passed away this morning at the age of 61. This is heart breaking. My heart goes out, first and foremost, to his wife, Olivia Chow, and their children. And it also goes out to our country because we’ve lost a great man today. A man who always fought for what he believed in, who brought so much to politics in Canada. The NDP gained Official Opposition status on the strength of his leadership and vision. He gave so much to this country and, at 61, he had so much left to give. I am deeply, deeply saddened that we will never get to see a Prime Minister Jack Layton.

It seems only appropriate that after a week of sunshine, and before another week of sunshine, today it rains.

P1090627 Tribute For Jack Layton - College Street Bike Lane Toronto

I’m so fucking sick of cancer taking all the good people.

Goodbye, Jack. You will be missed.

Image Credit:

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The National Art Gallery and the Royal Canadian Mint

OK, so after that wee diversion on the whole blogivesary thing, I’m back to blogging about all the crap I meant to blog about from my trip!

The National Art Gallery

One of the things I like about going to Ottawa (in addition to seeing Sarah and Dave, of course), is that there are tonnes of cool cultural things to do, what with it being the national capital and all. On previous trips I’ve had such awesome adventures as attending Question Period at Parliament, going to the Canada Science and Technology Museum and my favourite – the Diefenbunker! I had not, however, been willing to go to the National Art Gallery, because, for some reason that is completely beyond my comprehension, they decided to install a GIGANTIC SPIDER outside the front door. I’m talking GIGANTIC. And I am talking SPIDER1. Up until this trip, I’ve been unable to go near the place, despite the fact that I really wanted to see the art there, because of my terror at the site of even the smallest eight-legged monster2, let alone a GIGANTIC one3. However, with Sarah’s assistance and reassurances, I was able to steel myself enough to be near the place – basically, Sarah told me that we could drive in through the parking garage, so I wouldn’t need to walk by the statute to get into the front door. And I could keep my eyes closed when we drove anywhere near the statue – including when we were walking inside the Art Gallery where you could see the statute through the window4. Plus, she scored us a Groupon5 to go for high tea there. And who am I to turn down high tea? So we managed to get me into the NAG without me having to actually face my fear, we enjoyed a leisurely high tea, and we walked around a few exhibits. I wish I had something intelligent to say about the art, but I really am a neophyte when it comes to art6. I basically look at it and go “Wow, that’s awesome. I like how the colours are bright.” Or, “Meh. This one is boring to me.” I did, however, enjoy our afternoon of perusing the art, because there were lots of cool things to look at, even if I’m not able to appreciate the nuances of it all.

On the way out of the NAG, we decided to stop in at the gift shop, just to see what they had. I jokingly said, “I hope I can get a postcard with the giant spider on it to remember my trip here!”, to which Sarah replied, “Uh, don’t come over to this section!” And then, just when I thought all was safe, we headed to the door to leave and what do you think was right in front of me? A freaking T-shirt with a freaking picture of that freaking spider statue on it! Gaaaahhhh!!! So close, but yet so far.

The Royal Canadian Mint

The next day, we decided to go to the Royal Canadian Mint. The Mint, for the uninitiated, is the place that makes coins7. The Mint in Ottawa makes collector coins and medals (like, for example, the Olympic medals), whereas circulation coins (i.e., the ones in your wallet) are made in Winnipeg.

Ordinarily on a weekday tour, one would get to see the Mint running through its production. Unfortunately, the day we went the workers weren’t on the floor as they were all off doing some sort of union voting thing. Instead, they had videos of all the processes, so we still got to see how they make coins. I learned a tonne of stuff, most of which I can’t remember. But I do remember that I learned that the Canadian Mint was the first place that was ever able to make 99.999% pure gold – usually “pure” gold is 99.99% pure. Also, I got to pick up a bar of gold that was worth more than $500,000!8. The other highlight of the tour was when the video showed how the edges of coins are formed, a process known as “rimming.” That’s right, “rimming.” During the tour, Sarah stayed at the back of the crowd, as she had baby Veronica in her stoller and didn’t want to get in the way of people trying to see things on the tour (she’s been on the tour before) and had suggested that I should go ahead to get a good view. I think this was a very good thing, because I’m sure that *neither* of us would have been able to keep a straight face if we’d been standing together as the narrator on the video kept saying “rimming.”

And finally, here are photos of what coins would look like if Sarah and I were on them:

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  1. For the record, even typing the word “spider” wigs me out. []
  2. And typing the word “eight-legged” also freaks me out. Ugh. []
  3. Did I mention that the statue is GIGANTIC? []
  4. Basically, Sarah just led me around as if I were blind so that I could keep my eyes closed and not walk into any walls. Or people, for that matter. []
  5. Or maybe it was one of the other Groupon-type sites. []
  6. Though I believe that using the word “neophyte” in that sentence will give me some snob cred to make up for snob cred lost by knowing nothing about art []
  7. Paper bills are made elsewhere. []
  8. That is not, however, the most expensive thing I have ever touched. When I was an Intern in the Alumni Office at McMaster in the summer after my fourth year, the Director came around with a cheque, saying to all the alumni employees: “Touch it! Touch it!” It was a donation from the estate of an alumna who had recently passed away and left $1,000,000 to Mac. []

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Happy Canada Day!

In honour of Canada Day, here’s a cake with a map of Canada on it1:

Worton Family Reunion 2011  Cake

Happy Canada Day, eh?

  1. made by my Aunt Gwen for our recent family reunion. It was, for the record, delicious []

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My Trip So Far – A Quick Summary

Hey, remember when I said that I was planning to do a much better job of blogging this trip than I did of blogging my last trip. Apparently, I was full of crap. So, let’s see if I can do a quick summary of all the awesome things I’ve been doing instead of blogging. Let’s begin at the beginning.

When I left Vancouver on Tuesday night, I was sad that I was going to miss being in the city for game 7 of the Stanley Cup. As it turned out, the thing I’m actually sad about (well, in addition to the Canucks not winning) is that a bunch of punks decided to act like complete assholes, burning up cars and looting stores and wrecking my city’s reputation to boot. On a more happy note, many of those jerks were stupid enough to commit their crimes on camera, so they are getting nailed for it, as they should. They don’t represent my city or my team. The real fans and the real Vancouverites are the ones who were out the next day cleaning up the mess left behind by the jerks.

Anyway. Bygones.

Wednesday, before the unpleasantness that was Game 7, Sarah and I had a lovely time at the National Art Gallery. The NAG will get its own blog posting, because this is just quick summary posting of my adventures so far, but suffice it to say that with Sarah’s assistance, I made it both into and out of the NAG without having to see the massive spider outside. It was not an easy feat, but I accomplished it.

Thursday I got up much later than I’d been hoping to, mostly due to having stayed up late watching coverage of the riot, but also because I’d only slept for about 3 hours on my red-eye flight from Vancouver on Tuesday night. Regardless, we still had enough time to enjoy the day. We got to tour the Royal Canadian Mint – which was my first choice for things that I wanted to check out that I hadn’t yet seen1. The Mint is totally getting its own blog posting as well, because it’s freaking cool and I learn many interesting things that I’m sure you are all dying to know. Suffice it to say that I picked up a gold bar that was worth more than half a million dollars2! On the way back to Sarah’s we stopped by 24 Sussex Drive for some photo opps.

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While we were there, Prime Minister Harper got a Coca-Cola delivery:

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You know who else gets Coke deliveries to their house? Totally normal people.

Thursday night Sarah made us some kick ass eggplant parmesan – her Nonna’s recipe – and we drank some lovely Stoneleigh wine. We also watched “Too Big To Fail,” which was rather mind-blowing. If you haven’t watched it, I suggest you do!

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Sarah and Baby V

For Friday morning, we’d thought about fitting in one more tourist-y thing before we headed out to drop me off at my family reunion, but decided it would be a much better plan to just relax around Sarah’s place – definitely a good call on our part3. Then it was off to pick up Sarah’s Nonna in Kingston, with a quick stop at Canadian Tire so I could pick up a Father’s Day gift for my Dad, and then off to drop me off in Gananoque for my family reunion.

Worton Family Reunion 2011

The family reunion will require a blog posting of its own, but definitely the most exciting thing about it was that it was where I *finally* got to meet my nephew in person! He’s the cutest little baby boy I’ve ever met! Here’s a picture of me, my nephew, and my niece4 :

Day 362

Now I’m in Toronto at my sister’s place. It’s getting rather late, so I think I’ll hit the hay. Tomorrow, I have to finish up my guest lecture for Dr. Dan’s class, make something for my parents’ upcoming 40th anniversary (!) and make a “chicken” pot pie5, because I’ve been telling Nancy & Jeff how freaking delicious it is and now I have to prove it!

  1. There are sooo many cool things to see and do in Ottawa, what with it being the capital and all, so despite having been there a few times, there’s still so many things I have yet to see. On my last trip we did the Diefenbunker – have I mentioned how much I loved the freaking Diefenbunker? []
  2. But which is not, however, the most expensive thing I’ve ever touched! You’ll have to wait for my Mint blog posting to find out what is! []
  3. Plus, I know I’ll be back to visit again, so I’ll get around to visiting all the sites I want to visit eventually!! []
  4. Who just so happens to be the cutest little girl ever! []
  5. Note: Does not actually contain any pot []

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Election Day!

As you would entirely not be able to tell from my blogging of late, today is a federal election in Canada. But despite my lack of blogging about the subject, I (like a surprising number of Canadians this time) have actually been quite engaged in this election: reading the actual platforms of the parties (as well as news articles/opinion pieces), watching the leaders’ debate, trying to figure out how best to vote to get rid of the Conservative in my riding, and talking to people IRL1.

And this morning before work, I went to the polls and did the most important thing of all: I voted!

Day 315

I love to vote first thing in the morning on election day, because there are never any lineups2. I didn’t vote in the advance polls because, like my friend Cath, I wanted to keep an eye on what the polls said right up until today, as my strategy was to vote tactically.

Also, it just wouldn’t be an election without me destroying a Conservative party brochure – see here and here and here and here for past iterations:

I have to say, I look mighty pleased with myself in that video.

And now I’m settling in for a night of election result watching!

Update (2 May 2011 – 10:49 p.m.) – This is entirely depressing. Contrary to the perception I had that everyone was *so engaged* in this election3, voter turnover was abysmal, with only ~55% of eligible voters showing up to vote. Thanks for nothing, 45% of Canadians who could have voted and didn’t.

  1. In real life. []
  2. I hear that there are usually big lineups later in the day, as most people tend to go after work instead. []
  3. A perception that came in part because that’s what the media was portraying and in part, I’m thinking, because I happen to hang around with (and follow on Twitter), the type of people who actually engage – clearly not a representative sample of Canadians []

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BC Premier #32 – Canada’s First Indo-Canadian Premier

So BC has a new premier! The BC So-Called Liberals chose Christy Clark, former Deputy Premier and former radio show host on WGYY1, to replace lame duck Gordo as the leader of their party and, thus, our new premier. And it reminded me that I never did finish my series on BC Premiers that I started eleventy thousand years ago. Hence today’s posting on the 32nd premier of BC, Ujjal Dosanjh.

Ujjal Dosanjh Name Ujjal Dev Singh Dosanjh
Born: September 9, 1947 in Jalandhar, India
Died: hasn’t
Party: NDP
Held Office: February 24, 2000 – June 5, 2001
  • 1964: left India to get his education in the UK
  • 1968: immigrated to Canada, living in BC with his aunt
  • 1976: earned his law degree at UBC
  • 1979: opened his own law practice (family & personal injury law)
  • other stuff he did: “taught English as a Second Language at Vancouver Community College; worked as an assistant editor of a local Punjabi newspaper.” Involved with “community organizations included founding the Farm Workers’ Legal Information Service (later Canadian Farm Workers’ Union), serving on the board of directors for BC Civil Liberties Associationand the Vancouver Multicultural Society, and the Labour Advocacy Research Association, as well as volunteer work with MOSAIC Immigrant Services Centre, and the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House”2.
  • 1979: ran in the provincial election for the NDP party, but lost to the So-Cred candidate
  • 1983: ibid
  • 1985: attacked outside his office by an assailant opposed to his speaking out against “against violence by Sikh extremists who advocated Khalistan independence from India”3; Dosanjh is a “prominent moderate Sikh.”
  • 1991: won the Vancouver-Kensington riding as an NDP MLA
  • 1993: “chaired the Select Standing Committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills”
  • 1995: become Minister of Government Services and Minister Responsible for Sports in April, then also the Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism and Human Rights in July and then in August his portfolio was changed to Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism, Human Rights and Immigration and he was appointed as the Attorney General. I’m guessing he was pretty tired in 1995.
  • 1996: won the Vancouver-Kensington riding as an NDP MLA again
  • 1999: his “constituency office was broken into and a Molotov cocktail left burning on a table.
  • Feb 24, 2000: Won the party leadership and thus became the Premier. This made him Canada’s first Indo-Canadian Premier. He was also the first Canadian Premier to march in a gay pride parade.
  • other stuff he did: “gave priority to issues of health care, education, and balanced budgets.” and “increased spending was mostly directed to renovations of hospital, public schools and higher education institutions, as well as building cancer treatment centers, lowering post-secondary tuition fees, and creating significantly more new spaces in the province’s apprenticeship program and post-secondary institutions… “the provincial government adopted the Definition of Spouse Amendment Act which extended equal rights to same-sex couples.the Legislative Assemblyadopted the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Recovery Act which permitted lawsuits against tobacco organizations to re-coup associated health care expenses, the Sex Offender Registry Act, and the Protection of Public Participation Act which prevented lawsuits against citizens who participated in public processes.”
  • 2001: Despite the fact that Dosanjh polled as much more popular than his competitor, Gordon Campbell of the So-Called BC Liberals, in the run up to the election, the NDP was very unpopular after Glen Clark and the NDP were trounced in the 2001 election. Dosanjh lost his own seat in Vancouver-Kensington and the So-Called Liberals won all but two of the 79 seats in the provincial legislature
  • 2003: “awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman (Expatriate Indian Honour) from Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi. The award recognizes individual excellence in various fields for persons of Indian origin across the world.
  • 2004: recruited to the federal Liberal party by then-Prime Minister Paul Martin as part of a campaign to bring “All-Star” BC candidates to the party. Dosanjh won his seat as the MP for Vancouver South in the June 2004 election. He’s done a bunch of stuff in federal politics, but I’m not going to summarize them here since this blog posting is meant to be about him as BC Premier4.

In summary, he was the first Ind0-Canadian Premier, which is pretty cool. He also did a lot of stuff. Writing about him makes me tired, that’s how much he did.

Image credits: Accessed from Wikipedia. Creative Commons License. w00t!

References:
Wikipedia, the reference of champions

Footnotes:

  1. White Guy (Or Girl, in this case) Yelling At You Radio []
  2. all from Wikipedia ‘cuz I’m just that lazy []
  3. again from The Wikipedia []
  4. and also I’m lazy. If you are interested, you can check out his Wikipedia page. That’s all I do anyway []