August 19, 2007

New York, New York

It has been a long time coming (like YEARS) but finally I will be checking out one of the biggest cities in the world. Sure, it's post 9/11. Sure CBGB's has been sold and moved to Vegas, sure the Yankees are losing. BUT!

I will get to see David Letterman.

His office called my phone on the last day of my work-term and said they could accomodate me with some tickets for while I was there.

So sure, Letterman's exciting and all, but over the next week and a half I will see Central Park, eat a hot dog at Coney Island, watch a Red Sox vs the Yankees game, and walk over the Brooklyn Bridge.

It should be a great time and hopefully Hurricane Dean loses its umph by the time it makes it up the northeastern seaboard.

Oh and I am going to the Smithsonian, Washington Monument, and the US Capitol in D.C. for 4 days after New York.

God I am thankful for this chance to get away from the chaos in Edmonton and instead hopefully I will see a different kind - a good kind of chaos - in NYC!!

August 5, 2007


How is it that we don't see how critical it is that we take IMMEDIATE action to do something about the way North Americans live their lives. Finally its such the case that Africa Aid and Global Warming are news items nearly 5 days a week now. The killing in Sudan, the emissions from Syncrude, the Tim's cups that are sitting in gutters waiting to be washed into the river, the rat explosion in Vancouver (due to no garbage collection), the endless flooding in India, the dying polar bears in Manitoba. Just everywhere. Everything. We do not do anything.

"A typical fast-food restaurant like McDonalds produces an average of 238 pounds of waste each day. In 1995 alone, we wasted at least 14 million tons of food and over 81.5 tons of paper."

How can we live with ourselves? It just truly makes me sick. Sure, life goes on: we get another bloody paycheque, we download another few songs and pornographic videos, we eat our bagels with lite cream cheese and we by another t-shirt or trinket from a sweat shop that was Made In China. I mean, why not right? How will I be any worse for it? How will someone else be any better off if I don't?

Well, please intrigue me into talking about this into more depth about this because it is now 3 am and I should probably stop typing and get some sleep.


I will add to this post later.

It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood.

Mr. Rogers was a pretty happy-go-lucky guy that truly made kids feel like their community is like their home. Everyone was welcome in everybody else's back yard and smiles and fun was shared all around. Perhaps kids didn't quite understand that this was what was going on at the ripe old age of 4-8 but nevertheless, through his actions and well-natured spirit, Mr. Rogers really did give kids a positive impression of what a suburbian life might be like. Hopefully, this would instill in the minds of the kids in years down the road of how civilized neigbhorly people could get along.

Then we grow up.

Living in Millwoods has done well by me: sure I have friends and acquaintences that I am jelous of from all of their worldly experience and opportunities for living different lives. But in the end, I think that this little corner in the south east of Edmonton has provided me with stability, love, a sense of community, integration and acceptance. Sure, I know a lot of the down-to-earthed-ness of an individual is likely to do with how their raised by the parents, but right now I am talking about the effect that communities have on the way that an individual perceives his life, surroundings, and the rest of the world.

Growing up in Millwoods I would often walk Lacey to the store for things like chocolate bars, slurpees, milk, and newspapers. There was never any fear of getting abducted or mugged. Neighbors new eachothers names and gave eachother christmas cards (and even if they didn't celebrate Christmas - Happy Holidays!). I would shovel more than just my own sidewalk on occasion, not even for money. It was a very friendly happy neighborhood for a naiive child to grow up in.

Millwoods is a pretty colourful place, racially speaking. The acceptance of all of the non-white's was a pretty simple thing though. I mean, I was raised with them here. Being a whiteboy in a browntown wasn't that peculiar to me at all. Most of the east indian kids went to the public schools, but my neighbor, Abraham, was an awesome buddy to build forts with and get in trouble with when we weren't in school. And probably at least a third of my classmates every year K-12 were Philipino, Chinese, Indian, Korean, Japanese...anything.

Then the stereotypes come.

One starts to realize that there are some people out there that think that they live better lives than their racially different neighbor.

The anger and hatred and closed-mindedness of whites towards non-whites since Canada was founded is just mind-boggling. Even within millwoods, the different classes of people will differentiate which burrough they will live in: The un-employed white trash mother of 4 in Lakewood's subsidized housing, the rich fatcat retired oilman tycoon that plays golf from his back yard up in Greenview, the family of 14 living under 1 roof with smells of curried pork streaming from the windows in Sakaw, the well dressed private Chinese family that always has their drapes closed in Kameyosek, the Meadowbrook white kids that are driving their daddy's hot rod to a highschool that is likely outside of Millwoods, The neverending Tagalog conversations that go on in the Millbourne Safeway... It's all there.

Living in a peaceful tranquility.


Not no mo' yo. We duh 'hood now. Driveby in Satoo, random latenight robbery in Ridgewood, rape at Millwoods Town Center bus terminal.


Better build a multi-million dollar new police station in the center of this ghetto.

Yet, within the past 6 months I have actually been required to have dealings with the Men In Blue myself. And no, I don't mean the bus drivers. Those pricks are another story altogether.

So what then? You see, my next door neighbor was a really terrific man raising 2 young boys by himself. He did this for 5 and a half years before the Metis Society that let him live their says that he is doing too well for him and his family, and must find another place to live.

Natives in Millwoods. Who woulda thunk it hey? Well half-native anyways. At any rate, so long Jeff. Though this is a Metis Society owned house, the woman who moved in is Native, not Metis. Fine by me. "SURE, I'll mow your lawn for 25 bucks!" I've done it once in 5 months. Her back yard is a jungle. Cause for calling the police? I think not.

But on one morning before work I hear a banging at my door. It was a 12 year old Metis boy nearly in tears. I find out that there are unsavoury individuals over next door, but I wasn't going in there! Before I had a chance to call the cops to help cool this...domestic dispute?...the 2 gentlemen were out the door. Later the same day our neighbor apologizes for the 5 am awakening.

So yes. The many sides of Millwoods eh? Tolerance, compassion, concern for others are all parameters that Mr. Rogers instilled on us kids watching him weekday mornings from 9 til 10. The cold hard real world out there though is certainly not Mr. Roger's ideal suburbia. Stay tuned if you want to know what possibly could have happened to give cause enough to call the cops, in this community I call my home.

August 2, 2007

A Typical Redneck Lunch at EPCOR

Today at work we ate outside.

After a prolonged discussion about farmlife and animal torture between about 5 or 6 engineers and operators, I proclaimed myself to my colleagues as "the sheltered urban boy". Given that the average age of old farts discussing their childhoods of burning stuff down and blowing things up was about 63, I can confidently say that times have changed. Also what kids like myself could get pre-occuopied with - especially if raised in the burbs in the 80's and 90's - was a lot different than what kids got up to on the farm in the 50's and 60's.

Some of the things-to-do-for-fun-when-growing-up-on-the-farm that were discussed today at lunch included killing bugs. Wasps, ants, spiders and the likes. These I could compare to, cuz well, torturing bugs is pretty common stuff for boys (oh and girls too now, to be politically correct and gender neutral) THEN the conversation proceeded to tom cats. Shirley pipes up: "They make great range target practice" (and holds arms up as if to be shooting a long barrel). Dave counters: "No way... when we had an unexpected litter of kittens, we would just attach the bag uv 'em to the tail pipe of the ol' '62 Ford and REV it!" My boss chuckles. Then he goes on about how his cousins were so INNOVATIVE in how they were able to "make all sorts of things out of their innards - musical intruments, other toys, whatever!" An operator speaks up: "Oh we had a chicken coop with chickens that had no meat on'm to cook for eatin' and they didn't lay eggs no more. I just shut all the doors and windows on the coop, backed up my truck and stepped on the accelerator til they all turned PURPLE!" He then says how afterwards he went to go pick em up and one "came back from the dead"and scared the shit out of him". So what did he do? Backed up the pickup truck 1 more time. They were talking about how gross it is to pluck and clean chickens and holding them down in boiling water without their heads chopped off.

Dave, in the meanwhile, thinks of this time when they went and castrated a cat. They had to do this cuz apparently it was killing other kittens in order to be the dominant male that could get ALL the sex. (This sounds similar to another post I wrote about regarding what extent sex-crazed animals will go to) So, to castrate a cat, apparently you need a knife, a rubber boot, 2 men, and a cat. The key part was to stuff the head of the cat into the heal of the rubber boot and the one guy will hold the rear legs up while the other guy does the unspeakable.

Well that is about all for now that I can think of. I know there is more and if I think of it I will try to sicken you even more by posting it.

Oh, and as a punishment for enjoying this lunchtime discussion so much, I was rewarded with a wasp bite on the back of my neck as soon as I got back to the office.

No wonder we are so ignorant, de-sensitized, shameless, crude, and closed-minded when it comes to liberalism here in Alberta. Just look at our history.