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Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Ethical Minefield

I have an ethical minefield-- one that is much more unpredictable than what I think other live by. Here's a sample of my moral maze:

Population Density - Good. The only way we can address our travel dynamics and our carbon footprint is to pack people into dense regions. People need to live close to their work and services. If they cannot afford a home, they should have a condo, because you can get booted from an apartment or a sublet condo.
Condos - Evil. Chumps buy condos.
Urban Gardens - Good. Food security, food quality, economy, 0 mile diets, productive recreation-- how could this concept be anything less than awesome?
Bottled Water - Evil. I politely refused bottled water, having faith in the public water supply.
Public Works - Evil. I don't trust that civil servants can manage something important. (cough) Walkerton!
Anti-depressants and ADHD medication - Evil. As Jacobi Mugatu said: "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" There is an estimation that 10% of America is on anti-depressants or has been. 30 million people need drugs? Are we sure that people are unreasonable and need medication; or is it that people are living in unreasonable times? When soldiers screamed into battle in WWII, they did so tweaked on amphetimines. Why not just keep giving them uppers all the time from that point on? Maybe they needed them to survive unreasonable stimuli. Anti-depressants are being sold in the millions every day as we spin the hamster wheel to fund the lifestyles of Boomers.
Boomers - Mostly Evil. Nice people lived in Nazi Germany. I'm sure nice people were born from 1947 to 1960. But the dangerous impact on this surge of a population demographic can't be ignored. Before they start to finally die off in the 2030s, they are going to need billions of our dollars to fund their retirement and their healthcare. That money is going to come out of my people's hide-- for the next 25 years I will have to help thicken profit margins so the investments increase as those dividends fund the lifestyles of a statistical anomoly in our population.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Man Fleeing Olympics -- Commits Theft and Murder

A lower mainland man was so desperate to escape the Winter Olympics that he stole a car and fled to Vancouver Island. He later killed two on a motorcycle on the Malahat while travelling to Victoria...

A fatal motor vehicle collision on the Malahat early Saturday afternoon has left a motorcycle rider and his passenger dead and the suspect driver of the second vehicle involved at large.

This incident started early Saturday morning in North Vancouver when an unknown male entered a residence, stole some property and the homeowner's car, a newer model Honda Accord, while the homeowner's were home. The homeowner reported the incident to North Vancouver RCMP.

Later in the morning, the stolen Honda was seen going through the toll booth at Horseshoe Bay. The lone male suspect's picture was captured by BC Ferries video surveillance. Police believe that the stolen Honda and suspect driver arrived at Departure Bay at approximately 10:00 AM.

At approximately 12:25 hours police, fire and ambulance were dispatched to a fatal collision that occurred near the Arbutus Rest Stop on the Malahat. Police learned that the stolen Honda was travelling south and made an illegal left turn into the rest stop, cutting in front of a motorcycle which collided with the Honda, killing both the male rider and fermale passenger of the motorcycle.

The suspect fled the scene of the collision. Police utilized the resources of Police Service Dog from Nanaimo, Coast Guard, RCMP Air Services from Vancouver, and Members from Shawnigan Lake, Westshore and South Island Traffic Services to try to locate the suspect, but to no avail.

The Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section (ICARS), Criminal Crash Investigation Team (CCIT) and Forensic Identification Section (FIS) attended the scene to continue the investigation. The Malahat was closed for several hours.

The investigation is continuing and being handled by Members of South Island Traffic Services CCIT. The names of the people killed in this collision will not be released pending the notification of next of kin.

Police are asking for the public's assistance in identifying the suspect driver. This is a far reaching investigation and the suspect may well be from the Greater Vancouver area.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Cst. Brian Sampson of South Island Traffic Services at 250 416 0352. Anyone with information regarding this collision who has yet to speak with police is also asked to call Cst. Sampson at the number above.

Released by

Cst. Mike Halskov
Media Relations Officer / Team Leader - CCIT
South Island Traffic Services, Chemainus, BC V0R 1K0
9921 Chemainus Rd.
Office: (250) 416-0352
Fax: (250) 416-0354
Email: michael.halskov@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Evil Bun In The Oven

Cafepress is finally doing maternity shirts! My first outting: a Cthulhu ultrasound. Do you know a geekette or Cultist who is in the family way? If so, you can give them the gift that outlasts even time itself. (cue cheesy music)


For just $28.99 you too can have this lovely shirt from Cafepress.com!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Shame On You, UVic


View Larger Map I left the matinee of Collapse up at UVic with one prevalent thought: grow food on arable land-- moreso, grow it on land that people can get to-- don't put my pepper plants in Mexico: give me greenhouse space. Surely, don't truck my potatoes from California: these are bulky, heavy, low value staples. You can also grow them from the 49° south almost any time of the year. I walked across the lawns of UVic-- manicured tracts of great land enjoyed by rabbits and starving students alike.

Last Fall, we were really lucky to be able to go to Sooke Harbour House. It was an inspirational experiment. In some real life version of the Wonka Chocolate factory, most of the plants are edible. A terrific and expert gardener led us around the lands, tearing off leaves, flowers, berries and flora of all kinds. "Eat it," she said. We complied-- flowers that tastes like cherries; a 15' tall bay leaf tree; patios were divided by rosemary bushes and fennel plants. We could eat the grounds-- so could the wildlife. In nature you have Hobson's Choice for what's available. On our properties, we have lattitude: we can grow what we want.
IMG_3484 Why are lands for the intelligencia barren but for the manicured weeds of cropped grass and shrubberies. It turns out UVic does sequester a little part of the lands for feeding people. To the North of the Centennial Stadium there is a patch of land for the UVic Community Gardens. That is, "for now": UVic plans on evicting the Campus Community Garden so make room for another building (though classrooms are not likely-- UVic found that students really don't have as much cash or clout as corporations and government). It's bad enough that UVic can't count above six when building floors into new buildings (build up-- we've been able to that since the 1800s-- it allows for density vs. sprawl). UVic doesn't need to go after the low hanging fruit of the community gardens.
If UVic doesn't completely do away with using arable lands for food, they could move the gardens to one of the other massive tracts of land they have available. In reality, UVic should quadruple the amount of land open for individual gardening-- why can't a student living in residence have a blackberry bush or a row of carrots? In this world run amok with Green and 100 Mile Diets and Carbon Neutral, why is UVic bogarting all of this green space?
If the UVic powers-that-be relocate the gardens and fail to expand them, there are definitely bad locations that could be used that would be out-of-sight out-of-mind. For example, to the South East, past a stand of trees I found last year, there is a big chunk of space likely enjoyed by deer and the rare cougar. This chunk is remote. There's no electricity, there's no running water. The locale only fit for being a grow-op, a body dump, and/or maybe a dorm. The people would have to trek through the forest. There is a service road labelled liberally with "NO UNAUTHORIZED VEHICLES ALLOWED" signed. I doubt that handicapped access would be viable unless the handicapped have a wheelchair made by Hummer.
I know that UVic wants to think they own the lands. I know students want to tell you the university is funded by their tuitions. In truth, taxpayers heavily subsidize post secondary education. The tens of thousands of tax dollars I shell out every year go into the coffers of the govenment who, in turn, dole it out to places like UVic. These are my lands and I don't like what some overpriced academics are doing with my money and my land.
UVic needs to stop. They need to think about what they're doing with the lands they hold. Below is a letter from the site coordinataor of the UVic Campus Community Garden. UVic is planning on doing away with the gardens. I ask that you take a minute to read her call for support. I need you to spend a few minutes in support of the plan to keep the Campus Community Gardens in play. If you're caught up in this Green wave-- if you bicycle for the planet; or take recyclable bags to Thrity's; or drive a Prius; or turn off your lights to save electricity-- if you do any of these, then this needs to be your cause, too.
Personally, I feel UVic needs to take this moment as a moment of clarity. They need to come out of their stupor and expand the lands devoted to the community gardens. They need to ask whether tracts of short green weeds mowed time and again by gas-powered mowers is the ideal practice. They need to ask why their students live in dorms on ramen noodles when the lands could feed a decent share of the student population. If UVic doesn't look out the window and see the lands with new eyes, then their lip service to sustainability is a sham.
Subject: UVic Campus Community Garden needs your support

Hello,
My name is Ada Saab. I am the site coordinator of the UVic Campus Community Garden. We are requesting your support. We have been growing food on campus garden for thirteen years and have resided in the same location off Mackenzie Avenue for this entire time. We've watched both the Enterprise Data Centre and the Technology Enterprise Facility build on either side of us while the parking lot welcomed more and more traffic. Recently we have been notified that at the end of our Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Victoria, on October 2011, we are evicted. However, our new location is still unknown.

There is very little space on our campus any longer. Priorities for development are becoming clear as the management plans to maintain a compact campus by the use of specific building sites within or near Ring Road. Among the list of items to redevelop (including lawn areas, parking lots and lower scale buildings) is our garden.

This spring, there will be a Campus Plan Committee meeting. Neil Connelly, from UVic's Sustainability Office, will be offering a proposal to include our gardens in the master plan for use of the university-owned CJVI property on Cedar Hill Cross Rd, know as Cedar Hill Corner. According to the university, potential uses include academic expansion, faculty and student housing, sports and recreational facilities, parking and other special opportunities. Another alternative is a triangle area of land off of McKenzie Avenue by the rugby fields, a highly visible location with no concrete building plans.
We are concerned there is no mention of the garden in the current UVic Campus Plan and that the university may not deem our space as an important university asset. As a result, we are requesting your support to show UVic Vice-President Finance & Operations that sustainability and education includes the UVic Campus Community Garden. Fill in the appropriate areas of this attached letter or compose your own and send it to Gayle Gorrill, VP Finance & Operations vpfo@uvic.ca vpfo@uvic.ca> , to Neil Connelly, Sustainability Office at nconn@uvic.ca nconn@uvic.ca, and copy the Community Garden executive so we can be aware of your support, at ccgarden@uvic.ca ccgarden@uvic.ca.

I have attached our letter of support to this email however, it is also included below.

Thank-you,

Ada Saab
Site Coordinator
Campus Community Garden
University of Victoria
Web http://web.uvic.ca/~ccgarden/


Sample letter of support:
I am writing this letter as a member of the University community to express my support for the UVic Campus Community Garden.
Students, faculty and staff were recently informed of a plan to move the gardens from its current location in parking lot 7 to an undetermined site. I understand that as the university grows there is increased pressure for new developments that are in line with the 2003 Campus Plan and strategic objectives of the university.
I am concerned, however, that without university support and resources for such a move and a process to collaboratively determine a new site, the community gardens may be in jeopardy.
As a [professor /student/employee] the community gardens have provided me with [teaching space/ growing space/ learning opportunities]. Not only does the community garden help me achieve my personal [teaching/learning] goals, it also helps achieve many of the goals set out in the university’s strategic plan.
The community garden contributes to the “broader learning environment” of the university by providing a community meeting place. By bringing students, faculty, and staff together the garden acts as a node for social networking and enhances the sense of community between university users. Over the past decade, the University has showcased the Community Gardens in a number of websites, publications and tours, contributing to student and faculty recruitment and its reputation as a green campus.
The gardens provide an opportunity for students to participate in experiential learning opportunities and become involved in the university community. The garden has been used extensively in this capacity by the school of Environmental Studies, Department of Women’s Studies and the School of Nursing, and new partnerships are being explored with other university departments.
In order for the community garden to continue contributing to vibrant and healthy campus, a new site must be located and funding must allocated for relocation before the development of parking lot 7 commences. I urge you to support finding an appropriate new site and funds to help the community garden move through this transition smoothly.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Finally... Wayne Gretzky Uses Fire In Vancouver

After this long, painful drawn out affair, Wayne Gretzky lit the Olympic flame capping off a frenzied day that included the death of an athlete, protests and a lot of people bedding down in $600/night hotels that I would rent for $95/night.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Let's Talk Caprica

IO9 has shown off some interesting spoilers. This isn't about spoilers, but about geeky projections.

During the Olympic Torch Run, I ran into the sister of one of the supporting players. She said that her brother (I'm not going to out her), makes it to the fifth episode, then he and bunch of other characters (maybe people at Graystone?) all get tossed from the show. Killed or laid off in Graystone downsizing: who knows, but I took it as the former. If so, then they get to "Know Thy Enemy" which airs on March 12th.

Esai Morales has hinted that there will be a large time shift in the future of the show.
The chronology runs like this:

Year -69: William Adama is born.
Year -58: Episode 1 of Caprica.
Year -52: The Cylons revolt (now revealed as the worst ever case of a girl with Daddy issues).
Year -40: The Cylon War ends with the arrival of the Final Five.
Year 0: The Fall. Humanity gets nuked and it's literally a 1-in-a-million chance that anyone survived (ie. 50 billion people get attacked, 50,000 head off in a rag tag fleet).

So, there could be a jump to put Caprica's events closer to the onset of the Cylon War. Between the pilot and the first episode (what was that-- three weeks in the show?), little Willie Adama seems to grow my leaps and bounds. If that's the case, then he will be a 29 yr. old youngster by the time the Cylon War ends.... uh... that math doesn't work. Here's why it might disturbingly not work and why Sina Najafi may have some free time coming up.

Here's more from IO9.com:

...I think Graystone Industries is going into places you didn't think it would go, and the relationship between Daniel and the Adama family is surprising. Just a lot of left turns." [L.A. Times]

Heres' a bit of random (but fascinating) speculation. Esai Morales has been pretty vocal lately in hinting that terrible, unthinkable things are going to happen to Joseph Adama later in the season. Everybody assumes that his son Willie Adama is the one character who can't die — but what if he does? And what if Joseph remarries and has another son, whom he also names William? Supporting info includes the fact that Willie's eyes are the wrong color, and Admiral Adama's dossier in "Hero" said his mother was "Evelyn" not "Shannon." (And we just met an Evelyn, the law clerk.)...

So, BSG is good with minutae. It's unlikely that they gaffed on the name previously established. Also, I don't recall much highlight on Joseph Adama being a widower from the BSG era. My theory: Joseph Adama's vengeance on the Graystones backfires. The Adama immediate family was knocked down to two; and the Graystone immediate family was knocked down to that level. Balance plays a cruel turn, and when Daniel Graystone's wife is murdered, his angry Cylon in the basement attacks the Adama's henchman, killing Sam and that boy who he seems to be schooling in the ways of crime (lil' Willie).

That gives Jospeh Adama a moment of clarity and set him on the course to raise a son who will serve as a nugget in the latter days of the Cylon War; and it make him the sort of man who writes law books, instead of hiding bribes in them.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Special Mitten Crowd

Our world is being remade to suit the Special Mitten set-- people who get "special mittens" (see right), partially to keep their hands safe and partially to us safe from their hands. These are the people who fill up the left side of the big swoop in the IQ bell curve. They drive our world. Morons.

Here's the list of people, places and products for the "Special Mitten" set-- people who need to have their mitten pinned onto their jackets for safe keeping:

Casual Dining: Tim Horton's
Highway Lane: Right Lane
Mayor in the CRD: Dean Fortin
TV Network: FoxTV
TV Genre: Reality TV
Best Movie of all Time: Avatar
Best X-Men Movie: X-Men Secret Origins: Wolverine
Best concept: The Bucket List
Leno vs. O'Brien vs. Letterman: Leno

Do you have any additions? Anything that caters to the Special Mitten set?


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