Bush gave his big address two days ago and either many people down south are sheep or else He and his Administration think they are total idiots.
First of all, they don't have enough troops in Iraq to quell the insurgence according to many Congressional critics, never mind the looming possibility of yet another invasion, in say Iran. Bush is going to "stay the course" in Iraq, and in his 28 minute address, he brought up the September 11th attacks by al Qaeda FIVE times, justifying the war in Iraq.
I find this insulting, and EVERY American citizen who is capbable of self-thought should also find it insulting. There were never any proven ties whatsoever between bin Ladin and the US invasion of Iraq. In fact, it has been proven that there is no connection at all and that the invasion was done to remove Hussein from power, and most likely (yeah) help secure the coveted Iraqi oilfields!
Bush is lying to his country again and again, and in fact, by using something terrible like 9-11 as an excuse to justify the steaming pile of shit they are currently involved in, he is preying on the fears of his people... fears for the most part fabricated IMO by the administration to help justify their overseas aggressions.
My biggest question now... how is he going to connect 9-11 with invading Iran? Or anywhere else besides Saudi Arabia (since that is where bin Ladin was from and got most of his money)?
WAKE UP PEOPLE! Get that friggin retarded monkey out of there, before he insults you any further.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
I find it very interesting, that though the times and context have changed, many of the things going on right now in the United States are very similar to many of the things that had occurred in the 1700's at the hands of the King of England. I have highlighted a few points that immediately jump out at me, and with much more careful consideration, I am sure many more could also be shown. In consideration, one could look at many present day goings on, including but not limited to the wars based on lies to the people so represented, the appointment of people of suspect character to positions of great power in the administration, the creation of a "special" force of lawkeepers and spies, in order to watch and control the citizenry of the country, the abduction of foreign peoples on foreign soil and the containment of them without proper representation, charge or jury, the erosion of the fundamental freedoms of the people... the list is really quite long, and in no way is limited by these few but stark examples.
What really baffles me, is that a people so proud of their history and founding fathers has thrown aside everything they had based their country, laws and freedoms on and taken in stride the changes that have come and are yet to come today in their nation. It would seem that men of the past were much more the "men of action and deeds" than we will ever see today. Of course, if the people are happy to be contained, controlled and deceived, then by all means, they should ignore the very things that are described above, and that helped forge their nation 230 years ago.
Okay, I still do not profess to understand all of the XML, RSS and such feeds, but you can now sign up for Feedburner for my Blog. I think I had it up before, but it wasn't working right at all.Maybe it still won't work right. Who knows...
You may ask exactly what a slump is, and how one would go about painting it. There are several explanations... First, a slump could be a bank that has been eroded by water, and perhaps fallen over a little, or maybe it is one of the tests used in Concrete pouring to ensure proper strength after curing. Maybe it is even what happens when you grip the bat a little tight and can't seem to get a good base hit... No matter what, all ofthese answers are really incorrect.
I have found that now that summer is here, it is very difficult to concentrate on my hobby. Either it is the weather, or maybe just burnout from having done so much over the last few years. I know that I have painted maybe 100 figures over 3 years, and out of all of those, I have only a handful to show off in my cabinet at home. This is okay I suppose, and goes to show that a hobby can actually produce some decent money on the side (I have sold single figures for anywhere from $25 to $150 in this time).
Right now, I have two figures that are started to a good stage, and I have a commission that has been sitting half done for ages. I haven't touched a brush in a month and a half and trying to do so has little chance of happening. So how does one break out of it? Maybe it is all of the commissions. Maybe it's time to paint a couple more for my cabinet. I am seriously going to get this one job done, and then take a break from the commission side. See how it goes with no pressure. Just paint some stuff that I want to, and have fun with it. After all, there are still a few minis for sale on my site, and the way the interest level is in them, I will be happy to keep them in my cabinet a little longer :D
New York - The United States plans to produce highly radioactive plutonium 238 for the first time since the Cold War, The New York Times reported on Monday.
The newspaper quoted project managers as saying most, if not all, of the new plutonium was intended for secret missions. The officials would not disclose details, but the newspaper said the plutonium in the past powered espionage devices.
The Times said Timothy Frazier, head of radioisotope power systems at the U.S. Energy Department, vigorously denied in a recent interview any of the classified missions would involve nuclear arms, satellites or weapons in space.
“The real reason we’re starting production is for national security,” Frazier was quoted as saying.
National Security? This is sounding more and more like a threat to National Security.
When will these people learn, that in order to stop countries like Iran and North Korea from developing their own nuclear programs and possibly weapons, they should look at their own first. I am most serious when I say that if I was Iran right now, I would be doubling my efforts to enhance my nuke research, or at the least aquire some technology or even weapons. It isn't that the US would use them in an invasion of say, Iran, but the fact is, once they have some, they must be dealt with on a new playing field.
The program, which the newspaper said had raised concerns among environmentalists, would produce 330 pounds over 30 years at the Idaho National Laboratory. The program could cost $1.5 billion and generate over 50,000 drums of hazardous and radioactive waste, federal officials told the Times.
50,000 drums of hazardous and radioactive waste???? Shit! Where are they gonna dump that? One issue is the uses for this new plutonium 238, another is the effect on the countries that the US doesn't want to have nuclear programs, and now the waste! That is a seriosu consideration with environmentalists to be sure!
Plutonium 238 is hundreds of times more radioactive than plutonium 239, which is used in nuclear arms, according to the newspaper. Medical experts say inhaling even a speck posed a serious risk of lung cancer, the Times said.
This sounds like bad news. I mean it already was IMO, but what about one little accident, or perhaps the very terror attack the US is so desperately trying to avoid now? hundreds of times more radioactive.... Joy.
The newspaper said plutonium 238 had no central role in nuclear arms, but was valued for its steady heat that could be turned into electricity. Nuclear batteries made from it power spacecraft to go where sunlight is too dim to energize solar cells.
Federal and private experts not connected to the project were quoted as saying the new plutonium would likely power devices for espionage under the sea and on land.
Hopefully, if one of these espionage devices were shot down, or captured the supposed bad guys wouldn't know how to use the plutonium powering them. I mean how hard would it be to extract somethign liek that, and produce a few dirty bombs? Remember? Hundreds of times more radioactive...
"ONLY WE CAN HAVE NUKES DAMNIT!" Okay not a real quote, but anyone that hasn't pulled the wool over their own eyes can see what is happening.
Washington - The Bush administration is planning new measures that would target the U.S. assets of anyone conducting business with a handful of Iranian, North Korean and Syrian companies believed by Washington to be involved in weapons programs, administration officials said yesterday.
According to an internal government memo, it would provide a new tool in the efforts to stop trafficking in weapons of mass destruction "by authorizing the blocking or 'freezing' of assets of WMD proliferators and their supporters, and thereby prohibiting U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with them."
Now for me to see this as actually working out, the intelligence used would have to be spot on and useable in court. I mean, a lot of companies and private individuals would most likely take legal action in the event the US Admin did something like this. I don't like the idea of WMDs being built and sold now these companies and departments that are not on US soil are going to be "controlled" monetarily by the US... I see lots of problems.
They will freeze assets on US soil. Okay, fair enough. But why not simply open a bank account in Switzerland, or perhaps the Barbados? Aha! They have an answer to that though.
"If there is a bank in some European capital that is participating in working with one of the entities and that bank has some assets in the U.S., it is conceivable that some action could be taken to the bank's assets here," said one senior official with knowledge of the order's details. Russian and Chinese companies in particular, which do enormous business with Iran and North Korea, could be more affected than others by the new strategy, officials said.
Bush made the centerpiece of his national security strategy a promise to prevent what he called "the world's most destructive weapons" from getting into the hands of the worst U.S. foes. That resolve, and the strategy to achieve it, brought the president to war in Iraq against a source of weapons that were never found.
Since the US failure to produce any WMDs in Iraq, Bushco has had nothing but problems dealing with all of the "small fry" up and coming Nuke countries, like Iran and North Korea. Naturally, their credibility is very low, so gettign international support is quite difficult. Of course, the US' current policy towards the United Nations and their Weapons Inspectors (who incidentally were RIGHT) shows that they don't care what the rest of the world thinks...
So the question is... Will the intelligence they use to gather all of this information be accurate? Will they be willing to provide it when it counts? Or is this just another way they are extending their arm to control more of the world? After all, these are the saem folks that gave weapons to half of the countries in the world... and now, why should they be the only ones allowed to keep them?
I had a blast yesterday. We went to visit my buddy Sven who has set up his drums finally (though he has barely played in maybe the last 5 years or so...). Packed up the axe and effects pedal and went to his place to plug into the PA system. Turns out, he had organised a surprise, and another buddy of ours, Hoosier Daddy, was bringing his bass out as well! Now the three of us used to play lots together, mostly for fun, but is has been many years since we have jammed.
There were tons of starts and stops, and moments when no-one knew what to play, but we managed to half-ass blast out some classics like Seek and Destroy and Whiplash by Metallica and even some Iron Maiden.... :) It was really good fun! Even when the power went out for an hour...
When a Canadian born cow was found to contain BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathry) several years ago, the US all but barred any imports of Canadian beef despite the fact that Canadians test a much higher percent of cows than they themselves do (probably 10 or 20 times the amount actually). In fact, Japan tests 100% of their cattle.
Now,it would seemthat there is a new case of Mad Cow Disease in the States, and this time, it's looking to be one of their own. Not sure what to say about it now. Except that maybe we could sell them some cows for double the price. The US closing the borders to Canadian beef all but destroyed the Albertan Cattle and Beef industry. I won't bother trying to quote numbers about how much the industry lost, but apparently, we Albertans just don't eat enough steaks and burgers with all of our beer to keep the farmers afloat.
Well now maybe we can get some back. I daresay, we had better not import ANY beef from the US at all... which we probably do. Taiwan has renewed it's ban on US beef imposed in 2003 when the Canadian born US cow was found to be mad. Japan has yet to lift it's ban, and most likely will not.
Mad cow disease -- medically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE -- kills brain cells and leaves spongy holes behind. A form of the disease in people is variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. It has been linked to the consumption of contaminated meat. The disease has killed about 150 people worldwide, mostly in Britain.
Last night I dreamed. I slept too... and it must have been good, because I can't remember what I dreamt of. I certainly needed it though. The quiet beeping of my watch alarm went off like the sound of church bells though, and I wished I could have had just a few more hours...
I feel more tired this morning than I did all those last nights with no sleep, but I think it will pass and it is all for the best. Another night like that and it will be the weekend!
Well I thought I was getting better with my cold, but last night I had even less sleep than before... So tired. Must concentrate on work and not being a big time grouch when I get home. Eyes are black and heavy... I feel like Anakin when he finally turned to the Dark Side.
I hate being sick. The only thing worse is being very overtired.
Experts seek access to terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay
MSNBC - Geneva - U.N. human rights experts seeking to visit the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay said Thursday they have reliable accounts of torture of the suspected terror detainees being held there.
The four experts said the United States had not responded to their numerous requests to check on the conditions of terror suspects at the U.S. base in Cuba.
They said their request for a visit was "based on information, from reliable sources, of serious allegations of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees, arbitrary detention, violations of their right to health and their due process rights."
“Many of these allegations have come to light through declassified (U.S.) government documents," they said.
These experts who are independant of the UN but report to them on various different human rights issues made their latest request way back in April. A US spokeswoman said the request was "still being reviewed" in Washington.
Personally I cannot see the US letting anyone like this near those prisons, at least not without a heck of a lot of preparation. Especially considering their views on the UN as a body, and their recent nomination of Bolton as their UN representative.
This is my third piece for the Moodswing theme album. I had much mor efun writing this one, and scrapped most of it at least twice before settling on this. I picture it almost as an epic Drama like a Shakespearean performance. The mood of despair has many faces, and as the song progresses, I think it shifts through several of these, grievous loss, followed by hope or acceptance, only to be shattered by the overwhelming emotion of pain. Finally, the acceptance finishes off the piece.
If you wish to listen at another time, check this link here:
It was a hot and muggy night. The windows were open, letting in what little breeze they could. The ceiling fan spun in a never-ending cycle of whirring, broken up by the soft click of something slightly off-kilter every once in a while. In a deafening crack, the sky was suddenly ripped open by a thunderous tumult. A flash of nearly blinding magnitude through the open window, and more thunder rolling... Then the rains came.
What a storm last night. It was nearly impossible to sleep through for sure... Have to love those great Alberta Thunderstorms!
I hate being sick. Whether it is simply a slight cold or perhaps a nasty flu bug... I hate it. I am rarely sick, so when I do get something, it feels like the end of the world to be sure. Somewhere, I got a cold bug, and it is evil with a capital P (for phlegm). The cough and throat are manageable but my nose is stuffed, and will only unstuff to bring forth a never-ending stream. I didn't sleep much at all last night, and the wee hours this morning seemed to creep by as if I was caught in some sort of crazed quantum disturbance. Finally my alarm went off and the warm shower and coffee was most welcome.
I hope I feel better soon. Can't do much of anything feeling like this. And I hope I don't fall asleep at work :D
MSNBC - Bill Clinton has become the most prominent figure so far to add his voice to criticisms of the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
In an interveiw with the Financial Times, the former President called for the camp, set up to hold suspected terrorists, to "be closed down or cleaned up".
Mr. Clinton joined critics at home and abroad who have singled out the indefinite detention of prisoners without trial and widespread reports of human rights violations at Guantánamo. "It is time that there are no more stories coming out of there about people being abused," he said.
Mr. Clinton said the test for judging whether harsh treatment of terrorist suspects was justified was whether it challenged the "fundamental nature" of American society. If the answer is Yes, you have already given the terrorists a profound victory."
The Guantánamo detainees have been classified as "unlawful enemy combatants" rather than prisoners of war and are therefore not subject to the Geneva Convention or to US law. The US military has admitted to using coercive interrogation techniques on prisoners but denied that these amount to torture.
Aside from moral issues, there were two practical objections to the US military abusing prisoners, he said. "If we get a reputation for abusing people it puts our own soldiers much more at risk and second, if you rough up somebody bad enough, they'll eventually tell you whatever you want to hear to get you to stop doing it." Mr. Clinton was careful to avoid criticizing the administration on the issue of indefinite detention. In three or four cases, his own administration had resorted to a US law that allows suspected terrorists to be held beyond the normal length of time without trial, if bringing an indictment or trial would compromise intelligence sources.
This ties in nicely with the story from Friday. I don't know what it takes to show people what is *really* going on there, and how similar these events are becoming to the very events that the US had fought against so stoically 65 years ago.
Another year has passed. This year was great. I have been a step-father for over 5 years now, and it has held a lot of experiences for me, ranging from sadness, anger to love, happiness and jubilation. Watching children grow and progress is a great gift that not everyone gets a chance to share in. For me, at any rate, it is still a fairly new thing, and sometimes quite awkward. Even still, I wouldn't trade away the chance for anything.
My son has always been about 50/50 with calling me "Dad" or "Glyn", depending on whatever sort of mental criteria he currently had. Recently, he has switched oVer to calling me "Dad" full time now, and I have to say that I really enjoy it. It seems somewhat strange sometimes, but it is definately a change for the best!
This Father's day was nice. I got my homemade card a bit early, as well as a big new adjusteable lamp for painting. We celebrated a day early as we had guests coming, so that was fine with me. There were other ups and downs though. I called my Father in BC on Sunday, and had a very nice chat with him. They had spent the day at a car show, so he was having a wonderful time. Sent tons of pictures of all the cars, and he was happy that the weather was finally holding steady. Sadly, it was the first year without my Stepfather who had passed away last October. I think my Mom was a little down about that, though she didn't say anything. I think of his son and daughter, who had rough times with their relationship, and the fact that they don't have that Father anymore and it makes me sad. However, we can all rejoice in the times we share and shared in the past!
I hope everyone had a great Father's day, or at least made breakfast for your Dad!!!
CNN - Air Force finds "no evidence" of lost nuke...
The first government search in decades for a nuclear bomb lost off the Georgia coast in 1958 failed to uncover any trace of the sunken weapon, the Air Force said in a report Friday.
"The best course of action in this matter is to not continue to search for it and to leave the property in place," said the report by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons and Counterproliferation Agency.
A damaged B-47 bomber jettisoned the Mark-15 nuke into a sound about 15 miles from Savannah in February 1958 after colliding with a fighter jet during a training flight.
The military never recovered the bomb and gave up searching for 46 years until last year, when a retired Air Force pilot claimed his private search team had detected unusually high radiation levels in the sound.
Government scientists investigated the claims, taking radiation readings and soil samples from a football field-sized area of water September 30. The report said varying radiation levels were observed, but they were from natural elements in the sediment on the sea floor.
The Air Force has said the bomb contains an undisclosed amount of uranium and about 400 pounds of conventional explosives, though it lacks the plutonium capsule needed to trigger a nuclear blast.
In a July 2001 report, the Air Force declared the bomb "irretrievably lost" and estimated it lies buried beneath 8-to-40 feet of water and 5-to-15 feet of mud and sand.
What depths will bad guys go to to find this I wonder? Guess no one really cares or else they wouldn't plaster it all over the news... Still. Could be quite a problem unles it has been found already :) 48 years is a heck of a long time!
US Soldier Beaten at Guantanamo Bay Posing as a Prisoner
BBC News - The US Army has opened an investigation into injuries suffered by a serviceman who was beaten up during a training exercise.
Sean Baker was posing as an uncooperative detainee at the Guantanamo Bay "camp" for aledged al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects. Apparently, the guards were out of control in trying to control him, and despite his pleas stating he was a US soldier, they continued to beat him until his clothes were pulled down enough to reveal his uniform underneath.
Now, he suffers from seizures and he blames Officers for the botched up exercise.
During the exercise, Mr Baker says, military police choked him and slammed his head against the floor. Mr Baker says he told them he was a US soldier but the beatings continued until the jumpsuit was yanked down, revealing his uniform.
Mr Baker - who has complained of traumatic brain injury - was subsequently honourably discharged.
Shocking? Perhaps yes. I can imagine the treatment many of the prisoners go through, on a daily basis. Some are even under age. Remember almost all of the detainees have never been charged, and are only suspected of ties to these terrorist groups... and this is what they have been living with for up to four or more years now.
The worst part is this: Sean Baker is quoted as saying this:
"What happened to me is something that should never have happened to any American soldier"
To me, this sounds as though it is okay to beat the shit out of any of the prisoners, whether they are actual P.O.W.s, terrorists or had just been picked up by mistake. Something has to be done about these prisoner "camps". Soon it will be "off to the showers" with the lot of them otherwise.
*** Addendum ***
A related story somewhat, goes to show some of the treatment going on there to actual "Terror Prisoners"... This is taken from Newsfare, and is quite graphic:
Warning: do not read this just before going to sleep. Nor just before eating. Nor before trying to concentrate at work. In fact, if you have feelings for other human beings, it might be better not to read this at all.
The details of M.C.’s accusations are contained in a 17-page account prepared by Mr. Stafford Smith, in which the prisoner said that he was suspended from hooks in the ceiling for hours at a time with his feet barely missing the floor, and that he was beaten during those sessions. M.C. said a special unit known as the Immediate Reaction Force had knocked out one of his teeth and later an interrogator burned him with a cigarette. Mr. Stafford Smith said he saw the missing tooth and the burn scar.
Some of M.C.’s descriptions match accounts given not only by other detainees, but also by former guards and interrogators who have been interviewed by The New York Times.
He describes being shackled close to the floor in an interrogation room for hours with music blaring and lights in his face. He also said he was shown a room with pictures of naked women and adult videos and told he could have access if he cooperated. His description fits the account of former guards who described such a room and said it was nicknamed “the love shack.”
Is that all? No, that is not all. You need to know just one more fact about this case. According to M.C.’s lawyer, his client “was not yet 15 when he was captured.”
A lot of entertainers and Stars get endorsements. From Hair care products to cars to equipment and tools. Linda Carter (Wonder Woman) has done eyeglass commercials for ages. A lot of athletes and musicians endorse actual equipment they sometimes use, and this makes a lot of sense.
Perhaps you have all seen the classic old Sergei Fedorov Nike commercials. Man, I used to laugh at those :) He would deke out 14 forwards and 12 defensemen with his fancy Nike skates... or the Goalie turned janitor who couldn't stop Fedorov on those same Nike skates...
Fedorov in his fancy Nike skates
Guys like Steve Vai and Paul Gilbert use Ibanez guitars... and those ads always rock out. I mean any endorsement that gives you wicked guitars is great! It even fits in with your career! Made me go and buy an Ibanez, and frankly, I love it. I wish they would give me free guitars too.
Gilbert and his Ibanez Axe
Then some guys seem to get the shaft when their managers are wrustling up endorsements. Rafael Palmeiro was stuck with Viagra. How does that feel, everytime he goes up to bat and strikes out? I didn't know, but apparently Sammy Sosa and A-Rod also endorse Viagra. Of course, Palmiero says he doesn't actually use the product. What kind of spokesperson is that? Hmmm.
Palmiero and Rodriguez Can't Bat with Wood
My wife gave me some snacks to eat yesterday. I had never seen them before, but I do really enjoy the classic old Marshmallow Krisp snacks... These really made me wonder though. A guy like this makes Zillions a year, and somehow, his manager got this advertising gig for him...
Rivera and His Marshmallow Snack
They do taste quite nice actually, and since I have two, I can save one for later. They have a fair amount of marshmallowy goodness, and the overall feeling of relief is indeed Sweet. They make for a good snack and after I am done, I wonder which Mega-Million Dollar Star will try to sell me toothpaste that they don't use?
Reuters- Scientists have actually grown human blood vessels from cells taken from elderly patients. This groundbreaking technique could really help spur on new treatments for heart disease within the next decade, experts suggest.
The leading cause of death in developed countries is cardiovascular disease (40% inthe US) so something like this is a welcome breakthrough. This would allow doctor's to bypass clogged arteries in some patients.
“We took vascular cells from four elderly men with heart disease and engineered new blood vessels,” said Dr. Laura Niklason, of Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, N.C.
Another factor is te rejection when organs and the like are transplanted into people. If you use the person's own cells to grow their new vessels, there should be no problems with rejection.
Now these vessels were not actually tough enough for everyday use by a patient, but they have proven that the technique, with a little more work obviously, is a gooder...
Today was the Big Alberta Centennial Opening of CBC Radio Two in Red Deer. It was a nice way to spend lunch, heading downtown to see some of the show, and have a bite from the barbeque as well. They were broadcasting live and featured performances from the Lindsey Thurber High School Choir as well as other guest speakers.
There was a very interesting smattering of people in attendance to be sure, and the food drew a lot of folks out I think.
You can listen to CBC Radio Two at 99.9 on your FM dial.
It is interesting that the federal government provides a single refugee with a monthly allowance of $1,890.00 and each can also get an additional $580.00 in social assistance for a total of $2,470.00. This compares very well to a single pensioner who after contributing to the growth and development of Canada for 40 to 50 years can only receive a monthly maximum of $1,012.00 in old age pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement.
Maybe our pensioners should apply as refugees! Lets send this to all Canadians, so we can all be ticked off and maybe we can get the refugees cut back to $1,012.00 and the pensioners up to $2,470 00 and enjoy some of the money we were forced to submit to the Government over the last 40 or 50 years.
Now don't get me wrong. I have no problems with welcoming refugees into our great country. Most of us cannot even begin to fathom what some people have to live with every day of their lives... from poverty and brutal weather to tyrannical governments to religious persecution and worse. However, letting people into the country is one thing, but to actually give them MORE money than seniors who have been working hard in this nation for decades and paying for what scraps they get when they retire... Something is definately wrong there. Cripes that is nearly the sort of monthly income I make and I have 10 years experience in my field and I have been with this company now for nearly 5 years!
What a beautiful day for a Big Bike Ride! The sun was out, and we had a full crew for the race. The bike itself is 18 years old, and seats 30 people in 3 rows, including the driver. It weighs a total of 2 tons (less the riders) and once moving goes along at a pretty good pace. There are no gears on the bike, so uphills are grueling and downhills are a breeze :)
I created a photo album showing a few of the folks on our team as well as some other interesting pics of the event. At one point, we actually ran a red light in downtown Red Deer. It is really funny watching the people on the sidewalks and the drivers in cars as you roll by. I found most people to be very friendly and they like to honk or wave back, but some are just too cool to wave.
Our team ended up raising $2,558 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation right here in Alberta. Apart from fuel for the van and trailer to haul the bike around, all of the money raised goes directly into programs and most specifically research right here in Alberta! I was very proud to be part of the team, and I want to thank everyone who donated to this wonderful charity, as well as other great groups!
At the ceremony for George Lucas' AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, Carrie Fisher properly thanks the director for over two decades worth of Star Wars nerds masturbating to an image of her in a slave-girl bikini...
It appears that the New York Public Library has allowed the downloading of books to other devices...
The New York Public Library announced Monday that it is making 700 books — from classics to current best sellers — available to members in digital audio form for downloading onto PCs, CD players and portable listening devices.
Susan Kent, the director and chief executive of the branch libraries says, "... our aim is to continue to provide users with free access to materials in whichever format they prefer."
It looks like they will only allow so many "checkouts" per 21 day period when the files will be available again, but still, this sounds an awful lot like file-sharing to me. Literally, people can now go and download these books (and maybe other stuff) for FREE! Sure they pay a library member fee but that just means the library is profitting from file sharing. Yes, piracy at it's finest! I certainly hope to see a giant FBI warning on the New York Public LIbrary website soon enough...
Today is the day for the big race. It is a Big Bike Race for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. My company has a team of 29 riders for the massive bike and we will embark on a relatively short haul on the beast. We have collected sponsors for the Foundation, and I alone have $150 worth. Our team should pull in $3000 I am guessing which is awesome for a charity as important as this. The weather is also looking to be clear and sunny, so it should be a great day for the event.
I would have posted earlier about this, in case of online donations through Paypal, but I think it is best not to this way. I am thinking I will take my camera so I should have some pics later on or tomorrow :D
Well apparently, all Michael Jackson is guilty of are a number of bad plastic surgery accidents, and maybe a song or too as well...
I just hope it's over with. I always get nauseaous every time some famous person's head goes on the block because of the way the media jumps on it like it's free beer at a frat party. Of course it won't be over now at all. There will be books, interviews, tv movies... Gawd.
First off, thanks to everyone who commented on my song :) It was quite fun, and my second is nearly complete. Basically, I use the Guitar Pro software to write the music. You can pick what tracks (instruments) you would like and then you simply use either the guitar fretboard or the keyboard or even th emusical staff to write the music. Even the drums. It is pretty cool to use, and I find I am learning more theory every day I play with it. I have played guitar for 20 years, and I probably couldn't tell you what all the notes are, but now I am learning :D I start out with a background organ or keyboard theme, and then I buil up some drums. I pick intereting instruments that actually sound good like the flute and such to work out melodies and leads. The electric guitar sounds like total crap for the most part, which is strange since it is really guitar tablature software for learning songs... there are a few tweaks, but all in all it is pretty fun. I can then save it out as a HUGE wav file and with a little conversion, I have a decent MP3 in no time. Ready for sale, or even pirating. Please steal my song and give it to your friends :D
My buddy just bought a small acreage West of Innisfail, so we went out saturday for a visit and in a sudden burst of spontenaity, we stayed overnight. Had a bunch of fun playing GTA San Andreas and trying some hockey on the X Box. Man what a vulgar game :D It was great. At one point, I was chasing a fat lady on foot, and she kept screaming and calling me a pervert. I couldn't catch her though, which was the funniest part :) He has a pretty nice place out there, and once the yard is worked a bit, it should rock out. Maybe we can camp there :D
Well watch this week for the second song on my Mega-hoopy album...
Patience! What you are about to hear is my first feeble attempt at a complete composition, using Guitar Pro software. It is entirely written and arranged by myself. If you do not wish to listen to it while reading, you can go and listen here:
VANCOUVER - Marijuana should be legalized and regulated like alcohol and tobacco, a drug-prevention report supported by Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell recommended on Wednesday.
"Legalizing marijuana allows us to be able to control a drug that at present is not being controlled," Campbell said.
"And by us being able to control it, we can then start to control how it's used, who gets it. We have no control over it at all right now."
The marijuana industry is estimated by the Fraser Institute to be worth $7 BILLION in BC alone. It's estimated that governments could collect more than $2 BILLION a year in taxes if pot were legalized."We tax the living hell out of that and put it into health care," said Campbell, noting legalization would end grow ops in houses and take organized crime out of the marijuana industry.
Well naturally, it would take time for these effects to occur as it did with alcohol... How many people actually make their own booze nowadays? As compared to the number of people that drink it?
BC Marijuana Party leader Marc Emery applauded the report.
"The government should license people to grow marijuana in green houses, not in homes obviously," he said. "And it should be collecting income tax on these producers."
Prohibition is costing the government a fortune, he said "Because you can't tax and regulate marijuana from production to sale if it's not all legal."
Not to mention the thousands of man-hours and resources wasted in small time possession charges and such. There are likely more people in jail for minor marijuana charges than rapists, murderers and robbers. Let the cops worry about violent crime and let us buy marijuana at the beer store :)
It was about 6:45 am on a sunny September morning. In fact, it was a tuesday and looking to be a great day. I had just started a new job the previous thursday, and finally I was out of the physical labor force and into something more technically challenging and much more personally rewarding. I had no idea that one of the most profound events of my lifetime was about to happen. With my first cup of black coffee, I turned the news on CTV Newsnet, as I always did in the morning, and I sat and watched a building burning. People shouting. Chaos. No-one knew what was happening. Then there were reports of "a plane" crashing into the first of the Twin Towers of the WTC. I thought to myself, "Holy smokes... some poor bastard flew a Cessna off course or something." As they continued to try and piece together the information, my son, then 8, woke up and sat with me. "Shhhh... Something bad has happened, "I said to him when he began to tell me about his dreams or school.
It was then that the second plane came in. Live. On tv. I know it pales in comparison to the people that were there, but no-one expected it. We sat together and watched a commercial jetliner full of people smash into a giant building, also full of people. My GOD! I couldn't believe it. The people on tv couldn't believe it. Nobody knew what was happening... It seemed somehow surreal, like a clip from a movie, or a video game. This sort of thing just didn't happen. The boy laughed somewhat timidly. I don't think he grasped what had just happened. Of course not... it was absolutely insane. I chastised him lightly, and said "It isn't funny, a lot of people were just killed." I still don't think he understood.
I had to get to work. My mind was suddenly a maelstrom of thoughts. When the normal pace of life is disturbed by something so insane and unrealistic as this, it can be very difficult to grapple with normal thoughts and reality. At least for me it was. I went into the bedroom and in what must have been a mishmosh of gibberish, told my girlfriend that someone flew planes into the WTC. I said that I thought the boy was okay and I had to go to work, but she should definately put the news on the television...
I had a 50km drive to work ahead of me. Far too much time to think inthe morning, especially when reality has been replaced with some sort of psychological horror. I kept looking up at the skies, half expecting to see 747s bearing down on Red Deer.
"Who did it?"
I looked at every face that morning. At the lights. On the highway. Did they know? Did they see it like me? Do they even care? I got to work and the place was a buzz. I phoned home right away, to make sure everyone was okay. Already, a television had been set up in the lab in the back. As news came in, there was a bigger and bigger crowd forming to watch. The 3rd attack on the Pentagon came. The 4th plane crashing in Penn... The buildings collapsing. People crying. It was terrible.
Somehow, we all made it through work that day. Maybe it was the endless speculation and discussion that helped us. Maybe the fact that we were all safe.
That night, I called my Dad. I was still wrestling with the events of the day, and fighting back the tears caused by so much tension was difficult all day, as it is now, trying to recollect that morning and the vision of what I saw happen on television. He had similar experiences. Once in a while something so mindnumbing and profound happens, that you never forget it. I can't even remember what he told me, but just talking about things really helped me out.
As the days went by, more information was coming in. The casualties and missing, the endless task of searching and helping. So many people gave so much those days, that they are truly heroes beyond compare.
Then the blame came. At this point, I, along with many millions of other people, wanted blood. Who did this. Someone had to pay, and pay dearly they would. At this point in my life, I rarely discussed any form of politics. To me, all politicians were liars and crooks, and it was really a waste of time trying to piece together the intricate web of international politics.
The Taliban. Osama Bin Ladin. I knew the name, and I was aware of the nonsense the Taliban was up to in Afghanistan. Bush began his Holy Crusade which at the time was what almost everyone wanted to be sure. It was war. The planes, ships and tanks rolled out, and the War on Terror had begun with Afghanistan in earnest. I wanted this war, and I wanted those bastards to pay for what they had done. It wasn't that they had physically affected me, or anyone I knew, but they made me watch that chaos and they made my 8 year old son watch it with me. I cheered them on as they bombed, and bombed and bombed.
Months passed and it was over. They had pretty much occupied Afghanistan, and there was still no sign of Bin Ladin. There was still a definate lack of closure, but at this point, thoughts had begun to settle down, and I realised that there was much more to these amazing events than just some spiteful attack by crazed Muslim fanatics. I can never condone attacking civilians and as much as I oppose the US administration and their pseudo-fascist policies at present, I oppose the use of terror and military strikes on civilians.
At this point, eyes were searching all over for Bin Ladin and his top men. Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, many other Middle Eastern countries. Suspected Al Qaida agents were being picked up all over the world. As far as I knew, Bin Ladin was from or had ties with Saudi Arabia. Seemed liek a logical place to look to me. At this point, I realised that the "War on Terror" had been bastardised into something far more sinister. The mighty US machine of righteousness has turned to Iraq. Talk of Al Qaida links with Saddam Hussein, and his massive stockpile of WMDs... "What about Saudi Arabia?" I thought. Wait, they are allies, aren't they? Don;t they trade tons of oil to the US?
I knew then that there was no ties with the previous war. I knew that suddenly, something that had started out as a Crusade of Good, had become a Vendetta. It was no longer about terror and American security. The US had maintained that it acted to preserve the safety of all civilised western peoples, but did they really? Were they the big boy on the block, who had taken a shot in the nuts for the policy they had set out for many decades before, and now they wanted to fight back with all the punches they could muster? Attacking Iraq made little sense to me. As the debates went on, and there was no proof of WMDs, I did a complete 180 degree turn with my thinking. This is about Oil. It is about the fact that George Senior never killed Hussein. It is about the fact that US policy that once backed this guy now spurned him as some villain. Yeah, sure he was a bad guy, and he killed a lot of people. But the intent of the War on Terror wasforsaken. It was suddenly an excuse to invade anywhere the US didn't like the government or regime in power. At least that is what I think. Iraq had no WMDs. It was a lie. There were no ties or kinship between Bin Ladin and Hussein. That also was a lie. The President and his Administration had lied to millions of people all over the world, and still they are in control. The war was based on lies, and even now, years after the invasion, there are still more lies.
I am sure I could carry this on for many more pages, but the idea is to illustrate the events at that point in my life that led me to rally behind one war, and vehemently oppose a second. Any nation that thinks they are bigger than the the whole, is trouble for sure, and now, with a suddenly worthless and meaningless excuse of "War on Terror", it is beginning.
Well, I played ball again last night after almost two weeks off due to rain and my nagging hip-flexor. I began with some copious stretching, and wrapped the leg in question up pretty tight. Turns out, I could run again. And pretty fast too :D
I was so happy that it didn't hurt, there are probably some donut tracks in centerfield :D
Even by the end of the game, still no pain. Hoorah!
Recently, Jeff asked the question of his readers "what do you like?" "What would you like?" with regards to The Anthill. These things can be important... but I put forward a list of things that can really lead to Blog Burnout and maybe it gets to the root of the matter regarding why some people write blogs...
1. when your internal dialogue gets hijacked by your concerns about what your readers will think. 2. when you are afraid to write down what you are truly thinking about at that moment. 3. when you believe the lie that some people just arent capable of good writing. 4. when you believe the lie that there is a certain way that you "should" write anything. 5. when you get more involved in punctuation, spelling, or aestetics than saying what you want to say. 6. when you get caught up in traffic, hits, popularity, readers, and/or fame. 7. when you believe the lie that what you think doesnt matter. 8. when you believe the lie that what youre about to say has been said before and/or written down better. 9. when you forget that most ideas can be expressed in less than 15 minutes. 10. when you dont set aside a little bit of time each day to update your blog.
If your blog feels more like a "have to" instead of a "get to" you're writing about the wrong things.
This was written by Tony Pierce and I think it is a good indication about how many folks think of Blogging...
Naturally, some people will say, I write for entertainment, or simply for fun... but it is still your words and thoughts being typed each morning. Do you write your words for yourself (since it is your blog) or do you write based on what you think people want to read? Does it matter? I say, a lot of folks may read my Blog, and if they do not like Politics, they skip the political posts. If they think D&D is for geeks, then they will not read a post about a character in a game, or my latest painted figure. Not all writing has to be "important" or "informative"... don't feel that is how I think. I don't at all...
Spaces are nice as they give the feel of a website rather than a blog. It lets average people have something easy to manage, and within minutes, you have a great looking (though unoriginal) site that you can share with tons of people. You can set up your photo albums, and your links, and do all sorts of fancy things. They are much more than a simple diary of thoughts. But they can still be a very effective way of "speaking".
Not everyone has what they consider important things to say. This is simply not true. I put forward that everyone on earth has something important to say.
For the first time since the war in Iraq began, more than half of the American public believes the fight there has not made the United States safer, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Really? Gee, I wonder why? First of all, let's remember that Osama Bin Hidin and his Troupe of Wannabe Pilots were based in Afghanistan and had ties to Saudi Arabia and other places, but NOT Iraq. Let's also remember that the war in Iraq was based on a pack of lies and super-exaggerated facts regarding both Saddam's massive stockpile of WMDs as well as his obvious blood brotherhood with Bin Hidin.
So finally, slightly more than half of Americans realise that they had the wool pulled over their proverbial eyes and that maybe, just maybe, they shouldn't have wantonly attacked yet another Middle Eastern country.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans say the number of casualties in Iraq is unacceptable, while two-thirds say the U.S. military there is bogged down and nearly six in 10 say the war was not worth fighting -- in all three cases matching or exceeding the highest levels of pessimism yet recorded. More than four in 10 believe the U.S. presence in Iraq is becoming analogous to the experience in Vietnam.
Wow. Unacceptable casualties. Unbelievable. What about the 100,000 Plus CIVILIAN casualties? Huh? So maybe many Americans are starting to wake up a little, but they still don't give a rat's ass about anyone except themselves. I called the "Vietnam" connection before the War started. How long has it been now? Have they actually won? Restored order to a country formerly run by an "evil" dictator and stopped the violence inherent in everyday life? I don't think so. Will they ever win? Americanize the Middle Eastern savages with their ancient religious beliefs and prise their oilfields from them? I don't think so.
Perhaps most ominous for President Bush, 52 percent said war in Iraq has not contributed to the long-term security of the United States, while 47 percent said it has. It was the first time a majority of Americans disagreed with the central notion Bush has offered to build support for war: that the fight there will make Americans safer from terrorists at home. In late 2003, 62 percent thought the Iraq war aided U.S. security, and three months ago 52 percent thought so.
Of course, that number parallels support for how good a job Mr. Bush is doing.
The surge in violence in Iraq since the new government took control -- 80 U.S. troops and more than 700 Iraqis died in May alone amid a rash of bombings -- has been accompanied by rising gloom about the overall fight against terrorists. By 50 percent to 49 percent, Americans approved of the way Bush is handling the campaign against terrorism, down from 56 percent approval in April, equaling the lowest rating he has earned on the issue that has consistently been his core strength with the public.
The Military is getting very worried about the sudden lack of support for the War. One General had written "our friendly strategicc center of gravity is the will of the American people"...
"When did I die and where?" Mugabe, 81, reportedly asks aide.
Harare, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe denied rumors that he died of heart failure last week... Apparently, a private media source reported that he had died after checking into a hospital for heart tests...
Seriously, the headline almost made me spit coffee on my monitor :D
Well we packed up, picked Mom, the Aunt and Uncle, and away we went, in two cars, on friday the 27th. We idn't leave until about 2 PM so I had time enough to mow Mom's lawn and tangle up the cord in her weed eater :( It was a beautiful sunny day and perfect for a lovely drive. I got to be passenger all the way, so I had my finger perpetually on the camera button. I think overall, I took about 250 pictures, many of which are a bit blurry or didn't turn out like I hoped (from the window of a speeding automobile) but I did upload a bunch to the Fairmont Photo album.
Banff National Park Gates
After leaving Innisfail with both cars, we headed south on a busy Highway 2 (now titled the "Queen Elizabeth II Highway" in honor of the Queen's recent visit) and inorder to avoid what would be a nasty drive through rush hour Calgary, we headed out to Highway 22 all the way to Cochrane. It was still beautiful out, and the entire drive there was great! From Cochrane, we jumped onto the Trans-Canada Highway and went through the Banff National Park Gates and on.
The Rugged Canadian Rocky Mountains
The Rockies are beautiful mountains, and easily more impressive than some of the ranges further into British Columbia. Their rugged beauty is awe inspiring, and it is always a great drive heading through the mountains. The Rockies are not as old as some of the next ranges, like the Purcell mountains, so they are not rounded off on top so much. There are some awesome looking faces to climb, that would likely make even Captain Kirk quiver with anticipation. I was even somewhat creative with some of my photography... After driving through Radium Hot Springs and seeing the Mountain Goats on the side of the highway, we continued South on Highway 93/95. We arrived at Fairmont around 8:00 PM and were surprised at how beautiful the entire place is. Painstakingly cared for lawns everywhere, each with timed sprinklers, and super nice homes with Mediterranian style Rooves made up the small Resort community, and the Villas themselves were very nice and had almost all of the amenities you could imagine.
After settling into our Villa with it's gas fireplace, two televisions, seperate bedroom, deck, BBQ, whirlpool bathtub and kitchen stuff, we ate a late supper and looked forward to a day of exploration on Saturday!
Hillside Villas at Fairmont Hot Springs
We were woken up very early by the birds that lived outside our Villa. It was rather hot all night and even with the ceiling fans on, we had the windows open. It seemed the only thing that was missing from the fully equipped rooms was air-conditioning :D We decided to sign up for a guided walk around the Fairmont meadows, so after Bradley went to the outdoor pool to swim, the rest of us left to see what we might see. It was just over an hour walk, but we met many other guests, mostly from Calgary. It was quite nice, and the views of the mountains (both the Rockies on the West and the Purcell range on the East) were awesome!
Bradley must have spent 6 hours swimming in the outdoor pool, and had already made some friends there. He had quite a tan now, after only one day :D
B-J's friends drove up from Fernie and showed up in time to see me heading down the waterslide :D We had a bunch of fun, and left Bradley with Grandma at the Villa while the four of us went for some snacks, pool and a great drive. It was funny, because we really wanted to get down to the Lake by Invermere, but no matter how close we got, and how many times we turned towards it, it didn't seem to get any closer. We drove down big hills, and looked and the lake seemed to have also gone down a big hill :( Finally, we arrived at a small private beach for boats and we threw some rocks and relaxed for a bit. Even had a visit from a friendly black dog that wouldn't go home for a while... Made him jump in the lake after a stick though ;)
In the evening, we were having Ice Cream on the balcony of the Villa with Mom and everyone, as we saw a deer going through the parking lot in the front of the Villas. Donning my Boots of Elvenkind, I snuck out the front, and got fairly close to him for a picture, and was amazed to find it was really a Cyborg Deer! He was scared off after though, as the Boots didn't mask my vile body odor from being out in the sunshine and heat all day!
The BIG Sign at Fairmont
There was a LOT to do there, and many things were actual organised events. We spent time swimming in the outdoor pool (with a waterslide even) as well as the indoor pool, steam rooms and fitness room. It was great to be able to catch the odd Ball game on television too. We played one game that was very fun called "Frolf". Basically, you through a frisbee at designated baskets on posts, and keep track of the number of throws. It was a lot of fun, and in the final match, Bradley and I had to throw a 3 hole tie-breaker before he finally beat me :) The next day, we played some Kickball. This is a hybrid game of baseball and soccer, where you run the bases like in ball, but kick the soccer ball from home base. Even Mom and my Aunt played, and everyone had a lot of fun at it. We got the Rec guy to snap the picture of all of us in front of the GIANT Fairmont Resort sign.
We piled in a car and went down to see the Hoodoos afterwards. They are really quite neat (though a bit different from Drumheller Hoodoos). Not a great place to stop on the Highway however, so I only got a few pics.
Clouds Over the Rockies
I think it was wednesday when the clouds started moving in. It wasn't too bad though, as it had been so hot before that the rain and cool weather was more than welcome. It just meant no more out door pool swimming :) We rented some mountain bikes that day, and had a nice little spin around for a while. It was really fun,and I think I must buy a bike now to help stay in shape! I used the exercise room a lot, and after biking on the machine for a while, I did some other weights (and quickly realised I overdid it...). It was very nice having the bike, and I set it for a hilly course, so it was fun trying to beat my distance each day. I went from 3 miles in 15 minutes to almost 4.5 by the last day.
On the last day before going, B-J and I took my Mom and Aunt for a walk and we saw some beautiful birds, bugs, flowers and collected many nice rocks. I even played with my Macro a little though I don't have a big tripod, so they are not perfect! The picture above was taken by a house that had all of the blueish flowers all arounf their property. Every once in a while, a red poppy stood out. Very pretty :D
We even went and played Bingo in the Rec center for an hour or so the one day. Nobody won, but it was fun anyways :)
Leaving Radium Hot Springs
Packing up to leave was a hectic scene. We had to be out by 10 am so getting Mom and the Aunt and Uncle finished was right down to the wire. So close in fact, that after we had left and drove for an hour or two, they realised they had left a cupboard full of canned food!
At any rate, it was somewhat cloudy so we headed out loaded and refreshed from the holiday. We stopped at the huge valley by Radium for some pictures, and continued on through the rocky cliffs...
The bear was on the side of the highway happily munching away, even with half a dozen vehicles pulled over and faces gawking from half open windows. I was relieved to see that no one was foolish enough to leave their vehicles or try to coax the bear over, as many people don't realise just how dangerous these animals are.
The RODENT Who Posed For Me
Further down the Highway, at the Wilderness Barrier, this little squirrel was so brave that I crept to about 3 feet from him, and he patiently waited fo rme to set my Macro, place my camera and set the timer even! We stopped for a break further along, and I snapped an excellent picture of my Mom with the Rockies behind her...
A Sign of Sunshine
It really began to drizzle most of the way from there. This sign showing the turn off for the Sunshine Resort was comical considering the window is wet and it looked as though we wouldn't see any sun for hours... We got to Canmore in Alberta for a picnic lunch and beheld the beautiful scenery there for a while. The Three Sisters are impressive, and I recommend Canmore to anyone wanting to get away for a day or a week even. It is one of the most beautiful places in Alberta.
Alberta Thunderstom at 100km/h
Once we got out of the mountains, the inevitable happened, and we were hit hard by a thunderstorm at full force. The picture really describes it better than I could, though it doesn't convey the sound of the rain hitting you windshield, nor the frantic strokes of the wipers which can barely cope. They never last long, but they are sure torrential in nature!!!
Once the weather cleared up a little, we had a view of what was more familiar... The good old Alberta Prairies! We got home around supper time, and realised that it was, in fact, Blackfalds Days, so we stayed up and watched the fireworks that night!
It was a super holiday, and I am sure I missed out on a ton of stuff, and I have a ton of pictures that aren't here, but you get the general idea, and you can see how beautiful some parts of Canada are!
All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.
Site design created by Zaphod. All written work and code is the intellectual property of Glyn Evans.
I have lived in Central Alberta almost my entire life, except for a 4 year stint when I was younger in Swaziland, and about 5 years in beautiful BC. I have a wonderful girlfriend and am expecting very soon! I work in the engineering field and enjoy writing in my spare time.