Monday, February 27, 2006

June 05 Highlights

First of all, another important component of the previously omitted May highlight, #23 of 05: a fun night of free drinking, courtesy of my basketball league-mates on a Thursday night, GTs. Okay, now June:

24) Canadian Multicultural Day at work - big success!
25) Strawberry Croquet tournament at work - my team finished 2nd of four
26) Benjamin-Szala Experience - stag party
27) Attending NBA draft night live on giant screen TV at Air Canada Centre

Apparently last year was a very good year.


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Viking Suicide

Are we all Vikings?

Tribune (Welland)
Wed 01 Feb 2006
Page: 7
Section: PelhamNEWS
Source: Special to PelhamNEWS

In his book, Collapse, Jared Diamond told this true story: Once there was a boatload of Norwegian Vikings who moved to Greenland to make a new home. They settled and lived there for several generations. Then they starved to death because they wouldn't stop consuming cattle, sheep, and goats.

These animals were too resource-consumptive for the soils of Greenland. But the Vikings refused to change because they liked their way of living; it was civilized and comfortable; it was prosperous.

So they died.

Nowadays some people, like most Americans and Canadians, are consuming more than anyone else on earth. And the rest are anxious to catch up. At the same time we have this contradictory concern that we'll end up like those Vikings in Greenland.

For the Vikings, change seemed hard too. Eating fish was considered uncivilized. Yet it was the smart choice given the circumstances and we now know that fish is healthy and tasty.

Consider reducing energy the modern-day equivalent of switching to fish. We can think of plenty of reasons not to bother, still our survival depends on it. Besides, how hard can it be?

Replace your light bulbs with more energy efficient ones; take the bus (or walk or bike) whenever feasible; get your home, school, place of work, and/or place of worship energy audited; buy local food (and support our farmers) to save transportation-related emissions.

The real danger to our efforts to curb climate change is the majority, who, in poll after poll say that they are concerned about this issue and yet don't do much about it.

Take George, a 30-year-old banker from Toronto, who when asked what he is doing about climate change told me:

"I don't think whatever I did would make a big enough difference to this global issue; governments should force business to change their practices."

This argument is common in the media and on the streets, but it's no consolation to the many victims of climate change last year and the many more to follow.

What we forget is that the institutions we rely on are all made of individuals making choices. If we can't be bothered to make changes in our own lives, how can we expect the same of those institutions?

We must be leaders on the issues we care about. Canadians care about climate change; it's time we did something about it.

*© 2006 Osprey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved.*

Edition: Final
Story Type: News
Length: 404 words

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Dear Che

I’ve read all about you in several books now; my favourite was the Motorcycle Diaries because they were your words, written young and naïve like my own age (at that time). I’d always liked Kerouac and you came like some exotic, socially conscious version of him, equally sexy in your idealist solitude, but less depressed and by the time I got a copy we all knew what bold actions you’d take later in life.

Your hero’s profile captivated me early and had me beholden anew with each turned page. Yet I can’t help but wonder with each bullet’s flight if, had you lived, your back pages would have come to resemble Fidel’s litany of American newspaper oppression. Even in youth’s naiveté you struck hard for what you believed, hard enough to fall all potential threats, including those who’d never have amounted to much – you were bold yet cautious.

So, with relatively unfettered admiration and respect, I’m glad you aren’t around to see all the hip capitalist kids wearing that copyrighted throwaway image of you that you probably wouldn’t even remember having posed for. I can only imagine that you would have been angered by such celebrity worship, and I doubt we coffee-shop revolutionaries could have stomached the real you.

Yours in solidarity,


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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Funny by M

Miia sent me this and I had to share because it speaks comedic truth about my job and half the jobs out there:

A Japanese company and an American company decided to have a Canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race. On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile. The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat.

A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

So American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion. They advised that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.
To prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's Management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering Manager.

They also implemented a new performance system that would give The 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the "Rowing Team Quality First Program," with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower.

There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses. The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and cancelled all capital investments for new equipment.

The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as Bonuses and the next year's racing team was outsourced to India.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Omitted May Highlights

How could I have forgotten?!

23. My birthday extravaganza! which included a day off work to take in Star Wars III with MikeyZ, a fantastic steak dinner with wine and Leah and Miia at River Restaurant, followed by a surprise Steve Forbert concert at Hughes Room, after which I met him, got his autograph, shook his hand. The next night was a 'suprise' party for me - we played bball and schooled some short kids then drank and danced all night - I did a number a nice bottle of Glenmorangie I got from my brother-in-the (to be at that time). If this is 30 I'll have more!



Tuesday, February 21, 2006

May 05 highlights

At this rate I'll be thru last year by Easter:

18. Getting Cable to watch the NBA playoffs, then watching them with the kittens [warning, the kittens will be mentioned frequently from here on out]

19. The One-Tonne Toronto launch with Leah and Amanda, Mark Singh, sunshine, parade, sweet afternoon beer

20. Getting back into soccer, even though I suck worse ass than I used to

21. Winning a Vital Ideas award

22. Publishing an article in Now Magazine



Sunday, February 12, 2006

energy questions

From Globe & Mail, my comments in square brackets:

The Ontario government is moving to help the province's battered manufacturing sector by providing much-needed relief on electricity rates, sources say. [what are they doing to help the people recently laid off by the manufacturing sector?]

The government plans to announce today that it is introducing a revised and more generous price subsidy on electricity rates for large industrial users for a three-year period, government and industry sources said. The move is aimed at insulating large power users such as pulp and paper mills and steel makers from the full impact of soaring energy costs, cited by many companies as a factor in plant closings and job cuts. [energy prices are soaring because of scarcity so isn't subsidizing these companies contrary to Smithian economic logic?]

Energy Minister Donna Cansfield will announce this morning that the government will impose a cap on how much revenue Ontario Power Generation, the province's electricity utility, can receive. This will be the second time Premier Dalton McGuinty's Liberals cap the utility's revenue as it continues a tradition of rate freezes introduced in 2002 by the Progressive Conservatives. [mufukin democrats is actin like republicans]

Last April, OPG's revenue was capped at an average of 4.7 cents a kilowatt hour for most of its electricity output, well below market rates. [doesn't this put us at risk of once again exceeding maximum capacity and causing another blackout? if OPG has to increase generating capacity that will cost them even more money - they'll just keeping losing money. also seems like bad business practice by government.]

High energy prices, the soaring value of the Canadian dollar and competition from lower-cost countries are playing havoc with Ontario's manufacturing heartland. Last year alone, about 52,000 manufacturing jobs vanished in the province, and the forestry sector in Northern Ontario has been hit particularly hard. [how many subsidies do we have to give manufacturers to keep people employed? maybe it would be cheaper to give all these people government jobs.]

The bleeding shows little sign of ending as tire-making giant Michelin SA announced last week that it will close a factory in Kitchener and eliminate 1,100 jobs.

"It's about time, 55,000 or 65,000 jobs later, that they did something," Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory said in an interview. "I only hope that they are doing something that is going to provide tangible help, not just to the manufacturing sector as a whole but to the forestry industry." [wouldn't the manufacturing industry as a whole include the forestry industry?]

"The McGuinty government's electricity policy, which is to drive rates higher and higher, has already killed thousands of industrial jobs," NDP Leader Howard Hampton said. "Unless more is done, it will kill tens of thousands more jobs." [so much for encouraging industry to save money by saving energy instead of consuming the same amount and spending less. way to save the environment NDP.]

The revenue cap on OPG's assets has a moderating effect on energy prices. Electricity prices have averaged 7.56 cents a kilowatt hour since last May 1, but would have been much higher without the cap.

The cap does not affect consumers. Unlike industrial users that pay market prices for electricity, consumers pay regulated rates far below the cost of production. [so we, indivual consumers, also have no incentive to conserve energy.]

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

highlights 05 highlights April

14. Kittens!!! M's classmate's mom's cat had 3 of 'em and we wanted one. Drove out to Scarborough in Aiti's car but M said "we can't just take one he'll miss his mom too much" and the sap that I am I said okay. We chose Bosh because he was an obvious adventure seeker, LG (Lieutenant Governor) because he was so magesterial, and you could kind of tell him apart from Bosh. No regrets about taking two and their as different in personality as they are alike in looks. Every day they make me smile and giggle like a little girl.

15. Native Lands workshop, hosted by the Sustainability Network. I thought it would be some feelgood stuff about how environmentalists and native people have lots of common ground to work with. Instead it was a hard truth-tellin' lawyer who lectured us on our failure to grasp the power of the aboriginal worldview, represented by a circle, v. a line. It was Quinn-esque but not as gentle, it was a rare glimpse of public honesty, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.

16. Appearing as a witness before the feds' Standing Committee on Immigration was pretty cool.

17. Our second annual Environmental Career Information Fair for New Canadians - very stressful but very exciting, lots of energy and the potential for good things to happen, I hope.

Wow, hope this April turns out so good!



Monday, February 06, 2006

05 Highlights ctd.

10. When Miranda scored a job at TRCA after volunteering with me for a long time. She is actually one of many, and it's always the best part of my job.

11. Working with Lionel Laroche on understanding and managing cultural diversity - a whole new knowledge framework for me to use and a solidified way of thinking about culture.

12. Being shortlisted for the Canadian Race Relations award of excellence and getting a free trip to their conference in Calgary, which was a great conference, and where I had a great time with old friends Fernando, Guillo, and Leo.

13. Easter weekend in New York City with Miia, spent at her friend Mary's sweet little pad in the East Village, record shopping, one of the best seafood meals ever, hangin' with the Seamone brothers, and watching Vince-sucks-ity get pummeled by KG and his Minnesota Slackers.

Next up: April!



Friday, February 03, 2006

More 05 Highlights

6. Tammy and Toni's Wedding! (this weekend is their 1-year anniversary)

7. Giving tennis lessons to co-workers

8. Playing weekly basketball (and losing frequently)

9. Seeing a bad movie with my fiancee and ex-girlfriend, and actually having a good time

That brings us to the end of Feb...tune in next time for March.



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