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Posts by martin
I love going for walks to take pictures especially in the clear, cold winter days. Yesterday was such a day. It was a sunny, -32°C winter afternoon. It was cold enough but I was dressed for the weather.
My second stop of the day took me to the trails around Frame Lake and between the lake and the hospital. The trails are well traveled which is good to see. People out walking and running and taking advantage of the area we live in.
Unfortunately there appears to be too many irresponsible dog owners that also walk their dogs on the trails. I was disgusted to see the number of piles of dog poop sitting along the almost pristine trails. I have a hard time understanding the mind set of these dog owners.
My dogs have been trained to go to the bathroom in our dog pen and seldom do they go poop outside the pen but when they do, we always have a poop bag to pick it up. We have always been responsible dog owners this way. But why are there so many dog owners who feel it is ok to leave their dog’s deposits wherever they may go? What makes them believe that no one cares? How can they be that irresponsible?
Do these owners not realize that it is unsightly and even more so, unhygienic? In fact, this is how disease can be spread. 1 gram of dog feces can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria that can cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal disorders and kidney problems. Sure, it is winter right now and it is frozen, but when the snow melts, the feces melts too and becomes a stinky, disease infested mess on the trails that we like to walk on for pleasure.
These irresponsible owners also can’t use the excuse that they forgot their doggie doodie bags. The trails have dog poop bags along the way so that people who did forget their bags can do the right thing. Unfortunately, too many people just think about themselves and not the rest of us who like to enjoy the outside or about the environment. They don’t care about the health of the rest of us or of our dogs either.
Is it they don’t really know how to pick up their dogs waste? Well here are some tips for them. Take a read if you are one of those people. Take it upon yourself to become educated and become that responsible dog owner.
I never really did understand Canadian’s love affair with Tim Hortons. People flock there every day for their fix of Tim Ho’s coffee. We can drive by the one in Yellowknife and there are usually 15-20 cars in the drive through and the parking lot is also full. And this is not just at specific times…I am talking about all day, every day. Many times when I go to Marks to look for clothes, I can’t find a parking spot because their parking lot is beside the Tim Hortons. Even when you manage to find a parking spot, leaving requires cutting through 1 or 2 lines of cars waiting in line even though these vehicles are blocking thoroughfares.
The coffee at Tim Hortons is just regular coffee. Nothing spectacular and I really don’t like it. I much prefer Javaroma or even McDonald’s McCafe in Yellowknife and by far the Starbucks or Second Cup when traveling to locations that have such places.
The only time I drink Tim Hortons coffee is when I am driving on the highway. For one reason, it is in every town you come to and second, the coffee is bitter enough that it keeps me awake. I am not sure the word is bitter, but it definitely manages to keep me awake.
Maybe the problem is not so much with the coffee but with the donut or muffin that people buy with their coffee. Maybe the coffee is required to offset the impending sugar rush/crash that comes from eating that donut or muffin. Maybe it has nothing to do with liking the coffee?
Falling out of love with Tim Hortons
The World Junior Hockey Championship (IIHF World Under-20 Championships) finished Saturday with an unexpected result…Canada not winning a medal. In fact it was only the third time since 1990 and first time since 1998 that Canada has failed to win a medal. It has been coming though. After winning 5 gold medals in a row from 2005-2009, 2010 and 2011 saw silver medals and 2012 a bronze before missing this year.
Canada doesn’t dominate nor is assured of a medal any longer at this tournament. This year was supposed to be a sure win for Canada with the NHL being locked out and several team members who would be playing in the NHL being members of the team. 3 in particular, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jonathan Huberdeau and Mark Scheifele, didn’t disappoint. RNH in specifically was fantastic except in the semi-final game where the entire team took the game off. He lead the tournament in scoring and was a +6. In the round robin, team Canada scored more goals than any other team.
Their biggest issue was in goal. Malcolm Subban and Jordan Binnington were just not up to the task. Subban played the majority of the games for Canada and was not the big time goalie that Canada needed. He finished the tournament with the 6th best save percentage and the 5th best goals against average. That is not going to win tournaments. When Binnington did get a chance to play he was even worse. Part of that may have been sitting on the bench for so many games but you need to be ready when called upon. Subban let in 3 goals in the first 2 games of the tournament an the first game was against Germany. The issue with that is that Germany only scored 4 goals in the entire round robin and 3 of those were in the first game. Not championship calibre goaltending.
Yes there were other things that worked against team Canada. The IIHF seemed to have it in for the team, in particular the penalty that Anthony Camara received for a clean hit in the game against Slovakia. The physical style that Canada typically plays no longer goes over well or scares opponents at the WJHC. The coaches need to do a better job of picking a team who can play without the over aggressive play.
The Oxford dictionary defines resolution as a firm decision to do or not to do something. Dictionary.com defines resolution as a formal expression of opinion or intention made.
According to Wikipedia a New Year’s resolution is a commitment that a person makes to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit. A key element to a New Year’s Resolution that sets it apart from other resolutions is that it is made in anticipation of the New Year and new beginnings. People committing themselves to a New Year’s resolution generally plan to do so for the whole following year. This lifestyle change is generally interpreted as advantageous.
So why do people make these resolutions? If we want to change things then why do we wait until January 1st to make changes? Why just not resolve to make changes whenever we feel the need to make change? Does it make a difference when we make the change?
The problem with making those resolutions on New Year’s Day is that there is a pressure to make those changes and typically people are not ready to make those changes. Recent studies show that 85% – 90% of all resolutions made at New Year’s Day fail.
So for me, instead of a resolution, I will just say that I will try to be a regular poster on my blogs. I am going to start the Project 52 over on my Photo Blog which means posting at photo at least once per week. I will also try to post at least once per week on this blog.
Have yourself a Happy, Safe, Healthy and Prosperous 2013.
Is there any better way to end a year than watching Team Canada beat Team Russia at the World Junior Hockey Championships? I think not! Today was no different as the Canadians beat the Russians 4-1 and the Nuge (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) had 3 assists in what was a dominating game. Shots were 47-22. With the victory, Team Canada finishes top of their group at a perfect 4-0 and will await the quarter final game winner between the USA and the Czech Republic.
The Christmas holidays have been quiet around our place this year. It has been cold for most of the first week with temperatures hovering around the -30°C mark. I had wanted to spend some time outside taking pictures with my new camera but that just hasn’t happened. On the positive side, the temperatures are supposed to continue rising today to an almost balmy -18°C by the time the fireworks take place tonight. Maybe we can head out to take some pictures.
One thing we have done a lot of during the break is watch movies and shows through our XBox account and Netflix. We watched movies Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol for a second time and We Bought a Zoo, the documentaries Hunting the Lost Symbol, Vegucated and Hungry for Change and the TV show The 4400. They have all been good and I am not sure why we didn’t watch The 4400 when it was on TV back in 2004-2007 and it is a good show. 22 Episodes down and 23 more to go.
Last Monday (or “M” Day as we refer to it for Patti) of the year. It was a good year and I look for 2013 to be an even better one.
Don’t you wish you could do a job and it didn’t matter if you were right or you were wrong? A job where everyone listens to what you have to say every day and a job where, while everyone listens to you, no one trusts you? A job where you get the latest and greatest in computers and software? If this is what you want in a job then you need to be a meteorologist.
Sure, you spend thousands of dollars to get a formal education, but it doesn’t really matter. Even someone without a formal education can make a reasonable guess at what the weather is going to be like tomorrow and be as close or more accurate than those who do it for a living. But I guess the education is what makes people listen to you.
It is a funny profession. It is a profession where there are never any absolutes other than the sun rises and the sun sets. But that is about it. It is a profession where you can get a different answer depending on where you work. It is a profession where you can change you mind every hour. But at least the sun rises and sets (except in places that get 24 hour sun or 24 hour darkness).
Here is what I see. I went to bed at 2:00am last night with the temperature at -26°C and the forecast for today of -18°C for a high and -18°C for a low. I get up at 7:30 and the forecast has now changed to a high of -23°C and a low of -30°C. Well that was on one of the three sites I checked. Another site had a high today of -16°C and a low of -20°C. A third site had a high of -21°C and a low of -25°C.
I got up this morning at 7:30am…5½ hours after I checked the forecast. The first site has now changed today’s forecast to a high of -23°C and a low of -30°C. The second site now has a high of -24°C and a low of -27°C. The third now has a high of -17°C and a low of -20°C.
5½ hours and the forecast changes on not 1, not 2 but all three sites. How is that possible? First I have to ask all three sites could have a different forecast…a forecast that was less than 24 hours away. I understand the forecast for a week or even 3 or 4 days away can be off but less than 24 hours? But 3 different forecasts for the same 24 hour period? I guess on the positive side, they all 3 say that it is currently -25°C with scattered cloud, partially cloudy or a few clouds depending on who’s readings you look at.
100s of thousands of dollars of computer equipment, forecasting software and satellites and this is the best they can do? Here is what I am getting for the Tuesday forecast. Site 1 forecasts cloudy with a high of -23°C and a low of -25°C. Site 2 forecasts sunny with a high of -26°C and a low of -31°C. Site 3 has a forecast of cloudy with a high of -14°C and a low of -24°C. So what do we figure it will be like on Tuesday? A mere 48 hours away? My best, uneducated guess for this is it will be mostly cloudy and be cold. That is as good as any of these guys can do.
Let’s go a bit further out. Next Friday for example. That’s a forecast 5 days from now. Site 1 shows mostly cloudy with a high of -2°C and a low of -14°C. Site 2 shows a mix of sun and cloud with a high of -12°C and a low of -15°C. The site 3 forecast shows mainly cloudy with a high of +2°C and a low of -9°C. That is a high variance of 14°C. There is a big difference between +2 and –12.
Are these guys using the same education? Same satellites? Same modelling software?
I started thinking about this at the end of November and on November 30th I posted this on my Facebook page:
The Weather Network and Environment Canada both have the current temperature listed as -32°C. TWN is forecasting -9°C for tomorrow and Environment Canada is forecasting -2°C. That is a fairly big difference for 2 professionals to be forecasting. If they are doing the same job with the same radar shouldn’t their forecasts be closer? And seriously those temperatures considering what it is today is pie in the sky forecasting. I guess we will see. I really don’t think it will get warmer than -15°C. Let’s see who is closer…2 professionals or a guess from someone who has lived up here for 21 years.
So how do you think this turned out? Here is my post from December 1st:
Lets Review: On Wednesday morning it was -32°C. Environment Canada said it was going to be -2°C and overcast on Thursday afternoon. The Weather Network said it was going to be -9°C with light snow. Martin said it was going to be -15°C and snow like crazy. So today is Thursday and what did we get? We got -12°C and it is snowing like crazy…3 inches so far in the last 4 hours.
I would say that my gut feeling and aches did a better job of forecasting the weather than individuals who get paid good money, have thousands of dollars in equipment and forecasting/weather modeling software and have spent thousands on a formal meteorology degrees. If you listened to me Yellowknifers then you are welcome…if you didn’t then I hope you aren’t out somewhere not expecting this foot of snow tonight.
So, like I said at the beginning, if you want a job where you don’t have to be right and that is fine. A job where a guess is as good as an education. The feeling in your gut and bones can be more accurate than thousands of dollars of equipment, software and an education. A job where people listen to you all the time but don’t trust you. Then meteorology is the job for you.
I was driving between schools the other day, Tuesday or Wednesday I think, and was listening to the radio like I usually do when I am in the car. When I am in my own car on the weekend I listen to satellite radio because I just find the local station boring. In my work vehicle I don’t have much choice other than CDs and they don’t always work properly in the extreme cold so CJCD it usually is.
The one thing I like to listen to CJCD for is the local news. It’s always good to find out what is going on in the city. I don’t always get to read the local paper and their online presence is limited unless you are a subscriber so the radio is it.
Anyway, I was driving and the DJ, Janel, happened to be talking about the premiere of American Idol’s new season on Wednesday night. She was talking about how she liked the first shows the best but she really didn’t understand why people kept going on the show. I think her words went something like “no one ever becomes famous for being on the show’. “Other than the first winner Kelly Clarkson that is”.
Well you think that someone in the music industry would know or at least do some fact finding before they start talking about things on air for everyone to hear. It is very easy these days to find out any information you want.
Kelly Clarkson is one of better known of the American Idol winners mostly because she was the first winner. But, she is also successful and continues to crank out music after 9 more seasons of the show. But she isn’t the most successful of the winners and she isn’t the only contestant that has won awards. The fact is that Carrie Underwood is the most successful of the AI alumni. Kelly Clarkson has picked up 2 Grammy Awards, 4 American Music Awards and 12 Billboard Music Awards. That is 18 awards since winning in September, 2002.
Carrie Underwood (season 4) has collected 5 Grammy Awards, 6 American Music Awards and 15 Billboard Music Awards. Her 26 awards since winning in May, 2005 makes her the most successful of the winners. While winning doesn’t guarantee success, it does give one the exposure to at least have a shot at a career. 2 other winners have also collected awards with Fantasia Barrino (season 3) has collected 1 Grammy Award and 3 Billboard Music Awards, and Jordin Sparks (season 6) collecting an American Music Award.
Just being on the show at least gets the exposure to possibly make headway into a tough market to get into. 3 other non-winning alumni have also won awards. Chris Daughtry (4th on season 5) with his band Daughtry has picked up 4 American Music Awards and 6 Billboard Music Awards, Clay Aitken (2nd on season 2) received 1 American Music Award and 3 Billboard Music Awards and Jennifer Hudson (7th on season 4) collected 1 Grammy Award and is the only alumni to get an award not associated with her music as she was awarded and Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
So, while appearing on Idol doesn’t guarantee success, it does get your foot in the door and sometimes that is all that is needed and often is the hardest part. Once the foot is in the door it is up to the individual and their talent. Those that have it will make it, those that don’t will just disappear. Has anyone heard of Justin Guarini (second place) or Nikki McKibbin (third place) since?
Any of us who drive a vehicle know what it is like to find a parking spot at the mall or other public place we go. Have you ever gone to West Edmonton Mall on a Saturday afternoon? NO PARKING!! You know how it is. We all start by driving around the lot looking for a close place to the entrance and after 5 or 10 futile minutes decide that a parking stall anywhere is better than driving around.
Then you have those times when you see someone getting in their car so you wait behind them to take their place only for them to be doing who knows what before they actually back out of the stall. Seriously! I am sure some people take their freaking time just to make those waiting for the spot wait longer. Or do some people get in and check their hair and make-up and who knows what else while full cognizant that someone is waiting for the spot?
Still the biggest mystery to me is why people find it necessary to either back into a stall or drive through the stall to the other side. What is the point. Those that back in tend to take 3 or 4 times longer to park their vehicle holding up traffic in the process and then they are too far over one way or the other or too far back into the stall.
Here is a story of something that happened to me in November. I went grocery shopping at the Yellowknife Co-op, where we usually do. The Parking configuration, like most shopping malls is like the picture below:
The parking lot this day was fairly busy and I usually have my favourite area that I like to park. When I arrived spot “A” was open so I pulled in. In spot “B” was a vehicle that had either backed into their spot or pulled straight through from the spot I now occupied. I pulled in as far as I could and was about 6 inches from the rear bumper of the vehicle in “B”. The driver had also either not pulled through far enough or backed in too far as the back end of the vehicle was slightly over the center line into spot “A”. No big deal as I pulled up close and was not hanging out with my back end into the drive lane.
I spent about 45 minutes to an hour inside the store getting the groceries we needed, packing them up, paying and pushing the buggy back out to my Veracruz to load them in. Half way out I pressed the key for the power tailgate and voila, the back opened so I could just start loading when I got to my vehicle.
As I pulled up to the back of my vehicle to start loading I had a guy come up to me and say “It’s about time. I have been waiting for you for 15 minutes” “Excuse me” I said. “I couldn’t load my groceries into my car because you pulled in too close to my back end” was his response. All I could do was look at him with a dumbfounded stare for a few seconds. My response was then “well I guess you shouldn’t have pulled through or backed in”. I then said “you know, you could have gotten in your car and drove it forward 3 or 4 feet instead of waiting”. He shot back “I shouldn’t have to move forward to load my groceries. You should have had the courtesy to leave me enough room or park elsewhere”. All I could do was shake my head why mumbling “Yea right”.
I finished loading my groceries and then deliberately strolled to the cart area to return the buggy before returning to my vehicle, backing up and leaving. Even while I was loading my groceries, the guy stood there waiting for me to move my vehicle instead of getting in his and moving his up slightly.
That incident was 2 months ago and I am still dumbfounded that the guy actually had the nerve to say that to me. I have also taken note at both the Extra Foods and Co-op ever since to note the number of people who back into their stall or pull through the stall.
I have one big question – WHAT IS THE POINT?
I decided in December that I needed to get back to blogging. I wanted to do this because I enjoyed writing when I was doing it regularly. I have vowed to post at least once a week. That is my goal for the year with my blogs.
I think I have interesting things to say but even if others don’t find it interesting, it is a way to track my thoughts at the time. I am not getting any younger you know and we all know that the memory starts to fade as we get older. Well, I am not sure that is really true but it is the excuse everyone uses.
In reality, I think that as long as the mind is being used and tested on a regular basis, there is no need for the memories to start fading. Like the old saying goes…Use It or Lose It!! Blogging is one of those ways to “keep using it”.
Exercising your brain on a regular basis is as important as exercising the rest of your body. An old Chinese Proverb states “The palest ink is better than the best memory.” Is this true or does it have to be? I am not sure, but one thing I know is that I use my brain every day and so far so good.
There are several things we can do to exercise our brains and help keep ourselves sharp.
Physical exercise helps to keep our mind sharp. Walking and running are good ways to think. Many people do their best thinking when they are out for a walk or run. Strength exercises are also good for thinking. The concentration required to correctly do resistance exercises makes the brain work to remember correct form. If you are not thinking of that correct form it is a good possibility you will injure yourself from that incorrect form.
Hobbies are a good way to exercise the brain. Whether you are writing, sewing, building models, reading, building things, taking pictures, drawing/painting pictures etc., you are using your mind. Find a hobby and do it regularly and it will not only reduce stress in your life, your brain will benefit.
You are never too old to learn. I know it is an old saying but it is true. Try to learn something new every day. Whether you are learning a new language or updating your education. Whether you are learning something on the job or just reading something you didn’t know before. Just make a vow to learn something new and keep learning new things.
Treat others as you would expect them to treat you. Equally important is to treat yourself as you would expect others to treat you. Your mind will be sharper, you will be happier and your attitude will improve because of the reduced stress. This is also contagious and would be a benefit to everyone.
Do the little things with your mind. If you need to do some basic math, try using your brain rather than using a calculator. Whether you do it in your head or with a pencil and paper, the thought process of doing it by yourself will strengthen your memory. When was the last time you did basic math functions by yourself? This is one thing I do all the time.
Learn from everything you do. If you are driving somewhere, think of the best route to travel. Map it out in your mind. Cutting the lawn? What is the most efficient path to follow to do it the quickest way? Typing something? Try doing it without automatic spell check enabled. Double check your work manually first. Can’t remember or don’t know how to spell a word? Look it up in a dictionary (online or physical) and learn how to spell the word and learn the meaning of the word. If you are writing something by hand (I know, who does that anymore?) then concentrate on making it as neat as possible. The little things we do help to strengthen the brain and as a result the memory.
We all want to be healthy. Being healthy means we can live a happy life. Since everything runs through the brain, it’s a good thing to make sure that the brain is exercised and kept healthy.
Election 41 is over now and we got pretty much what I expected, a majority Conservative Party government. Was it the right decision by Canadians? I think so but only the next 4 years will actually tell whether or not we made that right decision.
The biggest surprises of the election? The Liberal Party being soundly beaten by the NDP as the opposition party by a tune of 34 seats to 102 seats. To me it shows how much Michael Ignatieff was disliked as the party leader and his candidates paid the price. Even worse for them was the NDP admitting they would never be able to pay for all their promises yet they were still able to dominate the Liberals. The fact that the people in Ignatieff’s home riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore didn’t elect them as their MP is proof of the dislike of the party leader. The day after the election he resigned as party leader. I guess he can head back to Harvard to teach again.
The next surprise was the Bloc Québécois dropping from 49 seats down to 4. This clearly shows that the people of La Belle Province want to be part of this great country of Canada. Surprising too was that it was the NDP that picked up the seats in the province and not the Conservatives or Liberals. Totally amazing! Like Michael Ignatieff, Gilles Duceppe was also beaten in his home riding of Laurier–Sainte-Marie. The people spoke and he too resigned as party leader following the election.
Some will say that Elizabeth May winning a first ever seat for the Green Party was a surprise. I had expected this all along. Yes, she beat a Conservative Cabinet Minister but she ran a good race and the Green Party had been close before. It is always good to have a major party leader represent your riding. I guess the broadcasters will have to come up with another reason to exclude her from the next debate.
So what do I expect from the new majority government? I do expect much of what we have seen from Stephen Harper the last couple of years. We will get arrogance for sure. But we will also get a stable economy, an economy that has been one of the strongest in the world. There will also be some promises broken but many of those were made in the prospect or garnering votes that never materialized. I don’t expect the election promise of $150 million to build the year round road from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk to be kept because the riding didn’t elect the conservative candidate Sandy Lee. You scratch my back and I will scratch yours. This type of promise breaking will happen all over the country wherever this has happened.
This type of thing happens all the time and you live with it. People will be up in arms over the broken promises but if you want what you are promised you need to elect those who make the promises and form the government. Hopefully we as Canadians made the right decision for Canada and we become and even stronger country with an even stronger economy. I guess the next 4 years will tell.
- The untold story of the 2011 election: Chapter 5 (macleans.ca)
- No more talk of NDP-Liberal merger: Broadbent (cbc.ca)
- Big names in Canadian politics who lost their election races (theglobeandmail.com)
- The two-day NDP surge that sank the Liberals (theglobeandmail.com)