Browsing Category: News & Politics

I love the news and sometimes I write it or about it. Who would have a blog and run for Mayor without writing about topics in the realm of political issues. These posts fit that niche.

The banged up emotions, banged up car, and big boom finale

The banged up emotions, banged up car, and big boom finale

As we left off the quest, I was on the back roads of southern Ontario, with the Spotify music pumped. I was taking the back roads partly because it was taking everything to keep myself together, and partly because the 410, 407, and 401 scare the hell out of me.

It was at this point, I decided that seeing Niagara Falls wasn’t going to happen with the gloomy dark cloud of depression. It was also raining and cloudy too. After close to 2 hours, I arrived in Kitchener and the sun came out there. I managed to find a convenient little parking spot and walked down the Festival street. I have written before about Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest but there is something about this festival that in it’s own special way brings it over the top. There seems to even be a much higher percentage of people in traditional dress than you even see in Munich.

The Rogers Hometown hockey was there and there was a beautiful smell in the air that brought nostalgia back. Like most things however, the second time is just not the same and the depression came back. I grabbed a sausage and water and then went to the gift shop to buy a new pin for Oktoberfest hat and Bavarian suspenders. Then got in my car turned on my “Sadness” Spotify playlist and hit the 401.

As I entered Toronto after supper time the only suitable thing to do was to stop and grab some Popeye’s. There was no way after the nerve wrecking of the 401 so far that I wanted to deal with downtown Toronto traffic lights and lanes. I then after eating the meal continued on my way to Oshawa where I was so tired that I pulled over to a Tim Hortons and rested for an hour before proceeding to the ONRoute in Port Hope.

I slept very well that night even for sleeping in my car. The next morning I woke up refreshed and continued towards home. On the way back I detoured a few times the first was to take a photo of the First Railway tunnel. The second was to go to Kingston ON Wal-Mart to buy new shoes because my old ones were so far gone my numb feet hurt.

After Brockville, I dove the side road along the waterfront and found a beautiful little stop in Prescott ON where there is a historic site that was the location of the Battle of the Windmill where rebels were stopped by the Royal Navy in 1838. This was my last detour in Ontario before I stopped for lunch at Denny’s. I gas the most incredible pancakes with a Dolce cream to pour over them and soak in them to make a moist wonderful pile of goodness. Which would be the last goodness of the trip.

I gassed up and hit the road. After the panic of Toronto, I was destined to skip Montreal and take the toll bypass road. Or had wished I did. Instead out of nowhere it seemed I entered Montreal. It was a particular sunny but not too sunny day. From Kingston to Montreal it was “mainly sunny”. I entered the tunnel to leave Montreal and thought well that’s it I made it.

This is when Siri started giving weird directions that made no sense, and I decided to follow signs instead. I was in the 2nd of four lanes and couldn’t lane change due to a transport truck and was forced off on exit 90 of the 20. Well crap… I now had to figure out getting back on the highway and was all frustrated, I was so depressed and just wanted to get home.

I looped back on Boulevard Marie-Victorin and proceeded back to the highway, went to check my blind spot and missed one of two yield signs and the middle on-ramp of two on my left and out of nowhere my fender makes contact with the door of another car! I pull over on the ramp from hell and cars keep proceeding by my car was able to move and my airbags didn’t go off, but my anxiety is through the roof. The bigger fear then the accident, how I was getting home, or even talking to the stranger, my mind went to “what if the guy doesn’t speak English?!” I get my insurance and papers and place them in my pocket and get out of the car taking pictures of the damage and the scene.

The guy started saying something in French and I asked him if he spoke English and he did. Not to get into much detail but the guy has a history in HR and was super calm with a “shit happens, let’s move forward” approach asking if I was alright. After taking the obligatory driver’s license and car licence plate photos we agreed to proceed off the highway and to a nearby mall parking lot. In the lot was spent about 20 minutes exchanging information and then proceeded on our way.

My tire was rubbing on the wheel-well a but on bumps but it was not too bad. I pumped up a Spotify playlist and continued home as fast as I could. Around midnight, I was so tired and a bit low on gas and pulled into the Irving in Saint-Antonin. I slept kind of well until about 6:30 am, got gas, and headed back to New Brunswick on a beautiful, sunny, Thanksgiving Day morning.

That part of the NB highway looks magical and very beautiful with the yellows, reds, and oranges of the autumn leaves over the many rolling hills and the river valley of the majestic Saint John River. I knew that as the water when I reached the end I would be home.

It has been a really long time since I last seen the world’s longest covered bridge, and Hartland also has a Tim’s so it was time to detour into town. Once I hit Fredericton, I was getting sick of Spotify and turned on CBC. This is when I learned that going home might not be as easy as planned. The news broke into programming that there may have been an explosion at the Irving Oil refinery that is only a short 3km away from my house. I texted my sister and she said she was alright and that they were not evacuating the area. As I was passing Grand Bay, I first seen with my own eyes the column would f Barack smoke rising from the refinery.

The journalist side of me knew that so needed to get a photo of it for the day that I wrote about my trip. I stopped at Wolastoq Park where I took my photos and then headed home. I was so exhausted that I went to my TV room and did nothing all day but work on cleaning out my PVR. Thus ended my Thanksgiving Day epic.

An Election is in the Air

An Election is in the Air

As the fall approaches, it is time for another round of provincial elections. The province is in a tough but still hopeful situation, people throwing around money and making promises that will make them look popular and ruthlessly attacking their opponents.

I’m going to make a list of items that I consider a priority for the next government.

1) Remove the ban from walking down the street with open liquor. There is no real public safety impact here, and littering would be of little impact as the empties will quickly be retrieved.

2) Rename the Saint John River the “Saint John / Wolastoq River”, it would only cost 50ish signs and would make everyone happy. Also, please the indigenous peoples in the area.

3) Within 5 years, eliminate 10 schools. Even if you have to build new modern 20th century buildings.

4) Change legislation to ensure there are no more than 6 levels of management between the minister and the front line staff in every department and agency.

5) Change the way we do municipalities. Naming streets, municipal planning, recreation, transportation, by-laws etc are what makes a community and councils should be limited to those things. Protective services should not be at the municipal level. There should be large regional elected service boards that run protective/regional services.

6) Reduce 10 municipalities. There are too many for the size of the Province.

7) Modernization of the delivery of government services. It is completely ridiculous that you still have to play phone tag with the receptionist to get appointments at the hospital and be called by 3 different departments for the same procedure. Also that your medical information is in silos that don’t allow your doctor to know the whole story, and allow electronic filing of prescriptions so you are not given conflicting drugs, and reduce the addictions.

8) Be ambitious and strive to have Bilingualism as a requirement of Graduation for all students of New Brunswick. “switching between two or more languages gives the brain a dexterousness and improves our attention, planning, memory and problem-solving skills.” (Irish Times, 27 March 2018)

Please Don’t End Me

Please Don’t End Me

Today, I was Googling myself to see what others were writing about me and one of the first things I read was the following tweet.

When I first read it I was a little afraid that my country had enough of me and were all out to get me. Then I read a little more on the issue. It was really shocking to me to learn that my initials are also the acronym for Child, Early and Forced Marriage. According to the Government of Canada the following stats are true:

  • Every year, it is estimated that 15 million girls—some as young as five years old—are forced into marriage.
  • Over 700 million women alive today were married as children.
  • One in every three girls in the developing world is married by the age of 18. One in nine marries before the age of 15.
  • Complications in childbirth are the leading cause of death among girls between the ages of 15 and 19 in the developing world.

I really agree with the 10,000 tweets on the issue that this is something that everyone should know about and work towards putting an immediate end to. If you want to read more on the issue there are good links on the bottom of the government’s webpage on the issue

Fundy Fringe Festival Memory

Fundy Fringe Festival Memory

FFF Sign at SJAC

This year I had the privilege of volunteering at the Fundy Fringe Festival for mine and its second year.

I only managed to see 9 of the 15 performances but was very impressed with the variety and quality of the performances.

The experience was incredible not only to meet the other performers and volunteer but the general community that supported the artists.

On the last day of the festival, there was one experience that really stood out. I went to the Queen’s Square Market to get my Sunday morning croissant with chocolate gnash from Le Boulangerie Français prior to my final shift. There was this elderly woman sitting by herself on the bench and asked me what I thought of different shows.

It turned out that this woman was visiting the city specifically for the festival and has lived in Vancouver before no living outside Toronto. She was not a big fan of the comedy shows and was looking for something darker.  After suggesting William Ellis’ Dirty Work she said that was exactly the type of show she was looking for. We then continued to chat for a good 20 minutes about her travels and the various theatre she has seen over her years which was an impressive amount.

The End of “here”

The End of “here”

I have seen that the weekly local newspaper here magazine is now no more. Here is my little story of that zine.

We go back to March of 2004 the one and only time that I had visited the office of here. I went up all the stairs in the Miller Britain building on Princess Street. I do not recall who I met in the office at the time, but this was the first place that I dropped off my press release to in person after I had filed my papers in my run for Mayor. The guy asked me a few questions, then I left.

A few days after I received a call from one of the reporters. The were going to do a cover story on young candidates in that election for which there was eleven of us. They wanted to have a group picture and we arranged to all meet-up in front of Photography Flewwelling and taken by Tim Pfinder on a ladder. I remember the day was overcast and there was a very cold April wind.

So that is my story/memory of how I ended up on the cover of Here Magazine. Of the group Jay Young-Chang was the only one to get elected that time, and Donnie Snook was also in that photo sou would get elected in the following election.

2014 Academy Award Predictions

2014 Academy Award Predictions

Best Picture (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: 12 Years a Slave

Best Actor in a Leading Role (Miss)
Prediction: Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Winner: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress in a Leading Role (Miss)
Prediction: Judi Dench (Philomena)
Winner: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Miss)
Prediction: Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Winner: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Miss)
Prediction: Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Winner: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

Best Animated Feature (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: Frozen (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho)

Best Cinematography (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)

Best Costume Design (Miss)
Prediction: 12 Years a Slave (Patricia Norris)
Winner: The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin)

Best Directing (Miss)
Prediction: The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
Winner: Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)

Best Documentary Feature (Miss)
Prediction: The Square (Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer)
Winner: 20 Feet from Stardom (Nominees to be determined)

Best Documentary Short (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (Malcolm Clarke, Nicholas Reed)

Best Film Editing (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger)

Best Foreign Language Film (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: The Great Beauty (Italy)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: Dallas Buyers Club (Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews)

Best Original Score (Miss)
Prediction: The Book Thief (John Williams)
Winner: Gravity (Steven Price)

Best Original Song (Miss)
Prediction: The Moon Song – Her
Winner: Let It Go – Frozen

Best Production Design (Miss)
Prediction: 12 Years a Slave (Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker)
Winner: The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn)

Best Animated Short Film (Miss)
Prediction: Get a Horse! (Lauren MacMullan, Dorothy McKim)
Winner: Mr. Hublot (Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares)

Best Live Action Short Film (Predicted)
Prediction and Winner: Helium (Anders Walter, Kim Magnusson)

Best Sound Editing (Miss)
Prediction: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Brent Burge, Chris Ward)
Winner: Gravity (Glenn Freemantle)

Best Sound Mixing (Miss)
Prediction: Captain Phillips (Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro)
Winner: Gravity (Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro)

Best Visual Effects (Miss)
Prediction: Star Trek Into Darkness (Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton)
Winner: Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould)

Best Adapted Screenplay (Miss)
Prediction: Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope)
Winner: 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)

Best Original Screenplay (Miss)
Prediction: Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
Winner: Her (Spike Jonze)

PPP Water

PPP Water

I went to a public town hall tonight that was very interesting. It very well compared the argument for not going down a public private partnership. Though it was very lacking in facts of how a 3P could be beneficial to the community to make an informed discussion.

My point of the argument is this. Why is Saint John water in the upper quartile range of Canadian Households. Added to the argument the property taxes are in the upper range as well though that can be explained in some fashion by the lower than average property values. The cost of water cannot.

Saint John needs solutions. To dismiss an idea without a solution is long past the point of helpful.

Here are some useful facts:
1. The pipes are too big and designed for the city Saint John hoped to be.
2. Our water quality though not terrible is not the standard it should be.
3. The city is stuck with agreements that do not really expire and are almost impossible to renegotiate.
4. Most of the expenditures of this city are fixed and beyond even councils control.

The only solution I have would be to have the province dissolve the 228 year old Corporation of the City of Saint John and nullify any contract and start over with a new municipality.

Hands-on with Nokia’s PureView 808: “You shot that with a PHONE?!”

Hands-on with Nokia’s PureView 808: “You shot that with a PHONE?!”

I was reading this article about Nokia’s newest phone that has an amazing camera. Beyond that the thing that caught me first was that it was running Symbian OS. Despite being on an iOS device for the last 4 years I still love some of the intricacies of Symbian.

The only real problem I have is that there are too many megapixels for the opening of the camera. Let’s face it a photon of light is only so small, and the pixels are smaller than a photon.  The second issue is the lack of optical zoom. If I am getting that much resolution I am going to want a zoom to replace my point and shoot camera.

Hands-on with Nokia’s PureView 808: “You shot that with a PHONE?!” | MobileSyrup.com.