Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Olympic Hockey Roster

Canada's men's Olympic hockey roster came out today at noon ET. I was thrilled to see the names of some players that I'd hoped would make the final cut (including, Shea Weber and Duncan Keith - both former Kelowna Rockets players - as well as Brent Seabrook and Scott Niedermayer, all four from BC). I was less enthusiastic about some other names, but it seems like the coaches and executive director put a lot of thought and planning into making the final roster. I think there is a good blend of experienced older players and energetic younger ones and hopefully the team is a recipe for success. I'd love to see a repeat of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics where both our men's and women's hockey teams won gold!

Some team stats:
Captain - Scott Niedermayer (Anaheim Ducks)
Youngest player - Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings), 20
Oldest player - Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils), 37
Most experience - Scott Niedermayer is the only player to win all six of the major North American and International championships (Olympic gold, World Championship gold, World Junior Championship gold, World Cup, Stanely Cup, Memorial Cup)
Most Olympic experience - Martin Brodeur and Chris Pronger (Philadelphia Flyers) will be competing in their fourth Olympics while Jarome Iginla (Calgary Flames) will play in his third Olympics
Province most represented - Ontario with eight players

According to CBCSports.ca, "Canada will go for the country's seventh gold and 13th medal overall in men's hockey since 1924. In addition to the likes of Russia, Sweden, Finland and the United States, Canada is going up against recent history — the last team from a host country to win the men's tournament was the United States at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Airline Security Measures

Yesterday a passenger on a Northwest Airlines plane flying from Nigeria via Amsterdam to Detroit tried to blow up the plane. His attempt failed but now, because of him, all travelers flying internationally to the U.S. have to deal with new security measures. I hate that right after an air travel terrorist attempt, the airlines have to go crazy about implementing new security measures. It's ridiculous really because very rarely do these terrorists seem to do the exact same thing right after it has just been attempted. But the airlines all jump on the bandwagon to try and control the situation by inconveniencing the lives of all air travelers. I thought air travel was supposed to more hassle-free, not more hassle-full.
According to CBC.ca, "The U.S. has asked all airlines to take extra precautions on flights worldwide that are bound for the United States. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority said all passengers on U.S.-bound flights will require additional security screening in light of the incident."
I went to Alaska/Horizon Airlines Web site and found their travel advisory, which says, "
  • All passengers flying into the United States will be searched at the departure gate, in addition to normal screening at security checkpoints.
  • From Canada or Mexico, carry-on luggage will also be searched at the departure gate and may be limited to one carry-on. To minimize boarding delays, passengers are encouraged to check all their luggage. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air will waive baggage fees for items checked as baggage that the passenger otherwise would have taken aboard as carry-on baggage from Canada or Mexico."
The travel advisory also strongly suggested passengers traveling internationally to the U.S. arrive at airports a minimum of 2 hours before departure, although they encourage getting to airports at least 3 hours ahead of flights. Three hours! Sounds like my siblings and I will have a great time trying to fly back down to the States in a week. Our flight is a whole whopping 50 minutes long. Who wants to wait at an airport for 3 whole hours for a measly little 50-minute flight?
WestJet and Air Canada have also similarly revised their security measures. I found it most interesting to see that, "Air Canada said it would also like to see passengers limit their carry-on items to 'the absolute minimum' or even travel with no carry-on items if possible." Just a few weeks ago the airlines - who now charge passengers an exorbitant amount for bringing even one piece of checked luggage along on their trip - encouraged people to check less items and try to fit as much as possible into the two carry-ons allotted per passenger. Now all of a sudden they are changing their minds and even waiving the fee for extra checked baggage, instead encouraging passengers to limit themselves to one carry-on or even forgo that privilege and fly carry-on-less. I am not impressed. I used to love traveling by air, but more and more I am wishing for alternate methods of travel. Personally, I'm waiting for the return of the passenger train (only I'd rather they be high-speed like the ones Japan has).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2010 World Juniors

The roster for Team Canada at the upcoming world junior ice hockey championship was finalized today. When I first read the headline I thought it was the men's Olympic roster so I was searching through the defence section trying to see if Shea Weber made the cut. Words cannot convey my disappointment when I didn't see his name, but then I reread the headline and all was made clear. When I gave it more thought, the middle of December is rather early to be making the roster for the Olympics in February. In any case, I went back over the list to see if any Kelowna Rockets players made the Canadian world junior team and was pleased to see one representative, forward Brandon McMillan. Yay, for Kelowna having at least one player make the team in the past six years! Ever since the 2002 world juniors when Weber represented my hometown, the Rockets have had a player on the Canadian roster. That was also the first year the Canadian's won gold for the first time since a five-year run from 1993-1997. If the U20 boys can manage to win the gold this year it will break the record. I'm willing to bet that the teams that will try to keep us from that record will probably be Sweden, Russia and the United States. I can't wait to get home and watch some great hockey once again!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Scrapey

Jonathan: Hmm, I got a little scrapey while we were caving.
Ali: Scrapey?? You got a scrapey? That's what you call a small scrape? A scrape-y??
Jonathan: What? No, I meant I got myself a little bit scrapey from caving. I don't call my scrapes, scrapies.
Ali: (laughing) OK, I was wondering when you started talking like Bryn.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lost Childhood

This makes me sick. Although I've never taken sides in the pro-life/pro-choice debate, the idea of young girls barely into their teens - some even younger, one an 8-year-old girl - becoming mothers against their will disgusts me. Who am I to say that a baby doesn't deserve life. But who am I to say that a little girl should have to give up her own life because of that baby. I hate it when there's no satisfying solution to both sides of a complicated social dilemma.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Friends theme

I was on YouTube this evening trying to find a good video of Phoebe's "Smelly Cat" song from Friends. I found a couple good ones, but my favourite find of the night is posted below. I think it's pretty great. I only wish that whoever made the video would have found enough clips to actually finish the theme song. Oh well, it's still pretty funny.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Stephen Harper

I swear Canada's got the coolest Prime Minister in the world! Need proof? See the video below:


For more info, read the news story.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Indoorcycling

This should be an Olympic sport. I'd definitely watch that event.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Terry Fox Day

Today is the Terry Fox National School Run Day. I remember my very first Terry Fox Run. I was a kindergartener at Quigley Elementary School. Each child in our kindergarten class got paired up with a grade 5 student. We met our partners once before the Terry Fox Run to get to know them. I remember I told my partner, a grade 5 girl with long brown hair pulled into pigtails, that I played violin. The next time I saw her was on the morning of Terry Fox Day. All the kids at Quigley Elementary milled about the playground and soccer field waiting for instructions from our teachers. Finally my teacher, Mrs. Ackerman, led the kindergarten class over to the grade 5 class and we got reacquainted with our partners. Then our whole school set out down the city sidewalks, walking or running in pairings of two.

I didn't even understand what we were doing. I barely knew who Terry Fox was. I wondered why we had broken out of our structured kindergarten schedule to take a walk around several city blocks. There were children and teenagers flooding from the gates of the school across the road from Quigley. That was the school my older sister went to, the Adventist school that I would have gone to if they'd had a kindergaren class that year. I searched for Becky in the crowds of students, but never saw her. I wondered who her partner was. Maybe she was too old to need a partner.

By the time we rounded the last corner heading back to our school, my feet were sore. I was tired of walking and just wanted to be back in our familiar kindergarten class with the bookshelf full of puzzles and the playhouse set up like a hospital and the loft filled with comfy cushions and tons books for us to read. But I was also proud. Proud that I had made it the whole way. Proud that I, for the most part, had kept up with my partner. Proud that I had participated in Terry Fox Day.

On Sunday, this year's official Terry Fox Day, thousands of people of all ages, from all walks of life, from all parts of the country, will walk or run because of Terry. Today school children all across Canada took time out of their school day to participate in the Terry Fox Run, just like I did 19 years ago. Today I think of that courageous 21-year-old with only one leg who captivated an entire country. Today I imagine how he felt as he dipped his prothetic leg in the Atlantic Ocean in St. John's, Newfoundland and started his run across the country. Today I wonder if he ever realized the difference his Marathon of Hope made for cancer research. Today I'm proud to be Canadian.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Neglected

I feel awful. I've been neglecting this blog. But not intentionally. You see, the first class period of Creative Writing, I was given a semester-long assignment; start a new blog and use it as an e-journal for the class. Each Creative Writing student must write a blog post every single day. Although this might seem an impossible task (at first I was very skeptical about the likelihood of completing the assignment as expected), I'm actually having a great time chronicling my daily activities in my new blog. What makes it a lot easier is that, while we have to post something every day, the post only has to be three sentences long. That is definitely not a problem for me. I think e-journaling is a MUCH better idea than traditional journaling (despite my addiction to buying notebooks). I've found it's a great place to jot down ideas for upcoming writing assignments, expound on things I've learned in various classes or try out new writing styles. I do feel bad for neglecting this blog though so I'm going to try to do better at posting something here every once in awhile.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Southern Accent

Today I had my first unofficial Southern Accent staff member orientation. If this afternoon is any indication, the next 8 months should be hectic, crazy and possibly a little stressful. But within a few weeks everything should start to calm down and maybe I'll be able to settle into a routine. I really hope this year is an educational, growing and exciting experience.

For more info on the Southern Accent, watch Viviene Martinelli's promotional video made for a digital video class last semester.


For still more information, check out the Southern Accent's Web site or Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Lifesaver Bottle

*Inspired by Ruben's Facebook status update on 08/04/09.

Although I don't understand all the inner workings of this invention, I find the concept fascinating. Even so, I'm not completely sure I would actually want to drink the water, no matter how clean it truly is. Of course, I am able to hold a glass under the kitchen tap and, within seconds, drink as much delicious and healthy BC well water as I want. The fact is, there are millions of people around the world who don't have the same privileged of clean drinking water as me. And that's why this idea intrigues me.


More on the Lifesaver bottle.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fires

I looked into a beautiful clear blue sky with puffy white clouds as our family drove to Kelowna International Airport. We were going to pick up my older sister, Becky, at the airport and then spend the rest of the Sabbath relaxing in the gorgeous Okanagan summer weather. After a happy reunion at the airport, we loaded Becky's bags into the back of the truck and started for home. As we drove down Hwy 97 back into Kelowna, my mum called, "Look at the sky." All six pairs of eyes immediately scanned the horizon and then stared at a huge plume of smoke rising between two mountains in the west. I said what we all instinctively knew. "Forest fire."

The residents of the Okanagan Valley are no strangers to forest fires. Six years ago, on August 16 (ironically another gorgeous summer Sabbath), a lightning strike started an enormous fire in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park that devasted the park, decimated the crownland forest and burned more than 230 homes on the edge of Kelowna before it was contained. There have been a few forest fires nearby in the years since 2003, but none have been near as huge or as dangerous as that firestorm. Now we are facing the fear and uncertainty of fire threatening our town again.

When we got home, Tyler, my mum and I looked at the local news website and learned this new fire was in West Kelowna, a town across Okanagan Lake from the city of Kelowna. The fire started in Glenrosa, an area northwest of the town. One of my high school classmates lives right near where the fire originated and her family was immediately evacuated. We also have an Adventist church in the area. Our church pastor and my high school French and choir teacher live nearby. They might have been evacuated during the night.

A little while after we got home, some of us headed out again to find out more. We crossed the lake and watched the fire from the highway when we got caught in traffic. We found a place to turn off and drove to a park right on the water where we watched the helicopters fill their buckets with water and fly off to fight the fire. Water bombers were dropping fire retardant on the edges of the fire to try and keep it from spreading. After watching them work and cheering for them as they swooped down low to the water, we drove back to Kelowna. Later on in the evening, Bryn, Tyler and I walked up a few streets to a high point that looked over the whole town. The Glenrosa fire looked like it was getting a little less smoky. But as we started back down, I happened to look north and saw smoke-clouds coming from the mountains west of our airport. We quickly went home and checked the news again. There was a new fire, also across the lake, but miles north of Glenrosa. This fire started in the Terrace Mountain area. My family just took a quad trip to the top of Terrace Mountain two weeks ago when we were camping on the west side of the lake. I know there are many dry trees in the area, destroyed by pine beetles. After sundown worship, I kept up with the fires' progess by reading all the local news reports online. I even found out that cbc.ca had the story at the top of the national news all afternoon and evening last night. It's still the highest story on cbc.ca this morning. Around 10 p.m. when I was listening to the radio, I heard reports of a third fire in Rose Valley, only five kilometres north of the Glenrosa fire. My mum, dad, Bryn and I drove up into the mountains near the lake on the Kelowna side and my mum took pictures of the new fire, the only one we could see clearly from that vantage point. When we got home, around midnight, I stopped on our front steps and looked west. There, looking very, very close, I could see the new Rose Valley fire burning brightly.

This morning all three fires are bigger. The helicopters and water bombers, which had to stop working at sunset, have started fighting the blazes again. Despite ground crews working all night, six more houses (nine in total since yesterday afternoon) burned in the Glenrosa area. The Terrace Mountain fire is larger, but no people live in the area, so no one has had to be evacuated yet.

The Rose Valley fire is getting quite close to town and another high school classmate's family is on evacuation alert. They've taken in some people from the Glenrosa fire and now they might all have to relocate again.

I walk outside and smell burning trees. The sky is hazy. Tiny bits of ash float to the ground beside me. And I know the same thing that everyone else in this valley knows. This time, these fires weren't started by a lightning strike...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Unsolvable Ponderings

I've noticed a trend on cbc.ca lately. Readers posting story comments about crime and violence-type stories bemoan the fact that Canada has no death penalty. These readers are quick to post that, while so-and-so deserves capital punishment, (s)he will get an easy sentence and be back to their crime-filled lives in no time. All because on July 14, 1976, 33 years ago today, Canada abolished the death penalty.

I rarely read cbc.ca's On This Day section, but once in awhile the event will catch my eye. Today I noticed the picture link just after reading yet another comment decrying Canada's apparently (at least to this particular poster) lenient criminal sentences. The timing amused me and I clicked on the link to learn more about why Canada decided to get rid of capital punishment. I was surprised to learn that the United States reinstated the death penalty that same July, just after Canada abolished the practice.

After reading the pertinent information, I went back to the main news page. The first story I saw there told of an 85-year-old British conductor who traveled to Switzerland with his wife to die at an assisted suicide clinic. Again I found the timing fascinatingly odd and read the article.

I've been thinking about the two death-related articles all day. I have no concrete opinion on either issue. I can think of numerous pros and cons to both sides of each issue. I have especially been contemplating the double standard between human death and animal death. Why is euthanizing animals who become too old or ill to enjoy a healthy and happy existence viewed as humane and a common decency? Why is euthanizing humans exhibiting similar age or illness considered so offensive? I'm not saying that I would ever assist a suicide (or want someone to assist me). I'm also not saying I would never put a hurting animal down (or attempt lifesaving measures). I'm just trying to practice unbiased thinking and questioning... What makes capital punishment (or the lack of it) right? What makes mercy killing (or being opposed to it) wrong?

Friday, July 03, 2009

War Crimes

"Accused Nazi guard Demjanjuk deemed fit for trial," the headline proclaimed, grabbing my attention.

I took the bait and clicked the link, wondering what shocking deeds this former Nazi guard had committed. As I read the article, my feelings changed. I realized John Demjanjuk was a Ukrainian accused (a word my eyes skipped over in the headline), not convicted, of "being complicit in the murders of 29,000 Jews." By the time I finished the article, I recalled one of my favourite children's lit. books, "Hope's War" by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. That book, which I first read as a sixteen-year-old (one year older than the book's protagonist), made a huge impact on me. Now that I think of it, reading "Hope's War" is probably the reason I eventually decided on a career in journalism. It taught me that there are two sides to every story and each side needs to be given a voice. The book's controversial storyline is not unlike the news story I read this morning. In Demjanjuk's case, I can only hope that all those involved in his trial remember to weigh both sides with equal fairness and justice. Background on "Hope's War."

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Canada Day!

I wish you all a happy and glorious Canada Day. Exactly one year ago my family and grandparents enjoyed the festivities at Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It was awesome and I would encourage every Canadian to experience the capital-city celebration at least once. Even though I had a blast last year, I'm excited to be celebrating Canada Day in Kelowna again. My family is planning to take advantage of the perfect weather and go boating this afternoon and then head downtown to the Waterfront in the evening to watch the fireworks. All in all, it should be a great holiday, even without all the Ottawa-style excitement we took part in last year.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, I found a random CBC TV sign-off video clip.
I like the shots and the accurate depiction of life and scenery in all areas of Canada.
I also think the intro is really awesome and leads perfectly into the anthem. Enjoy!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Non-human Best Friend

My family flew back to BC last night from western Ontario where we went to my cousin's grad and visited relatives. When my mum listened to the messages on the answering machine at home, I breathed a sigh of relief when the messages ended without one from the kennel owners where our dog, Pepper, stays while we're traveling. Just before our trip we found out the results of her latest visit to the vet. She had diabetes, liver disease and arthritis in her back legs. The vet suggested what we had all assumed; we should put Pepper down. We decided to wait to put her to sleep until after our trip when we could say good-bye properly. I, in particular, felt that it would be rather crude to put her to sleep in a rushed and last-minute decision just for our convienience. The kennel owners understood and said they'd take care of her while we were gone. Before leaving for Ontario, I said good-bye to Pep, just in case, and now I'm glad I took the extra time. I told her to hang on until I got home, but she didn't quite make it. She waited until yesterday.

One second before my dad broke the news to my siblings and me at work today, I knew what he was going to say. And when I heard the words "Pepper died" I was surprised at the relief I felt. I knew that she was in pain, but had secretly (and selfishly) wondered if I would be strong enough to let her go when we came home. She was a great dog and a loyal friend. I'm glad Pep chose her own time to go and isn't suffering anymore. Even so, she was my best non-human friend and will be missed terribly by our whole family.

Just a few of the memories we shared with Pepper

Sunday, June 21, 2009

News 2.0

From a cbc.ca article on how the Web has affected the news and the media.

"Definition: Web 2.0 is a term that is generally applied to the second generation of internet applications that first began to appear about 10 years ago. The dominant trait of Web 2.0 is its interactivity: ordinary people can easily contribute to online discussions, and not remain simply on the receiving end of information."

As I read the article the following paragraph jumped out at me. It puts into words my thoughts on the subject since becoming a journalism major.

"There is much to celebrate about this democratization of the media, but there are also reasons to be concerned about the loss of an independent, professional journalistic filter at a time when everyone can be their own media. Can online communities of 'citizen journalists' be counted on to help us make informed choices as citizens and consumers? What's lost, and what's gained when 'News 1.0' gives way to 'News 2.0?'"

While the involvement of everyday citizens in the media can provide new opinions and generate discussion, many of these people haven't been trained as reporters and news quality could suffer because of it. After several years of journalism classes and experience, I'm still not completely sure how I feel about the traditional media audience becoming involved in what we read, see or hear. How long will it be before citizen journalism negatively affects news quality? Has it already been too long?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Exploring and Conquering

Bryn, Mum and I took a day trip to the Vancouver area yesterday to pick up my passport and then spent the rest of the day driving around the Fraser Valley looking for new and interesting places to explore. We eventually arrived at Rolley Lake Provincial Park after driving though Fort Langley (a historic town that started as a trading fort) and waiting in an hour-long line for a ferry that took only about 8 minutes to cross the Fraser River. Inside the park, surrounded by mountains, sat the exquisitely calm Rolley Lake. Mum got out her camera and took advantage of the perfect evening lighting in the serene setting. The highlight of the day was when a bald eagle soared overhead and settled in a tree to intently watch a couple fishing on the other side of the lake. I tried to lure the eagle from its perch so Mum could get a picture of it flying by pretending to be a bird, but apparently I wasn't too convincing and the eagle stayed on its branch. By the time we started home, my friends, Jodi and Nik, driving out from Alberta to visit, were almost to our house. They got there an hour and a half before we got home, but Ty entertained them by making Wii characters until we arrived.

After work today, I drove downtown and met Jodi and another one of our high school classmates, Melissa, and her baby, Garrett. We had just starting on a walk around City Park when we saw some people we knew and talked to them for a bit. Then we headed to the beach. Jodi had been looking forward to swimming in Okanagan Lake for weeks, but as we touched our toes into the frigid water, our resolve to swim faltered. In the end we both decided to brave the water and dunk under the icy waves. This is the earliest I have ever gone swimming in Okanagan Lake. I felt like I had accomplished a great feat, until I remembered that earlier this week a girl training to swim the English Channel had swam in Okanagan Lake for 6 hours. My pride readily shrank back to a reasonable level.
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On the subject of exploring and conquering: -Scientists are adding a new element to the periodic table. -Tomorrow is the full switch from analog to digital TV broadcasts in the U.S. It should be interesting to see what happens, especially to those people still unprepared for the switch. -The Pittsburgh Penguins will be in Detroit tomorrow to take on the Redwings in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. These same two teams played for the Cup last year with Detroit winning in 5 games. For that reason alone, I hope the Penguins win this year.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Espresso Book Machine


When I was a little kid, I dreamed of owning a machine that could provide me with any book I wanted to read. Today, as I browsed through cbc.ca, I read a feature article and discovered that my childhood fantasy has actually been invented! (Note: The article is actually about a million times more interesting than the video clip, but I figured I needed some type of visual in this post.)


The next time I find myself in one of the few public or university libraries that house one of these amazing machines, I'm going to try and print out an on-demand book for myself. For more details see OnDemandBooks.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Recent Happenings

While at school I regularly read the news online (like every good Communication student should), but once I'm home I forget to keep up with current events. I spend the majority of my free time reading all the books that I never had time to read while at SAU. I do keep some sense of what is going on in the world because I sometimes overhear the news when my dad watches it at 5 or 11 p.m. (my bedroom is right beside the TV room) and I occasionally listen to the local news on the radio as I'm driving around town. However my world knowledge isn't as up to date in the summer as it is during the school year. Today at work, I realized that I hadn't actually read any online news since I left school, so I decided to dedicate my lunch break to catching up with what's happening around the globe. Here are some of the interesting (at least to me) articles that have gone to press in the past couple days.

1st: The last survivor of the Titanic, 97-year-old Millvina Dean, died yesterday, which, interestly, was also the 98th anniversary of the Titanic's hull being launched.

2nd: Staying with the British theme, London's famous Big Ben clock started ticking for the first time 150 years ago yesterday.

3rd: Border officials (both Canadian and American) began requesting passports from visitors to either country as the WHTI — the U.S.-legislated Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative — went into effect today. CBC reports, "The new ruling requires anyone from the Western Hemisphere entering the United States to produce a document that contains photo identification and proof of citizenship." Canada decided to go along with the U.S. in applying the law which will make crossing the world's largest undefended border more difficult for North Americans. I personally was flabbergasted to read the negative comments on the passport story. I've know about these new rules for years now, especially since the date kept getting pushed back in order that everyone would have adequate time to apply for a passport. I'm actually not sure how anyone these days can survive without a passport. I was also surprised, and quite amused, after reading George W. Bush and Bill Clinton's reactions to the new border rules (scroll halfway down). How can these two former presidents not even have heard about the WHTI.

4th: The world's largest jetliner, the double-decker Airbus A380 with room for up to 800 passengers on board, made it's first commercial landing in Canada this morning at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. The Emirates Airlines plane will fly between Dubai and Toronto three times weekly.

5th: Also flying related, a Canadian astronaut, Bob Thirsk, packed several Canadian mementos along for his six-month stay on the International Space Station. This trip involves a lot of first for Canadians in space (read the article for more specifics) and I think it's pretty cool that Thirsk hails from BC.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Mountain Pine Beetle

How can something so tiny
cause such immense devastation?
More about BC's mountain pine beetle problem and TreeCanada.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pepper

For years I've marveled at how energetic and rambunctious my dog, Pepper, is for her age (she just turned 12 at the start of May) and doubted that she'd ever show signs of getting old. This past Christmas Pepper was still bounding over snow drifts and racing to be first in line as our family roamed the woods in search of a Christmas tree. But since coming back home I've noticed a change in Pepper. All her movements are a lot slower than usual and she occasionally limps. I had tried to ignore the telltale signs of Pepper's advancing age until Sunday, when Bryn and I took her for a walk to the creek near our house.

The walk started out normally with Pep happily and obediently trotting by my side as we followed Bryn, riding her bike, down the road. But before we were even halfway to Mission Creek, Pepper started lagging behind and I noticed a slight limp. I had planned to take Pepper to a part of the creek that has a natural dam where she can swim and fetch sticks without getting pulled downstream by the spring mountain runoff. But when I saw how tired she was as we got to the Mission Creek Greenway, I knew she'd never make it all the way to the swimming hole and then the whole way back home again, about three miles in all. What had been a routine walk for Pepper and me last summer was now next to impossible. Bryn and I found a place just off the Greenway trail where Pep could clamber down to the edge of the creek. She eagerly waded into the water to drink and cool off, being careful to not venture too far into the creek's rapid current. When I felt that she'd had enough time to rest, we started for home. The 5 minutes it usually takes us stretched to almost 15, even with Bryn and I gently encouraging Pep the whole way back.

The next night the three of us again ventured down to the creek, bringing Tyler along this time. Pepper seemed to do better, limping only slightly on the walk home and keeping up with my pace until just before we turned down our road. She was tired when she got home though and flopped down in her favourite spot, under the juniper trees, when I put her in the backyard. I wondered if taking Pep for walks was beneficial for her or just inflicted more pain. Today I got my answer.

My mum and I decided to drive up into the mountains this afternoon to take some pictures. On a whim, I decided that Pepper needed an outing and boosted her into the back of our truck. After Mum got some shots of the bluebirds and meadowlarks nesting near the logging road, I let Pep out of the truck bed to roam around. She excitedly raced around the cattle pastures sniffing (and tasting) everything in sight as Mum and I finished up our photoshoot. Pepper had magically transformed into her old energetic and crazy self. For close to two hours she meandered behind Mum and me, never showing a sign of tiredness or a limp. She even jumped into the back of the truck all by herself. As we drove home I realized that Pepper had enjoyed a dog's dream afternoon - freely running around and exploring out in nature with family nearby. I'm not sure how many more afternoons she'll have, but I'm grateful that I got to share this one with her.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Confusion

Setting: My bedroom and later, our kitchen
9 a.m. Monday, May 18, 2009


I awoke in a very confused state of mind. Instantly I remembered waking up after 4 a.m., walking toward the bathroom, seeing Mum, Dad and Tyler at the entryway getting ready to go to the airport, and saying good-bye to them before they left. I glanced at my clock. It was 9:02 a.m. I wondered why in the world I woke up so early to say bye to Dad and Ty when I had already said my good-byes the night before. That was weird, I concluded and rolled over to see if I could get a few more minutes of relaxation before getting up and starting the chore of the day, unpacking.

Only minutes later, I heard the sound of one of our vehicles (I couldn't process whether it was the Jetta or the Ridgeline) pulling into our driveway. Mum must have already gone out to do some errands, I surmised, persistently re-clamping my eyes shut. I just wanted more sleep. Then I heard the voices. I couldn't distinguish what they were saying, but there were several people, two definitely male. My eyes popped open and, after rechecking the time (9:19), I leaned toward my front window, straining to figure out who had come to our house at this unearthly hour. I'm not getting up to let them in, I told myself resolutely. They can come back later, when normal people are up and about. My decision made, I no longer cared who the visitors were.

Although I had decided not to get out of bed for these intruders, I was now completely awake. Grudgingly, I realized there would be no more sleep for me. I stretched out my hand, sleepily knocking my glasses off my nightstand as I reached for my book. Maybe I can finish this one today and start a new book, I thought as my fingers made contact with the hardback cover.

The sound of a key jiggling the front door lock stopped me from picking up the memoir. Oh, well it must be Mum. Who in the world is with her? I propped myself up on an elbow and again strained to decipher the voices now just entering the house.

"Well, I guess I can eat some breakfast now."

"Didn't you do that a few hours ago?"

"No, I just grabbed a bun before we left."

"I have to call the airline right away. Maybe they can help us figure something out."

It was Mum, Dad and Tyler. What in the world! Mum drove Dad and Ty to the airport hours ago. They were supposed to have left at 6 a.m. I scooped my glasses from the floor and pushed them on my face. Then I leapt out of bed, grabbed my red and white maple leaf blanket, wrapped it around my shoulders and strode out of my room, through the dining room and into the kitchen. Dad, standing at the island, filed through a pile of papers as Ty's top half disappeared inside the fridge. I heard Mum clacking away on her office keyboard down the hall. "What are you guys doing home? Shouldn't you be in Calgary by now? What is going on?" I quizzed the male members of my family.

"Hi Al. We're back." Ty's voice drifted from the depths of the refrigerator.

Dad offered a better explanation. "Our plane wouldn't leave the ground. It had mechanical problems."

"We might not get to go now." Ty extracted himself from the fridge with a wildberry Sun-Rype juice box and a Tupperware container of assorted leftovers in hand.

"I'm going to my office to make some calls," Dad called over his shoulder as he descended the stairs.

I stood leaning against the counter watching Tyler down the entire juice box in one swig. "Did I say good-bye to you guys this morning before you went to the airport?"

He shot me a questioning look before popping the leftovers in the microwave. "No, of course not. You were sound asleep when we left. We said bye last night, remember?"

"Hmmm, that's weird. I absolutely remember waking up early and walking out here just as you guys were leaving. I guess that must have been a dream. Well, let me know when or if you're leaving again." With the morning's mysteries solved, I turned back to my room, determined to make headway in my book.

A couple hours later, I said another good-bye to Dad and Tyler. Dad had phoned Northwest airlines and they had helped him make alternative arrangements to get him and Ty to Calgary in time for their flight to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. From there, they would fly to Hannover, Germany for a week at Ligna, the grand-daddy of woodworking shows. Just three days after my siblings and I arrived home for the summer, our family was down to three members.

~~~

And...I have no suitable conclusion so far. I just thought it'd be fun to write up that experience as a story. Hope you enjoyed. If anyone has a good conclusion to suggest, definitely let me know.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Trip by the Numbers

Bryn, Tyler and I made it home just before 10 p.m. yesterday. It was a long trip, but we had so much fun driving across the country together. We met our parents at Yosemite on Monday afternoon and had a mini vacation together for the last few days of our travels. All in all, it took us several hours more than a week (even with crossing time zones and gaining three hours) to get from Collegedale, TN to Kelowna, BC. That's definitely the longest we've ever taken to get home and by Thursday night Bryn, Ty and I all just wanted to be back home. But we made a lot of interesting stops for fun excursions during our trip, so that's why it took the extra time. Here are some random number-facts about our latest excursion.

Miles driven: 4,095.4 (6,590.9 km)
Hours spent traveling: 180.5
States driven through: 11 — plus 1 province, obviously
Interstates taken: Five — I40, I15, I5, I205 & I84
National parks/areas visited: Three — Yosemite N.P., Crater Lake N.P. & Oregon Sand Dunes National Recreation Area
Other attractions seen/visited: Hoover Dam (way too hot and way too many people to get out of the car), Las Vegas strip (definitely counted as an attraction) & the Stratosphere in L.V. (not nearly as exciting or tall as we imagined)
Wildlife seen: Numerous deer, golden eagles, squirrels & sea lions, plus 1 whale (seen only by me)
Animals hit: One — by my dad just after leaving Yosemite at night (It was too dark to see what it was, but I'm convinced it was a sleek, long-tailed baby panther, Bryn's sure it was a fuzzy, curly-haired dog, and Mum claims to have seen the ink-black wings of a huge raven.)
(Thanks to Kevin for this depiction of the mysterious animal.)

Oceans seen/waded in: One — the beautiful Pacific
Notable mountains seen: Six — Half Dome and El Capitan at Yosemite, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Hood, Mt. Ranier & Mt. Adams
Times pulled over by a cop: Two — Our parents both times for "possible drunk driving/driving too slowly and hesitantly"
Tickets received: None
Pictures taken: Still being tallied, but, with four cameras along and our picture-loving mother on the trip, the number is definitely in the thousands.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Heading Home

I finished the Insight Writer's Workshop at 5 p.m. today. I managed to write two stories (both more than 1100 words) during the last four days. I spent lots of yesterday and almost all of today editing the stories and then started on a third one to finish up later and email in to the associate editor of Insight. We ended the workshop by each of us seven students eating ice cream bars and then reading our favourite story out loud. It turned out to be a great week. I learned a lot and found it really fulfilling to just be able to sit and write for four whole days without any distractions. Of course the best thing is that now I have another upper division credit and I'll probably have more articles published to add to my portfolio.

After the workshop finished, I came back to Bryn's room and we've been packing and cleaning, off and on, ever since. Tomorrow we're leaving for home. I'm so excited to get home and sleep in my own bed and unpack my stuff and play with my dog, Pepper. I want to go swimming in Okanagan Lake (although that will have to wait for a month or so before the lake warms up) and quadding at my uncle's cabin and taking Pepper for walks on the Mission Creek Greenway. But another thing I can't wait to do is eat Canadian food (and candy)! These are just a few of my favourites.







(I know vinegar can't really be classified as a food, but I've been craving it on my French fries since I left home last summer. Restaurants down here just don't seem to understand that there are alternative (and superior) condiments to ketchup.)

If you'd like to try any of these awesome treats, just come up to BC and visit. We'd love to have you. Happy summer everyone. I'll see you next school year!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Insight Writer's Workshop

Tomorrow, while other Southern students are relaxing (or sleeping) at home, or finishing up cleaning out their rooms/apartments, I'll be starting a new class. Bright and early at 8 a.m. I have to be in the School of Journalism and Communication's Mac lab in Brock Hall for the Insight Writer's Workshop. I'm not exactly looking forward to more class-type activities and writing so soon after school is out for the summer, but it's for upper division credit, so at least that will keep me motivated. It will be interesting to see how many stories I can turn out during the next four days.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What's really inside a VCR?

Today I went to my last class of the 2008-2009 school year, Foundations of Broadcasting. I should have taken it last winter with Ty because he said that his class had a riot. My class was not quite so exciting, but I did learn a bunch of stuff. Mostly, I perfected my multi-tasking skills by listening to the lectures/watching the video clips while doing the daily word find and sudoku in the Chatt. Times Life section. But I also learned a lot about important current events in the media and telecommunications world. Here are two of my favourite video clips from BRDC-201.

The future of the media?


And for fun... Today Mr. Ruf started class with the following informational video.
Feel free to try this at home. Just make SURE to have marshmallows on hand.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Waking Up Canadian



Even though I've never lost my Canadian citizenship, I wish I could wake up to a room like that (maybe minus the hockey player in the room and the Mountie waiting right outside the door).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hockey Playoffs

Yes, another hockey blog. I'm too excited about my hockey teams to not blog about them. My NHL team, the Vancouver Canucks, just played their last regular season game this afternoon against the Colorado Avalanche. Last night the Calgary Flames (my very least favourite team and huge rivals of the Canucks) and the Canucks were neck and neck in the Northwest Division standings. Each team had 98 points and the Flames had one more win (which means that in the case of a tie, the Flames would win the division). The Flames also had one game in hand over the Canucks. But the Edmonton Oilers did the Canucks had huge favour by beating Calgary 5-1. The fate of the championship was left up to the Canucks in their game with the Avs today. If they lost, the Calgary Flames had a chance to win their last game and take the NW Division lead. But the Canucks prevailed and beat the Avs (now officially the lowest ranked team in the Western Conference this season) by a score of 1-0 in overtime. So the Canucks earned the big two points giving them a 3rd place finish in the standings, ensuring home ice advantage as well as a becoming the NW Division Champions! I can't wait for the playoffs to start! With the current standings tonight, it looks like Vancouver will be playing the first round of the playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Should be an interesting post-season...

GM Place complete with Canucks playoff towels
(For more info, click here to see what Canuck fans use the towels for)

Now to my WHL team, the Kelowna Rockets. They are my hometown team in a junior-rank league. It's sometimes more exciting to watch juniors because the players are the future stars of the NHL. They don't play for money, but for the love of the game and to try and make it to the big league. They are all heart and that makes the games all the more intense. The Rockets won enough games down the regular season stretch that they came in 3rd in the WHL Western Conference standings. They swept the Kamloops Blazers in four games and moved on to the second round. They are currently up three games to two on the Tri City Americans (a team based only an hour north of WWC...I went to a lot of their games when I was in school there). If the Rockets can beat the Ams in tomorrow's game, they will move on to the Western Conference Championships against the winner of the other Western Conference playoff series between the Vancouver Giants (2007 CHL champions) and the Spokane Chiefs (2008 WHL and CHL champions).

All in all, it's looking to be a good post-season for both my teams and I can't wait to get home and be able to watch some of it unfold. Who knows how far they'll go?! Perhaps all the way to the Cup!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Internships: East v. West

According to this Globe and Mail article (be sure to click on the nifty graphic!), getting an internship in Eastern Canada looks more promising than finding one in BC. I'd love to be able to go back to BC for the summer, but I really need to do a writing internship. So now I have decisions to make. Feel free to give me suggestions. Here are the pros and cons of working in the east this summer.

Pros:
1. I'd really and truly be on my own for the summer
2. Having never lived east of Lacombe, Alberta (at least in Canada), it would be a completely new experience and, most likely, an adventure
3. I'd be a lot closer to my older sister who lives in Ottawa, Ontario
4. If I found an internship in Quebec or New Brunswick, I could work on my French-speaking skills
5. I would have the opportunity to meet Adventists that I don't already know
6. There would be the possibility of another Canada Day in Ottawa and maybe this time I could actually get close enough to PM Harper to shake his hand!
7. It's a lot closer to travel around the east than it is out west, so I could see a lot of new places on the weekends
8. Train travel for cheap is a reality with the wonderful services of ViaRail and their student rates
9. I could attend campmeeting somewhere other than Hope, BC or Bowden, Alberta
10. Not knowing anybody would help me get a lot of reading done

Cons:
1. I'd really and truly be on my own for the summer
2. My mountain withdrawal would continue (No matter what people tell me, I know the truth. There AREN'T real mountains in the east.)
3. I'd miss out of fun family events (going to the cabin, going to BC Cowboy Campmeeting, and our annual vacation at Fairmont Hot Springs)
4. The writing projects I wanted to work on for my home church wouldn't get done
5. It would be rather difficult to hang out with all my friends who come home every summer
6. Quadding or boating every weekend wouldn't be a possibility (and my ongoing summer Ogopogo-search would be postponed)
7. I'd have to worry about a place to live, and how to furnish and pay for it
8. I wouldn't be able to work on the family history section of the memoir project I've been planning to do (which includes interviewing my grandparents, great-aunts and uncles, and other wise and knowledgeable family members)
9. I'd miss my family
10. I'd miss BC

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour


On March 31, 2007 one city decided to do something about global warming. In Sydney, Australia 2.2 million people turned off their lights for one hour at 8:30 p.m. A year later, the event went global with 35 countries and 370 cities around the world taking part in Earth Hour. Tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. local time all around the world, people will be turning off their lights to raise awareness about global warming.


While I don't believe all the hype about global warming, I do believe in finding ways to save money and I think Earth Hour is a good place to start. I'm guilty of using way more electricity than I really need to, so tomorrow from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. EST, I'll turn off my lights for an hour and go do something not involving electricity. You should too...

To find out more about Earth Hour, click here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Alouette

Tonight I agreed to hang out in Bryn's room and help her write and edit a 12-page Bible paper she has due tomorrow. I edited as much as she had done and then spent the rest of the evening distracting her. Somehow I managed to get the Alouette song stuck in my head and tried to sing it. This proved quite difficult because I'd forgotten all of the French lyrics except the first line. So I found a video to remind myself of the words that I learned all those years ago in elementary French classes.


English Translation: "Alouette" is a popular Canadian children's song about plucking the feathers (presumably in preparation for cooking) off a skylark, a small bird. It originated with the French Canadian fur trade. Naturally, the literal English translation does not match up well with the meter of the song, so a slightly less literal (but more singable) version would be:

Little skylark, lovely little skylark
Little lark, I'll pluck your feathers off
I’ll pluck the feathers off your head
I’ll pluck the feathers off your head
Off your head - off your head
Little lark, little lark
O-o-o-o-oh

Then repeat with various other body parts:
Off your beak
Off your eyes
Off your neck
Off your back
Off your wings
Off your legs
Off your tail

Monday, March 09, 2009

Wave Tag

How to Play:
Find an ocean. One with waves is preferable.


Rules:
1. As the water from the last wave goes back out to sea, walk towards the new incoming wave.
2. Stop and stand your ground when you are between 30-60 cm in front of the wave.
3. At the last possible second before the wave touches your feet, make a 180 degree turn and run.
4. Do whatever you need to in order to remain untagged.*
5. (a) If the wave tags you, you are now it and will need to tag the wave. (b) If you managed not to get tagged, congratulate yourself and start all over again when the next wave comes in.

*Dropping a camera is not suggested.


Exhibit:
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5

Note: Playing a game of Wave Tag up until 25 minutes before church time on Saturday morning is an excellent way to start the Sabbath.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Passport Expiration


While I don't often find faults with my country, there is one thing I would change in an instant if I were the PM or an MP or the GG (or whatever official has control over this issue); I would make Canadian passports valid for 10 years. Getting a new passport every five years is much too troublesome and, I suspect, simply a ridiculous money-making ploy. If Canadian passports only had to be renewed every 10 years instead of every five, my passport would not have expired today.

I guess I can be thankful that the new land and sea travel requirements between Canada and the U.S. have been postponed so many times in the past year. First, the new law was supposed to be in effect in January 2008. Then it was pushed back to June 2008, and finally, the Canadian and U.S. governments postponed the new rule until June 2009. So, luckily, I will be able to return to Canada once this semester is over. Hopefully, renewing my five-year passport will be done long before I need to come back to school in August. In any case, at the time of this posting, the law will change in only 96 days, 21 hours and 3 minutes. So, if you need to get a passport, or, if you're Canadian and your passport will expire soon, you should probably get that looked after. I'll be debating writing to my MP to see what can be done about the passport-that-expires-after-five-years situation.

If you've never read the intriguing story about my previous passport, and would like to, click here.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

PL Trail Exploration

Danielle has been waiting for this day since August. This afternoon, I finally agreed to explore PL Trail with her. Meet our fellow traveler.

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If you ever find yourself hiking PL Trail, beware of HANDKIND!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Preparing to Meet the Firms

Yesterday was the last day of Preparing to Meet the Firms class and today our class and other Southern students gathered at the Collegedale Church for our chance to Meet the Firms. When I signed up for the class last semester I dreaded the idea, but I knew I needed to take it to ensure that I'll have enough upper division credits to graduate. (In reality, I should have used my time more wisely to dread Communication Research instead.) Now that Preparing to Meet the Firms is done, I can look back on the past seven weeks and see what I've learned:

-Using action verbs can drastically improve a resume.
-Waiting until the day before your portfolio is due to updated it and go through all your Southern Accent articles and Publication Tools and Technique designs is a very bad idea.
-Jump at every opportunity to have your writing published. It will greatly enhance your portfolio.
-Don't put too much stock in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. (Apparently I'm currently an ISTJ. In the past I've been an INTJ and I have a feeling that if I took the test again, I could go back to being an INTJ. My "S" and "N" values must be quite similar.)
-Despite what the Preparing to Meet the Firms teachers claim, it's not a good idea to try to talk to everyone at Meet the Firms. The medical-type companies don't care to waste their time talking to Communication majors.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Groundhog Day

No, not the movie (that was such a ridiculous movie), but the real, official day where rodents decide if winter will prevail for another six weeks or if spring will, for once, come early.


February 2 is my favourite non-statutory holiday (just one of those records Ty) and has been since I first found out about Groundhog Day in pre-school. Ever since, I've looked forward to the day and anxiously awaited the reports from the official groundhogs, Canadian Wiarton Willie (of Wiarton, ON) and American Punxsutawney Phil (of Gobbler's Knob, Pa).

Today, both official groundhogs, and a third, not so well known Canadian from Nova Scotia, Shubenacadie Sam, saw their shadows, predicting winter to extend for another six weeks.

I don't mind a bit, seeing as how I only had two weeks of good winter weather at home during break. My relatives, living in BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, are not so accepting of the verdict and I do feel for them. They've had a hard winter already, but, since the groundhogs unanimously agreed that winter will continue, there's not much anyone can do to change that fact.

(The Official Website of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club provides additional info on the U.S. weather-predicting rodent.)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Savannah Trip

Pictures from the Red Bud 5 (and sisters) weekend trip to Savannah, GA on Jan. 17 & 18. Credit for all the pictures goes to Bryn Q. She enjoys taking pictures much, much more than I do, so she's the main photographer and does a marvelous job.


Bonaventure Cemetery


Old stairway at the River Front


This squirrel didn't move the entire time we were watching it


Kristina, me, Kim & Hillary by a Vietnam Memorial


Talmadge Memorial Bridge linking GA and S.C.
After about 20 minutes of attempting to find the right road to cross the bridge, we finally managed to get on it and drove across so Hillary could be in S.C. Kim took pictures of Hillary by the Welcome sign and then we drove back over to Savannah.


By some ivy on Bull St. (the street with all the city squares)


Fountain at the largest city square on Bull St.


One of the Savannah College of Art & Design buildings


The 3-storey SCAD book store (with towers of real books!)


Chocolate mousse tower from Lulu's Chocolate Bar
My sister-in-law told us about this yummy chocolate place. Our GPS first led us to the Savannah ghetto, but eventually we found the right place and got to eat our chocolate!


After eating the chocolate mousse at Lulu's Chocolate Bar

After this, we left for Southern, but made one quick stop at Parker's gas station to find out what chewy ice was. (We had seen billboard ads for chewy ice on the drive down and all over Savannah and were curious about this new product. It turned out to be small cubes of ice with more air in them to make them "chewier"...not all that amazing, but at least now we know.)