So I was out for lunch with two friends today at a restaurant. One of my companions gestured over to a man sitting by himself at the bar. He was dressed casually and eating lunch. My friend believed him to be Mike Gillis, general manager of the Vancouver Canucks. I thought assertion was absurd chiefly because the man at the bar bore no resemblance to the Gillis other than being a white guy. Second, the general manager of a professional hockey team just doesn’t sit by himself at a bar of a restaurant having lunch in jeans and t-shirt.

My friend still clung to his assertion that it was indeed Gillis at the bar. I find it strange that people sometimes steadfastly hold onto some belief where it’s clearly not the case. We even brought up a picture of the real Mike Gillis on a phone and he still was sure it was him. In any case, the salmon I had for lunch was pretty good.


Despite being an Internet user for almost two decades now, I’ve only recently discovered a simple but clever way to secretly communicate between two or more parties. This method leaves much less of an electronic paper trail behind than regular e-mail even though it actually does involve an e-mail account. It’s as simple as setting up a new e-mail account. The login credentials are then given to all involved parties so that everyone can access that account. Messages are then written as drafts but never actually sent. The intended recipients just log into the same account and read the drafts. In this manner, many parties can communicate with each other without having to sent a real e-mail message. Because nothing is ever sent, there is no electronic trail to follow, nor are there now two copies of the message. There’s also no fear the message could be intercepted or traced.

This trick was used by former CIA head and retired general David Petraeus and his paramour Paula Broadwell. In a more nefarious example, this method was also used by a Canadian naval officer who was working for the Russians.

I’m hoping the next thing I find out is how to win a free iPad by clicking on some links.


So many of my immediate family and some of my extended family are currently in China right now on a whirlwind tour of the country. My parents, sister, my sister’s husband, his parents, my aunt, my uncle, a cousin, and that cousin’s husband are all on this trip. I believe separately everyone has been to Hong Kong before and some have been to China too but this is a guided tour and having everyone together is a special occasion.

Before leaving, I cautioned everyone who would listen to take some precautions. I specifically said not to drink the local tap water under any circumstances. You can only do so much because even if you avoid tap water, you still have to eat the local cuisine and that’s a just a crap shoot, pun not intended? Well, as I feared, my sister just informed me via the Internet that everyone in the group, except for my brother-in-law and his parents, came down with food poisoning for the last day or so.

It’s stuff like this that makes me hesitant to travel to parts of the world where things are a bit more “rustic” and you can definitely put China into that category. I hope everyone feels better very soon and that they can continue the rest of the tour without incident.


So delicious!

It’s been just over 24 hours since President Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney. In those hours, there has been a flurry of activity from the conservative right-wing in the US. First, there was sadness, oh so much sadness. If looking at pictures of despondent Republicans is the kind of thing that gives you joy (count me in!), then you’ll be wanting to visit this site. Then came the anger. If there’s one thing the right-wing are good at, it’s generating sputtering, frothy anger. The finger-pointing began in earnest. Some pointed it at Romney himself. Like so many conservatives, others choose to blame everyone but themselves. New Jersey Chris Christie was a target, mainly because he gave President Obama a bear hug. Fox News was quick to blame the mainstream media in influencing the election. Oh the delicious irony of that. If you want to read a more even-handed analysis of why Romney lost, you can start with this piece from CNN.

Then there was the absolute, insane reactions that you’d expect from moronic right-wing voters from across the mental stability spectrum. We can start with Donald Trump who had what can only be described as a honest and old-fashioned meltdown on Twitter. Just hours before the election, he tweeted that no matter what the outcome of the election, the American people were the ones who still needed help and that they needed to be the focus. That all went out the window as soon as the President won re-election. Calls for a revolution were his message then. He really went off the deep end. He deleted some of those tweets but everyone screencapped all of them. So much for cooperation and bipartisanship eh Donald?

Then there were those who filled Twitter with promises to buy as many guns and ammunition as possible today. What a curious and dumb thing to focus on after the election. I suppose the thinking here was that President Obama was imminently going to remove the right to bear arms from the US constitution. Strange how in his entire re-election platform no mention was made of any changes to the right of arms ownership nor any laws pertaining to gun control. Guns were not the focus of this election in the slightest. President Obama never once said he was even thinking about changing course on gun ownership. And here’s the real kicker that I could not and still can’t figure out. President Obama has been the President of the United States for four years now. He didn’t just become President today or will be President in January. He’s been doing that job for four years now. If your guns haven’t been taken away yet, what makes you think they’ll be taken away now? What? Did they think he was just waiting for a second term to outlaw guns? Oh yeah, I’ll risk waiting for a second term that might not ever come to repeal laws. People need to think before saying dumb stuff.

Last but not least, there was the outcry from the religious right. Oh man, these people are frightening. Take a look at this reaction. Or this one. Better yet, how about this Twitter account? Now when I say religious right, let’s just be honest and call it what it really is… the Christian right. These Christian fundamentalists are in absolute throes of agony that President Obama got re-elected. They’re bitterly disappointed that somehow their nation is no longer a nation that represents their Christian God. How deluded and out of touch are these people? The United States is not some theocracy, where the President rules with a law book in one hand and the Bible in the other. America is populated with people who practice many different religions, not just Christianity. There are Americans who don’t practice any religion. The US government serves and protects all their citizens without regard to their religious beliefs. There’s a reason state and church have been separate for many, many years now. There’s no Department of Christianity now is there? So spare me your lamentations about the decline of the United States as some God-fearing Christian holy land. The election was about voting for a President, not a Pope. They should go live in Vatican City if they want a church to control their government.

Wow, so that was just day one of watching US conservatives scrambling to find some direction. I wonder what other reactions we’ll see in the days and months to come.


Suck it right-wing bastards!

So what was everyone doing last night? Oh man, if it were possible to sustain myself on just the sweet tears of right-wing conservatives across the US, I’d live for a thousand years. I congratulate every American who took the time out to vote. You honoured your country and everyone who made it possible for you to have that honour. For those who Americans who voted Democratic on the county, state, and federal level, thank you for having the clarity to keep your country moving forward. I, and the rest of the world, appreciate your choice.

The road ahead for President Obama will not be easy, not that it has ever been but I hope this new validation gives him the strength and courage to keep his nation moving forward. Unfortunately, I see no change coming from the spiteful right. Bipartisanship is a word not in their lexicon. They would rather burn America into the ground than work with the President for progress. May the next four years be prosperous and safe ones for our neighbours to the south.


So here we are again. Every four years since the year 2000, the world watches as Americans flirt with utter and complete disaster as they choose who will be their President for another four years. On one side, we have the Democrats, who at worst, are the lesser of two evils, and at best, are America’s best choice to continue to lead their country back towards prosperity and sanity. On the other side, are the Republicans, whose policies and stances are clearly repugnant to the rest of the world but for reasons that I still cannot comprehend, have found alarming support from racists and extremists alike.

It’s so clear to the rest of the world that President Obama would be the better choice in 2012. Of course, this clarity is nowhere to be seen in the US which is why it is so maddening for the rest of the civilized world to watch this election unfold. If the stakes were not so high and so serious, it would be laughable but alas, this is no laughing matter. Under Republican control, a George W. Bush White House brought a war to Iraq and a recession to the US, amongst many other bad things. These events were not isolated to the US. The war pulled many other countries into a futile attempt to find non-existent WMDs. How many non-US soldiers died in Iraq because Bush was elected? How many people outside the US lost their jobs because the US allowed their banks to get too greedy and destroyed their economy? The US does not operate in isolation unfortunately.

So, tomorrow the world watches again as the US flirts with ruin, like watching a toddler walk for the first time. Will this child gain strength and continue to stride forward or will it all come falling down again?

May the world have enough resolve to survive another US Presidential election.


When I was preparing for my trip to Toronto last week I went to the drug store to look a travel-sized container of body wash. I wasn’t sure if the hotel had any so I thought I’d bring my own. The drug store had a large selection of travel-sized toiletries. I was immediately shocked by the stupidly priced items. A small container of body wash, about 100 mL, was more expensive than a full-sized one, at over 700 mL. It was the same for the rest of the items in that aisle.

It’s clear that companies are charging you a premium for the convenience of a smaller container of what they hope you consider to be essential travel item. Earlier in the summer, a report out of the UK showed mark-ups in the vicinity of 645% for travel-sized items. A money-grabbing practice for sure.

In the end, I balked at the idea of paying that price. Instead, I just decided that I’d wait and see if the hotel did have body wash in the room. Luckily, they did. A much cheaper way around this is to just buy a set of empty of toiletry plastic bottles. You can then just fill them with your own supplies from home. It saves money and because they’re re-usable, better for the environment as well.