We are in the Kootnays!

Deb and I are on our annual trip to help my mother. This year she needed a new computer installed in Calgary. Off we trooped to London Drugs to get the one on sale and we were told they did not have any. So I asked if we could buy the floor model and they said yes. The only crappy part was that they would have to wipe it clean which would mean I would have to install windows and all the drivers. No problem I said.

I unpacked the computer the next morning and immediately had trouble with the video card. There was a card on board but they had also put in a much better stand alone card. When I finally got the video in the right place I installed windows. Then I installed the drivers. The first one I did was the video driver and as soon as it restarted the monitor did not display anything. I had already ruled out the monitor as the problem so I called. They had me go through all the trouble shooting I had already done and finally the solution was to turn the computer off and press delete as it came back up (he reasoned that the driver may have not sufficiently installed in the registry). I did this and it came back up but I remained suspicious.

I installed all the other drivers and everything was working fine. I set up a network as I had my laptop with me. I did the scanner and then I installed office. We went out for dinner and when I came back the monitor was dead. I restarted the computer and it still did not come up. Tried a few more things and decided it must be an intermittent video card problem.

So the next morning I called LD and got a bit of a run around. I have to say that I don’t think the ones in Calgary are as good as what we have in BC but I digress. We got another new computer and at least I did not have to do windows or the drivers. I got the other one mostly done in less than 2 hours including network, scanner and printer. When we go back on Thursday I will finish it.

I always love to see the Rocky Mountains. I grew up with these mountains and spent a lot of time camping and just looking at how they change on almost a daily basis. I love our mountains at home too but they are not quite as majestic as the Rockies.

This visit has not been as bad as other ones. It is a bit disturbing to watch your mother change from being a strong determined woman to a depressed widow who appears anorexic these days. If she gets sick she has nothing to fight with which I find quite disturbing. At 5′ 7″ she weighs 127 pounds.

We will be back home on Friday. I have a 3-day weekend before I am back to work next week.

Published in: on May 27, 2009 at 11:38 am  Comments (1)  
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Wooden Buttons redux

I went to my favourite clothing store the other day and bought a blouse that had wooden buttons. So now the test will be to see if the wooden buttons break. I am still not convinced that plastic buttons break at all like Craig does from Our Green Year. I sure hope none of the buttons break because they did not supply a replacement. I will keep you all posted about the state of my buttons as I know some of you will be waiting with baited breath to hear what happens!

Published in: on May 27, 2009 at 11:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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Another Four Years of Crap

I cannot believe we are stuck with Gordon Campbell and his band of idiots, criminals and downright heartless jerks for yet another four years. Many of the people in the BC Liberal party seem to have no qualms about breaking laws and continuing to think they have the right to serve the public. John van Dongen is the latest example with his speeding tickets and losing his license. Why should we be surprised? After all the Premier himself was arrested for drunk driving in Hawaii. The bar has been set pretty low it would seem.

What about the NDP? It would seem like people have very long memories in BC and are loathe to elect another NDP government. I think there are other things at work here. Carole James has been an effective leader. She has increased the party’s standing in the legislature from 2 seats to 36 seats in 2 elections. However, for the NDP, under Carole James, winning remains elusive. There are several reasons for this situation. I think Carole James does not have the charisma necessary to win. She is a strong leader but she sounds the same all the time. She stays on message but the message is boring. She does not inspire. She has provided stable, effective leadership to a party that was in complete disarray. The NDP need a new leader – a charasmatic individual who can inspire hope.

Antoher more daunting (and perhaps more serious problem) issue facing the NDP is the Green Party. If you add together the NDP and the Green’s popular vote you hit 50% which would have given the victory to the NDP. The NDP has always had strong environmental policy in their platforms. However, this time, I think Carole James mis-read the strong (perhaps bandwagon) support for environmental issues. Her stance on repealing the carbon tax because she thought it was the wrong tax and that the tax penalized ordinary British Columbians was great for the unions and the middle class but it did not sit well with environmentalists. If we are ever to get out of this mess with the BC Liberals, the NDP are going to have to get the environmentalists back on side.

Voter turnout for this election was a measly 52%. With such daunting issues facing the province like health care, education, the economic situation etc., there is something there that affects everyone. Where are the other 48% who did not bother to vote? There is no doubt that low voter turnout affected the outcome of the election.

I would like to see James replaced as leader of the NDP. I think she has done all that she can to move the party forward and she has done an admirable job. It is now time for someone younger perhaps and more charismatic to take over the leadership. James needs to make the decision sooner rather than later so that someone else has a chance to build support and relationships with key NDP supporters. Most importantly, the NDP needs to figure out how to tap into the environmental movement and siphon some votes away from the Green party who do not stand a chance of forming the government.

There is lots of work to be done. I only hope that those in the NDP realize what they need to do if they ever hope to get out of opposition.

The Inmates have Taken Over the Asylum – Part 2

It has been a long time since I have updated everyone about the dogs. Lots has happened at Chez Thomas so here we go.

We welcome Gemma Joy who came to us from SAINTS via Turtle Gardens. Gemma was rescued by Turtle Gardens up north where she was a puppy mill dog.

Gemma Joy after her shave

Gemma Joy after her shave

Gemmy is a shihtzu and is now starting to show all the characteristics associated with shihtzus. She is playful and tenacious and she is learning to play. She loves to cuddle and she just soaks up all the attention she wants. There are some concerns about her health as she had some mammary tumours removed (please get your female dogs spayed early, it reduces their chances of getting this awful disease by over 90%). Three tumours were removed and one was an aggressive cancer. The surgeons said they got good margins and we are hoping it did not metastacize before they removed it. She seems like a dog in good health:
Gemma Joy running on the dikes.

Gemma Joy running on the dikes.

Gemma had many litters of puppies and now she is treating all of the toys in the house like her ‘babies.’ She carefully gathers them up and sleeps with them. It is both cute and sad at the same time. We are pretty sure that she does not think they are her ‘babies’ because she chews on their heads.
Gemma and her 'babies'

Gemma and her 'babies'

Everybody please think good thoughts for Gemma. She will have an x-ray in about a month to see if the cancer spread. We are so hoping it has not and that she will be with us for a very, very long time!
One other thing – Gemma is continent! She is the first dog from SAINTS we have had who is continent!!! It is the little things that are important!
Now on to Molly. She is the oldest of our dogs at 20. She is a former SAINT and she is still going strong. She does her ‘pilates’ everyday. Since Gemma Joy came she has been doing a lot more stretching so that she makes sure she is noticed. We had to shave her a while back because her mats got really bad. She hates to be combed and we do not want to unduly stress her out. We had her in a little sweater for some time because it was still cold.
Molly yawning - notice the lack of teeth!

Molly yawning - notice the lack of teeth!

Speaking of haircuts, the day Molly was shaved Deb and Angelina also shaved Clio and gave her a mohawk. I thought it was very mean and they thought it was cute:
Clio with a mohawk

Clio with a mohawk

Madison is now 16 and is deaf as a post. It seem to come on all of a sudden. We have been working with our vet to manage her pain. Unfortunately, the one medication that would really help her also causes gastric upset so we have to further reduce how often she gets that med.
Madison laying down

Madison laying down

She is still mommy to all the little girls. We often see her curled up with them in the big beds.
Kirby is doing great! He has become quite self-actualized and is not afraid as much anymore. He loves going in the truck with Deb and she has a really hard time getting out of here without him. Kirbs is 10 this year! He loves getting jiggy in the morning and lives for his tummy rubs!
Kirby

Kirby

Sienna, who is Angelina’s dog, lives  with us as well. Lately, our living room has been turned into a toy paradise and all she wants to do is destroy them. Poor Sienna! Sienna loves to play fetch and go to the park. She is a such a sucky pitbull (the way they are supposed to be) and she makes some incredible noises when her ears are being rubbed. She is also doing quite well in Rally-O.
Sienna

Sienna

Tucker is our other foster dog from SAINTS. He has overcome his vestibular disease. Then he got giardia. He seems to be doing much better now that he has taken his course of flagyl. Unfortunately for Tucker he got stuck eating canned gastro food for the time he was on meds. It will be back to raw for him today.
Tucker at the dikes

Tucker at the dikes

Piper the punk is doing really well. We were worried that she would be upset and jealous of Gemma Joy. Nope all she wants is for Gemma to play with her. It is really quite amazing to see the efforst she puts into trying to make friends. I am sure, that over time, she and Piper will become a duo. They are already barking together as they guard the house.
Piper at the park

Piper at the park

We are a little concerned about Mackenzie as her aggression seems to be escalating. She took Piper’s spot in Rally-O (because Piper has no obedience skills, sigh) and she is doing very well. Mackenzie loves to go to the park and chase and kill balls. We go through a lot of tennis balls!
Mackenzie at the dikes

Mackenzie at the dikes

And last, but certainly not least, is Kiefer. He is not the shy wallflower type. He talks a lot and soemtimes it is very, very loud. He is especially joyful in the morning. Kief lives to eat and does so with gusto. He is also very handy when I take too much food – usually the leftovers will all fit into his waiting mouth.
Kiefer at the water even though he does not swim.

Kiefer at the water even though he does not swim.

Bella

Bella

I have saved the best for last. Bella, our Maine Coon cat, is in love. She adores Lynn. Her new favourite game is to crawl up on to Lynn and put her but in Lynn’s face while she kneads her. She will then turn around and knead other sensitive bits. This cat is no light weight either. She weighs 25 pounds and has talons for nails. Since Bella peed in Deb’s shoes everyone is afraid to do something to piss off the cat. Getting the cat off of Lynn can be a 2 person job now as we try to convince her that it was her idea to get down.
Life is never boring here!
Here is one last pic:
The notorious Bacon Sisters

The notorious Bacon Sisters

I have bacon on the weekend the little girls all gather around and they share. Needless to say I do not get to eat much bacon!

Dancing with the Stars Travesty

I am a latecomer to watching DTWS. I started late in the season when Kristy Yamiguchi won. I have been a convert ever since. I love learning about all the different dances and I especially love the skimpy, sexy costumes! The judges are hysterical and I think Len deserves danger pay for having to sit next to Bruno. Usually the competition proceeds in an orderly fashion and stars are eliminated based on ability.

There is something wonky this season. For some reason Ty Murray, dancing with Chelsie Hightower, is atrocious and still in the competition. He should have been eliminated 5 weeks ago. Last night, however, he stayed and Lil’ Kim went. There is no way Lil’ Kim should have gone. She has more dance ability in her baby finger than he has in his entire body. So why did this happen. I can’t imagine that there are that many rodeo fans who would be watching DWTS. Nor do I think it is Jewel fans keeping him in the competition. The only thing that could possible explain this is that Chelsie’s fans from SYTYCD have followed her to DWTS. If this is the case and if Ty wins this will be a blow for the show. It will completely lose credibility.

I know this is not all that serious, after all it is only a reality vehicle for has-been stars. However I think it is still valuable in that exposes a huge audience to ballroom and Latin dance. Who knows, maybe some young, future dancers will be inspired by this show. Each star brings their own demographic to the show and likely the show keep some of those viewers for subsequent seasons.

I was really sad to see Lil’ Kim go. I think she had a good chance of winning.

Published in: on May 6, 2009 at 4:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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