Best Blog - Rolling Around in My Head



A Different Day

Yesterday I faced a decision. Buskerfest, which is an event that I love, was happening. We weren't able to go on Saturday because we had other things that needed to get done. We'd been away for a few days up at the lake and we had to settle back into home, so there was stuff to do. On Sunday we spoke about going to Buskerfest. I faced a decision.

As much as I love the event, I didn't want to go. It was a hot day, the crowds were out on the street and, in previous years, Buskerfest was almost impossible for me to navigate through. People intent on having "FUN! WOW"can be the most impatient and therefore quick to anger. I didn't want to get into a situation that would simply be unpleasant all the way around. There are days that I'm really up to the challenge and the people and the mood of the crowd - and there are days I'm not.

I didn't want to go.

I know Joe enjoys Buskerfest too and I didn't want to take that away from him, because even though he could go without me, I knew he probably wouldn't. I bit the bullet and told Joe that I just didn't feel up to manoeuvring my chair through the crowds. Joe, being Joe, understood and we planned for a very different, much quieter time out.

Throughout the day though, I had to stifle my concerns about how disability affects not my life, but Joe's. I try as much as possible to do all the things that I did before, even if I do them differently. But, I can't always. I CAN do Buskerfest but I have to be up for it, I have to be in the right frame of mind, I have to be feeling really confident in my chair. If any of those things aren't there, I can't. Or. Maybe I won't.

We had a nice day. I'm sure we did. We talked and we laughed and we had a wonderful veggie hot dog from a vendor a few blocks away. We sat in the shade to eat our dogs and people watch. We prepared for the girls coming down for the week to go to summer camp. We felt the sun on our backs as we walked home - something which hasn't happened often this summer in Toronto.

So we didn't go to Buskerfest.

... this year.

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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 12:03 pm

Literature and Culture Blog - Perogies and Gyoza



The Cat at the Wall

The Cat at the Wall

Written by: Deborah Ellis

Published by: Groundwood Books

Published on: August 11, 2014

Ages: 10+












Clare is a regular girl at a regular school in Pennsylvania, but with a mean streak. Clare is also a cat in the West Bank of the Middle East, who finds a boy hiding from Israeli soldiers. How Clare became a cat and what Clare the cat decides to do about the boy are just two of the mysteries told in this middle grade novel.

Ellis has impecable nonfiction credentials (Looks Like Daylight, Kids of Kabul) and she combines her extensive knowledge of the Israeli-Palestine situation to illuminate an important theme- that we all have choices and we can improve or worsen other people's lives as a result of the path we choose.

The fantasy element was actually quite well-done, although different from what I expected from Ellis' work. The juxtaposition of a normal middle-class life in the US with the fear of an orphaned boy in one of the world's most conflicted areas is clever and the fantasy element makes it feel less like a moral tale.

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Posted on 3 January 2015 | 1:10 pm

Entertainment Blog - Mike's Bloggity Blog



A 21-point guide to enjoying Edmonton like never before!

So you’re driving into Edmonton and as soon as you start seeing the city, you realize one thing: “How am I going to see everything?” Well, chances are you won’t.  After having been to the city probably a dozen times, ...
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Posted on 24 August 2015 | 8:48 pm

Humour Blog - XOXO Jes.....



Guest Post: Edmonton Folk Music Festival 2015

Guest Contributor: Uryelle Dimailig

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival—as mentioned in my last article—is a pretty big deal. To illustrate exactly how big of a deal, tickets to the festival sell out within minutes while lotteries are drawn simply to enter the grounds when gates first open for the day.

Arguably one of the most popular festivals of the year, it boasts an army of over 2,500 volunteers alone, not to mention the thousands more who attend as guests. But whether volunteer, concert-goer, performer or passing observer, this annual event is indeed a magical time for all: four days of stunning scenery, world class music, united community, and general feel-good vibes unique to the one and only “Folk Fest.” For those of you who missed last weekend’s festivities (or have never been), here is my round-up of highlights from my time there on Saturday and Sunday to get you caught up to speed.

For those of you who are regulars, well, consider this fond nostalgia.

My first day was mainly spent exploring the festival and getting acquainted with the grounds. First thing you’ll undoubtedly notice is the sea of tarps sprawling over the steep hills of Gallagher Park on one side and the stunning view of Edmonton’s downtown core perched on top of the river valley on the other—the view alone is a big draw for many. You feel like you’re in an oasis in the middle of the city!

My quick tour of the market saw unique local vendors selling crafts that follow the “folk” sensibility: leather satchels, handmade jewelry, wooden décor, the works. The food pavilions provided hungry concert-goers with international fare including Thai, Chinese, German, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Canadian and more, with (of course) vegetarian and vegan options.

There were plenty of kid friendly amenities in the festival as well including a spray park, face painting and a family fun area. For us grownups, our fun area was known as the beer gardens, which offer up pitchers of beer, hotdogs, and great conversation with new and old friends. Stick around after the sun sets and take in the glorious sight of a hill filled with twinkling lights and a night sky full of stars. Truly magical.

As for the shows, my goal on Sunday was to catch as many as I could and I feel my mission was accomplished, having caught seven concerts that afternoon. Here are a few of my favourites:

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 9.45.31 PM 
Emmanuel Jal: So I stumbled on this show by accident. I was actually on my way to find ice cream but I couldn’t help but stop as I passed by Emmanuel Jal’s stage. This guy had energy for days, jumping up and down, dancing in the crowd and pulling the audience on stage to join the show. Jal’s empowering songs affected the crowd too—everyone was up on their feet dancing along as the park resounded with anthems of love and peace, such is his mandate. The incredible story of Jal’s past life as a child soldier in Sudan, turned hip-hop artist and activist hailing from Toronto made for an uplifting performance that not only entertained but inspired all those who watched. For music with a message, an artist with a story, and an entertainer with passion, Emmanuel Jal’s your guy—his show was a definite highlight of the festival and it’s all thanks to ice cream.

I’m With Her: Shifting musical stylings somewhat after the Emmanuel Jal show, I drifted over to Stage 2 where the ladies of I’m With Her began their soft-spoken, gentle set of folksy originals and cover songs. These ladies had the most angelic voices which, when paired with their delicate instrumentals, served as the perfect complement to the sunshine and stunning view of the river valley behind the stage. Considering you were surrounded by thousands of people, the I’m With Her set had a magical way of feeling intimate and close, as every live performance should.

Fairfield Four: So funny story. While I was in the media tent sorting through the day’s photos, a group of older gentlemen arrived and media volunteers were busy trying to get them to their assigned stage. One of the men took a seat beside me, smiled and said, “How do you do,” in the smoothest, southern baritone voice I have ever heard. Being a newbie to the folk music scene however, I couldn’t quite place what kind of music they would be playing.

An hour later, there I was swaying to the stylings of the legendary Fairfield Four as their airtight four-part acapella harmonies and rolling bass lines took you through a journey of gospel tales and rich southern history. Incredibly humble for a group whose songs have won them Grammies and major Hollywood soundtracks, these talented vocalists are the third generation to hold a place in the Fairfield Four’s almost century long history. What a privilege it truly was to watch them live in concert.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 9.45.46 PM 
The McCrary Sisters: Continuing on the gospel note, the McCrary Sisters took to the stage shortly after. As daughters of one of the founding members of the Fairfield Four, it was clear that musical talent ran through the family. The sisters, with their pitch perfect harmonies, powerful vocal riffs and impeccable showmanship, took turns sharing the spotlight with their spirited set of blues, soul and gospel songs. My personal favourite was their song “Let It Go” which was an anthem of positivity and love. To top it all off, the Fairfield Four joined the Sisters on stage for an amazing joint performance that had everyone on their feet dancing and singing along.

All in all, I LOVED every second of my Folk Fest experience. Yes, the music was amazing but even more important was the incredible spirit of community, inclusion and support you felt when you were there. If you have a chance to make it to next year’s festival, I highly recommend it. Cheers to all the Folk; see you next August on the hill!


Photo Credit: Uryelle Dimailig

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Posted on 12 August 2015 | 4:09 am

Journalist Blog - Commercial Space



Canadian NewSpace Start-Up to Offer Commercial Satellite Repeaters

          By Chuck Black

The recent announcement that Canada will install twenty-four custom search-and-rescue signal repeaters on-board US Air Force next generation global positioning satellites, as part of the quarter billion dollar Canadian Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) satellite project, highlights the growing need for satellites to maintain full time contact with ground stations where the data can be collected and acted upon.

Retrieving data from a satellite requires a line-of-sight between the ground station and satellites, and for non-geosynchronous satellites this means being able to relay data to any specific ground station for a short period during each orbit. This makes it difficult for satellite operators to manage tasks requiring real-time communications, such as live aircraft tracking, disaster management, or spacecraft command and control. The typical solution to the problem is to build multiple ground stations which can be used during different points in the orbit. But satellite constellations, such as the 24 satellites being used for the US Air Force next generation global positioning satellites, can also be built with "repeaters," which amplify and re-transmit signals to other satellites within the constellation and then to line-of-sight ground stations. Not only can repeaters cost less than additional ground stations, but geopolitical constraints often limit where they can be placed. Graphic c/o Terracom/ Planet Labs.

Kepler Communications, a small Toronto, ON based start-up sees the potential for commoditizing inter-satellite communications, and is building commercial “off the shelf” re-transmitters (or "repeaters") able to work on a wide variety of satellites. As outlined by Kepler co-founder Jeffrey Osborne, "a fundamental transformation is happening today in the space industry" and his company aims to take advantage of it.

According to Osborne, an industry once dominated by custom spacecraft built only by national civilian and military agencies is rapidly being superseded by smaller, lower-cost platforms built by private companies utilizing a standardized micro-satellite or satellite bus.

If history is any guide, these standardized satellites will eventually also standardize their other components, including their communications capabilities.

Osborne thinks that the best way to capitalize on this trend is to design and build a standardized repeater which can be installed and used by any satellite, in much the same way that people making phone calls use the same terrestrial network in order to complete their calls. To this end, Kepler is developing inter-satellite networking options including an S band repeater for low data-rate local area networks, and electrically steerable X band antennas for higher data-rate and long-distance inter-satellite communications, with particular focus on usage within the emerging small satellite market.

Specs for what Kepler calls the "companion ad-hoc" network, a standardized satellite modem which will create an S band network allowing satellites to communicate with each other. According to Osborne, Kepler’s initial funding was provided by the University of Toronto Institute of Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) Start Entrepreneurship Program. The program is sponsored by Francis Shen, the founder of Aastra Technologies. Graphic c/o Kepler Communications.

Through their S band repeater, Kepler is investigating building an ad hoc network by coordinating with upcoming missions to host their payload. However, this comes with substantial challenges, as Osborne describes, such as “ensuring data ownership at every step in the link, regulatory hurdles not only in terms of spectrum allocations but also in terms of the type of data that can be sent through an inter-satellite link, as well as the actual technical aspect of routing data through a constantly changing network topology.”

The real benefit of inter-satellite communications comes when it is possible to send large quantities of data over very large distances, and to this end he company is also developing a "highly directional electrically steerable antenna," in addition to the base repeater. The unit would increase data transfer speeds by up to 35% without the need for mechanical actuation or spacecraft slew operations required by other directional antennas, and would allow high-speed inter-satellite links in a small satellite package. The component will add less than 150 grams to the total weight of the repeater.

The company has also developed plans for a constellation of 50 dedicated satellites located in five separate polar orbits, in order to provide a ready built satellite network of data relays which will support the communications network.

As outlined in the Kepler literature, the company founders and supporters include a range of well known space and IT focused entrepreneurs and academics. Graphic c/o Kepler Communications.

Of course, an expensive 50-satellite constellation is still a thing for the future. For now, the focus of the Kepler offering will be technologies and services for inter-satellite communications.

Chuck Black
As long as Osborne and his colleagues are able to provide a lower cost than the Canadian government was able to provide for the MEOSAR search-and-rescue signal repeaters, then Kepler's future might end up looking very bright indeed.
_____________________________________________________________

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 1:00 pm

Religion Blog - Religion Dispatch



Pope Says Forgive Women Who’ve Had Abortions

The headlines are everywhere—Pope Francis says priests can forgive women who’ve abortions—and the implications are...

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Posted on 1 September 2015 | 9:15 pm

Art and Crafting Blog - Just a Smidgen



A Smidgen of Fall Chalk Art

I’d hoped to have been rambling around Bragg Creek trails this weekend, but the smoke advisories have kept Bella and I in the city. Nonetheless it was a great weekend to enjoy Market...

{ This is a content exerpt only.. Please click on the Blog Title to continue reading this post, share your love, browse Just a Smidgen and more.. }

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Posted on 30 August 2015 | 10:03 pm

Ecology and Social Justice - Facing Autism in New Brunswick



Canada's REAL National Autism Strategy - Shawn Murphy's Bill C-304


There is currently a group receiving money from the Harper government, purportedly to develop a "National Autism Strategy". It is an election year handout from a government which has consistently opposed a meaningful role for the federal government in ensuring that autistic children and adults in Canada receive the treatment and services they need to live meaningful, healthy lives.  

Parents in Canada have fought for many years with varying levels of success for government coverage of evidence based ABA treatment for autism disorders.  In 2006 former Charlottetown MP Shawn Murphy articulated a REAL National Autism Strategy when he introduced Bill C-304 which was defeated by a Harper Conservative-Bloc Quebecois coalition vote.   


L: Former Charlottetown MP Shawn Murphy 
C: NB Senator Jim Munson 
R: Late Fredericton MP Andy Scott
3 Strong Advocates for a National Autism Strategy

Federal politiicans and subservient autism charities should stop pretending and stop yakking about a National Autism Strategy if they do not intend to adopt the REAL National Autism Strategy proposed in 2006 in Shawn Murhpy's Bill C-304:

C-304

First Session, Thirty-ninth Parliament,
55 Elizabeth II, 2006

HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA

BILL C-304
_____________________________________________
FIRST READING, MAY 17, 2006
_____________________________________________

MR. MURPHY (Charlottetown)

1st Session, 39th Parliament,
55 Elizabeth II, 2006

HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA

BILL C-304

An Act to provide for the development of a
national strategy for the treatment of
autism and to amend the Canada Health
Act

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Senate and House of Commons
of Canada, enacts as follows:

SHORT TITLE

1. This Act may be cited as the National
Strategy for the Treatment of Autism Act.


NATIONAL CONFERENCE

2. The Minister of Health shall, before
December 31, 2006, convene a conference of
all provincial and territorial ministers responsible
for health for the purpose of working
together to develop a national strategy for the
treatment of autism. The Minister shall, before
December 31, 2007, table a report in both
Houses of Parliament specifying a plan of action
developed in collaboration with the provincial
and territorial ministers for the purpose of
implementing that strategy.

AMENDMENTS TO THE CANADA
HEALTH ACT

3. Section 2 of the Canada Health Act is
renumbered as subsection 2(1) and is
amended by adding the following:

(2) For the purposes of this Act, services
that are medically necessary or required under
this Act include Applied Behavioural Analysis
(ABA) and Intensive Behavioural Intervention
(IBI) for persons suffering from Autism Spectrum
Disorder.

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Posted on 29 August 2015 | 7:53 am

Ex-Pat Blog - The Blog Fodder



I am so loved. My own workshop!

Tanya is never idle, as those of you who read my blog may have gathered.  She has a huge flower garden, a big kitchen garden which take a lot of her time.  She is also chief cook (I an chief bottle washer).  Only she can maneuver our way through the endless bureaucracy that is life in Ukraine.  Yesterday she was two hours in P'yatikhatki, dropping off my passport.  They had forgotten to tell her

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Posted on 26 August 2015 | 5:47 pm

Gardening Blog - Canoe Corner



Spring has Sprung

Well at least I think Spring has come.  Where there was one bunny


Now there are two more, one of which is a baby.


The guy at the shop did warn us they multiplied.  I guess cold weather doesn't deter them.

It hasn't been a warm spring, that's for sure.  Just last week we had a frost warning.  Frost, in mid-June!!!  I have struggled getting the vegetable garden in because I was afraid to plant out the warm weather plants like basil, peppers and pumpkins.

It was a good year for tulips though.  They like it cold.


Last summer I moved all of my spring flowering bulbs and plants to one side of my flower bed and grouped them together.  I was looking for impact and the results were beautiful.


Just as I had hoped, cushion spurge mixed well with pink and white tulips, the hostas opened up and complemented the daffodils.


The anemone has finally spread into a considerable mound and provided a fantastic backdrop to pink and purple tulips.


Of course, there's always a few hiccups along the way.  The late frosts killed off the majority of our apple blossoms.  and the daffodils appear to be dwindling.  Usually daffodils multiply and expand but this variety seems to be dying off.  So I will need to try a different variety next year.  Something a little more robust.  Any suggestions for a favourite daffodil and where to buy them?

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Posted on 26 June 2015 | 12:33 am

Lifetime Achievement Blog - Fit Cyclist



Guest Post from Sarah Barber: My Leadville 100

A Note from Fatty About this Guest Post: Waaaaay back in December, I did a little fundraiser and drawing for WBR. One woman won a bike, and one woman won an entry into the Leadville 100.  Sarah Barber was the person who won the entry into the Leadville 100, which proved that I am incredibly good [...]

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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 3:11 pm

Travel Blog - Local Traveller



The Salt Room – Halifax, NS

Cozy blankets, comfy chairs, relaxing music, and a room full of salt.

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Posted on 17 February 2015 | 2:10 pm

Group Blog - Urban Moms



Stylish Lunch Bags For Cafeteria Cool

There’s no reason to match your lunch bag to your outfit, but there’s also no reason not to. Gone are the days of bulky plastic boxes, and here we are in an era where cute carrying cases are plentiful. Check […]

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Posted on 1 September 2015 | 11:53 am

Best New Blog - Frugal Mom Eh



Pumpkin Cookies

FB    Pumpkin Cookies Cookie Ingredients: 5 C flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1 1/2 C soft unsalted butter 2 C granulated sugar 4 eggs Royal Icing: Icing Ingredients: 2 egg whites 1 C powder sugar 1/2 tsp cream of tartar Orange, brown, green gel food coloring (For these cookies you may […]

The post Pumpkin Cookies appeared first on Frugal Mom Eh!.


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Posted on 1 September 2015 | 11:12 am

Personal Blog - Rolling Around in my Head



A Different Day

Yesterday I faced a decision. Buskerfest, which is an event that I love, was happening. We weren't able to go on Saturday because we had other things that needed to get done. We'd been away for a few days up at the lake and we had to settle back into home, so there was stuff to do. On Sunday we spoke about going to Buskerfest. I faced a decision.

As much as I love the event, I didn't want to go. It was a hot day, the crowds were out on the street and, in previous years, Buskerfest was almost impossible for me to navigate through. People intent on having "FUN! WOW"can be the most impatient and therefore quick to anger. I didn't want to get into a situation that would simply be unpleasant all the way around. There are days that I'm really up to the challenge and the people and the mood of the crowd - and there are days I'm not.

I didn't want to go.

I know Joe enjoys Buskerfest too and I didn't want to take that away from him, because even though he could go without me, I knew he probably wouldn't. I bit the bullet and told Joe that I just didn't feel up to manoeuvring my chair through the crowds. Joe, being Joe, understood and we planned for a very different, much quieter time out.

Throughout the day though, I had to stifle my concerns about how disability affects not my life, but Joe's. I try as much as possible to do all the things that I did before, even if I do them differently. But, I can't always. I CAN do Buskerfest but I have to be up for it, I have to be in the right frame of mind, I have to be feeling really confident in my chair. If any of those things aren't there, I can't. Or. Maybe I won't.

We had a nice day. I'm sure we did. We talked and we laughed and we had a wonderful veggie hot dog from a vendor a few blocks away. We sat in the shade to eat our dogs and people watch. We prepared for the girls coming down for the week to go to summer camp. We felt the sun on our backs as we walked home - something which hasn't happened often this summer in Toronto.

So we didn't go to Buskerfest.

... this year.

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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 12:03 pm

Law Blog - Wise Law Blog



140 Law - Legal Headlines for the Week of August 31, 2015

Here are the leading legal headlines from Wise Law on Twitter:

- Rachel Spence, Law Clerk


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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 1:33 pm

Science / Tech Blog - Watts Up With that?



The artificial tree: the “green” replacement for real trees?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall Is the artificial tree the solution to climate change? There have been a number of stories advocating artificial trees recently. Proponents of artificial trees believe that normal trees haven’t got the capacity to deliver the CO2 reductions they want. They insist we should try to improve on nature, by replacing…

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Posted on 1 September 2015 | 3:53 am

Sports Blog - Rod Pederson



RIDERS CLEAN HOUSE

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced Monday evening they have relieved VP, football operations & general manager Brendan Taman, and head coach Corey Chamblin of their duties with the Football Club.

“We are not meeting our expectations or our standards on the field and these changes were necessary to move us forward,” stated Riders President & CEO Craig Reynolds.

“Brendan and Corey worked tirelessly for this organization and I thank them for all that they have done for our team,” continued Reynolds. “But we are in a results oriented business and the current position of our team is unacceptable and this decision was necessary for us to build this team towards sustained success.”   


Both vacated positions will be filled on an interim basis with a full search being conducted at seasons end. Jeremy O’Day has been named interim VP, football operations & general manager, while Bob Dyce has been named interim head coach. 

CKRM/Sportsnet CFL insider Arash Madani broke the story Monday night and provided the following analysis...

MADANI COMMENTS ON 620 CKRM ON THE FIRINGS

"I think there might some kind of impression that Brendan Taman went down on the sword -- that he was told to fire Chamblin or he'd be out the door as well.  However the information I've been given is that that's not the case at all.

"Taman was, at this point, ready to part ways with Chamblin as the coach.  He knew he lost the team with how things shook down Sunday in Ottawa and it was time to turn the page.  But by that point it was too late.  The organization had decided it was time to end their time with the GM and the coach.  A GM whose first coaching hire was Corey Chamblin - a coach that brought them a championship - and was not given an opportunity to hire a second head coach.  That's what's most puzzling of all."

ON O'DAY AND DYCE

"At this point there was no other option.  You're not going to bring in a head coach worth his salt to take over an 0-9 team, to be a dead-man walking, with no quarterback, with no assurances past this year.  You had to go internally, you had to find somebody and the show has to go on, not only for Labour Day, the Banjo Bowl and the remainder of the season.  That's how things will be moving forward.  I'll be surprised if at sometime Jeremy O'Day isn't named the full-time GM in the months ahead but there will be a national search for the next head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders."

THE OTTAWA GAME WAS THE LAST STRAW FOR CHAMBLIN

"Totally agree.  Corey Chamblin lost his football team in Ottawa with how that all shook down.  Going with Tino Sunseri, a guy they weren't even fans of last season, cut in training camp, and you're supposed to be evaluating and developing for the future and you bench Brett Smith because of a sideline altercation in an emotional game?  These are supposed to be grown men and grown professionals making intelligent decisions.  This wasn't one.  While it wasn't the cause of Chamblin's demise, it was definitely the final straw that had him leave midway through this 2015 season."


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Posted on 1 September 2015 | 2:00 pm

Family Blog - Mom vs the Boys



Crispy Samosa Patties

Samosas are one of my very favourite appetizers. Crispy on the outside, full of flavour on the inside, if you love Indian food, chances are you’re in love with samosas as well. Recently, we tried a fun little twist on the classic samosa, and turned that delicious filling into little patties! Crispy Samosa Patties Ingredients [Read On]

The post Crispy Samosa Patties appeared first on Mom vs the Boys.


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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 11:28 am

Professional Blog - Product Management



Product Management Workshop: Aug. 22-23 in Chicago

  Want to take  your Product craft to the next level? Attend the Craftsman PM 2-day hands-on Product Management workshop. Think holistically about building and marketing The Whole Product Go beyond MVP/Lean Startup and dogmatic frameworks Raise your Product Management game Details are here: The Craftsman PM: A 2-day Hands-on Workshop  Where: Blue1647, Chicago, IL When: August […]

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Posted on 28 June 2015 | 8:48 pm

Writing and Literature Blog - The Book Mine Set



The 9th Annual Canadian Book Challenge - September Roundup (Sticky Post— Scroll down for most recent post)

document.write(''); 1. Click on the icon above
2. Add a link to your review. (Please link to your specific review, not an entire webpage.)
3. Add your name and in parentheses the title of the book, such as John Mutford (Anne of Avonlea)
4. In the comment section below, tell me your grand total so far. (ex. "This brings me up to 1/13")

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Posted on 1 October 2015 | 3:59 am

Popular Culture Blog - XOXO - Jes



Guest Post: Edmonton Folk Music Festival 2015

Guest Contributor: Uryelle Dimailig

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival—as mentioned in my last article—is a pretty big deal. To illustrate exactly how big of a deal, tickets to the festival sell out within minutes while lotteries are drawn simply to enter the grounds when gates first open for the day.

Arguably one of the most popular festivals of the year, it boasts an army of over 2,500 volunteers alone, not to mention the thousands more who attend as guests. But whether volunteer, concert-goer, performer or passing observer, this annual event is indeed a magical time for all: four days of stunning scenery, world class music, united community, and general feel-good vibes unique to the one and only “Folk Fest.” For those of you who missed last weekend’s festivities (or have never been), here is my round-up of highlights from my time there on Saturday and Sunday to get you caught up to speed.

For those of you who are regulars, well, consider this fond nostalgia.

My first day was mainly spent exploring the festival and getting acquainted with the grounds. First thing you’ll undoubtedly notice is the sea of tarps sprawling over the steep hills of Gallagher Park on one side and the stunning view of Edmonton’s downtown core perched on top of the river valley on the other—the view alone is a big draw for many. You feel like you’re in an oasis in the middle of the city!

My quick tour of the market saw unique local vendors selling crafts that follow the “folk” sensibility: leather satchels, handmade jewelry, wooden décor, the works. The food pavilions provided hungry concert-goers with international fare including Thai, Chinese, German, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Canadian and more, with (of course) vegetarian and vegan options.

There were plenty of kid friendly amenities in the festival as well including a spray park, face painting and a family fun area. For us grownups, our fun area was known as the beer gardens, which offer up pitchers of beer, hotdogs, and great conversation with new and old friends. Stick around after the sun sets and take in the glorious sight of a hill filled with twinkling lights and a night sky full of stars. Truly magical.

As for the shows, my goal on Sunday was to catch as many as I could and I feel my mission was accomplished, having caught seven concerts that afternoon. Here are a few of my favourites:

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 9.45.31 PM 
Emmanuel Jal: So I stumbled on this show by accident. I was actually on my way to find ice cream but I couldn’t help but stop as I passed by Emmanuel Jal’s stage. This guy had energy for days, jumping up and down, dancing in the crowd and pulling the audience on stage to join the show. Jal’s empowering songs affected the crowd too—everyone was up on their feet dancing along as the park resounded with anthems of love and peace, such is his mandate. The incredible story of Jal’s past life as a child soldier in Sudan, turned hip-hop artist and activist hailing from Toronto made for an uplifting performance that not only entertained but inspired all those who watched. For music with a message, an artist with a story, and an entertainer with passion, Emmanuel Jal’s your guy—his show was a definite highlight of the festival and it’s all thanks to ice cream.

I’m With Her: Shifting musical stylings somewhat after the Emmanuel Jal show, I drifted over to Stage 2 where the ladies of I’m With Her began their soft-spoken, gentle set of folksy originals and cover songs. These ladies had the most angelic voices which, when paired with their delicate instrumentals, served as the perfect complement to the sunshine and stunning view of the river valley behind the stage. Considering you were surrounded by thousands of people, the I’m With Her set had a magical way of feeling intimate and close, as every live performance should.

Fairfield Four: So funny story. While I was in the media tent sorting through the day’s photos, a group of older gentlemen arrived and media volunteers were busy trying to get them to their assigned stage. One of the men took a seat beside me, smiled and said, “How do you do,” in the smoothest, southern baritone voice I have ever heard. Being a newbie to the folk music scene however, I couldn’t quite place what kind of music they would be playing.

An hour later, there I was swaying to the stylings of the legendary Fairfield Four as their airtight four-part acapella harmonies and rolling bass lines took you through a journey of gospel tales and rich southern history. Incredibly humble for a group whose songs have won them Grammies and major Hollywood soundtracks, these talented vocalists are the third generation to hold a place in the Fairfield Four’s almost century long history. What a privilege it truly was to watch them live in concert.

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The McCrary Sisters: Continuing on the gospel note, the McCrary Sisters took to the stage shortly after. As daughters of one of the founding members of the Fairfield Four, it was clear that musical talent ran through the family. The sisters, with their pitch perfect harmonies, powerful vocal riffs and impeccable showmanship, took turns sharing the spotlight with their spirited set of blues, soul and gospel songs. My personal favourite was their song “Let It Go” which was an anthem of positivity and love. To top it all off, the Fairfield Four joined the Sisters on stage for an amazing joint performance that had everyone on their feet dancing and singing along.

All in all, I LOVED every second of my Folk Fest experience. Yes, the music was amazing but even more important was the incredible spirit of community, inclusion and support you felt when you were there. If you have a chance to make it to next year’s festival, I highly recommend it. Cheers to all the Folk; see you next August on the hill!


Photo Credit: Uryelle Dimailig

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Posted on 12 August 2015 | 4:01 am

Place Blog - Kitsilano



Worst Vancouver Power Outages on Record Following Windstorm

55,000 customers are still without power following the massive weekend storm that hit Metro Vancouver and the South Coast of B.C., at one point leaving hundreds of thousands without electricity. Power outages continue in Surrey, Langley, Burnaby and Vancouver, and BC Hydro is aiming to have power restored to all areas sometime on...
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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 7:40 pm

Best Written - Cheaty Monkey



To Blog or Tweet…or Instagram or Vine or—That is the Question.

Because of what I do for a living—Social Media Editor and resident celebrity parent blogger at Today’s Parent—I don’t get to write here at Cheaty Monkey much (you know, where it alllll started). But somehow, I do seem to make time to awkwardly but effectively type stuff on my iPhone. So, these days, I’m pretty much blogging on Twitter, […]

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Posted on 16 January 2015 | 1:10 am

Fashion and Style - Lou Lou's Views



Let It Go

It took at least four trips with the car to drop off all my bags of clothes, shoes, boots, and household items I no longer needed—and it took much longer for me to be convinced that I could (and should) let go of the items that were just gathering dust in my basement.

I spent an entire day with my mom and a friend going through boxes of old clothes I was sure I'd wear again, (which of course, I wouldn't) and putting clothes my children had outgrown into bags. (Sniff, sniff...)

I love doing what I can to give back, and going through items in my home to donate to worthwhile charities like Goodwill is an easy way to do that.

I also went through my closet to make room for new items I bought for summer. I always do a closet re-org at the start of each season; I go through all my clothes and give away what I know I won't be wearing again. This way, my closet has some breathing room and gives me the perfect excuse to go shopping!

GLAD Canada is teaming up with Goodwill in Toronto this summer, encouraging communities to clean out their closets and donate their gently used items to those in need through Goodwill.


All you have to do is... let it go. Seriously, go through your closet and go through all those boxes of old clothes you've been holding on to. It might be tricky at first, but once you get started, it'll be such a great feeling and you won't regret it at all. While you're at it, de-clutter all the rooms in your house; get rid of old frames or mirrors you don't need anymore, shoes and boots that no longer fit, and of course, coats and winter gear you won't be wearing again.

Here are some suggestions of items to donate:

1. Clothing for men, women, and children
2. Accessories (bags, purses, backpacks, scarves, belts)
3. Kitchen items (small appliances, dishes, cutlery, pots and pans)
4. Shoes and boots for men, women, and children
5. Lines (blankets, sheets, pillowcases)
6. Outerwear for all ages (boots, shoes, coats, hats)
7. Household decor (lamps, decorative objects)
8. Kids games, puzzles, toys and books
9. Wall art, mirrors and picture frames
10. Towels

As the lead sponsor in Goodwill's Donate4Good program, GLAD will be donating $10,000 to help encourage community support and participation across Toronto and the G.T.A, plus 10,000 black plastic bags.

GLAD will be stationed at five Loblaws stores across Toronto on weekends from August to October to pick up your donations. (Loblaws Yonge Street, Loblaws Leslie Street, Loblaws Musgrave Street, Loblaws Dundas Street Weest, Loblaws McLaughlin)

Select neighbourhoods will also have door-to-door bag deliveries to help you prepare before your local Loblaws drop-off date.

For every GLAD bag returned with clothing and other gently used items, GLAD will donate $1.50 to Goodwill, up to $8,000. The GLAD bags will greatly benefit the Donate4Good program, as they will provide an avenue for people in the local community to easily clean out their closets and bring their donations to Goodwill, as well as act as a reminder for people to support a local charity. The Donate4Good program allows people to keep items out of the landfill, while helping Goodwill fulfill its mission of enabling work opportunities and providing skills development for people facing barriers to employment.

Your used goods donations will help other people, so you should feel really good about getting rid of the things you don't need. All you have to do is let it go.


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All views and opinions are my own. 

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Posted on 24 July 2015 | 10:06 pm

Feminist - Gender Focus



New Research Examines Lack of Diversity in Poli Sci and What Needs to Change

I only remember having one woman as a professor in all of my political science classes in college. That’s pretty sad, considering it was my major. As I recall, there were five professors in the department at the time, and four of them were men. All of them were white. My experience seems to match […]

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Posted on 29 August 2015 | 12:18 pm

Fashion - Go Fug Yourself



MTV VMAs Fugs and Fines: Everyone Else

greer grammer VMAs 2015 molly tarlov jeremy scott and stella maxwell 
This whole event fell really flat for me, even with whatever boldface names were there. I was standing in the red carpet area for three hours and felt no sense of excitement. Is MTV over? Or more importantly, does MTV need to admit it’s over? Read More ...

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Posted on 31 August 2015 | 9:00 pm

Parenting - Snarky Mommy



Jack: Nine years

Dear Jack, You’re nine now. That’s halfway to 18. We’re making the turn and heading for the back nine, the final years of your childhood. It doesn’t seem possible that the baby I held in my arms just moments ago is now the boy running down the basketball court, the soccer field, the baseball diamond […]

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Posted on 8 February 2015 | 5:45 pm

Gossip - TMZ



Dwyane Wade & Gabby -- Biceps & Butt Cheeks ... For 1 Year Honeymoon

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union celebrated their 1-year wedding anniversary this week ... by stripping down to their bathing suits ... and showing off their ridiculous physiques.  The two haven't revealed the location of their honeymoon trip --…


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Posted on 1 September 2015 | 2:53 pm

Entertainment - i09



In Kazakhstan, the Soyuz TMA-18M Spacecraft Awaits Its Journey to the Stars

Here’s a low-angle look at the Russian Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft, vertical on the launch pad in the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The rocket will blast off on Wednesday carrying astronauts from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Denmark to the International Space Station.

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Posted on 1 September 2015 | 1:00 am

Music - Indie Music Filter



Video: “Sleeping Alone” by Mieke

For fans of London Grammar, take a listen to "Sleeping Alone" from 25-year-old Toronto singer/songwriter Mieke.

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Posted on 28 August 2015 | 7:36 pm