Indian Country

My Vulcan Savior: NDN Geek Says Goodbye to Leonard Nimoy

I don’t know where to begin really.  Star Trek has been such a big part of who I am since I was a teenager.  Countless movies, hours upon hours of watching the reruns o...

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Posted on 28 February 2015 | 12:00 am


Gieves and Hawkes Handmade Indigo Blue Glencheck Wool-silk-linen Jacket

This checked blazer was handmade to the highest sartorial standards and is cut in a luxurious wool, linen and silk blend with an exceptionally soft handle

The post Gieves and Hawkes Handmade Indigo Blue Glencheck Wool-silk-linen Jacket appeared first on Hello Vancity.

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Posted on 28 February 2015 | 1:15 pm

List Verse

10 Pets That Put Killers Behind Bars

We all know dogs have an amazing sense of smell. Our best friends bring us all sorts of stinky surprises. It’s often the neighbors’ trash or a stray shoe, but on rare occasion it can be bones—sometimes even human bones. Dogs also track down the bad guys for us. Only a few short years ago, […]

The post 10 Pets That Put Killers Behind Bars appeared first on Listverse.

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Posted on 1 March 2015 | 3:00 am

The Gate

Leonard Nimoy’s top 5 episodes from ‘Star Trek’

Today's news that venerable Star Trek legend Leonard Nimoy had passed away has hit a lot of science fiction fans pretty hard--myself included. The man was more than just Spock--by what I knew of him he was also a wonderful human being, and he was incredibly talented.

The post Leonard Nimoy’s top 5 episodes from ‘Star Trek’ appeared first on The GATE.

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 4:21 pm


Spock: the beautiful geek who gave zero f*cks

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 5:36 pm

This hungry Kitten

Easy Chicken Shawarma Kebobs

My last post was almost a month ago! Life gets busy sometimes and finding moments to sit and reflect don’t come around often enough. I have been on a journey to better health, and it’s been wonderful! I think we’ve … Continue reading

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Posted on 10 July 2014 | 11:45 am

The cat from Hell

Selfie Sunday-Is Yous Ready?

Every Sunday The Cat on My Head has Selfie Sunday! First Yous can click here to joins the bloghop and sees all the other selfies – Take it away The Cat on My Head!!! Filed under: Art, Cat Behaviour

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Posted on 1 March 2015 | 12:50 am

The Future Soon

Octopus killing a seagull - THE KRAKEN WAKES

Octopus killing a seagull off Ogden Point breakwater

I love octopuses. Smart, powerful, adaptive, and deadly.

These are the first ever photos of a Giant Pacific Octopus catching and killing a Glaucous-winged seagull.

And they provide two important lessons: One, always carry a camera with you because you may happen upon a scientifically important event. And two, keep an eye out for the unusual.

I loved finding and booking this story for my local CBC morning show, On The Island. 

Take a listen to Ginger Morneau, the woman who took these photos.
Here she is speaking with CBC On The Island host, Gregor Craigie.

And this is where I found this story.

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Posted on 3 May 2012 | 2:21 pm

Urban Toronto

'After Empirical Urbanism' Panel Discusses the Messages of Maps


University of Toronto's John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design began its three-day symposium 'After Empirical Urbanism' today. The free series explores urbanism as an art, and how data and information has shaped and will continue to shape the growth of cities. 

The first session, 'Carto Graphics', examined how maps are used not only as a means of displaying factual information, but as a way to influence the viewer. The inclusion and exclusion of specific information along with their strategic placement on the map can shape the viewer into thinking a certain way. 

The panelists take questions from the audience, image by Marcus MitanisModerator Mason White and panelists Jill Desimini, Jesse LeCavalier and Sarah Williams, image by Marcus Mitanis

Moderated by Mason White from the University of Toronto, the panelists consisted of Jill Desimini from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Jesse LeCavalier from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Sarah Williams from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Jill Desimini discussed some of the different techniques used in mapping. She pointed to Ian McHarg, who worked as a Scottish landscape architect and writer, noting that "his maps changed the perception of the urban landscape." His 1969 book Design with Nature looked at the mapping of regions, explaining how to break down areas into appropriate yet competing forces. His work emphasized the study of ecology—becoming familiar with the natural aspects of a site, including its climate and soil—and his legacy went on to inform the development of modern day Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Desimini explained that mapping and designs can be engaged and influenced by embracing data, also noting that the creation of maps is often both an objective and subjective exercise.

New York City subway map, image by the Metropolitan Transportation AuthorityNew York City subway map, image courtesy of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Jesse LeCavalier studied how Walmart uses maps to portray their image and tell stories about itself. First, he pointed to the bias of maps in general, particularly New York City's subway map, which depicts the Hudson River much wider than it is in reality, the result of which completely excludes the state of New Jersey.

As Walmart expanded from its original Arkansas location, the geographical correlation between the stores and freeways became clear. Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart, explained that this was no accident: "We never planned on actually going into the cities. What we did instead was build our stores in a ring around a city," he said. Some areas of the United States, particularly Vermont, had attempted to exclude Walmart from its borders due to the store's impact on traffic and the landscape. They were successful at first, but Walmart set up shop just a short drive outside state borders, essentially forming a perimeter around Vermont. As a result, many Vermonters had nearby access to Walmart. The state, the last in the country to welcome Walmart, now has a handful of stores that are still controversial to many. 

Map of Nairobi's matatus network, image courtesy of Civic Data Design LabMap of Nairobi's matatus network, image courtesy of Civic Data Design Lab

On the international scene, Sarah Williams discussed her work as Director of Civic Data Design Lab. The lab compiles and analyzes data to "expose urban policy issues". One of her most notable works came when her team researched the transit system of Nairobi, Kenya. Over 3.5 million people in the city rely on a haphazard network of privately owned minibuses known as matatus. The system was highly decentralized and unregulated until Civic Data Design Lab developed a map which outlined every route in the city. Showing the map to the locals, the drivers were surprised at the lack of coverage in some areas, immediately insisting on creating new routes for underserved neighbourhoods. The visualization went viral and shortly afterward was adopted by the city as its official transit map. 

Williams' also showcased her efforts mapping the Garment District in New York to better understand how the neighbourhood is used by those in the industry. A rezoning application in the works for the area would have altered the district's tailored zoning, which aims to keep the iconic neighbourhood a hub of manufacturing. The resulting map created by Civic Data Design Lab demonstrated that the perception of a declining Garment District was misrepresented; rather, the tracking of designers' business trips revealed that 80% of this movement took place within the Garment District. Williams and the other panelists noted that the information that is not being collected in maps needs more focus, explaining their powerful use in telling stories and shaping observations. 

The remaining sessions, which are free and do not require registration, will be held on Saturday, followed by student presentations on Sunday. For more information about the event, visit the official website

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 8:30 pm

The Hook (B.C. News)

Craving Cinematic Silliness? Try 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' (in Culture)

Willing to let your critical mind lapse into quasi-vegetation? This might be your film.  

Related Stories

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Posted on 28 February 2015 | 6:26 pm

The Greater Fool

Loving to hate

Yesterday I threw a frequent and articulate poster off this blog. In response to a comment from someone proud that their immigrant parents had produced three doctors and two pharmacists who were helping Canadians’ lives, he wrote: Born and raised Canadian kids could have been trained for those jobs, so don’t get too full of […]

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 6:03 pm

Hiking With Barry!

Snowshoe Hare – West Bragg – Hiking Alberta

Bragg Creek is our destination of choice for this late February day.  Another unusual winter (they are all unique) leaves no significant snow at lower elevations east of Lake Louise so the cross country ski season is seriously interrupted and many downhill … Continue reading

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 9:43 pm

Illustrators Pay Tribute to Leonard Nimoy

[body_image width='2000' height='2000' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425225532.jpg' id='31766'] Patrick May

Leonard Nimoy was the coolest guy ever. In the wake of his passing, a lot of the more obscure things that he did have been brought up. Sure, he anchored Star Trek and was easily the best actor on the original show. He also directed the best Star Trek movie and appeared on bothThe Simpsons and Futurama. He released some notable records and wrote an autobiography called I Am Not Spock which he followed up with I Am Spock.

Did you know that he recorded an album of him reading Ray Bradbury short stories? Did you know that he did a photo series of overweight nude women to try to push the idea of "fat acceptance"? Leonard Nimoy did a lot of really cool things outside of Star Trek but he always had a good sense of humor. He never seemed to resent Star Trek for being the most prominent thing in his career.

I asked illustrators to draw pictures memorializing the late actor. Here are fifteen. It would have been good if at least one of these drawings didn't Nimoy as Spock, but it's fun to draw him as Spock and I think he would have been fine with it.

[body_image width='1000' height='717' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425224873.jpg' id='31750'] Penelope Gazin

[body_image width='1000' height='1023' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425224914.jpg' id='31751'] Sabrina Elliott

[body_image width='1000' height='1000' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425224944.jpg' id='31752'] Chris George

[body_image width='1000' height='1400' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425224974.jpeg' id='31753']Tina Lugo

[body_image width='1000' height='1000' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425224998.jpg' id='31754']Andrew Neal

[body_image width='1000' height='1000' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425225038.jpg' id='31755'] Rob Corradetti

[body_image width='1000' height='1139' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425225079.jpg' id='31756'] Nick Gazin

[body_image width='602' height='649' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425225160.png' id='31757'] Ben Jones

[body_image width='1000' height='1000' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425225199.jpg' id='31758'] Kelsey Niziolek

[body_image width='1000' height='1000' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425225250.jpg' id='31760'] Jordan Specher

[body_image width='1000' height='1131' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425225280.jpg' id='31761'] Ryan Humphrey

[body_image width='1000' height='994' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425225310.jpg' id='31762'] Anna Wanda Gogusey

[body_image width='1000' height='1247' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425225363.jpg' id='31763'] Dustin Mertz

[body_image width='1000' height='1000' path='images/content-images/2015/03/01/' crop='images/content-images-crops/2015/03/01/' filename='illustrators-pay-tribute-to-leonard-nimroy-body-image-1425225386.jpg' id='31764'] Robin Eisenberg

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Posted on 1 March 2015 | 10:41 am

Michael Geist

Rogers Executive Calls on Canadian Government to Shut Down VPNs

The Content Industry Connect conference, which was held in Toronto yesterday, featured a panel of leading television executives from Bell, the CBC, Corus, Rogers, and Shaw Media. Several people were live-tweeting the event when a comment from Rogers Senior Vice President David Purdy caught my eye. According to Kelly Lynne Ashton, a media policy expert, Purdy called on the Canadian government to shut down the use of virtual private networks:

[caption id="attachment_9279" align="alignnone" width="300"]@Klashton27 tweet by Kelly Lynne Ashton @Klashton27 tweet by Kelly Lynne Ashton[/caption]

The post Rogers Executive Calls on Canadian Government to Shut Down VPNs appeared first on Michael Geist.

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 8:24 am

The Tyee / The Hook

Craving Cinematic Silliness? Try 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' (in Culture)

Willing to let your critical mind lapse into quasi-vegetation? This might be your film.  

Related Stories

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Posted on 28 February 2015 | 6:26 pm

Vancouver students fundraising for trip to LGBTQ youth conference

Last June, the Vancouver school board updated its sexual orientation and gender identities policy to provide better support for transgender students and staff.

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 6:14 pm

A View from the Edge

Merry Christmas!

I just want to take this opportunity to thank all of you
for following my blog. I have been blogging since 2005; 3 years on 
another site and 5 1/2 years on this site. I started the blog mainly as a
diary and for my friends and family to keep track of our doings and 
whereabouts when we decided to hit the road in our RV. We got off the
road in April 2012. I have decided to step away from blogging for awhile, if not
permanently. I have many ideas in my head for books, and, in fact, have started
a few of them! I am hoping to spend more time this new year on writing. I
might check in from time-to-time on your blogs; may not comment, but just to
see how you all are doing. I've made some good friends over the years through
blogging, and I know that we will stay in touch.

Have a WONDERFUL Christmas and a HAPPY and HEALTHY
New Year!

Love, Pat

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Posted on 22 December 2013 | 9:24 am

Cottage Country Reflections

The Duchess in Smiths Falls

Not THE Duchess, but non-profit Duchess Boutique. Last year, before health issues compounded our schedule, I was volunteering with the Susan Shirley Program in Smiths Falls. I was popping in one day a week to tutor them.  Some were still in high school and others were preparing for college. Having volunteered facilitating a Creative Writing program in Beaver Creek Institution, I thought it

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 8:07 am

Steve Paikin

Steve Paikin: Monte McNaughton sits third as the PC leadership reaches the deadline for member signups

The Progressive Conservatives will make leadership candidates’ new member signups tally public tomorrow night, and with an anticipated 35,000 new members joining the party, the state-of-play for the race will be set.

Barrie MP Patrick Brown is widely believed to have signed up the most new members, followed by Whitby-Oshawa MPP Christine Elliott.  Monte McNaughton, the MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, is thought to be far behind in third.

Of course, signing up as many members as possible is only half the battle in winning the PC leadership. The other half is getting them out on voting day, which is still more than two months away. The winner will be announced at a party event on May 9.

McNaughton is running third in fundraising as well. (As an aside, some have wondered what happens to money raise by MPPs Vic Fedeli and Lisa MacLeod, now that they have left the race.  The PC Party’s rules on this are silent, according to president, Richard Ciano. Elections Ontario, however, says any surplus must be paid to the party. Which means Fedeli and MacLeod can’t hand that money over to Elliott, the candidate they’ve both endorsed. The approximately $300,000 would instead go to PC Party coffers instead.)

Like Patrick Brown, Monte McNaughton is in his 30s. He first ran for the PCs in the 2007 election, losing by nearly 3,000 votes. The Liberals became unpopular in rural Ontario in the run up to the 2011 election and McNaughton was the beneficiary, winning by nearly 7,000 votes, then again in 2014 by almost the same margin.

McNaughton is running in this race as the unambiguous right wing, “small c” fiscal and social conservative. Correctly assuming that Christine Elliott’s campaign is trying to repatriate the Red Tory vote, McNaughton is planting his flag firmly to the hard right. (Full disclosure: my wife is a volunteer advisor to the Elliott campaign).

McNaughton is chasing the same vote as the Brown campaign, but he’s under-resourced by comparison. Only twice in this contest has he managed to generate significant attention. The first: Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s endorsement. But if the campaign expected the Ford Nation tsunami of support to follow, it was left disappointed. Ford hosted an event a few days ago with McNaughton, and the crowd was shockingly small considering Ford’s presence. Either the former mayor is no longer a large draw, or his Ford Nation support is only a municipal phenomenon.

It’s also possible that with his brother Doug Ford supporting the Elliott campaign, the former mayor simply can’t deliver the oomph the McNaughton team hoped he could.

In McNaughton’s second headline grabber, he clearly came out on the losing side of the equation: in a bid to play the champion of the social conservative vote, he launched a high profile attack on the province’s new sex education curriculum. But when McNaughton attacked Premier Kathleen Wynne by name in the legislature earlier this week, saying she, in particular, was ill equipped to renew the curriculum, the premier turned the tables on him.

Her retort: “What is it that especially disqualifies me for the job that I’m doing? Is it that I’m a woman? Is it that I’m a mother? Is it that I have a master’s of education? Is it that I was a school council Chair? Is it that I was the Minister of Education? What is it exactly that the member opposition thinks disqualifies me from doing the job that I’m doing? What is that?”

Education Minister Liz Sandals accused McNaughton of being homophobic. He denied it, insisting he was referring to the Liberals’ ethical lapses. But it was game, set, and match to the government. Even worse, Tory MPP Rick Nicholls chose that moment to say he didn’t believe in the theory of evolution. The Globe and Mail quoted one clever Tory insider anonymously saying: “We’ve clearly evolved a third foot, so we could shoot ourselves in it.”

Image credit: Jean Levac/Ottawa Citizen

Read more by Steve Paikin.

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 11:46 am

Weighty Matters

Saturday Stories: Chris Kyle, CAM, and a 'P' Value Ban

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Posted on 28 February 2015 | 6:41 am

Margaret Wente

Why I already have Hillary fatigue

She may be a lock for the nomination, but she should make serious Democrats want to stick hot pokers in their eyes

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Posted on 28 February 2015 | 8:00 am

Lauren Out Loud

HIATUS: re-launching January 2015

Tweet This Post

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Posted on 24 July 2014 | 2:54 pm

Rants n Rascals

Plan Your Spring Wedding With Cocomelody

From color schemes to blooming flowers planning a spring wedding is exciting. So many of my friends are getting married, and there’s no better time than when the sun is shining and the decor is light, whimsical and new. Step into your spring wedding with Cocomelody. They have everything you could hope for when planning […]

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 3:21 am

Bow. James Bow

Many Moving Boxes

It’s been a lengthy ordeal. We started gearing up to move back in October, when we raced to place our house on the market in order to try and entice a homeowner to accept our offer (they weren’t accepting...

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Posted on 28 February 2015 | 11:33 pm

A Toronto Blog

Toronto Sexapalooza 2015

Follow your desire and explore sexuality at the consumer show for the frisky and adventurous. With the impact of Fifty Shades of Grey they may have to upsize their kinky Dungeon stronghold and bring in a few more whips and restraints. This is the show that has a lot more to offer than that which can be found in the local adult store. The Hustler ladies, above, say that "Bad Girls Do it Well".
HouseSM fashion design and costume store

Their highly anticipated seminars can increase your knowledge of bodily delights and the main stage entertainment gives you a break between cruising the aisles looking at the many exhibitors products.
Adult film star Alexis Texas during a spicy Q & A session

"Our Main Stage Entertainment is almost non-stop throughout the weekend. You are able to get up close and personal to watch burlesque, male erotic dancers, body painted models, bondage bed demos and more. The Main Stage area feels a bit like being at a nightclub with lighted cruiser tables clustered around the stage. Audience participation is welcomed by some entertainment. Contest participation means a guaranteed door prize. Shy to go on stage to win a prize? You can still win one of our fabulous door prizes which are drawn hourly by our MC. Burlesque Dancing, Pole Dancing Performances, Fashion Show, Bondage Bed Demo, Male Dancers, Drag Queens"
Sexapalooza takes place from February 27 to March 1 at Hall 6 of the Toronto International Centre (Friday 5-12pm, Saturday 12pm-midnight and Sunday 12-6pm).
It is amazing how many beautiful women you see at this show

Posted by Joe Hamilton and James Hamilton. See more after the jump.

Some suckers
The safer lube
Red Rhino Entertainment
At the Oasis Aqualounge hot tub
Dirty Dancing presented by Inspiracion Latina Dance
 Toronto Maple Leafs jersey by A Little Bit of Bling
 Performances from the Toronto Burlesque Teachers Collective

Magic Male Revue
Club M4

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Posted on 28 February 2015 | 10:00 am

Robyn Urbak on Campus

Space for faith: Accomodating religion on campus

Are all faiths treated equally when it comes to dedicated space on campus?

The post Space for faith: Accomodating religion on campus appeared first on

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Posted on 17 February 2015 | 1:10 pm

Postcards From the Mothership

Photos of the day: Winter walk on the Jack Pine Trail and a Spring Thaw portrait deal

Did you see?? The sun came out AND it was above minus 20 today. It was practically summer!! We celebrated with a walk on one of our favourite Ottawa trails, and were delighted by the number of animals who came out to say hello: pileated woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees, a merlin, a few playful red [...] Related posts (automatically generated):
  1. Ottawa’s Hidden Treasures: The Lime Kiln Trail
  2. That’s one way to feed the chickadees!
  3. This week in pictures: Surprise, more winter photos!

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Posted on 28 February 2015 | 6:13 pm

David Akins on the Hill

Harper gets questions. Two of them. Here’s how they were picked.

Last night at about 7:30 pm on Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a statement to reporters and then allowed us to ask a couple of questions. The PMO restricted the Canadian reporters present — about 15 of us — to a total of two questions, one of which […]

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Posted on 10 February 2015 | 3:17 pm

Dutch Blitz

Artsy Fartsy

Emily has been an Artist for as long as she’s been able to move and create. She sings, she dances, and she draws me beautiful pictures, usually with an “I LOVE YOU MOM” caption. She draws with sidewalk chalk, she uses markers to colour in books, and she uses pencils to draw renditions of characters […]

© Angella Dykstra 2005-2013 All rights reserved. | Originally published for as Artsy Fartsy.

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Posted on 24 February 2015 | 1:50 am

Nik at Night

That Guy on the Phone...

In the Serial podcast, which my husband and I devoured in the last two months of 2014, host Sarah Koenig argues that memories are flawed, and that if something huge happens to a person, they can only be expected to remember what happened immediately after, because it becomes emblazoned on their brains. There are some exceptions, she said, like people with photographic memories or people who actively memorize every moment of those days to archive it. I’m one of those exceptions.

It was January 8, 1990, and I was working on a project for my grade 11 history class on Leonardo da Vinci at my desk in my bedroom. Or, at least, I was supposedto be working on that project. Instead I’d gotten distracted by his drawings, and started working on my own drawing that was sure to become one for the ages. Who wouldn’t want a Nikki Stafford original sketch of The Edge from the back of the Joshua Tree album? OK, it wasn’t actually the album, but one of the singles. One of the cassingles. Oh yes, I had cassingles. (Everyone reading this born after 1995 is like WTF?!)

Anyway, I digress, as I usually do. The phone rang and my dad picked it up. He came to the doorway of my room with a smirk on his face and said, “It’s a boy.” I went into my parents’ room (there was no phone in mine) and picked up the extension. It was a guy I worked with at a grocery store. He worked up front on cash, and I was one of the bakery girls.

I was hoping he’d call.

Let’s rewind. I started working at the grocery store in August of the previous year (yes, we are in the ’80s now). It was a terrible place with a bakery manager woman who might be the single worst human being I’ve ever known. There was a guy who worked up front who didn’t talk to me or make eye contact, but I knew about him because there were other girls in the bakery who talked about him. His name was Robert.

On November 26, I went to a record show with my friend Sue at Centennial Hall in London, Ontario. Way back then, before the internets were places one surfed, there were record shows, where people basically gathered to buy a bunch of illegal and bootlegged stuff. I was there looking at U2 and REM bootleg shows. And then Robert came up to us. He saw my friend Sue and started asking her about Smiths bootlegs, and then he saw me. At this point I was sitting up on the Centennial Hall stage, my legs dangling over the side. “Oh... hello,” he said, sounding surprised. The following Tuesday I was working my usual 4:30-10 shift that I worked every Tuesday, and he came over to talk to me. “What were you there for?” he asked. I said U2 and REM and a few other things. He nodded and smiled and headed back to the cash register. That weekend I was working on Saturday and was on my lunch break when he came into the lunchroom. I don’t ever remember him taking lunch at the same time as me, but there he was. I was reading a book of Oscar Wilde plays because I’d only recently discovered his work, and I was underlining my favourite bits. Rob came over to chat with me, sat down, and began asking about Oscar Wilde. He liked Oscar Wilde, too, but that’s because Morrissey liked him. Was I reading it because of Morrissey? No, I said, I was just reading it because my dad gave me a copy of the book and I loved it. Then I started showing him my favourite lines that I’d underlined. Soon I had to head back down, but I said I’d lend him my copy if he wanted, when I was done with it.

December 16. Company Christmas party. I went to the party with a friend of mine and Robert went to the party with a girl he was dating at the time. Oddly enough, the Christmas party was in the basement of Centennial Hall, where the record show had been. And then he came over to me. He sat down next to me and we started chatting about music. He seemed to be in awe of the fact that I’d played piano quite seriously for years, and said he always wanted to learn how to play guitar. I said he should just start taking lessons. He asked if I wanted to dance. Sure, I said.

I remember dates and places and even what I was wearing, but to this day I couldn’t tell you what song was playing when we danced. I wasn’t focused on that at all.

That night I got home and my dad was waiting up for me. He asked how my date went, and I said it wasn’t a date, we were just friends. He looked a little disappointed, and then asked, “Is there someone else you have your eye on?” he asked. Yes. The cashier at the store. We danced together, I told him. His name is Robert.

Back to January 8. It was Robert on the phone. We talked about our families and school (he was two years older than I was and in grade 13) and he told me he’d broken up with his girlfriend. Suddenly he said, “So... I was wondering if... you know, if you wanted... if... um... if you’d like to go out some time?” “Sure,” I said, trying to sound nonchalant. (Later he told me he nearly dropped the phone when he began fist-pumping the air; at the time I had no idea because he was desperately trying to play it cool.) Turns out, he’d had my eye on me since my first day at work, but just assumed I was dating someone already. When he began asking around and discovered I wasn’t, he made his move.

That Friday we went out for the first time. He took me to his house and I met his parents (friends of ours later laughed at what a daring move that was on a first date) and then he gave me a copy of The Smiths’ Louder Than Bombs. For the next week I listened to it constantly. And at the end of January, like the crazy kids we were, we decided to make it permanent and tell people we were a couple. We spent the next five years driving to Toronto three times a week (a two-hour drive) to see concerts, and discovering new music. We went to university, and began working at the student newspaper (something I never would have done if it hadn’t been for him). In December 1995, we had a huge argument about something, I can’t even remember what it was, and later that day he showed up at my house. With an engagement ring. I was shocked, and I remember joking that it was the most elaborate method he’d come up with yet of making an argument go away. “I hope 20 years from now I don’t remember that you handed this to me to end an argument,” I said. “You won’t,” he laughed. (I do...)

And today, twenty-five years after that initial phone call, we’ve been married for 15 years and have two beautiful kids, and I love him more than ever.

I’ve talked about Rob on here before, rarely using his name, usually referencing his guitars or his golf writing or his love of music. Or I complain about how he wrecks my books or doesn’t understand how a vacuum works or how he’s constantly shaking his head at something weird I said.

You probably couldn’t find two people who are more different. When we met I was quiet and shy (yes, dear ones who’ve known me for the past 10 years only... this is actually true). He was loud and boisterous, and talked constantly. He’s also a journalist, so when he meets people he pumps them with questions and wants to know everything about them.

I’m a Liberal, and a pretty left-leaning one, and he’s the son of two card-carrying capital-C Conservatives. I always thought that was just a phrase; I didn’t know there were actual cards until I saw his dad’s. He’s not as extreme as they are (and one thing I should say to qualify that for any non-Canadians reading this: many Canadian Conservatives are actually left of American Democrats; even our right is pretty far to the left) but our views are definitely different on many topics. He loves calling me a “bleeding heart liberal,” and has strong opinions on just about everything. What is interesting to me is — and this is always clearer on Facebook, where there is never a shortage of opinions — most of my leftie friends have leftie friends and family and spouses; they rarely get the opinion of the other side from someone close to them. But when a major world event happens and I see people ranting all over their social media pages and their loved ones backing them up, I can always see the other sides of the situation because of listening to Rob. And rather than him having the opposite viewpoint, he typically has a balanced one, which is pretty rare in this world. Our “discussions” about world events often get quite heated, but after one of us finally leaves the room, we actually both think about what the other one says. I see his point of view, and he sees mine. Both of our belief systems have been shaped and influenced by the other one.

Now, I should probably qualify that despite calling himself a conservative, he’s one in a fiscal sense only: he believes in lower taxes and fewer handouts; but he also believes in pro-choice and gay marriage. He thinks Jon Stewart and John Oliver are two of the best commentators on television. He doesn’t sit around espousing conservative propaganda, but if he meets someone else who does, he simply listens to them, which is more than most people would do. Before, of course, arguing with them, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum. 

His friends are fiercely loyal to him, and he to them. Where I’m the one who aims to please, he’s the opinionated one who isn’t afraid to say what he thinks, and those opinions are sometimes unwelcome. And he listens, and he remains calm, while people around him go red in the face and apoplectic over such a small issue.

And that’s one thing I particularly love about him: he’s patient. I’ve seen him lose his patience before — if he’s treated badly in a restaurant, the entire place will know; don’t even get me started on what happens if people behind us in a movie theatre begin talking — but not with the ones he loves. I’m an arguer, a very, very, passionate arguer. My voice rises and my hands fly all over the place and I begin quoting things and looking for information to back me up. Rob’s a calm arguer. He simply closes his eyes and shakes his head dismissively, and lets you have your little rant and then calmly says what he considers to be the only right thing in the conversation (but which, when arguing with me, is usually WRONG). But while that calm drives me NUTS, whenever I’m calm I appreciate it. Imagine two passionate firecrackers having an argument? Our marriage would have been over a decade ago. I need someone calm to balance my passion, and that’s him.

My friends and family are smart, educated people. I’m surrounded by academics and managers and professionals and entrepreneurs who talk about pop culture and world events and history and literature. And yet I’ve never met anyone smarter than Robert. Ask him anything, and he probably knows the answer. Name a year, and he’ll tell you what team won the World Series, and the batting averages of everyone on the team. Ask who has pitched perfect games and he’ll rattle off the pitchers’ names, including the year, what their team scored, who they were playing against at the time, and probably list them in chronological order. Name a golf course and he’ll tell you who designed it, in what year, how many times the clubhouses have been rebuilt, what designer ended up doing renovations (and in what year), and then he’ll go hole-by-hole and tell you what the features are, and if he played the course (which he probably did), he’ll tell you how he played each hole. (I should mention he’s a golf writer whose focus is golf architecture.) Ask him about any single by Elvis Presley, and he’ll give you the year it came out, who wrote it, where he recorded it, what number it charted at, and what colour the centre cardboard circle was on the vinyl. Don’t even think about playing against him in Trivial Pursuit — he’s that weirdo who can answer every question about Lebanon in the 1970s that no one else ever gets right. He’s a history major with a minor in just about everything else. I HATE when we go to friends’ houses and they impose that stupid “no playing with spouses” rules for Trivial Pursuit. Because I know I’m about to lose.

And yet despite that steel trap of a mind, he still can’t remember that paper goes in one bin and plastic in the other. Seriously.

He forgives. We live in a world where there are no limits on the number of social media platforms where we can state our opinions... as long as those opinions match the opinions of everyone else. He doesn’t follow that protocol, and as a result I’ve seen people say nasty things about him, and he knows that. And then he just shrugs and forgives. There are people who have done terrible things to him in real life, and I’ve seen him soon after having a conversation with them where he’s lively and cheerful, and never insincere. He just doesn’t waste his energy on being resentful. He has a mother who loves her kids fiercely and would do anything for them, and he’s inherited that from her. He calls his mom three times a week, talks to his younger sister constantly, we live near his brother's family and see them as much as we can, and he talks for hours with his dad about baseball.

He’s incredibly generous, and doesn’t take stock of his generosity by assuming people will owe him favours back. He’s written press releases for musician friends or friends starting their own businesses. When my brother, who’s a lawyer, was first out of law school Rob set up appointments with different lawyer friends of his to talk to my brother about various kinds of entertainment law. When my brother asked to borrow some golf clubs so he could play with a client, Rob put together an amazing set of clubs from the many he has in the basement and told him to keep them. “There’s no better way to connect with clients than through golf,” he said. He’s driven my mom to the hospital on several occasions for appointments. He’s usually the first one out on the street when a neighbour’s car gets stuck in the snow (we live on an uphill street, which can be treacherous in the winter). As such, he’s one of those rare individuals who has no trouble asking others for help if he needs it. I find so many people (I’m one of the worst) refuse to ask for help when they need it, but he comes from a family that says help others and ask others to help you. It’s the one area above all others where I wish I could be more like him.

As a husband, he’s loving, kind, and even after all these years tells me I look nice in the morning (even if I’m unshowered and wearing an old baggy T-shirt and yoga pants). While I often complain loudly that he doesn’t do any housework ever, he works long hours and always has a lot of pressure on him, yet he never takes this out on me. Ever.

I remember 10 years ago when our daughter was born, I got to see a new side of him, and was floored by it. As soon as my daughter came into this world I tentatively held her, so scared I might break or drop her, and looked into her eyes and she looked back at me with that intense stare she has to this very day. And when he knew I was ready to let go, he swooped in, scooped her up in a way that made my heart go into my stomach (oh my god don’t drop her!) and sat down in a chair with her propped up on his legs, talking to her like she was an old friend. Our first day home from the hospital, he was playing with her on the couch and all of a sudden said, “Oops, someone needs a diaper change!!” and then stood up, hesitated, and said, “I don’t know how to change a diaper.” He quickly ran upstairs and got one, and I showed him how to do it for the first time. For the next two weeks, I didn’t change a single diaper — he considered that Daddy’s duty, and he waited on us hand and foot. As my children have grown, he’s been my daughter’s baseball coach, my son’s wrestling companion, and they absolutely adore him. There are times when I joke that I have three kids, when he and my daughter seem to fight like a big brother and little sister (seriously, they’re so much alike it’s frightening), but I know she’d be lost without her daddy.

He was and is my first and only true love. I can’t imagine having spent my life with anyone else. I think back to who he was and who I was twenty-five years ago. He was an eccentric guy who wore a fedora and drove a car with a stick shift and wore leather racing gloves to drive it, and I thought he was cute and bizarre and cool. I was the quiet bakery girl who really didn’t stand out at all. I’ve mellowed him, and he brought me out of my shell. We carved out a life together where we’ve celebrated the many ups, and banded together to weather the downs.

Twenty-five years ago today, I hung up the phone, elated. I floated back to my room and my dad was already waiting in the doorway. “Was that Robert?” he said, with a twinkle in his eye. “Yes,” I replied, and told him that we were getting together on Friday. My dad went back downstairs, and I turned back to the drawing of The Edge. I added a five o’clock shadow on him, shaded in the hat, and sat back to look at my masterpiece. And then I shoved it into the side of my military green cargo bag I used for school, where I carried it around with me for years afterwards to remind me of how I felt in that moment.

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Posted on 8 January 2015 | 10:39 am

Word Grrrls

Don’t Apologize for Reading

The post Don’t Apologize for Reading appeared first on Word Grrls.

Jade Walker posted a quote I really liked today: “[D]on’t ever apologize to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that’s what they’re there for. Use your library). Don’t apologize to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend’s copy. ... Read more...

The post Don’t Apologize for Reading appeared first on Word Grrls - Writing daily whether I want to or not.

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Posted on 10 February 2015 | 9:38 am

Elfshot - sticks and stones

Open Minds

Student ulus
I'm putting the blog on auto-pilot for the next couple of weeks with pre-scheduled posts.  I've been wrapping up a few small Elfshot jobs this week, including one last Open Minds workshop at The Rooms.  I'll be back in later in March to work with another class of students making ground stone ulus.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 1:06 pm

Adam Radwanski

Former adviser explains how Obama lost control of his legacy

As Obama’s top campaign strategistser, David Axelrod had a ring-side seat to what was supposed to be a transformative presidency

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 6:20 pm

How to Survive Life in the Suburbs

Celebrate Canada’s Cold Weather Heroes #TideColdHero

Let’s all admit that come February, there are days that we look outside and think “Oh heck no!” But despite the cold weather, there are those special people; the ones that often make us wonder, “How could they possibly do that job in the cold?”, that continue to battle on throughout the colder months, that […]

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Posted on 1 March 2015 | 1:17 am

A Peek Inside the Fishbowl

Weekend reading: February 28 edition 

RT @BillAdairDuke: Great headline in jump of the Nimoy obit in Washington Post — Chris Taylor (@christaylor_nyc) February 28, 2015 The girl who gets gifts from birds, The End of the Big Mac, I Can Sum Up Marriage In These 11 Texts I’ve Sent My Husband, Are you emotionally intelligent? Here’s […]

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Posted on 28 February 2015 | 7:25 am

Dawg’s Blawg

The Great Canadian Compromise

It really doesn’t get stupider than this. Only the benighted Conservatives could have dreamed it up. No word as yet whether the vet with a glass eye still has to take annual vision tests to prove he can’t see out...

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Posted on 28 February 2015 | 11:02 am

Dammit Janet

Conservative Does Not Think Conservatives Deserve Majority (Wait til you find out who)

Putting this here for people who do not do the Twitter thing or who may have missed it.

Connie Fournier (yes, that Connie Fournier) writes:

Canadian conservatives don't deserve to have a majority government.

There. I said it. I haven't given up on conservatism. Actually, quite the opposite. I have just come to the conclusion that it is not in the interest of conservatism (or liberty or democracy, for that matter) for the Conservative Party to remain in power.

She goes on to excoriate -- very capably but from a conservative's point of view -- this government's abuse of privacy, freedom, and democracy focussing on the Jihadis Under Every Bed Bill, aka Bill C51.

Fourth-last paragraph:
It is obvious that we, as a political movement, do not have the maturity at this time to handle the unlimited power of a majority government. When we, as citizens, are left depending on the NDP and the Green Party to try to stop the Conservatives from stripping us of our rights, it is very, very wrong.

Go read the whole thing.

So, Connie, I guess we can expect to see you at upcoming anti-C51 rallies, eh?

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Posted on 28 February 2015 | 2:30 pm

That Artist Woman

Peacock Batiks and Journal Pages

I recently did these peacock batiks with Grade 3.  It ties into social studies where they are learning about India.  The peacock is the national bird of India.

We used lots of bright colours.

Now if you don't want to do a batik you can also create amazing peacocks in the art journal using painted papers.


- fabric, regular white cotton muslin works great
- pencil
- wax paper
- reference photos of peacock
- Elmer's clear gel glue
- acrylic paint in a variety of colours
- fabric markers, glitter paint, metallic paint to embellish

Art Journal:
- art journal or background paper
- heavy paper for painting
- disk tempera in bright colours
- glue
- markers, glitter, acrylic paint for adding details



Cut your fabric to your desired size.

Lay down some wax paper onto your work surface.  Put the fabric on top of the wax paper.

You can add some tape if you need to hold the fabric in place.

With your pencil draw out your peacock directly onto the fabric.

I asked the kids draw a large enough peacock to fill the space.

Use your Elmer's gel glue and go over your pencil lines.
Sometimes my students find it hard on the hands to squeeze the glue out of the bottle so I'll put some in a little cup and they use a paintbrush.

Go over every line as well as whatever part of the design that you want to stay white.

Keeping the fabric flat let dry.

Paint the peacock using acrylic paint mixed with a bit of water. The water helps the paint flow a bit better making it easier to paint the fabric.

Paint the entire piece of fabric so no white is showing. You can go right over the glue lines.

Let the fabric dry. Now you need to remove the glue. Place the fabric in the sink and let it soak in some hot water.
After 1/2 an hour or so give it a bit of scrub and rinse.

Let dry.

The batik is done but if you want you can add extra sparkle using glitter and metallic paints.

I used the paint to add details to the feathers.

That's it for the batik.  You can make it into a banner, placemat or even a pillow case.

Art Journal:

You need to paint a few papers for the peacock.
First I painted a paper for the body.  I choose blue and green.

I then painted 1/2 of a paper purple and magenta.  The other half I painted yellow.

I painted my background page a nice rich orange.  In fact it was already painted using leftover paint from the batik.

On the back of the paper I painted earlier I drew out my peacock body.
I cut it out.  Save the scraps in case you need them later when making feathers for the peacock.

I had this leftover piece of blue painted paper so I drew out the shape of my feathers.

Cut it out.

I cut strips from the purple and magenta paper and added them to the feathers.

I also added circles form the leftover body paper and yellow paper.  Glue into place on the background and then add body shape.  I cut legs and a beak out of the yellow paper.

I added paint, pencil crayon, marker, and glitter paint to further embellish my peacock.

That's all for now.


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Posted on 21 February 2015 | 7:32 pm

A pretty Life in the Suburbs

Mozzarella and Parmesan Buttermilk Quick Bread

I’ve been in a baking mood lately, and it makes me happy.  There’s just something about mixing together some simple ingredients and ending up with a delicious recipe.  Baking is so simple to do, with the added bonus of eating food where all of the ingredients are recognizable.  Just home made, real food.  Love that.  Not to mention […]

The post Mozzarella and Parmesan Buttermilk Quick Bread appeared first on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 1:45 pm

Canada's Adventure couple

Escape to Mexico – 8 Awesome Day Trips from Cancun

Cancun is one of the most popular winter getaways for North Americans. In the heart of winter, there is nothing better than hopping on a flight to escape the cold and in just a few short hours finding yourself in tropical weather. Mexico is one of our favourite winter escape and Cancun or Playa del Carmen are the spots that keep drawing us back again and again. We've had some amazing adventures in Mexico and here are some ideas for [...]

Read the original post Escape to Mexico – 8 Awesome Day Trips from Cancun on Adventure Travel blog for Couples | The Planet D.

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 5:00 am

My New Life in Canada, under the snow!

Selfish Little Monster

Most days, I feel like I start the day as a giant yummy chocolate cake fresh out of the oven. But hours after hours, minutes after minutes, Mark grabs bites of me. And at the end of the day, there is nothing left but useless stale crumbs. “Need… shower…” I grumble around 7 p.m.

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Posted on 27 February 2015 | 8:22 am

Live From Waterloo

Embarrassing moments - #074

(En español más abajo) 

Embarrassing moments
CanadaIt just happened yesterday. I was at a customer, finishing up with my work of the week. I was in the IT area, which is always one of the quietest places in an already quiet environment (a hospital). I had my phone on vibrate, as usual. Then I got a notification that Santi had posted something on Twitter. He is in Florida for the week, so I clicked on the link, without giving it any thought, as I wanted to see how he was doing. The following video played, as loud as it could be.
People around me started to laugh. I got lucky it was a safe for work video!
Me pasó ayer. Estaba en un cliente, terminando con mi trabajo de la semana. Estaba en el área de IT, que de por sí es uno de los lugares más silenciosos de un lugar de por sí tranquilo (un hospital). Tenía mi teléfono en modo vibrador, como siempre. En eso me llega una notificación de que Santi había puesto algo en su Twitter. Santi está en Florida con sus amigos, así que hice click en el link, sin pensarlo mucho, para ver cómo estaba. Me apareció este video, con el volumen a full.
Se me mataron de la risa a mi alrededor. Menos mal que esta vez era un video SFW (aceptable para el trabajo!)
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Posted on 28 February 2015 | 11:55 am