Monkeys and Mountains

9 Cafes in Muenchen Offering Lactose Free Milk

The original can be found here: 9 Cafes in Muenchen Offering Lactose Free Milk. Please read the original.

Cafes in München offering lactose-free milk be difficult to find, but here are 9, so you can enjoy your cappuccino even if you are lactose intolerant as I am!

Monkeys and Mountains - Adventure seeker and explorer by day, luxury seeker by night

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Posted on 14 September 2014 | 9:12 am

Indian Country

Cobell Pay-Off

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Posted on 14 September 2014 | 12:00 am


Brian Jessel BMW Luxury Flagship Dealership

On Tuesday, September 9th, Jim Murray welcome us to the newly renovated Brian Jessel BMW luxury flagship dealership. For the past 28 years, Brian Jessel has been the #1 BMW dealership in Western Canada. The dealership...

The post Brian Jessel BMW Luxury Flagship Dealership appeared first on Hello Vancity.

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 1:10 am

List Verse

10 Of The World’s Most Bizarre Towns

The world is a very strange place indeed. There is no telling what lurks behind picket fences. Below are some of the very strangest locales across the globe, from a city mired in garbage to a community of retired circus freaks. 10Manshiyat Naser, EgyptGarbage City In the suburbs of America, people prowl neighborhoods on bulk […]

The post 10 Of The World’s Most Bizarre Towns appeared first on Listverse.

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 3:01 am

The Fur Files

Dangerous Things People Should Probably Avoid

My husband is a smart guy. He knows a lot about a lot of things. I would consider him to be one of those people who is both life smart AND book smart AND good at fixing washing machines. (Ours keeps breaking and breaking and breaking – I’m about to go all “I’m sending a […]

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Posted on 11 April 2014 | 10:13 am

The Gate

TIFF 14: ‘Guidance’, Alanis Obomsawin, ‘Revenge of the Green Dragons’ & Ruba Nadda

Tuesday and Wednesday were two of my biggest days at the Toronto International Film Festival, aside from the always epic first Saturday of the festival. Tuesday started out fairly reasonably with writer, director and actor Pat Mills sitting down to discuss his film, Guidance.

The post TIFF 14: ‘Guidance’, Alanis Obomsawin, ‘Revenge of the Green Dragons’ & Ruba Nadda appeared first on The GATE.

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 3:18 pm


Are Countries Second-Class Citizens?

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 2:31 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

Mancat Monday

Yes, wes did has snow last week and Ninja was out in it! For your viewing pleasure, wes has some actions shots of Ninja chasing snowballs last Thursday! Filed under: Calgary, Man Cat Monday

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Posted on 14 September 2014 | 7:00 pm

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

Photo of the Day: BMO Field


Major upgrades are soon to get underway at BMO Field, home of the Toronto FC soccer team. Additional seating and a partially-enclosed roof will dramatically alter the stadium's capacity and overall aesthetic, and in today's Photo of the Day, submitted to the UrbanToronto Flickr Pool by Oscar Flores, we get an aerial view of the stadium in the current form, viewed from the zipline tower at the Canadian National Exhibition.

Photo of the Day, BMO FieldBMO Field viewed from the zipline tower at the CNE, image by Oscar Flores

Want to see your work featured as Photo of the Day? Head over to the City Photos & Videos section of the Forum, or submit your images to the new and improved UrbanToronto Flickr Pool for your chance to be featured on our Front Page!

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 12:00 am

The Hook (B.C. News)

NDP Pushes to Reinstate and Raise Federal Minimum Wage (in News)

If passed, wage would apply to 820,000 Canadians and 'fight against inequalities,' labour critic says.  

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 7:31 pm

The Greater Fool

That’s it

How to tell when housing boom’s running on fumes? When the Globe and Mail appoints a full-time real estate reporter, who gets more stories published than the Ottawa guy. And is cute. When 108,000 new condos are under construction in the GTA. When more than 50% of all markets saw sales declines last month. When […]

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Posted on 14 September 2014 | 6:05 pm

Hiking With Barry!

Stanley Falls – Jasper National Park – Hiking Alberta

The trailhead for Stanley Falls, along Beauty Creek, is accessed via a small, unsigned parking area on the Icefields Parkway north of the Columbia Icefields between the Stutfield Glacier Viewpoint (also unsigned?) and the Beauty Creek Hostel in Jasper National … Continue reading

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 1:30 pm

How Will Humanity Need to Change if We Want to Live on Other Planets?

Garbage from the International Space Station about to be unloaded into our solar system. Photo via Wikipedia

Have you ever had a long bar conversation about space exploration? Words like light years, interstellar, and landing module are bandied about and we all pretend to have a pretty firm grasp on what it would take to get the human race up to Mars, or elsewhere, and turning other worlds into slightly floatier versions of Earth.

Some might have even heard about SpaceX, the privately funded space exploration company, or Mars One, a Dutch enterprise that hopes to send a bunch of people to the red planet for the rest of their lives. But what happens when they get there? How will the human body evolve to deal with living on a different rock to the one our species has spent hundreds of thousands of years adapting to?

One person asking these kinds of questions is Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and a professor of cosmology and astrophysics at the University of Cambridge. So I called him up for a chat.

Lord Martin Rees

VICE: Can you explain to me what exactly your idea of a post-human—and a post-human future—is?
Lord Martin Rees: One thing we know is that Earth has a billion-year future ahead of it where life could persist, which means there's plenty of time for evolution. Moreover, future evolution won’t happen on the slow timescale of Darwinian natural selection. Instead, it will happen via the application of technology. Within a couple of centuries we will be capable of altering our descendants via genetic engineering and "cyborg" techniques into almost a different species. 

Do you think that would actually happen on a mass scale, though?
It may not happen here on Earth due to human choices and ethical preferences, but a century or two from now, small communities could possibly be living away from Earth in space. And surely we'd wish them the best of luck in adapting to alien environments through these kinds of drastic modification? It’s at this point that our species will diverge as we spread throughout the solar system.

That makes sense—the human body is presumably going to need a bit of work if its to cope in environments that we haven't naturally evolved to live in.
My prediction would be that, here on Earth, some cyborg-like modifications would take place through the process of melding ourselves with computers. The real scope of such changes, however, will occur via space pioneers. The environmental conditions that they will find themselves in will force them to adapt themselves. On Mars, for example, there is less gravity then here on Earth—and, on an asteroid, far less still. As a result, those living away from Earth will modify their physiques, adapting towards what’s optimal for a very different environment.

What makes you think that will happen faster than previous natural evolution?
Darwinian natural selection has, in many ways, stopped, due to medical advancements and the fact that we can now keep people alive who otherwise would have died. Our knowledge of genetics and cyber techniques could bring about a much faster form of evolution. I’m confident that if we can survive the next century these kinds of changes will occur, but it’s harder to predict the timescale. But it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that such genetic and physical augmentation could occur over the next few hundred years.

What are your thoughts on nuclear power and its role in space exploration? 
Nuclear power will be very important in cutting the journey time between planets and moons. A nuclear rocket may not offer as much thrust as chemical rockets when it comes to launching a spacecraft, but what it does allow is sustained acceleration over a long time span. This helps build up speed and therefore cut journey time. Even with nuclear rockets, however, it will take far longer than the lifespan of a human to travel beyond our solar system to the nearest stars. So any such efforts will be a post-human enterprise. Traveling across the Milky Way for thousands of years may not seem daunting to creatures who are near immortal or can induce states of suspended animation. While the idea of warp drive seems impossible to us currently, we have to be open-minded to the idea that we may be unaware of certain scientific principles.

Do you think private space exploration enterprises—like SpaceX, for example—are where those possibilities lie? 
If the Chinese committed themselves to leapfrogging NASA, they could obviously have an Apollo-like program committed to landing on Mars. If that doesn’t happen, however, I genuinely believe that the first humans to land on Mars will be privately sponsored. The reason for this is that there is no real practical case for manned space flight—that’s because robots are much cheaper and are closing the gap with human capabilities. 

Those humans who do land on Mars will therefore most likely be adventurers or thrill-seekers looking to push the limits of human endurance. Hope lies with companies such as SpaceX because they look to build craft more cheaply, and also their passengers may accept higher risks than NASA could impose on civilian publicly-funded astronauts—risks that include radiation damage and the potential of sending someone to Mars with a one-way ticket.

An artist's impression of what the first human settlement on Mars might look like.

Given that, through the modifications you're talking about, post-humans could potentially become less organic. Os it possible that extraterrestrials could be completely synthetic?
Absolutely. The human brain carries with it many limits. A silicon-based intelligence could eventually far surpass the human brain in terms of mental capacity, and especially in speed. If extraterrestrial intelligence is detected, it’s quite likely that it will be non-organic, possibly created by a long extinct civilization. Even though there are probably billions of Earth-like planets in our galaxy, we don’t know how many are likely to have biospheres. 

But if there are any planets similar to Earth which have evolved like the Earth, but for longer, then it’s perfectly possible that they will be populated by non-organic beings—computers that have the ability to simulate life itself. A much more far-out speculation, by the way, is that we could exist inside a simulation being carried out on a vast computer created by a more advanced civilization, akin to the Matrix. I think such an idea is pure science fiction. Having said that, it’s not against the fundamental laws of physics. Galactic scale super-civilizations could build computers on a planetary scale with stupendously massive processing power. So, while wildly futuristic, such civilizations are possible.

Finally, how tied is the survival of the human species to the stars?
The presence of a self-sustaining community of pioneers living away from Earth would be an assurance in the sense that it would mean that the post-human future wouldn’t be foreclosed even if everything was wiped out here on Earth. But even pessimists would rate the prospect of all humans being wiped out here on Earth as unlikely. 

Having said that, the rapid advance of technology means that, 20 years from now, it’s likely that individuals or small groups will be able to create bioweapons in the same spirit that some people engage in cyber-terrorism. I worry about the problems of controlling this. If one person can cause a catastrophe then that’s one person too many. I genuinely believe that this prospect is going to present an intractable problem for all governments. We must strive to harness the benefits of ever more powerful technologies—bio-, cyber-, and nano—while reducing the downside risks. 

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 4:43 pm

Michael Geist

The CRTC’s Future of Television Hearing Turns Into The Netflix Show

Five years ago, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission held two major hearings on new media and the Internet. The 2009 hearings, which featured contributions from the major telecom and broadcast companies in Canada, paved the way for Canadian net neutrality rules and the renewal of a regulatory exemption for new media broadcasters such as online video services.

Despite weeks of hearings, Netflix was only mentioned twice: once when it was referenced in a quote from a U.S. publication on the emergence of Internet video and a second time when a Canadian company referred to its mail-based DVD rental service.

Netflix may not have been top-of-mind in 2009, but my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that today it is seemingly the only thing the industry wants to talk about. New consumer choice of television channels was billed as the centerpiece of the CRTC's future of television hearing, but witness after witness has turned it into The Netflix Show. Starting with the Ontario government, broadcasters, broadcast distributors, producers, and other creators have lined up to warn ominously about the impact of Netflix on the future of the Canadian television system.

The post The CRTC’s Future of Television Hearing Turns Into The Netflix Show appeared first on Michael Geist.

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 9:19 am

The Tyee / The Hook

NDP Pushes to Reinstate and Raise Federal Minimum Wage (in News)

If passed, wage would apply to 820,000 Canadians and 'fight against inequalities,' labour critic says.  

Related Stories

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 7:31 pm

Movie director Uwe Boll opening Gastown restaurant Bauhaus

From filmmaker to food critic, and now—restaurant owner. Uwe Boll's talents know no bounds.

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 3:03 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

Fieldwork 2014 in Brooke, Ontario

This is an interesting installation. We usually visit in September when the tourists and bugs are fewer! It is in the village of Brooke, on Old Brooke Rd. They have added a few pieces and taken some away. Here were photos from last year.

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Posted on 14 September 2014 | 8:08 am

Steve Paikin

Steve Paikin: Another Unprecedented Day at Toronto City Hall

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, stopping for pictures with admirers before a speech to the Economic Club of Canada several months ago. 

My first full-time job in journalism was as a Toronto City Hall reporter from 1982 to 1985. Art Eggleton was the mayor. Jack Layton was the intriguing, newly-elected city councillor everyone was talking about. So I've been watching the goings-on at Nathan Phillips Square for more than thirty years now.  

Without question, today was the most extraordinary day I can ever recall in local Toronto politics. 

Rob Ford is out for mayor, but in for council. 

Doug Ford was out for council, but now in for mayor. 

Michael Ford, the mayor's nephew, is out for council, but in as a candidate for school board trustee. 

All of these developments were precipitated by the disturbing news that Mayor Rob Ford could be fighting for his life at Mt. Sinai Hospital. All we know officially is that he has a tumour, which could be either malignant or benign. But a medical specialist familiar with the symptoms that have been made public told me we should all expect the worst.  

On the one hand, today's developments are perfectly consistent with the Ford Family's view of politics. They've always seen public life as the family business. Rob may have been the mayor, but no one has ever been under any illusions that he runs that office alone. His brother Doug has been his most important advisor, some would even say "co-mayor." 

The Ford critics will pounce on today's developments as further evidence of the family's arrogance, that they feel they can run the city as their own private business with little regard to the conventions of politics. 

Doug Ford, the mayor's brother, will assume the mantle of the mayoralty campaign. 

Of course, the people will decide on October 27. But one of the key questions is, is Rob Ford's support "transferable" to Doug Ford? And if it is, because Doug Ford hasn't been burdened by his brother's alcohol and drug problems, associating with criminals, or being caught on videotape doing appalling things, could Doug Ford improve on Rob's 28 per cent public support

Both of the other major candidates point out that in some respects nothing has changed. The choice for Torontonians is still "Four More Years of Ford"  vs. something else. While he welcomed Doug Ford to the race, even saying he admired him, John Tory added that Doug brings the same baggage to the race the mayor had. "They're cut from the same cloth," said Tory. "They take joy in the fact that they're often defeated 38-2 at council. With Doug Ford, you get more of the same, maybe worse." 

Olivia Chow expressed her admiration for Rob Ford, saying he was a gentleman to her when her husband, Jack Layton, died three years ago. But she agreed, the dynamic of the race may not actually be changing at all. 

There are so many strange things about this story, it's hard to know where to start.

  • A week ago, Rob Ford said he looked forward to being mayor for another 14 years. Today, he's out. 
  • If Rob Ford is too sick to run for mayor, how exactly is he well enough to run for a seat on council? 
  • How is it that a week ago, Doug Ford was content to give up his council seat, quit politics, and return to the family business, but now, he's prepared to assume the responsibilities of being mayor?
  • And what about Doug Ford's provincial aspirations? It's been an open secret that Doug was interested in the provincial PC Party leadership. What's the status of that now? 

There was a speculative poll done by Forum Research several months ago: what if Doug Ford were in the race instead of Rob? Doug's numbers were actually lower than Rob's. For all his faults, Rob Ford is an authentic and (for many) likeable fellow. That poll suggested people don't see Doug the same way, that he's seen as a backroom, machiavellian figure. But that poll is months old and dealt with a hypothetical scenario. 

We now have a new reality. There are six weeks to go. And unlike Rob Ford, who laughed good-naturedly at a joke John Tory made at a recent debate, Doug Ford really dislikes Tory a lot. That dynamic could make for some incredibly nasty candidate debates in the weeks to come. 

Has anything really changed? Is the campaign still a referendum on whether Torontonians want ANY Ford at City Hall? Or has Doug's entry into the race changed the dynamic. 

We'll see. 

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Posted on 12 September 2014 | 12:26 pm

Weighty Matters

Guest Post: The Pharmacist Who Refuses to Sell Soft Drinks

Last week the media was abuzz with reports of a pharmacist from Nova Scotia who had elected, despite the financial disincentive, to stop selling soda and other sugar sweetened beverages in his pharmacy. His name is Graham MacKenzie and his pharmacy, Stone's Pharmasave in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, is a testament to doing the right thing. Huge kudos to Mr. MacKenzie. Wish there were more like him. Here's what he did and why in his own words:

Roughly six months ago I started serious consideration after repeated studies that came out documenting the bad effects of sugared drinks. The consideration was whether or not to continue selling the sugared beverages in my pharmacy, Stone’s Pharmasave in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. The reasons to drop this category were simple. The consumption of just one of these beverages daily was proven to cause adverse metabolic traits including metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of symptoms including high cholesterol, diabetes, abdominal obesity and high blood pressure. In our nutraceutical consultations we often stress the importance of nutrition in overall wellbeing and improvement of health related issues. Having a customer leave the store by walking past the pop and juice coolers on their way out after that talk made zero sense.

Customers would ask me if there was a safe level of consumption. The best way I could explain it is if you hold out your hands and I pour marbles into them - it is relatively easy to catch all of them without dropping any at first. The marbles represent insults to your body: either sugar, pesticide, herbicide, fertilizer, heavy metal, radiation, processed food, poor nutrient consumption, air pollution and so on. At first you are young and you have no issues, later on as you get older, more and more marbles fill your hands and eventually you drop one, or two. This is the tipping point where your body now expresses disease or injury. Sugar is a big part of this contribution.

So, I sent out a press release on September 11, 2014, which can be found here: Nova Scotia pharmacy stops selling soft drinks and other sugary beverages

We pulled the pin before we opened that morning by removing all juices, soda, sport drinks and vitamin water from the store. I figured all would be quiet for the most part, a few blank stares a couple of frowns and that would be it. We have been overwhelmed by the positive response on all of our social media channels. People are now alerted to the effects of sugar and how much sugar themselves and their families have been consuming. They have become more aware that it is better to eat the food rather than drink the juice. For example, eating an apple gives you fiber, which slows the glucose absorption, plus you don’t get as much juice. They now know that by consuming one or two of these beverages daily, they have the same chance of increased diabetes risk as a smoker does. By raising awareness, people now ask what high fructose corn syrup is and why it is particularly important to avoid this dangerous visceral fat absorbing sugar.

My overall goal was to raise awareness of the adverse health effects of drinking soft drinks and sugary beverages. At some point, disease prevention needs to become part of our world-class medicine we have available to us. Treating patients symptom by symptom is too much of a downstream activity to really act in our favour. I want to promote healthy living for my customers and I think this was a step in the right direction. Perhaps it was nothing more than a symbolic moral gesture to spark an educational thought not only among my customers, but those globally. In a television interview in the pharmacy the following day, with camera rolling and the interviewer present, one of our biggest pop buyers walked in for his regular case of soda. When he found out there was none sold there anymore he turned to the empty cooler, then looked at the water filled cooler next to it and picked up two bottles of water. “These are better for me anyway I guess!”, as he purchased them and went on his way out the door.

Overall, it has been a great week. For my customers and me.

Graham MacKenzie graduated from St.F.X.U. In Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1989 (BSc chem) and Dalhousie U College of Pharmacy in Halifax, NS in 1993. He went to Stone's Drug Store in Baddeck, NS at that time. In 2001 he purchased the store and renovated it inside and out to include a compounding lab and new dispensary. He has developed a one on one Nutraceutical Consultations, developed a 40 minute Healthy Grocery Shopping Tour and continues to actively educate on alternative and conventional therapies to his patients and globally. He actively blogs on his website,, and you can follow him on Twitter.

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 6:38 am

Margaret Wente

How to make ends meet? Look in the mirror

Don’t eat out. Don’t drive a car. Don’t buy clothes you don’t need. It’s amazing how much you can save if you try

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Posted on 13 September 2014 | 8:00 am

Lauren Out Loud

#HyundaiDriveSquad: That one time I RODE AN ELEPHANT at African Lion Safari

    Hay kids, hay! Remember that one time I RODE ON A FREAKING ELEPHANT? No? That’s okay. I haven’t even told you about it yet, bwahaha. I’m about to though, so buckle on innnnn (like I did, that one time I rode on an elephant!)     Yeah, that’s an ele-selfie. Okay, so a […]

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Posted on 22 July 2014 | 1:43 am

Rants n Rascals

Calling All Bloggers! Blogging for Business Staples Abbotsford BC Event

Are you having a hard time with gaining readership? How about making income as a blogger? Would you like to know how to go about monetizing your blog and taking it to the next level?  Then you need to take a time-out for yourself and hit up this great event coming to Abbotsford — Blogging […]

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Posted on 12 September 2014 | 9:28 am

Bow. James Bow

The Conversation We Did Not Have

The image above is by West Annex News and is used in accordance with their Creative Commons License. I wish Toronto Mayor Rob Ford a speedy recovery as he checks into hospital to deal with a possible tumour on...

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Posted on 12 September 2014 | 2:58 pm

A Toronto Blog

Corner Gas - The Movie

Saskatchewan shipped a lonely, wooden grain elevator to #Toronto to promote the film spectacular that will surely open next year's tiff: Corner Gas - The Movie. Stars Eric Peterson (Oscar) and Tara Spencer-Nairn (Constable Pelly) showed up last Friday for a Sing-A-Long and sign autographs. The elevator and the karaoke singing will play during the credit sequence in the movie which is being distributed by Prairie Pants Distribution Inc and was based on a sitcom created by Brent Butt.
I am going to cut down the back forty and bring the grain in and see if they will store it in the elevator. The structure will remain in place beside Much Music/CTV at Queen and John Streets from September 13, 2014 in parallel with the film festival. The song everyone will be singing on the red carpet is the Corner Gas theme song 'Not A Lot Goin' On' written by Craig Northey and Jesse Valenzuela. The old style grain storage building really makes the area look like little Dog River.
"We're really excited to give fans this last chance to be part of Corner Gas: The Movie," said executive producer,Virginia Thompson. "I encourage anyone with a voice – good or not so good – to take part. Everyone sounds great when they're part of a chorus, and it will make the end credits of the film a great deal of fun!"

"Corner Gas: The Movie was shot in Saskatchewan from June 22 to July 22, 2014. The 90-minute feature film will be delivered to Canadians as a national event on multiple platforms in December. The first-ever release strategy of its kind, the film will open with a Cineplex Front Row Centre Events theatrical debut across Canada, followed by premieres on The Movie Network, CTV, and The Comedy Network, and complemented by a special collector's edition DVD available for purchase before the holidays."

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Posted on 9 September 2014 | 8:07 pm

Robyn Urbak on Campus

B.C. teachers and employers hold marathon bargaining session

Representatives for B.C.'s public school teachers and their employers bargained through the weekend in another effort to resolve the strike

The post B.C. teachers and employers hold marathon bargaining session appeared first on

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 12:59 pm

Postcards From the Mothership

Photo(s) of the day: Kerry’s family

It’s not every family that would let you pull out the silly props on a stick for their family photo shoot. But when it IS that sort of family, it makes for a REALLY fun family photo session! It wasn’t all silliness, but laughter comprised a good part of the morning. That and a truly [...] Related posts (automatically generated):
  1. Summery portraits on the porch with the C family
  2. How to turn a picnic, a bridge and a barn into a fun family photo session
  3. Photo of the day: First birthday portraits on the porch

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 4:37 pm

David Akins on the Hill

In Alberta radio blitz, McIver aims squarely at Prentice

The race in Alberta to become that province’s next premier takes a new twist Thursday with a province-wide radio blitz aimed at taking the front-runner down a few notches. Listen: This radio ad from the Ric McIver campaign began playing all over Alberta today The Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta will hold its first vote […]

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Posted on 4 September 2014 | 8:55 am

Dutch Blitz

Up In The Air

I like routine. I like schedules that I can plan around, and lists upon lists that I write and cross items off of (By hand — no app will ever replace the satisfaction of using a pen to paper for a strikethrough). Structure (that I can be free with) makes my world feel balanced and […]

© Angella Dykstra 2005-2013 All rights reserved. | Originally published for as Up In The Air.

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 11:51 pm

Nik at Night

My Kids Review TV: Doctor Who 8.1 — Deep Breath

This past Saturday was the much-anticipated return of Doctor Who, which, if you watch the show, you know it comes with much more than "what will the new season be like?" This premiere brought with it a new Doctor, new relationships, new personalities, and even a new TARDIS. As the fifth Doctor would have said, "You've changed the desktop theme again!"

That's not the only theme that changed.

Right from the beginning of the episode, we get a new song, and new opening credits. I actually quite liked them, even though if I had to choose my absolute favourite DW opening theme song it would be the 10th Doctor's one, midway through his run, all violins and heavy guitar. It was manic and pulsating and determined. This new opening is more retro, harkening back to earlier Doctors and earlier opening themes from the Classic Series, with more synth (I half-expected the episode to open with Ace) and clocks flying by. But I liked it, and I think it'll grow on me even more with time. It was such a shift, rather than the slight change they usually make. And, best of all, it was created by a fan, and the producers liked it so much they took it, tweaked it slightly, and made it the opening. How amazing is that?

And just as that fan's dream came true, so did Peter Capaldi's. A Doctor Who megafan since he was a kid, now he IS the Doctor, and gets to come in when the show is finally hot in the U.S. in a way it's never been before, and has a renewed and reinvigorated audience. Personally, I thought Capaldi was fantastic, and I know we're heading in a darker direction, but this first episode was hilarious on so many levels, not least of all in the acknowledgement that Capaldi is best known as the always-enraged Malcolm Tucker on In the Thick of It (that show my kids always want me to show them, to which I answer unequivocally: NO). Much was made of Capaldi being an older Doctor, and that is brought up again and again in this premiere episode, more as if the writers are answering the fans than anything else. The companions have always stood in for the fans and our responses, and this episode made Clara one of us in abundance.

The 9th Doctor emerged from a place of war, having just destroyed his home planet and everyone on it. He's broken and sad, but young and smiling and there to have adventures with Rose. The 10th Doctor was also a young man, going through a particularly difficult regeneration, but one where Rose stuck by him, knowing this might not look like her Doctor, but he's in there somewhere. The 11th Doctor regenerated and then crashed his ship, and awoke to a new face and a little girl standing by his side, someone who'd never seen him before but would pledge the rest of her life to him. Of the three, only one of them carried the companion from one body to the next, and that companion accepted him pretty quickly. And none of those men looked like they were older than 35.

But everything is different now. This companion, Clara, is the Impossible Girl, the one who isn't just a companion, but has actively saved the Doctor in every body he's ever been in. If there's one companion who should be OK with seeing a new face on the Doctor, it should be this one, since she's encountered every single one of them firsthand.

Only... she hasn't. It's rather confusing, but she split herself into many selves, each one of them assigned to a different spot on the Doctor's timeline, and the Clara that we see in this season 8 premiere has only ever been with the 11th Doctor.

And here is where we step outside of the show for a second, and look around at all the young faces now watching the show. Many of them began with the 11th Doctor. This is THEIR Doctor, the one they first encountered when their parents said, "Hey, wanna watch Doctor Who with me?" In the case of my then-5-year-old son (now almost 7), it was love at first sight. He carries the 11th Doctor's sonic screwdriver around with him everywhere. He thinks bow ties are cool. And he cried for 45 minutes straight when his Doctor regenerated late last year.

But he's had eight months to get used to Capaldi's face, seeing it everywhere, knowing his Doctor is gone but a new one is on the horizon. He knows it's still Doctor Who, but he still misses his Doctor.

My 10-year-old daughter first joined us when I was going back to the beginning of the New Series with my son during the hiatus, and so her first Doctor is the 9th. She adored him, and loved the 10th, and thinks the 11th is wonderful. She seems pretty amenable to the regenerations and the new faces, so I was interested in what she would think.

So last Saturday, we all gathered in front of our televisions to watch the premiere of season 8 live. It was me, my daughter Sydney, son Liam, and Liam's friend Christian. Christian is 7 and has never seen Doctor Who before, so I was interested to see what he would think of this. Liam tried his best to prep him, with his beloved and tattered copy of the 50th Anniversary book, pointing out each villain and each Doctor and explaining what all of this meant.

I worried that the 10pm end time would mean my kids wouldn't last, but they were on the edges of their seats, wide-eyed and mired in the suspense, right until the end. (Except for Christian; we lost him shortly after 9pm when he just leaned against the arm of the couch and went right to sleep.)

The next day at lunch, I asked each of them for their thoughts:

What did you think of the new theme song? 
Liam: I liked it.
Sydney: I LOVED it.
Liam: And all those clocks swirling around were cool.

What did you think of the new Doctor? 
Liam: I liked him, but I still miss my Doctor.
Sydney: Loved him. But I like darker Doctors.
Liam: But I didn't like when he just left Clara alone in the basement with the robots.
Sydney: Yeah, that wasn't very nice at ALL.
Me: But he had a reason for doing that, right?
Sydney: I still like him.

Did you find the episode easy to understand? 
Liam: Um... yeah. But I never like the clockwork guys, they're creepy.
Sydney: I didn't get the ending, where he said he was in Heaven. What was that about, were we supposed to understand that?
Liam: Yeah, I didn't like the Heaven part.
Me: I think they're setting that up as something we're going to come back to.
Sydney: Why did that woman refer to the Doctor as her boyfriend?
Me: That's a very good question, and one I wondered about, too.
Liam: I thought it was the woman from Time of the Doctor at first, the woman in the church.
Me: Me too!
Sydney: You know what, I think we're going to find out that the woman is actually River Song! That she regenerated, and that's why she's in that place now, and looks different.
Me: Ooh, that's an interesting theory.
Sydney: And THAT is why she called him her boyfriend!
Liam: No, didn't she use up all her regenerations?
Sydney: When?
Liam: In that one episode when she was with the Doctor, the Hitler one? She says she used up all her regenerations!
Sydney: Yeah, well the Doctor said HE used up all of his, too, and then it turns out he has a whole bunch more. So... bam. It's River.
Me: Heeeheeeeee!!!!

Christian, did you like the episode? 
Christian: Yes!
Me: Would you watch it again?
Christian: Yes, I thought it was very funny.

What was your favourite part of the episode? 
Christian: I liked the dinosaur at the beginning a lot.
Liam: Yeah, I liked that, too, but I think they made it too big.
Me: I thought so, too! That was the biggest T-rex ever.
Liam: A T-rex would be a little taller than our house.
Sydney: Haha! Yeah, and this one was as tall as Big Ben!
Me: I think they need some 6-year-old boys on staff as dinosaur consultants.
Liam: My favourite part was when Madame Vastra and Jenny dropped to the floor and then suddenly Strax came flying down behind them!
Sydney: Yeah, that was my favourite part, too. I also like the Strax kept calling Clara a boy.
Christian: Who's Strax?
Liam: The one that looks like a potato!
Christian: Oh, haha! He's funny. I liked when he threw the newspaper at the woman and hit her in the face.
Liam: HAHA! Oh yeah!!

What do you think of Madame Vastra and Jenny? 
Sydney: I like them a lot, but she was mean to Clara.
Me: Yes, I agree; that was a little over-the-top. But Clara got to stick up for herself in a big way and I loved that scene.
Liam: Madame Vastra and Jenny are cool, but how can a lizard and a person be married?
Me: Well, she's like a human, right? And she's still quite beautiful even as a lizard.
Liam: True. I like Strax when he's with them.
Sydney: I liked when they kissed, that was sweet.

Did you find it scary at all? 
Christian: [nods furiously, wide-eyed]
Liam: I thought the part in the basement with the robots was scary.
Sydney: Ooh, when they made Clara hold her breath! Yeah, I didn't like that. But you know what, you haven't asked us if anything made us sad.
Me: I haven't gotten there yet.
Sydney: Can you ask that now?

Did anything make you sad in the episode? 
Sydney: Yes, when the dinosaur died. That was so sad, Mommy, why did they do that?
Me: The Doctor could understand what the dinosaur was thinking and feeling, so he was translating. The dinosaur doesn't know what these things are surrounding her, she's a stranger in a strange land, and she's scared and frightened. She just wants her world to come back and be the way it used to be. They were trying to draw a parallel between the dinosaur and the Doctor, who doesn't know who he is anymore, but also Clara, suddenly surrounded by a new and frightening world. Everything she knew seems to be gone.
Christian: I didn't like when the dinosaur died, either. I didn't like him on fire.
Liam: No, I didn't like that at all.

Did you guys like Clara in this episode? 
Sydney: I LOVE Clara.
Liam: Yeah, I thought she was awesome. But I miss Amy.
Sydney: I miss Rose.

And... what did you think when the 11th Doctor suddenly appeared at the end of the episode? Did you think that was going to happen? I had a feeling we'd have a cameo by him at some point, and so I half-expected that to happen, but it still made me so happy when it did. 
Liam: I did a gasp.
Me: [laughing and laughing]
Syd: [laughing and laughing]
Liam: But it made me miss him more again.
Me: But did you think that we needed him to be there?
Sydney: Clara needed to know that the older man was still her Doctor. And that phone call reminded her of that.
Liam: I do like the new Doctor, but I want mine to come back more. Will we see him again?
Me: Probably not; I think that was him officially passing the torch. Now we're on to the new Doctor.
Sydney: And I think Clara likes him now.
Liam: And next week there are DALEKS!! Christian, you HAVE to watch the Daleks!!
Christian: Are they scary?
Liam: A little, but they're awesome.

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Posted on 26 August 2014 | 12:21 pm

Word Grrrls

Buying and Selling Ads at Project Wonderful

I've been running Project Wonderful on my blog(s) for the past several years. It's not uncomplicated for someone just starting out but the help you will get from the site is great and quick to arrive in your email inbox. So don't be intimidated. You can be selling ad space on your blog or sell your ad to other bloggers.

The post Buying and Selling Ads at Project Wonderful appeared first on Word Grrls.

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 1:41 pm

Elfshot - sticks and stones


Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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Posted on 12 September 2014 | 9:44 am

Adam Radwanski

Few easy answers as Ontario NDP seeks direction

An absence of rivals could save Andrea Horwath’s leadership

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Posted on 12 September 2014 | 3:00 am

How to Survive Life in the Suburbs

Top 10 Ridiculous Reasons Love The Fall!

I know it’s September.  My head knows we should be preparing for apple cider, pumpkins, crisp fall air and warm chunky sweaters.  The problem?  My heart is rebelling.  Here is South-western Ontario we missed summer.  Insert stomping of feet.  We didn’t get the hazy hot days, the “It’s so hot I could cook an egg […]

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 8:01 am

A Peek Inside the Fishbowl

I hope your Monday is a good one…

…and that it doesn’t go sideways on you. ;)

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 5:00 am

Dawg’s Blawg

Things fall apart: or, Scotland rising

[NOTE: Be sure to read co-blogger Mandos’ succinct and trenchant post on Iraq just below this. We finished our pieces at about the same time. ~DD] Good grief, here they go again. Any nation roughly east of the Oder-Neisse line...

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Posted on 14 September 2014 | 6:31 pm

Dammit Janet

Respectability vs RESPECT: Part One

R•E•S•P•E•C•T  is of course:

Respectability is a different kettle of fish, however.  The very foundation of patriarchy is cemented with the premise that only some women are respectable - that is, worthy and deserving of respect - and others are NOT.

My co-blogger fern hill recently addressed the *stigma* of abortion. And we have many more blogposts at DJ! that challenge the notion that respectable women should grieve, do penance, and wear ashes on their head when a pregnancy - their OWN, in fact - is terminated. By choice.  Or when it's forcibly rejected by the body, an occurrence that happens regularly.

By way of an example, Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis' disclosure of how and why she had two abortions, illustrates the division between what is considered a 'respectable' abortion and what is not. 

"For a woman to reveal she has had an abortion because she wanted one, because she couldn't emotionally sacrifice for another child, because she was remiss in her use of contraception, and, further, to declare she has only felt happiness towards her decision is truly groundbreaking. Davis' abortion narrative has helped diminish the social stigma surrounding abortion. But until the “bad” abortion stories are just as acceptable, pro-choice advocates have a long way to go."

From must-read: _Wendy Davis and the 'Good Abortion' Myth_ found here.

Respectability is at issue with regard to abortion because when women have sex, consensually or not, that can produce a pregnancy - unwanted or planned.

Sex as procreative versus sex as a recreative activity.  Also, sex as gender bigotry.

Yesterday some hack writer, compensating for whatever pathetic sense of inadequacy seized him, dismissed Naomi Klein and her recent publication in calculated, malevolent, gendered, barnyard animal terms.  

Not even bothering to address or refute her arguments, he deems her stupid. 

There you have it. But wait, here is more to consider.

As observed: "...the word cow is a put down to women but the term bull is considered a compliment for men." 

Note also in the exchange cited above, the comparison used when vilifying mayoral candidate Olivia Chow.  Her competitor John Tory said that she had "more positions than Masters and Johnson".  

"Respectability" is a toxic judgement passed on women and the last remaining double standard for judging women's choices and behaviours as indecent.  Feminists of African, Indigenous and Asian ancestry have identified the use of "respectability" politics as a weapon specifically used to target women of colour (WoC) for social opprobrium.

An incident that unfolded in Los Angeles last week gained publicity when Danièle Watts, intimidated and humiliated by police who profiled her as prostitute, spoke up.  

Her experience is not unusual. As evident from the insult slung at Ms Chow by her opponent, these assumptions of impropriety about racialized women are claimed by men who reduce them to female beings unworthy of respect, with little or no resources other than the unbridled hyper-sexuality that they project upon their bodies.

Next: Part Two will examine how respectability politics reinforce whorephobia as a partisan neo-conservative tactic to divide women and destroy solidarity among feminists. Read the blogpost from @kwetoday that I've linked to, above.

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Posted on 16 September 2014 | 12:35 am

That Artist Woman

Giveaway Winner

The winner of "The Successful Artist's Career Guide" by Margaret Peot is Beth Lowry.

Congratulations Beth.

Thanks everyone for entering and have a great weekend.


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Posted on 20 June 2014 | 1:27 pm

A pretty Life in the Suburbs

Be Awesome Party #13! Come link up with us!

- – - Welcome back to our Be Awesome Link Party! Hello friends!  We had a little technical difficulty today, but here we are back for another Be Awesome Link Party!  We are SO very happy to have you here with us, sharing your projects and inspiring us all week after week! Together with myself, […]

The post Be Awesome Party #13! Come link up with us! appeared first on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.

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Posted on 16 September 2014 | 12:00 am

Canada's Adventure couple

How Asia Changed My Life

The travel bug bit me at an early age. My father was in the military and we were stationed overseas and within the US throughout my childhood. I’ll admit that sometimes all the moving didn’t always appeal to me, but having the chance to learn about other cultures, religions, and cuisines was an amazing gift. Right now my husband and I live in Singapore; we were transferred here four and a half years ago for my husband’s job. Moving here [...]

Read the original post How Asia Changed My Life on Adventure Travel blog for Couples | The Planet D.

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Posted on 13 September 2014 | 5:00 am

My New Life in Canada, under the snow!

Meeting the “Family” in Wuhan

Do you remember the first time you met your significant other’s family? Come on, I’m sure you do. Everybody does. It’s often awkward, sometime funny, sometime horrifically weird. I remember when I first met Feng’s parents—they came to Ottawa from the small Canadian town where they worked in without warning us (I later discovered that ...

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Posted on 15 September 2014 | 8:17 am

Live From Waterloo

Things I was better off not knowing - #09

(En español más abajo)
”…And do you remember that time I was playing the flute at school and I forgot to breathe properly and I passed out?”
”Oh, yeah!!! HAHAHAHAA”
”…Y te acordás de ese día que estaba tocando la flauta en la escuela y me olvidé de respirar bien y terminé desmayándome?”
”Oh, sí!!! JAJAJAJAA”
More ‘Better off not knowing’ stories here

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Posted on 11 September 2014 | 4:11 am