Wednesday, December 31, 2008

You know your getting old when...

Today I visited the optometrist for an eye checkup. I admit not going to the optometrist for quite awhile. I also knew my eyesight wasn't the best either and wanted the traditional assurances that my eyesight was still good.

But in the end, I was prescribed eyeglasses to where. I'm to pick them up next week. But the fun part was choosing the frames for the glasses. I had no idea which ones to choose! The receptionist and myself looked at about 25 different pairs before I started choosing one that won out over the others.

The main problem I found with all the pairs of glasses I tried on is my head is a little larger than others which means the arms of the glasses rub against the side of my face. This will really be enjoyable as I get even older.

I've talked to my parents and friends today who are saying they can tell I'm getting older as my eyesight is starting to go!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Great Deal on Olay!

Yesterday in the mail my Fiancee received coupons from for $10.00 off when you purchase any three Olay products.

So we headed off to our local No Frills store to dive into some savings. No Frills had Olay bodywash on sale for $2.99 each. So we scooped up three different kinds of body wash bottles and headed for the check-out.

Following the check-out we paid a grand total of $0.30 including taxes for the three 374ml bottles of body wash. In other words we pretty well got brand name body wash almost for free!

Friday, December 26, 2008

How Canada Post ruined Christmas

Back on November 22nd at the Aurora Santa Claus Parade I dropped off a letter to Santa Claus with the Canada Post letter carriers at the beginning of the parade. I had done this in years past as a youngster with hopes that Santa would provide a reply.

As a youngster within a week or two of the Aurora Santa Claus Parade I would receive a reply from the jolly old elf himself, or at least one of his elves from the Canada Post Letters to Santa program. As a little person it was quite an honour to receive mail and I always looked forward to receiving a reply.

This year I sent a letter to Santa with a reason. This year Yvonne and I were putting together some stockings for my parents for Christmas. Every year Santa provided stockings for my sister, brother and myself but never for my parents. So this time Yvonne and I were going to change this little Santa oversight.

I wrote a letter to Santa, on behalf of my father, posing as a youngster looking for a new tool set for Christmas. I was hoping Santa or one of his elves would provide a response that I could tuck in the pocket, labelled "Letter from Santa," on my Dad's stocking. I thought an actual letter from Santa in an official North Pole issued envelope and letterhead would be splendid.

But my dreams of a simple letter from Santa have been doused. As of today, the day after Christmas and a full month after the parade, there is still no letter response from the jolly old man himself or one of his elves.

Now I know Santa is a busy man this time of year for obvious reasons. But Canada Post on their website claim that:

More than 11,000 current and retired Canada Post employees, affectionately called Postal Elves, help Santa to ensure that every child's letter gets an answer in the language in which the letter was written, including Braille (emails are answered in English or French).

Now one would think a simple form letter back in English from one of Santa's posties would work for my letter. But apparently not. The Posties would rather be grinches than bring true a simple Christmas wish.

To Canada Post on this Christmas season...MERRY CHRISTMAS and a BAHUMBUG to you to!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

So apparently I can take pictures

Earlier today I ventured over to this blog realizing I haven't posted in a while. I scroll down to find that someone has commented on this post. Since I love reading comments on my own blog I could barely wait for comment page to load on the post. To save you the time and anxiety of loading the comment, here it is:

Hi Michael,This is completely unrelated to your blog. I just had no other way of contacting you.

I work for the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, and I'm putting together a brochure/trail map for Sheppard's Bush Conservation Area. I came across some great pictures you took of Sheppard's Bush that you posted on Picasa. Can I have your permission to use them in the brochure/trail map? Please email me to discuss.


Jonathan MacMull
Community Marketing Specialist
Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

I, of course, e-mailed back saying that I would be fine with him using my photos.

I had pondered the glorious amounts of money I could make off the royalties for this project. But of course, this being local municipal government, I was just honoured to be able to see my photos in print on the local trail guide. Also, if I demanded the money I was thinking of, I would probably bankrupt the Conservation authority, force the Town of Aurora to raise taxes or, more likely, they just would've skipped my photos altogether.

So if you live in the Aurora area, watch out for a trail guide for Sheppard's Bush in the near future. More specifically watch out for some of the photos at this photo album to make an appearance.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Need to Prorogue the Canadian Parliament

Recently the Governor General of Canada has prorogued the Canadian Parliament. The House of Commons, leading up to the end of November, was in chaos. The opposition parties, the Liberals, NDP and the Bloc Quebecois, were threatening to pass a vote of non-confidence against the minority government, the Conservatives. The Opposition parties brought forth a plan where, following the defeat of the government, a governing coalition made up of all the oppisition parties under a signed off on contract.

The Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, had a couple of options to choose from when Prime Minister Steven Harper came knocking on the Friday before the Monday non-confidance vote. The Prime Minister wanted the Governor General to either prorogue Parliament (i.e. end the current Parliamentry session) and start a new session at the end of January or, if the Governor General refused, to call a National General Election at the earliest convenience. Of course, the opposition parties requested a meeting with the Governor General as well, this meeting was rejected by her excellency.

The Govenor General choose the option to prorogue Parliament. The need to prorogue Parliament was obvious, the House of Commons had decended into chaos and wouldn't last longer than a week before a change in government would be required. This could either be done through inviting the Liberals to form a coalition government or calling another general election.

The coalition government option didn't sit well as the liklihood of a coalition government lasting one to two years appear slim. This was because that considering after the October 2008 general election all parties promised to work together coperatively, but less than a month later, political chaos erupted. So the Governor General probably believed that the coalition parties might split over some issue and poltical crisis would ensue yet again.

The general election option was panned by the Governor General as well for the simple fact that less than two months earlier a National General Election had been held with the election of the minority Conservative government. To make matters worst the 2008 General election had one of the worst percentages of voter turnout in Canadian history.

This left Michaëlle Jean with only one option and a needed plan of further options of the first option failed. The plan was to prorogue Parliament until the end of January. This would allow the opposition parties and the government time to put their differences aside and hopefully negotiate a federal budget and a set of priorities for 2009.

So far this option hasn't been going so well. The Liberals have dumped Stephan Dion and, since everyone including the church mouse has dropped out, acclaimed Michael Ignatieff as party leader. Ignatieff has been doggedly stayed partisan while arguing that the Conservatives are no good dirty devils. The Conservatives, meanwhile, have invited the opposition parties to bring forth ideas for a federal budget for the end of January. The Liberals, on the other hand, claim that it is up to the Conservatives to bring forth possible ideas for the budget and that "the ball is in their court." Meanwhile, the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP have been pretty quiet since the House of Commons has been prorogued. Hopefully in the coming weeks all Parlimentarians will catch the holiday spirit and remember their promise after the fall 2008 election to work together. Then, hopefully, the Members of Parliament will agree negotiate a federal budget and other priorities in the new year. However, even on the slim chance negotiations will work, there probably will be disagreement and partisan bickering erupting sooner rather than later. But at least the Governor General can be seen as attempting to give Parliamentarians a chance to come together to reconcile the existing Parliament.

If things don't go well after the prorogation period or if after a negotiated settlement has been achieved, a vote of non-confidence is likely. This would then allow the coalition of the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois a chance to form the government. The time period caused by the above would also allow the coalition to show the Governor General that the coalition has been able to stay together for a decent time period, make plans for a new parliamentry session and form a cohesive governing group. However, as recent Canadian political history will note, the Liberals, NDP and the Conservatives can never seem to agree for any long periods of time. If the coalition falls a part the last option is only possible.

Finally, after the Conservative government and the coalition government have failed, there is only a general election possible. The Governor General will be seen to have excercised every available option to her. Also, this will show Canadians that their local member of parliament failed to live up to their promise of working together with other members of parliament to make Canadian parliament work for all Canadians. If Members of Parliament have failed to come together after the above has been undertaken, then they have proven that they cannot even govern a banana republic nevermind been a member of a democratically elected government.

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