Thursday, December 28, 2006

Lucky 2007

I don't normally make New Year's resolutions. I haven't made one in many years, I can't remember the last time I made one (more than 10 years) or what it was. I like to think that you can make a positive change at any time. Why wait for the end of the year to change things to make your life better?

Still this year as 2006 winds down and the late 2000s are about to begin; I'm making a New Year's resolution.

My resolution is that 2007 will be a year that I Make Change. I'm not going to go into specifics. That will come out soon enough in good time. The changes will either happen if I make them happen, or not happen if I fail to make them happen. Some changes may be imposed externally, and that's OK too at this point.

I've needed change for a long time, like years. Sure I could coast along, trudge through another year of the status quo. Just like I have for the last X years. But it's time for change. This year needs to be different. The same old same old is not good enough any more.

This is the first time that I've really committed myself to changing things, instead of passively hoping for the things I want to happen on their own. Hopefully by writing them down here it will help me to overcome the intertia and get moving. Overcome the short term path of least resistance. I'll be able to check back on this a year from now to see if I actually went through with what I said here I'm going to do.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

God and Harold

Well it's December. Christmas is coming soon. My children are as always looking forward to it.

This time of year makes me think a bit about why the Lord has this fascination with the name Harold. Consider

Hark the Harold angels sing
Glory to the newborn King!


Our Father,
who art in heaven,
Harold be thy Name.

Something to think about I guess.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bob Rae

I think Bob Rae has to be the most interesting Liberal leadership candidate. It's remarkable that he has a pretty good chance of winning it.

I didn't believe him at first when he entered the Liberal race. He just came across as a former NDP opportunist. But he's done a convincing and believable job describing his conversion from the NDP ideology to the more pragmatic Liberal ways.

I was in Ontario when he was premier. It was pretty bad. There was a recession and a massive defecit. Yet he continued to spend and borrow recklessly. He deserved to be turfed after one term and he was. Rae may have learned some things from the hard nosed Mike Harris, who I always thought well of. Maybe he's trying to put a human face on the common sense revolution. What was a revolution in thought for Harris is now the Canadian way.

Can Rae win? This is one of the things what makes him interesting. He can win. Rae is interesting because he is the left wing version of Stephen Harper. Like Harper, he softened his ideological stances to move enough toward the centre to form a coalition to govern.

Will Canadians believe him and give him a chance based on his NDP past and the bad track record in Ontario 1990-1995. Based on recent experience, Canadians will be willing to give a chance. It only took Harper one election to shed any lingering Reform Party labels and be accepted by Canadians as a moderate. Even in the first Harper Conservative election campaign it was hardly an issue. So given that, Canadians will be able to accept Rae when he says he's a moderate now. So if Harper can reinvent himself and get past the Reform Party history, then certainly Rae can do the same coming from the left wing to the center.

The Ontario thing can be easily dealt with considering the brutal recession he inherited when he was premier, plus he was NDP then. Most people will accept Rae if he admits that mistakes were made in Ontario, and will accept he is wiser and more experienced now. A Rae vs. Harper election would be a very interesting battle and I think very much winnable for Rae. If Harper continues to do a good job then possibly Rae could hold Harper to a weak majority and then be in position to win the next time. If Harper falters on the economy or Afghanistan then Rae could surge and have a very good chance of winning the first time.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The light and the myspace

So I've joined myspace. I had to join to post on some other myspace sites liked. My myspace site is at Feel free to drop by and add me as a friend. Right now I'm a loser with only Tom the default friend you get for signing up. LOL.

myspace is an interesting site. It is kind of sticky, as there's stuff to explore and poke around. The user interface is, well, extremely busy. I think some in the younger crowd like it that way with links everywhere. I don't know how much time I'll spend on my site or hanging around there. But it is kind of appealing.

Update: April 2007.

I've cancelled my myspace account and switched to Facebook, which is much better. On Facebook I connect with real people that I know. On myspace it seemed I only ever heard from scammers and spammers and adult webcammers. Everyone trying to sell something. Facebook profiles look nice, and everything always loads quickly. My Facebook profile is here.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

That's something I've always enjoyed hearing. I voted for Harper and I'm glad he won. I think he's done an excellent job in his time as Prime Minister. Based on his record to date, he deserves a majority in the next federal election.

I've been a conservative for the last several years, after kind of finding it back in university. I was with the original Reform Party, so naturally I support the merged Conservative Party. It's great to see the old Reformer Harper now Prime Minister - we did it!

I remember going to see a Preston Manning speech back around the summer of 1992. It was in Halifax in the Queen Elizabeth High School auditorium. I recall there were around 100 people there. We opened the evening singing Oh Canada. Preston was greeted very enthusiastically and got a standing ovation after his talk. His speech was right on, the small c conservative line we all wanted to hear. I didn't walk up to the front afterward to try to meet him.

I don't think Harper has really been given the credit he deserves for what he has accomplished. Consider the situation Paul Martin inherited when he finally wrestled the Liberal leadership from Jean Cretien. He had a healthy majority. He had overwhelming support within his party. He had strong support and goodwill in the general public. He seemed a lock for another easy majority, if not a second one.

So given these tall odds, look what Harper accomplished. He took the Martin Liberals from a majority government, to a minority government in the first election, followed by defeat and official opposition in the conservative minority government in the next election. All in around a year and a half. Sure Paul Martin had a lot of inherited distractions from the Chretien regime, but Stephen Harpen just had his number and was the better man.

So all's well in conservative land right? Well unfortunately not quite. I'm increasingly concerned about the religious right. Based on recent US gambling legislation, they seem increasingly influential. I feel they are overly concerned with the private affairs of other people. As a libertarian, I feel their agenda is dangerous and regressive. The religious right is most active in Canada in the Conservative Party. So I need to reevaluate before the next election which party today is best aligned with my interests. It's probably still the Conservatives, but I will think about it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Practical Bible advice, tithing and the Sabbath

I had a nice talk with my mother a little while back. We got talking about the Bible. It came around to just how everyday practical some of the stuff there is. Two specific things are the Sabbath and tithing.

Now observing the day of rest may seem like a hassle, a constraint. Actually it is in your best interest. If you don't take break you will get sick and die. Also the Sabbath limited the powers of landlords or slaveowners to extract work from their subjects. The Sabbath was for the common workers protection, giving them one day off each week that they wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

Regardless of whether you go to church or even believe in God, the advice about the Sabbath is right on, and you should observe it, for your own good, not necessarily God's.

Now tithing. So suppose you have to tithe. What does that really mean. In order to tithe you have to know how much you're making. Then you have to set aside a specific amount of that. Well once you do that then basically you now have a personal budget! Having and sticking to a budget is probably the most important aspect of being solvent and sustainably financially prosperous for your lifetime. So the benefit of tithing is that it forces you to have a budget and stick to it, and that is massively in your best interest to do, well worth 10% of your income. So again what may seem like a burden the Bible imposes is actually something that is in your best interest.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Rolling Stones again

The Rolling Stones are coming to Halifax. I haven't bought a ticket. I'm not planning to go. There's a few reasons not to go.

I saw the Stones last year in Moncton. That was an awesome time. The best time I had in how many years, 5, 10, 20, ever? I was a bit concerned seeing them again this year would somewhat detract from those larger than life memories from last year. It wasn't just the concert itself, which was mind-blowing. It was the reconnecting with old friends too. But I could just view it as just a separate fun thing. It wouldn't have to live up to last year.

The reality is I just can't afford to go, which sucks. But I'm not too disappointed. I did get to experience the awesome life memory last year so I'll always have that. Paint it Black live was incredible.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Idiot play

A little while back I did something I shouldn't have. I experienced an unexpected disappointment, a setback. I reacted by being rude to the person who delivered the bad news.

So for a moment I became an idiot. That's what idiots do. They lash out and unload when things don't go their way. I will say that the issue I was upset about is totally unfair and unjust to me. Yes I should be angry, resentful and frustrated about that situation. But that doesn't justify how I acted. That's what idiots do. They make excuses after the fact for their actions. They insist they were "reacting", or "provoked" or "stressed about other things". So I don't have a valid excuse for what I did because there is no valid excuse.

I don't claim to be a "nice" person. I don't have to be or want to be. I don't want to go the other way and be an idiot. If you act like an idiot then you are an idiot.

What I need to do is to address and fix the problems that I lashed out about.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Summer in Nova Scotia

It was nice out today. A sunny summer day. I tried to take it in and enjoy it on the drive home from work. Summer in Nova Scotia. That's pretty nice. It's good to be in Nova Scotia in the summertime. I'm glad to be here. I'd rather be here than somewhere else.

In the evening we played road hockey on the street with my sons and my older son's friend Dustin. We played for a while. The flies were bad but we had a nice time.

Monday, June 05, 2006

First communion

A little while back my older son did his first communion. It went well. There were around 16 children going through. We had good sunny weather that day. All the children looked nice. We had a nice time afterward back at my house with lots of relatives coming over.

Now I'm not Catholic, but my wife is and my two sons are. I am a Godfather twice now though, which is still a bit strange to me.

Now I can't talk about communion without telling my favorite church story. Back when I was in high school me and some friends were big football fans. We still are big football fans of course. Anyway I liked the Jets and my friend Danny has a huge Steelers fan.

Now Danny was Catholic and he went to the Catholic church which was across the street from my house. That church didn't start Sunday service until a bit later. Usually it was a bit past 1 PM when they finished up. That was fine because it was around a 10 minute walk from the Church to Danny's place, and in Halifax the Sunday game doesn't start until 2 PM. So there was plenty of time to go to church and be home in time for the NFL kickoff.

On one particular Sunday we were getting the Steelers on NBC for the 2 PM Sunday game. Unfortunately the catholic service was running long that day, well past 1 PM. Danny didn't want to miss any of the Steelers game. So at communion he went to the front and got his food and drink. However when he went to the back of the hall to return to his seat, he instead just ducked out the door and left.

As you can imagine, Danny said his mother was quite angry with him for skipping out of church early. Danny said about it "the Steelers were on". Me and the other football fans totally understood why Danny did what he did. The priest should have been more careful anyway to wrap it up in time for kickoff, it was the Steelers.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Skateboarding night

I took my sons to skateboarding night at the local rink. It is a pretty cool thing they have. They have a bunch of ramps and such set up in the multi purpose room for the skateboarders. The attendees range from ages 8 to around 17. Sometimes someone older or younger will be there. Some of the skateboarders are quite good. My older son has gone a few times this winter. He has improved a lot. My younger son has gone twice. He likes it.

The last time we went, it was my sons and my older sons friend. They were all on skateboards.

My older son on his skateboard. That one came out a bit blurry. The camera phone isn't very good.

The three of them.

Friend Laughlin.

My younger son with his skateboard.

The bottom of a skateboard.

Thomas with his skateboard.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Camera phone

I've had a cell phone for a few months now. It's a Samsung from my provider Aliant mobility. The phone has been pretty handy at times. It also fits in my pocket fine though I should get a belt clip.

The phone also has a built in digital camera. I haven't tried to use the camera much. I found the setup kind of intimidating. Anyway I read the instructions and I felt a bit more comfortable with it. Then a nice opportunity came up and I took a picture. It turned out OK I'd say.

Getting a picture from the phone to the Internet was not an easy task. The user interface is confusing and not intuitive. After much clicking and some false starts I was able to e-mail it to myself. It also appeared on my Aliant photo album site. I think that was related to the e-mailing.

From the e-mail and much more clicking I was able to save it to my hard drive and edit it with Paint Shop Pro to rotate it 90 degrees. Here is the picture I took.

The children in front are my sons. The pilot of the boat is their Grandfather Otis Dunn, a good man. The picture was taken on Scott's Lake where the Dunns have their home.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I noticed a new round of Viagra commercials lately. The advertising for Viagra and Cialis has changed a bit recently.

They seem to be using more of a "reality" angle lately. Using heriones who are a bit older and more typical looking. The recent 'good morning' Viagra commercials are like this. That female lawyer coming off the bus and the female crossing guard are scary looking! The male hero was not much in the commercial either. Overweight and goofy looking.

No wonder their husbands can't always perform, when the wives look like that. I can see why they could use some Viagra for a bit of help. I suspect a few people using Viagra in the real world are in that type of situation. They may not have a serious medical problem. Their circumstances are just kind of unexciting.

The commercials of a few years back were different. The heroes were these fit, executive looking guys. The heriones looked like second trophy wives. They looked like maybe in their late 30s. There was kind of an unreal fantasy element to them. Now those guys from the older commercials, if their wives look like models and they couldn't perform well then yes they do have a real medical problem and should be taking some prescription drugs to address it.

I suspect they did the herione casting for the older commercials something like this. Round up the women who were in beer commercials from 15-20 years ago. Get the 10% who are the best looking today. Use them in the Viagra commercials.

So while the current batch of Viagra and Cialis commercials may be closer to how it is in the real world, I must say I liked the older commercials better. Like the beer commercials, there is that slight fantasy element to them. Besides, I'd rather see beautiful women in commercials than average looking women.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Some people want Moussaoui to get the death penalty. The conspiracy claim is somewhat strange to me. Supposedly by not volunteering what he knew in advance of 9/11, he did not do enough to prevent it from happening, something like that.

Would it have really helped prevent 9/11 if Moussaoui did offer up what he knew in advance? Considering that the Minnesota and Phoenix FBI offices cracked the case beforehand and that didn't prevent 9/11 from happening.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Last Saturday it was nice out. The snow is melted and my eight year old son wanted to go out in the yard and play golf.

So we went out. There's an OK green space in my back yard around 25yd where you can hit some short chip shots. My son was just doing regular swings with his junior clubs. He hit it pretty well a few times. I grabbed the 7 iron I use for chips and hit a few with him. First time this year I've had a golf club in my hands.

I've had little success at golf, which has been disappointing. Last year I was motivated to get under 100 at a regular course, or at least under 50 over nine holes. I practiced at the driving range, my yard, and on a putting matt. I didn't quite get there. I played OK at times but could not sustain it over a round.

One time last year at River Oaks south course I was +1 after the first 3 holes. But then things went bad. Another time at the River Oaks north course I had a 37 after 7 holes. I was in great shape to break 100, or at least 50 at the turn. Alas, I finished the front nine with 7-8, and the back nine was a writeoff.

That time at the River Oaks north course was a personal setback for me. I wanted to break 100 and I wasn't able to. Discouraged, I didn't touch a golf club after that in 2005.

For 2006 I am taking a more relaxed approach to golf. I don't have time or money for lessons, so I've given up on getting under 100. I find that liberating in a way so now I can relax more with no expectations.

I'm not going to pursue golf this season. I'm not going to spend time or money on my own on the driving range or practice. If my son wants to go hit in the back yard I'll go out with him but that's about it.

This year I will work on exactly one aspect of my golf game. Keep my head down through the swing. I will not bother at all about grip, stance, swing or anything else. Just keep my head down and hopefully I'll hit it consistently and good things will happen. It seemed to go OK out in the yard concentrating on head down only. If I can achieve that one thing then this season will be considered a success.

I'm not going to organize other people to go and play. If people invite me to play I'll go out for fun, but that's it. My son says he wants to play so I'll take him out once in a while. We'll go to the Fairview Hills pitch and putt to start out. If he's hitting consistently and well then we'll go for the longer Harbour Ridge course.

I don't expect to be writing much more about golf. The next time I write about it will be when I reach the 50/9, 100/18 goal. I still faintly hope it will happen this year but I don't expect it to and I'm not going to be disappointed if it doesn't happen.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Aviator, awesome

I saw The Aviator recently on DVD. That was a great epic movie. I strongly recommend it if you haven't seen it yet. I wish I'd seen it in the theatre as some of the scenes were spectacular. Howard Hughes had a much more interesting life than I'd realized.

Leonardo DiCaprio was great in this film. He's been on good run lately. He was great in Catch Me If You Can. He is a very good actor.

I'm not much of a star watcher. I recognized Alan Alda who put in a solid performance. When they ran the credits at the end I couldn't tell you which character was Alec Baldwin, Gwen Stefani, Jude Law, or Brent Spiner.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Rice it

Rice it is a term I first heard a couple of months ago. This is a separate meaning from the Uncle Ben's commercials.

"Rice it" is when a product is changed to add a lot of flashy luxury features which drive up the price.

A good example of a riced product is the 2006 Honda Civic. Compare the 2006 Civic to the 2005 Civic to see how Honda riced it.

  • sensible Dunlop tires in the 2005 are replaced with expensive Goodyear in the 2006
  • regular wheels in the 2005 give way to flashy wheels in the 2006 which we now have to worry about being stolen
  • regular windshield wipers 2005; funky squeegee windshield wipers 2006
  • plain regular design lines 2005; sport car style body 2006
  • keyless remote has new buttons in the 2006
  • 2006 has added heated side mirrors. An ostentatious feature.
  • The 2005 has a very pleasant Google style dashboard. Controls for the heat and radio are basic and obvious how to use. In the 2006 they went with a very busy MSN type interface. Way more buttons and dials. Not obvious just looking at it what everything does.
  • Analog speedometer 2005. Digital 2006.
The intent of ricing a product is to appeal the product to a younger, more aggressive market. It also can be used to justify sticker price increases.

So if you hear someone say that something has been riced, you'll know what they are talking about. However you should not say it yourself in polite conversation. It is actually a derogatory term. I won't say how it is a slur, but I will say that you're more likely to hear it more out in British Columbia. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to guess why it is derogatory.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Snow shovelling tip

Here's a tip that will help keep your hands warm when you're shovelling snow and extend the life of your expensive gloves.

Wear your regular gloves, but pull work gloves over them when shovelling. The work gloves will keep your hands a bit warmer. They will also keep snow off your warm gloves so keep your hands dry.

Also shovelling really wears out the regular gloves quickly. Work gloves are designed to be used with shovels and will not get ripped as easily from the snow shovel.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Football book and video

Here is some good football media I've enjoyed. These will be interesting to both casual and serious football fans. I dare say people who don't care about football at all would enjoy these because they are entertaining and high quality.

A great football book is The Dark Side of the Game: My Life in the NFL, by Tim Green. This is a really good book about what it's like to be on the inside of the NFL as a middle class player. I much enjoyed it and highly recommend.

My wife got me Monday Night Mayhem for Christmas. This was a really enjoyable DVD about the glory years of Monday Night Football in the 1970s. That was the time when people had bumper stickers that said "My boss never asks me to work Monday night."

Unfortunately for me the Cosell era was a bit before my time. Plus the games don't start until 10 PM in Halifax. I'll watch pieces of MNF today. I'm more likely to watch all of the Sunday night game just because it starts earlier.

The MNF video is based on the book of the same title.

Monday, January 02, 2006


Recently my in laws had their annual family holiday party. It was a good time as usual. Lots of good food, that's for sure.

There were a lot of hockey fans among the men. Hockey is their game. They like hockey the way I like football. I like hockey myself. They like to talk about hockey. It was a pretty even split between Montreal Canadiens fans and Toronto Maple Leafs fans.

Welcome back NHL. It's great to see the players back. The new rules have hopefully ended the tedious soccer on ice era and put the emphasis back on skill where it should be. Also it looks like the Canada teams will be able to be more competitive again and bring in quality players.

I realized I don't have a favorite team. Historically I've liked the Maple Leafs going back to when I was young in the 70s. They had some good teams then with Darryl Sittler, Lanny McDonald, and Borje Salming. They had a good run in the early 90s too with Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark.

In recent years the Leafs just turned me off with dirty play. There's just too much of opponents getting submarined for knee injury, or elbowed in the head for a concussion. I can't stand that type of play or players who play like that. Toronto has kept too many guys like that around for too long.

Although they've had success on the ice, the recent Leafs seem to be kind of bland and dull. They lack the real character players like the guys mentioned above who made it really entertaining.

So I'm not sure. I probably don't follow it closely enough to pick up a new favorite team. I guess I'll just do what many Canadians do which is to wait for the Spring and get behind the Canada team that goes the furthest in the playoffs.