Sunday, November 8, 2009

Photo or Illustration?

I've been playing with some presets in Lightroom. A couple generate an effect that makes the photo look more like an illustration. I love the effect, but it makes me wonder, what is a photo?

More Later...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Study In Clouds

Over then next few days I'll be posting a number of cloud shots to my flickr account. The diversity in colours and textures are mind boggling.

More Later...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Props For Some Lightroom Presets

I've been doing a lot more editing in Lightroom over the last while, and I must say it ROCKS!!! Many people have created Photoshop Actions, but I've never been a big Photoshop fan. I preferred Corel's offerings, but there were not many choices for plug-ins. Now I only round trip to Photoshop if and only if it is necessary…Serious Sharpening or Noise Reduction… Otherwise I live in the quiet, non-destructive world of Lightroom.

Recently I come across some very great Develop Presets (Lightroom editing speak) which have expanded my range of what I want to do with my photos, without spending a large amount of time.

Often they are not used as is, but get me in the ballpark, and I still have to have a feel for which treatment makes the best photo from my picture. Or they give me ideas for my own additional presets.

Thanks to the preset developers for making their warez free.

More Later...

PS: Thanks to Gavin Seim for keeping a great list on his website.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Painted Family

Personal-2009-07-18-Canon EOS-1D Mark III-0130-Edit

Personal-2009-07-18-Canon EOS-1D Mark III-0130-Edit,
originally uploaded by trollkarlnet.

The Painted Family
From my youth, I start to recall a song we learned in grade 2 or 3, don't exactly remember

"I ride an old paint, I lead an old dan
I'm going to Montan' to throw the hollihan…"

Full lyrics

More Later...

NB: 2010/06/17 Migration note, I've modified the post name to match the photo name.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

More Memories of My Grandma

When I was younger, my grandma would come over to my parents place at ungodly hours to do laundry. People who know me, know what my opinion of morning is. I believe in sunrise, it is the perfect time to go to bed. I've never been a big fan of "the before noon" and she would get there at the unholy hour of 7:00 in the AM sometimes even earlier! Sure she had been awake for an hour or two by then, but not me.

Anyway, she would come over to my parent's place to do her laundry, and in the process help with our family laundry. Eventually, she mastered the technique of changing the sheets while I was still in bed and soundly sawing logs. "Don't worry Greggy, it's just me doing the sheets" she would say, and before I knew it, new sheets were on my bed. This happened most weeks, until I got a water bed, and she just could not navigate it to change the sheets.

Her early morning escapades made it possible for me to do tech support over the phone in my sleep, because I had learned to roll, move, and respond to questions without regaining consciousness. 

She was an amazingly energetic woman, who had work-ethic and a stamina that put me to shame. She will be missed....
More Later....

Friday, July 3, 2009

Eva Helen Westergreen Siewert Hoy -- Obituary

On July 1, 2009, EVA HELENA WESTERGREEN SIEWERT HOY took her love of family and friends to those who await her with open arms in a better place. She just celebrated her 100th birthday April 3rd and was so proud that she got a special greeting from the Queen.

She leaves to remember her and rejoice in the many happy times they shared, her children: DeLynn (Marc) Siewert, Ione (Carl) Skafte, Deanna (Dave Kwasnicki) Siewert. Eva loved and treasured her second family, Tom’s children: Marjory (Karl) Wildeboer, Mona (Jim deceased) Hoy, and John (Lenore deceased) Wolanuk. Her twelve grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren brought so much joy to her that she always wanted to be surrounded by their pictures so that she could gaze at them at her leisure. Eva is also survived by her sister, Daisy Crawford; and her faithful, loyal and loving home teacher, Ron Cosgrove.

Eva was predeceased by her first husband, Reinhold Siewert, and her second husband, Tom Hoy, as well as her daughter, Shirley, and step-children, Jim Hoy and Lenore Wolanuk. She was predeceased by her father and mother, Augustus and Anna Holmerson Westergreen, and her brothers: Eric, Fred, Allan, Sidney, Frank, Willis and Wallace, and sister, Elna Brantner.

Eva was born April 9, 1909 in Whitewater, Manitoba to Augustus and Anna Holmerson Westergreen. When she was only five months old, Eva came with her family to a homestead in Wrentham.

In 1937 she married Reinhold (Reiny) Siewert. They lived in a small house with many of Reiny’s children from his first marriage. Reiny died on January 17, 1952.

She worked at the Crystal CafĂ© for many years. She held various jobs in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) but especially remembers the great times with friends during the various fund-raising efforts to build the new LDS church in Wrentham. 

In 1969 Eva moved to Lethbridge to be closer to her family. She worked at Edith Cavell, Woolworth’s, and finally at the Park Plaza Restaurant working there until she retired in 1974.

In 1971, Eva answered a letter in the Western Producer from a widowed Manitoba farmer looking for friendship: Tom Hoy. They were married in 1972 and spent twenty-three wonderful years together traveling, gardening, going to church, visiting family and friends, and just enjoying each other. Tom died June 12, 1995.

She looked forward to the special times with the Wrentham Birthday Club as they shared their birthdays, and reminisced. These were special times and special friends for her.

At Eva’s request, there will be no funeral service. In lieu of flowers, Eva would certainly ask that you reach out to a special senior and tell them how much you care. Eva would also thank, as do her family, the special staff at Extendicare Lethbridge who cared for her so lovingly and patiently over the past seven years.

Southern Alberta Generations Funeral Home
703-13 Street North
Lethbridge, AB T1H 2T2
Phone: (403) 382-3601
Fax: (403) 320-1492

Sign guest book: 

Pasted from

More Later....

NB: 2010/06/17 Migration note, I still miss her... :(

Sun Setting On Oil Pumps

Driving between Provost and Edmonton using Highway 41 on Canada Day, I did a number of silhouettes. Unfortunately GPSed on my Blackberry 8830 gave me issues so I don't have this photo geotagged.

More Later ....

Memories of My Grandma

Just recently my grandma (Eva Hoy) passed (April 1909 -> July 2009, yes just over 100), and I've started to try and recall many of my favourite stories of her. As a child she lived 3 blocks from the elementary school I attended. So most days no bag lunches for me, I could walk to grandma's house for a hot lunch. Handmade hamburgers, fried chicken and home fries, pot roast with mash potatoes and gravy, but, most importantly, her rice pudding. 

Sometimes there would be vanilla pudding, sometimes tapioca, a smattering of chocolate or butter scotch, but as much as possible, her rice pudding. I did learn how to make it and occasionally I still do, but it's not made with her love. 

  • 4 Cups Milk 
  • 1 Cup Rice
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt 
  • Splash of Vanilla 
So deceptively simple, but without the hand of the master, and without the love a grandma, it's just not the same. 

For the last number of years she had been suffering, so her passing is a blessing, but I will miss her with all my heart. 

More Later ....

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Bet

A little old lady went into the Bank of America one day, carrying a bag of money. She insisted that she must speak with the president of the bank to open a savings account because, "It's a lot of money!" After much hemming and hawing, the bank staff finally ushered her into the president's office.

The bank president then asked her how much she would like to deposit. She replied, "$165,000!" and dumped the cash out of her bag onto his desk. The president was, of course, curious as to how she came by all this cash, so he asked her, "Ma'am, I'm surprised you're carrying so much cash around. Where did you get this money?" The old lady replied, "I make bets."

The president then asked, "Bets? What kind of bets?" The old woman said, "Well, for example, I'll bet you $25,000 that your balls are square." "Ha!" laughed the president, "That's a stupid bet. You can never win that kind of bet!" The old lady challenged, "So, would you like to take my bet?" "Sure," said the president, "I'll bet $25,000 that my balls are not square!" The little old lady then said, "Okay, but since there is a lot of money involved, may I bring my lawyer with me tomorrow at 10:00 am as a witness?" "Sure!" replied the confident president.

That night, the president got very nervous about the bet and spent a long time in front of a mirror checking his balls, turning from side to side, again and again. He thoroughly checked them out until he was sure that there was absolutely no way his balls were square and that he would win the bet.

The next morning, at precisely 10 am, the little old lady appeared with her lawyer at the president's office. She introduced the lawyer to the president and repeated the bet:  "$25,000 says the president's balls are square!" The president agreed with the bet again and the old lady asked him to drop his pants so they could all see. The president complied. The little old lady peered closely at his balls and then asked if she could feel them.  "Well, Okay," said the president,"$25,000 is a lot of money, so I guess you should be absolutely sure."

Just then, he noticed that the lawyer was quietly banging his head against the wall. The president asked the old lady, "What the hell's the matter with your lawyer?" She replied, "Nothing, except I bet him $50,000 that at 10 am today, I'd have the president of the Bank of America's balls in my hand."

More Later...

Monday, June 29, 2009

More -- Marriage Humour

  • You have two choices in life: You can stay single and be miserable, or get married and wish you were dead.
  • At a cocktail party, one man said to another, "Aren't you wearing your wedding ring on the wrong finger?" "Yes, I am. I married the wrong Woman."
  • A man inserted an ad in the classifieds: "Wife Wanted". Next day he received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing: "You can have mine."
  • When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her.
  • A man is incomplete until he is married. Then he is finished
  • A little boy asked his father, "Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?" Fatherreplied, "I don't know son, I'm still paying."
  • A young son asked, "Is it true Dad, that in some parts of Africa a man doesn't know his wife until he marries her?" Dad replied, "That happens in every country, son."
  • Then there was a man who said, "I never knew what real happiness was until I got married, and by then, it was too late.
  • Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
  • If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say -- talk in your sleep.
  • Just think, if it weren't for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all.
  • First guy says, "My wife's an angel!" Second guy remarks, "You're lucky, mine's still alive."
  • "A Man's Prayer: Dear Lord, I pray for: Wisdom, to understand a Woman, to Love and to forgive her, and for patience, for her moods. Because Lord, if I pray for Strength, I'ld just beat her to death"
  • Husband and wife are waiting at the bus stop with their nine children. A blind man joins them after a few minutes. When the bus arrives, they find it overloaded and only the wife and the nine kids are able to fit onto the bus.

    So the husband and the blind man decide to walk. After a while, the husband gets irritated by the ticking of the stick of the blind man as he taps it on the sidewalk, and says to him, "Why don't you put a piece of rubber at the end of your stick? That ticking sound is driving me crazy." The blind man replies, "If you had put a rubber at the end of YOUR stick, we'ld be riding the bus, so shut up.
More Later....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day of Photographic Adventure... (Update 2)

Day of Photographic Adventure... I've uploaded the HDRs to my flickr account and added the other half of my GPSed track.  I didn't like any of the pix I took of the Lamont County boys fighting the brush fire so I'm not going to upload them.

More Later....

Couple more ways to waste time on TV

Over the last few weeks I've caught a couple of more TV shows that have caught my interest
Doing Da Vinci is on Discovery Channel and is a reality show about a group of people building various war machines from the notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci.

Merlin is new in North America, but is a British fantasy series about the Aurtherian Court and the wizard Merlin.

More Later....

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Intelectual Conversation - Little Girl on a plane

A stranger was seated next to a little girl on the airplane when the stranger turned to her and said, 'Let's talk.  I've heard that flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.'

The little girl, who had just opened her book, closed it slowly and said to the stranger, 'What would you like to talk about?'

'Oh, I don't know,' said the stranger.  Then 'How about nuclear physics?' and he smiles.

OK, ' she said. 'That could be an interesting topic.  But let me ask you a question first.  A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff — grass — . Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps of dried grass. Why do you suppose that is?'

The stranger, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence, thinks about it and says, 'Hmmm, I have no idea.'

To which the little girl replies, 'Do you really feel qualified to discuss nuclear physics when you don't know shit?

More Later....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Abstract Art and Photography

On Flickr there is a group called ROTHKOesque. These are photos that look like they are in the style of the abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko.   Mark Rothko was known for doing paintings with blocks of colours, called Colour Block Painting. It's an interesting style, and I have a number of sunsets that might be considered Rothkoesque
I will have to explore taking more photos in this style.

More Later....

Day of Photographic Adventure... (Update 1)

Day of Photographic Adventure... I mentioned I took a bunch of HDR pics I've uploaded them to my flickr account and linked them to my GPSed Track.

More Later....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jesse James is a Dead Man

A new show on Spike TV that has a passing interest to me is Jesse James Is a Dead Man. Jesse James, owner of West Coast Choppers, and star of Monster Garage, and Motorcycle Mania, is back in a new series.  It looks interesting. 

More Later...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day of Photographic Adventure...

I had to get out and see if I could capture photos of a thunderstorm.  Instead, I ended up playing with some HDRs of clouds.  There were a number of lightning strikes, and I got a couple of photos of the Lamont County Firecrew putting out a fire from one of the lightning strikes.  I will be uploading these to my flickr account over the next week or so.

On my Blackberry 8830, I've been using a piece of software GPSed which acts as a GPS data logger.  I've been having very mixed results with it.  At times, it looses GPS connectivity, and I don't know if it is the a problem in the blackberry GPS or the way in which GPSed is interacting with the 8830.  So a number of my tracks on, aren't complete.  If I catch it in time I can reset my blackberry and start a new track but, I think I will just have to get a Garmin to do my GPS data logging.

More Later ....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Programming Methodologies -- Time for me to join the modern age.

Before I became a BOFH System Admin / Network Admin, I started walking down the path of a software developer.  If you look at my bookshelf Software Development books out number my SA/NA books 3 to 1.  In the previous shop, I was going to do 50-50 SA work - Software Development.  There was enough interesting SA work that I decided to leave Software Development behind, at least as my primary means of earning my paycheck.  That didn't keep me from dabbling in my spare time.

After a lot of reading, contemplating, and searching I came across the Extreme Programming  Explained by Kent Beck.  I saw the light, a programming methodology that I could get behind.  I became an XP (Extreme Programming) convert.  I preached XP to whomever would listen.  The main stumbling block that I had in getting people to buy into XP was the concept of pairs programming.  While the documentation from most XP based projects should that 2 people working together overtime were more productive, it was often view by management as an excuse for the programmers to slack off and goof around.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Trollkarl -- the meaning of a name.

People often ask where does this come from.  They ask about trolls, they wonder if my name is Karl.  The simple answer is none of the above, it's the Swedish word for warlock or illusionist.  This was my preferred character class when I played any number of RPGs. Also, warlock was just too common of a pseudonym on the Internet for me to use that, so I picked something from my ancestry.

More Later....

Lazy Saturday

I spent a day messing around with a number of Firefox plug-ins, YSlow and Page Speed.  They analyze your webpage and give you suggestions of how to tweak things to make you site faster.  In the process I watched two very interesting movies
Amal is about a rickshaw driver that has a heart of gold.  He gave a ride to an eccentric millionaire, who without Amal's knowledge write Amal into his will.  A well done movie.

August Rush, is the story of an untrained musical protege that ran away from foster-care.  Everywhere this amazing kid sees and hears music, he discovers his gifts while he is on a quest to find his parents.

More Later ....

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tacos al Pastor de Gregorio

Continuing on my recipe spree, last October, I made a variation on Tacos al Pastor for a friends birthday. I did a whack of research and came up with this variation of a Mexican classic.
Tacos al Pastor
  • 10 Pasilla Chiles
  • 10 Mexico Nuevo Chiles
  • 10 Ancho Chiles
  • 5 Pasilla Negro Chiles
  • 5 Mulato Chiles
  • 2 Pablano Chiles
  • 1 to 3 Chipotle Chiles (preferencia)
  • 1/2 Large Sweet yellow onion minced
  • 5 to 10 cloves Garlic (preferencia)
  • 250 ml Packed yellow sugar
  • 500 ml cider vinegar
  • 500 ml stock (low sodium beef, chicken, veggie whatever is available, water in a pinch)
  • 250 ml pineapple juice (un-sweetened)
  • 125 ml orange juice
  • 3 limes juiced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 5 tablespoons mexican oregano
  • 1/3 of package of achiote
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • 2 days before you want tacos make the marinade/ salsa

    Toast all the dried chiles and remove the seeds and stems. Roast the Pablanos and make Rojas. In a large pot heat a tablespoon of oil, sweat the minced onion, add the tomato paste, and garlic. To the pot add the cider vinegar, sugar and the lime juice. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Turn down the heat to medium, add the toasted dried chiles, cook until soft. Add the rojas and chipotles. With an immersion blender start pureeing the chiles, add the stock to thin the mixture. Add the pineapple and orange juice and blend until smooth. Add the Oregano and achiote and blend again. Simmer until all the flavours have melded. If the salsa is too thick, thin with either pineapple juice or more vinegar (if the salsa seems too sweet use vinegar, if it too tart/sour add some pineapple juice.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool overnight.

  • 1 day before

    Take a couple of kilos of pork/lamb shoulder steak, butt steak or beef flank
    steak and coat well with the marinade.  Message the marinade into the meat
    well. Every couple hours move everything around making sure the meat
    absorbs the marinade ( add more marinade if things are dry).

  • Day of the tacos.

    Remove all the excess marinade from the meat, scrape it clean if necessary (this will
    be very messy). If you are using lamb or pork, in a pan cook the meat
    over high heat until the meat is medium rare ( we are cooking it again later so
    even rare is ok). For beef bbq/grill it to the desired doneness cut
    across the grain and serve. For the lamb and pork, to get a better
    texture, slice the partly cooked meat into thin slices across the grain.
    In a wok on high heat, add a bit of corn oil, lard, or shortening something
    with a high smoke point. Stir fry the meat until cooked, don’t be afraid
    to get a little crispy on one side to simulate the meat being cooked on a
    trompa (rotisserie)

Server with you favorite taco fixings and grilled pineapple.  This will make a mess, but it tastes good.
More Later....


Since I'm writing starting to through some food in the mix.  It's been a while since I made fresh gnocchi, but I'm getting a hankerin' for it again.  Last time I made it was last summer!!
Gnocchi Recipe
  • 2 lbs Russet Potatoes (Baked)
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached AP flour 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 large egg beaten
Bake the potatoes, I cheat and nuke them until they were 3/4 done, then I put the in the oven to finish. Let them cool, peel them, and put them through a food mill, or grate them if you don't have a mill.  Mix in the salt and beaten egg.  Add enough flour so the dough  no longer sticks to your hands.  Pour everything on the bench and lightly dust with bench flour, kneed for 3 or 4 minutes until the dough is smooth.  Make a ball, and cut into 6 pieces.  Roll each piece into a 3/4" rope.  Cut into pieces 1" long. You can add the ridges either with the back of a fork, or I have a ridged gnocchi paddle. Now you can either cook or freeze them. I found the recipe here.
Last summer I made a brown butter sage sauce with some scallops and prawns to be served with the gnocchi.  One thing to note you need Russet or some other high starch, low moisture potato, this keeps the gnocchi light and tender.

More Later ...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Currency Transaction Tax

I was listen to Dispatches on CBC radio the other day and they were talking about an interesting idea to increase the coffers for assisting the third world. They were talking about a Currency Transact Tax.  You can read about it here.

More Later....

Why Can't I Get A Bailout?!

The Canadian and American governments are tripping over themselves to bailout the auto industry.  Well, there are some strings attached, but that is for another day.  My big question is why does the business world have a hate on for IT.  We are going to save jobs of people that can be replaced by machines.  While we are cut jobs that require actual high skilled intelligent people. 

I'm not blaming industry for shipping jobs to overseas. Sending jobs overseas is just a result of needing to satisfy shareholder value.  The companies using overseas staff, have not reduced head count, they have just employed less expensive staff.  There is a large number of highly qualified  and talented people in these countries, they deserve jobs, so let them work.

My issue now is that all the other companies first reaction to cut costs and "Right Size" is to reduce there overhead. OK, but is the overhead always IT??  We have to pay the executives who's greed, ineptness, or pick your favorite adjective, more than the entire IT department for a salary, and then he deserves a bonus for bankrupting or tanking his company!  Where is the executives accountability? Oh yeah it's in his desire to maintain his bonus. 

I don't disagree that IT sometimes brings on the wrath of business folks on because IT does do stupid stuff.  I also question the brain trust that retrains high school dropouts and people that don't like to use their brains into IT people.  There is also a number of stereotypes within the IT community that doesn't help our cause.  Ultimately we pay the price.

Since the mass hysteria called Y2K, more jobs have been lost in IT than people employed by the auto industry.  Ohh, and business hasn't forgiven us for Y2K, even though it was their fault.  In IT we get stuck with decisions that people that have no idea what the implications are.  They just want to receive the pat on the back from the boss, or receive their kickback or what ever external stimulus has influenced the decision. 
I want my bailout.  I can do a bad job, I'll try really hard if give me money.....

More Later.....

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ghost Story

This incident took place in Dublin a while ago and although it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock take, it's true according to local towns people.

John Bradford, a Dublin University student, was walking on the side of the road hitchhiking on a dark and stormy night. The rain and fog was so severe he could only see a few feet ahead of him. There were no cars in sight and John was beginning to panic.

Suddenly, he saw headlights approaching. The car was traveling very slowly and came to a stop in front of him. Desperate for shelter and without thinking about it, John got into the car and closed the door.

Only then did he realize there was nobody behind the wheel and the engine wasn't running. The car started moving forward slowly. John looked at the road ahead and knew the car was approaching a sharp curve. Scared that the car would go over the embankment, John started to pray for his life.

Just before the car hit the curve a hand appeared through the drivers side window and turned the wheel.
John was paralysed with fear and terror as he watched the hand repeatedly come through the window though it never touched or harmed him.

Shortly thereafter, John saw the lights of a Pub ahead. Gathering all his strength, he opened the car door, jumped out, and ran towards the Pub.  Soaking wet and out of breath, he rushed inside and started telling everyone about the horrible experience he just had. A silence enveloped the Pub when everyone realized he was crying.......and wasn't drunk.

Suddenly, the Pub door opened and two other people walked in to escape the stormy night. They, like John, were soaking wet and out of breath. Looking around, and seeing John Bradford sobbing at the bar, one said to the other, 'Look Paddy, there's that f*@#* idiot that got in our car while we were pushing it.'

More Later...

Political Correctness -- Definition

The following is supposedly the winning entry in an annual contest calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term.

This year's term was "Political Correctness".

The winner wrote:
Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

More Later...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Deadliest Warrior!!

Spike has been airing a cool new series called Deadliest Warrior.  It's in the same vein as Animal Face-off, a number of engineers, and specialists in the selected weapons and warriors, run a series of tests.  The data is then feed into a computer simulation and a winner is selected.  A couple of the episodes are
  • Viking vs Samuri
  • Ninja vs Spartan Warrior
  • Shaolin Monk vs Maori Warrior
there are others, check it out.

More later......

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Farm Kid In The Marines


Dear Ma and Pa,

I am well.  Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled.

I was restless at first because you get to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m. But I am getting so I like to sleep late. Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some things.  No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing.

Men got to shave but it is not so bad, there's warm water.  Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city boys that live on coffee. Their food,  plus yours,  holds you until noon  when you get fed again. It's no wonder these city boys can't walk much.

We go on 'route marches,' which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us.  If he thinks so, it's not my place to tell him different.  A 'route march' is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks.

The sergeant is like a school teacher.  He nags a lot.  The Captain is like the school board.   Majors and colonels just ride around and frown. They don't bother you none.
This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing.  I keep getting medals for shooting.   I don't know why.  The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don't move, and it ain't shooting at you like the Higgett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it.  You don't even load your own cartridges They come in boxes.

Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training.  You get to wrestle with them city boys.  I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. It ain't like fighting with that ole bull at home.  I'm about the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver Lake . I only beat him once..  He joined up the same time as me, but I'm only 5'6' and 130 pounds and he's 6'8' and near 300 pounds dry.
Your loving daughter,


More Later....

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Best Smart Ass Answers of 2008!!

It was mealtime during an airline flight. 'Would you like dinner?' the flight attendant asked John, seated in front.
'What are my choices?' John asked.
'Yes or no,' she replied.
A flight attendant was stationed at the departure gate to check tickets. As a man approached, she extended her hand for the ticket and he opene
d his trench coat and flashed her. Without missing a beat, she said, 'Sir, I need to see your ticket, not your stub.'
A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store but she couldn't find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, ' Do these turkeys get any bigger?'
The stock boy replied, 'No ma'am, they're dead.'
The police officer got out of his car as the kid who was stopped forspeeding rolled down his window. 'I've been waiting for you all day,' the officer said.
The kid replied, Yeah, well I got here as fast as I could.'
When the cop finally stopped laughing, he sent the kid on his way without a ticket.
A truck driver was driving along on the freeway and noticed a sign that read: Low Bridge Ahead. Before he knows it, the bridge is right in front of him and his truck gets wedged under it. Cars are backed up for miles. Finally a police car comes up. The cop gets out of his car and walks to the truck driver, puts his hands on his hips and says, 'Got stuck, huh?'
The truck driver says, 'No, I was delivering this bridge and I ran out of gas.'
A college teacher reminds her class of tomorrow's final exam. 'Now class, I won't tolerate any excuses for you not being here tomorrow. I might consider a nuclear attack or a serious personal injury, illness, or a death in your immediate family, but that's it, no other excuses whatsoever!'
A smart-ass student in the back of the room raised his hand and asked, 'What would you say if tomorrow I said I was suffering from complete and utter sexual exhaustion?' The entire class is reduced to laughter and snickering. When silence was restored, the teacher smiled knowingly at the student, shook her head and sweetly said, 'Well, I guess you'd have to write the exam with your other hand.'
A woman is standing nude looking in the bedroom mirror. She is not happy with what she sees and says to her husband, 'I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment. '
The husband replies, 'Your eyesight's damn near perfect.'

More Later....

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tomorrow is Budget Day!

Parliament is back in session, and today was the throne speech.  The minority government looks like they are going to attempt to restart the economy with a deficit spending spree.  Tomorrow is the official budget speech, but the NDP have already stated with will vote against the budget, freakin' morons.  Liberals and the Bloc Quebecios are taking a wait and see attitude.  If the opposition vote against the budget, well, either we will end up with an election, or possibly, God forbid, a coallition government.

The next couple days will tell.

More Later...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Someone to Watch Over Me....

By Saralee Perel

Gracie, my beautiful 13-year-old shepherd/collie mix, has found her purpose.

Six years ago, when I came home from a Boston hospital after my spinal cord injury, I was wearing a huge rock-solid brace that went from my chin to the middle of my chest.

When my husband Bob helped me to our couch, Gracie hopped up to give me her usual 3 million "Yippee you're home!" kisses. But before she landed her sloppy tongue on my face, she abruptly stopped herself upon seeing my brace and, I believe, sensing my pain.

And in that instant, I was no longer her caregiver. I was in her care.

Ever since then, Gracie's reason-to-be has been to watch over me.

Although she's nearly deaf now, she feels the vibration on the floor when I get out of bed. She rouses herself from her heated doggie bed. As I head to the bathroom, she leads the way as if saying, "I'll protect you, Mom. Just stay behind me." If there is anythingsuch as a slipper in my path, she will come to a stop, turn sideways to block me, and then wait until she's sure I've seen the obstacle.

Lately, I've been re-learning how to walk. And just recently I made my first trek to walk with her at her favorite spot - a woodland path around a pond. I used to walk there with her every day . . . before.

It was emotionally brutal seeing my old dog amble so lamely now. With her head
down, she tried her best to walk a straight line, but she couldn't.

The next day something wondrous happened. Gracie remembered her calling. Renew
ed as if granted a second life, she became happy and purposeful in her ever-vigilant new role as "Grand Protector of My Mom."

If another dog jumps up to greet me, I fall. So, on that second day, a dog about 30 pounds bigger and many years younger than Gracie raced in my direction. Gracie, barking, "I'll get him!" moved as fast as she could to shield me. She planted her old, weak body right in front of me as a barrier.

She faced the large, spirited dog. Then she barked a loud warning, "You better stay away from my mom!" The dog tried to get around her to reach me. Gracie growled, which I have not seen her do in over 10 years, "I mean it!"

The dog backed off. Gracie has taken on 4 dogs at once, to stop them from getting to me.

You see, she has shown me something I had not known before. Gracie would give up her life for me.

A verse from the song "Mr. Bojangles" haunts me.
He spoke with tears of fifteen years
how his dog and him just traveled about.
His dog up and died.
He up and died.
After twenty years he still grieves.
Today, I said to my wise reverend friend Connie, "Do you think that having Gracie is worth the pain of losing her?"

Connie said, "Oh yes. Your sadness is so deep only because your love is so deep. What is a life without love?"

And so, I knelt on the floor next to my Gracie. "Thank you for taking care of me - for protecting me from all of the evils you think could ever come my way." I rubbed her bony hips and shoulders. "You have done a great job." I kissed her golden forehead. "I will always love you." She sighed, then fell asleep, tired from a long day of watching over me. I whispered so as not to wake her, "You are my true friend."

More Later....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Corporate Entitlement .... Again

A number of years back there was a great cartoon Calvin and Hobbes. Bill Watterson had this social commentary on CEOs and big business.  He is so spot on.

There was recently a 20/20 or maybe it was 60 minutes, I didn't see which one, nor did I watch it, but I was told about it by a friend of mine.

Basically in re-affirms our opinion about CEOs and their belief in their entitlement to EVERYTHING.  Lets face it, the BIG 3 automakers well the American automakers, deliberately made decisions that have them in their current predicament.  How many people are payed millions to get it wrong?  In the IT world, we get it wrong, and they bounce our asses out the door.

More Later....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nortel... Ship arriving too late to save a drowning company?

Nortel is still alive and kicking, sort of.  The former crown jewel of the Canadian Tech Sector, has never truly recovered from the .COM bust.  Today they are filing for "Bankruptcy Protection" in the various countries they are operating in.

They did have some great product, but who knows what will happen.....

More Later....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The True North Strong and Free... OR NOTt!

The soon to be ex-american president GW started beaking off today about US interests in the Arctic.  As the legendary Northwest Passage starts coming into existence, the US is now waking up to the northern oceans.  Russia has been making overtures for the last couple years because they have the largest chunk of the arctic, and they are going after the resources.  America is just confused.  They have one of the smallest slices of the arctic nations, but they have been less than respectful of any treaties they have negotiated with Canada.

As global warming's effects become noticeable, Canada is on the global forefront of climate change.  Many lives were lost exploring the Canadian Arctic for the Northwest passage.  Now that the polar ice caps are melting, we now for have, for part of the year, an ice free route through the arctic ocean.  This is major, because for part of the year, cargo from the orient to Europe has a shorter faster route.  When the arctic ocean stayed impassable, only the nuclear subs of Russia and the US could operate in the region.

Canada is waking up and exerting our authority in the north, but will it be enough .....

More Later....

Urban Whale Song!

Now that we are getting some snow, couple of centimeters of snow over the last few days, the graders are out cleaning the streets.  Depending on the operator, the blade will be scrapping against the asphalt and creating an eerie, haunting sound, similar to whales singing. I've never personally heard a real whale song, but I have listened enough on any number of nature programs.  

It really lets me know that it's winter in Edmonton, and while we don't have enough snow yet.... it's a step in the right direction....

More Later....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nails in the Fence

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.  His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.  Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.  He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.  Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all.

He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, ' You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. But It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound will still be there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. Remember that friends are very rare jewels, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed.

They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us.'

Email forwarding instructions deleted

Please forgive me if I have ever left a 'hole' in your fence

More Later....

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weather Chaos

What a goofy winter, the weather is all over the map, and is reminding me of my teen years back home.  A couple days at -30°C, then a couple days of 0°C, and a variety in between.  I also caught some pix from Washington state where they have had weather all over the map as well.

I wish the weather would settle, give me my 15' of snow stay at a nice comfortable -10°C, and keep it there until spring.  Then a slow, casual melt to refill the rivers, lakes and sloughs.  Keep the migratory birds, and me, happy. 

I must be old, now I'm complaining about the weather ....

More Later ....

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Song Lyrics

I'm pulling these out of the vault, the person they were originally meant for has long since left my life, so I'll put 'em here and see if they re-inspire me to get them refined.
I close my eyes and I can see
the love of an angel
watching over me

I close my eyes and I can hear
the voice of an angel
whisper in my ear

I close my eyes and I can feel
the love of and angel
a love that is real

I close my eyes and thought it was a dream
what I thought was a angel
was something more it seams

I close my eyes never again
I don't need the angel
cause we're walking hand-in-hand

I open my eyes and look with a smile
the love of my life
has been here for awhile
More Later.....