Sunday, October 31, 2010

Beetle Juice, BEETLE Juice, BEETLE JUICE! - Happy All Hallows Eve!!!!!!

The autumn air has a bit of a wintery bite to it theses days, it must be time for Halloween! We've already been threatened with the likes of snow and temperatures have dipped into the low negatives just in time to send the kids for possibly the last trip outside. (Before it becomes unpleasant...... And you have to dress the kids in their snowsuits to escape the cold.... And we all remember how much bulky, uncomfortable fun that was.) Despite the cold, Halloween kicks off the season of fun... It gives us reason to decorate the walls and yards that most of us be seeing a little more of in the coming shortening days. It gives us reason to mingle and socialize. (Not to mention, it gives adults a reason to go out in public in costume to "grow down" a bit and cut loose. Well, the adults that are brave enough to do so.)

I remember a few Halloweens growing up... I remember a few costumes, trick-or-treating neighborhoods and trick-or-treating mates. For the most part, I wasn't a creative kid... I remember being a witch, black cat, construction worker and gypsy, and all more than once. They might have been the same generic costume idea, but they were added to and twisted around so it wasn't the exact same every year. One thing that did seem consistant on Halloween nights... Supper before Trick-or-Treating could commence. Every year we'd have Lipton Chicken Noodle soup and Hot Dogs. It seems as though this was a tradition passed down by my Mummy. She and her siblings had the same thing on Halloween Nights.

I've trick-or-treated in a few different neighbourhoods. I used to live out in a subdivision out in "the country" that had a big long hill to the top. Of course, I lived at the bottom of that long hill, so we got our workout while trick-or-treating there. I'd obviously go with my younger brother, occasionally we'd join up with the neighbours' kid - who was my age. Grade 5, one of the last years I went out, I brought along my best friend. She was happy to tag along in spite of that hill. The year before she went with her neighbours and their Mum wouldn't go with them, but also wouldn't let them go any farther than the end of the block. (BOOO and not the ghostly kind!)
To give us a break from that torturous climb, we went with our cousins at least one year. (They were cousins through my Mum's sister, so we had some chicken dogs that night.) That was a LOT better. We had 4 cousins to wreak supervised havoc with and they were in a more suburban setting, which meant more loot! Like most parents of the day, our parents wouldn't allow us to eat the candy until they had "inspected" the stuff first... You know the Urban Legend, Halloween candy with razor blades in them or some how poisoned... Some how we all survived Halloween to make it to adulthood. =0)

My favourite houses to Trick-or-treat at were the ones that were decorated to the nine's. We still got the same mini-chocolate bars, or whatever other sugary goodness they had bought, but I did appreciate the effort they put out... I'm ashamed to say that my Hallows Eve decoration collection is pretty sparse, but I've got a few things out. I've had about six trick-or-treaters since I stopped candy whoring myself out on Halloween and subsequently moved away from home. (And I believe those kids were friends' kids, they weren't random kids out trick or treating.) I'm not sure why I've gotten so few but hey... I don't mind snarfing down the candy I had bought for the kids... I just make sure I only get a little and that I get those molasses candies... Mmmmm, My fave! =0)

Since out growing the acceptable trick-or-treating age, I've gone to a couple Halloween house and/or bar parties... But it just isn't the same for me. I've been known to watch "scary" movies on Halloween too. It just isn't the same. The movies aren't overly scary, cult classic or not... I just got sucked into watching Hocus Pocus last weekend. I hadn't seen it since it was considered a New Release. (It's the one with Bette Middler and Sarah Jessica Parker... And if there are any NCIS fans out there, McGee is in it too.... Didn't realize that until I watched it again.) It was a ridiculous movie but has the Halloween theme down. Call me immature, but I still catch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown if I'm around and it's on. Then, of course, you've got the rest of the Halloween "Classics" in Friday the 13th, Jason, Halloween (And all it's sequels and prequels), any Stephen King novel made movie (Carrie, The Shining, It, Pet Cemetery), The Exorcist, Beetle Juice and the Chucky Series. The list could go on..... Though they may not be "horror" really, I'd thought I'd mention Ghostbusters and Beetle Juice as well.

(The only movie that has ever seriously scared me, was Seven - the Brad Pitt/Morgan Freeman flick... I had to turn every light on in the house, then quickly go back and turn them off... Just to get from the living room to my bedroom.) There's also a load of TV shows dedicated to the idea of Halloween, though not directly. For example, there is Paranormal State, Psychic Kids, Ghost Whisperer, Ghost Hunters, Medium, Most Haunted, A Haunting , Ghost Stories and Unsolved Mysteries - has ghost/supernatural segments. (I've watched all and enjoy most.)

I miss the good old days... You remember the ones... Where the biggest concern in the world was what you wanted to be for Halloween and putting the costume together... Then hoping it wouldn't be too cold, not for our own sake by any means... So we could go in the first place and so we didn't have to wear the costumes under a big bulky coat, or worse - be uncomfortable because the costume was just big enough to be worn over the bulkiness. Carving pumpkins, there's another thing I miss. I could carve a pumpkin, but it's just no fun when it's just for my enjoyment. (If I got more dang kids looking for a sugar high, I'd definitely carve a pumpkin or two!) I hope the kids enjoy it while they can still get away with begging for candy from strangers!

It's not always about me; I hope y'all have a safe, fun and non-razor bladed Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

More Frightening Than Halloween

I was originally going to write about why we celebrate Halloween, it's traditions and history..... But I've decided against it... I figure I won't bore you with it, because chances are... If you wanted to know about all that, you'd've already googled it and found out by yourself... Instead, I'm going to write about something that outraged and scared me more than any Halloween prank I've witnessed... Graham James....

Graham James was a coach in the Junior A Hockey league and for the WHL, he was also a scout for the Winnipeg Warriors. In his hockey coaching/scouting career, he sexually assaulted some of the players he was responsible for coaching, including former NHLers Theo Fleury and Sheldon Kennedy. What deeply concerns me is, in 2007, James was granted a pardon from the Canadian National Parole Board... This was after his conviction and incarceration on reportedly 350 charges of sexual assaults. After his pardon, he relocated to Guadalajara, Mexico, where he used his middle name of Michael and was allowed to live a "normal life" working for a Montreal based Internet company.

I had already read Sheldon Kennedy's book, Why I Didn't Say Anything: The Sheldon Kennedy Story, so I had an idea of the deep affect and destruction that James' actions had on his former players and abuse victims. (I had become aware of the book after Kennedy's appearance on Oprah to spread awareness of sexual abuse. The book was later made into a TV movie.) Then, last night, I saw the Fifth Estate that featured Theoren Fleury and his story, obviously including Graham James and the affects it had on his life after. I have yet to read Fleury's book, Playing With Fire, but judging by the Fifth Estate and Kennedy's book, both men had similar stories. Both battled drug and alcohol addictions to numb the pain of the abuse they withstood. Both also battled sexual addiction - a side effect they linked to proving they weren't gay, a stigma of the sexual abuse at the hands of their coach.

My blood ran cold when the story shifted from the focus on Theoren Fleury to James. I'm still trying to wrap my head around Graham James receiving a pardon.... What the hell is wrong with that picture? Is it just me, or does everyone else see the fact that there is something seriously, seriously wrong with Canada's National Parole Board? How can a man so sick and twisted be allowed out of prison in the first place???? If he had abused my son/child and I heard he was being released from prison... I don't know how I'd react to be quite honest... Vigilante justice comes to mind... But I don't think that would have solved anything enough to have taken place... But I still don't think it would have ended well for James... I'm sickened and outraged that he was able to breath one breathe as a free man after that though... There is a special place in hell (and prison for that matter) for people like Graham James.

I haven't heard much about Sheldon Kennedy recently, but last I heard he was well down the road to recovery. He had given up boozing and drugs and has a family life. I'm not sure if he's been able to forgive James', but it really isn't my business. If last night's Fifth Estate was accurate, Theo Fleury is also well down recovery's road as well. He, too, has given up drugs and booze, and is in the family way. Fleury was asked if he had forgiven, or could forgive, James. I wasn't surprised when he responded "No".

Just recently, as in October 25th, James was taken into custody in Toronto's Pearson Airport. Nine more charges of sexual assault are waiting for him in Winnipeg. I hope this man never sees the light of day again as a free man. I hope he doesn't "accidentally" get let out into general population.... Just sayin'...

It's not always about me; but in this case I saw red... and it honestly had nothing to do with me...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Hope You're RIP My Angel Baby

Lately I've been a little down, one may say a little depressed even. I couldn't figure out exactly why. I thought maybe it had something to do with the days getting shorter... Or the recent drop in temperature with the snow. It took me until today to figure out what my problem was....

Four years ago today, I found out that I was about two months pregnant and would be having a baby mid-June. I was freaked out. I knew what I was expected to do in June, and that scared the bloody hell out of me! I holed up in my apartment all weekend trying to figure out what I should do. The pregnancy was far from planned. I had just turned 25 about a month before. I wasn't in a great financial situation. The relationship with my baby's Father was of the on again/off again variety. I didn't know how he would react but was sure it was either going to be "Great! I'm excited to be a Dad!" or at the opposite end of the spectrum of "Piss off, don't ever speak to me again!" I didn't know what I was going to do.

Monday morning I walked into work, and told the Father I was going to have to speak to him after work... And that it was important... It wasn't fair of me to do so, and he told me as much. I wound up telling him in a whispered tone, right there on the dock, that I was expecting. Thankfully, he reacted "WE'RE HAVING A BABY!" First big stress off... I trimmed down on my smoking to 4 or 5 cigarettes a day, down from a pack. I made sure I didn't do anything that would hurt the baby and started eating better. Our families' reaction wasn't good, the only one actually happy about the news was the baby's grandpa on the Father's side. (Our relationship was pretty volatile at times, which lead to the less than enthusiastic response.)

I had an actual Doctor's appointment which confirmed that I was indeed pregnant. Two weeks later, I was booked in for an ultrasound to see exactly how far along I was. I knew something was wrong when the ultrasound technician wouldn't let me see the monitor, and didn't give me any pictures at the end of the visit... I tried to shake it off and put it in the back of my brain.... It worked briefly, until a week later I started spotting. I rushed to the Dad and we ripped up to the Royal Alex Hospital.... We sat in the ER for 8 hours before being seen. (I wish I were exaggerating, but I'm not.) They sent us home and told me to come back the next day for an emergency ultrasound to figure out what was going on.

The next day I went in for the ultrasound and took the horrible news. I was miscarrying. They had the results from my first ultrasound and the baby hadn't grown. As far along as they figured I was, they should have been able to find the baby's heartbeat...They couldn't find it. They told me they were very sorry, but there was nothing they could do. I was devastated.

After I lost the baby, the Father and I were back in our routine of being on the outs. My mind was messed up for a very long time. I was angry, sad, depressed, grief stricken. I felt such hatred towards the father, because if he felt anything I was feeling, he wasn't showing it.

Here it is 4 years later and I still haven't forgotten. I never got to see an ultrasound. I never got the chance to find out if my baby was a boy or girl. I never got to hold him or her, but I will always hold my baby in my heart.

It's not always about me, but I know I have a special Angel Baby watching over me.

Cemetery's Tale: Silence Can Speak Volumes

I remember my first trip to a cemetery; I went with my Grandma and cousin to Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Vernon, BC to tend my Grandma's parents' graves. I was maybe 9 or 10, and didn't know what to think. I had never met my great grandparents in life, as both had passed before I was even born. I remember there being two older boys (about 13-14) that were running, jumping, screaming and just being disrespectful while we were there. I didn't like that much. I was better behaved and didn't have to be told how to act, and I thought they were the rudest people around. We only went the once, and I've only been back - maybe twice - since then.

My second trip to a cemetery was a few years later. This time I was accompanied by my grade 12 English Lit class on a field trip. I can't remember who we were studying at the time, but my teacher, Mr Krahn, thought the trip to Coldstream Cemetery on a blustery October/Novemberish day seemed appropriate... And it was. For respectful reasons, the class' trip was cut very short, within 20 minutes of arrival, we were packing up and leaving. (My memory fails me, I can't remember if a funeral procession had entered the cemetery or if a couple that came to lay flowers on an old grave. Either way, out of respect, we left without so much as a hesitation.) I was disappointed because we hadn't stayed long... I understood why it was the right thing to do. 

Early into the New Year, my third trip was made to a cemetery. This time it was for my first (and still my only) funeral. A guy who was a few grades a head of me in school had passed away. He was only 20 or so, and he also happened to be 4 of my cousins' cousin. (We were as close to being family, without actually being family, as you can get. He was their cousin on their Dad's side, and I was their cousin on their Mum's side.) The sad thing was, his younger brother was in my grade... And we were graduating from high school that Spring. The brother my age pulled through though, and wound up being MC at our grad... Older brother would've been proud, he had the personality of a performer as well.

It's been years since I've had to attend a funeral, or took a class requiring a field trip to a cemetery, or since I've been able to visit my Great-Grandparents' graves... It hasn't been years since I've wandered through a grave yard though. I guarantee I'm not morbid, or have any bizarre motives. It was out of curiosity more than anything.

While Edmonton has no shortage of cemeteries, I am most familiar with what I now realize are two separate grave yards. I came across these places quite by accident, yet in my usual way... They were on the route to work, years ago, when I first moved to Edmonton. At first I thought the cemetery was separated by the busy avenue, but still one place. It wasn't until I looked it up a few years later that I realized that there was literally a cemetery across the street from a cemetery.  On the south side of the Avenue sits St Joachim Cemetery, which happens to be Catholic Holy ground. (It was established in 1888 and is located at 105 Avenue at 117 Street.) On the North side of the Avenue lays the Municipal Cemetery to the City of Edmonton. (Information via the Internet is pretty sparse.)


St Joachim
Shortly after the discovery, I went for a wander through the grounds on a day off. I soon made new friends and had other places to be and the thought of a grave side walk evaporated. It wasn't until I started working, literally blocks from the cemeteries, that my visits increased. (I know it sounds creepy....) In the short few months that I worked near by, it almost came routine to take a stroll through the yards before my shift. Though so close to a busy thoroughfare, the cemeteries seemed so peaceful and serene amongst the trees. The odd time, I happened across a squirrel or two that would be playing amongst the head stones.


St Joachim Cemetery
Those interned in either place, told a history. Some head stones were extravagant, while others were plain. Some had the exact age on their stones, right down to the month. Some were nearly 100 years old when they passed. Some of the older stones told the story of the person that lay beneath it; where they were born, who their parents or children were. Some were so worn and weathered that it was hard to read much at all. Others had moss growing over them, while others were broken and crumbling. The ones that made me the saddest were the graves of children. Some were just a day old when they passed, some weren't named at all and were plainly marked "Baby" and distinguished by their last name. (IE/ Baby Smith) It made me wonder why there were so many tiny tombstones, then it dawned on me. Many died due to illness and disease that today's medical advances would have surely saved a great number of them.

If I would've been born 100 years ago, I would've most likely seen death as an infant. I was born with Pyloric Stenosis, which means that back then, I would most likely have starved to death. I'm not sure there wouldn't have been a way to figure out what was wrong with me, let alone fix it. My Grandma, who is almost 80, was born almost two months prematurely. The Doctors told my Great Grandfather not to bother naming or registering her, as she probably wouldn't make it long. Obviously she did, as she's my Grandma today. If she hadn't, she would have been Baby Gysler left in Switzerland when the family immigrated to Canada. (This is the same Grandma that took me on my first trip to the cemetery.)

It's not always about me; It was a great way to see some of the history of Edmonton first hand, even if it is a creepier way of going about it.


Municipal Cemetery

Municipal Cemetery


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Edmonton Bound Spirits: A Few More Haunted Places


Edmonton General
'Mother D'Youville'

My fascination with Haunted Places, Ghosts/Spirits and History in general has led me to some spirited places as I played tourist in my own City. I'm no ghost hunter, I don't have high tech gadgets, I don't stay in cemeteries over night or anything like that. I'm more of a "backseat driver" - I read about the place and if it's easy enough to get to, I'll go check out the supposedly haunted place. I believe in ghosts and spirits, if you think its a pile o' horse pucky - that's OK, you're not the first I've met. To keep with the Halloween feel of things, though, here's another post on supposedly haunted places in Edmonton.


Edmonton General Hospital
11111 Jasper Avenue
I've already told you the story of the Charles Camsell Hospital (12812 115 Avenue) and I promise this post will not be as extensive as that Hospital's History. There is a second hospital in Edmonton that is reported to be Haunted as well. That Hospital is located on one of Edmonton's main drags and is known simply as Edmonton General (or EGH). The hospital is divided into four wings, simply named the "A", "B", "C" and "Y" wings. The "A" Wing was the first to be built (Late 1800-Early 1900's depending on the source) and the rest soon followed. The "B" wing was once used as the surgical ward and while the wing hasn't been used in a decade - it is said that you can still smell the sick that were treated on the ward. A man working on the "B" ward's basement was killed as he worked. It is said that the area in which he perished is still a strong vortex of energy. The 8th floor used to house the old pediatric wing, it is rumoured to still be active with children, as they are heard to be crying. The wing later bedded Alzheimer Patients who didn't enjoy the company of crying children. A disappearing mother wanders the halls of the 6th and 8th floor in desperate search of her dead children. Her sobs far outlast the sight of her spirit.

McKay Avenue School
10429 - 99 Avenue
Another haunted place is the McKay Avenue School. (I took pictures here this past summer, and until about 5 minutes ago - I had no idea it's potential hauntings. What can I say? I'm drawn to old, beautiful buildings because of the potential history of them.) Construction on the building began in 1904. By 1906-07, the school served as the site for the first two sessions of Alberta Legislature. The third floor assembly hall was where the decision to make Edmonton Alberta's capital was made. By 1983, McKay School's student enrollment dropped to 59 students and soon after, the school was closed. McKay Avenue school is said to be the oldest still standing brick schoolhouse in Edmonton. It is said that there is an apparition of a child seen running past doors. A spirit of either a maintainence man, or a man who helped construct the original building, has been seen pacing the halls of the school. Phantom laughs of children can still be heard ringing through the halls. Within minutes, rooms have also been torn apart by hands that can't be seen. A brief history of the school can be found at http://archives.epsb.net/history.htm 


The Fairmont MacDonald
10056 - 100 Street
Finally, the building that seems to be every one's favorite, The (Fairmont) MacDonald Hotel. The Hotel looks over Edmonton's River Valley and looks almost like a Gothic-ish Castle. It's one of the few buildings here in Edmonton that I have fallen in love with. It is rumoured that a horse and buggy can be heard racing through the halls of the top floor. The driver must be on the shy side, as it's only been heard but never visually seen. The building is quite fancy, even on the outside. It seems to loom, so it's mildly disappointing that the horse-drawn carriage is the only story of a haunt.  

Other supposedly Haunted Buildings in Edmonton include John A. McDougall Elementary School (10930-107 Street), La'Boheme Bed & Breakfast (6427 112 Avenue) , The Wee Book (10310 Whyte Avenue), The Guilty Martini (10338 81st Avenue) , Victoria School of Performing and Visual Arts (10210 108 Avenue), Concordia University College of Alberta (7128 Ada Boulevard), and the Walterdale Theater (10322 83 Avenue). Fort Edmonton Park (Fox Drive & Whitemud Drive) - the city's namesake - is reportedly haunted as well.

It's not always about me; maybe I'll come back and haunt a place or two though... You never know!

If you have interest in any of the Haunted places listed above, both the following websites have a brief run through of some of the histories or stories of these places. Well worth taking a look at if you are intersted in learning more. :


Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a White Hallowe'en: Who Invited Snow to Town?

I woke up to disappointment yesterday morning. There was a skiff of snow on cars and the garbage can cover... Just enough to let it's presence known, and make me cry a little. It seems as though Mother Nature is playing an opposite hand than what we saw over the past couple of weeks. (You know, when she spoiled us with almost summer like temperatures.) The skiff was gone by noon, but the damage has been done... It continued "misting" through out the day...

From here on out, it will only get easier for the undecided Mother Nature to screw with us by using the snow card. Proof would be the snow again this morning... There was a little more snow, just enough to force people to wipe their cars off before the endeavor to work. The temperature is supposed to remain consistent through out the day... And that temperature isn't very high, around -1 Celsius to about +1 Celsius... Just low enough that the white stuff keeps falling from the sky little by little... And it looks like it could go either way - stick around or melt by mid week, when meteorologists call for +5 weather.... Happy Monday!

I live in Alberta, snow could feasibly come at any point during the year... Every year though, I hope against hope that the snow will wait until after Halloween to make it's appearance....(The year before I moved here, there was snow in July... The year I actually moved here, there was new snow a week before I got here... At the end of May... Both didn't last long, but the point of the matter is, it fricken snowed in July!!!!!) My first Albertan winter left a lot to be desired... I had long johns/underwear on, three pairs of socks and -25 rated boots on, a winter jacket, sweatshirt and t-shirt on and was still chilled to the bone... I remember getting home from work and calling my Mum on her birthday - the day before Halloween - and had to call her back... My feet were purple they were so cold and required a hot shower to get them back the correct colour... I guess I was spoiled by BC winters...

For all those who bitch about the other guy while driving through the first snows of the season.... On the behalf of the rest of us, keep your big, fat mouths shut. It is the season of slippery driving and accidents, we all know this... Give yourself a few extra minutes in the morning to drive... Even though snow is a part of our lives for roughly 6 months out of every year in Edmonton, some of us do forget how to drive in it... Every time I hear someone crab about that fact - I'd like to smack the person in the mouth... Wanting to smack that person is pretty ignorant, you might say... And so is the reason I want to smack that person in the first place... No one's perfect, so keep that in mind prior to your bitch fest on crappy winter drivers. They had as much notice as you did.... And I'm glad that your perfect enough to get to work on time, without any incident... Some of us aren't that lucky. (I'm a transit rider, how much fun do you think I'm having out in varying negative temperatures, waiting for a bus that's late due to snow and accidents! Just be glad you're in a warm vehicle out of the elements. I'd gladly switch you spots... I doubt you'd like that trade much.)

Some people genuinely enjoy the snow, unfortunately I'm not one of them. I have accepted the fact that snow, for the most part, is a part of a Canadian winter, and I do enjoy being Canadian in spite of the snow factor. (Though fresh snow on bare trees etc is quite pretty.) I will say one thing for snow - It makes Christmas. I've witnessed a few "green" Christmases - they're more like Brown Christmases - and they sucked... I have partaken in tobogganing, skiing (both down hill and cross country), ski-dooing, and the making of snowmen and snow angels. I've seen winter carnivals and festivals with amazing ice sculptures and snow structures. If I had my way though, snow would come a week before Christmas and leave by January 2nd... I've yet to get my way though.

It's not always about me; to clear up any misconceptions... No, I don't take a dog sled to and from work... No, I don't cross country ski to work either. (I live in Edmonton, there aren't many hills or mountains to ski down here either.) No, I don't have a pet seal or polar bear to feed.... No, I don't live in an igloo...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Psychedelic Morning

Autumn Morning -
Looks Fake, But I Guarantee It's Not
Looking East on Whyte (82nd) Avenue Early One October Morning

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Memorable Commercials - Because Everybody Wants a Hippopotamus for Christmas!

"I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,
Because only a Hippopotamus will do,
No Crocodiles, No Rhinoceroses,
I only like Hippopotamuses,
And Hippopotamuses like me too!"


Well, I woke up this morning in a good mood for once, not all groggy, draggin' ass, and just generally blah. Trust me, it's a nice change for once! I get to work, crack open my MacDonald's Coffee and won two "Instant" prizes on the Monopoly game pieces. (Usually I'm a Timmy's Ho coffee wise, just seemed smarter to go for the Monopoly pieces.) I read my Virgo Horoscope in today's Metro:

"The right mental attitude always attracts the right opportunities, both in your personal life and in your work and business affairs, so strive to stay positive and expect good things to come your way -- and they will."

So I've decided to stay on the positive road for the day. Rather than bitching and complaining about one of the many various topics I could, I decided to take the lighter side today... And give some companies some free plugs. Most people remember the really good or really bad commercials on TV... I'm sharing my three faves that I can remember. I didn't run out and buy their products, if you do that's cool. (I'll spread my good mood to you today, like it or not!)

The first commercial is the most recent, I've seen it a couple times and saw again last night. (That's what prompted this post.) It's a Geico commercial with actor, Mike McGlone. Mr McGlone's opening line was something along the lines of "Does Geico give you the best car insurance rates? Do Wood Chucks chuck wood?" Then it flashes to two wood chucks, not real of course, acting like typical bratty pests and chucking wood into a lake. The poor farmer comes by and yells "Hey you dang Wood Chucks!! Quit chuckin' my wood!!" I got a good "chuck"le out of it. (And at least, it wasn't that annoying as hell Gecko, that makes me not want to EVER use their services.)

The second memorable commercial was a while ago from A&W. (I used to work at two separate A&Dubs, it's not my first choice for burgers.) They were promoting 2 Mama Burgers for $4. The usual "manager" character and geeky keener character were hopped up on the helium and started singing in their helium voices. Oh My God, I damn near died laughing. I don't know why, I just found that shit hysterical. Granted, I haven't seen it in a while, but I know if I googled it, I could watch it when ever I wanted. (But why?)

Thirdly, but definitely not the least, makes me look forward to Christmas a little more. The first few times I see the Telus commercial around Christmas, I severely agitate my roommate by turning the volume up and dancing around the living room. They play the hippopotamus song (as seen above) and have hippos on screen. Though I love the commercial, I won't be using Telus for any of my telephone, internet or cable needs. I had a rotten experience with Telus a few years ago and won't go back. (Sorry to family that works, or has worked for Telus.) I remember New Years about 4 years ago, I went with a friend, who had just moved to Alberta, to Churchill Square here in Edmonton. We had gone to see the fireworks display and about 5 minutes before mid-night struck, they played the Hippopotamus song. The crowd cheered, sang along, and kind of wiggled to the upbeat tune. My friend looked at me like I was an alien or something, he hadn't heard the song and thought it was quite strange. Good commercial though. =0)

I'm sure if you haven't seen these three commercials, you can Utube or Google them. They are quite amusing and a good distraction of two minutes.

It's not always about me; I don't often run out and buy stuff due to commercials, but these ones stuck out in my mind. =0)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Abandoned Charles Camsell Hospital Story : A Haunted One?

Call me crazy, but I believe in Ghosts, Spirits, and all that "mumbo jumbo." I've always been fascinated with the paranormal and have had a few experiences that has confirmed my belief. (Yes these experiences could have happened by coincidence, but I don't think so.)

When I first moved to Edmonton, I worked in the West End of the City and lived in Chinatown. To put that in perspective, it would take me about an hour and a half by bus to get to or from work each day. (It was about three-quarters of the way across the city.) The bus route that took me to work went through an area of town called Inglewood and past an old abandoned building each day. I wasn't sure what the building used to be, all I knew is whenever we went passed it, I got this creepy feeling that someone was peering out the windows and staring as the bus passed. I didn't think much of it, I figured it was my over active, still half asleep imagination. After I quit my job in the West End, for a job with better pay and closer to home, I almost completely forgot about the condemned building.

A few months ago, I got a book from the public library called Encyclopedia of Haunted Places by Jeff Belanger, as I was on a ghost story kick at the time. I noticed in the Table of Contents that there were three stories from Edmonton. Of course, I b-lined right for the local stories first, only to find an address that was familiar. It turned out that the building that used to make me a little rattled is, in fact, an abandoned "haunted" hospital, called the Charles Camsell Hospital. I googled the name shortly there after. I have found two accounts, other than the Encyclopedia of Haunted Places. Some facts seem to overlap, while others seem to be on opposite sides of the spectrum. I have summed up all three, you can decide which you believe.

Charles Camsell Hospital
As of October 17, 2010

The Encyclopedia of Haunted Places, after a Paranormal Investigation, gives history as:

In 1967, the Hospital was built only to close it's doors almost 30 years later, in 1996. A tuberculosis sanatorium, mainly taking care of aboriginal patients, was housed in the original part of the building in the 1950's. Some patients were forcibly brought to the hospital where some were also sterilized due to "defects". The sterilization was also done involuntarily, just as the hospitalization was.
North and East side of the building

The second floor was the surgical ward, according to the book, half the floor in one room is stained with blood. The fourth floor was the psychiatric wing, where it was said that shock treatments were forced upon patients, as well was isolation in special rooms. In 1982, a younger man fell to his death from the roof he was working to repair. The book states that the paranormal investigation performed yielded evidence of ghostly activity. An elevator in the morgue operates on it's own, voices and screams not belonging to anyone on the investigative team were recorded.

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inglewood,_Edmonton , the hospital's story looks like this:

In 1946, the hospital opened and was named after Charles Camsell, a geologist and map-maker who explored Canada's North. The Charles Camsell Hospital was originally a hospital dedicated to those suffering from Tuberculosis. In the years between 1945 & 1967, the hospital was used for Occupational Therapy for Aboriginal Peoples. The Royal Museum, also in Edmonton, received over 400 pieces of arts and crafts in the early 1990's as donated by the Charles Camsell Hospital. Those 400 plus pieces were created by the patients in the Therapy program.

South Side of the Building
The hospital shifted from that of a Tuberculosis hospital to that of an "experimental" one run by the United Church and the Department of Indian Affairs. We can only imagine the horrors that took place behind the walls of the Charles Camsell. There are reports of abuse and murder taking place here, and a denied rumour says that there is a mass grave of aboriginal children located on the south side of the building, in what used to be the staff garden.

In 1996, the building was abandoned and condemned, reportedly due in part by asbestos. Over the past 14 years, the building has changed hands with the idea of development on the property. 2004's movie "White Coats" was filmed at the Charles Camsell. (I don't remember ever hearing of the movie, but Dan Akroyd, Dave Thomas - as in the MacKenzie Brothers from SCTV- and Dave Foley - of Kids In The Hall fame - starred in it.)

The history provided by http://www.suite101.com/content/urban-decay-in-alberta-a181516, seems a little more complete, while denouncing any haunting as factual:

In 1913, a Jesuit College for boys was originally built on the site. By 1942, the college was used by the American Army as a center for personnel and engineers working on the construction of the Alaska Highway. After the completion of the highway in 1944, the property was sold to the (Canadian) Federal Government. The site became the Edmonton Military Hospital, more structures were added and were interconnected with the main building through a series of corridors.

In 1945, the main building was turned into a tuberculosis hospital dedicated to the First Nations and Inuit community of Alberta, Yukon and NWT. This site acknowledges the report of a mass grave of Aboriginal children, the grave was the result of the experiments that they were subjected to at the hospital in the 22 years between 1945 & 1967. (From what I gather off this site, an investigation has not formally taken place.)

Further away, still on the South
Side of the Building
The military hospital and tuberculosis hospital jointly operated on site for several months and in 1946, the property was transferred to the Department of National Health and Welfare, establishing the Charles Camsell Hospital. (According to this site, it was named after Charles Camsell, a geologist turned Deputy Minister of Mines and Resources.) The hospital functioned out of the Jesuit College building until 1967, when it moved into the building that still stands on the site today. The old college was subsequently demolished. In the '70's, the Charles Camsell Hospital became a regular treatment hospital due to the lack of need for a tuberculosis hospital. The Hospital, according to this site, was de-established in 1993 after a merge with the Royal Alexandra Hospital here in Edmonton.

This past weekend, I decided to check out the hospital as much as I could for myself. (Without getting in trouble, I guess there are hefty fines for those caught trespassing.) The day was bright and sunny, big blue sky with a few wispy white clouds, warm enough for just a sweatshirt. (So it wasn't dark and gloomy, cold and blustery by any means.) I didn't get the feeling like I was being watched like I had in the past, I just got the sad feeling that might be associated with the building. It could have been the fact that the place was boarded up and literally rusted and crumbling. Windows were broken - not sure if that was vandal's work like the graffiti or if it was due to past construction. (The broken window's were a few floors up, so it could go either way.) The old parking lot was dishevelled and over grown by weeds. There is a large, chain link fence around most of the decaying property. The fence looks like the kind construction crews rent when working on a site.

The North view -
The broken windows are a
little more visible
I snapped off pictures from all 4 sides of the building, and varying angles in between. I have no picture evidence to show, no shadows in the windows or video with screams or voices. There was no sign anywhere on the property to indicate what the old building had been at one time. (There was one sign that I saw, it was a City of Edmonton sign indicating what might be done with the property in the future. And of course it included a warning of Danger and not to trespass.)

In it's seemingly short history, the Charles Camsell Hospital has a rumoured and tragic story to tell. Fourteen years after it closed it's doors, the hospital still stands alone and broken. I'm glad that I found out why the place seemed to stare at me those years ago - though I wish the abuse that reportedly happened there, hadn't happened at all. Which ever version of the Charles Camsell History you buy into, we'll never know for sure what really happened. It still is a decaying piece of history, no matter how you cut it.

It's not always about me... But I was creeped out for a while.......

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ketch Up - I Got Something To Say!

OK, so I've got ideas for new blog posts... Today though, I've decided to catch any of you following this blog up on past posts. We'll get to the new rants again in the near future, promise!

Well, I've had my "new" exer-steps shoes for about three weeks now. (Post from October 1st - I Don't Need An Excuse) They're the Wal-Mart brand version of those new exercise shoes. (I'm sure most have seen the commercials for the Sketchers ads, Joe Montana even owns a pair. I've got the same idea, just Wal-Martized.) Anyhow, I've been wearing them for almost three weeks and can still feel the burn in my calves, but not so much in my hamstrings or butt anymore... Either they're not working, or they've done all they can do for my butt and hamstrings. I haven't noticed an improvement in my posture any, but that's just me... I'd still recommend a pair though, they are doing wonders for the balance and calves as mentioned. So just to confirm, they aren't miracle shoes... You won't walk on water with them... But if you're going to fork over money for a new pair of runners, might as well be these ones if they are comparable in price.

Edmonton's still having pretty good weather considering we're into mid-October. Usually by now I'm cursing winter and cold climates... Pulling out parkas, gloves and winter boots... Taking bets on when the first snow will fly - hoping upon hope that it's not til at least November. It's still chilly at night and in the mornings, and today's pretty miserable cloudy... But we're still hitting mid-teens (Celsius) during the day, usually on the sunny side (with wind of course - God I hate wind!!!!!) and I can wear just a sweater home instead of a jacket as well. (One Last Kick At The Can Post from October 4th.)

About a week or so ago, I saw on the news about housing for the homeless. It seems as though there are a few areas around the City of Edmonton with the capacity to build (affordable) housing for those on the street. Of course, there are people in the proposed areas that aren't keen on the idea for obvious reasons. (They don't want an influx of street people in their neighbourhood and any kind of shenanigans that it could entail.) Of course, things have to be done right. The powers that be need to look into zoning, public opinion etc. I'm just glad to hear that something is in the works. (Glass Castle and Little Hobos post from October 10... 10/10/10 day.)

Finally, from yesterday's post comes the outcome of the election. Edmonton is stuck with the same Mayor we had yesterday. Mayor Stephen Mandel is still the Mayor because 55.1% of those who voted yesterday, re-elected him. (That's roughly 107,709 people. That number alone is impressive let alone to have voted on the same candidate.) The closest competitor, David Doward - who, of course, came in second place - snapped up 29.8% of the vote, roughly 58,176 people. (Still not shabby.) The remaining candidates rounded out the lower side of things. (Daryl Bonar - 10.5% or 20,484 people. Dan Dromarsky - 2.3% or 4,561 votes and last but not least Dave Dowling - 1.2 % or 2,271 votes.) I'm not sure if this is an average voter turn out, or above/below average turn out. Either way, roughly 193, 201 people turned out to have their say.... 193, 201 people get to bitch, piss and moan about the government because they either re-elected Mandel, or the candidate was out voted by Mandel. I watched the News tonight, the Voter turn out was at 34% this year. That number is up from the 2007 election's 27%, but down from the 42% of Edmontonians that voted in 2004. At any rate, anyone who voted yesterday, good on ya! Glad to see people exercising their democratic right!

That's about all I got, look forward to bitching more =0)

It's not always about me, but I do usually have something to say! =0)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Only YOU Can Prevent Crooked Politics!

The day has come.... It's Civic Election Day here in Edmonton, a D-Day of sorts. (As in Decision Day, not to be confused with the Invasion of Normandy D-Day. Clearly to compare the two.... Well, there is no comparison. I digress, getting back on track shall we?) Today's the day when many Edmontonians will hit the poles to decide on a Mayoral Candidate for the City, a Councillor and Public School Board Trustee. (Both for the particular ward that the voter resides in.)

As in years past, I suspect there will be a low voter turn out. This will aggravate the people in outlining communities who are not permitted to vote in today's election, why because they fall outside of the City voting boundaries. This will perplex Elections Canada as it does in most years, with both Federal and Provincial Elections. While voting is a right, not just a privilege, I also think it's the duty of every Canadian to get out there and vote... Not all do, and I've got a couple theories as to why....

Unacceptable Excuse # 1 - I didn't know what day the Election is/was... Take your fingers outta your ears and pay attention, then you'll know what day the election is. Unacceptable Excuse #2 & 3 - I don't know when or where to vote.... Read the paper, Google it, look in your mailbox - the one attached to your house... Sometimes the powers that be put Election Notices in there and it tells you where your Voter's Poll is and when it's open for voting. If an election was a hockey game/football game/some huge concert, or a way to win free tickets to said events, you'd be tripping over yourself to find out the who, what, where, when and why of it... Be a little more original if you please, these are all examples of a grade 3 excuse... It's right up there with the "my dog ate my homework" excuse. It's straight up laziness on your part.

Now that we've got the "I didn't know" excuses out of the way... Let's get to the ones that actually make a little more sense... Politics are confusing and boring... I agree with both of these statements. For me, I've tried to understand Politics and how they work for years.... I still don't get them... For me, the boring is mutually exclusive with the confusion. Both my parents have political opinions and have tried to explain stuff to me, just whizzed right over my head... I won't lie, and by no means am I stupid. I'd always ask who they were voting for, especially after I became voting age, and they'd always tell me it was "none of my business". When I asked why it was none of my business, I was told it was because they didn't want to sway my vote and that I should vote for whomever I wanted to. To this day I'm still baffled by Political BS. The Colbert Report, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Rick Mercer Report, I get a chuckle every so often.... I'll admit, some of it still flies right over my head.

Another possible reason people don't vote could be that they figure that all Politicians are crooks. They may figure their vote won't make a difference any how, so why get out there to vote for a Politician that's just going to mess with them anyway. I admit, I do think that most Politicians are crooked, but maybe not for the usual reasons. We know that Politicians are going to lie and promise the voters things that the voters want in order to be elected into office. (The key is to pick the candidate that you think is lying the least, or the candidate that is lying about stuff that's important to you.) What I don't enjoy is the ad campaigns. Sure go talk on the News, have signs or whatever you see fit. What I'm not a fan of is the smearing ads. The ones where one candidate pays for the another candidate to look like a shyster. In my mind, that just makes whomever paid to run the ad like a bigger shyster.

People always come up with excuses not to vote. Fine then, don't. It's your right to vote in this country, as long as your over the age of 18. In my mind, it's also your responsibility to vote.... Even if it's for the Green Party. Wouldn't that be something, if the Green Party won a majority. I'd laugh my head off. I hear all the time, if you don't vote, you have no right to bitch about the government. I agree. And if you don't vote because you don't think your vote will make a difference, that's one way to make absolutelly positive that it won't count. If people put half the effort into voting that they did coming up with excuses as to why they can't... We'd have a 90% turn out rate every time. VOTE ALREADY!

I remember one year, a former friend of mine made a big hairy deal at work about voting. He was adamant that you are supposed to be given something like 2 or 4 hours off work to go vote. He'd make smart ass comments about being allowed to leave early, because work was impeding his right to vote. This continued through out his 8 hour shift, just bitch, bitch, bitch. At the end of it all, he didn't leave early and left at his usual quitting time. Even though he left at his usual time, he still had more than enough time to vote, he didn't out of shear laziness. Some how it got out at work that he didn't vote after making such a big deal out of it, so he just looked bad.

It's not always about me; but my fondness of bitching out ranks my laziness, so I'm getting out there to vote today!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Contrast: Spring & Fall Pics



Beginning of Spring 2010

Spring 2010

Autumn 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oldies From Whistler: Olympic Edit

Inukshuk
A Real Drive in Whistler, BC
Conan Yeti
The Rings - Downtown Whistler Village

Edmonton's Finest - From Assaulted to Assailant

What's this world coming to? What is wrong with people? That's what I've been wondering and so have many other people around Edmonton for the past few months. It's gotten to the point where I wonder why I even watch the news, read the news paper or listen to the radio. Some days I'd opt to live under a rock.... Here's why.......

Since the beginning of 2010, a few bus drivers have been assaulted by the very people they are driving around the City. One sick and twisted individual had a driver pinned on the ground between the bus he was driving and the curb... This individual beat the driver beyond recognition... We're not talking swollen, bloody and bruised either... We're talking face caved in, multiple surgeries, critical condition kind of beat. No one on the bus did anything about it either, which in my mind makes the story that much more sick. I understand not wanting to face the same fate, but this is one instance where you can butt in and make something that's not your business into your business. (No pun intended at all.)

I know there are bus drivers out there that deserve a reprimand or a good smack up side their head, but it's not our job to do so. It's their discipline board's job to do, so go through the proper channels people! Phone in, file a complaint! No better way to hurt someone than to cost them a couple day suspension without pay... Mean maybe, but it's better than the driver being in critical condition, and you facing assault, if not murder charges.

Maybe 2 weeks ago, I heard the perfect example... A young girl, maybe 18-19 years old, got on the bus with her baby, stroller, and one of her friends. She was fuming mad and visibly shaking with anger. From what I eavesdropped to hear was that the previous bus' driver was a serious idiot. The bus was pretty full but not packed, instead of making people vacate the priority seating near the front, he refused to let her on the bus. When she got on to get his name and badge number, he refused to give her either and closed the doors with her still on the bus and began to drive away... Only problem was, her baby and stroller (and her friend) were still on the curb at the bus stop... From what I gathered, the driver let her off half a block up, closed the doors, literally pointed and laughed then flipped her off. Nice guy hey? The girl's aunt is a bus driver and that's how she knew to get the driver's badge number, and knew he couldn't refuse her. (She had a bus pass and there was room.) She was on the phone filing a formal complaint, that's how I overheard everything... The bus driver of this bus even shook his head and said that what the first driver had done wasn't right.

A couple weeks ago, I caught on the news that an Edmonton City Police Officer was going to trial for assault. Literally the next day, another report showed that there was a second City Police Officer was being looked at for an entirely different assault case.... And these are the people we depend on to keep our City safe.

One of the Officers supposedly punched a guy in the face... The guy getting punched was already in custody when the Assaulting Officer got on scene. The guy was punched in the back seat of a cop car, while in hand cuffs. The second officer shot six or so times at the second victim. The victim was hit at least once in the back. What did the second victim do to warrant being shot at? Stabbed a police dog more than once then took off running, ignoring all commands from Officers to stop. (I'm not sure how that dog is, if he survived or not.) The shooting victim/stabbing assailant recovered from his bullet wound and is currently in custody awaiting his day in court... For both being the perpetrator and the victim.

The following links are in relation to the Police aspect of this post:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/edmonton/story/2010/03/25/edmonton-steele-charter-rights-charges-stayed.html

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Constable+trial+assault+faces+charges+incident/3607593/story.html

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/edmonton/story/2010/10/01/edmonton-patton-officer-assualt.html

It's not always about me; I didn't assault anyone, no one assaulted me... I hope that's the way it stays.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Few Around Town - Photo Op


Fairmont MacDonald - Downtown Big Easy

By Stanley A. Milner Library - Downtown Edmonton
Stanley A. Milner - Downtown Edmonton

A Million Little Pieces of My Friend Leonard

James Frey & Oprah
A few years ago, author James Frey made an appearance on Oprah. On the show, he took the heat from Oprah, her audience and the public about how factually honest his books, A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard were or were not. Many were disgusted and felt deceived, some bookstores pulled the books from the shelf in order to add an Editor's Note & Author Apology for the validity of the Memoir notation, a lawsuit settlement was reached for those who felt betrayed enough. (1,729 readers were refunded the price of the books). The Author was pretty disgraced. Shortly after his appearance on Oprah, I went and bought the books in spite of the controversy. The books sat on my shelf unread for about 3 years, not because of what happened on Oprah, but because the stories between the covers were too close to home at the time to read.

I chose to read a Million Little Pieces first. It seemed like a logical choice being that the story was about how James Frey met his friend, Leonard. The story takes you from the addict filled streets, to rehab, and eventually recovery from an addict's point of view. It tells of physical and emotion warfare and violence. It tells of institutionalization - rehab and jail.

I read the book as though it was a piece of fiction. I don't doubt that there are certain parts that are factual. I know the book had it's fictional points as well. (I haven't had to battle my own addiction with anything harder than cigarettes. But as someone who has watched other people in my life battle their own demons - Fictional, factual, or a combination of both - the pages of this story are real. It may not have been 100% James Frey's true story, it comes close enough to the addict in my life's reality. Drugs, violence, stolen money, time, and health, rehab and jail - I hope they reach recovery.)

After I finished A Million Little Pieces, I needed a break and read a book or two in between. About two weeks after finishing, I began My Friend Leonard. This book was a lot easier to read, it was less about the dark side of addiction and more about the light of recovery. It still tells of the struggle against addiction, but from a recovering addict's perspective - not a junkie's. The book tells of the relationship between Leonard and James, after rehab where they originally met. It takes you along for the journey from city to city, experience to experience. It was a good book, just as A Million Little Pieces had been, just less scary. The last ten pages took me half an hour to read because I was crying so much. It was a lovely tribute to a friend, that quite literally thought of the author as a son.

James Frey
If you feel the need to shun James Frey for not being entirely accurate in details, that's alright. If you read the book and feel the need for a refund, that's your prerogative. How many times have we all told a story and filled in the blanks with grandiose embellishments to make it a little more interesting. It may not happen to often, but how many times have you woken up and not remembered what you had done the night before... Only to be told, and how are you to know if the other person's recollection is 100% accurate. Mind you, none of us had the kahunas to put the story of our life in book form and pass it off as 100% true. (I agree, the disclaimer should have been in the book in the first place... It shouldn't have taken a huge scandalous Oprah presentation to get the truth out there.) All in all though, I am glad I bought and read both books. They are still well worth the read, and may be they should be used as an Anti-Drug campaign? Just a thought....

It's not always about me, and I am thankful it's not.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Autumn E~Town Style : Photo Style


Trafficking Stupid

Forget Drug Trafficking for a minute, forget Human Trafficking for a moment too. (Just for a minute, not permanently by any means.) In North America's Society today, we are literally "trafficking" stupid, pun very much intended. I bet 99.999999999999 % of you already know what I'm going to rant about, so let's get to it shall we?

I swear, if I have to stop so I don't get hit, or in fact get hit by some arrogant jerk driving and talking or texting on a cell phone... I'm going to do unspeakable things to you with your own cell phone..... Try me...

How many years have we been blitzed with the Anti-Drinking and Driving campaign??? As many years as I can remember any way, and I'm 29. (I can't find the same answer, it varies between a start date of 1983 & 1989 - either way, it's 20 years plus.) There's M.A.D.D, ICBC out of BC has counterattack ads. (There's a hand up as if to say stop, with a martini glass in the middle of it.) Have we learned anything? I'd say HELL NO. Now, before some fly off the handle, I realize a blanket statement like that isn't fair. Some people have learned something, and hopefully not the hard way...  But not everyone has learned...... Otherwise drunk driving wouldn't still be happening!!

Real Attractive Nick!
Quick kids! You too can look "cool"
Just add alcohol!
How dare I say such a thing? How many present day DUI cases are there out there? More than I'd like to think about.... Just take a look at how many celebs there are in the news being busted for DUI's.... Mel Gibson, Lindsay Lohan, Nikolai Khabibulin (Edmonton Oiler Goaltender), Heather Locklear, Mickey Rourke, Vince Neil (Motley Crue Lead Singer) Ty Pennington, Haley Joel Osment (6th Sense Kid),  Michelle Rodriguez, Kiefer Sutherland, Kurt Angle (WWE Wrestler) and Nick Nolte just to name a few. And these are the famous people doing it! I shutter to think of the numbers amongst us "common" folk! I drink once or twice a year, and every Christmas I still get nervous going through the Police Check Stops. It's obviously been proven that we still need them...

What's my point right? And other than driving, what does drunk driving and texting while driving have to do with one another? My point is, all these years later people still drink and drive despite the ads and laws telling them not to because it's stupid and dangerous. Now a days there are anti-cell phone/texting ads and laws fore warning people not to do it, but they still do. Why are they? Well, I'd like to say it's because they're stupid... (And that much is true in my mind. You drink and drive or talk/text while you're driving, you're straight up stupid.) But I think it's more along the lines of the "It won't happen to me" mind frame. Wrong... I bet that's what every single person who has had a drunk driving or texting while driving accident has thought.

I guess the point here is, it can happen to you and that we still haven't learned our first lesson... Making me wonder how many have to die before we start learning the second lesson. (1st lesson being not to drunk & drive and 2nd lesson, put your cell phone away while you're driving.) Murphy's Law, dumb luck, or whatever you want to call it, sees that an innocent person gets hurt or killed due to a texting or drunk driver.... Not the driver themselves.

I hate to bring this up almost 27 years after the fact, but a good example of the previous two or three paragraphs is Craig MacTavish (former NHL player and Coach). As gotten from Wikipedia, "MacTavish missed the 1984-85 season after being convicted of vehicular homicide, having struck and killed a young woman while he was driving under the influence of alcohol. MacTavish pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol in an accident the night of January 25, 1984 in Peabody, Massachusetts. Kim Radley, 26, of West Newfield, Maine, died four days later of injuries sustained in the crash. MacTavish spent a year in jail as punishment for this offence. While incarcerated, he watched most of the games that were televised. After MacTavish was released from prison, the Bruins offered to let him out of his contract. MacTavish accepted." I'm sure there isn't a day that goes by that Mr MacTavish doesn't think and feel guilty about someone else paying the price for his stupid mistake.

I'm sure a few have seen or
heard of this pic....
Or maybe have even seen a sign
like this at your church!
If you're smart enough to not drink and drive, be smart enough not to text and drive. Oprah, again with the Oprah haha, has something called the No Phone Zone, meaning of course your car. I've watched Oprah mercilessly get celebs to sign the No Phone Zone petition and promote it on her show. I finally have just taken the pledge not to text or use my phone while driving, and was the 402,165 to take the pledge. (I use public transit, but I do have a driver's licence and do drive on occasion.) It's worth taking a look at, or even signing. Visit http://www.oprah.com/ or www.oprah.com/questionaire/ipledge.html?id=6


(I just watched an episode of 1000 Ways to Die last night... I guess the show is about real deaths that have actually taken place in real "life". Granted it was an old episode but it demonstrates my point. I guess a guy was text fighting with his girlfriend while he was driving. She was text fighting back while she walked. He wound up hitting her with his suped up truck and she died. See, what can I say?)

It's not always about me; I don't drink & drive, I don't text & drive, and if you do.... It's my right to call you stupid, so deal with it!

LET MY PEOPLE GO!!!!!! : Chilean Miners Being FREED!

Though it looks like
a Texan flag, It's actually a
CHILEAN Flag.
YAY! Finally a happy ending to what could have been a very tragic story! After 69 long days below ground, I hear that 1 Bolivian and 12 Chilean miners have been hoisted to safety! The miners' being rescued range in ages from 19 to 63, the oldest had been mining since he was 12. (I doubt his family will let him mine another second of his life.) The remaining 20 will be rescued throughout the day. In a world where bad news sells, I'm glad to have a story like this around. The perseverance of the trapped to stay alive and not go crazy. The Rescuers not giving up and working tirelessly to safely return the miners to their families.

From what I am reading, Chile has a long history with mining. The country is a top Copper producer of the world. In the last decade, on average, the Chilean mining community has seen 34 deaths a year due to accidents. That's insane!

I'm a bit claustrophobic, so I think I would have gone completely mental within the first week. No sunlight would have plummeted me into a huge depression. I would have gone stir crazy from being in a confined space. (I guess that's the same as the claustrophobic comment.) But the unity between the trapped must be a solid bond. I'm sure there's a great camaraderie within the ranks, it's going to be weird not to see them every day as they have for the last two months. (I'm sure they're happy to see their families though.) It'll be hard to see each other once life gets "back to normal" as it'll be a reminder of the 69 - 71 days in a dark dungeon, miles below Earth's surface.

Bolivia's Flag
As the day goes on, the reports roll in and are being broadcasted making some of these numbers inaccurate... I've heard that the first miner to be evacuated from the Earth was done so just after midnight, making his containment for 70 days, not 69. I've heard that it takes about an hour per miner in rescue time. That means that the last miner to be rescued will have been underground for 71 days total. I've heard that both the Chilean and Bolivian Presidents are both on hand at the rescue site. It's also been reported that there has been a personal problem for one of the trapped miners. I guess both his wife and his mistress showed up to be the first to greet him. (The joke has already been made that he'll elect to stay underground instead.)

It's not always about me; I'm just glad it's a happy ending not a tragic!!!!