Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reflection of My 2010

Every year, just before New Year's, I like to take a bit of time to reflect on the year we're bidding farewell too. 2010 is definatelly a memorable year - for both good and bad reason. I got to experience a lot of new and facinating things with my time in Whistler for the Olympic and Paralympic games. I, unfortunatelly, met with loss as well this year too... So here goes my story of 2010, I hope you enjoy!  =o)

Near the end of January of this fine year, I was headed from Edmonton to Whistler to work security of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games. In all it's highs and lows, my Olympic experience was quite a riot. The memories will stay with me forever, that's for sure. This was the first job that took me away from home and introduced me to camp life. Let me tell you, I had a whole new appreciation for what my Dad did for all those years. (He's a boilermaker who knows all too well about camp jobs and how much they SUCK!!!!) I can forgive the rooms the size of jail cells, complete with bunk beds and a roommate for all the other memories I have.

I met and worked with a world of new people while there. I worked with Canadians from coast to coast, Americans, a few Aussies and New Zealanders, and even a few British. I partied with the people I worked with and Athletes from varying European countries. I did my fair share of drinking, for our accommodations being a "dry" camp... I haven't punished my liver that bad in YEARS! I made a complete ass of myself a time or two, but I didn't suffer from a single hangover... Even though, by rights, I should have felt like complete crap the day after St Paddy's Day... I drank like I was Irish that night... (Another high point was when I met Trevor Linden, it was even better that it was quite by accident! That alone made my whole trip!) I felt the heart break of the passing of Nodar Kumaritashvili, who was only a few months older than a couple of my younger cousins. I remember the day the village of Whistler literally stood still in 5 minutes of silence for the Olympian. I was never more proud of the class everyone showed that day. (There wasn't even a baby crying or a dog barking to break the solemness of the moment.)

I was able to get away from Whistler a couple times and ventured to Squamish, Vancouver and Victoria. Day trips to Squamish's Wal-Mart helped break up the monotony of camp life... Vancouver trips allowed me to catch a glimpse into my father's childhood, as this is where I hear most of the stories from. (Boundary Road in particular for all those who are familiar with Vancouver.) Travelling to Vancouver also allowed me to visit my favorite Uncle in the whole wide world! Victoria, I fell down right in love with while I got the chance to go on a few days off. I don't know if it was the ferry (I'M ON A BOAT!) or the grandness of the Pacific Ocean, or the down right magical beauty of the City. I can't explain, or do the City justice, but it captured my heart and imagination. While falling in love with Victoria, I was also able to visit with a couple cousins and an Aunt that I haven't had much contact with over the last 15 or so years.

It's been ingrained in my mind, the day that the first Canadian won a gold medal on Home soil. I was so proud, even though I hate to admit it, I cried a little. February 15 - the day after Valentine's Day, Alexandre Bilodeau captured a little piece of history by keeping that Gold Medal in Men's Moguls on Canadian soil. I managed to catch the end of the third period when the Women's Hockey Team won the Gold in "Our sport". I was in Victoria when the Men's Hockey Team played the Gold Medal Game. I was so anxious and nervous, and to be honest didn't want to jinx them, and only was able to watch the last ten minutes of the third period. Yes - I did check in every so often prior to that last ten, and then overtime.... I sat on the edge of my seat and damn near wet my pants when Sid the Kid Crosby scored that "Golden Goal" cementing Canadians Hockey Gold Medal Sweep. (My post called "It's Back, And Betta Than Eva! - Hockey, Canada's Game tells more of my Olympic adventures as well.) Canada may not have won the most medals through the Whistler/Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, but our Athletes did set the precedent for the most Gold Medals won by a hosting Country of the Olympic Games.

With feet itching to get back home, I left Whistler after two months of work with a head full of memories. When I got back to Edmonton, the old bag of bones waiting for me at the other end was a sight for sore eyes. It took two months away from each other to realize what we'd been missing in each other... And it took less than a week for us to get back into the usual bicker/drive each other out of our respective minds routine. But I love him.

After Whistler, due to the Economy still being in the toilet, I spent four months living on EI/UI... The first couple weeks of being an un-employed BUM was alright. I got back into my Edmonton groove and got some stuff in order... After about a month I was out of my head with boredom. Luckily, I landed a job - albeit a dead end job - but it kept my bill collectors at bay and me out of trouble. During the four months at the dead ender - I reflected back on Whistler and how much I longed to be back in BC. This hit home - no pun intended - when we lost my Nana-face. This Christmas was the first without her. I still miss her and think I will until we meet again. This was one of the reasons I was so Grinchy this Christmas Season.

I've found my way back to BC, just not the destination I had planned. Rather than landing in Victoria, I'm back in my hometown of Vernon. (There is some regret there, post to follow - most likely tomorrow.) I'm back to being an unemployed bum, with an added touch of loser - as I'm living with my parents... Nothing against my parents, just what 29 year old do you know wants to live out in the boonies with their parents? Not many, unless your name is George Costanza! I hope things turn around so I can report happy things in the New Year, rather than spit hateful rants about life.

Can you believe 2010 is slowly creeping out and 2011 is on the horizon. Where did the year go??? It seems like I was waking up yesterday to board a plane to Whistler, but that was almost a year ago!

It's Not Always About Me! I wish you and yours a safe and happy New Year! Best wishes and looking forward to entertaining y'all in 2011!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Can You Hear Me NOW?? : The Cell Hell Game

*Cheesy TV commercial announcer voice*
This hateful, ranting post brought to you in part by (more like blamed on & caused by):

Telus Communications
Bell Mobility Canada

Some days... I hate technology... Don't get me wrong, the only time I hate it is when it's not working properly.... If the new millennium would've wiped out the Internet and other forms of technology, as we know it today... There may just have been an Armageddon... I digress, my dislike of the current moment - Cell Phones and Cell Providers... Highway Robbery!!!

My personal relationship with a Cell Phone started about 4 or so years ago... Other than phoning someone with a cell phone, I hadn't given a cell a real thought until I one time moved.... I called Telus, a land line/cell phone/cable/Internet provider to inform them of the moving coming up in about a week... They made note on my file... I called the day of my move to confirm the new address and that my land line would be changed over by days end. I was assured that it would be... It didn't happen that way... By days end, no service change. I called the next day from work and they assured me that it would be by the end of that day... This went on for two weeks, until I had enough of their "sorry for the inconvenience, we're changing our system over and this must be a glitch. Thank you for your patience, we're working on it." I cut my services completely.

It didn't end there......... Every month for six months, I would receive a statement from Telus telling me how much I owed them.... For a line that had been out of service... So, every month I would call Telus, explain the situation, spend 15 minutes on the phone and on "ignore" and figured by the end of the call it was taken care of... Finally, the situation was corrected and I haven't gone back to Telus since. The sad thing is, I have two Aunts that made careers at Telus. (My Mum and my Grandma's Sister were both Telephone Operators as well, long before Telus was around though.)

After cutting my land line service - and after the end of my shift at work - I b-lined down to the closest mall and invested in my first Cell phone. I had done some research and settled on Bell Mobility and chose the LG Chocolate. I was excited - I had finally stepped into the 21st century! Of course, as with every new gadget, or toy if you will, I fiddled and played with the dang thing... I was texting like a mad Woman... Once Facebook began to make it's appearances on the scene, I was checking the Facebook too!

As with every toy/gadget, the "newness" wore off.... No biggy though, I was still a Facebook Addict and the Chocolate Cell Phone was never far out of reach... The end of my Chocolate was one such Facebook Tragedy induced time. I was out with the then Boyfriend, and he came back to the table after shooting a game of pool... He decided he'd be a wise ass and snap my phone shut on me... As he did so, the force snapped the battery clip clean off... The only way to get the battery to stay on would be a piece of duct/electrical tape... Effing classy... So I went into Bell to see what they could do for me... By this time, I had been on contract with them for a year out of a three year term. They advised me that fixing the phone would be more expensive than just getting a new one Conveniently, I had a "$100 Credit" on my account and was able to use that towards a new phone...

I wound up taking a cheap Samsung flip phone in a cute shade of pink... After a week, that thrill had faded too. I guess the Chocolate wasn't the only phone that I had that was cursed... About a year after I got this phone, it started crapping out on me too! This was a battery issue, too! I would use my phone through out the day, knock the battery level back by half - then I'd toss it on the charger when I was heading to bed. (The cell dubbed as my alarm clock as well.) This particular phone's issue was - when I woke up in the morning, it would read at a full charge... But once I took it off the charger, it would start flashing "Low Battery" and turn it's self off due to having no juice left... Again, I went to Bell and I had a "$100 Dollar Credit" so I replaced my phone while in Whistler during the Olympics. This time I've got a cheap Nokia. I dropped it once resulting in a rock chip on the screen that much resembled a chip on the windshield of a car. Bell replaced the screen free of charge.

What leaves me perplexed though are the outrageous rates Cellular Providers are allowed to charge their clients these days! It's down right obscene! Don't get me wrong - Cells are convenient as hell, and not just for business people anymore. You can be tracked down where ever you are, call home to see if anyone needs anything, call for help if you have car trouble, call for directions if you don't have GPS and are lost, call out if the power/telephone line is dead, texting to avoid calling all together, check Facebook and email if you aren't around a computer and the list goes on...(I've already raged out about people driving while using their cells... So I'll be lazy and not do that again here.) I hang my head in shame when I admit to my own outrageous monthly price for these conveniences..... On average, my cell bill is between $80 and $100 a month depending on long distance use. That's $960 to $1200 a YEAR and that's not even a Blackberry! (The two months I was in Whistler cost me a combined $500... No word of a lie...)

I went in to Bell today to do a simple task... Change my Alberta number to a BC number instead. Less than a week til Christmas was not the right time to do this I discovered... The teeny-tiny little store was crawling with people and the staff were all busy. No problem, I respectfully waited my turn. I was politely served and within 15 minutes, I walked out of the store pleased that I had changed my address and had been assigned a BC number, for less $$$ than I was originally quoted. I called a couple people in town to let fill them in on the number change. To save on long distance, I attempted to text out of town people the news... Then I turned Scrooge-y very quickly... I couldn't send texts because I had no access to do so... I also couldn't check my beloved Facebook..

I reeled on my heals and headed back to Bell. I was told to try "Powering it down" (Fancy talk for turning my damn phone off.)... Done... Didn't work... Tried taking the battery and SIM card out and putting them back in... Didn't work... Then I was informed the number change could take from 20 minutes to 24 hours... Nice... Luckily, 3 hours after the number change, I was able to text and everything else was back to normal.... Well, the SIM card still reads my Albertan number - I hope that changes soon though! I guess I expected the switch to be instantaneous and was a little leery due to my Telus experience those years ago.

With all the advances in Cell Phone Technology, I want a Blackberry of some sort... I don't want the high tech IPhone or any other fancy shmancy high tech gadget... Just a Blackberry... I don't want to pay an arm and a leg for it either! I'd say even $50 a month would be more than reasonable for a cell bill.... Sorry, Bell Mobility Canada... I don't want to use your services anymore either. I realize Bell is the service provider and doesn't actually make the phones... But I've gotten two crappy phones through them so far. (Jury's still out on the third one, but it's coming up quickly on that year mark.) I've run into more rude customer service agents through Bell then I'd like to admit. (And no, I'm not one of "those" customers that may deserve a rude one every-so-often.) My average phone bill is ridiculous. (I'll give them the $500/2 months bill because I did use A LOT of long distance in that period of time.)

So here's the question I pose... Any advice on what cell providers to use? I refuse to go with Telus and I'm looking to get away from Bell. I'm thinking Rogers but have heard mixed reviews. I'm looking for a Company that's reasonably priced and has a reliable signal. I'm looking to switch to a Blackberry. I like the Pearl but have heard they're such crap to not even bother. I'm open to suggestions, so please feel free to do just that.

It's not always about me; I'm not the "only idiot with a cell phone."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Festivus for the Rest of Us!

While I'm not enjoying the Christmas season as I usually do, I'm not trashing it either.... I'm just not into it this year.... Usually I totally dive into the Festive Cheer of the Holidays by breaking out the Christmas decorations... By the time I unload the two or three rubber maids, it almost looks like Christmas vomited all over my living room. From a Christmas tree - usually with a story behind it - decked out in Holiday Style... To a foot and a half foot tall Santa, standing below the big screen TV... To a reindeer hanging on the front door bidding guests welcome... To a penguin cookie jar sitting on the coffee table, full of seasonal candy. This year, however... I'm a bit of a Grinch (you can find an ornament in one of the earlier mentioned Rubbermaid.)... a Scrooge if you will... But not really....

I hate to make another Seinfeld reference, but I think the nuts were onto something when they proposed "Happy Festivus for the rest of Us!" I was shocked when I googled the phrase to find out that it was much more than an idea from a crazy sitcom. While it may have been introduced on Seinfeld, the phrase "Happy Festivus for the Rest of Us" seems to have a far greater history than just a punchline to get a laugh. I'll sum it up for you, because you can do the work to find out more for yourself. "Happy Festivus" as explained by the "ever-truthful" and "respected" Wikipedia is "Celebrants of the holiday sometimes refer to it as "Festivus for the rest of us," a saying taken from the O'Keefe family traditions and popularized in the Seinfeld episode to describe Festivus as "another way" to celebrate the holiday season without participating in its pressures and commercialism." (And I'll explain the rest here shortly...)

DISCLAIMER: I'm not making any sort of Religious statement at all here, so no need to get up in arms. I have no issue with anyone, any religion or anything like that, so please don't take this as such. I may not be enjoying the holidays as much as I usually do, but I have no problem with anyone celebrating Christmas or Hanuka, or any other Celebrated Days.

This year's just a little different for me.... Being that I'm of the Unemployed Variety, the usual Christmas commercialism has really hit me in the face... And ya, it's because I can't afford to run out and buy a pile of gifts for my parents, brother, friends and other family... I'm sorry guys, I love ya... But I'm already up to my ass with debts in Student Loans and credit cards (one of which was recently used in fraudulent activities... Thanks you little wanks!!! I hope you don't even get a lump of coal for Christmas! JERKS!) I'm not going neck deep, just to buy my bro the wrong kind of socks or my Bestie something that'll be given to Value Village in 6 months....

I saw on the news, two nights ago I think it was, a story that made me want to cry... It was the usual heart-string tugging Christmas news story... But it gave me a little bit of hope in humanity. (Ya, I made myself gag there too... Sorry.) But it really did. It made me think of what Christmas and this time of season should be about... Helping less fortunate people out... It's not necessarily about them getting a hand out but a helping hand in the right direction.

The News that I was watching posted this link : on their website. So, after watching the news, I checked out that link. It'll take you to a site where you can find a list of shelters in varying US and Canadian cities... After you chose your city, it will give you a drop down menu for the local shelters. Once you've chosen your shelter, you will see a list of people who live in that shelter, a brief biography of that person, and their Christmas wish list.

Fortunately, Vernon was one of the cities listed on the site, and there are two shelters here in town. So, I checked out both shelters to see if I could help some how. My eyes, quite honestly, welled up at what I saw. Most peoples lists are things most of us take for granted... Most people just want to be in your prayers..... Others wanted basic things like a warm winter jacket, or boots... Some just wanted a pre-paid phone card so they could call home for Christmas... Others just wanted a book of transit tickets so they can look for work, or go see family over the holidays... Because who wants to walk or hitch hike when they have no proper jacket or boots?

My parents watched the news with me... I told them about what I had seen on the site... Dad and I wound up dropping off a couple coats down at the Men's Shelter. It was nice to know that stuff you may be "hoarding" can be given to someone who truly appreciates it... And may not get a Christmas present otherwise.

It's not always about me; So HAPPY FESTIVUS FOR THE REST OF US!!!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ain't No Rest for the Wicked?

This afternoon, while listening to the news on the radio, I heard something that makes my head want to explode... There was another report of a new born being thrown into a dumpster like yesterday's news. Now, what makes my head spin to the point of near explosion, is trying to understand and grasp the reasoning behind such an act......

Unfortunately, this isn't the first report of a trash baby and this makes me sad. (I'm sure I'm not the only one who has heard of the story of the girl giving birth in the bathroom, at her prom, then calmly walking out after placing her baby in the garbage.) Thankfully, I have never been in the situation where I had a baby then figured the only option was to place them in a trash receptacle.... So it is far out of my realm of reality to even imagine what exactly is going through these girls'/women's minds as they do so. Maybe they were in such utter shock they didn't know what else to do? Maybe they figure that their family would shun and cast them out. Perhaps they were street people that knew they couldn't handle having another mouth to feed. Whatever their reasoning is, I don't understand.

As I say, I've never been in such a position, so I don't understand. Sure there may be extenuating circumstances, but in my mind, it's murder. Anyone that can't understand after holding a newborn, and hearing them cry, that throwing them in a dumpster to die alone is wrong needs some form of help... I'm not saying lock them up and throw away the key by any means, maybe a life spent in a Mental Institution is where they belong. I've heard far too many stories of trash babies being found, so maybe it is a Mental Health Issue.

I'm not a doctor, nor am I a lawyer, psychologist or anyone who's opinion would be held up in a court of law... So these are just my random thoughts on the headlines... What I getting at though, is that the reports severely bother me. In a day and age where certain couples are still not able to conceive a child of their own.... There has to be other options, for the mothers of said garbage babies, to do something other than abandon their babies in a trash heap? Why wouldn't they think of dropping off a baby somewhere they could be found and given a chance to survive? Maybe the idea of a bundled up baby left in a basket on a church step is over romanticized... But the idea is better than a garbage can, I guarantee. How bout leaving a baby in a crowded hospital emergency room instead? It's warm, safer than the streets, and guaranteed some one's going to find them...

Some mothers may have a break with reality, I'm not denying that fact... Others though, a child is "just" an inconvenience and the dumpster is their cold hearted remedy. We hear of parents doing unspeakable things to their child for selfish motives. (Susan Smith springs to mind.) Either way, in this society, stories of dumpster babies shouldn't be so common place and accepted.

Yesterday, another child abuse issue caught my attention. The Graham James Saga has a new chapter on my mind. I posted an entry a little while ago about this twisted DIRT BAG.  I was watching Fifth Estate or a similar show about Graham James and his sick story... I was completely heartbroken that he had such a negative affect on so many young boys... I was down right DISGUSTED to learn that he was not only released from prison but was also granted a pardon by the Canadian Parole Board. (Trust me, not a proud moment as a Canadian.)

Due to a publication ban, I don't know the full story... What I do know is enough though... Against Crown Prosecutor's opposition, Graham James has been released on bail with several release conditions. (Such as giving up his passport and not being alone in the company of anyone under the age of 18.)  Someone like that, who has negatively affected more than one person, in my opinion should not be walking the streets anywhere... This guy is free to roam the streets of Montreal, however. This makes me sick to the very core of my being. I don't believe in vigilante justice, but I would cross the street to spit repeatedly in the face of this parasite. Mind you, that's easy for me to say... He didn't do anything to me other than make me violently ill at the very thought of him.

What I, genuinely, do not understand is how a judge can let a man like him free to roam the streets... Wouldn't it be safer for the general public to have James securely detained behind bars? Not that I give a bloody crap about him, but wouldn't it also be safer for him as well? It sickens me to know that he was released and pardoned the first time... Only for him to be able to roam the streets while out on bail for a second time.... It bothers me to know that he was allowed to live in Mexico as a free man... I pray, and I don't pray, that he didn't defile any child while down in Mexico....

It's a twisted world in which we live and I suppose it takes all kinds to make that world go round. I just can't wrap my head around anyone who can justify harming another person, other than in a case self defence. Ya, some days I'm sure we'd all love to flip our lid and just go ballistic... Point of the matter is, most of us don't.

It's not always about me; I just imagine crazy shit in my head... I don't actually DO it!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Pulling a George, BC Style

I'd like to start this post by apologizing for the lack of December Entries. A lot of what seems like nothing has kept me from posting. I will definitely attempt to go back to the old ways of posting almost every day. So let me tell you what's been holding me up over the past few weeks.

Two weeks ago, this past weekend, I made the journey from Edmonton, Alberta back to my home town of Vernon, BC. Finally deciding to make the move was not an easy decision to make by any means. I had made a life in Edmonton over the past seven and a half years. I had a routine down, I had friends, I knew the city pretty well, had a job - albeit a dead end job.... I know in the past I've cut Edmonton down by calling it Deadmonton, Hellberta.. I've bitched about the weather and how cold winters can be... I've crabbed about how the pot holes in the streets tend to swallow cars... I've mentioned that the streets are dirty long after snow disappeared.... I've not been a fan of Edmontonians that seem to mirror their cold weather. I needed a break from it all...

The trip from Edmonton to Vernon was fairly un-eventful. No accidents to report. The road conditions were clear for the most part - except at the summit where the plow made the road washboardy bumpy. We came across a few herds of Bighorn Sheep and only had to slow to a stop for one of those herds as they stretched across the road. There were sheep of varying ages, some with tiny baby horns to the full out majestic rounded horns of the elders of the herd. I was disappointed when I missed an amazing photo op.... The alpha male of the herd stood at the edge of the highway protecting his "sheep-le" that were behind him grazing. He reminded me of how Bambi's father was depicted in Bambi. The Bighorn Sheep were the memorable part of the trip, for the most part, except when we passed the Welcome to British Columbia sign signalling that I had made it back to where I belong. (A few pictures were posted here on my blog.)

So, let me tell you what I've traded my Albertan life in for.... Essentially, I am pulling a "George" from the TV show Seinfeld. While I'm not a short, portly, balding, unemployed man with glasses living in my parents' basement... I do bare two of the characteristics... I'm unemployed and living with my parents again... I moved out for the first time at the age of 19 and now, 10 years later - I feel like a George. In the harder economic times, I know I'm not the first person to move back in with my parents, but that bears little comfort for me. I won't rag though, I know some people don't have the option of family to fall back on. I'll try to put as positive a spin on it that I can.

I'm back in BC where I belong. I will be a BC girl until my ticket gets punched. Driving through the mountains, that the tall buildings of Edmonton seemed to cover the absence of, was the first thing that settled me back into BC life. Lakes were the second thing I missed. Lucky for me, my parents just moved into a lake front property right on Okanagan Lake. (Maybe this summer I'll attempt to find and wrestle the Ogopogo! Tee Hee.) The scenery is beautiful, the sunrises and sunsets on the lake... One morning the lake was steaming, it was quite a sight. I've been out on the deck at night and heard the coyotes yipping to each other. (At first I found it unsettling, it sounded like a bunch of people cheering.) Also while out on the deck at night, I saw a beaver's fat bum kind of waddle and splash into the lake. I watched him swim under the neighbours' dock, then back to ours then out into the lake back to his family. I've seen deer tracks in the snow of my parents' lawn as well as actual deer. My family is here, and God love 'em... We're going to drive each other mental! (But it's nice to have them around to drive me nuts!)

One of the downfalls is that I haven't been employed in about two and a half weeks.... Boredom mixed with feelings of guilt... Gnarly combination. Vernon is a smaller center and finding a job here, that doesn't include flipping burgers, is very competitive... You may have heard the line "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Vernon seems to be the epitome of that statement. I am more than qualified to push paper, but I haven't lived in Vernon for 10 or so years... So I really don't know anyone here, other than family of course. Most people that I was friends with in the area, have moved on to other areas of the country, so count that out.

My parents live out on the Okanagan Indian Reserve on the outskirts of Vernon's West side... That makes for a 25-35 minute drive from home to Vernon's actual city limits.... My parents both drive standard transmission cars... I've had a valid drivers licence since I was 16, and even took driving lessons at 16 on standards... Over the last 10 or so years, I have fallen out of practice... (So I've been practicing on the back roads and haven't stalled once! YAY ME!) So we go into town with a mission, like looking for work, restocking groceries, an appointment or visiting someone.... There are a few places I would love to snap pictures of to cure the boredom, but until I am comfortable behind the wheel, they'll have to wait.

So, that's what I've been up to while I've been neglectful of my blog. I didn't want to be whiny and drive anyone away from reading future posts. I promise I'll get back to my old jaded self and make an effort though!

It's not always about me; and I still cringe when I pass a loaded logging truck... I must be back in BC!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Imagine : 30 Years After the Loss of a Dreamer

"What happened here,
As the New York sunset disappeared?
I found an empty garden among the flagstones there.
Who lived here?
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot,
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop.
And now it all looks strange.
It's funny how one insect can damage so much grain.

And what's it for,
This little empty garden by the brownstone door?
And in the cracks along the sidewalk nothing grows no more.
Who lived here?
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot,
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop.
And we are so amazed! We're crippled and we're dazed....
A gardener like that one, no one can replace.

And I've been knocking, but no one answers.
And I've been knocking, most all the day.
Oh and I've been calling,oh hey, hey, Johnny!
Can't you come out to play?
And through their tears,
Some say he farmed his best in younger years.
But he'd have said that roots grow stronger, if only he could hear.
Who lived there?
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot,
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop.
Now we pray for rain, and with every drop that falls....
We hear, we hear your name.....

And I've been knocking, but no one answers.
And I've been knocking, most all the day.
Oh and I've been calling,oh hey, hey, Johnny!
Can't you come out to play,
In your empty garden?
Can't you come out to play, in your empty garden? "

~Empty Garden By Elton John
Written for John Lennon

My first introduction to John Lennon, that I remember, was when I was about 8. It was the first Christmas my Dad wasn't at home due to being gone on a job. Prior to his departure for work, Dad made a mixed tape for each my brother and I from LP's. On mine was a track called "Jealous Guy". A few years later, my younger brother became obsessed with The Beatles. For a solid period, all you'd hear out of his room was a Beatles tune blasting... I became so sick of The Beatles during that period of time. At least my bro came by it honestly, when The Beatles made their way to North America and made it big, my Mum was obsessed too. (I think her favorite was Paul McCartney though.)

John Lennon made the blasphemous comment that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. In the later years of his life, that's exactly what John Lennon reminded me of... A Modern Day Jesus. His facial hair, longer hair and message of peace - what other conclusion could I have come to? John Lennon was assassinated nine and a half months before I was born. Today marks the 30th anniversary of the day the world was robbed of a true legend. I wonder what the world would've been like if John Lennon hadn't been shot at the Dakota by a twisted fan. "Imagine."

I honestly wonder what the world would be like if John Lennon was still around. I'm not much for Self Centered Celebu-Nuts, but I think Mr Lennon would have been different. I think John - even if it was with Yoko Ono - would have used his celebrity for greater good of the world. I think he would have protested the war that the Americans are currently engaged in (and every War between his death and now.) I think he would have helped raise funds and would have been on the front lines to help the victims of natural disasters. (New Orleans or Haiti for example.) I wonder what social causes he would have supported.

I've never really been a huge Beatles fan, or even a John Lennon fan, for that matter. My preferences aside, the man was an icon. I wonder what collaborations he would have done with newer artists. Maybe Mr Lennon would have paired up with one of his children to do a track or two. I wonder if he would have gone into retirement and been a rare sight on city streets.

I'm no Lennon expert, he was gone for almost a year prior to my birth. I hadn't been bitten by the Beatles bug like some. I haven't read about, much less studied, John Lennon's life and times.... It is my opinion though, that when shots rang out 30 years ago today - the world was truly robbed of something special.

"Give Peace a Chance"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Canadian Rockies: Photos

Baby Mountain Sheep

Big and Small Mountain Sheep
Welcome to British Columbia, Canada