Thursday, December 15

Ola. ☺

Well I’ve been pretty quiet for a while… but I’ve been busy making some pretty big changes in the “life and times”. The next chapter of “la vida de Corto” has begun.

While I just love my current employer… the company has changed course away from what would be beneficial to my career… so I considered changing companies. However, after changing a few times, I’ve decided it’s high time I stop depending on someone else to make my future bright. So I’ve asked the bosses to flip me from employee over to private contractor and started a new corp. (cortitto ltd.).

I’ve already got two contracts to take me to April and another one lined up for the year following.

This is a really really good thing.
So… I’m a happy corto.
Kinda freaked out…

The first issue is getting health insurance sorted out… and that’s just about done.

“honour” is no defense for murder.

I’ve been working on “photo books”...
I made my first one years ago as a “trip journal & picture book” for our family adventure to PEI. Did it on I can still go there and edit it or order more. I’ve been duplicating the style of that one and making a new one for our adventure to Cape Cod in 2005. The “cover art” for that one is below. I’m going to do one for each of our family cruises too. :)
See the little tiny thumb nail images on the cover? Each chapter starts with the relevant thumbs across the top of the chapter-page-one and then the full pics come at the end of each chapter (each day is a “chapter”). So, every thumb from every chapter is on the cover. :)


Biteme oh'Catholic School. All you bring to the table is a cute skirt.

Here’s why the Catholic School system in Ontario is whack…

The Ontario government has been under constant pressure to establish a strategy to deal with the increasing frequency of “bullying” issues and the intensifying harm that bullying is having on our young people. There have been several suicides directly attributable to bullying issues, documented and undocumented incidents of violence and … generally speaking a “culture of cruelty” that needs to be brought into check.

One of the government’s initiatives is to legislatively mandate that all Ontario schools allow (and assist) students to create clubs designed to foster a safe environment for students that feel persecuted. One suicide (this year) in a local high school was documented as directly linked to the reaction of the school and fellow students when a young man tried to establish a Gay/Straight Tolerant club.

The legislation calls for action if – specifically “if” – a student or group of students ask for such a club.

Now some organization with a name that sounds like “family values” or something is all up in arms. They represent the Catholic School board. Their mouth-piece is on the national news complaining about how this is going to devastate the Catholic School system. The argument from the Catholic Schools is that homosexuality is not supported by Catholic doctrine and that such a club would be an affront to the religion. The mouth-piece went on to shove his shoes in his mouth with things like… “Next thing you know the Muslim students will want a club.” (etc. etc. etc… he just kept going). See… there are not enough public school system high schools so anyone of any faith can attend a Catholic HS – they just have to take “religious studies”. So most of the “Catholics” in a Catholic HS are simply catholic-of-convenience students.

The interviewer (CBC, btw) was cautious but obviously not buying it. She tried to stay focused on the issue that gay students feel unsafe in school… catholic or otherwise, etc. etc. etc. The rebuttal was all about “we need tougher laws that target bully’s and punish them.”

So… ignoring the obvious avenues of ridicule that open up here with the idea that the religious organization proposes “punishment” as the most effective means to an end… I have to say… sadly… that I agree with the mouth-piece.

The “catholic school” system is a school system that is based on teaching Christianity and focused on Catholicism. Catholicism deplores homosexuality, let alone women-in-general. They wrap Catholicism in an official curriculum that meets provincial guidelines and presto… total public funding for the whole shebang. I don’t know about the rest of the province… but in Ottawa and the surrounding communities, the Catholic High Schools are the biggest, newest and nicest. BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE - they are religious schools based on a religion. Lets forget about the history of Catholicism, the crusades, wars, persecution etc. The real issue is INTOLERANCE. And freedom of religion makes a law out of letting them be as intolerant as they want.

“Oh my church is like a social club… a support organization… a charity.”
“Catholicism… well, we only follow the bits of the bible that make sense…”
blah blah blah…
Face it.
Stop lying to yourself and everyone around you.
If you’re calling yourself catholic… (let alone tithing on a regular basis), you are lending your support to an intolerant organization.

Therein lays the problem.

The government wants to promote tolerance and support for all… but they (the government) support the Catholic School system which is diametrically opposed to those goals.

Why we have two school systems (four, actually, because the secular and catholic schools have French equivalents) is totally whack!! I say do away with that shit and just have a freaking “school board” for the province.

(no subject)

I am going to be harassed by mailing lists for EVER... lol.
I'm taking the bait on every contest that comes along...

Life is way busy... but in a good way. :)
client #2 is having a chaotic moment ... and it's kinda fun. Definitely not boring.
client #1 is a whole bunch of work but ... you know, I just like going there. Good people to work with.
both renewed contracts till March... la la la...

Still getting a solid four gym days a week.
Still working on both damn shoulders... but I think they're coming along.

... and we're getting ready to get all into the Christmas zone. :)

I'm enjoying the various "web publishing" book stes.
Lots of cool.
And the one "built in" to my Mac is pretty darn good too!!! :)

The Benalyn advert for their new cough syrup...
"Extra Strength Mucous and phlegm"
... just sounds like their selling a bottle of mucous and phlegm.

A catholic high school in Ottawa is making news because their making a big deal out of enforcing a "dress code rule" that conveniently has "been on the books for years...".
They're banning yoga pants unless you have a long, skirt length, shirt or sweaters.
The girls are outraged (and I'm sure the boys are bummed!) and all full of p&v.
Lemon is out
Boys are just so weak
Blame the camel

The thing is... its just more of the same.
Another generation... and another example of the "grown ups" acting like muppets.
When I was in HS it was a brand of pant called "Tribals". Sweet mercy...
And the muppets came out with grand concerns that the proliferation of camels was just not acceptable.
blah blah blah.
tight versus lose fashion goes in cycles
It just seems pointless to distract everyone from the business of being students
and bully them around with a weeny attempt at stamping morality onto kids asses.
It's just silly.

I am concerned about new legislation concerning "bullying".
Any plan that ends with expelling a young teen... is a plan made by a mindless beaurocrat.
But that's not even the real issue for me.
The bigger challenge is way our whole vibe about bullying ... is getting perilously close to giving unreasonable powers to middle school, overworked, stressed teachers.
I'm not at all saying teachers are going to become a bag full of nazis.
I am saying that... numbers don't lie.
Given unreasonable powers, reasonable people eventually abuse those powers.
It freaking happens all the time.
That's why we built systems of checks and balances...
We'll know it's happened when we hear about kids getting expelled - let alone labelled!!! - for being... a kid in high school.
And if you were pure and perfect in HS then you get to call me names but you're in the minority.

~ k... time for sleep. :D

Friday, November 25

Ed, suz and I watched the "Dawn Treader" (Narnia) tonight.
For a remarkably strange and freaky story ... they managed to do a fine job with the movie.
It wasn't the weirdest of the Narnia stories... The Silver Chair takes that cake.
But from the earliest news of the new movie making cycle hitting Narnia...
I've been wishing for The Magicians Nephew to make it to the big screen.
That was a trippy story. :)

Long week. :(
Both client organizations are renewing contracts...
Both have issues with their contracting staff.
Actually working for free for one client,
With an agreement to over-bill when the new contract is in place.
Struggling through work with the other client in a high security location
Without a valid pass... paperwork for one of my clearances was allowed to "lapse" when the contracts were being renewed.
Seriously... being escorted all over the place... is enough to drive me completely bonkers.
Adding to this some weirdness with the current overlords of the central base of the galactic core...
It's been a long week.
... and I need to make a plan. :)

Feeling really good about the gym stuff...
Of course, my shoulder still freaking hates me.
See... there's three individual problems spread around the shoulder zone.
All three are improving... I'm really sticking to regular targeted muscle work.
All good...
but, never-the-less...
righty hurts like a sonofabitch every night...
when I wake up from it...
at, like, 4. blarg!

The Canadian Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments (as examples) provides ample opportunity for folks to protest.
Every other day, all summer long, one group or another is marching around on Parliament Hill.
The big ones hit the news cycle...
Some spill onto the streets.
Some are really loud and freaky.
(remember when I went - sign in hand - to protest when Bush came to visit?)
... the thing is,
All of the protests, are actually a very complicated bit of very careful manipulation.
The documented posture of the government is that these valves need to be in place to blow off ... organized steam.
They (the official "they") provide ample opportunity for these protests to go down,
But you better believe that they go "down" according to a plan.
And it's not the protesters plan.
... and it is here that we find one of the most important issues with the "occupy" movement.
The Occupy protests were not following the plan.
Official "responses" to the protests were moving targets of tolerance, rhetoric and aggression.
There were exceptions... exceptional positions taken to allow the whole "valve" thing to work in the governments favour.
But overall... it was a slow speed police chase towards the aggression vibe... the vibe that takes over when the government doesn't know what to do.
My take away from the "occupy" stuff... is that protesters don't have any hope of making any kind of real difference through protest unless they step outside of the plan.

Range of news items showing the big fun folks have with Black Friday,
Shootings, pepper spray, mayhem...
I mean... really?
Way to represent.

I have got...HAVE GOT
To stop passing out on the sofa after the 11 news.
Suz works away on her laptop while the TV cycles local news, john stewart, Colbert, Conan... all of which I totally sleep through.
But it's sleep I should be getting with the CPAP mask on.
I expect to do better this week.
... and yes, I'm still working the Darth Vader bed time thing.
My biggest issue is waking up with an itchy nose.
You mess with the mask, after which it either fits poorly - aka: loud hissing leaks... - or you turn on the light and readjust to put the mask back on.
So yeah... waking up with an itch = taking off the mask in a sleepy stupor and going back to sleep.
But when I lay down to sleep with that thing on... it's freaking heaven.
I fall asleep in about 10 seconds and get the best sleeps ever.
(until the itchy-nose thing comes along. :D)

K... see ya. :)
  • Current Music
    Little Light - Jets To Brazil

Sorry driver-dudes, but you're not that special.

The ongoing OC Transpo story in Ottawa continues to drive me nuts.

The public transit system in Ottawa, we are often reminded, wins all these awards and never misses a chance to tell the public how much ridership has gone up as if people are deciding to ride the bus because it’s so wonderful. Meanwhile, the-public-as-witness displays a video of a driver swearing at, berating and generally bullying a “slightly” autistic teenager… we’re talking the “shut the f^&k up or I’ll ram my fist down your throat.” variety of abuse.

There’s a flurry of incidents… some dumb-ass driver pulls over and bails on the passengers completely because some was asking why he was late… again. Another driver kicks everyone off in the middle of nowhere for some distracted reason. Blah blah blah… some of the 1,600 drivers suck balls. This is no surprise. What is surprising is the way the whole thing is playing out… From the abusive driver getting fired, to the union prez. on the TV complaining that the driver should have been given a desk job and anger management classes.

That’s the prez. who failed to show up at the drivers hearing… the hearing where he got fired. And we have to endure two days of news coverage telling us that abusive-driver-dude lost his wife and father (or mother) to cancer in the last year… LIKE THAT MATTERS. OC Transpo does make a big deal out of their zero-tolerance policy towards passengers that act up in any way … from a pool of millions-of-passengers per year, there are sure to be a few problems. But this is the word of the driver bringing down the axe on anyone they get pissed off at – passes taken away, banned from using the bus, blah blah blah. If you work until you’re 55, chances are one or both of your parents will die. This is no excuse or get-out-of-jail-card for handing out abuse. I understand that management has to expect peaks and valleys in an employees performance over their career, but abuse is abuse is abuse.

These are the same drivers that held the city hostage over the Christmas season a couple of years ago with a ridiculous, protracted, painful dead-of-winter bus strike.

The bottom line … is freak’en easy. Bus drivers are not special. Their only claim to fame is a pain-in-the-ass union. Otherwise, they’re just “employees” and public-purse employees at that. Public employees that serve the public face-to-face absolutely should be held to an above average standard of behaviour… But even forgetting that… if any of the weird ass abusive behaviour that’s getting reported on where to happen in your job, how long before your ass hit pavement out front?

Monday, November 14

Yeah, so... as expected, it was gorgeous today. 15 degrees and sunny. Dude!!!
(I caused this by putting my snow tires on, on the weekend.)

My weekend was all about doing job jar stuff and getting up early.
Oh and movies.
I watched Transformers - Dark of the moon, Battle for LA, and Source Code.
Source Code is the big winner for catching my attention. Compelling cool concept sci-fi story. Transformers was totally average but fun in a transformers kind of way... but Battle for LA was also super. :D People gave me the expectation that B-4-LA was gonna suck, but It was a a gas... Cool aliens, alien invasion, big battles, compelling characters, the good guys win (sorta) and a chick with a machine gun... Can't argue with that... in my books. :D

Bus driver dude that was yelling and swearing at the kid on his bus... nabbed on FB via a trusty phone-cam video... was fired.

Saw my sports-med doc for a follow-up after work. I'm getting there... and she wants me to keep on doing what I'm doing (work'en both shoulders in the gym and before bed with specific stretches and exercises).

Tried eating a pomegranate again...
like that cactus pear, I guess I should google "how to" on this.
I cut it in half (half still in the fridge - it was a huge, btw)... and I scooped out all the seedy squishy bits into a bowl. I smushed that for a bit with a spoon and was able to drink a whole bunch of super delicious juice... I tried just spoon-to-mouth with some of the squishy bits but I'm not sure if you swallow the hard bits... so there was "spitting" involved.
Squishing and drinking was awesome.
It has that strong juice flavour that I associate with Welches Grape juice...
Not that the pom tasted like grape juice... just that it was that super strong flavour.

ni ni... (off to bed in a few minutes).

~ Note: I'm really noticing a really good difference in my days when I manage to get to bed before 1. It used to not matter... alas (earwax)... I guess those days are behind me. :D :D :D

Amazatron Mac and Cheese.

Mac and Cheese.
Keep it simple… Make it awesome.

Pick your favourite pasta and cook 2 cups el dente! (so, not really cooked to soft, but a little “dente” lol)
While the pasta is cooking… we make zee amazing cheezee sauce!

1 cup milk
1 heaping tablespoon of white flour.
Microwave on high for 30 seconds…
Microwave on high for 30 seconds…
Keep repeating this until you’re whisking a thick cream sauce…
~ add ¼ teaspoon of white pepper… or just shake a bunch of pepper into it… ☺
~ dice a half an onion (tiny little bits-o-onion) and mix it into the sauce…
~ add a full cup of grated cheddar cheese (mild, sharp, old… what ever turns your cheese crank)
~ stir stir stir…

Make a topping!!!!
I use two small pita breads… split them, chop them into little ½ inch squares… and pan fry them with some canola oil and season salt (pick your fav) until their all crispy. Dry them on a paper towel…

The pasta is done… drain it and dump it into a big round, deep baking dish…
Pour the cheese sauce over it and stir it in…
Cover it with the fried pita bits…
Bake it all for 20-30 minutes at 350.

And watch everyone smile when they dig in. ☺

(no subject)

The whole OC Bus Driver Yelling / Kid Grabs Video thing is a bit off-putting.
The issue is NOT the driver yelling… which is an assault under every definition of the word and I’m really surprised that the guy hasn’t been charged yet. No… the really disturbing part of this story is the way people have lined up as if there are two sides to the issue.
It started with the a radio Jock suggesting that it was somehow “wrong” for the kid who grabbed the video to put himself out there like that… and “why didn’t he try to help… instead of trying to ramp up his youtube hit count”.
That – all by itself – really got my blood boiling. As someone who has ended up in the hospital with lifelong injuries from stepping into a situation thinking I was going to “help” I have to say it’s really very short sighted of anyone to suggest that Mr. Video should have done something different. By the sound of it, the Bus driver was in a mood to put someone off his bus for getting in his face… and when the Transpo Police show up … they DO NOT LISTEN to the bus riders… they listen to the bus driver. Mr. Video has prol’y done the victimized passenger from the video more good by capturing the video than he could possibly have done by getting himself thrown off a bus, let alone get a “fist in his face” (bus driver quote).
The reference to Mr. Video’s “youtube hit count” is also very wrong headed and kinda pisses me off. The fact that it came from a journalist and again from a radio jock… is just really hypocritical. That way of thinking kind of invalidates the effort of journalists around the world in a single swipe. AND DO NOT start with “Mr. Video was a citizen not a journalist.” Because that is absolutely the sound you make while your head is stuck in the ground.
The abuses of power, authority, opportunity and wealth that have been going on all our lives … are finally being pushed into the cold light of day. Every body with a cell phone, let alone a cellphone camera, is a potential witness to these excesses. We are no longer slaves to what ever the news media corporations decide we want to know about… we get to grab the news raw, real, live and full of f-bombs and put it out there for all to see. This is fabulous!!! There are plenty of examples of how an average joe with a camera made all the difference in the world to the way “Power” has to prove itself… and I’ll start with the Zapruder film of JFK getting shot and end with the video (a few years ago) of an Ottawa cop bashing some girls head in on the hood of a car.
It is so old-school and pathetic to suggest that people capturing abuses of power with their cell phone cameras is a bad thing that it only makes you look like an idiot.
And that brings me to todays news item… I wake up the CBC reporting that the union is bitching about Mr. Video breaking some law by shooting video on a bus. Apparently there is a “law” that you can’t use a camera on a bus unless it’s only for personal use. Again… the abusers get all busy trying to make the people that catch them look bad.
Mr. Video shot video of an abusive man assaulting a younger, handicapped patron of a publically funded service… the fact that the abuser was a bus driver seems to have everyone trying to find someone to blame here except the damn bus driver. Mr. Video did the right thing by not getting involved and having his head caved in by an obviously angry authority figure who was already demonstrating his comfort with abusing his authority. It doesn’t matter if the driver was having a bad day… I don’t care if his whole family was killed the day before… He has no right what-so-ever to bring his anger to the execution of his job. If things are so bad… stay home and take one of your many union-won-sick-days-with-pay.

The bottom line is that society has changed. Boom. It’s done. There’s no going back… Pandora can close the box, but everything is out of that bad box… and it’s not getting back in. The old rules no longer apply and people have got to stop using them as excuses. We all have cameras now… so go ahead and abuse your power, authority or position… we’ll capture that video and we’ll post it for all to see. Now it’s up to society to admit that this is a new world order and if we’re going to get anywhere… we have got to accept that it’s no longer ok to break the law just because a cop isn’t looking. … Because we’re looking. We’re looking and we’re taking video of your sorry ass committing that crime. And if the authorities don’t punish you… well, the next steps will be people deciding that they have to bring the punishments themselves, and that cant be a good thing.

Friday, November 4


Things are nutty.
Not grab-the-epi-pen nutty,
I mean... bonkers.
Both of my contracts are coming "due" and my clients are scrambling to renew or recontract or extent me....
Bosses hate losing a cut of my day-rate to middlemen, and both my gigs are through partners.
So the pressure is on to get some organic gig under way and load up on some of that "US day rate" stuff.
Not a bad thing... this "pressure". It's just part of the job... and the reason I get to do cool gigs for cool companies in cool locations. :)
In the mean time... I'm really enjoying both of my contracts... Client #1 most of all, of course. :D

Edward has been back at school for a couple of days now...
He's doing much better, but still a bit weak... working off the cold is weaken'ed self caught. :(
But ... better. I'm hoping this weekend will be a good chance to recoup.

Oh and I've been doing very specific stretch and strength things - matched to each of the challenged muscles in my left and right shoulders.
I've been doing it a lot.
I believe it's less bad than it was... but I've afraid to say "better".
Maybe soon. :)

Reality, as a concept,
(versus "what is real")
Is pretty much just a shared dream.
That is to say, in a very Matrix kind of way,
Our real world is no different than a dream world,
Except that we all share... this one.

I am loving the growing, and not distasteful, use of product placements in popular TV shows.
I love it, because it means the industry is adjusting to me.
Well, to downloaders.
I've often feared for the fate of great tv shows yet to come, in a model that removes the all important, cash rich, commercials from the equation.
It's great to see that things... are adjusting. :)

and then I let everything go
open my eyes
and see you
every word, gesture,
your eyes, eyebrows
every... thing.
it's called active listening
It's a gift you should give away...

K... have a great weekend. :D :D

Monday, November 1

Well Halloween was very nice... AND SIMPLE. :D
Modest decorations ... fun painting little pumpkins and only ONE carved pumpkin.
The "all sixty neighbourhood kids arrive at once" thing was grand (hay wagon pulls up, a mad dash, and then things go quiet for the rest of the night. :D)

Ed was going to be this awesome green-plastic-soldier deal... (suz put it together and it's outstanding)... alas (earwax)... the little monkey was (is) sick-like-dog.
Geo went out with his friends (16... getting close to the last stab at the free candy zone)... and he came home to give Ed his loot bag. :D :D :D)

I was pretty impressed to read about the UNESCO decision to accept Palestine into their UN club.
Well... actually I don't care about Palestine and their choices.
The real fun is seeing the US and Israel twist and shout 'cuz somebody dares to not bow to their bully-vibe.
suck it.

Actual news item on the local news ... was a warning to retailers to be on the lookout and report strange purchasing behaviours in this "harvest season". (Hence a recent tongue-in-cheek post in FB about "ask your dad to buy 20 boxes of little baggies for a school project"... no doubt the cashier at Wallmart is expected to note things like that... lol). :D
Apparently there are quite a few "grow houses" in Ottawa.
It really is too darn bad that Harry J. Anslinger screwed things up for everybody...

Hearing from ninneviane , hotblue and nosneros_h. really filled me with memories.

  • Current Music
    Tom Sawyer - RUSH