Litterer vs. Courier

Motorist in Toronto Kensington market area throws a burger out his car door onto the road. Cyclist picks it up and gives it back to him. Motorist gets out of car and attacks the female cyclist. She accidentally keys his car in the struggle. He attacks her and her bike. Photographer gets it all on film. People comment for ever on the photos and incident.

Check out the site these photos were posted on and all the comments. The most disturbing thing here are the responses. Yikes. People calling for public executions. Name calling like I've never heard it before. I know people can be more vicious when it's anonymous, but wow! the comments and threats. It's a wonder capital punishment ever was abolished in Canada.

And the Oscar goes to...

I read the Oscar nominations today. I just can't get over some of the nominations - hilarious! That guy from 90210. That chick from Pirates of the Caribbean. A song called "It's hard out here for a pimp." You know what this means don't you? It means that there is a chance for me to win an Oscar (see goal #69.

Speaking of me winning an Oscar, I've been putting my free weekend hours into my first documentary feature. The film follows the journey of 9 adventurers in their epic traverse of Canada on bicycles. Yeah, it's movie about me and my friends when we crossed Canada in 2003. The first cut of the movie was 125 minutes. Amber previewed it for me and made some suggestions for the cutting board. It's tough to see something subjectively after putting 100+ hours into studying and organizing 9 hours of footage/interviews. I'm really enjoying the results. I'm aiming for under 90 minutes.

I'm also aiming to enter the film in the Montreal World Film Festival for August/September of this year. I guess my category would be Documentaries of the World or First Films World Competition. I think it would just be fun to go to Montreal and have people pay to see my film. That's a severe kick.

There is of course that little nagging doubtmonster that tells me that "my film's not good enough." That people will leave the cinema wanting their money back. That they won't clap at the end of the film. That they won't want to get their photo with me after the show. That during the question and answer period, they as me where the bathroom is. That the audience will talk throughout the movie about how aweful it is, and that I will miraculously be able to decipher every single word that is said as I sit in the front row, tears streaming down my face. But then again, they might enjoy it. I think April, Gabriel, Kevin, Mati, Danny, Aimee, and Peter will enjoy it - they will of course be my guests of honour (the polite way of forcing them to attend - don't want an empty theatre!). Plus, it will be handy to have decoys if the crowd turns on me for subjecting them to 90 minutes of cliché driven drivel for the ripe ticket price of $10.

I can't wait! Yessiree Bob! Justin's gotta come to as I'm trying to rope him into doing the soundtrack. Plus we'll get to eat poutine.


Priest on Trial for Claiming Jesus Existed

Check out this article. An atheist in Italy is attempting to go to the highest court in the European Union to prove that the Catholic Church has been fraudulently claiming that Jesus Christ existed and thereby illegally gaining financially as a result. The article almost makes it sound like a school bet though.

There are some issues here:
1. Has the Catholic Church been defrauding people?
2. Should Christians be persecuted for believing in a God/man that may or may not be provable?
3. Is there a new role for the courts - to monitor religious beliefs and behaviour?
4. Should the proof of the existence of Jesus Christ be important to Christians, or should it be a matter of faith?

Hmmm, some things to ponder over beans, salsa picante, and tortillas.


Splash Monster 2000

Behold! He splasheth and he screecheth. None may venture near his bath and remain dessicated. All that tryeth to remove the SM2000 from his soapy waters shall suffer the wrath of the deeps.


Majority in the House

Something that I haven't seen in the headlines yet is the fact that the Governor General names the prime minister once the leader of the party with the most seats puts together a viable coalition in order to govern.

Is it possible that the Conservatives would form a coalition with Arch-enemy Liberals? Separatist Bloc? Lefty NDP?

It's strange that the most similar platform with the Conservatives is that of the Bloc Quebecois. The BQ was born out of right wing politics. But would the Conservatives let their image be tarnished with the cooperation with said separatists?

So the dilemma - if the Conservatives can't put together a coalition, the baton gets passed to the Liberals who would be unable to put together a 155 seat coalition with the NDP and that 1 guy. They would need a whole bunch of Belinda Stronachs to pull it off. Incidentally, Stronach was re-elected. She's not a cabinet minister this time though.

Who comes next? Ha! the BQ.

Oh well, I guess I'm just musing. But Parliament does have this rule. It should be relatively interesting to see how it pans out. I imagine they'll put some provisional thing together and go from bill to bill.


Rumble Rumble

It felt like someone was behind me rocking my chair from side to side. It lasted for about 4 seconds.

10:10 am was my first earthquake. Considering Guatemala has something like 1000 earthquakes each year (most too small to feel and most a couple hours drive south of where I live), it probably won't be my last.

No one else I talked to today felt it.

My Favorite Colour

My platform.

  • Government should protect human rights, I like the Canadian Charter.

  • Government should police and be a place of justice.

  • Legislated morality should only serve to protect people from each other and from themselves.

  • Government should protect the land from unwarranted exploitation and monitor its resources.

  • Government should set basic education, health, and economic standards and fund to the basic need.

  • NGOs and Corporations should not influence legislation, only private citizens - this will keep people politically active (they will have to respond, and they will actually be heard as there won't be these giants in the way)

  • Reasonable (I know, great qualifier eh? Basically, no one loses out) trade agreements with other nations.

  • I think people have largely stopped voting on ideology. We've decided to trust the media to direct us to who to vote for:

    The bad pro-war, pro-American, pro-privatization guy.
    The bad corrupt pro-gay guy.
    The bad taxation guy.
    The bad separatist guy.
    The bad tree-hugger guy.
    (note, I am not saying that these statements are true or false, or that their views are right or wrong, I'm just saying that this is how I perceive the media to be portraying the 5 parties)

    What would happen if people actually sat down and thought about what they believed, rather than being told (and I say this tongue in cheek, you'll see why when you click the link that's coming)? And then put their beliefs into action in the form of voting based on ideology rather than party lines and media spin? I think the country would look a lot like this.

    Incidentally, I am not voting this election. Not to make a statement against our quasi-democracy. No, I'm not voting because I didn't register to vote early enough. I am disappointed that I'm not voting. I think that Tanner Waldo really needed my vote.

    I wasn't planning on mentioning the Green Party here, but I really encourage you to read the bios of some of the candidates, it takes 20 seconds to read one. I think it's quite encouraging to think that Parliament could be full of regular, consciencious people like these.

    Hey, leave a comment and share your platform. Should make for some interesting debate.



    Blaise turns SIX MONTHS today. Well done son!

    Amber bought a sandia and a melon (watermelon and honeydew melon) at the market - they are possible going to be kept as replacement parts for Blaise and I. Just in case.

    New School Opening

    Families are registering their children in our brand new school in Chicoy. Classes begin Monday for Kinder, Prepa, and Primaria (equiv. K,1,2). We hope to have 75 kids in the school and 50 in the afternoon program.

    There has been incredible opposition from one man in the community - a liar, extortionist, and pastor of some sect church. Among some of his antics: he forged a petition against the school and sent it to the head of education of Baja Verapaz - he submitted a news item to the radio a couple months ago that read "Americans are trying to force children in Chicoy to go to their school and a mob is ready to lynch these gringos" - as a local town official, he helped himself to building supplies designated for education to (this is heresay) build an addition to his house. His latest actions are telling all the parents in the community that we are hustling them, we just want to register their kids at a very cheap rate (about $1.50) and then we are going to jack up tuition.

    The truth: The existing school doesn't work. Children in 7th grade can't read. Our sponsorship program will cover the children's tuition, school supplies and a nutritious meal each school day. We are also offering an afternoon program for the older kids where we will tutor them and give them a meal and a time for spiritual growth.

    (click here to see a larger version of this 360 degree photo)

    It's been great seeing this project grow. When I arrived, the walls and roof of the school (far right) were done. Since then, floors have been put in, ground levelled, the bathrooms, kitchen and surrounding walls have gone up. I helped dig the foundation (3 metres deep in places) to the bathroom among other things.


    Private Oil Resources

    Alberta's oil sands are predicted to be the next major oil source in the world. And it's in the private sector.

    Compare this with Norway's off-shore oil. Norway has been building it's national infrastructure for years with oil revenues and is one of the most prosperous places to live in the world. And they share their money too through foreign relief and development. They have much better universal health care than Canada has. They have free education right up to doctoral studies. Even the welfare program pays higher than minimum wage! (at least it did back in 1997 when I was there)

    So, what is Canada going to do about it. It's going to tax it. Of course, it will tax it at a lower rate than other corporations because that way we (I mean the private investors) will be able to get the oil out faster. We aren't going to foster a healthy working atmosphere in the sector either. We're going to let many of the workers languish in drug and alcohol addiction and let their marriages fall apart. Oh, and my favorite part - we're going to sell the oil to the USA at their set price because they won't let us sell it to anyone else. If we do try, we'll get labled communists and they'll try to kill our Prime Minister (see Venezuela). Oh, wait, they might not attack us because we're predominantly white.

    We should just start using other energy sources anyway. Less politics.


    6.5 billion living beings

    The world population counter that I have running on my dashboard (by Jon Brown) tells me that we are 5 million people away from reaching this landmark population on our little planet. I remember it being 5 billion for the longest time from grade 1 through university. I don't know how it got high so fast (well, of course I know how, but... nevermind).

    Gosh, that's a lot of poor people. I can't think of anyone of these 6,495,000,000 people who is more blessed than I am. I don't know whether to rejoice or weep!


    Greet... or else

    I walked home from the colegio this morning and used the following greetings with various people as they passed by:

    buenos dias (good morning)
    buen dia (good morning)
    buenas (variation on good morning)
    hola (hi)
    que tal? (how's it going)
    adios (mix between goodbye, farewell, literally -to God)

    I'm perplexed as to how people decide to use, as everyone uses a different one with me. I heard all of these from them and merely replied in kind.

    Everyone greets everyone here. If you come into a room of 30 people, you shake everyone's hand - and again when you leave. It is courtesy so common that if you don't do this people wonder why you jilted them.

    It's good though, lots of smiles each day. Unless someone waves to you while you're ripping down a hill with huge potholes and speed bumps and chickens on your bike - then it could prove lethal.


    treasure hunting in the postmodern age

    Geocaching: the recreational activity of hunting for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website.

    What do you think? Should I geocache something in the back hills of Alta Verapaz?

    Stan Rogers

    As I prepared a turkey and did dishes and squeezed oranges this morning, I cranked iTunes and let Stan Rogers echo through my cement block house.

    [drawing by Anthony Hare]

    Those not familiar with Canadian folk legend Stan Rogers should get to know his work. From my memory, I remember that he was a son of Nova Scotian parents and grew up in Ontario. His Atlantic roots never left him and before long he was writing songs about fishermen, explorers, and the Canadian workingman. In 1983, He died at age 33 of smoke inhalation while helping other people off a landed plane that had caught fire.

    I remember hearing Stan Rogers' songs at a benefit concert that hippie friends through for us in the Rexton Community Hall after our house burnt to the ground in 1983. I remember the lines "God damn them all" and "I'm a broken man on a Halifax peer" from the a capella song "Barrett's Privateers" and the chorus to "Northwest Passage."

    When paddling down the MacKenzie River 4 1/2 years ago with Kris, Ty and Eric, we would sing as much as we could remember to Northwest Passage. We forced our way into a tumultuous Beaufort Sea with the chorus on our lips

    Ah, for just one time
    I would take the Northwest Passage
    To find the hand of Franklin
    reaching for the Beaufort Sea;
    Tracing one warm line
    through a land so wild and savage
    And make a Northwest Passage to the sea.