So. I walk out of the office this afternoon. Pull out my keys to unlock my bike and someone has jammed something into the lock so that the key can not be used. Fortunately I have a metal saw on my Swiss Army Knife. Seven Long Minutes.

Spent 3 long days this week handing out prescribed medication to infants, children, adults and elderly people in Chicoy. Aside from vitamins, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen, I passed out the most meds for worms, scabies, and coughs. The cough syrup (and everything else for that matter) was distributed in sandwich bags so that the people wouldn't be tempted to sell their medicine.

Merle, one of the men from the New Brunswick team that left this morning, spent 20 minutes with me at my house showing me what I could do to lower my power bill and get more dependable power througout the house. One of the main things was stringing 10-gauge wire from the meter to the house (about 40 feet), replacing the 12-gauge that is there. Adding another 2 breakers is also on the list. I just replaced 3 burnt out bulbs with 3 flourescent ones too. The incandescent bulbs (touting a 1 year guarantee) burn out very quickly.

This dude cracks me up. I love this dude.

Tonight Amber is "letting" me watch The Fellowship of the Ring. I haven't seen any of the trilogy since my birthday last year when I watched all three extended versions back to back. Oh! That was sweet! I've been aching to see the the films since last February, but my DVDs were stolen, so I couldn't until late August when Rick Mutch, bless him, gave me his set. I've been busy for the last month, so this is the first opportunity I have to spend 210 minutes in front of the tube.

I mentioned a few posts ago that I went to a naturopathic doctor. One of my tasks is to go off of a variety of foods to see if I am intolerant of some of them. I picked the hardest one first: DAIRY. For the past 10 days I have resisted eating cheese and yoghurt and arroz con leche. Monday night was especially difficult where my supper was cheese tayuyos with a rice and milk drink. I made it through, noticing very little difference in my body. Today I binged on goats milk and in 2 more days I get to binge on cow milk products.

My big jobs right now, aside from working with the short-term-teams (only 2 more left this year) are: 1-Produce a promotional video for the child sponsorship program. 2-Produce a gift catalog that can be distributed this winter so people can bless some of the poor families in Tactic with stoves, cement floors, laying hens, etc... 3-Finish translating 400 letters from kids to their sponsors and get the last 33 photos of them up to Canada for printing and mailing.

Hoping for another episode of Law and Order (it's the only show I watch) on The Universal Channel, I ended up watching the premiere of Psych. I laughed the whole 90 minutes and I'm looking forward to next Wednesday night for the second episode. The show is kind of like a Sherlock Holmes meets the Hardy Boys meets Scrubs. Kind of corny, but hilarious! Apparently, it's starting its second season in January, so I'm behind the times. I remember loving the Edison Twins when I was young.


Royal Blood

Beginning 46 generations ago:

Pippin of Landen I (b.580)
Saint Begga
Pippin the Middle of Herstal II (b.635)
Charles Martel (b.686)
Pepin the Short of Neustria III (b.714)
Charlemagne - Holy Roman Emperor (b.742)
Pépin d'Italie I (b.773)
Adélaïde d'Italie
Rothilde d'Italie
Boniface d'Italie III (m.875)
Adelbert d'Italie II (m.915)
Béranger d'Italie II (m.936)
Adalbert d'Italie III (m.955)
Othon-Guillaume de Bourgogne (m.975)
Renaud de Bourgogne I (m.1023)
Guillaume (dit Tête Hardie) de Bourgogne I (m.1040)
Gisèle le Bourgogne-Ivrée
Adélaïde de Savoie
Pierre de Courtenay I (m.1152)
Pierre de Courtenay II (m.1193)
Eléonore de Courtenay
Philippe de Montfort II (m.1244)
Eléonore de Montfort-L'Amaury (b.1260)
Jeanne de Vendöme (b.1280)
Jean de Sully II (b.1300)
Louis de Sully I (b.1330)
Marie de Sully heiress de Craon (b.1360)
Georges de la Tremouille (b.1386)
Marguerite de la Tremouille (b.1425)
Hector de Salazar (b.1450)
Sieur de Salazar
Hector de Salazar (b.1530)
Marye de Salazar (b.1560)
Charles-Amador Saint-Étienne de la Tour (b.1593)
Marie Saint-Étienne de la Tour (b.1654)
Alexandre LeBorgne de Belleisle (m.1707)
Marie LeBorgne de Belleisle (b.1717)
François "Niganne" Robichaud (b.1752)
Anselme Robichaud (b.1780)
Anselme Robichaud (b.1821)
Louis Robichaud (b.1857)
Alban Robichaud (b.1895)
Uldège Robichaud (b.1923)
Ronald Robichaud (b.1950)
Zaak Robichaud (b.1976)
Blaise Robichaud (b.2005)

This of course is one strand of more than 35 trillion that go back 45 generations before Blaise. In other strands there is much royalty from such places as Macedonia, Sweden, Ukraine, Czech, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Poland, Netherlands, Frisia, Hungary, Abénaquises Nations.

King Louis VI the Fat , king of France in the early 12th century, and his king fathers also make the list, Louis going back to 27 generations before me. "Frank"ly I'm glad that I got out of the line of kings early on.

I accidentally fell on a goldmine of information when researching Francois "Niganne" Robichaud who was born 3 years before the Acadian deportation. I discovered that as soon as you start getting into the noble lineage, it's easy to find ancestors (both mothers and fathers) as they only married among each other (fortunately they branched into many many kingdoms) and impeccable records were kept to keep the lines clean.



We've been living in Guatemala for one year. Feels like a year, no more, no less.


Kissy Face

Blaise got a haircut from his old man tonight. Amber says he looks older without his little curls. I think he looks right brilliant!

A new habit of kissing has overtaken my son. The day we arrived in Tactic after our trip, Blaise kissed Hania about 12 times (she didn't move a muscle). Hania is one too, her parents house sat for us. Now, he kisses me and Amber all the time. It's pretty sweet.


I almost got stuck in a funeral procession yesterday afternoon. I drove by the cemetary about an hour later and saw the crowd there. Our neighbour tells us that a 17-yr-old boy went to Guatemala City in August to work and was robbed and killed there a few days ago. He's from one of the villages in Tactic.

A man from our church, father of 4 little girls, left for the United States in pursuit of money. He says he'll be back in 5 years (the oldest girls - twins - will be 13 then).

Scribing by Light

Carl tells me about this new-fangled DVD burner that burns images onto the top of DVD+Rs. I decid this would be a good investment for Zaakistan Productions. I go to go buy one of these burners for my Mac in Moncton, NB and there are none, so I have Carl ship one to me in Montreal. I wander the wet streets of Montreal looking for the special DVD+Rs to take back with me (I'm certain these things aren't available in Tactic). After 9 stores and nothing, I arrive at a second Future Shop and it's really hopping. I look around and I don't see what I am looking for, so I log onto a computer there and I find out that this is the only Future Shop in Montreal that has some Lightscribe DVD+R. I talk to the disk department guy and he says "If you can't find it, neither can I." Nice. I give up and have supper with Gabriel. He tells me of a store (Micro Bytes) on Saint Jacques that I should check out. The next morning I do, and I buy the last 6 packs of 10 there.

Early this morning, I finally get the right combination of factors in DVD Studio Pro to burn a final copy of my selling DVD of "Strength and Honour." It looks sharp on the TV. I try to burn an image onto the top of a DVD and it doesn't work. I'm told by LaCie support that I need the software updates, two of them (750KB and 1.3MB). No problem, if I have a good internet connection, which I don't. So between office errands, I drop into a internet lab that I've never tried before and ask to hook up my PowerBook - after some delay and bewilderment, they let me and I download the updates.

Now, I'm home and there is just 7 of the 21 minutes left to burn the first DVD label.




We're back. It's good to be back. It's really great to be back.

Thought I'd post some one sentence anecdotes from the trip:

*Blaise forced a mechanical Barbie to dance with him.
*I completed more than 40 Sudoku puzzles on the plane, train, and at Mémere's.
*I enjoyed Indian, Lebanese, Guatemalan, Italian, Japanese, Acadian, and Québecois food on the trip.
*I loaded a taxi at the Aurora airport in Guatemala City with our 9 pieces of luggage and then promptly unloaded it after the driver quoted a price triple what the standard rate is.
*We were pleasantly suprised that despite connection times of 40 and 50 minutes, all of our luggage made it with us on our 3-flight return trip on American Airlines.
*Went to the beach (Atlantic Ocean) only once though it was 10 minutes away from us for 8 days (because it was windy, but mostly because we were lazy).
*We did some shopping and eating and business on the block facing Dawson College the day after the shootings.
*I managed to restrain myself and bought 26 films on DVD during this brief stay in Canada.
*Visited a naturopathic doctor in Moncton and was given sulphur pills, flax, and baby bum balm as my remedies.
*I rallied a mini-uprising (which will express itself tomorrow morning via phone calls to a head office) at the fingerprinting department of the Montréal RCMP building because the guy doing it took 90 unannounced minutes for a lunch break during an 8am-2pm shift (punk).
*Got off at 10 different subway stations in Montreal and took 5 different buses.
*I went to Kevin's bachelor party.
*Took Blaise on his first canoe trip, up and down the little river behind Mémere's.
*Despite my best intentions, I watched only 23 films (8 features, 8 shorts, 7 documentaries) at the Film Fest plus about 6 that I walked out of early on.
*The radiator and waterpump quit on my father's car on our 10 hour trip to New Brunswick so we spent the night in Fredericton.
*Blaise was frequently mistaken to be a baby girl in Canada, dispelling our belief that Guatemalan's couldn't tell because they weren't used to seeing blond babies.
*After filming for two weeks on our handycam, I discovered we were trying to record on a head-cleaner tape (shocking!).
*About 95 people saw my film at the festival.
*I spent an entire afternoon walking around downtown Montreal looking for the special DVD+R discs that I'm going to produce my DVDs on - only to find them first thing the next morning.
*I didn't read 1 page in either of the 2 books I brought with me.
*Blaise's bottom would not accept the suppository we tried to give him on the overnight train.
*I've lost the keys to the case I just bought for my video camera, after locking it of course.

More happened, my weak mind isn't able to remember much more than this at the moment, perhaps I'll add a few more as they come to me.


Fascism in Canada

One aspect of fascism is "forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism." My Prime Minister, the Honourable Stephen Harper, has decided (I'm a bit behind in this, I confess) to not answer questions posed by the press, unless he gets to choose who asks. 5 months ago, he issued a statement saying that during press conferences, only those reporters who were on a list would be able to ask questions - AFTER HE WENT THROUGH THE LIST AND CHECKED OFF THOSE HE FELT COMFORTABLE ANSWERING. This is unbelievable.

The press responded by banding together and no one adding their name to the list. They have also tried contacting the Prime Minister's Office for answers to particular questions, but never get a response. So, the PM of Canada is going about his business quietly and the people he governs do not know what is going on. Maybe wiretaps and a gestapo are in the works? Hmmm?


Acclaim for Film, Fest & Friends

Well. As it turns out, people love my film! Both screenings of the film at the Montreal World Film Festival went absolutely splendidly.

The first show, on Thursday afternoon, had about 25 spectators. I had the opportunity to present the film and conduct a question and answer period afterward where nearly everyone stayed and participated. The comments were so supportive and the questions displayed a huge interest in the trip. Of course, anyone who was willing to pay $6-$10 to see a film entitled "Strength and Honour: Cycling Canada Coast to Coast" would already have some interest in the matter. A few people had relatives or friends who had done a similar trip.

The second showing was at a better time - 5:30 pm on a Sunday, during rainy weather. The crowd swelled to around 70 people. I really can't express the joy I had at the audience's reaction to the film. So many compliments. One woman said it was the best of many films she had seen at the festival this year. I think the personal and natural way the story unfolds allows the audience to empathize with the characters.

As far as the festival, I had a great time. As a presenter of a feature-length film, I was given a pass to attend any film I wanted throughout the 12 days (I was there for only 7). I was also invited to the film-maker hangout where there was a press gallery and video library and coffee/tea and tables to visit with filmmakers and distributers. I spent a little time there, a bit shy of the whole process, but I got a good idea of how the business works. To my knowledge, no one tried to contact me for distribution, so I'll do it myself with DVD sales and contacting different television and cable stations. I already have 17 pre-orders of the DVD. Kurt is wanting to set up screenings here and there to fundraise for out next project. You can check out the showtimes for updates there.

It was awesome to have Justin along for most of the week. The festival gave him a pass like mine as he did the soundtrack for the film. We went to a lot of films together. Among the better ones:
  • Regarding Sarah (Canada)
  • Nachbeben (Going Private, Switzerland)
  • Unspeakable (Canada)
  • Kargaran Mashghool-e Karand (Men at Work, Iran)
  • Sök (Search, Sweden)

    I have to send a HUGE thanks to the following people how came from far away to share the world premiere with me: Mom (from Alberta), Justin (from Michigan), Kurt (from Alberta), Papa (from New Brunswick), Amber and Blaise (from Guatemala).

    And another MASSIVE thanks to those who received us with true Montreal hospitality: April, Gabriel, Kevin, Mati and Cecil (who opened their homes for us to sleep) and Danny, Aimée and Noah (for the terrific Québec meal). It was also great to see Peter, Shari, Tristan, Brenna, Fern, Melanie, Michel, Richard, Claudine (my translator), Gatama, Brent, Jocelyn, Veronique, and everyone else we saw in town. We are so loved. We love them all too.