There are particular recreational and general interest items which you need at the ready in order to stimulate the brain at home. Don’t let your spouse throw out that harmonica that you haven’t used since last year’s family reunion. That book with the marker at page 23 is still going to get read but maybe not tomorrow. How many of you think it would be nice to learn a language but there’s clearly no evidence of learning aids amidst that tidy end table by your TV chair? Someday, right? The discovery of some old dancing shoes may just be the re-think required for reworking old West Coast swing moves. How about that crochet project which isn’t happening because of some subconscious dilemma of tidiness? Is there a family bonding opportunity lost because the scrabble board is tucked away in storage while junior obsesses over some phone app?
We downsize and right size and retool as we grow. Then grandchildren are suspicious of the person of old. Sterility takes hold and the culture becomes cold. Can we live in the new lost from soul sustaining symbols of identity?
If your work commute is more than 45 minutes, it’s detracting from your quality of life and possibly impacting your health. Could the associated fatigue be a cause of waning interest on a home hobby? Perhaps it’s the behaviour modifying influence of a roommate or spouse? What is the cause of deteriorating mental health? Is it all physiological in need of mind altering chemicals? Is there some correlation between the suppression of a creative outlet through the sterilization of home and mental fitness? What about the social impact of a conglomerate of such individuals?
You either hide behind your smart phone, TV, tablet or get out there and bask in the sun’s glory when it’s minus eleven, no wind and the snow has settled perfectly awaiting the crispy crunch of your footsteps or ski boots. I for one prefer the slippy slide of skis whether it’s X-country or downhill. I’m typically setting the pace by marking trails for others who look up from the doldrums to discover that winter has its place in an outdoor fitness regime. Calgary has oodles of acres of green space within its park system and public spaces due partly to inept urban planning. You might as well pay tribute to your health while others navigate traffic on their way to the mall. Makes good sense, right?
You can hum and haw at the prospect of finding a fitness friend with all the coordination and texting for confirmation while knowing full well that it’s not of their highest priority, or you make that one time commitment of acquiring some affordable equipment for those occasions of spontaneous winter thrill while leading the charge. Whether it’s from the annual ski swap, Value Village, Sport Chek, or cousin Harry’s garage – winter sporting equipment is available to all who seek refuge from the germs of the gym and electronic frequency.
Speaking of the annual ski swap, a volunteer at the event back in October took time with me to discuss his upcoming ski adventure plans. He had his multi day multi hill pass all picked out which was going to mean fulfilling its benefits by travelling to distant resorts while arranging logistics, rides, time off, and the opportunity cost of time from his studies. There will be the inevitable disappointment of friends, some poor winter road conditions, and lift line ups during the high season. He was perplexed why I picked up the early bird season pass at Nakiska.
I am so dismayed by the latest motorcyclist death in Calgary this past Saturday night. The fellow was at waiting at a stop light when rear ended by an SUV. The SUV driver panicked and due to the panic, ran the fellow over. With alcohol and drugs ruled out, a distraction would appear to be the cause.
Also on Saturday, I checked my rear view mirror and I saw three motorcyclists. One was stunting with an apparent motive to show off to his friends. We all pull in to a Tim Hortons and little do they know I’m behind them in line. Upon over hearing their reference to the stunt, I remind them about responsible behaviour on their bikes. Sheepishly they concurred.
Then on Sunday I’m pulling out of a mall and there’s a skateboarder with her ear buds in and cell phone in hand wheeling through our intersection. I’m thinking, you should have your complete wits about you especially considering that those church goers down the street were just dismissed from mass.
Then there are the oblivious pedestrians that I witness every day transfixed in their cell phone alter ego without any regard to space and time. They’ll walk down the middle of an aisle at the store and they’ll look down and up and down and up while waiting at a stop light. They’ll ignore their friend / lover / wife / husband while dining because of their cell phone fetish.
Our governments are weak on the subject when it comes to distracted driving and fear imposing any real penalty due to the perceived challenges inflicted by an even weaker legal system. The topic is addressed nonchalantly and everyone knows it’s a big issue but it receives only token attention. Your governments believe that an ad campaign is in your best interest instead of a meaningful financial deterrent. I beg to differ.
When nobody was tethered to a phone, we needed to be organized when going to the store instead of calling home to learn if there were eggs in the fridge. We trusted that children in the care of a sitter or school would be safe without a compulsion to “check in”. We got our work done when at work so that our leisure time was our own. Employers respected family time. We could count on an engagement to be kept with directions and destination agreed and planned in advance without last minute texting of confirmation and detail. We participated in the spontaneity of a moment unfastened from technology and free to engage wholeheartedly in a spirit for adventure and newness.
My first non-white friends were the Kims from South Korea. Mr. and Mrs. Kim sought a better life for their kids Hak Gin, Hak Il, and Mejung by relocating to Tungsten N.W.T. Yes, the town was named after the metal mined. The Kim kids did not have much English upon arrival but the warmth of a cold weather sub arctic northern township earned them a little after school help inside the two room school house. Both Hak Gin and Hak Il became my friends. I was probably their closest friend during fifth grade. I was invited to their home for dinner and Mrs. Kim would be amused by my reaction to her traditional cuisine. Although father Bok Kim was a stern man, it was a joyous household of song and laughter.
My days as a promoter of health products always brought me in touch with different ethnic groups. I typically viewed other ethnicities as more open to a “pitch” and generally the statement holds true. My travels in prospecting strangers (basis of my livelihood today as a public accountant) put me in contact with Phillipina Rose, and Sri Lankan Arjuna. Both became my friends. Rose and I would sing karaoke one Sunday afternoon and talk philosophy on another. Arjuna received my moral support as he encountered hardship in his new homeland. I would remind Arjuna of his fiery spirit which would carry him through troubled times.
Membership in a private personal development club enabled me to sail the Caribbean on chartered cruises (two successive Januarys). While partying one night alongside cabin mate Randy, along comes Ochuko. One of the biggest bonuses of membership in this club was stumbling upon this soft spoken thoughtful Nigerian on the periphery of the dance floor while admiring the moves of those marvelous mesdames. Fate would have us hailing the same cab upon disembarking in Miami. Have been friends ever since.
My client database composes very cool Pakistanis…and recently three new Sri Lankan friends have become quite close. One of these three has come to learn my sentiment that I think he’s whiter than most whites given his manner and traits (and he reads my blog…so I know you’re grinning).
Dancing lessons and one lovely Russian lass blessed me with exposure to the Russian heritage and those distinctive traits of intelligence, passion and beauty known to this part of the world.
More people with experiences far greater than my own from a land I’ve never seen will continue to come into my life and enrich it with adventure stories, their aspirations, things they miss from their birth place, and characteristics of Canada for which they express gratitude.
I must share my gratitude for StichMethod Guitar over at Youtube. Ian’s down to earth approach, self deprecating humor, and technical framework for delivering material is superb. I’m discovering tremendous value in his Blues Master Class Series of which his next release is eagerly anticipated. Ian knows how to break down the mystery of how fabulous guitar riffs are formed without inundating the student with theory. He’s comforted that any musician can obtain good theory elsewhere and is passionate about ensuring that students learn the essentials of navigating the neck with his “pentatonic never lost system.” Although his free lessons are presented from the basis of the minor pentatonic for now, I won’t be surprised if he starts expanding into other scales and even modes. Anyone can now purchase quality video content from professional teachers utilizing youtube as a medium of communication. It’s quite impressive really. If you play guitar and feel like venturing beyond basic chords and into some soloing, I highly recommend Ian Stich from the Stich Method. As a bonus of tuning into the StichMethod, you’ll be curiously awestruck by Ian’s fascination for his favourite band Phish which has obviously been a huge influence for Ian’s passion behind the instrument.
I quite enjoy this topic because I see it as a kind of barometer for the maturity of mankind. Chelsea Covington from Maryland has been innocently asking questions and is now making waves. In some circles, breasts are symbols of feminism, in other circles they are objects of sexual desire, and yet in others’ they nourish babies during early development. I do find it peculiar that in a more modern age that some people are still hung up about bare breasted women at the beach. Breasts are in fact all of the above thank heavens. They provide value to our existence in a multiple of ways and therefore should be celebrated instead of shunned. Simple common sense practices of decorum would assume breasts to be covered up in the board room, in the class room, at the dentist’s office, and shopping for milk. Speaking of milk, if a baby needs some breast milk, logic would suggest that the baby should not be denied as a measure to protect some immature sojourner to the scene no matter where. These same places expect men also to be wearing a top. However; when it’s warm outside and women are spending their free time in leisure in nature at public parks, beaches, outdoor pools, and in the wilderness, women should have every right of a man to go topless because there is nothing innately offensive about female breasts. I expect people to behave civilly and respectfully in the context of this part of the female form having sexual appeal because it’s simply not too much to ask of a civil society. In fact, naturists describe men as docile (not aroused) in the company of nude women as opposed to sexualized and make reference to a normalizing socialized context. It’s archaic to resort to law in order to protect man from a perceived immaturity. The naked female breast is no more revealing that the female form on full display in every shopping mall across America by women today clothed in Lululemon tights shopping for another pair.
Religious circles of course spread their dogma regarding the fallibility of men in the context of matters of the flesh and I suggest that it is their inherent repressiveness which presents the precursor to deviance.
Summer does bring out a yearning to shed clothes because the well being mechanism compels us in such a way. It’s not an aberrant compulsion. It’s a fruitful expression of attaching our purist unfiltered form to nature at the right time and place.
In lieu of women’s liberty and personal privacy rights, the deviant man’s unauthorized deployment of recording equipment (camera, video recorder) should simply be sanctioned severely. Yes, doable.
You know it’s not going to happen because Calgary is a good market for an NHL franchise and the whole executive of the Flames organization knows it. Brian Burke would be well served to keep his tongue wagging about hockey instead of what he thinks Calgarians need. There are enough marginalized hockey fans in Calgary obediently paying their income tax, their excise tax, their property tax, their GST, while transferring wealth toward some neighbour’s Child Tax Benefit payment in our socialized way of life that if you piss him off just a little bit more, he’s likely to just give you the finger and walk away from those season tickets.
Here in Calgary there’s been a destructive force working on city revenues, namely commercial property tax from an office sector which is staggering through vacancies in the downtown core. Consequently, the city has had to shift the tax burden outward and if you don’t think they’ll come for you out there in the burbs, think again once saddled (pardon the pun) with an enormous capital expenditure via one new unnecessary arena. We’ve become a people of want instead of need. We want to keep up with the Jones’. We want the upgraded BMW. We want to have a nicer arena just like our rivals because our ego is bruised when the competition comes to town and they know what we know about their nice place.
Income taxes went up in 2016. The top marginal rate is now 47 per cent and this is only of those pesky income taxes you get to pay. Yes, the rate grows incrementally until you get there, but it was supposed to be temporary to fund world war one. Then you and yours decided you needed an awful lot from your governments like sports arenas and a health care system that has doctors laughing at you for paying them so much. That’s okay. They laugh in private.
Here you are in a conundrum because your favourite musician is skipping the Saddledome because of some idiosyncrasy associated with this practical structure of strength seating some 17,000. Some beer glutton thinks he needs the extended bathroom that a new facility would provide ’cause he apparently can’t be entertained on anything less than a six pack of Molson’s best. Then there’s the “revenue model” referenced by the silver haired hockey has beens now execs sitting lofty in their glass enclosed perches claiming more from the parking, more from concession, and more from the city ’cause “we are the culture that Canada craves”.
I say no. I say call their bluff with a Bon Voyage to Quebec City – that market that couldn’t sustain the Nordiques back in the ’90’s. We know that the Stampede can pack the Saddledome for the first two weeks of July. For some reason acts still show up. The Hitmen and Roughnecks would retain their home turf while the Circus, the Cirque….and soccer could find fame from the departed Flame. Yes Soccer and the River Dance and more music with more dates on the calendar. There could be variety shows, acrobats, art shows and exhibits. A modernization of the Dome’s innards could accommodate for sets made to order. Figure skating competitions and showcases could return with frequency. Events representing human splendour and wonder could grace a stage tired from the moribund movement of a puck too many days out of the year. Your venue could be revived as a city centre piece for cultural reform with a return on investment actualized through solid management and imagination.
The buffet on Saturday night at Calgary’s Cinnamon Cuisine is a tantalizing display of Sri Lankan ethnic specialties. This new hot spot with convenient access and parking up on International Avenue aims to please. The atmosphere is friendly and the value is exceptional! I might recommend an early arrival ’cause word is getting around and their space is quaint but a bit tight.
You’ve all seen the pop up to subscribe for digital news service. Just say no. You already pay a steep price for internet service while bombarded by peripheral advertisements. Hence; refuse to use the news page which may now have outsmarted your cookie deletion protocol. There are still credible news outlets worthy of your readership. In fact, in Canada your tax dollars support the CBC. To my delight and with the recommendation of a friend, I’ve rediscovered CBC radio as a tremendous resource not only for news but for more thoughtful music play selection compared to the likes of Jack FM or K97.
Big business wants to take you down some path of their liking and I’m seeing evidence that folks are losing self control as a result. Technological advancement does not mean you should jump because some new gadget or media request has come staring you in the face on your computer screen. Your future autonomy is going to be predicated by your absolutism in dealing with foolishness by corporate concerns today!
If you’ve encountered a job loss in this difficult current oil and gas Calgary market, this time it will be different – right? “When I have my new good job, I’ll continue to upgrade professionally and save for a rainy day. I’ll never take on too much of a mortgage or buy expensive lifestyle luxury items which get used only a handful of times per year. I will strive for a second cheque monthly that will be back up. I’ll be smart with my money and forget about keeping up with the Jones.’”
Welcome to the next down turn. Your realtor and your investment advisor have led you to believe that the future would be rosy. There were those glossy ads of new two story homes with luxury appliances and a double attached garage. Even your banker only wanted two years of financial history while always voiding the prospects of the economic horizon. That vacation you took in the summer of 2015 was the last extravagance before buckling down – right? Westjet whose corporate headquarters are here in Calgary has announced today a record number of passengers for the month of August.
Yes, you figured it right. I am an accountant. I’ve been doing tax work since 1994 and have been witness to much misalignment of the affairs of folks whom are for the most part strong thinking responsible people. Few folks actually prepare a household budget and without fail, these are the ones who stream through economic cycles unphased.
Our governments have also failed to learn the lessons of past down turns. Alberta has literally lost control of the public purse after a previous administration worked vigorously during a more difficult economic era to eliminate debt.
The Calgary Counselling Centre has just announced a 91 per cent increase in stress related calls associated with unemployment and fear of job loss since the same time last year.