Help! I’m Drowning in Ads…

January 5, 2016 - Leave a Response

We went to the movies this week to see the newest release of Star Wars. As movies go it was OK but really was an old story with a new cover and enhanced graphics. I was more affected by the blatent adversiting that occupied the first 20 minutes following the start of the show.

No, I’m not referring to the usual promotional stuff about buying snacks and popcorn or the game to get me to turn off my cell phone or stuff about upcoming movies (previews). Those I expect. They are the enticements to return at some time in the future to see another thriller. I’m referring to the ads for Lexus, and Bell Canada, travel to sunnier locals and the list goes on.

Let me see; 2 seniors, 1 adult and 1 youth went to the theatre that night. With the cost of entrance and snacks we spent $90.00 (huzzah, we didn’t have to pay a babysitter). For that price we paid for the privilege of watching  20 minutes of commercials cleverly hidden amongst previews of upcomng movies prior to the main feature.

Had I wanted the commercials, I might have waited until the movie came out on DVD. Oh, wait! That dosen’t work any longer–DVDs now have advertising at the beginning.

So back to books. So far they don’t have any embedded ads…do they?

GRB

Travelling Man

January 5, 2016 - Leave a Response

It wasn’t until I glanced at to odometer on my new 2015 Ford Edge that I realized  2015 has been a travel year in my life. The car is now just 7 months old and it has already logged 31,000 Km. How can that be? And I know I traveled between January and April as well.

Suffice to say we normally average one trip a month to Thunder Bay (600 Km return) but I’m guessing between January and June the count went up. Cloud chose to finish her last semester of high school in Thunder Bay. That necessitated an occasional trip so Papa could do some special cooking just for her.

We normally average one trip a month to Thunder Bay but January to June saw that number up visiting with churches in the region that were closing or searching for a change of pastoral charge, or for Presbytery committee responsibilities or because I am a pastoral charge supervisor. Church work took us from Hornepayne on the east to Winnipeg (1968 Km round trip) in the west. I think I can name them all: Hornepayne, White River, Manitouwadge, Marathon, Terrace Bay, Schreiber, Nipigon, Thunder Bay, Atikokan, Fort Frances, Ignace, Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, Dryden, Kenora and Winnipeg. In fact four or five trips to Winnipeg made this year almost like 2006 while I served as Conference President. Winnipeg became my second home. Like the circuit riders of another time we plied our worship services from town to town.

Sault Ste. Marie, ON (820 Km round trip) usually sees us two or three times a year. That is time to reconnect with family.  The Sault is where my sister and her family reside. We are closely bonded even though we only see one another a few times a year. This year we made that trip 4 times. Most recently it was to help the Cloud with cleaning up the insurance issues following her car being rear-ended in a traffic incident. That was the car that carried us through the first four months of 2015. It was a magnificent steed and I hoped it would serve our granddaughter at least until after graduation from college. Usually, this trip is to hunker down with Barb and Dave and her children to stay connected. But this year was different!

In March we connected with family in southern Texas instead of the Sault. A business trip with stops along the way to Winnipeg turned into a holiday to New Braunfels (7000 Km round trip). What a wonderful break in the winter. We left deep snows at home and traded winter boots for running shoes at the Manitoba, North Dakota border. Each day was a delight; drive for a few hours then stop and walk for 45 minutes until we reached our destination. I never missed a day in Texas getting my minimum 10 Km walk completed.

At the end of April we bought a new car and broke it in traveling into May and June back in Winnipeg and Thunder Bay a few times. And that was just the first half of the year

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Baffled by Social Media

December 29, 2015 - Leave a Response

I checked my Facebook page this morning as is my habit every week or so and spent more time attempting to let its creators know that they are way off the mark  meeting my interests. I live in Canada. I estimate that 90% to 95% of the stuff down the right side of my Facebook page has to do with items/issues/sports/news from the United States. Please don’t label me as anti-American because of my thoughts on this, but, most, if not all of the items I see as trending are of little or no interest to me because they are from the US. Were those same stories directly related to me as a Canadian, perhaps I might find them marginally interesting. Mostly, the stuff down the right side of my Facebook page is visual trash that I am unable to lose.

Let’s see. In that right-most column is stuff that is trending (blah!), Pages I might like to follow, People I might like to Friend, Pages I might like to Like, and Games that I might want to play. To date I have found nothing in any of those elements I care to use. The trending stories are ones that I might already run across when I choose to go and read the news on my choice of news providers. I would never choose to link to someone from the friends lists, rather, if I am looking for someone specific, I’ll take the time to search them out at a time to my choosing not because Facebook thinks I need to do it now in order to have a fulfilling life. I don’t like any pages regardless whose they are, what the contents is,  or who has created them. If ever you see my name beside a Like it is probably because I have been careless handling my mouse and has no bearing on whether or not I like what I see. I never–NEVER–play games and I think I have finally done something to block invitations to play games.  In order to be clear, let me repeat, I really NEVER play games on Facebook

Then there is all that stuff down the left-most column that has no apparent relevance to me and cannot be removed. Suffice to say, most of what I experience each time I log into Facebook is visual noise. I think I really have to give some thought to whether I need to even bother with it at all. I suspect I am one of the dinosaurs who still appreciates being in conversation with a warm body immediately adjacent to me in real-time and space that doesn’t involve a keyboard or Siri or Cortana or, …

GRB

Truth in the News Media…

July 1, 2015 - Leave a Response

Last night I watched a YouTube video clip titled “The most honest three and a half minutes of television, EVER” posted by James Bouder. ( http://www.youtube.com:80/watch?v=16K6m3Ua2nw&feature=youtu.be ) It is an excerpt from the beginning of HBO’s The Newsroom Season 1: Episode 1 and, in my opinion, is a wonderful rant on why the USA is no longer the greatest country in the world but can be–once again. I’m not certain that it really matters which country is the best in the world. Persons who are happy where they are living will likely choose their country as the best in the world. Regardless, I encourage all to watch the whole of the first episode. It speaks to me of what the news media once was but has lost somewhere along the way–reporting the facts.

It strikes me that we have become societies of thrill seekers in north America. We look to the news media to report on current happenings and to develop opinions about the story because we are unable to do so ourselves.

Societal Madness #1…

January 13, 2015 - Comments Off on Societal Madness #1…

I was listening to CBC radio, while driving home the other day. The banning of toboggans and toboggan hills in Hamilton, ON was one of the lead stories. To say my jaw dropped would be understatement. We are becoming, if not have become, a society ruled by insurance companies and asinine court rulings. It strikes me that common sense has gone the way of the Dodo bird. At what point did individuals abdicate their responsibility for their own actions?

Tobogganing is a case in point. Sliding down hills at breakneck speeds is not a  recent phenomena. Courier and Ives illustrations have depicted these themes since 1813 (mq-zGHitf–zn1Mt4xNmH9w.jpg). The thrill of the wind and snow in one’s face while careening downhill toward trees, and hillocks and God knows what has been a part of the challenge since time immemorial. No one makes anyone go down the hill other than the innate challenge to feel the thrill. We, regardless of age, make the decision.–slide of not to slide; toboggan or jet ski; snow suit or cardboard box.

And down we go!

I don’t ever remember saying to my parents may I slide down the Chapple’s Hill at breakneck speeds and possibly hit the building and maim myself, or, slide into on-coming traffic on Steven’s Avenue or on to Woodson Street. As kids we just did it because a. the hill was there; b. it was winter; c. the thrill was there; law? What law?

Sure some of my friends were injured in the activity. Fortunately, I don’t recall anything more serious than some of the guys straddling trees and coming too wondering who it was that kicked them in the groin and why!

At issue here is, as I see it, WE CHOSE! I don’t ever recall thinking it was someone’s fault other than my own. I saw the tree at the bottom and CHOSE to challenge it. The town wasn’t responsible for my stupidity; I was! And I accept it fully!

Madness rules! A court rules that an adult male slides down a hill ignoring the signs that there are dangers present and the municipality is fined  a large sum because they were negligent because there were not sufficient signs. What about the responsibility of the individual to explore and examine the terrain prior to going down the hill? Does the same rule apply to a military person crossing a minefield? Whose fault is it that the soldier is blown up? Does the same rule apply when one steps off the curb to cross the road at a legal intersection? How does this explain the deaths that have occurred in Toronto this year at legal crossings. Who’s fault is it? Ultimately it is our own. It is a reasonable expectation that we will look all directions to cross the street before taking the step from the curb. Likewise, it is reasonable to expect that we will, regardless of age, determine the risk associated with the sliding down a hill.

Living is a risk and no one is more responsible for the decisions we make than ourselves.

GRB

Snow Daze…

January 3, 2015 - Comments Off on Snow Daze…

I wakened this morning and sat with my first coffee of the day eying the amount of snow that fell overnight and filled my driveway. Stormy thoughts of being related to Joe Btfsplk (look it up) fed my misfortune. Drat! The meteorologists were correct; my driveway could expect 15 – 20 cm of snow overnight. Yup! It was there! Sitting in my driveway.

Coffee done, snow shovel in hand I began the ritual removal of the offending material. I still have difficulty with the “s” word. Two hours of shovelling and the driveway was pristine. I could even see bare pavement in some places. The snowfall had lessened. It was only -10C and quite delightful outside. I had a great workout. Thank you great snow creature in the sky.

I’m inside sitting with my second coffee of the day watching as the snowfall becomes heavier. The drifts around the wheels of my car are a measure to the rate of accumulation. If I sip my coffee slowly enough chances are good that the car will by then have disappeared to be replaced by a small practice ski hill or beginners toboggan run. If I sip my coffee slowly enough, Spring may arrive and I’ll once again have my car sitting in the driveway awaiting my attention. If I sip my coffee slowly enough…

GRB

Shaping Up…2015

January 3, 2015 - Comments Off on Shaping Up…2015

Last June I weighted in at 96.2 kg and realized that not only was I feeling like a slug, I was becoming one in appearance and attitude. I don’t mean that I was all slimy and slippery, just loaded with lethargy, sloth-like in my movements and more comfortable sitting than doing anything else. the decision to change was easy. Follow-through not so easy.

It was the visit to my doctor and diabetes caregiver that set the tone. “It’s time,” they said, “that we consider options other than diet control and exercise to keep your diabetes in check.” That’s akin to having my head smacked into a brick wall. Wake up! Smell the roses! Life-style change time!

The good news is that that wake-up call was the inspiration I needed to set a path to becoming healthier. As of January 1, 2015 I have lost 17.2 kg. Walking daily and swimming 5 days a week along with a more sensible diet has had the desired effect. The challenge is to maintain the momentum and to achieve my desired goal – only 7.6 kg to go.

2015 is shaping up to be a worthwhile year.

GB

Back to Swimming…

August 9, 2013 - Leave a Response

About mid-February I caught a cold. It wasn’t one of those stick around for a week-or-two then get back to your life type colds. This one caught and stuck and never completely let go of me until May. The most significant impact on my daily routines was that I quit swimming lunch lengths at the local swimming pool. It effectively ended my swim around Lake Superior. Sigh! And I was doing so well!

I started in September 2012, swimming between 5 and 15 Kilometres a week, starting in lake_superior_mapMarathon, ON and swimming clockwise round the lake. It is only 4,387 Km around the Lake. I was steadily swimming 3 Km a day by February. Eight hundred forty kilometres were behind me. Only 3547 Km to go!

Yesterday was my first day back at the swim. I’ve decided to start easy and stick to only 500 m a day (2.5 Km/week)  for the first week. The plan is to get back to 15 Km/week. This is really important because I have to get back into shape. Really good shape!

Cloudia Swim

She is a young woman now but has always loved being underwater.

I’ve made two promises. I promised Cloud, my granddaughter that we would finish her scuba diving training this summer. And I’ve promised another granddaughter, Happy Child, that she, too, will become a scuba diver once she turns 11. This summer is quickly flying by and the Cloud and I haven’t been in the water yet.

Practical diving in Lake Superior ends around the beginning of December. The Lake still has its accumulation of summer heat–not that there has been much in the way of heat this summer. Suffice to say, there is still time. We only need two more dives for her certification.

Happy Child

There are adventures just waiting for her.

Equally important is the promise to Happy Child. I need to stay in shape so that next summer Happy Child and I can do some diving together. She is very interested in searching for an octopus. That’s a year away and my wet suit had best be kept from shrinking over the coming winter. The suit is snug now and needs be a perfect fit by July 2014. She is counting on becoming a Junior scuba diver.

After all, A Promise is a Promise!                                 …GRB

Super Senior…

August 9, 2013 - Leave a Response

This is one of those milestone years in my life (I suppose that should read kilometrestone since I’m in Canada). I am officially into my 70th year.

My wife went to the local Recreation facility this week to buy new passes for the swimming pool and the attendant told her that I was now a “Super Senior”.

On the surface, that is a good thing, I think. I like the sound of the words “Super Senior”. At least, as it applies to me. It meant that I purchased my pass for significantly less than did my wife. She is younger than I. Her lament is that it isn’t fair that I should pay so little when I use much more water than she. It is a fact that I am larger and take up more space in the pool. And, she noted that I swim farther than does she. There must be more to it than this. I feel like I’m missing something–my own personal parking space near the entry to the pool perhaps.

Super Senior! The connotation  suggests that I can do more than the average senior. I’ve given that considerable thought. Should I now be able to leap tall footstools in a single bound–in my rush to make it to the bathroom in time? Faster than a speeding bullet! Ha! That’s after I pry myself from the confines of the napping chair. Am I now eligible for a prescription for afternoon naps? I’ll be sure to put that on my list of questions for my doctor.

I think I’ll get out the sewing machine and make myself a cape and …

GRB

Empty Thoughts…

July 13, 2012 - Leave a Response

Apparently, I haven’t had much in the way of creative thought–or any thoughts–since January of 2012. While that is not entirely true I find it difficult to commit to writing daily. I  have yet to find that quiet time in my life when I am comfortable and able to let myself go and just write. My original goal of writing every day has not been achievable. I’ll try to adjust to writing at least once a month.