12.31.2006

Coolest Christmas Gift...

The easiest thing for our family to do at this time of year is to deposit money into our bank account for us to spend on gifts. This year, Selah got the usual moolah and we realized that it was just the right amount to purchase an いちりんしや aka ichirinshya aka unicycle.

Unicycles are very common on school playgrounds here. Our local school has about 30 of them for the kids to play with during recess.

Here is a clip...

12.28.2006

Its been (1)5 long years...

Happy anniversary Paul and Rach!!

And Happy Belated Anniversary Chris and Kim!!

12.25.2006

Merry Christmas!

His birth was profoundly simple.

His death was simply profound.

12.23.2006

Love this country...

As many of you know, my folks are coming out here for a couple of weeks. They are currently 8 hours from take-off. We will be going out to pick them up from Centrair, the International Airport built for Expo 2006 in Nagoya.

Problem is, our car only fits 5 passengers and there will be six of us for the trip home. So the plan was to rent a van for a few hours...not a big deal. We had rented a couple of vans from Japan Rentacar back in September and figured that we would go with them again because they would have our info on file.

So Kelly recruited Iwata-san, the clerk from her school to help reserve a van. Things are ridiculously difficult here if you do not speak Japanese.

Iwata called the rental shop, arranged for a van, a pick-up time, the whole 9 yards. Then they asked for the name of the person who would be renting the van. Well, that would be Kelly. As soon as the person from the shop heard a foreign name, they informed Iwata that they could not rent us a van.

They do not rent to foreigners. Even when said foreigners have rented from them before...and have driven in Japan for a year and a half...and have a Japanese drivers licence.

Apparently, a 'foreigner' was in an accident with one of their vehicles. Now they don't rent to foreigners.

Very disturbing to be on the receiving end of racial discrimination.

We reserved a van with the competition.

One of our first thoughts as we stewed about this was that it was probably a Brazilian who was in the accident. Irony duly noted.

12.20.2006

Concrete walls and curses...

What did the fish say when he ran into the concrete wall?



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Damn!

Same thing I said when I got tagged for the second time. I figured I could safely ignore the first because it was kind of a wishy-washy maybe you got tagged or maybe you didn't.

But to get called out specifically, well that is playing hardball...here goes.

1. My first job was a paper route that I shared with my brother. I still remember the dogs that would scare the bajeebies out of me. The Zral's had two dogs that would wait for me. They had a long dark driveway and Smokey and Mukaluk would wait until I was in the darkest part of the driveway before coming tearing out of nowhere like two bats out of hell barking their fool heads off and scaring said bajeebies out of me.

2. My worst job was at Cargill Foods just south of Calgary in the winter/spring of 1997. Cargill Foods operates one of the biggest beef processing plants in southern Alberta. I worked in the 'hide room'. (TVFree, you may want to close your eyes as you read this...) The hide room is where the cow hides go for their initial processing after they are removed from your roast beef. My first job there was to cut the faces off. This generally included ears, horns, eyeballs, lips. It was nasty. After said face parts were removed they were thrown onto a conveyor belt that took them to 'rendering'. I presume wieners came out of rendering. I lasted three weeks at this job. I have recently come to think that people should have a hand in killing and preparing any meat that they eat. We would likely eat a lot less meat.

3. My wife and I have booked the summer of 2009 for our Cross-Canada bike trip. We have talked about doing this for a long time. It was one of the things that connected us when we first met. We plan to take our kids with us. They will be 12 and 10 years old. We plan to use the Trans-Canada Trail as much as is possible. Also in the list of countries to explore by bike are Iceland, Norway, Ireland and (if we are really brave) the stretch of the TCT that runs from Calgary to the Arctic Ocean.

4. One of the best ways to get me really frustrated is to sit me in front of the TV with the XBox in front of me and my 9 year old son on the other controller. When we play 'Need for Speed: Underground', he toys with me like a cat plays with a mouse. It doesn't matter how many laps we do, 90% of the time he will finish his laps and have time to go make a sandwich before I finish. It is totally irrational, but it drives me nuts. Then we change controllers and he will do the same thing with my car...

5. I have come to appreciate the primal simplicity of Japanese-style toilets...especially in public. Squatting means you aren't wondering who was there before you. I will leave it at that.

There we have it.

I think of the seven or so people who read this blog, everyone has just been tagged and I am the end of the road, or they don't have their own blog.

Everyone, that is, except for Mini-Me...yer it baby!

If you are a lurker...feel free to consider yourself tagged and drop me a note.

****about 20 mins later***

Oh yeah...the PR-Postulator! Your turn.

12.19.2006

Coulda been nasty

A couple weeks ago, I was driving to work and came upon an accident scene. Fortunately, I had an immediately available exit and re-entrance to my route. The accident was somewhat disturbing though.

The road that I drive to work is on the top of a dyke, it is very narrow and there are no guardrails.

The bike path that I used to ride is half-way down the bank of that dyke. This picture gives you a good idea how little room there is for error on this road.

On this particular morning, someone made an error. I don't have pictures of the actual accident (I got these on my ride yesterday), but it was a large truck. You can see the path that the truck followed down the dyke and across the bike path. The green barriers are the replacements for what used to be the white fence. Notice the rear dualies on the blue truck...he was moving back onto the road at that point in time.


He destroyed a whole lot of the fence. He ended up on the bottom half of the dyke, below the bike path.


You can see the gouges that he left in the asphalt. The bigger one is about 4-5 cm deep and about a metre long.

Glad I didn't ride that day.

12.17.2006

More Philosophy

Nietzsche is dead.

12.14.2006

cogito ergo sum

Descartes walks into a Starbucks and orders a coffee.

The barista asks him if he would like cream or sugar.

Descartes replies, 'I think not.' and disappears.

12.13.2006

Birthday Beer

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. (Ben Franklin)

Happy birthday to me! Time to splurge on a beer that is ridiculously expensive and snobbish.
This time it was a Chimay Blue.


It was well worth the 427 yen for a little tiny bottle.

Kanpai!

12.08.2006

Same Sex Marriage II

So, the Canadian Parliament has decided that same sex marriage is not up for debate. Here is a very good reason that the privelege of marriage should not be extended to same sex couples.

Our government generally does not regulate, through licencing or other laws, human relationships. In fact, we are guaranteed by our Charter that we have freedom of association. The government has no interest in regulating who we establish relationships with; except in certain cases.


One of those exceptions is business relationships. The government sets out guidelines and rules with how we ought to treat each other in commercial situations. This makes sense because there is tremendous opportunity for abuse.

Another exception is marriages. Why do they choose to regulate marriage? Is it because they are concerned with who has sex with whom? Is it because they want to promote loving relationships? Is it because marriage is an ancient institution? The answer to all these questions is obviously 'no'.

The government regulates marriages because the government recognizes that marriages are the foundation of a stable society and that they create and nurture the next generation of our society. (Notice the government 'recognizes' marriage, it does not 'define' it.) It is in the best interest of our society as a whole that marriages are stable and that they be given certain priveleges related to taxation.

Please notice that the government regulations apply to married people as a group, because the vast majority of marriages involve children. This does not mean that childless couples are excluded from marriage. They do not, however, qualify for a Child Tax Benefit.

So why is the government so very interested in extending the privelege of marriage to same sex couples? I don't know. There is no rational reason to do so. Same sex relationships cannot play a role in creating the next generation of our society, so why should they receive benefits that are designed for those who do?

Same sex marriage is not about equal rights for same sex couples. It is about special priveleges for a tiny minority of our society.

12.06.2006

Same Sex Marriage

From the mind of CS Lewis...

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.

And elsewhere...

To be ignorant and simple now; not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground would be to throw down our weapons and to betray our uneducated bretheren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason because bad philosophy needs to be answered.