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September 2017

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[sticky entry] Some Restrictions Apply

Thursday, 1 January 2004 12:00 am
penlessej: (The Good Fight)
Some of this journal is Access Restricted.

Keeping Guard

Comment here to be added.

BC Per-Vote Subsidy

Thursday, 21 September 2017 08:19 am
penlessej: (The Good Fight)
I wrote more about it here on Parliament.Blog. The fact is that I do not think that casting a vote should be tied to donating any amount of money to a political party. The fact is that contributing financially to a political party is a specific form of expression that is part of the civil democratic process. By linking my vote (which has nothing to do with a desire to financially support a political party), the government is removing an aspect of my freedom of expression. As I said in the editorial, I doubt a lot of people who voted NDP or Liberal in the last BC election would translate that vote into giving $2.50 to the party. Heck the same was true in the last federal election here in Canada and I would wager for the United States during their previous Presidential Election.



A lot of people are bumbling over this about the taxation. It is estimated to cost $27-million by the end of 2022 when the per-vote subsidy would be down to $1.75/vote and the whole programme will be reviewed. I do not think that taxation piece is really the big issue here however. Premier Horgan is saying that the parties needs the measure to weather the changes in the interim, but I find that to be a weak argument especially because it means he is essentially saying that the fundraising reality in BC is that a political party can either depend in unethical big money or government handouts with no middle ground; but there is a middle ground, it is called grassroots engagement. A political party that cannot build a base to support itself financially (or otherwise) should not exist in a democracy.

Personal Motto

Monday, 18 September 2017 10:42 am
penlessej: (James Crest) you have one? What is it? What is the meaning behind it for you?

I have two:

(1) Keep Calm and Carry On: pretty much sums up my approach to life. People call me cold and calculated. But they do not know me, they just know the façade that I build up for their own safety and my own. Deep down I am a very emotional and very passionate person. I have learned to control my emotions (for the most part) and to apply reason and logic to my life. The phrase "Keep Calm and Carry On" is cliché and has earned a new sense of modern popularity after the WWII posters (that were never actually released through London) were discovered in a small bookstore a couple decades ago. For me, the phrase embodies my entire approach to controlling my passion and my emotion and apply logic. In face of being bombed, it would be a normal reaction for a passionate person to become emotional, but it is not reasonable, the reasonable person carries on and gets to safety.

(2) Per ardua - Through difficulties: this is the motto of Clan MacIntrye, the Scottish side of my family which falls along the linage of my grandmother. This is the family where the kidney disease follows, so the motto is chillingly fitting. The MacIntryres were proud people who served as hereditary pipers for the MacDonalds of Clanranald and paid regular and proper tribute to the Menzies' until rents became too unbearable in the middle of the 1800s. I have internalized this motto and I feel it is an accurate motto for the family that brings the genetic nightmare upon my family.
...I swear. And to keep you people fed in the meantime, I will admit that I very nearly almost posted the template for the 2017revival group here as a meme post. Yep, that almost just happened. But it didn't, so how much fun can you make of me really?

In other news:

- went to a Whitecaps FC game in Vancouver on Saturday all by myself. I was suppose to go with a friend I went to school with who lives in Vancouver now (and stay at her place on her couch) but she ended up getting food poisoning on Friday night and was in no shape for a game on Saturday. At first I pouted around the house and then I decided to go alone. I ate shit though, had to take the car on the ferry (both ways $72.50 a pop) and as much as I tried on Facebook, Reddit and even walking up to people who were scooping out scalpers I could not get rid of my second ticket. Oh well, more room during the game I suppose. Actually, it worked out well from my nice guy side, two young women were only able to get seats apart in the row and my spare seat was a gap between me and one of her friends, so I offered the extra seat to them.

- Sunday was moving day. I am now all moved into what is being called the cottage between me and Meganne. It was a rough day overall. Meganne was an emotional mess and became very sentimental near the end of the day. I was sad, very sad, but I had a job to do so I focused on getting it done. I also figured that my role in this emotional nightmare is to be somewhat of the anchor, so I plugged ahead and tried to make it as painless for Meganne as possible. Sleeping in new places sucks and I am finding night lights in the oddest places. It used to be an AirBnB, so that might be part of the reason why, but still, odd.

...more to come, with details and photos. I swear.

Checking In

Friday, 15 September 2017 09:00 am
penlessej: (Default)
I am still here, trust me I am still here. The round of four days of 12 hour shifts on the battle watch for the BC fires over the weekend and into Monday and Tuesday really sucked the life out of me. I also hit somewhat of a brick wall mentally this week which prompted me to reach out for support from the mental health guys here at my work.

So that is where I am right now.

This weekend I'll be heading to Vancouver for a MLS soccer game and then moving day is Sunday.

I will get more out shortly. Sorry to those friends who have I have been absent with these past few days, I just need to check out for awhile (and now I am checking in, so we're good).
I am finishing up a few online courses with the military right now for professional development. One of the courses, called Support the Institution, deals with all of the HR aspects of the military including the granting of honours and awards. Reading about the Order of Military Merit lead me down a rabbit hole of reading about entitlements when one is inducted into the OMM or the Order of Canada. Among these entitlements includes the right to add supports to your personal armorial bearing. And of course, I decided to look all of this up.

An armorial bearing is what would otherwise be known as a coat of arms or a crest. Generally, families have coat of arms, but people can have personal armorial bearings that carry elements from the familial coat of arms but also have personal touches. For example, if one is a member of the OMM, you can add supports to either side (in Canada usually stylized as caribou, deer or lions). However, one cannot simply draw up their own heraldry and call it their own-- it must be approved by the Chief Herald through the Governor General of Canada. There is an entire process here.

I told Meganne about this last night because it got me thinking and now I want my own personal armorial. It is actually something that is right up my ally to be wholly honest.

The first step is to submit a petition to the Canadian Heraldic Authority requesting a personal armorial. The Chief Herald will review the petition and make a recommendation to the Herald Chancellor that the petitioner be granted armorial bearings (coat of arms, flags, badges). A Warrant is then signed authorizing the Chief Herald to proceed in the design.

The second step is to research a concept and design proposal. This will require researching my family coat of arms and deciding on what elements I would like to incorporate into my own personal design. This process could take up to three months and involves going back and forth with the Chief Herald in order to have the design eventually be approved. Once the design is decided a written description of the proposed concept, including its elements and meaning, is drafted and sent to the petitioner for final approval.

The third step involves designing the actual bearing. An artist approved by the Canadian Heraldic Authority creates a rendering based on the written description for initial approval. Once approved, the design gets calligraphy added with the family name and motto (if desired). The calligrapher will also draft the Letters Patent which come from the Governor General and will give full force and effect to the personal armorial bearing. Both the approved design document and the draft Letters Patent are sent to the Chief Herald for registration and official approval.

Within 12 months of the bearing being approved a copy of the design and the Letters Patent is sent to the petitioner for their personal use. The Grant itself is published wholly in the Canada Gazette (the official public record of Canada) and the personal bearings are added to the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada.

So, what would my design look like. Well, obviously pending official approval, I would like to take elements from my James family crest and the MacIntrye Scottish clan badge for a personal armorial.

The James crest is a simple blue arm that is divided by a yellow chevron bearing seashells with yellow lions filling each point (not an official heraldic description obviously). The seashells apparently mean that my family participated in the Jacobite risings (which was really original name selection on our part if that was the case). And the lions apparently indicate that my family was considered to be loyal to the Crown because the heraldry officials at the time would never permit a family in bad standing to bear a symbol of the Crown.

The MacIntrye badge is simple, a hand holding a dagger surrounding by the traditional belt found in almost any Scottish clan badge. The motto of the family is "Per Ardua" which is Latin for through difficulties. You might recall that it is the MacIntrye side of my family in which the kidney disease runs, and thus the motto is chillingly accurate. Hence the reason it will become my personal motto as well.

I do not have a photo of the design yet but what I am thinking is a blue arms with the same yellow band of sea shells (because, come on, participating in a rebellion that changed the course of UK history is pretty worthy of being marked for all time) but straight along the top. So three seashells along the top of the shield under the yellow ribbon. And simply in the middle the same arm hold up the dagger as in the MacIntrye badge and the motto Per Ardua underneath. I am not a member of the OMM so I do not get any supports. I have also seen some designs of the James crest that include a helmet above it (like the pic I used for this post), I might add that too, or rather I would like to research what is an appropriate topper for a naval officer, because there is that little fact of having a commission from the Queen that should probably be added into the design somehow.

All told the cost could range from $500 - $3000 depending on artwork costs, etc. There is a flat $300 processing fee to start the process and then everything is worked out after that on a case by case basis. It is a lot of money but again, this is something that is right up my ally.

I know that I have some history buffs and experts on my f-list here. Would any of you be interested in making some cash on the side helping me research these things? I can pay in real money.
Bathroom Book

Michel Foucault, On The Government of the Living: Lectures at the College de France 1979-1980 and Oedipal Knowledge - Michel Senellart (editor)


Foreign Affairs September/October 2017 - Trump and the Allies: The View from Abroad

Evening Read

The Constitution in a Hall of Mirrors: Canada at 150 - David E. Smith

Still plugging away at the Smith book. I will have a review up shortly once I am all done on my Parliament.Blog site. Also, I picked up the Foucault book at the local library. I am not fond of Foucault and I place him on the top of a group of people who propagate a broken philosophy, but know thy enemy and all of that jazz. Plus it is interesting and takes my mind away from real life things.

Autumn Meme

Wednesday, 6 September 2017 01:38 pm
penlessej: (Greenman)
...because [personal profile] jo posted it and it looked like fun. Plus, work?

Crunchy leaves: What's your favourite noise/sound to hear? Crunchy leaves are a good sound. As is rain. During the autumn, I like the sound of the leaves blowing, the higher pitched sound it makes as they tumble about lawns and across the streets.

Misty mornings: What time do you wake up? What for? I wake up at 6 am each morning for work. On the weekends I do not set an alarm, but I am usually up by 8 am at the latest. Events, friends, guests, etc. can all impact that time obviously. For the record, I could sleep all day, but I choose not to because adult-ing.

Oversized sweaters: What sweater weather outfit are you looking forward to wearing? I like my 3/4 wool jacket that I crack out in the fall. Especially once it is cold enough to include a scarf with without looking like one is making a fashion statement.

Carved pumpkins: What holidays (popular or Pagan) are you celebrating this Autumn? I love turkey dinner, so Thanksgiving is always a big thing for me. Stuffing, cranberry sauce, squash and, of course, pumpkin pie. Yum, yum!

Ghost stories: What books are you reading, how are they? Ugh, I am reading a Foucault book right now that is a collection of his lectures on government and power in 1980. I say ugh because that man makes me very angry when I read him, and yet here I am (that reminds me, I need to do a Wednesday Reading post for this week).

Hot coffee: What's your drink this Autumn? Coffee. Always coffee.

Cold hands: Anyone to hold them? No, she left.

Spooky shadows: Any increased spiritual activity? Well Summer 2017 was pretty shitty and I am inclined to blame the solar eclipse because I do not understand it and it seems like a perfect odd event to link to the serious of odd and terrible events that have made up my summer. That is spirituality right?

Apple pie: What's cooking? (Or planned to cook?) I bought a book last week on Amazon on recipes for people with kidney disease, so I am looking forward to cracking that bad boy open and making some of that food while I am learning to live on my own again.

Scented candles: 5 favourite smells? Autumn has a smell! Either you get it or you don't. It smells like winter is coming (way before Game of Thrones people). Crisp air, doesn't carry the same smell of life that summer humid air does, and it usually has a hint of smoke from a fireplace somewhere in it. Also, if you smell for too long, it starts to bite the inside of your nose, because the air is cooler. I love that smell! Again, in my experience you either know this smell or you don't, so if you're going "what the hell is he on about," do not worry.

Hurricanes: What do you do on rainy days? I live on the edge of a rainforest in one of the rainiest parts of North America. When it rains you just keep doing your thing, otherwise you'd be stuck inside a lot. Always carry and umbrella, if you think you a need a raincoat for the day, take it, and if you are super ambitious keep rubber boots in the trunk (hiking boots in my case, because you never know when a random hike will fall into your life).

Cinnamon: What are your favourite spices? All spices. I like food that has substance and depth to the flavour.

Haunted hayrides: Do you see your friends over the Summer or do you have to wait till Autumn? I see my friends whenever I want. Summer is for camping, swimming, canoeing, hiking and golf. Autumn is wrapping up camping, great hikes in the beautiful changing forest and squeezing in a few BBQs before it is too cold to enjoy it. Oh and pumpkin spice beer. Yes pumpkin. spice. beer.

Monster masks: What's your make-up/morning routine? I am a creature of routine, so it never changes. Wake up at 6 am. Shower. Boxers and undershirt on, shave, comb hair, brush teeth, comb hair a second time. Socks. Pants. Shirt. Belt. Pour coffee into thermos, pour half cup for morning. Watch news while drinking coffee. Finish coffee. Boots. Jacket. To the car and drive to work. Takes about 40 minutes. I am usually at work for 7 am each day.

Black cat: What pets do you have/want? I am moving into a rental that does not allow pets, so no pets for now. However, Meganne and I did have two wonderful cats (one with three legs) and a dog. She is keeping all of the animals and they were all hers to begin with.

One Year at the Club

Wednesday, 6 September 2017 01:15 pm
penlessej: (Union Club)
Meganne and I were members of the Union Club of British Columbia in downtown Victoria. It is much less fancier and snooty than it sounds trust me. The place has a great restaurant and fantastic events, it was right up our alley when we were dating. I've decided to keep my membership regardless of the separation, which is simple-- it just means splitting the joint membership already in place. I was going through the statements from the past year, from August 2016 to August 2017, we spent just over $7,000 at the Club, which included our $500.00 initiation fee. Now that does not mean that we physically spent that much, we would go to the Club together often, but the big meals and events were with groups of friends. In those instances, we would chit all of the food and booze and than split the bill later with friends. It padded our account and made things really easy, plus there is something inherently unique in not exchanging any money what-so-ever at a private club.

Foyer of the Club.

The Club itself will be a ten minute walk from my rental which is awesome. And it is probably the one place in town that I do not feel like a fool eating or drinking by myself. In fact, I usually end up meeting someone when I have done that in the past. So there is that...

(Oh yeah, and I uploaded this Union Club icon for use for Union Club things. It was the front doors taken at Christmas-- hence the wreath-- and says Union Club of British Columbia in the stonework above. Very elegant in real life.)

Wild Weather

Wednesday, 6 September 2017 09:17 am
penlessej: (BrandonWater)
Another hurricane is threatening the US and Caribbean eastern seaboard today; Hurricane Irma.

You can see the predicted movement of the storm plotted in this graphic which shows many different models being projected.

All told the storm tracking can be summarized into the following storm cone. Yes, that shape that is currently devouring pretty much all of Cuba and most of southern Florida.

Thoughts and prayers to all of my Cuba/Florida friends.

Popping My Head Up

Tuesday, 5 September 2017 08:05 am
penlessej: (Promotion)
I am still here! Do not give up on me fellow Dreamwidthers. Last week I went camping Tues-Thurs and this weekend has been busy rental hunting around the city. The good news is that I think I have found a place and everything seems to be coming together today. The bad news is that Meganne and I are not really civil at the moment. In order to make things a little easier, she has moved down to the mainfloor of the house completely. At least this way we are not compelled to acknowledge one another in one form or another (which usually came as rather snippy) when we see each other. Kind of weird, but for the best.

I have photos from camping (which included golfing nine holes in the pouring rain) and some insights from rental hunting so there will be a meatier post soon. For now, I am playing catch up on some posts and you know that work thing.

Some Christians

Monday, 28 August 2017 08:19 am
penlessej: (St Thomas Aquinas)
First off (and I feel stupid for really have to preface this post with this comment), I am a practicing and devout Christian. I was raised Roman Catholic and participated heavily in the Church while I was in high school. In university, I fell away from the Church but never away from God (those of you who shared similar paths, and they are named lot, understand this notion very well). I started to get back into the Church in my late-twenties and now I attend Church at an Anglican Catholic parish. So this is the place where these thoughts are coming from. Also, I have no idea what spurred these thoughts in my own head this morning.

Something that I will never understand about some Christians is how they want to change the world to censor people or bend their actions toward what they think and upright and noble life should look like. Not once in the Bible do I read any clear instructions from Jesus to force people to act one way. Specifically talking about sexuality, I couldn't care less what you do with your penis, your vagina, your vagina that was a penis, your penis that was a vagina or your whatever. And I couldn't care less what parts you used for what or how many people were involved. I also do not care about what equipment may have been used in the filming. And no one else should either. The same goes for all of the other so-called "sins" of humanity that some Christians seem solely intent in driving down the throat of the western world.

Here is the thing. The Bible is clear that the crux of the entire meaning of Christianity rests on two headstones; love God with all of your heart, all of your mind and all of your soul and love your neighbour as yourself. The rest of the Bible is pretty much a collection of stories that lead to the presence of God among us in the form of Jesus Christ (the Old Testament), with lessons thrown in about God creating the world (not necessarily in seven days exactly or in the two ways are told in the Good Book, just that He made it and we should know that and love Him for it) and a whole whack of "laws" that were essentially designed to keep a small population of people living in exodus in the desert alive. The whole story itself actually does not come to life until the Second Act when Jesus shows up. Suddenly all of the stuff that was said in the First Act that were very confusing make sense and are make clear. I liken it to walking on a rough path in the middle of the night. Walking without a flashlight you can figure out a lot of what is around you and you start to make assumptions and educated guesses based on what you are sensing and past experiences. Walking with a flashlight down the same path and retracing your footsteps, suddenly what you thought was a rock is actually a stump which makes sense now because it sounded hollow when you hit with your boot, etc. The path is illuminated and clear. The Old Testament of the Bible is like walking the path without a flashlight, and the New Testament is literally God showing up in the form of Jesus with a flashlight and saying "Let's take a walk bro" (yes that is how Jesus talks in my head). After Jesus dies and everything becomes super clear, the rest of the New Testament is Jesus walking you back to your campsite after the hike with the flashlight and you finding a generator and fully stocked RV waiting for you in what was a tent and a small fire. Jesus leaves the Holy Spirit, gives instructions for His Church and heads back up to be with God. There you go friends. That is the Bible. And what is the story all about? Love God, because He made you and loves you so much that He sent His son to light up the path for you (this is the whole ooh ahh God lowering Himself to our humanity, which will become important in the final part of this random thought post) and love your neighbour because, well, frankly you are all in this struggle together and God is clear on wanting you to get along with the rest of His creation.

Which brings me back to the first post. Some Christians shouldn't care at all what others are doing. The Bible is clear on what the crux of Christianity is, the Bible is also clear that life here on Earth is a constant string of disappointments and let downs that will never go away. Probably because we don't belong here. The key is to get through the struggle and get back to the place of Eternal Life to be in full communion with God. Jesus lowered Him as God to come down and become man. He did that to share in our struggles. He was tempted by sin just as we are, if not more. He did not demand that such temptation be removed from the world (far from it actually He fucking embraced this shit). So some Christians who think that society should conform to their version of Christianity need to learn to ignore the world around them. Because another thing the Bible is clear on is that snakes and traps and snares lay all over the world for many reasons to catch unsuspecting sheep (I use the sheep analogy here because we know of a story where the shepherd leaves to get the one missing sheep). To me, that means it isn't going away, it is a fixture of this imperfect world. And if it wasn't here, how would it be a struggle? What would make the fruits of Eternal Life after getting through this evil world in a upright and moral state worth it if we removed all sin and vice from society?