Friday, February 29, 2008

When is it deemed animal cruelty?

Of course I'm glad about this story. The BCSPCA (British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty towards Animals) raided two places in Surrey that were keeping roosters for the sole purpose of cockfighting. On one location they found several cock pits that is proof that this illegal and inhumane activity was actually happening. The birds were tethered to confine their movement and many had injuries incurred from fights.

Unfortunately all of the birds had to be killed after their rescue because of an outdated animal cruelty law that does not permit the birds to be kept alive. The BCSPCA was quite upset at having to euthanize the birds. The animal cruelty laws seriously need to be updated.

Now what is really bothering me is that through all this media coverage not once does anyone mention the appalling conditions that egg laying hens live through when living in battery cages that are so small they can't even fully stand up or spread their wings. This is their whole life. Suffering is suffering is it not? So why do battery cages still exist?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

More fun with the Medical system

Yesterday I went to see my new doctor. She will be my new doctor for the annual necessary check-ups because she was suitable enough and I've decided she won't be my primary doctor. We met briefly in a busy office that also houses six other doctors so you can imagine the waiting room, dominated by young pregnant women and lots of little ones running around making lots of noise. It's a busy noisy place. I'm starting to think this is the norm.

In the past way back when I was living in Victoria, I had this fabulous doctor whose practice was in her basement/ground level suite of this grand old brownstone home that she lived in. There was a quiet entrance through a gate at the back that gave you a view of the everblooming garden as you descended the stone steps. I would often encounter one of her cats on the way to the office. The rooms and waiting room were naturally lit and serene. The furniture was natural wood. Only the examination table and her swivel chair were the really modern pieces of furniture. The "office" reflected the doctor. While she was very busy, I always felt that I had all the time I needed with her. I enjoyed going to see her. She always made sure all of my questions were answered. It was a very positive experience.

So this new office that I was in yesterday was a cubbyhole examination room. Doctors working on the 15 minutes per patient is a rude awakening for me. Anywho...this doctor did rule out my worst fears such as anemia. It took her little time to figure that out in contrast to the clinic doctor I saw on Thursday who questioned my diet. This doctor saw no problem with my diet or lifestyle. She still wants me to get my bloodwork done (D'oh!). I'll have to do that Friday when I'm off again since I have to fast 10 hours before I go. What? Start my day without espresso?

At the end of the day I decided that I will seek out a naturopathic doctor (ND) as well. I think this is a very worthwhile option since I'm not really comfortable with the "traditional" approach where I saw a doctor for the first time that lasted 15 minutes and she prescribed a drug to help with the dizziness even though I resisted and asked her if there was anything else I could do in terms of diet or whatever. Nope. She recommended the prescription. I've got it and I'll wait until I see the ND before filling it.

I guess this will be a long process before I get definite answers, but then this is my body, my health and I've never been one to believe in the quick fix so I'll be patient and hopefully, eventually I will feel like myself again.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hockey and Budgets

The NHL trade deadline has ended and the federal budget was announced today. I'm disappointed in both.

I've already posted about losing Salvador for a player that may not be worth it. They traded Backman as well, but that doesn't really concern me too much.

As for the budget I am unimpressed from what I've read. This government is failing the environment. They are "Turning the Corner" all right and it is taking us down an oil sands slippery slope. No carbon tax? Huge amounts of money for nuclear energy and to find ways to hide carbon from coal-fired electricity? Huh? What planet are these people on? Not one that I want to be on that's for sure.

I'd like a trade deadline for this government, but with Dion, the opposition leader, voting for the budget it doesn't seem like that's going to happen any time soon.

Salvador gone

I knew it was a possibility. After db told me about the Blues signing their defenseman Jackman to a four year deal I was greatly relieved. However, this created a new fear and now I've just heard that Bryce Salvador was traded to the Devils for the Blues to acquire Cam Janssen.
The radio sports news is saying no big trades have happened yet with the deadline just hours away, but to me this is a big deal! I just posted the story about the Salvador and Mayers friendship and both being on the Blues for so long. Two players I'd be sad to see go and now he's gone to the devils. I was really hoping they'd trade McKee from their defense instead but alas no. I know, I know it's a business and the Blues have a strong defense but still...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Is this what our medical system looks like?

Yesterday I felt a little lightheaded while getting ready for work. Occasionally I do feel this way, but it passes as the day goes on so I treated yesterday like every other time. However, I still felt awful while on the bus to work. I arrived at work and stopped in the parking lot, asking myself if I could get through work. I went ahead, but once inside I realized that I wasn't getting better at all. I called db because I was a bit scared feeling dizzy and unstable. I told my boss I had to go and waited for the next bus.

Not having a new doctor yet, I went to the nearest drop-in clinic and was put on the wait list for an appointment much later that afternoon. While I wanted to deal with this right away, I was anxious to get home because I was absolutely famished. I ate with hopes that I'd feel better after I got some more food in me. It didn't help.

Back at the clinic I finally saw a doctor, I think. I'm being sarcastic, but I can't even believe a person would treat another person with such indifference. Sure he probably sees fifty people a day, but at least introduce yourself before you settle into making notes after asking me some very vague questions. I had to say to him "what are your writing down?" I felt like Elaine in Seinfeld when the doctor's make notes about how difficult she is and they won't let her see her chart. He asked me nothing about my family medical history. He asked very little about what I was feeling at all before making four different assumptions about what it might be.
He checked my reflexes, strength, eyes, ears, blood pressure, breathing. All things that I have no idea what he was after and when I asked he was just as vague as ever. He did ask me if I'm vegetarian. When I said "I'm vegan." He said "strict vegan?" I said, "No, I think I'm quite liberal." I really hate that term "strict" when referring to vegans. He didn't get the joke so I got defensive and said, "I'm healthier than any meat eater I know. I eat better than most people and I regularly take supplements." He just kind of brushed it off. He asked nothing about exercise or much else. Then he filled out a blood work sheet that will test me for everything under the sun. I guess that covers his ass that he was thorough.
"So what do I do?" I asked him.
"When you get up, don't get up too quickly." He told me.
Well that should do it.
He started to leave without a good-bye or anything. I stopped him. "Hey, what do I do with this?" referring to the blood work sheet.
"It's on the back." He was impatient now. My time was clearly up. He flipped it over and ran his finger down the list of clinics to get my blood work done.

I have a feeling that without having a flu or cold or some sort obvious physical trauma that I would have gotten the same treatment and result. I almost want to go in today and complain about numbness in a toe or something and see if I get the same treatment. Okay, I won't because I'd be wasting everybody's time, but my point is what kind of care does such a place offer? If it is becoming more and more difficult to find a family doctor then is this the kind of medical care we can expect from now on? This is what I'm paying for? In B.C. you do have a health care bill based on your income that comes like any other bill and you have to pay it to be covered. Obviously it doesn't cover good health care, but pays for things like blood work testing.

Once I got home I searched for doctors in the area taking new patients and made an appointment for next week. I definitely need a second opinion and I don't see the need to get any bloodwork done for the clinic doctor. What's the point? I simply don't like him.

This morning I had the same thing and while I felt better after moving around for a bit, I still feel lightheaded and "not myself." It's so strange because Wednesday I felt great and went for a run and had all kinds of energy and then I just seemed to crash.

I'll have to wait and see what this next doctor says. I'd rather go to a naturopathic doctor, but I scarcely can afford that now can I?

Spring Reading Challenge

Oh yes, I'm going into spring with another reading challenge. So if you're interested you can visit the Spring Reading Challenge. If you want to join, the info on how to join is posted there as well.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bamboo bikes?

It's true. pw. forwarded the bamboo bike site to me. Check out the slideshow because it is pretty amazing.

Feeling the heat

Our homeowners bought us two heaters for the apartment that we didn't use at all last year, but this year we got one out and then the cats discovered them. Now as soon as it goes on, a cat appears before it and flakes out.

Salvador and Jamal

db just sent me this story about my two favorite players on the Blues. Why are they my favorite players? Probably because they've been there the longest and always seem to be sure and steady. They're not superstar hockey players or a big draw for the crowds, but like I said they've always been on the team since I started watching the Blues the year db and I got married. Also, I was interested in them because they are two of the few players of colour in the NHL and I've always wanted them to do well because they are role models for kids. When you think about the racial divide in a place like St. Louis you have to think that it is a very positive image to have these two men on the local team.

db use to work for a hockey store in Toronto and was off the day Jamal Mayers showed up in the store to get his skates sharpened. Everyone at the store couldn't believe that db wasn't there. When they told Jamal what a big fan db is, Jamal went out to his car and got a postcard sized picture and signed it. We keep it by the t.v. for hockey night and that would be tonight.

Note: I just tried the link and it won't take you to the story about the two players anymore. So, if you're really interested just type in their names Salvador and Mayers in the search box the article will come up. Sorry.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Don Quixote

My thoughts on Cervantes Don Quixote can be read on the Winter Reading Challenge blogsite if you'd like to venture over and see what I have to say. There are lots of good reviews of various books as well that are worth reading.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Tracey Fragments

Port Moody Film Festival has come around again. db and I have our tickets for four films. Last night we saw the Tracey Fragments by Bruce McDonald. It's about Tracey Berkowitz a "normal fifteen year old girl who hates herself." Tracey narrates her own story as she looks for her missing nine year old brother Sonny. Being told in fragments, the story is pieced together so that we eventually get a glimpse into where and how Sonny was lost. The rest of the film is Tracey's view of her world and recent events that are both truths and lies. The more we see, the more we learn about Tracey Berkowitz, but we never get the whole picture, we never get the whole truth. We never really get to know Tracey Berkowitz, but we do get glimpses of her that leaves us with a sense of a fragmented teenage girl.

The visual style of the film reflects how the story is told.
The broken images both imagined and real are like bits of memory as if your life was flashing before your eyes. The fragmentation of the screen suggested experimental cinema and that it was necessary to borrow such techniques in order to tell this story that could not be told in a more "traditional" cinematic style. If you watch the trailer you'll get a sense of what I mean and how the film moves us through Tracey's world as she narrates her life. Once I realized that the whole film was going to continue with the fragmented images that constantly change and move around time and space, I wondered if I would be able to tolerate this for a feature length film. Not only was it tolerable, but it was riveting and seemed essential to tell the story in this way. Like experimental film it was both jarring and engaging. It kept me as close to Tracey's lived experience as much as possible.

This style is like Tracey herself. She flips through events in her life in no linear way and we follow along, trying to figure out what exactly happened and when. In the end it doesn't really matter because there are certain truths that can't be ignored and like Tracey we can't help but return to those truths even if we don't want to see them because they can be hurtful to confront.

I don't think I have ever seen the world of a troubled 15 year old girl better depicted in cinema. I had this feeling of "yeah that's exactly what it's like." Tracey is simply fifteen and looking for her brother Sonny, but there is so much going on inside her that she can't express. She has so much pent up anger that occasionally surfaces. She has so much love that is broken or damaged. Tracey herself is trying to piece it all together while she races through her stories letting us into her world. I highly recommend this film. Not only is it a good story, but it is revealed to us in a unique way.

The Tracey Fragments Trailer

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Traveling to the ferry isn't so bad. It took almost two hours to get from Whoville to Horseshoe Bay, but somehow the travel seemed to zip past. Maybe being barely awake for most of the journey or having db with me for the first 45 minutes helped with the time passing.

The early morning explosion on Broadway did not affect my travel since I was going nowhere near that area of town. What an odd bit of information to wake up to because it was the first thing that I heard when I turned on the radio this a.m. I did a double take and then the news moved on to the next event. Was it my early morning fog or did I hear that it was in Vancouver? When I hear about explosions in the news it is usually about a suicide bomber and this is what I expected almost certain that it would be related to the Israeli/Palestinian divisions. How unfortunate is that to "expect" such news? Then I heard it was Vancouver and it seemed intended. There was no accident here.

With little time to get ready, I didn't hear much this morning on the radio and by the time I was out the door at 6:15 I didn't really know what had happened for sure.

Then I'm commuting and the days events lay before me and I soon stop thinking about what happened. I'm more concerned with making all my transit connections and struggling with my suitcase that turned out to be not a struggle at all. The transit connections flowed so smoothly that I didn't even know the ferry was leaving at 8:30 until it was moving away from Horseshoe bay while I was standing in line for oatmeal and toast.

I'm in Nanaimo. My step-dad, pw, is probably out of surgery by now. He went in around 3:30 for day surgery, nothing serious, and I'm here to make sure he's looked after for the next 24 hrs (at least). I'm waiting for the phone call to tell me to come and get him at the hospital.

I'm driving his car which is a standard and I haven't driven one for years so it's a bit of a challenge. I'm doing okay, but it's definitely taking some extra concentration to get into that first gear, especially on the hills.

pw is the one who taught me to drive and it was a standard. Way back then it wasn't uncommon to drive a standard car. He owned a brown Toyota Corolla and that was my first and only car that I drove on a regular basis. We lived way out in the country and pw had me drive down to the end of the dirt road, turn around and come back. That was my first lesson. It took a lot to get out of first into second since you couldn't go very fast on that road. I don't have a vivid memory of it, but I do remember having to shift and that turning around was very worrying. I feared backing up would send us into the ditch for sure.

I don't remember subsequent lessons with pw and maybe there weren't too many more or maybe my mom coached me after that. I did take Driver's Ed. and my test was taken in an automatic car in such a small town that there was only one intersection with a traffic light and they had to set up pylons for me to parallel park since there really was no curbsides with painted parking lines. Yup, small towns.

So now I'm back in a standard car and while I once use to prefer driving a standard over an automatic, I'm starting to change my mind. Anywho...I'll drive back to the hospital and hopefully take the least hilly route there.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Bernard from Bernard St.

This is Bernard. He's a 3 month old kitten that my sister rescued last week from a store basement.
The owner didn't want to give the kitten to my sister because she said she would never be able to catch him because he's too wild.
He's all black, but he had been shaved for some reason? His fur was matted maybe? My sister doesn't know his full story. She told the store owner that she was going to take him home and find him a home since she already has four cats.
Bernard was in a carrier at the store when my sister picked him up. He hid under her bed and hissed and growled. It didn't take him long to come out and get some love from her and meet the other cats.

Bernard moved to his new home today with a very loving couple who have another rather shy cat. I think they're going to all be happy.

My sister misses Bernard a lot. She had him for almost a week and thought about keeping him. At least she has her other four kitties to cheer her up and they do since they are quite the cast of characters.

This is Ruggles. He adores my sister and follows her everywhere. He was the only one who really liked Bernard, but then he's easily entertained isn't he?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mad TV - Ipod Nano Feist 1234 Commercial

My sister recommended this mad tv spoof of the ipod feist ad. If you haven't seen the original ad, you can watch that first on You Tube.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Why These Moments?

I've been thinking about blogging. I'm thinking about it right now. It's become such a part of my regular everyday...what's the word? Exercise? Hobby? Does it matter? Perhaps not.

I thought about blogging when I discovered I work with a Don Quixote scholar. Once a university temp professor, he taught European Literature and taught a whole class on Don Quixote. Are you kidding me? What luck! This has helped me stay with the book even though I've often thought about putting it down and opening the last Harry Potter book that sits on my desk, carefully wrapped in a LV plastic bag since it's a loaner from a co-worker. But no, I'm sticking with Don Quixote and now all the questions I have I can discuss with a Don Quixote scholar. Unbelievable. Talking about the book with this co-worker has also given him reason to pick up the book again after fifteen years.

I also thought about blogging when I saw Crimson Cabaret, a show that was raising money for a local women's centre. There was a wonderful opening to the show of traditional Japanese drummers who were all women, I think the first and maybe only in North America? With the same powerful force the show was closed with Coco Love Alcorn. She was absolutely brilliant.

Sunday we hit Commerical Drive to do our grocery shopping because there is just a great selection of foods and we thought it'd be a nice change from the usual stops in whoville. While there, I stopped into the used bookstore Bibliophile and met the resident cats, Oscar and Chaucer. Chaucer is a rather huge Norwegian Forest Cat who absolutely filled the chair in the sunny window. His companion, Oscar, a dark gray tabby, was curled into Chaucer's furry belly. Oscar looked a little curious, but Chaucer really couldn't be bothered with me or anyone else since he was in full nap mode.

Backpack overstuffed with groceries and in transit, I thought about blogging. All of these moments made me think about blogging. It's often while I'm in transit that I write on my blog even if I'm not actually doing it. If I'm not reading on the bus or skytrain then I'm thinking about writing. However, I don't always get the chance to sit down, and even now I'm running short of time, but making the time is somehow important and relevant for me.

Why these moments? I'm not sure I have an answer for that yet, but I'm working on it. Maybe while I'm in transit tomorrow morning I'll try to answer that, but more likely I will have moved on to something else.