Politics and "Religion" meet

The Ottawa Citizen reports a Liberal MP from the Toronto area appears in a recruitment video for the Scientology organization:
Mr. Lee says he hasn't got involved in the church's attempts to win
charitable status from the Canada Revenue Agency as a religious
organization, but he says he would probably help out if asked.
"They're not whiners. They just go out and do it. At some point, I anticipate they'll
be successful."

Unknown if he's aware of the organization's criminal history in Canada.

Eh, that wasn't so bad

The hurricane missed us. It ended up taking a turn south of Nova Scotia. We got plenty of wind and rain, but nothing particularly dangerous. Just another poopy weather night. Gotta say, smoking on the balcony in a storm is no fun. Still haven't found the box where I packed the nicotine patches.

So far, the living room furniture is set up, the dining room is arranged, the bookshelves (a bunch of 'em) are there, the bedroom furniture is laid out, and the computer room is in progress. PandaManda has done a heroic job setting up a ton of stuff while I've been at work. Still have to set up the home theatre and get the wireless network configgered and set up email addresses with Eastlink. I have a hunch that someone is leeching off my wireless network right now -- the blinky lights that show wireless use are blinky-ing, and I've got nothing plugged in that would be making them do that. Gotta get in and set up the BigAssSupernet with a password, encryption key and all that whatnot. I really miss having the Infernet and PVR on the teevee. Watching television in real time feels like a huge step back.

No donairs to report. We did try Greco Pizza on the weekend and I found nothing in it to recommend it. Bland. Doughy. Everything that those old Pizzaville ads ("it was a rainy day...") used to mock in pizza. Won't be ordering that again.

The cats (my cat, Kitty, age four, and Manda's cat Kitty, age four) have yet to become buddies. They've become closer -- close enough for my Kitty to punch Kitty in the nose yesterday. My cat is taking the role of the older sibling, with the muppet-like smaller Kitty following her around and being a bit of an instigator. We expect the next phase will be constant running around and exchanged beatings. My kitty is still recovering from her declawing, favouring one paw. She seems to understand she doesn't have claws any more. Photos pending.

Told ya so

I seem to remember telling some people in September that I fully expected to see a hurricane within months of moving to Halifax. Well, it sucks to be right. Granted, we're not getting smacked head-on, but all this wind and rain is just icky to look at.

In other news, the apartment is coming together. More on that when I get more bloggable time.

I'm becoming Jared Fogle

My clothes are getting loose. I'm getting a jaw line. I've lost some weight. Partly from all the hills and all the walking -- about a half-hour to or from work if I choose, plus lots of hills ... partly from lack of snacking and sporadic eating. My breakfast ritual used to be a chocolate chip muffin and a chocolate milk on the way to work. Now I grab a foot-long Subway Club sub from Subway, a chocolate chip muffin from the Tim's at the Esso, a 500mL chocolate milk, an energy drink (Red Bull or 100% compatible clone) and a Gatorade or equivalent sports drink. Half sub, milk, crack-in-a-can to start, drink the Gatorale through the day and gobble the second half of the sammich between newscasts mid-afternoon. Still leaves me starving at the end of the day, but overall I'm shrinkin' in all the right places. Once my clothes, furniture and girlfriend arrive, I'll be getting some actual exercise to build some muscles under my furry frame. Lookin' forward to it.

For those who've been axin', the first week on the air went pretty well. Mics were left on at awkward times, network timing was a challenge, words were flubbed now and then, but overall, it was pretty smooth and slick. 'Cept for today when a power outage knocked us off the air for two hours, but, hey, y'know, uh, it's power. Transmitters. What do I know about transmitters? We kept talking anyway.

With the arrival of more reporters and an audio editor, the job is becoming slightly less taxing. It's still pretty exhausting. I'm now chronically unable to remember the names of new people I meet, simply because my brain buffer reached capacity about a week and a half ago, and I haven't had time to defragment and partition and so on. I still have no mp3s to send out for those eager for a peek at how the new thing sounds.

The Donair Count is up to about 6. I had a Large Donair around the time I wrote the about(donairs) post, and that was Too Large. I've enjoyed a tasty chicken curry at the Economy Shoe Shop (aka the Shoe Shop), a decent tavern steak at The Maxwell's Plum (aka Maxwell's), a club sammich at The Argyle with as much chicken on it as the legendary clubs at the Senator in Toronto, a hey-it-comes-with-salad steak at The Keg, many pizza slices and donairs at Pizza Corner and several Whoppers at Burger King across the street from the station.

If all has gone according to plan, the movers came to pick up my stuff in Toronto today, then schlepped out to Whitby to pick up MandaPanda's stuff, and it's all on the way here. Manda ought to also be on her way, stopping somewhere near the Quebec-Ontario border for the night before heading on in. Fingers crossed that all goes well.

Cult classic in the making


So, Tom Cruise and Kate (formerly Katie) Holmes have been doing some couch-jumping as of late, and are now expecting her to give birth. Well, she'd better have good tolerance for pain.

No drugs. No screaming. No crying. Elron Hubbard insisted in Dianetics that any sounds made during birth (hell, even before birth...from conception on) could be misunderstood by the fetus/child/thetan and create engrams. The Dianetics ritual has been discussed in various reports in recent days.

A Scientology web site attempts to put Hubbard's birth claims on par with breakthroughs in obstetrics, despite officials claiming that Scientology is an applied religious philosophy that does not try to impinge on medicine:
while it has taken five decades for the scientific and medical communities to begin to catch up with the discoveries of L. Ron Hubbard in recognizing the awareness of the unborn child, they are now virtually part of the medical mainstream.
One Scientologists' birth-focused web page makes claims inspired by Hubbardian musings:
- "A Swedish study [not cited] showed that those who have a traumatic and painful birth are more likely to end their life with violent suicide."
- "constant crying puts babies at high risk for child abuse."
- "Crying infants are frequently drugged to keep them quiet. "
... the site goes on to plug Hubbard's books.
Anyway. I was a bit surprised to hear of TomKat's pregnancy. Some critics have been citing sworn affidavits from former Scientologists outlining what could be a policy of coerced abortion for those in the CoS' Sea Organization -- the hard-as-nails lifers who sign billion-year contracts and survive on beans and rice for the sake of getting Ethics in on this planet. Children don't produce, and in Scientology, stats are everything. Besides, when you're up 'til 2am Thursday morning making up inflated stats to send to head office (so you don't get demoted to a lower Ethics Condition and lose privileges), there's no time to take care of kids.
In other news, the new newsroom is very cold. Brrr. One more day of rehearsals, then we're live to air on Tuesday. I'm goin' home. G'nite.

Verbiage

I'm slowly learning the local linguistic twists. I really don't want to sound like I'm "from away" when we go to air on the 11th.

Among the differences I've already noted, some obvious, some not:
  • shallots = SHAW-luts, not SHALL-uts
  • micmac = MIG-maw, unless you're talking about the Mic Mac Mall
  • Dalhousie = like it's spelled, not as in Port Duh-LOO-zee
  • Dartmouth = DART-muth, not -mouth
  • Agricola St = ah-GRIC-o-LUH, not like a farmer's soft drink
  • Gottingen = GAW-tih-jen
  • Cunard St = imagine Preston Manning saying the french word for duck
  • Duffus St = not pronounced "doofus"
  • Amherst = ammerst, not am-herst
  • Tatamagouch = ends in goosh, like push or tush
For all I know, I spelled some of those wrong. Still learnin'.

Other notes noted... Chocolate milk is more readily available in 2% m.f. So that means I've effectively doubled my daily intake of badass m.f. And I've been charged deposit on cans/bottles of pop/juice/etc. Uh, can I take these back to the store? Or is it an incentive program for the shopping-cart crowd?

Saturday night/Sunday morning I looked up from the balcony, and as the clouds flew by, I could see stars. Not the Ben Mulroney Show variety, but actual masses of incandescent gas far, far away. Not as many as I would've seen in Kirkland Lake if it hadn't been cloudy, but the lack of tall buildings and diminished light pollution made the sky a more inspiring sight than I ever saw looking up from midtown Toronto. Now I'm wondering if my 1979-vintage National Geographic star chart got pitched or packed.

Quick plug, unrelated to any of this: if your computer will support it, get Google Earth. Seriously, it's funnn.

NO CARRIER

Finally got a phone hooked up. It took a coupla days of trying to convince the folks at Aliant (somehow related to Bell, I'm told) that I didn't consider my land-line installation complete until I could pick up my phone and get a dial tone. They were standing by the fact that their remote testing and central office inspection showed everything working fine. Finally a studly-looking phone dude showed up Sunday noonish, hooked up a tester-majig in the jack, went downstairs and actually hooked up the wires between my phone line and the building feed. Yes, there was dial tone going into the building, but my wires weren't plugged in. Jee-zus!

Anyway, Kitty has arrived. The TV has arrived. Amanda's plants have arrived. Shower curtain is finally up, after a trip to the dollar store and two to the Wal-Mart to get the right-sized rings. Things are comin' together.

Before the TV, I was listening to a lot of Kool-96, the classic hits FM station, on my little Grundig travel radio. Most of the songs were palatable. I heard a few repeats during my listening stint: The Kid Is Hot Tonight by Loverboy, Hand Me Down World by the Guess Who, and Stuck in Lodi by ... gosh, I dunno, maybe CCR.

Ate another donair yesterday when my dad drove in from T.O. with the cat, TV and plants. Entirely unsure whether that has anything to do with my daily diarrhea attacks, since they were already a regular feature.

Donair or do not: there is no try


A Halifax donair has spiced meat sliced from a spit, onions, tomatoes, a sweet sauce, wrapped in a pita.
There's a corner half a block up the road from this cafe where I've been blogging where three of the four corners are donair/pizza places. What's a donair? Kinda like a gyro, I guess. But I've never had gyros.

It's thinly sliced strips of meat shaved from a big rotating lump that's kept hot in front of burners. The meat shavings are fried up and put on a heated pita that's about half the size necessary to wrap the meat shavings. Diced tomatoes and onions are added, under a mess of some kind of sauce. It's wrapped in aluminum foil and served up in a perfect state to fall onto your lap.

But it's gooood.

I was scared to try donairs because nobody would tell me what's in the hunk of meat that rotates all day. Most common answer: "kinda like what's in hot dogs -- you don't wanna know."

Okay, now I almost don't wanna know, because it might spoil the enjoyment of eating them. I had one last night and I'm still burping it today.

Just as Tim Horton's and Pizza Pizza seem to be on every block in Toronto, donair places are on about every block here. Pizza slices also abound.

Now, I'm downtown. New apartment is downtown. That's great. But I hadn't considered that it's also downtown, facing downtown, in the city that boasts the most bars and pubs per capita, anywhere in Canada. Hell, we're a block or two away from a place called the Liquor Dome. Lots of hooting and whatnot during the early hours this morning. Outside my building, that is. I was inside. On an air mattress. Without a TV. Or a phone -- Aliant was supposed to have my line working by Thursday evening. As of last check, there's still no service. In fact, I should scoot home soon so I can check for a dial tone. If there isn't one, I'm in big dookie, 'cuz my dad's supposed to be driving into town tomorrow afternoon with my TV. No phone = no intercom = no tv = dad can't find me. Crrrap. No Blackberry yet either. This is the most un-connected I've been in a looong time. I'd consider it peaceful if not for the fact that I don't even have a couch yet to veg out on.

Anyway, pictures of the new place are over in the BigAssSuperGallery... not so you can case the joint to rob it later, but mostly so my lady can get some decorating ideas before arriving.

Rock over London, rock on Chicago! Delta Airlines - we love to fly and it shows!

Summer camp is over

I don't remember ever going to summer camp... at least not the typical away-for-a-week, among-a-buncha-strangers, far-from-home type. This past week of training for the Rogers News Experiment was nearly everything I imagined summer camp would be.
 
We gathered on Monday in a hotel meeting room, just a bunch of (mostly) strangers around a long table, assembled from as far away as Yellowknife for a project that most of us knew only a bit about.

Over the span of a week, we were fed a lot of information, put through challenges, and shown some interesting sights. A tall ship cruise through the Halifax harbour at night, a lovely dinner downtown, and for a few brave souls, a rockin' night of karaoke at the Oasis.

It's one kind of bonding to work with a crew of people over years and years, as some come and some go, with egos and baggage along with skill and talent. It's another experience to take forty strangers and put them on task, on deadline, with a liberal dose of fun, and see what comes out. I met some talented and delightful folks this week, and it's a shame that two-thirds of them aren't even working in this market.

Yeah, it's like camp. You meet, you bond, and you have to go your separate ways, vowing to keep in touch and yadda yadda. At least I know I'll see some of these people at the xmas party. And by then I'll probably end up knowing them better by their signoffs and network IDs than by the names and faces I tried to connect this week.

So, for those on the team who read this blog before getting to meet me -- hey, thanks for a great week. Good luck with the launch! We'll whoop it up again soon.

One of the people, an anchor from another market, kindly told me that if I hadn't self-identified as an Ontarian, she would've thought I was a maritimer for sure. That made me smile. Nice to see that I'm as friendly and polite as I'm sure my mother always hoped I would be. :)

Today was my last day at work, and I'm okay with that

Today marks a weird spot on the calendar for me. It’s one of those landmarks that really doesn’t mean anything, other than to illustrate the...