Saturday, March 03, 2012

goodbye Friend

This comes after learning of an old friend who took his own life a week ago after finding himself having made some poor choices in life. The latest having taken the life of not one but most likely two human beings. The news reports are still sketchy.
My initial feelings when I found this out was not shock but deep sadness for my old friend and his family and friends left behind.
I cannot and do not know what transpired in the last days or years of my friends' life but from what I understand it had to do with a previous relationship of love and trust and the other person was not someone who was good at either.
My friend and I grew up in the same small country town, brought up by loving parents and surrounded by opportunities & friends.
He was always generous, kind, loving and would give you the shirt off his back if he could. He was my friend, a true friend, through and through.
I can recall much good advice and many good times in his company; While I am not sure when we lost touch over the years exactly ( has it really been 20since we last spoke?) I was thrilled when a few months ago he found me via that social networking site.
He was still the same person as far as I could tell, perhaps too much so. Kind , open and generous to the point where others took advantage.
I will never know the final details or decisions of my friends' life because he is gone to another place; I hope a kinder, happier place because that is what my friend deserves.

You were loved JFL, may you rest in peace.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Riots Man

Madness to think that mere miles away there have been riots raging in and out of control across Tottenham and parts of London for the past 3 nights. While I have no doubt that people are generally angry about the shooting of the 29 year old Mr.Duggan; who incidentally was carrying a replica handgun capable of firing live rounds. My guy feeling is that this is an excuse for a certain age and demographic to loot and cause havoc, very much like the riots in Vancouver after the the final playoff game. disgusting and pitiful are words which leap to mind when I think of the people who think this might be "a bit of a laugh".
But nice to see that already there are sites set up to clean up after these cretins. http://www.riotcleanup.com/ and various other social media outlets are being used to spearhead clean-ups across London. Good for all you folks who do the right thing, if only all that energy used to cause mayhem was used for good deeds...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Litter Bugs

...God how I hate them! Cockroaches being a close second.
Out for a walk this week I noticed a extraordinary amount of litter along the footpath near our house, understand I live in an extremely rural area with a small industrial estate near-by and some houses. How is it that there is so much litter along a stretch of road that is no more than 50 meters long next to a cow field in the south East of England? Disgusting!
I happen to have a plastic bag in the stroller and promptly filled it, and then went back later and filled another. That was only one side of the street as there is no footpath on the other and therefore dangerous with a stroller.
Conclusion is that some lazy-ass workers can't carry their lunch trash another 20 meters and put it in a bin in their offices. And I know for a fact that also to blame are the Chav-tastic people who live at number 1 on our street who's rubbish bin is always late, over flowing and spilling out onto the road.
This weeks contribution was Styrofoam from some kind of packaging that did not get picked up by the rubbish men cause the fool left it in the recycling box for tin and paper and then it promptly blew down the road with the wind and as he and his wife were coming back from their mutual tanning appointments drove over it as they turned onto the road not once thinking it might be associated with the latest gadget they have bought for their over indulged and spoilt rotten brat who has not yet mastered the chore of putting out the trash properly, (please note there is some of my own imagination used here but the part about being Chav's, having fake tans and having a stupid and spoilt child are all true).
He, the owner of the always late and overflowing bin did not even blink as he went past me on his bike and I was picking the bits of Styrofoam from the hedgerow at the end of the drive. Idiot!
What to do? I have followed people down train platforms in Holland and handed their trash to them asking if they had perhaps dropped something, hopefully shaming them into walking another 2 meters to use a bin or perhaps thinking twice before doing it again. What boggles the mind is how have these folks been raised? Do they think there is a magical trash fairy, did their folks forget to mention littering is bad? I just don't get it. I for one hope that the next time that someone from the offices nearby or the idiot at number 1 go down our little stretch of country road and see it is green and not strewn with garbage perhaps they too will think twice and that a mystical being has been to visit.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thomas (the Tank Engine) and friends

Well a pretty exciting year in hockey. I happened to be home in Canada for the majority of the Play off season and came home to some nerve racking games where sadly it ended Wednesday with the Vancouver Canucks losing on home ice to the better, faster and stronger team, The Boston Bruins. With Tim Thomas in net it was painful to watch as Vancouver tried time and time again to get a puck past him, he was very impressive.
Well as the Stanley Cup is being paraded down the streets in Boston I hope the boys at home are proud none-the-less of their achievements from the past season, they were great and over came some pretty big injuries and odds, I hope they manage to make it next year take it to the end with a winning result.
As I live in Europe I do not often get to watch NHL hockey and the last time I happen to see the Canucks in the final rounds was my first year backpacking way back in 1994. I happen to be in Prague for the first time, had befriended some Aussies and was up watching the first half of the play-off against the NY Islanders, it was intense and at 2am fuelled by Czech beer, new friends it was even more exciting as I had not seen in my lifetime the Nucks take it that far. 2 months later as I was boarding my plane to go home it occurred to me that I did not know the end result of the play-offs and asked a guy standing in line in Schiphol Airport. He said well there were riots and everything, my first thought was in NY no kidding.. but it was indeed in Vancouver which I could not for the life of me imagine.
On Thursday morning at 3:50am as I was leaving my friends house where I had been watching the game, (she has ESPN sports)I remember saying to her congratulations (she being from Boston and a mega Fan) and that I hoped there would not be a repeat of riots and mayhem as it was back in 1994. Boy was I wrong.
I awoke after 4 hours sleep to read and see the news that hundreds of folks had torched cars, broke windows, looted stores and beat up bystanders for no other reason than to cause destruction.
Seriously what is wrong with the world today. I won't harp on about it because the police are working on arresting the idiots and total morons stupid enough to pose for pictures in front of burning cars, broken windows and post them on their friend face profiles, they deserve to be punished. But I could not be happier to read and see then of all the good folk who stood their ground and did not let that window be broken or put out a fire and the thousands who also volunteered to clean up the next day, kudos to you good folk, it is good to know there are decent people in the city I love.
What possesses people to do such things? It boggles the mind. I only hope they can arrest and charge the complete fools who thought that might be a good idea, and sorry booze or marijuana is not an excuse for behaving like fools.
I have had very strong emotions regarding the destruction after the game and have read countless articles, bad apples and all that stuff, sadly it just takes a few yahoos to get the sheep to follow. Lets hope they get their dues.
2012 Vancouver lets see it happen!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Eric Stoltz

Do you ever have one of those times where you keep seeing the same names pop up again and again? Well this past week it has been Eric Stoltz.

It began when I decided to have a fix of a high school favourite John Hughes and watched Some Kind of Wonderful, not his best I'll admit but having somewhat recently watched Pretty in Pink I needed a change. Besides the fact I have always felt Eric was far cuter than Andrew McCarthy (and something about Andrew's lips make me want to deck him), although what teenage boy in their right mind would spend his life savings on a pair of diamond earrings when he was not guaranteed some action?! But anyway back to the story.
Then I was on to watching the new spin off from the superb BSG, Caprica. And low and behold Eric Stoltz was there again as Dr. Daniel Greystone. That and of course it is always nice to see Vancouver in it's glory. I only managed 5 episodes so far but was thinking it was pretty decent TV although perhaps not as slick and well done as BSG.
Then late one night while trying to convince the child it was bed time, I was watching one of my secret pleasures, Glee and low and behold who had directed the episode I had just watched? That's right Mr. Stoltz!
Just thought it was a interesting coincidence, or perhaps I have way too much time on my hands to be watching all his tv late at night.
Oh and on another teenage note, I also was obsessed with S.E. Hinton book and movie The Outsiders when I was in Jr High and had a thing for C. Thomas Howell, My brother used to harass me as he was the least talented of the cast, or I should say did not go as far as his other fellow actors which included Cruise, Swayze, Dillion, Lowe, Macchio, Estevez, Lane; just to name a few. I picked up recently the cop drama Southside recently on Channel 4 on Demand and who should pop up after years and years but C. Thomas Howell as the drunk and corrupt cop Dewey.
Just a little flash back to my youth and to their I guess as well.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Prefer CANADIAN over Miller!

Lou! Lou! Lou!!!
Wow what an ending to an Olympic games. While mired from the start from bad/good weather, unfortunate press and the death of a young athlete, my home country did not let the world down.

Picking up their socks and pulling out the stops from day three onwards I think finally the Canadian psyche finally got the shaking up it had so desperately needed and for so long.

Canadians have almost always been the underdogs allowing for the larger nations like Russia and the US of course to dominate everything from sports to world politics.

I think it is often the sheer arrogance of the countries like America, Russia, South Korea and China being told from birth that they are the best at everything and believing it that makes them so often win at what they put their heads to. G said he could not believe how disappointed the Americans looked but that is part of the reason for this blog since I was trying to explain to him just how they as a nation are often unbeatable because they believe they are number one and how so very often to me it seems that Canada as a nation will roll over and show our bellies at the first sign of defeat.


Well I am happy to report from the far edge of my couch last night in the South East of Blighty that my home country did us proud. I have been living abroad for so long I rarely get to see hockey games but I am glad we went out yesterday and bought that TV receiver just to watch the final game. Up until now I have been watching the highlights on the BBC iPlayer the day after they have happened.

And it was exhilarating and right up until that last goal in over time, I was trying not to get top excited. Even G who does not watch sports was screaming along side me. Of course I have to also mention the Women's team who kicked butt across the Olympics and won gold a couple of days earlier seemed to never even been mentioned, which I think is a little unfair since I bet none of them get paid the ridiculous salaries that the guys do who play for the NHL.

BUT! A side from all that it was a great game to watch made only sweeter by the fact we beat the US on home soil with a audience world wide holding it's breath.


At least for the next 4 years this can warm the cockles of every Canadian heart knowing we took home gold and lots of it. It should be interesting here in Limey land in two years time to see what happens and if London can create an atmosphere to match the one coming out of Vancouver this past 16 days. I doubt it some how. This country and particularity that city have been paranoid for so long about left luggage and bomb threats it will most likely be more like the police state in the movie V for vendetta. But we shall see.
One last note on the games in Vancouver. for those who don't read more than their own local or national news services it might be a good bit of advice to know that Vancouver and British Columbia did not always come into these games with a clear conscience. How many people know that whole neighbourhoods of people were bussed out into the suburbs of Vancouver to hostels and soup kitchens so as not to tarnish the reputation of the emerald city? In Vancouver there is a few big problems that might have been helped with the money that was used to host and build for the games. Housing, drug problems and food being high on the list of things that so desperately need 'fixing" in that beautiful city. Not to mention that apparently the Olympic village on False Creek is supposed to be used for low income housing. How much do you want to bet that someone will turn around and sell them to the highest bidder because they need to money to help pay off the games. I'd put a loonie on that happening. Oh and the gag order on anyone displaying anti Olympic slogans in their homes or yards could be charged. What the heck happened to free speech?
Just some food for thought!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

tot ziens!

God sorry folks I am such a slacker. Busy with a photo exhibit, Crossing Border festival, packing and moving country leaving my job and starting all shitty administration again, de-registering, new Dr's banks etc etc. In between seeing gigs, saying goodbye and driving across Germany and back. You could say I have been busy.

I never thought that I would have stayed in the Netherlands for as long as I did. 10.5 years to be exact. never mind staying in my job for as long as I had, over 7 years for a multi national company. Unbelievable. 

But here I am, settling into the English countryside, it is nice to see some hills and green all around especially after living in the city centre of the Hague for the last many years.

There are things I will miss about living in the low countries:

My friends for one. which is strange because I actually only made real friends with a handfull real Dutchies, the rest were actually from other countries and nationalities and all had moved there to try something new or had been brought there with their families years before.

I MISS MY BIKE. No kidding, I used my bike to go everywhere and to do everything. I plan on picking one up here but can imagine I won't be on it as much since there roads around here are down right dangerous to ride on I think.

In a strange way the smallness of it all, getting from A-B was just so easy and without the aid of a car in most cases.

The Health care and employment packages were pretty sweet from where I sat, I guess the bonus of working for a huge corporation.

What I won't miss is the SUPREME RUDENESS I experienced up until the very last day there. I think I figured it all out from a socialistic point of view. If you grew up in a country the size Vancouver Island with 16 million people and lived in a place that is the most densely populated in Western Europe you too would think nothing of pushing someone aside, invading personal space and being generally rude to everyone around you who did not feel your eyes boring into the back of your head willing you to move out the way. Seriously folks an 'excuse me' or 'pardon me' goes a really long way in getting what you need. I actually will not miss that at all. Never mind the general lack of compassion and human understanding such as a elderly or disabled person getting on the tram and not being offered a seat. And if they are it is almost certainly 99% a buitenlander to offers up.

BAD customer service. I mean really bad. It is shocking how bad it can be. and when you get good service you really have to take a step back and thank that sales person for acting like a human being.

I am not saying living here won't offer it's own challenges, I have already experienced the harsh realities of living between a posh town and a not so posh one. I was in the not-so-posh one on Saturday and was correcting people's grammar (in my head). "it's not Got it's Have" as an example. What happened to the English language, people are just so lazy, where have all the h's gone? But It has only been a week so I guess I need to have my own time to settle and not to be so judgemental. Time will tell.

I am sure I will think of more things I will miss about living in the Netherlands, but for now I am also having a bit of culture shock and trying to find my way, on the left side of the road. 

I bet if I were to go back to Western Canada now I would suffer similar issues of culture shock.. never mind finding out that my own beautiful city has put a crazy gag order on any citizen speaking his or her mind about the bloody Winter Games. Yes it will cost us dearly and for many years to come, just ask Montreal. But if they were not so games focused and looked at the bigger and badder issues of homelessness and poverty that is rampant in our beautiful city and offered some kind of respite for those once these games have passed on and used the huge amounts of new buildings and resources to help those in need. blah blah blah, someone else has already said it better than I ever could, from Mr. M. Good... always on the ball he is.

There is nothing to be done, at least not for the time being. But don’t forget, when the smoke clears and the numbers come tumbling in, there will be those that will have to be held to account. Doing so is of prime importance, as is remaining dedicated to confronting those disparaging issues that the Olympics have highlighted. If anything, a current has been provided with which to energize people regarding the failures of this Province’s government, this city’s terrible realities, and even our own shortcomings. If, when the world leaves, we can look in the mirror and remember that we’re not as self important as we think we are, then, perhaps, the road to change will see more feet upon it than it ever has. http://www.matthewgood.org/