Author Archive

Something new is coming.

And it will blow your mind.  December 15, 2010.

Racism on the TTC

“Circle the wagons.  The Injuns are comin’.”

Those seven words set off a cascade of feelings like a row of neatly placed dominos, toppled one after another.

My experience yesterday took place on the TTC.  The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has to be one of the most diverse environments in the city.  From TTC employees to TTC riders – an Anishinaabe can get lost among the beautiful brown faces.  It’s certainly not the place where one would expect to encounter an overtly racist comment – from a TTC employee no less.

But there I was – rushing to get to work and running a little late.  I bound down the stairs at Yonge-Bloor Station just missing the southbound subway.  I have about a minute before the next train arrives so I walk down to the end of the platform.

I stroll briskly down the platform thinking about the Billy Joel interview I had just heard on the Howard Stern Show.  Needless to say, I’m in a great mood.

As I cross the half-way mark down the platform, I hear two things.  First, I hear the train nearing the station behind me.  Second, I hear the laughter and carrying on from two uniformed TTC platform monitors.  These are the guys in the big burgundy TTC coats and the reflective safety singlet.  They are responsible for my safety and well-being.

Then I hear those seven words, from the white guy to his buddy, in a faux-southern drawl of a cowboy:

“Circle the wagons.  The Injuns are comin’.”  Then some laughter from the two men.

My immediate reaction was to smile and keep walking.  Then I make the realization of what I experienced.  Racism.

As I make the realization – I have to make the choice.  Do I shrug it off and keep walking?  Or do I stop, cause a scene and make a complaint?  I am already late for work.  So I decide to shrug if off.  After all – he was just trying to be funny.  We are subject to racial humour everyday – on TV, film even the aforementioned Howard Stern Show.  Besides, he was carrying on with his TTC buddy – who is laughing in hysterics.

I get on the train.

As the subway door closes, it immediately starts gnawing at me.  I regret my decision.  I’m riding the train looking at all those around me.  All those beautiful brown faces – who probably didn’t hear what I heard.  I’m thinking they are probably subject to their own forms of racism and everyday comments.  As I pass station-to-station, those thoughts and feelings fill my chest.

I should have said something.

But isn’t that always the case?  I’ve experienced similar situations and comments in the past.  Sometimes I choose to address it and correct it. Other times, I’m consumed by my own conflict and fear.  Sometimes I’m just not brave enough to say something.  Sometimes I’m more concerned about the offenders… getting them in trouble, or fired and what-not.

Later that morning, I arrive at Queen’s Park for the Louis Riel Day commemoration.  Ironically, the ceremony takes place in front of an official monument commemorating Ontario’s participation in the Northwest Rebellion and the various battles against the Métis resistance.  Speaker after speaker talk about racism, stereotypes and inequality.  A young Métis woman speaks about the shame that is still harboured in her family for being Aboriginal.  I’m so moved by her words, I blurt it out my experience to my friend Saga and then to her colleague Tamar.

At first there is laughter.  But then the stark realization of what it is.  They are mortified over the incident.  The fact that it was a TTC employee demands that it should be reported.  Unfortunately, I chose to leave hurt, beaten, regretful, angry… a victim among a sea of victims.

Those seven words, uttered for comedic affect, have such a profound effect.  Quite different from the seven words that we should all be living by:  Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, Truth, Wisdom.  These are those gifts provided to us by the Seven Grandfathers.

Racism is alive and well.  Those of us in the minority are well aware of it.  Even in a multi-cultural environment of the great city of Toronto.  Deep in the bowels of the TTC – is an ugly monster that so many choose to ignore.

For Canada, the UN Declaration remains "aspirational"

It’s a two-drink minimum at the Canada’s “Aspirational Bar”.  Today’s Special:  Aspirational + Non-Binding.

Today, Canada announced it is endorsing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.  Sounds tasty.  But without a plan to implement it, it likely won’t be served.

Sure it’s a nicey, nicey announcement.  It probably made for a good photo op for Minister John Duncan and officials from the United Nations.  But once again, Canada left First Nations out of the process.  Our Great White Father didn’t offer First Nations a table or even a seat at the bar.  We are once again looking in from the cold with their “No Indians Allowed” sign, illuminated outside.

The Government of Canada’s position all along was that the declaration is not compatible with our current Constitutional framework – meaning we still have the arbitrary and unilateral Indian Act, and Canada’s legislators are not willing to secure First Nations with a seat at the table when it comes to developing public policy.

When it comes to aspiring to something higher, Canada really has a long way to go.

Now that the government has endorsed the declaration, and has set the proverbial Aspirational Bar, it’s time for a proactive plan on achieving those aspirations.  Canada needs an implementation plan on how it will implement the articles in the declaration.  We need to call on Canada to convene a First Nations-Crown Gathering to begin this work in earnest.

However, implementing the right to self-determination, self-government, language, culture nationhood and citizenship are near impossible tasks for a Conservative government that pulled the plug on Kelowna and killed a $160 million investment in languages.

We need to take the Crown-First Nation relationship back to formula.  By amending the Constitution and implementing the Treaties.

Canada needs to work with First Nations to firmly establish self-government as a legitimate third-order of government.  First Nations need to have a seat in developing a new framework to implement the treaties and find new and sustainable means of funding First Nations governments.

But perhaps we have to start somewhere a little further down the Aspiritational Bar menu.

A significant part of the UN Declaration is the rights to land and inclusion in resource development.  First Nations should not only be consulted on activities that affect their rights, but have a seat at the table in decision-making and sharing in the bounty of resource development.  Perhaps Canada can start there and clarify laws surrounding the duty to consult on resource matters.

Come in from the cold, my friend.  Have a seat at the Aspiration Bar.  But given Canada’s aspirational approach, those First Nations who have been placed their order of free, prior and informed consent – will be left high and dry.

Uncovering Shielded Minds

In this video, a group of students from southern Ontario embark on a eye-awakening journey as they visit First Nation communities in northern Ontario.  Led by Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, the students visited communities in Georgian Bay, Manitoulin Island and the north shore of Lake Huron.  They conclude their trip with a visit to the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec.

I enjoyed the scene when the students expressed their frustration over the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the lack of First Nations tour guides and proper context of the artifacts held there.  Earlier in the film, at the start of their trip, Karihwakeron Tim Thompson provides excellent oratory on the Hiawatha wampum and it’s significance.  When they visit the museum, they are faced with that same belt with such minimal labelling, context and displayed behind glass.

In my favorite scene, without prompting, the students become irate over a plaque that describes the residential school experience:  “But for other graduates, the pain of sexual abuse and cultural loss has overshadowed good intentions and practices.”  They complain to the museum also citing the exhibit which outlines a simplistic and narrow view of the residential schools.

Their experience and stories they have learned in just one week led them to action.

Shielded Minds: A Documentary from Joshua Kelly on Vimeo.

Honouring our Ogitchidaa

Veteran Tom Eagle

It’s overwhelming to see so many friends and family, Anishinabek and Canadians alike, paying tribute to veterans today.  Many of you wrote a little something on your Facebook status update or took part in a Remembrance Day ceremony somewhere.

Today, I’m really happy to see folks honouring their family members who served by name.  So many times, we forget that our warriors and veterans are individuals – men and women with kind Spirits who give their all in the service of our nation.

Our people volunteered in incredible numbers.  Entire First Nation communities enlisted, often times, giving up their Indian status to meet their obligations.  Military service may not have been compulsory for the Anishinaabeg but it was an obligation.  When our ancestors signed the treaties, we gave our word to be loyal allies of the Crown.  That manifested itself during the War of 1812, both World Wars, the Korean War and into modern times.

We can’t even begin to imagine what it is like to take up arms and serve their people in such hostile conditions.  To face their own mortality so unselfishly.  To see their comrades and friends meet their end before their own eyes.

All veterans return wounded in some way or another.  If not in body, but in Spirit.  They return with little fanfare, little pension, sometimes to nothing at all.

Today is a day where our veterans are honoured for a few hours.  However, much more should be done to respect and care for our wounded warriors beyond November 11.

The Government of Canada must begin to address the issue of adequate pensions for those who return wounded but may not qualify for full-service pensions.  The government must address First Nations veterans who did not receive equitable compensation for their service.  The government must enhance support and benefits for those those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.  They are our walking wounded.

As Anishinaabeg, we are taught to honour our Elders everyday.  We honour our veterans every weekend in pow-wows and traditional gatherings right across our territory.  That honour should be extended to our effort in advocating for these issues, responding to their needs, and caring for those Ogitchidaa who served for all of us.

In memory of Nelson Lewis, Gilbert Richardson, Francis Pegahmagabow, Tom Eagle, Ray Rogers, Ernie Debassige, Emery McLeod and Edward Commanda.

Software upgrade

I feel refreshed! My blog has been freshly upgraded to the latest
version of software. I had a good ole time last night customizing the
code, incorporating additional Facebook interfaces and adding the
latest spam-ware to my website. I really enjoy all the technological
stuff. It’s quite cerebral and keeps me busy.

I’ve been dedicated to using all open source code. I don’t make
anything new, however, I do try to keep developers in the loop of any
challenges I’m having or how things could be improved. However, I’ve
been working more and more with Mac and getting use to the Mac OS X
operating system. This certainly seems to be a contradiction. But I
haven’t had any crash or critical errors, which tends to happen when
you’re multi-tasking about twenty different pieces to the same pie. I
like the integrated functionality to all the Apple products. The
whole world seems to be moving towards MacBook, Iphone, Ipods and
Ipads. I may not be a full convert yet, but someday I may work
towards integrating Apple functionality into my site at some time.

Have a great day.

Holy Chief’s Salary, Batman!

Chief Clarence Louie

Chief Clarence Louie

Okay, we get it.  The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (and those inclined to bear witness to their truths) don’t like First Nations’ exemption to taxation.  They seem to have a stubborn, pre-disposition to not understanding the basis in law to First Nations’ treaty and aboriginal rights.  They simply don’t want to hear, much less understand, that the right to taxation is based on our nationhood.  As a Nation, our governments and our citizens should not be subject to the taxation of another nation.

Nobody really takes exception that a foreign dignitary, living in Canada, is exempt from taxation.  No one needs to debate it – it’s just how it is.  But the CTF (and those inclined to bear witness to their truths) can’t accept the concept of indigenous nationhood.

They apparently don’t like First Nations people making good money, either.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (and those inclined to bear witness to their truths) would rather focus their media attention on addressing the minority of First Nation Chiefs with high salaries, rather than the hundreds of Chiefs that are elected to lead their communities with little financial incentive to do so.

Perhaps, the CTF want you to think that First Nations are better off than they really are.  That the crisis of poverty isn’t that bad.  That this latest bit of evidence is endemic of an estimated $8 billion dollars of Indian Affairs budget being wasted on a small minority of people in First Nation communities.  This fortune is limited to Chiefs, consultants and lawyers who own lakefront estates and a three car garage for our Farraris, supped-up pick-ups and a 1200-cc Formula 1 snowmobile.

Wrong on all accounts, Batman.

Those 30 First Nations who pay their Chiefs this level of salary indeed have a very good reason.  These communities are well on a course to economic success.  Chances are their elected leaders are integral to that transformation.  These Chiefs not only run a First Nations administration, they likely run a complex organization with numerous corporations, businesses, self-government arrangements, land claim settlements and casinos.  In turn, this leads to local investment, higher community revenues, lower unemployment and the development of significant economies.

First Nations in these categories do a lot to enhance the local, regional and national economy.  They contribute to broader tax base.  Ultimately, these communities reduce the burden of First Nations from taxpayers to their own communities.  The CTF totally missed that argument.

The modern, successful Chief is not only a community leader but a successful Chief Executive Officer.  CEOs of that calibre are often paid more than Premiers.  In fact, it is not heard of to pay CEOs a half-million or more.

I would like to hold up just one shiny example.  Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band in BC is a trusted advisor to the government on aboriginal economic development.  When it comes to First Nations, he is always held up as someone who is anti-establishment.  He doesn’t make a living going from meeting to meeting.  In fact, he is a rare a fixture at Assembly of First Nations (AFN) assemblies.  Some may not agree, but he speaks candidly about raising First Nations people out of victimization, laziness and professes the need for motivation.

I would hasten to guess that he is one of those in the top 30.  If not, it’s even a better point.

The CTF (and those inclined to bear witness to their truths) want people to think that First Nations are corrupt and unaccountable.  The CTF want people to think that Chief Louie and others are getting paid under-the-table, undertaking clandestine activity without the knowledge and consent of the community.  Feeding them like mushrooms underground.

The CTF don’t want you to know that, on average, Chiefs and Councils are elected every 2 years unlike a Premier who is elected ever four years.  The CTF won’t point out that First Nations must provide an annual, government-approved audit in order to receive ongoing government funding.  They fail to mention that if an audit is not acceptable or it shows that finances are being mis-managed – there is a process for the government to take over the finances of a First Nation.  The CTF won’t mention the findings of the Auditor General, who in 2002 states that First Nations continue to carry an overwhelming reporting burden for every single program dollar flowed to them.  They also neglect to mention this all this information is available through the INAC website.

Chief Louie is one of the forward-thinking leaders that keep their books open to their membership.  The Osoyoos Band Council owns a winery, a golf course, a four-star resort among other ventures.  Chief Louie and his Council hold annual general meetings every year.  They provide copies of audited financial statements to their members.  They even have workshops teaching their grass-roots members how to read a balance sheet and audited financial statements.

This is happening more and more in First Nations.  My community of Nipissing First Nation also holds an annual general meeting with specific presentations about band finances.  Financial statements are provided to any member who asks or attends these sessions.  As such, I know for a fact that my Chief’s salary is a little better that the national average – which is about right given her level of responsibility and accountability.

The CTF fails to point out that even the average salary for a Chief may not be incentive enough to bring in the top talent – young, educated leaders who can make a difference, and lead their communities and people out of poverty.

For example, if I wanted to run for Chief, I’d have to take a pretty significant pay cut.  That $60K pay cheque isn’t much of an incentive for me or to many other young professionals such as accountants, lawyers, MBA, poli-sci or public administration grads who would like to make a difference in their own community.

I used to get upset reading CTF’s one-sided propaganda.  Not for what they say, but what they infer.  How they live to rile up their followers, those “inclined to bear witness to their truths”.  Like a Jedi mind trick, a wave of a pen, a CTF news release generates plenty of stereotypical, often-times, racist feedback.  Don’t just read the Globe and Mail or The Province article – click into the “Comments” section and scroll down and read the hundreds of comments.

Today, I just take it as another example of contemporary stereotype that widens the gap between First Nations people and all Canadians.  Another example that will lead to further hate by those not willing to understand First Nations and our circumstances.  The CTF may not be racist – but judging by the strength of their mind-trick – they certainly contribute to the problem.

As for comparing Chiefs to Premiers, why not compare apples to apples.  What would a Premier be making if he was exempt from taxation?  Round up or round down.  What would a Premier make if he was a First Nations person and claiming a tax exemption?  Round up or round down.  What if he or she has two dependants and a spouse who is paying alimony?  Can he or she claim all fourteen extended family living in an unfinished bungalow without running water?  Are all our Ferraris tax deductible if they are paid for by the Band?  How much does Iraq’s ambassador to Canada pay in personal income tax?
?
Hey CTF guy…  how much to you make?

Either way, all your figures are make-believe.

Greetings from Jamaica

“We’re Jammin’.  I want to jam it with you.  Jammin’.  I hope you like Jammin’ to.”

It’s another beautiful day in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  We’re having a great time, listening to some Bob Marley, swimming and snorkelling.  I thought I’d take some time to describe the experience we’re having this Thanksgiving weekend.

The villa is even more beautiful than the pictures we’ve seen.  Lots of space, great outdoor area, panoramic pool, sitting area and our own private beach.  We’ve had our last couple of meals in the outdoor dining area.  There’s a refreshing, cool breeze coming off the ocean.  Not too hot… in fact just right.

The staff here are phenomenal.  We have our own hostess, chef, housekeeper, groundskeeper and driver.  They take really great care of us.  In fact, I think we’re going downtown this afternoon just for the heck of it.

In the villa, there is only myself, Deborah, Fiona, Joe, Fiona, baby Matteo, Savannah and Gloria, friends of Joe and Fiona.  So a nice small family, enjoying each other’s company for the ultra-long weekend.  Matteo is so cute and such a good boy.  I like making him laugh.  And, boy, he Loves the pool.

Yes, I think we’re having turkey-lurkey for dinner.  But it might be marinaded turkey breast on the barbeque.  We’re having our dinner on the beach tonight.  Hope sand doesn’t get into my food.

Nothing couldn’t be better unless you were all here with us.

“Let’s get together and feel alright.”

Top 100 Canadian Singles

(Playing:  New Orleans Is Sinking — The Tragically Hip. Wild in the Streets — Helix.  Wendy Under the Stars — Odds)

I’m sitting at the computer writing some risk assessments for work.  Bringing a file or two up-to-date.  I’m also writing a new Blog entry and listening to some tunes.  I’m multi-tasking.

(Playing: Somewhere Down The Crazy River — Robbie Robertson)

I’m back at home and listening to Canadian music.  For all you non-Canadians, there isn’t really a whole lot to choose from, but certainly, there is some great music.  We all know the greatest exports from Canada are Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, The Guess Who, Rush and The Band.  But we also have Odds, Tragically Hip, Alanis Morrisette, Colin James, Arcade Fire, Sloan, Red Rider… and so many more.  Lots of great music, history and memories.

(Playing:  This Flight Tonight — Nazareth.   So She’s Leaving – The Trews.  Song Instead of a Kiss — Alannah Myles)

For the past few weeks, I’ve been anticipating the release of the definitive list of the Top 100 Canadian Songs, that will be published in a book by author and music nerd Bob Mersereau.  Bob polled about 800 musicians, music executives, managers, promoters, retailers, music fans (and of course, journalists) to compile his book, The Top 100 Canadian Singles.

Here is Bob Mersereau’s Top 10:

1. The Guess Who — American Woman (y)
2. Neil Young — Heart Of Gold (y)
3. The Band — The Weight (y)
4. Bryan Adams — Summer of ’69 (y)
5. Leonard Cohen — Hallelujah (y)
6. Steppenwolf — Born to Be Wild (y)
7. Gordon Lightfoot — If You Could Read My Mind (n)
8. Bachman Turner Overdrive — Takin’ Care Of Business (y)
9. Ian and Sylvia — Four Strong Winds (y)
10. Anne Murray — Snowbird (n)

(Playing:  Subdivisions — Rush)

Here is my Top 10 list (and where they fit in Bob M’s list)

1.  Needle & The Damage Done — Neil Young (73… far, far too low.  Shame.)
2.  Up Where We Belong — Buffy Ste. Marie (didn’t make his list)
3.  The Weight — The Band  (3… perfect assessment, Bob)
4.  You Learn — Alanis Morrisette  (didn’t make his list)
5.  New Orleans is Sinking  —  The Tragically Hip  (14…  not bad, should be higher)

(Playing:  Turn Me Loose — Loverboy.  White Hot — Red Rider.  Roller — April Wine.  Rock Star — Nickelback.  Black Black Heart — David Usher.  What Does It Take? — Honeymoon Suite.  Suzanne — Leonard Cohen.  Sunny Days — Lighthouse. Into the Mystic — Colin James.  One Thing — Finger Eleven.  Mama, Let Him Play — Doucette

6.  Limelight — Rush (didn’t make his list)
7.  Underwhelmed — Sloan  (20… once again, kinda low)
8.  No Time — The Guess Who  (91…  way too low)
9.  Wheat Kings — The Tragically Hip (87…  way too low)
10.  The Kings —This Beat Goes on/Switchin’ To Glide  (72… at least it made his list)

Here is the rest of Bob M’s list of the Top 100 Canadian Singles (and whether or not it is in my I-Tunes/I-pod):

11. Joni Mitchell — Big Yellow Taxi/Woodstock (y)
12. Rush — Tom Sawyer (y)
13. Blue Rodeo — Try (y)
14. Tragically Hip — New Orleans Is Sinking (y)
15. Gordon Lightfoot — The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald (n)
16. Leonard Cohen — Suzanne (y)
17. Tom Cochrane — Life Is A Highway  (y)
18. Guess Who — These Eyes (y)
19. Gordon Lightfoot — Sundown (n)
20. Sloan — Underwhelmed (y)
21. The Band — Up On Cripple Creek/The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (y)
22. Maestro Fresh Wes — Let Your Backbone Slide (y)
23. The Diodes — Tired of Waking Up Tired (n)
25. Rush — The Spirit of Radio (y)
25. Crowbar — Oh What A Feeling (n)
26. Rough Trade — High School Confidential (n)
27. Martha and the Muffins — Echo Beach (n)
28. Stampeders — Sweet City Woman (y)
29. Arcade Fire — Wake Up (y)
30. Barenaked Ladies — If I Had $1,000,000 (y)
31. Robert Charlebois — Lindberg (n)
32. The Pursuit Of Happiness — I’m an Adult Now (y)
33. Ugly Ducklings — Nothin’ (n)
34. Sloan — Coax Me (y)
35. Rush — Closer To The Heart (y)
36. Teenage Head — Picture My Face (n)
37. Guess Who — Shakin’ All Over (n)
38. Five Man Electrical Band — Signs (y)
39. Blue Rodeo — Lost Together (y)
40. Ron Hynes — Sonny’s Dream (n)
41. Men Without Hats — The Safety Dance (n)
42. Rheostatics — Claire (n)
43. Lighthouse — One Fine Morning (n)
44. A Foot In Coldwater — (Make Me Do) Anything You Want (y)
45. Corey Hart — Sunglasses At Night (y)
46. Loverboy — Working For The Weekend (y)
47. Trooper — Raise A Little Hell (y)
48. Parachute Club — Rise Up (n)
49. Alannah Myles — Black Velvet (y)
50. Terry Jacks — Seasons In The Sun (n)
51. Malajube — Montreal —40C (n)
52. Neil Young — Cinnamon Girl (y)
53. Alanis Morissette — You Oughta Know (y)
54. Feist — 1234 (n)
55. Arcade Fire — Rebellion (Lies) (y)
56. k.d. lang — Constant Craving (n)
57. Neil Young — Rockin’ In The Free World (y)
58. Michel Pagliaro — Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy (n)
59. Bruce Cockburn — Lovers In A Dangerous Time (n)
60. Tragically Hip — Bobcaygeon (y)
61. Joni Mitchell — A Case of You/California (n)
62. The Demics — New York City (n)
63. Bryan Adams — (Everything I Do) I Do It For You (y)
64. Tragically Hip — Ahead By A Century (y)
65. Blue Rodeo — Five Days In May (y)
66. Hank Snow — I’m Moving On (n)
67. Harmonium — Pour un instant (n)
68. Steppenwolf — Magic Carpet Ride (n)
69. Sloan — Money City Maniacs (y)
70. Celine Dion — My Heart Will Go On (y)
71. k—os — Crabbuckit (n)
72. The Kings —This Beat Goes on/Switchin’ To Glide (y)
73. Neil Young — Old Man/Needle and the Damage Done (y)
74. Jean Leloup — 1990 (n)
75. Payola$ — Eyes Of A Stranger (n)
76. Blue Rodeo — Hasn’t Hit Me Yet (y)
77. Bachman Turner Overdrive — You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet (y)
78. Bruce Cockburn — Wondering Where The Lions Are (n)
79. April Wine — You Could Have Been A Lady (y)
80. Teenage Head — Let’s Shake/Somethin’ On My Mind (y)
81. Joni Mitchell — Help Me (n)
82. Trooper — We’re Here For A Good Time (y)
83. Lighthouse — Sunny Days (n)
84. Jean—Pierre Ferland — Le petit roi (n)
85. Bryan Adams — Cuts Like A Knife (y)
86. Stompin’ Tom Connors — The Hockey Song (n)
87. Tragically Hip — Wheat Kings (y)
88. Gilles Vigneault — Mon pays (n)
89. Spirit of The West — Home For A Rest (n)
90. New Pornographers — Letter From An Occupant (n)
91. Guess Who — No Time (y)
92. Mashmakhan — As The Years Go By (n)
93. Neil Young — Hey Hey My My (y)
94. Paul Anka — Diana (n)
95. Daniel Lanois — The Maker (n)
96. The Spoons — Nova Heart (n)
97. Beau Dommage — La complainte du phoque en Alaska (n)
98. Ron Sexsmith — Secret Heart (n)
99. Bryan Adams — Run To You (y)
100. Wintersleep — Weighty Ghost (n)

Balls, Bags and more…

WHAT’S IN THE MEATBALLS? – We had a wonderful, early dinner at the Vietnamese Noodle Soup Restaurant at Times Square in Richmond Hill.  You’ve got to Love and appreciate a restaurant that has such a simple name.  You probably don’t even need a menu.  Just sit down and a fellow would bring you just that…  Vietnamese Noodle Soup.  I so thoroughly enjoyed the steak and meatballs, I had to ask the proprietor:  “exactly what is in the meatballs”.  Apparently, only asian spices, beef and beef tendon.  Mmm, mmm, good.  Deb has a spicier version for her chicken noodle bowl.  The red pepper broth reminded me of Thai tom-yum soup.  It’s nice to try different places.  In this particular neighbourhood of Richmond Hill and Markham, one could probably try a new Asian restaurant every single day of the year.  Soup, dim sum, buffets, bakeries, barbeques, steak houses, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Asian fusion…  I’m Lovin’ it all.

ALL HER BAGS ARE PACKED – My sweetheart, the Duchess of Thornhill is leaving Stately Way, the official residence tomorrow.  She’s heading to Kingston for two weeks.  It will be longest we’ve been apart since last spring.  How will I cope?  How will I make it through?  I’ll probably gorge myself on guilt-free junk food.  That always makes me feel better.  But when she comes back and I’ve gained 20 pounds, she’s probably won’t approve.  At least I’ll have the dog to keep me company.  Those of you who know me, know how thrilled I am about that.  Some of the things I’ll miss the most: singing to her every morning, opening the car door for her, and telling her how beautiful she is everyday.  Although, I suppose I can do that by telephone.  Lots can be accomplished on the phone.

NO TIME TO UNPACK – When she returns Deborah and I will be travelling to Montego Bay for a little romance and ‘R and R’.  Looking forward to our long weekend adventure to Jamaica.  We’ll be staying in a gorgeous private beach villa, complete with our own kitchen staff, car and driver, private pool and private beach.  We’re looking forward to travelling with our gracious hosts, Joe, Fiona and little Matteo.  Such generous and beautiful people.  Snorkeling, reading on the beach, tennis and some fun in the sun.  Oh yeah, Baby!!

FACEBOOK – I tried to get Facebook “Places” going today, but my device doesn’t seem to want to load it.  I’m Loving all the new functionality of the service.  Today, Facebook launched the new service that can share to other users where you are, and where you’ve been.  Just in case you want other people to know you are at Winners or Cassis.  During our walk today, I was just telling Deb that I haven’t been on Facebook all that long.  For the longest time I resisted joining, instead trying to develop, program and code my own server and database.  It’s a great, geeky hobby to have, but it takes a lot of time and patience.  When I seen everybody and their grandmother had a Facebook profile and sharing notes better than I can, I was a bit miffed.  So I decided to join the Facebook revolution.  For my website and blog, I resorted to a open source app and a mainstream server.  I hope to do a redesign this winter and write a little more often.

MUNICIPAL ELECTION – Who exactly are we going to vote for in the municipal election?  Suburban elections seem pretty dull.  There is a lot going on in the Toronto election, but it seems there is very few issues herein Thornhill-Markham.  Nobody seems to be courting our vote here.  We’ve had a couple of people come door-to-door to leave junkmail but not enough to get any information from.

THE TOWN – okay, more than half-way through the year and I don’t have a clear favorite for the Academy Awards.  However, I may have a personal favorite.  Yesterday, Deb and I seen The Town, starring and directed by Ben Affleck.  We really enjoyed the film and a couple of time I caught myself holding my sweetheart’s hand a little too tight.  A couple of twists and turns and some pretty good characters.  It’s a pretty quiet time for movies, but I was glad we went and seen this one.  Critics seem to enjoy the film as well.  You never know what Oscar time will bring.

And how was your week?