Monday, September 29, 2008

Grossest Thing So Far

CD in Play: Miles Davis, Ascenseur pour l'Échafaud


The life of an Autopsy Tech is certainly not a pretty one. With that in mind, I have decided to mark work related posts as Work Related, just as it is up above. If in green type it is in N for Normal. If Red it is G for Gross. I do this for the squeamish and the faint of heart.
I had three autopsies last week and one today. The further we go along, the more work I am doing myself. Today, for instance, I was required to do about 85% of the scalp cutting. We make an incision from just behind one ear over behind the other ear. We then use a scalpel to cut the connective tissue attaching the scalp to the skull and peel it away so we can use a Stryker saw (which does not do well with soft tissue) to cut through the skull so we can remove the brain.
Anyhow, the front top went well and peeled down quite well. I started on the back top portion, working on the tissue with a scalp and pullingit away. At one point my trainer stated that I should set down the scalpel and try pulling the skin away from the scalp. I did so. It is slippery. Especially slippery since there was extensive head trauma. It slipped out of my hands and sprayed me and the wall behind me with blood and connective tissue.
I take proper precautions and use gloves, gowns, face mask, eye sheilds and head covering. So I look over at the doctor and ask him how bad it is and point out a few flecks that managed to hit the unprotected parts of my face. Not much and not bad. However, while washing up to go to lunch, I notice that the underside of my jaw is quite bloodied where my mask didn't cover. I washed up and headed for lunch. It didn't hit get anywhere it shouldn't, so I am not worried about potential pathogen exposure - but it does make one think.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Damn You, Steadman!!!

CD in Play: Wilco, Sky Blue Sky

Okay, so artist Ralph Steadman (and the two pictures included in this post are his) has nothing to do with my current frustrations - I do. I have to do a drawing for my Printmaking class and keep coming with very derivative ideas. Steadman isn't someone I talk about much, but his work, style and imagination have always caught my eye and my own imagination. Frankly, in my own opinion, drawing isn't my strongest suit. I prefer painting, but I wanted to learn lithography, serigraphy and intaglio. We are about to learn some of the more painterly aspects to traditional lithography, but I am stuck for an image. Sadly, some of my sketches have proven to be quite unoriginal.
I am quite sure we share a passion for the painter Francis Bacon: he certainly shares some of Bacon's stylistic qualities, so maybe I shouldn't feel so uptight about it. But then I started working on something else, away from those Bacon/Steadman-ish impulses. Once again, I strolled into the garden of plagarism, this time Éduoard Vuillard's plot. Vuillard is a relatively little known French Post-Impressionist painter and printmaker. I stumbled onto his work while searching for something new, and was struck by some of his images. I am not into Vuillard's work the same way I am into Bacon or Steadman, I appreciate his work and his sketches in particular.
Anyhow, as I was sketching yesterday I was struck at how familiar the image I was drawing was. I went to the Public Library and found the same Vuillard book I had studied at the Emily Carr College of Art in Vancouver. Bam-o! There it was: a pencil sketch of a man standing in an alleyway. Too similar, despite it having been 4 years since I last saw the sketch. So I am searching my brian for relatively less derivative.
Part of the frustration is that I am used to working without sketches. I just go to work on canvas or paper and either erase or paint over that which does not please. Traditional lithographgy works with grease pencil, and you can't just erase that which does not please because it never truly goes away. I tried shaving my first plate with a razor blade, but it doesn't work. I'll figure a way around this, eventually.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Life, the Universe and That Sort of Thing

CD in Play: Arcade Fire, Funeral

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly-ish

1. The Bad

So far life in Saskatoon has been pretty good. It is a much better life here than what I could have in Vancouver at this time. But I am not addressing the The Good here, I am addressing The Bad. There are things about Saskatoon that I don't like and things and I figure I should address them.
One frustration I have is that people here are always going on about how I am going to hate the winters here. "Oh boy, if you are from Vancouver you're going hate the winters here!", "Get ready to freeze!", "Good luck dealing with the snow!" ad nauseum. They have this gleeful look when they say it too. But these people always seem so disappointed when I point out that I have experienced winter in Edmonton, Calgary, Whitehorse, Southern Saskatchewan and Montreal.
Of course, National mythology completely discounts the kind of cold you experience on the West Coast - that damp cold that cuts right to the bone and makes your body hurt. It gets into your lungs, that icy dampness. And for some reason, no one outside BC ever seems to think it gets cold in the mountains?
That said, it is getting down to about 9°C at night. Chilly? Sure, a bit. But this Vancouverite seems to be dealing with the cold better than the locals. My building is quite hot. People have turned on the heat to their radiators and the hot water is venting through all over. Mine are completely shut off and I have to run both my wall fan and ceiling fan and keep all my windows open to make my place livable. I may even ask my manager to shut the heat off to my apartment if that can be down with out turning the hot water to my taps as well.
This is the sort of thing people from the Prairies laugh at Lower Mainland British Columbians for. I hear people complaining and it is still anywhere between 15 and 17 °C during the day. I only turn up the heat if I am either sick (which is when the cold really affects me) or when the sweater and socks (and maybe even the blanket and toque) are no longer able to keep me warm. But no one wants to be inconvenienced, so I have to strip down to my skivvies in order to cope. (sorry for the image) My weight has little to do with this, by the way. I have always been able to cope with the cold, even in my infancy. But come on people: put on a sweater, wear your socks, have a cup of tea, coffee (but tea is better) or hot chocolate. Don't like hot beverages? Time to learn buttercup. Make hot cup of broth if its more to your liking.
Other gripes? The transit system needs an overhaul. Some people have told me that they have actually cut service back, which seems idiotic to me, especially in the face of a supposed economic boom and expected growth and development. They shut down bus service on holidays, so if you don't have a car or a bike enjoy that walk or shelling out for a cab. Walking is good for you but not always practical - especially in given prairie weather. I live just north of the downtown core (such as it is) in City Park. There is no grocery store near by - well, not one worth mentioning. The transit issue becomes quite poignant for those of us who must travel great distances to get our groceries. Transit here could stand to run later and more often. And hey, it is job creation as well.
Saskatoon is a city on the cusp of bigger things. It might not happen, but there are whispers of significant growth. Saskatchewan's economy is doing well, and the province's fortunes have drawn national attention. The housing insanity that was in full swing when I arrived seems to have subsided and it is definitely a buyers market out there. It is a nice place to be, but it lacks the amenities and services to justify the prices that people were trying - and succeeding - to squeeze out of the market.
I hear people here, people like Geo, stating that they don't want Saskatoon to change to grow any larger. They may get their wish, but chances are Saskatoon will experience some growth and it is better for Saskatonians to start think in terms of sustainable and intelligent growth rather than following the model of so many other places across Canada. And not all residents are satisfied with the status quo.
At the hospital, I hear complaints from cyclists about the need for more and better bike trails. They talk about the need for cycling lanes in all areas of the city. Given the price of fuel and the push in larger urban centres for people to take up cycling instead of using their cars
, it sounds like a solid plan to me. There is a new bridge going to be built. That will help ease traffic congestion in Sasktoon (such as it is) for a while, at least. However, if the city continues to grow,it will only be a band-aid solution. Some people I have heard talking, feel that it is time for Saskatoon to start considering rapid transit.
Saskatoon needs to seriously consider growth strategies. Many Vancouverites didn't want the city to grow, to see things change - but they did. Our civic politicians hid their heads in the sand and ignored the socio-economic effects of growth, thus we have the mess that is the Downtown Eastside today. Saskatoon isn't a bad little city - much better than people from out side give it credit for being - but it could be a whole lot more. This is the perfect time for Saskatoon to turn a keen eye on itself and figure out the best way for it to direct its own growth.

2. The Good

I like the people here. They are pretty friendly, by and large. There isn't the same level of neurosis and paranoia that you encounter in the Lower Mainland. You can talk to people without them giving you that uneasy look or the polite shrug-off. They are willing to give you more of their time and make significant small talk. In Vancouver, I felt that I was constantly under a microscope, constantly being appraised. Perhaps they are a bit too trusting, but maybe it is just me? The bad parts of town are bad, but they aren't so completely horrible.
I don't have much to say in this area, but then I think that little bit says so much. For all the talk about Saskatoon's bitterly cold winters, the warmth of the people make up for it. Vancouver is a cold place all year round - maybe not weather-wise but certainly in its social environment. There is so much drugs and desperation all over the Lower Mainland. The people are so guarded and suspicious it is hard not to appreciate a place where you can walk safely at night and feel welcome most places you go.

3. The Ugly-ish

Everyone should see an autopsy, or at least the specimens retrieved from and autopsy. You can be shown the pictures, you can receive the warnings - but nothing makes health risks and life threatening and chronic conditions more concrete than actually seeing what it is doing to your body up close and personal. Diabetics and people who fall into the risk category need to see amputated gangrenous limbs for themselves. Alcoholics should see a fatty, well-abused liver up close. People with hypertension and heart conditions need to see fat-lined arteries and arterial plaque build-up (especially if it has crystallized) in the flesh.
Doctors are afraid that some people will give up hope if they see this stuff - but many will simply just live in denial. I am quite overweight and I can state for the record that no doctor ever made it clear enough, no photo makes it clear enough what effect of obesity has on the human body. Have high blood pressure? Don't talk to your doctor about what it will do to you - talk to a pathologist if you can. My old doctor was a good person and she really cares, but she couched things way too much. People like me need to be hit full force, shown the ugly bits, have it made visceral.
Many of my friends, including one particular friend with a blog, need to have this stuff thrown in their faces. We all live in denial or aknowledge what it is happeneing to us but then do nothing. I'm single and have no kids - my death has less consequences than other people I know. People will miss me, but I am not leaving a wife and young ones adrift in the wake of my passing.
I have not been phased by watching a body being cut open, by drawing bodily fluids, watching a brain or other organs being removed. I haven't been affected by seeing those organs disected and then placed back in a plastic bag to be reiserted to the body cavity, watch the rib cage be set back in place and see the body being stitched up. I was quite able to have lunch afterwards. No fainting and vomiting. That sort of sulphuric reek doesn't bother me overly much either.
However, I have been disturbed to see the effects on the human body those all to common conditions have. It is disturbing because I now have clear image of what is going on inside my own body. I should divulge this much but I need to to state why I am on this rant. This patient we did the autopsy on was in his early fifties and died lifting a heavy box. He had a heart attack. He weighed significantly less than me but but major blockages leading into the heart. His wife found him. He died almost instantly. I learned that the strain put on the diaphram when lifting reduces blood flow to the heart. The same thing can happen if you strain while going to the bathroom sitting on the toilet! Not good. I had no clue. No GP had ever bothered to fill me in on this. Instead you look at all the other fat people around and think, "Well, it can't be that bad - look at them." But them isn't you and in cases like this maybe it is better to assume the worst to get the best result.
Go to a teaching hospital and see if you can be shown samples of arterial plaque and arterial sclerosis and see if it doesn't affect you. I had a good chat with one of our pathologists about all this and know much more than I ever knew about these conditions from before.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Food Meme

CD in Play: Isis, Oceanic

Geo picked this up from her friend Grapecat and it looks kinda cool. Anything highlighted in green is something I have had. Anything with ** after is something I refuse to eat. Anything with a # after is something I have eaten but did not like. Anything with a ^^ is one I am curious about.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison (not bad, but moose and elk are better)
2. Nettle tea^^
3. Huevos Rancheros (It's a favourite of mine)
4. Steak Tartare
** (I like beef carpaccio and beef sashimi, but this one is sounds riskier parasite-wise)
5. Crocodile^^
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue (I prefer oil fondues)
8. Carp (still need to try gefilte fish)
9. Borscht
10. Baba Ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Ph
(what I really want right now actually)
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo Gobi (had it but had no clue what it was called)
15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Époisses^^ (I like smelly cheese though, so I'd try it)
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (some have been okay and some bad)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie Gras

24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese # (
My Grandmother made it and my Dad and Uncle love it)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters

29. Baklava
30. Bagna Cauda^^

31. Wasabi Peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted Lassi (Really good)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar # (I
love cognac, but I have never and will never smoke anything)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo

40. Oxtail (only in soup and stews if that counts)
41. Curried goat^^
42. Whole insects^^

43. Phaal^^
44. Goat’s milk (I bloody love goats milk and everyone should give it a chance - GEO!)
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu^^
(Hopefully I won't have a Homer Simpson experience)
47. Chicken Tikka Masala
48. Eel (BBG Eel rules)
49. Krispy Kreme
original glazed doughnut ### (Krispy Krap. Doughnuts are from Satan's ass)
50. Sea urchin # (I have tried it a few of times, but the appeal is lost on me)
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi (one of my favourite things in the whole universe)
53. Abalone^^ (I have had it, apparently, but don't remember it)

54. Paneer^^
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal** #
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini (My preferred martini actually, but I call it a bruised martini)
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips (My parents used to buy me carob instead of chocolate, so I have a taste for it)
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads **
(Would I want anyone eating my testicles?)
63. Kaolin (as in the clay from China?)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian^^ (Who wouldn't want to eat something that is supposed to smelled like dead people?)
66. Frogs legs^^
67. Beignets, Churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis (a favouite of mine - and I am not Scottish)
69. Fried plantain

70. Chitterlings, or andouillette (I have had tripe in Italian and Chinese cuisine - not bad if prepared right. Also had it is the lining in sasusage)
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill**

76. Baijiu^^
77. Hostess Fruit Pie #
78. Snail
79. Lapsang Souchong

80. Bellini (I'm not a 20 year old girl and I am straight)
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant^^ (probably not since I have no clue what this is. And according to what Glen wrote no, I haven't)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare^^ (as in a type of rabbit? Sure)
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse^^
90. Criollo Chocolate^^
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa^^
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (assuming it wasn't the counterfit stuff)
100. Snake^^ (My Uncle had it in Kowloon when he was in the Navy. Tastes like chicken)

I'll have more later on my job and life in Saskatoon - I am about to get kicked out of the Library. I need to time my getting kicked out when the attractive blonde woman is working.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Horrible Things I Do For My Job

CD in Play: Neurosis, Given to the Rising

Nothing on the job that I have seen or had to do so far has really phased me yet. I don't expect to be the iceman come autopsy time, but I knew that going in. Tissue samples and gross examinations are really no big deal. There are certain kinds of autopsies that I may have to deal with that I will find troublesome. I already know that child abuse and infant deaths are going to bother - they bother everyone, or should bother them. I will also have a problem with sexual assault cases. But none of that has come up so far. The handling of dangerous chemicals is of a concern to me, but that is a matter of learning the proper procedures. No I have had one horrible thing that I had to do for the job - something that makes it hard for me to look at myself in the mirror: I had to shave.
On Thursday, I had to be fit tested for a couple of masks. These masks are mainly for those times that I may be dealing with dangerous pathogens or when we have outbreaks of things like avian flu or SARS. Those masks have to form a tight seal around my face and my facial hair was preventing that from happening. I had an inkling that it might so I brought my shaver along just in case so I wouldn't have to rebook my test times. I failed miserably, so off it all went. Good Lord. I knew I needed to loose weight before I got the job with the Health Region. I knew I needed to get back into shape after moving at the beginning of the month. I knew I needed to loose weight after seeing amputated diabetic limbs with gangrene. But vanity may just be the best motivator.
The nurse who did the testing thinks I look better without it, but I get the feeling he has a bias against facial hair to begin with. People look a bit stunned when they see me. Geo kept starring. J did a double take as he leap backwards. Clearly, there is a need to do something about this and so I shall. Aside from taking advantage of the great deal the Health Region offers employees to use their gyms, I plan to grow back the facial hair - for a measure of self-respect and dignity at least.
The last time I shaved completely was back in 1999. I was looking for better work and not getting anywhere. My Dad suggested that it may be the facial hair so I shaved to see what would happen. It didn't make a difference to my job search. Soon after shaving, I met my friend Diana on Skytrain. We were going downtown and she only just seen me the day before. She had saucer eyes. She did this fluttering with her eyes that she does when something meets with her disapproval which is followed by a quick and hard gulp. The angles of her mouth angled downward, her nostrils widened and she asked, "You're growing it back, right?" I haven't shaved completely since that day until now.
I figure I will buy another shaver and shave it off when situations demand it. The masks form great seals with just short stubble on my face, so no problem there. If there is an outbreak of SARS or some other supervirus, I will shave. Whenever I have to shave it is gone, but it will be grown back when all is clear. If the Health Region tells me to keep clean shaven then I will, vanity isn't worth a paycheck.

Me me (me)

CDs in Play: Slint, Slint EP. Stereolab, Rose, My Rocket-Brain! (Rose, le cerveau électronique de ma fusée!) 3" CD single. PJ Harvey, White Chalk.

Current CDs in the Home Stereo: What I listen to on my discman (yeah, yeah, yeah... but I can't afford anything else at this point) is often different from what I listen to at home. I need to buy a rug or something to put under the stand I have for my stereo so I can muffle the bass sounds somewhat. I tried listening to Björk's Volta, but the bass is so dominant - even after turning it all the way down - that I felt bad for the people below and beside me. So I have tried to limit my at home play list to things where the bass won't pound through the walls and the floors.
I have been going through a bit of a rut listening-wise, so this has forced me to search through my CDs and listen to discs I have otherwise been ignoring for a little while. Currently in the player are the soundtracks to Jackie Brown and The Darjeeling Limited (skipping over Peter Sarstedt's annoying "Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)") and also disc one of Girls Girls Girls, which is a compilation of Elvis Costello songs from 1977-1986 assembled by Costello himself.
My discman is having problems, so I may have to look into getting something like an iPod sooner rather than later.

Current Animated Obsession: J and Geo just showed me The Venture Bros. last night. It's a series from the Cartoon Network in the US. Essentially a riff on Hanna Barbara's late 60's action
cartoon, Johnny Quest, the show is very funny and must for anyone who grew up with Saturday morning cartoons that ran from 6am to sometimes way past noon and comic books. The shows creator, Jackson Public (aka Chis McCulloch), was one of the writers on the animated series of The Tick if that is an incentive for anyone out there.

Current Reading material: Aside from safety and procedural manuals, books on postmortem procedures and forensic pathology, I am re-reading the Rebus series by Ian Rankin. Since I started the rebus series back in late 2006 I have been trying to get Geosomin to read it. She has my copy of Knots and Crosses, but when she gets to it only she can say. I decided to reread Knots and Crosses just to see what I thought of the book now that I had completed the series. I still like the book and I acknowledged the changes to Rebus's character as the series progressed while I read it the first time around. However, the differences in writing style really stand out as well. I am just about finished re-reading the second book, Hide and Seek, and will move onto Tooth and Nail which is either my second or third least favourite book in the Rebus series. The content relating to Rebus is fine, but it does feel as though it were written by someone fishing for a movie or a series deal.
Ian Rankin has a new book (non-Rebus) out on September 16th called Doors Open. Needless to say, I will be picking it up.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 3

CD in Play: Múm, Finally We Are No One

I mentioned this before, but if one thing could scare you into being concerned about becoming diabetic it is seeing gangrenous limbs. This week, so far, most of what I have seen are amputated limbs from diabetics. I spoke with the pathologist about gangrene as she and a resident examined a patient's limb. It was all very interesting. Gangrene starts wet and oozing, but will actually harden and sort of mummify tissue. As the flesh rots when it is wet it creates a horrific stench. Patients in this stage are often bypassed by loved ones because of the odour. The pathologist referred to this as a sort of "social amputation".

When I was off work and heading home I saw a man in a wheelchair. He was missing his right hand, all of his left fingers, (only the thumb remained) his left leg to just below the knee and his right foot looks as though it isn't too far off either. I don't mention this to try and gross people out, I've just never seen anything like it. I am ready to consult with an M.D. as soon as I have my provincial health care card about dietary and exercising concerns. Seriously consider doing something about it if you are in the risk category.

I may not be able to attend the autopsy for tomorrow, due to certain factors. They are scheduled to do another particular sort of autopsy, but I am going to ask that I not have that be the first autopsy I attend. I'd like to have at least three regular autopsies before I attend the other kind. Other than that I am learning how formaldehyde (which is called formalin in its diluted state) fixes, or preserves, tissue and other things related to what histopathology does and how a hospital operates.

My old employers are trying to get me to work shifts for them as well. Technically I am still employed by them, but they do not seem to comprehend that I am training full time. They also want me to work at some strikes that are going on - something that I am opposed to doing. I am now in a union as well, so I am hoping that I can avoid those shift that way. I decided to stay on their casual lists in case the Health Region decides to let me go after my probationary period is over, or if I truly cannot stomach the work. Having something to fall back on immediately seems like a good idea and it also means I do not have to reapply for my license. But it could prove to be a bigger hassle than I can deal with at this time. I like what I am training for so far and I really do not want to go back to private security at this point.

Anyhow, I am off to my Printmaking class. I'll be learning about lithography, etching, intaglio, digital imaging and serigraphy. (silk screening)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Life and Limbs

CD in Play: Aerogramme, A Story in White

So today was the first day at my new job. I have an official and unofficial title. The title that best describes what I do is not one the Health Region uses - Autopsy Technician. Officially, I have am designated as an Histopathology Attendant. My semi-unofficial title is "Diener". (see "Dead End" Jobs, A Slight Return for more on that) I am not quite sure what my confidentiality agreement keeps me from disclosing at this point - I have yet to sign it - so I am not going into specifics. In fact, do not expect me to go into specifics at all about my work.

Much of my job is leg work, no pun intended. I am responsible picking up specimens and supplies for Histopathology and supplies for a couple of the other labs as well. There is a lot of stocking and restocking of a whole assorment of supplies and samples going on. I am also responsible for the disposal of biohazardous waste materials and dangerous chemicals. In fact, there is one chemical that could kill me if I inhale it even in its diluted form. I assist in maintaining the archive of slides and prepping samples as required. And yes, there are the autopsies.

Today was an easy start, I only had to view amputated limbs and witness the disposal procedures. Frankly, it wasn't as gory as you might imagine but seeing the limbs is an incentive to not get diabetes. Same with the fatty heart. Fortunately, the regional hospitals all have gyms at an astoundingly fair membership fee. I may or may not view a full autopsy on Thursday and the guy I have been training under will call me if he gets a brain removal on the weekend so I can see how it is done.

But I have to say that I am quite impressed with the people I have to work with so far. The Head Tech is great and the Lab Manager is a great person. The Autopsy Tech who is training me is very relaxed and good to work with and only one Histopathology Tech is needling me for being a greenhorn. Impressions after my first day? I feel lucky to have landed my job.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Talk to the hand

PAD: August 29
Originally uploaded by i4detail
Trent shot this when he was out here recently.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I ask again, "Will your vote really make a difference?"

CD in Play: Neurosis, Given to the Rising

The threat of election looms over the Canadian landscape yet again. The Nu Conservatives will likely try to paint the stability of their minority as a sign that they are fit to govern with a majority. Of course, the truth of the matter is that every politician has been afraid of voter fatigue and a voter backlash should they have been the ones to trigger an election. But the polls are showing that Little Stevie Harper could finally, truly become King, err... Prime Minister leading a majority in the Parlaiment. Not that I totally trust the polls, but it is a chilling thought.
Harper, as discussed before on this blog, mistrusts the democratic impulse. Former Reform Party leader, Preston Manning, discussed Harper's time in the Reform Party in his book Think Big and the picture he paints isn't flattering. Harper and his band aren't what we need right now. However, I can't say that any of the opposition parties thrill me either. Neither the NDP, the Liberals nor the Greens inspire me to get out the vote. None of their leaders fill me with confidence. None of their platforms make me feel that they are the ones who ought to govern.
What I really want is another minority government. I want all the parties to work together and to share power. Sounds naïve - and if I actually thought it were possible, it would be naïve. It is time for Canadians to ditch party allegiances, however, and agitate for something better, something more accountable.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Back to School

CD in Play: Hüsker , Zen Arcade

Okay, so I don't have my first class tonight like I thought. I am taking Printmaking (lithography, silkscreening, etc) and am pretty eager to get started. But I have had to get my student card, UPass and sort a few things out around the campus before my semester really kicks off. It is odd being back, even odder being the "old man" on campus. I am reminder of a guy I new in university named Rider. Rider was 38 when he returned to school. He knew I was burning out and warned me that if I left school I would find it very hard to get back in. Here I am at 38 just returning to school like Rider did a decade ago. Still, it was cool having Rider around, and my friend Alex and I got a lot from hanging around with him in the studio.
But it is still weird. Everything has changed too. When I left school, things weren't as heavily computerized as they are now. I have to get used to the idea of checking my account online for the syllabus and and assignments. Libraries have changed. It is odd and all too modern. Isn't a decade too short a time for all this amount of change to happen? I'll have to play catch up in so many ways, it is a bit intimidating.
Anyhow, I have to get on with my day. My power should be connected by now and I need to unpack, sort things out and buy some groceries.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Dear Lord, Make it Stop.

CD in Play: Assertion, Powerless

I finally moved out of Geo and J's yesterday. It was pretty easy, but I definitely need to work on the ole' cardiovascular. It wasn't the furniture that did me in - it was the boxes of books. I even repackaged them into smaller boxes. Ces't la vie. Geo figured I did okay, all things considered and they were panting as well and are in pretty respectable shape themselves.
So, am I typing from my new digs just north of the Saskatoon city centre? (such as it is) Uh... no. See, any place I have lived in has either included the heat, water and electrical or someone else was responsible for dealing with the bills. I asked the manager - a good guy I have to say - if Hydro was included. Most people in BC, that I know, use the term hydro as an all inclusive term for utilities. If it isn't all inclusive it is usually clarified when asking the question, "Is Hydro included?" See BC gets its power from BC Hydro, just Ontario had Ontario Hydro (now Hydro One I seem to recall) or Hydro-Quebec in, well, Quebec. 
In Saskatoon, either the City looks after your power or SaskPower does depending on where you live. My assumption now means I have no power until Wednesday, I hope. So, I am staying with Geo's big brother, her sister-in-law and their Japanese exchange student for a couple of nights. However, I am also now feeling like I have been smacked down by an overly well-developed sumo wrestler. I was feverish earlier today and had to lie down under heavy covers, shivering and trying to get warm. I felt either feverish or mildly poisoned. But I am not alone. Geo was feeling wiped too so I figured it was the move. The people I am staying with didn't help with the move and Geo's sister-in-law and her exchange student are both feeling similar effects. Ugh.
I am feeling better now, just a bit wiped out. However, I do start my new job as a Diener (or Autopsy Tech) next week. I have my first Printmaking class at the University of Saskatchewan tomorrow night and I am going to try and pull in a few shifts with the Security Company I have been working with for Thursday to Saturday. (I have to go into the university tomorrow)