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Showing posts from 2013

Cars, trucks, money.

I have this Honda Accord. It's from 1992 and I am a fan of it. Over the years I have had my troubles, but since I got the car for free. Putting money into it hasn't seemed so bad. Lately I was faced with a situation where my car was giving me trouble, yet the parts to repair the problems when labor was considered too much for me to bare. Turns out when I did the repair myself, and I considered downgrading the certified part, I could manage the issue. The experience was perplexing for me on a very different angle. I started to look at the auto industry in a whole new light.

My car is 21 years old. When Honda created it they did so with a level of Engineering that would make current car companies blush. They built an economically sound vehicle for the common car buyer. Still today, Honda's line of entry Civic and Accord's have much of their success on the earlier line as they are still on the road today. This is both good and bad for a car company. Good in that their rep…

A New Beginning for the Both of Us

It has been far longer than I wish to admit. Today I saw my wife excited about work once again. Hopefully our employer will use her to the best of her abilities. It was nice to see her excited once again over a job. It has been a rough go. Her experience trumping her certification, she has time after time been accepting jobs that neither the company nor the humans hiring her could understand as qualities of a project coordinator. My fingers are crossed that my corporation will not drop the ball.
My wife will be working for the CIty of Calgary, and if that was not close enough she will be working for the same department and in one of the same buildings that I call home. While I will be concentrated on the lower levels, she will be situated up high in the stratosphere. I am excited for her. Not because we will be car pooling to work. No because after all is said and done, I do really like the City of Calgary.
On the other side of things, I have found that I am fat. Not obese, but in the o…

It's about Taxes.

There is a storm brewing, a capital verses social storm. Who will win?
Home builders have declared war on Nenshi or maybe it is the other way around. I got a secret to tell you. The estimated $4800 per house that the City spreads out to current property owners is more about freeing up tax money coming to the coffers than it is about affordable houses. This is a classic divide and conquer strategy concealed in a mayoral race. Instead of raising taxes to supplement home builders. Boil it down and you have to decide how you believe taxes are supposed to be used.

If you believe that new homes in new communities are somehow essential to your municipal tax structure then by all means the City taxes should be paying for sewer and water. FYI New infills in Calgary must pay for a new water and sewer hook ups to infrastructure that currently exists. If you think that home owners should pay a for the sewer and water just like they would be paying for cabinets and faucets, then you would believe…

Elections.... very slow start.

I don't like agreeing with the Calgary Sun, but in this case I must. I am in ward 5, and the political debate is really not a debate at all. The only candidate that is fairly in the know is the incumbent. The other two candidates for Councilor have a basic communication problem. One is not communicating with the easiest forms of social media (debates, online websites, twitter, etc), and the other has a very simple focused issue (Taxis) that really only covers only the surface of what the job entails.

Since the Catholic Trustee was acclaimed the surprise in my area is the Public trustee. The incumbent basically has a facebook page she started in 2011. It is filled with a timeline of events that she either thought was important to share or wanted to highlight to those who follow her. It is very powerful stuff considering that the other socially conscious candidate has a comprehensive sight complimenting his character. The issue I have is the lack of issues. No one seems to be highli…

Organizing My Life is a Lifelong Project

Every moment I work I feel like I am loosing two. This is a feeling that I just can't shake. All of the work that needs to get done and not enough of me to go around. If I was incredibly wealthy I would just hire it out, but alas my freedom 6/49 plan has not paid its dividends.
For me, I have a Garage that needs work, a basement to clean, a car to fix, a wife to attend to, a union movment that never stops, a work life that changes weekly, and my family. I feel sometimes like I should just stop sleeping... yet I like sleep so so much.
Do you ever feel like this?

Worst case in safety is not a death, it's the absence of it.

I have been going over a scenario in my training that makes me wonder what is going on with safety in general. It has been a long journey for me in this world of safety. When I was in the field as a labourer, I thought about safety as a "common sense" kind of factor. I thought I knew what was safe and what wasn't. Being able to feel comfortable in a confined or restricted space has never been a problem for me. This continued for years, down the road. Call it luck or good fortune, but of the close calls I had and the people I hung around with allowed me to feel very safe. My crews understood that the way we worked we were "safe enough" and we watched out for each other. 

While all of this was going on, a book located in all of my foreman offices and shacks one day made it off the shelf and into my hands. OH&S Code was a particularly thick coiled book. Filled with legal terms, it outlined how specific scenarios were to play out. Some of it didn't come clos…

Axing the Logo is a bad move MEC

Dear Wise Leadership on top of the Mountain,
I don't have any issue with the word MEC infact it brings warm thought to my mind. For the brands sake the mountain must stay. In my talks with a current employee the removal of the Mountain was quite clearly a mistake not worth making.

After hearing about the logo change I am unsure to even share this letter with you. Considering this is still a co-operative I thought I should voice my concern.
Your leadership team seems to want to shake up what works for the company. A brand built on many years of great products and a Rock Solid community of adventure loving Canadians. I am unsure if  your team is bored with life or if they are themselves having an identity crisis. Either way I am concerned the co-op is missing the point of what a brand means to the trust of those who buy from you.
I was listening to the radio and a representative was describing how MEC wanted to get away from the idea that they were just for the mountain crowd. My most h…

My watch is making me angry.

Just over a year ago I sponsored a kickstarter project. A watch that connected to my phone. I was overjoyed to be part of this project. Needless to say the company went from a few hundred watches to 85 thousand. I ended up buying two watches. One for myself and one for my brother as a wedding gift. Over the course of a year I was able to ascertain a few things. Don't pick an odd color, it sucks when the company starts selling to chains when the primary investors are not receiving product.

My brother chose grey, and I chose white. Which as it turns out was the last two colors to be produced. A few weeks ago I got an email that I have been waiting for for 12 months. And true to form, the weeks are turning into months where my shipment stays in limbo.

I am starting to get frustrated with this process. As an investor, it is a little perplexing to have secondary investors gaining access to a watch that sits pending in China. In the long run I am calm and with weather this storm. The so…

Chasing the City

I don't think my wife will ever really know how happy I am that she is raising money for the City Chase. Back when I first met her, she was doing this race that happens in the city ever year along with other cities across Canada. The City Chase is a fundraiser/race/business profile that appeals to teams that want to run all over the city in search of points of interest. To which later they all congratulate each other for another great year.

They raise money for a sports organization called "Right to Play".

Whether or not she reads this, I am pretty sure she still believes that I am half balking the idea of the City Chase. While it is true that I am more of a singular sport player, I do know the feeling of team sports and while this is a team race, I know that I have chosen a life that doesn't allow me to plan for races of this type. I know what I just said is a cop out but for me at this point in my life I have become so busy with things, it is hard to nail me down t…

The Rob Ford Problem

Right now there is a fundraiser on Indiegogo. It is called rob-ford-crackstarter and with two days to go it may just raise the $200,000 they need to obtain a video allegedly showing the mayor of Toronto smoking crack cocaine. As of now they have raised over $174,000 dollars.

I am a big kickstarter fan, and I have invested in indiegogo projects. This fundraiser crosses a line for me. You have to ask what is the greater good here.

Is it better to pay a probable drug dealer citizen two hundred grand for a video that should be just released by wiki leaks and be done with the fall out. Or is it better to say don't give in to blackmail?

I don't think Indiegogo should be promoting a fundraiser that promotes the blackmail of another person. However if the video is real, I think people should know the type of person they are dealing with.

This crosses so many barriers for me. Should a political figure have a private life, and does the smoking of crack constitute a failure of Mayor Ford…

The house at the top of the hill.

We were called to upper Mount Royal and the house on the top of the hill was telling me one thing. Long push. We get to the top, the husband is not so happy to see us but directs us to the garage. His yellow Porsche hidden in the garage and his clean out exposed. The "plumber" and I use this term loosely was on site. He had augured 25 feet and pulled back roots. Understandable considering the location and state of the trees.

As we started setting up the wife came out of the house. At first I didn't know why she was so happy to see us. This very fit woman was wearing a low cut v-neck, summer skirt and high heels. I don't know women who wear this around the house so I can only assume she and her husband were planning to go out. She was way too happy to see us. Like I thought we had to put the extension on and we hit something near the property line. The plumber was trying to be helpful and they were happy when we cleared the line

Like most of our jobs the owners chat i…

Pebble Aggrivation

The link above is my sanity slowly slipping away. In the beginning it was a great graphic of what happens when people come together. Now it is a reminder of what can happen when a cog in the machine breaks down. The word from the company is that a color mold issue is a foot. It has been weeks of watching a flat line...

I purchased this watch as a present for my brother and I. 85,000 watches are to be made. With about 30,000 left to build my brothers watch and my watch are the colors set for the last run.

My patients is starting to wear thin. I along with many others are in the same boat. This is the price you pay for investing in start ups.

The killer in this is that many other companies are starting to go down this road. While I feel great to be part of a technological shift, I fear that the final product may be dwarfed by bigger corporations and deeper software developers.

So far from what I have seen, the watch is magnificent for what it is. I just …

New Position in a familiar space.

I had quite the month. After loosing the election for recording secretary for my local I was sent to Fort McMurray for the annual Alberta convention. While I was there it became evident that there would be an unlikely resignation by the treasurer. It created a situation where people who were running for the secretary position decided to run for a different position. This created a vacuum for a position that I unsuccessfully ran for in 2012. I was dumbfounded. Why was no one running for this position?

When I say running, what I mean is telling people they will putting there name forth. I ran incorrectly last year, which caused a humbling situation for me, for the next year and years to follow. One thing I have learned is mistakes and failures lead to lessons for the future. I am a better person for failing and have learned many life lessons in the process.

I wanted the secretary position. Much to chagrin of my wife who loathes the very title. My problem was that our Local was running t…

One World Futbol Project

Gremlins are gone.

My good old '92 Honda Accord had been making an annoying noise. For awhile my mind went to places where I would be changing belts. Over a few months (yes months) the noise was just not making sense. My mind started going through a set of troubleshooting steps. You see I am also in the midst of troubleshooting the cruise control and lack of horn in my little reliable car. Anyhoo I started thinking back to my exhaust system that was installed a little over a year ago.

Well today I confirmed it. Honda's have a heat shield over the catalytic converter. This heat shield was rusting away. 21 years of driving finally took its toll. So with the recommendation from my muffler shop today I undid the two remaining bolts holding what was left of the 4 bolt two round halves of metal. Gremlins gone.

On to the cruise control and horn. Then maybe watch for a nicer front bumper.

I need a few more years out of this great vehicle.

Guess what, I'm famous.... almost.

Last holiday weekend I decided to create a tool box. Not just any tool box. I called it a "Stool Pail". I modeled it after my own personal experience with 5 gallon pails and a lid that I was turned on to when I was canoeing years ago. I got a hold of remnant products I had around the house, at work and I purchased a few items.

I made this product because the world hasn't enough sewer video consumers. The market makes steel tool boxes, and sells stools, but nothing in between. For years, the position of service video operator with the City of Calgary has been given great products to work with except when it comes to my tool pail. As operators, we need to get into the space with minimal trips to the vehicle, be able to reduce the products we bring into the home, as well as use the items in such a way that we don't magnify what we are doing. Which is invading your house with implements that clean your sewer pipes.

When you work in the sewers like I do you understand ger…

Hockey Night in Canada

3,000,000,000 Reasons to have an NHL hockey season. Dollars that is. With the season half over we could cut that number in half.

So what does that mean for us mere consumers? Time to spend our money. One thing from capitalism is that when we want something the market provides it. When we don't the market takes it away.

Hockey is Canadian. Canadians like hockey, and some of the 400 million Americans enjoy the sport as well. Not to mention the various companies that rely on the sport and the corporations that buy the season tickets for their staff and CEO's. The television contracts, farm teams, and thousands of children that play the sport with hopes of one day being in the NHL.

I can't see the sport disappearing over this lockout. I say lockout because the distinction is of minor importance. The very wealthy owners locked out their employees, the wealthy hockey players. Perhaps we can learn from this, but for the most part I think we will file this incident under unfortuna…