A project delayed

Some things progress. Some don’t.

I ran into a sticking point when I tried to finish the pony wall. I ran out of nails. They need to be galvanized since they’ll be outdoors. However, only the hardware stores sell them and the one that is normally open on Sunday was closed for inventory.

I did think of buying a spiker at Canadian Tire. However, they sell nails for the 34° framing nailers they sell, but not in galvanized. So, I’m stuck.

I did have a few things left to do that I could. I finished taking the last few things out of the camper and left the cupboard doors open. I did cut the lumber for the last wall. I also assembled some of the frames for the shelter.

Now, I have to wait until tomorrow to get nails. Maybe, I should buy the nailer anyway…

A last minute project

There’s nothing quite like a last minute project. This one is brought on by my remembering that, since I’m having a knee replacement in February, I won’t be able to clean snow off the camper roof.

This has bothered me for a few days. I would like to get one of these temporary shelters but most aren’t tall enough to go over the roof of the camper. Last night, I thought about building a pony wall around the camper and putting the shelter on it. I put the idea to carpenter friends and they heartily agreed with the idea.

Converting this from an idea to a plan is another thing, since they don’t really provide full measurements. You get such things and the length, height, door opening, etc., but not such things as the height of the eaves, etc. So, last night, I took an expensive flyer and bought a 24′ x 12′ x 10′ shelter. This morning, once it was light enough to see, I assembled a frame and determined how much higher it would have to be to clear the edge of the roof and the air conditioner on the roof center. I figured I needed 2′ for sure, so went with 2′ 6″ to be on the safe side.

Next, I moved the motor home to a spot where it was reasonably level, leveled out the camper, and parked it. Next, I cleaned the last of the things that had to come out for the winter. Then, it was off to the hardware store to pick up lumber and nails.

Every good project starts with a pile of lumber.

Every good project starts with a pile of lumber.

Twenty odd pieces of lumber and a bag of HDG box nails, I was ready. I remembered rather quickly that framing muscles don’t seem to exercise unless you’re actually framing. And, my knee seems to be a bit more detrimental to carpentry work than I remember, as well. However, I quickly got the first wall framed up.

First pony wall framed.

First pony wall framed.

I cut the lumber for the second long wall, and went in for supper. After a quick bite, and serious inspection by the cats who seem fascinated over the smell and texture of sawdust, I went out and assembled the second wall. This leaves one about 12′ 6″ long. But, by the time I got this one finished, it was too dark to cut. Also, I need to throw a new, sharp blade on my saw. I also seem to have not picked up enough nails for the last wall, so have to do a bit of hunting to find some tomorrow. For some reason, the hardware store had a sign saying they were closed tomorrow.

I was also reminded of something else today. There’s the same amount of work… more even… involved in framing a pony wall than there is a full-sized one. And, one of these days, I really need to buy a framing nailer…

Ah, the niqab thing

Once again, another news story comes out where the majority of Canadians believe that members of the public service should not wear a niqab at work. The study states that 64 percent of Canadians call for a ban on “Muslim women from front-line federal public service jobs if they wear Islamic veils.”

Further, 74 percent say they disagree with wearing a niqab during a citizenship ceremony, although two Federal Courts have ruled that such a prohibition is illegal.

My response to this is two words in length: so what? The freedom of religion and expression called for in Section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the wearing of religious symbols. And, there are some who say the niqab is cultural rather than religious in nature. However, it is called for in some branches of Islam and the differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims is substantially greater than the differences between some Christian sects, such the difference between Catholics and Amish. If you see some Muslin women not wearing one, or a hijab instead, this is a reflection of these differences, not that it isn’t a religious piece of apparel.

Equally important to consider in this is that we have a charter to protect minority rights, not the majority opinion. Further, the fact that we have a court system that actually enforces a charter that states such things as everyone is equal in front of the law is something you should be proud of, regardless of the fact that you may not agree with every one of those decisions.

And, if you’re against public servants wearing a niqab, although there are no federal public servants who do so, ask yourself, “Why?” How does it affect you in any way? Will that public servant process your form more slowly, or not be able to do her job.

If you don’t have a practical, functional answer, other than personal opinion or wanting them to adopt your culture, you’re the problem in this issue, not the woman wearing a niqab.

Remember, we have a proud and long history of not requiring cultural assimilation of immigrants. If we had required it, public servants may only speak Cree…

For sale: one vote (redux)

Note: Clara pointed out that it was difficult to find the reblogged content, so this is another shot at telling the same story.

I wrote this for the Whitehorse municipal election in 2012, but, with 23 candidates for council and 3 for mayor this time around, maybe it could bear repeating. I actually, unlike last time around,

Note that the election this year is October 15th… four days before the federal election.


So here are some hints for those who want to get voted in. Note that this probably applies for all elections. A political campaign is a job interview of sorts and the electorate’s only way to choose the right person for the job is the platform put forward by the candidate. So, when expressing your platform:

1. If you intend to deal with an issue, explain how you intend to fix it in detail. Everyone loves kittens, rainbows and unicorns, but general campaign promises without details are usually best moved to the field with a backhoe to make next year’s crop grow that much better. If you cannot provide details, it means you know nothing about the subject other than what to call it.  Honestly, we have enough elected representatives who know nothing. We don’t need more.

2. Prove you have an understanding of jurisdictional responsibility. Each level of government has its responsibilities. If you’re running for one, don’t make promises about things that come under another level of government. This only indicates that you have no clue about the position you aspire to, and probably indicates your level of qualification for it.

3. If you promise something, be prepared to vote that way when the time comes. There is no excuse for supporting something you said you would not support or vice versa. The common story is “after studying the issue,…” or words to that effect. If it was a promise made in your campaign, it meant that you already studied the issue, or should have. Changing your mind in this manner means you either knew nothing about your stand on the issue, or you simply meant to lie your way into office. Unfortunately, we have too many of those cases, too.

4. Have some idea of how financing works. While governments and businesses run through two completely different models and experience in one has no relevance to the other, the general rules of finance are still the same. You can only spend what comes in. Whether through transfers, taxation or borrowing, this income is the maximum you have to provide vital services. And, unlike a business, you simply can’t close the plant and move to somewhere offering lower operating costs. Explain (in detail, again), how you intend to meet your promises and still afford to provide those services.

5. Be honest. Admit it when you don’t know something. Take responsibility for those times when your ideas don’t work. Sometimes you’re going to have to make unpopular decisions (some of the decisions the current council have been decried for are some I heartily approved of). People aren’t going to be happy with everything you do, but will be far more willing to accept it, grudgingly, if you can show you honestly and sincerely feel this is the best choice. The only way to do this is have a long history of being honest and sincere and it doesn’t take much to indicate that these are characteristics you don’t have.

So, there’s my pitch. These aren’t that much in the way of demands for buying my vote. I know it seems a lot, but you’ll probably find that the same price will purchase far more votes than mine…

Sources and the internet

One of my peeves with the internet is that it allows everyone to be a publisher. This means that the option to put information in front of a large audience, without the potential of having someone responsible for the reputation of that publisher ensuring the veracity of content.  Newspapers and magazines have editors, broadcast news organizations have producers, and their key role is to ensure the reputation, and as a sidebar, legally protect the organization from potential issues based upon the content they produce.

This is not the case with the internet. The content available across the internet is rife with misleading or deliberately false information.

I have seen increasingly frequent social media posts, particularly during this election, relating to political party policy done without any attempt to verify the information or its source.  Fact checking of the information indicates many of these are reposts of information falsified by either the source or the poster. And people don’t seem to want to put the effort into checking out the story, particularly where the posting supports the policy or the message your party wants to present.

The main thing to ask yourself when you see a politically-related social media posting is this. Does the story come from an accredited media source? If not, it probably isn’t true. Here’s this story that’s obviously major news, yet doesn’t appear in a major news media site. No reporter is going to turn down a major story, so this is a really good indication that the source is false.

If nothing else, you can save yourself some embarrassment by checking where you get your information for the social media posts you share. There is a broad range of postings from white supremacist groups going around the internet recently, and some of the people who have shared these would probably be surprised to discover the agenda of many of the sources for their shared posts.

For example, I recently messaged someone I know who is affiliated with a political party to suggest pulling a social media post. The source was a link from a website. The source in question is a white supremacist site, whose web master has posted such wonderful diatribes as a recent one on how Adolph Hitler was “misunderstood.” Incidentally, this posting has not been deleted after several days, even after the poster acknowledged receiving my message about his source.

Granted, if you need a neo-Nazi propaganda site to support the message of your political party, you may want to take a long time to reconsider what you actually support. But, that is a different topic all together…

Campground firewood

Two years ago, I mentioned one of my two pet peeves with Yukon government campgrounds involves firewood. The issue has been raised again, although in another light.

CBC has reported the huge other problem with campgrounds providing free firewood to campers, namely, people stealing firewood.

Over the years, I’ve seen a few suspicious-looking situations, although not totally evident. After all, people stockpiling far more wood at their campsite than they could ever use is not the indication of theft. It could just as easily be one of the many selfish jerks that empty the wood box when they arrive for their long weekend stay, depriving anyone else of wood for the next day or two until the wood boxes are restocked. Some people will empty more than one wood box.

The method of doing this is to often load up their truck, ATV, etc., and drive to their campsite. It used to be that moving firewood on a campsite by vehicle was a violation of Yukon Campground Regulations. I didn’t agree with this since there are lots of people who camp who aren’t physically capable of carrying an  of firewood to far. However, the rules were changed but there is a limit. No more than 15 pieces of firewood can be carried in a vehicle at one time (section 10, para 3 for the legal types.)

The main problem is that there is pretty minimal supervision available at most campgrounds most of the time. The campground officers do show up at some sites with some frequency, particularly those known for partying. Most have the people who restock the wood and clean the outhouses show up daily. But, most do not have around the clock supervision.

Now, this is quite an expensive proposition given there are many campgrounds and the position of campground monitor, with the ability to enforce the regulations, is rather daunting. And, to be honest, having someone on site is no guarantee people won’t be able to sneak firewood away from the campsite.

So, the onus comes down on us, the park users. There’s nothing wrong with keeping your eyes open for something suspicious, and nothing wrong with surreptitiously taking an innocent photo of a license plate and passing that information to the campground officers when they do their rounds.

Environment Yukon has complained about the cost of providing firewood for a long time. And, as one tourist mentioned in the news story, we are one of the few places that provide it. Hopefully, we won’t lose this wonderful perk we have. It would be sad to see it end because of a few idiots who are too lazy to cut their own firewood…

Cats and meditation

I’ve been a bit remiss in posting, since I’ve been on the road visiting family and came back to go back to teaching classes. And, now that things have slowed down a bit, I can do a bit of writing.

I get a chance to consider some of the meditation apps I’ve tried to deal with the fact that I haven’t slept properly for more than six months. I’m going to look at this in consideration of comparing meditation to cat ownership.

First of all, you aren’t going to get a chance to really relax. Putting on the headphones and stretching out with the meditation app usually means that one cat will climb on your feet and go to sleep, while the other will perform the same task on your chest. Once the surprise ends, mind you, this is really relaxing. But, you probably will want to restart the app from the beginning, particularly when Darcy jumps on your chest. She often lands on your stomach and she does weigh almost 13 pounds.

Second recommendation: wear socks. That relaxation thing plays second fiddle to your reaction to having two cats simultaneously decide to lick your bare toes. I don’t know why both decide to do exactly the same thing at the same time, but it’s happened more than once.

One app I tried told me, “I must learn what complete calm looks like.” I listened to these words looking down at Furball lying on the top of my legs, upside down, with all four legs in the air, and Darcy sprawled like a corkscrew… a cat in liquid state…  laying across my feet. (As I sit in my recliner writing this, I currently have two cats demonstrating complete calm on my lap.) I think I know what calm looks like without someone else telling me.

Lastly, the newest one I tried tells me at the beginning that, “Meditation is safe. You are in complete control.” I have three cats. I don’t think I have control over a damn thing….


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