Monday, January 30, 2006

Gardening! In January! In Canada!

No snow on the ground today, and the weather is a pleasant 5°C. It's almost like a late fall day.

Neil got out the pruning shears and finished the 'prune the pear trees' job that's been on the white board since the fall, accidentally overlooked when it started snowing.

I picked up downed branches from the maple that's dying, and of course, the pruned branches. That much less to pick up in the spring proper, when it comes. And of course, I had to throw the ball for the puppy. :)

It was almost like gardening! This is very very strange weather for southwestern Ontario in January.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Summary of the recent election

These are more or less random bits of thought in the wake of the election.

If we had proportional representation in this country, the makeup of the House of Commons would look entirely different.

Snipping a bit from Fair Vote Canada's assessment of the election results:
"Had the same votes been cast under a proportional voting system, Fair Vote Canada projected that the seats allocation would have been approximately as follows:
# Conservatives - 36.3% of the popular vote: 113 seats (not 124)
# Liberals - 30.1% of the popular vote: 93 seats (not 103)
# NDP - 17.5% of the popular vote: 59 seats (not 29)
# Bloc Quebecois - 10.5% of the popular vote: 31 seats (not 51)
# Greens - 4.5% of the popular vote: 12 seats (not 0)"

The links to the various party websites inside the quote are something I added. I apologize to all the english only speakers out there on behalf of the appallingly rude Bloc Quebecois, who apparently couldn't be bothered to have an english translation of their website. You would think they would want to make their point of view available to the rest of Canada, as part of the process of cordial separation.

Good Gods, even the fledgling Green Party website is fully bilingual, and my computer geek husband assures me that full bilingualism in a website is no cheap endeavor.

But I'll leave the issue of Quebec seperation for another day, when I'm truly bored in the middle of winter without my garden and pics thereof to keep us all entertained.

Memorable bits:

- The sick to my stomach feeling of encountering what can only be described as Hate in the middle of an otherwise at least superficially polite all candidate's debate. In Canada. We of the world-wide reputation for politeness. Unless, apparently, you are gay.

- The admiration/compassion/something listening to the lesbian woman who stood up in the midst of it and challenged attitudes.

- Joe, the political guy at work, who more or less said that 'The Man' wants us to become disillusioned with the process, to give up and stop participating, to feel like we can't make changes.

- The ...."it's okay to be afraid of our country becoming like the Right Wing World-Dominating USA*, but it's not okay to speak of it to the public at large" thing that gripped us. The Liberals were rounded criticized for their fear-mongering ads against the Conservatives.

*My apologies to all the Americans out there who are just as disgusted with their current Goverment as the rest of the world.

- The feeling that the whole lot of them need to stop acting like children and grow the hell up. But that would be that disillusionment that Joe spoke of again, wouldn't it?

- Vote Marriage Canada claims that 'over 60%' of their 209 endorsed candidates were elected. When I compared the list of their endorsements to the list of newly-elected Members of Parliament, I got closer to 53.8%, but what's a little quibbling here and there? That means that approximately 112 of the 308 elected MPs will vote against same-sex marriage when the Conservatives fulfil their promise of having a free vote in Parliament on the issue. Now, just because the other 196 winning MPs weren't endorsed by this organization, it doesn't mean that they disagree with it's stance, but it seems unlikely that same sex marriage will be disallowed so shortly after being made legal by the previous government.

- Still being pissed off with Jack Layton, the leader of the NDP for making the call to side with the Conservatives on a vote of confidence and bringing down the previous government. I didn't want this election to happen in the first place.

- And finally, back to where I started commenting on the election a few months ago - I want to decline my vote. I want to be able to walk into a polling station, accept my ballot and say 'I decline to vote. I do not support any of the Parties at this time, but I continue to support this process.' I want my ballot to be counted separately as the civil act of protest that it is. I don't want to have my ballot counted amongst the spoiled ballots, the ballots of people too stupid to mark them correctly.

There, I think I'm done.

I promise to return to more peaceful topics shortly.

Maybe I'll even get off my butt and post a picture of something again someday.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

the day after the night before - the Canadian Election

So.... there's good news, and there's bad news in Canada today.

The Conservatives won. That's bad news.

But they won a minority government, and a truly smaller minority then anticipated. That's the good news, such as it is.

Minority governments tend to be fairly short-lived and unstable in Canadian governments.

The conservative candidate that I ranted about in the last post won in my riding. That's bad news.

The NDP increased their seat count by a third again, so that's good news.

Neutral but interesting - the Green Party finally qualified for federal funding, even though they didn't win a seat anywhere, because they got 4% of the popular vote, nationwide.

Altogether annoying - the Bloc Quebecois, who only run candidates in the province of Quebec, got 51 seats from their 10% of the popular vote (because the popular vote is calculated over the whole of Canada), while the NDP running candidates all over the country found their 17% of the popular vote translated to 29 seats.

I need to compare the winnings in each and every riding against the Vote Marriage folks who endorsed candidates in 209 ridings so I can get a picture on whether the same sex marriage legislation will stand or not. It's an issue that's important to me.

Overall, the Left has a breathing moment to regroup. Things won't go downhill too quickly because the Conservatives have to play very much to the Centre to keep their government in power. If they govern well in the time that they have, they stand a better chance of gaining a majority rule (and considerably more raw power) in the next election.

Paul Martin, the former Prime Minister, and leader of the Liberals, resigned as leader immediately last night, although announcing that he will continue to serve as the MP for his riding. So it's in the Liberals best interest to not play havoc with the Conservative minority on any given issue too quickly, until they find a new leader and give him/her a chance to get comfortable with the public.

Feel free to ask questions, if you're not familiar with the political system, or something doesn't make sense. I'd be happy to answer what I can.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Canadian Election Politics and me

Well, that was depressing.

I have this old fashioned idea that a responsible voter gets to know her candidates before voting. So I went to the local all candidate's meeting tonight.

The NDP candidate is an inarticulate idiot. This distresses me because their Party's platform is the closest to my point of view.

The Green Party's candidate is .... well intentioned, but unformed.

The Liberal candidate is the incumbent. He's slick. Well practiced at the art of politics. And a typical Liberal - self-centered, self-righteous, arrogant.

The Conservative candidate sickens me. Mind you, I'm pre-disposed to be sickened by Conservatives, but this guy.... and the support he got in the room, suffice to say that this is the reason I found the debate so depressing.

For those of you who don't know - the previous Liberal government recently legalized same-sex marriage in Canada. I support this idea, hell, I celebrate it as a move long overdue in a humane society.

The Conservative Party has stated that they want to review this decision. I'm afraid that it will be reversed. That gay folks' right to marry will be taken away.

Some Conservatives are only in the party for the economics, and are socially liberal. A long time ago, back in the days when the Conservatives used to call themselves Progressive Conservatives, before the right wing first split off and drove the party into the ground, and then chased them off, these types used to be considerably more numerous and were called Red Tories. "Red" because the Liberal party colour is Red, left-leaning economically conservative. I understand that, I grew up that way.

Nowadays, most of them are all Conservative, all the way. This candidate is one of them.

But there was a bright moment - a women in a 16 year, 3 children, lesbian relationship got up and outed herself and challenged the Conservative candidate to explain himself. I was moved by the support she did get in the audience(not as much as the candidate, depressingly) and by her courage to speak up in that room. I thanked her personally afterwards.


I went home and ate some comfort food and hugged the puppy and took a skein of yarn off the spindle. Things look a little brighter, the world is a little warmer. It'll be okay. Maybe not in this election, but someday...

The weaving, by the way, is getting better. Anti-V suggested spray starch and it seems to be working.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006


I don't suppose that there's anyone else out there that uses a warp-weighted loom to weave, eh?

Well on the off chance that you're reading this, and do weave on a warp-weighted loom, and you've tried to do a 2/2 twill on it, will you please contact me? I'm considering tossing the whole project into the nearest active firepit that I can find.

Except that I'm a tad stubborn and I know if I give up, it'll be a long long time before I ever try a 2/2 twill again. Or any twill.

And then the hubby would never get the blue cloak he needs to go off and kill someone. (It's a Viking Era thing - don't worry)

Sticky wool. Painfully narrow sheds (which I think is because of how I tied the weights to the warp, but no other configuration makes sense). A gore that just shouldn't be there - there's no logical reason for it.

And the bathroom is still unnaturally pink.

But at least I've finally finished the book. And I only have to wait another year and a half or so for the third volume in the series. I'm sure I'll find another one of some sort to occupy me in the meantime.

Like the newest North European Symposium on Archeological Textiles that is waiting for me in the InterLibrary Loans Office.

Or the Richter's herb catalogue.

Or any one of a million others in the ILL universe...

For the non warp-weighted loonies out there.... what's on your bookshelf these days?


Thursday, January 5, 2006

Happy New Year! (belated)

Bathroom: It's still Pink. But I'm not doing it again any time soon. So I don't understand colour.... who will really notice?

Actually, I quite like the accent wall(s) we did in a deep rich colour called "mission wildflower". I splurged .. it's from the Ralph Lauren line of paints.

But the other walls, and ceiling that I did in a lighter colour.... I'm not at all sure about. I think I was imagining a sort of off-white with just a hint of pink, and instead got 'girly-girl' pink. I am most definitely not a 'girly-girl'. I think the hubby is a little disconcerted by the colour and is being very polite about it.

Well okay... centipides can turn me into a girly-girl for a few seconds, but really... just then. Freaky little fast and squiggly things ... they remind me of snakes. Snakes would probably turn me into a girly-girl real fast as well but fortunately, I've yet to encounter one unexpectedly. Just in zoos and on tv.

Have got a new book on the go, and I'm somewhat absorbed. "To Light a Candle" by Mercedes Lackey, in case anyone is wondering.