Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I have to do this!

I've met Dwayne a couple of times now and he's nothing but trouble. :D He's full of beans and has a thing for tough runs as you'll see if you care to read his report.

He's an ultramarathon guy. He likes them long. Like 100 kilometers long.

The Polar Bear Run – My First Time
Dwayne Sandall

‘A one-of-a-kind 30-K straight across frozen-over, big-as-an-ocean Lake Winnipeg (the world's 13th largest). "If it's clear out, you can see the finish line from the start line!" says Hasher Denzil Feinberg, a.k.a. the Tin Man. But, he adds, "if there's a whiteout, you could get lost and die." ‘ (Runners World, January 2003)

So began my intrigue with this event.

It is now the evening before the 2004 Polar Bear Run; a wide range of thoughts bouncing around inside my head - Am I crazy?, What will the wind be like? What’s the compass bearing I need in case I get lost? This is going to be really cool! A call from Jeff Badger, the organizer, added to the mood of trepidation. He had somehow mistaken me for someone who had done this run before and was asking for my opinion on the trail conditions. He seemed concerned that the trail was going to be in bad shape because of the fresh snow that had been falling. I flashed back to the day before; me walking down Lombard Avenue at lunch time, slipping and sliding in all the now slushy fresh snow, thinking ‘I hope the run isn’t like this’. Jeff said it wasn’t slushy, just loose. My mind eased. I didn’t hear back from Jeff that night, so the race was on!

The morning of the run was intimidating right from the start. A late start out on the road, my intrepid support team (the lovely Julie G) trying to nap as I drove, waking up only when we came upon treacherous stretches of highway and I muttered various phrases under my breathe. The mix of sun then snow and cloud as we drove north was amazing foreshadowing to the 3 hours of running ahead of me.

Arriving in Gimli at about 8:50, it was the closest I have come to showing up within minutes of the start time. A quick walk around of the Gimli Lakeview Resort and we found a group of spandex encased souls milling about. A few hellos and introductions, payment of the modest $20 fee, and before I knew it, we were heading out the back towards the lake.

On the logistics note, there are two start times, one at 8:00 am, and a second at 9:00 am. If you can do 18 or so miles in under three hours, then the 9:00 start is for you. 8:00 if you need over three hours. I opted for the 9:00 start, figuring worst case scenario I would be slowed down to a 9:00 minute per mile pace if the conditions were tough, giving me a finish of about 2:40 – 2:45. We’ll come back to that prediction.

As the small gaggle of us wandered out to the shore, I was scanning the lake looking for the sign of a trail. None was apparent to me. There were faint signs of wind blown shoe tracks heading out onto the lake, but little more. As Julie and I walked out she gave me words of encouragement and with the ceremonial last kiss, I joined the others on the frozen span of this massive body of water.

An informal ‘I guess it’s go time’ from someone in the group, followed by the all familiar sound of chirping chronographs and off we went. Off into what appeared like a great void of white; snow, ice and sky, not much else in sight.

Within a few moments, there were a couple of clusters. Four of us surging out ahead (Dallas, Grant, Murray and myself). Dallas and Grant had done this run many times, so I figured I would try to hold onto their pace as they would know where to go. By this time the poles that marked the trail were passing with regularity.

In the first few kilometers we were all talking about the footing, or actually, the lack of footing. Jeff was right when he told me the night before that it wasn’t slushy. It was slightly crusty snow about two to four inches deep, mixed in with some drifts about a foot deep. Very occasionally, you would come to a stretch where the footing was solid and it felt like you could finally get going again. Those stretches usually lasted about five to twenty strides before you were back to sliding around in the loose stuff. Ironically, given that we were running on a lake, it was like running in sand. I’ll have to come back and run along the beaches in Gimil in the summer to see if there is any comparison.

After 2 km, Murray said our pace was 8:30 per mile. I noticed my heart rate was already getting into the high end of the zone I had set. This was going to be a long run.

The poles marking the trail were still passing with regularity. They were supposed to be one tenth of mile apart. I thought about counting them, but never did. Staying on my feet was a big enough challenge.

Somewhere around 40 minutes into it, we hit a slushy spot. I got wet. Really wet. My left leg went into the water to about half way up my calf. My right foot was just to the top of my shoe. I wasn’t worried about my feet getting cold, but already I was thinking back to my first marathon when my left foot got soaked at the very first water station and I finished with some amazing blisters and a black toenail.

Shortly after the soaking, the group I had started with started spreading out. With Grant and Dallas slowing getting further ahead. By about half way, they were still visible in the distance, with Murray about 3 poles ahead of me. I thought I was keeping a steady pace, but it was impossible to really tell. I had long shut off the tone on my heart rate monitor that told me I was over the top limit of my zone. I had set an upper limit 175, the thinking was that my average in last years Manitoba Marathon was 176 bpm, and I wasn’t going to be running as hard today as I did then. Was I ever wrong. At an hour and a half into the run my heart rate was 183. I was wondering if the footing was ever going to improve. It was also about this time that one of the whiteouts started.

Imagine looking ahead and seeing nothing by white, with the distant shape of another in front of you. Look back and see nobody. Look left, look right and see nothing but white. It was both serene and surreal at the same time. The only constant was the marker poles, the line they created receding into the distance. They were still passing with regularity, albeit, a bit slower.

It was around this time when the effects of the wet shoes were starting to be felt. In an odd twist, the solid footing was no longer as welcome, as the harder surface put much more pressure on the blister now growing on the ball of my left foot.

As the visibility cleared I could see more people ahead of me, and I was gaining on them! It was the tail end of the early group. As I caught up to them, we chatted for a bit, wished each other well and off I went. My mental game was now to count the number of early starters that I would pass. I do the majority of my running alone, but with the constant flow of runners on Wellington Crescent I am never really ‘alone’. Today, I realized how alone it could really get. The casual hellos to other runners and the occasional chat with a friend made those runs less solitary than this one. A few moments later, these two that I just passed slowly slipped into the oblivion that was the whiteout behind me.

Although I have painted a somewhat solitary scene, I never was truly on my own. The other person that was always around was the guy running the water station. This was the first event I’ve ever taken part in where the water station came to you. There were two snowmobiles constantly going back and forth providing fluids when flagged. They were also there to give you a ride if you couldn’t keep going. On an additional logistics note, there is a warm up hut about half way across the lake. I didn’t slow down and take a look, but I am guessing there wasn’t a porta-potty in there.

If you recall, I had predicted that I would do this run in about 2:45. At about 2:10 or so, I could see the first glimpse of the Belair shore line. My spirits were lifted, I thought maybe, just maybe, I would make it. Then some more snow and wind gusts, and as quickly as the shore came into view, it was gone again. This peek-a-boo game would continue for the next 45 minutes.

I remember reading about European sailors searching for the New World and how excited they would get when they saw a bird, because it was a sign that land was somewhere near. At 2:55 into the run, I saw a bird. I too got excited. Although the shore had been somewhat visible for a few minutes now, the bird seemed to validate that it was really close. My excitement was only slightly diminished when I realized that this bird was a big crow. I tried to imagine the beauty of the dove bringing the branch to Noah and his zoo crew instead of this big black crow looking like he wanted to dive bomb me.

I passed the tenth person (yes, I did keep counting) and I was into the final stretch. I could see a slight curve in the maker poles, the small crowd on the shore, even hear some cheering as another brave soul again set foot on land. I somehow found that little bit of energy we always seem to keep in reserve and I tried to get my finishing kick going. My feet, now numb from the pain of the blisters, hesitated a bit, but cooperated long enough to get me to the other side in 3:04:44. What a feeling to get there. Looking back, I could see nothing but white and the one person I had passed a few hundred metres back.

A few handshakes, a big hug from Julie and then I attempted to climb the hill up to where the parking and my thermos of hot chocolate was. My quads began a protest nearly the moment I stopped running, this hill seemed to be nearly impossible. I made a few stops as I climbed to take pictures and allow my legs to rest.

This was the hardest run I had ever done. Although 8 miles shorter than a marathon, the lack of solid footing made this a physical challenge. On the other side, it was also mentally challenging as the sheer vastness and emptiness seemed almost overwhelming at times. I don’t think it would have been as hard mentally if I had ran with someone else. The physical challenge was bore out by the numbers as well. For comparison, I ran the 2003 Manitoba Marathon at an average pace of 8:29 per mile with an average heart rate of 176. For the Polar Bear, my average HR was 183, the pace 10:13 per mile.

As tough as it was, I will be back. This is definitely a run that hooks you in. The group was a great mix of people, a microcosm of the diversity of the people that get hooked on running in the first place.

Although I have always loved being outdoors, (part of the reason I love running) being out in the middle of that vast frozen sea made me appreciate the wonders of the world just a little bit more.

Polar Bear Run
March 7, 2004
18.1 (approximately) mile point to point course, across frozen Lake Winnipeg along the Snowman Trail that runs from Gimli to the end of the Yellow Brick Road in Belair.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

'I had a screaming pain all over my body'

It marked the first time that a swimmer had been in such cold water (2 to 3°C) for so long.

"As soon as I dived in, I had a screaming pain all over my body," Pugh said in a statement released from his MV Polar Star ice breaker from Drake Passage....

My God! What kind of drive is seeded within us? Maybe I'll be wondering less after my first round with "hills" on a tread mill tomorrow. It should only take 80 or 90 minutes. :P


Fred Rompelberg,
Maastricht, the Netherlands,
eldest professional cyclist in the world,
current holder of the Absolute Speed World Record Cycling with 268,8 km/h.

marathon training

Excerise caution in marathon training Running's holy grail can be the experience of a lifetime, but use common sense: experts

TORONTO (CP) — Audacious would-be athletes who plan to add “complete a marathon” to their list of new year’s resolutions should exercise caution and common sense, say running experts.

“Goal setting is really important because you don’t want to set an unrealistic target and then be disappointed and even hurt yourself,” said Bruce Kidd, a former Olympian who is now dean of the faculty of physical education and health at the University of Toronto.

“That’s true of any participant in physical activity — whether it’s someone just starting out or it’s someone entering the Olympics.”

In recent years, marathons have become a matter of course for baby boomers seeking an ultimate fitness experience.

Celebrities have also got in on the act, with megastars like Sean (Diddy) Combs and Oprah Winfrey extolling the life-altering virtues of a 42.2-kilometre run.

But the marathon boom has also brought a new hurdle: many people aiming for running’s holy grail are simply not prepared to complete such a gruelling task.

Case in point: the popular Toronto running group JeansMarines was recently banned from the 2006 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington.

The move came after group founder Dr. Jean Marmoreo was accused of helping some runners take a shortcut to shave about 6.4 kilometres from course so they could avoid disqualification at this year’s event.

While participants at the event are required to cross the finish line in under seven hours, one race organizer said some of the JeansMarines runners were on pace to do it in a whopping 13 hours.

That left some in the running community questioning if the runners belonged at the event in the first place.

Marmoreo’s husband, Bob Ramsay, says JeansMarines — whose motto is “Yes ma’am, you can do a marathon” — learned a lesson from the ordeal.

“One of the things we’re doing is we’re saying ‘Look . . . you who are coming off the couch, are of a certain age, may be pretty overweight, this year would be best if you made a half marathon your goal.”

Experts say a more moderate approach to running can sometimes reap greater long-term benefits than the exhaustive do-or-die training involved with a marathon.

“You’d like to think that people are doing this on the way to an ongoing regular, lifetime fitness program,” said Running Room founder John Stanton.

“The ideal of all or nothing (goes) against that. A marathon is a high, but you don’t want it to be such an emotional and physically challenging event that you’re never going to run another step again.”

For those who are intent on going the distance this year, experts agree that the first order of business is a visit to a doctor.

“Unfortunately, people die at marathons,” said Jay Glassman, founder of the Toronto Marathon.

“It’s not that running is dangerous or contributes to the cause, but . . . there are often underlying medical issues that people might have.”

After runners receive a clean bill of health, they may want to consider a combination of walking and running to help them reach the finish line.

Marathoning guru Jeff Galloway swears by such a strategy and has developed a formula that uses a runner’s pace to determine what ratio of running and walking will best work for them.

“The biggest problem I see is people getting a base of fitness and then pushing the envelope too far,” he said in a telephone interview from Atlanta. “And the other component is to put enough walking into the mix.”

Adds Kidd: “It seems to me that the main thing is to keep going. It’s hard sometimes, but you’ve got to learn that if you’re in a bad patch, you hit the wall ... you can still keep going if you’re properly trained and so on.

“Walking is one way to do that.”

For those brave souls who do manage to run, walk or crawl to the finish line of a marathon in 2006, Galloway is convinced the experience will remain with them for a lifetime.

“I’ve advised over 200,000 runners. There has been nothing that I’ve seen or been told about from these people that has given the (same) sense of satisfaction and achievement as finishing a marathon,” he said.

“I hear from people that are CEOs of big companies, famous people, folks that have done it all, and the thing you’ll see on their office wall above all others is a T-shirt or a medal (from) the marathon they ran.

“There are certain accomplishments that you have to do yourself and this is one of them.”

Monday, December 19, 2005

Today's smile

Deviant Art is quite the place for a graphics hound like myself. A friend sent me a link to this image that brought a smile to me.

Yesterday's 10km run that averaged 81% of my maximum heart rate sure took it out of me. I must learn to rest more effectively. That was the biggest mileage week since the summer and it's only going to increase now by leaps and bounds.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I Am Canadian, eh!

So, what do Canadians have to be proud of, eh?

1. Smarties

2. Crispy Crunch, Coffee Crisp

3. The size of our footballs fields and one less down

4. Baseball is Canadian

5. Lacrosse is Canadian

6. Hockey is Canadian

7. Basketball is Canadian

8. Apple pie is Canadian

9. Mr. Dress-up kicks Mr. Rogers

10. Tim Hortons kicks Dunkin' Donuts

11. In the war of 1812, started by America, Canadians pushed the Americans back... past their 'White House'. Then we burned it... and most of Washington, under the command of George Cockburn who was insane and hammered all the time. We got bored because they ran away, so we came home and partied... Go figure…

12. Canada has the largest French population that never surrendered to Germany.

13. We have the largest English population that never ever surrendered or withdrew during any war to anyone. Anywhere. EVER.

14. Our civil war was fought in a bar and it lasted a little over an hour.

15. The only person who was arrested in our civil war was an American mercenary, who slept in and missed the whole thing... but showed up just in time to get caught.

16. We knew plaid was cool far before Seattle caught on.

17. The Hudsons Bay Company once owned over 10% of the earth's surface and is still around as the worlds oldest company.

18. The average dog sled team can kill and devour a full grown human in under 3 minutes.

19. We still know what to do with all the parts of a buffalo.

20. We invented ski-doos, jet-skis, velcro, zippers, insulin, penicillin, zambonis, the telephone and short wave radios that save countless lives each year.

21. We ALL have frozen our tongues to something metal and lived to tell about it.

22. A Canadian invented Superman.

23. We have coloured money.

24. Our beer advertisements kick.


25. The handles on our beer cases are big enough to fit your hands with mitts on. OOOoohhhhh Canada!

26. And we don't bomb our allies.

27. oh yeah... our elections only take one day.

Winter BBQ scare

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Council of Canadians

This election is going to be some kind of long.

I saw this go by and thought some might have a use for it. It's a fairly objective look at the different options for those of us that might invest something in
democracy and vote.

I saw a tag in Toronto in 1981 at Ryerson in Toronto and I've never been able to forget it.

"If voting could change anything, it would be illegal."
Apparenty it's a popular saying.

I also remember vividly the day my grade eight math teacher called me a cynic and from that point on I knew what it meant.

The Amazing Proportional Representation Simulator

Explaining the Turnout Decline in Canadian Federal Elections

The beauty of the American right.

Canada through the eyes of some parts of main stream America.

A great little movie to help enjoy more Fox network insight is "Outfoxed"

Land of the free, home of the brave and bastion of myopoia.

Almost totally useless facts

I haven't verified any of this.

1.Duct tape loses its stickiness when used in temperatures below about –25 ° C (-13 ° F).

2.Gilligan of Gillian’s Island had a first name that was only used once, on the never-aired pilot show. His first name was Willy.

3.Dr. Seuss and Kurt Vonnegut went to college together. They were even in the same fraternity, where Seuss decorated the fraternity house walls with drawings of his strange characters.

4.The Les Nessman character on the TV series WKRP in Cincinnati wore a band-aid in every episode. Either on himself, his glasses, or his clothing.

5.John Larroquette of "Night Court" and "The John Larroquette Show" was the narrator of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

6.Kermit the Frog is left-handed.

7.The lifespan of a taste bud is ten days.

8.Non-dairy creamer is flammable.

9.The ashes of the average cremated person weigh nine pounds.

10. The dial tone of a normal telephone is in the key of "F".

11. If you put a raisin in a glass of champagne, it will keep floating to the top and sinking to the bottom.

12. Beelzebub, another name for the devil, is Hebrew for "Lord of the Flies", and this is where the book's title comes from.

13. The term "devil's advocate" comes from the Roman Catholic Church. When deciding if someone should be sainted, a devil's advocate is always appointed to give an alternative view.

14. Before Prohibition, Shlitz Brewery owned more property in Chicago than anyone else, except The Catholic Church.

15. It is believed that Shakespeare was 46 around the time that the King James Version of the Bible was written. In Psalms 16, the 46th word from the first word is 'shake' and the 46th word from the last word is 'spear'.

16. In 1986 Danny Heep became the first player in a World Series to be a designated hitter (DH) with the initials "D.H."

17. In the four major US professional sports, (Baseball, Basketball, Football, and Hockey), there are only seven teams whose nicknames do not end with an "S:" Basketball: The Miami Heat, The Utah Jazz, and The Orlando Magic. Baseball: The Boston Red Sox, The Chicago White Sox. Hockey: The Colorado Avalanche, The Tampa Bay Lightning. Football: None.

18. In 1963, baseball pitcher Gaylord Perry remarked, "They'll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run." On July 20, 1969, a few hours after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Gaylord Perry hit his first, and only, home run.

19. When the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers plays football at home to a sell out crowd, the full stadium becomes the state's third largest city.

20. The sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” uses every letter in the alphabet. (Developed by Western Union to Test telex/twx communications)

21. In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere.

22. Average life span of a major league baseball: 7 pitches.

23.The only 15-letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is “uncopyrightable”.

24. Did you know that there are coffee flavored PEZ?

25. The reason firehouses have circular stairways is from the days of yore when the engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled on the ground floor and figured out how to walk up straight staircases.

26. The airplane Buddy Holly died in was the “American Pie.” (Thus the name of the Don McLean song.)

27. Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history. Spades - King David; Clubs - Alexander the Great; Hearts -Charlemagne; and Diamonds - Julius Caesar.

28. 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

29. Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them used to burn their houses down -- hence the expression “to get fired.”

30. Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn’t added until 5 years later.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Upgrade to

It's not finished yet, but I'd like some feedback if anyone cares to comment.

The new and improved site

maniacs and astro images

Damian Peach's astro images are remarkable.

Some of the Winnipeg maniacs from runningmania got together last night for some laughs. Note the number of glasses of water. :D Lots of cheap humour in evidence and that's just the way I like it.

Monday, December 12, 2005


The difference between the mile and the marathon is the difference between burning your fingers with a match and being slowly roasted over hot coals.
Hal Higdon, "On the Run from Dogs and People"

"A lot of people don't realize that about 98 percent of the running I put in is anything but glamorous: 2 percent joyful participation, 98 percent dedication! It's a tough formula. Getting out in the forest in the biting cold and the flattening heat, and putting in kilometer after kilometer."
- Rob de Castella

Veikko Karvonen, 1954 Boston Champ
-Marathon running is a terrible experience: monotonous, heavy, and exhausting.

"Marathoning is like cutting yourself unexpectedly. You dip into the pain so gradually that the damage is done before you are aware of it. Unfortunately, when the awareness comes, it is excruciating."
- John Farrington, Australian marathoner

To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who’s never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind. ~ Jerome Drayton

The marathon can humble you. Bill Rogers

Frank Shorter
-You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming.


-Running is a mental sport, and we're all insane!

Go figure! They are Canucks!

The creaters of the blower.

Canadian Content is alive and well.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

computer talk

is what a

do first

in the morning!

on the link below

type in your first name.


Friday, December 9, 2005

Anyone tried this?

Christmas Cake.


1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
Lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 bottle Irish Whiskey
2 cups of dried fruit

Sample the Irish Whiskey to check quality.

Take a large bowl, check the Irish Whiskey again.

To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.


Turn on the electric mixer.

Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.

Add one teaspoon of sugar.

Beat again.

At this point it's best to make sure the Irish Whiskey is still OK.

Try another cup .... just in case

Turn off the mixerer thingy.

Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

Pick the frigging fruit off the floor.

Mix on the turner.

If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the Irish Whiskey to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt.

Or something. Who giveshz a ****.

Check the Irish Whiskey.

Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table.

Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find. Greash the oven.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don't forget to beat off the turner.

Finally, throw the bowl through the window,

Finish the Irish Whiskey.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Big ass rail car

The Schnabel car, the world’s largest capacity railcar, left Duluth today for the long trip to Alberta Canada.

Now if I could just figure out how to track the damn thing and maybe get a peek at it.

So many buttons, so little time!

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Weather Issues

I take it that our wet coast has had some winter weather.


Day 2 - Vancouver Blizzard 2005

Chilled Vancouver commuters faced their second day of winter hell today, as an additional ¼ centimeter of the peculiar white stuff fell, bringing the lower mainland to its knees and causing millions of dollars worth of damage to the marijuana crops. Scientists suspect that the substance is some form of frozen water particles and experts from Saskatchewan are being flown in. With temperatures dipping to the almost but not quite near zero mark, Vancouverites were warned to double insulate their lattes before venturing out.

Vancouver police recommended that people stay inside except for emergencies, such as running out of espresso or biscotti to see them through Vancouver's most terrible storm to date. The local Canadian Tire reported that they had completely sold out of fur-lined sandals.

Drivers were cautioned to put their convertible tops up, and several have been shocked to learn that their SUV's actually have four wheel drive, although most have no idea how to use it.

Weary commuters faced soggy sushi, and the threat of frozen breast implants. Although Dr. John Blatherwick, of the Coastal Health Authority reassured everyone that most breast implants were perfectly safe to 25 below, down-filled bras are flying off the shelves at Mountain Equipment Co-op.

"The government has to do something," snarled an angry Trevor Warburton. "I didn't pay $540,000 for my one bedroom condo so I could sit around and be treated like someone from Toronto."
Thanks for sending this my way Vere.

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge--even to ourselves--that we've been so credulous.
Carl Sagan

This is from the newly re-issued newsletter, "In the
Spirit of Crazy Horse", available online at:

Aho my relations,

As I approach the end of my 30th year deprived of
freedom, I write to you
from the United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg, PA,
after a grueling
transfer odyssey that put me in solitary confinement
for six weeks. I am here to appease a
vengeful government agency that came into my land to
back a puppet government that was
betraying the Lakota nation in the most despicable
way, giving away our land, murdering ,and
torturing our people.

It took the corruption of two
countries (Canada and the U.S) to obtain
my extradition, conviction, and imprisonment. Today
the U.S. government protects a real terrorist,
Luis Posada Carriles, from extradition to Venezuela.
Posada is one of the masterminds
of a car bomb that assassinated a former foreign
minister of Chile, Orlando Letelier, in Washington
DC, a crime that has been called the worst act of
foreign terrorism on American soil
before 9/11.

He is also responsible for the bombing in
Venezuela of a Cubana Airlines flight
with the resulting murder of 73 people on board, and
many more acts of narco-terrorism. In
spite of the incessant claims of this being a country
of laws and the example to the world of
justice, freedom, and democracy, it is obvious that
this government protects whoever it wants
and imprisons and kills whoever it wants.

The US government keeps getting more oppressive and
tyrannical, everybody's rights are being
eroded, fears are heightened as a tool to keep the war
machine, alive and increase the destruction
of Mother Earth, innocent people are dying all over
the world in the name of
"democracy and freedom," the prisoner population in
this country is increasing exponentially,
approximately ten percent of all prisoners are here
for life, most of us are people of color.

Those of us who dare stand up to injustice get locked
up or assassinated.

The US government
is not pretending anymore, they overtly murdered
Filiberto Ojeda Rios, an elder and leader for
the freedom of Puerto Rico, and government allies are
on national television openly calling for
the assassination of courageous champions of justice
like President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela
who has offered our poor communities and myself a

Chavez is the first President in this
continent, and probably the world, who is returning
land to the indigenous people, making
them part of the governing institutions, and
recognizing and protecting indigenous culture. It is
time we all unite to stop the madness threatening the
whole planet, and stand together with
those who go beyond words and deliver on the promise
of freedom and justice, and against
those guided by greed, arrogance, and prejudice.

Stay true, work in unity, confront the traitors,
don't be afraid, and don't let our struggle die.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
Leonard Peltier

Another site with Peltier's story

Monday, December 5, 2005

Reviews Written by viktor_57, an Amazon reviewer

Viktor's review, Cooking or Alchemy? makes me smile.

Thanks for the nod Wheezie.

The book being reviewed is:
Conscious Cuisine: A New Style of Cooking from the Kitchens of Chef Cary Neff by Cary Neff

Sunday a hundred years ago.

What a beautiful day it was yesterday. It's funny how such a cold day can bring on such feelings of warmth.

I sneaked my long run in as I was feeling unusually strong. I was expecting to be spent after what I thought was a concerted effort at Saturday's race, but by the looks of things now, I could have gone out a lot faster than I did.

The tell of the tape was that my run yesterday was quite a bit faster than I expected. I had pretty much ignored my chronograph and heart rate monitor, relying instead solely on perceived exertion to ensure I was well below any aerobic threshold. It was a mind numbingly easy run. When I went to enter the data into my running journal I thought I had goofed somewhere because my heart rate was so much lower than it should have been for that pace. My speed was also much faster than I had estimated it to be.

Apparently my cardio program is working very well! I'm excited to find that even though I was much faster than anyone had expected on race day, I probably had quite a bit more to offer the distance than I showed.

I was curious on Saturday about this because I really didn't hurt during the run at all. In fact I was comfortably detached. I couldn't talk at the end, but I recovered quickly. If I had been on the ball, I'd have taken my heart rate through intervals after I was finished to see just how quickly I recovered, but I was too wrapped up in an unexpectedly fast time to give a hoot about anything except celebrating.

A doctor friend on suggested that she had a similar experience after her first half marathon, but more delayed.

My life has been riddled with offering up the wisdom from countless hours of study and many dollars in books to help others. This is the first time I've been able to turn some of that research into something I did for the care of myself. Self loathing does not die without a long battle. This success, although very minor, represents a paradigm shift for me. It's something I've tried to display in countless ways and have been, until now, baffled as to how to make it happen. Self preservation has eluded me in many cruel ways.

I attribute two primary things to the change. First, I'm 46 and the hormone levels have likely begun to recede and second, the application of dextroamphetamine to help focus my ADHD brain. Irrespective of the source, the feeling of hope is now made of more than theory.

It's been a three year journey from hopeless despair to some sense of hope rekindled.

Physical activity in an aerobic range, continuously for 40 minutes, four times a week is a very powerful medicine on many levels. I'm grateful to have found it.

In my euphoria, I set out with Bonnie and Manon yesterday in the arctic cold to join Larua at the tall grass prairie preserve in Gardenton for a skate on the big pond. The area was doted with countless muskrat mounds and a gigantic beaver lodge. I've never seen any that were bigger. The pond had a skiff of snow on it which made us miss the glide portion of the program when skating against the wind, but it was idyllic in the setting at least.

Bonnie said later she had been watching Manon pull hard while running with the wind to gain maximum speed and almost cried at the beauty of the scene. Cat tails, coyote tracks and not a sign of humanity anywhere other than the ones gliding above the rodents hunkered down for the big freeze. Big sun dogs stood as sentry aside the low hanging sun. Ice crystals making fairy dust of the pristine air we inhaled. Not all days can be enjoyed in mountain top experience, but life is sometimes brilliantly loving in it's gifts. Yesterday while skating on the marsh, it was clear to us all that we had been at the right place at the right time to catch this one firmly by the tail.

Once we had our skates off and were about ready to head to the car, Laura asked if anyone would be interested in sassafras tea. She'd loaded an insulated bag with a thermos of tea! Laura loves to gather interesting roots and wild foods of all kinds and the tea was appropriately exotic. She'd collected the sassafras root in Rhode Island when she was last out that way and this was what the tea had been brewed with. It was also sweetened with a tropical leaf, but I've forgotten the name of that plant.

Characteristic of Laura's efforts, the tea was carefully crafted through years of practice to be perfectly brewed. Everyone was clearly delighted not only to be passing the thermos cup of hot liquid to warm our chills with, but with the flavour. Treats so well tailored to the old fashioned nature of the skate are a rare and wonderful gift. Laura has many special gifts and I'm grateful she shares them so willingly with us.

No skating today, just work and house chores, but the feeling of contentment persists.
Life in the slow lane.
The hopeless romantic.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

5km Santa Shuffle - Winnipeg 2005

Some images of the day. Click on the thumbnails for a closer look.

Tricks are for kids

I guess the girls had a good time today. They came home and ended up playing with the camera for a long time. Click on the small images if you care to see them in a larger format.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Winnipeg Santa Shuffle


5:34 min/km

8:58 min/mile

The 5km was broken into two equal loops and a third short one. I ran the first loop at about 85% and the second one at about 92% and the third short stint at 98%.

I dressed perfectly and it was cool this morning in the hoarfrost, overcast and about -16C or so I think. I warmed up for 10 minutes prior and that seemed wise in retrospect. It helped me to focus on my pace with which I've struggled.

That was fun. I've been watching DrJ's ( spin on fun when it comes to racing, and I was so very convinced it would be hellishly difficult to endure but, surprisingly, I was at home there. It was intense, yes, but it was fun. It demanded all my attention and I enjoyed it all. I've never raced before and the energy generated with all the other runners around was infectious in all the right ways.

After so many miles alone, it was nothing short of thrilling to be in the company of others that know the joys of running. I could drag this feeling out for pages, but I'll spare you.

I met Cheryl (Dr. Phil celeb) for the first time today and was struck by the contrasts between my feelings of euphoria and her congested energy backing up on a taper that she's built toward for so long. She has her first marathon in 8 days. I kept thinking that what she is headed for would be absolute bliss. The degree of deferred gratification in training for a marathon is something beyond my ability to reason through, but if it provides any part of the feelings I carry today, it's something I want to jump in with both feet for.

For now a half marathon at the end of February will have to do.

I'm more than a little embarrassed that I wasn't more conscious of others and their requirements for support. I was wholly distracted with my own elation, which leaves me feeling a little childish now. The seasoned veterans of race day like Jill, Dwayne, Natalie, and Cheryl were so kind and indulgent of my new thrill. It was tremendous to have other runners to share the experience with. I'm still a little giddy.

Dwayne's Running Room 5km clinic crew were a good bunch. A friend and I joined a table for lunch at Stella's with two of them. Diana and... I'm so bad with names! The conversation was lively and the food was wonderful.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Yikes! Nana's on fire!

What a display of colour! Mum! You are stepping out in such fine style these days! Nicely done. It's spectacular. I hope the J-girl loves it as much as I do.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

scary maybe

This might be the scariest movie

has seen, but the title is hurting my face from laughing.  My cheek bones are spending way too much time jambed up

toward my eyes. 

Night of the Day of the Dawn of the...

I need someone to grace me with a copy. Those of us in the lala
land of country hick dial up hostages to the MTS masters of torture and
greed are known to beg.

Monday, November 28, 2005

roast garlic revisited

The running maniacs pull through again. It's getting really difficult to tell whether I eat to run or run to eat.

Sandra Bowens makes a good case here for the long slow cooking method.

The Great Garlic Roasting Experiment

by Sandra Bowens

My husband hates garlic. More specifically, he hates the smell of it on my breath. As he jetted away on a business trip last week, I dashed off to the market to buy a bag of garlic.

I wanted to figure out the best way to roast garlic. People often ask me and I have never been quite sure how to answer. I knew of the method but, in light of my dear husband's aversion, hadn't bothered with much experimentation.

Surely you have sampled this trendy condiment said to be better than butter on bread and more delectable than raw chopped garlic in recipes. With my freedom to breathe the garlic breath, I wanted to try both.

The idea is to cook an entire unpeeled head. You want to get the garlic cloves to the point where the flesh is creamy enough to simply squeeze it from the papery covering. The flavor is enriched and that harsh bite is gone.

Although you can buy a tiny baking dish for roasting garlic, I did not. I went to three of my favorite cookbooks for recipes. The fourth method would be based on a component from a salsa recipe I have used in the past.

Method One: High Heat

Naturally, for learning to roast garlic I turned to Barbara Kafka's book Roasting first. She suggested that you slice about an inch off the top of the whole head of garlic before placing it in a pan that will just hold it. You then "slick" the garlic and the pan with about a teaspoon of oil and add two tablespoons of water or stock. The garlic is roasted in a preheated 500 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

I used a small glass custard cup, extra-virgin olive oil and plain water for this experiment. After 25 minutes, the head of garlic was blackened in spots (as it was supposed to be) and delightfully fragrant. I allowed it to cool before squishing out the buttery flesh. Most of it was very soft but a few of the larger cloves remained just the tiniest bit crunchy.

Method Two: Long Cook Time

Deborah Madison's book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone promised that the "long cooking time sweetens the pungent garlic." Her recipe was similar to Kafka's except she suggested rubbing off all but the last layer of papery skin next to the cloves and not cutting into the head at all. The recipe called for butter or olive oil and just water. The main difference came in the baking. The dish holding the garlic is covered with foil and baked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. The foil is then removed and the garlic continues to bake for 30 minutes more.

I used another glass custard cup for this one but went with butter instead of oil. After all the cooking, a sheen of butter remained in the bottom of the cup so I squeezed the garlic cloves into this. The soft flesh came out of the skin with ease--much smoother than any of the other cooking methods.

Method Three: No Special Treatment

In his book The Grains Cookbook, Bert Greene has a recipe for roasting garlic to add to a salad dressing. His method is to simply pop a garlic head into the oven at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. He did suggest using a spoon to help remove the cooked flesh from the skin.

I placed my head of garlic, straight from the bag, onto a baking sheet and gave it the full 35 minutes. The garlic had blackened in spots and was very soft. I discovered that his suggestion for using the spoon to separate the pulp from the skins was a good one as this method resulted in a stickier garlic than any of the others. Nice browned bits flecked the softened pulp but it wasn't quite as smooth as the others.

Method Four: Under the Broiler

This broiler method is based on a roasted tomato salsa recipe that I love from The Two Hot Tamales television program years ago. For the salsa you blacken tomatoes, jalapenos, onion and garlic under a hot broiler for ten minutes or so, turning frequently. Except the garlic, you don't have to turn it--you protect it under a layer of onion. The onion turns completely black so you throw it away but the garlic is cooked and lightly browned. Even though there are six cloves of garlic in this salsa recipe, my husband loves it because the garlic is cooked.

At any rate, I decided that there was no reason this couldn't work for a whole head of cloves. It would be quicker and the cooked garlic would already be peeled.

Wrong! I peeled all the garlic, tented them with two layers of onion and started broiling. Ten minutes later, the onion had blackened but the garlic was still hard. Fifteen minutes later, the onion became a fire hazard so I removed that first layer and started again. After 25 minutes or so, the onion had again burnt to a crisp and some of the garlic had begun to brown as well.

When the cloves had cooled, I transferred them to a small bowl and set to mashing them with a fork. They were softer than I expected but had a somewhat stringy texture.

The Results

After lining up the four custard cups on the counter, the judging panel determined that the long cooking method had produced the best results. The creamy texture spread nicely on bread and had a pleasant sweet, nutty taste.

The high heat method was a close second. Just a bit more coarse but definitely as flavorful, it also won points for the quick cooking time. The paste added a subtle smoky taste when used in place of fresh garlic in guacamole.

The simple, no special treatment method resulted in the most attractive looking garlic puree. It had retained a stronger garlic odor than the other two that had been oven roasted. This would be a good choice for mixing into mashed potatoes or stirring into a sauce.

The broiler method is best left to the salsa recipe although it would work in other recipes that will be prepared in a blender. Consider this broiled garlic when a sort of half-cooked garlic might be just right.

The one thing each method had in common is that they all resulted in about two tablespoons of peeled, roasted garlic puree.

One big advantage to roasting garlic is that it reduces the dreaded garlic breath. After all the tastings in this experiment, no one seemed to be plagued by that problem. I see a lot more garlic mashed potatoes, pesto and hummus in my husband's future.

Penny's Key Lime Punch

Erin brought this to a recent flyfest. I thought it was wonderfully fresh tasting.


Penny's Key Lime Punch

1 container of Key Lime Sherbet

1 2 liter bottle of ginger ale

1 container of frozen Minute Maid Limeade

Into a punch bowl pour in thawed limeade, add 1/3 of ginger ale, then spoon in partially thawed sherbet, allow this to fizz and settle, then SLOWLY add rest of ginger ale.

-- Minute Maid Limeade seems to work best. Others don't taste right in this.
-- Use a big bowl, it fizzes a lot!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

mashed spuds

Does anyone roast garlic. I've winged it a few times, but am looking to hone the process. I'd like to have a bulb of roasted garlic to mash into potatoes.

I've used olive oil, basil and oregano when I've been experimenting. What do others do?

How hot? How long? Covered or open? What's the character of the product clove when you are done?

I've only made mine caramelised and soft so you can squeeze them out of the skins. I usually end up putting them in for 45 minutes or so as a whole bulb.

The garlic jones


A replacement DVD player came home last night so the John Prine 52nd Street and Jeff McKay's Crap Shoot got another airing before bed. Tonight it's McKay's Haunts of the Black Masseur.

Plumbing is so good when it works out! Water softener is no longer a leaking mess and the pipe is through from the house to the shop. Yeah for arm strength.


Way down, way down it must be. Can't stop this misery, it must be way down.

Spring is just a smile away, laughing like a summer day, turn around and look here fall, when I hear my lonely call.

The air is thin and the sky is flat. I'm gonna buy me a brand new hat. I went out to go insane, christ I hope it never rains.

Thought I saw a neon sign flash my name with the time. Probably didn't see a thing, crazy dreams and broken wings.

How you gonna get sunshine, peeking through venetian blinds. Don't you know that all out there, begins and ends the same place here.

Spring is just a smile away...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A letter to a friend

I stepped into the shop for dog food this morning, but that was as far as it went.

I awoke to the Honda being left behind because of a flat. The mechanic
was hunting, he'll be right back. In the interim, I went to pick up a
side of pork for city friends at the local butcher. They had the entire
ham done whole. OMG dose it look like something I want to roast!

Then back to the folks with the live hogs to pay for that element.
Hadn't seen them in ages so there was nothing doing, but to engage the
moment and stay for food.

Then back to the mechanic's and he's a little backed up. Plug didn't
work, plug/patch fancy thang didn't work right, twice and then finally
on the third attempt we won. If the tire is flat tomorrow you may hear
me scream.

Once that was done I had just enough time to squeeze in a quick two
mile run, no shower, just jump in the car again and pick up kids from
b-ball practise. Oh... that was cancelled. Made the trip anyway and
ended up picking up some clean work in the way of a clock and watch
which prevented any gaskets from blowing. < g >

It was my night too cook, so flew into gear to make that all happen,
during which I pushed past the limits of spoiled Spanish speaking girls
of privilege to ensure that the points I've been attempting to make for
the last eight weeks about how the laundry works around here is clear
enough that said SSG of P could paraphrase the meaning back to me. I'm
no a dirt eating dog of the worst kind. I'm not surprised and I'm
assuming you aren't either, if you know me at all. :P

Bonnie had the wisdom to approach me as dinner was coming to a close
about how she had not returned a video last weekend and it was icy and
might I be willing to take her to St. Malo. I made a deal for ice cream
and departed only to find at the store that Boo in her keen foresight
had come along without dime one. $20 later I have chocolate sauce in
abundance and two flavours of ice cream.

Did I remember to pick up the parcel at St. Malo while I was standing not five feet from it? AHHHH NO!

Zen practise is good practise. :D Let it go.... let it all go...

On a more positive note.  and had been seeking
some help for a moving day crew, so and I joined ,
,   and a host of other bright lights to lighten the load.  With
two half tons at our dispoal and a willing crew, we were able to make
quite a dent in the process.  I love working with others when the joy
factor remains high.  :D


Oh I suppose there is one other little gratitude bit that could quickly
get sidetracked into a rant give half a chance to celebrate my sister
in law's idiosyncratic ways.  senkiwphycy's computer died.  I
resurrected it on Monday and then played with Linux, experimenting with
the process of broad band connections. 

Debian and an old install of RH9 were not yielding fruit so booted to
an old Knoppix 3.7 live cd and the dhcp scan for an ip address was done
at boot.  When everything was loaded and ready to use, I was
connected.  My god some days it's sweet to be alive. 

It's only a machine!


I love these stick figure things.

I ripped this staight out of the heart of

He's got a big heart... he shares willingly.


Another most excellent cheap shot at blondes. :D

Go Cathy R!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

ADHD podcast - dextroamphetamine, dopamine demo

I'm crying for bandwidth! I'd love to have more podcast in my life. It would be so much more like radio and I love radio. It leaves my hands and eyes free to do other things.

The adhd podcast looks like worthy of some attention.

Here's some solid and easy to grasp graphics of what goes on when little "M" and I take that pharma grade speed I've been chewing for a few years now. Click on the little flash thang to make it play. Or read the instructions. Whatever you feel up for.

I really like dextroamphetamine.

Long live science.


This is my life. Some days it's just doesn't look like I'm grasping the bigger picture.

You too can join in the fun.

Life in the fast lane.

By the light of the silvery moon

The night sky has always held my respect. Since moving far from the bright lights of the city, I've come to appreciate it even more.

As fall progressed and the weather remained mild, the sky began to look odd to me as I would make my nightly jaunt to kill the lights in the chicken coup. Normally Orion is not a major player in the eastern sky until the ground is frozen, but this year it seemed to be present without that qualification.

Last night it was a cool -20C or so and I wasn't brave enough to take advantage of the good "seeing" to jump Mars as it approached transit. I did get to thinking about the rings around the moon though. Some reported seeing a tear dropped ring effect which was new to me.

For the curious lurking in the shadows:
Moon light effects.

Atmospheric Optics

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

big blow

A winter run, no question. 4km @ 6:28/km 82%

Deep snow and narrow tracks and the wind all made for a little more work than I'd bargained for, but I still came back with a big smile on my face.

Did stretch and strength after the run. I'm happy to be back in the routine of the strength exercises. I see others break up their weight training working different parts of the body on different days. I think I'll work up something similar for the hodgepodge I'm doing.

The whole family was home today because of the storm. It was great fun really. Made a couple of pizza pies from scratch and celebrated being close to the wood stove.

Found a treadmill I can do my hills on! Yeah!

Kid book titles seen on a writers list.

In case you are looking for something for your own child, a nephew,
niece, or somebody else's cute kid, look no farther. All should be
available at your nearest bookstore and make great stocking stuffers.

a.. You Are Different and That's Bad

b.. The Boy Who Died From Eating All His Vegetables

c.. Dad's New Wife Robert

d.. Fun four-letter Words to Know and Share

e.. Hammers, Screwdrivers and Scissors: An I-Can-Do-It Book

f.. The Kids' Guide to Hitchhiking

g.. Kathy Was So Bad Her Mom Stopped Loving Her

h.. Curious George and the High-Voltage Fence

i.. All Cats Go to Hell

j.. The Little Sissy Who Snitched

k.. Some Kittens Can Fly

l.. That's it, I'm Putting You Up for Adoption

m.. Grandpa Gets a Casket

n.. The Magic World Inside the Abandoned Refrigerator

o.. Garfield Gets Feline Leukemia

p.. The Pop-Up Book of Human Anatomy

q.. Strangers Have the Best Candy

r.. Whining, Kicking and Crying to Get Your Way

s.. You Were an Accident

t.. Things Rich Kids Have, But You Never Will

u.. Pop! Goes The Hamster...And Other Great Microwave Games

v.. The Man in the Moon Is Actually Satan

w.. Your Nightmares Are Real

x.. Where Would You Like to Be Buried?

y.. Eggs, Toilet Paper, and Your School

z.. Why Can't Mr. Fork and Ms. Electrical Outlet Be Friends?


Monday, November 14, 2005


Paul's been sifting through for treasures again.  As is often the case, botony is a priority.   
This is the highlights gallery, for the complete set and more info, see the sub-gallery.

I'm a sucker for anything to do with astonomy so this shot of the moon was just fine by me.

Almost everything here is shut down until spring now.  I saw some
hardy flowers blooming on the weekend, but by Wednesday we're supposed
to have a low of -17C so I'm pretty sure whatever was showing colour is
all done that phase of development now.  Adri and Boo were out posing, Adri reluctantly. 

A classic snow man got built and snow angels were back by the
dozen.  Adri of course had home work to do, but having her
lethargic butt around had energised the Canuck's. 

OK, OK, so I'm not working too hard today.  I liked a lot of this Marco Mugnatto's work.



I think I'm in love. Mind you, it's early in the relationship, and she knows nothing of this, but the tone in her writing is so damned attractive.

Jen La Sala does not bore me.

A thinking woman is a very very attractive thing.

Food, glorious food!

I love to eat. Let me repeat that. I love to eat. The best part of running is being able to eat so much more without ballooning up like the porker I am!

This will be dinner some winter day sometime soon.

Then the biscuits are a must. I make them, but have turned everyone off them by not adding enough fat. They are supposed to be "short" and I always choke when I see the amount of fat that's supposed to be in them and cheat it back. Me bad.

Sidewalk art

This type of drawing
is so cool.  I first became aware of it watching formula one
races.  Shell oil had painted their logo on the grass in such a
way as for it to appear at the camera angle to be correct, as if you
were looking at it straight on.  Computers no doubt have a way of
helping, but what about these guys doing this type of thing on the

Stickmen and smilies for me I'm afraid.

*** My favourite way to start the day is with The Voice.   Besides, Anna Maria Tremonti makes me weak at the knees. 

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Quote of the day

I found this while salvaging my PDA from some buggy third party software. I'd fogotten just how it went, but I shouldn't.

"Committments, authenticity and self-disclosure."

nabbing my morning

This is eating my morning
I'm not terribly motivated, but hey, I'm distractable as all get all
and I've gone this far without becoming a gamer. 

I swiped it from

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Red Green is done. Finally!

Heaven only knows, it will maybe run on in my life in reruns, but that
would be a shame.  I was never a fan, and now it's over.

The Red Green Show has taped it's last duct tape special.

Letting go

A complete and utter waste of time?

Has anyone been to the Park Theater in Winnipeg?  I didn't even know it existed until today.  I'm so bumpkin now!

I want to hear of all good Winnipeg restaurants.

My favourite art site coughed up another beauty with many thanks to 

I like her taste in many things.  Girl, you must update your avatar.  You are gorgeous!

For the Linux fans some wall paper selections. #1 & #2

For the technically inclined of that crew I found these through MUUG#1, #2, #3.  The topic is looking at resource use

information through Top and some other utilities like it.

The fire is lit, I've been out on a week night with some fine food and good company. 

I've been hugged warmly by a six year old.  I've been reminded why we have babies after seeing a friend's four month old.

I need more than 24 hours in a day.

For those parenting ADHD kids or find their kids to be a bit oppositionally predisposed.  Or maybe you are dating a person

you suspect has issues surrounding the word "no".  I like this paper very much. 

This came up over discussions at
about what I might be teaching my child when I let her win when we are
in conflict.  This made the case for giving in early and often
better than I could.

How to Avoid the
Oppositionality Trap: Ten Principles

by George
T. Lynn, M.A

"He's so oppositional!
Why can't he just go along with what I ask for once? What makes him think
he's Little Mister Special. His brothers and sisters think he gets away
with murder. It's impossible for me to keep any harmony in our house!"

The legendary "No!
Do it yourself; I refuse!" of A.D.D. children is one of the greatest
stressors that we face as their parents and teachers. Meeting the challenge
of this intense oppositionality requires that we understand its particular
roots in the psyches of children with ADHD and the function that "No!"
serves for them.

How we feel about
ourselves determines how we see and evaluate situations around us. If
we feel up, confident, in charge, we will behave competently and successfully.
If we feel down on ourselves and out of control, we may overreact or flee
a stressful situation without dealing with it. Fortunately, most people
can deal with this feeling of being overwhelmed by stepping back from
the situation and taking a breath. We are able to rise above the tension
of the moment and see the big picture.

The child with ADHD
is different from us in that he has a much more difficult time shutting
down intrusive stimuli; his stress is constant. And, unlike "normal"
kids, his feeling of self-confidence has taken a battering and thus he
is poorly equipped to get psychologically on top of the situation. It
is this combination of perceptual hypersensitivity and low self-esteem
that causes him to be so oppositional. He feels out of control of the
situation and he puts on the brakes to slow things down. Though he may
appear focused, he is not, at the moment, in real contact with those around
him. He is tuned inward, speaking the "No" to the chaos inside

And he has powerful
pushback. Remember what happened the last time you were in traffic and
someone started tailgating you? If you are like many others, your impulse
was to slow down. Pushing back is a human reaction to warn threat away
from us. This is how the child with ADHD reacts to the typical adult strategy
of "bearing down and getting tough" when the adult is faced
with his oppositionality. Pushback. Pushback hard! Never give an inch.
This way of dealing with the world can become habitual.

Things are made worse
if the child is required to do things he is incapable of. Eighty percent
of these requirements are put on him in school. Sit still. Do the paperwork.
Quickly now. Is it done? Be quiet. Stand in line. Don't say "No."
Cooperate and graduate.

It is important not
to blame the teacher. He has thirty other kids to deal with and for his
survival, a certain degree of lock step in the classroom is required.

But the teacher is
complicating the situation by looking at the child's behavior as simply
intentional. "But it looks intentional!" (How many times have
parents heard that assertion?) Oppositionality can look very much like
the kid is just being spiteful. But there is a reason for his behavior.
The way he sees the situation, saying "No" gives him a tiny
bit of order in his life and without that sense of order he knows he will
go crazy.

The child's frustrating
experience at solving problems, the energy it takes, the sense of inner
chaos, and his low self esteem are all factors that make him want to put
on the brakes, to slow the world down, to get people off his back. We
can effectively deal with his reactivity by changing the way we make demands
to avoid the "Yes, NO!" cycle, and by helping him feel more
in control of his life. Observe the following ten principles to create
an interpersonal setting with your child that is conducive to change:

Principle 1: Problem
solving takes more time. Realize that it takes many A.D.D. children more
time to solve "left brain" or "central task" learning
problems given to them. Many adults quickly become impatient with the
child's lack of progress and immediately restate the problem with a more
urgent demand for completion. Feeling threatened and frustrated, the child
will drop his problem solving activity and become engaged in the more
familiar game of playing pushback with the adult. The key is to assume
a consultancy role with him in the learning process in which you make
your assistance available on his demand without pushing. And it is very
important to give him time and space to work through the issue his own

Principle 2:
High self esteem equals collaboration. Get in the habit of noticing what
makes him feel good about himself and build more of these experiences
into his daily routine. This may involve having a special friend around,
working on projects that he does well, hanging out with you or helping
you, or involving him some special passion that is his and his only. A.D.D.
kids are powerfully drawn to creative work and to nature and ecology.
Helping him develop his creativity and spend time "getting his head
together" outside can set the stage for new levels of collaboration
with you. High self esteem increases collaboration.

Principle 3:
Let him choose. Build on his strong sense of inner purpose (a trained
capability of anyone who has to exert continual energy to keep focus)
by giving him choices, not ultimatums. For example, if you want him to
finish a project, say, "Would you like ten minutes or fifteen to
finish your project?" Or, if you want him to get his homework done,
say, "When would you like to complete your homework: after school
or after dinner, so that you can have your friend over?" Giving him
choices gives him a sense of control and it is this quality that is central
to creating a willingness to work with you.

Principle 4:
Defuse his defensiveness with "I statements."

Do not say: "Don't
talk to me in that tone of voice." Say: "I'll be glad to discuss
this when respect is shown."

Do not say: "Stop
arguing with me." Say: "I'll be glad to discuss this as soon
as the arguing stops."

Do not say: "Pay
attention!" Say: "I'll start again as soon as I know that you
are with me."

He will reflexively
follow the lead that you establish through your use of language. It is
very important to avoid cueing a "No...Yes" cycle by your use
of positive language referents.

Principle 5:
Keep your cool. Don't feed his fear of being out of control by getting
out of control yourself. Know your stress triggers and have another adult
available to support you if possible. These kids react best to "matter-of-fact"
communications. When you show anger, they will imitate your affect and
behavior quickly, in an oppositional manner. An ugly battle can result.

Principle 6:
Use moderate consequences. Don't overwhelm him with your reaction to his
misbehavior. Make consequences specific to the problem and dole them out
in small increments. If he refuses to eat dinner with the family, have
him get his own dinner one night a week. If time out is required, make
it for 3 or 5 minutes at a time, not a half hour or hour. Make consequences
follow infractions close to real time. Short term memory problems makes
delayed consequences useless. Loading on too many consequences could make
you a permanent enemy in his mental file of friends and enemies.

Principle 7:
Pick your battles. Only fight battles you can win and don't get hooked
into oppositional arguments. When you notice that you are arguing, state
the desired outcome and disengage quickly. Let him have the last word.
Allow him to cool off. Avoid at all costs what A.D.D. expert Dr. Ned Hallowell
terms "the Big Struggle"! For your own psychological survival
as well as management of your child, you must know in your bones that
you are the adult and you are in charge.

Principle 8:
Timing is very important. Remember, his oppositionality is essentially
a stress response to feeling out of control. He will experience this discomfort
more often when he is tired, his meds are wearing off or he is in social
situations that demand that he behave appropriately. He also experiences
this discomfort when required to do rapid problem solving or after experiencing
"failure" at school. Many A.D.D. kids are most vulnerable in
the afternoon because they have put energy all day into being focused
and may also be experiencing rebound exhaustion from medication at this
time. Give him a chance to relax and come down.

Principle 9:
Help him remember how to comply. In problem situations use "reminder"
language to overcome short term memory problems and increase the chance
that he has the information to comply. For example, to get him to move
out of contact when he is yelling or poking others say, "When you
can show me that you have control of your body by stopping your swearing
and poking and get to your room, we can talk about what you want."

Principle 10:
Get on top of problems early. He may signal you that he is "heating
up to a confrontation" by facial tensing, or acting angry or silly.
Check out what is going on with him at these times and back off if he's
not ready to talk. Get to know the look of his stress reaction.

People see things
through an internal lens that is shaped by how they feel about themselves.
The A.D.D. child's powerful oppositionality is a result of looking at
the world through a lens that is shaped by his internal sense of chaos
and frustration at not being able to meet the demands of his social and
academic environments. By acknowledging his uniquely open perceptual style
and the stresses that this way of being in the world puts on him, we help
him develop collaborative problem solving skills that will serve him and
us well as he grows into his potential.

Sunday, November 6, 2005


 Mars was pretty amazing last night.  It was cold and clear.  The air
was quite moist and the frost was settling in for a good hard freeze by

I'll have to take to sketching some of these objects.  I'm sorry to
have so little talent when it comes to drawing because the beauty is
hard to describe in any other way.  I am not into astro photography,
but maybe I should be.  I'd be better off with a more controllable
telescope.  A Dobson mount doesn't lend itself to tracking very well,
and without having compensation for our spinning planet, the images
have to be left to under 15 seconds. 

I gave away my current issue of SkyNews, thinking I had already
received the second copy I get, but apparently not.  I was interested
to compare my observations with some images.  Mars rotates and presents
a different set of features as it rotates, but it's sometimes a trick
to get my eyes and mind to capture all that's available.  It's a quite,
gentle sport to be found late at night through an eye piece.

Mars is higher in the evening sky now after we dumped the DST so it was
irresistible to me although I was beat and in need of sleep.  It's such
a subtle subject, but rewarding if you enjoy that kind of thing. 
Observing isn't for everyone, but it's well suited for me.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

R.E.M.O.N.T.O.I.R.E.: Robotic Electronic Machine Optimized for Nocturnal Troubleshooting, Online Infiltration and Rational Exploration

Robotic Electronic Machine Optimized for Nocturnal Troubleshooting, Online Infiltration and Rational Exploration

bite the hand that feeds

Some of the fun at Uncylopedia.

Monday, October 31, 2005


Sarah Slean will play a solo concert on the 15th of November in Winnipeg at Westminster United. I'll be there, I have to to stay young.

I'm a fan of the stripped down concert. Ray Bonneville was the last concert I attended that was pretty plain as far as the band went. I bought the Rough Luck recording when Ray was at WCC last time.

Now if I could just get to see Kelly Joe Phelps in the same type of setting I'd know this was heaven. I bought Shine Eyed Mr. Zen and I play it a lot. Great guitarist. Great soul.

TEN COMMANDMENTS: The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse:

You cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians! It creates a hostile work environment! George Carlin.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sunday run

A fun run today. I was tired after a night of entertaining. I was scheduled for a more intense run at a shorter distance, but decided to scale back and hopefully avoid a crash.

I ran five miles. Two slow at LSD pace of 11:34 min/mile or 7:19 min/km, then two miles aiming at a ten minute mile. The first mile was close at min/mile10:02 or 6:14 min/km. The second mile I was having trouble slowing down. I do this when I'm tired and it frequently gets me into trouble. 9:28 min/mile or 5:53 min/km

I was out there for 55 minutes then had a big stretch. I was comfortable in shorts and a tee shirt again today. What a fall we've had!

The two mile warm up enabled me to run most of the first faster mile about 10 to 15 heart beats a minute slower than if I didn't warm up well. Sure makes me wonder how I'm best to warm up to run a race. The pace was very comfortable when I could keep to it!

Estevan Model Engineers Show.

I love to go to this show.  If my life was less chaotic I might
actually get there more often.  Maurice phoned to give me shit after
this year's show again!  He's such a funny guy.  Talented beyond reason
with a lathe, mill and any welding set up known to man, but not so
skilled with the broader social thang.  

Kelly just sent the link to the new photos.  Hope someone else enjoys them as much as I do.  

Next year!  Like I'm going to take time to hunt next week if I blow myself up trying.  

Actually it won't be too tough.  Not a whole lot of the week is mine. 
I have a date in St. Pierre first thing Monday with my ADHD coach. 
Tuesday I take a buddy to surgery to clean up what the router did to
the end of his finger, then haul his butt home.  Wednesday first thing,
I'll entertain the electrician here to clear up the mast mount on the
shop and then finish off the soffit and remaining scraps of siding.

Somewhere in there John wants to hunt and work on the heating system. 
I bought a slough of fussy bits for plumbing it all this morning.  All that
remains is an automatic air release valve and fittings to make the job
complete.  I hope!

We are losing our treasured old fashioned hardware store in St.
Malo.  Robert wants to retire!  Can you imagine the
nerve!  hehh

He's a peach and deserves every inch of the rest that's coming to
him.  I will hope the stock of that amazing place is retained
locally by some miracle.
 I feel like a bag of hammers.

I don't know how I'm going to make a stab at a 7.25km run tomorrow at a 6:20 min/km pace.

Got the Subaru home in one piece after a mouse nibbled coolant hose
spewed green blood everywhere.  Although once I was a couple of kms
into the run, the smell of something about to burst into flames was
quite strong.  I pondered whether it was electrical or mechanical all
the way home.  I had become convinced it was emanating from inside the
car, but no.  When I got out of the car at home, it was clear very
quickly where the hot spot was.  I quickly parked the car away from
hydro lines and all burnable terrain and structure.

The left front brake cylinder must be seized solid.  It looked a little warm.  Yes there was smoke.

The hose replacements was a dance of the devil.  There are parts of me
that abore cars and their repair.  It's always a battle of tools and
the ones you don't have to do the job easily.  Even if you have the
tools it seems as if it's still more difficult to do much of anything. 
I must have spent an hour trying to put on a simple 10cm piece of 10mm
hose and get the clamps done up.  My legs took a beating trying to prop
my body in just the right contortions to bloody my knuckles

Then it was onto the asparagus patch.  It's been taken over with grass
and weeds for years and today I was not going to rest until it had
submitted to my will.  I don't suppose the patch was much more than a
meter and a half square when all was accounted for.  Again it took a
much bigger chunk out of my available resources to claw back the root
stock and plant it into rows clean of the weeds.  I could not believe
the root bound proliferation of asparagus root under all that weedage. 

For years we've had a measly output from that patch and heaven only
knows why!  There was enough root stock in that bundle to plant two
long rows of it.  Now to keep it clean and fed through next year! 
Tomorrow the garlic gets the business and that will be it for
the garden this year.  I'm so grateful the fall has been nice enough to
let me get through all that mess from our horrendously wet spring and