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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

Red, blue and green, slush sleet and rain,
I’ll take the snow and white, I don’t want the rain.
Presents and gifts, fruit cake in vain,
Christmas is fun, yet winter’s a pain.
What’s it about, what’s it all for?
We buy SO many gifts, we always want more.
It rains or it snows, it’s dark or it shines,
The poor go without, the rich ones still dine.
Poverty goes on, buying is fine,
Giving is best, but I want what’s mine.
TV and radio ads all around,
Don’t know what we want, don’t care what we’ve found,
I’m tired of the season, I’m fed up with gifts,
Don’t care about presents or even if that sweater fits!
‘Cause the reason for the season, the theme of the time,
Is not about stuff, not about what is mine.
It’s all about a manger, three wise men and shepherds,
Gold, frankincense, mir, not you or I, not him or her.
About alms and charity, peace and yes love,
A baby’s birth, of war to cease
A reason to carry on,
Without enemies, without foes, only PEACE.
There’s Claus, Rudolph, Frosty and Charlie Brown,
Scrooge and Cratchet and King Wensles  I’ve found,
All of these folks, their faces all around,
Have a message of love and their givings abound.
For a long time ago, in a land far away,
In a stable was born the light and the way.
‘Cause the reason for the season, the theme of the time,
It’s not about stuff, not about what is mine.
A promise of peace, a promise of love,
Of harmony, joy and beauty from above  

Monday, December 19, 2011


This time of year should be about “doing” and “giving,” not “consuming” and “whining.”
Now that the Occupy Toronto crowd has returned to their airy lofts, artist’s apartments, mothers’ basements or subsidized housing units, I hope they’ve found something else productive and worthwhile to occupy their time with.
Seems to me that there are many people with much free time on their hands in this land of ours. It begs me to ask this question; What do protesters do with all this time when they aren’t protesting, marching, thumping their drums, and chests in some cases, disrupting peoples’ lives and wasting the true average person’s tax dollars? Don’t get me wrong, many of their concerns are similar to mine. But their method of voicing these concerns seem to be self-deprecating, and almost insulting to those that are really suffering. Actions speak louder than words, and after all was said and done, there was a lot more said than done!
A lot more can be done. Many causes can be advocated for and progress made towards a betterment of society. But banging drums doesn’t do it.
Two causes seen to be promoted at the Occupy Toronto rally are causes of great importance to me. Causes I believe we can all appreciate given the social climate we find ourselves in. Causes we can all lend our support to and actually make a difference.
Poverty is ongoing and has been with us indefinitely. It’s a symptom of a society that is permeated by greed, uncontrolled consumerism and selfishness. Poverty is not endemic to the Third World, inner cities or Native reserves.
Small steps can be taken by all of us. All it takes to make a small difference is being aware. Aware of our surroundings, aware of the people we see daily that struggle to make ends meet. And also an awareness of our own spending habits. How can we be critical of others, whether they be government or big corporations, yet we ourselves are spending beyond our means or buying items that support the greed we mock and protest against?
Make a real difference! Instead of pounding a drum, sort tinned goods at the local food-bank. Serve at a soup kitchen. Instead of raising a placard or your voice, raise someone’s self-esteem, visit a senior, listen to their stories. Or drive a disabled person to an appointment.       
The widespread abuse and ultimate destruction of sensitive environments is nothing new. Instances of this and a belief that these trends must be stopped have been documented for thousands of years. The Romans, the Chinese, even the Syrians were known to divert rivers, completely deforest mountainsides and drain vast areas of swamp. 
Simple acts of responsible resource use by all of us will make a far bigger statement and have a far more reaching affect than staging a protest. Environmental responsibility is about doing, not saying. Plant a tree, pick up a piece of trash, take a walk instead of a drive.

So now that the protesters have gone home, where can we find them? Are they volunteering at the local food-bank, picking up trash at a nearby park? Or are they at the malls buying a smart phones, flat screen TV’s and video games? I have my suspicions. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Poisoning the Well

Poisoning The Well

Finally, a week’s worth of news not overshadowed by the need to select a Republican candidate for the upcoming US elections, nor the outrageous lip-service being paid to us by politicians claiming to be saving us from an economic crisis that my personal spending habits have created! This week I was able to view, with both disbelief and revulsion, the events in London and the Horn of Africa. Believe it or not, there’s a link.     
In the early 80’s I attended a day-long seminar at the Scarborough U of T campus. The topic of concern was environmental disease. Environmental diseases are an interesting phenomena; illnesses caused by the quality of the environment we live in. Quite often they can reach epidemic proportion, sometimes devastating entire communities, towns and cities, and even whole societies. These illnesses and the resulting devastation sometimes led to scientific and medical breakthroughs but more often than not a shift in societal priorities.
Historic accounts of environmental diseases include the Bubonic and Pneumonic Plagues that ravaged Europe throughout the Dark Ages, Middle Ages and the onset of the Industrial Revolution. More recently, an outbreak of Cholera during the mid nineteenth century in the US led to the first recording and tracking of a disease. Eventually the reporting of Cholera in the US gave way to the creations of such reputable groups as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Earlier this month the latest Cholera outbreak was reported. Among the refugees traveling from famine ravaged Sudan to Kenya, Cholera has claimed well over two-hundred lives. Although this is but a small number comparative to those affected by the famine, and sentenced to death by starvation, it is still an outbreak of an environmental disease. A disease created or perpetuated by the environment lived in, or traveled through in this case, and indicative of its quality, its poor quality.
Getting back to the that U of T seminar. The disease being studied was not Cholera, it wasn’t either of the great plagues that ravaged Europe long ago. Its aim was the study of water borne parasites. During the 80’s, and I’m quite sure little has changed in thirty years, one in four people on the planet suffered from parasites; in other words twenty-five percent of the world’s population had worms. Our study concentrated on west Africa, where that percentage was considerably higher. This high incidence was created  by a contaminated water supply. Not caused by a chemical spill or industrial accident. This was simply poor waste disposal, inappropriate sewage control. In other words, defecating upstream of ones’ water supply.

At that time a great amount of resources, financial, research hours and technology, was pouring into solving this problem. Education programs were created, teaching the local populations how to properly dispose of their waste. NGO’s were funding filtration systems. Church groups were financing the drilling of better wells. Unfortunately Geo-political happenings in the early to mid 80’s overshadowed the importance of the measures taken. The public lost interest in such causes, transferring their care, and therefore their donated dollars to more fashionable concerns. This of course was then reflected in the monies allocated by western governments.

Environmental disease took a backseat to more fashionable issues. Tackling environmental disease had fallen from favor. There were more pressing concerns, at least for those that decided what was stylish and what would gather a greater audience share.
By ignoring the affects of environmental diseases, and their causes, we have seen other  tragedies in the past few decades. E. Coli is an environmental disease which has affected many communities in the western world. Most recently an outbreak in Europe involving tainted vegetables. Closer to home, and perhaps even more telling, the Walkerton tragedy and the evacuation of the Kashachewan First Nations Reserve. 
Environmental diseases point to a problem: abuse of the environment. The environment then tries to warn us of our abuses of it, or tries to rid itself of what is causing the problem; Us. When are we going to learn that peeing upstream of our water supply is not a good idea?
Nature has a way of defending itself, of correcting out of control abuse. Wildlife populations run in cycles; lemmings cast themselves off cliffs, snowshoe hares are thinned by lynx predation. Lightning creates forest fires which cause re-growth of unproductive stretches of woodland. And disease and starvation reduce a population that demands more on the environment than nature can feasibly sustain.
When man dumps sewage and other wastes into the environment with complete disregard for nature, man pays the price and suffers the consequences. Nature tries to eliminate the cause and return a balance to the environment. When man pees upstream of his water supply the entire village gets sick. If that village continues with this irresponsible waste management program the village is destroyed. 
It doesn’t stop at waste management: But it does begin with personal responsibility.
When are we going to realize that speeding on a residential street could cause harm and injury to those we love? And how long will it take before people understand that talking on a cell phone while driving puts your passengers at risk? 
Will we ever come to understand that littering in our neighborhood parks and street sides not only shows a disrespect for our personal surroundings but also a disregard for the environment that nurtures us?                          
The disenfranchised are not furthering their cause by steeling flat-screen TV’s. 
Burning our neighbors’ homes down, trashing the local convenience store and beating on those around us with similar concerns, or living under alike circumstances, is simply poisoning the well we all must drink from.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My Dilemma

Those of you that follow my ramblings on the blogosphere or Facebook are well aware of my employment status; that of course being unemployed. Being unemployed affords me time for many things. Once my job searching is done for the day, resumes sent out, follow up emails written, read and more sent, there’s time to fill. Not as much as one would think. Finding a job can be a full time job!

Most countries in the western world have measures in place for those like me that are unemployed. The social security net; pensions for those unable to work, insurance for those unable to find work. I though have managed to find a hole in that net and fall through it! And for being honest, forthcoming about my actions, for playing by the rules and not flaunting them.

For those who have yet to cash in on their insurance policy, mandated and enforced by the powers that be, that is Employment Insurance, I’ll attempt to outline some of the rules.

First, to qualify, one must have lost one’s job through no fault of one’s own. I was “terminated without cause.”

Second, there is a waiting period; two weeks. That waiting period comes after the time it takes one’s severance pay to dwindle. Two weeks of limbo, two weeks of no income or immediate means of personal support. Two weeks where one must live even more frugally than one already is, or rely on the hospitality and kindheartedness of friends and family. The best wishes of others and their good intentions don’t pay the bills, but they are appreciated!

Third, and occurring every two weeks, there is a report to fill out. Numerous questions to be answered, mostly mundane; have you moved? Have you received any income? Were you capable and willing to work within the preceding time-period? But here’s the one that got me; Did you leave the country?

Well, I left the country. I flew from Toronto to Augusta, Georgia, and not to play golf! From there I was driven to Edgefield South Carolina; for a day-long series of job interviews.

I left Canada just prior to noon on Tuesday and was back on home turf by one o’clock in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Out of the country for less than forty hours, at least ten of those spent at the office of a prospective employer. This time out of Canada I reported on my next electronic filing for my Employment Insurance claim. That filing occurred on the Saturday, two days upon my return.

Answering “yes” to the question “Have you been outside Canada during the period of this filing” allows you to go no further with the electronic report and prompts you to call the offices of Employment Insurance Canada. That call lasted about forty-five minutes, most of which was spent on hold, waiting for a representative to take my call “in a timely manner.”

After explaining my reasons for leaving Canada, and providing a phone number of a person in the HR department where the interview took place, I was told my claim would come under further scrutiny and payment of my benefits would be suspended until it could be proven my reason for traveling was legitimate and I was not contravening the Employment Insurance Act, and might still qualify to collect said benefits! It could take up to three weeks.

This week I received a letter dated June 12th, one week and a day after the above phone call was made. “We are working on your claim. A decision will be made soon.” Of course this letter took two and a half weeks to arrive, thanks of course to work stoppages instigated by Canada Post employees and its respective union. My bank account shows no automated deposits, so obviously they are still working on my claim! That’s four weeks, unless you do not count the week and a day it took to type, date and mail the letter so kindly informing me that “A decision will be made soon”!

As mentioned previously, I’m in a fortunate situation. My housing, transportation and general living expenses are not reliant upon these insured benefits. For this I am very thankful! But there must be many others who, finding themselves without work, depending on their Employment Insurance benefits, and having paid the premiums all their working lives, are denied these benefits. Just for seeking employment, a condition demanded by the Employment Insurance Act, by attending interviews outside Canada. By denying them these benefits, how many find themselves in a position of true financial hardship? Is it not contradictory to demand one seeks employment yet cease payments if attending interviews outside Canada? Even when the job would be within Canada?

Were I to have traveled for vacation, I would expect benefits to be withheld for that time-period. But withheld for complying with and being honest concerning one’s obligations seems ridiculous and counterproductive.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Sporting Choice

A Sporting Choice

A few days ago I posted a link on my Facebook page to an article in the National Post. The federal government had decided against funding a hockey arena in Quebec. I am in full agreement with this decision. My biased comment concerning this posting stated that there are only three sports worth government funding. These three sports are worth funding because only these three and the research which happens because of them, benefits society as a whole. I then asked my Facebook friends if they could name them. Of course most guesses or suggestions were tongue-in-cheek; dwarf tossing, ferret legging, and of all things, curling. Curling! What does curling-funded research lead to? Better brooms?

All kidding aside, here are my three choices for the only sports and the public funding of, that lead to bettering our society: Hunting, fishing and motor sports.

Now before I cause an uproar and you all write to me in disagreement, I'll outline a few reasons in support of my choices.

First motor sport, a sport I have little interest in although many of my friends and family do.

But motor sports, whether GP, NASCAR, F1 or off-road rallying, lead to important research contributing to better passenger vehicles. More fuel efficient engines. Development of stronger and more durable construction materials. But most importantly, safety features in most modern passenger cars have been greatly improved through research and development due to the sport of racing.

Now I’m not recommending the government fund Grand Prix or Formula 1, in-fact, by bailing out the motor industry over recent years, our tax dollars have already contributed too much to the motor industry. But for the sake of safety, the protection of the environment through better emission standards, and lowering of fuel consumption, all of society reaps the benefits.

Hunting and fishing though, are two sports that the government should not only fund, but encourage the public’s participation in.

Now before anyone tries to argue that hunting and fishing are not sports, let’s define the word “sport.”

Noun - An active diversion requiring physical exertion and competition.

Both activities are most certainly physically exerting. And both can be very competitive. But one of the beauties of hunting and fishing is that neither need be competitive and can be enjoyed even more when the competition is eliminated, or better yet, against one’s self.

So why should the government fund hunting and fishing with our tax dollars? Even those who neither fish nor hunt benefit in profound ways through the research and accomplishments of the fishing and hunting communities.

No other group can claim to have increased awareness, or safeguarded the natural resources of our lands, protected more areas of environmental significance from adverse development and ensured that our watersheds and vast tracts of forest and prairie remain natural, pristine and functioning as nature intended. Wildlife, migratory and not, thrive in these areas. The flora that carpets the forest floor or crowd the wetlands, clean and purify the air we breath and the water we drink; essentials to life.

Groups dedicated to the promotion and participation in hunting and fishing are at the forefront in the fight against invasive species. The sea lamprey, round goby and zebra muscle; kudzu, dog-strangling vine and giant hogweed, to name but a few. Hunting and fishing clubs are educating the public about these creatures and plants, and about the damage they cause. These groups are at the front-line, on the ground and water so to speak, actually making an effort to eradicate their presence.

Our right to access Crown Land has always been an issue throughout Canada. Mining, lumber and petroleum companies have sought to have these rights limited and in some areas eliminated. Hunting and fishing groups, from local clubs to national organizations, tackle manufacturers and retailers, private lodges and camps, have worked hard and spent millions to ensure we will always have access to these lands and the waters that flow through them. This ensures that even those that don’t hunt or fish will be able to enjoy our great outdoors. Whether you canoe, hike, bird-watch or even collect rocks and minerals, groups dedicated to the preservation of our hunting and fishing traditions ensure your access to areas you also can enjoy.

Unfortunately our tax dollars can only go so far. There is of course a limit to how much funding the government can and chooses to supply. And of course, we as individuals might not have the finances of our own to support the many endeavors and groups acting to protect these resources. But there are other ways that we can contribute to these important causes.

Many groups and organizations are always looking for new members and volunteers. A membership will cost you a few dollars each year but probably a monthly magazine and discounts at a number participating retailers will be included in the fee. This easily makes up for the yearly dues.

Smaller, locally dedicated groups are even more in need of our attention. These groups are always looking for volunteers. Anyone with a want to become involved with the community, meet new friends and contribute to a conservation effort will be welcome! Even skills far removed from the outdoors are needed; every community rooted group needs a book keeper and a minutes taker.

But if you’re more a hands-on type there are many things to do. Stream reclamation, tree planting, even garbage pick-up to name a few. All activities are an important part in the fight to better our natural environment and promote the sports of hunting and fishing.

If I’ve managed to peek anyone’s interest, and you’re itching to get involved, or simply want more info, here are a few groups I believe are making great contributions to the sporting traditions of hunting and fishing. Better yet, these groups bring environmental awareness to the forefront. And some, through social outreach, make life better for the less fortunate in society.

Ducks Unlimited Canada has been helping to preserve wetlands since 1938. Since then they have helped to preserve 12.5 million acres of wetlands. Robert Bateman is a long time supporter of DU. Quite often you will see his prints up for auction in your local grocery store. If a limited audition print is out of your price range, they have many other products for sale which raise funds for their cause. At the moment I’m wearing a pair of their socks!

Worldwide DU has over 700,000 members so not very grass-roots, but worth a look at if you’re not familiar with them.

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is a wonderful organization that contributes greatly to the enhancement of our woodlands. Especially those areas bordering our important farmlands. Their efforts have educated both the public and farm owners to the benefits of the preservation of standing hardwoods.

The wild turkey was virtually extinct in Ontario until twenty-five years ago. They now number well over a hundred-thousand. Not since the dawn of logging in the province have turkey numbers been so high.

The NWTF also contributes to the community through their outreach programs. Each year thousands of farm raised turkeys are bought and donated to the less fortunate. Through the efforts of the NWTF special dates and locations for disabled hunters have also been established.

Their dedication to the sport of turkey hunting not only helps their quarry and the folks that pursue them, but also the communities their members live in.

Trout Unlimited Canada (TUC) is another grass roots group that is dedicated to the betterment of our environment. Founded in 1972, out of a growing response to the challenges that were threatening our freshwater and cold-water fisheries at the time, TUC has since dedicated itself to educating the public about these threats. Their main interest lies in hands-on work to preserve of our watersheds and the species that depend on them. These small areas are an indication of the health of our entire environment. In a sense, our streams and rivers are the cannery in the coal mine, an indicator of the environmental health of our entire planet.

TUC is dedicated to the health of the watersheds that run through our cities, our farmlands and the forests that border the neighbourhoods we live in. Places we walk through, take our children, run our dogs and find peace. The preservation of these places and the importance they play in life should be of a concern to all of us, not only those that fish and hunt them.

If you live in Ontario, and decide to join and support only one group, my recommendation is the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH). Since 1928 the OFAH has been an advocate for natural resources and the rights and privileges of Ontario’s residents to hunt and fish. The OFAH is the leader in outdoor education programs, natural resource awareness and species reintroduction.

The wild turkey is only one success story that the OFAH can take responsibility for. This coming September marks the first open season for elk in Ontario. Before logging, rapid settlement and land being converted to crop and livestock production in the mid 1800’s, elk were common in southern and central Ontario. By 1900 only a few small herds existed in the Kenora area. Through significant financial and volunteer contributions by the OFAH, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has successfully created a self sustaining elk herd in and around the Bancroft-North Hastings area.

The OFAH is also a leader in the promotion of outdoor pursuits. For sixteen years now, the Ontario Family Fishing Weekend encourages families from all walks of life to get out and enjoy a recreational sport that promotes a healthy lifestyle and encourages inter generation participation. And for fifteen years the Women’s Outdoor Weekend has given women the chance to meet other women with similar interests, sharing knowledge and experiences, dispelling the image that hunting and fishing is a man’s world.

Hunting and fishing are important recreational sports, their impact upon our society is far reaching. Financial support by all levels of government is imperative. Hunting and fishing are traditional activities that reflect the Canadian character. Unfortunately the funding that is coming is inadequate. Right now support by individuals and private groups are the most realistic force behind increased hunting and fishing possibilities and the benefits they create for Canadian society as a whole.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


We've now been back from Sandy Lake for just over a month. Aimee and I have commented to each other since, that the four months we spent there seemed an eternity, and for all the wrong reasons. The Sandy Lake part of our adventure had been less adventurous and more tedious. Navigation had been of personalities not back roads. In fact, we travelled less than two or three kilometers from our home while being there. Each new place we visit, each community we spend time in, have been and will be places of learning, or in the least, experience.
In Sandy Lake though, few lessons were learned, mostly it was harsh realities realized.

Learning of those harsh realities seemed to have become the purpose for our visit there. But towhat purpose?

Let's visit one of those harsh realities. Sometimes prejudicial biases are based in truth. Sometimes the truth is worse than the prejudice. And sometimes that actual truth is even ignored by those that preach those prejudices.

Many people in communities in the remote north hold very differing ethical attitudes to those of us from the densely populated areas of this country. It is one of those differing attitudes that has led us to what we believe has been our purpose being there.

Aimee's job actually forced her to confront these realities in a way I did not have to. But the reality that gave us our purpose is a reality that permeates both our lives. On December the ninth Aimee worked later than I. When she arrived home that evening she did not arrive empty handed. Aimee came home with a dog. Had Aimee not come home with that little dog, that little dog would now be dead.
In most communities in the far north there are too many dogs. Most breed uncontrolled, increasing the population. Some residents fly new ones up there only to be set free to run wild when the novelty stales. So some of them starve to death. Some freeze to death. Some get eaten by the wolves, or by the other dogs they run wild with. And when those harsh realities of that unforgiving landscape fail to control the canine population the locals start shooting them.

In some northern communities there is a bounty on dogs. There is no licencing though. No leash laws. There isn't even much of a move to neuter or spay the existing population. There is simply a complete disrespect and ill regard for dogs.

We named the little dog "Alfie". She came into our home emaciated and stinking of garbage, inside and out. She was timid, frost-bitten and starved. She ate nonstop for three days. And the most amazing thing was that Lyndy seemed to understand her plight as much as we did. She let Alfie eat her food, drink her water and sleep beside us in our bed as she does. Lyndy and Alfie have become the best of friends.
Alfie also became best friends with "White Dog". The only thing we miss from Sandy Lake is"White Dog". Living beneath our house, finding a small source of heat from the warmed pipes there, "White Dog" was one of the other stray dogs on the reserve. We started feeding her after finding she chose to stay within our compound. It was difficult for me to walk in the bush, whether with Lyndy or on my own, without the company of "White Dog". She would even follow us
onto the lake for an afternoon of ice fishing.

Leaving Sandy Lake was not difficult. Leaving "White Dog" was. But we had saved one little dog from a miserable life with an inevitable, and quite possibly brutal end to it.

Lyndy is a traveller just as Aimee and I are. From the day we got her she came with us everywhere. By the time we had reached Sandy Lake, Lyndy had traveled with us over many miles. She's been in cars, over frozen lakes in snow machines, thousands of miles by rail and on several planes. But Alfie had barely travelled a mile from where Aimee had snatched her up, from behind the store, to our house.
All four of us flew out of Sandy Lake the evening of Valentine's Day. We arrived in Thunder Bay five hours and three planes later. And that night Alfie not only flew in a plane, but walked on pavement, on carpet and climbed stairs for the first time!

Alfie now lives in Whitby, with Lyndy, and Aimee and I of course. Also Lucy the Shih-poo. And cats! She still doesn't understand cats! Do you play with them? Do you chase them? You can't simply leave them alone. And if you chase them and catch them, what do you do? Georgie, the brown tabby says if you catch a cat, you scratch its tummy. Alfie and Lyndy don't agree.

With almost a half-acre of fenced yard, uncountable squirrels, and gardens to dig in, Alfie has a great life now. Unfortunately most reservation dogs don't. Life for a dog on a remote First Nations reserve in northern Canada is inhumane and cheep for most, precarious at best, and quite often short-lived.
Dogs on Native reserves are frequently disposed of in the most heinous of ways. Even when a bounty is not in effect. Throughout the north, thousands of husky-crosses, amongst other breeds, are slaughtered yearly. Some are strays, some even discarded family pets. But all are "Res Dogs". If you ever find the time or resources to help one of these beautiful creatures do so. Not all need to exist like "White Dog", some can live like Alfie.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Back In The GTA

Here we are, back in the GTA. The story of our travels will soon follow.

It's funny how re-adjusting to an old environment can be more stressful than adjusting to a new one. Creating new habits seems easier than picking up ones left behind, and settling into a past life more difficult than embarking on a new one.
For instance: When I returned from the UK I found it peculiar driving on the right-hand side of the road. Even after a couple of weeks in the Bahamas, returning to Canada and the right side of the road can seem alien.
Or the noise! Waking to the sound of traffic, horns, sirens, the 401 in the distance. Maybe the silence and peace of the north was simply a welcomed relief from city noises, but returning to it seemed a bombardment of the senses.
And the amount of people! In an hour I've walked past more people, seen more faces, heard more voices than I would have in an entire month!

So, if it seems I've not contacted some of you, or sent a personal message your way, don't take offence, you are not alone! This return south has been a bit overwhelming and it will take a short time getting used to. But a short time it will be!

I have been busy though: newspapers to read, Tim Horton's to visit and the novelty of high-speed Internet. Not to mention the LCBO! Oh, there's also that silly thing about finding a job!

The return of high-speed Internet has allowed me to download more images to my Flickr! page. And the time allowed by being between jobs has given me the opportunity to cruise through old files and edit long forgotten images. In doing so I came across a shot taken a couple of years ago in the Bahamas. And the little critter needs to be ID'd. It's not the greatest shot but it certainly depicts the subject and all its features in an unmistakable manner. If there are any arachnid enthusiasts out there that can help me, it would be appreciated! Have a look and fire me off a comment with your suggestions to its name. Some good web pages anyone might send me to would also help. I've already tried a number of possibilities but no luck.

There's also that other little thing I've been working on and any assistance would be more than welcome. Employment... OK, I've updated my resume and I'd love to forward it to any interested employers out there. But first of all I've decided to limit my search to prospective employers that meet certain criteria;

1. Vehicle provided
2. Can take my dogs to work
3. Expense account for use at the LCBO
4. Enough vacation time for deer season, turkey season, bear season
5. Opening days and adjacent weekends off for trout, bass, grouse and waterfowl seasons

Any ideas, send me your comments. All will be considered and none scoffed at (publicly).

Now back to my busy schedule. Should check the fishing gear, off to Lake Scugog later in the week for some hard-water fishing.