Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Seriously, that hair cut makes you look fat.

The end of April already. I'm not sure where February went, and now April is coming to a close. In Finland, this would be a day to celebrate... it is "May Day Eve". May Day Eve is much in line with the Celtic celebration of "Beltane", which welcomes spring and ushers in the month of May. I'm all for the celebration - but does it have to be May so soon?

When we are young, we can't wait to be older. But just as mom promised, the older you get, the faster time gets. I think our mothers were on to something. God knows that spring break took forever to arrive, summer lasted forever, and winters went on endlessly. Now, spring will be gone before I have time to register it isn't winter. Summer might last a week (of course living in Vancouver, summer really IS only a week), and Winter will only seem like it takes forever for the first couple of weeks. Then, POOF... it's Beltane again.

In honour of a friend who has a thing for old typewriters, and typing programs (and in fact designed and developed "All the Right Type" - the program most schools in North America use to teach typing to kids today)... it is Manual Typewriter Day. I remember having to do a school project when I was very young and my mom renting an electric typewriter because I was painful to watch. Then in high school, learning how to type on an electric typewriter. We weren't learning on a keyboard or a computer, as that was still a ways down the road. There was one computer lab on campus and it was used for the only computer class available. After years of getting by with four fingers and one thumb, I can now type using all my digits, and can proudly boast a 60wpm speed. I only passed typing in school because the teacher was tired of watching my painful pecking, and sat me at the only typewriter with the letters on the keys for the final. Dr. Gerry... Thank you. I figured it out eventually.

Other celebrations today include "Spank Out Day" (a day to eliminate capital punishment for children and find alternatives), "Raisin Day", "UHF Day", "National Oatmeal Cookie Day", and "Dare to Live Day".

Perhaps a touch more worthy of our attention, April 30 is "Hairstylist Appreciation Day." This could be one of my favourites for the entire month. I do love my hairstylists. Of course my oldest friend (hey - she's not old) is a stylist. Hair colour is an accessory, and I love a new do. April 30 is also "National Honesty Day" so if you ask, I'm going to have to tell you... Yes, that haircut makes you look fat.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzip. What's that smell?

Wahoo... It's Zipper Day!!! I thought this day would never come up. In 1913, on April 29th, Gideon Sunback of Hoboken, NJ patented the zipper, and the world hasn't dropped it's trousers since (except on those rare public occassions when dropping one's trousers is a good idea).

I envision one day having surgical zippers installed in my girls. As I get old, and they get thin and saggy, I'll turn them in to wallets of a kind. Let's call them breast pockets. (Could I patent that?)

There's a few other things we can celebrate today.. How about "National Hairball Awareness Day?" Ack. Cack.

National Teach your Children to Save Day. (Missed this one as a child).

Sense of Smell Day. What's that smell? Is that your zipper that's come down?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bulldogs are something....

It's a day like "Bulldogs are Beautiful Day" that makes me wonder how little else we have to celebrate in our lives that the bulldogs get a day. What about Brindled Chesapeake's are Special Day? (Of course in my house, Brindled Chesapeakes are special every day.)

So April 28th brought to Vancouver hail, monsoon rains, sun, more heavy rains, and finally a clear night in which to view the moon. And for a day that cycled the four season's more than once, it went by pretty quick. I didn't get around to celebrating "Cubicle Day". Of course I've never worked in a cubicle, so other than my love of Dilbert, I don't know what I would celebrate about life in a cubicle.

On the news tonight they talked about "Workers Memorial Day". This is a day to focus on safety in the work place and to remember those who lost their lives in the line of duty. The day however, does not focus only on police or fire services, but rather those that maybe lost their lives on a construction site, or working in an all-night gas station. A young man in Vancouver named Grant De Patie was working at a gas station, and in an attempt to stop a motorist from fleeing after stealing $12 worth of gas, Grant was hit and then dragged to his death. Grant's Law is a result of that incident, and requires all gas station patrons to pre-pay for any gas at any time of day.

For those who have lost their lives because of shoddy equipment, poor maintenance, pressure to complete projects quickly and cheaply... where are the laws to ensure their lives were not lost in vain. Don't get me wrong, I am not in any way minimizing the importance of Grant's Law. I'm applauding it. I hope that it is an example to others to be sure that the memories of workers are also able to make a difference.

A couple of months ago, a young man was killed on the job building the new skytrain line in Vancouver. The crane he was operating tipped while working over the Fraser River and he was killed. Then I hear that other than Ontario, there are no trade tickets for crane operators in BC. It's taken at a workers word they have the training, and up to the employers to be sure the crane operators have the skills and safety training for the job. I have since then been very nervous whenever I'm near or under a crane (and in Vancouver there are LOTS of cranes). Maybe there can be a law passed for crane operators to ensure that they have what they need to be safe and get home to their families at the end of the day.

But I digress.

Though Cubicle Day might not seem all that important, and I'm sure Bulldogs are beautiful to their owners... remember that all your actions could affect the safety of yourself and others. Let's remember all those that have been hurt or killed on the job, and hope that they have not done so in vain.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

From Concentration Camps to Darfur...

I suppose this is about celebrating today, though it is wrapped up in horror. I've just watched the Frontline documentary "Memory of the Camps." Filmed in 1945 in the camps of Germany, the footage was very hard to swallow. Ok, that's a really bad use of a word... as the 10's of thousands of starved bodies are hurled in to pits by both German soldiers and concentration camp survivors in order to earn food. I doubt they were fed anything but their pride and souls.

Those fortunate enough to go to a work camp - told there would be housing and food - were in lice infested quarters. Where there was lice, there was Typhoid. So the answer - put the 'campers' through a laundry process. What a nice way to say soaked down in DDT, scrubbed raw and taken back to camps.

The footage - was filmed in April, 1945. Fifty-four years ago - only a few generations. What did we learn?

I understand, watching this documentary, why my grandfather refused to acknowledge a link to German heritage. This was an horrific part of human history. There couldn't possibly have been a German who did not know what the Nazis were doing. I can't imagine what it must have been like to live under that kind of oppression with genocide happening around every corner.

One of the saddest parts of this to me is that the communists knew that what they were doing was gruesomely wrong. They made desperate attempts to cover up their doings ahead of the Allied forces. The Allied forces then knew for what they were fighting.

Do the Allied forces - the Coalition of the willing.... Do they know? And are they in Rwanda? Darfur?

It's A Self-Portrait

It's Sunday and Rural Sunday. It is also Mother, Father Deaf Day, and Mantanzas Mule Day. I'm sure there is much to say about going beyond the suburbs and visiting the rural folk, or comments about the need to take a mule out for a stroll... But it makes me wonder a few things. First of all, have we really become such an odd bunch of people on this planet that we need to have a day for everything and anything for them to be important?

I am struck by this as I watch a Nature documentary on penguins and how the krill and other food have decreased by as much as 80% since 2005 - largely because of the antarctic fishing fleets and the changing climate. It was World Penguin Day on Friday - and yet, it is what we as humans are doing every day that is making life for penguins precarious.

It is also National Prime Rib Day, Macaroni Self-Portrait Day, Sleep Day (DAMN!! Wish I'd know that one earlier), Tell a Story Day, Write an Old Friend Day, and Babe Ruth Day. Are all these days ways of making special interest groups feel important? Give them credibility for the beliefs and ideas they promote? Though I'm not sure who the special interest groups are for Macaroni Self-Portrait Day. Kraft? How about Sleep Day? New parents and shift workers? Who comes up with this stuff.

And what about Mantanzas Mule Day? According to and article from the MSN website, "today is Matanzas Mule Day, the day during the Spanish-American War (1898) that the U.S. bombarded Matanzas, Cuba, resulting in one lone casualty... a mule".

Imagine if the US bombarded oh, let's say Iraq, and the lone casualty was a camel. That would certainly be a reason to celebrate. Shame that civilization has come this far...

The US has their own WMDs and they don't seem afraid to use them. Perhaps, while they debate what success will look like in Iraq, the answer is "Until there is but one lone camel standing. Maybe we should be celebrating Mantanzas Mule Day - in spite of the latest US bombardments.

The political landscape, economic failings, fears of global terrorism and the future-effects of global warming are all very real to many people. Perhaps having a reason to celebrate, however benign, gives people something to which they can escape. After all, I'm feeling pretty pessimistic about the state of the world. So if anyone is looking for me, I'm off to make a Macaroni Self Portrait.

Chin up.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hug an Australian?!!

There is a long list of 'days' for April 26th. And given it's Saturday, and for the first time in weeks (feels likes months) the sun is shining in Vancouver - so I only want to celebrate the sun. The choices for today are:

- Bob Willis Day
- Hug an Australian Day
- International Marconi Day
- Rebuilding Day
- Richter Scale Day
- World Tai Chi & Qigong Day

So who is this Bob Willis anyway? Bob Willis is the "man that added soul and jazz to country." (The Daily Texan) and in Turkey, Texas - this year marks the 37th annual Bob Willis Day with music, food and festivals. Looks like fun. That works on a sunny day in April. Maybe I could go swing dancing?

International Marconi Day is the celebration of Giuglemo Marconi - and all I can hear is Jefferson Starship's "We Built This City" - and wondering if Marconi really did play the mamba? So on a beautiful day like today, I could sit in the sun, "listening to the radio", and celebrate the brilliance of Marconi. That could work on a sunny April day.

National Rebuilding Day is a day to revitalize communities and preserve affordable home-ownership. 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of Rebuilding Day. It would be something that the City of Vancouver could buy in to... create some pride in ownership and community involvement for some of the city's lower income neighbourhoods.

Not necessarily a good tie in to Richter Scale Day... the birthday of Charles F. Richter. Richter invented the earthquake magnitude scale used to compare the size of the earths rock and roll. Let's hope the earth doesn't celebrate this one with us today. Especially after rebuilding.

So what will I do today to celebrate? Know any Aussies?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Silent Hats

April 25th is the 12th annual "Day of Silence" - a day devoted to bringing attention to anti-LGBT bullying in schools. This year's day of silence is dedicated to a young 8th grader from California who was shot and killed for being gay. Students across the US are being asked to do so for the day or a part of the day.

A 'group' that is rarely silent, and certainly not easy to lose in a crowd are the ladies of the Red Hat Society. April 25th is "National Red Hat Day". In honour of Red Hat Day, I did some research. There are nearly 2000 chapters of the Red Hat Society in Canada. The Society exists in over 30 countries, and have over a million members. The only time it might be hard to lose a Red Hat Ladie in a crowd... the conferences!

"How will I find you?"
"I'll be the one in the purple dress and the red hat".

So sure enough, I thought being around town today from Richmond to Kits, I would see more women out with their red hats. I only saw one Red Hat member, in Kerrisdale of all places - and though she was decked out in the purple outfit (and shoes), and a red blazer. I didn't see a hat. But out in the neighbourhood, she certainly was easy to spot.

I'm sorry I missed chocolate covered almonds day - I would have participated in that one.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Safety Goggles and STD's

So April is full of Awareness Month's.....
  • Cancer Month,
  • Autism Month,
  • Alcohol Awareness Month,
  • Counseling Awareness Month,
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month,
  • National Donate Life Month
  • Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • Donate Life Month
  • Humor Month
  • Minority Health & Health Disparities Month
  • Occupational Therapy Month
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month
  • Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month
  • National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month,
  • Sports Eye Safety Month and
  • STD Awareness Month.
So where do I start? Some of these 'awareness months' are ones we know about. The Cancer charities sell daffodils in April promoting donations for cancer awareness, treatment and research. Having been affected by cancer many times over (I lost my grandfather to lung cancer, close friends of the family, I've had my own scares, and most recently lost a vibrant friend to cancer only a month after she was diagnosed), I have been 'aware' of April being Cancer month most of my life.

Many families are increasingly being affected by Autism in recent years. There are many issues we should all be aware of when you have a family member with autism. The Vancouver School Board recently announced (in April of course) that they will be funding more programs for students with Autism. Bravo!

The other issues we are apparently meant to be aware of in April are too critical to only think about them one month out of the year. Child abuse happens year round. I read a statistic early in the month (now I know why) that a child is abused in North America every 10 seconds. Minority health and health disparities issues are something we should be ashamed of every month. I would hope that who might consider donating an organ - or blood - don't wait for Donate Life Month. After all - we can sign the backs of our drivers licenses or register to be a donor any day of the year.

Now, as for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness.. I certainly became aware at the movies this week. The guy in front could have been the poster child. Would that be a scratch and sniff?

I do find it peculiar that this is sarcoidosis month... on the 8th of April, a friend was in for a minor bit of surgery to have a sarcoid removed from her ass. The butt jokes were bad, but (I said but) there seems to be a theme to April. Is it a coincidence that it is Alcohol Awareness Month and Counseling Awareness Month? Is it not enough to be aware of liquor? Do I need counseling too? Of course I have a few other questions about the nature of the Awareness Month. Who comes up with them? And do they consult at all?

April is indeed Sports Eye Safety Month. It is important that when engaged in sport, one wears eye protection. April is also STDs Awareness Month. So... the moral of the story (and I'm not just saying this because it is also National Humour Month), if there is a penis coming at you... protect yourself. Be sure you wear your goggles!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

No Part of this Post is an Infringement

Though it may be an infringement on my sensibilities...

Today is Administrative Professionals Day. I don't administrate, and I'm not always convinced I'm a professional. So today, I will celebrate the alternative... World Book and Copyright Day.

I thought about how I would celebrate this day and what this day should mean to me as a reader and a self-proclaimed writer. Would I read a book? Visit a bookstore? Plagiarize someone's work?
At the coffee shop this morning I asked the folks around me if they knew of a good book. I got several recommendations. Even more surprising to me though, were the number of people who couldn't tell me what they were reading right now because they were not reading a book at the moment. Worse yet, some could not tell me the name of a good book.

So I got to thinking that perhaps I would look at World Book and Copyright Day as a chance to shut off the TV, open a good book and read. I might then use this blog as an opportunity to write about that book and what I thought of it - respecting of course the copyrights...

OOH.... American Idol is starting......

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day...

No way! Wasn't it just Earth Day? And if it really has been a year, where did mine go? I'm sure last year I promised to look after my self, my mother, and my earth. I haven't done any of it. So I was sitting in a coffee shop, drinking my second coffee from a disposable coffee cup, and I had a wave of guilt. (Maybe a bit of Scot's cheapness.... Starbucks was giving free coffee if you brought your own cup).

And a moment of question. Why is earth day only one day a year? Why do we focus on the planet for 24 hours and then carry on? What about International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Why is it only ok to talk this way for one day? What other days are there that are important enough to get a day, but not important enough to just be? What about the stuff that's important enough to get a month, or critical enough to get a year? So... I'm creating a list of all the days, the months and the years.

I wonder if they'll have any impact on me or on the people around me. Will anybody know what day it is?

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