Rob Ford is an idiot, the left half of Toronto’s got a hate on, and other asorded goodness.

What we have here is a random thinggy. Because random thinggies are good. Even if done at half past odd while coming off a weekend spent in Pembroke with a machine that could use a couple replacement components. And even if done by a guy who apparently wouldn’t know what spelling was if it walked up and shook his hand. Thank christ this will see some editing before it sees the light of day. Maybe. And since I should be sleeping before we have to leave in an hour and a half, have a list.

  • If you live in Ontario, you’ve probably heard about the Rob Ford kerfuffle. He’s been ordered–well, pending appeal, anyway–removed from office as toronto’s mayor after participating in and voting on an issue that, well, kind of involved him. There are two really good entries on the subject by Toronto Mike, with some pretty nifty comments on both, from both the folks in favour of and against what happened and how it happened. The short version: Rob ford is an idiot for voting on a resolution in council as to whether or not he should pay back what amounts to pocket change if your name is Rob Ford–even if he voted with the majority, and would have ended up not having to pay it back anyway. But that there’s one person in Toronto, namely the voter that took him to court over it, that has the power to remove someone the majority voted in from office is a little tiny bit concerning. Not quite as concerning as the fact the judge interpreted the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act to mean removal was his only option. Or as concerning as the fact that mayors of several other cities (I’m looking at you, Quebec) have either resigned or not for far worse. And let’s not talk about Dalton McGuinty. Both sides kind of flopped this one. And now toronto gets to more than likely go through another election–in which Ford wasn’t even banned from running, meaning he could very likely end up right back where they tried to kick him from. Not bad for a broke city.
  • The NHL has killed off pretty much half the season at this point. Is anyone even still paying attention? How many more times are talks going to end up going nowhere before they just come out and tell us what we’re already expecting? Bright side: the Leafs have their first .500 season going into Christmas since… uh… anyone remember when? Now about baseball.
  • We were staring at -13 degrees C coming on the end of last week. That’s freaking cold degrees, if you’re in the US. It was a fair bit above freezing in spots yesterday–note: not *this* spot, as evidenced by our driveway. Mother nature, please to be making up your mind. Thankya.
  • May and I came to Pembroke this weekend for a Christmas party. Well, it’s what the natives call a Christmas party–they serve passable dinner, we get to hear a couple speeches, then a couple somewhere in the neighbourhood of tolerable old guys from around here get up on stage and try not to kill what would otherwise be okay songs. But the conversations were good, anyway.
    • Related: I learned more about my cousin’s girlfriend in a couple hours during that party than I think I ever wanted to know about someone I’m not dating. Small towns’ll do that to ya, I guess. Is it too late for a refund?
  • This. So much this. It was on my mockery list. Then I read this post. I can do no better. Well, okay, I *probably* could. But both caffeine and alcohol are required and I only have easy access to one.
  • The one year I don’t get a lot of folks asking what I’d like for Christmas is the one year I’m exceedingly easy to buy for. I’ve had an iPhone for a bit over a year and a half. This means iTunes. This means gift cards. So if you’re looking…
  • There is a Twitter. It is awesome. And I had nothing whatsoever to do with it. But, should you find yourself watching the afore mentioned twitter and then developing a liking for Big Bang Theory, you can gladly hand the credit this way.
  • And lastly, because there can never be enough promotion, click, then hit play. You’ll love it. Yes, I’m a part-time fortune teller now. And also the awesome factor. I’m right. You’ll see.

Guest Post: Ottawa vs. Petawawa SPCA

The following is a cross-post from the Awesome Wonky Lynx. Click over to her site for more, and potentially related. Or not. whichever.

Looking to adopt an animal? Want to add a new four legged friend to your household and thinking the SPCA is the best way to go?

Well, do not go through the SPCA in Ottawa they are more for talking you out of adopting than working with you to find that best match. They have a questionnaire you must fill out and they claim it’s only to get to know you and make sure you know what you’re looking for in a pet.

James and I have been trying to adopt a dog through the SPCA in Ottawa since the end of August and we’ve had nothing but fights with them. Any time we found a dog that would match us and call them about each dog they argued with us about how the dog wouldn’t fit in. For example, this dog loves to bark and wouldn’t be good for apartments, bu hey we told them time and time again that our apartment is cool with dogs and there’s loads of them around and they all bark including the one we already have.Example 2, this dog doesn’t do that well with kids, but hey, that’s ok too since right now we don’t have kids so it’s something that we can work on. That way in the future and the dog is a little older being around kids won’t matter. How about this one, this dog hasn’t been trained at all and you guys said you don’t want to do training. No no you nits, we said we are quite flexible when it comes to training depending on the dog.

So that questionnaire that is suppose to be just a guide line for the Ottawa SPCA, yeah, they lie. They use it to keep telling you no no no that won’t work. We’ll call you when a dog comes up or keep looking on the site and let us know when you see another one.

After doing that 6 times and getting the same results the Ottawa SPCA can go fly a kite.

Now, here’s the awesome thing. James and I are in Petawawa this weekend to do the whole Thanksgiving thing with the parents. We walked into the SPCA here this morning and found a very beautiful girl named Nova. We had a look at her, played with her a bit in the yard, got to know what she’s like and how she may act at first and that was that. On Sunday we take Noah to meet Nova and since I’m pretty sure all will go well there our new girl comes home with us then.

So once again if you’re looking to adopt a pet go anywhere but the SPCA in Ottawa.

Cat

Welcome to the house of food. Now accepting guests.

On this side of the border, it’s thanks giving weekend. In this house, that roughly translates to way too much food all at once, being way too full to do much more than fall over where you sit and optionally stay conscious, and having way too much fun doing it. So, basicly, the same thing as Christmas except with different music. Things have been cooking since about an hour after most of us were up, and the evidence can’t very well be missed. I don’t much like coming back to Pembroke, but this is a definite plus–the probably half a ton of leftovers that will be returning to Ottawa with me. This has officially become the house of food, no question. And we’re accepting guests.

It’s a Pembroke party–and I’m making a guest appearance.

This has been in the planning stages for more months than I’ve been keeping track, and now, it’s officially almost official. This weekend would be 25 years since my oldest aunt and uncle married. And, because it pretty much took them going through some of their own personal hells to get here, Trish has taken it upon herself to put together a small party, of sorts, complete with a cerimony for the couple to renew their vows. It’s at this cerimony that I’ve been asked to perform one of their favourite songs. So for a change, I’m heading to Pembroke for the weekend later tonight, and not specifically for my own reasons. And this time, for the first time in a while, I get to drag Jessica with me–her bus pulls into the station in a little less than 3 hours, give or take. Not too unlike her first trip across the border, we go straight from here to the bus station, scoop her up–suitcase and all, and shoot out of Ottawa like a bat out of hell. That wasn’t our original plan, but hey, it gets her here and us there, so whatever works. So, this weekend. Family event. Pembroke. And for a change, Jessica gets to come along. Oh, and hey, she gets to hear something that isn’t me dinking around with the piano, also for a change. Will wonders never cease? Now, about this whole packing thing.

Good timing seems to come natural. Yet another Pembroke event–and I’m just in time.

So apparently, this weekend, aside from being the weekend I decided to show up in Pembroke again–and a day early, at that, happens to double as the weekend of the 150th occurance of Pembroke’s expo. I have absolutely no idea what the hell that involves, but I’m finding out tomorrow. I usually, meaning slightly more often than not, end up somewhat liking what I find at these events around here. Worst case, I figure out something I didn’t know two weeks ago. Or maybe that’s where they stick the whole thing falling apart with us standing in the middle of it–that’s happened, too. Either way, that’s my way to kill a Friday. What’s yours?

Things I missed about Ottawa number 4597: visiting Pembroke.

I always said Pembroke was the kind of place I loved to visit, but wouldn’t want to live there. Having lived here several times and visited several more, every time I switch I become more and more convinced of that. Which is another of the reasons I’m in love with living in Ottawa. I like Pembroke, as far as small towns go. But it’s the kind of place you go for a day or two, maybe a week if you need to. Then, it’s back home to online grocery delivery, places to walk to, potential places to work, and actual transportation. It’s weird, odd, and slightly strange, but a thing I missed about Ottawa was visiting Pembroke. I should do this more often. Or, you know, maybe not.

Pembroke gives this accessibility thing a try. About time.

Say what you will about the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), it’s got people talking about the disabled which almost always can’t hurt. You didn’t usually hear more than a word out of folks in this area about it, though, in spite of the fact it’s kind of been in existence for at least 4 years or so. You are now, at least on a business front–if only in vague terms. Everything vaguely hinted to in that article is supposed to come into play by January of 2012, according to what’s over there. Everything from business level education to supposed policies specifically for dealing with people with disabilities–no, not that one based on common sense, sadly. The article doesn’t get overly specific, which kind of makes me wonder just how badly the locals up here will end up completely breaking this all over the place. Oh well. It sure as hell can’t be a whole lot worse than it is–just ask any blind person in Pembroke.

The year of the earthquake?

Ever since about October 2010, there’s been one major earthquake after another with the occasional minor one thrown in to spice things up. Japan itself was the not so proud recipient of two of them. I’m officially dubbing this the year of the earthquake.

And, in very slightly related news, we’re approaching the 1-year anniversary of this mildly entertaining event. Almost as a cellebration of that episode–the one I felt while doing groceries, of all things, some of us got to experience this 3.5 quake. I didn’t feel this one, but apparently it was semi-nifty. Hopefully the locals I ran into last year didn’t forget the education they were provided…

Edit: And hey look, another one–this one a week or two ago, and hitting the same area roughly as last year’s quake but significantly weaker at about 4.3. Not bad for having gone a couple years quake free in this area.

The Pembroke/Renfrew area gets its very own call and bitch line. Yay?

The big thing that seems to be the default reaction if you live in Ottawa and don’t know something is to call 211. That also seems to be the default response if, as people have a tendancy to do in Ottawa, you simply want someone to bitch to because x isn’t happening the way you’d like it to. Glorious. Unless you were the poor bastard who got slapped with having to take the call. Suddenly, you were doing everything from listening to locals cry because OC Transpo was 10 minutes late to playing city phone book while listening to the locals cry because OC Transpo was 10 minutes late. And my guess is it doesn’t pay very well. And now, they’ve expanded to the valley. Pembroke. And Renfrew. And those little hicktowns in between. All getting a free call and bitch line. I can only imagine. No, wait–I really don’t want to. I do, however, feel even more sorry for the poor bastards taking the calls. Hope they have a love for long conversations–it’s a local rule a phone conversation can’t be less than half an hour. In 4 words, lots of coffee. Now.

Small town observation number 5489231.

I had to run over to the parentals’ to toss the dogs outside while mom was in Ottawa. An hour and a bit after she called, the cab showed up to get me over there. She was around the corner when I got here. Awesome, Pembroke/Petawawa taxis. Keep it up.

Community disservice. Thanks, Rexall.

Rexall Pharmacy has gotten on a lot of folks’s bad sides in Pembroke this past weekend. As the locals are aware, the 2010 Christmas parade ended up happening on Saturday. We were there, for all the fun that was–a separate entry on that’s coming. The parade’s route this year, as it does nearly every year, took it up Pembroke’s main street, past several stores, at least one Tim Horton’s, and several conveniently located apartment buildings. As a result, sidestreets were blocked along the parade route up to about half an hour before it was supposed to start. Standard operating procedure in Pembroke–one of the very few things that actually makes sense about the place. Enter the suck of the weekend.

The likelyhood of people actually wanting to play customer for the duration of the parade is pretty much next to nill. So we pulled into a Rexall Pharmacy parking lot, intent on leaving our vehicle there and finding us a spot along the parade route–a short walk away–to stand and watch. At least two members of pharmacy staff were quick to come out of the store, and make a very good show of telling us, and the family we were with, that the parking lot was reserved for customers and we were to move our vehicles immediately. One of the members of the family we were with, who was driving their vehicle, was inside having a prescription filled. The staffer who talked to them instructed them to go inside, get the keys from the driver, and move the vehicle. Several more people who had intended to leave their vehicles there, and may or may not have thought about dropping into the store before the parade, got the same lecture.

As said, as soon as the parade started, there weren’t a whole lot of people actually in the store–most if not all of them were standing on the side of the street, with us, watching the parade–and bitching about having been told to give up their parking space for nonexistent customers. But that having been said, the sidestreets on either side of where we were were blocked off, and Rexall wasn’t the only store who’s parking lot was quickly filling with spectators. I’m still curious where, exactly, the pharmacy staffers would have prefered we go. I don’t particularly think there was a preference–just as long as it wasn’t Rexall’s parking lot, which was–as we pointed out to the pharmacy staffer–shortly left pretty vacant after all the evictions were handed out.

A note to Rexall Pharmacy. There’s a parade on. That parade runs pretty well right past your store. Do you think you’re gonna get very many customers for the hour it’s actually running? Trust me, none of your sales are that good. And hey look at that, the prescription wasn’t even ready when the parade winded down–making the folks we were with still your customers for the duration of the parade. Who knew?

Related: When folks actually do have motives for pulling into your parking lot other than to watch the parade–like, for instance, ordering a prescription–it’s probably not a good idea to kick them off your property. You tend to actually *lose* customers that way. Oh, right–they were watching the parade. They weren’t actually customers. Okay forget I said anything.

No, it’s not officially winter yet. This is just practice.

If you live in Ottawa or the valley, you’ve seen craptastical weather. Below freezing, and there’s crap of various types falling from the sky–some of it, from what I’ve been hearing, coming down white. For the record, no, winter didn’t start a month early–though some days, you may wonder. This is what I like to call the winter warm-up.

Just a bit ago, we were treated to a very impressive 20 minutes of freezing rain in Pembroke. I got to run outside with a couple dogs for the tail end of it–lucky, lucky me. And then, just to screw with us, Environment Canada has decided hey, tomorrow we get to see April-style weather. Bright side: minimal actual preparation before going outside. Not so bright side: consistency, let’s have some.

Yeah, you guessed it. I got nothin’. So have a random local weather related blog post instead. More content tomorrow. Or not.

Roommates, apartment hunting, and inching forward with employment. Sort of.

The job market’s been doing a very good impression of a miserable failure the last year or two, at least up here. Very slowly, the interviews I was involved in began to slow to a trickle, then eventually stop. Then the same happened with jobs I didn’t have to have lived in a university for the past 10 years to apply to. Now, jobs in the Ottawa and valley area are kind of at a premium. I’ve been doing the disability income thing for the last year out of desperation, so I’m not forced to go back to living at home–not that I don’t like my parents, but from over here, please. This after being on employment insurance since the job I did have went to India in 2008. That has, naturally, required some financial creativity to keep myself ahead of the curve. My latest attempt at financial creativity consists of turning my one-bedroom apartment into a somewhat improvized two-bedroom, and taking in a roommate. It kind of works, seeing as he’s needing to get just about as financially creative as I am. I love my own space, but sometimes, sharing is caring. Or in this case, sharing is not ending up in the poor house. So on December first, shane will be borrowing my living room. Bright side: there will be much geeking. Not so bright side: some of our debates, when we start having actually meaningful ones, may or may not end up bloody. But hell, that’s half the fun, no?

The roommate situation has kind of pushed forward the necessity of looking for a new apartment. Because, really, while this works, I’m not quite so mean as to restrict him to the coutch for the foreseeable future. Particularly given he’s probably just about as likely to have a significant guest show up over here as I am. The coutch, while folding out and quite comfortable, is probably not conducive to, well, much of anything beyond sleeping. I’ve been looking for a bigger place the last week or so as a result, and have come to a very not quite surprising realization. Finding an apartment that doesn’t generally suck, have craptastic heating, or fit rather easily into this one is pretty near to impossible–at least in Pembroke. Which may mean our financial creativity will probably end up taking us back to Ottawa. Good, ish. Except for that part where the rent in Ottawa was what sent me all the way over here in the first place. Fortunately, the only deadlines we have are how long we can keep this whole creativity thing going. And the only restrictions we have location-wise really depends on whether or not, and where, one or both of us may end up working when we decide to move. In the meantime, hey, I like this kind of adventure.

As for where one or both of us may be working, it’s pretty much certain I’m probably not going to be working at Online Support after all. You may or may not recall I was waiting for questions to be answered, and paperwork to be processed before I could start over there. And oh yeah, Freedom Scientific‘s JAWS for Windows program so I could actually, you know, use their computer and know what it’s yelling at me. It took a little longer than I expected, but the ball’s finally rolling on the purchase of the screenreader–give or take the time it takes me to drop kick certain answers from certain individuals, I should have a copy that runs on windows 7 professional by the end of the month. Problem being now, though? Online Support hasn’t responded to me since a day or two after I wrote that last entry. The guy I’m dealing with from Ontario’s second career program has been trying to get a shot at them as well and hasn’t gotten anywhere. I’m leaning very much in the direction of just writing off the company. except for the fact they’re pretty much the only thread that hasn’t snapped off completely over here–yet. I’ve always suspected if I did end up employed again, it would probably be somewhere that isn’t Pembroke. This is kind of lending a bit more support to that suspicion.

Things are definitely happening, and in a quickly kind of way. But they’re definitely happening. And in a couple weeks, it’ll be nearly four years since the last time I developed a roommate–no better time to snap that streak. Or something. And just in time for that, we’re lining things up for a goodly portion of insanity. In other words, just another day in the life of me. I think I need a new one.

Well. Hello, fall. Goodbye, fall. Hello, winter.

Ottawa and the valley is absolutely famous for getting snow usually before just about anyone else–particularly south of the border. It didn’t stick around, but we got our introduction to it today. And tonight, for perhaps the first time this year, we’re receiving an introduction to sub-zero temperatures. It surprised us earlier than last year, when I had the good sense to be in Rochester and therefore delay the introduction of *me* to winter. Not happening this time. Dammit. Well, we had our fall. It lasted about a week or two. Now, hello first signs of winter. Welcome back. Will you be leaving soon?

Fun and amusement at fiddle fest.

I’ve written a couple entries referencing the anual fiddle festival held up at Pembroke’s Riverside park every September around labour day. On a random wim, the parents and I decided to shuffle over there tonight to see what we could find for entertainment. And, as often happens, we found exactly that. And this time, I even managed to recognise a few of the songs that were being played.

Just to get a general idea of how things are set up around there, everyone who’s competing in the events of this weekend–and probably a few spectators who just want an excuse to party–piles into Riverside park, which is escentially a special event grounds that just so happens to double as a beach and very nice area to walk when it’s not jam packed with people. From about a week before labour day right up until then, when the competition shuts down, there are trailers, trucks, buses, and all manner of other things. When they’re not competing, each site tends to do their own thing so far as performances. Most of them are little more than social gatherings among friends. When the competition isn’t going, it’s almost impossible to distinguish the folks who’re just there for the party from the competitors. At that point, it generally amounts to a very glorified outdoor kitchen party. They have guitars, at least one piano, some folks doing vocals depending on the group, and of course, a crap ton of fiddles. There are stepdancers as well but I think we showed up too late to see those. They’re selling food–mostly of the burger and fries variety, and if you didn’t provide your own alcohol you probably don’t have to go far to get some. Mostly though, people show up there for the music.

We spent the better part of the evening, or at least a good 2 hours and change of it, walking from one site to the next doing just that. We’d hear a decent song or two, hang out there for a few, then when they started getting into areas we weren’t in the mood for, we’d move on to the next one. The selections were almost all folk/country or some mix of the two–it’s a fiddle festival; what the hell do you want? The usual selection at least tonight was anywhere from probably 1960 through to about 1990, though I did catch a song or two that sounded newer. At the end of it, my legs were about ready to go on strike right there, and I don’t think I was the only one in that state, so we packed it up and slid back to our respective houses.

I try to make it to that competition–or, at least, the afterparty–at least once every year. This is one of those rare things that, even if I were still living in Ottawa, I’d have to make the trip back here just to check it out. It’s probably the one thing that actually makes Pembroke feel more like home than, say, the apartment I had prior to my moving here. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean I wouldn’t move away if given the option. But I’d definitely be coming back at least once a year, right during that first week in September. Call it one of my very few unwritten rules.

If you happen to have some free time this weekend and are in or near the area, drop by Riverside park in Pembroke and check it out. I believe the players start wrapping things up on Sunday, but if I’m not mistaken some may stick around until Monday instead. If you’re interested in checking it out, have a map, of sorts. And if you do decide to go, let me know what you think. I’d be curious to see if it’s just a Pembroke area thing. If I get bored enough, I might end up back there out of random curiosity myself. Hey, that wouldn’t hurt my feelings any.

How small is Petawawa? I indirectly know this guy.

As much as I bitch about small-town life, and the Pembroke/Petawawa area is actually surprisingly small, sometimes it has its awesomely cool points. Like this kid, who’s up for a CCMA in September. He’s not only done solo work, but has played with several well-known groups/singers. The kicker? My mother used to work with his sister. Hang on a second–I need to reset the nifty meter. In a way, I sort of indirectly–yeah, very indirectly–know this guy. Awesome.

Happy heatwave day, Ottawa!

Or I guess heatwave week would be more appropriate, what with this apparently going to be the norm for a while. Nothing says welcome to a Canadian summer quite like stepping outside and getting slapped in the face with it. At 10:30 in the morning. And yet, there’s a nasty rumour floating around they’re calling for thunder storms.

Saturday, it was tolerably hot. Yesterday was irritatingly hot. Today is just plain OMG hot. And we aren’t cooling off any time soon. Happy heatwave day, Ottawa. May your AC not suffer a catastrophic failure. And may all your beer–if you’re a beer person–stay cold. You’ll need it.

Have some wicked nifty cool. And an earthquake.

We felt this while out investing in things of a grocery related nature. Apparently, the center of the earthquake was about 50 KM northeast of Ottawa–in other words, right in between Ottawa and Pembroke. We didn’t feel a whole lot–kind of like the mall we were in just sort of twitched a little. Windows were rattling, but nothing went flying or anything. We very nearly considered just getting the hell out of the mall. We were surrounded by glass, with concrete cielings, so if it was anything more major than that, the parking lot would have been a hundred times safer.

There’s a rumor floating around that it was felt as far down as Detroit, and into New England. Toronto’s supposedly had several evacuations as a result–as has Ottawa, according to the linked article. Twitter’s alive with speculation of at least one aftershock, but if there are any, they didn’t reach us up here.

We survived the earthquake intact and relatively as sane as we were before. The most exciting part was convincing some of the folks around us that yes, you did, in fact, just witness an earthquake. Spending three years on Vancouver Island has its advantages. Who says you never find anything exciting while running a simple arrand?

Oh, goody. Taxi prices are on their way up in Pembroke.

If I ever get an opportunity to meet Dalton Mcguinty in person, remind me to drop kick him square in the face. Another casualty of the HST in July? Pembroke’s taxi services, who’re about to stick an additional 8% on their already a little tiny bit insane price tags. Keeping in mind the last time I used a taxi to take a 5-10 minute drive from here to the parents’ place and back it cost me just about twice what it was supposed to. Suffice it to say, I haven’t used one since. And, suffice it to say, I won’t be using one in the immediate future unless I absolutely have to.

Since most people who take taxis do it because they very often can’t drive from here to there on their own and slightly less often have no one else who can, and since a common reason people can’t drive from here to there on their own is because they can’t aford to purchase/keep up payments for/constantly put gas in a vehicle, you’d think Ontario’s–and BC’s, for that matter–government would be trying to make it just a little bit easier for folks who aren’t making twenty thousand plus to make their limitted income last just a little bit longer. That would be a big fat no on that one. Well, the fantasy was nice, anyway.

Ontario’s liberal government: squeezing every cent the feds haven’t already squeezed out of you since way too damn long. Is it election time yet?

The big hazy.

What happens in Quebec doesn’t very often stay in Quebec. Take this, for instance. Forest fires in Quebec have prompted smog/smoke alerts in Ottawa, Pembroke and area. Apparently, from what I hear, looking across the Ottawa river you can actually see it coming. Well, that settles it. The US has the big easy (Hello, New Orleans), and now, Canada has the big hazy (Hello, Ottawa). And it’s all Quebec’s fault.

New area code comes into affect today.

It’s official. Sometime during the next 24 hours, new phone numbers in Ottawa, Pembroke and area will show up with a new area code. The new code, 343, is to address an apparently expected shortage in available phone numbers in the area. They blame the increase in mobile phones for the shortage of numbers; I blame a lack of recycling the old ones. I guess now we know why we’ve had 10-digit dialing for the last 4 years.

Employment resource centers plus small town living equals not much help.

So, as I hinted at in my last post, I dropped by an employment resource center today. Mostly out of general curiosity–they couldn’t do much worse for me than I have so far, but also because, well, I could. Turns out I might have been smart to keep looking outside of Pembroke–there really, as the guy who worked with me rather bluntly agreed, isn’t much here beyond fast food and/or retail which, while they may be make-work jobs for folks who like that kinda thing, isn’t my idea of a career choice. He did suggest I try yet again to apply to work at Online Support, a local call center in the west end of Pembroke, but seeing as my previous two attempts to get hired there ended up a rather impressive-sounding flop, I told him I wasn’t going to hold my breath on this one. Fortunately, he’s not the type that requires I constantly have my foot in his ass for results–at least, he doesn’t immediately appear to be. So, failing that, he said he’d try and get me into Ontario’s second career program–escentially, a government-sponsored program to fund going back to school to either gain more skills or enhance existing ones in order to make me a little more hireable. Or, in my case, in order to put the extent of my geekyness on paper. I’ll know how that goes within a few days, most likely. Beyond that, I only gained these from my experience this afternoon.

    Further proof that I rock at resume-building–it’s not going to involve a major rewrite of the thing, thank god. I’ve already done that dance too often.

  • My skills, were I not living in a technically dead place like Pembroke/Petawawa, or were Ottawa’s tech sector not currently on life support, would land me just about any kind of entry or second-level position–if they were on paper. Hence, trying to get into second career training.
  • I got a free thumb drive out of the deal. I already had one, but hey, I’ll take a second. It’s got the logo of the Canadian armed forces on it, and it was free, so how could I say no? I have no idea on capacity, but again, it was free.

So, we’ll roll the dice and see what the hell happens. Worst case, I keep applying for jobs outside Pembroke. Which I’ll probably keep doing anyway. Best case? It’s back to school for the geek in training. And if someone else is paying for it, there’s an increasing likelyhood of me actually focusing more on the learning and less on how I’m going to pay for next semester. Works out to win win for me. In the meantime, anyone have an opening for a techy? Let me know.

Officially screwed, small-town style.

One of the things I liked about this town, and there are very few, was the fact you could get pretty well anywhere you need to on roughly 7 dollars by taxi. Unless I had to go into downtown Pembroke, that was perfect. It didn’t break the bank, was relatively easy to arange, and worked out cheaper in a lot of cases than paying for someone’s gas. As of Saturday night, however, the new going rate is apparently 12 dollars. They’re apparently blaming increased gas prices–I didn’t think they increased all that much in the first place. While on a one or two-time basis that’s not much of an increase, consider that if you lack transportation and live here, the taxi is your best friend. Paying 12 dollars give or take going each way, then, on a semi-regular basis can add up in a real goddamn hurry. Thank you very much, local cab companies. I didn’t wanna keep my already limitted money anyway. Sadly, it’s still cheaper than living in Ottawa right now. That’s just uncool. On the bright side, I can now proudly join the list of the officially screwed.

So they say there’s a recovery somewhere in here.

Reports are coming out now that say there’s some kind of an economic recovery up on this side of the border. GDP’s up, consumer spending’s up, housing prices are up. Employment rate? Well, they still scratch their heads about that.

House prices, sales and starts have all rebounded, consumer spending remains strong, stock markets have partly come back from last year’s low, and the job picture appears to be improving with each new report.

On this, I call bullshit–at least in the Ottawa/Pembroke area, where so far I’ve seen a grand total of maybe 15 jobs posted in the last 3 weeks, and was inclined and not embarrassed to apply for all of 4. Granted, mostly that would be because those 4 were jobs you didn’t need half a dozen highly priced degrees in order to pretend you can actually do what’s needed. Folks are still getting laid off, or in some cases looking for work and not getting hired. And yet economists are saying we’re on our way back. Hey, if they’re saying it, that’s perfectly fine–just as long as they feel like backing it up with solid employment data. In the meantime, anyone looking for an IT geek? Resume available upon request.

A little bit of everything, and the cerimonies had it.

If it could remotely be called Canadian, it was shown off in tonight’s opening festivities. Right down to the problematic hydraulic system, which I sort of halfway joked about having been designed by Toyota. They got all manner of historical on us, hitting on not only Canada’s aboriginal history but our apparent fondness for fiddle music. I’ll admit, I have an occasional interest in that particular genre. Rarely, and usually around the same time of year, also usually while sitting around drinking beer and enjoying Pembroke’s labour day fiddle fest. Naturally, the city of Pembroke website doesn’t actually have anything really link-worthy to explain just how far back that goes, but it goes back far enough and is popular enough that Riverside Park is pretty much jammed full for a week solid. And when they’re not competing–yes, they actually have a contest in among all this, there’s music and dancing and shananigans of all kinds. And, because I have no idea how else to describe it other than a shit ton of people crammed into a can of awesomeness, I won’t bother to describe it in any other way. Instead, have a video. This does a better job of it than I can. Sorry for any issues with being able to actually see it–it seems to have been recorded on someone’s personal video camera. But, it was the best and most involved video I could find. Blame Youtube and Google. I do.