Suckit down landowners in Alberta

Bill 19, a contentious piece of legislation here in Alberta that gives carte blanche rights to ministers to appropriate land in ways that go even further then the current Expropriation Act has passed third reading. Basically, for those who don’t want to sift through government legalese, Bill 19 allows any minister to expropriate a land owners land for any purpose. This purpose does not nessesarily require full public disclosure. This purpose does not need to be for the ‘common good of the people’ ( those specific words were voted against ). It can be used for an oil and gas pipeline, a well, a tar-sands bitumen dig, a strip mine, an irrigation canal, a highway, or for crown holdings. Compensation to land owners is defined at ‘fair market value’ but no proceedures or methods for determining that are outlined.

In a nutshell, the man can come take your home, farm, ranch, or acerage and do what ever they want, and all you get is 30 days notice to try and stop them.

Here is my response to the Premier of Alberta and my MLA:

Honourable Premier Stelmach,
MLA Alana Delong,

I am absolutely stunned that this bill has passed third reading, in any form, considering the negative media coverage and the solid unrest of the constituents of rural and urban Albertans. Even with the current amendments and alterations the bill is yet another example of how this government absolutely does not care for Alberta land owners or residents of Alberta. I am absolutely furious at the utter lack of respect being shown to landowners, as if the Expropriation Act wasn’t bad enough, Bill 19 makes it even easier for a farmer or rancher to be stripped of their land, livelihood, and family legacy. Between this bill and the rights and powers given to oil companies and landsmen the oil industry have near carte blanche to lay more pipelines, sour gas wells, and dig up more dirty tar sands. This is another fantastic example of ‘not using the brakes’, a phrase and way of thinking that has come to epitomize this government. Don’t think. Don’t plan. Don’t care. Definitely don’t slow down.


Marcus Riedner

I have been adamantly against this bill since I heard about it in January. The current land expropriation legislation is loose enough to be a pain to land and home owners, this just makes it worse.

honestly, why not chickens?

So there is a bylaw in Calgary that says you are not allowed to raise any livestock in the city limits, and that includes Chickens. You see, apparently they are too noisy, smelly, and can get diseases. Because of those factors the city of Calgary is refusing to let people raise small flocks of chickens in the city limits.

So what is this stuff about noise, smell, and disease? I don’t know about you, but in my neighborhood there are a lot of dogs. These dogs like to bark, we have a lovely old Boxer on one side, an older Golden Retriever on the other, and some sort of giant dog that looks like a bear cub across the street. They all bark. Chickens cluck, they are a lot like pigeons, not exactly noisy, and certainly quieter then a dog. Roosters are the noisy ones, but they are only good for impregnating chickens and looking pretty…

The smell… well, yes, chicken poo stinks. But it is no more smelly then the goodies that dogs leave in parks and in my back alley. Certainly chickens smell better then the fumes that come off of the jazzed up 4×4′s that roam suburbia around me.

And the disease? If you are caring for your birds and don’t cram them into confined spaces chickens are pretty disease resistant. It is only when you shove them into pens with 25,000 other birds that they really start to get sick, but then that happens with people too. Dogs get rabies, cats get feline leukemia, children get chicken-pox ( har har ). If you are not being stupid and are respecting your animals things run tickety boo.

Now you might ask why would anyone want to raise a chicken? Well, for me, there are a number of good reasons. First off eggs. I love eggs, and I can think of no better way to get fresh eggs then to have chickens in my back yard happily laying a few dozen eggs for me a month. Think of the fresh scrambled eggs, and the awesome omelets, and the great baked goods.

Second I think it is important to know where your food comes from. I am increasingly getting keen on the idea of the local food chain and knowing who is growing my food. I don’t trust Safeway. And I certainly do not trust Cargill or Monsanto to deliver me safe healthy food that has been produced with any semblance of respect. Even trusted brands like Maple Leaf scare me now, so I am starting to look to local farmers and ranchers to provide me with food. What can be more local then my back yard?

Third I think it would be good for the garden. Chickens eat bugs, keep the lawn down, and drop some of the best nitrogen fertilizer you can find. Just have to keep them out of the bits of garden reserved for crops so they don’t kill the veggies. Not only is it good for the garden, I think it is good for the soul and the chickens. They get a happy life, I get to connect with my farming roots, any kids Sarah and I have get to enjoy the cycle of life… all boons in my book.

1-2-3 bullseye, you’re high

So we have this half bathroom en suite off our master bedroom that is turning into the one ‘disaster DIY’ area of our home. The current theory is that when the home was built in 1973 the interior of the house was painted with a high gloss oil paint. At some point in the 80s ( two owners ago ) someone seems to have poorly primed the walls and started painting latex over the oil. For those in the know this is tricky stuff. You have to rough up the oil paint with sandpaper ( all of it ) and then use a tough primer like 1-2-3 Bullseye. This seals off the oil so the water based latex paint can bind to the walls.

But in our bathroom this wasn’t done, so when we started painting the walls the paint in high moisture areas such as around the sink started to bubble. We were at one point pulling off strips of paint 10 centimitres wide and a meter long. ( 4″ and 3′ for the metric challenged. ) But we made the mistake of not pulling off everything right then. We got bummed out. We were tired of painting, so we went home for the day. While we were away the paint partially recured to the walls, and things got really nasty. I tried removing the paint on the walls but after spending an hour to remove about one square foot I gave up. We’ve decided to putty, prime, and repaint.

The proper solution is to rip the drywall off. But that means redoing electrical, plumbing ( have to remove a toilet and vanity ), and structure ( may as well fix the damned room and any problems since it is getting ripped down. ) It would be a $3000 – $7500 job, and we just don’t want to deal with it. So we are painting over the problem, knowing we have to fix it later.

The cool thing about this little en suite is that it has no fan. That means that when you are in there with 1-2-3 Bullseye, you get high. Like I mean inhalent huffing eyes running nose dripping high because the ventilation is so poor. We’ve got fans running to get air ciculation, but even with that you are sure to get stoned. So right now I’m a bit toasted, and I keep blinking really fast… but the priming is done. Fingers crossed it binds and cures to the wall.

the quest for reblogging

I am trying to find a way to get the posts I toss up on other blogs to automatically re-syndicate here on my core blog. So far it is an epic failure. But I can do things like copy and paste, and trackbacks, and links!

So, here is a snippet from a recent post to the Sindome dev blog, The Scroll. I am offering up three of the many options one can take to terminate a character in Sindome, an RP (role playing) heavy game, without resorting to cliche insanity or suicide

Looking for some variation on the typical ‘split personality’ and
‘insanity’ clauses to change the nature of your character, or the ‘jump
from the roof of NLM’ method of self termination? Here are three great
ways to die on Sindome, in case you should be thinking of terminating
your oldbie character in favour of something new and exciting.

-Excerpt from Three Ways to Die

bite your tongue…

So I bit my tongue last night, badly. It bled, and now there is this gaping sore in my mouth. Normally when one says bite your tongue you are keeping something to yourself, trying to be polite… in my case it is literal.

So the last of the stuff is at our house, we have food ( YAY! ) in the fridge and all the plants are finally here. We took some time to do a quick tidy up at Salisbury House, making it livable in places like bathrooms and kitchens. Fridges and microwaves cleaned, and carpets vacuumed.

Meanwhile on the home front a closet rod has collapsed, and fatal design flaws have come to light in the shelving and closet rod structure. Stud finder employed to check for structural elements hidden behind drywall, all seems well. A trip to the hardware store to pick up some timber is in the plannings for tomorrow, as well as finishing off some painting. Looks like my lazy Saturday of unpacking and loafing around is getting replaced with manual labor. I suppose there is still Sunday.

moving is a lot like ADnD

So the move is officially done. Almost. We still have to pick up our plants and the left over food from the Salisbury House and bring it to our as yet unnamed new home. It has been a long day fraught with peril. I think we had a vindictive GM, I can recognize our kind…

I went to bed at about midnight last night, and was out like a light. Until the blizzard and near hurricane force winds started up, followed shortly by the popo parking outside the Salisbury House and shining their search light all over the place, including our bedroom windows. That was at about 4:00am. Fitful sleeping patterns regained until alarm clock at 7:30am. Much groaning, and attempts to hide from the universe. Efforts proved to be ineffective, and by 7:45am showers were being had.

Shortly after we got in the car to head to Caffe Rosso for caffeinated beverages of the medium roast variety and sustenance of the pastry species. But what was this? The snow had partly melted, then been whipped into sheets of glare ice a centimetre thick! Brakes: ineffective. Hills: gravity always wins. Bus vs. Parked Car, roll 2d6 for minutes delayed. Side route with a lesser grade, skating through a stop sign into a playground zone. Destination reached, coffee purchased. Roll a charisma check to glean information from barristas and other customers in line… resutls in tales of minimal woe and rumors of ‘clear main thurofares’.

Some discussion was had, and the decision to continue was made. The treck to UHaul uneventful, and rumors of clear roads prove true. Did you know that UHaul charges $0.69/kilometre for a city rental, plus the $29.95 rental fee? They also do not supply a snow brush or window scraper. Yes, that is correct, in Canada, in the spring/winter you are not provided with one of the most critical pieces of auto equipment. A snow brush. Also noted once road spray was on windshield: definite lack of windshield washer fluid.

Uhaul arrives at loading point, loading commences. Winds continue to howl, whipping up snow drifts on sidewalks every 20 minutes. Roll 1D10 every five turns for minutes delayed. Rob, hero of the day, shows up and loading speed increases. Strangely enough our green hand truck ( dolly ) has gone missing. Where could it be? We do not know. Rob busts out his collapsable hand truck, and the day is saved. Uhaul loaded by 12:30pm, give or take.

Drive to new house ( as yet un-named, but located in Silver Springs ) is straight forward and uneventful. Unloading commences, and is completed in record time. Budwiser and Cokes follow. Rob heads off to beat rush hour at 2:30pm, and we head down to Janice and Lonnie’s to get a couch/hide-a-bed… that weights as much as God. No, seriously. Lonnie comes up to the house, hero of the day number two, and helps unload. Janice provides Kernals popcorn. The time clicks over to 3:20pm…and my stomach begins to complain that it has only been given one travel mug of coffee and an apple cinnimon scone. Roll 1d20, on any result under 5 angry bear emerges and all around you face berserker mode. On results of 15 or higher, pleasant personality emerges. Roll a 20 and you get sainted.

I roll something around an 8, and am grumpy but not homicidal.

Treck to return the Uhaul begins. Crowchild to Glenmore has almost no traffic, at 4:00pm. What is this? Oh, I must have used up my remaining luck pool. Stop near Uhaul drop point to get fuel. Card rejected at Pay-n-Go at the pump. Damn you Shell. In to see the clerk, charisma check, prepay the pump. Petroleum storage nominal! On to the Uhaul drop point… oh, what’s that? wrong turn? In rush hour? Roll 3d10 for minutes delayed. Oh no! Critical failed roll on pathfinding, a second wrong turn resulting in a 1d6 kilometre detour!

So at about 4:50pm the Uhaul is finally dropped off, and the bill is paid. At this point hunger knaws at my soul, and Kam Han on Spiller Rd. is the only option. Western pseudo Chinese food consumed en masse. Back up to the Salisbury House to load up on things left behind, like boxes of random things, bags of random things, various other bits of clutter. Back to Silver Springs to unload, Sarah stays behind and I head back for another load, unwilling to stop as long as there is light. At 7:45pm Sarah calls and says the screws to hold the bed together are breaking, heads torquing right off like dandilions in the hands of an 8 year old. Screws described. Metal file requested. Home Depot, here I come! Roll 3d10 for minutes delayed in loading.

Turns out that the screws holding the bed together are of the drywall persuasion. Why? I know not, perhaps ask the chummers who put the bed together. I mill around the hardware section and ponder options. Deck screws look too agressive. Settle on #2 Robertson 10 x 1 1/2 inch wood screws, a pack of 13. Also pick up a pack of #2 Roberson 10 X 1 3/4 just in case. One can never have too many loose screws. Metal file selected, the brand proclaiming rapid removal of metals of all sorts, including lawn mower blades.

Return to Salisbury House with hardware, and load up some more. A computer chair that feels as heavy as a Fiat by this point, a rocking chair of wicker and lathe that feels as heavy as a couple cinder blocks, and anything else that will fit around them. All that remains is food goods in the fridge and house plants, oh, and one big pot with a possibly alive Clematis that was forced to live on the front porch. Survival of the fittest, reap life in Hardiness Zone 3a.

Return to Silver Springs, stop and get Jr. Chicken Sandwich and small fries at McDonalds ( only $2.92! ) to wolf down. Time clicks over to 9:00pm, the sun has set and sinister clouds on no less then three horizons threaten coming snow. Last load of the day is unloaded and stored in the middle of where ever it fits. The house looks like a moving van exploded all over it, things are everywhere.

Metal file and screws grabbed, stumps of broken drywall screws sanded down. Fancy new DeWalt 18V 2 speed drill/driver used to drill holes and screw in snazzy #2 Robertson 10 x 1 1/2 inch wood screws, total of 4 used, leaving 9 loose screws. An auspicious number! Bed assembled! Matresses placed! Bedding applied, bed is made! Showers are had! Wifi is plugged in! Blog post added detailing the day!

Sleep, here I come!

Excitement level, zero

This is turning into a day of unending frustrations.

  1. Wifi issues in the morning.
  2. Power issues on my laptop shortly after as my AC adapter dies a slow death.
  3. Issues logging into MT4 forums.
  4. Issues with password recovery on above forums.
  5. Problems uploading files to the admin back-end of Sharing Books.
  6. Problems with getting PDFpen to open some PDF files from Sharing Books. ( thank goodness for their tech support, a solution was found within 15 minutes ).
  7. Shortage of non-packed food in the house.
  8. The predicted rain has turned into unexpected snow.

Looks like it is going to be one of those days where problems pile up and keep me from getting my todo list shorter. Ah well, cest la vie.

Packing, phase I

One of  the advantages of moving cities into a house that is partially furnished is you get to leave your stuff packed, sitting in a basement, waiting for the day you move from the place you are house sitting to where ever it is you are going to end up. That’s what Sarah and I have been doing, house sitting for her brother. Now we have a place of our own and are in the midst of yet another move, but this time we have a lot less packing. We never unpacked most of our stuff in the first place.

Tonight we got most of the kitchen stuff packed, we just have the food in the fridge to deal with. Sarah has most of our bric-a-brak packed up, though there is still that final box of misc. junk yet to be packed. I think she packed my shoes… hope I have something for tomorrows walk.

I know things are getting serious when I start decommissioning computers, gaming consoles, and wifi networks. Tonight the Wii was packed, Cordillia ( our Mac Mini and media hard drive array ) has been shut down for the first time in 7 months, and put in her boxes. And The Karratos ( our Airport Extreme ), which had been renamed to ‘Marcus Riedner’s Network’ for our stay here, has been removed from the grid. We are currently surfing on ‘The Dungeon’, Blake’s Airport Express.

UHaul is booked for Thursday. Lucky for us the forecast is for snow.

artwork from Verse Studios

I’ve added some more work to the artwork page, a sampling of the stuff I was doing in 2006/2007 for the now defunct Verse Studios. It was a lot of concept art for space based games, with a focus on cultural elements. It is also an example of me learning to play with water colours on paper, mixing them with india inks and the like.

…wow, okay, so there are birds fighting in the back yard now… Robin vs. Magpie. Round One goes to the robin…

Anyway, that should bring things pretty much up to date on the artwork side of things. 2007 and 2008 were years of trial and strife that involved trying to save a company from death, failing, and then moving back to Calgary from New Westminster. I have some design work, logos, and some web projects from 2007 – 2008 that will find their way on to the site in the next couple weeks.

cause and effect in a connected ubiquitous world.

Or “don’t say words your mom told you not to say.”

When people get tired, me especially, the link between cause and effect starts to get a bit weak. I stop seeing the relationship between what I do and say and how it will play out in a social and cultural context. Basically I loose common sense.

Common sense is this ability to judge how your actions will ripple forward through the people and culture around you. It is a deep understanding of cause and effect as it ties to society and the physical world. For example: common sense would tell you not to drill a coal bed methane well through an aquifer, because that may: 1) ruin the water table in an area as methane and petrochemicals leech into the water. 2) may upset and anger the people and social groups that rely on that water.

Over the last few weeks ( months, years, whatever ) I have been integrating all sorts of disparate elements of my online life. Blogging, Twitter, Facebook to be specific. In the process I have also been slowly blurring the line between personal, social, and work spheres. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It is an experiment for the moment. What it is rapidly teaching me is that I now have to be exceedingly careful what I say, and where I say it. If I run off and put curse words in the titles of blog posts, those curse words head over to twitter and then facebook, and hit a wide range of my social and business network.

It forces me, through being radically transparent in my online dealings, to be:

  1. Honest
  2. Behave in a manner that is not totally crude and uncooth
  3. Recognize the full public disclousure that is online communications

I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing as of yet. But I do know that sticking the f-bomb in my post titles when tired, late at night, is probably a bad thing to do. Apologies to anyone offended.