MetaRasa Personality Radar

And that folks is my MetaRasa Personality Radar. I am an INFJ / INFP which basically means I am an introverted intuitive / introverted feeler. Makes sense to me!

And this my friends is Katy Perry at about 140bpm. Everything sounds better when it’s happy hardcore, even Katy Perry.

What do they have in common? Today I spent some time on the phone with Patrick Lor today about a job that I applied for at Fotolia. We had a great discussion about what they are looking for ( Superstars with passion about what they do ) and how right now I seem to be… waffly. I’m not coming across as passionate about design and art, or project management, or startups, or myself. I think Pat is right, it is a good observation. What I am coming across as is really fucking desperate to get a job because I am, and that isn’t what he needs right now.

Somewhere along the way, since moving from Calgary to Vancover and back to Calgary I seem to have lost that crazy-in-the-eyes spark for all things creative. Or at least I have in my portfolio and resume. I’m still not sure if it is because I have gone all crazy-in-the-eyes for startup companies and cool web applications, or if it I am in a funk, or what. It could be all of the above.

So on Pat’s advice I’m taking some time to think. Doing some personality profiling, and listening to happy-hardcore remixes of terrible pop songs. Trying to find out what I can get behind and do for 40-80 hours a week for the next 3-5 years.

Crazy compost…

The compost bin has gone out of control. It is currently eating everything in site, devouring organic matter at a frightful pace. I do not have a thermometer for my composting efforts, but when I pull the lid off the bins I get a wave of warm air, and a little stir of the top inch or so reveals a toasty warm ( and humid ) biosphere that is happily eating kitchen scraps and yard waste.

I really am astounded at how fast it is eating things. It reduces the lawn clippings by 50% in 10 days. I am a bit worried that it may be running too hot, and that the temperature will get too high and the heap will start to kill itself off, it hasn’t been the warmest of weather here in Calgary over the last few weeks. I’m still trying to find out what the best temperature is supposed to be, I think this heap is sitting around 30-35 Celsius, maybe as hot as 40 Celsius in the core. Stirring seems to cool the heap down, and gets the active… ecosystem up into the new items added. Sort of like making sourdough bread, or yogurt, you get the hyped up live sections to mingle with the new food sources and the party starts. Gets some air in there as well.

I think at some point I have over watered, it is really mucky and bog like in the lower-central part of the bin. I’ve cut back on the amount of H2O I add, I now only water when I add a new layer of clippings or yard waste. We’ll see how that goes.

in-stain in the membrane…

There is something wonderful about wood. The grain, knots, the smell; I absolutely love every aspect of working with timber. So it was a shame to see how poorly kept the front deck was at our place when we moved in and cleared off the snow. The cedar deck boards looked like they had never been stained, and had been largely ignored. Mildew, algae and sun damage everywhere. But this is nothing a little pressure washing and some deck stain can’t fix.

The problem with me and staining a deck is the sun. I have this fair skin that likes to turn the colour of cooked lobster if I am in the sun for longer then 30 minutes, and staining this deck was a four hour job. Lots of sun screen SPF 10,000 was applied, but I still may burn. I’m also sort of high from the fumes of the stain… water based or not, the stuff has some chops when it comes to smell. So at this point I am in-stain in the membrane, in-stain in the brain…

Har. Har.

The deck is going to look fantastic once we are done with it. The first coat has taken it from ‘oh my ghawd, dats so GHETTO!’ to ‘Dude, that’s SWEEEET!!’ I’m hoping the second coat takes it all the way to ‘DAY-AHM how much did THAT cost?!’ We shall see.

Bread, Amish style

The latest bread baking is done! I have found that yeast seems to like listening to Happy Hardcore, it makes the little critters foam and froth and go buck wild! This session of bread baking involved an ‘Amish’ style white bread. It has quite a lot of sugar in it, for a change I used white sugar instead of brown sugar or honey. Added a good slug of salt as well. Whether it was the white sugar or the Happy Hardcore, the bread rose like mad and turned out really nice. The loaves are pretty big though, makes it a bit hard to cut the bread. I think I may have to turn it on its side to get even slices.

In other news the compost heap is going nuts. I opened it up to add some funky leftover salads and bruschetta and the damn thing was steaming. That’s right, it’s sitting there at around 40ºC or so, and in the cool air today it was out-gassing like a dying star. Smells like… silage. Especially since I added the lawn clippings. I gave it a good stir and watered it down, which seemed to make it steam all the more.

An open letter of condemnation on climate change policies in Canada

Good Morning Leaders of Canada!

I am writing to you this open letter today on climate change, and most importantly some of the bad that has crossed my RSS feeds and inboxes. The very intelligent people at MIT have revised their best guess of temperature rise by the end of the century if we continue with business-as-usual… they are now projecting a 5.2ºC increase ( average across the globe ), with a 9% chance of a 7ºC increase in global temperatures. These numbers are being independently supported by the International Energy Agency ( IEA ) which warns of a 6ºC increase, and the Hadley Centre which are projecting 5-7ºC increases. You can find the reports and more information at: MET office’s Hadley Centre & International Energy Agency (IEA) & MIT’s centre for Global Climate Change Science

For the last twenty years the scientific community has been sending increasingly dire warnings to the human species about the risks and dangers of a 3ºC temperature shift. Changes that included the melting of the polar ice sheets, large scale melting of antarctic ice sheets, the possible failure of the Atlantic currents that keep Europe warm, increases in ocean depth of up to 6 meters in some areas of the world, North America being hit hardest. Temperature changes like these do not cause a linear level of damage to our world, one degree increase does not equal 2 meters in ocean depth. Rather it is an exponential growth in change. Think of it like the Richter scale, but for our weather. Doubling the temperature gets you four times the change, or 24 meters of ocean depth increase and the full melting of both polar ice caps. All by the end of THIS century.

Lets put some costs to this sort of climate change, keep in mind that these are napkin calculations based on information that is not 100% complete, so I am erring on the side of conservative. I will base my projections on what is increasingly looking like the ‘best case scenario’ of a 6 meter ocean depth increase by 2100.

A 6 meter increase in ocean depth will displace roughly 4 million Canadians. Their homes will be under water. The majority of these Canadians will be in British Columbia and the Maritimes particularly hard hit will be the Vancouver area and the communities in the Frasier Valley delta. All ready parts of the Metro Vancouver Area are below sea level, notably Delta and Richmond, where some 300,000 Canadians live. At the current average price of a home in Canada ( $274,000 as of January 2009 ) the estimated cost, in loss of buildings, would be around $1,096,000,000,000. Yes, that is just over one TRILLION dollars. This is just the cost of replacing the lost homes, not relocation of this massive amount of people, nor does it cover the costs of replacing the commercial and industrial components of the coastal areas of Canada. I will not hazard a guess on to the costs associated with replacing 30-40% of Canada’s commercial and industrial complex, which is what we would lose along coastal areas.

At a 6 meter increase in ocean levels we would lose every major ocean port in Canada. The Vancouver port would be under water, as would ports in Victoria, Prince Rupert, the Montreal port, Halifax. All ports besides those in the Great Lakes would be under water. I have no way of knowing the full extent that sort of change would cause to the Canadian economy, or the cost of replacing such key elements of our infrastructure. What I do know is the Vancouver port has a Gross Domestic Product of $4 billion per year ( making the Vancouver Port the 149th largest economy in the world, just slightly larger then the nation of Malawi ), and handles $43 billion dollars in cargo each year, and represents $8.9 billion in direct economic inputs. This would ALL be under water. Gone.

In places further inland the changes are just as devastating. For example the lumber industry across Canada, particularly in BC and Alberta, are getting hit with devastating attacks of the Pine Beetle. This damage is so extensive you can now see it from space. Millions of hectares of forest have been destroyed all ready. What controls Pine Beetle populations are fire and cold. You need to have the temperature highs stay below -30ºC for a minimum of a week for the Pine Beetle larva to be killed during the winter. ( Or 24 hours of temperatures at -40ºC ). These sorts of low temperatures are becoming increasingly rare TODAY, if you add an average 5.2ºC to temperatures… Well, I suppose we can just burn the entire province of British Columbia to remove the infestation. Pine Beetle currently costs the forestry industry $2.4 billion dollars in timber, and it looks to be getting worse each season.

In Alberta, where I live, the problem is water. We are a dry province, and getting drier. As the temperatures increase we will see southern Alberta turning from ‘dry land’ farming to ‘desert’ farming. All ready the main water sources in Southern Alberta, the Milk River and the Bow River, are shrinking. It is projected that by the end of the century the Bow will be 25% of its current size, and the Milk will be 20% of its current size. These are glacier and run-off fed rivers. Without the winter snows these rivers are running lower and lower each year as the runoff shrinks and the glaciers disappear. This is going to cripple southern Alberta’s agriculture sector. The bread basket of Canada will collapse, putting thousands of farms and ranches out of business and doing untold damage to our economy and food supply. Northern Alberta and the Tar Sands, the most important part of our country for politicians these days, will also be in jeopardy. Tar Sand extraction requires a lot of water. The Athabasca River is projected to shrink by up to 50% as the glaciers and snow-falls that feed it vanish, putting the multi-billion dollar tar sands projects at risk.

In a nut shell climate change is going to cause economic and social upheaval that makes the current ‘economic downturn’ look like a cake walk. Right now we are talking about problems that are costing billions to solve, climate change is going to cause problems that cost TRILLIONS to solve. Many many TRILLIONS of dollars that will also be linked to massive systemic failures in our core infrastructure. What I have outlined above is the tip of the iceberg,  we are looking at disasters of unprecedented proportions in Canadian history.

What is our government doing about these problems? Nothing. The current ‘plan’ is to ‘wait and see’ what the ‘Obama administration’ is going to do. I am uncertain as to when Canadians started voting for the President of the United States of America. At my last check I was voting for Canadian politicians, and we had a Prime Minister who is supposed to lead a government and the House of Commons on issues surrounding Canada and Canadians… did I miss a referendum?

This inaction is the total epic failure of not just the current Conservative government, but the entire political spectrum in Canada. Instead of sitting down in the House of Commons and working together to find a solution, or even a very sketchy plan, our House of Commons is filled with childish bickering, partisan rhetoric, and a whole lot of wheel spinning. Instead of reaching across the floor to his opposition our Prime Minister is running smear campaigns and hate ads. Instead of rational discourse the NDP leaders are ranting and filibustering. Instead of effectively calling the government to task, the Liberal opposition is waffling and struggling with their personal branding and image. My email inboxes are filled with requests for donations from all the major political parties, from the NDP to the Conservatives to the Liberals and the Greens. Donations to pay off DEBTS from the last election. Now tell me why the heck I would donate to, or vote for, people who are so fiscally incompetent that they run their entire party into debt?

We are staring down the barrel of a gun here. We are facing the biggest environmental, political, and social problem of the century. My children are the
ones who are going to suffer through the challenges of climate change. They are going to face the brunt of our poor decisions, and my grandchildren will live in a Canada so radically different from mine that it is impossible to comprehend. A Canada without Vancouver, Victoria, and Halifax. A Canada where our coast lines are completely different, where places like the Bay of Fundy no longer exist because they are under water. A Canada of deserts in Alberta, and bald treeless mountains in British Columbia. A Canada where there is no ice caps, where Polar bears are extinct, and the permafrost is gone.

I am a staunch Canadian patriot, and to see the leadership of our country, be they political, social, or economic, fail so badly, so consistently is heart breaking. You should all feel a great deal of shame for leaving a world worse off for your children, I know I do.

Regards,

Marcus Riedner

Lawnmowerman

I was out in the back yard tossing the kitchen scraps into the compost and it was like bushwacking through the jungle to get to the bin. The grass in one area was about a foot deep, which means time to cut the lawn. Problem is we don’t have all the gear to properly deal with the lawn, just this busted up old lawn mower older then me. Being a Riedner, things like that never stop me from starting up motorized devices.

This lawn mower is amazing. It has no rock catcher, no bag, no form that shunts the grass in a safe direction. It was left with the house, in the ‘shed’ in the back yard… the shed with no doors. It’s green, rusting, and held together by paperclips and prayers.

Four pulls and she roars to life! At which point I try to throttle up and see what she’s got… but what’s this? The throttle control isn’t doing a damned thing! Closer inspection shows that the throttle cable is completely borked. So now I am saddled with a gas mower from the 70s that is running, and no way to shut it off.

So I start cutting the lawn, what else am I going to do? Worse case I can just let it run until it drains itself of gas. I know that is about as environmentally friendly as pouring toxic waste into a storm drain, but, like, it’s already running… right?

What happens as soon as I hit some of the thicker jungle? The mower stalls out because the throttle is partly choked. Two pulls, she starts again. Stopping solution found, just stall it out. The next 40 minutes is spent crawling up and down the lawn dodging grass, rock chips, and stick chunks. In the end the mower doesn’t stall on the last chunk of jungle, it plows through it… leaving it running, in the middle of our lawn. Some poking and tinkering and I find the throttle lever and choke it far enough to stall. Horray! Lawn cut!

I think I have invented a new extreme sport: death-mowing.  Oh, and the sprinkler broke while sprinkling… another day in the life of our house.