Friday, December 3, 2010

Yes, Virginia, You Will Make Smart Choices

In my mind the most important part of our job as a parent is to try and teach our kids how to make smart choices and direct them to the resources to help them do so.

I'm certainly not one that has made only smart choices in my life but I would like to think that I've learned something from the questionable ones I have made. I try to pass this education on to my kids whenever I can.

I think that a major factor of happiness and success is the ability to make smart choices and learn from not-so-smart ones.

We trust our educators to use their expertise and fill the minds of our children with many things that we can't teach them in their family life. Hopefully, with everything that they learn, the kids will be able to make the smartest choices that they possibly can.

In doing so, we trust that the educators have the ability to make smart choices themselves.

Unfortunately, I don't think this is always the case.

Yesterday afternoon I received a cc to an email from my wife to the vice-principal of our sons' school expressing great dissatisfaction and concern of a poem that was read to the Grade 7 English classes. These are 11 and 12 year olds.

The details that I gathered which are only one (two?) sides of actual events are as follows.

The English class temporarily has an intern working with it under the guidance of the teacher. I mention this because the teacher was present the entire time.

According to my son the intern asked the class how many believe in Santa Claus to which the great majority raised their hands stating that they do.

She proceeded to read a poem titled "The Death of Santa Claus" to the class. This made my son and other kids quite upset.

At some point a remark was apparently made by the intern or the teacher that when the kids get older they'll know more and will understand that there is no Santa.

The poem is about Santa having a heart attack and dying. It's told by an 8 year old boy to his mother who has some terrible news to tell him. I'm assuming that the boy's father has passed away. The boy's friends at school have been telling him that Santa is fake.

I'm not even going to bother pasting a copy of the poem here but if you want to read it try here http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-death-of-santa-claus . Have fun with that.

Maybe it's just me but isn't that horribly inappropriate to tell to a bunch of kids during the Christmas season? Or any time really.

If they are trying to teach the kids about poetry and metaphors and symbolism or make a statement about staying healthy or the health care system they failed.

That's not the message that my kids took away.

And if this crap must be read to them do it at another time of the year! Not during the Christmas season!

Something like this is not for kids the age of my sons. I don't give a damn if anyone disagrees with me. I know my kids.

I guess you can figure out that I was pretty angry when I found out especially upon hearing that it had upset the kids.

I'll make this part of the long story short and say that I left a message and email for the provincial Minister of Education, Superintendent of District 18 education and the school principal and vice-principal to get back to me.
In it I included the above link to the poem.

I would think that the board was a busy place this morning with various people trying to get to the bottom of it.
Eventually I called the school and ended up chatting with the principal.
As expected, he had received numerous calls and emails from parents who were as upset about this as we were.

He told me that "The Death of Santa Claus" is indeed included in the list of materials and stories for teachers to choose for their classes.
Some international expert on middle school material named Nanci Atwell had made the wise decision that this is a good thing to read to kids of this age and school boards have snapped it up because no one thought to say "Uh Nance? Excuse me? I don't mean to question your great expertise but that poem isn't a great choice and quite frankly sucks anyway."
The principal said that it isn't a poem that he would have chosen and will suggest to teachers that they skip over that page of Nanci's material list in the future.

He mentioned that another parent had suggested that they read "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus" to the kids to counter the awful poem.
He asked my opinion and I told him this is a great idea. They will be doing so next week.
Later this afternoon we received the following email from the English teacher.
It turns out this was copied and pasted and emailed to the other parents who had complained as well so the personal touch isn't really there as it appears to be.
It's better than nothing.

Here it is:

Mr and Mrs Scammell
I apologize for this upsetting experience. This poem comes from an anthology by Nanci Atwell, a highly regarded and well published middle school teacher. In the past I've shared this poem with my class because it is a great example of metaphor. This year I passed it on to Mlle P------(the intern) to use because it linked to our memoir theme. The purpose was to demonstrate that memoirs convey emotion and reflect on personal experiences. The poem describes a classic childhood experience everyone can relate to; the 'quintessential moment' as described in the text. In the past I have read this poem in the spring as part of a poetry unit and although the Christmas link seemed like a good idea at the time, in hindsight perhaps it was not good timing. I am sorry. I understand your position and concerns and I will certainly take these into consideration in the future.
Sincerely,
Michelle"

What "quintessential moment" is she talking about? Is she referring to a moment when a child stops believing in Santa Claus?
They had already established that most of the kids had not experienced that "quintessential moment" before they read it to them. How could the kids reflect on that personal experience?

In this case this teacher did not made a smart choice and made a bad one. This resulted in a flurry of activity as people struggled to figure out a way to undo the damage that had been done.

I'm hoping that this teacher stands by what she has written and really will take more into consideration in the future assuring smarter choices.


I didn't want to waste space with the awful poem however, I am going to tell the Virginia story.

In 1897 an 8 year old girl named Virginia O'Hanlon asked her father Dr. Philip O'Hanlon if Santa Claus really existed. She had started to doubt if there was a Santa Claus, because her friends had told her that he didn't exist.

Her father suggested that she write to the The Sun, a New York City newspaper at the time, telling her that "If you see it in The Sun, it's so."

In doing this he gave one of the editors, Francis Pharcellus Church, an opportunity to rise above the simple question, address philosophical issues behind it and become immortal with his reply.

Her letter:

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

VIRGINIA O'HANLON.
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.


Mr. Church replied to Virginia with the most famous reply ever printed.

"VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."

Great job Mr. Church. What a masterpiece.
Is there a Santa Claus? You're darn right there is!

Questioning his existence is not a very smart thing to do. Not a good choice.
Trying to tell a child that Santa isn't real is a very bad choice.

Every choice results in a lesson. Let's learn from them shall we?

Stay well,
Tim

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Blog about Blogs and other Social Media

Hello there. This isn’t actually going to be about a whole bunch of other people’s blogs, only two of note.

Coincidentally I just happen to be involved in both of them and they are recent.

 

The first one is this from today. Yay!! J  http://loscabosdrumsticks.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/up-and-coming-drummer/#comment-60

 

We are so proud of our guys and their musical talents.

They both have a natural feel for their instruments and sincerely enjoy playing them.

We never have to tell them to go and practice. They just head to the piano or drum kit whenever they want and play away.

 

I recall when I was in grade five I was among a handful of people in the school who took violin classes. A lady used to rotate around the local public schools and teach the violin to a few kids.

I can’t actually remember if I was asked if I wanted to take these lessons or if I was just signed up but I do have a fond memory of the class.

I don’t have a fond memory of practice time though. If memory serves I was forced (yes forced) to go to my bedroom and practice every day. At the time I wasn’t too bad but I wasn’t great.

I think if the practicing was more natural whenever I felt like it I may have been much better.

Maybe.

 

Anyway, please have a look at that link above and feel free to heap praise upon it.

I have to confess that it wasn’t by accident that Los Cabos came upon my sons’ videos.

I flog my YouTube videos  on Facebook and Twitter like it’s going out of style. How do you think some of them have over 1000, 2000 or even 5000 views?

People don’t always happen upon them by accident. Perhaps some do but I’m pretty certain that it’s primarily due to promotion through friends and connections on Social Media and by email.   

 

In this case I follow and am followed on Twitter by Los Cabos drumsticks who just happen to be situated nearby in Fredericton.

I’ve been tweeting them repeatedly about my lad for quite a while now.

Here is their main website http://www.loscabosdrumsticks.com .

 

Hmm. Now if I can get Sabian Cymbals to take an interest in him. They are also nearby. Just up the Saint John River.

 

In case you don’t already know (I can’t imagine how that could be the case) you can see all of my spectacular professional quality award winning (well, maybe one day) videos on my channel right here. http://www.youtube.com/user/timrs2001

I have videos of the boys going back a couple of years to when they were just starting to play. It’s great to track their progress.

Hey! Perhaps one day I will be posting videos of them in concerts in stadiums and arenas!

You just never know do you?

 

Please be so kind and rate the videos and comment on them if you have time. We love knowing that you were there.  Thanks. J

 

 

Now SPEAKING of social media and networking, the next blog I want to mention belongs to a pal who I first met via Twitter at a Tweetup (cute, isn’t it?) a year or so ago in Fredericton. We are also Facebook pals too and he has seen all of my YouTube videos.

Coincidentally, he is also a drummer AND used to work at Los Cabos before moving back to Nova Scotia. He is a friend of B’s drum teacher.

 

Lonnie asked me the other day if he could mention me in his blog.

As if I would say no...  

Without having a clue what it was going to be about I said yes. I trust Lonnie. He’s a good egg. J

 

Here is what he blogged about.

Instead of throwing in another link to his blog I’ll just copy and paste the blog here but refer you to his blog page for you to browse when you have a chance. http://lonnieljones.blogspot.com

 

“Saturday, November 27, 2010

Social networking...

I think I get it!

Social networking is good for business!

Yes, I was told that a year ago and I’ve been aware of it to a certain level since then, but today I managed to GET it!

Last year at this time, I was working for a firm in New Brunswick and we had been invited to an event known as a “Tweet Up” where users of Twitter gather and meet up. In discussion with Carter McLaughlin and Tim Scammell, I learned that such networks as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc are all about building relationships.

OK, that’s a stumper. What does that mean exactly? I have trouble with some relationships face-to-face, so what can Social Media offer me?

Well, to start with, there’s the safety of not being in a room with somebody. I know that sounds weird, but sometimes being in direct contact with others makes me feel awkward, insecure, or intimidated. (especially if it’s someone I look up to) Connecting by means of Social Networking Media keeps a level of separation in place where intimidation and awkwardness don’t (or can’t) exist. That allows me to speak (write) more freely and review what I say before I send it out to the other person.


But I discovered something else... It’s not about me! And in recognizing that, it became a benefit to me!

???

“How does that work,” you may ask...

OK, here’s how it happened for me. I follow people I know on Twitter, and also strangers (as in I haven’t met them) who do things I am interested in such as drumming, cycling, self-empowerment etc. In the process of that, someone I follow mentioned a podcast he had heard and included a link to it. I clicked on the link, dug the ‘cast, and subscribed. Once I became a subscriber, I downloaded other ‘casts and began listening... and learning.

This particular podcast is very diverse and covers many topics, often several per episode. Sometimes it is a short passage of only a few seconds that answers a question I’ve been asking for years. Other times, there is a secret that no one else knows, and this is where the learning begins for me. I learn something that can be used to my advantage in making me a better drummer.

True Social Networking would dictate that I would share this information and allow everyone to develop this skill and we would all have it at our disposal to use at will. There has however, been a long history of “Knowledge is power,” where knowing something others don’t is the same as having an “upper hand.”

Gone are those days of keeping information to ourselves in order to maintain power and control... Today, it’s all about sharing everything we know with the understanding that we will use that knowledge differently anyway, because we are all individuals with individual approaches to everything.

Another way it has worked to my advantage is financially. Again, because I follow someone on Twitter, I got connected with someone else who offered me a part-time PR position of sorts. This is a paid position and it’s not only in an area where I apparently have some expertise, but it’s also something I really enjoy doing!

Social networking has other advantages as well. I have several friends who no longer live here. Through the cyber-magic of social media, I can stay in touch immediately. Through them, I have met others of similar interests and together, we have great (albeit short) conversations about our favourite activities. Not only can I learn more about the things that bring me money, but also the things I do to unwind and enjoy life. I’m learning about far and distant lands I will likely never see, and my circle of “friends” is growing ever larger.

Heck, not long ago I was exchanging witticisms with Prince’s former drummer Sheila E!

~Still Wandering…. “

 

I’m always happy to see that others share my opinion and thoughts about Social Media and networking.

One thing I almost forgot to mention is that I also use MySpace and LinkedIn but not nearly as much as Facebook and Twitter.

Lonnie has summed up my thoughts very well regarding the benefits of these things. Thanks for that pal. J

 

One thing Lonnie touches on at the end which I really want to carry further is the celebrity factor of the Social Media.

 

As  I really love to do please allow me to drop names and tell you about a few of the pretty amazing folks that I have connected with at some point in time through Facebook and Twitter. Several  of them I actually had conversations with or more than one message.

Before I do I want to mention something.

I have often had people ask me how I knew if the person was really the real deal and not an imposter?

Twitter has this thing called a Verified Account. Twitter uses this to establish authenticity of well known accounts so users can trust that a legitimate source is authoring their Tweets.

Here is detailed information about Verified Accounts. http://support.twitter.com/groups/31-twitter-basics/topics/111-features/articles/119135-about-verified-accounts

When we see the blue Verified badge we know they are who they say that they are. Some celebrities don’t have them but have convinced me that they are who they say.

 

On Facebook I have messaged with hockey great Ken Dryden, Glass Tiger singer Alan Frew and Greg Godovich of Goddo fame to name a few.

 

Twitter on the other hand has been wild with the stars I have messaged with.

Try this on for size. I’ll start with recent and work my way back.

 

Rosanne Cash – Johnny’s daughter! Yes!

Brian Travers - of the band UB40

Andrea Martin – Second City star and acting goddess. Andrea actually follows me too.

Russell Crowe – Yes THAT Russell. We’ve tweeted a few times. Do not make him angry. He’s been Robin Hood AND a Gladiator. J

Steve Martin – I don’t have to tell you who this guy is. Still funny after many years.

Sass Jordan – Canadian songstress with one of the most soulful voices I have ever heard.

Bill Zucker – Recording artist, comedian, actor, pal to Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed and co-worker of Kelsey Grammer.

Kelsey Grammer – Cheers and Frasier were his best known but his role as Stinky Pete the Prospector on Toy Story 2 are what sealed his status as an immortal legend with me. We’ve had several chats and Kelsey even wished me Happy Birthday. J

Kevin Pollack – He’s been in far too many huge movies to mention. See here  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001629

Roger Clemens – The greatest baseball pitcher to ever play the game. Bar none. We’ve tweeted many times. Roger was nice enough to autograph 2 baseballs for the boys which his sister Janet mailed to me. I actually befriended Janet first and discovered who her brother was later on.

Eddie Izzard – Incredibly funny guy and great actor. He was one of my mother’s favourite comedians.

Kathy Ireland – Model and humanitarian. Kathy was the first celebrity to follow me and I have no clue how she found me. How funny is that? Her brother Rick London and I have also become pretty good Twitter pals too.

Anne Murray – I couldn’t believe the Snowbird messaged me back. I have so much history with her in my life. My father has always been a huge fan. I was at the Boy Scout jamboree in 1977 where she filmed a television special and played a concert. She also attended UNB and our family saw her perform at an alumni reunion many years ago. Plus she was on the Johnny Cash show!

Ashton Kutcher – Geez, the guy has over 6 million followers and I actually got a reply from him.

Demi Moore – What a cool sense of humour she has. Has a heart of gold too which I was happy to discover.

Melissa Gilbert – Actress. We messaged a couple of times.  She’s come a long way from Little House on the Prairie.

Alyssa Milano – Actress and total techno geek. I had no idea that she is so intelligent.

Kirstie Alley – She’s a wingnut but a very kind soul. I don’t see too many tweets from her these days but she used to be on all of the time.  

 

This final mention is one of my favourite claims to fame.

After seeing several tweets in which Wil Wheaton (Star Trek- Next Generation, Stand By Me, Flubber, and appearances on Big Bang Theory) used gratuitous cursewords which I didn’t feel were really necessary I merely tweeted to him “Don’t swear so much.”

That’s all I said.

A few minutes later I wanted to follow it up with something else and discovered that he had blocked me! Really!

I still get a chuckle out of that one.

 

I must be off.

 

If I can’t see you soon in person I hope at least to meet you soon in the Social Media.

 

Stay well,

Tim

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remembering to Remember



As I do every year at this time I am dedicating my blog post to November 11th - Remembrance Day.

To start I ask that everyone reading this to please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32bpraBf00A and watch Daniel's poignant movie "Letter From The Western Front".

I've blogged about this movie and its creator Daniel Kanemoto several times and will continue to do so.

My best friend directed me to the original link for it several years ago and it has become one of my favourite videos of all time.
I know that it will put a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye.
I realize that it's just a video but the message is powerful and should be taken to heart by everyone, no matter what their nationality is.

I'm not just talking about on Remembrance Day or Veteran's Day but every single day.

A couple of days ago CBC Radio in Fredericton played the audio of this Rick Mercer rant titled "Remember to Remember". I was able to see the piece on his show last night and copied the text below from his website at RickMercer.com.

It may not be proper etiquette for me to use his rant in my blog post but I'm going to do so anyway because Rick has captured the sentiment so well and summed it up better than I believe that I could.


Please read this and take it to heart...

Canadians are very good at respecting Remembrance Day. And if you've ever been lucky enough to attend a ceremony in person or even watch it live on TV from Ottawa you know it’s not something you'll ever forget. It doesn't get much more moving than that. But for most Canadians it's a workday, it's a weekday, it’s a busy day like any other.

And it can get away from you. Like last year, I wasn't at a ceremony; I wasn’t watching TV; I was squeezing in a haircut. And I looked down at my watch, it was two minutes to eleven. Two minutes to the moment where the entire country chooses to be silent to reflect on the sacrifice of our war dead. And where am I? I’m wearing a giant bib, there’s a women in one ear telling me she met Rex Murphy in person and he's really quite handsome, there’s a guy in my other ear telling me how his appendix exploded. And the music is on bust. And I ask you? Is this why they died on the beaches? Well, yes it is actually. So all of us could go about our busy lives without a care in the world.

And so I stepped out on the sidewalk where it was quiet. And then I came back in and the woman said to me, “did you go for a cigarette?” And I said no – it’s November 11th, it’s eleven o’clock, I wanted a moment of silence. And do you ever have those moments where you just want to take back what you just said? Because as soon as I said it I felt like the biggest holier than thou jerk who ever walked the earth and she felt worse. Because she didn't mean to forget. It just happened. It can happen to any of us, and we know it shouldn't.

So this year let’s make sure we remember to remember. By setting your alarm, it's in your phone. And if you don't know how that works, ask your kid. They can show you how your phone works. And you can tell them why we can never forget.

It only takes a minute to stop and remember those who fought so bravely and have paid the ultimate price in order for us to live our lives as we choose to do so.

The silence of one minute is loud enough to echo for eternity.

Please remember to remember and never forget.

Stay well,
Tim

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A little bit weary I suppose. How are you?

It's always something isn't it?
If work life is going well, then something has to come up in the personal life to screw it up or vice-versa.
In my situation if personal and work are going well then something is guaranteed to arise in the political side to tick me off.
And then sometimes when some negative stars are lined up in just the proper way things go screwy in more than one aspect at once.
I'm certain you know what I mean.
These things have a dramatic effect on my desire and enthusiasm to write a blog post.
I'm at one of those points right now where those stupid stars are working against me and posting is a bit of a chore.

But please allow me to whine for a few minutes.

I'm not going into it too much but I now have to drive an extra 1000 kilometers and 10 hours a week to get to work. And I don't get reimbursed at all for that.

Back when my casual position term with the province was ending they posted two new positions for terms of 3 years for the Fredericton and Woodstock offices.
There were three of us after the jobs and I ended up being the second choice.
The first pick took the Fredericton job and basically threw me out of a job that I had already been doing for 2 years in an area that I had finally become properly familiar with.
I'm not going to detail everything that happened but the way it all went down was shady and not fair in my opinion. In the end it boiled down to this or no job for me.
So I'm in my second week at the Woodstock office.
Woodstock is really a very nice office and better for the fact that all of the little chiefs aren't scurrying around here as they are back in Fredericton.
If only the travel wasn't such a pain in the butt.

What really melts my noodles is that I've had to lose a very important part of my day as a result of this.

When I became a Councillor in New Maryland I found that I can't spend as much time with the boys as I had wanted to or had been spending with them before.
To help overcome this we had decided that I would drive the boys to school in the mornings rather than them having to take the school bus.

It’s not much but we have enjoyed this time together in the mornings.
I would drop them off at the school around 7:55 and be at my office by 8:15-8:20.
I called the school and learned that the earliest time that the students are allowed to be at the school is 7:35. I could have possibly done this and got to Woodstock by about 8:30 if I drove quickly.

The boys decided that they would rather not have to sit in the school cafeteria for a half hour before most other kids started to arrive at the school.

So I have had to give up the morning ride with the boys which makes us very unhappy.

I'm finding that it's difficult to be polite and assist the guy who has replaced me to ease him into the job when I really want to tell him to take a flying you-know-what and figure it out on his own.
But perhaps I'm just being a tad bitter?

As for my political escapades it's a long story.
Read this, and keep in mind that it's one side of the story. -

http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/cityregion/article/1252257

I’ll try to explain but forgive me if I miss something.

Many years ago when the Village was applying for the Infrastructure funds to build the water tower and upgrade the water system it was decided that the village would include upgrading Baker Brook since they had not had any road work done since the Village was incorporated. The roadway was a mess.

Also, the sanitary lagoon that Baker Brook was on has passed the end of its lifespan and something desperately needed to be done.
We have to take the lagoon out of service and modify the sanitary system to flow the other direction and join up with the sewage system that most all other Village homes are on.
By the way, many years ago the residents of Baker Brook were responsible for the upkeep of their sewage lagoon and the Village wasn’t involved.
At some point before I came to New Maryland the residents came to the Village begging that the Village take over the lagoon for them and the responsibility for it.
They realized that it was falling apart and that something had to be done.
The Village did as the residents asked and has been trying to keep the lagoon working properly.
Additionally, it is logical that we put a water main system down the road at the same time while the road is dug up. The watermain is put in at the same time as the sewer line. Ripping up a brand new road to install a water line at a later date is stupid and a waste of tax dollars.
With the extra water capacity that the new water tower will bring it was possible to add Baker Brook onto the water system.
So these things were added into funding request application.

This was the cost of installing the watermain and sanitary modifications that would come from the Infrastructure funding.
I point out here that when the time comes that a watermain is in the plans for my street and the other Village streets not presently on the municipal water there likely won’t be infrastructure funding for it.
We (the residents that will use the water) are going to have to pay the full cost to get it.

That’s a pretty sweet deal that Baker Brook is getting that the rest of us likely won’t.
The Village did a survey of residents a little while back and it was concluded that the focus for the rest of the extra water capacity from the new tower will be made available for the development of new homes rather than existing homes.
This will also broaden our tax base which is badly needed and will help down the road when more work is to be done.

The Infrastructure application was accepted and granted for what we wanted to do.
However, part of the acceptance on the part of the province is the stipulation that anyone who is hooked onto the municipal water system is forbidden from also maintaining a well and must decommission their well.
This was not our rules but Environment. We won’t be policing that part and have no interest.

At least this is what we were told. Last night before the meeting a representative of the Department of Environment went on the news stating that they have no requirement about the wells.
I'm still trying to figure out what that is all about.

The Village bylaw does state that when a water line or sewage line goes by a property the property must hook onto it. That has been the rule for years and is the same in most municipalities.
If a property owner refuses to hook on then the line will be stubbed off at their property line and they must pay an annual fee.
If they hook on now the village will take the line right to the outside wall of the home. If the property owner changes their mind later and wants to hook on they have to pay to take it from the property line to the house.

It was decided that we did not want to be responsible for breaking through the wall in the event that a crack or something occurs and water enters the house (for example) we could be held responsible.
One thing the taxpayers don’t fully realize is the huge amount of money (resident's money) that is wasted defending frivolous and stupid actions that are brought against us. We do win in court but the costs to defend are never recouped.
It was felt that this potential type of claims are best to avoid completely.

I’m going to wrap this up since I could go on forever.

What it boils down to is that the people on Baker Brook are getting a new road (not totally covered by the Infrastructure funding but by Transportation budget), new sewage system and municipal water. Their cost is for the plumber to get the line connected into the house and to decommission their wells. But we don’t care if they do the wells or not. The province does.
Keep in mind that when this is done their house values are going to increase dramatically.

To help the Baker Brook residents with their costs Council proposed to them that we will try to find a plumber to do all of the houses for a volume rate and pay for it with the amounts owed by them put into their accounts as owing to the Village for 2 years with no interest.
The people who can’t afford the amount now will have 2 years to deal with it with no penalty.

Will I be so lucky when the time comes to hook onto the Village water? I don’t know.

This was published a couple of days after the first article.

http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/front/article/1255582

Last night we had our monthly open Council meeting and the Baker Brook folks were on hand again.

This is what the radio stations reported in their newscasts this morning:

"New Maryland homeowners upset with village council
10/21/2010

Homeowners from Baker Brook Court in New Maryland are frustrated and fed up with what they are calling spotty information and poor communication from village's council. As road work is being done, those people are being forced to either connect to the village's water system, or pay a $1,240 fine every year. Homeowner Tim Stewart says most of his neighbours are okay with making the switch. But what has everyone upset is that the old wells must be decomissioned. People were given a letter from the village but are unsure why the wells have to be shut down. About a dozen people from the street attended Wednesday's council meeting and spoke with councilors for over an hour before storming out in frustration. Councilor Paul LeBlanc made a list of other problems raised during the meeting, and says village staff will look into them."

I agree that there has been some issues with the manner and timeliness that they have had their questions answered but I'm having a problem with their attitude that they are getting picked on and how they are making Council out to be nasty and heartless.

As I told them last night, we as Council have to rely on the information provided to us and the expertise of those that are paid for that purpose.
If we are all told something that turns out to be incorrect or was misunderstood by the individual reporting to us we will certainly make sure that every step is taken to ensure that it doesn't happen again.

But what about if one of the people reporting to us is doing everything humanly possible to keep up with a constant barrage of emails and phone calls from a number of residents, PLUS try to continue with the other part of their job which usually fills a work day?
This person is talking to every available source to get all of the answers for the residents as well as Mayor and Council as fast as possible.
How can someone lay an ounce of blame on this person who thought the information was accurate and reported accordingly?

I can't and I won't.

Last night I felt that some who were present were trying to point fingers in that way.

Anyway, I'm stopping here. I'm tired.

Stay well (well! get it?) hardy har har

Tim

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rules of Engagement

Do you remember this post that I did last year?
If you didn't please take a moment to read it right now.
Go ahead, I'll wait. :)

http://tim4nm.blogspot.com/2009/02/engage.html

You see that I was talking about valuing the opinion of a friend who I was quite certain is very knowledgable in politics and the political "rules of engagement".
If this friend didn't understand and know what he does know then he surely wouldn't be where he is.

Guess what?
Last week that friend became the new Premier of the province of New Brunswick.
Yep, David Alward certainly knows a few things about what makes a good politician.
He knows how make a great team too.
Two weeks ago David and his fellow PC candidates soundly defeated the Liberals in the provincial election to take over power in New Brunswick.

David has so many great people to choose from to create his cabinet.
I'm looking forward to seeing who is chosen for which portfolios.

They've got their work cut out for them but I'm very confident that they're up to the task.

That's all for now.

Stay well,
Tim

Tim Scammell, PTech

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oh geez, you've got me again

Do you remember how emotional I was feeling about seeing Toy Story 3?
I correctly predicted in the blog that seeing the movie would be a very emotional experience for me.
I'm getting a lump in my throat just thinking about it, for crying out loud...


I have to point out that the flood of emotion was not only due to the memory of Mom and Hayley but from the content of the movie itself.
At the end of the movie (spoiler alert) Andy, who has owned the toys almost his entire life is heading off to college and has packed up his car.
He takes a box with all of his best toy friends to give them to a sweet little girl who will play with them and love them as he has always done.


The final scene has Andy driving away in his car with Buzz, Woody and the others watching him leave. That dang lump in my throat hurt so much I thought I was going to choke. I freely admit that I've always been a big wimp when it comes to these things.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I am not one who takes goodbyes and kids growing up very well.
I wish that I could make time stand still sometimes. Oh man do I wish that.
But I know that's not possible and I try my teary-eyed, lump-in-my-throat best to deal with it as time passes by like a speeding locomotive.


Just this past weekend I had another of these experiences.
Cheryl has been away in Ontario because of the passing of two family members.
This left the boys and I to have what we call "Man Time".
On occasions when Cheryl is away for a night or two we have a tradition of our Man Time.
Man Time usually consists of ordering in a pizza and watching "The Magnificent Seven" together. Don't ask me how we landed on that movie but a few years ago I bought the DVD and it stuck. It just felt like a great manly movie for us and the lack of swearing and excessive bloodshed made it appropriate to me.
We've done this for a couple of years now and I totally love it. B made a comment the other day that The Magificent Seven is getting a bit boring to him but I'll pretend that I didn't hear that. He'll be okay. :)


Anyway, the guys have been great little guys while Cheryl has been away. They are helping to keep the house neat and everything else that shows how responsible they are.
I am very proud of them.


On Friday I sent Cheryl an email suggesting that I reward the boys with a day at Crystal Palace indoor amusement park in Moncton and stay in a hotel with a pool.
She agreed that was an great idea so off we went on our Man trip.
It turned out to be a lousy weather day on Saturday so I had made a perfect choice with an indoor activity.
We had a great time. I didn't do any of the rides but the guys must have done that roller coaster 50 times! They would come off and go right around into the line again and right back on!
It wasn't too crowded so waiting in lines was not an issue.


As they were riding I had a look around Crystal Palace at the other rides.

I remembered the first time we had gone there about 7 years ago. The boys were still so small back then. At least to me they were.
I looked at the little truck ride Convoy and remembered them going slowly around that little loop.
I remembered when they went on the Undersea Adventure ride which was so wild to them back then. Now they could barely fit into it.
And that great little train ride which goes slowly round and round where the kids can ring the bell. They loved that thing.


Now they are at the stage where wild roller coasters and things that spin around like tops are what amuses them.
In the old days I was allowed onto the little train and the Convoy with them. That was great. That was about my speed.
Now, I just watch.
I can't do the roller coasters like I could when I was young.

A couple of months ago I went on the Thunder Run coaster when we were at Canada's Wonderland and felt awful when it was done. That's a pretty mild roller coaster by coaster standards. Dang.
At least I tried.


I guess the important thing is that the boys still enjoy themselves. I enjoy them enjoying themselves.


At Crystal Palace I mentioned to T about the rides they loved when they were small and how they had outgrown them.
I said that one day, maybe not too far away from now, they were going to outgrow all of the rides there. Even the roller coaster.
I think he could tell that I was getting kind of misty and melancholic about it. After a few moments said that they would never outgrow Crystal Palace.
He was doing his best to make me feel better. Bless his heart.

We stayed at the Super 8 hotel in Dieppe on Saturday night.
Check this out.
We were at this hotel several years ago when Cheryl was with us. She had done some business with the hotel and they had given us a good price for the room.
We stayed in the Harry Potter room which is a pretty cool concept.
The main room is normal and has a queen bed but off of it is a smaller room for kids.
There is a bunkbed and the decor is done up in a theme from the Harry Potter movies complete with a witches hat, movie poster on the wall and a plastic broom that they rode in the movie.
When we were here before the boys both wanted to sleep in the top bunk. Fortunately we stayed for a couple of nights and they both had a turn.
This past weekend we happened to get the same Harry Potter room again.
This time was the different and neither of the boys wanted to be in the top bunk.
They said it was too small and were afraid of bumping their heads. :D
T ended up sleeping up there and it all worked out well.


We had a really great time. It would have been better if Cheryl was there but we'll be back there again.


This morning a friend of mine posted a link on Twitter saying that he wanted this awesome picture framed.
I clicked on it and there was that big old lump in my throat again.
This:



Calvin and Hobbes was one of my favourite comics of all time. It was always the funniest, saddest, smartest comic that I had ever read.
It is easily among the legends of the comic world up with Charlie Brown and Peanuts.


What I really loved was that the little guy Calvin was always just that. A little guy living in his little world doing what little guys do.
In this picture he's all grown up waving to his old pal Hobbes the tiger as Hobbes goes off with Calvin's little girl to find new adventures.
I guess you can see how this hits me right in the heart.


There's no way that I can stop or slow down this wild ride called life but I'll try to speed up to keep up.
If you ever happen to see me fallen in the dust when I couldn't please stop and help me up.


Stay well,
Tim

Thursday, September 30, 2010

On the roads again...

This isn't a big one.
It's also not very interesting to 99.9% of the people who read this or happen to stumble upon it.
Regardless, I just wanted to tell you about something that I'm happy about.

As of tomorrow (October 1, 2010) I am no longer the Chair of the Village of New Maryland Water and Wastewater Committee.
I am taking the helm of the Village's Transportation Committee.
Several weeks ago the Mayor announced that the Chairs of all the Village's Committees were changing.
Except for the Planning Advisory Committee. The Chair of that is a member of the public. This is dictated by the Municipalities Act. This Chair will remain in place but the Co-chair, who is a Councillor, is changing.
I am Co-Chair of the Recreation Committee and will remain in that position.
The Recreation Chair is changing from Deputy Mayor Judy Wilson-Shee to Councillor Scott Sparks.
Scott also happens to be continuing as Co-Chair of Transportation so we'll be spending a fair bit of time together. :)


It really didn't strike me until the end of the Water Wastewater meeting last night just how long I've been involved in that committee.
When I told the committee about the changes Bill O'Donnell pointed out that this committee was where I had started.
You see, I haven't merely been on it since being elected onto Council in 2007 but since immediately after the election in 2003.


In case you're not aware of this I ran for a Council position in 2003 but was unsuccessful. I still wanted to become involved in municipal affairs so I approached the Mayor and offered to join the Water and Wastewater Committee as a public member.
Prior to this the committee consisted solely of members of Council but it was decided that the committee would open up to public members.
I felt that my background in Civil Engineering would be an asset to the committee.
So there I was as one of the first public members.
Coincidentally, at that time Bill O'Donnell was a Councillor and chaired the committee.
He was unsuccessful in his re-election bid but accepted the invitation to re-join the committee as a public member. He and I just switched spots.

When I was elected the Mayor put me into the Chair's position even though I really wanted to join the Transportation Committee.
Thankfully, after 2 years the Mayor has now put me where I asked to be.

Enough of the politics blog stuff for a while.

Now, let's see what this Transportation is all about. :)

Stay well,
Tim

Monday, September 20, 2010

What are the chances of this???

When my mother was born my grandparents named her Iris Elizabeth Bles.
When she was young there was a popular model in Britain at the time by the name of Zoe Newton who everyone thought my mother looked like.
From that time on everyone except my grandparents and her childhood friend knew my mother as Zoe.
She adopted it as her name and even signed things with the name Zoe.
In fact, for many years I didn't even know that my mother was not really Zoe, but Iris.
I had just assumed that was her given name.
Anyone that you speak to that knew mom will tell you that Zoe was her name.
When she married my father she became Zoe Scammell which was her name until she married my stepfather and became Zoe Porter about 40 years later.
Unfortunately my stepfather passed away from cancer a short time after they were married.
Then mom passed away a few years after that.
Basically mom was Zoe Scammell for most of her life and almost all of the years that I knew her.

I have something called a Google Alert set up that sends me a notification whenever "Scammell" pops up anywhere on the Internet.
In fact, the reason I tag almost every one of my blog entries with "Tim Scammell" is so that my Google Alert will see it and grab it for me.
Just for fun.

A few minutes ago I received a new Google Scammell Alert.
As I was reading down it one entry caught my eye. 
This one: 

Zoe Scammell
Zoe Scammell. art & illustration ... All work copyright Zoe Scammell. Website design by Mark Pembrey. Email This BlogThis! ...
www.zoescammell.com/

All right. How common is the name Scammell? I'll bet you don't know a lot of Scammells unless you know several members of my family. 
Let me ask you something else.
How many times have you seen the name Zoe? 
I'm guessing you said zero or perhaps once if you knew my mother. 

Imagine the incredible odds of finding Zoe and Scammell together and not being my mom!

It turns out this Zoe Scammell is a young illustrator in Britain. 
Go have a look at her site. She's quite good. 

If young Zoe is like me she may have a traffic tracker on her site and she'll be wondering what this traffic from the Americas is all about. 

If she asks tell her that I sent you but don't tell her about my mom in case it freaks her out.
I'll mention it if she ever comes by. 

The coincidence is a little freaky to me.

Stay well,
Tim 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11th

I remember...

Stay well. Please.
Tim

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We had a ball

This is very exciting for us.
Last weekend the boys' baseball team won the championship in the Pee Wee Rec division. This was the first time that they have been on a team that has gone all the way to win the whole thing at the end.
And what a strange and amazing season it was.
Our son T actually gave up baseball a couple of years ago and decided to focus on tennis. His brother B has stuck with baseball the entire time but has also enjoyed dabbling in tennis as well.
What's amazing is that both boys have always been quite good at both sports even though they were each only really involved in one of them.


Over the past couple of years I watched T whenever the three of us would throw a ball around or do some hitting for fun. What a great little player he is! I always thought it such a waste it was that he wasn't on the team with B.
I would comment to him here and there that he should reconsider and play baseball in addition to his tennis. He didn't bite.
T was always an awesome supporter though. He was always at the games with us and constantly calling support to his brother and the others in the field. I was very proud of this.


Then something happened a couple of months ago.
My wife was the team manager and persuaded T to come out and participate in a baseball practice. She told him that over the course of the season there were going to be several occasions where some other team members were going to be on holidays and unable to play in games leaving us short of players and possibly risking forfeiting games.
It would be great if he could play at these times to help the team out.
That week he went out to practice with the team and played like an all-star! He was smoking at bat, firing the balls on target when he blasted them from the outfield and snagging almost everything that came his way!
It was amazing to watch.
This certainly did not go unnoticed by the coach Pierre.
At the end of the practice a few of the team members and coach asked T to please consider playing on the team full time.
And then our second baseball star was back. Cheryl and I were so happy.
I know now that T is happy with his decision too.


This may sound a little dramatic but if T didn't come onto the team they may not have won the championship. This was also pointed out by one of the coaches.
It's a long story but I'll try to explain.


The tournament consisted of 2 games on Friday, 2 games on Saturday and the Championship game on Sunday between the top two teams of the tournament up to that point.

Before I do this I have to mention something called the "pitch count". For those unfamiliar with it this is a rule of baseball that restricts the number of pitches a player is allowed to throw within a certain time frame.
I'm not certain of its origins but I know that when I was younger there was no such rule. When a good pitcher was found they were kept in the game and threw until they couldn't throw anymore.
As a result many young players suffered injuries and premature deterioration of their arms and shoulders.
This is a pretty good website of the American Sports Medicine Institute which explains it pretty well. http://www.asmi.org/asmiweb/usabaseball.htm
The league that the boys are in uses Baseball Canada's pitch count rules.
For their age group (Pee Wee - age 12-13) if the pitcher throws 30 or less pitches in a game they don't need any rest before pitching in another game.
For 31-45 piches they must have a full days rest before piching again.
46-60 pitches requires two days rest, 61-75 requires three days rest, 76-85 requires four days rest and states that they are not allowed to pitch more than 85 pitches in a single game.


This would turn out to be a critical factor in the way the tournament played out.


I should mention that B has been a solid pitcher for a few years now and I am proud to say that quite often he was the one the coaches have turned to for turning the game around or shutting down the other side to seal the win.
This didn't come without effort on his part. Almost every day he comes to me asking if I want to play catch in the backyard with him. T joins us quite often.
Some days I am so tired from the day or in anticipation of a Council meeting or event of some kind that I have coming up that I can barely lift my glove.
But I think of that scene in "Field of Dreams" where Kevin Costner asks the ghost of his father " Hey... Dad? You wanna have a catch?" and I choke up and get my glove on.
No meeting or work day is worth missing that, is it?


The coach told B a long time ago that throwing a ball as often as he can would improve his pitching. He was quite right and everyone noticed.
B is also a terrific first baseman but I think he prefers being a pitcher.


T tried his hand at pitching a couple of times earlier in the season but was somewhat discouraged when he didn't do as well as he would have liked. As a result he played in the infield and outfield where his rocket arm was put to good use.


Back to the pitch thing.
You can understand the predicament that coaches are often faced with with a smaller stable of pitchers to choose from in a game when their best arms are forced to rest.
I have to give our team's coaches a ton of credit for planning the tournament pitching the way that they did although I think some of it was a roll of the dice.
Realizing on Friday that the team would need to keep their best pitcher's counts low in order to blast on Saturday as well, Pierre called T in to the mound in the first game.
I don't think T was too pleased about it initially but it soon became clear that he had a made a good choice and T was certainly up to the task.
He ended up pitching most of the game and almost the maximum number of pitches allowed and shut the other team down!
Imagine our surprise! And his too. :)
This made an enormous difference in the way the rest of the weekend went. Here's how it played out.


They ended up winning the first 2 games on Friday against Minto Heat and the Fredericton A’s and a Saturday win against the Fredericton Blue Jays and loss to the Fredericton Red Sox.
However, the number of runs against them resulted in a first place finish going into the Championship game on Sunday.
Unfortunately for the other teams, the run count ended up with a tie for second place between Minto and Fredericton Red Sox requiring a tie breaking game to be played that morning before the Championship game.


I can only imagine the frustration of the coaches of these teams trying to figure out what to do.
Do they put their strongest pitching in the tie-breaker game which would limit or eliminate the ability to pitch in the final?
Or do they hold back the strongest arms and run the risk of losing and not even making it into the last game?
The Minto Heat opted with the first choice. They have one kid who is almost unbeatable. His arm is amazing. If they could have used him in both games it's possible that they may have won the whole thing but rules are rules.
Our coaches moved around players and planned the pitching in a way that B would be able to go the distance in the Championship game.
T wasn't able to pitch again after the first game but that didn't matter. He had done his job and earned the rest. What a guy. :)


Even without Minto's strongest pitcher the outcome of the game was uncertain.
Another of our lads started as pitcher and did a good job of keeping the game close.
B came to the mound and threw everything he had at them.


I want to mention something here. B can be very hard on himself at times.
On several occasions you could see the tension building in him if he threw pitches that weren't too good.
Often this would lead to the pitches getting worse and the frustration increasing. A vicious cycle that a kid can't get out of if he gets too far into it.
In fact, last season I almost blew my top at the coaches for their habit of stranding a poor kid out there on the mound until he was beyond recovery.
They wouldn't say anything or do anything or even show emotion to him. Just let him get deeper and deeper into despair.
In my opinion, all a coach has to do if he sees the cycle starting is to walk out to the mound and just have a quick chat with the pitcher. Get his mind away from the bad pitches. Ask the kid how he feels, how his day is going.
Heck, even tell the kid a joke!
Just let the kid know that your on their side and you believe in them no matter what.
That's all it takes and I believe that wholeheartedly.


What I found with B was that if I just talked to him from whereever I was and offered words of encouragement he could pull himself back and fire heat right into the strike zone.
I just say "That's okay pal, you're doing great", "Just pretend that we're throwing the ball in the backyard", "You're doing okay pal, just focus on your spot and try to hit it" and "No pressure at all. It's all good" and he seems to relax a bit.
Last year when I did that the coach said "Don't say anything! You're making him nervous!"
I almost lost it! But T and I both continued with our words of encouragement to B as he did his best out there.


Anyway, this is how it worked on Sunday. A couple of times B would throw a ball past the catcher and a man would steal home and score. B looked upset at things but came back to the task at hand.
It was supposed to be 7 inning game where their usual games are only 5.
However there was a rule that if one team was beating the other by 10 runs the mercy rule came into affect and the game was over.
Also, innings 1-5 had a limit of 5 runs per team. When that was reached that half of the inning was done and they switched.
Innings 5, 6, and 7 were open ended meaning a team could score as many as they could except if the 10 run mercy rule applied.
Thankfully, our guys went up 25-15 in their half of the 5th inning and were declared the winners.
I say thankfully because Sunday was so hot and sticky and uncomfortable that every living creature was looking for shady relief.
Those kids did a heck of a job out there in that heat.
Our last run was gained by our guy stealing from 3rd base to home.


What a happy little bunch of monkeys those guys were! Even though they were almost totally drained from the heat.
And we were all so proud of them for an excellent season well done.


Later on that evening I was chatting with B and asked him "When you're out there pitching and I say something to you, do you hear me?"
"Yep", he answered.
"Does it help you?" I asked.
"It sure does. I'm really happy that you say things to me when I'm playing."


There you go. Through all the noise he can hear me talking to him.
That made me pretty darn happy to hear.


I'd like to imagine that if they face a time in their lives that things aren't going so well and they start feeling down that the boys hear me saying "That's okay pal, you're doing great!" to them and it pulls them back up to get the job done.


Now, on to hockey! :)

Stay well,
Tim

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Steve! You're Back! You Brought The Steaks?

One quick note.
The Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper is rolling through New Brunswick today and is popping into New Maryland for a barbecue later this afternoon.
It's interesting that he chose our fair village to rest and have a bite but a fine choice if I do say so myself.

The Council was told about this last week but we were told not to say anything until the word went public. (It has, don't worry. I'm not breaking any rules.)
At first we were told that this would be open to the Mayor and Councillors only and no spouses or family were invited.
Then I had a voicemail message from the Progressive Conservative party indicating that anyone was invited but at a cost of $30 per person.
I didn't really want to pay that for Cheryl and the boys and they didn't want to be there that badly as to pay for it.
Then yesterday I had another message from the PCs saying that anyone could come at no cost!
I like that price so Cheryl and the boys will be coming as well.
One thing I'm not sure about is what the difference is between the list that I am on and the list that they were put on.
We shall see.

Now, who is bringing what for this barbecue? If I have to bring salads and Stephen only needs a bag of chips I'm going to say something. :)
I kid, I kid. I'm looking forward to this. Everyone knows how much I love photo-ops.

I had my picture with Stephen a couple of years ago when he zipped through town on the day before the election.
Maybe he'll let me do another picture like that.

I heard that a lady was arrested earlier today up in Miramichi for slapping someone when she couldn't get in to see Mr. Harper up there. I think she is a Liberal but I'm not positive.

I'll report back later after our BBQ.

Stay well,
Tim

Empire Building

Interesting. I've joined an online game of empire and wealth building at a site called EmpireAvenue.com.
I'm not completely certain how it works but it appears to give us a share value based on our online presence and posting frequency.
From this we earn funds as other members buy our shares and we buy and sell others'.
What is sweet for me is that my value is based on Facebook, Twitter and this blog!.
I admit that this blog won't earn me much value since I'm patchy with the posts of late but I'm on Twitter and Facebook all the time. Nice.
I need to post this verification code somewhere in the blog for my blog to be part of my profile so just ignore this :) EAVB_KEMDJTRNEQ .
Now to get rich!

If only there was a way to get this thing working on real dollars rather than imaginary internet currency.

Stay well,
Tim

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Around the Block



I'm going to call upon my inner geek to illustrate a point.
Do you remember the Borg in the Star Trek shows and movies?
They were the nasty green, black and pasty humanoid things with all sorts of spare parts strapped to them that looked like they had come from someones television or stereo.

The Borg strolled around the universe assimilating everyone they met into their collective mind. Everyone that was assimilated turned into one of their drones.

The ships that the Borg mainly travelled around in were monstrously enormous cubes with each edge being several thousand meters long.
Each one of these cubes contained hundreds of thousands of Borg drones.

That's an awful lot of drones living inside a cube.
That's also one humongous cube too, isn't it?

Another name for a cube is a block.

Let's look at that huge Borg block for a moment.

That's about the same size as the writer's block that I've had lately towards this blog.

It will come back so please bear with me. I'll get back into the swing eventually. I hope.

And I hope that someone will still be out there to read it.

Stay well,
Tim

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Removing Fences

I have continued to keep an eye on the York Street Station to be on top of things as they move ahead.
Last week I noticed a huge crane parked in front and thought that it must have something to do with what is to come.
Two days ago I took another drive by and saw that the crane is gone but some workers were doing something with the fencing.
As I got closer I could see that they have moved the chain link fence toward the front of the station so that it still encloses the original section of the station which is to be repaired.
The entire rear baggage section that is to be demolished is completely exposed with nothing stopping anyone from getting right in there.
So this afternoon as I was going by I took my trusty camera and snapped away.
There was only a loose piece of plywood covering the doorway so I moved it aside and went in.
Now, I was going to post a whole bunch of my photos on here for you to see everything for yourself.
This won't be necessary.
You see, I sent an email to our pal Charles Leblanc letting him know that the fence was removed and that the coast was clear to get some great photos inside and out.
He replied that he was heading over.
A few moments ago he sent me another message that he had posted some photos on his blog site.
He's done another fine Charles job and as you will see there's no need for my pictures when he has covered it so thoroughly.
He and I have shared photos on numerous occasions so I know he won't mind me posting a link to his blog.
It gives him more hits anyway.
Have a look.

http://charlesotherpersonality.blogspot.com/2010/07/irvings-removed-fence-around.html

I have been told that the demolition of the rear section will be proceeding any time now so I'll keep my eyes and ears open and let you know when it starts.

Stay well,
Tim

Tim Scammell, PTech

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Huh?

For some reason my new blog post at http://tim4nm.blogspot.com/2010/06/no-toy-gets-left-behind.html
is showing as being over two weeks old.
I may have started it back then but actually posted it today.
Sorry for the confusion.

Stay well,
Tim

Monday, June 14, 2010

Another thing of note

Before I forget again I want to mention something.
It occurred to me the other day that there are a couple of folks who
read this blog stuff but are not on or up to date on my Facebook or
Twitter posts.
This means that they have been missing out on the Youtube videos that
I have been uploading of the Piano and Drummer Wonderboys (I love
those names.)
So you folks, go here and get cracking. Especially you Uncle Mike!
http://www.youtube.com/user/timrs2001
I expect to see many new high ratings on all of my videos. :)
The reason I'm bringing this up is that I uploaded a new video of the
drummer lad again playing Rush's YYZ today (we have Rush on the brain
after seeing the documentary the other day) as well as a great video
of our piano guy posted last week.
Please go have a look and don't forget to comment and rate.
We really like hearing from you.

Stay well,
Tim

A couple more

Hello again. This is just a quick one.
I had two other historical photos that I wanted to use but didn't have time for the other day.

These are both taken in 1885 in Marysville and show Boss Gibson's cotton mill.
For those who aren't around here and don't know the mill is now provincial government offices.
Marysville is actually part of the City of Fredericton but is still referred to by its original name.

The photo taken nearer to the mill shows a building just beside the mill structure. That building isn't there today.

In all of the pictures I have done I love the ones that show a vehicle or people in the shots the most.





I think that's all for these for now.

Stay well,
Tim

Friday, June 11, 2010

Okay, what do you think?

Here is that neat idea that I told you about yesterday. I did a whole lot of running around at lunch and took these pictures.
What I did was go to the provincial archives web site (one of my favourite spots on the internet) and downloaded a whole bunch of old photos from around Fredericton.

Some of them I have used many times over the years to show the York Street Station in it's former glory. In fact I used them in the other blog with the way it was then and the way it is now.

This is a variation on that idea. As I mentioned yesterday this was not my idea. I saw another person had done it on the internet and liked it so much I decided to try it myself.
I was thinking at first that I should do something to totally hide my hand from the shot but the other guy had his hand in there and it didn't take away from the effect at all in my opinion.

So off I went.

The quality of the shots isn't the best but I was working with old black and white photos from a web site.

I was disappointed in the one I did at Fredericton City Hall and didn't even bother putting it in here.

I should point out a few things of note.

In the photo showing the banner over the road "Fredericton Welcomes Canada's Premier" they are actually referring to Canada's first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald. This was taken prior to his visit to Fredericton.

It's a little blurry but one of the photos shows a group of people playing croquet on a large lawn.
This is at on the back lawn of Old Government House and was taken around 1885.
Old Government House is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, as well as that in Fredericton of the Canadian monarch. It's a pretty amazing place. You should check out href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Government_House,_Fredericton"> to learn more about it.

The photo showing the old railway bridge shows the first train to cross the bridge when it was initially completed. I should know but I don't remember the date, sorry. All I know is that it was a long time ago. I'm sure someone reading this will be able to tell me. Steve? Are you there? :)

Those living here know that this has been a walking bridge since 1997 and is the world's longest walking bridge at 1905 feet long.
On June 07 2008 it was renamed the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge. As you know Bill Thorpe was a dear friend and was the first president of the Fredericton Friends of the Railway until his passing in 2006.

In one photo you can see Harvey Studio on the old sign. Look into the recent photograph and you'll see that Harvey Studios is still there. I thought that is pretty cool.

I won't bother going into the details of the York Street Station photos. You can see about them in my January 7 blog here. href="http://tim4nm.blogspot.com/2010/01/can-you-spot-difference.html">

In one of the old ones you see "Ross Drug United" on the building. Ross Drugs is still there and still has that historic look about it.
In fact, I believe they still have the old soda fountain in the back.

The parade photo was taken in 1937 on Queen Street and was, coincidentally, for Queen Elizabeth's Coronation Parade.

I don't know the details for all of them but I think that's good enough for these.
I had a whole lot of other photos of different spots but I think these were the most interesting. You tell me.




















I hope you like them. I had fun doing them.

Oh by the way, I have had a TON of people asking me when the work is going to continue on the York Street Station. I don't have a clue but I have put the question through to J. D. Irving. They will be getting back to me and I will let you know.
Don't worry.

Stay well,
Tim

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Something neat is coming

For anyone who drops in to read this I'm sorry that I haven't done a blog in so long.

It's hard to explain but I get ideas to write about but when I try to write I run into mental blocks or things that just prevent me from getting it done.

There is one that I've been working on that I'll finish eventually. I'll explain why in the blog.

There's also something really cool (well I think so anyway) that I started working on today.
It's a variation on the blog I did with the old and recent photos of the York Street Station but it involves many other places around town as well.
I'm going to try and get a lot done tomorrow on my lunch hour since I won't have much time this weekend.

We're heading to Moncton on Saturday to see the new movie about my all time fave band RUSH. Wowzers, I HAVE to do a blog about RUSH one day. I'm surprised that I haven't really.

The movie is only playing for 2 days in theatres in just a few cities then is coming out on DVD.
It sure would be amazing if we could actually see the real band but that's not happening any time soon out here.

Anyway, the variation picture thing I'm doing isn't my original idea.
I saw someone else's on the on the internet yesterday.
That's all I'll say about it for now.
I think you'll like it.

Stay well,
Tim

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

No Toy Gets Left Behind...



Since I have started doing this blog there have been times that I had to stop somewhere in my writing because the emotions were too strong for me.
I can think of two occasions where I never did post the blog that I had been writing and deleted them completely. One was a rather angry blog and the other was very sad.
I just didn't think that anyone would want to, or should have to, read them.

On a couple of other instances I just stopped where I was, pushed the "Save Now" button and left for a while. A time later I returned and finished them and the blog was posted.

I have wondered if someone would be able to sense while reading at what point I had stopped and restarted again by a changing tone or emotional level?
I try to keep a consistent level throughout and make reading seamless.

This is one of those that I stopped and returned to. I actually started it three times but only just finished it.
I wasn't sure where I wanted this to go or how I wanted it to feel.

In the end I decided that I don't want to bring a reader too far down but just wanted to say what I want to say.
So here it is.

In 1995, a relatively unknown animation studio by the name of Pixar released Toy Story and it was distibuted by Walt Disney pictures.
Some time before it was released into the theatres I remember seeing a commercial on TV for it and thought "that is going to be a very cool movie!"

When I still lived in Ontario my sister Hayley, my mother and I used to go out for dinner and a movie on occasion to catch up with what was new and enjoy ourselves. We all agreed that Toy Story was a good choice and went to the theater at Square One in Mississauga to see it shortly after it was released.

Of course we loved it and my love of everything Pixar was born.

Since that time Cheryl and I were married and our twin sons were born 12 years ago.
As with so many homes around the world we have seen every Pixar Animation movie released since then and loved them all.

A couple of years ago I heard that Toy Story 3 was in the works so on March 7, 2008 I sent this message to Hayley and mom.
"I've read that Toy Story 3 will be out in 2010.
Let's plan to see it together in the theater like we did with the first one in 1995.
Deal?"

Hayley replied with
"I'm there!!! :o)
Love, Hayley xo etc."

And mom with
"Me too, definitely! Looking forward to it!
Mum xoxoxo"

And that was our plan.

Hayley was sick at that time but it looked like it would all work out.
Mom wasn't feeling 100% but the "C" word had not been used yet in reference to her condition.

No-one could possibly have imagined that within the next 9 months we would lose them both.

So here we are in June 2010. Toy Story 3 will be in theatres in a few days.

I have been waiting for this and feeling very excited and sad at the same time.

Mom and Hayley won't be in the theater to see Toy Story with me this time.
In their places will be my wife Cheryl and two great little guys that have never known a world without the wonderful work of Pixar.

But sadly we have had to adjust to a world without mom and Hayley.

I'll be thinking of them as I watch the movie and may have a tear or so but we'll have a lot of fun and enjoy the show.


Mom and Hayley would want it that way.

Stay well,
Tim