Thursday, December 30, 2004

If you need to pass the time...'s a link: LINK!

it shows the most attached and forwarded video clips of the past year. The one with the lion is great.

I'll get back on blog-track in a couple days.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Posted by Hello

Goin' to the chapel....

Jenny and I leave for Halifax tomorrow at 7am. When we return, we'll be married.

If you're a regular holocaustic vitriol reader, then you're probably a friend. If you're a friend, then I'll be seeing you soon.

Take care.

eight hours to the coast
from under the leafy umbrella
with alluvial flow
a dust that cuts like diamond

tumbling over the falls
thrown into the face of the spawning
they were born only to die
but not you and I

ice blue is all I breath
but I maintain my position
your face is all I see
I wonder what all of this means

I'm freezing I'm glacier-fed
I'm hearing your voice like an incision
you don't exist in the waking world
and you're mechanical in my dreams

I wonder what all of this means

robotic, hypnotic, harmonic, asymptotic,
horrific, traumatic, elastic, ecstatic,
and perfect

the voice of a saviour
the eyes, the hands,
the face of my saviour

I'm wearing your love like an incision
and you're mechanical in my dreams

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Draining the Ogallala

The Ogallala Aquifer is a giant body of water that sits hundreds of metres below the great plains in the USA. It extends from North Dakota all the way south to Texas, and it estimated to contain a volume of water greater than that of all the Great Lakes combined.

The Aquifer is the primary source of irrigation and water usage for agriculture in the US, as 1/5 off all agricultural water is withdrawn from this source.

The problem is that the water is being withdrawn at a much faster rate than it is being replaced. (Partly) As a result of this, Canada and US water relations have developed a more business-like aspect.

If you have the time or the inclination, these two links - while long - are excellent summaries on the issue.

The Ogallala Aquifer

Selling Canada's Water

Teacher testing

When Jenny and I started this Teacher's Education thing, we knew we were going to have to write a huge exam at the end. But, a couple weeks ago, the province scrapped the test for graduating teachers.

The argument against the test is that 1) 99% of people pass it, so it can't be that hard, 2) a whole bunch of qualified professors had already qualified us to teach, so why do we need to be re-qualified? 3) Testing is a controversial topic in education now, with the merits of testing in doubt.

The argument for the test is that professional standards are a good thing - don't you want your doctor or mechanic or chiropractor qualified?

So the test is gone, as per the article below. The most interesting part of the article, however, is that 1 in 3 new teachers quit in the first 5 years.

Ontario to scrap test for new teachers
The Toronto Star

The province is scrapping a controversial qualifying test for new teachers, two years after it was introduced by the former Tory government.

"It was not much of a quality check," Education Minister Gerard Kennedy said yesterday, noting that 99 per cent of those who took it passed it.

The Liberal government plans to replace the test by next September with an "induction year" for new teachers.

The plan is for a mentoring program, professional development and "some kind of assessment," Kennedy said.

One in three teachers quits during the first five years of their career. This represents a loss of $30 million a year to the province in subsidies for education faculties and tuition.

The announcement means as many as 10,000 people will be spared writing the four-hour test next year.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Playing squash

I have already blogged about knee surgery, and my recovering from it.

Well, yesterday, for the first time in 4 months, I jogged. Granted, it was only on the treadmill, but I did go for about 5 kilometres.

And today, Jenny and I played squash. I haven't performed any activity or played any sport that requires anything more than straight-line motion in almost 2 years. It's been almost 2 years since I played hockey or basketball, or squash.

And today I played. So I'm happy. Life is good.

(And Jenny, by the way, chases down every ball. She'll be quite the squash player if she keeps playing.)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Birthday shout-outs

Just wanted to send some love to my brother Anthony and my mom-in-law Fran, who both turn 39 on December 4th.

Well, sort of.

Anthony is 33, and Fran is..... something youthful.

Great people, both.

The face of AIDS is a female face.

In my World Issues class, we're talking about demographics in an ever-shifting global population, and factors that cause those shifts. We used this article in class today, and I thought it was interesting.

Violence against girls and women linked to spread of HIV/AIDS

NEW YORK, 30 November 2004 - More than 37 million people are living with HIV and almost half of them are women. Some have become infected through sexual violence and exploitation. It is estimated that one in three women worldwide will be raped or abused in their lifetime.

UNICEF is working to confront the inequalities that leave girls and women particularly vulnerable to HIV and AIDS.

“Increasingly the face of HIV/AIDS, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, is a female face and it is a young female face,” says UNICEF Child Protection Office Pamela Shifman. “And until we address violence against women and prevent violence against women and girls, we will not be able to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”

Most recently rape has been used to terrorize and humiliate girls and women in the Darfur region of Sudan. But in many other parts of the world – such as the conflict-affected areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo - the same tactics are used. Because of the high rate of HIV infection among soldiers, it is estimated that almost one-third of rape victims in parts of DRC will be infected by HIV.

Ms. Shifman visited DRC last year and says victims are aged from seven to over seventy.

“These girls and women had survived the violence so far, they had survived the rape. But many of them will actually die from the violence, because far too many of them will become HIV positive and will die of AIDS as a result of the rape.”

Child soldiers can also become the perpetrators as well as the victims of sexual violence; the risk of HIV infection is high. In some countries, as many girls as boys are recruited, and end up being forced into marriage or used as sex slaves.

UNICEF is a leader in demobilizing child soldiers and is committed to ensuring that HIV care and support is included when children return to their communities. In emergencies UNICEF assesses the vulnerability of children to HIV and AIDS so that effective action can be taken.

UNICEF believes that in order to succeed in the fight against HIV and AIDS, violence against women and girls must be stopped.