Friday, October 31, 2008

Good Times With Gangsters

I received a last-minute invitation from my daughter and so, I went to a dinner theatre event yesterday evening. Big Al's Birthday Party was a comedy filled with puns, some funny, and some bad, but I had a good time. You see, there were some handsome young gangsters at my table. The event was a benefit for the Kidney Foundation and attendees were asked to dress in gangster fashion, or some resemblance thereof. because the silly play was about gangsters. Nutrilawn had sponsored two tables for staff and each staff person could bring a guest. I was pleased to be sitting with four of the lawn-care technicians. Three of them had taken the trouble to dress like gangsters from the forties, complete with hats, dark suits and splashy ties. Oh they were fine! James, one of the technicians, won the prize for best male costume. My leather gaucho hat and black outfit got a number of compliments and young woman in full flapper regalia won the prize for best female costume.

There was a silent auction too and I bid on something that no one else seemed interested in. As a result I purchased an interior and exterior car wash for a song. So, the Viking will soon be able to treat his green van to a fresh look.

Halloween evening is probably going to be dull in comparison, since children are not allowed to trick or treat at our building, but I won't mind, I'll still be smiling.

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Memory Bank Is Overloaded, Or Should I Say Overdrawn?

Today, I received a kind notice from one of my bank credit cards. We are changing things, it said. We are increasing your security, oh and by the way,we are also increasing your fees. I'm not perturbed about fee increases because I always pay the total balance outstanding, so I pay no interest or fees. It's good to hear about increased security, I suppose, but they suggest I change my access number and Internet password every 90 days. Yikes! I will have to remain insecure, because I can't do that. My memory bank is already overloaded.

When I think of all the passwords and numbers I already have to remember, I shudder. It must be the same for lots of us. For instance, I have to remember the access numbers for my two bank cards and for one bank card that accesses one of The Bear's bank accounts. Then there are the Internet passwords and number codes for three different on-line bank accounts.

My Norton Internet computer security program keeps telling me I have passwords that could be too easy to crack even though they are made-up and make no sense. Who exactly would bother to try to do that?

And then there are numerous user names and passwords to remember for Internet boards and sites I belong to. Sometimes I don't visit a site for a while, then I have to search through my congested memory for the right access words.

Having to remember passwords and numbers and codes doesn't stop there. I need to enter a number code to access any telephone calls I've missed. My daughter's front door has coded access. And, if I want to get any information from the government, for instance, the status of my GIS appeal, I must recite my social security number. Thank goodness that number is engraved in my brain and pops up automatically.

Other numbers are not quite so easily remembered. I had to recall my home telephone number the other day, the gears in my head spun madly and the first number that came to mind was my old Toronto telephone number. I'm sure there was a slight smell of brain cells overheating before my current telephone number finally came to mind.

Maybe I should make a file with all that information in it. But then, I'd have to remember where I put the file and I already have a two-drawer filing cabinet full of stuff, a top-of-desk file, a to- be-filed pile, and, a large file box full of The Bear's financial stuff.

I think I'll have a cup of tea, instead.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Well - It could have been worse. maybe.

So, we have another minority Conservative government. The results do not reflect the will of the people but it is done. I'm glad the Conservatives did not get a majority and I certainly thank the voters of Quebec for that. I think Harper will not be able to do anything too outrageous because if all three opposition parties vote together they can prevent serious harm to our social programs and to health care. Still, I admit, I am sad. The Conservatives by won by the adroit manipulation of Canadians' fears and by the use of smear tactics. If only the Liberals and the New Democrats could unite, then the government would truly reflect what most Canadians want. Well, I can dream can't I?

In other, more positive news, my Viking does not have a cracked rib. It was a pulled muscle. The holiday weekend weather was very kind and the Viking's cooking was excellent. I'm also happy that my friend, the bear, is absorbed in the run-up to baseball's world series. It keeps him amused and occupied, most of the time.

It's time for me to stop grousing and get to work on Chapter 24. Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Leader's Debates. Some Brief Observations

I saw part of the French language debate on the CBC website. There was simultaneous translation. In my opinion Mr.Dion did very well, as did Ms. May, although her French is basic and Mr. Duceppe also made good points.

No doubt there was a bigger audience for the English language debate last night. I watched the whole thing and I thought the format was a big improvement over the lectern style used in previous years. Sometimes, though, the moderator should have been more stern with the participants.

Most people, I think, were surprised by how well Ms. May did. She stuck to the facts and kept presenting them, though she did take a dig at Mr. Harper, referring to him as a fraud. Mr. Dion was more low-key but came across as sincere, particularly when I spoke about 'my Canada' you could see that he means what he says and is passionate about it in a typically modest Canadian fashion. Also, I had no problem understanding his English and am beginning to resent all the attacks on it that people, particularly on the CBC website, make. Mr. Layton specialized in interrupting others, and I didn't think that was a good idea. His best line was the sweater remark. He certainly let us know that corporations would be taxed more and average people would be taxed less. Mr. Duceppe was at his best, engaging and straight-forward, too bad he's for Quebec sovereignty.

What can I say about Mr. Harper? He tried to act in a rather presidential manner, calm and patronizing. He didn't present a platform, and still has not done so. He prefers to attack others, and to tell us that everything is fine and dandy in the rose garden. There is something going on behind that facade of a face. He never looked anyone directly in the eye and his expression was a strange, closed grin. I thought he came across as entirely without passion, or compassion. Furthermore, underneath that eerie calmness, I suspect he is a very angry man who resents having to put up with the democratic process.

So, there you have it. One Canadian's opinion.