London Ontario Canada

June 23, 2011

Stuff I Meant To Type But Didn’t and Carfree Saturday

Filed under: London — Tags: , , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 10:44 am

I got this title from another potential blog title that passed through my thoughts: Tweets I Never Twittered. I think of my best mega-favestarfest tweets when I am away from the computer, like when I am in the shower. By the time I get back to my chair the tweet is gone. The same thing goes with blog posts. I think of some brilliant topics and even write them in my head; usually when out walking. By the time I get home, like the shower tweets they are all fragmented or gone. I posted the Tweets I Never Twittered title on Twitter as a “Working blog title” tweet, so maybe it has already been published. I should Google that to see how many people thought about it before I did. Whatever, original thought is very, very rare.

Yesterday the first Tweet I read was about George Carlin. It was something about if he were alive he’d own us all on Twitter. It didn’t take a mental debate to agree with that sentiment. Yeah, he’d own. The point is my first thought was, George Carlin is dead? I praise all your respective Gods for Google. A quick glance showed he died on June 22.  That worked in my favour. I had yet to read the news (I include blogs when I say news) so how was I to know he died that morning? When I Google I am lazy. I just scan with my eyes for keywords in relation to whatever I am trying to research. In this case it was the day, not the year so I missed the 2008 bit. So,the tweet was an homage. Well played, sir. My 10 minutes of confusion was for a good cause.

Carfreefest <– Look, I added some colour. Go me!

My plans and intentions for Carfree Saturday were to go down early, help out some, then meet up with the twitter pack and hang out through the evening’s entertainment. On Twitter, the MET was giving away table space and I thought it would be cool to hang a @thatguyinlondon #freegolf sign, just to engage people in conversation. That would have worked, I think. Instead I felt I need more purpose than that so I figured the #freegolf would be what got the most attention, so I called the course and got a bunch of pamphlets, passes and trinkets. I packed up a bag and bussed my way downtown.

Let me interrupt with this. I got off the bus at Richmond and Oxford to transfer onto a bus going south on Richmond. There were two there and another pulling in as the light finally changed. I was weighted down, I couldn’t run and all three buses pulled away before I got there. I looked back up Richmond and there wasn’t another bus in sight. I still had an hour on the transfer so stuck it in the schedule sign for someone else to use and walked. That’ll teach ’em!

Back to Carfree. When I got to the MET I strolled around and started getting the idea that it was not a golf venue. It was arts and crafts, design and not sporty at all. Nothing wrong with that, bu I started getting the feeling of not fitting in. But, I said I’d be there so I hunted down a person in charge. I was shown a table at the front by the door, not far from a band performing. An electric band. It was around 1pm and they were finishing up around 3, so I went off to offer my services to the festival saying I would return.

There were two duties offered to me. One was manning the information booth, the other was to go to a side street location and keep an eye out for trouble. There was something about liability and spotters were required. That sounded helpful so I asked for more detail. There wasn’t any. I asked what would I do if there were trouble and was told to let her know. How. I asked. run a few blocks and tell you? Yes, was the reply. I opted out of that one. I didn’t want to be a mannequin for the sake of satisfying an insurance company. Besides, if there were trouble, there are plenty enough cell phones the proper services would be notified long before I schlepped 3 blocks to say call 911. I took the Information Booth gig.

This too was right beside a band. At first the band played classical and all was good. Then a solo acoustic guitar player/singer. That was good too. Then it got electrical. Though the bands were excellent and I enjoyed watching them, they made the giving of any information impossible.  That duty became more of making sure the programs and pamphlets didn’t blow off the table. Someone had tapped them down, but there must have only been the slightest breeze so they did so lightly.

The loud music didn’t start until about 4:30 (I had completely forgotten about the MET and #freegolf) and I spent my time standing and foisting programs upon people. Most shied from my offering until I said “free program”. When I first walked by the booth I just glanced down to see what it was about. There were no indications it was an Information Booth or that the stacks of weighted down papers were programs. I swear, my first glance made me think of those gas providers that go door to door selling service plans. I think it was the colour of blue mostly, but also the sense of shadiness by not being obvious of purpose.

I met a few Twitterers. That was really exciting and welcome. I must say though, that few looked liked there pictures. But to be fair, Twitter avatar pictures are quite tiny and my eyes aren’t what they used to be. I met one Twitter that I had wanted to meet for a long time. He was one of my first”local stranger”  follows. The bummer part of that was I barely remember. I didn’t even know I had met him until he tweeted that it was nice to meet me there. You can imagine how embarrassing that was. I didn’t admit it. I covered and said it was nice to meet him too. It was. I do recall the meet in a hazy fashion. We were both on our way somewhere with purpose, so it was very brief. In hindsight though, I wish I knew it was him I was meeting when I did. I would have changed my priorities and spoke more.

Around 4:00 I was joined in the booth by Gina Barber. We talked local and provincial government until the bands began to play. It was a great pleasure meeting her and talking with her.  I think if not muted by the band, we could have talked all shift. I would have liked that.

Sometime around six, after Gina had left, a couple came to relieve me of my duties. I schlepped my 50 lbs of golf literature back to the MET to find it was closed. Ooops. I hope they weren’t counting on me. Not that I can see why they would. But I did say I would be back and I was disappointed in myself for possibly disappointing someone else. I took my poundage back to the booth to stash it under the table. Armed with my camera I wandered about. I saw the water park for the first time in ages and thought it a great scene. It was a hot day, and though late, much fun was being had by a good number of people.

I eventually went back to the booth and the couple left early. They were not so keen on sitting in a booth that served little to no purpose. I stayed there until 8 or so. I liked it there because even though I wasn’t serving a purpose, I had the sense of purpose. I had a perceived reason to sit there, as opposed to wandering around aimlessly. The closure of the booth was when my day/night started to fall apart. I had intended to give away the bulk of the weight I was carrying. That never happened so whatever I was going to do I had to do with about 50lbs of weight digging into my shoulder and amplifying the force of gravity. It made me think Roy McDonald must be a very strong man.

My new intention was to pass time until 9 and go see Fusion Forge (?) in front of the Bell Building. My wandering led me to Snoop Dogg’s encampment. I was surprised by the level of security. Everyone was being physically searched. Quite thoroughly, too. The whole stage area was blacked out by fence so those without a ticket could not steal a glance. It was only a 7 or 8 foot fence, so standing on a curb and tip[ toes afforded a peak. I shot some pictures with my camera held high. I would have snapped quite a few good ones had it not been for the cursed setting sun. Of about 50 shots taken, maybe three really turned out. None of Snoop. All this lasted maybe 20 minutes. I walked up to Vic Park to see the Kid’s Expo. It was wonderfully quiet and cuss free, compared to Snoop up the street. There was a woman singing onstage with a cute little girl, maybe 5 years old, dancing about. I watched for a while and wandered on.

It was now about quarter to 9. I had yet to hook up with anyone. I was tired from carrying the weight and standing at the far northwest corner of Vic Park. To the south, a  goodly number of blocks, was the Bell Building and the musical blacksmiths I was interested in hearing. To the north, quite a few more blocks was home. I rationalized that by adding the walk back south and north again to where I stood then home, was likely farther than just walking home from there. Being without cash or bus ticket I knew I was walking. So that’s what I did. I schlepped that weight on my tired frame to Adelaide and Huron. For the rest of the night I tried to talk myself into going back after lightening my load. The tweets I read made me feel I was missing out on a lot of fun but my energy level, or inspiration level was too low to get me up and out. Regret is too strong a word for this occasion, but I do ponder that I made the wrong choice. It seemed a day full of them beginning  with thinking I needed more than just me to justify standing in the MET. Just me would have been a better fit without the golf trappings. Just me could have talked about Twitter, social media and golf just by using the #freegolf hashtag. Lesson learned. Next event I will go unencumbered with gear or preconceived plans. I’ll just go, and go with the flow.

Blogs in gerneral:

I read a lot of blogs. Most inspire a lot of thought. That is a good thing. What I find most blogs lack is a “READ” button. That read in he past tense as in I have read this blog. As far as I can tell, on most blogs, the only way to acknowledge reading it is to leave a comment. Sometimes I am not ready to comment or have nothing to say. Still, I want to let the blogger know they have been read and their efforts are not futile. All I am suggesting is a wee counter button, clickable by all, whether registered or not. This blog doesn’t have one. It has a STATS page with counters, but that counts bots as well. So if you do read this and other blogs, take the time to type at least: Thanks for sharing.

My last blog post was a train wreck of an idea. Well, not the idea itself but the presentation. I tried to be cute and creative. I guess I better stick to plain and simple. I’ll repost that concept in a separate blog later and hopefully do so without garnering emails that say simply, “Huh?”.

I have yet to read my emails or Tweets so have no idea what today holds for me. Now seems like a good time to do that. Cheers.

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June 20, 2011

Exposing My Hidden Agenda

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 1:48 am

Catchy title. I wonder what I’ll do with it? I often don’t know what I am going to type until I start typing. I opened this page to talk about my GREAT BIG IDEA for municipal (at least) “community engagement”. hen I got sidetracked while opening this blog editor. I got thinking about Carfreefest last weekend. I gotta’ type about that before the thoughts drift a way as I suspect they will.

Digressing further….thoughts are such fleeting little things. Not all may be as brilliant as one (me) might think; some are just undeveloped. I figure if I toss enough of them out, some may stick. If I toss out thoughts to those with the ability to act on them, they may take them and run. Fair enough. It’s the thought that counts. And hey, even thoughts that aren’t so brilliant have value. Provoking thought is fine by me.

So what about this hidden agenda thing? Later…..

I am a guy without much of value, yet I have this major league jones on for giving stuff away. Now all I got are my thoughts, concepts, ideas, ramblings…whatever you want to call them. I have been often criticized for giving away thoughts and/or not putting a value on my time. Putting a value on our time takes away from giving, from helping and from being a community. Yet, we all have bills to pay.

Hidden agenda is just about here.

That all said I am going to charge for my time for this formulating concept I have. The initial disclosure is going to be limited to 5 people. My fee will be a meal and three pints of beer (may be substituted). How these five decide to cover the fee amoungst them is entirely up to them. If five cannot be achieved the fee fall upon four, three,two or one. Less than one and the event will be cancelled.

Preview: This concept revolves entirely around community engagement. Maybe a bit of taking over the world, but that would be after four pints.

Here’s the hidden agenda bit, if I haven’t lost the thought I had when I started typing this.

Virtually everyone has some kind of hidden agenda. I do too. My agenda for selling my time is to get people’s attention. In this case five. Are there five people out there willing to take a chance that I might actually have something to say in my round about way? Part of my agenda is to draw attention to community engagement.  I picked the meal and beer thing because the people I am interacting with seem to have a penchant for such places. I can’t argue with them. The meat of my hidden agenda is that I don’t really have a hidden agenda. If you want to know why I am doing what I am doing ask. If I know I’ll tell you. Maybe I latched on to the whole transparency thing and maybe I am getting carried away with this whole community engagement stuff.  My bottom line agenda with nothing hidden is to make an honest and open positive difference. I cannot do it alone and cannot do it with five, but it’s a start.

Date of meeting TBA.

 

May 23, 2011

London, Ontario: Wired For The Future

Filed under: City Hall — Tags: , , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 1:28 pm

First off, how do I change the font in this damn thing? It is way too small for my liking. I still live in the ancient HTML days and that doesn’t seem to translate here. Oh well, that is not why I am here. We’ll have to make due.

Many things have inspired this train of thought. Train of thought is a little much. This is more a jumble of ideas and comments I have read, swimming around in my mind trying to formulate a concept. I am here to get them down before they swim away or blur into total incomprehension. I am just going to spew it out. We can sort it later.

I have been reading a lot lately about London needing an identity. Compassionate came up, but that doesn’t fly when you look at our homeless and poor. The Forest City is getting old, I guess, though I see nothing wrong with it. If we really need a new identity I think we should be setting a trend, not looking at what other cities are doing?

Where is Canada’s “Silicon Valley”? Or Ontario’s? Which city is the leader in internet technology? What city is The Blogging Capitol, The Gaming Capitol, The Social Media Capitol? Which city is THE innovation hub?

Many are aware there is a contest by Pepsi in which London had an Innovation Hub entered in the $100,000 category. It’d be cool to win that. I saw a video (wish I saved the link) that showed an existing Hub and yeah, that’d be great to have. $100k seemed a bargain. What with the city talking $100 million here and $100 million there, what’s $100K? The city should be backing this.(link provided later)

I read about a group of gamers who are trying to get a local meeting started. Cheers to them! I’ll stop in. (link provided later). London has a video game company, right? Fanshawe has courses in same?

I was reading a long (15 page) proposal regarding a 311 phone service for London City Hall. I got lost in all the legal speak but I think I got the gist. London could become the leader in municipal communication. Other cities could look to us for innovations.

People want free WiFi downtown. I want free broadband internet for all. Talk about an attraction. That aside accessibility opens the door for more creativity. (fight to eliminate bandwidth cap at the very least)

There was an article claiming London was 25th in tourism in Canada. I’d find it embarrassing if people bought that and wasted a vacation on us. The bad word of mouth publicity would do more harm than a misleading article could do good. If we want to be an attraction, let’s start with being attractive.

I don’t know the ins and outs.  As a simple, barely technological guy I see a lot of potential in being the hub of Canadian communication innovations. Am I wrong? Steer me in the right direction to read more on this. Offer your thoughts. Shoot me down. Whatever works to get talking about it.

I am sure this is not an original thought and have no intentions of spearheading a movement but would be eager to join one.

http://www.refresheverything.ca/pepsicommunityhub <– the Pepsi thing.

http://adoseofbuckley.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/london-ontario-a-great-place-to-live-but-i-wouldnt-want-to-visit/ <– London Tourism

http://blog.gamesdaypodcast.com/2011/05/hello-my-game-is-wing-night-aka-tiny-wings/ <– Games day May 26 at Palisades North.

http://brianraymond.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/are-we-that-broken-london/ <–Is London Broken?

http://lfpress.uservoice.com/forums/112027-who-s-london- <– Who’s London/Core Reaction

May 21, 2011

Dog Park Photowalk on Rapture Day

Filed under: Photowalks — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 9:44 pm

Off to the dog park. I am not sure how far the walk is. I say a mile, but that is just a word and not an accurate measure coming from me. From the Shoppers on Adelaide north of Huron passed Windermere. Whatever it is, its farther with Sam.


The first time the camera was on I was walking passed North London Athletic field. A coupe years ago I watched a rescue of an urban camper who was stranded on an island at the building I zoomed in on. It was quite the affair. The fellow stranded said all was well and they didn’t need to bother. As it turns out the water receded a couple of days later.

These people showed up and thoughts the shot doesn’t show. They are running a dog off the leash. Gives a bad impression on us all. The dog park was just up the street too. I hope they at least have enough respect to clean up.

No real surprise, the river was up.

I am not a soccer fan, but I sure like all the green.

The dog park. The approach from Windermere just west of Adelaide.

Sam sampling a tree.

Oh, piss on it.

Other dogs.

Sam seems indifferent.

It’s a grand park.

A little area for the little dogs.

Sam. Making sure I get his good side.

North London Golf. Mini and a driving range. It’s been a while since I have been. They used to have batting cages and I think some basketball, Not sure. Call and ask. Them, not me.

The Waltzing Weasel. I consumed many a pint and scotch here. They have a great menu, but better yet, a great patio.

I so like this house. I like it every time we walk by.

Behind these trees is a nice house. Now part of Goodlife Fitness. It is a cool looking house, but the trees were worth the camera effort more.

Getting high at work. I don’t know if that’s wise.

Walkway along the river on the north side heading east.

The river you’d be walking beside.

A zoom of same.

On the other side of the river bike paths and a play area.

Zoom, zoom.

St. Peter’s. A good subject from any view.

Adelaide St. North. The old and the new.

And that concludes the walk. Home is just a few doors and a big parking lot away. It was fun. It was hot, but not as hot as Camping said it was going to be, so all is good.

May 20, 2011

Photowalk From City Hall & Halfway Home

Filed under: City Hall — Tags: , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 11:46 pm

I had an 11:10 doctor’s appointment. Mt doctor is over on Richmond at North of Oxford. I figured if I left at 10:30 I could get there on time at a casual walk. All was good when I left at 10:30. Halfway down the stairs I realized I had forgotten my camera, so back up I went. My dog was happy to see me so soon. This time when I went out I made it halfway across the parking lot before I realized I had changed pants and left my money in the ones laying rumpled on my bedroom floor. Back I went. I figure I had lost 10 minutes. This meant I’d have to walk at a brisk pace to make it on time. I was feeling too lazy for that, so I took a bus and got there 20 minutes early. Fortunately I had a fresh copy of London Metro.

Two things stood out in Metro. One was the back page and the Old Spice guy. It was well done and kept me amused awhile. The second thing was the full-page ad from Family Radio warning of the coming Rapture. Both ads must have paid for many issues. Good grab.

All went well at the doctors, no surprise. I was just there about a week old sore throat. He gave me a script for some anti-bodies and off I went. I strolled up Richmond to the Shoppers Drug Mart at Dundas, knowing they had a photocopier. They did, it made crappy copies and when I told the clerk he said he would let someone know. It was only $1.13, but he should have waved it. I was getting copies of my Bukowski letter so I could give one to City Light Books. I figured they’d appreciate it. It wasn’t a big deal, but he doesn’t write any letters anymore. I sold the original on eBay years ago. I got about $600us for it. That was back when American money was worth +50% Canadian. It was a good time for Canadian eBayers. I figure a copy might still sell but since I sold the original I wonder if I have the right.

From City Lights I walked up King, though Citi Plaza and back to Dundas, making my way to City Hall where I wanted to take some photos. I did that, then decided to do a photowalk home.

Approaching City Hall from on Wellington at Queens. The view from City Hall is much better than the view of City Hall.


There were very few good views of Reg Cooper Square. This peak from the east front of City Hall was the best, but misleading. The planters look like they have greenery in them, but they are actually empty.

Gratuitous artsy shot.

See the emptiness.

Here’s a couple courtyard shots. You can see the disrepair. It’s hard to see the grass growing between each tile, but I assure you it is there.

Here’s some fine greenery. Unfortunately it is only because nobody cared for it. I have to assume this was intended to be used as a flower garden. Perhaps at one time it was a fountain.

Aha! There’s the grass. It only seems to grow where it isn’t supposed to.

This shot was supposed to show the filthy windows, but the camera didn’t capture it. All it really shows is business isn’t booming at The Wedding Room. There are 11 units, and I think there were maybe 5 in use. I didn’t take notes. Looks like a few good offices City Hall could utilize.

Speaking of City Hall…. Unit 1 caught my eye. It looks so temporary with the paper signs tapped up. As you can see this is the office of London’s  Risk Management Department. You can also see the sign on the door requesting it be closed securely, thanks. I thought of helping out by removing the wedge of cardboard, but figured they must have their reasons.

This shot is deceptively nice, tough it is obvious the planters are empty.

I am not one to act as an art critic, but I did have to wonder if the artist planned on the rust?

I Liked this shot. I don’t think I ever noticed that smokestack before.

Central Ave between Wellington and Richmond. Closed for the weekend to accommodate a road hockey event.

A little mishap at Hyman and Wellington. It didn’t look like anyone was hurt. I wondered why the ambulance parked blocking Hyman and backing up traffic. It didn’t seem necessary. They did pull forward a bit and waved at the cars to pull around. Problem was the accident and ambulance made it hard to see around. I thought of directing traffic, but figured these guys knew what they were doing. I have faith in professionals.

I shot this row of houses just because I like this row of houses. This is Pall Mall, east of Wellington.

North of Pall Mall on Waterloo. It is easy to forget this park is here. Weather permitting, whenever I go by there are usually people making use of the tennis courts.

I wonder if this guy gets paid extra because his job sucks?

Walk along Oxford there was a guy putting up a sign at a house with freshly washed window. I suggested to him he give the city a call and see about getting the gig cleaning the offices unused beside City Hall.  There’s there sign. I figure they could always use a plug.

The sign says it all. tailgate sale, truck sale, whatever you want yo call it. Yard sales, church sales, tailgate sales and auctions used to be a passion of mine. If I am out walking I’ll be sure to stop by here on June 4th.

This is a sad sight. It seems this office was always here.

It was around here I lost my glasses. At least, this is the last place I recall wearing them. I need them to see the display screen on my camera. I didn’t notice they were gone until I was at the newish United  Supermarket on Adelaide north of Cheapside. I went in to get a flyer and realized my missing glasses when I wanted to read the price sticker on a loaf of bread. Too bad. I liked those glasses. I have others, but I have had those longer.

And home I went. Not the best of Photowalks but there you have it. I hope you liked the pictures.

May 16, 2011

Never Write In Anger

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 11:33 am

I have heard that before. But that is also when I feel inspired to write. Today I could add to that by saying never write in anger and  pain. Here I am indulging in both writing sins. I am in pain from an abscesses tooth, and my dentist can’t see me until late June. Does that make sense? It sounds like a brush off to me.

I got this toothache early Friday. I called the my dentist  only to be reminded he isn’t open on Fridays. No problem, I thought. He has an emergency number. I recall my son needing an emergency root canal and he was in within an hour, with Dr. Ong putting off some electrical wiring he was doing to help my son. That certainly endeared me to him and made me feel like he was our family dentist. My son’s insurance covered the bill, all was good. My insurance is not so good. I can only go when in pain and can only have teeth pulled. Back to point. I called the emergency number and it rang a few times as a phone will, it clicked over to what I expected to be voice mail but instead it was a distant ring. Like it was far away, too far away to answer.

Okay so no dentist until Monday. What do I do? I went over to Shoppers and bought some Orajel with 10% Benzocaine. I followed the rules and put some on the offending tooth and around the gum. It tasted like crap, of course. My flesh went numb but the tooth hurt more. I was thinking it was maybe two now. But maybe it only felt like it.

It’s around one in the afternoon and I am taking my mind off of it by ranting to a friend on the phone. What are friends for, eh? So he said he’d bring over a bit of herbal medicine that would help me get through the weekend. I was pleased. It was about 4:20 in the afternoon, oddly enough, when I had my first does. I shared about 1/4 stick of medicine with my friend. We chatted some and he was on his way. The pain was gone and as the night went on I marveled at how gone it was. I didn’t feel numbed, I felt cured.

After a good night’s sleep I awoke and didn’t even think of my toothache. I was up, took the dog for a walk, had coffee and toast and poked at the keyboard before I thought of it. I thought of it as again marveling at how gone the pain was. It felt normal. I even did the cold milk on cereal test. No problem. Dinner? No problem. Then another good night’s sleep.

This morning was a different story.  There was this dull, constant ache. That I could handle. Then there was also this liquid electrical pain. I don’t know how else to describe it but suspect many of you know exactly what I am talking about. It starts of like a liquid swoosh in your tooth, but then becomes like an electrical current through you jaw.

Now it is Monday and the dentist is open. I am in pain so I qualify under my insurance. I can get this pulled and relearn to eat. I called and a receptionist answered.  It went downhill from there. Apparently, oh my, she could not make an appointment until June 27 or something. I mentioned through clenched teeth that I was in pain and the outlook wasn’t bright. She suggested I try Northland Dental. Forget that Dr. Ong is next door and Northland is about 1/2 mile away and forget that it’s raining. I thought I had a family dentist. I was counting on him. Sure others are too, but how long does it take to yank a tooth? It’s the kind of thing you’d think a dentist could squeeze in. Granted. Dr. Ong seems to be more into cosmetics. I am sure the time wasted pulling a tooth to save someone  from pain could be used putting in a $2000 implant.

I used to go to Northland and liked them just fine. Both my son and I went there for years. One hot summer day we both had appointments. Him for a clean & shine and me for something painful. I had brought the wrong medical card. We were on file, sure, but they need more endorsement  for that month. It was at home on my desk half a mile or more away. We had just walk there and I was in pain. I suggested we keep our appointments and I would go home after, get the proper documentation and come right back. That was unacceptable. I would have to make another appointment and come back. That was the last I was there. We tried another across the street but my son and I agreed she was brutal. Then we got in at Dr. Ong. There was new dentist office opening in plaza just over there. I went in because they had the same feel as the Northland off. A good size, more than one dentist and they did everything there. Close too, that’s a bonus in case I forget anything. Though just open and having an “accepting new patients” sign they said they were full but could put me on a waiting list. I think it is a when hell freezes over list because a few years have passed since then. I’ll go in later and see if things have changed. Maybe get in before I show my insurance card.

An American friend asked about our health care. I guess she heard wonderful things. I assured her we do have health care but not dental care.  Painful teeth do not count as a health issue. In fact, they should count as a potential mental health issue. Tooth pain could drive one insane.

So now I sit here. I had more herbal medicine, because I can and it is at hand. The pain has gone, but I feel more inclined to have a nap than anything else.

May 15, 2011

Beer And Clothing On The Campaign Trail

Didn’t Hunter S. write a book about that? Not sure. It’s Sunday. I am lazy. Lazy Sunday. Not an uncommon view. I am watching The Comedy Channel, Twittering, answering emails and reading blogs and articles. I awoke with that title in my mind and awaited for words to come to fit it.

As you should know by now I have my eye on the campaign trail. That will require, of course, getting out and about. If I recall correctly the place to reach the most people at one time is in a bar/cafe/restaurant/tavern/pub….you get my drift, though golf clubhouse would be my 1st choice. All of these usually require a drink. I don’t drink anymore. I’ll have to get used to all those scenes without the lubricant. It not that I don’t drink at all, but you cannot even say I am a casual drinker. My guess is, occasional is the best description, but the occasions are rare.

When it comes to clothes I used to classify my fashion choice as “golf ready”. Even Hunt Club golf ready. Not that I’ve been. I don’t even know if I’d like golfing at a course like the Hunt Club. I prefer casual settings. Golfer ready for me was nice slacks and a polo shirt, always socks and slip on shoes. My wardrobe has depleted so I have to start giving thought to rebuilding it. I hope all this campaign stuff doesn’t require going beyond the golf ready look too often. I can fill out a suit okay, but they make me feel uncomfortable. Mostly I think, because they are required to give off an impression. Being comfortable is the best impression as far as I am concerned.

The campaign trail. Occasional beers and appropriate clothing, I can handle that. So far so good. The initial days were exciting. Quite a few people typed their support and interest. Now there are a couple. I am not surprised, shocked or disheartened. I mean the election isn’t until 2014. People have their own long-term plans. This is new to me in a way. I can’t remember the last long-term plan I had. I was more for living for the now. Just surviving. Now I have a spark of life and an outlook that I can make a positive difference.  3 years isn’t long and seems like an appropriate time to study for the job I am going for. Or I could look at it as a 3 year-long job interview. Either way I have 3 years to present the me I want to be. Through education and getting out there and communicating, I might just get there.

May 14, 2011

WHAT DID YOU HAVE TO EAT TODAY?

I would like to say I am not trying to guilt you out with that title and this blog post, but I can’t. Certainly not everyone will feel guilt, but many will. You know who you are.

http://www.foodbankscanada.ca/documents/HungerCount2010_web.pdf

I do not intend to type for long. The above link has many pages and you are going to need some time to READ IT ALL.  Nothing I can say hasn’t been said in that article. It speaks well for itself. I can give you some highlights in case you don’t give a damn and don’t want to bother. Something tells me that since you read this far, you will click and read. These are the highlight:

867,948 Canadians visited a foodbank in March 2010 <–One month, get it?

80,150 for the 1st time. <– Imagine making the walk for the 1st time.

That’s a 9% increase over last March. 28% over 2 years.

38%% were children <–CHILDREN!!!

11% reported employment income <–Obviously not enough

6% received unemployment insurance.

51% Received a form of social assistance.

15% were disabled

71% of the nation’s foodbanks saw an increase.

*     *     *

I am imagining that March is a big month because that is one of the months there is no GST or HST rebate.

People visiting foodbanks in London are allowed to visit once per month and only one food bank per month. They get enough food to last “a few days”. Very little is fresh. For those who do, think of what you donate.  A box of rice goes a lot farther than a can of kidney beans.

It’s not easy making that first trip to the foodbank. Many I am sure put it off to the last resort, preferring to go hungry instead. It’s no easier the 2nd time. You do not see people with their heads held up. There is little to no eye contact. You’d think most were quite literate seeing them so intently reading anything they can find on the table. I cannot recall if I visited in March. I visited twice and have put it out of my mind like I did something “dirty”.

Now go read. Sorry if I put you off your dinner. Not so sorry if you are at an overpriced restaurant just for the atmosphere.

May 11, 2011

Ward Councilor: Politician or People’s Voice?

Background….

Just a  few days ago I was pondering my future. It looked pretty bleak. I am 55 years old with no defined skills. I have been looking for a job “forever”  to no avail. Think about it, even if I had specific qualifications I’d still be bumped out by youth. That’s just the way it is. I wondered if there is a grey area for old guys like me. Seemingly unemployable, yet too young for Canada Pension. Starting in July my income reduces because the school year ends and my son will be 18 in October. No more Child Tax Credit like as soon as they turn 18 (or get out of school) it’s a given they have a job. In this case, he still has another year to go to get his grade 12. I think the support payments end too, but I am not sure. I was looking at having to find someone to take him in and me going to a rooming house or something. My son and I have lived together for the past 12 years in this apartment. It is the longest I have ever lived in any one spot and the only place he really knows. That makes it home. Neither of us have a desire to move, let alone be split up. Like I said, bleak.

Foreground:

The Federal Election rekindle my interest in politics which lay dormant for many years. I just didn’t really care. It seemed it didn’t really matter so I just voted the usual. For Municipal elections I picked whoever seemed the most human and less political, but did only enough research to figure that bit out.  Harper scared the hell out of me and moved me from not caring to only caring. I read and read, talked on blogs and FB and read some more.  The events of 420 in Victoria Park got me blogging because nobody else seemed to be outraged by it, at least not enough to write about it. It was like there was a gag order out, but I didn’t get the memo. After the election I had little to blog about, so I turned to municipal politics.

Then I found Twitter. I went there not really knowing what it was really all about, but knew enough to know it was a good place to flog my blog. I quickly learned Twitter was more than that. I less than a week I connected with a number of people who, 140 characters at a time, became important to me. Somehow Twitter, or really the Twitterites inspired me to read more and find more things to blog about. I also have to credit the London Free Press and their Core Reaction/Who’s London forums. I am not sure if they are serving the purpose intended, but it gave me a place to write and I felt I was doing some good with my comments. I found myself championing for the poor. No surprise since I could wear that moniker for the pat 5 years or so and looked like I’d be wearing it forever.

One day on Twitter I found myself in a foul mood. I was depressed by the bleak outlook and started moaning live about it. My Twitter friends were supportive, some offered job links. Mostly they just talked to me and put up with my moaning. They helped me become determined to find a job and I started to think what job I could qualify for enough to have a decent chance of getting. I even Tweeted: I need a position where I don’t need a resume and don’t need specific qualifications.  I don’t know if I joked about it or someone else did, but “run for office” came up. Thinking federal or provincial was out and the municipals are a few years away. I thought if I could hold out for 3 years….maybe….

So me being me I started thinking, without research, what I thought of the duties of Ward Councilor. My kneejerk was to write it off because they were politicians and I just can’t be a politician. It’s a game I don’t know or agree with the established “rules”. I am not big on spin or saying one thing and doing another and “playing politics” on a Municipal level. That’s what I thought of when I thought of Municipal Government.

Since then I have delved into cyberspace and started reading about what’s going on in our city and what a councilor’s responsibilities are. It came to me that one doesn’t HAVE to play the game to get the job done and maybe the people are finally fed-up with politics in City Hall. Maybe they were ready for something a little different. Something like transparency, no spin and the truth, even if it hurts. I started seeing the position of councilor less political and more representational. I always said I couldn’t be  salesman, but I could certainly be a representative for a product I believed in. As councilor one represents the people living in said ward, the product is truth.

What are the qualifications for the position of ward councilor? What is the job description? The job description seems easy enough. Take the voice of the people to City Hall and vote accordingly. The qualifications? The ability to listen and report. I can do that. Seems like the biggest qualifications are listening and talking. This all led me to imagine myself applying for the job of ward councilor.

I cannot be a politician, but I can be a ward representative. I do not see it as a part-time job or Full-time. I see it as a life choice for 4 years. I see it as an eat and sleep 24/7 job. I read up a lot in the past few days. I know now that Ward 4 is called Carling as a neighbourhood designation. I know things like there are 52% females in this ward. I know that of the employed 52% are males. I know the bulk of the income is low and most people live in apartments and many other 2006 stats. I know the borders and am learning some of the issues.  Not stellar knowledge, but not bad for a couple of days. I say this to establish I am a fairly quick study.

Future:

What would I do as councilor? Well come on, that’s a hard question to answer so early in my education. But, since one policy would be to answer any question as best as I could at the time, here it goes:

I would study every chance I had so I was prepared for most questions. If asked something I didn’t know or was unsure of I would study that so as to answer as quickly as possible.

I would try to eliminate battles of words in meetings and stress the need to get to business, not posture and worry about sound bites.

I would not use the car allowance because I would be riding the bus or walking. I would be walking or busing all over the ward talking to constituents of all walks of life asking what I, as their representative, could do for them and their families. I would also help them understand exactly what I was allowed or capable of doing in City Hall.

I would be transparent. Really transparent. No lies, no spin, no politicking. Just honesty.

Since I feel councilors are overpaid for talking and listening I would donate a portion of my salary to a needy cause in the ward. Something that benefited the less fortunate.

I would be accessible. I would continue to blog, Twitter and Facebook. I would be able to be reached by email and phone and whatever methods available.

I would try to “lead” by example and hope other councilors dropped the pretenses and just get on with the job. It is not about position or power or a stepping stone to other appointments, it is about representing the people of your ward.

I would be at every meeting, every vote and I’d sit on whatever boards I felt I could benefit.

I would stand up for London and Ward and work in their best interests, not my interests and not special interests, but ALL interests.

It wouldn’t matter if I think you need a new walkway (as an example) all that matters is that you think you do. My job would be to present your view to city hall.

I am 55 years old. I have lived most of my life in London, out for a year or two in the late 80’s working in Toronto and travelling the country in my teens. I have lived. I have not lived as if I would be under the scrutiny of the public eye. I was not guarded and patterning a life. I just lived. I have experienced much. I have worked a multitude of jobs, mostly in some form of public service. Retail, bar tending, cab driving, computer repair…. all involving dealing with the public. I have empathy, I understand and care about people.  I believe I would make a very good representative. I hear Nancy Branscombe is “the hardest working” councilor of the bunch. I would like to earn that distinction.

Does this sound like I am campaigning? Well I guess I am. Please accept this as my letter of intent to apply to the citizens of Ward 4 for the position of Representative in the 2014 Municipal Election.

I do not have official sites set up yet. That’ll be a while and there is plenty of time. Please feel free to follow me on Twitter as thatguyinlondon. Keep an eye on this blog for other random articles, but mostly for updates on my campaign.

As soon as financially possible I will be setting up a website. I will also be dropping the thatguyinlondon blogger moniker and Twittering under my given name.

May 8, 2011

Bend Over London, Here It Comes

Filed under: City Hall — Tags: , , , , , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 11:11 am

http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2011/05/06/18115121.html?sms_ss=twitter&at_xt=4dc59f8474264a95,0

I told myself to never write angry. It is sound advice but I feel if I wait until I am not angry about this, I’ll never write.

We have all read about Mayor Joe’s big-ticket dreams. A new $100 million City Hall. A $100 million 401 project. And who knows what else he is dreaming up to put his stamp on London. Of course when those amounts are bandied about any thinking person will ask, where is the money coming from? Well, if Mr. Maloney is correct, it is coming from the people who can afford it the least.

Take from the poor and give to the rich. That’s compassion all right. Did I read somewhere London was up for a Compassion Award? That made me lol, then this. I’ll certainly be sending this article to whoever is in charge of that award. Compassion? What is compassionate about screwing over the people most in need. Who does Joe think he is? Harper? Next thing you know he’ll be wanting jets and jails. Is this how he is going to suck up after trying to trash the Conservatives pre-election? http://canadians4compassion.org/campaignupdates/news:11 Okay, so it’s not an award and I had it all wrong, but the point remains that as far as I can see London is far from compassionate.

Sorry….I can’t do this. I can’t write about this. I get sick to my stomach. I read the Core Reaction and see people commenting on how to improve London. Improve it for who? Once more people are put out on the street, literally, then what becomes of them? Keep an eye on the suicide rate, Joe. I suspect it will increase. The headlines will read: Another Homeless Person Found Dead: Good Riddance.

Go ahead and read the article. Share your comments. Maybe I can talk about this in bits and pieces without feeling like I just got kicked in the balls. I wasn’t an AM fan, but then again I wasn’t really paying attention then. In my opinion, if it wasn’t for Tim Best, she’d be sitting in that chair right now. You got lucky Joe. Enjoy your one term, if it lasts that long. I’d sure like to see the results of a city-wide vote of confidence, if we the people had that option.

Let me toss this one in here too http://www.lfpress.com/news/whoslondon/2011/05/06/18114726.html.

Look at the average incomes. I’d like to see the high and low that made those averages. It makes it look like all Londoners are living comfortably. I guess that is only the Londoners City Hall cares about. There should be another category: Percent of population nobody gives a rat’s ass about.

(this is the first article I went back and edited. Because I wrote any I got some things screwed up. It likely still screwed, but there you have it.)

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