Thursday, November 30, 2006

Canadian Politics: Jerks

The Harper Conservatives are going to close down 12 of the 16 Status of Women offices in Canada.

Why you ask?

Two quotes from Beverly Oda, Heritage Minister:

"What these offices don't necessarily provide is the help directly to women. There was a lot of lobbying groups, there was a lot of advocacy."

"We don't need to separate the men from the women in this country... This government as a whole is responsible to develop policies and programs that address the needs of both men and women."

And when the opposition suggested that this action was reprehensible, Oda's reply was:

"I'm very surprised that the opposition would say, 'Put money back into inefficiencies,' when you can find inefficiencies and streamline the operations."

So, let's clear some things up.

First: Lobbying and advocacy directly help individuals. These actions allow individuals representation before the government that they would not have been able to afford by themselves. They also result in changes to unjust laws. It was lobbying and advocacy that gave women the vote.

Second: It is not removing inefficiencies if you shut down programs, because an inefficient program that helps people is more efficient than no program at all. Only when you replace a program with something better can you claim to be getting rid of inefficiencies, instead of just cutting programs to get rid of those you don't like. Like the Status of Women, or the One Tonne Challenge, or adult literacy, or job creation programs, or funding for museums.

Third: If you claim that your government is responsible for both men and women in this country, then perhaps closing the government office that is responsible for ensuring that women receive equal opportunities as men is hypocritical and stupid.


I hope everyone out there in the Blogosphere will join me in endorsing a 29% pay cut for Ms. Oda, to put her salary in line with the average Canadian woman, who earns 71 cents for every dollar earned by her male counterparts. After all, if Ms. Oda doesn't believe in improving the status of women, she may as well face up to the realities of not improving the status of women.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Small Magics Has Gone To Dragon Moon Press

After much editing, Small Magics is now in the hands of my publisher, Dragon Moon Press. It has been a long, hard row to hoe, and I am very glad to see the end of this part of the journey.

There is more to do, of course, before it reaches the shelves next year, but the sense of completion is wonderful.

Thanks to everyone who helped, and specifically Katrina, Chet and Kim (my readers), Briana (my editor), and most of all Sara (my wife and another reader). Without your help, this book would never have seen the light of day.

And now that Small Magics is out of the way, Cold Magics needs to be finished (it's about 2/3 done) and The King Below needs editing (check my website for the plots) and there's that novel I'm adapting for the stage and the pantomime I want to get written for performance next Christmas and this year's ghost story and I've got an exam in January and ideas for two more novels...

And much more to do.

Back to work.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Global Warming: More Bad News

So, not only are we changing the climate, we're helping to wreck thousands of years of human heritage, and millions of years of natural development.

Here's the story.

Anyone thought of a way to make the Canadian government pay attention yet?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Found an Ab Workout

And it is nasty. It is actually a Core Muscle Strength and Stability test.

I found this at PowerCentering, which is a commercial website that promotes a core workout to get in shape. I have no idea how well their products or regimen work, but since I'm showing one of their tests here, I need to give them proper credit.

Here is the test:

The Core Muscle Strength & Stability Test is conducted as follows:

Position the watch on the ground where you can easily see it

  1. Assume the basic plank/hover position (elbows on the ground).
  2. Hold this position for 60 seconds
  3. Lift your right arm off the ground.
  4. Hold this position for 15 seconds
  5. Return your right arm to the ground and lift the left arm off the ground.
  6. Hold this position for 15 seconds
  7. Return your left arm to the ground and lift the right leg off the ground.
  8. Hold this position for 15 seconds
  9. Return your right leg to the ground and lift the left leg off the ground.
  10. Hold this position for 15 seconds
  11. Return your left leg to ground and lift your right leg and left arm off the ground.
  12. Hold this position for 15 seconds
  13. Return your right leg and left arm to the ground and lift your left leg and right arm off the ground.
  14. Hold this position for 15 seconds
  15. Return to the basic plank position (elbows on the ground).
  16. Hold this position for 30 seconds

Your score is equal to the number that corresponds to your last completed position (1-16) Your Score = _____________

I'll do this twice a week and see how I improve. It tried it and, sad to say, got a score of 7. Still, what's life without a challenge?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Looking for a Good Ab Workout

What, I'm going to blog about the American Election? Everyone and their uncle is doing that. Me, I'm far more self-centred.

Seriously, though, I used to be an exercise junkie. Three hours of martial arts used to be a good way to have some fun. These day, if I want to get three hours alone, I'd have to be in a hospital with something contagious.

So here's the challenge. We get up at 5:45 AM. I do the part one of my workout (15 minutes) while my wife grabs her shower. The reason for this is simple: Toddler. Someone has to be around in case she wakes up. Once my wife is out of the shower, I head down to the gym in our building, and get about another 45 minutes in part two. Now, my workout schedule is as follows:

Day 1 & 4 Part 1: Nothing. Part 2: Running
Day 2 & 5 Part 1: Shadow Boxing. Part 2: Weights
Day 3 & 5 Part 1: Calesthetics. Part 2: Martial Arts

It's a nice workout series, plenty of variety and keeps the body jumping. You'll notice, however, that Part One of Day 1 & 4 has nothing. This is where I want to put in a nice, nasty ab workout.

So, anysuggestions out there?

And by the way, congrats to the Democratic party on taking the House. We are all waiting with bated breath to see what happens in the Senate.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

American Politics

To any Americans who happen to drop by, remember:


Remember you still live in a democracy (sort of). Help keep it one:


(And vote Democratic, if you want my opinion, but hey, it's your country)

Friday, November 03, 2006

How Much More Evidence Do You Need?

The world fish stocks are collapsing and will be gone in our lifetimes unless radical change takes place. With their disappearance will come starvation for many, collapse of industry, and the true beginning of the end for our environmen

Here's the story.

How much more will it take for governments to make changes? How much more will it take before sensible management strategies will be usedto allow for sustainable use, rather than wanton destruction?

Write your MP, Congressman, Senator, Prime Minister, President, and anyone else you can think of. I know I will. We need to fix this while we still can.

Because Castles Are Neat!

And for those of us who write fantasy, they're also necessary. So here's a link:

Castles of Britain


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Stern Warning

A link to the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change.

Since those with the money don't seem to care about the threat to people's health, wildlife, wilderness areas, crops, or housing caused by climate change, maybe a threat to their money might (note: might) make them wake up.

Doubt it, though.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Been a Long Time

Been a long loney,lonely, lonely, lonely time.

(Two points for the musical reference).

It's been one of those months where time has slipped by at high speed. I've been working, writing, editing, studying and playing with the kid. Once you get all that together, it leaves precious little time for blogging, which is too bad, because I like blogging.

(Or maybe I just like talking to myself, I'm never sure).

I've also been hanging out with a rather fun group of writers from the Twin Cities over on Wyrdsmiths. The group includes those who are published and those who are working on being published. The conversation is intelligent, and there's some excellent information about writing in their posts.

Small Magics is now two chapters and an epilogue away from going through its last draft and we are on schedule for publication. Cold Magics has taken off again and is starting to get written, though last night it was a token effort. I was tired!

So I'm back, and I'll try to do this at least once a week (yeah, you've heard that before). Meanwhile, how's everyone out there?

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