Feds force vote in crippling Ottawa bus strike

Feds force vote in crippling Ottawa bus strike

As city revellers searched for a ride Wednesday to New Year’s Eve parties, Labour Minister Rona Ambrose ordered the Canada Industrial Relations Board to hold a supervised vote on the City of Ottawa’s latest contract proposal.

Ambrose is concerned for people with no other way to travel, “particularly the elderly,” she said in a statement.


The minister asked the industrial relations board to conduct the vote as soon as possible. A city spokesman said he expected it to be held on or before Jan. 9.

Ambrose also asked the board to determine whether some or all of the city’s transit system could be designated an essential service, citing safety issues.

January 9 isn’t by any means a speedy possible resolution, but I suppose it takes time to get the notice out about the vote. (Do unions ever lie about the vote results? What impartial third party checks the votes results to ensure that there has been no fudging?)

<technical writing pet peeve> As an aside, if you’re going to write captions under photos, shouldn’t you attempt to make them absolutely clear? The photo of Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien in the Citizen today includes a caption that is a summary of the bus strike article — if you didn’t know that Rona Ambrose is female, you wouldn’t know who the gentleman in the picture was; the picture of Rona herself is very clear and just gives her name and nothing else — did Larry’s need the blurb rather than just an explanation of who he was?



One of the finger nails that I’m having particular trouble growing is the thumbnail on my right hand. Some of the other nails have ridges and the like but those could be explained away by peeling off layers of nail during prior nail biting episodes — it’s never even so you’re left with lengthwise ridges until the nail grows in (and up) again. The right thumbnail, though, is concave and the nail is too soft to grow out properly. The other thumbnail has a very slight dent in it and a bit of a hillock that I’ve essentially been filing down.

I have insomnia today (it’s now 9am and I still haven’t been to bed) so I decided to have a quick Google to see what I could find.

What I found was a nail disorder called Koilonychia, which is usually linked to chronic iron deficiency anemia. That’s interesting to me because I’ve had trouble with iron levels for years. When I was sick in 2000, I had to take supplements for months just to bring my iron level up to the very low end of normal. I even had iron deficiency issues when I was a kid. (I could have sworn I’d blogged about it before but I’ll be darned if I can find where.) I should take supplements, but I admit that I’ve been scared by horror stories of iron supplements gone bad. Still, given that iron deficiency would explain some of the fatigue and other weird problems I’ve been having, I should make a concerted effort to at least start taking my multivitamin every day.

Fat and malnourished is not how you want your life to go. You have to neglect and mistreat yourself pretty badly to accomplish that. Next thing you know, I’ll be developing scurvy or beriberi.

One year in fast forward

Two absolutely beautiful and very serene videos from Eirik Solheim showing images of the same stand of trees during 2008.

One year in 40 seconds (using 10mm wide angle images):

One year in 2 minutes (using 55mm zoomed-in images):

His Youtube channel has a number of other interesting time lapse or morphing videos, and his personal site offers some background information and details as well as photography tips and tricks. Definitely a new favourite.

Enlightenment Cards and a Course in Miracles

These cards were created by Gary Renard and published by Hay House. I was intrigued by thesm when I first saw them. I was almost ready to buy them tonight just based on reviews on Amazon.com until I saw some of the images in Janet Boyer’s review. The examples she gave in her Amazon review were sort of general spiritual, but the cards on the review on her site make it clear that there is a Christian bent to the cards. That was an immediate turn-off.

I then started looking at the deck and Gary’s book more closely. The references to “A Course In Miracles” should have been a dead give-away, and very much underscore my new aversion to it.

I may read the book one day — I suspect my reaction would be similar to many of the people who gave the book a 1 star rating at Amazon as I no longer appreciate or believe in the idea that there is one true path or that the one true path involves Jesus Christ. You might have convinced me of that when I was in my teens, when my spiritual crisis was just beginning at the age of 16, but not for decades. I get a real Scientology vibe from just the positive reviews. I’m a little disappointed at the somewhat gushy nature of Janet Boyer’s review as well.

Dammit. I just realized that, when I signed up for some Oprah newsletters a few months ago, I opted into the “A Course in Miracles” newsletter from Marianne Williamson. (I’ve never read any of them so opting in was clearly not a good choice, but I digress.) When I signed up, I really wasn’t paying attention to the name of the books she was talking about — the description on her Oprah.com page skirts around things, making it all seem like generic New Age spirituality and power of intention type stuff. I’m disappointed. I don’t want Christian-centric spiritual teachings or inspirations. It’s not helpful to me. In fact, it makes me angry and negative, which is the complete opposite to what I want. I’m actually horrified. And it completely alters my opinion of both Marianne Williamson and Oprah Winfrey.

When the wind blows

she really blows.

It was building up all night. Now (6:30 am), it’s gusting to 69 km/h, wind chill -13 (which is a huge drop from the zero-ish it was hovering around all day yesterday).

Holy cow, it sounds spooky. And there’s a mighty mean draft coming in around my windows. Brrrr!

Kind of funny — it was high wind speeds (up to 80km/h) that caused the problems that caused the traffic jams that NiK was in last night in Vancouver. Same direction, even. The winds here on Sunday caused power outages and all sorts of problems here. Hope this doesn’t exacerbate those problems.

The Me Project: Day 44

Have been sick for the last week or so. Not sure what’s going on. Flu? Cold? Allergies gone wild? Insides aren’t happy — don’t know if it is the change of food from takeout to groceries or what. Head is congested and I now have a splitting sinus headache. Alternating between insomnia and narcolepsy again. Thought I’d have been more productive during the holidays, but really accomplished very little that didn’t involve sitting in front of my computer. Which is to say that I accomplished some things, but they weren’t the things I was planning to accomplish. Tu comprends?

I ended up having to trim my finger nails the other day — the cleaning that I did on the 23rd softened the nails so much that they never completely recovered and it was trim them or bite them. Now it’s a fight not to start biting them again. I’m having trouble not biting the skin around them, which is not helping. That’s stress, that is. But a bad way of coping.

Talked to NiK tonight — she was stuck in an intense Vancouver traffic snarl and thought of me. Aw. Unfortunately, her cell phone died in mid-conversation so she probably had to spend the remaining couple of hours with only her stereo for company. Don’t remember what I was in the middle of saying when it cut out — couldn’t have been too important. I miss her. She’s always a bright spot to my day and our conversations are never long enough. I got to bitch commiserate about Scorpios (no, not anyone who might happen to be reading this) in our lives, which was very helpful. LOL

Continue reading “The Me Project: Day 44”

Bus strike (and winter?) continues

And day 20 of the strike begins.

Wonder what’s in the cards for today?

The talks from before Christmas broke down on Christmas Eve, with the city changing their offer:

The City’s offer includes economic increases of 3.25, 2 and 2 per cent over the next three years, as well as significant improvements to sick leave – including two additional days, WSIB pay and benefit plans. It also provided a new revamped scheduling system that addressed the union’s earlier concerns and includes a $2500 productivity bonus.

When that was rejected, the city asked the Labour Minister to force the union to take it to their membership to vote, instead of just rejecting it outright.

Ottawa Citizen, December 24, 2008: Ambrose reviews options after city seeks forced vote on transit offer

Yesterday was a weird day, weather-wise. I was stiflingly warm in my apartment during the day — it was hovering around 9 or 10 degrees outside until early afternoon. Made it hard to sleep (my sleep pattern has gotten completely turned around over the last week or so, leaving me unable to sleep at night.) It was so foggy that I couldn’t see past my balcony. Then the winds started up and it dropped 5 or 6 degrees. In the winter, the wind usually gusts against my windows; in the summer, little breeze can be found at all. Sunday it sounded like the windows were going to blow in. The door downstairs, which is on the same side of the building, was apparently really hard to open — and almost as hard to close again. Looked pretty messy outside. Felt bad for the Boston Pizza delivery guy (for all of them, actually) — it was an unpleasant evening for driving.

Bad advice

Came across a site today in which the site author gave the following advice with respect to a teenager not calling someone when they promised to:

Parents take note: When dishing out punishments, remember that a promise is a promise. And so, any punishment that keeps your child from fulfilling a promise is unethical.

It has to be one of the stupidest pieces of advice that I’ve seen in a long while. Clearly not all promises are equal. Would you help your child keep a promise that was illegal or unethical itself? And can’t you picture the ways in which a child would take advantage of such a parental policy?

Indian Ocean tsunami remembered

I’ve been watching the History channel a lot the last couple of days. During commercial breaks, they have little blurbs chronicling events that took place on that day in history. Today, one of the events they’ve been mentioning is the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Strangely, they noted that 10,000 people died in the disaster. That’s a pretty big typo when over 200,000 people actually died (exact numbers above that vary depending on where you look, and precise numbers will probably never be known). I’d thought I’d misread it the first time it appeared on the screen today.

I’d forgotten that it was just after Christmas that it happened. But I remember how surreal it was to watch. As the death toll rose, reaching absolutely unreal heights, my brain just went numb. That’s the population of Halifax wiped off the map. Whole towns, gone in a few minutes. I watched the tsunami episode of “Seconds from Disaster” yesterday, and it’s still horrifying.