Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

Cayo Largo trip

Oh My DOG - I'm in love -- with Cayo Largo. This tiny little island in a chain of islands on the Carribean side of Cuba is just plain amazing!
Let me first say that if you are looking for a holiday with lots of partying, tonnes of people piled on top of each other in small spaces, and youngsters drinking their faces off, this is not the place for you - you should go google Cancun - - like, now.
Okay, so for the rest of us, this place is amazing! I can't say enough good things about it! The sand, for one, is amazing. It's a light bone colour, and it never ever ever gets hot! It feels comfy and cool on your feet even on the hottest day. There are only 5 resorts on this island, and the beach stretches for a long long time, so most people spread out, and if you're willing to walk a bit, you can have your own private segment of beach. And since the sand is almost white, the water appears a beautiful pale turquoise... its breathtaking. And then there is the snorkelling. We have seen more life just snorkelling in Cayo Largo than we've seen on many of our past scuba dives! Snorkelling no more than a couple hundred metres out from the beach we met several charming barracuda; a big giant barracuda type thing which we have not yet identified, nor did we hang out with this chap long, he was pretty intimidating; a Turtle - snorkelling, we saw a big greenback turtle; several stingrays, different colours and sizes each; a big-ass grouper, he was cool; jellyfish; cuttle fish; a school of about 300 tarpon came whizzing around us for a few brief and hectic moments; fish, fish and more many fish on the reefs... rays shadowing you as you walk along the beach. Above the water were Pelicans all over the beach - iguanas all over the island, some of whom will share your ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Amazing bugs, beautiful flora, a 2 metre crocodile, and at least a dozen charming little cats running around the resort. And the island is half nature preserve, with a turtle incubation area to help bolster the sea turtle population.
This is Maria, a 60 year old greenback sea turtle who comes to the incubation centre to lay her eggs.

Oh ya, and tonnes of anole type lizards, and mourning doves, hummingbirds, lots of other birds I can't identify. Basically, if you love animals and beautiful scenery without too many homo sapiens around, this is the place for you.
Sadly, the week we were there, the homo sapiens count was just high enough to book up all of the deep dives, so we only did a shallow one... it was okay, but unless you're a beginner, I don't recommend it, for most of the dive we were 9-20 feet, not really much more than snorkelling with a whole bunch of extra equipment!
The resort we stayed at was the Sol Cayo Largo - a really great place, we'll definately be returning here again!

Friday, March 23, 2007

There is hope!

There is a light at the end of this tunnel (which could at any time close on us and become another dark age, by the way)
That light comes in the form of THINKING PEOPLE. Yes, they are out there - you might be one yourself! I know they exist because of websites like this:
Seed Magazine

and this:
Sex, Drugs and DNA

Enjoy these decadent slices of hope and spread the word!

Sheeple Rousing

Writing that last post has reminded me of a couple other shining moments in recent sheeple history, both provided by the CBC.

Sheeple Date – unfortunately, I can’t remember when exactly these “news”casts incited my rage, but they did, and it was recent. I’d say within the last two weeks for sure.

Thing One
A delectable little story the CBC presented which stated that 50% of the youth currently being held in a dentention centre type of scenario are the “product” of social services (ie children’s aid, etc) This little gem led them to air such concerns as “Is our system of social services failing these kids?“ Now, at first listen, this seems like a valid point – it is unfair if these detained youth are being detained due to their involvement with a social service – after all, kids at the mercy of these social services are obviously at a huge disadvantage to begin with, and to think that they make up half the kids in a detention centre… hey, wait… half, yes, they said 50% didn’t they. Hmm… let’s stop and think about that one… Half - - which means that kids who are the “product” of the social services system have EXACTLY the same chance of ending up in a detention centre as kids raised in a traditional family system…. Sooo… what they are saying here is that they have no story at all to report, and they should stop worrying about the failure of our social services, maybe they should be lauding the social services – after all, they are doing just as good a job as the old mom and pop shops of the “traditional family!” How do you like them bad apples?

Thing Two
This one is totally insipid.
The CBC did an investigation at arenas in seven cities across the country to determine what the air quality was like in these arenas. Their main concern was that the ice-cleaning machines were chugging out too much pollution for the air filtration systems of these arenas to handle. So, they tested the air quality, and determined that 24% of the arenas had air that was fairly sketchy, and 14% of these arenas had air quality that had pollutions levels higher than where they’d like to see them. This was a very targeted piece of “news,” by the way. Think of the people who use an arena. Okay, are they all in your head? You’ve got people of all ages playing hockey, figure skating, and all their associated people who come to watch, coach, etc. The on air personality of the hour was interviewing a science type, who was informing her of the details of the research, and the science type was reporting this fairly calmly, after all, only 14% had certifiably polluted air. I don’t think he was exuding the type of panic she was looking for, because she blurted out, “But these are our kids playing hockey, what about the children?” Wow, yup, she actually asked “…what about the children?!” OH THE HUMANITY!
It seems they were trying to get all those hockey moms and dads to drag out their legendary rage, and get them all excited to jump all over this issue.
The report also included an interview with a concerned parent – and I’m sure they had a hard time finding one of those – who stated that they were worried for their kids’ health, about them breathing in fumes, and stated that there is really nothing they could do about it, short of buying a new electric ice cleaning machine, and those cost like, $80K, unlike the good old gas chuggin’ air pollutin’ bargain of $40K. Hey sheeple – raise some money, aren’t the precious little ones worth a bit of time on a fundraising bingo, bake sale or rummage sale?

Sheeple Watching

Oh, the senseless Sheeple, they’ll be the ruin of us all!
Two things: Energy saving light bulbs and energy conservation.
In most cases, these would be part of the same discussion – but not today boys and girls, I’ve got a separate bee to pick on each one of these.

Sheeple date: March 22, 2007
For all intents and purposes, a fabulous day. The weather was mild, the morning had that unmistakable warm smell that signifies spring. But the pisser here is that on this date I heard two stories on the CBC that made me want to strangle someone – and I’m not a violent person… really! I’m not.

Dumb story #1
Energy Saving light bulbs – those happy, fabulous little inventions that have cut my own personal power consumption by a large portion; fantastic little catalysts for change among the sheeple, to help them see the error of their Walmart-style wasteful life choices. These are a great little item, really, they are! BUT: the CBC got hold of an audio clip of some guy talking about a 4 inch flame that came shooting out of one of these bulbs. And it became a whole story on the safety issues of these bulbs.

First, buddy there needs to take it easy on whatever hallucinogenic aids he makes part of his everyday routine, four inches? Come ON! Secondly, these bulbs have been around for years and a single reported incident like this becomes major news and we all know what major news means - - it leads fear amongs the sheeple, which grows instantly to paranoia, and their bleating, “My babies, what about the children?!” Mass hysteria, sheeple gone wild. I have even heard today that one particular member of the flock has become less interested in using these light bulbs since this story broke.

A “reputable” news source like the CBC really needs to be held accountable for sensationalizing crap in order to get the listeners all riled up. They need to present a balanced look at these stories which can lead to upsetting the livestock who are bound to get their feedbags in a knot about such nonsense.
It’s maddening, really it is.

Dumb story #2

I can’t blame the CBC for this one, they are just telling it like it is. On the same day as that fabulous light bulb panic, they aired a story about Toronto Hydro who, although is impressed with our efforts and victories in the area of energy conservation, will be introducing a hike in price due to our aforementioned savvy energy conservation. It appears that when we waste less energy, we buy less energy, and I guess they weren’t prepared for that brilliant leap of logic. Since a large number of us have managed to control our usage, they will be making less money, so they’ve announced that they will be charging us more anyway, in order to meet their targets. Great! Conserve energy – save the planet, and oh yes, we’re going to increase your rates to provide us with an amount of money which is suspiciously similar to the amount that you saved by cutting your consumption. Suspiciouly similar, you ask? Damn straight, it’s actually the same amount.

In conversations with individuals who are not card-carrying herd members, a logical solution has emerged. Since the sheeple will always waste what is plentiful and cheap and since our energy is subsidized in Ontario, it seems to make damn fine sense to charge consumers a rate that reflects what a kilowatt is really worth. Then, idiots who don’t give a shit will be racking up large energy bills, which might inspire them to think about their wasteful ways (and I used the term “think” loosely). Another snappy idea is to offer rebates to reward conservation efforts by civilians.