Just Eat It – A food waste story

4 10 2014

Well, it’s VIFF time of year again, and Vancouver is hosting films from around the world once more. Tonight I saw “Just Eat It!” and was stunned.

It’s a quirky Vancouver-made film with a serious message. The film-making couple use humour to bring home some uncomfortable facts. 40% of the food we grow… goes to the land fill. For 6 months they live off “waste” food… and live very well with Grant putting on 10lb! They spend only $200 in 6 months on food, and yet eat their fill of top quality chocolate, organic food and fruit and vegetables. They even end up giving food away, they have accumulated so much.

At one point we learn that in order to produce a single hamburger, enough water to have a 90 minute shower is required. Meat is one of the most energy and resource consuming foods we grow… and we throw 40% of it away!

If you can – watch this film! Now… go and eat your vegetables. You’re not leaving the table until you clean your plate…

Just Eat It – A food waste story Trailer – YouTube.





The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

4 10 2014

And Hell is where bankers are created!

I have a very good friend and work colleague who is currently in Europe on business. She was expecting a cheque, representing a considerable amount of expenses from a previous business trip to be paid her by the company, but knew she’d have already left. I was quite flattered that she asked if I’d mind depositing the cheque into her account so she could use online banking whilst abroad to handle her various domestic banking affairs. We determined that the requisite flavour of bank was indeed available in the town where I live, and we jointly made sure the various company finance people involved in the cheque cutting and distribution process knew that I was to receive the cheque rather than keep it under lock and key until her return.

So far, so good…

The cheque was due on Wednesday, and she was relying on the financial promise it represented to be safely sloshing around in her bank account by this coming Monday. For reasons unknown, the expense cheques weren’t processed until yesterday… Friday. Because of our careful preparation, there was no problem getting her particular cheque raised in priority to acquire the two necessary managerial signatures and safely placed into my possession well before I left for the weekend.

Then the fun began…

I ambled up to the appropriate bank’s local branch and briefly took my turn in the Saturday morning queue. The polite young man asked how he could help and I explained my task, handing over the company cheque and the card number previously supplied to me by by friend. “But this is a VISA Card number” I was informed. I explained that my friend – clearly identified in type on the computer printed cheque – was a customer of this august establishment and felt it was not beyond their means to identify her chequeing account based on the provided information from their own VISA number. Politely, the cashier explained he’d need to talk to his manager. After a few minutes where I felt I was being scrutinised by many unseen eyes, and frankly felt like some dodgy bank robber, he returned to explain that the cheque was not “certified” and that were it to “bounce”, my friend would be required to pay fees associated with that event. (Here in Canada, the recipient of a fraudulent cheque is charged by their bank rather than simply not having the funds made available to them!). There was a fee of $35 – payable by me  – to have the cheque certified, and I would have to travel in person to the branch of the bank used by our company, in order to have it certified.

At this point I checked my watch… no, I hadn’t slipped back in time. This was still the 21st Century. Here I was, trying to place money INTO an account, yet I was being treated like a fraudster trying to extract money illegally. I had already had to show ID to establish my own bona fides and now I was being expected to travel physically to downtown Vancouver and pay my own money so that the issuing BRANCH (not merely a random branch of the issuing bank) could verify that it was indeed from our company’s account and that they had sufficient funds to honour it. “But there’s good news” enthused the cashier – “It’s with the same bank, so we may be able to do it on the phone from here.” Oh joy! We have at least recovered time back up to the ’70s.

Having reluctantly agreed to pay the $35 to have my friend’s money deposited into her account, he went back to check the process with his manager. After a further interminable wait, and phone calls, he returned and apologetically gave me the cheque back. They had decided that since my friend had not flagged her account to tell them that she was leaving the country, and had not informed them in writing ahead of time that a third party was to deposit the cheque, they could not assume that I was in fact carrying out her wishes. What if she had really wanted the cheque depositing into some other account?

I was gobsmacked! Here in the internet age where utility companies insist on charging you money if you want a paper copy of your bill, and we encounter steady pressure to go more and more to a paperless business world, I was in a position where I couldn’t place money INTO an account on behalf of a friend. Other banks let you take photographs of a cheque and email it. This one wanted me to travel on a 100km round trip to have a business cheque physically certified AND obtain written permission from the account holder before they would accept the cheque.

Hours later, I still find myself snorting in disbelief. Their only offered alternative was for me to give them CASH (my own).

Bureaucracy… mankind’s greatest triumph!





It’s not procrastination if it’s educational

27 09 2014

At last… a posh sounding southern lass that can define “mardy” whilst insulting Wayne Rooney!





What do the Grind Mountain Categories like Everest mean? | TodoVancouver

7 08 2014

Just finished my 27th ascent of Grouse Mountain (plus a handful of snow-shoe grinds too).

Because I pay the extra $20 to have a “grind timer” it records my speed and the metres of ascent. I actually do the BCMC trail rather than the Grind these days. The Grind is just too busy and I find the Lululemon too, er, distracting.

Once you get to the top there’s a TV screen listing that day’s results. Last week, I noticed a lady had done it 4 times that day… the slowest in 38 minutes!

A few weeks ago I noticed my name was no longer accompanied by “Mt. Elbrus” but now had “Mt. Kilimanjaro”. According to this blog entry, I have a mere 24 more to do before I get “Everest”.

What do the Grind Mountain Categories like Everest mean? | TodoVancouver.

Here’s the whole list:

  1. Mt. Kosciusko, Australia – 7300 feet, 2228 metres – 3 grinds
  2. Vinson Massif, Antactica – 16050 feet, 4892 metres – 6 grinds but need 9 total ( 3 from No.1 above plus the 6 for Vinson)
  3. Mt. Elbrus, Europe – 18510 feet, 5642 metres – 7 grinds, 16 total
  4. Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa – 19341 feet, 5895 metres – 7 grinds, 23 total
  5. Mt. McKinley, North America – 20320 feet, 6194 metres – 8 grinds, 31 total
  6. Mt. Aconcogua, South America – 22841 feet, 6961 metres – 9 grinds, 40 total
  7. Mt. Everest, Asia – 29029 feet, 8848 metres – 11 grinds, 51 total




A father’s missive

20 07 2014

I have two daughters.

Not unlike most fathers, I am proud of my children. Yes – my son too.

They will experience things I can’t even imagine – good and bad.

They are smart. They are considerate. They are, of course, beautiful. As every father’s daughter surely is.

Sure – they can be irksome too. They are, after all, human. They are not perfect.

They have many advantages I didn’t have growing up. The internet is an obvious one.

But some things have not improved in a generation. They live their lives in the 21st Century. And they live in a world where they are still considered “less”. For no reason other than what they do not have between their legs.

They have many advantages their mother and grandmothers did not have. But not all the advantages even their great-great grandfathers had.

This video refers to the US’s issue with healthcare access, and its control by the overwhelmingly male legislature. The same issues exist to a greater or lesser extent in many countries.

Things haven’t improved as much as they should have by 2014, but I have hope: my daughters have a voice. A voice that can be heard. Listened to.

I hope, as they launch themselves into the adult world, that they choose to use them. Choose to speak out for the things they feel worthy of their support. Against the things that need to change.

But if not, then that’s OK too. It is their right to make choices as they see fit – without my interference, or that of any other man.





BBC News – Why Icelanders are wary of elves living beneath the rocks

20 06 2014

Hey don’t knock it…

The evidence is scant at best, but still way stronger than well established world religions!

BBC News – Why Icelanders are wary of elves living beneath the rocks.

BBC- The Elf Chapel

BBC- The Elf Chapel





Hell hath no fury like a woman “stormed”!

8 06 2014

Seems that giving a storm a feminine name subconsciously makes people under-prepare… resulting in more damage when it hits.

Hurricanes With Female Names Kill More People, Study Finds | TIME.

Kei Uesugi—Getty Images (via TIME)








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