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Archive for the ‘Rants & Stories’ Category

When I finished University in 2003, I hopped a plane to Scotland and got a job serving at a hotel in the town of Peebles. It was one of those unforgettable experiences (now if only I could remember…). Most of the staff was foreign and I became good friends with people from around the world.

One of those people was a South African named Andre. When I came back home to Canada in early 2004, we made the same doomed promise that most people in our situation make: to get together again.

It’s a nice gesture to say and there’s no doubt we meant it at the time. But as is often the case, life gets in the way – especially when the distance is so great (Canada to South Africa). I always held out hope that it wasn’t a well-meaning comment and we would see each other again.

And then, out of the blue last night, I got a facebook message from him. On September 10, he is actually coming to North America. He’ll be in New York City for about a week. Now, that’s no where near my neck of the woods but he’s actually coming up to the Northern Hemisphere and across a freaking ocean!

The only problem? I don’t have enough money to make the trip.

To raise enough money, I am offering to rent out my time in New York to you.

  • For $1 I’ll high-five a New York stranger for you.
  • For $3 I’ll tell your favourite joke to a New York stranger.
  • For $5 I’ll mail you something from the streets of NYC.
  • For $5 I’ll also give you one of my NYC memories, personalized for you.
  • For $20 I’ll write a poem for you, about you and recite it in Times Square.
  • For $100 I’ll cut my hair into a mullet and wear it around NYC for the entire weekend.

Everything will be videotaped and photographed so you’ll be able to see which New Yorker heard your joke, got your high-five and heard the poem I wrote about you.

I’m going to travel as cheaply as possible. I plan to Couch Surf, fly Economy and will probably even pack my own meals for the few days I’ll be there. The only luxury will be a few drinks & dinner with Andre, which is the whole reason for this nonsense anyways.

Any surplus will go to the Terry Fox Foundation to fight cancer. So basically, every dollar given to this project will go to a good cause: friendship or the cancer fight.

The clock is ticking; I only have 2 weeks to raise the money. So please, in the name of friendship and keeping promises, send me a few bucks, your names for high-fives, jokes, addresses for souvenirs or whatever else I’ll need to keep up my end of the bargain.

Let’s do this in the name of transcontinental friendship & keeping promises. You can see the entire project and buy whatever you want at my website.

In an older post entitled, “A Final Adieu to the Medicine Hat Riverside Water Slides“, Skeet, shared his memories on the now closed and defunct Medicine Hat Riverside Water Slides. In a recent comment on that page, Dervil Bissima had this to say:

I lived in the hat in 1988, that summer i think i pretty much went to the slide everyday! there was the night slide that summer too. A couple years ago, i drove from calgary to med hat, hoping to check out the slide once again. When i got there, i saw it was all run down and closed which looked to have been for a long time! ( i even checked info online the day before i left. There was no indication that it was no longer operating!) I would suggest that the travel websites update their info. haha. Anyway, i wandered around the fence to the top of the hill and saw a hole cut into the fence, so i had to go in! I got some really cool pics of the slide that i once loved! (I can email them to you if you like. It was just really sad to see, and i have heard different stories why it closed. I would like to hear why it really shut down.

So without further ado, here they are:

There’s a lot of dumb intersections in Medicine Hat. It is my sworn responsibility to bring them to light so I can make more heads shake as a result.

Dumb Intersection #1

My first example in this series is between Superstore and Future Shop. For some reason you have to stop to turn right although nobody else has right of way in that lane since there’s a big cement brick blocking them. So why do I have to stop there? Who am I stopping for?

What were they thinking?

As of April 1st this year, Service Alberta is charging alot more for their services. Your driver’s license, land titles and corporate registeries are seeing a jump in cost.  But that’s not what is going to hit your wallet the hardest.

What will be a more significant cost to you is a brand spanky new fee for every photo radar, red-light camera or parking ticket written. Whether you get a ticket or not.  Fifteen dollars for every one of those pesky buggers.

Why fifteen dollars?  What exactly does Service Alberta have to do in processing these tickets?  I don’t know, but it must be fifteen dollars worth of effort or they wouldn’t be charging it… all of a sudden… out of the blue.

The new fees will cost municipalities across Alberta, millions of dollars.  Calgary is looking at losing police staff because of the costs, St. Albert Councillors are discussing a tax increase, while Red Deer and other municipalities are lobbying for a delay in the implementation.

Medicine Hat City council was glowing a month ago over a budget that balanced with a 0% tax increase for this year.  However now, with Service Alberta collecting over a half million dollars from our city’s piggy bank… it translates to a tax increase of 1 percent.

Which leads one to wonder why there is such a shortfall with this Provincial Department?  I don’t know how Service Alberta ended up with such a strained budget, but WE are certainly going to feel it.

I have been to the Silver Buckle on two other occasions besides on St. Patty’s Day, and 2/3 of my experiences were terrible!

My first experience was on a wing night. The place was steady but far from being overly busy. It was forever until we even received a “hello” from a waitress, yet she passed us numerous times. We finally got our drinks and wings, however we were missing a couple orders of wings. We let the waitress know, and she confirmed they’d be at our table soon. I asked for a water and she said I had to pay over $2 for a bottle of water, stating, that on wing nights, they do not give out free water! But yet, I had a couple drinks already and had bought numerous orders of wings! Needless to say after an hour we still had yet to receive our missing wings or any refills on our drinks. When trying to get our tab we had to hunt her down, to find out she transferred it to another server, and to find her! When we finally received our tab, it  had drinks on it we never had and still had the wings on it we never received! I told the new server we did not recieve the wings or the drinks and she said she’d figure it out for us. The old waitress then came back with the receipt and asked what was wrong. We explained and she told us she’d get us two sets of wings for free. We denied, since we’ve been there over an hour and a half and were ready to leave. She then became very rude, told us she’d take off the wings we didn’t receive and stormed off. Before leaving I asked the bar if I could speak to a manager, they told me no one was in and to phone later. I did, and still no manager, so I left my name and number, and of course I did not get a call back.

I returned on on St. Patty’s Day with a group, intending to have a sociable night. It took us 20 minutes just to receive our first drink, and when our drink arrived the order was all wrong, however that wasn’t a big deal. We were far from picky. After a good half hour, our drinks were empty and the waitress hadn’t been back. After 45 minutes and no sign of the waitress, me and my husband decided to hit the bar for our drinks, where we witnessed our server hanging off a customer and taking shots! At the beginning we didn’t think anything about the lack of service, because the place was busy and giving the waitress the benefit of the doubt, but to see her doing shots instead of serving the customers is very unprofessional. Throughout the night we witnessed her behind the bar taking shots and when she did finally come back to our table, she was incoherent and stumbling! It was then we decided to pay our tab and leave.

Very unprofessional!

In 2003, bill C-24 brought significant reform to Canada’s electoral and campaign finance laws. The Bill was an amendment to the 1974 Election Expenses Act. The 1974 legislation responded to growing concern over the political fundraising and the financing of parties and election campaigns.

For this election, federal parties that receive over 2% of the national vote get $1.75 per vote cast. When you cast a vote for a party, you are not only saying that you approve of their values, but you give them your $1.75 to support their policies and future campaigns. The electoral districts (ridings) that receive 10% or more of their local vote receive 50% of their campaign spending back. Suffice to say, we’re talking about tax dollars.  Also in qualifying, parties such as Canadian Action or the Marijuana Party won’t see any cash, in all likelihood they will be under 2%.  However, parties like the NDP and Greens heavily depend on this money from your votes for future campaigns.

Fortunately or unfortunately, this may be the last year the $1.75 program exists.  If the Conservatives gain a majority, they will surely strike down any future tax dollars to political campaigns.  Is that a good thing?  Do we want our tax dollars going to political parties in order that they can market themselves to us?

Fact of the matter, all political campaigns must be funded.  If not with tax revenue then where?   Private sponsorship and corporate donations?  Presently corporate and union political donations are somewhat banned.

That being said, what does a system of solely private and corporate funded politics lead to? More favouritism and lobbying?  How else would politicals parties be financially supported?  What system would be better?

Considering the weak voter turnout expected for this election, funding from this Elections Act program for all parties will be in the region of $27 million.  Not an annual expenditure, it’s the only cash the parties will receive until the next Federal Election.  Inclusive to the $300 million pricetag of this election.   Is that alot of tax dollars to pay for fair democracy?  Some say it is.

At any rate, this could be the final election where your vote is worth $1.75.   Personally, I would suggest my vote is worth a whole lot a more.

So the government fell and we’re now staring down the barrel of an election. Whose fault is it? This is the one point that every politician agrees on: it’s the other guy’s fault!

Here in Medicine Hat, we finally have a race. A legitimate non-conservative candidate with a decent shot at taking office has shown up. For your reading pleasure, here are all the relevant and irrelevant candidates for the 2011 election along with my take on their leadership.

Incumbent: The Conservative Party
Party: Conservative

To be honest, it doesn’t matter who is running for the conservative party this election, they’re likely to win. Medicine Hat doesn’t vote for a candidate, they vote for a blue C. That all may change thanks to the next guy, though.

My take:

Challenger: Norm Boucher
Party: Liberal

Medicine Hat’s current mayor is making his entry into federal politics. He’s the mayor, so he has at least some experience campaigning. 40% of 30% of Hatters voted for him in the last mayoral election, so he has a good shot at getting a decent number of votes in this election. His biggest drawback is that he’s running as a Liberal in Alberta.

The biggest complaint I’ve heard is that he shouldn’t have run for mayor if he knew was just going to run for Parliament, because everyone knows you’re supposed to quit your current job before looking for another one. Oh, and that arena thing. That one’s gonna hurt a lot.

My take:

THE JUMP – Read the rest of this entry »

There has been a lot of talk circulating around Twitter and Facebook lately regarding the mistreatment of animals at the Guzoo Zoo in Three Hills, Alberta.

Bengal Tiger. Photo by Nic Burgess

Bengal Tiger. Photo by Nic Burgess

Guzoo describes itself as being a wonderful idea by a silly man and has been in operation since 1990. Guzoo claims itself to be an animal sanctuary, but recently, there has been a public uproar that focuses around the habitat in which the animals are kept. The Guzoo website cites that many animals, including lions and tigers, cope well with (and even like) winter conditions, but that many of them are kept inside during the winter season and only let out during chinook weather. Even so, there is something that does not seem quite right about seeing a Bengal Tiger sitting in a tiny snow covered cage that is devoid of any trees or grass. Along with this, Guzoo’s website asks for sympathy for its Zookeepers, who apparently have it worse than the animals in winter:

Don’t feel bad for the animals in the winter, they are much better suited to tolerate the cold temperatures then you might think.  Instead, give our poor zoo keepers some sympathy.  Regardless of the weather conditions, they must trample through snow, struggle with frozen locks, numb fingers and fight with the feed tractor which often chooses not to start on the REALLY cold days. Having to dress in layer upon layer of clothing makes movement all that more laborious.  Shoveling snow out of gates and walkways, making necessary repairs to damage caused by board breaking winter winds, and trekking out into the various pastures to check that the automatic waterers have not froze up, are just some of the hardships of winter  Believe me; the winter is harder on the humans at the zoo than the animals.
From Guzoo in Winter

Barbary Macaque (Endangered) by Nic Burgess

Barbary Macaque (Endangered) by Nic Burgess

Other reported mistreatments include bad water dishes for the animals, injured animals, over abundance of animal feces, garbage within enclosures, dangerous objects within enclosures,  food seemingly thrown over the fence for the animals to pick at, extremely small living conditions and exposing the animals to frigid temperatures for which they are not accustomed to. Much of what I have found on the Internet describes how many of the animals in winter do not have heated water dishes for winter and as a result of the water freezing, resort to eating snow.

Another topic of discussion is that Guzoo apparently does not do much to help animals that are hurt or get into fights, and how animals that are killed are not cleaned up or dealt with, but rather, the corpses simply stay there for the duration of the season.

Many additional reports can be found by Googling “Guzzo Animal Farm” including:

I have also found a video of the poor conditions at Guzoo, which can be viewed below:

In light of certain recent events, I thought this topic deserved a post. There’s always two sides to every complaint. You can’t please everyone. Some lessons I learned a while back when similarly sharing something negative myself, and posting it on Medicine Hat Media.

As a co-owner of Medicine Hat Media, a person who runs a personal business, is employed by another business, and partakes in the offerings of other businesses, it is of my opinion that complaints and criticisms of businesses in Medicine Hat are not only important, but vital  to both parties. We provide a service for consumer complaints to speak out against bad business and service, but we also provide that same service for businesses to promote themselves (for free), and like recently, provide a forum for businesses to represent themselves how they so choose. This creates a non-bias, non-partial, open and local environment for these topics and more.

We allow local businesses to advertise written content on our site for free! What other source locally with our reach allows something like this? But as typical humans, we love to hate, or hate to love negativity. Let’s compare comments on positive articles versus negative ones. There’s a post a couple down that promotes a showcase of local businesses with 0 comments for an example. It’s kind of sad really. It makes me wonder, what’s the point of offering this service to businesses when so rarely, they use it at all.

As Medicine Hat Media is a free, non-profit, public-driven blog, we allow an open forum of speech between any party and any person, no matter what their opinion is. As long as their written content provides a valid criticism, provides positive and negative points, appears to be factual (see definition of defamation), and encourages/allows comments for disagreement or agreement we will allow it.

Unlike publications, newspapers, and other forms of advertising-based media, we have the opportunity to do something unique for our users, readers, and writers. Let’s not ruin that.

And in that spirit, you are free to comment that you disagree or agree with me. If enough people are in opposition, then I am open to change (for example, removing a post). That’s the beauty of it.

The answer is “yes” as stated by the original poster, “Chettar”, after talking with the owner of Rossco’s and coming to an agreement. The original complaint that was located here has been deleted as both parties want to move forward on the issue. The follow up to this post, Mistaken Context at Rossco’s is available here. I commend both parties for working this out. -A message from Vaughn.

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