Sunday, October 23, 2005

Buzzin behind bars...

For the first time in history, Ralph Klein has done something I actually agree with. I was reading the newspaper the other day and on the front page was a story about how the Alberta prison director had decided to cut all caffeine from the prisons...the following week. No real rhyme or reason except for vaguely mentioned "health reasons" and with insignificant time to wean yourself off of your 15 coffees a day. This story bothered me on several levels...first, it was going to result in a seriously pissed off prison population within the week. Already in jail and recently banned from smoking, these poor people are going to be edgy. Secondly, it triggered an area of underlying frustration I have in the North American prison system. A frustration I plan on elaborating on, right now:

Historically, prisons were designed for two reasons. To hold criminals until they could go to court and to protect the rest of society from the really bad people. In my opinion, our perspectives on incarceration have gotten so twisted that everyone who ever makes a mistake of an illegal nature is sent behind bars. How cruel and utterly unimaginative.

People who go to prison should be people who are guilty of serious crimes and who are more than likely going to re-offend. They need to be put behind bars to protect those in front of bars, not to punish said offenders. There are so many other, more beneficial and less punitive ways of dealing with people. This was my objection to Martha Stewart being jailed...that is not who jail is for. It is also not for the 15 year old girl who, in a fit of rage, runs over her abusive boyfriend with a car. Chances are, she won't ever do that again and in different circumstances, she wouldn't have done it in the first place. Jail is not for the guy who is so hooked on meth that he breaks into some house and is so high that he can't find his way out again and is caught having a nap in the bath tub.

Now, this is not to say that these people shouldn't be punished or helped. Have them do community service, have the young, abused murderer go to schools and talk about domestic violence and young people. Have the drunk driver give talks on how it feels to know you killed someone. The courts seem to neglect the power of human emotion...guilt goes a long way and shouldn't be ignored. Most people suffer enough from the nights spent wondering how they could do what they did, and the "What ifs?"...they don't need to lose their freedom any further.

Which brings me to my next point. Human freedom is the most sought after, fought for, desired, treasured and basic of human rights. To remove freedom for tax evasion is cruel and unnecessary. It's expensive for tax payers, there is no evidence whatsoever that it acts as a deterrent and it usually introduces troubled people to even more troubling ideas. A tax evader would be better served by having to give free financial counseling to poor, single mothers, or by having to work for the community to pay off what he owes, then by being incarcerated. And so would the rest of society.

Leave jails for the sociopaths who cannot show compassion and for repeat offenders who are a danger to the rest of us. back to the caffeine thing. So, it isn't bad enough that these people are in jail, now they also can't have a cup of coffee. Nice. Ralph Klein read the same news story I did and was "dismayed" by what he read...and he put a stop to it real quick. And that is what he did to make me think, that maybe (just maybe) he's not such a jerk after all.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Down by the Bay, where the disenchantment grows...

I'm trying really hard to like living here and more specifically, to like my life. I don't hate Calgary or my existence but I do sometimes feel a lack of excitement about them. The sunrises in the morning are probably some of the most fantastical on earth...I usually produce a muffled "Humph" to compete with the louder "Ooohs" and "Ahhhs". I catch myself being impressed with the mountains caught in my rear view mirror but it never lasts as long as I feel it should.

I miss Korea more than I thought I would. I don't miss all of it...just the excitement of living overseas. I miss the food and of course, the prices. I miss always having loads of money. I miss my little Susie. I miss knowing that within the next few months I'll be visiting China, or Japan or both. I miss hearing another language. I miss having Brian to myself every day and I miss him and I having our own little life, all to ourselves.

I have the travel bug again and I'm not going anywhere any time soon. I'm starting to wonder if it isn't some pathology, this desire to always be going somewhere else. Why do so many people seem so content to stay put while I am not?

In other news (and probably not unrelated news) I got a job at the Bay. I lied by omission and neglected to tell them about my Master's degree. I told them I was in Korea for the past two years to explain that missing year of employment. Then, when they asked me what my plans were I told them I was going to work for the next few years to support my husband and then go back to school to be a kindergarten teacher. Or go on a shooting rampage during your next big White Sale...whatever happens first.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Hey Ralph...Buck Off!

Now, anyone who routinely reads my blog will know that I am not a big fan of Ralph Klein. I don't hate him as much as I used to but he still bugs me. The way he maniacally cut social programs and then degraded the people who couldn't get jobs bugged me. The way he takes credit for all of Alberta's money and ignores the fact that our primary resource is at $65 a barrel bugs me. The fact that he ignores Alberta voters, snubs his nose at referendums and shouts "Not withstanding clause" at every opportunity bugs me but this? This really bugs me.

I think the idea of giving each Albertan $400 is a poor one. His Ralph bucks have worked in the past though so I guess I can't blame him for trying. But to sell the idea by spending an additional $65,000?! The province should be outraged, but apparently, they're not. According to the most recent polls only about 14% of Albertans want the $400 cheque. Now Ralph is taking out newspaper ads to convince people that they should want the money. When do we get to take out ads to convince Ralph to spend the money on the social programs he so easily cut? Or better yet, when do I get the chance to have a 30 second TV spot to "encourage" Klein to remove the crown from his head and the stick from his ass and retire?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

With a vengeance...

I never thought I would be so happy to hear the voice. It has always amused me and I've always enjoyed his deep throated wittisisms but today it was like I heard Jesus himself on the radio. Actually, it was more like a herald angel I suppose since it was what followed that left me truly excited. That's right, the angel of news radio herself, Anna Maria Tremonti. Welcome back Anna Maria and Bernard and Shelagh. I've missed you Peter and Ian and Mr. Bryson.

And to make things even better, Anna Maria is discussing labour relations on today's show. I love it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Zero Percent Down

Some good news...Brian and I bought a house!! Our very first real-life-married-people house. It's a three bedroom townhouse near the University and we are really excited about it. It needs some work, which only makes it better because now I get to throw on a kerchief and some overalls and live out my mortgage commercial dream. You know, the one with the young couple painting their first house together, all youthful and glowing with anticipation. Or post coital's hard to tell in only 30 seconds. Bad part is we don't get to move in until the 20th of November. Good part is that gives me plenty of time to shop.

I go in for surgery tomorrow. After some run ins with the doctors (who apparently think people know nothing about basic medicine) and a twelve hour stint at the Emergency room on Saturday it will all be over. Hopefully. I'm feeling nervous but I'll be glad when this is finished. I've been feeling like shit for the past few weeks and it feels like this whole episode has lasted years instead of a month. I just hope they give me some sweet drugs when I wake up. The last time I had surgery I woke up so loopy that I actually believed I had the power to make people disappear and reappear from the room just by blinking my eyes. Imagine that.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Amoto quaeramus seria ludo...

First of all I have to say that I feel pretty damn lucky. I have some great friends from all around the world and although I have always known that I was reminded of it this week. Thank you to all the wonderful people who emailed me with their words of encouragement. For some reason I have always had a really hard time hearing kind words directed my way. They make me feel embarrassed and a little queasy. But this time it just felt good.

Things are going well. I am scheduled for surgery next Wednesday and although I hate going under (not intended as a slight towards any Aussies) it will be good to have it all over and done with. Hopefully nothing progresses naturally in the meantime because I have been warned by nurses and doctors alike "If you start to bleed go directly to the hospital." Got it. I haven't really asked what would happen if instead I decided to make a seven course meal and play some football but I can imagine.

In other news, this experience has caused me to have a religious transformation. I have come to realize that building my life around a lack of belief is not constructive. I am now a believer.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Lost and Found...and Lost again.

I haven't written for awhile...not because I haven't had anything to write about but because it's been too hard to write about. I'm not going to get into the details but basically this is what happened:

1. Found out I was pregnant. Cried because my life was over. "What about all our plans to be a yuppie city couple who go for downtown drinks on Friday nights?"
2. Wrapped our heads around the idea that we were going to be parents.
3. Started to get really excited. Saw ourselves differently and started to plan. I adapted to the idea of being a yuppie mother who does downtown prenatal yoga on Friday afternoons.
4. Had a miscarriage.
5. Went for an ultrasound and was told "No! Everything is still didn't miscarry." They showed me the image of a perfect little all felt real for the first time.
6. My newly adapted mommy heart lept for joy.
7. "There is no heartbeat." My leaping heart stopped leaping and just started to flutter out of confusion. It finally settled on numb.

So that's that. An emotional rollercoaster of a week if I've ever had one. And I thought the time time the nurse said "metastastic cells" when she meant "metaplastic cells" was bad.