This is what I drank in training, and the Ironman. Now it's the Goofy Challenge

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Why a Minority Government is the best for the Country.

Look I get it, the point of a Member of Parliament and a representative of the Liberals is to argue against the opposition. I get that. What I don't like is when some twit like Denis Coderre comes on and tries to blame the current economic crisis on Steven Harper.

I know the opposition always wants to blame everything on the current power. I just saw Denis Coderre on CTV News Net channel 20. He is trying to push Michael Ignatieff into being the leader of Canada. So here he is trying to trash the current leader Steven Harper.

So as he is making these grand, bold statements about how bad the Harper government is, how is it Harper's fault that the world is in an economic spin. Even though Canada is doing allot better than other countries, here were his statements on News Net today:

"Ya know we have made some mistakes in the past, but it's nothing like what Harper is doing"

Are you kidding me?

"I have been in politics for 25 years, I know what Canadians want. They are (Harper Government) making mistakes and they are lying to us, and they are making mistakes. The Liberals will be the alternative to this"???

Are you serious?

"A British politician is usually caught with his hand up a woman's skirt while a Canadian politician is usually caught with his hand in the till."
- Sun Media columnist Valerie Gibson

"This is the biggest scandal in Canadian history."
- Conservative Leader Stephen Harper on the sponsorship fiasco

Let's take a look at how the Liberals will save us from this "world wide recession" that apparently is all because of Steven Harper.

Maybe we can bring back the Liberals of the past.

January of 1978, Solicitor General Francis Fox was forced to resign from Pierre Trudeau's Liberal cabinet after he was found to have helped procure an abortion for a woman with whom he had had an affair. Fox had signed the woman's husband's name on a hospital document – not a terribly acceptable action on the part of the country's top law enforcer. He returned to practising law, became an executive with Rogers Wireless Communications, and eventually returned to the backrooms of politics, serving as currently as Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin's principal secretary through most of 2004.

Or how about the tuna scandal. This 1985 fiasco brought down Brian Mulroney's minister of fisheries and oceans and robbed a New Brunswick town of its main employer. The story broke on CBC's The Fifth Estate on Sept. 17, 1985: Fisheries minister John Fraser had overturned an order from his own inspectors and ordered a million cans of StarKist tuna released for sale to the public. The inspectors had said the tuna, packed at the StarKist plant in St. Andrews, N.B., was so badly spoiled that it wasn't even fit to be turned into cat food. The plant's owners had lobbied Fraser to release the cans for sale, saying they might shut the plant if the tuna couldn't be sold.

When the story broke, Fraser said he had sent samples of the tuna to two independent labs for testing, but those labs later said they hadn't finished their tests by the time Fraser decided to release the shipment. Six days after the scandal erupted, Mulroney asked Fraser to resign. In a twist the opposition parties were quick to exploit, Fraser and Mulroney both initially said that Mulroney had known about the original decision to release the tuna. The two men later said the prime minister had not known until the affair became public.

Fraser eventually went on to a new job, becoming Speaker in the House of Commons, but the 400 StarKist workers in St. Andrews weren't so lucky. The plant was shattered after the company's market share slumped, and they were thrown out of work.

Pity poor Brian Mulroney. The Progressive Conservative prime minister lost an average of one cabinet minister to allegations of wrong-doing during each year of his 1984-1993 reign.

First there was Robert Coates, who stepped down as defence minister in 1985 after it was revealed that he had visited a strip club in West Germany while in that country on official business. Communications Minister Marcel Masse left over an alleged violation of the Canada Elections Act (he was later exonerated), followed closely by John Fraser.

In 1986, Minister of Regional Industrial Expansion Sinclair Stevens stepped down because of conflict of interest allegations related to a $2.6-million loan to a Stevens family company. André Bissonnette, the minister of state for transport, resigned in 1987 while the RCMP investigated his alleged involvement in land speculation. Roch La Salle, who served Mulroney in the public works, and supply and services portfolios, left cabinet the same year after being charged with demanding a bribe and accepting money from businesses looking for government favours. The charges were later dropped.

Conflict of interest allegations involving a personal loan felled Supply and Services Minister Michel Coté in 1988. Bernard Valcourt stepped down in 1989 after pleading guilty to an impaired driving offence. In 1990, current Quebec Premier Jean Charest had to leave his two posts as minister for fitness and amateur sport, and minister for youth after trying to talk to a judge about an ongoing case.

And, finally, in 1991, Housing Minister Alan Redway offered his resignation after being charged over joking about having a gun while boarding a flight at the Ottawa airport. Not a cabinet minister but equally embarrassing to the Conservatives was Quebec MP Michel Gravel, who in 1986 was charged with 50 counts of fraud and influence peddling. He later pleaded guilty to 15 charges, paid a $50,000 fine and served four months in jail.

Who would have thought a little pepper would be so harmful to one's political health? In November 1997, the RCMP pepper-sprayed protesters lining the planned route of world leaders attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation Conference in Vancouver. Liberal PM Jean Chrétien brushed away the incident, joking: "For me, pepper, I put it on my plate."

Almost four years later, a commission of inquiry led by retired Saskatchewan judge Ted Hughes found that the Mounties had acted inappropriately, and instructed them to make sure in the future that "generous opportunity will be afforded for peaceful protesters to see and be seen in their protest activities by guests to the event." Hughes also found that officials from the Prime Minister's Office, specifically director of operations Jean Carle, played an "improper role" in giving instructions to the RCMP to clear the motorcade route quickly, using force if necessary.

The affair left Chrétien personally unscathed but claimed a prominent victim from his cabinet. Solicitor General Andy Scott resigned in November 1998 after he was heard loudly telling a seatmate on a flight home to Fredericton that RCMP Staff Sgt. Hugh Stewart "would take the fall" for the pepper-spraying incident. Foes immediately complained that Scott had prejudiced the RCMP Public Complaints Commission hearing then taking place by commenting on the panel's possible findings.

Airbus: Long out of politics, former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney was dragged back into the public arena, thanks to the RCMP and a lobbyist called Karlheinz Schreiber. As part of an investigation into Schreiber's role in an alleged plot involving secret commissions and kickbacks in deals for the purchase of airplanes and helicopters, the federal Justice Department sent a letter to the Swiss government. The 1995 letter alleged that Mulroney was also involved in the arrangement, taking kickbacks on the sale of Airbus planes to Air Canada during his time as prime minister.

When the letter became public, Mulroney sued the federal government for defamation, seeking $50 million in damages. Two years later, he settled for $2 million in legal costs and an apology from Ottawa. The RCMP finally ended its criminal investigation against Mulroney in April 2003, citing a lack of evidence.

The billion-dollar boondoggle: Human Resources Development Minister Jane Stewart was in the hot seat in 2000 when an internal audit found that Jean Chrétien's Liberal government had failed to track employment program grants worth $1 billion to make sure the money was spent properly and the promised jobs were created. At one time, the RCMP had launched 12 separate investigations into HRDC files as a result of the audit; three of them related to grants awarded in the prime minister's riding of Saint-Maurice. Stewart faced grilling for months in the House of Commons, but managed to hold on to her job. She decided not to run again in the 2004 federal election, however.

Shawinigate: Questions over Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's involvement in two properties in his riding began in 1993 and lingered until the day he left office in late 2003. Chrétien sold his stake in the Auberge Grand-Mère resort just before becoming prime minister and sold his shares in the Grand-Mère Golf Course shortly after that. But he wasn't paid for the golf course shares until 1999.

The issue at the heart of the debate: when exactly did Chrétien stop having an "interest" in the properties? Twice in 1996, he contacted François Beaudoin, president of the federal Business Development Bank of Canada, about a $2-million loan being sought by Yvon Duhaime, the new owner of the Auberge Grand-Mère, to expand the hotel. The prime minister made another call to the BDC in 1997 about a scaled-back version of the loan. The federal ethics counsellor later ruled that Chrétien had done nothing wrong, but the opposition parties loudly begged to differ.

(I took some of these articles from )

Now I am not necessarily a fan of Steven Harper. I am a fan of a Minority Government. I like it when all sides are heard, not just one. When Mr. Harper has to please everyone, we see a much broader sense of justice. The matters that really matter, get attention.

Coming from the point of view of a person with a disability, Harper's cuts have hurt me. Not only has there been allot of cuts not only to Social Service, but to the whole infrastructure of the Social Service and Mental Health Services offered (read below to my other post for my rants about that). This is not the issue today though.

I by no means am a political analyst. I am just a Canadian citizen and a person with a disability. As I get older however I can't help but notice what idiots these politicians are.

They remind me of my addiction days where I could talk someone out of their money, or manipulate them and use them to my own needs. Then when I no longer needed them, dispense of them, and move on. Only to blame them when I was questioned or caught. So I would forget my misdeeds, and focus on how if only today, just today, they trusted me one more time, then I would make right all the past mistakes.

These leaders are nothing but addicts. Constantly seeking their "high". As soon as it crashes though, they are scourging for more money, standing on the street begging for change, waiting in line for their welfare check. Then catching a cab to their dealer with promises of riches, better times, getting back all that they have lost. Then the high goes away, the welfare check is gone, can't afford the bus let alone a cab, so they come back to the sky train entrance and beg and clean the passing cars. Willing to do anything and make any promise if only they can just make some money to get their next fix, everything will be OK.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Life After TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)

It has been a hard couple of months. I am now working at a shoe store called Foot Solutions. It is owned by very good family friends. They are very understanding of my injury and my disability.

I tried to work again at the Running Room. I like the atmosphere of the Running Room. I love the customers and majority of the staff. There is one great Area Manager named Amanda who is awesome.

The issue with working a retail job with my short term memory loss is that people lose patience. They think because they told me twice, or that they wrote it down, or that I wrote it down that I should remember it.

The new manager looked like a good fit for me when I went back to the Running Room after leaving BCIT's carpentry program. She used to be a nurse at a mental hospital, she understood the psychiatric, mental, and physical limitation I had. She was a clean freak, she was an organization master.

The problem; however, she was a bitch. She is a nice bitch. I would love to have her working for my company if I owned one. The problem with her is almost like that of a doctor with no "bed side manner". She had very little patience or wiggle room in her demands.

It was do it her way, the right way, or get out. She lost her temper. She had a way of asking questions that made me feel like a kid who the teacher was making an example of in class.
"David did you put the shoes in the right box?"
"Do you want to make sure?"
"We have had allot of shoes go in the wrong box."
"Why don't you check it again."
"Oh good for you, you got the shoes in the right box."
"We need to always make sure that the shoes go in the right box David."
"I am really glad that you had the shoes in the right box."

Another co-worker admitted later to her that he has problems putting the shoes in the right box when it's busy. She never apologized for accusing me, or for making me question myself.For using this as reason to cut my hours. Causing me to question my ability to feel certain of my actions.

You see I know I am disabled. Have you ever opened the door for someone in a wheelchair, or someone using a cain, and have that person get mad at you? It's not you they are mad at.The act of opening the door in your point of view is

"hey let me give me you hand."

However, to the person in the wheelchair, or using the cain, you are not only reminding them they are disabled, but you are assuming they can't open the door on thier own. It's a double wammy.

Now to add a twist to it, sometimes we need your help. Sometimes that person gets mad you didn't open the door.

"Can't you see I am in a wheelchair"?

Other times you run the risk of

"I don't need you to help me, I can do this myself!"

It depends on how accepting that person is of their own disability. How their day has gone. We have bad days to, somedays are so hard. Somedays I need help opening the door. Have ever needed help opening a door?

I think my biggest frustration besides the "helpfullness" of people like my ex boss at the Running Room. The ones who come across as helpful and understandin. Is that they are supportive as long as it makes them look good.

These are people that want to feel better about themselves. The ones that help out the less fortunate because that makes them feel they are better than the less fortunate. So if they help out, they are good people. Maybe it helps them deal with their own demons. I don't know.

There is a hidden anger in these people, those that have a bitterness inside. Some people have made statements to me like "I wish I was disabled so I got money from the government" Or "I wish my bad memory could be blamed on a head injury." I have talked about them before.

The other kind of person is one that feigns interest. To either help themselves feel better, or make themselves look better to other people. Think of the retirement home nurse that saves lives, and cares for the elderly, but steals their jewelry. The social worker that makes an "error" in sending out a check to a disabled person she mistakes as a drug addict or who she thinks is "faking it" or the care worker that abuses the people that can't fight back.

I am not saying that happens all the time. I am showing extreme examples of it. There are varying degrees of these kinds of situations. Like a boss who cuts your hours down to 4 hours once a week, to "help not overwhelm you" so she can hire someone who she thinks will put the shoe in the right box.

I mean at the end of the day I get it. I make them work harder. People don't want to work harder. They want there routine to go on. People don't like change. You add change and suddenly they have to come back to a work environment that is different. You have made some errors in the learning curve, and people freak. You have brokend the bubble. Everyone has a learningg curve, My curve is longer than other people's.

Add the fact they have to change, you break there routine, you make them work harder. That is hard for anyone in the best of times, add the current economic situation and this equals: get rid of the guy that makes you work harder.It's simple.

On the one hand I get it. I mean I wasn't always disabled. I get that it's a dog eat dog world. I know I am the low dog on the totem pole. I understand. Doesn't mean I like it. Doesn't mean I will give up.

It does mean that it sucks. It does mean that I get depressed. It does mean I get that I have to work so hard every day just to be slightly above passing. I will never be #1, #2, or #3. I just want to have a #. I don't want to be expendable.

On bad days, I just want to be normal again. I just want to be able to do what I did before. I want things to be easy again. At least all the things I took for granted.

On most days however, I don't want it to be different. I am not glad of my injury. I am glad of what I have done since my injury. I am glad of what I am still capable of doing. That and I going to be an Ironman!!

Friday, March 06, 2009

New job, New attitude, New blog.

OK, so I have started a new blog this blog will be Triathlon specific. It is not only about the journey to Penticton. It is also about the training, the gear, the food, the scheduling, and everything else that goes with it.

This blog is going to focus on my day to day stuff. Well I guess not day to day, but when I need to vent, or add something I feel the world should here!!. Because world, sometimes you just listen.

So since my last posting a few things have changed. Despite an incredible amount of effort, time, money and blood and tears. My damaged brain, and current cognitive skills have shown that not only is school not going to work, but I am having trouble holding jobs.

I left the carpentry course because it just moved to fast, there was problems with how they provided me with "support". There way of dealing with Aphasia was to give me a dictionary.

I wish I could say it was all there fault, but it wasn't. I mean part of it was for sure. The other part, when I am honest, is my brain just doesn't process that intense of information, that is provided at such a fast paste. I just litterly can't do it.

That is still hard to admit. I don't like thinking I can't do things. I am so driven since my accident. It feels like everywhere I turn there are constant, overwhelming, obstacles. I just want a day off from being disabled. Just one.

I went back to work at the Running Room. At first this seemed to be a really good fit. I worked for about a month and a half. Then I ran into a few issues, again I wish I could point my finger at one particular thing, I wish I could say my boss was a bitch. Well she is, but she is also a fair bitch. I get she has her own bitches to deal with. I get she has a budget she has quotas to meet.

I just found they didn't give me enough time to adjust. I was willing, no I did, give them everything I had. I just didn't work fast enough, or learn fast enough, or do things "the perfect way". So my hours were reduced to 4 hours once a week.

I can't afford that. I understand there point of view. Which bluntly is, why pay me to do a job 3 or 4 times. When you could pay someone else to the job the first time right.

I just get frustrated that life is not balanced by intentions, or desire. Instead it is run by profit, and who ever doesn't make the boss work harder. There are two sides of me. The one that understands this. However, there is also that side of me that gets frustrated.

I mean I fit into to this world where I am not disabled enough to qualify for more funding, but I am not enabled enough to even work a minimum wage job.

When I talked to my support groups i.e. speech pathologists, Dr's, friends, etc. What I heard from the professionals was "you can always volunteer". To them I am a number, I am a statistic, they don't live my life. I am not willing to settle with $900.00 some odd dollars a month. Not when I want a house, support my wife, go on vacations, have kids. I want success to. Just as much as anyone else does

I mean on the one I am lucky to be alive. I have a incredible amount of generosity for my new life. What is the point of living if am just an old broken compute sitting by the garbage bin? I just don't have the processing speed for this world. I guess not the world I choose to live in.

That being said, I have found a new job. I am now working at Foot Solutions three times a week. The honours are close friends by proxy. My wife has known them since childhood.

They are understanding and supportive and it's a great working environment. I am still trying to get into this new "me". Find out what I can do, and what I can't. This has been a strange journey. That doesn't seem like it is settling down anytime soon.