Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Inaugural Cupcake Ride 2010

cupcake ride in toronto

do you want to join me on a cross-toronto cupcake ride this weekend?

if so, join my event on facebook!

or if you have eastery things to do this weekend, join the toronto girls' cupcake ride group on facebook to get notice on the next ride!

just putting it out there, it's going to be 25 degrees this saturday.

Monday, March 22, 2010


i'm heading back to vancouver soon and the homeward bound countdown has started.

i will be going back for 5 weeks and andre will join me for two of them. i'll be taking duke, but sadly especially since we are still looking for a home for petey, he will be staying here in toronto.

the aozora team will be reunited on the westcoast as well. i think a post that is co-authored maybe in order.

can't wait to drink in the moist, coastal air, to be surrounded by greenery and to take rambling walks in my old hometown with duke.

Friday, March 12, 2010

dukey duke

last night we had a break through. duke learned how to 'stand' on command.

this after 2 years of not being able to get him to stand through, luring, tickling and prodding methods that we learned from the obedience school that we attended.

stand is the cue for a dog to stand on all four paws and is usually used for show dogs and is also used in rally obedience.

each time we enrolled in courses, there was always 1 or 2 commands that we just couldn't teach duke. in the first basic obedience course it was down. in fact, the instructor couldn't even get duke to go into down position and went through all of his different techniques to no avail when he was using duke as his demo dog.

during our 2nd more advanced class, we just couldn't get duke to 'stand'. last night, however, after 2 minutes he learned to 'stand' on cue from being in 'down' position.

what was the biggest difference? clicker training that didn't require me to touch his body to move into position or use a lure to bribe him into position. since duke already knew touch, we started with him being in down and then calling for a 'touch' on my hand. soon after, i started saying 'stand' before the touch command and in a few short minutes, he had transferred the 'touch' command to the 'stand' command.

so now that he has learned all of the basic obedience positions, it's time to polish them all up and hopefully we'll be able to debut duke at a rally obedience competition. i'm hoping we can get him a novice title by the end of the year!

cross-posted to baying beagle

Friday, March 5, 2010

over here

snowy at the station

i have to say the excitement and buzz over the winter olympics here, compared to four years ago, has been incredible. this increased frenzy and interest was helped by having multiple ways of tuning in: beyond the regular t.v. broadcast, there was extended coverage, live events, and highlights on digital t.v., as well as the bbc's iplayer, which is essentially catch-up t.v., on demand, on the internet. there has also been extensive newspaper and news reporting, mostly because london is due to host the 2012 summer olympics.

a friend from vancouver wrote to me to say she heard the british press had been ripping into the vancouver games. i can't say i had seen any great evidence of this -- in fact, quite the opposite. the overwhelming feeling has been that, despite the tragic start, the vancouver games have been incredibly successful and, possibly, the best winter games to date. most of all, the reporters have been repeatedly commenting on the spirit, enthusiasm and generosity of the vancouver people in welcoming the international community -- and the hope that grumpy londoners will similarly rise to the occasion in a few years.

winning the nomination for any host city was always going to be a poisoned chalice. if there was a referendum and the question was put, would you rather the government spend billions of dollars/pounds on improving education/social housing/healthcare/insert social cause of your choice, or spending on a sporting event, there is no question which way i would vote. but the options are rarely as straight-forward as "a" versus "b"; the social road is not always free of public opposition (reference vancouver spending "tax-payer money" to open safe-injection sites, or south of the border the lack of support for obama's healthcare reforms); nor do i think does the olympic road only benefit atheletes and the sponsoring corporations (i hope, for example, that the improvements on the sea-to-sky will mean fewer accidents; and i know my driving-addicted-mom is looking forward to giving up her car for improved public transport as she gets older).

in a media world saturated with celebrity gossip, philandering footballers, wars and collapsing banks (both of which have cost countries and the world the equivalent of who knows how many olympic games) i have to say it has been an exciting two weeks watching the athletes push themselves to the limit in the hope of achieving a very unique dream. from my dentist to my four-year-old niece, i know the games have inspired and touched everyone in my small social sphere in some way. people used to say to me "oh you must be used to months and months of snow and cold weather;" now they say, "well of course there's rain in vancouver, it's a mild coastal climate." instead of "oh yes, i've been to canada, toronto is nice" they say "it's SO beautiful, where you're from." i feel really blessed and lucky to have grown up in a place like vancouver, and now living in a city where no one has heard of wayne gretsky (what???), i'm proud that at last the world can see and share a bit of where i'm from.

i was pretty BAH-HUMBUG when vancouver won the nomination, and even more BAH-HUMBUG when london won its nomination (i mean, how on earth will the city cope with even more people???)... but now i've been inspired to take part, and hopefully will get the chance to volunteer in 2012.

some interesting bits:
read seb coe's (chairman of the london olympic committe) report from vancouver

watch the two versions of the bbc's cool animation (better with the music on):
the promo and the final opening sequence with vancouver skyline.

bye bye olympics! bye bye beautiful HD helicopter shots of vancouver! it's been fun watching.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

say no to GMO

root vegetables

my friend sam has recently gotten all activist on me and has started researching things that we can do to help limit genetically modified foods, seeds and organisms enter our food chain or at the very minimum to be labelled so that we as consumers can make choices about what we ingest.

it scares me that unless i purposely choose to eat organic food, anything from fresh produce to even processed food can be or may contain genetially modified (GM) organisms and i wouldn't even know it because manufacturers and producers aren't required to disclose GM food sources in north america.

and to think that it's mostly one company that is harnessing the power of GM to control the finances and crops of our farmers and slowly extend that power to take hold of our sustenance.

"Once they have established the norm that seed can be owned as their property and royalties can be collected, we will depend on them for every seed we grow of every crop we grow. If they control seed, they control food, they know it, its strategic. Its more powerful than bombs, its more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world."
dr. vandana shiva

well in canada we are getting another chance to change this!! it's a small step but a step in the right direction.

please write to your MP to vote in favour of bill c-370 - An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (mandatory labelling for genetically modified foods).

if you don't who your MP is, you can look them up based on your postal code here.

you can also handwrite a letter and send it via snailmail for free!

and if you need some help with drafting up a message, sam wrote a quick message that you can use too:

Dear ________________,
We all have the right to know what we are eating and the right to not eat GE foods. I support mandatory labelling of GE food, which is already practiced in over 40 countries in Europe and elsewhere. MP Alex Atamaneko’s Bill C-370 would allow implementation of mandatory labelling in Canada. I am asking you to vote in favour of Bill C-370. Please confirm your intention to support this important bill

let's harness this new found patriotism and love for canada that sprouted from the olympics and show harper that we care about all aspects of our home and native land - not just athletic part!

still need more convincing that GM labelling is imperative? i found a site where you can watch the world according to monsanto.

'say no to GMO' part deux coming soon! stay tuned.