An Update From The Land Of Brad And Trix

I’m so glad Brad did this update, complete with pictures. Now we can catch up on the life of Trix, which is still pretty good. Take it away, Brad.

Rumour has it that it’s been quite some time since we last heard how good Ole Trixie is doing. Well my hound-loving blog readers, we’re about to change that. If memory serves, the last Trixified update we had was back in either late Winter or early Spring. I seem to remember writing about her liking her new beds. We’ll start in April, right around her birthday. Trix turned eleven this past April ninth. She got a couple new bones, a lot of petting, and a hike to her favourite place, Global Pet Foods. For what more could a dog ask?

In May we went for her annual all-point inspection, complete with the senior canine blood profile. The old beast is still in prime condition, so sayith our fearless veterinarian. Her cataracts are not much worse, and she is in “amazing shape for a dog her age!” Anyone who has seen her knows she’s a fine physical specimen, much like her owner.

With this summer being as obnoxiously and disgustingly hot and humid as it was, walks were a little shorter, much to Trixie’s chagrin. She had it in her head that it was fine to do our usual five or so daily KM even though her tongue was down around her feet. I tried to go later in the evening, but she goes a little squirrelly around dusk, so it wasn’t always enjoyable. Let me tell you though, she is a huge fan of this cooler weather. Heck, so am I!

She does a lot of sleeping, which is a good thing, as I’m pretty sure that that place I go every day to keep the bills paid is secretly trying to work me to death. No one should have to work seven days a week, should they? No? I agree. I did manage to wrangle two whole weeks off this summer, though! One week in July and one in August. I went camping for both with my aunt, uncle and the cousins, and we have some pictures of Trixie doing campy things.
Blurry shot of Brad and Trix at camp site.

We were up to Silent Lake Provincial Park in July and Algonquin in August. Trixie seems to be a sizable fan of camping, despite her advancing years. The squirreliness around dusk is a little worse, and she develops an almost unhealthy obsession with me and my whereabouts, but, overall she loves it. Her favourite activities include hiking in the bush, which is well documented in previous posts, and wading belly deep in the lake.
sandy-and-trixie-at-the-beach

She seems to have given up swimming, at least in large bodies of water. I think I’ve finally figured out why. I think her deteriorating vision makes her a bit nervous of large open bodies of water. She has no problem with going in up to her belly, but she won’t swim out anymore. She will, however, dive into my neighbour’s new fish pond if the gate is left open, and its five feet deep at the one end. She swims laps in there until someone fishes her out. It’s only about ten feet around, letting her see all the sides. Good, I’m glad you fine folks agree with my powers of deductive reasoning.

No matter how long the hike we chose for the day, she thought she had to lead the way, along with Sandy, my aunt and uncle’s practically eight year old Australian Shepherd, who is in many of our pictures. You may remember from long ago posts that these two were not always so chummy, but they have put that in the past and let bygones be bygones. The average hike length was between five and seven Km, similar to our walk routine here. The difference is that this is over rocks and roots, up and down hills. Sandy runs loops around everyone for the entire time, and Trix seemed to think she had to do likewise. She slept very well after most of these. It’s possible that we did, too.
everyone resting after the big hike

There are some absolutely massive rocks up North, you know.
Brad and Trixie on a rock

Brad, Trixie, cousin Ben and Sandy with a huge rock in the background.

As you’ve seen, Trix seems to have a little mountain goat in her DNA somewhere. She found her way up a trail at the back of the rock, but thought she should follow me down the front, a good ten foot climb/jump. Luckily she listens well, or we may be reading her obituary rather than this lovely little number.

Not everyone likes to move at the same pace as Trix and I, though.
Brad leading the trek through the woods.

I didn’t take Trix out in the canoe this time, as it was pretty warm on the water. She has been before, and doesn’t mind it. She hasn’t quite figured out the whole balance thing, but we’ll work on that.

There’s not much more to tell. Trix is doing well, is loving this cooler weather, and is always up for a walk, and food! Stay tuned for more updates. I’ll end this off with a few other random pictures of Trixie that I wasn’t quite ambitious enough to cleverly work in to the text.

Cousin Ben rubbing Trix's belly

Brad squatting, Trix laying
Brad with cousin Ben on his shoulders and Trix watching

It’s Ontario-O-O’s New Song! What Do You Think?

When I first heard that the Ontario song was getting an update, I channeled my inner old person and cringed. What on earth were they going to do to it, and would I hate it for years to come? But I’m pleasantly surprised. I kind of like the feel of the new song.

For reference, here’s the old song.

I used to play that song on the piano…and I don’t think I was that peppy about it. It sounded kind of like what it sounds like when a kid learning the piano is set loose on a song that the teacher thinks is just basic enough that the kid might have some success, but semi-listenable enough that if the kid gets good at it, their family might be able to put up with that song over and over again…but until they get good, it’s nothing short of butchery.

And here’s the new song.

At first, I thought the girl was bored, but she got into it after a while, and you know what? I could handle this one. I especially like the bit of French at the end of the second verse. It’s a nice touch.

Although…I don’t think you could play this one on the piano and do it justice.

Bare Spray

I read this story of a fellow accidentally spraying bear spray down his own pants, and I started wincing. I can only imagine how bad that must have hurt. I say this for two reasons: 1. because duh, it’s friggin bear spray. If just breathing it in would make a bear run away, then imagine that directly on one’s…sensitive parts. But there’s another reason I know how bad bear spray can be. I nearly walked into a cloud of the stuff a few weeks ago.

Yup, it appears we have a neighbour who is a pretty big chode harmonica. Why, oh why, oh why does this always happen to us? Well, I’m sure he is some kind of arsehole, but it’s his accompanying friends that are making a bunch of the music right now.

One night back a few weeks ago, Tansy started whining, which I thought meant she had to go out. I took her out, and she didn’t do anything, so we came back in. A few minutes later, I couldn’t stop coughing. I was coughing so hard that I thought I might throw up. Sure I was getting over a cold, but it was pretty much gone at this point, so I couldn’t figure out why I was coughing. Steve started coughing too, but we thought maybe his could be attributed to said cold since he was still dealing with it.

Then there came a knock. We opened the door, and there stood a police officer telling us that someone had let off bear spray in the hall, so to open our windows and keep our door closed. As Steve had a short conversation with the officer, a conversation that lasted about 30 seconds, he started to feel his throat, eyes and nose burn, and we realized why we had both been hacking. The little bits of bear spray that had seeped under the door were hurting that much. Now imagine spraying that directly on you. No, I don’t think milk is going to fix it, dude. *shiver*.

What kind of tool sprays bear spray in an apartment hallway? I guess it went up a few floors and they had to bring in machines to clean the air. It’ll be interesting to see how the drama plays out with our newest addition to the chode harmonica symphony orchestra. All I know is I’d like the drama to be over with soon.

You Found it, Duffy Moon!

It has taken me over seven years to do it, but I took another look for that Duffy Moon video I mentioned in this old post, and someone has uploaded it to Youtube! Here it is, all 45 minutes of its…glory?

I really didn’t remember much of this video. Somehow, I never noticed how much of a dick his best friend was, or how annoying his aunt was, or a whole bunch of other stuff. But here it is. I’m not nuts. The words “You can do it, Duffy Moon” were in fact uttered in a video.

My Other Car Is A Rolling Party

Not much to this one, but it does feature my new favourite excuse for being no good at drinking and driving.

You see officer, the vehicle with which I just plowed into that there stationary one is not my drinking car.

They don’t explain exactly what that means, but I can only assume that she’s more comfortable DWIing it up in a different one to which she did not at the moment have access.

A City of Tonawanda woman was driving on Syracuse Street Wednesday night when she hit a parked car.
Sharon K. Bidell, 55, told officers that the 1965 Chevy Nova she was driving at the time was “not my drinking car,” police said.

When questioned, Bidell admitted that she had been drinking earlier in the day, a statement seemingly backed up by the 0.21 result she received on a blood alcohol test administered down at the station.

She was charged with DWI, aggravated DWI and making an unsafe lane change. Pretty sure at least one of those last two account for hey, you just hit a car.

If You Use Any Services Powered By Yahoo!, It Might Be Time To Change Some Passwords

So…uh, this is not good. Very not good.

Hackers strongly believed to be state-sponsored swiped account records for 500 million Yahoo! webmail users. And who knew there were that many people using its email?
The troubled online giant said on Thursday that the break-in occurred in late 2014, and that names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers, were lifted.
This comes after a miscreant calling themselves Peace was touting copies of the Yahoo! account database on the dark web. At the time, in early August, Yahoo! said it was aware of claims that sensitive information was being sold online – and then today, nearly two months later, it alerted the world to the embarrassing security breach.
“We have confirmed that a copy of certain user account information was stolen from the company’s network in late 2014 by what it believes is a state-sponsored actor,” said Yahoo!’s chief information security officer Bob Lord on Tumblr today.
“The ongoing investigation suggests that stolen information did not include unprotected passwords, payment card data, or bank account information; payment card data and bank account information are not stored in the system that the investigation has found to be affected.
“Based on the ongoing investigation, Yahoo believes that information associated with at least 500 million user accounts was stolen and the investigation has found no evidence that the state-sponsored actor is currently in Yahoo’s network. Yahoo is working closely with law enforcement on this matter.”

Yahoo! says that it will email anyone they believe may be affected, so hopefully they get around to you before you get locked out of your account.

Even if you don’t have a Yahoo! account directly, you may still have something to worry about. I don’t know about other service providers, but here in Canada, Rogers uses Yahoo! to help run its email service and possibly still other features, so you might wanna change that password juuuuust in case.

We’re About To Live In A World Where Vin Scully Isn’t Calling Baseball Games And I’m Not Sure I’m Ready For It

Growing up, I knew of Vin Scully, but I didn’t really know of Vin Scully. I would here his voice sometimes doing the calls on history videos and I was pretty sure he was the guy from Los Angeles, but that was about it. I live nowhere close to California so picking him up on the radio was impossible and my family didn’t have cable until I was 15, but even if we did have it, it likely wouldn’t have mattered. Those were the days when if you had the really fancy cable you might be lucky enough to get 65-70 channels, and most of them weren’t going to have baseball on them at all let alone baseball from way the hell out in Los Angeles. So it wasn’t really until the last decade or so when it became impossible not to find some sort of baseball on television at all hours of the day and night and I started subscribing to Gameday Audio that I got to hear him regularly, and it didn’t take long for me to understand what the fuss was about and why he was so respected.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, calls a baseball game the way Vin Scully does. We all have fond memories of the announcers from our favourite teams, but no matter how good they are, let’s be honest, none of them are Vin Scully. There’s just something about that guy. Not just that he’s been doing the same job for nearly 70 years, not just that he’s been everywhere and seen everything and probably called it. He’s just…Vin Scully. It doesn’t matter whether or not you love, hate or are indifferent to the Dodgers. You hear Vin Scully and you’re sucked into everything he says. Nobody paints a picture quite like Vin Scully. Nobody tells a baseball story quite like Vin Scully. Nobody tells a story that has almost nothing whatsoever to do with baseball while still managing to call a baseball game without missing a beat regardless of whether he’s on radio or television quite like Vin Scully. I’m convinced that I could listen to Vin Scully talk about literally almost anything and it would be entertaining.

And that’s why I’m sad that the end is coming. Not as sad as the generations of people that have grown up with him and still listen to this day I’m sure, but still enough to realize the significance of October 2nd. That’s the day when, barring some kind of miraculous change of heart, Vin Scully will call his final game. I’ve known it was coming for a while now, but it didn’t truly hit me until this morning when I read this excellent tribute from ESPN that it’s actually happening.

I really hope I get to listen to that last game. There will never be another Vin Scully, and I’d hate to miss out on one last go round with the one we have now.

Wait! Where’s Everybody Going? Come Back! It Says “Muslims Get Out,” Not “Customers Get Out!”

If you’re so determined to make a statement, at least shit out the effort required to find a big enough sign to accommodate it. Christ, what a moron.

A Minnesota business owner who wrote “Muslims get out” on the sign outside his restaurant has defended the move, claiming that people were taking the sign “in the wrong way”.
Protesters of different faiths gathered by the Treats Family Restaurant with banners that read: “Love trumps hate” and attempted to pull down the letters from the board, which also advertised food and ice cream.
Owner Dan Ruedinger in Lonsdale, Minnesota, told Fox News: “I didn’t want to put ‘terrorists’ on the board. So we were going to put ‘Muslim extremists’, but we didn’t have room on the board.”

And it only got worse from there as Ruedinger went on to explain that no really, we’re not racists and that we’re all taking his sign the wrong way because…um, I don’t know, to be honest. Seems to me like there’s only going to be one way to interpret something that means exactly one thing.

“Now, people started taking it the wrong way, thinking we were against Muslims in general, and we’re not.”  Quite the opposite. We are not racists,” he said to Fox.

Ok, so why the racist sign? Because stabbings, that’s why.

He told the Lonsdale News-Review that the incident of the Somali-American man who stabbed eight people in a shopping mall in St Cloud, Minnesota, this month had prompted him to put up the sign.
“I’ve had enough and I’m standing up,” he said.
“With all the bombs and shootings we’ve had, we’re supposed to welcome refugees here who want to kill us? This has nothing to do with race, it has to do with a religion of hatred that preaches violence.
“Some Muslims are good people and want a better life. They need to step up, take control and hold the others accountable.”

On behalf of anyone who’s ever been told that at all times and no matter the circumstance that they must be an unpaid and on-duty ambassador for and policeman of whatever community it’s been determined they represent, allow me to say in the politest terms I can muster, fuck off, ice cream man. The good people who are just trying to live and better their lives are too busy doing that as best they can to worry 24/7 about what everyone else is up to. Besides, quietly going about one’s business is often the best way to lead by example. It’s a damn sight better than putting up an ignorant sign outside the neighbourhood sherbet shack, I know that much.

But maybe there’s hope.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations invited him to meet with Muslim community leaders at the Islamic Centre of Faribault.
“Our experience has shown that interaction with ordinary American Muslims and enhanced knowledge of Islam are key factors in the reduction of Islamophobic attitudes,” said Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of the Minnesota CAIR chapter.

That sounds nice. How’d it go?

The meeting was reportedly cut short as Mr Ruedinger became agitated and shouted about his son’s service in Iraq, saying he could not be “silent” any longer.
Mr Hussein told the newspaper: “It was a short conversation. He did not agree. We are here to talk to people; to start a dialogue. We wanted to talk to him about the sign and about issues.”

Sadly, there’s just no getting through to some people. It’s ok to have opposing viewpoints. They’re often what makes life interesting and fun. But when those viewpoints devalue and dehumanize millions of people and you can’t figure out why that might upset them, all that’s left to say is something I’ve already said. Christ, what a moron.

There’s Gold In Them Thar Holes

The story of Leston Lawrence, the former Royal Canadian Mint employee accused of pocketing nearly $180,000 by keistering gold pucks has been all over the news today. But in all the coverage, one fact, albeit quite a childish one, seems to have flown under the radar.

Lawrence’s trial, on charges that include theft, laundering the proceeds of crime (pretty sure that joke writes itself), possession of stolen property and breach of trust has been presided over by a Justice Peter Doody. There’s no convincing me that this didn’t happen on purpose.

That aside, this is actually a pretty interesting case if for no other reason than it reveals that security at the Mint, A.K.A. the place where they literally make money, is kind of not very good.

“Appalling,” was the conclusion of defence lawyer Gary Barnes, who described the Crown’s case as an underwhelming collection of circumstantial evidence.
“This is the Royal Canadian Mint, your Honour, and one would think they should have the highest security measures imaginable,” Barnes said in his closing submission.
“And here the gold is left sitting around in open buckets.”
Indeed, it was not even the Mint that discovered the alleged theft but an alert bank teller.

But the defence countered with a couple of important points. The Crown was not able to prove conclusively that the gold in Lawrence’s possession actually came from inside the Mint. It had no markings nor, apparently, had any gold been reported missing internally.

Court was told Lawrence set off the metal detector at an exit from the “secure area” with more frequency than any other employee — save those with metal medical implants. When that happened, the procedure was to do a manual search with a hand-held wand, a search that he always passed.
(It was not uncommon for employees to set off the detector, court heard.)

Barnes implied there were many ways Lawrence could have legitimately obtained the gold — he could have bought the coins, for instance — and said he made no efforts to be devious with the gold buyers or the bank. Further, Barnes said, the Mint isn’t even sure a theft took place.
“In fact, I would submit the Mint doesn’t even know if anything is missing.”
In an emailed statement Tuesday evening, a Mint spokeswoman said several security measures had been upgraded, including high definition security cameras in all areas, improved ability to track, balance and reconcile precious metal, and the use of “trend analysis technology.”

And they didn’t have all of this before because…?

I don’t want you to take any of the above as me agreeing that Lawrence is innocent or even that, as his lawyer says, the evidence against him is underwhelming. Circumstantial sure, but sometimes the circumstances don’t lie, and these ones look pretty bad for young Leston here.

One day a teller became suspicious at the size and number of Ottawa Gold Buyers cheques being deposited and Lawrence’s request to wire money out of the country. She then noticed on his account profile that he worked at the Mint. The first red flag was up.
Bank security was alerted, then the RCMP, which began to investigate. Eventually, a search warrant was obtained and four Mint-style pucks were found in Lawrence’s safety deposit box, court heard.

A bit suspect, but a lot of people keep gold around so they’ll have something worthwhile when the financial system inevitably collapses. Hardly means he’s guilty.

Lawrence’s safety deposit box is another one that writes itself, by the way.

The Crown was able to show the pucks precisely fit the Mint’s custom “dipping spoon” made in-house — not available commercially — that is used to scoop molten gold during the production process.
Lawrence, who has since been terminated, was an operator in the refinery section. Among his duties was to scoop gold from buckets so it could be tested for purity, as the Mint prides itself on gold coins above the 99 per cent level.

Getting warmer, but just because he could have doesn’t mean he did.

Investigators also found a container of vaseline in his locker and the trial was presented with the prospect that a puck could be concealed in an anal cavity and not be detected by the wand.

Uh-oh.

Again, not proclaiming his guilt or innocence here. I’m merely trying to illustrate both that the Mint ought to be doing better and that Gary Barnes and I have different definitions of the word underwhelming.

Before this post ends, I must commend the dedication of at least one unnamed Mint security employee by way of my favourite pair of sentences in this entire article. One you’ve already seen, but the second makes it even better.

Investigators also found a container of vaseline in his locker and the trial was presented with the prospect that a puck could be concealed in an anal cavity and not be detected by the wand. In preparation for these proceedings, in fact, a security employee actually tested the idea, Barnes said.

Somebody had better be getting a raise.

The trial continues November 9th.

Hey Officer, Check Out My Baton

I’m not even sure where to start with this, so I’m just going to lay out what we have here.

We have a fellow who admitted that on at least two occasions, he exposed himself to municipal bus drivers in Seattle. As a result of this admission and the conviction on two counts of indecent exposure with sexual motivation that followed, we also have us a shiny new sex offender. A shiny new sex offender named Anthony Hardison. Yes, Hardison. Normally those things would be enough to warrant a post on their own, but then this happened.

As a result of Hardison’s August 5 sentencing, he was required to register as a sex offender. So, on August 12, Hardison went to the King County Administration Building–which houses the sheriff’s office–to file the required paperwork.
As detailed in a police report, a sheriff’s employee spotted Hardison “intentionally” making an “open and obscene exposure of his penis” while in the building’s lobby.
The lewd display–which was also recorded by a surveillance camera–left the female employee “shocked, angered and disgusted,” an investigator reported.

So to recap, a shiny new sex offender named Hardison who flashes bus drivers goes to the police building to get his shiny new sex offender certificate and I guess because maybe he thought they’d need some kind of visual aid to figure out what he needed starts going to town on himself right there in the lobby. Nope, I don’t think I’m going to see anything better than this today.

He was arrested for this latest display, of course. He is currently contained (hopefully in more ways than one) at the Seattle Correctional Facility in lieu of $145,000 bail.