Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2013 Spartan Beast Race at Mont Ste. Marie near Ottawa

This YouTube video shows most but not all of the obstacles thrown at me during the Spartan Beast Race that was held at Mont Ste. Marie (near Ottawa) on July 21, 2013.

Out of the 612 registered soloists, the fastest time was around 3h16 (not 2 hrs as advertised) and the slowest 10h19. There were 10 DNFs.

According to my GPS: This is a 23.71 km Run in Lac-Ste-Marie, QC. The Run has a total ascent of 681.0 m and has a maximum elevation of 546.0 m.

Essentially, we ran up, and down, four ski hills and did the 20+ obstacles. Failure at any one of those obstacles carried a penalty of 30 burpees on the spot each time !!!

As for my race time, let's just say: I crossed the finish line !!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

願者上釣: 新郎新娘的結婚疍糕 / Wedding Cake


Thursday, July 18, 2013

South Africa Freedom Day Apr 27, 1994: "Two Places, Two Dreams" (Updated: 2013 Mandela Day)

To commemorate Mandela Day and his 95th birthday, I am updating the blog article that was posted first on April 27, 2012, after my trip to South Africa.

The authour of the poem, Ingrid de Kok, was born in South Africa in 1951. She emigrated to Canada and lived here from 1977 to 1984 before moving back to her homeland.

I chose these photos of South Africa and Canada to accompany her beautiful poem.

"Two Places, Two Dreams" - Ingrid de Kok

My child, brought from his own country,

is sleeping in a Cape bed
where the black south-easter
delivers boats and fish
to his hot summer dream
of kelp and tentacles
that hang like fingers from his hands.

In his other dream

pines, like ravens blue with cold,
fly into the ice,
and snow falling from low branches
sifts onto his thin chest.

As he calls in the dark,

"Come," "Go,"
the sea invades the low lagoon
and the red cardinal shaken from his sheet
flies into its dense natal tree.

"Seasonal Fires - New and Selected Poems" by Ingrid de Kok, South Africa (c. 1988, 1997, 2002, 2006); Poems from Familiar Ground (1988): page 27

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
* Top: The Great Karoo / Drakensberg Mountain
* Bottom: The Canadian Rockies / Mount Robson

Related links:

* For my other blog articles and photos on South Africa: Click here -- "Travel to South Africa"*

Ingrid de Kok (born 1951) is a South African author and poet. Ingrid grew up in Stilfontein, a gold mining town in what was then the Western Transvaal. When she was 12 years old, her parents moved to Johannesburg. In 1977 she emigrated to Canada where she lived until returning to South Africa in 1984. ...

Ingrid is a Fellow of the University of Cape Town, an Associate Professor in Extra Mural Studies and part of a team of two that designs and administers the public non-formal educational curriculum that constitutes the Extra-Mural Programmes at the University of Cape Town. .... She is the Chair of the South African Association of Canadian Studies.

Between 1977 and 2006 Ingrid's poems have been published in numerous South African literary journals, including Upstream, Sesame, Staffrider, Contrast, New Contrast, New Coin, Carapace. Occasionally poems have also appeared, translated into Afrikaans, in various South African Afrikaans newspapers....

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Blue-Black List: Are You Friends or Enemies of the Government ?

I am not shocked but just surprised that someone working in the PMO seems to have ignored some golden rules of political communications, among them:

(1) The Globe and Mail test: Never say/write anything that you don't want to see later on the front-page of a major news paper or media (whether the statement was made on or off the record)

(2) Ownership of information: Never assume that info being shared at teleconf or face-to-face meetings with more than 2 ppl will remain behind close doors (I am not talking abt the Access to Information Act/ATIP, or the public's right to know).

While many political operatives are good at playing "sword/shield" games 24/7 in a fast-pace, adrenaline-filled political hockey arena, they seem to have got drunk on Parliament Hill's fountain of power.

When the Prime Minister announced his mid-term Cabinet shuffle, I was looking forward to a new Throne Speech that will shift public attention from robocalls, $90,000 cheaque, and the likes to issues and priorities that are important to Canadians.

Unfortunately, the governance of this country is once again overshadowed by another incident emanating from the PMO.


PMO asked staff to supply 'enemy' lists to new ministers

Information was to be part of transition binders, leaked email says

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office asked staff to include a list of "friend and enemy stakeholders" in their transition binders for new ministers appointed in Monday's cabinet shuffle, according to a leaked email.
The email, obtained by CBC News and several other media outlets, was sent July 4 by Erica Furtado in the Prime Minister's Office and shows a checklist for what should be in the transition binders.
"Who to avoid: bureaucrats that can't take no (or yes) for an answer" is on the list, as well as "Who to engage or avoid: friend and enemy stakeholders."
The request for a list of problematic bureaucrats was subsequently dropped, according to another email sent a few hours later on July 4.
The person who leaked the emails said that when some staff balked at the idea of coming up with the blacklists, they were cut off from further communications about the matter.
The person also said staff were given examples of stakeholders that could go on the "enemies list" and they included environmental groups, non-profit organizations, and civic and industry associations with views different than the government's.
  • Readers blast 'paranoid' PMO 'enemy' list
Transition books and briefing notes for new ministers would normally include names of key people on issues, but dividing them into "friend and enemy" categories isn't common.
The other items on the checklist were:
  • What to say in question period.
  • What to expect soon, hot issues, legal actions, complaints.
  • What to expect later, longer-term forecast.
  • What to do, status of mandate items, off-mandate items.
  • What to avoid: pet bureaucratic projects.
  • What to attend: upcoming events, meetings and FPTs.
  • Who to appoint: outstanding GiCs and hot prospects.
  • Private member's bills, lines and caucus packages.
FPTs refers to federal/provincial/territorial meetings and GiCs refers to Governor in Council appointments, people who sit on agencies, boards and commissions.
"While we don't comment on internal communications, we are collaborating with our ministers, especially new ministers, to ensure they are fully briefed so they can continue their work on behalf of Canadian taxpayers," said PMO spokesman Carl Vallée in an emailed response to a request for comment.
Harper appointed eight new MPs to his cabinet on Monday and shifted multiple ministers around to new portfolios.

PMO acting 'paranoid'

The NDP's deputy leader Megan Leslie said the instructions to provide an "enemy" list show the PMO is "paranoid" and trying to exercise control over ministers.
"But they also have this 'for you or against you' kind of attitude where unless you are toeing their line and marching to the beat of their drum you are an enemy," she said.
Leslie said it's useful for ministers to share information with each other but classifying people as enemies crosses a line.
John Bennett, executive director of the environmental group Sierra Club Canada, said based on his past experience with some ministers he likely would have wound up on the enemy list.
"I wasn't surprised but I continue to be disappointed that stakeholders like environmentalists are considered enemies rather than stakeholders who are trying to pursue important issues," he said in an interview with CBC's Rosemary Barton.
He said if some ministers were more "mature" they would understand how democracy really works and that all perspectives should be considered when making decisions.
"They don't believe in democracy the way we do, which is it's an exchange of ideas and debate and try to come up with reasonable solutions. They believe in forcing ideology and if you're forcing ideology on the Canadian public then you see people like me as an enemy and that's unfortunate," said Bennett.  
Related link:

渥太華河畔不列顛尼亞沙灘 / Ottawa River's Britannia Beach


I took this photo while strolling with my Mom at the Britannia Beach (不列顛尼亞沙灘) next to the Ottawa River.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Canada's Cod, Rock and Log Economy

Gone are the good old days when cods were abundant.

In cod we trust(ed).

Logs are now fewer and far in btwn.

The parties failed to reach a sustainable forest agreement.

Can we squeeze more oil out of rocks and sand?

What will be in the next Throne Speech to revitalize Canada's economy?

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

掌上壓訓練 / Push-Up Training Program


UPDATED 20131023:

20130708: 30+10 pushups with 1 min rest in btwn... start at week#3

20130709: 16+20+14+12+16=78 (2 min rest btwn sets)
20130711: 16+20+14+12+16=78 (1-2 min rest btwn sets)
20130713: 16+20+16+16+16=84 (1.5 min rest btwn sets)

20130715: 20+24+20+20+20=104 (2 min rest in btwn sets)

WEEK#5 to #10:
Goal achieved: 45+50+40+35+40=210

POST WEEK#10: Maintain fitness, refine form, increase number
(2 min rest btwn sets)

Periodic update:
20131020: 45+50+40+35+62=232
20131021: 45+50+40+35+51=221
20131022: No pushups
20131023: 45+50+40+35+51=221
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