Category: Uncategorized


So, you guys know how amazing the action was during the games.  If you missed any of it, check the archived videos.  Pretty amazing stuff.

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What I will be doing in this post is a description of the cool stuff I saw and the annoying and not so cool stuff I saw / experienced.

 

Parking.

Ok, this was insane this year.  They decided to move the vendor village to the NW end of the soccer stadium.  It now covered up a huge part of the main parking lot.  Many of the days, we showed up around 8am and we were able to get a parking spot in the main lot.  These crossfat fans are insane.  Over ¾ of the lot was filled!!  One morning, we slept in a bit because the individuals weren’t starting until 9am.  We get to the event close to 9… I dropped Shannon off at the gate and I went off to find a spot because the whole lot was filled up.  10 mins of slow ass trundling around and I found a lot.  I think it took 15 mins to walk to StubHub.  I was sweating and ready to relax.  Jesus.

 

Coffee.

We love our coffee.  We love Starbucks.  So, every morning we got a Starbucks to head to watch.  Sadly, and really, without any explanation, we were not allowed to bring coffees in.  We get to the gate, the security guys told us to throw them out.  We see people walking in with waters, pop and gatorades and we were like – what the fuck?!?  Some guys even tried to walk in with a box of donuts were told to garbage them or eat them on the spot.  One coffee or some donuts?  This will really kill your profits StubHub.  Fuck off!  By the way, coffees inside were $4.50.  More on costs a little later.  We had our bags checked and even though they were full of food – fruits, nuts, chocolate, popcorn, whatever – was fine.  Coffee and donuts.  ::rollseyes::  Fucking dumb.

 

Vendor Village.

It was so awesome.  It was so hot.  It was so busy.  It was a great place to spend some cash.  Pretty much any vendor you can think of was there.  Food too.  From hamburgers and hotdogs, to paleo meals like bacon, eggs and sweet potatoes.  Any icy beverage too.  The only real issue was that funnel they created to get from vendor village to the soccer stadium.  When an event let out, you had to go through the Reebok tent in order to get into vendor village.  This finnel made the going very slow.  So many people had to go through there.  Was it strategic to put Reebok righ in the middle?  Did it make you buy more?  Maybe.  Reebok did have some cool shit.

 

Ticketing.

MUCH better this years than years gone by.  This year, we bought tickets and those seats were our throughout the entire weekend.  This was so great.  Due to the motherfucking heat, we had no need to rush down to our seats until the even began.  Being in the sun, my delicate flower-like skin was not accustomed to it and even though I had my shirt on most of the weekend (yes, you read that right, ON), I still burned my chest.

 

The Fittest Fan and Scavenger Hunt Contests.

Are you kidding me?  It was almost too hot to walk around.  You think I am going to do thrusters or a max effort air assault bike?  GTFO!

 

The People.

I am constantly surprised by the friendliness of people in California in general.  CrossFit promotes betterment of your life and Crossfitters are all friendly and super nice.  But, I mean in Cali – so super friendly.  They let you in line in traffic.  No rush at the grocery store.  Willing to help with directions.  Friendlier than Canadians.

 

Expedia.

I will never rent a car through Expedia again.  They can pound sand.

 

Food.

Now this is where you can blow through a lot quickly.  Meals are between $15 and $25.  Quite delicious and filling.  Like I said earlier, coffee starts at $4.50 for regular coffee.  Iced coffee and bulletproof coffee is $5.50.  Nothing like collagen and butter to start your day!!  Booze was pricey – $12 a beer.  Ices were tasty and cooled us off.  The great thing about this year is StubHub was giving free ice out, which was handy and nice.

Is everything perfect?  Nope.  It was pretty damn good though!  It’s California!  It’s vacation!!  Spending it with the love of my life could not be better.

IMG_0894

The Man Behind Apple

417rGDYvtzLI’ve finished reading the bio about Jony Ive – the lead designer and uber design genius at Apple.  Never heard of Jony Ive?  You been under a rock?  Have you heard of Steve Jobs?  Of course you have.  Ive was the #2 at Apple behind Jobs for the longest time.  And head of design for all of Apple’s products for the past 15 ish years.  You think it was Jobs’ sole responsibilty for the miracuous iPod, iPhone and iPad?  Nope.

I really love Apple products.  I was not a big believer of them just based on how expensive they seemed to be compared to other products.  The amount of detail, design work, brainstorming, models built, iterations, decisions, rework put towards developing Apple products is so under-appreciated it’s a joke.

Just look at your iPhone – you don’t have one?  Grab your friends.  Now touch it.  Really touch it.  Feel it.  Study it.  Look at the lines.  Look at the edges.  Look at the attention to detail of the sound buttons…. such amazing precision.  Look at how awesome it is.  And that’s just the outside.  For a few hundred bucks, look at what you actually get!  Your whole life in the palm of your hand.  The whole world actually.  Are you fucking kidding me?  It’s all jammed into a tiny box.

apple-iphone-5 Apple-Music-Event-9-1-10-iPod-touch-nano-shuffle-13-slashgear

Get this.  The iPhone was almost an iPod with a cellphone inside it.  Imagine that wheel on the front dialing numbers.  Fuck that!  That design was actually considered.  Thank you Jony.

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The history of Ive – his design philosophies – meshed beautifully with Jobs’ philosophies too.  With Jony around for a while, Apple will continue to produce genius shit.

This is a great read for any Apple fan.

Read the Jobs’ bio by Isaacson as well.  Both are 10/10.

81VStYnDGrL

It is natural for us Crossfitters to go on into the wee hours speculating over the Open wods.  I will put together the Open wods from the last three years and do my own speculating for you to think about.

 

11.1 10 min amrap – 30 DU + 15 power snatch (75/55)

11.2 15 min amrap – 9 DL (155/100) + 12 Push ups + 15 box jumps (24/20)

11.3 5 min amrap – max squat clean and jerk (165/110)

11.4 10 min amrap – 60 bar facing burpees + 30 OHS (120/90) + 10 MU

11.5 20 min amrap – 5 power clean (145/100) + 10 T2B + 15 WB (20/14)

11.6 7 min amrap – 3 thruster (100/65) + 3 C2B + 6 thruster + 6 C2B + 9 thruster and so on

 

12.1 7 min amrap – max burpees

12.2 10 min amrap – 30 snatch (75/55) + 30 snatch (135/75) + 30 snatch (165/100) + 30 max snatch (210/120)

12.3 18 min amrap – 15 BJ (24/20) + 12 push press (115/75) + 9 T2B

12.4 12 min amrap – 150 WB (20/14) + 90 DU + 30 MU

12.5 7 min amrap – 3 thruster (100/65) + 3 C2B + 6 thruster + 6 C2B + 9 thruster and so on

 

13.1 17 min amrap – 40 burpees + 30 snatch (75/45) + 30 burpees + 30 snatch (135/75) + 20 burpees+ 30 snatch (165/100) + 10 burpees + max snatch (210/100)

13.2 10 min amrap – 5 S2O (115/75) + 10 DL (115/75) + 15 BJ (24/20)

13.3 12 min amrap – 150 WB (20/14) + 90 DU + 30 MU

13.4 7 min amrap – 3 C+J (135/95) + 3 T2B + 6 C+J (135/95) + 6 T2B + 9 C+J and so on

13.5 4 min amrap – 15 thruster (100/65) + 15 C2B + 15 thruster (100/65) + 15 C2B + 15 thruster (100/65) + 15 C2B ….. if 90 reps are achieved prior to 4 mins, time extends to 8 min amrap …. 15 thruster (100/65) + 15 C2B + 15 thruster (100/65) + 15 C2B + 15 thruster (100/65) + 15 C2B ….. if 180 reps are achieved prior to 8 mins, time extends to 12 min amrap …. and so on

wod notes

You can see my scribbles and brainstorming.  So, my speculation is the following:

 

–      I do not see the wod 12.5/11.6 coming up this year.  That combo needs a year off.

–      I do not see the WB, DU, MU wod being repeated for the 3rd year in a row.

–      Movements that are hard to judge are the following: pushups, pullups, knee2elbow, kb swings, HSPU, pistols, dips.

–      The bar muscle up has never been used in an Open – yet I have seen this come up in a ton of competitions lately.

 

HQ has repeated wods from prior years and I believe they will do it again this year.  OHS has not been in the Open for 2 years.  Therefore, I see the 11.4 wod being repeated……or modified, possibly with less weight though.

 

60 bar facing burpees (easy to judge and video)

30 OHS (100/65) (easy to judge and video)

10 MU (easy to judge and video)

 

HOWEVER………  I am also a fan of the burpee-muscle up as the separator wod.  Easy to judge.  You hit your chest, you get to the top……….

 

I have also seen the infamous burpee box jump being quite popular lately.  Will the BJ give athletes issues with proper standards like last year?  Could BJs be skipped this year?  Doubt it.  Look for a 7 min amrap of burpee box jumps for 14.1.

 

Let the speculation begin!

I came across this inspiring video a while back and keep watching it.  It stirs up something pretty cool inside me and makes me want to keep pushing.  I transcribed it.  Now you all can watch and read and absorb the words and message.  I believe it is aprospo coming into the 2014 Open.  Welcome to the grind!

If you love hitting your snooze button

Rise and shine.  It’s 6am and your hand can’t make it to the alarm clock before the voices in your head start telling you that it’s too early, too dark and too cold to get out of bed.

Aching muscles lie still in rebellion, pretending not to hear your brain commanding them to move.  A legion of voices are shouting their unanimous permission for you to hit the snooze button.

“Go back to dreamland.”

But you didn’t ask their opinion.  The voice you’ve chosen to listen to is one of defiance.  A voice that says there was a reason you set that alarm in the first place.  So, sit up!  Put your feet on the floor and don’t look back, because we’ve got work to do.

Welcome to the GRIND.

For what is each day but a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way.  Ten thousand streams fan out like a river delta before you – each one promising the path of least resistance.  The thing is you’re headed upstream.  And when you make that choice, when you decide to turn your back on what’s comfortable, what’s safe and what some would call…….common sense……..well, that’s day one.

From there, it only gets tougher.

So, just make sure this is something you want, because the easy way out will always be there; ready to wash you away.  All you have to do is pick up your feet.

But you aren’t going to, are you?

With each step comes the decision to take another.  You’re on your way now.  But this is no time to dwell on how far you’ve come.  You’re in a fight against an opponent you can’t see, but oh, you can feel him on your heels can’t ya?  …. Feel him breathing down your neck.

You know what that is?

THAT’S YOU!  Your fears, your doubts and insecurities, all lined up like a firing squad – ready to shoot you out of the sky.  But, don’t lose heart – while they’re not easily defeated, they are far from invincible.  Remember, THIS IS THE GRIND.  The Battle Royale between you and your mind, your body and the devil on your shoulder who’s telling you this is just a game – this is just a waste of time…..your opponents are stronger than you!

Drown out that voice of uncertainty with the sound of your own heartbeat.  Burn away your self doubt with a fire lit beneath you.

Remember what we’re fighting for and never forget that momentum is a cruel mistress.  She can turn on a dime with the smallest mistake.  She is ever searching for the weak place in your armour; that one tiny thing you forgot to prepare for.  So as long as the devil is hiding the details, the question remains – IS THAT ALL YOU’VE GOT?  ARE YOU SURE?

And when the answer is yes – when you’ve done all you can to prepare yourself for battle, then it’s time to go forth and boldly face your enemy – the enemy within.  Only now, you must take that fight into the OPEN; into hostile territory.  You’re a lion in a field of lions, all hunting the same elusive prey with a desperate starvation that says VICTORY IS THE ONLY THING THAT CAN KEEP YOU ALIVE.

So believe that voice that says you can run a little faster and you can throw a little harder and that for you, the laws of physics are merely a suggestion.  Luck is the last dying wish of those who want to believe that winning can happen by accident.

Sweat, on the other hand, is for those that know it’s a choice.  So decide now, because destiny waits for no man.  And when your time comes and a thousand different voices are trying to tell you – YOU’RE NOT READY FOR IT – listen instead to that lone voice of descent.  The one that says YOU ARE READY!  YOU ARE PREPARED!!  IT’S ALL UP TO YOU NOW!!!  So rise and shine!

 

Was I crossfitting in 2009?

Back in May 2009 I wrote this post about overhead squats.  Thinking back, I cannot remember writing it.  I do remember the overhead squat at the time though.  And it was hard as fucking hell.    I laugh at this post because I was doing crossfit-esque workouts at my mini downtown gym at the time.  Look at me now.

 

Examining the post though – it is quite good and interesting.  This was posted in 2009 and I did not officially start crossfitting at a box until 2012.

 

Some things I noticed:

  • “I have seen this exercise floating around” ???  Dude, it is an all time Olympic lift that has been done for ages.
  • Preparation and Execution section – I don’t think those are my own words.  Maybe wiki or bodybuilding.com?  Correction is needed however à position toes outward with a wide stance.  Not true.  Slightly position toes outward and have feet at shoulder width.
  • “…snatching the bar is really unnecessary.”  This makes me laugh.  Curl it up?  Haahaa.  Who was that guy?

https://glennstake.wordpress.com/2009/05/14/are-you-tired-with-your-regular-workout-try-overhead-squats/

 

I have seen this exercise floating around some workout sites and forums and some crossfit sites and I didn’t anything of it.  An overhead squat?  Big deal.  I’ll just do a normal squat.

 

Well, let me tell you, it is unlike a normal squat.

 

Preparation

Snatch the barbell overhead with a very wide overhand grip.  Position toes outward with wide stance.  Maintain bar behind head with arms extended.

Execution

Descend until knees and hips are fully bent or until thighs are just past parallel to floor. Knees travel in direction of toes. Extend knees and hips until legs are straight. Return and repeat.

 

I tried it for the first time this afternoon.  I started with a bar and 10lb plates on it.  This is a total of 65lb – which is not very much at all, especially for a squat.

 

With the weight light, snatching the bar is really unnecessary.  Just curl it up and press it over your head and lock your elbows.  Going down though is a different story. Having the bar above your head forces your back to remain super straight.  You are also using all of your core to support that weight.  This is an excellent exercise for a full body lift, to promote testosterone production and calory burn.

 

I managed 3 sets of 6 reps.  Wow – try it with low weight at the start.

Liebster Award nomination

Earlier this year, a fellow blogger named Steff Turner honoured me by nominated me for a Liebster Award.  Please visit her blog here: http://steffturner.wordpress.com/.

 liebster-award

It is nice to know someone actually reads my posts (and thinks that is might be worth reading) besides my close friends….and I don’t even know if they read them.

Thanks to Steff Turner for nominating this blog and me.  I am not super eloquent and do not put out a large quantity of posts – but I feel I put out quality.  Thank you very much.

 

The “rules” of the award are as follows:

liebster2

 

 

11 Facts about Myself

  1. I am 38 years old and am in the best shape of my life.  I want to live to be 103.
  2. My favorite tv shows all time are: Star Trek:TNG, The Wire, The Shield, Friends.
  3. I am married and do not have children.  I have found my soulmate.  Visit her blog below – Redefine Impossible.  Shannon is so beautiful, wonderful, inspirational, intelligent and amazing.
  4. I love bulldogs.  However, I will not own one again.  Too heartbreaking.
  5. I am educated as a mechanical engineer, but have not done any real engineering in years.  I have thought about further education – yet I am not sure I have the concentration or attention span to stick with the homework needed.  I have a recurring dreams of failing.
  6. I am a Crossfit snob.  And whoever that is not in Crossfit is a ….. well…..  See my post: https://glennstake.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/i-am-a-crossfit-snob/
  7. I have a goal to make it as a Masters competitor in the Crossfit Games.
  8. Movies shot in the first person make me sick.  Couple that to the D-box seats and you will have me barfing.
  9. My last meal would be either sweet potato meatloaf (see recipe below) or a tomato and onion sandwich, with vinegar and mayo (toasted).  I don’t eat bread, so I have a dilemma.
  10. I love mountain biking.
  11. I have kicked a legit 45 yard field goal with a regulation sized football.

 

11 Questions that Steff asked me and my answers:

 

On a scale of 1-10 how important is eating in your life? (1: a nuisance – 10: makes life worth living).

10.  The old phrase is used a lot – garbage in; garbage out.  I hate pain.  Therefore, why intentionally hurt myself?  With a few exceptions here and there, quality food is what I make an effort to eat.

 

Do you like to cook or bake?

Yes.  Although I am not very creative.  I am working on it.

 

Do you have a signature recipe to share?

Nothing original – but stolen.  Love this recipe.  http://paleomg.com/paleo-savory-sweet-potato-meatloaf/

 

On a scale of 1-10 how important is music in your life? (1: noise – 10: makes life worth living)

8.  I like some obscure bands and some hard core stuff.  Chevelle, Finger Eleven, Live, Disturbed, System of a Down, Tragically Hip, Nickelback, Metric.

 

As a parent would you rather have a child that is book smart or street smart?

Luckily, I don’t have to answer this.  However, I do have a nephew…..Very tough question.  Book smart.  …..

 

If you could change one part of your body, what would it be?

My nose.  It is a tad big.  Shrink them nostrils please.

 

What is your dream job?

Test driver for an F1 team.  Preferably Ferrari.

 

Does getting older bother you?

No.  I keep training and staying in shape and I will be kicking those young punk’s asses for years to come.

 

Would you like to live to be 100 years old?

Yes I do.  I am interested to see the future.  I also want to see the world.  For that I need time.

 

What topic to you read about most on-line?

Crossfit and Olympic lifting.

 

Are you happy?

Very.  I just got married 3 months ago to an amazing woman.  We compliment each other very well.  Life is excellent right now.

 

11 blogs that I follow (with fewer than 200 followers)

 

Redefineimpossible.wordpress.com

 

http://Povwiener.wordpress.com

 

http://Adrianakaible.wordpress.com

 

http://Meteekalanee.wordpress.com

 

http://Chapteroneandwine.wordpress.com

 

http://Paleoblondie.blogspot.ca

 

http://Ourparischapter.blogspot.ca

 

http://Markitread.wordpress.com

 

http://Saltdogsducttape.wordpress.com

 

http://Robladouceur.wordpress.com

 

http://Theperimeterr.wordpress.com

 

 

11 Questions that I have asked my nominees:

 

Do you have ambitions for your blog? If so, what are they?

What are your top 3 movies of all time?

Do you read novels?   What genre?

If you could go back in time, would you change anything?

Have you ever smoked?  If so, why did you start?  If you’ve quit, why?

iPhone or Samsung?

Dogs or cats?

What’s your Fran time?

What motivates you at work?

What do you do when not at your day job?

If you saw a dog in a hot parked car – what would you do?

Gordie Checking Things Out

I miss you terribly.

If there would be a title for the best ever dog; you would win. I just have that feeling. You were so loyal, a loving, un-judgmental, fun loving little guy. Little guy? At 70 lbs, you were quite the big guy and I loved giving you hugs and wrestling with you. You hated the hugs. I could hear your straining and having the occasional fart. But it made me feel good that you were there.

The G Man Watching F1

People talk about bulldogs being stupid. I say stubborn. Fetch? You don’t think so. Want a bath? Not on your life! I remember when you were being trained. You remember that little bell that was taped to the door at nose height? You would ring it when you had to pee or poop. Or just to say – get me out of this stuffy house and let me soak up the rays!

Ahhhh sunshine!

What I will remember the most is your love of driving. The word car or drive, and you start jumping around. You start spinning, drooling, whining. Sometimes I would tease you by saying car and then pretend to open the door. Then I would hide and I would hear you whining. Then we’d rip out of the house and you’d charge down the sidewalk to the car.

Cruising with Rosie and Mae

I remember a time we went for a drive. A summer evening, and the windows were down. Driving along, you with your ball – actually I think I just bought it. You liked driving sometimes with your head out and you went and dropped the ball on the street. The look on your face was funny. Could I really tell that you were disappointed or sad or glad? Not really. You did look back and then to me. A quick u-turn and back to get it. After all it was new. After a wash, it was good as new and you accepted it gladly and you went to jump on the couch to gnaw it. What was it with you and those balls? You must tell me someday.

Right now, I am getting used to not seeing you on your bed, suckling your ball. I still catch myself looking over there to see you chewing that thing.

Go get your ball!!

My sweet Gordie passed away on Thursday, November 3rd. It hurts so much, yet I know you are not suffering any longer. See you soon buddy!

P.S. I read an amazing book recently and I wanted to quote a few lines from it. Coming across the book was just so apropos…..

“In Mongolia, when a dog dies, he is buried high in the hills so people cannot walk on his grave. The dog’s master whispers into the dog’s ear his wishes that the dog will return as a man in his next life. Then his tail is cut off and put beneath his head, and a piece of meat or fat is placed in his mouth to sustain his soul on its journey; before he is reincarnated, the dog’s soul is freed to travel the land, to run across the high desert plains for as long as it would like. I learned that from a program on the National Geographic Channel, so I believe it is true. Not all dogs return as men, they say; only those who are ready.” (The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, Chapter 18).

Below are some fun pics of Gordie.

It's peanut butter time buddy!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ball? PB? Drive?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

4wd!!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

On guard!!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Gordo just a baby hanging in the backyard

 
 

What a Face!!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hello little dude!

I write this rant without prejudice and with some emotion. And my title is slightly deceptive to pique your interest.

I was watching the news last night with my mouth agape. The Right Honorable (uh huh) Education Minister Dave Hancock was on the news a week ago and was visiting a school. He mentioned to the children that the school was going to be fixed.

The story then led to the topic of older schools being renovated and several new schools being built. I can’t wait to see these schools full of children without teachers. And thus, I have come to the point of my rant.

For some background to this, the Edmonton Public School Board announced last week that 229 teaching and 115 non-teaching positions will have to be cut in response to a $14-million shortfall. The Calgary Public School Board is cutting 172 teaching and support positions to eliminate a $62 million deficit.

Do you want to know what the Province is spending to refurbish these schools? Try $550 million dollars!! Are you fucking serious?!? True. This is out of the provincial budget, and the teacher’s issues are city issues….. BUT SO WHAT!?!? How about you use your brains and re-focus the money and stop the waste?

We are talking about people. We are talking about happiness. We are talking about human beings living their lives, busting their asses on a daily basis trying to make a living and keep food on their family’s plates and roofs over their family’s heads.

My Solution:-
$550,000,000 – $62,000,000 – $14,000,000 = $474,000,000. Let’s say there will be some surrounding areas that have lost jobs as well. Take another $30,000,000 out for that. This leaves $444,000,000. Now, bust out the budget and breakout every line and trim the fat!

I really wrote this to bring awareness to the unbelievable waste of spending.

Don’t get me started on the ridiculous waste of money the $2,000,000,000 for carbon capture and storage. JEEBUS!!!

P.S. There is some information on the Government’s website about some infrastructure planning for schools. See below. I add up the figures given as examples and this is what I get….

http://www.education.alberta.ca/department/ipr/capitalplanning/capital-funding.aspx

$304,000.00 (where is the other $487,000,000???) Come on man! Where can the breakout of numbers be found so we can audit the spending? These are my hard earned tax dollars.
Infrastructure Maintenance and Renewal (IMR) Spending
The IMR program funds renovations and/or upgrades to a facility. A school jurisdiction’s first priority is to ensure that health, safety and essential upgrading needs, including emergent projects, are met.
Over the last four years government has invested $488 million in the IMR program.
A few examples of how school jurisdictions direct these funds include:
$75,000 – Don Bosco elementary school – complete floor replacement
$43,000 – Saint Thomas More elementary school – window replacement
$79,000 – Senator Buchanan elementary school – electrical upgrade
$30,000 – Donalda school – air ventilation upgrade
$2,000 – Stettler school – boiler repairs
$75,000 – Byemoor school – shingle replacement

References:-

June 21, 2011
Edmonton public students to benefit from improved schools

Edmonton… Students at two Edmonton schools will benefit as a result of an investment in local school infrastructure. Both Strathcona Composite High School and Forest Heights School will undergo modernizations.

“Education is fundamental to the future of our communities and our province,” said Education Minister Dave Hancock. “We’re committed to not only building new schools in fast-growing communities, but ensuring established communities also have safe, caring, respectful and modern learning environments.”
Strathcona Composite High School will receive upgrades to the gymnasium and art wing, and electrical and plumbing systems. Forest Heights School will be reconfigured to add additional and more functional classroom space, and the electrical and plumbing systems will receive major upgrades.
These new infrastructure dollars are part of an ongoing provincial investment in school infrastructure. This new funding is being distributed for top school infrastructure priorities and to ensure dollars are directed to critical areas.
A total of 35 schools across Alberta will be built or modernized at an estimated cost of $550 million to cope with a student population expected to soar by about 100,000 new pupils before the end of the decade. This is in addition to the Alberta Schools Alternative Procurement (ASAP) project phase two which includes 10 new schools in Okotoks, Langdon, Calgary and Edmonton, opening September 2012. Four new high schools will also open in Edmonton, Calgary, Spruce Grove and Sherwood Park in 2013.
“We’re delivering and modernizing these schools so that they are high quality, bright facilities and welcoming to students and staff,” said Infrastructure Minister Ray Danyluk. “The schools will be equipped with the latest technology and designed to adapt to changing educational needs. These will be buildings that work – for students, for teachers and for the entire community.”
Projects will be delivered through a combination of public-private partnerships and regional bundles. This approach allows projects to be completed faster than would otherwise be possible, while taking full advantage of core school designs, economies of scale and private-sector innovations.
The Alberta government is working to build a better Alberta by fostering economic growth, strengthening our health and education systems, investing in infrastructure, supporting safe and strong communities and ensuring a clean and healthy environment. Details of these and other school infrastructure projects can be found on the Alberta Education website at http://www.education.alberta.ca.
May 24, 2011
New, improved schools to cope with soaring student numbers
Initiative will see 35 schools built or renovated to cope with growth
Edmonton… A total of 35 schools across Alberta will be built or modernized at an estimated cost of $550 million to cope with a student population expected to soar by about 100,000 new pupils before the end of the decade, Premier Ed Stelmach announced May 24.
“This is part of a government investment to address growing student enrolments in some of the fastest growing communities in Alberta and responds to concerns we’ve been hearing for some time,” said Stelmach. “Our students are the future leaders of our province and deserve positive learning environments.”
Education Minister Dave Hancock estimates Alberta’s student population in 2020 will be about 700,000 students compared to the current 600,000 students.
“Education is fundamental to the future of our communities and our province. With this investment, we are ensuring that our students have safe, caring, respectful and modern learning environments,” said Education Minister Dave Hancock. “It is important that we continue to build positive atmospheres for learning which helps every child succeed and realize their potential.”
The plan, unveiled by the Premier, Hancock and Ray Danyluk, Minister of Infrastructure, calls for:
• Construction of 22 new and replacement schools in Alberta’s fastest-growing communities including Airdrie, Beaumont and Fort McMurray.
• Modernization of 13 existing schools to handle growth pressures and to upgrade infrastructure such as heating, plumbing and electrical systems, remove barriers to access and provide appropriate facilities for specialized subjects such as science, art and Career and Technology Studies.
“Alberta Infrastructure will deliver high quality schools that are bright, welcoming spaces, equipped with the latest technology and designed to adapt to changing educational needs,” said Danyluk. “These will be buildings that work – for students, for teachers and for the entire community. We will move forward on these projects immediately and our goal is to open doors for students by 2014.”
Projects will be delivered through a combination of public-private partnerships and regional bundles. This approach allows projects to be completed faster than would otherwise be possible, while taking full advantage of core school designs, economies of scale and private-sector innovations.
The Alberta government is working to build a better Alberta by fostering economic growth, strengthening our health and education systems, investing in infrastructure, supporting safe and strong communities and ensuring a clean and healthy environment.
http://alberta.ca/acn/201102/2995902%20BudgetSummarybyMinistry_Budget2011%20-%20Final.pdf

Education
Budgeted program expense is nearly $6.2 billion in 2011-12, a net $164-million or 2.7-per-cent increase from the 2010-11 forecast. Operating expense increases by $251 million or 4.5 per cent, while support for school capital projects is $87 million lower in 2011-12.
Over $5.7 billion in operating and property tax support to school boards will be provided in 2011-12.
School boards will receive funding for the anticipated 4.4-per-cent increase in teachers’ salaries effective September 1, 2011, based on the forecast increase in Alberta’s Average Weekly Earnings Index for 2010. Funding is also provided for a 1.1-per-cent increase in general enrolment. There are increases for supports to students with severe disabilities and student transportation services. Selected grants are eliminated over the next two school years, including relative cost of purchasing and stabilization. Also, ongoing funding for the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement will be reduced by 50 per cent beginning with the 2011-12 school year.
School board operating grants in 2011-12 include:
• $468 million for plant operations and maintenance of school facilities.
• $299 million for current service payments for teachers’ pensions.
• $282 million to support students with severe disabilities.
• $260 million for student transportation services.
• $228 million for the Small Class Size Initiative.

2011-12 program expense also includes $288 million for school capital projects. There is nearly $702 million over three years budgeted in school capital support. This will provide:
• $411 million for new schools and upgrading projects; and
• $291 million for capital maintenance and renewal.

Calgary education board cutting staff again
http://www.teachers.ab.ca/News%20Room/WebExtras/Expiring%20Education/Pages/Calgary-Board-of-Education.aspx
“The Calgary Board of Education has been forced to make deep staffing cuts for the second consecutive year to make up for a funding shortfall by the province. …
The Calgary board will save $24.9 million with the cuts, which largely affect support staff including psychologists, learning ­specialists, speech therapists and other employees, many of whom work with students with special needs.
Teaching positions will also be lost as 60 of the layoffs come from the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement, which was cut in half by the province. Some of the senior staff working under that program will be returned to the classroom dislodging younger teachers.
‘Our youngest teachers will be the ones to go first because last in first out is the way that works,’ said board chairwoman Pat Cochrane.
Another $24.8 million will still need to be found in Calgary, about $100,000 per school.”
—Sean Myers, Calgary Herald, March 23, 2011

BUDGET: http://www.education.alberta.ca/department/budget.aspx#Initiatives

budgetbreakdownpiechart

Public school budget confirms teacher cuts
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2010/06/15/calgary-school-board-budget-deficit-cbe-teachers-cuts.html
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | 7:32 PM MT
Trustees with the Calgary Board of Education have approved an operating budget with a $10 million deficit and job cuts.
The financial plan for 2010-11 confirms the loss of 192 full-time teaching and 85 support positions this fall.
After factoring in retirements and resignations, the jobs of 169 probationary teachers — who are in their first year of the profession — are in limbo. Board chair Pat Cochrane said final numbers won’t be clear until closer to September.
The financial crunch comes after a freeze on provincial funding and a negotiated wage raise for teachers.
The board is using up its reserve fund of $19.1 million to help cover the $1 billion operating budget for the upcoming school year, but that still leaves the public school system with a $10 million deficit. And the tally is expected to grow.
“It will move to at least $35 million in 2011-12. I think that’s a certainty,” said the board’s director of finance, Wayne Braun.

For those of you wanting / going to start this trilogy, there are a few things that will help while reading.

– 1 Swedish Krona (SKr) = $0.16 in 2011 Canadian Dollars (in 2003, when this novel takes place, the value was $0.18)

– The names of the towns will become common and if you sound them out you will smile.

– The ö makes the sound of ‘err’, with a somewhat silent r.  The letter O with Umlaut appears in the German alphabet and Swedish alphabet. It represents the umlauted form of o, resulting in [œ] or [ø]. The letter is collated together with O in the German alphabet, but located in the end of the Swedish one. The letter also occurs in some languages that have adopted German names or spellings, but is not a part of these languages’ alphabets.  In other languages that do not have the letter as part of the regular alphabet or in limited character sets such as ASCII, O-umlaut is frequently replaced with the two-letter combination “oe”.

– You’re thinking….when will the Sedin twins appear. 

Book 1: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

 

I rate this book as 10/10. 

Fantastic writing.  Fantastic action.  It goes in a lot of depth and the characters are developed so nicely and clearly and in such tremendous detail you actually feel like you miss them when you stop reading.  To be honest with you, this was my first trilogy and my first crime novel.  Normally, I like non-fiction, biography-type books.  I am into crime novels big-time!! 

I won’t talk about the story too much.  You MUST read these and you will see.  However, to whet your appetite for a tremendous novel, the story is based around two characters – Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist.  She is an eccentric, misunderstood, smart young woman who just wants to be left alone.  Blomkvist is a magazine reporter and publisher.  He is middle aged, smart, passionate and once interested in a story, never stops until all the facts are unveiled. 

Blomkvist is hired to write a life story of one of Sweden’s largest industrial families.  This is a guise.  His real job is to solve a cold case of 40 years.  Salander is hired as an investigator and researcher.  They both get tangled in some deep shit.  Guns, smoking tires, sex, murder, torture, golf clubs are all involved in the story.  And that is just part of it.  You get to learn the strange idiosyncrasies of life in Sweden.  Apparently, Swedes love sandwiches made from cream cheese and marmalade and coffee at all hours. 

I highly recommend this book.  It’s just so good.  In December, an English movie will be out in theatres starring Daniel Craig as Blomkvist.  READ THIS BOOK BEFORE XMAS 2011!!!

Book 2: The Girl Who Played With Fire

 

I rate this book at a shocking 10/10!! 

Once again, Stieg Larsson has done it again.  I am so into Scandinavian crime novels.  And I am so into the lives of these characters. 

Here is a quick synopsis to draw you in….  Salander is accused of two brutal murders! What!!!   Oh, wait!  A third!!  Blomkvist is on the case to get to the bottom of the crimes!  Did she do it?  Did the lesbian, Satanists do it?  Sweden’s National Security is at risk too!!  What happens?  Read and find out.

No Sedins here!!

Book 3: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

 

I rate this book at 9.8/10.  I rate this book slightly less than the other two.  I do this just because of a few minor details in the middle of the book.  Firstly, Lisbeth isn’t mentioned as much as the first two – although the trilogy revolves around her.  Secondly, there are so many new characters introduced, it is quite complicated as the plot twists like a delicious bowl of vermicelli from Phobulous.       

The story and writing is still as great as the rest of the work in this trilogy.  You definitely cheer for the stars and want the scumbags to pay.

I await the 4th book.

The 4th book http://www.stieglarsson.com/the-4th-book

The below is taken from the web. The status of the 4th book is currently unknown.

When Stieg started writing the Millennium series, he laid an outline of a total of ten books. Before his death in November 2004, he had finished the first three books and was well underway with the fourth. In an email written to a friend a month before his death, Stieg says that he has finished about half of the fourth book. Stieg says that he has written the beginning and the end, but that the middle part is not finished yet.

Many readers have asked if Eva Gabrielsson, Stieg’s life companion, could finish the fourth book, as she was deeply involved in the writing while Stieg was still alive. Eva herself is very positive, however, Swedish jurisdiction obstructs such a solution.

 

Stieg & Moi

The book “Stieg & Moi”, written by Eva Gabrielsson and Marie Francois Colombani comes out the 19 Jan 2011. The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet has read a rawcopy of the book and can reveal several interesting scoops.

Eva says in the book that she could finish the fourth manuscript but is, as of this moment unable to due to the legal dispute between her and Stieg Larsson’s father and brother. The Swedish title of the fourh book is also told, and is said to be “Guds hämd” (english translation: God’s revenge).

Aftonbladet has earlier published the news that the fourth book would take place in Canada, about 75 miles (120km) north of Sauchs Harbour on Banks Island. It is also told that the fourth script would mainly focus on Lisbet Salander, and how her personality changes when she starts to deal with her conflicts from the past. Her tattoos are explained and you are told that each and everyone represent a person who has hurt her throughout her life, both mentally and physically.

 It will not go away.  The amazing game of hockey.  The speed.  The skill.  The physicality.  The battles.  My take on this much talked about, controversial topic in the hockey community is that nothing should be done about this.  Why should it? 

 

In my opinion, the questions the league, the pundits, the hockey insiders, should consider are the following:-

– Was player X intending to hit player Y in the head?

– Was player X intending to injure player Y?

– Is there a trend of ‘dirty’ play from a player?   

– What do people love about the game?   

 

As some quick background to some stats, see Gary Bettman’s March 14, 2011, Post GM Meeting transcript from his press conference.

 

“For example, 26% of the concussions are caused accidentally, pucks to the head, people colliding with each other, including same teammates, people tripping and falling into the boards and glass and banging their heads.  44% are from what we’ll call legal hits.  That means body hits principally.  So 70% of concussions this season are from either accidental causes or legal hits.” – excerpted from Gary Bettman’s March 14, 2011, Post GM Meeting transcript press conference.

 

Is this really an issue?  If you don’t want to hurt yourself, you have choices.  You have the choice to not play and thus, NOT GET HURT!  These guys are professional athletes, getting paid quite a lot of money to play a game.  They know the risks.  If they are worried about getting smashed in the head, don’t get smashed in the head.  Keep your head up when crossing into the middle of the ice (or better yet, don’t cross into the middle of the ice).  Case in point – David Booth getting hit by Mike Richards on October 24, 2009.  Not only was he moving laterally, but he also looked at where his pass went, leaving him blind to an incoming player, who, rightfully so, hit him.  Check out the video. 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeN3QTw8iz4

 

It is definitely unfortunate what happened to Booth.  If you look at the replay, yes, Richards’ shoulder does make contact with Booth’s head.  The consequence of the speed, the angles the players collided and how Booth fell – with his face contacting the ice – added to his injuries.  Was it a great hit?  You bet it was.  Was Richards targeting his head?  That is one of my questions that need to be addressed.  In my lay opinion, I say no.  If any of you have played hockey at any level, you know that even playing shinny or non-contact men’s league there may be times where you aren’t looking and lay a guy out.  Carrying the puck, your body is naturally slumped over making your head lower to the ground and increasing the chances of getting hit with a shoulder or an elbow.  These are professional athletes playing a game.  Over the years, these athletes have gotten faster and stronger.  Should hitting to the head be outlawed?  That is something for the brains at the NHL to come up with.   

 

Was player X intending to hit player Y in the head? 

 

This is, most of the time, only a guess.  Often times, a quick move one way or the other will upset the way a player is moving, thus causing him to hit high.  Sometimes it is unavoidable.  I would hate to be a referee on those calls.  An example that clearly shows intent was Matt Cooke’s hit on Ryan McDonagh on the Sunday, March 20th, 2011 game.  And with the subsequent suspension, the NHL clearly believes that Cooke intended to hit McDonagh in the head.  See for yourself.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emTQpD8jmuw

 

Was player X intending to injure player Y?

 

We will never know this intention.  We can only, once again, guess.  We can only assume we know what he was thinking – did Y provoke X in some way earlier in the shift, earlier in the game, last game, last year?  In a perfect world, this would not matter.  At the moment the hit occurs, it is more than likely X wanted to hurt Y, but just for a few moments of pain.  Never to injure in a way the player is hurt badly for a long period of time.  Hockey, like many sports, can get emotional.  In the heat of the moment, players may not have the best intentions or will not use their brains.  Will this change?  Probably not. 

 

Is there a trend of ‘dirty’ play from a player?

 

My above case about Matt Cooke is a good example of a dirty play from a player.  He has had several suspensions over the years and gets quite emotional during games.  Is he a skilled hockey player?  You bet.  Is he an emotional player?  Definitely.  Will he change?  That is something we will have to see.  I believe that he will not change.  There will always be a handful of players that ‘mix’ things up and will play on that edge of chippy, chirpy, grindy behavior.  You love him if he is on your team and you hate his guts when he is on the opposing team.

 

Other typical examples of questionable, ‘dirty’, yet emotional play is by Trevor Gillies of the NY Islanders.  He had just come off a 9 game suspension, seen here:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKYXYRT-pyo

 

…then, on his first game back, does this to warrant a 10 game suspension.  Emotional?  Yes.  Reasoning?  I am sure he has it.  The NHL knows that there are players like this in the game and things like this will come up. 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HObjS14bPuU

 

 

What do people love about the game? 

 

The speed, the hitting, the almost brutal, raw emotion that occurs when things get heated up.  No one ever wants to see someone taken off the ice on a stretcher.  We all want to see the very best players on the ice making plays, hitting, playing at 100%.  Does something need to change?  Yes.  But be aware of risks that may occur.

 

What happened to the old days when you man-up?  Stop being a baby and keep your head up.    

“Let’s not kid ourselves,” one GM said. “The fact Sidney Crosby has been out a long time with a concussion is a huge part of what’s happening right now. And I feel terrible Sidney is injured and our game needs him playing. But he got hurt on what I believe was an accidental collision. It’s a fast game played by big people in a small area. There are going to be concussions. We can try to reduce the number but we’re never going to get rid of them.” – excerpted from Bob McKenzie’s blog of March 11, 2011.

 

The above blog post is only my opinion and my feelings and is without prejudice.