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I have just finished reading The Paleo Solution (by Robb Wolf) and Wheat Belly (by William Davis). I have been trying to avoid eating bread, sugar and dairy (mainly cheese) for a while now, yet my intention was really just to lose a few lbs. I never really knew the science behind my reasons for this lifestyle change, until I read these books and read some blogs and other references and am convinced that this is the way human beings should eat.

I have been blown away. Wheat, known as a staple in most everyone’s life and meals, causes or worsens the symptoms of so many ailments – from upset digestion and irritable bowel syndrome, to asthma, to sore joints, to eczema; to much more important and serious illnesses, like schizophrenia, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Shocking. You may be thinking that this is bullshit. Well, my uninformed and mislead friend; it is not bullshit. Keep reading.

My interest in Paleo(lithic) eating habits just began recently with my research and interest in CrossFit. Many people swear by Paleo and I figured it sounded interesting – at least we could try it and see and feel what happens. After all, I have been pretty much eating this way for years. Meat (good!), veg (I like veg!), nuts and seeds (ok) and healthy fats (avocados…mmmm) – sounds good.

This blog post is about some insights and interesting tidbits I took from reading these books; and not a review. The books are excellent and I highly recommend reading them.

Wheat Belly explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrinks unsightly bulges and reverses many health problems. Yes, the term ‘wheat belly’ refers to the enormous layer of visceral fat from the waists of so many people. The book explains in great scientific detail the biology of what wheat gluten does to your digestive system – and how your body reacts to it hormonally and chemically. Initially, it didn’t make sense. What about the lack of activity nowadays? What about fast food? Pop? Sugar? Video games?

Another key point to Wheat Belly is that wheat is in everything. EVERYTHING! It is seemingly unavoidable. Once you start some research you will find that the switches are worth it – especially if you start feeling great, sleeping great, performing great and losing those dreaded moobs!

The Paleo Solution describes the Paleolithic, or hunter-gatherer, diet. Robb Wolf also gets deep into the history of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and how the agricultural revolution has changed the way people eat and, subsequently, digest food. He talks about the benefits of the change and easy ways to implement this in your life. Recipes and food replacements are included and they are creative and appetizing.

Now for some biology 101. I am sure you have all heard about the glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) measures the speed at which food is digested and converted to glucose – our body’s energy source. The faster the food breaks down, the higher the rating on the index. The index sets sugar (glucose) at 100 and scores all foods against that number. Foods that are made from wheat have very high Glycemic Index. Here are some examples:
• Table sugar is 59
• Mars bar is 68
• Snickers bar is 41
• Apple is 38
• A slice of whole wheat bread has a whopping GI of 72! Unbelievable right?!? Eating a piece of bread will raise your blood sugar more than a chocolate bar or a can of coke.

High blood sugar provokes high insulin production, which is released by the pancreas. The higher the blood sugar, the more insulin must be released to move the sugar into the body’s cells – such as those as muscles and the liver. When the pancreas’ inability to produce insulin in response to blood sugar occurs, diabetes develops. But you don’t have to be diabetic to experience high blood sugar and high insulin. The catch here is that foods made from wheat, convert to sugar so much easier. This constant high blood sugar, high insulin production cycle, will eventually cause the pancreas to stop producing insulin. In Wheat Belly, the author has cases of reversal of diabetes when all wheat is removed from the diet.

You may be thinking that this post will funnel towards gluten and Celiac disease. Well, yes and no. The Paleo Solution and Wheat Belly do talk in-depth about Celiac disease and how the damaged intestine lining is affected by wheat gluten which causes the sufferer with major stomach upset and hours, and potential days, of diarrhea, stomach pains and mental fuzziness. I am just noting that if you are looking to improve your diet, watch what goes into your body – ESPECIALLY if it says gluten-free on the package. A main point made in both books is that gluten-free foods, which do not have any wheat gluten (good, right?), are made with certain carbohydrates as ingredients – corn starch, tapioca starch, rice starch and potato starch. Interestingly, these carbohydrates have higher GI than wheat. You may think you are eating well, and you are because you are eliminating wheat from your diets, but your blood sugar is still rising and your pancreas is being affected adversely, which causes visceral fat deposition along your abdomen. Be aware.

Wheat also has addictive properties. Like morphine, heroin or any opioid, once wheat enters your blood stream, it attaches itself to your opiate receptors – causing you to become addicted. You seem skeptical once again? Of course you are. You have been raised to think that you need wheat. You need grains. You need those all healthy, all powerful, healthy whole grains. Just eat something with wheat, wait two hours while your blood sugar comes down, and see how you want and need some more?

You want a better sleep? You want to be in a better mood once you are up? You want to lose that spare tire that you can’t seem to shake (or wait, it does shake….)? All I am saying is try it for 30 days.

Open your mind; let yourself think beyond the status quo; and that yes, you are a smart, informed consumer; and that yes, you want to know what goes into your body.

It is just 30 days.


I am a Crossfit snob

I am a Crossfit snob. I admit it and don’t hide my feelings about it. This is my explanation of Crossfit – the training, the community, the feeling of giving it your all (and then a little more).

I started going to Crossfit because my fiancée Shannon was going. I liked some aspects of it and used them during my ‘working out’. Yet, some of them seemed stupid and I wasn’t going to do them. However, I always say that I am open to new things.

The truth is that I am stubborn and somewhat set in my ways. I liked going to the gym when I wanted and not being told what to do or how much time I had to do something. After some prodding, I decided to go to a few classes.

What I discovered was that it was awesome. More than awesome, actually. The exhilaration of the feeling of finishing a wod. The feeling that is was not only you that found it goddamn hard which left you gasping for air and crumpled on the ground. And… the feeling that I am not too bad. However, I still had a lot of work to do on my cardio; a ton of work on my lifting technique and, I had to figure out what the hell a muscle-up, a kip and a double-under was.

The basis of Crossfit involves training with functional movements. Being able to lift a lot of weight while mixing in some cardio (often a shitload of cardio – read: hero wod). Aspects like Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics are the core of these exercises. But Crossfit is not only about training. Mix in recovery and repair from these intense workouts. Properly warming up and properly stretching and massage are key to keeping one’s body in top form. Nutrition is also key to feeling good. Knowledge about nutrition – what is good and what is bad as sustenance for a Crossfit athlete (as well as a normal, healthy, active person…….HEY! I told you I am a snob!) are crucial for growing muscle fibres and fueling up for the next day and the next wod. The last, and probably best aspect of Crossfit is the community of people involved. You want to go back – not to beat the next guy and girl (although there are those who have little inner competitions amongst each other – you know who you are! Ok, we all have them. Shhhhhhh!). This is not like a regular gym. You don’t go in, change, workout and leave. You drive up….you see who is there….uh oh….then you go in and say hey to everyone. They know you. You know them. You care about them. They care about you. You want to find out about recipes? Ask. You say, “dude, you hear that Froning PR’d his squat snatch?” And someone will know. They care about Crossfit. They are as crazy about Crossfit as you are. Crazy? Obsessed? No. It’s passion. It’s about improvement. It is about making yourself a better person. Clean, strong, healthy, passionate.

Unlike the GoodLife, Snap or ClubFit, the coaches are there daily and you get coaching daily. They make sure your squat is complete and done properly. You want to figure out how a kettlebell swing is supposed to look like – they tell you, show you and you get better. I appreciate their help and guidance. They appreciate us getting better, stronger, faster.

I do not have personal goals. I know I love the way I feel after a workout. I want to go every day. I want to get to the point where I get to the games average weights lifted (see the attached picture).

I know I need more practice doing double-unders, pull-ups, snatches, and generally every movement. I need to improve my cardio too. I am cramping far too much. Therefore, my general goal is to get stronger, faster and smoother. I hate leaking performance.

Do I see myself going to the games? I will do the open. Check back when I am 45. 🙂

I take back all I said about Lance Armstrong…..well, most of what I said and thought. I was a massive supporter of his. I am not any longer.

Actually, I had him classified as a hero of mine. From the outside, without the proper knowledge, without positive test results, without knowing the background, he is amazing. Imagine winning all those races, surviving cancer, then winning the Tour seven times. With all the speculation of doping and performance-enhancing drug use, I just figured he was just one of those extremely driven, special individuals who could push just that much harder, recover that much faster, be on top of his game every morning.

When the latest info came out about Lance stopping to fight the charges from USADA, I wondered why he would quit. He is not a quitter. Right?? I immediately thought that Livestrong would suffer. Did he lie? Did he cheat? The latest book by Tyler Hamilton ‘The Secret Race’ made me rethink my hero-worship. I believe that he did lie and cheat. That is the way it was (is?) done. Just look at how many have been caught over the years. Just look at the amazing speeds going up those insane mountains.

This has nothing to do with the organization called Livestrong. I support this amazing cause and I hope cancer can be cured or controlled with their efforts. Yet, I do not wear my Livestrong bracelet any longer.

I still love cycling and will continue to follow it. I am just disappointed in Lance. Actually, I am disappointed in myself for being so gullible.

Earlier this week, I had another heated, yet circular, discussion with my parents about the medical system.

“So mom, if it is broken, what would you do to fix it?”

“And is there a way to pay for it if there is no money, or how can the present allocation be managed better?”

I am a person that dislikes … nay, hates … complainers. If you dislike something, or complain about something now being how you think it should be, come up with some solutions.

Most everyone has been to an ER over the last few years. It can be super frustrating. You go in – you check in to the registration desk – then you go to another reg desk for further details (health card, history, whatever) – then, depending if they ‘think’ you are a serious case, you go to the triage nurse. This nurse then determines whether you should wait or get put in to a room right away because you are bleeding or having trouble breathing (or some other stuff – I am not a triage nurse).

This process is inefficient and does it really help the people that need help? Ambulances come in and get preferential treatment – they should. Do I go to an ER because it is fun? I go because I need medical assistance.

This is my recommendation:

Set up an ER like a bank with tellers, or like at the movie theatre. These tellers are triage nurses with actual decision making ability. You come in, with a short lineup, and when a ‘teller’ opens up, you go to them. There would be 10 to 20 per ER. They make the determination of prescribing (or giving out) medication, whether the patient can just go to their doctor, whether the patient
a. Scenario 1: Patient presents with a migraine. Triage Nurse (TN) prescribes (or actually gives some) pain meds. NEXT!
b. Scenario 2: Patient presents with a broken ankle. Patient gets taken to the x-ray department, then to surgery / bone setting area / cast building area / wherever. They are out of the ER waiting room. NEXT!
c. Scenario 3: Patient presents with possible heart attack. Similar to scenario 2, they get taken to surgery or to a specialist.
Options for this would be having ER doctors at the teller position. This may cause labour disruptions and issues with the Nursing Union as well as with the AMA (I am guessing here though).

I see this as being a good idea. Will it cost any more money than presently? I do not know. Even if it does cost more; if it makes people happier, less stressed and healthy quicker, how can it be bad?

I welcome all feedback.


I have never been a fan of Apple. To be honest, before the latest craze of the ipod, iphone and ipad, I just thought Macs were overpriced fancy dumb computers. I mean, what can a $2,500 computer do that a $700 Dell cannot do?

Craze? Yes, that is what I initially thought. Over the last few years though, I have realized that these products are amazing, super user friendly and super cool. Just think about the feature of moving icons on the screen with your fingers. How does it do that?!? Before this was invented, why would I even want that feature? Crazy!

Onto the book. Excellent book. It was written very well and was a thorough summary of his life. I knew practically nothing about Jobs other than he was the CEO and was the inventor extraordinaire of all these innovative, über cool products. If you have any curiosity of the history of these products, about Apple and about what drove Jobs, read this book. Incidentally, Jobs was not the sole contributor and inventor of these products. Like every successful company, team, or group, there are many factors involved, and Apple is the same way. He did drive his people and steer the company in a direction to make it successful. He knew what the public wanted before the public even knew what they wanted. I wish I had such charisma and passion.

Things I have taken out of this book:-
– Jobs was a super emotional person.
– Jobs never used deodorant. His extreme eating habits are eye opening.
– I learned why he chose the name Apple.
– Jobs was also super hard on his people. A teams take A players – not B players. (I do not like the way he treated people though)
– There was a computer named the Lisa.
– I never even knew of the NeXT Computer Company. (I had a Tandy)
– I never knew he ran and made Pixar what it is today.
– His “reality distortion field” made me laugh.
– I learned what gorilla glass is. (and actually got pissed that Google’s Nexus phone uses it and is noted on an ad. Maybe Corning has a deal with them; I do not know)
– The calculator on all Apple products has been the same design and colour scheme since the 80s.
– He had a liver transplant and nearly died because of the wait for the organ.
– Jobs’ life long rivalry with Bill Gates.
– The way his cancer’s cells were gene sequenced and the drug therapy was targeted and engineered to attack it. Sadly, it mutated too rapidly.

I know that the world lost a great mind and a great inspirer. I do know that Apple will continue to pump out amazing products.

I am now a huge fan of Apple.

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?




On guard!!


Gordo just a baby hanging in the backyard


What a Face!!


Hello little dude!

Correctly, you ask? Well, by my definition, and with this being my blog, sleeping correctly means waking up with little to no back pain. This is also based on my experience with my back pain relief.

To those of you who have never experienced early morning stiffness or pain, man, I wish I was you. For me, back pain in the morning before sleeping correctly meant that I couldn’t bend over the sink to wash my face. I would have to be in a half squat bracing myself with my elbows on the sink edge. That is no fun. And for months at a time, that was how my mornings were. That was before March 2006.

Then March 2006 came around and I did something else to my back and ever since then I vowed to do what I could to alleviate that pain. I started stretching and working my back and core to avoid incidents of pain. It was not enough.

Flash forward to the summer of 2006. It was a sweltering few weeks and I went to the basement to sleep. The couch was shit, so I rolled on to the floor and had one of the best all time sleeps. My back felt great and I attributed it to me sleeping on the hard floor and on my side. I did some further research into this and discovered something profound. I realized that I have been sleeping incorrectly for as long as I can recall. I liked the position of sleeping on my side, with my top leg at a 90° and my bottom leg straight. This caused me to twist and it was basically like I was sleeping on my stomach. It was so comfortable. However, it caused my pelvis to twist and cause my back to crunch up. To be clear, with my back ‘crunching’, means that it is in a constant flexed position – like you are doing oblique crunches, but staying in the crunch (see picture of me in my stretching pants).

And once you think about that, the muscles are not relaxed and can cause cramping and pain. I realized this and started thinking back to when I was on the floor. I started sleeping with a pillow between my knees. I also purchased a sleep number bed. Initially, I believed it was the firmness of the mattress that mattered, but it is not as big of a factor. It is the pillow between the knees and being on your side.

Another issue I have had with sleeping on the side is the question of where do I position my shoulders? You must roll your shoulders in and have your arms lie in front of your torso. This is a unique thing to you, but find the right spot where no blood vessels are blocked and you will sleep well.

This new technique and getting more flexible has greatly improved my back issues. If you try this, you will feel better. Trust me; it works.

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….

$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


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
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.

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
“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



Public school budget confirms teacher cuts
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

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.

UPDATE: 9 Months later………

I have Monovision

Initially, I reported that my vision was super clear and I was super happy.  Coming from coke bottle thick glasses, for which I have been wearing for over 27 years, it was a great feeling.  And it still is. 

After about a month though, my vision slowly slightly worsened and then plateaued.  I needed to squint for objects – tv, faces at long distances, etc.  I was able to get an enhancement as my cornea had sufficient thickness and the corneal flap was able to be lifted without a re-cut.  So, I decided to get an enhancement.  So, last Thursday, I went back to EyeQ and had my left eye re-lasered.  Lucky for me, I did not need to have my eyeball held in place and the 9 seconds of laser action went by quite quickly.  A funny comment by the surgical assistant, “you may smell the odor of burnt hair.”  Actually, that’s burnt eyeball!!    

A month ago I went in for a consultation and the doctor determined that my left eye was the worse of the two.  By doing the one eye, it leaves the right eye good for up close stuff and my left eye good for long distance sight – leaving me with Monovision.  My brain will takes both images and amalgamate them.  A week later, my vision is significantly crisper and I am happy.  Another reason for doing the one eye is so that I won’t require reading glasses too soon (mid 40s ish).

I am still recommending this procedure for anyone on the fence about it.




I have been wearing glasses since I was 9 years old.  Holy shit did I hate them towards the end.  A few years ago, I started wearing contact lenses exclusively.  Mainly because I liked what I looked like without glasses, I could pretty much do anything without the glasses and I despised paying for new glasses every few years.  This prolonged use caused something happen to my eyelids though.  They formed small ulcers underneath the lid itself.  I was becoming allergic to the material of the contact lens.  So, my optometrist informed me I needed to take a break from the exclusive lens use.  So, I succumbed and purchased a nice, contemporary pair of glasses.  This “break” was good for my lids.  Occasionally, I still wore my lenses – for mountain biking, snowboarding, baseball, hockey, and any other activity.  It turned out I needed the use of the lenses quite regularly.  Prior to this allergy, I could go almost all day with the lenses in.  Over the last few months, however, I was getting comfortable use for close to 4 hours.  This was getting on my nerves and I decided to ask some questions about laser eye surgery.


The main questions needed to be asked are:-

         How old are you?

         Has your prescription changed in the last few years?

         Is your cornea thick enough for the procedure?


Under 40?  YES!


My prescription had not changed in over 5 years.  WEEEE!


Thick cornea?  Don’t know.  I was referred to EyeQ Laser (  Their offices are very nice, modern and use the very best, state-of-the-art equipment and ultra high tech computerized aiming, measuring and targeting lasers.  Their website shows all you need to know about their facility and capabilities. 


It turns out you need a minimum thickness of cornea in order for the flap to be cut, moved out of the way for the laser to reshape your eye.  Luckily, I had that required thickness.


So, I decided to go ahead and book the procedure.


On the morning of the procedure, I was feeling great.  OR was I?  I slept well, yet my heartbeat may have been a few beats faster than normal, but still I was acting all cool.  My super wonderful girlfriend Shannon drove me to my appointment.  Upon getting seated to await the procedure, I did notice that I was a little more restless.  My fears were …. Would I lose my sight?  Cases are very, very rare.  Would I come out with worse vision?  Again, the cases are very rare.  What if I had to sneeze during the procedure and thus altering the trajectory of the beam?  The doctor made me feel very comfortable with all my questions.  The numbers he gave me for my current state of blindness were… 99.9% chance of coming out with 20/40 vision and a 94% chance of seeing at a 20/20 level.  Pretty good, I thought.  After all, my eyes were: -7.07 OD and -6.91 OS.  I knew the potential risks and signed off on them.


Time to get this over with.  I slip into booties, a funny mesh gown and a shower cap.  I then get ushered into the operating room. 


It is sterile and there is a lady in there all masked and gloved up.  Good stuff.  I lie down on a flat chair-bed.  And position myself as comfortable as I can.  There are two machines on either side of me.  Small talk ensues and I was given two foam eyeballs as stress squeezers.  How cute.  Fuck!  What do I need these for!  The doctor then comes in and he goes through what is to happen.  I am not stressing out, but I am nervous and he calms me down after telling me what will happen.   


First, my left eye will be taped shut so they can concentrate on the right eye.  Then they tape my lashes down and start the numbing drops.  With these drops I no longer feel the need to blink.  That is a weird feeling.  They were cold and dripped to the back on my neck.  Then a contraption is lowered to hold my eyelids open.  At this time I cannot feel it in my eye.  At this point, I am positioned under the machine that cuts the cornea.  It is tremendously bright.  Something else is lowered onto my head, but I do not know what this is.  At this point, the doctor says that they will be lowering a suction cup to my eye and to be ready but nothing is to worry.  He then positions my head a little better and off we go.  To better understand this procedure, click on the below link.


This was a very strange sensation.  The suction cup arm was lowered onto my right eye and it sat there and sucked down.  After a few seconds, my vision went dark.  I was then moved over to the other station.  This is where the cornea layer gets cut.  As the cup was lowered, you can see 7 distinct small lights in a circle.  If you are at all claustrophobic, this would be terrifying for you.  But the doctor and the techs were amazing at talking me through it.  I didn’t notice myself squeezing the foam balls at all.  I concentrated on slow, deep breaths and only swallowed when I had to.  This part only took 20 seconds at most.  See a real life video below.  Be prepared as it is a video of an actual eye getting cut.


I was then moved over to the laser.  The laser was aimed at my eye and it did its readings.  It determined that it would need 51 seconds of ‘modifying’ time.  I am guessing this is because of my high nearsightedness.  I was to stare at a blinking, faded orange strobe.  I had to keep completely still for 51 seconds.  This was where I didn’t want to screw this up.  I kept slow, deep breaths and swallowed about 4 or 5 times but kept my head perfectly still.  Throughout this entire time, the doctor kept reassuring me that everything was perfect.  Perfect.  Perfect.  Perfect.


After the 51 seconds of clicking and clacking, it was done.  There was a half sniff of burned eyeball, but nothing I haven’t smelled before.  It was like burned hair.  The fuzzy orange strobe seemed clear.  I WAS NOT BLIND!!!  Whew!  The doctor now put the flap back, as the video shows, and readjusted it and smoothed the air out or whatever and sprinkled it with cooling liquid.  Onto the left eye.


The procedure was the exact same to the left eye, but I did notice some pain coming from my right eye from the bright lights being used.  Maybe black tape should be used for that eye.  Just sayin’.  The suction device seemed to cause more pain on this eye, which apparently is quite normal.  The left eye needed 49 seconds of zap time.  Once again, I was breathing deeply, knowing that it was less than a minute and I’d be a new person.  BEEP!  DONE!  I was then pulled up and walked myself to the post surgery room.  I had a cookie and a juice.  As the doctor said, my vision was cloudy (like looking through Vaseline).  But it was clear. I could read stuff across the room!  OH MAN!!  This is great. 


For a few hours afterward, the real pain was from light sensitivity when I was applying my eye drops.  Honestly though, the only pain part of the procedure was the procedure itself.  One other downside to the major trauma to the eyeball is some bruising on the white part (sclera) of my eyes.  Check the pic below.  This is supposed to clear up in 10 days or so.



A few other downsides….. I cannot touch my eyes for a week.  I cannot get sweat or water in my eyes.  I cannot play contact sports for two weeks.  I cannot swim for three weeks.  Once the 3 week time limit is up, and a few dr visits over the next half year, I am good to go.  I am so happy I did this.