22 September 2011

Name That Tune

UPDATE: FOUND! It's called That's What Love is For and it was done by Scott Dibble and Watertown in 1992. WOOHOO! $20 to the SPCA.

 A good friend of mine has been searching for something for a long time and I told her I would TOTALLY hijack Dawg's blog and all its readers to help her find it, and that I'd use mine too, though it was way less likely to actually work. Also, I was rather cocky and told her that I was sure I could find it. And now its a matter of pride, honour, and stubbornness. Never mind how long I've been searching.

First, the story: 16 years ago, my husband and I were a young, goofy, totally in love couple. We would drive around for hours, listening to country music and "just talking". We had a favourite, and we joked that it was our song. We're not the "our song" kind of couple, and you'll see why in a minute. Anyway, our 14 year old daughter was asking us one day if we had a song, and to her amusement and teenage disgust, we started singing it. She asked what it was called. Um... no clue. Well, she said, who sang it? Um... Yeah, don't know that either. She informs me that we are the only people on the planet who have a song, but don't know who sings it or what it's called. So I went hunting. I searched the internet high and low, offered rewards for it and got nothing. Here's what I can tell you:

1) It was played often during 1993 - 1994. Maybe as early as November 1992. Possibly a bit later.
2) It was a male singer. Not a band, I don't think.
3) At one point, I thought it was Joe Diffy or Rick Tippe. I've looked through their discography. I don't think so. But I suspect the name is similar to that. Maybe not.
4) I know a big chunk of lyrics. YAY.
 We go together like tar and feathers, oh yeah
 In that hot summer weather, we stick together the whole day long
 ... (something I don't remember)
 But they don't see what we have always known
 I'm like gum on your shoe, I could not let go of you even if I tried.

 Your Mama she don't like me much
 She don't think that I have much finesse.
 And your brother he just stares at me
 Like a broken branch on the family tree, oh boy
That's it. Not bad for 18 years ago, eh?

So here's the deal - find me an MP3 for $20 to you or your favourite charity. Find me an original CD for $50 to you or your charity.

What do you think, comrades? Can you help?

21 September 2011

Some vacation

The boys had an appointment at BC Children's Hospital on Monday to see someone in Biochemical Diseases - the specialist's specialist, they called her. It was basically uneventful. We decided to make a weekend of it and caught the ferry over on Saturday morning. The ferry fees were waived because of the doctor's appointment and so that was just lovely. Some highlights:

  • Pop started crying "home" in a pitiful little whine before we even got to the ferry terminal. He said it pretty much constantly after that. The pool was the only respite from it. And trains.
  • Our room had a view that included the skytrain. Every 5 minutes, Pop went wild, "TRAIN!|
  • Metrotown is my idea of hell. It is loud, crowded, and easy to get lost in. The rails are low enough for Crackle to scale them. 
  • Our hotel was Hilton Metrotown. Guess where we spent the weekend. Snap was very happy about that.
  • Snap was only happy about that.
  • Pop is afraid of a lot of things. Bugs, the dark, riding in the car at night, riding on trains and ferries, hot food, hot water, doctors...
  • The hotel room was lovely. Except for the coffee pot which used pods and made coffee that tasted like it had been prefiltered through someone's kidneys. Someone sick.
  • When a hotel advertises that it has wireless internet, apparently this can mean, 'but only in the lobby' and you're not allowed to get mad at them.
  • Because of allergies and basic logistics, I prepared all of our food in advance except for stuff we could buy at the grocery store.
  • The grocery store was as busy at 9pm on a Sunday as my regular store is on Dec 23 at closing time.
  • I am always, always shocked by my own racism when I go to Vancouver. Yes, it is something I continue to work on.
  • Crackle is addicted to elevators. He will ride them from sun up to sun down.
  • He loudly protests being made to stay away from elevators. Even if he has gone up and down 18 floors over 50 consecutive times.
  • It is not something in his room that causes him to have insomnia. 
  • When one person in a hotel room has insomnia, no one sleeps. Except teenagers. Who can sleep through the apocalypse.
  • Regardless, teenagers will then whine that they are too tired to help with anything the next day.
  • The dogsitter fed the dog food I specifically told her not to. The dog got the shits at 4am, after he came home. On the carpet. In front of my bedroom door. Guess who stepped in it on the way to the toilet. If you guessed Luna, you'd be wrong. It was Luna's grumpy husband.
  • My garden was wildly overgrown from a whole 5 days of neglect. Quick aside: grand total on the potatoes? 35 lbs. Tomatoes are still coming, but I've already picked 12 lbs of them. Zucchini is basically done, but I picked about 40 of them. Have planted cauliflower and cabbage for overwintering.
  • The only thing to come out of the doctor's appointment was more testing. Metabolic disorder? Chromosomal abnormality? No one knows yet.

15 September 2011

Throat Punch Thursday: Shared Services Canada

Holy crows. I missed Throat Punch Thursday. Already. It's only been three weeks and I missed two. You'll forgive me if you hear about my week. Which you won't, because I'm repressing it.

Today's Throat-Punch goes to the Harper Government for Shared Services Canada. SSC is a new department, that is supposed to streamline all of the tech services from various "data centres" into one department. It's supposed to close down multiple centres and save money. Ha. Ha ha. Hahahaha. (That's supposed to sound like the laugh that the carnies on the Simpsons made when they stole the Simpsons' house from them. If you don't know that episode, what is wrong with you?)

From their press release:
The Government has over 100 different email systems, over 300 data centres, and over 3,000 network services within the Federal Public Service. This is inefficient and wasteful. The Government will move to one email system, reduce the overall number of data centres from 300 to less than 20, and streamline electronic networks within and between government departments. This will improve services to Canadians, make IT more secure and reliable, and save taxpayers’ dollars in line with the Government of Canada’s plan to return to balanced budgets.

One email system?! Are you shitting me? So when one of them goes down, ... OH WAIT, then the whole civil service email system is down. GREAT PLAN! And if one gets hacked into or compromised, you guessed it, the entire thing is. Fantastic plan. Remember last year when the email system of the finance department and the treasury board got hacked, and none of them were allowed to use the internet at work any more? Remember how they had to use internet cafes? No? I do. Shall we do that to the entire government?

Streamline electronic networks? What exactly does that mean? Moving servers to those <20 data centres. So when the server for, oh, say the Department of Fisheries and Oceans goes down at 2pm, but the server is in Ottawa, 3 hours ahead at 5pm, well, too bad. You can wait until tomorrow. Maybe. If the email is working.

And what exactly is a data centre? Pretty much any federal building has servers with data stored on it. And pretty much none of them are exclusively that. So define it?

You know how they could save money? They could stop spending millions and millions of dollars on software and look into open source software. The MS Office licenses alone... geez. Here's another idea: Skype meetings. Way too much money goes into travel for meetings. WAY too much.

And seriously, are you going to tell me that it's not going to cost a metric buttload of money to set this shit up? Of course it is. Migrating it, hiring new staff (another kick in the teeth. they're laying people off here and there, but they're posting public job announcements? The unions are unimpressed to say the least.) So how long until this allegedly will save them money? Right. In about thirteen years. If we're lucky. Shared Services Ontario supposedly worked and saved taxpayers money, but the Shared Services model that the Western Australian government tried backfired magnificently and cost the government way more than the original set up, and also managed to cut jobs. So they totally hosed up the lives of some civil servants, and then charged them for the pleasure of doing it to them. Nice. Or not.

Brilliant idea, guys. Brilliant. Throat punches for all.

Little Bitches*

The other day on Twitter, I read, "Six year old daughter has finally learned that little girls are mean, spiteful, bitchy, hateful creatures. Nothing new under the sun." And I bristled. Because I'm a feminist. But I also nodded. Because I'm a mom to a girl and we experienced this too. And because I was a little girl, and experienced it there too. My own kid was no exception, and I expect that I wasn't either.

When my daughter was six, she told the Muslim girl down the road that she couldn't play with her because she doesn't like people with brown skin. Oh. My. God. And of course, the parents assumed it was coming from me and her Dad. HELL NO it wasn't. As it turned out, Snap didn't like the kid and had to figure out something to say to tell her to go away. She could have just as easily said she didn't like girls who wore red dresses. I FLIPPED MY SHIT. I talked to the darlin' girl. I talked to her Dad. I cried. He looked at me like I had lost my fucking mind. Of course, he hadn't seen the news that day and I had. It was September 11, 2001. Seriously. I shit you not. My six year old daughter told a Muslim that they couldn't play because of the girl's skin colour on September Fucking 11th. Yeah. Nice timing, kid. So yeah, once we had it all out, it was okay again. I had the girl decide what Snap's punishment should be (which she TOTALLY loved and was very reasonable and fair - don't worry, I wouldn't have meted out an unfair one, regardless of what the girl wanted) and all was well.

Snap's a very accepting kid now. Thanks be! She's got to have one of the strongest senses of justice I've ever seen. I love that about her.

So what are we doing to our daughters? Why are they becoming "mean, spiteful, bitchy, hateful creatures"? I see it all the time. I cannot deny it. And it's not a case of girls with strong personalities are being called this because we can't handle the idea of strong girls. Little girls are MEAN. (I'm not saying boys aren't. I'm not saying anything about boys. I want to keep this to the girls for the moment). I've heard them tell other girls they are fat, ugly, and stupid, that their parents don't like them, that they're adopted because they were too ugly to keep, that they're so stupid no one will ever love them... it goes on and on. Where the hell is it coming from? Is it a healthy stage? (Doubtful). Is it something new? Is it a case of trying to find dominance in a male-dominated world? Honestly, I don't know and I want input.

*Yes, I'm using the word "bitch" rather ironically. It's intended.

And yes, eventually, I will come back in time to Thursday and write another post in the Throat-Punch Thursday series. Thanks for reminding me I'm a failure, Dr. Dawg. :D

06 September 2011

Gluten Strikes Again

Glutened. Again. This is why I haven't been online much. In my house, "glutened" means one or more of us accidentally ingested gluten - usually in a tiny amount, because we are crazy careful. This time, I suspect it was the "gluten-free" Chex cereal, because it's the only thing we all ate and because it's the only new thing any of us ate. Also, when I phoned the company, the service rep told me a flat out lie about labelling laws and then hung up on me when I asked her to check. So yeah. No more Chex.

Oh how the labelling laws infuriate me. Come mid 2012, the new rules come into effect. On the surface, they look great: "Gluten sources will need to be declared when a food contains gluten protein, modified gluten protein, or gluten protein fractions from barley, oats, rye, triticale or wheat"
Fabulous, right? Well yeah. Except that they mean the food ingredients contain it. They don't include contamination from processing. So, if I get a Halloween Caramilk bar (HA! I wish) and it says gluten free, it means that none of the ingredients contains gluten. However, the chocolate may be "run off" chocolate. That is, the chocolate that was poured over other chocolate bars, like say KitKat, and the stuff that ran off underneath the line is used for the Halloween smaller sized ones. So my little Caramilk may have crumbs from the KitKat, but they can still call it gluten-free because the chocolate doesn't contain gluten. Furthermore "with this updated terminology, companies that manufacture products made with barley, oats, rye, triticale or wheat but do not contain gluten protein will have the option of labelling them as gluten-free in Canada (eg: products containing pure maltodextrin derived from wheat will now be able to label themselves as gluten free). It is felt that this change will be of benefit to celiac patients, since it could further expand the availability of healthy food choices for this group".

WTF?! This is akin to saying the rate of poverty is going down because you lowered the poverty line! Food I couldn't eat before because IT IS DERIVED FROM WHEAT I can now eat because you're calling it gluten-free?! Because maltodextrin from wheat has every single molecule of protein removed? Really? Every single one? And you guarantee that? No, of course you don't.

Furthermore, the new regulations blow chunks like some of us will:

Do the new regulations cover the precautionary labelling?

The new regulations cover food allergens, gluten sources and sulphites that have been deliberately added to food products. They do not cover the inadvertent presence of these substances as a result of cross contamination.

This means that anything can say, "Gluten-Free" as long as they don't deliberately add it. So now we have to call every single company unless it says, "Processed in a gluten-free facility" and there are only a few specialized brands that do this. Is it any wonder I shy away from processed foods?!

Crackle and Pop got it the worst, and "coincidentally" they also ate the most Chex. I thought it tasted like roasted ass, so I only had two. And well, let's just say it ain't pretty. Pop can't sleep when he's glutened. His sleep becomes fractured by screams and writhing pain. The smells that emanate from him should be weaponized. DAMN. Snap is okay-ish. She's uncomfortable and grumpy, but other than that okay. And poor Crackle... this is why Crackle can't go to school. Because he's too allergic[1] to gluten. He's been a nightmare for days. He's been cycling between screaming and laughing hysterically rather rapidly. He's incontinent again. He's completely unable to sit still, even to eat, which he's not interested in doing anyway. Except that he's hungry, and so then the crying... Oh the crying. It's painful.

The school board would not work with us the way we needed. Now, I'm not about to ask that no kid be allowed gluten. There's be riots. No crackers? No sandwiches? No cookies?! OMG! Anyway, that's not reasonable, and I'm a pretty reasonable person. So I asked 
Could the kids (other than mine) could eat in a lunchroom. The way I used to when I was a kid. 
HELL NO. They eat in their classrooms, thank you! 
Um, but my kid is allergic to their lunches.
We'll clean up.
Yeah, I don't mean to be rude, but I highly doubt you have the time or resources to clean it up the way you'd need to in order to make him safe.
We manage kids with peanut allergies just fine!
See, there's a difference. A few differences. 1) My kid won't show any symptoms right away. It'll take a few hours at least. 2) There are no treatments for the symptoms. I can't give him an epipen shot and bang, he's cured. 3) You don't have a kid with a peanut allergy sitting in a classroom in which Every Single Kid is eating some form of peanuts. It's insanity. You don't say, "Oh, you just leave while we all eat peanuts and peanut butter and peanut brittle and pasta with peanut sauce and make peanut crafts. I'm sure we can clean it all up well enough that you don't react". But that's what they're saying to me.

So, no school for Crackle. There are other issues too, but that was the deal-breaker. So now I don't get to pawn him off on someone else for 6 hours he doesn't get the experience of going to school and I get to be a homeschooling Mom to a non-verbal kid with Autism. YAY. Can you smell my enthusiasm yet? No? That's just Pop's diaper.
[1] It's not an allergy. It's an intolerance. But if one says intolerance, people think lactose and "just pop a pill" or "so his tummy hurts a bit. It'll go away." No. This causes physical damage to the intestine that takes weeks to heal. Every exposure increases the risk of intestinal cancer, lymphoma, and secondary autoimmune diseases. Better to say allergy and be a bit imprecise.