Video Referencing

I have been watching the Sixties documentary show on CNN. The show is exceptional.

The Civil Rights Episode showcases interesting clips of Dr. King. There are some clips there that I have never seen before.

I like King. How can you not like a man who promoted change through non-violence? From the video clips, he seemed to have been a kind, jovial man. I bet he was that type of man where small children ran to him for a hug.

It was devastating to hear that he had been shot in the face. I knew he had been shot since I was a little girl. I knew he had died at a hotel by an assassin’s bullet, but I did not know that the assailant had aimed for his face. That’s hatred for you.

This got me thinking about the Civil Rights Movement.

I pulled up the internet, or Youtube to be precise, and looked for video clips. These events are all there: BirminghamBloody Sunday, Mississippi. Online videos are a referencing system; they become a history lesson for those unable to read the book or take the history class. One video leads you to another, and so on and so. Soon, the entire day has passed.

Due to the personal aspect of videos one must be selective. Anyone can spout their racist and homophobic feelings on Youtube. One must be smart enough to spot it.

For this posting, let’s concentrate on the positive of videos as videos can be a constructive aid to understanding the world.

Video can be placed in one of three categories:

1) Instructing

2) Informing

3) Entertaining

Instructional videos show you how to bake a cake or make a quilt. Many people learn by watching. This is where video becomes a valuable teaching tool. Classroom instruction has now taken to include videos as a regular part of class. Who has not seen a school presentation that has not included some sort of Youtube clip?

Entertainment is really the simplest form of video found online. Here is where you see the crazy pet videos or the girls gone wild at spring break. I will refrain from showing you the video of my cat trying to roll over. (It is really cute, though.)

Of course, informing is another major use of video. News broadcasters have used video to their benefit. Now people can watch news events almost as they are happening. Cell phones make taking and uploading video easy.  Many news shows will actually pay civilians to send them news footage. News gets to you faster than ever now, thanks to video feeds.

Remember Rodney King? This was perhaps the first glimpse of how  people can use video to their advantage.

Imagine if the soldiers on board the boats at Dieppe had brought cell phones! If only Moses had his Iphone when he parted the red sea. History would have been more informed. The enemy would always be one video feed away.

Sometimes people use video inappropriately. I am afraid that people are going to become more and more daring when it comes to video. This is perhaps the future of the medium and that is unfortunate. We often see these individuals on the evening news, charged for their offenses. Video should be used productively, and shall I add, perhaps morally.

How can it be used effectively?

Some politicians should be under video surveillance – around the clock. This would lessen, but maybe not cure their antics. No more crack smoking; no more verbal rants. Why? Because it would all be recorded and the camera does not lie. (I know. He would just deny it. “That’s not me. That’s just someone who looks and sounds like me”.)

I would also like to see video used to show the advancement of disease.

Think you have heart disease? Cancer? Lupus? Still smoking?

Check out the state of your lungs, or any other internal organ, on your cell phone every morning. Get your blood cell count. Check for inflammation. This would allow people to monitor their filthy habits and live a healthier life. (How the camera would get in your body is perhaps a topic for another blog.)

I enjoy the video format, perhaps more as a creator. There was a time when I dreamed of Hollywood and seeing my name on the back of a director’s chair. I still create videos somewhat on my own. I have a few on Youtube that you can check out. I am not an expert, but I am still learning.

Creating video is really fun. That’s what is comes down to. Anyone now can really become a film maker. Technology has made it so easy.

Go for a walk this afternoon and check out what you could be filming: that dog chasing a cat, the old lady picking up beer cans, a mother and child arguing. It’s endless. I will be looking for your video clips on Youtube!


It’s time for your review.



Source: Grapevine Evaluations

Work evaluations can be daunting. Some of us do well with criticism, while others do not. And that’s what it is, plainly; it’s criticism about how well you do your job, and subsequently, take care of your family.

But wait! Let’s take a deep breath.

Job Performance Factors are now a regular part of life. ISO Standards require that everyone lives up to the job guidelines that were mentioned in your job description. Do you remember those guidelines? Probably not. You have been in the job for so long that you actually cannot remember your last job evaluation. You think it was with the boss before the last two leaders, but again, you’re not sure. So, maybe it is indeed time that your work be assessed.

Electronic evaluations are, perhaps, more daring than primitive evaluations due to the anonymity involved with this form of evaluation. However, again, do not be scared. After all, we both know you are doing a good job, right?

The link will appear one day in the form of an email. Sometimes you can asses your own standards, sometimes you are simply evaluating others. (Don’t you enjoy the email that let’s you evaluate the boss?)

These evaluations require some one- on-one time with your boss to discuss the findings. If you are not permitted such a luxury, I would ask for a meeting. Generally, a follow-up meeting will result and it’s almost always unavoidable, if you are thinking about taking an early vacation.

You should be notified within a decent time frame about the upcoming meeting. (I believe union workplaces are quite specific about the time period.) This time, as well, allows you to prepare for the upcoming meeting. Yes, some homework is necessary here.

In preparation for this meeting, consider the following;

1) Write down any issues that have been troubling you about your current job and note to your boss how these issues affect the business as a whole.

2) Bring some sort of evidence to the meeting that suggests that you are indeed doing a good job. This could be sales figures, emails, etc.

3) Demonstrate sincerity in the meeting that shows your employer that your commitment to the company is genuine. If this is a large business, your boss might not have met you or really know who you are yet. Take this opportunity to make it clear what you want to do for the company.

4) Don’t play the blame game. Do not name other employees in the company and discuss their poor job performance. This is about you and you should be man enough, or woman enough, to take responsibility for your actions.

5) Keep your emotions in check. This means do not cry or show anger when you receive feedback. This can be challenging, as some of us are more emotional than others. However, the corporate world tends to find this behavior unsettling.

6) Ask for a printed copy of your evaluation so you can take it home and study it. Sometimes a copy is already sent to you electronically before your meeting so you know what expect. However, I received an electronic evaluation once and did not know the results until I sat down with my boss. You might consider even asking for a printed copy prior to the meeting, if you want to be truly prepared.

7) If you are given timelines as to how long you have to improve, make sure this is in writing. Remember, everything will go to your employee file, perhaps even things you would never imagine are now electronically stored. Be prepared, essentially.

8) If you evaluation was very positive, I would thank your employer for assessing your work. It’s almost like an extension of the job interview, isn’t it? You are, ideally, securing your job for yet another year.

9) After, do not discuss your job evaluation experience with others. This can be so tempting. You might only comment on the experience with workers you truly trust. Others could use this information to work to their advantage. We all know there are different groups of people in the work environment. It’s not always prudent to be totally honest with everyone.

10) Do sit down after the meeting and go over the results. Do so with an open mind. Perhaps make notes for discussion during the next job evaluation or follow-up with your boss immediately if you still have questions. This does not have to be another meeting. An email would work well here. Do not belabor this evaluation into next week. That will not work to your advantage. Your employer wants to know that you really care about the company and are willing to grow with them. This is the message he or she wants to hear and hear only when there is a free moment.

So, when is your evaluation coming up?

Does your place of employment use electronic evaluations?

Remember, it’s not a bad thing to be evaluated. It’s definitely a good thing and will help you grow with the company.

You can take a deep breath, now.







Immigration 101

Canada day

Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa, July 1st 2013. Source: CTV news

Immigration is a sensitive issue. It’s right up there with religion and politics. Almost everyone has an opinion on this matter and, l admit, I tend to avoid such topics. You will notice that this post is in sharp contrast to other posts. Regardless, I embrace a challenge.

The nature of immigration is a simple one: when people are in danger, they apply for entry to another country. Now, danger could be literal danger, which threatens one’s life, or it could mean a threat to one’s intellectual ideas, freedom of speech, etc.

Last year, Canadian Environmentalist David Suzuki made a remark about Canada that upset many. “Canada is full”, he apparently said, as noted in a July 11th, 2013 National Post Article.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr. Suzuki, he is a Canadian icon. His CBC show “The Nature of Things” explores science on levels that makes science interesting for everyone.

However, mankind is flawed and this National Post article does not present Suzuki in his best light. A victim of syntax here, or perhaps poor planning, nevertheless, his words are out.

Suzuki should have shown empathy for new immigrants as well as showing his dedication to the environment. His words almost speak from the gut, rather than his head or his heart.

The article mentions reference to the possibility of immigration depleting our natural resources. This seems logical. After all, more people means more demand on food production, more water consumed, etc.

His later statement clearly shows antagonism using words such as “pillage” and calling Canada’s immigration policy “crazy”. This does touch a proud Canadian vein indeed.

However, it should be noted that Suzuki insists that Canada must continue to take in refugees. He is not suggesting that we ignore people in need.

The then Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, was upset by Suzuki’s remarks and rightly so. An interesting article might profile Kenney’s views on this incident one year later. Has he talked with Suzuki since then? Has he taken any of Suzuki’s ideas into consideration?

I am not anti-immigration. I never have been and never will be. People matter.

Who has not remembered a time in history when individuals desperately needed refugee status and a country turned its back? Canada even knew what was happening to the Jews as early as the 1930′s and did little to aid them.

When I was younger, a school chum told me a story about her home town. She was from Uganda and Idi Amin was their leader. I had not heard of the man at the time; my life back then was concerned with childish pursuits and world news did not interest me.

She mentioned that her neighbor, who lived directly across the street, strongly opposed Amin and he made his feelings known publicly. Her mother worried about her children’s safety as the neighborhood was growing unsafe.

Her father, though, reassured the family that everything would be fine. He resented the idea of leaving his homeland and uprooting to another country. He was born in Uganda, as were his parents and their parents.

One morning, my school friend stepped out onto her front porch and sat on the front step. It was a nice morning and she was enjoying the sunshine.

She peered across the street and spotted a strange object sitting on the adjacent step, the one that belonged to her radical neighbor. She decided to get closer, as she could not make out the object from where she was sitting.

As she approached the object, its identity was now blatantly clear. It was a human head. It was, in fact, her neighbor’s head, cut off by Amin sympathizers and placed on the step to make a statement to others who opposed Amin.

Hours after this discovery, my school chum and her entire family were on a ship for England.

Welcoming new immigrants is a morally and ethically responsible action. It’s not just our government’s role. Our neighborhoods, our local communities should also embrace these people and listen to their stories. Many communities now have centers specifically focused on helping new immigrants. Here they get information on housing, employment, social services, language training, counselling, etc.

Even with the horror we have witnessed in this century alone, the immigration policy cannot change to exclude people who are genuinely in need.

Speaking publicly about what matters is important in a free country. There have been times in history when people have ignored what was going on, when people hoped that everything would go away. “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–Because I was not a Socialist.”

With that said, we are not full; the cup is indeed half empty (to re-work that old expression.)

Canada Day is this Tuesday, July 1st. Make sure you celebrate and honor everything that is Canadian.


My Visa Source website (





Goodbye Tina

So, Rob did it.

He threw Tina off the balcony, then after she gets up from the fall and continues to take him on (the girl has balls), he beats her almost to death with a metal pipe.

Rob’s new devotion to his sister Carla is somewhat questionable. After all, it was not long ago that he was stealing from his Carla and absolutely despised her. This is perhaps a flaw in an overall brilliantly written show.

The dynamics of Coronation Street are very complex. A lot happens on this little street.

I have looked at the UK websites and it’s not promising for Peter’s girlfriend.

Goodbye Tina.





Over the grate and other trends

Cool, delicious breezes, delicately tickling the fabric of your skirt, lifting it up and up.

Have you ever tried to duplicate this famous scene?

I see the gentleman at the back of the room has raised his hand, nodding. annex-monroe-marilyn-seven-year-itch-the_06I am sure we all have. I admit that Marilyn influenced my attitudes growing up: always wear your clothes one size smaller, always have a string of pearls clenched in your teeth when your photo is taken.

There have been other fashion setters – Cher with the Bob Mackie outfit she wore to the Oscars and, of course, Jlo in a green, provaractive outfit designed by Versace.



The Marilyn influence is explainable as during my teenage years I read many books about Marilyn. As for Cher and Jlo, I found their outfits amusing, more than anything. Hence, there was no need to expose my breasts in such a fashion.

And now, Lady Gaga creates the most extreme outfits imaginable.


Am I influenced by these trend setters of fashion? Absolutely, not. I wear clothes simply because it covers my nakedness and the law demands that I do so.

Jeans and a t-shirt are my usual ensemble. I have been known to wear a dress for the right occasion, but this is seldom. It’s so rare, it’s almost newsworthy.

I could really talk endlessly about what I don’t like in women’s fashion: nylons (both regular and knee highs), heels, slips, white bras, flip-flops, ponchos.

If someone asked me “who” I was wearing, I might be tempted to look on my shoulders and see if I was lugging around a lumberjack, or perhaps my kid brother.

My closet is an adventure in itself. I am constantly moving things around to make headway for the approaching season. Sweaters and cords are in a box in the basement. My daily cool weather clothes are on the left side of the closet, with tshirts lined up accordingly. My jackets are on the left and my professional clothes are on the right; all of these items are waiting for that job that never comes. Did I mention that a cat is usually sleeping in there? Pick out your clothes for the day with piercing green eyes staring at you.

The city bus is a great place to watch for the latest fashion trends. And you thought it was the runway? Think again, my friend.

Did you notice that man who just boarded? He’s sitting at the front with a green scarf wrapped around his neck. Is he making a fashion statement? Perhaps, or it’s just an attempt to cover up the man’s voice box. He was obviously a cancer victim, long ago and now speaks with the aid of a computer voice.

There is also the woman in orange. I see her frequently. She loves orange, that’s a given. She’s wearing an orange shirt, orange lipstick and her hair even has tints of orange in it. She always gets off at the far end of town. I have visions of her home, and yes, it’s emanating luscious rays of orange.

Of course, I am on the same bus and others might be questioning my choice of scarf at the moment. I don’t care, though. There was a time when I did care how people perceived me, but all that is gone now.

Where do all of us shop for our clothes in this special town? We go to thrift stores; I know that for sure. I tend to shorten the names: Bibles for Missions becomes BFM and Goodwill becomes GW. BFM sounds slightly like HMV, which makes people think it’s a trendy store. Likewise, GW makes people think of GQ, which is obviously all about glamour.

“What a lovely blouse! Where did you get it?”


“Of course, I’ve heard of them” she says, even though you know she has no idea what you’re talking about.

Shopping at thrift stores is not as unpleasant as you would imagine. I find the sales people are actually nicer and less pushy. As well, I really enjoy the stuff a bag event. Have you participated in such an event?

If not, here are the particulars:

Arrive early – even before the store opens. A crowd will be mingling out front.

When the store opens, walk quickly to the carts and grab a cart.

Tell the cashier you are here for the stuff a bag event. She will supply you with a bag. Do not bring your own bag, as I did one year.

Proceed to the clothing section and begin the shopping event.

Examine each piece, but do so quickly and toss the garment in your shopping cart. Do not attempt to stuff the item in the bag while you are shopping! This can be done later. Remember, the atmosphere gets tense. Women (and men) are grabbing clothes quickly. It’s generally 5.00 a bag- stuff as many clothes as you can into the supplied bag. Did I mention, that many leading department stores send unsold items to thrift stores? I have picked up new clothes from Winners and eventually paid only 25 cents for that item after it was stuffed.

You are intrigued. I can tell.

With that said, I encourage you to visit your local thrift store, stuff a bag and dress as I do. A stuff a bag event takes skill and timing. I sometimes even stretch my muscles before the event or practice carrying excessive amounts of clothing in my arms for the outcome  that perhaps a cart will not be available. You must be somewhat aggressive too, as some shoppers will elbow you out of the way. I don’t want to scare you, though. It’s truly exhilarating. Where else can you go a stuff a bag?

Faded Soul:





The Phone Call

Barack called last night.

His voice was rough.

“You should really stop smoking”, I tell him.

“I know, Pam. I will. I will”, he said.

“Where are you?” I implored.

“Pam, you know I can’t tell you that”.

“Is Michelle with you?”

He did not respond.

“Is it getting worse in the Ukraine?” I ask.

“Don’t you watch the news, girl?”

I can tell he is upset with me. I proceed to tell him about my day. He seems uninterested.

“Why did you call me?” I demanded.

“I had a few minutes”, he said. I can hear him smoking at the other end of the line.

“I’ve always admired you, you know”.

“I know, Pam. I know.”

There is the sound of a  commotion on his side.

“Pam, I’ve got to go. I’m needed in a meeting”.

“Okay.” I wished I had taped the call, so I could play it again later.

“Will I hear from you again?” I ask.

“Only in your dreams, girl”.


Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone ! 





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