New template and design for the site

In case any of you have been around since the beginning watching my site transform, I hope that you will each be pleasantly surprised with the direction I’ve taken it lately, with this new WordPress-based template. It’s close to the original design and layout, but I made a few modifications, namely in how I’ve decided to arrange my pages. I sincerely hope that this new design will facilitate everyone’s browsing experience, and might even showcase some of my very minor web development skills.

Regardless, I’m quite happy with the new look. If you find it hideous, please let me know. I’ll promptly attempt to ignore you and your unjustified criticisms.

Cheers!

Robocall – Not so Tough on Crime Now

For a party which hasn’t technically been named accomplice in the ‘Robocall’ scandal, the amount of subterfuge that the Conservatives have been dealing in certainly seems to suggest the contrary. Scheduling Marc Mayrand, the Chief Electoral Officer at Election’s Canada to appear in parliament on a day when the media is locked out is more than just convenient; it bears the unmistakable marks of attempting to sweet something under the rug and forget about it.

Elections Canada has concrete proof that thousands of calls were made. RackNine, the communications company responsible for the calls, has confirmed what has happened and is helping with the investigation. Voters themselves are presenting formal complaints, along with evidence that they were mislead on election day to go to non-existent polling stations. To make matters worse, it wasn’t an isolated phenomenon; it happened all across the country.

In the face of this, the Conservatives feel that the right thing to do both morally and democratically is to downplay it. One Conservative MP named Tom Lukiwski suggests that only a few voters in each riding were affected, as if that makes it hardly something to complain about. Another one pointed out that only a small percentage of people who received calls filed complaints, as if that somehow means the other mislead voters didn’t really mind. Worst of all, however, would be New Brunswick Conservative John Williamson who compared the calls to mere “errors” or accidents, and “in the grand scheme of things” the number made is far fewer than the total number of voters; therefore, why make such a big deal out of it?

Marc Mayrand has rightfully pointed out that this sort of behaviour should not be tolerated in a democracy. If even one voter is prevented from fulfilling their right as a citizen to cast a vote, a crime has taken place. If there is so much as the intention to subvert the democratic process in any way whether organized, or un-organized, a crime has taken place.

For a part that’s “tough on crime” the Conservatives seem pretty lenient towards this one.

A New Beard for Valentine’s Day

For couples, Valentine’s Day is a cheesy holiday where people hand each other tasteless chocolate hearts wrapped in red tin foil, and then dine at restaurants well above what they can afford before retiring back to the ranch for some candelight romance.

For singles, like myself, it’s something… different, though not necessarily in a depressing way like Christmas is for people who don’t really have family or friends on their continent. Being single on Valentine’s Day is actually nothing to complain about, as I’ve learned over the years of occasionally not having anyone to chaperon about (I think my batting average for this specific holiday is around .4). Actually, it’s quite great.

First off would be the freedom of not having to conform to some ridiculous standard or norm set down rather arbitrarily by our society, which I guess is what most holidays are. I’ve never really been the biggest fan of celebrating something just for the sake of doing so because everyone else is. Hoping on the generic holiday bandwagon with all the other sheeple doesn’t say or do too much about the human spirit or indepence or character or what have you. Yes, I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to arbitrary celebreate the Christmas “holidays”, and I’ve been called a Grinch for it more than once (funny how a green-skinned Doctor Seuss Character has become superimposed with a Christian-Pagan holiday about nativity and the solstice). I suppose not wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day makes me a… Stoic? I’ve definitely been called worse.

Secondly, who actually knows anything about Saint Valentine (or rather, any of the saints named Valentine)? Did any of these ancient martyrs named Valentine have anything to do with cinnamon candy hearts? Probably not. Did any of them have little wings or shoot arrows into lover’s hearts? No, that would be Cupid, that old Greco-Roman troublemaker.

What it all boils down to is Valentine’s Day is just another mish-mash of a holiday that the Western world seems to enjoy doing (look at Christmas, St-Patrick’s Day, Halloween, etc). Considering how ridiculous the holiday is, I figured it wouldn’t hurt if I did something equally absurd to celebrate a day that has no meaning other than what we give it.

This year for Saint Valentine’s Day I decided it was high time that I trim myself a fancy new beard. Those who know me, know that I’ve been sporting a handsome chin strap goatee for quite some time now, but in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, as interpreted by yours, it had to go. Replacing it now is a moustache-chin-scruff combo not unlike the combo that Johnny Depp usually sports (and should have sported inĀ Don Juan)

I’ll admit, I had some doubts about embarking on a journey towards new-beard-island, but the end result is actually quite impressive. It’s not entirely faithful to the one that Johnny’s Hollywood stylists graft onto his face in most of his movies, but it’s close enough that in the battered remains of my facial hair I can at least say I’ve decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day in my own way. No one can really say that it goesn’t against the spirit of things because it’s not as if holidays have some sort of rule book to follow or a strict set of traditions that we all need to follow. I’m pretty sure we just make them up as we go along.