Saturday 23 August 2014

ALS Bucket Challenge & the Californian Drought

     This blogpost is in response to viewing these before and after photos, and from reading so many comments on Twitter, Facebook and even on the comments below the photos.
     Quite shocking when the before and after pictures show the drastic difference and show just how dry it really is in California :(. I can only imagine the sense of urgency there is there, and perhaps bordering on desperation. Sadly, that is usually what it takes for a change to occur.

     But the people slamming the ALS challenge, saying they are so pissed off that the ALS bucket challenge hasn't stopped, that we are using up all the somewhat senseless. Participants of the challenge live worldwide. Someone in NY, UK, Canada, dumping a bucket on their heads and donating to the cause is NOT going to have any effect on California's water situation.

     Points that do seem to hold some validity are those made about:
> All the houses that insist on watering their lawns every day to keep them green, and people being excessive in the DAILY use of their water.
> The many golf courses maintaining their beautiful green lawns.
> An exceptionally dry rain season (only two rainfalls this year).
> The natural desert climate.
> Over population - more people than resources can handle.
> Climate change. Dun-Dun-Dunnnn. (even here in Vancouver we are experiencing some obvious changes.)
     I think the Californian government is in the right for giving fines of $500 to people who are visibly wasting water, and continuing to monitor the use. Also, for giving cash incentives to people who will convert their lawns into other, not-needing-of-watering yards.
     These pictures really help relay exactly what kind of situation California is dealing with. Hopefully people living in the immediate and surrounding areas will make the conscious decisions to conserve their water.

     I am fortunate enough to live in the rainy Pacific Northwest: Vancouver Canada. It's beautiful and green here and yes, often very rainy and grey. Doesn't mean we can be careless with our water usage either. I for one, take short showers and even follow (excuse the phrasing): "If it's yellow let it mellow, it's brown flush it down".
     That being said, I wouldn't hesitate to participate in the ALS Bucket challenge. People who participate have been doing the challenge AND donating ( for the most part ). Evidence is in the funds raised this year. Last year at this time the ALS foundation (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) raised 2 million+ dollars. This year they are around 30 million dollars! That to me tells me the challenge IS doing exactly what was hoped and intended for it. To raise awareness and to raise money. It is not contributing to the empty reservoirs in California.

     Anyway, this is just my response to the many naysayers on the ALS Bucket Challenge that make direct jabs and blame these participants for the sad state of water California is in.

What are your thoughts, on the drought or the ALS challenge?
What are some of the things YOU DO to conserve water?
I'd love to hear them!
P.S. I've donated $25 to ALS Canada ( even without participating in the bucket challenge, can you meet or beat my donation??

Wednesday 11 June 2014

In Your Face, Procrastination.

     It should come as no surprise to me that procrastination is still one of my worst habits. Although, habit doesn't feel like the right word here. It seems to be a much bigger problem than nail-biting, fibbing or swearing.

     Back in high school, I most enjoyed language arts and English classes. And to this day, especially when I am in the middle of some serious procrastination, I can still hear the comments of my twelfth grade teacher as he handed back my essay on "The Outsiders." He told me "I would have had a high 'A' had the assignment been handed in on time." I accepted my paper back and the very low B, borderline C grade begrudgingly. I had no one to blame but myself.

     Over a decade later, the problem is still as prevalent as ever, but I am making small strides to change this. For me, I feel great triumphs in even small strides and accomplishments. For instance, it's been a few years now that I have been wanting to submit an entry for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival's annual Haiku invitational. I always go check the website, read the past winners and think 'this year I'll enter.' Of course, the deadline for entries comes and goes, and I think to myself, I guess there's next year. Only this year, I did it! As someone always captivated by the beauty of cherry blossoms, I started practicing writing haiku for a full month leading to the deadline, and I actually entered my two samples to the contest - with a day to spare!

     It's not at all about winning, although, who am I kidding, even an honourable mention would be nice. I am quite certain there are people out there more skilled with haiku writing than I - this was my first time trying! Personally, it's more about doing what I set out to, completing what I've started, so just the fact that I managed to get my entries in before the deadline made me extremely happy.

     On a larger scale, pursuing a possible career in writing, has been something I have been thinking about for about a decade. I was writing up a frenzy and even had some online readers 'back in the day.' All of their comments were super positive, saying things like 'Are you sure you're not published?' and 'make sure you tell us when you are.' That might be over ten years ago now, but it was those comments that inspired me to consider if this hobby of mine could be something more.

     Then, of course, life got in the way and took me on a journey ninety degrees to the left. Years later, I am back on this course, and the idea of being published has reborn; I am doing what I can make this happen. I've attended the Surrey International Writer's Conference, pitched to an agent (they were interested = YAY!), joined the Romance Writer's Association and local Greater Vancouver Chapter (a group which - according to an email I found in my 'keep' folder - I initially inquired about registration with, back in 2008! If that wasn't a whopping example of my procrastination problem, I don't know what is). Recently, I have also taken an online class about preparing and editing the final project for submitting to agents.

    I still find it very hard to stay focused, but as difficult as it is at times, I barrel onwards because I do want to make this happen. I know, just like receiving the poor grade on an otherwise outstanding essay, the only reason for this not to become reality, is if I don't stick with it and do what I need to do to make that happen. Specifically, to show procrastination the door and close it in it's face.  Here's hoping!

Friday 30 May 2014

The Inner Workings of Me.: Devastating Reality: Millions of Lives Lost.

The Inner Workings of Me.: Devastating Reality: Millions of Lives Lost.: I was just reading the alarming page that compiles the growing occurrences of massive fish deaths. The headline should actually read Millio...

Devastating Reality: Millions of Lives Lost.

I was just reading the alarming page that compiles the growing occurrences of massive fish deaths. The headline should actually read Millions of Marine Lives Lost rather than Fish.

With this particular article, it's impact hit harder with each example provided that linked to local news articles from when the tragic mystery occurred in their area.

The main article can be seen here:

Dolphins, Sea Lions, Starfish, Turtles, along with the various fish species, have been turning up dead or close to it, in astonishing numbers, right across the globe. Kentucky, New York, Minnesota, San Diego, Singapore, Australia, Canada, are a few of the examples. Examples that, in my opinion, should cause alarm to everyone.

Many difference theories to determine the root causes are considered. Many of the articles reporting the local devastation, claim it's a mystery. I'm not so quick to accept that. Here are some possible explanations:

This could be the major repercussions of the earthquake in Japan resulting in the Fukushima Nuclear Plant exploding and dumping TONNES of hyper-radioactive materials into the oceans. At the time, there were predictions made of what the impact to the oceans could be. I live in the Pacific North West, we've seen continuous debris wash up on shore here ever since that earthquake. If physical debris has been washing ashore, it's not too hard to believe that radio-active materials have reach our shorelines as well. Many of the locations witnessing these occurrences are along coastlines.

In the Gulf and waterways nearby, or to/from the Gulf of Mexico, this could also be the residual affects, a heartbreaking reminder of the horrific BP spill. The Gulf IS still wracked with oil. I can still remember watching this catastrophic event unfold with tears in my eyes. Absolutely devastating. Reviewing those videos now are still painful, but they reminds us that, just because a few years have passed, doesn't mean the effects of this disaster have.

An obvious culprit could also be global warming. With the continual melting of the ice-caps and glaciers, the depletion of O2 in the oceans and waterways, is just one of the results.

Whatever the true causes of this alarm loss of marine life, this is devastating. I, personally, do not believe just one is to blame but rather an accumulation of situations resulting in unlivable conditions in the oceans and waterways. And, although all these causes are devastating in their own right, it's the toxic radio-active materials that I find very concerning.

If this is what we are witnessing now? What will we be seeing in the months and years to come? With the scale of Earth's oceans and waterways compared to land, and how the places seeing these massive deaths are spread across the globe, I am extremely worried. For the creatures of the oceans, and for all of us.

(An aside:) I will be the first to admit that I'm not an overly religious person. It's not that I don't believe that there is a God(s), while I lean on the side of evolutionary evidence, I still find myself talking out loud asking whomever he/she is for assistance for time to time.
Someone did post a quote from the Bible in the comments at the end of the article:

Hosea 4:3 Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.

What do YOU think?


Tuesday 27 May 2014

The Inner Workings of Me.: The Train Keeps Rolling: Eighty Thousand Words & C...

The Inner Workings of Me.: The Train Keeps Rolling: Eighty Thousand Words & C...:      I have long since discovered how easy it is to over-estimate progress. When I attended the Surrey International Writer's Conferenc...

The Train Keeps Rolling: Eighty Thousand Words & Counting...

     I have long since discovered how easy it is to over-estimate progress. When I attended the Surrey International Writer's Conference last year, even the agent I pitched to had a sneaking suspicion that I wasn't as close to the finish line as I thought I was.

     Fortunately for me, this little known reality didn't deter her from asking for my first three chapters by saying something along the lines of "Whenever you do get it completed, send it here." She requested it be around 80-85,000 words. I was hovering around 72,000 at the time, but already had an idea of what chapters were needed and what areas I needed to revisit (ie. quickly added scenes that needed reworking).

    At the start of the May, I joined the "Edit the Heck Out of it" 30-day intensive online course led by Beth Daniels. It's the first class I have taken since 2005, and first online class ever. The very first lectures were about checking for info gaps, info dumps and also checking over transitions; transitions between paragraphs, scenes, chapters. Being a self-defined 'scene-writer' I knew this would be an area that would require a lot of time. I was already aware that I needed to work in transitions so my scenes can be developed into chapters. Now was the time for me to get cracking!

     Time, you see, is still not on my side. It's nearly the end of the month and I am still ploughing my way through my manuscript. As you can rightly assume, many more lectures have come and gone. And yes, I have read each one as it has come about, remarking on just how much I can tell these editing steps, tips, suggestions will help improve my story. I am not even there yet and the information is invaluable.

     Early on I reasoned with myself, that as long as I am making progress, there's no reason to stress out that I am miles behind this editing process. I can't put the wagon before the horse. The fact that I am okay with this, says tons!

     I tend to be a busy-minded individual; I hardly get an reasonable amount of sleep because my mind is reeling. The same problem presents itself in my writing. I usually am working in multiple scenes of the book at the same time - whenever a scene would present itself, I had to write it. It's very distracting and can sometimes seem like less work is actually getting accomplished.

     By forcing myself to focus on going from the start of my story, through each scene, into the next, I have gained confidence in the process. And even in my more in my work itself.

     Today, I am at 82,000 words. That's a comfortable number because I still have a little ways to go until the end, which leaves me with room for the words needs for remaining transitions.

     The train not only has rolled out of the station, but is rolling along steadily toward it's final destination. I am so much more excited to get to the finish line, and more motivated than ever!


Monday 21 April 2014

The Inner Workings of Me.: Operation: Recovery

The Inner Workings of Me.: Operation: Recovery:      I deal with a handful of 'invisible' medical conditions. I don't think anyone understands exactly how exhausting that is....