Category Archives: Give Me a Break

Rants and Raves, Complaints and Injustices

Delta Airlines: The Pilot Has Disappeared

A few years ago I blogged about my feelings on travelling with Delta Airlines.

Since that time I’ve been basically around the world and back and have managed to completely avoid flying with Delta, but I always look for them in the news, when I need a distraction.

Here is a great story that should make everyone laugh: Pilot’s Bathroom Break: “The captain has disappeared!”


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Stanley Cup Playoffs: Vancouver’s Shame

I am sitting here watching the coverage of the aftermath of Stanley Cup Game. GAME being the key word. It’s only a game, a bunch of guys chasing a puck around the ice and it’s a good game, but the magic has been taken away. There were a bunch of kids here tonight, some had been at the game, some downtown and some watching at home. They left downtown when the game ended – they have brains.

There’s going to be some Darwin Awards given out tonight – how sad. And what a terrible shame for this city – an embarrassment and a humiliation.

Most kids did the right thing and left. The rest of you should shake your heads…there is nothing about tonight to be proud of.

The Canucks lost a game. We lost a lot more than that.


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Rejection Woes: When Editors Don’t Bother to Reply

One of the things that is really hard for me to handle as a writer is when I am not rejected properly. I can handle rejection – it’ s part of writing for a living and even the most successful writers have to deal with this (think Stephen King, and there are many others). As an editor, I always, always let writers know why their article made not have made the cut, and the cool thing is, most of those ‘rejected’ writers come back at me with a really good and publishable piece for suite.
I can’t imagine just ignoring them. Which brings me to today’s rant. This has bugging me for months, so here goes.
Last summer, I sent an article into Westjet Magazine (Up) about things to do within an hour of Montreal – they’d asked for this type of submission, and I had the information, having spent so much time in Quebec and loving every second. I didn’t get a reply, not after months, not even a “sorry, but your article sucks…” I asked around and discovered that they had a reputation for this, so I didn’t feel quite so bad. Instead I sent off a reminder type email and another one after that.
They never bothered to reply and reject me properly, which is why I no longer post their deals on this site. I used to do that because it’s so great to get away from routine for a while and hop a cheap flight to warmer climes or great mountains, and I got lots of hits on that part of this blog. Too bad, Westjet – I didn’t ask for my work to be accepted, just rejected nicely. It only takes a few minutes to write a quick “Thanks for submitting to us, but…” email. And that goes a long way.

This is just a funny sign and it made me laugh when I needed a laugh

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Posting photos: WP versus Blogger

I have posted some photos on my other blog: Building a Laneway house in Vancouver, because the snow fences are now up to protect trees. It was so frustrating working with blogger, because unlike wordpress, they have a photo quota and mine was up, so I had to link to a picassa web album from my pc and back to mac.
It made me wish I’d started that blog on wordpress, but I wanted to compare the two platforms. Needless to say, wordpress gets my vote.

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Finding an Exercise Program I Like that Tones Mind and Body

First off: confession – I don’t really like ‘exercising.’ Let me qualify: I like to be outside, I love walking as long as it combines talking and I like biking as long as it involves coffee and muffins after the ride – and so on. In other words, I am far from fanatic, but like to feel good, preferably not in lycra and not in the company of MAMMALS, which, if you don’t know what that is, consider yourself lucky.

Writers need to exercise. We spend way too much time in front of our computers or curled up with books, exercising our minds, but not our bodies. Walking is great, but it is cold outside this time of year – especially for those of us who are more cat like and get chilled to the bone when the thermometer drops below 8 degrees.

Besides, I’ve been stressed lately and need to release some steam.

Last week I tried out two introductory exercise programs: one worked and the other didn’t – mostly because of the instructors and the ambiance.

First off, the brand new, much talked about and lauded: The Dailey Method. I was excited to go, as it is described as “tone, strengthen and lengthen,” and had planned to sign up for their ‘First Timers,’ deal – $100 for a month (or something close to that). Normally, it is really expensive, and I wanted to take advantage of the offer. At the end of the first class, I decided to pay $45 for three classes, just because the cost of a single class seemed inordinately high. My impressions: I left the class feeling more stressed than when I went in. The room was so crowded, that I was unable to do most of the exercises – especially those that involved lengthening; the teacher, although knowing it was my first time, only once helped me with the method, and for the rest of the time, completely ignored me. I was neither welcomed into the class, nor did anyone check in after to see how it went. In fact, everybody was pretty unfriendly.

To be fair, I returned a second time, and it was slightly better, not really great, but I will use up my third pass, just because I paid for it and that will be the end of that.

A few days later, I headed off to a yoga class at Sanga Yoga – it was a donate only class, which they do once a week – which says a lot about them before one even enters the studio. This was an entirely different experience. The class was small enough that I was able to stretch out my legs and arms, the teacher and the students were friendly and the teacher ensured that everyone knew what to do, before she moved on to another position. At both the beginning and the end of the class, she checked in with the students in a really nice, non-threatening manner.

I found both classes physically challenging and ached a bit after both – a good sign, but for my money and enjoyment, I’ll be going to yoga, even if I didn’t understand all the names for poses. Not only did I feel liked I’d had a really great physical work-out, but I felt calm and confident when I left the studio and went back out into the cold.

I really believe that in order to be mentally fit, a writer must be physically fit, so find your exercise, be it on the slopes, in the water or in the gym and get your glow on –it will show up on the page, sooner or later.


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Bird Species Most at Risk Now In Gulf of Mexico

Audubon’s bird scientists have identified the top bird species at risk from the BP Gulf Oil Spill. Lack of food, lack of clean habitat and toxic oil are added threats that put the survival of some of these these species in even greater peril.

The top ten breeding species at risk in the Gulf of Mexico:
1) Brown Pelican
2) American Oystercatcher
3) Wilson’s Plover
4) Reddish Egret
5) Least Tern
6) Black Skimmer
7) Roseate Spoonbill
8) Clapper Rail
9) Seaside Sparrow
10) Mottled Duck

The top ten nonbreeding (migrating) species at risk in the Gulf of Mexico:
1) Lesser Scaup

2) Blue-winged Teal
3) Common Loon
4) American White Pelican
5) Northern Gannet
6) Peregrine Falcon
7) Northern Harrier
8) Piping Plover
9) Sanderling
10) Red Knot

For more on some of these species, visit Audubon’s oil spill birds at risk. Your sightings of these species in particular in eBird can help us map a successful road to recovery in the Gulf.

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Apply for This Job – I Can’t :(

The other day I opened the paper and found my dream job. It has everything I love:
Social Networking
Environmental Approach
Hardly any Pay (hey – I’m a freelancer so I don’t really ever expect to be rich)
Short term (again, I’m a freelancer and author and like many authors I have a checkered yet fascinating work history and a short attention span).

I went straight away to the website to begin the application process, and quickly discovered that in spite of the fact that I am one of the six people perfectly qualified for the job, I am already out because I AM TOO OLD.

Heartbreak. Am I that old? Well, I am not between the ages of 18 and 40, so I guess I am. Even though I look and act like a kid (I think). My son said, “After 40 people just can’t pass for 35, no matter what.”

I’m almost dead, I thought. I am dead because I can’t get my dream job. Upon recovery, I thought I would post it here so that one of my younger and talented friends could get the job and then bring me over for the ‘family visit.’ It was either that or spend time on money on buying a fake passport and birth certificate.

So here it is:

Project Panda and the World Wildlife Foundation seeks Pambassador.

“A Chinese Panda Centre is looking for six people to look after the endangered animals as part of an awareness and conservation campaign. Chengdu Panda Base aims to give six winners of a global contest a month-long chance to study panda behaviour and provide hands-on help.”

OLD people need not apply even if they can write, work for a huge online magazine, get social networking, blog for birds and others hurt by the BP Oil spill, give to WWF and want to write a book about the project for teens.

I hope you get the job, because it does sound amazing and will make a difference to our world.

It’s nearly 6pm – time for nap, remove dentures, pablum, depends and bed…Goodnight.

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