Monday, November 29, 2010

And RIP to Pat Burns

Famed NHL coach Pat Burns, coach of my beloved Leafs, as well as the Habs, Bruins (all "Original Six" hockey teams), and finally won hockey's coveted Stanley Cup (the trophy of the NHL, and sports' largest trophy) as coach to the Devils, was buried today. This fact was commented on at his funeral today, where it was joked that this devout man could only win the Cup when coaching the "devils".

Like so many, Pat Burns died of cancer. He was eulogized as a devoted, family man. I only knew him as the yelling coach who was often pacing behind the bench:
(Source: The Associated Press)
Cancer is so limited...
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

RIP Leslie Nielsen

One of Canada's many comedians, Leslie Nielsen was known (arguably) best for his role in The Naked Gun series. I quite enjoyed him in Men With Brooms, one of my favourite movies.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas is one month away

... And I got my first Christmas card yesterday.

It was in the mail, addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Hanna" in neat handwriting with no return address. I was perplexed. I opened it up ... and found it was from my parents! (My mom has very neat writing, with a couple distinctive letters (like K, B, T). Since none of these distinctive letters were in our name or address, I didn't recognize it right away! Silly me!

(I have hyphenated my name, but I go by my maiden name, which my parents thought was a very smart career move. However, they know I have no problem with being a Hanna socially. And given the context, I don't mind going by "Mrs.", although my mom knows I far prefer going by "Ms.")

Monday, November 22, 2010

Airport Screening continued

As a follow-up, apparently the pat-downs are quite ... thorough. Men are gettig "cupped"! Women with a prosthetesis (due to breast cancer, they have one shaped bra cup) must disrobe to prove it is actually a prosthesis! So ... it does sound more invasive.

My most recent "pat down" was in Timmins. I didn't set off the scanner, but I was selected for a random pat down. While my "chest" was "patted", it was respectful - above and below. Not bad, not invasive.

My dad always gets pat downs because he always sets off the scanner. He has a fake hip, and even if he were to travel with a doctor's note saying that (which he did at first but quickly gave up), they can't trust a doctor's note. So he gets the wand then a very thorough hip pat down. He leaves himself extra time (above the minimum recommendations) to ensure he makes his flight. He doesn't enjoy it, but he accepts it as a way of life.

Of course, we've all been behind the a-hole who flips out because his belt set off the scanner and now he's getting a pat down, and he's going to yell about how it's so ridiculous. I like being behind him, because it means I'm going to get ushered through by security very quickly while they deal with him!

But it'd be a different scenario if I was asked to disrobe to prove I had had a breast removed due to cancer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Is the pat-down check to get on a plane reasonable?

An American traveller was selected for body scanning on the new scanner. He opted for the pat down, but was upset when told the employee's hand would go up his thighs until it reached his torso.

I understand radiation safety. In my opinion, the technology of the new body scanners looks like it should be safe. But I am cautious of the safety of new technologies. If given the option between the scanner and the pat down, I would probably select the pat down. In fact, I have been patted down when flying through airports before the scanners arrived, and more recently in an airport that didn't have the scanner. It was respectful, clearly just checking my body for items. She wanted to check around my bra, and even that was done in a respectful manner.

While I have no problem with the pat downs I have experienced, I might be a little more cautious in the case of this man's patdown:

The U.S. TSA is saying they think John Tyner went to the airport to cause problems. Mr Tyner says he videotaped "just in case" there were problems. While I find it odd that Mr Tyner's instinct was to videotape the event, I also find the pat down procedures odd.

What are your thoughts? Is this new security procedure too far?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

Last year, I posted this, including the verse of Canada's most famous poem, and including pictures I took in Flanders Fields, Vimy Ridge, and Juno Beach.

But given we are currently in a conflict zone, Remembrance Day services have hit "closer to home" in the past decade.

In Canada, all fallen soldiers arrived in our air force base in Trenton, then go to a morgue in Toronto, before being released for burial. The stretch of highway between Trenton and Toronto has officially been named the Highway of Heroes.

Canadians gather over every bridge and along the highway for every repatriation ceremony.

Every single fallen solider is sent home in this manner. Every single one. Whether a 19-year-old private or a 40-year-old sergeant. They are all greeted by Canadians, who line up hours before the drive to get a good spot. Whether it's -30C (-22F) + the windchill ... or it's +30C (86F) plus the humidity ...

I recommend you watch the first minute of this 7 minute video.

To see how American broadcaster NBC describes this phenomenon, you can view it here:

To see how our Canadian musicians address this subject:

The video is nice, but the lyrics are truly touching.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Up close and personal with some skaters!

When I arrived Friday evening, I saw these two being interviewed:

Local DJ Candace Drover interviewed Paige Lawrence & Rudi Swiegers. They both talked about how interviews are new to them, and they are both still nervous. Rudi said he thought Paige does a better job because he still says "um" too much in his interviews. I thought he sounded fine. They were a sweet couple. (At least, I think that's who it was. Google them and let me know if you think I'm right.)

When I arrived Saturday, this is what I saw:

Canada's Sweethearts! I wasn't about to wait for the nearly hour to meet them, but I was able to see them up (fairly) close: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Olympics champions in ice dance. They were originally supposed to complete, but she's currently recuperating from another injury. They still showed up and said hi to everyone!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daylight Savings has ended ...

Daylight savings time (DST) has ended, or as the British call it "Summer time", and the days are now much shorter here. I was driving home from my parents' this afternoon around 5:30pm, and it was quite dark. There was just a little bit of sunset remaining over the horizon.

To many Americans (particularly those who are significantly south), you may not realize how short and long our northern days vary through the seasons. In the summer, where I live (in southern Canada), we lose the last remnants of daylight just after 9:15 on the longest days. In the winter, we'll lose the last remnants of daylight by 5pm on the shortest days, which are about 6 weeks away. I was shocked by how much shorter and longer the days are just 150 km north of here. I lived in Arnprior for 1 year, and the sun set around 4pm in the winter, but lingered until 10pm in the summer. [In the northern communities, the summer sees 24-hour sunlight in the summer and 24-hour darkness in the winter.]

I lived in southern England for 4 months for the first 4 months of 2005, and was amazed at how much more northern this much more temperate climate is. It was dark shortly after 3pm, but instead of the subzero temperatures we experience in Canada, southern England didn't often dip much below freezing! Lucky them, getting the Gulf Stream (or North Atlantic Current) to warm them up!

Driving home, on the one hand I was depressed by the shortening days, but on the other hand, I was excited when I thought about the upcoming holiday season. I love December! So I might as well look forward to December for now ... because the short days aren't so pleasant in January and early February when there aren't the holidays to add a little sparkle and joy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Skate Canada: Friday afternoon

My mom and I arrived around 11am on Friday for the first two events. We had tickets to the ladies' short program and the pair's short program, starting at 11:30. The venue that hosted the competition, the K-Rock Centre doesn't have parking, so we went to the parking lots that usually have event parking.

The big signs said "Event Parking at 6:30". Otherwise, you have to go "feed the meter" every 2 hours.

Yeah, great planning.

We drove a couple blocks away and paid in a parking lot with all-day parking. We arrived just in time to get coffee, about 11:20. And proceeded to wait 10 minutes because they didn't have coffee ready.

Yeah, great planning.

We grabbed our coffee and sat down just as the first figure skater started. It was 11:30 in the morning, and the ladies were wearing the glittery dresses we usually see on tv at night. These sequins looked out of place in the morning. The crowd, I later found, was also just not into yet.

Still, it was a lovely afternoon. My mom and I spent the afternoon discussing and criticizing every move, sequence, spin and jump, judging if the music matched the program, if the skater matched the music, and our overall thoughts.

I wish I could move like these figure skaters: