CAN not explain it

So…help me out here.  I need to understand the logic in this.

I’ve been walking my dog around my neighbourhood now for over seven years.  I have two different loops around blocks that we take.  A slightly shorter one in the mornings that passes by Highland Park and a longer one in the evenings that also passes by Highland Park.

Why do both of them pass by the same park, you may ask.  And I’d be happy to answer.  For almost six of the past seven years, I passed by the park because they had a very handy garbage receptacle right up near the sidewalk.  It was handy as, once I picked up the doggy-do, I could conveniently pass right by that garbage can and drop it in.

Not to mention it was right at the end of a path that cut through the park, so it also made it handy for anyone entering or exiting the park to drop any garbage they had.

And, even better, it was mere steps away from the bus stop, so again, it was convenient to toss your litter while waiting for public transportation.

Early last summer, my dog and I were doing our morning walk.  There was a couple of city workers working at removing the garbage can.

And I thought, seriously?  Who takes away trash receptacles?  Don’t we add trash receptacles to deter littering?  Especially in parks?

So I asked the workers what the reasoning was.  They told me that they were having problems with people putting household garbage in them.  Green garbage bag-fuls.

Okay, I get it, that’s a pain in the ass for the city.  Makes sense that someone may get uppity about that.  For those not in the know, Clarington has a three bag, every other week limit, to encourage more composting and recycling.  I’ve never found it a problem, in fact I usually don’t even hit the three bags over two weeks.

Apparently others do.  So, out in my neighbourhood, some moron screwed it up for the rest of us.  The city workers pulled both garbage receptacles at either end of the park.

The good news is, there is a little loop within the park that you could still walk up to, just by the sandbox/playground area.  I didn’t like the thoughts of dropping my doggy-do where kids play as much as at the end of the park, but it’s quite gross walking with a bag of crap for a half hour.  So I started dropping it there.

Then about two weeks later, an ugly garbage can (the “oil drum” style) with “Clarington thanks you” on the side appeared in the exact spot where the old garbage can was removed from.

I went back to using that one.

Then, a couple of months later, just around the end of summer, that garbage can disappeared again.  I assumed Clarington was no longer thanking me.

So, for the last year, I’ve gone back to making that loop and dropping the waste there.

But in the same year, I’ve noticed a marked increase in litter strewn through the park.  Not a little.  A lot.  To the point where I noticed one of the residents who lives across the road from the park out there several mornings with his own garbage bag, picking up the garbage strewn around from the previous evening’s soccer game (really, soccer parents, I’m sure it a small percentage of you that are slobs, but those that are really should be ashamed…how would you like to show up to a garbage-strewn field, knowing your kid was going to play there?  Think about it.).

So, imagine my surprise when, two days ago, I made the usual loop and discovered the garbage can in the play area is now gone too.  It’s been replaced by the ugly “Clarington thanks you” oil drum, now placed a good thirty feet further into the park.

So, if I’ve got this straight, they’re strategically placing garbage cans in less and less convenient spots for people to use them, so they won’t get garbage in them.  Have I got that right?

Sounds like something straight out of CATCH-22.  My tax dollars at work.

And yes, I’ll take my little crapbags home if I have to, it’s not that big a deal.  To me, that is.  But I’m really getting sick of seeing all that garbage in the park.  And I’m getting more and more pissed with all the dog turd land mines I have to dodge now because others are (I’m assuming) deciding it’s too inconvenient to even pick it up anymore.  Yeah, it’s gross and yeah, they’re morons, but if I’ve learned anything in this life, it’s that if you make something really easy for people, more will actually do it.

Clarington seems quite thankful about my good garbage habits, but less and less so all the time.

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Ottawa & Perfect Moments

We drove the Girl up to Ottawa last Friday evening so we could attend an orientation session for Carleton University.

Hard to believe.  My daughter’s only got 45 more days with us before she heads off to really start living her own life.  I’m still coming to grips with that.

Anyway, the traffic was absolutely fine and the weather was amazing for the entire trip there and back.  In fact, this was the first time we’d driven to the campus and not hit either snow or sleet.  Being that it’s mid-July, I’d be a little concerned if we had, but still…

It was a great day, starting with a talk by the president of the university, Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte, then on to one of the profs, and then the rest of the day was turned over to the various Carleton students who were all very upbeat, very professional and extremely helpful.  Gives me hope for our future and makes me feel even better about the Girl going off to Carleton…not that I had any reservations.

But the one thing that stuck with me through the day came from Dr. Runte.  She talked about driving into the school that morning and taking a moment to just enjoy a perfect moment–the perfect blue of the sky, the early morning quiet.  She went on to talk about all those other perfect moments that happen in a life: winning a competitive event, performing well on an exam, meeting someone new…and starting at university.

What struck me was what she then said, that I found completely true.  That, when you win that competitive event, you may be exhausted, when you do well on that exam, you’re probably still a little stressed over it, when you meet someone new, you’re worried about making a good impression.  And in university, there’s so much to worry about: the money, you don’t know anyone, that new rez roommate, leaving home, how much work it’s going to be, your marks, the freshman 15 curse (marks go down by 15%, body weight increases 15 pounds)…

And yet, this is one of those absolutely perfect moments that only seem to be truly captured in a movie.  The young starlet walks on to the school grounds after long panning shots of others chatting on the grassy areas, a group throwing a frisbee, a good looking guy catching a football, trendy music in the background, the sun shining, and that young starlet turns to her very best friend, who’s just happened to come to the same school, and says something Hollywood, like, “This is the beginning of our future!”  Then they head toward some educational edifice…maybe bumping into that cute football catching guy who you just know will either turn out to be a jerk or a wonderful guy but he has a horrible terminal disease that will take him before the end of the year…

Or something like that.

But my point is, this IS a perfect moment.  There’s not too many points in your life that you can point to and say, “There, right there.  That was a life-changing moment.”

I can point to a few.  Meeting my future wife in a mall.  My wedding day.  The birth of my two kids.  A call from an employer that set me down a completely different path.  My roommate coming home to tell me she was never going to teach night school at Durham College again (which lead to the longest running job I’ve ever had).

There’s a few.  But you know what?

I still didn’t stop and take in the fact that these were turning points in my life.  Perfect moments.

We really should stop and take note of these more often.  I hope my daughter does.

The news is…

I’m now an official writer for Examiner.com, which is kinda cool.  And kinda scary.

It’s cool because my “beat” or area of “examination” is Toronto and the GTA and anything to do with books or writing or anything else I can cram in there.  You can check out my first article here.

To be honest, this first one, at least to me, is a little underwhelming.  Which leads me into the scary part.  Let’s do the roundabout route to that, shall we?

Somewhere in my travels, I started reading a regular series of articles by Michelle Kerns.  Didn’t much pay attention to anything other than her funny and insightful content.

Then, about a month ago, for some reason when I read her latest article, I poked around the site a bit more.  Turns out that site was Examiner.com.  Then I noticed a
“Become an Examiner” section and clicked the link.

First there was an area where you could choose a topic and location.  Toronto.  Books.  Huh, works for me.

From there, I moved into the application section, where I had to tell a little more about myself, provide a bio, provide a case as to why I would be a good choice to write on this particular topic and provide a sample of my writing.  I chose the blog I did on Jack Ketchum a while back as my sample.

Then I kind of forgot all about it, to be honest.

A couple of days ago, they got back to me.  Apparently either they aren’t that picky, or I caught them on a good day, either way, they felt I’d be a good fit and asked for a picture of me.  Which is a real pain in the ass, as I truly hate pics of myself so I try to avoid the camera or, it that proves impossible, I make an unfit-to-print face.  So there’s very few good pics of me.

Anyway, I jumped that hurdle.

Then they set up a space for me to submit my first article and a link to a short “Examiner University” series of flash videos.  I must say, they’re ridiculously well organized.  It really helps your confidence.

But, and here’s where the scary comes back around, the next step was for me to write my first piece for them.  And, for the first time in a long time, I blanked.  It was supposed to be on writing, or books or something, but it was also to have a local flavour.  And they specifically ask you NOT to start with a “here I am!” piece.  Don’t talk about what you will write about…just start writing about it.

And there’s the added pressure of completing it, submitting it, then waiting for their approval of the first piece.  Once that one’s okayed, then you’re good to go, you can toss articles up as often as you please.

But that first one…jeez.  I started on one topic and, very unlike me, gave up on it.  Wasn’t working.  Started a second one.  Same thing.  The third one’s the one that made it.

They okayed it.

I’m not happy with it.

I promise they’ll be better going forward.

Anyway, suffer though the first one, won’t you?  I promise it will at least be more fun that watching an old Rick Astley video.

Comment on it (good or bad, I’ll just be happy for comments, even if they rip me to shreds).  And subscribe if you so desire.

So, I’m officially Someone that Someone Else Chose to Publish.

So, there’s that, huh?

Yes, It’s Been a While…

Sorry all, it’s been a while since I blogged.  It’s not from lack of trying, I’ve got subject matter backed up.  But I’ve been busy with another new endeavour that I’ll be sharing with you hopefully very soon.

No, it’s not me getting published by a major publisher.

Well, not a novel getting published.

You’re just gonna have to wait a bit.  I promise, it won’t be long.