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photo credit: evilangela

1. Hockey Fans. Some inside scoop: you must join this contest. Inside scoop: odds are really quite nice. So just enter. Enough already. And congrats Detroit and our own Newfoundland!

2. Vancouverites – know anyone with kids looking for an eco-camp for the summer?

What could be more fun than FUN?? FUN Camps is Friends Uniting for Nature – a new and exciting environmental leadership program that is piloting this summer at UBC campus. If you have kids aged 11-15, you don’t want to miss out on the chance to offer them fun hands on learning in the area of sustainable living.

They’ll learn all about how to create a healthier life and planet for themselves AND they’ll have a fantastic time, meeting new friends, doing workshops, making solar powered cars and heading off on FUN field trips. This is the first year that a program like this is being offered and space is limited. So sign up fast – it’s time to make our world a better place. Where better to start than with our kids? Registration has just begun, and space is limited. (Also exciting is that we got a $10,000.00 grant from the Climate Action Secretariat of BC, and $3000.00 of that is going towards scholarships for low-income youth. )

INFO SESSION: interactive information session at lululemon (2113 West 4th) on June 9th. 6 – 7pm

3. And for this 50th offering, check out www.10onWednesday.com My friend is a source of all kinds of treasures at garage-sale pricing.

Like many of us, I’m still sorting through what role mainstream media plays in this new web 2.0 world.

I don’t watch tv anymore, really. YouTube and viddler have my attention now.

I haven’t cancelled my subscription to National Post (and here you thought I was entirely lefty. surprise!) but I rarely read it – I prefer grabbing headlines off twitter and reading the selected articles.

But here’s a purpose it does serve for me. I sometimes look to mainstream media to be the expert, sort through it all, and provide the most worthy content. CBC still does that (although that is changing).

So here’s the story.

Have you ever had a piece of music just reach out and grab you? This past weekend, Howard Dyck on cbc aired stunning music by a rather obscure composer named Zelenka: I had to have it.

Alas! a google search yielded little, itunes came up empty and I lost all hope when cbc pointed out that the recording “was not available commercially”.

WAILING & GNASHING OF TEETH! (yes, over a piece of classical music)

Enter web 2.0.

Twitter

I cried out my pain on twitter, and my cry was answered by a woman in Nebraska (named Barb, to be specific) who actually knew of Zelenka! Barb pointed me to a recording of the piece on youtube (see below). Now I strongly suspect the recording is under copywrite and should not be posted on youtube! But I listened anyways, and listened again and again until my addiction was complete.

Facebook

I also cried out my fate – having fallen in love only to discover the music was UnAvailable (anyone who can relate?) – on facebook. Enter my buddy Clive who responded with a link to Amazon with several second hand recordings.

GREAT REJOICING!

e-mail

And for the icing on the cake, David (see link above re: cbc changing) e-mailed me with a link to a place I could order the score.

My point is simply this. Mainstream media may yet serve us all well, if it can figure out how to draw our attention to the quality stuff (as opposed to the quantity of crap, so ably poked at by Morning Brew). And if it weren’t for the exposure it received (illicitly?) on YouTube, I may well have forgotten about it. As it turned out, I am going to purchase the recording, for sure, and likely the score. Perhaps the sky isn’t falling. Perhaps this brave new world of new business models may result in wins for everyone.

Readers: have you ever started out with errrrr, grey-area consumption of something that resulted in a purchase?

fyi – here is the piece that caught my attention. It’s just over 2 minutes, it grabs you, and doesn’t let you go til it’s done.

Back to basics                                 www.cuisinekids.com  

With all the things you read in the news today, shortages, price hikes etc., Does it make you think that we’re in for some tough times ahead? Probably. But is it any different than it was back in the day? I think it’s just different, we adapted, we learned and moved on but the main thing is, did we learn from it?

My answer, well kinda, sorta  but not really, to be politically correct. Sure our lives got busier, our jobs are more demanding and so on. So what made us change and go away from so many things that we held so dear?

We forgot about the past. Not historical events, sacrifices or any of that but we forgot about the basics. Things are parents used to do, that we probably have fond memories of but don’t do now, like have a garden in the backyard.

It was not that long ago that most houses had a garden patch in the back yard, organic veggies where the norm and it just made sense to grow your own because it was cheaper and tasty. Growing a garden was a sense of pride. Who could grow the biggest pumpkin, for example, was a big attraction at local fairs.

Gardening was also a family affair.  It was time well spent nurturing a bond with your kids and teaching them about gardening and nature. It doesn’t stop there. Finding creative and interesting ways to cook your food and or play with it opens up limitless opportunities. Why not explore it?

That’s where I started putting all the pieces together and began thinking. How can I save money, learn, have fun and all while spending time with the family? The big light bulb went on in my head and that’s when I realized it was time to get back to basics. I discovered it didn’t take much to do everything I wanted, all while being ECO friendly. I thought they idea unique although really just common sense, but I wanted to share it so I created www.cuisinekids.com.

There’s lots of cool ideas and tips there —  everything from growing a garden to cooking what you grew, Eco friendly yard maintenance and tips on natural pesticides. Don’t forget it’s ok to  play with your food, so we include ideas on how to do that too.  That’s more for the kids but it’s fun. 🙂

Technology and gadgets are great but without the basics, they are bound to fail unless we have the foundation to build from. Life lessons. Skills etc. We’ve become to accustomed to cheap, easy and fast.  A throw away world. There’s a lot wrong with it and that’s where I think we fell of the trail from the past. The cost to our personally lives and enviroment? Is it worth it? I don’t think so maybe it’s time to consider getting back to basics.

Just something to think about.

Author: Dirke Botsford – creator of www.cusinekids.com – Have a comment, suggestion?

email me at cuisinekids ad mac.com

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Hal Wilson was one of those teachers they base movies on. He let us stray from the topic at hand into the Stuff of Life that Matters, often.

He was the first person I knew who used the word Integrity and talked about it. A lot. He said his integrity was the single most important thing in his life. Without it, he felt he lost a lot of what it meant to be a man.

As an adult, I reflect back and know better how brave it was for him to say such things. It’s easier not to talk about it, because most of us don’t live into values like integrity very well.  Plus, living into it is often costly, and we’d rather not do it, truth be told. So we’d prefer not to admit to anyone, maybe not even ourselves, that it’s something we aim for.

And yet, do any you readers of this post regret a single instance in which you chose to act with integrity, even if it cost you?

The times you chose the hard path because it was the right thing to do, and you knew it?

The times you didn’t go with the crowd?

The times you stood up for a deeply held principle?

Odds are, even if you paid a price, you have a sense of dignity and a good energy in that memory.

Contrast that with the times we messed up – when we didn’t play quite fair, when we took credit at someone else’s expense, when we won the battle but in our heart of hearts know we compromised the war, even as we ourself, momentarily, looked good. Isn’t there a part of us that, even if we don’t fully regret it, acknowledges that we won, but at our own expense?

I don’t know that babies have integrity. But the more we can live into it, the more we sleep like babies. I’m not sayin’ how well I sleep yet… but I hope it gets deeper with age.

Photo credit: Qole

981211829_567cf171a7_m.jpgRogers gave him a bill for over $5,000. He’s a colleague of mine, and as a point of interest, in the IT dep’t.

They claimed he’d left his cel phone downloading data and racked up $5K in a month.

“No Way,” he said, “I’m not that stupid”.

But it was all his fault, said the Rogers rep. He must have left it downloading something overnight. Maybe bittorrent?

“Uh, no. I’m in the IT field. I wouldn’t do something like that.”

Well, if he clearly read his Term of Agreement (editors note: have you ever? I mean, really read, the terms of agreement on your cel plan?) he would have known he’d be responsible under all circumstances.

Several noisy phone calls later (you can just guess how those calls went, I bet), after he pointed out that even if he cancelled his contract and if they went after him, they’d never get $5K out of him (and perhaps their PR dep’t realized the optics of that just wouldn’t look good in the press), they agreed to put him on a new plan with only a $50 fee.

He agreed, although still feeling cheated — he remains positive it was a billing error — but they had him by the you-know-whats so this seemed the path of least resistence and he succumbed. Score 1 for the Big Guys, -$50 for a decent dude who probably got screwed.

My own experience with Rogers was less than stellar. I got a home phone plan from Sprint who got bought out by Fido who got bought out by Rogers. Then Rogers changed its System, and the System started billing me twice a month even though I only had one phone and one plan. When I called, the rep’s pointed out that the System had been changed and was causing problems and their wasn’t anything they could do.

“Um, well can you at least get the System to stop double-billing me?” Turns out, honest to goodness, they couldn’t.

So I cancelled my plan (I wasn’t locked in at least) and I swear to you it took over 7 calls and 5 hand-written letters before they stopped billing me for services I wasn’t receiving – either of them! – for several months. I kept receiving bills after their VP sent me a nice note saying good-bye and welcoming me back should I change my mind. I kept receiving bills after someone called to enquire why I had left.

Finally some goddess-young-woman did Something to the System so I stopped getting billed.

Meanwhile, Rogers stock has gone from about $20 to nearly $50 in the past 3 years.

I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. Do you?

Is share value in inverse proportion to respect of customers?

photo credit D Norman.