Category Archives: Society

Restore Canada Rocks!

Thank you Restore Canada, Burnaby location.

The used office chair I bought from you three or four years ago for, if I recall, C$20, died.

So on my way home from dropping off a bunch of stuff at the Burnaby Recycle Center I stopped by your store and picked up a “new” office chair for C$10. Not quite as swanky as the last one, but it still has adjustable height, adjustable arms, lockable back tilt, etc.


Volunteering Professional Time

I was recently contacted out of the blue (the email writer likely found me through the Editors’ Association of Canada database) and asked to do some free proofreading for a charity.  One that I had never heard of, and that was way across the country.

I politely replied that I was busy, and that I already volunteer (not editing, but plenty of board and on-the-ground community hours) with several organizations. Of course I occasionally write/edit stuff gratis for groups that I volunteer with, but it’s the first time to be “cold-called” for such volunteer work.

I posted my experience to the “Editors of the World” group on Facebook, and several editors wrote that yes, they do volunteer on occasion, but as with me, it’s nearly always for some group that they are already a member of, or have some other personal connection with.

So a bit of advice for folks seeking free, aka volunteer, professional assistance. Do your homework. Find someone who already volunteers in your geographical area, and your subject area. Find a friend, or a friend of a friend. Or contact your local community college or university and see if a student studying toward the craft or profession that you’re targeting needs work that they can put on a resume.

But I do not recommend cold emailing or calling, and asking folks to work for you for free.

National Energy Board Shoots Self in Foot Before Taking a Step

You can’t make this stuff up.

Business in Vancouver reported in an article today:

The staff at the NEB’s new regional office will focus on communications work, community engagement and assist with operations, according to a press release.

The NEB did not respond to multiple requests for interviews.

Boy, that’s a great start for an operation tasked with communication and community engagement!

Thanks, Anonymous Grandad

Was on Skytrain today coming home from a meeting, and at one station a little girl and her mom were dashing for the doors when a mini-tragedy struck. The girl made it onto the train, and mom didn’t.

The giggling girl turned around, saw mom beyond the closed doors, and burst into tears as the train pulled away.

A grandfatherly looking gentleman immediately stood up, went to the girl and said “It’s OK, I’ll get off at the next station with you, and your mom will catch up.”

I had two thoughts: admiration at the quick response, followed, unfortunately, by “even grandfatherly types….”

So I unobtrusively got off with them. I don’t think the gentleman even noticed that I was following.  There was a Skytrain security guy nearby, and “grandad” walked the girl over, and jumped back on the train.

The next train mom arrived, and I left. Thank you “grandad” and Skytrain guy!

Super Communication Contract with MS Society

I’m nearing the end of a seven-week communication contract with the MS Society of Canada, in their BC & Yukon Division office at Metrotown in Burnaby.

I’ve been freelance editing and writing from my home office for nearly 15 years, so the thought of commuting and working at “a real job” in “a real office” with a bunch of strangers was a tad intimidating. I haven’t worked in an office since my journalism days in Tokyo back in the late 1990s.

But from the first day, all those apprehensions vanished.

The office atmosphere has been congenial, with warm, friendly folks eager to show me the ropes. It helps that there are lots of volunteers rotating in and out of the office every day, so staff are accustomed  to guiding newbies.

It doesn’t hurt that it turns out that there are two other Royal Roads University grads with the MA in Professional Communication in the office :-). Another common link.

In addition to some social media and document editing work, one of my main tasks has been interviewing MS Ambassadors  — people living with MS, researchers, and volunteers — who are willing to speak to the public and media about the disease, and to get additional training in public speaking and media relations. I’ve been writing up long and short ambassador bios that the society, and the ambassadors, can use in their outreach efforts.

It’s been an educational and inspirational experience chatting with these folks, and writing stories about their relationships with MS. The human spirit is amazing.

I’ve also had the opportunity to put my photography skills to use, documenting an MS Ambassador workshop in November, and popping by the gift-wrap booth in Metrotown near Winners several times to shoot a few of the nearly 200 volunteers wrapping gifts by donation to help #endMS. Got some gifts at Metrotown? The volunteers will be there during mall hours through Dec. 24.


Two Adult, No Kids Xmas Shopping

Two adult, no kids Christmas shopping.

Wife: “I know what I want, I’ll show you on Amazon.”

Me: “It says it won’t arrive until mid-January.”

Wife: “That’s fine.”

I’ve already given her some funny Ts that I bought for myself so she can wrap them for me.

And yes, we reuse wrapping paper from year to year within our household, until it gets too ratty, and then the cat gets to play with it before it goes in the paper recycling bin.

As I’ve posted in years past, there’s not much that we want, and less that we need. In our horrendously over-consuming society, we decided years ago that we each inform the other of one or two gifts that we want, and will actually use.

Takes some of the fun out, but we allow surprise stocking stuffing, and a few minor, dollar-store type gifts of under $10 that come from “Santa” under the tree, often to both of us .

Please Put Brain into Gear Before Feet into Motion

Dear pedestrian dressed from head to toe in dark clothing who ran across the road in front of my car on this dark and stormy night:

I have no desire to facilitate your progress toward a Darwin Award.

If I hadn’t noticed you weaving on and off the sidewalk like a scared rabbit, I may not have seen your sudden dash.

Oh, and BTW, you were moving toward a well-lit crosswalk just ten or fifteen meters down the road.

Why I Rarely ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ Posts That Ask Me To

If I see posts on Facebook that ask me to like or share them, nine times out of ten I ignore them.

If I see posts on Facebook that I like, that I find interesting or informative, I like and share them, no pleading or emotional coercion involved.

If I see posts on Facebook that have anything like “let’s see how many likes this can get” I ignore them.

If I see posts with anything along the lines of “I’ll know you care if. . .” or “I’ll know you’re really a friend if. . .” I get angry, and have to restrain myself from un-friending the poster,  or replying with a rant.

If you like something, or are interested in something, simply post it with no strings attached.

Let me, and others, decide if we like it, with no emotional harassment.

Installed Winter Tires on the Car

I got the winter tires installed on our faithful ’98 Subaru Outback today. Will be doing a trip into the BC interior later this month, and while there’s no snow yet, the higher passes could get some any day now.

I’ve always been a believer in winter tires from the days I first began driving in Saskatchewan a long time ago. And as the experts recommend, I put them on all four wheels. (And that’s not because of Subaru’s all-wheel-drive. You should do this for front-drive or rear-drive vehicles, too.)

The “all-season” tires that I use most of the year are rated “M+S” and therefore are accepted as snow tires in BC, but I figure using the real thing adds a margin of safety.

What I changed in my routine several years back was getting winter wheels (yes, those drab steel items). They pay off in just a few years, because if you keep your winter tires mounted on rims, dealers and garages will often swap summer for winter, and vice versa, for free as part of regular maintenance, since they need to take the wheels off to check brakes, etc., anyway.

Or if you just get the tires swapped, if they’re already mounted on rims, it’ll run around $40 rather than over $100.

And if you have a partner with aesthetic sensibilities that are offended when the mag wheels are replaced by black-painted metal, you will find that they will be eager to ante up for fancy wheel covers : -).

But what about the cost of those extra winter tires?

The way I see it, if you keep your vehicle for many years, like we do, there is no extra cost. You’d be buying new summer or all-season tires more often if you weren’t using winter ones, eh?