Wednesday, October 08, 2008

An open letter to the editor of "The Outlook"

To the editor of "The Outlook":

In the October 6th 2008 edition of "The Outlook", I was pleased to find profiles of the various candidates in the Blackstrap riding, but dismayed to see that there was no mention Imre Pallagi, the candidate for the Green Party of Canada. Mr. Pallagi was also not included in the candidates forum held at the Civic Center on October 8th. At that forum, Tim Holtorf explained the absence of Mr. Pallagi by saying that the staff at your publication were not aware that the Green Party had a candidate running in this riding.

Is your staff is unable or unwilling to do the basic research required to find such widely available, simple, public information? Information on Mr Pallagi's candidacy can be easily found on the official Elections Canada website, on the official Green Party of Canada website, and on major news organizations riding profiles such as the CBC. With the amount of data literally at our fingertips in this day and age, there is simply no excuse for not knowing, especially for something as critical to the operation of our democracy as a general election.

The Green Party of Canada has a platform addressing much more than just environmental issues, is running a full slate of candidates across the country, and has the support of a significant portion of the electorate (according to recent polls, more than 1 in 10 voters). The recent furor over the attempt to exclude Elizabeth May from the televised leaders' debate shows that the people of Canada are interested in hearing what the Green Party has to offer, and I believe that your readers should have the opportunity as well. By excluding Mr. Pallagi from your publication's election coverage and from the candidates forum, you have done a disservice to your readers and to the constituents of Blackstrap. I hope to see a higher standard of professionalism and journalistic integrity from "The Outlook" in the future.

Sincerely yours,

Kirk Friggstad, Outlook, Saskatchewan

P.S. - In the interest of full disclosure, I should inform you that I am a member of the Green Party of Canada and the Green Party of Saskatchewan, and volunteer as webmaster for the Green Party of Saskatchewan, but have no involvement in the current federal election as anything other than a voter and concerned citizen, and do not serve in any official capacity in the campaign of Mr. Pallagi or any other candidate in any federal riding.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The last straw

You go through life, trying not to cause too much of a fuss. Something comes up, and you think to yourself something along the lines of "That's not right", but it doesn't seem important enough or close enough to you for you to take action. Then something else comes up. And something else. Finally, one day, something happens that pushes you over the edge, from inaction to action. Today might be that day for me.

CBC got a hold of a consultant's report for SaskPower, recommending Elbow as the best location for a nuclear power plant in Saskatchewan. I don't like this at all. I've had misgivings in the past about nuclear power - no matter how much the engineers work on making systems "fail-safe", there is always a way for something to fail. Humans are not perfect, and we create imperfect systems. Murphy will always find a way to prevail. I think this could be the last straw for me, that finally moves me from thinking and talking about environmental issues into becoming more actively involved.

Yes, I know that there are risks involved in just about everything, that nothing in this life is 100% safe, and that you can't live life in fear of the sky falling. I'm not saying that I'm worried about a meltdown, or terrorists blowing it up, or anything like that - but when I'm living directly downstream of it, I wonder what the odds are of something being released into the water supply. According to the CBC article, 40% of our province gets drinking water from Lake Diefenbaker - that doesn't feel like what I would consider an acceptable risk. And then there's the whole issue of waste storage that I don't even like to think about...

So, what am I going to do about this? I don't know the best way to voice my opinion to those in power (no pun intended). I need to do this constructively - I know that the power needs of the province are rising, so I can't just say "don't do this", I need to say "do this instead". There are alternatives - there's a wind power project in Beechy that sounds promising - but I don't know what I can do myself to promote them. And I can't just sit back and hope that the government will not go ahead with the project - the energy minister sounds like he's in favor of it.

I'm open to suggestions...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Know when to say "no".

You know it's nearly time to quit working in the yard when your muscles are all aching and sore, and things are nearly done except to cut down that old stump.

You know it's definitely time to quit working in the yard when the chain saw rips holes in your jeans (leaving the skin underneath miraculously intact).

You know you picked a good time to quit working in the yard when you drop the axe head (blunt side, fortunately) on your little toe while putting the tools away.

And, on a day like this, you know that you made the right decision, choosing computer programming over landscaping.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Music Video Monday: "Danny Boy"

I'm not Irish, but I suspect that my Viking ancestors probably left their mark on the Emerald Isle many years ago, so I'm gonna celebrate St. Patrick's Day here. Don't worry, I'm not going to do anything tacky, like insert shamrock icons everywhere or change the color scheme to a green hue. Nope, gonna do this classy, with the beloved song "Danny Boy":

Like I said, classy.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Music Video Thursday: "Irelande Douze Pointe"

Just when I was beginning to lack inspiration for music videos, along comes Eurovision Song Contest 2008! Previous years have seen musical monstrosities, fake celebrities, cross-dressers, and vampires, but I think Ireland has them all beat - they're entering Dustin the Turkey. A puppet. A freakin' puppet. I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry:

Bonus footage: Sky News interviews Dustin just before the Irish finals.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Revenge of Saskatoon

You'd think we'd learn not to go to Saskatoon. Went to town yesterday, unexpectedly ended up having the front brakes on the van replaced - and apparently Kia parts aren't cheap. At least I got some exercise walking from the brake shop to the mall (where I had dropped off the family to go have lunch, see a movie) and back again - I can't wait for things to warm up enough that I can get back to regular walks and using my bike again. I'm very tired of winter.

Isn't this interesting - now that I've decided not to regularly update my blog, I find myself updating it more often. Go figure - must be something freeing about not feeling obligated to update it or something like that. Will this continue? Who knows? Stay tuned, faithful viewers!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


No video for tonight, just a little nerd-bragging. I'm making this entry on an Asus Eee PC, a very cool (or very cute, depending on who you ask) "ultraportable" computer - one of my client's is considering using them for a mobile sales team, and so I'm evaluating one for them. So far, I like it - the keyboard is actually fairly easy to use (although the tiny right-shift key is a bit of a pain), the screen is nice and bright (although a lot of sites need scrolling at 800 x 480). I think this could be what my client is looking for - I'll be whipping up a small database app for them that will allow them to take (parts of) the customer database with them on sales calls, and to synchronize the data when they have a chance to go online.

My biggest concern so far is battery life - may have to recommend the extended battery for them - but other than that, it's a sweet little machine.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Music Video Thursday: "Where've You Been"

"Where've you been?" is a question you could be asking me. I haven't posted anything to the blog so far in 2008... and quite frankly, I've been seriously considering quitting. According to Google Analytics, I'm getting maybe a half dozen vistors per day, and half of them are looking for Quick Logger Plus (which, I'm sorry to say, is pretty much abandonware at this point, but that's a topic for another post). I don't feel like I've got much of an audience for Music Video Thursday (aside from my youngest daughter who is completely nuts for Queen), which makes it kinda hard to keep the motivation up for it. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to can it, but chances are that we've seen the end of regular posts here for the time being.

Having said all that, I've got some motivation for posting today. It's Valentine's Day, and I've been thinking back to the past - about 14 years ago, I was dating a girl who I was crazy about, and when Valentine's Day came around, I wanted to get her something special. I was at university at the time, in the middle of my comp. sci. degree, didn't have much spare cash, and didn't have much self-confidence. I agonized over what to get her, and finally ended up buying a cheap little "bouquet" of plastic flowers (with a little mylar balloon and, if memory serves me correctly, a small teddy bear) in a little basket or pot from a seller who had set up a table in the tunnel between Arts and Place Riel (at the U of S). Within minutes of buying it, I began to suffer from an acute case of "buyer's remorse" - I began to worry about how it looked, if it looked cheap, and most of all, if my girlfriend would like it or not. By the time I got home and got ready to go out, my stomach was churning, and I had convinced myself that my relationship with her was as good as over - what kind of stupid lunk buys something like this for someone special?

I don't remember much about that evening with her, except this: I gave it to her, I think I nearly broke down crying over how nervous I was feeling, she loved it (not because it was fancy or classy or anything like that, but because I gave it to her), and suddenly all my fears dissolved into thin air. Not too long after this, I proposed, she said "yes", we were married, and the rest (as they say) is history.

So, tonight's music video goes out to Kristen, who has been there for me, helped me believe in myself, tolerated my neuroses, calmed my fears, and loved me. This is one of her favorite songs, "Where've You Been" by Kathy Mattea. I'm not normally a country fan (as you may have noticed by the selection of music that's been posted here), but this is for her:

Happy Valentine's Day, Kristen. I love you very much. I may not have many other visitors to my blog, but you're the one visitor who truly matters to me. And I'm just not myself when you're away.

And now to see if I can keep it together long enough to surprise you with this. Hopefully I can make it through supper without you wondering why I'm so nervous. Some things never change. :-)

UPDATE: Found it!