Book Hippo

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I'm a techno-trog. Really. It's only recently I learned, or got it in my skull, what an operating system is and I'm not sure what it's operating. I don't have a clue how a computer works. I know it has a 'language' of 1s and 2s.

I know that a lot of people can take advantage of people like me who know nothing. One thing, though, is that I remember a long time ago when I was a teen being told the statistics of work. 80% of people hated their jobs.

What does this have to do with the computer and internet? Well, nowadays, statistics are reversed and 80% of people love their jobs. What changed?

I believe it is the internet and computers. Take say, a detective. In the old days, one gets a fingerprint and has to go through hundreds of fingerprint cards to find the perpetrator if he's even there. Nowadays there's a website with just fingerprints. APHIS, I think it's called.

The detective simply puts several points of the fingerprints on the screen and any matches come up in about seven minutes. How good it must make a cop feel to know his work will most probably pay off.

Of course for writers, there's the fact that they can now type without mistakes and go back and forth with their manuscripts. Write one section, then cut and paste it where you want it. That way, when you have a fresh idea, you can get to it right away. No more, "I hate writing but love having written"> Most of my fellow writers just love writing.

There's so many ways the internet and computers have made jobs easier and more satisfactory. Looking up a file from the computer. No more filing mistakes or hours on your knees for the bottom drawer. Everyone's information is at a fingertip.

People, who like to help people, are now able to do it at the stroke of an ENTER. Bringing up whatever file they have on a person and so can look up the whole history of interactions with clients.

80% is pretty good  for satisfaction. Maybe the next invention will make job hating obsolete.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Horse Wimperer

I love animals. When I was a girl my favorite was dogs but I had a special place for horses. Not that I knew anything about them. All I knew I read in tween books for 'horsey' people.

I didn't actually ride that much and as I look back, I don't know why. In White Rock, BC, just a little way beyond the city limits was a riding stable. Unlike in Ontario, you could rent a horse without knowing how to ride.

At $5.00 an hour, it was a good deal. That, of course, is 1960's $5.00, which is I don't know how much in today's terms. Anyway, I went there once with a girl I knew from school. She knew how to ride and took the lead horse. I took the horse that they said always followed the lead horse.

She told me that horses know when you don't know how to ride and will try things. "Just show them who's boss." She said to me. Well, the horse was boss.

As soon as we got out of sight of the barn, my horse stopped and began to feed on grass. I kicked and kicked, my friend was tiffed at me. "Just make it do it." No way. The horse was happy chomping away.

I decided to get off and pull it along just to get it going. As soon as my foot hit the ground, the horse began to trot off. I jumped back on and it kept going.

"You don't know how to ride at all, do you?" She asked. I had told her that I did. All those horsey books had affected me. I had to confess I didn't know anything but tried to save things by saying. "I thought I did." Whatever.

I never did learn to ride horses. I thought I might learn when I came to Ontario but here the horse stables are way outside the city, you need a car and I've never learned to drive. Also, it cost $20.00 an hour.

But I still like horses.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winnipeg 2010

I met my cousin in 2010. We'd been communicating for some years via e-mail. We came into contact with one another through genealogy. We're both descended from the Bindloss family of Heversham in England.

She lives in Winnipeg and phoned me and said that she wanted to meet me and I could stay with her at her house and she would pay for everything. What a deal. All I needed was to find a good price to travel there.

I went online to Westjet and found a round trip to Winnipeg at $99 each way. All I would spend is about $300 (for the taxes etc) in total. So I went.

I was a bit worried as I had never met her but she turned out to be a wonderful person and I felt right at home. I loved her house, filled with beautiful stuff and Winnipeg was delightful.

The streets are wide and the skyline is low. On my cousin's block, there were trees forming a bower over the road. It was so nice. On our first day together we went and got Chinese food.

I'd brought her a couple of presents and she gave me a few, too. One day she drove me up to Gimli. I loved the big lake and the pier and bought a book about an Icelandic woman written by her granddaughter. I love history and this was something I knew little about.

The whole culture of Winnipeg was quite different from Ontario. So many Icelandic and Ukrainians. And the Hutterite people wandering around in their old-fashioned clothing. Then there was the Social. It's a gathering that is held when two people get married. Money is given to them to be used for whatever they want it for. Some couples get enough to buy their first house.

I also liked the pork parties. Pork producers hold outdoor get togethers and give pork away for free. They have sandwiches of pulled pork and chops etc just so people can get a taste of what they're producing. Apparently, it makes lots of business for them.

We went up to see a Hudson's Bay fort, a recreation with actors taking on the roles of the people who lived back then. There was a blacksmith and the governor, maids, postal office. The actors were wonderful and had a little 'tiff' just for us. We saw lots of pelts, too.

Of course, we did some genealogy research, too, at one of the libraries and found one of my cousin's German ancestors from the other side of her family.

On another day, we went to Fort Whyte Alive which has a sod house and a bison herd. It was great to walk there on the paths which are flat because Manitoba is, of course, on the prairies. I have trouble with my knee and so greatly appreciated flat walking in a nature setting.

We visited a mall, crossed a suspension bridge and had gelato in the french-speaking area. I loved every second of my visit to Winnipeg and would like to go somewhere else someday on the prairie. Edmonton would be my choice as my brother lives there.

Someday I'll go back to the prairies, they're a real lovely place to be.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ship Travel

When I was a girl my family went on a trip to Prince Rupert. My father loved to travel and see the world and at that time that was all he could afford. So we went in our car and traveled to somewhere I don't remember to take the ship.

I can recall we stopped in a motel where we had to pay to have them unlock the cupboards on top of our night's rental. Mom said we would just have sandwiches that we didn't need to have the cupboards unlocked. She never did like being taken advantage of.

At the port, we left our car in a parking lot and got on the ship. At first I liked it, especially the fact that I had a cabin away from my parents. My sister got one all to herself, while me and my brother shared one.

It was so small and I loved it. I determined to have a tiny house when I grew up but of course I changed my mind later.

We had bought Gravol just as a precaution and it's a good thing we did. I was so sick, I spend all of my time laying down on my bunk. I was terrified as soon as we left the sight of land and got into open water.

I did go up to eat. We listened to a lot of old ladies, they must have been on a paid cruise together. They expressed surprise that there were Bald Eagles in Canada as Bald Eagles are American, they thought. We laughed at that, they must have been city people with no knowledge of the movements of animals and birds.

But I couldn't eat much. I was so glad when we got to Prince Rupert but to tell you the truth, I have no recollection until we got back to our car. We must have taken a ship back. I do know that the one we went there on was on it's way to Alaska. Maybe we took the train back, but I don't know.

So I guess, on the whole, I didn't enjoy the trip very much but I did enjoy the idea of the trip. I enjoyed going somewhere although after I grew up, I made all my travel on the bus. Montreal, Toronto and Kingston are just a few hours away from Ottawa and it was no trouble to get on a bus and watch the sights as I went by.

Later I went on an airplane which is common enough but I never thought I was suited to fly and so waited for a long time. I'll have to tell you about my trip to Enderby and some of my travels to Montreal. Bye now.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year.

So at the beginning of 2014 I can think back and realize that I've never made a New Year's resolution. To tell the truth, I've only ever seen New Years as a great holiday, not anything important, just another day.

This year, though, I find I'm really hepped up about this new year and I'm hoping for great things. I just feel things are going to be great this year.

I think that I won't make a resolution exactly. I'm thinking of how I would raise a kid if I had one. Well, one thing, instead of watching tv or playing video games, I would have my child study languages but in a way which is fun for the kid, not a challenge.

In Canada, whenever a student studies, it's common for said student to say at the end, 'my brain hurts'. I think it's a shame that Canadian pupils have this attitude towards learning. That they have to cram and eat tuna sandwiches or swallow vitamin e tablets.

I would want to teach my kid that any learning is part of life and doesn't have to have a stigma of 'smart or stupid' attached to it. That it's enjoyable to learn.

I only mention this because I've decided that that's the way I will change my own life. I will buckle down and study languages like I've wanted to do ever since I was a child.

So I'm going to change my life, not as a resolution but as a lifestyle improvement.
Happy New Year to you all.