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September 2005

Why I might loot after a hurricane...

My heart goes out to the people of New Orleans. The city is totally devastated from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and its going to be a long road to recovery. Much of the looting just adds salt to the wounds. I just finished my weekly technology column where I state the reasons I see some looting as justifiable. Here it is:

I am going to call it “justifiable looting”.

As the good citizens of New Orleans watched their beautiful city fill up with water, they must have been doubly horrified to have their houses and/or businesses looted.

But there is looting of stereo equipment and fashion clothing. And, then, there is looting of food, water, and the other necessities of life.

I, myself, would be “looting” cell phone stores, or even better satellite phone stores, looking for as many phones and pay as you go cards I could carry.

I mght also be looking for hand cranked or solar power radios.

One of the most valuable and scarce commodities during a disaster is the ablity to communicate. When normal phone service and electricity is disrupted, cellphone, satellite phones, and radios become extremely important.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devasted much of the US Gulf Coast, millions of people have again been looking to the Internet for information on what has happened and how they may be able to help.

If you visit and type in 'Katrina”, you will undoubtedly find much news about the crisis.

What has surprised me is how well the Internet links into New Orleans have held up so far.

As I write this, I am watching a live feed from a webcam in an office of an Internet company in downtown New Orleans. A couple of their staff stayed at their desks and have essentially reported live from the scene.

This has undoubtedly helped emergency officials assess the situation  in areas very few can access right now.

Makes me think that Government should fund emergency Internet kiosks in potential hurricane, earthquake, forest fire, or tsunami zones. Give these kiosks a lot of protection from the elements and provide them Internet access through satellite.

Sitting here scouring the Internet for information on the situation in New Orleans, I can't help but feel a little guilty.

The small amount of Internet traffic I am creating might make it harder for people who have been directly affected to get to the web sites they need to get to.

But, I also feel that the world should know what happened with Hurricane Katrina so we can all help in coming up with lasting solutions.

It is going to be a long road ahead for the many people affected by Katrina. I wish them all the very best in their recovery.


A seat on Kamloops City Council....

I am about to embark on one of the most important journeys of my life. Today, I formally announced that I will be a candidate in the upcoming City Council elections in Kamloops. I am a little tired right now but suffice to say that I am totally excited about working to earn the trust of Kamloopsians. I want to be a very approachable city councillor who will make decisions in the best interests of the entire community - not for one segment or the other.

To amplify what I wrote above, this could very well be the most important thing I have ever done.  I plan to take it very seriously and to bring all the good that I have learnt in my life so far to the tasks ahead.

I have put a web site called Your Kamloops that I invite all to visit.

Hello Old Friend, Long Time No See...

I remember reading a post on my friend Kiruba's blog quite some time ago. Perhaps it was a New Years resolution type post because Kiruba resolved to try and get in touch with old classmates that he had lost touch with.

Well, last week, I called up an old friend from elementary school, Jarrett Loehr, and invited him for a drink. I hadn't seen Jarrett since 1982 but knew he lived in Kamloops. We had our drink this evening and it was really great to see an old friend. I really had no other motivation than to perhaps rekindle an old old friendship.

Jarrett told me he thought that I might be selling Amway or something. I chuckled and pulled out the sample kit. Just kidding -  I might have thought the same thing after 23 years of no contact. Instead, we talked of common friends, our lives today, and hatched a plan to get more of our old classmates together in the near future.

It was a little scary to call Jarrett initially, but it paid off in spades.

What I do when I am not blogging...

Its weird, this blog guilt thing. I also think it is good. It forces you to remember to come to this place and to write.  Over the past weeks, I have taken on a part time job working for my mother, helping to manage my parent's apartment buildings. We have 78 units here and, although I lived 'on site', for more than 4 years, I haven' t really been involved with the family business much.  Even now, its a temporary thing. Until I can start selling my book - the Friendly Internet Guidebook 2006.

I also am working to put together a campaign to get people more involved in City government and leadership in Kamloops. I going to have more to say about this soon.

And, indeed, am still also interested in helping people get involved in provincial, national, and world affairs.

I am also trying to be a better husband, uncle, son, and brother. Marriages are hard work but I have been blessed with one Marsha Stewart in my life and she is worth the work. She is. Tomorrow, it will be 2 years since we said "I will"

Becoming your Mother...

I have been following the Lisa Life blog for a while. Don't remember exactly how I stumbled upon this lady's lucid writing - likely from my stalwart, Typepad's recently updated page.

First of all, Lisa, Happy Belated 39th Birthday. And secondly, funny funny post about how you are becoming more like your mother .
Here is an excerpt from Lisa:

The biggest thing lately that made me realize that I've become my mother happened last week.  I was dressing to go to work and I suddenly pulled out a pair of white Keds, stuck them on my feet without socks and went out the door.


The had never been worn, although they are at least 7 years old.  I even remember when I bought them.  It was a time my mom and I were shopping together and she bought a new pair of white Keds.  (My mom only believed you should wear real sneakers if you were participating in an athlete event.) I was with her on this shopping trip so she said, "Lisa, don't you want a new pair of white Keds?"  (Want a new pair?  I didn't own an old pair.)  I probably shrugged and she took that for a yes and asked what size and probably cringed a little when I told her eight and a half, since she was a little bitty thing and wore a 6. 

I am sure I took them home, promptly threw them in the Box Where All Shoes That Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time resided and forgot about them and they eventually worked their way to freedom in my closet.

They somehow worked their way out of that box and onto my feet and now I know, I've become my mother.

Smoke Hoods: An Essential Component of a Travel Safety Kit?

It is absolutely incredibly wonderful no one died yesterday in the crash of the Air France airbus in Toronto. My youngest cousin left Kamloops yesterday and his route back to New Jersey Suburbia took him through Toronto's Pearson Airport. I had a few seconds of very high anxiety as I rushed to the computer to check details of the crash.

Yesterday's crash also got me thinking about my old friend Tony Smithbower at Brookdale International Systems. I worked for Brookdale in 1999/2000 as an Internet Marketer. Brookdale's most famous product is called the EVAC-U8 smoke hood which protects people from smoke inhalation while evacuating a fire. Every time a plane crashes and burns, Tony usually gets pretty busy. The EVAC-U8 is a great product, in my humble opinion. But, the irony is  I don't currently own one. A lot of people don't want to think of those horrible "what if" scenarios, especially while travelling.  Maybe I should give Tony a call to try and see if I qualify for a "former employee" discount.