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October 2010

Barry's MingleWorks is back

FYI - MingleWorks is a social gathering that has been run off and on by Barry for a number of years. Good chance to mingle comfortably, nibble some munchies, meet interesting people, and perhaps sign up for a trip or a cruise. Here's the invite he sent out...


Yes, after many months, "MingleWorks" is back and here is the invite and information.  For those of you who have never been in the past and don't know what it is, MingleWorks is an "afterwork social networking cocktail party", always held on the first Wednesday of each month and always at the same location.  Whether you are single or a couple, it is a great opportunity to get out once a month and "mingle" with friends and meet some new ones.
The location is the new MVP Lounge, 683 Bank Street in the Glebe, corner of Clemow.  It will start at 4:30 - 5PM and go until about 9PM.  Some people will head over directly from work; others may prefer to whip home, freshen up and come over then.  There is quite a bit of free parking in the area.

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Sparkly things - Parenting - how much is too much?

The following article was written for this month's newsletter for a group I belong to. Basically we are a group of people that are good at solving mathematical and spatial puzzles, and that also share a fascination for sparkly things. We also share a corresponding lack of focus, so are thus unlikely to rule the world/country/city/home. We also have varying degrees of social skills, but we aren't all like Sheldon, many of us are fun to hang out with and have egos that fit quite nicely into our skulls. Some of our members are politicians, some are philosophers, some are cab drivers, some are unemployable. Many are parents too, possibly with some unique problems - hence the article. Note that I pretended to a more extreme stance than my own views, in the hope of encouraging some debate in our group - or here in my blog.

The article ... 

I think that we, as Mensoids, tend to parent too much. Too much time, and too much obsession over details. Not that I blame us, really.

Part of growing is learning, and part of that is taking risks, and part of that is occasionally failing. As young Mensoids we excel with ease in some things, and we learn to like and prefer that success. So we choose to chase after sparkly things, hopping from topic to topic, avoiding risks and the discomfort of failure, encouraged by overprotective parents who believe - rightly so - that we are special in some ways. But just as we excel in some things, we balance it by often under-performing in some others, such as social skills and communication. And occasionally show a lack of patience with others that don't “get” us.

Because of this we often have difficult childhoods - I know I did. I didn't have many friends that were suspended from kindergarten for a week. But more on that later.

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New digs

I posted before about why I was moving, now that I've been in my new digs for a few weeks it's time for an update.
First off - It's a very convenient location. I'm a block from the Tunney's bus stop on the Transitway, and close to Wellington and a Bridgehead coffee, local pub, hardware, groceries, library, restaurants. It will cost less for my car, but maybe more for pubs and cafes. My new place is the top half of a plain box-like duplex, built in the 60's, but renovated last year with new hardwood floors, new big windows, all off-white paint, and new appliances. Still 2-prong wall plugs and slow drains, but rooms a good size with lots of cupboard and closet space. Heat and a/c and hydro all included. Nice clean bright place.
The landlord is downstairs, a quiet old German couple - he's 88. I find myself almost tip toeing around rather than my normal heel thump, but they're slightly deaf so probably not really a problem. Even when I practice my trombone. They are early to bed and to rise though, so I hear the radio get cranked up just after 7 - I know, not that early for all my friends that work for a living.
I couldn't find my coffee stuff at first, so went down the street to "my" Bridgehead. Cute servers, great coffee, free wi-fi, interesting patrons - so I'm back here often. I'm writing this here, on my iPhone, via the free program My Writing Nook.  Keep getting distracted by the sidewalk views though, a mixed bag of old & young, saleswomen all dolled up dash in for coffee, mothers and strollers, older folk like me. Much different from the suburbs and malls of Sn'Orleans
I made a few trips already to the local Home Hardware for odds and ends - such as a solution for two prong outlets, three prong stuff.  The young staffer just looked blankly at me - why would any outlets be 2 prong?? The owner was fine and found some adapters with conveniently weak snap-off tabs.
Have found a "local" too, O'Connell's. It's a small bar, attached to a large 50's style diner (Fil's) as well as a bowling alley. Nice place, friendly staff, more laid back that the Royal Oak on the other corner. I've several stories from there already, as I did find some adventures. And some local colour.

More on that later,and local restaurants, as well as a trip to the Carleton Tavern - an old school style Ontario tavern. Time now to head out for a coffee and shopping.

CPO Toolkit - some suggestions

A few months ago, Crime Prevention Ottawa launched a "toolkit" for neighbourhoods, for each area to use to help reduce crime. They've just re-sent it out to their mailing list.

There are some good tips, suggestions, and links in it - I have a few criticisms and suggestions to add:

  • as many do, this prevention guide cites the "broken window" theory - that is you leave windows broken, garbage around, and poor lighting in an area, it will show it's not cared for and petty crime will continue there. Fair enough, but then the guide (and many others) say this will also lead to an increase in serious crime. Not necessarily so - I looked further into this a few years ago - see this article.
  • graffiti management focus on eradication and enforcement - clean it off right away and patrol the area more. Both of these work, but so can covering the offending wall with a mural - preferably community designed with local youth involved in the solution. Ottawa's own Paint It Up! program has directed $50,000 to that sort of approach this summer, with excellent results. More on that on my home page, or on that of Ottawa Urban Arts. Hopefully the next tool-kit edition will include information on this program.
  • community cleanup advice should also include mural work. Although currently the Ottawa graffiti bylaws will fine you for graffiti on a business or residential property,under the permanent sign bylaw  only businesses or multi-residential areas are allowed to cover it with a mural. So far, if it's your own garage or fence, you have to just keep painting it over.

From the release:

Crime Prevention Ottawa’s Neighbourhood Toolkit is an online resource (a printable version is also available on the website) that provides ideas, information and resources to help Ottawa residents make their neighbourhoods better places to live. The Toolkit encourages residents to get involved in their neighbourhoods and to be accountable and proactive about community safety. Individuals, community associations, Neighbourhood Watch volunteers and many others will find helpful ideas and practical information about building safer neighbourhoods from the ground up. The Toolkit also contains information about specific problems and crimes and how to get help from municipal and community resources in Ottawa. You can learn more about the Toolkit by visiting: