Christmas time

I flew home last night on Air Canada, which went as well as any airline flight could have gone. The downside, ofcourse, was that I flew out of Regina, which seems to have shops open only at those times when people don't actually fly, foiling my plans to buy a copy of Collapse by Jared Diamond. What's worse is that there was no inflight entertainment, despite the sticker on the seat ahead of me helpfully informing me that soon I will have control of my own TV. Fortuneatly, I have an iPod, and it has solitaire.

Without going into great details, I've come to realize over the past couple of months that family is more important than you can possibly think, and I hope that everyone spent today with people that they care about, or, if not, that they spent today doing something that they wanted to do and will be happy about for the rest of their lives.

But this is all a round about, and probably way too bittersweet, way of wishing the dozen or so people that read this blog a merry christmas.

Giddy Thrills

Who else booked a hotel room for a member of the hockey hall of fame today?

PM Tour Mania

I spent the day helping out on the Regina stop of the PM tour. Highlights included getting to have a secret service style earpeice and microphone, being tasked with directing traffic, and having a discussion as to whether Mrs. Goodale's car would fit into the last parking spot in the lot (It didn't.) Also, we learned the lesson about how tempting fate will only lead to fate coming and biting you in the ass. Needless to say, I had a blast.

I'm exhausted and have some other stuff to deal with, but will provide a detailed breakdown of the goings on tomorrow. In the meantime, I give you the following picture, which happened in the last 5 minutes of the scheduled series of events, and will precede everything else said and done today:

Long, Long Week

I'll give more details tomorrow, but it has been a long and hectic week, and I'm pretty exhausted. It'll be good to get back to Ottawa, provided I can actually do some Christmas shopping between then and now.

Computer Woes

My computer seems to have decided to stop booting. My internet connectedness will be reduced for the time being.
I hate technology.

Six Weeks Left

It's been a pretty hectic week, so I apologize for not getting a more elaborate update up sooner. But, late is better than never, I always say. That, and blogging less than you planned is the blogspot way.

So, a summarry of sorts:

Last sunday, Ryan, his PM tour people, and I drove from Saskatoon to Regina. It was actually a really nice day, in the negative teens for temperature, but clear skies and lots of sun. Because of the vagaries of our trip west, it was also the first time I got to see the prairies during the day. I get the sense that the flat gives Ryan the same sense of home that the Atlantic Ocean gets me. I actually think that the flat is quite beautiful, in an odd sort of way. There is something that is really neat about the lack of anything on the horizon, and the huge skies are really a site to see.

But enough romanticism. The railroad runs along much of the highway, and so grain elevators dot the path. I didn't actually get to see any trains, nor was there any wheat, it being November, after all, so I feel like I didn't get the real Saskatchewan experience. We passed by Saskatchewan's excuse for a ski hill, which is literally just a pile of garbage covered in dirt. It looks sort of like a pimple on the horizon, and I got the distinct sense that Ryan was actually kind of embarrassed to describe it as a ski hill. I feel less bad about Martock now.

We stopped for gas in Davidson, which is in the riding where I am working. It has a gas station and an elevator, as well as the lonliest looking A&W in the world.

Since sunday, I've mostly been focusing on getting things going in the Riding I am working. Joel, with whom I am staying, and I are working full-time on the campaign, in addition to a campaign manager that works in the law office upstairs, and (obviously) the candidate. We are coordinating much of the logistical and organizational side of things, coordinating volunteers, mailouts, signs, and all the rest. The week was spent getting all of these things going, and all the pieces are now more or less in place.

Having the pieces in place is one step, the next is actually doing it. Today we set up a 56 day calendar, with genuine 3m Post-it notes representing everything we need to do between now and January 23rd. And this is just the stuff that we could think of today. Needless to say, it seems pretty daunting.

Some other bits and pieces:

Mid week we went to the opening of John William's campaign office. It was really good. John spoke well, and CPAC was there to document the whole process, including some really good shots of the four local candidates. I got to meet a lot of the people that are running the other Regina campaigns, and some that are working on ours. There was also free campaign pizza, and free food is always good food.

I knew that Co-ops were big in the prairies, but I never really got the sense of how big. There's Co-op taxis, Co-op Gas, Co-op Grocery and hardware stores, and I'm pretty sure that I saw a co-op strip club. There is a co-op grocery store in the mall across the road from the campaign office, and while the prices seem to be less expensive than at home, I factor that being because I am at the edge of Regina, not in the heart of Centretown. Apparently they keep track of what you spend, and when you turn 69 you start getting payments representing some fraction of what you had spent. It seems almost like a loyalty program, a la HBC rewards, except that there is a good chance you will actually accumulate enough to get something back before you die. Joel says that there isn't really any cost advantage to shopping there, but its more of a “Western Canada thing”. I should keep a track of when that is used as an explanation for something that doesn't seem to otherwise make sense.

I jaywalk across the road to get to the grocery store, hopping when traffic permits to the median, and then to the other side. I'm used to this in Ottawa, where it is a contact sport of sorts. In Regina, it seems, that drivers actually will stop for you as you break the law, actually giving you funny looks when you don't immediately dart across. I don't mind the deference, but shouldn't get used to it less I become another statistic at the Bronson entrance to Carleton.

It seems that everytown has its own quirky little local food institutions. Regina's seems to be a place called Nicky's, where I went for a breakfast meeting with the other Campaigns on friday. Unlike the Elgin Street Diner in Ottawa, which most of the time seems too cool for its own good, Nicky's is much more lowkey. The food was good and fast, and the owner came right out to cut a cinnamon bun for someone at the counter. It's going to places like these that makes visiting other cities really fun, and it's frustrating to think that because they are tough to discover without knowing locals, people default to the national chains that they are familiar with. To be fair, I am guilty of this.

I'm flying back into Ottawa on the evening of the 24th, though won't be arriving until after midnigt. I'm in town until the 3rd of January, so will be looking for something to do over New Years.

This week is going to be pretty hectic, but hectic usually means fun in campaigning. I'll post more as I can.

Fun with Regina Transit

I'll post a more elaborate summarry of the past 5 days later tonight, but I just wanted to quickly mention my adventures on Regina Transit:

16 routes, none with better than 1/2 our service. It took an hour and 20 minutes to travel what would have taken me half that in Ottawa. All the routes are circular and all travel through the inner pits of Suburbia, which I suppose maximizes the amount of access without increasing the number of buses. I suppose this is no worse than in Halifax, but is a far cry from Ottawa.

The kicker? I have access to a car, which was all part of the guy I'm staying with's plan. I just, you know, don't actually have a license. Fortuneatly the transit adventure is only going to have to last a couple of days.

An Evening Out

I went to see the Harry Potter movie tonight. It's nice to know that even in different provinces, even at a 10:30pm show, that 15 year-olds make me want to never have children. Or at least teenaged children. It's also nice to know that shitty mall theatres are shitty mall theatres anywhere in Canada.

The walk home was really nice. It was cold outside, maybe -15, but there was a light dusting of snow and and little breeze. The shuffle on my iPod produced a good set of songs, some Dylan and some Lou Reed, which made for a fun late night soundtrack. It sort of reminded me of walking home from the Baseline bus station after a night downtown, too cheap to take a 7 dollar cab ride home, but too late to actually catch a bus the rest of the way.

Tomorrow I go to a PM tour meeting and do some marking. Sunday I make my way for the Pile of Bones.

A Mostly Tedious Day

Another day, another conservative policy announcement. I don't really want to talk a lot about politics on this blog, as I think that is being done more than adequately in the actual media and various partisan (and not-so-partisan) aggregators. However, I think that it is really interesting that the conservatives are making so many announcements now, whereas the other parties are virtually silent. I'm not particularly concerned about anything that has come up so far, as it seems that they are either internally contradicted by party members (such as the parliamentary prosecutor) or just different ways of implementing a similar liberal policy.

Anyway, as to my adventures. Yesterday was pretty quiet, as will today be. I finally got my phone taken care of (and those that want the number are welcome to email me), and went to lunch and at the aptly named “Saskatoon Asian” restaurant. The rest of the day was spent going over press reference for the incumbent conservative candidate, 300 pages worth of them, to see if anything juicey was said. While it is pretty clear that he is opposed to same sex marriage, and there is a whole lot of material that would annoy an electorage composed entirely of my ideological clones, it will be interesting to see what we can find that'll work in partly rural Saskatchewan.

I've also finally sorted out the details for my Regina sojourn, and it looks like I will be playing more or less the role that I wanted on the campaign, which is good. It also looks like I'll be heading back to Ottawa for about a week around Christmas, arriving around the 23rd and leaving about a week later. For those that are making their way west between then and now, be sure to drop me a line and perhaps we can get in touch.