feedback and comments

hello, world

Hi Michael! Got your email re: my blogger site—I have two—to shy to let you see the personal one just yet but here is the one where my family posts messages for my son who is in Sri Lanka www.dusterbuster.blogspot.com Saw your list of greatest movies. Being in the film business, I would have posted it differently (not based on box office!) and it definitely would have included "Like Water for Chocolate". On my way to Australia to get me a husband! Yes—the immigration papers finally came through!! He can officially become a landed immigrant. I am flying through Auckland this time—will miss Sydney all together which is too bad—really wanted to see the real impact of those fires. Watch CBC Newsword on the 22nd at 7:00 PM! Rough Cuts is airing a documentary that I worked on—"Shipyard's Lament". And give me your honest opinion!!

--Iris Merritt 2002-01-16

Hiya, Iris. Missed your documentary, but I hope the husband worked out! ;)
--Michael

creating things

I'am glad that i have found this site I'am getting a tattoo for my 17th birthday (September 27th) i was supposed to get one for my 16th but i chickned out LoL but then as i read on about how you said it didnt hurt that much i also realized that i can talk alot of pain i do know that it will hurt a bit but now that i read this site i relized it isnt as abd as i figured it would be i know alot of ppl wit tattoos and they always tell me it didnt hurt that much thanx alot for the help lol Bye

--Lisa 2002-08-24

I personally believe that 17 is too young, but then as Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson) said, (see the comment below) "drink and be merry for tommorrow you may contract a horrible skin disease".
--Michael

creating things

Great site....... you sound like a very interesting person—thanks for making me laugh!

-- 2002-09-18

Ah, anonymous praise. Doesn't get much better than that, I guess.
--Michael

creating things

Hi - is the Mussolini quote on fascism/corporatism from a longer comment? Thanks. RL.

--Rick London 2003-03-21

Possibly. You can google it for best results. I found this interesting collection of related quotes.
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

I stumbled across your site by accident one day and found it very inspirational. I think your photos are beautiful. For the most part. Your shots of Vancouver made Vancouver appear in a new light to me. I do photography too and find it hard to find nice subject matter. You are an interesting person. I would love to dissect your mind. But what I have discovered of it on this site is quite intriguing. Herr Werneburger, Sie interessieren mich. Have a great day. T.

--Tamara 2003-04-23

Thanks. I'm glad you liked the pics ("for the most part") and the general level of inspiration. As for dissecting my mind: it is usually on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto most Sunday mornings, when I'm otherwise incapacitated. At least, I think that's where it goes. It just shows up around 2 in the afternoon, and suggests a movie. ;) P.S. I've added your more interesting spelling of my name to my collection. I assumed you were teasing? If not, you're part of the whole 'online presence', now. Enjoy.
--Michael

articles

I just wanted an opportunity to ask about the readership of this site. Are you all late 20s caffeine addicted australian tattoo hunting photographers with fucked up dreams that you want psychoanalyzed? What the fuck?

--Ken 2004-04-08

Seems that way, little bro'.
--Michael

caffeine

Gano Cafe is a great alternative to regular coffee and decaffeinated. Made from Brazilian coffee beans and Ganoderma.

--Susan Eichler 2005-02-04

Thanks for the tip!
--Michael

reviews

Hi Michael, I've been taking a peek at your site from time to time and just noticed your letter. Did you get any response from AirTransat? I'm curious because of a recent journey with SkyService to Costa Rica where we encountered similar shoddy service. Cheers, Mitch

--Mitch Sprague 2003-12-17

A response from AirTransat? As I recall, they told me off. What did I expect. I'll never fly with Air Transat again, that's for sure.
--Michael

reviews

We encountered many problems with Air Transat, we booked our flight to Cancun in October of 2003, leaving for Mexico ion May 22, 2004 and was informed 3 weeks b4 we left that our flight had been cancelled and rescheduled with Westjet. We originally had club seats on a charter fllight and pre-selected seats, instead we were booked on Westjet with no pre-selected seats,, not meals and small seats and to top it off, there was eleven of us and we were limited to 3 drinks to a person. No TV, no meals, and 8 hours in the air. We left from Vancouver and we thought we would be able to go through duty free and of course that did not work out, on our stop in Calgary we had 10 minutes to go through duty free and get back on our plane. Of course, I will never book through Air Transat again, I would rather drive to Seattle and fly from there. Coming back my son and daughter-inlaw were not seated together, instead they were across aisles from each other. I cannot believe that we spent this kind of money and were treated this badly. This was probably one of the more expensive trips we have taken, and we also had our grandchildren with us. I was told by my travel agent that apparently they booked Westjet and AirTransat was suppose to supply everything anyways these our my comments. Your gripes, except for the flight cancellation sound relatively minor. I've never understood why people expect luxury when flying discount (I think someone else commenting on this website said the same).

--BARBARA AND JOHN MASSEY 2004-06-11

But it is worth noting that while Air Transat does their very least to ensure that their customers are happy, they're also raking in record profits.
--Michael

reviews

I am one unhappy customer of the Fido product and consumers really need to consider the the value in a dollar or two when considering cell service and what can happen if they make the wrong choice. I relied on Fido service and time and time again I have been disappointed getting delay voice calls, unable to speak with customer service agents, features that are built in to be so annoying, being put on hold and finally hearing that they lost all my personal information from my handset. Prior to your last screwed-up, I could handle some of the negative aspects and at times was good but the last big one was the final straw. When I first got the phone I was proud of it, small compact, new and upcoming company but lately i've been embarrased to own it because it seemed to give me problems whenever I used it in front of someone. Even after sending a similar email like this to the company, the response I got was that they would talk to the customer service agents that delt with me initially. From thier point of view it seems that the customer is always wrong and always has to wait. Why can't companies understand this simple failure... if they did their books would reward them but instead they never know. Now i'm shopping for another phone. Suggestion: Don't buy a Fido Ken Hakes

--Ken Hakes 2003-01-31

That's too bad. I've found it worthwhile, but then I haven't had to deal with their customer service recently. I have read commentary by 'industry analysts' that suggests the company is not long for this world.... P.S. By 'your last screwup' I hope you don't associate me with Fido for some reason?
--Michael

reviews

Dear Friend: I just bought a YO-520 Sharp organizer, and heartily agree with your review. Cordially, Robin

--Robin 2002-09-14

Groovy. Still using mine, after two years so it must do the job.
--Michael

reviews

Hi. i haven't seen a lot from your site, but i crossed it because i was looking for information about my YO-520, specifically i am looking for a manual, i know i can get it at sharp's home page, but since i live in Mexico i don't think i can get anything this far, so if you know of some place where i could get that manual on line i would really appreciate that you tell me where this could be... well, thanks for the trouble, and good look finding your job. Hi! I saw your comment on my home page; perhaps you could look at the mywizard.com site for help, contacts, or downloads?

--PSYke BeLMoNT 2002-09-25

Good luck!
--Michael

reviews

The package stated this works with windows 2000, it did with windows 98. I have updated my computer to windows 2000 and now yo-520 does not replicate. I have done everthing your techs told me to do and it still does not work. Finally they admitted that they do not know why but with some windows 2000 units the yo unit does not work. Are you addressing this issue or not?

--Jim 2002-11-04

Erm, no. I am NOT affiliated with Sharpe Electronics.
--Michael

reviews

I have recievd a gift from afriend in china a YO-520 organizer but unfortunately the software and manual accompanied are of YO-515P I am not able to syncronise my data with PC could u be of any help can I download the software and manual if yes pl get me the link Thanking you in anticipation Dr Kukreja

--Dr Ajit Naniksingh Kukreja 2003-04-10

Have you had a look at mywizard.com? I'm not associated with the Sharp people at all (my post is just a private review).
--Michael

reviews

I don't see anything in the documentation about data when changing the batteries. After you replace the batteries and hit reset, is your original data still in the organizer or is it lost (requiring a synch with your PC database???

--Mary 2003-07-01

My manual is long gone. I don't even remember how to set the time zone. But I still use it for memos and the calendar function. Good luck with your search!
--Michael

reviews

I got one recently, and have found it to be a really good tool, my job is a programmer and i have filled it up with code snippets, but i have also found it great to put ideas in to it that i wake up with during the night. Also does anybody know if we can add applications to the organizer or update the amount of memory???

--carl 2003-08-12

Carl; I've no idea whether this is possible, but it seems that mywizard.com might be a good place to poke around for such answers.
--Michael

reviews

Where can I get the software for my YO-520?

--Larry 2003-08-24

From mywizard.com. Good luck, Larry.
--Michael

reviews

I lost my electronic organizer manual for the Sharp yo-520. Can you send me one? Or can I download it? Please let me know before I send my address... GC

--Gretchen Coyle 2003-08-31

Gretchen. I am not affiliated with the Sharp Electronics people in any way. Please see mywizard.com for the answers you seek. Good luck!
--Michael

reviews

my organizer is not work j dont why help meeee

-- 2003-09-13

Your email address didn't exist when I responded, so I don't see what I can tell you. Other than "I don't work for Sharp Electronics!" 8)
--Michael

reviews

I USE MY YO 520 EXTENSIVELY. I HAVE OVER 1000 NAMES, OVER 200 SCHEDULE ITEMS, AND OVER 200 MEMO ITEMS. 300 kB HAVE BEEN USED TO RECORD THESE AND OTHER ITEMS. THE INFO IS BACKED UP TO A COMPUTER AND ANOTHER YO 520. I HAVE A RESERVE SUPPLY OF AN ADDITIONAL 5 YO 520s TO REPLACE ANY THAT MAY MALFUNCTION. THAT HAPPENS SOMETIMES BUT I'LL BE USING THEM FOR YEARS. NOT A DAY PASSES THAT I DON'T USE MINE 10 TIMES. WITH THAT AMOUNT OF USAGE THINGS DO GO BAD SOMETIMES.

--JOHN GUNTER 2003-10-10

As I said in our private correspondence, my own organizer has packed it in. The screen no longer functions, despite a change in batteries. It served me well for three years, and got my through four moves, a couple of job changes, and a few other hectic episodes, so I can't complain.
--Michael

reviews

For anyone looking for it go to: http://media-server.amazon.com/media/mole/MANUAL000008824.pdf

--Dan Warren 2003-12-20

Thanks for the tip, Dan.
--Michael

reviews

where did you find this laptops external cd rom? and was it reasonably priced

--mary kurth 2003-04-06

Mary; I tried responding to your query via an email, but your account was full. I wound up buying a parallel-port external CD-ROM for roughly $CAD 200. It's made by 'backpack': it's slow, but it works.
--Michael

fiction

I disagree with the comment I just read about Lens and Shutter. I too have developped over 50 rolls of films there, and it's only when it was time to enlarge them that I noticed every single negative was stratched. Every single one. I tried to talk to the clerk (on Broadway), who very rudely told me it was my camera. I said that was improbable, because I had developed other rolls of films from the same camera elsewhere and they were fine, but she was adamant it wasn't lens and Shutter's fault. I went to FirstFoto, and haven't had a problem since then!

--Anonymous 2003-06-20

Thanks for your comments! I agree that the gang down on Broadway could be a bit off-putting (unlike their downtown locale). Hopefully other Vancouverites will find your FirstFoto tip worthwhile. I've since left Vancouver, unfortunately, so I can't try them out.
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

Try ABC Photocolour for all types of film processing with professional quality standards.

--Chloe 2004-01-28

Thanks, Chloe.
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

One afternoon back in the Fall of 1982, I was walking home from college along a canal in Miami, Florida. I heard a two or three screeches that sounded like they were coming from behind and above me. As i looked up, I was flown over by a great blue heron. It passed over my head and dropped a load of shit in front of my face (but not on my face, fortunately). Only a few months later--just after sunset on Tuesday, March 8, 1983--I was walking home from college and heading toward the same canal. Just after I had passed a library, I saw a blur, and then I felt a splat on my forehead. A seagull had just dropped a shitload in my face, and on my shirt. Even my belt-buckle had poop on it. Seagulls congregate at a garbage disposal site just north of where I was messed on. I had to walk past a shopping center with the crap on me in full view. Night fall saved me from what should have been an embarassing moment. On the Monday of the following week, I learned that I had passed a Physical Chemistry test. Until then, I was failing Physical Chemistry. The birdshit was a sign of good luck. On the other hand, small birds pooped on my head twice in 1996--once in late August, and again in mid-October. I lost my job on the same day in both instances. I believe that the culprit in the mid-October incident was a crow.

--stephen zirattu 2002-02-22

Oh, this made me laugh. I feel better for having just gotten it on my clothing/body.
--Michael

creating things

That is so incredible (what you say about luck) I have been the recipient of the most amazing luck all my life (good and bad it has to be said) I also have a dragon tattoo (really!) and birds crap on me too!! (No really, they do!) Freaky...

--Fee 2004-06-09

Hooray for you, my anonymous Internet brother/sister/whatever you are. Man I wish people would leave their email addresses.
--Michael

articles

Johnny Rotten was wrong. There is a future and we're in it. Except it doesn't look like it's supposed to -- much more Blade Runner than Jetsons. Oh well, at least your website's looking good, Michael. And, if your looking for further proof that the future is now: June Jetson just died of old age. See below: LOS ANGELES, Nov. 14 (AP) -- Penny Singleton, who brought the comic strip character Blondie to life in a popular series of films and was the voice of the mother on the television cartoon series "The Jetsons," died here on Wednesday. She was 95. .... Ms. Singleton went on to do the voice of Jane Jetson in "The Jetsons," Hanna-Barbera's futuristic counterpart to its highly successful "Flintstones" cartoon. The show ran in prime time for just one season, 1962-63, but has been widely seen in syndication.

--rob c. 2003-11-16

Sniff. Goodbye June! I am reminded of a passage in a "Red Dwarf" sci-fi book by "Grant Naylor". In it, two characters are recuperating in adjacent hospital beds. They've been watching the Flintstones. One asks the other, "Is it just me, or is Wilma Flintstone the sexiest woman in all of time?" The other says, "I could be with Betty, but I'd be thinking of Wilma...." Actually, that's only tangentially relevant, but thanks for your comments.
--Michael

the nature of reality

Just went over your web site,,,awesome,I am going crossed eyed of late, doing so much reasearch on moving to Australia, doesnt have to be perminent,its overwhelming at times, I have a bug up my butt about going there, I did the same thing about 12 years ago and got my green card for the US, now I have to go to Australia, if you have the time,anyone, to help out a fellow Canadian land on Oz, I would be ever so greatful, I have a professional job now, was hoping that might jump my chances, but time is running out, I am 41 and I hear they frown on us oldies,, thankyou ...........Karen

--Karen 2002-05-29

Hi, Karen. Sorry it took me a month to get back to your comments on my web site. You're thinking of going back to Australia to work? Are you looking for tips on how to arrange it?
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

I happened upon your web site because I am searching for a third tattoo-celtic design. Thank you for your photos, here is something for you. What I love about language is what I love about fog: what comes between us and things grants them their shine. Take, for instance, this estuary, raised to a higher power by airy sun-struck voile: gunmetal cove and glittered bar hung on the rim of the sky like places in Tibet- white buildings unreachable, dreamed and held at just the perfect distance: the world's lustered by the veil. Or else I love fog because it shows the world as page, where much has been written, and much erased. Clapboards lose their boundaries, and phantoms of summer's roses loom like parade floats lost at sea. Is that what it is, visible uncertainty?... ...Every poem's half erased. I'm not afraid; it feels like home here, held-like any line of text- by the white margins of a ghost's embrace. Mark Doty

--erin 2003-01-09

Well. Thanks. No one has left me poetry before.
--Michael

articles

With the amount of crap you're rambling on about here, its no wonder you are unemployed.

--Arsen 2002-07-29

Thanks for those brave words, anonymous Arsen. This actually touches on something I've noticed; people tend to view unemployment in a negative light, regardless of the circumstances. It's like we equate unemployment with failure, even though many of us hate every job we take: even whole careers. BTW, if you'd care to express a real criticism, I'd be happy to discuss anything I've said, even in my contentious political section. Meanwhile: it's "it's", not its.
--Michael

caffeine

very entertaining I enjoyed reading your comments and getting to know you! Linked to your site via caffeine addiction!

--moony 2003-05-03

Good, good. That's certainly a response that's closer to the spirit in which I wrote the thing than was the call I had from the CBC about this page. The fellow I spoke with had an aggrieved tone as if I weren't taking 'what happened to me' WRT caffiene addiction seriously.
--Michael

caffeine

Hi Michael, I just read your article on Caffeine Addiction. I know what you're going through! Since 1989 I've been addicted to soft drinks. Especially Coke or Pepsi. I'm also addicted to chocolate! I remember when I first starting drinking soda. It was when my Mom and I moved out of my Dad's house. I was a senior in high school and I almost died that year from other health related isssues. When I was growing up; we were only allowed to have Soda at the holidays. Usually Christmas eve when we would have a big party. Anway, in our new place my Mom started buying Soda on a regular basis. I remember that first week of her doing so. (Previously I was addicted to tea) I couldn't find a bottle opener (when we still had glass bottles) so I was trying to open it with a fork! I scraped my knuckles on the cap. I was shaking and nervous and wanted that dang soda!!! I guess it didn't take me long to be addicted to it. Now I have to have 3 servings a day plus chocolate. I'm not even supposed to have caffeine because of my medicine. I attempted to quite several times, but of course I had the usual headache. Then I would give up and grab another Soda. Soda is getting so expensive now. One six pack of 24oz bottles is more than six dollars a pack! A 2LTR is like 1:49 and cans 3.00 dollars. I know you're canadian so that doesn't mean anything to you :) Canadians are great as far as I'm concerned. One of my best friends is from Ontario and my ancestors came from Quebec. I'm going to pray tonight for all those who are addicted to caffeine!!! Take care!

--Andrea 2003-08-11

Hi, Andrea. I just got the message you left on my site. Thanks for your comments. Your struggle sounds like trouble.... I wish you well. I'm in the midst of my second attempt at going without coffee. It's been six weeks, and I'm down to about 3-6 cups a week (I think I'm stuck). And non-Canadians are great as far as I'm concerned! All of my ancestors were non-Canadians at some point.
--Michael

caffeine

ha! Had such a good laugh - certainly enjoyed the smiles. I have not had caffeinated coffee or soda for 8 days now. Prior to that I guzzled a pot of coffee and maybe 4 diet sodas a day. I'd become rather vain about how easily I had quit when I happened to look at the label on the Excedrin bottle (I've been taking quite a few this past week - smile)and noticed there were 65 mg. of caffeine per tablet. Hmmmm.... so much for having kicked the habit... Thanks for posting such a funny biography snippet! Glad you liked it, Michelle. My first attempt to quit is buried in my journal in mid 2000. It's pretty embarrassing, what with the swearing and the whining. My most recent attempt to quit has ended in failure once again. But I'm down to one cup of coffee a day, and I'm only using half as much coffee per cup as I was (in all, I'm probably down to 1/4 of where I was two months ago). Now I know why my brother still smokes after all this time!

--michelle evans 2003-08-22

Good luck to you. Eight days is a great start, tablets or no. 8) P.S. Michelle: there was something puzzling me about your comment. You'd put the subject as 'mrs.' Then I realized that you'd read my label for the 'Subject' (which I called 'Title') as being 'your title'. I've changed the subject label to 'Subject'. ;)
--Michael

caffeine

i am addicted to soda i couldnt give it up, if i dont have soda i refuse to do anything and i'm a bi*ch untill i get some, thats why i always have a coke or sprite with me

--alluraklein 2003-10-08

Yikes!
--Michael

caffeine

I cant live without my pepsis and frappucionos!!!i have to have a coke w every meal, and some sort of coffee every morning, if not i fell like sh*t the rest of the day! and i am so young, barely 18, is there something ot stop this madness! i dont know how many times ive tried quittin, but its so hard!!!:(

--chula 2003-10-13

Why not try slowing down, rather than quitting outright. I decided that I enjoy coffee too much to quit it outright, but I've cut my caffeine consumption to 1/3 of the levels of the Spring.
--Michael

caffeine

i am addicted 2 caffien badly..i have over doesed 2 tiems and now goign thru withdrawel i tried quitting but i need TO B IN OVEEEEEEEEEEERDRIVE..im really saaaaa..spazing right now i need it so bad..but soo i am getting htis stuff that has 100mgs of caffien evey oz and it has 24oz in all

--caffy 2003-12-08

Holy moly, it's even affecting your spelling?
--Michael

caffeine

I was just told today by a ?!reputable?! dr that the reason I feel so badly all the time is that I'm over caffienated or a gasp! caffeine addict. I personally feel that he just couldn't help me & this was the best he could come up with. But hey I'll give it a shot.Although I do agree with you that why give up all together soda,coffee,&tea if you really enjoy the taste.Out of all the addictive stimulants, you could do a h*ll of a lot worse then have coffee. Well I guess it's just h20 for awhile. But if I don't feel better, I'm going to smack the good dr over the head with my mr coffee pot.

--B. Summers 2003-12-22

Heh! Don't expect to be able to quit 'cold turkey'. It took me a couple of weeks to wean myself off, and while I did it, I found the habit - not to mention just the simple the ritual of making and drinking it - such a loss that I started it again.
--Michael

caffeine

I am using the 12-step program to keep off the caffeine. I found it was the only way to stay clean. I had to come to the realization that my addiction was similar to that of any drug addict. The process is the same. The only difference is that it's socially acceptable & not life threatening, BUT it is a threat to sanity & sense of well-being. I'm working my 3rd step with my sponsor now. There is a lot more to lose if I relapse now. It takes more than just your own will power to quit... at least that's what I have found. I highly recommend quitting for anyone that desires a quality life & a full experience in everything they do!

--enea 2004-01-06

Doesn't the twelve-step program involve going around and apologizing to all of the people you've wronged in your past bingeing? How do you do that with coffee... Anyway, good luck, quitting is a bitch, I know too well.
--Michael

caffeine

I am addicted to soda. When I see a Coke or Pepsi logo, I urge for soda. I want to stop, but I have no will power. I also drink soda as a "quick pick me up". Hrlp me stop! I drink 3-5 cans per day. I know it is bad, but how do I stop.

--Diane Fritz 2004-01-08

Whew. Good luck, Diane!
--Michael

caffeine

After reading all the other posts, a few comments: 1) Caffeine has a bitter taste. It is well known that some people enjoy bitter tastes more or less than others. Also, it is popular to combine bitter with sweet. (coffee with cake, coca-cola, etc). Barq's unique flavor comes from the caffeine. This is why caffeine free versions of popular sodas are not as satisfying. 2) Decaf coffee and tea contain significant quantities of caffeine. Herbal teas that say caffeine free contain no caffeine. 3) Sprite is the only caf-free soda that is a satisfying substitute for me. It has a very, very strong acidity that substitutes for the taste of caffeine. However, I now think it is etching my teeth (sob). 4) Someone PLEASE, PLEASE develop a non-drug food alternative to caffeine!

--Rich E 2004-01-17

Thanks for your comments, Rich.
--Michael

caffeine

I'm a caffeine addict as well, though for me the effects of caffeine are more serious than the addiction. I believe that most people (i.e. nearly every person in the US) is probably addicted to caffeine, but either doesn't know it,or doesn't care. For me, and certainly for many others, it caffeine is a mood altering drug. One key factor that makes it more dangerous than other drugs is that the addict can't tell they are suffering bad effects. You know when you're drunk, you know when you're high, but you don't know when you are being angry, violent, or depressed as a result of caffeine -- at least, I can't tell. After the three-day let down period, I can sometimes figure it out. I can tell, though, that my fatigue level is increasing on a daily basis, and that I'm gradually developing a shorter and shorter temper. Here are some of my beliefs. Some of these have been corroborated by research, some of them MIGHT be contradicted by research, and many need to be researched: IB means I Believe. You decide if you believe it too. IB a single cup of coffee contains too much caffeine. Cutting back to a single cup may improve your sleep a little, but you will still be under the effects of caffeine all the time. IB most people don't know what it's like to feel normal, or get a good night's sleep. IB caffeine is cumulative. Therefore, a single cup of decaf might not be "too much", but a single cup every day is too much For a while, I could "control" my addiction with hot chocolate. Today, the caffeine in hot cocoa is too much for me. IB that the more an addict gets away from caffeine, the stronger it's effects will seem to him. IB Caffiene is far too powerful a drug to be uncontrolled. If it were just coffee, that would be one thing, but now (IB) soft drink manufacturers, iced coffee makers, and others are intentionally increasing caffeine levels. IB soft drink makers are trying to addict kids the way cigarette makers used to do, without any notice from the public. Barq's root beer has 'bite' -- the bite is caffeine. Sunkist Orange, all kinds of cocoa drinks, the cola drink in Lunchables, A&W cream soda, and many other drinks you would not suspect contain caffeine (chocolate and coffee drinks don't list it as ingredients)

--Rich E 2004-01-17

Wow, Rich. That's quite a lot that you had to say.
--Michael

caffeine

(These two posts are under 4000 characters combined, but was rejected as a single post) Psuedophedrine and acetiminophen (Sinus Tylenol) helps me "come down" from caffeine (on the second day, sometimes the third). However, this could create an additional addictive behavior, so be cautious. Psuedophedrine is said to be chemically similar to caffeine Some aspirin makers recently started saying their "aspirin" was more effective than other asprins. These "aspirin" products (and some non-aspirin products) contained caffeine. IB they were more effective because the headaches they "cured" were actually caffeine addiction headaches. These people would probably get a headache every day using this product. IB most recurrent headaches are caffeine induced in most people. IB caffeine is a performance enhancing drug, and it is a mood altering drug, and it is highly addictive, and therefore should carry a surgeon's general warning label, at the least. IB my Air Force career was ended prematurely because of the effects of severe caffeine overuse. This was before I realized that I was overusing caffeine, and also before people recognized caffeine as a drug. Caffeine free sodas were not available at that time, because no one thought twice about caffiene. IB that my current personality and behaviorial problems that I have at work and with individuals are the residual effects of caffeine addiction. I know that the conflicts become worse after several days of extremely light caffeine use (a single daily cup of cocoa). I believe that the vast majority of American citizens (at least) are addicted to caffeine, and are under it's affects all the time. It is impossible to be sure what gains might be made if we could have a caffeine free society.

--Rich E 2004-01-17

Uh-huh.
--Michael

caffeine

Hey, um i kno wthis might sound weird, but i drink ATLEAST one can of diet coke in a day if not 2 or 3 (<< yesterday i had 3), and then i NEED CHOCOLATES to function. Infact yesterday i found myself going through our cabinets lookings for chocolate, as I am overweight my mom no longer buys anything. So yesterday i ate a whole 12 piece pack of ferrero rocher, and this wasn't the first time. I feel as if i need the chocolate to function.. can you please help me and help me find a way to stop these urges!? I have random mood swings and everything and my parents just don't understand.. but i really think i need a way to quit as I am only 16 and I have been like this for a full year now

--Anita 2004-06-19

See a doctor, young lady. Some crank with a website is not someone to whom you should be turning at such a time of crisis. And all the best with your efforts.
--Michael

turning thirty

Hi Mike: I typed in "turning 30" as a subject search, and found your site. I must tell you how amazing I found it to be. I live in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. I am turning 30 on June 30th (my golden birthday) and have been a little blue lately. There's something about the way you write that strikes me. I have read about half of your entries. I think it sounds exactly like me, like you are my "writer twin" or something. Your overall tone and the things you notice are just like my life, too. I would never be brave enough to put my essence and thoughts out there, as you have done. The lady in the grocery store ranting about the margarine was so interesting; things like that happen to me all the time. Strange stuff. Maybe it's because I am a very observant person. Also, my fiance and I broke up in March 2001 and I'm still dealing with a lot of inner conflict, as it was a cruel and ugly end that I would have preferred to do without. I think the malaise returns when I remember the lack of closure on that relationship. It sounds as if yours ended on fairly decent terms, that's good. I love the site and will book mark it. Thanks, Sara

--Sara Boyd 2002-05-31

Wow. That's a lot for one comment. I hope it's going well!
--Michael

turning thirty

I am 29 but will turn the big 30 this March. I was just surfing for consolation and understanding. I am not so nervous about turning 30 as I am about not being where I NEED to be or not having done enough with my God given time. Is there a book that I could buy to tell me what to do? I have been married, ( at 24 ) and divorced ( at 27!...never marry your high school sweetheart....especially if the mojority of the time they treated you bad..) I don't know. Its hard as a " girl,") to not have someone to tell you what to do and where to go. I CAN fend for myself, believe this to be true, but I know in my heart things could be easier. I just won't allow it. Take the bumpy road or no road at all. Anyway, I hope I have as many great epiphanies as you have had when I get there.....THIRTY, that is.

--christina corkrean 2003-09-26

Good luck, Christina, I hope things become more smooth for you after 30.
--Michael

turning thirty

I also typed in turning 30 for a little perspective. I like what you had to say. I turn 30 in two weeks. I'm not a famous writer, I don't really even write except for pr stuff, I'm not married with kids, haven't gotten my pilot's license or ridden my bike across the U.S. - all things I thought I might do by 30. Instead, I've jumped out of a plane, been to Europe and Asia, have eaten Octopus, watched the sun rise on the Gulf of Thailand, had food poisoning, gotten my heart totally broken, made amazing friends, got an F in Spanish in college, sang in front of strangers, got in a car wreck, got the great job, stopped wearing leather, started to regularly floss my teeth and fell in love again. Turning 30 rocks. I get all mid-life crisissy sometimes, but at least I'm still (as you say) remembering to breath, get dressed, etc. I can run and laugh and see movies that make me cry and read crappy books written by English women. It's all good in the hood. We all just have to concentrate on each day because nothing is guaranteed. That's the easiest concept to realize, but the hardest to put into practice. Living in the moment is the big struggle.

-- 2003-11-05

Thanks for the comments! I enjoyed reading them. Good luck with the crissisy part, I imagine it'll pass.
--Michael

turning thirty

I too am surfing the web for some solace. I turned 30 just 1 hour ago, and although I have been dreading this milestone for the last couple of years, I really don't feel much different at all. I could sit here and cringe with regret over all of the things I haven't done with my life, but what about the things I have: I've learned that you don't have to lie to avoid saying things that are painful. It will just bite you in the ass in the end. I've accepted that I am capable of doing whatever I put my mind to, I just don't know what that is yet. I've got time. I've already owned my own real estate company, been a teacher, and ran 6 restaurants. That's alot. I've learned to accept the fact that I am worthy of significant relationships in my life and I don't have to click to "self destruct" mode when things get intense. Thank God for that - I'm married to my best friend. I've learned that I don't have to be perfect, that I will always be curvaceous and not waifish, that I will always have problem skin. As long as I am healthy that shows through and defines me more than any pant size. Most of all I've learned to relish my family, my mom and dad and siblings, and realize that all of those years of fights, hurtful words, times when we didn't talk...they simply weren't worth it. Those people are invaluable. Maybe when I am 31 I will have all the answers - if not, at the very least, I know I will be able to add to the previous list!

--Ricka 2003-12-09

Thanks for the encouraging words!
--Michael

turning thirty

The thing that's driving me crazy...is that eveyone else is waiting for me to freak out and asking me if I'm ok with it, how do you feel, what are your plans? It's three months before my 30 birthday and I'm freakin out! I guess I imagined my life to be very different, husband and a couple of kids. None of that happend...bad break up but I have to believe...I have to...that I made the right choices. New career, new out look on life and the incredible support of my family and friends and of course without them I wouldn't be freakin out(right)! Thanks for your words of encouragement...just like the others I searched "turning 30" and there you were..You made me smile even tear up;)

--Christina 2003-12-11

Of course you made the right choice(s). Hooray for smiling in the face of panic.
--Michael

turning thirty

Wow. I've been bummed out so much lately, and not because I'm turning 30 tomarrow. It's just that the big 3-0 is piling on all the other crap in my life if you will. But as many of the other posts have said, it is only a number. And technically, we are still young(kinda :)

--Chris M 2003-12-17

Meh. Maybe it's the time of year. No-one seems to thrive at this time of year.
--Michael

turning thirty

I JUST TURNED 27 IN SEPTEMBER. BUT I HAVE BEEN HAVING TURNING THIRTY ANXIETY FOR SEVERAL YEARS NOW. IT JUST SOUNDS SO GROWN UP. I DON'T WANT TO BE AN ADULT. I DON'T LOOK LIKE ONE AND I CERTAINLY DON'T WANT TO BEHAVE LIKE ONE. TO ME ADULT EQUALS BORING. I HAD A LOT OF ANGST IN MY TEENS AND EARLY 20'S BUT AT LEAST THINGS WERE NEVER BORING! I JUST DON'T WANT A ROUTINE, SETTLED LIFE. MY MOM DIED WHEN I WAS 18 AND I THINK PART OF THE PROBLEM IS THAT PART OF ME IS STUCK AT THAT AGE DUE TO THE TRAUMA. I STILL WANT TO BE MY MOM'S LITTLR GIRL! IT'S PATHETIC I KNW BUT THE DER I GET, THE FURTHER AND FURTHER I AM AWAY FRM BEING MY MOM'S "BABY". i HAVE AN OLDER SISTER. BUT I WAS SORT OF MY MOM'S FAVORITE IN A WAY. I WAS THE YOUNG ONE, THE BLONDE ONE, THE ULTRA SKINNY ONE. I ALWAYS HAD GUY AND FRIEND DRAMA AND IN A WAY MY MOM THRIVED ON IT. MY LIFE WAS ALWAYS IN TURMOIL AND DRAMATIC BUT AT LEAST I WAS POPULAR AND BLOSSOMING. I MISS MY TEEN YEARS BECAUSE OF ALL THE EXCITEMENT. I AM HAPPILY MARRIED TO A GUY I WAS BEST FRIENDS WITH IN HIGH SCHOOL. SO IN A WAY BEING MARRIED TO SOMEONE WHO I GREW UP WITH KEEPS ME YOUNG. ALSO I LOOK ABOUT 19 WHICH IS A BLESSING AND A CURSE. WHEN I DO FINALLY START TO AGE PHYSICALLY IT WILL KILL ME. I HAVE ALWAYS LOOKED VERY YOUNG FOR MY AGE BUT I KNOW TIME HAS TO CATCH UP SOONER OR LATER. A LOT OF MY FRIENDS ARE A LITTLE YOUNGER THAN ME, WHICH KEEPS ME YOUNG TOO. I NEED TO GET PERSPECTIVE ON GROWING OLDER OR ELSE I WILL BE IN ATHERAPISTS OFFICE ON MY 30TH BIRTHDAY. I KNOW I SOUND VAIN AND SILLY. I REALLY DO NEED TO JUST GET ALIFE.

--STACY 2003-12-23

Dunno what to say, Stacey. Good luck, and do try not to panic. You've got three years! And believe me, it's a very good thing to be in your 30's.
--Michael

turning thirty

I went to Ask.com and typed in dealing with turning 30. Thank God you had a website. I'll be 30 in 3 months. I am really scared. Other people questioning me about it perpetuate my fear even more. I don't haev everything I set out to have by 30. I almost feel like I have failed. I do have a great relationship, job, life. Why is it that society has made turning 30 into such a bad thing. I remember my mother looking in her rearview mirror on her 30th birthday and saying "Oh my God, I'm old now". I was like 10 & I remember that. I'm even tempted to start a 10 year plan of what I will accomplish. I have set out a bunch of mini-goals before I turn 30. I dread the surprise Birthday party. By the same token, I know I should feel lucky for even having people that want to throw me one. Just scared in Fresno, California

--sebastian 2004-01-25

Well, these lines would seem to say it all for me: > I do have a great relationship, job, > life. By the same token, I know I > should feel lucky for even having people > that want to throw me one. Maybe you have panicky moments, but you sound like you're doing great. > Why is it that society has made turning > 30 into such a bad thing. A Japanese friend tells me that your life is considered over at 25 in that wacky land. For what it's worth, I'm closing in on 33, now, and I've found my 30's to be quite good so far
--Michael

turning thirty

I swore that I would not have a nervous breakdown like my friend did when she turned 30. I am looking forward to it, but I have been taking an inventory of my life to see what I have accomplished. I am content with my life and the experiences I have had. I do feel thought that I have to make sure "all is in order"...financially, spiritually... Wish me luck!!!

--Patty 2004-02-02

Your friend had a nervous breakdown? Poor girl! It sounds like you're doing well, though. Have a fun birthday - I think you'll enjoy being in your 30's. I am. P.S. My birthday is in March as well. I'll be 33.
--Michael

turning thirty

I identify with the comments made about mid-life crisis. I think it for me it's pre-midlife , but it is evaluation time. My wife isn't bothered at all by 30 , and seems to not understand my disappointment in myself and my life. She even seems somewhat insecure about the subject, like i'm going to run off and leave her. I'm actually waiting til I'm 40 to do that:) Is this unhealthy in anyone's opinion, and is it possible that I have the fidget's because I have been married 11 years to the same woman, and feel like I may have missed out on life a little? Thanks for the article, Ididn't know there was a place like this to vent.

--Antwon Lynne 2004-05-02

The fidgets. Well said. Everybody fidgets, I think. Or I hope they do. Imagine a life where you never ever feel that way, content all the time. You'd probably be 30 and living next door to your parents, working as a groundskeeper at your old high school.
--Michael

turning thirty

Thank you! You said it so well! I had just written my own blog on turning 30 and decided to search out what other people had to say. I think for me it wasn't so much turning 30 that bothered me - it was the approach to turning 30. Perhaps it was like you said on your 26th year - that was when you decided to make all these changes. For me, at 26, I seemed so afraid of "missing" everything that I got into a marriage that was an ill fit and then I proceeded to tear the roots from my life in my late twenties. I just turned 30 in April. And I love where I am now (for the most part). To read my blog: www.herowninvention.blogspot.com

--Jeni 2004-06-23

Thanks, Jeni. I hope you keep up you 'blog'. I've watched this blog thing sprout up and I always wonder why more people don't carry on for longer than a month or two.
--Michael

turning thirty

I just turned 29 in June and never thought I would feel this way--anxious about turning 30. I've accomplished a lot but still fret the big 3-0. I have a college degree, a wonderful husband (going on 9 yrs), three healthy children, a good paying job in pharmaceuticals, a 4-bdrm house and a strong spiritual foundation. I think it all boils down to me realizing that I'm all grown up and there's no turning back (getting younger). It's kinda scary. I've been searching the net for inspiration. Thanks for this site.

--Meeka 2004-07-13

You're welcome. Glad it resonated with you....
--Michael

turning thirty

I had the good fortune to be awake at midnight, watching a movie with a good friend. As I walked home, I lit a cigarette, looked up at the stars and generally felt an incredible sense of peace with this new "milestone." Yes, I have become the token chubby lady down the street with two cats. But you know what, I've also got an incredible 8 y.r. son who reminds me every day how pretty his mom is and how I'm his favorite person in the world. I've got a good job that I love, reliable transportation, friends and family that care about me (hey, I've already gotten sung to three times today and it's not even lunch time!). I won't moan and complain. I like where I'm at. The only thing really lacking from where I thought I'd be is a serious relationship, but those begin every day, right? Each failed one brings me that much closer to the real thing. So I'm ok with this 30 thing, I really am...

--Kitty 2004-07-16

Fuckin' A.
--Michael

turning thirty

I will be 30 in October. I hope that I can get some things accomplished that I never got around to in my 20's. Thanks for your site, I am glad I am not the only one who is scared of the big 3-0.

--alice 2004-07-17

De nada.
--Michael

articles

Gambling is a fun hobbie for many people. Id rather spend $500 at the casino and have a fun time then spend $500 on a stupid toy that i will get tired of in a day. After all life is about having a good time. I don't really care much about money, i did when i was yonger. I have everything i need in life, now i enjoy gambling. I do know all the house edges for every game. I know that Baccarat is the one game with the lowest house edge and my personal fav. I go up with $500 or $1000 and if i lose it oh well, still had good time, but last night for example i turned my $500 into $1200 and went home. Im up down up down, and i get all the comps and free drinks. I love it. You may win you may lose, but in the end the casino has the edge. you make it seem like if you go up to the casino you will lose no matter what, this is indeed true if you keep playing even when you are up.

--Ari Yoplay 2003-11-14

Well argued, Ari. As the song says, "Win some, lose some, it's all the same to me!" While you don't always lose, you do often lose. And the way it gets its hooks into people is frightening. Seeing an elderly woman on assisted breathing at the slot machines left me with a lasting impression of the whole business.
--Michael

This is definitely much better than the one you submitted in Photosig.. why not submit this one now and see if you get better critiques

--Vlad Lojko 2002-11-03

Done!
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

I happened across you site looking for pictures from Fuji for a co-workers wallpaper and I love your Lion's Gate Camera Club photo hunt. I was wondering if you can give me contact info for them or forward a few of the hunt's to me so I could try this myself. Thanks for you time, Tiffany

--Tiffany Barnett 2002-11-21

I hope you saw my email response? Good luck with that.
--Michael

fiction

HEY!! GREAT PICTURES. THE BEST PICTURES IVE SEEN ON THE NET OF FIJI SO FAR. I WENT TO FIJI OCT2001 TILL JAN2002 AND LIKE YOU INSTANTLY FELL IN LOVE AND LIKE YOU IM FROM CANADA AND HAD THAT SAME EXPERIENCE LEAVING FROM THE COLD TO A PLACE EQUIVALENT TO PARADISE!!! GREAT PICS PEACE!!!!

--MATT 2002-12-20

Cool, glad you like them. I envy you; the trip sounds amazing.
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

Enjoyed your beautiful photographs. Left me a little disappointed as we will be spending Christmas day in Vancouver and i had hoped for a white Christmas. Looking at your photographs I am sure it will be wonderful snow or not

--Janice 2002-12-28

(Now I'm left wondering. Was she done with her thought? Was it simply a matter of an omitted comma and a forgotten period, or did something more meaningful happen?)
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

Hi there, could you e mail me pictures of my 62 corvette? Thank you in advance. Charn

--Charn 2003-03-17

Charn; I've tried to send them, but the email box seems to be full!
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

I was just browsing the net, and I came accross your site. I'm a male, and wanted to make a modeling portfolio, do you do that? The reason I'm contacting you is because I'm at a very low budget and in need of maybe 8 photography pics. Now I need your advice, how would I go about doing this, is there a place where I can get it for a very low rate or even free....(As I'm only a student, still in school, do not have an income) This agency selected me but I need a portfolio.... email me please, couldn't find your email, thank you

--Jerry 2003-05-10

I have no idea where you can find that kind of service in your case, but I'd bet your school's photography program would have the people and resources to do it cheaply indeed. In fact, I'll bet they'd be hungry for models. If there is no photography department, try to track down a photography club either on campus or elsewhere in your city/town. Good luck! P.S. my name's not Mark.
--Michael

fiction

I just happen to have a coworker named Mark who has made me deeply envious because he has purchased a digital camera before me. (I'm still stuck on film for the moment, but not for long). I stumbled across your site by accident and have no recollection of how I got here, but what a fantastic find! You've refreshed my interest in finding different ways to view our very fine city (Vancouver, of course). If any friends of mine are coming to Vancouver for the first time, I will refer them to this site. Thanks for the great work! len ps: that's an awful lot of scanning. What are your thoughts on digital shooting? If your thoughts on digital are somewhere on this site, forgive this question; I still have yet to explore much of your expansive website.

--len 2003-05-13

Hi, Len. I'm glad you liked the pics. Unfortunately, I had to leave Vancouver to find work. It took me a while to come up with an answer for this one. Essentially, I think digital photography is pretty cool, but it's not anywhere near mature, yet. There are chips, display devices, and battery technologies just starting to come on the market that will immediately obsolete today's stuff - it's not like film technology where any 35mm camera can take tomorrow's new and improved films. I'd hate to buy now and then buy again in 18 months or three years because my stuff turned out to be laughably primitive compared to what was just around the corner, and I find myself not getting the results I could with the next generation of equipment. But then again, it took me years and years before I adopted a mobile phone and I still don't have a DVD player. I suppose I like technology to have settled in before I start to use it (this is possibly an outcome of having worked with softwae for many years and finding anything short of v3 to be unspeakable crap). 8)
--Michael

hello, world

Well, it all started when I was looking for advice on woodworking tools. Somehow I ended up at your site and got sucked in by all the interesting stuff. For some reason I read you're whole autobiography and pretty much spent the last 2 hours reading about YOU. So weird as it may sound, it feels like I kind of know you in a never met you kind of way. I live in San Diego and never really ventured farther north than San Francisco or West Virginia. The idea that people live in the frozen tundra of Canada just blows my mind. I just like the warm weather I guess. By the way, I'm 24 yrs old; so not too much younger than you. And yes, I do have a real life; just procrastinating studying or getting a good nights sleep is all. I have finals for school tomorrow. I go to UCSD. So, just thought I should say something since you have provided me with so much entertainment. Take care and good luck dealing with the jack-hammers!

--Chris 2003-06-09

Yes, the tundra really is that unimaginable. But as long as you steer clear of the bears, wolves, and SARS, you're okay. Good luck with the hunt for woodworking tools!
--Michael

hello, world

I had this strange dream last night, it was almost real. In my dream I was at a person's birthday party...The location and atmosphere was vivid; the house was modern with fancy ceilings, and walls with portraits hung up. A fireplace made of marble with a glass door, large windows with white curtins and a wide staircase..... Music played in the background but, was unidentified! In the large family-room crowds of young men and women talked amongs each other with beers and wine in one hand. I remember seeing two family dogs...particularilly pitbulls, they didn't bark at my presence. I thought it was strange that it wasn't

--Augusto 2003-09-10

Yes? Yes? Oh, don't leave us hanging!
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

Michael, I have a couple questions for you. Please, email me so we can chat a bit. I am an amateur photgrapher, too. Much less than you though. I don't have any equipment, per se. I have a great eyeI think. Actually, I have two of them. hahaha Michael, I must say, you have a great vision for an interesting photo. I need to ask you a few questions about your pics. Email me when you get a chance. Good luck and keep up the great work!! Deb aka Schye Deb;

--Deborah Pengelly 2003-12-13

I tried, but still haven't had a response. Hope I had your address right....
--Michael

fiction

I noticed a bug in your site: under pictures—favorites—2001—page 1, the link to next page goes back to page 1 instead of to page 2. One must go back to the favorites list and manually click on page 2 to view. I know this is no biggie but you are a programmer and therefore by definition a perfectionist:) Later- Thanks, Chris.

--Chris 2003-06-09

Whoops - thanks for the bug report.
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

Hello: I am an art consultant in Philadelphia, PA, USA. My client would like me to purchase three vertical images, 24" by 36".

--Ira Steingold 2003-06-20

(This all came to naught, in the end. The client 'changed her mind'.)
--Michael

caffeine

Hi Michael, I typed in Pics of Vancouver in google.com and came across your site. I have enjoyed it immensely. I am hoping to move to Canada (from the U.S.)and I enjoyed reading your comments. Two things: I recommend City of Glass, a coffee-table pic book by Douglas Coupland. Also, I was wondering if you have seen the Canadian film "Speaking Parts." It was made 86-90..not sure, but very entrenched in the '80s. I did not see a review of it, but I would be curious to see your reactions. I love the film. Have a good one, Ben

--Ben Schmeiser 2003-07-02

Thanks for the tips! The movie rings a bell, I'll have to watch for it. An American moving to Canada; there's a switch. Good luck, and lemme know when your "welcome" is due.
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

Hi, Was just looking through your photos of the Maritime provinces, Canada and couldn't help laugh when I saw your comment under an NB photo. I live in Fredericton, just 10 minutes away from the shot of you under what you called a giant peanut in Majorville. It's actually called "The Big Potatoe" and has been there ever since I can remember...at least 26 years! Just an FYI!

--JO 2004-05-01

Thanks, Jo. Now I know. Not a peanut.
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

I was wondering if I could use the photo of the fish swimmimg backwards as a subject for a watercolor project that I would like to do. Let me know. Thank you.

--Angela 2003-05-16

By all means, Angela. I'd love to see a pic of your completed work, if possible.
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

You are entitled to your view about camcoders and video, but I shoot video and photos, for weddings and holidays, and my audiences rave at both my videos and photos. You bring up good points about poor videography skills and practices, and similarly, I can bring up very good points about poor photography skills and practices. While I'm at that, I can even comment on poor skills in cooking and driving. Just an example: I was at the local zoo, and this mother was shooting her daughter against some camels. The girl was pointing at the camels, saying "Look, ma, a big camel", all excited and fun. The mother was shouting at her, "If you'll look here for that one moment, I'll get you and the camel nicely in the picture." Now the mother was about 15 feet away on a compact (minimal zoom) camera. Is that good photography practice? What if the mother was holding a video cam, started shooting the girl's enthusiasm, and walked in, pan from the girl to the camel? Nicer story, maybe?

--YowCH 2003-07-17

Your point is valid. I would imagine, though, that the photo was in some small way more compelling than the footage of the vending machine. ;)
--Michael

creating things

Quite possibly the most fabulous website ever! Started with the tattoo designs, but ended up being completely entertained by your autobiography. My roomates and I are working on a book comprised of similar anecdotes and useful/useless information (it all depends on how u take it) anyway needless to say you were inspiring and brightened my day. Thanks :)

--Hannah 2003-01-06

> Quite possibly the most fabulous website ever! Possibly... Glad it helped. Lemme know when the book is done.
--Michael

articles

Thank-you you're page really helped me with my project why does it have to be so much colder in Canada than in Hawaii.

--Sabrina 2003-03-20

Really.... (no, really?)
--Michael

I have lived in England, Italy, Germany, California and have traveled Australia and South America. Now I have been living in canada for 2.5 years for job reasons and every day I look forward to leaving. This in fact is the dullest place I have ever lived at or visited. Don't cheat yourself, people. This place is neither liberal nor fun nor a healthy society. I Europe or Australia I never had sleepless nights because of dumpster divers at 4 every night, we don't have a drug problem like Vancouver East side, and we are allowed to drink beer or wine on the beach without being arrested or paying a fine, and we are not alcoholics, as many of you might now think. And believe it or not, we don't need a credit card and be slaves to the banks to reserve a bed at a backpackers hostel or a table at a restaurant. And, above all, we have two things that you will never know: a sense of humor, and joy of life. Something you find in Australia, the US, Europe, South America, but for sure not in cold and dull Canada. Whatever. I find it difficult to treat anonymous rants very seriously. I mean, are you suggesting that the poverty in Vancouver is worse than that in S. America? Or that travel in Canada is more expensive than in Italy?

--Tony Auth 2004-06-12

If you hate it; leave. Also, what is it with the ranters and the endless paragraphs.
--Michael

articles

Maybe Buchanan has the right idea. If the US can be autarkic so can we. But the pro-American Canadian American-wannabes have it wrong. Our military policy shouldn't be some Maple Leaf auxillary of the American legions. Away with the US! Away with the UN! Forget "peacekeeping forces," mass armies, or buying friends. What Canadains need are their own nukes and means of delivering them. After all, if North Korea can do it, so can we. We have 90x her land size, 150% her population, and perhaps 30x her GDP. We have the resources, know-how, and vast areas to test. We can deal with other countries. E.g. we might trade fusion technology with the Indians to help them develop their hydrogen bomb technology while they help us with mid-range/long-range/ICBM technology. We could play states off each other. If the Indians won't deal with us, the Pakistanis might. Ditto N & S Korea, Israel & Iran, China & Taiwan. With such weapons we can anihilate any foreign invader. We wouldn't need America's protection or UN's love. We'd have a sort of Jeffersonian/even Buchanan attitude, "Peaceful (strong peaceful) relations with all nations; entangling alliances with none." As for Quebec, the US and France are also vulnerable. We could incite sepratists movements among the Corsicans, Provencal, Basques, and Bretons. We could excite the Arab immigrants. We could tell US Hispanics that California and Texas are occupied territories and that Monticello and Mount Vernon rightfully belong to the descendants of the slaves whose labour provided the capital for the construction of such. We Canadians don't have the guts for these endevours, but after a term or two of a president Buchanan, they will get the spur.

-- 2003-05-16

Wow. There's a different view of the country. Canada as powerbroker and arms dealer (well, I guess we're already arms dealers).
--Michael

articles

Re: the following two messages. Please forgive the duplication. I'm still somewhat new to this internet thing and I wanted to vent about Pat Buchanan. Read at your convenience and inclination. Thanks for your forum.

-- 2003-05-16

The duplication is okay; I have a tool to hide duplicates, and have done so with yours (and a number of others). You're welcome to the forum. Just as long as you don't mince words, o anonymous contributor.
--Michael

articles

Let us take a second look at this for the moment A single nation, from sea to shining sea, imbdued with the unifying aspect which it has lacked up until now...absolute unity! We have the land to be self-sufficient. Truly! We have a relatively small population. We have mother nature on our side in times of conflict & tribulation. Let us not decieve ourselves! We must stand down the Behomoth! A central and prominant gold maple leaf on a field of crimson...make it the banner!

--Martin Warren 2004-07-01

I don't know that I'd go as far as to call Pat Buchanen a 'behemoth'. ;)
--Michael

hmmmmmm, you’re fine!!!

-- 2002-07-09

Right back atcha, anonymous fan...
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

just wanted to let you know that i am giving a funeral speech about my grandfather this week, and found yours to be truly touching and similar to the sentiment i will be expressing.

-- 2002-11-05

Thanks. I hope it works out/worked out. I know how tough they can be to write.
--Michael

creating things

Hey you! I was thinking about getting a tattoo, at my tender young age of 38 (you see, I am making a short trek to a neighboring county to take my 17 y/o daughter to get her eyebrow pierced and the thought of ME getting a tat entered my mind) so I decided to surf the great mystical magical internet for some design ideas and stumbled onto your site. And I must say, that I do believe I have found a soul who has weirder ramblings than my own! Hence, the title of this quaint lil ol e-mail: Rock on! So there you have it, my quips for the moment. Enjoy your day or evening—whichever it is where you are. I only have 1 question for you, not 20: Have you dined at Dantes in TO? Laterz! Lynne (from the other OZ—Kansas)

--Lynne 2003-03-31

I have not had dinner at Dantes, no. Though I spoze I'll have to have a go, once I have an income again. Thanks for the comments, Lynne.
--Michael

creating things

Hey, Great Web Site. I don't think tatoos are very original these days, but that's just my little 'ol opinion. It is right trendy to get one. Don't you want to be an individualist? I don't follow trends, so i don't have any. But to each his own. But your website is really really interesting. You have great taste in music, but you forgot to list Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline and Hank Williams Sr. and Mario Lanza. I'm sure you just forgot. Three's Company is the best show ever and so is Mr. Ed and Mamma's Family. Good luck with things, Sir. Musically Yours, Meade Skelton.

--Meade Skelton 2003-05-02

Thanks for the comments. It's been argued many times that nothing is original any more. I don't really mind - I wanted tattoos for my own reasons that had nothing to do with trends (or for that matter, individualism). P.S. I do like the odd Johnny Cash or Patsy Cline song (I had a girlfriend once who loved to listen to Cline while driving). But it's a bit hard to take in regular doses. Like the Beatles. ;)
--Michael

a difficult name

yes, Mike, how very interesting! Know any other family stories? Most of them I've never heard. fascinating stuff. So true about Opa and the herbicide. Oh, and you misspelled "Annelise". you put "Annalise". No big deal, but hey,it was her name. how have you been? haven't heard from you since Oma died. looking forward to hearing from you soon, -Your cousin Kate P.S. i like the "Winterbird" thing. if I ever need a stage name , I'll consider it. i was thinking, (should the need arise) about using Farcastle, which is a fairly literal translation, but that one is intreguing too. P.P.S. i'm only 5 foot 8 and a half, but I have no aversion to being billed as 6"2'!

--Kate Werneburg 2002-03-25

Only 5'8", tsk tsk. We'll have to revoke your last name....
--Michael

hello, world

Last night I had this dream, where I went to this grocery store with a lot of my girl friends. We were just cruising the isles when I realized that I had seen my old next door neighboor with his girlfriend. I stopped to say hi to him and he returned the greeting. We got to talking and he told me about this really cool party. We all thought it sounded like a good idea so we went to the party and had a few drinks. But then everything got really fuzzy and the next thing I know, was that I was naked next to a guy I had never seen before in my entire life. And that day I woke up was my birthday. I left the house immediately without calling anyone and the cops were out in the apartment hall. They grabbed my shoulder and took me to a hospital where they checked me for HIV. I tested positive and started cry. I never wanted to tell my parents, so I went to my party and was trying to have a good time. When all of my friends were about to sing happy birthday to me, they stood me up on the table, and started singing. Then the same guy who had raped me came in and I started crying. My parents made me tell them what had happened and it seemed like they didn't even care about me. So I was just left alone and no one ever wanted to help me. No one would even talk to me about it.

--Katherine Bynum 2002-11-14

Ugh. I'm going to take your word for it that this was really a dream? Or - even better - a prank?
--Michael

hello, world

I had this dream a while ago and the next night it continued. Rubble of houses and nature. I curled up in fright of the scene. War planes zoomed above me ,the skys dark grey. A boy, I knew him from my school. He guided me through the rubble to a hill by the state capitol. Half the valley was in flames and crators. The moon in shards above.(end of the night and I woke up, the next night it continued)I somehow got to a worknig TV, The whole US was in ruins. We were to evacuate immideatly before the enemy gets to us, but, who was our enemy? I awoke soon after.....is this just a dream to you?

--Cellie 2003-06-30

Phrew! I don't know what to say. Sounds a bit like a politically-inspired episode of one of those anime flicks.
--Michael

hello, world

Last night I dreamt that I was a girl.....dating this freak, some over protective loser..... Yeah, pretty messed up huh? I mean, I did'nt do anything like that....Hell no, it was really wierd. It was like I was living someone elses life, I did'nt recognize anything that related to things that exist in my life........ The house that I was in was large, a rich home. Nothing like my house! Two dogs? I don't have pets! Plus It was my birthday, people that I did'nt know were there, and what made it strange was that I was a girl who ahd broken up with some guy.... He came by to the party and asked me to go with him to the liqour store. He drove passed a isolated road at 90 miles per hour, and was menacing me with his fist. I was emmotionally distrought, in conflict with him shouting "Stop your gonna kill us!" I guess he was jealous cuss he slapped my face. I was in panic and horrified....I had never felt soo vunerable in a dream before. Soo fragile and powerless.....like I was'nt a man. Shit, it was messed up! It just was'nt me! Anyways he tried to drive into a lake, atempting to kill me and himself. I turned the steering wheel rapidly to avoid disaster but,instead he pushed me towards the door, decided to change directions. He drove straight into a conctrete fence in someones back yard. The man was killed on impact, and I was critically injured yet I still managed to pull him out of the car corpse and all. Police, investigaters, and ambulances surrounded the scene asking quetions......everything else was blurry....but I remember taking a bubble bath crying and all fucked up and emmotional.

--Agusto 2003-09-11

Bizarre. I guess the moral of the story is that a bubble bath will help even dreamtime ersatz women cope in a crisis.... ;)
--Michael

hello, world

Last night I had the weirdest dream... And it's making real life today very unsettling... I had dreamt that my mother took very ill and was shrouded in a blanket in a loveseat, coughing, upon which she died. Seeing her corpse its was yellow and shriveled. My dad was situated near my dead mother and held her hand silently weeping even after death without release. Funeral... morning... next scene... We(father, sister, and I) were returned to my house, and at somepoint in a small isolated room. There was one door that had shut tight, and the room was filling with water, until it was filled. My dad and sister survived. My corpse was the palest of whites and still damp when I beheld it. Even though I was dead I still walked with the living and my dead mother was their with me. And slowly I made myself known to them, I spoke to my father, my sister( but befriefly), and various other family members. I was present in church and at the house of my girlfriend where I still expressed my undying love. So for the remainder more and more people accepted I was dead but still spoke of me as directly to me because at certain times they would feel my presence and be able to communicate, and at other times I was not acknowledge. But my girlfriend always spoke with me, even across the fone. We still continued the relationship after my death, but I had no hope of ever being revived and felt accordingly... What does this macabre dream imply?? Any insites would be appreciated

--Dean Gunaj 2003-11-23

Heh! I have no insights. Sounds like a difficult dream, for sure.
--Michael

hello, world

I had a very strange dream last night. Although I am not so sure it was a dream, I think I astral projected. I was in my bed, and for some reason, I flew into the living room. I was suspended in air. I seen the door to the basement open up all by itself. I floated over to the door and looked down the stairs. It was dark, but suddenly, the vacuum cleaner that doesn't work started up and I could hear it. It was moving on it's own and when it got to the bottom step, it stopped. Even in my dream, I was scared. I slammed the door and locked it, and I remember leaning up against the door and hoping nothing would come out. I woke up still afraid that something was in my basement.

--Sarah 2004-01-24

Yyyyikes.
--Michael

hello, world

I have dreams from time to time that leave me physically exhausted when i get up in the morning. By that i mean i feel like ive been in the gym for a few hours when all ive been doing is sleeping. Its so strange. It started with a dream that I was standing next to yuri gargarin? (first man in space) at the launch pad as he was about to go into space, the dream was in colour and in the dream i felt the g-forces that yuri felt as the rocket launched off the pad. I felt the weightlessness of being in space and when i woke up i was so tired and my body felt so sore that i could hardly walk. weird eh? p.s. i also have dreams where i can fast forward or rewind the dream like a vcr. is that common?

--Dino 2004-07-06

Yuri Gregarin, cool! I wish I could fast-forward or rewind, some times.
--Michael

hello, world

I dreamt last night that i was sitting on a bridge, and then i went underneath the bridge and there was a pile of dirt. I was pushed into the dirt and held there, i was trying to move the dirt around with my hands to get free. It didnt work, i had gotten some of the dirt in my mouth during it all and when i woke this morning my hands had dirt on them and i could taste and rub some dirt off my tongue. (now i know it wasnt a joke by anyone my door was loked from the inside and my room is on the second floor.) what is this type of dream called and why does it happen?

--Bobby 2004-07-09

Called? Uh, I think it's called fncked up!
--Michael

hello, world

Have bizarre dreams all the time and whats worse is that I remember them. Contantly have dream where I am dead but can come back to life—many different ways—usually being reconstitued with water (yea—weird I know). I think that has to do with needing to get 'living water' (the Bible—church) back in my life. The one that disturbs me the most is when I posses a dead person's body—that freaks me out—have no explaination execpt that maybe my own life is too boring? Third and last weird dream I had today—gave birth to very premie baby—isn't having sex necessary for that?!? Comments welcome, sorry, offers to make babies not accepted here.

--Too Normal Looking 2004-07-15

Yikes.
--Michael

reviews

is popular culture the same as mass culture?

--gaynor 2002-07-13

Yeah, good question. I used that title because I didn't know what else to call my collection of lightweight reviews on lightweight movies, books, and whatnot.
--Michael

Nice web site, entertaining and very readable. You need more pics of yourself though, preferably nude

--Robert Landry 2002-10-07

Thanks. We'll see about the pics...
--Michael

hiya, I just wanted 2 say thanx for your tattoo pics, i used one for my art project(i drew it, hope you don't mind), and pretended it was an observational drawing!my art tutor was dead impressed!! Your website is really cool and its interesting 2 read bout u. U sound like a really cool guy who knows where his head is it, and im glad ive found someone who shares a likeness for futurama and simpsons!! even though i must say i havnt eva been able to sit through a whole star wars film, but maybe I will now!! Anyway I better go now, ive got more art 2 do Sarah xxx P.s I love ure tattoos!!(please email back if you hav time)

--sarah wicks 2002-10-27

I TOTALLY believe you!
--Michael

reviews

Ace of Spades ... Production quality??? ... experimental??? ... I think you've missed the point mate!!

-- 2003-04-07

I'm always astonished when people take the time to write something, then won't put their name on it. Seems... limp, somehow. I stand by what I wrote; I'd sooner listen to this band's earlier or (even much) later works than this album.
--Michael

reviews

I thought I better let you know that the Japanese animated film is called Spirited Away. Swept Away is, by all accounts, a terrible film Guy Ritchie made starring his missus. Thanks

--Josephine 2004-01-07

Thanks for the tip. I've changed the entry.
--Michael

articles

It is probably better if you didnt write anything on the Dominican Republic...you are not helping our tourism which in turn causes more poverty. If this trip caused you so much sorrow then I must warn you against visiting Haiti. If Haiti had a tourism industry then maybe it would no longer be the "poorest country on Earth". It might be better to start looking at the politics of poverty then just at 'the poverty' itself. If it wasnt for the European tourists we (Dominicans) would probably not have a tourism industry. We have it so good here in North America that we can't even bare the site of 'poor' people being near us not even while on vacation. Only the 5 star resorts will do so that these luxurious hubs can further shield us from the rest of the world no matter where we are.

--Fior Espinal 2003-06-10

Thanks for your comments, Fior. Actually, I think it's just that my article was poorly written. I'll re-write the thing. What I meant to say was that an all-inclusive resort is not the way to see the country. "All-exclusive" is what they should call them. I've rarely found people who have the kind of relaxed nature that the Dominicans have, and of course you have to admire a nation whose national pass-time is a dance. Certainly the food down there was quite good. Mmm, fresh grilled fish and really fresh coffee!
--Michael

review: Asus 'TUF Gaming' FX504G

i think that who ever owns this web should update a lot more

-- 2003-01-16

That makes two of us. Or potentially more than two of us, if by the use of the term 'chix' in your email address, you're implying the presence of more than one person behind this comment. Dunno why I'm so slack, honestly. One hobby ultimately gets in the way of another, I suppose.
--Michael

Is there a taxi or hire car to transfer to resorts on the coral coast please

--Big Al 2004-05-22

There are taxis and buses and boats to every corner of the country. You'll find plenty of people/companies available to arrange these for you in the airport itself. Have a great time in Fiji!
--Michael

favorite experiences in Australia

Should have included the word Root (S) especially because of the laugh that Aussies get when they see some mad Canadian wandering around Oz proudly wearing a ROOTS shirt!

--Nicole 2003-03-26

Thanks, Nicole. That never occurred to me. IIRC, both the Canadian and US teams went to 'Stralia with 'roots' brand clothing in 2000!
--Michael

I loved your section on Australian English for Canadians. A couple of additions that we aussies frequently use: Bastard— a general form of address that rarely implies birth out of wedlock. It's used all the time. It can mean either (1) a scoundrel, bad person e.g. "I hate that lousy bastard" (2) affectionate term of respect e.g. "He's the bravest bastard I know", "You silly bastard", "you poor bastard" (last statement implies sympathy as opposed to stinginess) Given the wide gap between these two meanings, non-native Australian English speakers should exercise caution! wonky—unstable/malformed (e.g. "the legs on the fold up table are a bit wonky") shonky—shady/unreliable e.g. "that shonky used-car salesman" plonk/piss— any form of alcholic beverage "to sink piss"/"sinking piss"—to drink (usually implies beer)

--Kurt Brinschwitz 2003-03-27

Thanks for the comments, Kurt. I agree that the "He's the bravest bastard I know" usage is foreign to Canucks. As is 'shonky'; I don't think I even heard that one while in Australia. And while 'plonk' is a gimme (my grandfather called his home-made - and utterly wretched - wine 'shateau plonk' or some nonsense).
--Michael

articles

We canadians know what a quarter, nickel, dime, penny, toonie, loonie, etc. is. Aussie's don't have any such names for thier coinage. For them, it's a 10 cent coin, 5 cent coin, 20 cent coin, etc. You'd figure they'd "ie" them.

--Spencer 2003-04-08

Good point, Spencer. It is surprising they're not tennies and fivies. Happily, the Australians did away with the penny and don't seem to miss it. I wish we'd ditch them; I understand they cost about a cent to make, and the only reason that's true is that we make them from steel, now. I once asked a clerk whether the Aussies didn't have 'names' for their coins, and she said, "No, that's just you Americans." (sigh)
--Michael

articles

"Plonk" originated with British troops in France in World War I. It was their pronunciation of "vin blanc" (white wine) but soon came to mean any cheap wine. Note that "Rumpole of the Bailey" goes to Pomeroy's Wine Bar for "plonk."

--Paul 2003-10-15

My grandfather made wine. Dreadful stuff. Some of his 'winemaking' habits (such as upping the alcohol content with vodka) would surely have landed him trouble in some parts of Europe. He called his wine 'Chateau plonk' or something of the sort. There were many things he did well, but by God winemaking wasn't one of them.
--Michael

favorite experiences in Australia

Dear Micheal, Thank you so much for your pages about Oz. I am Canadian and my boyfriend is Australian, we had a great laugh at your Aussie words. haha. Anyways, I am trying to go to Austrlia next year to work. You said that the IT industry was easy to get a job with. I was wondering when you went? What kind of qualifications did you need? Is it true that you can only work for 3 months at one job with the WH visa? I really appreciate your help. Thanks, Erin

--Erin Crowe 2004-01-15

I hope you got my email, Erin. In short, I think in your case (esp with the Aussie boyfriend in tow) you'll be fine turning up on a tourist visa.
--Michael

favorite experiences in Australia

Just wanted to say thank you for putting up your web site. I read and looked at just about everything you had on OZ, and I found it entertaining and informative. I like your writing style as well. Your site is one of the best ones I have found with regards to what Canadians can expect when they visit or work in Australia. You've done a fine job.

--adrienne 2003-05-07

Thanks for your comments. It was my pleasure to do so.
--Michael

favorite experiences in Australia

Hey there...great page! I'm from Toronto and my husband is from Sydney and we currently reside in Las Vegas (pity us...it sucks beyond words). But we've had it and are seriously looking into up and moving to Oz in about a year or so. So I've been surfing around looking for precisely your kind of info and advice for Canadians going to Sydney. I already knew a lot of what I read here because we visited for 6 weeks in 2000, but it's a good refresher and there were definitely things I didn't know. So thanks! Mind you, I'm well aware of the whole "roots" thing and I, for one, find it quite amusing to wear Roots Canada gear in Australia. It's even got the extra entendre of a beaver (not that Aussies seem know of that particular sexual slang). :) I sent your translation page to my hubby and in-laws so maybe they'll learn to decode what I'm saying! Thanks! -- Kimberly Chapman http://kimberlychapman.com

--Kimberly Chapman 2004-02-02

Thanks for your comments, Kimberly. Good luck with the move!
--Michael

articles

I came upon this site by mistake but enjoyed having a read. Your comments on Australia are interesting. As an Australian that has lived and worked in Canada both coasts, travelled the country extensively and continues to visit the country where I made some really good friends, I see it all the other way. I find that Canadians and Australians are incredibly similar in so may ways, with some distinct differences. Yes we have a lot of similarities to the Brits, Scottish and Irish but that makes sense as it is our heritage. It is also our humour that allows us to bond well (a major difference between Canadians and Australians). Essentially both nationalities come from huge countries with tiny populations, essentially living in city areas. Both countries are incredibly beautiful in different ways, with very varied landscapes. We were both colonised by Britain (in totally different ways). We both have been very heavily influenced by the US, which we both do not like. We both are both viewed as being very safe, clean, trouble free countries, but lacking in personality (more so the case for Canada). We are both going through the same growing pains and coming to terms with our identities. Our ethnic mixes are now some of the most diverse in the world. Toronto is now the second largest Italian city in the world, Melbourne the second largest Greek city. We are both incredibly proud and patriotic, and sports mad—you see we think Canadians are sports mad. We are well educated and well travelled, and have good knowledge of the world. In relation to work—we are both very hard working nations—we tend to think Canadians are a bit too intense and very anal, but Canadians think we are too laid back and casual. At the end of the day we tend to achieve the same result. Canadians constantly fight their close proximity to the US and being an extension of the USA—and not being recognised as their own identity. Australians are so conscious of their isolation and being so far and insignificant to the rest of the world—they are constantly seeking recognition and attention. The major difference between us is our sense humour and intensity. Canadians are much nmore intense in their outlooks and beliefs. Personally I would be proud to be from either, and are both two of the best countries in the world to live. But heh I am probably biased

--robert 2003-04-17

Thanks for your thoughts. I'll never again think of Australians as 'laid back', now that I've worked for two Australian firms. No, sir.
--Michael

how I got kicked out of Japan

This is more of a question than a comment, I understand that I should shed all of my electronics here before my move to Sydney, I have a large VHS and DVD collection, Does anyone know if they will work there using my equipment and a power converter? I have heard they may not play on an Aussie TV. The power converter will be used for somethings I cannot part with. Hopefully the PC will work if I switch it to 240 at the back? Help! James

--James 2003-09-11

Forget the DVD player, Australia is in a different region from N. America. It may be the same for the VHS (PAL or HAL?). The PC will be fine.
--Michael

favorite experiences in Australia

Sorry but as a working class Englishman, im sick of the ozzie attitude towards my fellow country men. Pommie this and pommie that...how old is that! You Canadians however are the friendliest people i have ever met..you should be proud ..unlike the Ozzies you DO have a great country...and no chip on your shoulders like the "okkas". Sooner Oz becomes a republic...the better!

--Carl T 2003-10-10

Not sure what 'okkas' refers to, but I've found quite a bit of friction between the Aussies and Brits. I suspect the Aussie snobbery to the UK comes from their ancestors having been booted out over often trivial matters.
--Michael

favorite experiences in Australia

There's a story behind that chant. One of the SOCOG members (Sydney Olympics Committee), who was seen to be an up-himself twat, was asked in a doorstop interview outside a hotel or somesuch whether he knew of any chants or supporters songs. He replied that whatever happened, he hoped it wasn't something like "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!". Australians will do anything to spite an elitist pratt.

--Christina 2003-12-13

Hmmm! Great story, that. I never saw that, while down there. All I got was the incessant chanting. I liked Australia, but that chant really gets under your skin after a while.
--Michael

favorite experiences in Australia

how's it g'arn what da ya mean victorians are snobs? if you ask most australians that have lived, or visted, both melbourne and sydney, they will probably tell ya that melbournians are heaps nicer than people from sydney. we aint that english either, we've just got more culture than sydney (theres that rivalry ya talkin 'bout), melbourne is the the most strong representer of non-stereotypical aussie culture, and some of it is very unique like aussie hip hop(only connection to america is the words 'hip' and 'hop', here the similarites end) and other such things. we are a lot more multicultural than sydney, and that backwards racial, and sexual view that you talked about, is alot more blured in melbourne, it aint such a big deal. melbourne is often neglected in the area of tourism, 'cause we get 4 seasons in one day, and don't have beautiful sunshine all the time. but if ya thinking of coming to australia, you should check the place out (it's a very different place to sydney), might give ya an insight into the fact that not all aussies (in fact very few) are red necked, crocodile wrestling, ignorant, morons who don't know anything. catch ya later

--twitch 2003-12-18

Wha? Where does it say that Melbournite are snobs? I liked Melbourne, and I liked Sydney. I think if I were heading to Australia again, I'd probably choose Melbourne, but that's mostly cause I've "done" Sydney....
--Michael

favorite experiences in Australia

it's so good to see a webpage like this. as, for canadians, like me. i love it there in australia. friendly people(like here), beautiful places (like here), perfect weather ( not so quite like here) but, basically,we are similar.

--melisa 2004-01-09

We are, it's true.
--Michael

favorite experiences in Australia

I am tripping to Canada in a couple of months. Having worked in the U.S. i noticed a huge difference in that Americans all turn up to appointments. One third of all appointments in Australia (in my business) just won't turn up. Of those that do a good number will come with no money and an excuse asking to pay at another time. I think that this is because being a socialist country we have bred the attitude of everything should be free. Whatever it can be frustrating. Having said that Australia seems to have a much higher level of culture than America. Better coffee, food and so on and also a lot cleaner. Also Australians seem a lot better skilled at what they do than the Americans. I think this is because Aussies think on their feet where as Americans learn what they need to know inside and out but not more and not less. What are Canadiand like for keeping appointments? Chris

--Chris Fawkes 2004-04-09

Have a great trip in Canada! Canadians and appointments, what can I say. Sometimes I think Canadians need queues and appointments or they collapse in a panic.
--Michael

favorite experiences in Australia

g'day, i am 15 and live on the beautiful northern beaches of sydney. i work at a boat hire place on pittwater. people from all over the world come to hire the run-about boats. i meet all of them and i have to say that the canadians are the most friendly of em all. When they go fishing they always return the boats clean, unlike some. They are always the most cheery and happy people. When i speek to them they are always positive and love our surf culture and how everything is so relaxed. The only thing that is strange is they have no understanding of our sense of humour. I have been to the loss angeles, new york and Hawaii. I have met so many americans and they are the most stupid people on earth. They have no cencept of the out side world and believe america is so great and powerfull. One mum in a spa in hawaii thought that australia was a country in Europe. I could have slapped her. Canadians and aussies are similar in that they both know there is a world out there besides their own and they go out an explore it. Also the main sport in australia is rugby union, not AFL that is for sissys.

--nick h 2004-06-04

That's a rather diffuse rant! And still so young. I'm glad the Canadians you've dealt with have treated you well. Having lived in Australia, I can empathise with the lack of understanding on the sense of humour. Humour is a national sport, I think.
--Michael

favorite experiences in Australia

I find it funny that I hear Americans described as unapologetic bigots and yet never hear Americans making such statements against Australians or anyone else that seems to be the rule, rather than the exception in this forum. If "Nick" was my age and not the unwise 15 that he is, I'd clobber the son of a bitch. You people really need to check your egos, including the writer. Sorry if I appear sensitive. I just don't dig on what is essentially racism aimed at me because of where I was born, especially by those who claim to be so tolerant.

--new yorker 2004-07-12

I wasn't really writing about Americans, "new yorker". I'm glad you have some perspective on the source of the comments that offended you. I can't apologize on that party's behalf, I'm amazed that you read any bigotry into my words. P.S. I *hate it* when people don't leave their email address.
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

thanks for your info, very helpful. l8r, majing boo

--majing boo 2003-05-10

I have no idea where you can find that kind of service in your case, but I'd bet your school's photography program would have the people and resources to do it cheaply indeed. In fact, I'll bet they'd be hungry for models. If there is no photography department, try to track down a photography club either on campus or elsewhere in your city/town. Good luck! P.S. my name's not Mark.
--Michael

articles

I'm upset to hear that you put 0 out of 5 for transat. But what really pissed me off is your rumor about them hiring restaurent staff.... This is kind of an ignorant comment. Their are laws in canada about safety for the passengers. ALL canadian airlines have to train their flight attendants the same way. And if you have less than 85% in one exam, you cannot graduate from the course. You should think an read some books before making a comment like that. It is just proving your ignorance. And by the way when you shop at WalMart do you except to buy Armani? You wanna be cheap and save a couple of hundreads, then you get what you paid for.

--sonia 2002-02-07

I'm not sure how many books one should have to read in order to relate one's experience with an airline. I'm sorry you took offence at what I wrote, but I only have my own experience to convey. As for your 'question', I don't shop at Walmart, nor do I have any interest in Armani. But when I fly with an airline, I don't *expect* my bording pass to be taken away just because some check-in clerk accepted a few $. I do *expect* to fit in the seats. Air Transat offers neither of these. Also, the rumour came from a former employee, I can only relate what I hear.
--Michael

reviews

I find it interesting your love of Air NZ, you must not know that this same airline that you give a rating of 4 put a DC-10 into the side of Mountain. KILLING ALLL ( look up your internet you fool!!!) I to have had many flts on many different airlines and would put Air NZ at the mid to bottom of most even Ga on safety. READ the inq. to the mess to understand what it said they did to cover up this the truth. PS good luck with the job hunting, Air NZ needs every bum and fool on its seats.

--Tony May 2002-09-02

The best part of this comment is that I can try to guess what you mean by "---fool".... Is it 'assfool', like "assclown" from Office Space? Did we forget our meds, today? Thanks for your good wishes (I think).
--Michael

articles

Hi If anyone has any ideas of weird airlines that operate around the world could they email me... I already have naked air and Hooters... any others. My email is alexpoulson / at / yahoo.co.uk thanks alex

--alex poulson 2003-04-01

Hmm! As another comment on this site indicates, the Australians equate the verb 'root' with 'to f*ck'. In Canada there was briefly a 'Roots' airline (owned by the people who run the clothing line). I imagine that would be interesting to an Aussie. I'm not sure if you Brits use the same slang, Alex?
--Michael

articles

I have a page about airlines, and will probably put a link to your page. if you want to have a look at mine, there it goes: www.alexdoria.t2u.com all the best Alex

--alex 2003-09-07

That's a decent home page, fellow former Geography major!
--Michael

articles

You used to have a collection of Dilbert strips on your site. I'm after a list of filenames of strips with the embedded code in the date. I have a couple of months worth. Do you have such a list? If so, I'd be very greatful if you would send it to me. I'm not after the strips themselves, only the filenames. Thanks in advance. --Jim Hi, James; Unfortunately, the dilbert site only seems to keep about four weeks worth of comics online. I'll forward my perl widget for retrieving them. It contains the bits that indicate where the files are stored on the Dilbert site. I think the code appears somewhere on my site, but I'm not certain where! ;)

--James Smith 2003-08-13

Whereabouts are you in Austrlia? I lived down there for a while. 'twas very good. Mmmm, baramundi and Aussie wine.
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

This is one site that I will definitely bookmark. I really love photography and this is refreshing. I even wanted to do the oilslick thing but I just kept watching and never tried. Now I will. You inspire me! http://www.geocities.com/treseles2002/index.html

--Tres Eles 2002-12-19

Well, what can I say! Good luck, three l's!
--Michael

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i happen to love that oh so brilliant piece of british comedy that is monty pythons flying circus and if you know of rowan atkinson, (well that wierd lookin' guy called BEAN, another of his works) i believe you have one of his quotes "drink and be merry for tommorrow you may contract a horrible skin disease" which makes more sense in the movie's context being in the dark ages) anyway, this great series that i've been ranting about is called THE BLACK ADDER i think it's great and just wanted to inform a possible future 'Rowan' fan you don't have to email back, i just wanted to send this out into the void check it out <(c:}

-- 2002-08-16

Thanks for your comments. One of my favourite bits from Black Adder was in the "Black Adder Goes Forth' series, when he dodges an order for his men to go "over the top" in the trenches to their certain death. He points out that the orders are to "Catpain" Blackadder, rather than "Captain" Blackadder....
--Michael

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In that scene, it WAS Unix, SGI's Irix to be precise. At one time someone posted a link to the source of the 3d file browser that was used in the movie. It was some sort of experimental VR file browser. Sure, most Unix or Unix like OSs are not like that, but then my 128mb AGP8x 3D card can render a very nice "#" SGI's FSN - 3d Filesystem Navigator [sgi.com]. For IRIX 4.0.1 - 5.3 only. http://www.sgi.com/fun/freeware/3d_navigator.html

-- 2003-12-02

Yup. But the scene associates that visual context with "UNIX", thereby earning at least some cringe factor. ;)
--Michael

creating things

hey, this is the first site i've come across that i've bothered to spend time on aside from my sisters. good travel tips. got a question. did you see any heavily tattooed women in fiji?(locals or travellers) my man and i are going in december to get married and i'm wondering how much if at all i should keep my full sleeves and back piece covered, will it offend people? l8r,majing boo

--majing boo 2003-05-10

Hey, congratulations! Fiji would be an outstanding spot to get married. Actually, when I was there I met a couple who'd married on the beach down there. She in her white gown, he in sandals, shorts, and decent shirt. They loved it. Yes, I saw some people with tattoos. I was one (not a woman, though, which I spoze is your point). The thing is to keep covered when entering any populated area (just as well, cos the sunshine comes down like a hammer), especially a village. The Polynesian cultures were some of the most tattooed peoples on Earth, and Fiji was (part) Polynesian. But the introduction of Christianity has turned the society into one that is generally very conservative. That said, Fijians still use a form of tattooing as a means of curing things like broken bones. A couple of individuals down there told me that they did it to remove 'bad things' from the injuries. So you'll see individuals with squiggly bits of tattooes on their knuckles, for instance. Anyway, approach it with some common sense, and you'll be fine. And do go out to the smaller islands, that's what Fiji is all about.
--Michael

creating things

I was wondering if you could design a tattoo for me. I'm looking to put it on the outside of my right foot. I want a cresent moon in the center and have red roses either twined around it or extending right and left on the sides of it. This is my first tattoo so i want something that won't disappoint me. If you have any questions, please email me at jennshs@yahoo.com.

--jennifer 2002-11-07

jenn - I don't really have the means for designing tattoos for people. I do my humble designs when I get the chance, but each one of my (awkward and somewhat geometric) designs takes days. I think you'd be better served by looking at some flash
--Michael

creating things

hiya michael im having one of your designs as a tattoo on friday its a gorgeous design and i hope it looks good as a tattoo i'll try and take a pic and put it somewhere for u to see. Its the double lined triskele so if u give me your e-mail address i'll try and send a pic of it done wen i can get a pic

--maddy! 2004-01-10

Cool! Let me know how it goes.
--Michael

creating things

it looks really good i'm still working on gettin a digital camera to take a pic but it turned out really well and looks excellent

--maddy 2004-01-19

Cool! I'd love to see a pic.
--Michael

creating things

I really like your Designs, very unique. I was just wondering if you could do personal designs? If so im looking for a small design in the middle of my lower back. Write Back! and thanks alot.xoxo bye

--Gillian 2004-02-06

Thanks for the comments, Gillian. I'm afriad I don't have the tools for tattoo designing right now, and have never really done on-design work. I wish I were better able to help.... I hope you find something!
--Michael

creating things

I have the perfect picture in my head for my next tattoo, which I would like to place just below my neck. The only problem is, I have absolutely no artistic ability. I want a three leaf clover with celtic knotwork in each leaf (something like the triangular design you have on your page). I would greatly appreciate any assistance you might be willing to give me. THANKS!!!

--Anna 2004-06-19

I find it frustrating when people say they have no artistic ability. I think that they're confusing 'artistic' with those nutjobs who go around living the "artist's lifestyle" and irritating the hell out the rest of us. We all have artistic ability - art is in many things we take for granted, such as speech. Go for it and good luck.
--Michael

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i'm aware that you like scorpio, but i need a design desperatley for cancer and libra together somehow.I'm having difficulty with this. If you can help that would be great. This is for lower back. I have 2 others on my left arm. Thank you.

--stephanie radmore 2003-05-12

Hi, Stephanie. Unfortunately, I don't have access to any drawing programs at the moment. I've been looking for an old copy of CorelDraw or whatnot. Don't wait on my account!
--Michael

creating things

hey i used one of ur designs and it looks really good!!

--who cares?? 2004-01-27

I'd love to see a pic, lpchick090.
--Michael

creating things

Cool man. Thanks for the pics. Word from Detroit. Peace and chaos forever! BE COOL.

--LIP 2002-06-20

Indeed. You're welcome and I will.
--Michael

creating things

i hate you.... think of something a little better than these. Get a life or a real job there chico

--Guess 2003-04-14

Wow, my first hate feedback. You even gave me a pet name! I'll always cherish your skillful words, Jesse.
--Michael

creating things

Thanks for these wondeful pics. Really appreciate the dragons and the art. Keep the cool vibe ! The Pradster - Way out from German-Land

-- 2003-05-07

Hey, thanks. Er, Vielen Danke.
--Michael

creating things

heyz i'm joelle from lebanon thx for the designs they really helped me a lot keep up the good work peace kissesxxx joelle

--joelle 2003-08-01

Glad you like them. Are you considering getting one? I think you're my first correspondent from Lebanon.
--Michael

creating things

Hi Michael, I don't mean to be a bitch cause I think it's cool that you're into designing tattoos, but I do think you can do better. They're a bit too simple, by 'too simple' I mean they are the kind of thing everyone is capable of drawing. You've got a few that are heading in the right direction though... keep it up.

--Ali 2003-08-31

You're right, I can always do better. Looking at my designs, I'm not terribly impressed. And yes, everyone is capable of drawing, which makes me wonder why some folks get so hostile when they read that I'm reluctant to design tattoos for peo
--Michael

creating things

coolness. I like the idea. wish you would do some libra ones though... keep up the coolness

--crazychicoz 2003-09-18

Me, too. I wish I had the software....
--Michael

creating things

these tattoo designs are shittiest things i have ever seen, u beed to come up with better designs

--Sean Valette 2003-09-18

'i beed'? You work on the typing, I'll work on the designs, Sean. Eventually. ;)
--Michael

creating things

Could you design a tattoo for me? :) I want a lizard crawling up my belly. your designs are really cool Contact me on my email address: ice_cream_tastes_nice@yahoo.co.uk hugs... donna xxx

--Donna! 2003-10-06

Thanks for your interest in my stuff, but at the moment I don't have any software with which to do any interesting work, I'm afraid.
--Michael

creating things

this site kinda sucks. your drawings are all the same. it would be nice to see some more variety. lemme know when u get that up and running. Id like to see the improvements.

--me 2003-11-11

What can I say. Thanks for the feedback; have you got some designs online?
--Michael

creating things

hey Michael...very cool desings..i'm really interested in celtic tattoo's...maybe you can help me..B4cause i didnB4t find "the one"..but now.. i got some ideas..well if you have any suggestions just let me know.... Kisses.. a friend from Peru Fio

--Fiore 2003-11-30

There are a number of books with celtic knots in them, if that's the sort of celtic design you're looking for. I have corresponded with a fellow named Aidan Meehan who has a number of his knot designs on web sites (maybe search for his name on google.com). You'll also find celtic animal (totems and illustrations from the old Christian books of Ireland) in most tattoo parlours. Good luck!
--Michael

creating things

sorry about those last two messages, i screwed up. hey do you think u could esign me a cool dragon tattoo. i already have one but i am lookin for a new one. ttyl man .......PEACE!!!

--Colby 2003-12-01

That's okay, I deleted the aborted messages. I've been having a frustrating time with these questions of late, but I have an idea in mind, and will retain your question and email address and get back to you!
--Michael

creating things

hey mich, nice page ... i like ur designs, ... unfortunately didnt find what i wanted, n by now i've must've searched half the web n all. you think you could design me a tattoo of an eagle with a snake hangin out of its mouth? ... i love snakes, eagles, black roses n all, ... they all have so much symbolic meaning to me. got a black rose with a tribal design on ma right upper arm. well, ... thx for now ... pls mail me sumtime ...

--insane dreamer 2003-11-06

Did you get my email, insane dreamer?
--Michael

creating things

hey mich, nice page ... i like ur designs, ... unfortunately didnt find what i wanted, n by now i must've searched half the web n all. you think you could design me a tattoo of an eagle with a snake hangin out of its mouth? ... i love snakes, eagles, black roses n all, ... they all have so much symbolic meaning to me. got a black rose with a tribal design on ma right upper arm. well, ... thx for now ... pls mail me sumtime ... Good luck with your search.

--insane dreamer 2003-11-06

I don't actually design tattoos for people. I wish I could, actually, it sounds like it might be an interesting way of earning a dime.
--Michael

creating things

Hey mon. Just searched the Web for Google images of the maple leaf, and your designs were on it! Nice work. I'm a bit of a hobby graphic artist & I like your stuff. Too bad about the software. Mine ain't nothin' to brag over either. NEways, wouldja mind if I used a couple of maple leaf designs off yer site for a project I'm doing? Lemme know. SB

--Spin B. 2004-03-03

Go for it, SB. Your email address was no good, so I hope you see this.
--Michael

creating things

hi... jst trying to find an ida for a new tattoo these were sweet. mills xx

--milly 2004-04-07

Thanks for the comments, squishy.
--Michael

creating things

Michael, Having been tattooed 4 times now and each of those designs being 'off the wall', I appreciate your initiative in being able to create and allow that creativeness to be used by others. Keep up the good work... Del (Kalgoorlie, Western Australia).

--Delmar Evans 2004-04-17

And thanks to you for the feedback, Delmar. Does this mean you're looking into one of my tattoo designs?
--Michael

creating things

hey I was just on google searching for some simple tattoo ideas and I found yours! I love drawing on people, so your site gave me some amazing design ideas I've been looking for:) awesome work!

--Anya 2004-04-28

Thanks, Anya. Good luck with your designs.
--Michael

creating things

where can i get a spunge bob square pants tatoo for my friend

--david marshall 2004-05-27

..I dunno. But: a) Why! b) That's not yer email address!
--Michael

creating things

Could use your help. I'm looking for a way to design a spiral galaxy tattoo, but I'm not sure how to capture the light at the center. Your designs (gorgeous) lead me to believe that you might have some ideas. Any suggestions? Thanks! M.

--Meghan 2004-06-23

Hmm. I guess you'd have to draw around the 'bright' bit rather than drawing the thing itself. Negative space and all that. Maybe an indistinct outline of darker rays eminating from an undrawn central bit?
--Michael

creating things

dude, is that all u got for tattoo designs? those are pathetic!! what you need are kick ass dragons and skulls and shit like that.. not a friggen leaf

--Jon 2004-06-23

Kick ass skulls? Go to any chain tattoo place, usa_army_soldier85 (unwanted mental image forming)...
--Michael

creating things

Yea, sorry man, but I have to agree with... uh... whoever else left shitty feedback, I hate you, too. They are way too simple for what seems like a decent artist. And what the fuck is up with all of the maple leaves? I personally, was a little disappointed in your collection. You should work on that, 'cause they suck. -Annalisa

--Annalisa 2004-06-28

I hope you find what you're looking for. Good luck (note that dispensing 'hate' probably won't help).
--Michael

creating things

Hi Michael, lauren's the name. have quite mixed feelings about your site while exploring. I have only four tattoos of my own, none taken off the wall. however my partner is a tattoo artist and has been now for ten years. His body work is amazing. While looking at your designs i realised instantly that they're not all actually your designs. you have many alterations and similar original celtic designs in your folio...the triskelion...the druidic threefold, and the triquetra to list a few. Probably unintentional? but while designing symbols so simply, it is expected. Anyway, your own tattoos i like. I think all these other dickheads saying the site is shit should fuck off....who the fuck are you?? I'm sure yours are so much better...bullshit. Keep up the good work...and the designs, there's nothing better than the feeling of satisfaction after completing a design. Thanx for the site. Lauren.

--Lauren 2004-07-03

Thanks for your comments, Lauren. Do you mean that the designs aren't original? Because I created them. Of course, I started with the triskel work I saw on rock carvings in Ireland and went from there.
--Michael

creating things

Myself along with my 2 best friends have decided to get the same tattoos showing our respect for eachother, the three of us are so close we are like brothers...we want to choose a design that symbolizes our friendship. we are also all three on a summer long road trip in toronto from vancouver...and are planning to get inked out here in the east...if u have any ideas for our tattoos it would be great to see them, and keep in mind the three of us are 20 yr old males... anyhow, would be greatly appreciated, thanks -Tre

-- 2004-06-21

creating things

hey dontk now you, dont want nothing, but i just looked at your site, and reading your comments just wanted to call you a sad cunt... i mean ur designs are shit and u refuse to help people who want decent tattoos... u suck ok? now go pimp that ass

--Dean 2004-07-08

Thanks for your comments, Dean. What can I say. My designs are for my use, I share them for the hell of it. I don't refuse to help people - I've never claimed to be a tattoo artist or offered my services for a fee. If people like what they find on the 'net for free, great. Half a dozen people have used one or another so far. Which is about 1 for every 2 emails such as yours, actually. I'm mildly surprised that some people have had my work done, but I'm more surprised at the constant drivel from people such as yourself with nothing to add. I mean what's the point? Are you people bitter cos you can't get a free tattoo design from some sucker? Or are you just twisted up about life in general. It's a mystery that'll keep me awake at night, all right, n1ghtshad3@gmx.net.
--Michael

creating things

I love your designs! Way cool with the Scorpion that totally creeped me out! Me and my best friend want to get matching star arm bands! If you have any ideas please contact me love, Shanwa By the way those Idiots that say bad stuff about you should just Shut UP

--Shawna 2004-07-15

Thanks, Shawna. Good luck with your search, I trust you received my email?
--Michael

creating things

hey... i've had a terrible time trying to find a picses design that would look good on the body. if you could help me design one that would be amazing! thank you for your help! Lexy

--Lex 2003-09-07

I don't currently have the software for it, Alexis. But I'll keep your request in mind.
--Michael

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I WAS WONDERING IF YOU HAD THE FACES OF SMILE NOW CRY LATER?

--MIKE HAM 2002-06-21

Um.... I assume you mean a tattoo design with the happy and sad player's masks common to stage acting? If so, then no.
--Michael

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Interesting site, to say the least...

--Alexandrianna 2002-07-20

Thanks! Alexandrianna is a beautiful name.
--Michael

creating things

Hi, my name is Anita. I am 15 years old, I love your tattoos! I haven't always really dug tattoos that much. But I am really startes to like them. In my opioun a tattoo can be sybmol, of who you are, or what you like doing. I have thought about it a lone time, and I really want a tattoo. But the only thing is my mom won't let me get one. I don't understand why though, she let me get my toung, belly button, and treges done. And it's not like I want a big tattoo or anything, you know just a little butterfly on my sholder or a really cool design on my lower back. Do you have any ideas for me to try to convince my mom. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Anita sweet692530@aol.com

--Anita 2003-04-01

Hi, Anita; I saw your comments on my web site. I have to agree with your mom; wait before getting a tattoo. For one thing, I was able to look at a lot of designs over the years, and to talk to a lot of people who'd had them. Another good thing was that I could take the time to find a good tattoo parlour - a good artist makes a world of difference! And as it happens, there were big advances in the inks that they used during the years I was poking around. This meant that when I finally got mine done, the inks that went into them would hold their colour and shape much longer. The same might happen for you (who knows). Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to tattoos is that your body shape will continue to change as you age. It would probably be a better idea to wait a few more years until your body is closer to its adult shape before getting a tattoo. I realize that you probably don't want to hear this from some stranger, but I've been very pleased with my tattoos, and am very glad that I waited (I was fascinated with tattoos from about your age, myself, but didn't get my first one until I was 26!). It's good fun, getting and having tattoos, but there are some things to keep in mind, right? In the end, I'm just a guy with a web site. If you want an expert's opinion, take your mom to a tattoo place and ask them what they say. Good luck!
--Michael

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Hiya! I was organizing my fav's and clicked on your site again. I had forgotten I had visited here a few weeks ago. (Pre-alzheimers?) I re-read my post to you, and low and behold, I DID get a TATTOO!! As well as my daughter getting her eyebrow peirced (which was just plain ICKY to watch, even with me being a surgical nurse). I decided on something small, and unique to me... something that would be a constant in my life... for my tatt. It's my astrological sign of Cancer, but the glyph, not the actual crab. I had it put on my right ankle and it's about 2 cm wide. I was very excited and showed my co-workers and surgeons. Can you believe they all thought it was a sideways 69? For God's sake!!! I obviously have a wild reputation for them to ONLY think I would get something sexual, LOL!! Anyway, I love it, it is sexy, and I am very happy with it. And yes, when you get an income and back to Toronto, you must dine at Dantes.

--Lynne 2003-04-14

Congrats, Lynne, I'm glad you're happy with the tattoo. I'm working once again, so I guess I've got no excuse not to run out and try this place.
--Michael

creating things

hi i just wanted to know if you know of a website or software that you can design your own tattoo? Thanks.

--tiffany 2003-04-21

No. But that sounds like a really good idea.
--Michael

creating things

Hello, my name is Mary. I'm out here looking for some answers. I hope you can help. I recently went to get my first tattoo. It was not a success. I went into full blown shock, had to be taken home, and wad exhausted the rest og the day. I am wondering why this happened to me. I'm very dissappointed. I went to a legit. buisnedd, the gentelan who was the owner, had been tattooing for 28 years. I just can't understand why this happened. Can you shed any light onthis? If so, please contact me at mare218@hotmailcom thanks. Mary :)

--Mary Soffner 2003-05-25

I have no idea why this happened, though I have seen a friend go into a glassy-eyed sort of condition after getting tattooed. I myself have had the same exhaustion after a tattooing; I think it's from adrenalin, but it might have been any of a number of things. Remember that the tattoo needle is actually invading your body, and that the body has reactions to things like that. The adrenalin is my bet, It might simply have been endorphins to dampen the pain, it may have been a mental thing (if this was your first, as you say), or it might have been something like a reaction to the metal of the needle (the ink is non-reactive, but I wouldn't be surprised if some small percentage of the population reacted to stainless steel). That said, I am not in the tattooing business, let alone a medical professional. It's best to be safe, when your health is involved. See your doctor, if you haven't already. And talk to the staff about what happened; I bet they've seen it all. Good luck; hopefully you'll come out of the disappointment.
--Michael

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I like your work and thought you might know where I could get a pic of an all BLACK lion. I have searched the net for many days with no results and dont want to pay an artist tons to have one made. If you can help id so appreciate it Thanks

--Brian 2003-09-02

Thanks for the comment, Brian. Not sure what you mean by a black lion. A panther or jaguar or rather a lion that is in black (I've never seen the latter)? Try the google.com 'images' search, or the altavista.com version. They're both quite good. result 1 result 2 Good luck!
--Michael

creating things

i was just wondering anout a tattoo design of yours and if i could use it. I would appreciate you e-mailing me with an answer. thanks you!

--Allison 2003-10-30

Go for it, Allison. I guess this is the flip side to not being able to design stuff to meet people's expectations. If anyone wants to use one of my designs, just let me know you're doing so, and send me a pic when it's done.
--Michael

creating things

well i was searching for a tattoo design of a maple leaf and this popped up. If you could help me create a design say by Friday that'd be great.. if not I had fun procrastinating here. All the best Good luck!

-- 2004-01-18

I don't design tattoos for a living. You can generally find good tattoo designs in tattoo parlours, and the artists should be able to design you something you like.
--Michael

creating things

hey I was wondering if you could draw me up a tattoo because I saw your work and they're awesome so just hit me back.. peace

--Annie 2004-04-14

I don't do tattoos like that, Annie (though people keep asking). I should have some new designs for the Summer, though, so keep watching.
--Michael

creating things

hello i want to get the girls name RACHEL tattooed on my back in lower english font.. maybe about 10" x 3". Can you by any chance design this for me.. or know somebody who could do it for me thanks for your time John;

--john sullivan 2004-05-04

I don't do tattoo designs that way. I just come up with doodles and post them if I'm happy with them. I think you should take your request to some local shops and see what they say. Be sure to go through their book of jobs they've done to get a feel for their talents.
--Michael

creating things

I just wanted to let you know that, while searching for ideas for the tattoo which I had finally plucked up the courage to get, I found your dragon on this website, and it grew on me to the point where I had it engraved on me too! I modified it a little bit, gave it back the extra claw which you had removed, and reduced it in size by 50 percent. This very morning I have had it done, and it didnt hurt all that much. She ( I like to think of the dragon as female, though you may have other ideas) now sits south east of my belly button, towards my right hip, and looks very cool! I am waiting to see what my man thinks of it, but I am sure he will approve. Thanks! regards, Fiona.

--Fiona de Rooij 2003-03-11

Cool. That's four people I've seen with that same tattoo. Hmm, and I'm the only male....
--Michael

creating things

I got my first tattoo yesterday of a crab because it is my zodiac sign. I am satified with it but it looks sort of incomplete. Do have any suggestions on what i can get around it to make it come together?

--Rashanda 2003-05-17

Stick with what you've got for the time being. Let it sink in a bit before you look at altering it. BTW, you have any pics?
--Michael

creating things

i want a design of smile now cry later i saw a good one the other day. the faces looked thuged out i really liked it but i do not no were to get a pic cause i am going to put a saying on the bottom can anybody please if u no were i can get a good design like that will u please e mail it to me or tell me were i can find it. steveb432@yahoo.com

--steve 2003-07-02

I see you got my email response.... Good luck with your search!
--Michael

creating things

found your dragon that you have on dragon images site,I cant say how pleased I was to find it, And I want you to know that an Engish showman has chosen the design to complete his sleeve tattoo, my whole left arm is tattooed light blue, with flames riseing from the dragons mouth I will have to make a few modifications, but the basic idea is yours,really thank you very much for the idea to complete what will be a brilliant piece of body art, if you are intrested in the final product let me know yours prof wood

--english showman 2004-02-12

Wow, that's pretty cool. But it's not actually my design. I just found it on the 'net and modified it for my own use. I've since seen the same design used for a Jet Li movie.... Let me know how it comes out!
--Michael

creating things

i've been wanting a tatoo for about 2 yrs now, but i cannot settle on anything that i would want to keep forever. i like lower back tatoos, and all kinds of writing tatoos. i would like a classy simple tatoo. i really want an RIP tatoo but no one i know will die! i am about ready to just run up there and get anything because i want one so bad. if you have any ideas or suggestions they would be greatly appreciated. pls email me.

--Christina 2004-03-21

Don't make a panic decision. I had a coworker once who woke up in New Orleans one morning with a brand new tree frog tattoo that he was too drunk to recall getting. And I've seen what happens when people try to have their tattoos removed (ick). Hunt around in the tattoo shops. If you go in and look at the designs they've got and ask the staff you get a good feel for the place. This will help you make a decision about not only the tattoo you want but it will help you find someone you trust to do the work. Good luck.
--Michael

creating things

I saw you recommended Artistic Impressions in St.Catherines and was looking for the web address... I came across it...thought I'd share. http://www.tattoocanada.com/ Enjoy! Nic

--Nic 2003-04-17

Thanks! P.S. It's "St. Catharines", with an 'a'.
--Michael

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The website you posted www.kingoffools.com is where he's working now....He's a great artist, as some of my friends have work done from him. And the other guy Dameon Rowanchilde (sp?) is another excellent artist who's working at urbanprimitive in toronto....

--gina 2003-11-03

Thanks, Gina.
--Michael

Hi .... Now I am 29 with a little boy of my own, I have dragged out my old lego ...... I am sure I still have all the parts for the 928 space ship, though sadly the lunar landscape piece and more importantly, the instructions, are now gone. :( Do you know where I might download these and perhaps other manuals for the Lego Space sets of the same vintage?

--Matt Close 2003-08-18

That's a good question, Matt. I'll have a look around and see what I can find on the 'net (meanwhile, here's a countryman of yours with a bit of time and cash to dedicate to the LEGO.... http://www.tip.net.au/~dac/legosd.htm I have a flat-bed scanner somewhere. I'll see if I can find the old manuals and maybe scan that one for you....
--Michael

articles

Do you know where I could buy that fire house 357? I looked on legos web sight.

--Amanda 2004-05-20

I have no idea, Amanda. Sorry. I've found that LEGO doesn't really hold up that well past maybe fifteen years or so. I doubt you'd find that any of the old LEGO Town stuff would still be in good enough condition even if you did find it....
--Michael

articles

Like a previous poster I now have 2 young boys and my parents recently brought out the old "stack O Lego" and all the parts are there but the manuals have been long gone. Any updates on the originals?

--R. Babiak 2004-05-30

No. I have the old manuals, but no way of scanning them!
--Michael

articles

instructions can be found at: http://www.brickshelf.com

--abc 2004-07-19

thanks!
--Michael

articles

Just curious if Patti Rempel was formerly Patti Bradley of Moncton.

--Neil 2002-12-11

Nope!
--Michael

articles

Your scheme worked! I googled myself and found you page. What a Great Idea. Drop me a line. But don't post my email please

--Richard Seabright 2003-07-10

Haha! You just posted your own email. Hang on, I'll edit it out of the message that gets left on the site when you do that. So, that's three people caught by my little autogoogling page....
--Michael

articles

i am looking for nadia maria from sverige your DAD FAR sharif

--misteroara 2003-08-24

Uh, are you looking for your daughter on my web site?
--Michael

articles

hey...i'm not actually cindy chudyk, but she was a former teaCHER (at E.L.C.S.S.) it was weird to see her name here...she IS a geography teacher....don't even ask why i was googling my teahcer.s

--cindy chudyk 2003-11-18

I won't ask, "lovely decay", I won't ask.
--Michael

articles

I am looking for a woman from Tulsa named Debbie Sowell. Sorry to use your page this way Mike but if it worked for you maybe it will work for me too! Her parents were Homer and Ruby Tremble (or Trimble) This is NOT the Debbie Sowell who is Dean of Instruction in the Math Department at Oral Roberts.

--Leslie 2004-01-13

Good luck, Leslie.
--Michael

reviews

Hi Michael, Thanks a lot for the insightful review of my Fiji guide http://www.southpacific.org/fiji.html which you posted on your site. It’s always encouraging to hear that a reader found my book useful—I do the best I can. Happy travels to you in future.

--David Stanley! 2001-12-01

Hey, cool. Yeah, it was a lifesaver. Fiji's awesome and your book really does the job.
--Michael

articles

I arrived via a search for quotes on the topic of an impending 30th. I must say that I wished i had no come across this site as now I feel utterly unaccomplished. Canuck, where is the Hockey, my boy? have I in some way overlooked your thoughts on the national sport or is Lord Stanley rolling in his grave as i write these words? Outstanding site, by the way. There is something so telling about your attention to order & detail in a friendly way. Certainly a far cry from the gif-riddled abominations I & my kind foist upon our visitors. Regards Dan p.s. GO RANGERS!

--Dan 2002-02-01

Well, I guess there's not a lot of hockey cos I haven't played it in years and I don't have the $$ to go watch it here in Toronto. God help us when *I* make someone else feel unaccomplished. I'm currently sitting on a year of unemployment!
--Michael

creating things

you have stolen the dragon designs of don ed hardy they all are copywritten -fun is over please remove. thankyou.

--d.wilcox 2002-07-15

Hey, thanks for the lead. I've sent Don Hardy an email via his site. We'll see where this leads.
--Michael

articles

Boy oh boy was I having a brunette moment or what took me 5 min to figure out the guestbook and they say it's just blondes who are dumb lol Anyhow enough of my rats I'm going to be short and sweet here Your site impressed me great job . Much enjoyed blah blah blah :) Rose http://www.todays-woman.net

--Rose 2004-04-04

Thanks, Rose. Gouod luck with your website.
--Michael

articles

I found the same zip file images a year but since my computer crash, all those images were lost. i've been also looing for the it ever since. just wanted to say thanx

--chan 2001-12-16

Errm, yeah! A real confederacy of pirates, we are.
--Michael

creating things

I was looking for a dragon tattoo to put on my right outer thigh. I'm still thinking as to what I exactly want, but thanks to you, I have a few more great options. dragons are beautiful...

--Linda 2002-02-04

Good luck, Linda. Note that the dragon tattoos I have here came from someone else; I'm merely listing a bunch that I found somewhere. I'd love to get in touch with whoever created them. If anyone knows who this is/was, let me know!
--Michael

creating things

Thank you for your images of the dragons - all I wanted were simple nicely drawn pictures - this is the only place that i've found them - keep up the good wrk! :)

--Cricket Harley 2002-02-10

Heh heh, you mean the 'good piracy'... They weren't my designs....
--Michael

creating things

Yah.... I'm thinking of using one of your dragon images for my 1st tatoo ever!! Wondering if this is ok with you... e-mail me to let me know.... :)

--Cricket Harley 2002-02-10

Fine with me. They're not actually mine, though. 8( Let me know how it went!
--Michael

articles

Hello, My name is Wil and i live in a small village in Holland. I worked with the S10 Photosmart scanner in Windows 98SE on a SCSI-card. I Have now a new computer with XP. I put the SCSI-card in the new computer and installed the S10 software. It doesn’t work. I found a new driver S10/S20 and it works. But now occured a problem with Photoshop 7.0. After the first scan he refused to scan again with the message An other programm is using it, but there is no programm in the background. I wonder if you hear of this problem. Many thanks for your answer. Wil. PS: I will return to your site to read it totally.

--Willem A Kok 2002-06-25

It doesn't sound like anything I've faced -- best contact HP directly (and good luck with that!)
--Michael

creating things

RE: Updates on 2002/11/09, 2006/11/08, 2007/11/08 1. The sun is around 20 or 21 degrees Libra (Hindu/Vedic Sidereal Zodiac) Note: Make that around 15 Scorpio, if you use the Western Tropical Zodiac. Your Chinese American friend might be onto something when he connected the birdshitting with your dragon tattoo. Where you born in the Year of the Dragon? How 'bout the Year of the Snake? Your natal sun's position depends on your birthday. (natal--> birth--> Duh!) Anyway, check to see if you natal sun opposes/conjoins/square/trines/(or whatever) your birdcrap sun.

--Stephen Zirattu 2007-12-05

Jeez, I hadn\'t noticed that I\'d got it at about the same date in 2002... kind adds up in a bizarre way! I\'m year of the Pig. P.S. \"he\" was a \"she\" and Chinese Canadian. ;)
--Michael

reviews

I HAVE ONE ABIUT 15 OR 20 YEARS OLD. THAT ONE QUIT. BUT LUCKY I HAD PURCHASED ANOTHER ONE. CAN THE OLD ONE BE FIXED. WHERE CAN I PURCHASE A NEW ONE OR FIX THE OLD ONE???

--LEO J GEORGE 2007-12-20

It's been a long time since I used that organizer. I've really got no idea. Sorry. 8(
--Michael

articles

--bob 2008-02-18

Yes, sir, bob! 8)
--Michael

articles

hey this site is great, i stumpled across it while looking for a simple maple leaf design to inspire me to great my tattoo. I was wondering if it would be alright to take some of your maple leaf ideas and alter them a bit for my tattoo? let me know anyway. Id be happy to take a picture of the finished thing if you agree and give your design credit of course :)

--Michelle. 2008-02-25

Yes, Michelle, please do. Next time, send me your email address!
--Michael

creating things

Would you be willing to design a tattoo for me? It's pretty complex, but ive had it in mind for a while now. Basically a black circle with celtic designs and the words "I am mine" inside the border, while within the circle are two black ravens. Would you be able to do this?

--Usman 2008-03-25

Thanks for your note. Unfortunately, I have neither the skill nor the tools for such a thing. When asked for such designs, I usually refer readers of my website to a professional designer. If you ask around in your home town you\'ll find a reputable tattoo designer who will work with you on your designs. Good luck!
--Michael

articles

i like pie and pickles but no no 1 likes George W Bush do they........

--BiN Lager 2008-03-01

That\'s for sure. Well, aside from the satirists.
--Michael

They're difficult things to do, actually, rice krispie squares. I can cook a lasagne no problem, but have yet to manage the intricacies of krispie squares: they always go too soggy or don't stick together properly.

--Blake Evans-Pritchard 2008-10-26

Good to hear from you, Blake!
--Michael

articles

Quite a bit of information on here. Good stories, pictures are very nice as well. Loved the Japanese Toilet story, you forgot to mention that not all toilets are blowing scented air. Most of them are just blowing warm air which of course floats upwards...

--Michael Hansard 2008-12-19

Thanks for the comment. I didn\'t know that toilets blew scented air! :(
--Michael

It's the Hungary Caterpillar story that British children are so familiar with. Canadian children are deprived of this classic tale, then?

--Blake Evans-Pritchard 2009-01-09

Yeah, Canadian kids have it rough. First the incessant Winters, then losing out on The Hungry Caterpillar. What can I say. On the other hand we do get to learn songs like: I\'s the b\'y that builds the boat And I\'s the b\'y that sails her I\'s the b\'y that catches the fish[1] And brings them home to Liza. (or Lizer) Chorus: Hip yer partner, Sally Tibbo Hip yer partner, Sally Brown Fogo, Twillingate, Moreton\'s Harbour All around the circle! Sods and rinds[2]to cover your flake[3] Cake[4] and tea for supper Codfish in the spring o\' the year Fried in maggoty butter. Chorus: I don\'t want your maggoty fish[5] They\'re no good for winter I could buy as good as that Down in Bonavista. Chorus: I took Liza to a dance As fast as she could travel And every step that she did take Was up to her knees in gravel. Chorus: Susan White, she\'s out of sight Her petticoat wants a border Old Sam Oliver in the dark He kissed her in the corner.
--Michael

To express the concept of doing one action while doing another, use the verb suffix "~nagara". For example, 食べながら音楽を聴きました (Tabenagara ongaku o kikimashita)(I listened to music while I ate). "DPE" is one of those Japanese terms that the Japanese think is English, but I had to have it explained to me that it means "Developing, Printing, Enlarging".

--Mike Cash 2009-02-09

Thanks for the tips! It looks like I'll have to look into how my code managed to munch your Japanese text.
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

Hi Michael, Just got crapped on and immediately thought of you. How's that book coming? Rich (formerly of St. Catharines)

--Richard Seabright 2009-03-12

Heh, heh! I've got 'top of mind awareness' when it comes to bird crap? The book's on hold; too much else on the go.
--Michael

fiction

My friend dropped her (fairly new) point-and-shoot Canon from waist height, and immediately it ceased to work, $250 down le toilette. I own a similar camera and from that day on I take care of it like it is made out of glass, there's probably nothing more painful... Glad that nothing serious beside minor scratches on your camera!

--Hao 2009-03-22

Let's hope! As some of the important bits technically are made glass, I'm not happy with myself for having dropped it. But shoganai, ne?
--Michael

review: Olympus 35DC

Hi Michael, fine review, tks! But concerning your workaround in low light conditions, maybe I can give u some advice. i don't know the oly DC but have owned several rc's. provided the dc has the same basic technique, e.g. a galvanometer setting the proper time and/or aperture, u can "switch off" the low light block quite easy. at the rc, u have to remove the bottom body plate (two or three screws) to see the galvanometer. the needle of this is moved according to the light falling into the cds cell, and if u press the shutter, a kind of multi-teethed halfmoon plate clicks into the needle at its position, a kind of mechanical readout of the needles position. if the needle moves too far (or too narrow, don't remember, but it's easy to figure out) due to low light, there is a second lever which blocks the shutter. the only thing you have to do is tu glue in (very carefully in order not to glue other things together!) a small sheet of thin brass or alloy or even plastics to prevent the needle's movement to ever reach this critical point. take care that you don't block it too far out, since then you wouldn't ever reach the lowest time/biggest aperture setting but instead something a step before. I know, this all sounds a bit complicated, but it's easyer done than written down. after this modification, my rc always takes a picture. of course you risk heavy underexposing if you try to use this trick in VERY dark places since you never get more light in than - in case of the rc - 1/15 sec and f 2.8 let in. but on the other hand, you at least have the chance to get something on film instead of nothing. i'm doing only b/w with my little rf's, ilford xp2 or kodak t-max 400, which gives me enough flexibility. rgds and have fun, Robert

--Robert Birnbaum 2009-03-29

Wow! Great tip, Robert. While the thought of performing surgery on my darling little camera gives me pause, perhaps other readers will follow your advice.
--Michael

nice brief on japanese withholding tax. thanks for sharing.

--reesan 2009-04-09

This is one of those topics that can really distract anyone setting up a business in Japan.
--Michael

Hi Michael, Very nice comments about the new business. I hope things goes well and forward. I am still settling down in Brazil. Struggling a little with a few things like getting my driver's license converted, etc., but enjoying nature, stars in the sky, and good food. Cheers, -- Edson

--Edson 2009-04-21

Thanks, Edson! Pity to see the talented team from the old shop scattering to the four winds but I'm glad to hear that you're finding good things back home. P.S. Don't remind me of driver's licenses, I have to convert to a Japanese one this Summer! 8(
--Michael

When you're in Hungary, i think you really should visit Croatia too - adriatic sea, cities of Zagreb, Varaždin, Pula and Split, Plitvice national park, for example. Cheers! Neven, pentaxian friend

--Neven 2009-04-24

Thanks for the tip, Neven! I've always liked the looks of the Dalmation coast region.
--Michael

I object to your second last paragraph. The scientific approach requires statements of theory to be verifiable and replicable. In case of evolution, this is being done on a daily level, and hence it is the theory that is regarded as most likely to be true. In case of creationism, it is simply a belief, that you can not argue against (I believe this, you believe that). So a more accurate statement would be - Evolution is currently the most prevalent scientific theory to explain how life develops. Creationism is one of many mystical beliefs of how live develops, and it draws against other mystical explanations, such as the Shinto, Hindu or various Pagan religions. Your overall advice may still be valid: Someone who understands science and deems evolution most likely will not be dissuaded by a creationist, and a true believer will not see reason if faced with scientific evidence.

--Patrick Niessen 2009-04-27

Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Patrick. I think the overall point is not to take these things too seriously: I hope that my son will make up his mind and leave it at that. P.S. Living in Japan I've been exposed to Shinto through fairly frequent ceremonies and some modest reading. I look at it as something of a Pagan religion due to its emphasis on ties to nature (Pagan shrines are typically situated at a notable location such as a small island or hilltop, by a spring or even in the shadow of a great tree) as well as the reciprocal nature of the relationship with the many gods.
--Michael

The light leak on your X-700 looks like it might be coming from the door hinge area. You might try replacing the door hinge light seal before you retire such a beloved friend. All you need is a small bit of black felt cut to size.

--Mike Cash 2009-04-26

Great idea! I hadn't considered that it could be so easy to fix. It really does look like the door is bent, but I'll see what can be done. Come to think of it, the whole rear door has a slightly bent/loose feeling to it, and I might just get the whole thing replaced. Heh, and order another griptac kit. Thanks for the suggestion, Mike.
--Michael

articles

You should check your source on the stella awards referred to above... According to the stella awards website, they are not real stories, but fabrications. stellaawards.com/bogus.html

--Stephen 2009-05-20

Oh dear. Will check it out. Thanks for the tip!!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

it was beautiful

-- 2009-06-25

Um, thanks, anonymous person!
--Michael

I like the reds and blues but overall there is a slight green cast. Maybe thats the scan or my monitor. Rich

--Richard Seabright 2009-07-23

No, I see it too. I'd tried to correct it with Pixelmator but doing so just brought out all the red that the film's slopped all over the place! 8)
--Michael

favorite experiences in Australia

So how is your business going? BTW I read "The Ambassador" which you posted... I found it entertaining and well written, for the most part. Did you have anyone review your work for you, i.e. like a professional manuscript reviewer? I am thinking of sending my manuscript off to a person in Australia, just to get a unbiased opinion on plot, character development and overal writing style. -Stephen

--Stephen 2009-07-27

The new business is going quite well indeed. I'm currently learning how to make a modern web design work on IE6. 8( Thanks for the feedback on the short story.
--Michael

articles

Hi ya, I too find Japanese toilets strange at times... interesting thing about the alarm in the toilet. BTW all these features are mainly for the old people to use. Since Japan has a large population over 60 (and oldies may have problems wiping their ass etc.) they put these special features in the public toilets... Cheers, Stephen

--Stephen 2009-07-27

Interesting insight, Stephen. I hadn't considered that angle as it were.
--Michael

articles

if anyone knows the wherabouts of gloria stockdale(maiden name) who lived in cooksville in the 50s plse let me know cause its very important i talk to her. thanks elliott

--elliott haviland 2009-07-28

Anyone interested in responding to Elliott of Port Hope Ontario should contact the owner of this website, I've got Elliott's email address.
--Michael

review: Kodak EasyShare Z612

i just spent a good half hour meandering through your site, which says something, because i really should have been working. Nice job! great shots! my favourite quote —at least, the one that had me doubled over—was the blackadder one about scifi. hope all is well on the other side of the world!

--mike coulson 2009-07-31

Yeah, that quote (it's actually Frederik Pohl) is funny because it's true. I'm glad you enjoyed the site, I've been working on it for more than ten years now, yikes! All is indeed well on our end (the Teriyaki flavoured end). The sleeplessness is becoming a thing in its own right, though.
--Michael

Did you also feel the earth quake this morning? I find rain and earth quakes go together... must be something to do the cooling effect of the rain on the earth? Or maybe it is just coincidence?

--Stephen Cotton 2009-08-11

Yeah, I leapt out of bed to ensure that the door was propped open. 8) I think it's just coincidence (I've heard some Japanese people say there are more in the summertime). The quake's location was some 300km underground, so I don't think the surface weather conditions could have had much impact.
--Michael

I love the Semi too... did you know that there is a variety that only comes out in late afternoon and early evening? I was told that they don't like the extreme heat... These variety of semi make a melodic sound, something like chiku chiku chuuuu and are a green color with violet colored wings... almost beautiful. My favorite...

--Stephen Cotton 2009-08-17

Hey, I had noticed a different sound in the evening. I'll watch for them, to be sure.
--Michael

I like your thoughts on Burma... I would have put quotes around the word "government"... a military dictatorship that rules with fear... I suppose that is a form of "government". BTW I thought you got a digital camera?

--Stephen 2009-08-24

Well I view all governments as being in the same game, these days. It's catering to the corporate clients. I suppose it's a matter of style that separates Burma from the US government, for instance, which refuses to provide health care. I do have a digital camera, but I prefer film. 8)
--Michael

Ouch, that sounds bad... Hang in there!

--Tal 2009-08-25

Yeah, we're hanging in. Zombies do nothing but.
--Michael

Wow! Its imposible... I'm realy shocked :/

-- 2009-09-06

Well anonymous commentator, so was I.
--Michael

Talking about making homes from re-using parts... I saw a home built like an jumbo jet... I know in the US they have 100 of acres of old jumbo jets just rusting away... if you could find a way to chop them up and use part of them in a house???

--Stephen Cotton 2009-09-08

That's a pretty interesting idea. I could easily see how that could work in a warm climate. You wouldn't even need to retain the tubular shape, just cut the thing in half vertically and stand the two halves leaning together like an M-shaped Quonset hut.
--Michael

Many small ones are much better than the alternative!

--Richard Seabright 2009-09-08

Well said, Richard!
--Michael

I don't know If I said it already but ...Great site...keep up the good work. :) I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I'm glad I found your blog. Thanks, :) A definite great read..Tony Brown

-- 2009-09-24

Thanks, Tony.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

this is very deep and and helps me make my speech for grandfathers funeral. He will be passing soon, so i jst want to get it ready.. good speech.

--thankz 2009-10-04

I'm sorry for your loss, and glad I could help in some way.
--Michael

articles

The HOSPITAL where you'll be staying? O.o Also, when I went to China, the travel agent took care of the visa for me, but maybe that's because it was "for business", I donno...

--Tal 2009-10-19

Nuts. I've changed it to HOTEL. Thanks for that. (facepalm)
--Michael

Good luck with your aquarium. I've been enjoying it for 12 years now. My good wife bought me a setup as my first fathers day gift. Since that day I've had around 9 different setups including 4 on the go at the same time. I've cut down to three for now... Never tried shrimp, what kind are they? Richard

--Richard Seabright 2009-11-17

It's been nearly twelve years since I *last* had an aquarium. 8) Four simultaneous aquaria, wow! I only ever got up to two, though one was about 130L. The shrimp are "Yamato Numa Ebi".
--Michael

I loved reading this blog, you have a great writing style! I have sent a link to my bro, and will definately be returning for update.

-- 2009-11-25

Thanks for the kind word.
--Michael

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

-- 2009-11-30

Ah, a topic on everyone's mind in these days of turmoil.
--Michael

Great photo but... As far as "Tokyo's a motorcyclist's city" there has been a huge change in the past couple of years that makes "o-gata" motorcycles a real pain---Illegally parked motorcycles (over 50cc) are ticketed and hauled off in most central locations (in the past you could park on sidewalks and behind utility poles for free). Now you have to pay for parking or chance getting a 30,000yen ticket/impound. Problem: There are relatively no motorcycle parking lots in Tokyo so you have to pay the 200yen($2USD) per 20 minute stay of an regular automobile parking lot. Ouch.

--Taro Hitachi 2010-01-28

Wow, so they're moving in the same direction as Toronto, where every scooter needs a full-size parking spot. Of course, anyone who wants to ride a scooter also needs a motorcyclist's license. Thanks for the update.
--Michael

Hi , I really hope you have an answer for me . I am Greek and my husband is Canadian (by birth). We are married 15 years and we have kids. If my husband go to Canada ...live with his mother who lives in Canada and after 4-6 months make the papers to sponsor me ....is the application going to be "outland" or " inland" . Many people telling us that as I am going to be in Greece with my kids and he is going to be in Canada when he has complete all the applications and photos and proves he can send the envelope from Canada to Mississauga. With this way ....its an " outland" "Inland " is when both we are in Canada. What do you know about that ?

--Meli 2014-01-15

Yes, definitely "outland" for your case. While neither route is "fast", the outland process is definitely much quicker. Also, it's safer: if something goes wrong, you can re-apply. You can't do that with the inland route. Also, you can usually visit Canada while your outland application is on progress (bring your kids and a copy of your application with you).
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Fantastic tutorial. Really well done and I am sure that the lessons contained here will improve other aspects of photography as well. Thank you for sharing this. All the best. David.

--Harry 2010-02-08

I'm glad you found it useful, Harry. If you've got any suggestions for improvement I'm all ears. 8^)
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Thank you very much for sharing this wisdom. I'm developing my product photo skills but have, until now, found jewellery to be nigh on impossible. Thank you again.

--Paul Campbell-Castle 2010-02-08

Yes, I agree it is maddeningly difficult. For some reason I thought I'd be able to tackle it myself. My early results were very disappointing and while I made some progress on my own I suppose eventually came to accept .. 'acceptable'. Happily, our test group demanded something better and my partner thought of putting some questions to Rick (on the other side of the world) who put me on the right track.
--Michael

hello, world

Hey - I was just checking out your photography. You have a real talent there. Some of those pictures are very interesting. (Cute kids too). I just re-tooled my music studio. It's like going from Frankensteins's lab to a alien base on the moon. It's friggen' cosmic!

--Kevin Atwood 2010-02-17

Thanks for that, Kevin! Good to hear that you're still working in (and on) the home studio. We've just launched our business, by the way (see link in upper-right).
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

the best funreal speech to a grandfather i have ever heard

--Matty 2010-02-24

Thanks, Matty. Many people have commented over the years, I'm glad to have helped.
--Michael

----------------- As I mentioned to you before, you really surprised me when I heard you saying "aBOOT" and "abOUT" in the same sentence---You better stop talking to evil USAians like me. ;-) Earlier this week I spoke with my uncle and aunt back in "the old Country". They live in the same area where I was born, and ostensibly should have the same accent that I do. But I could hear the "oot" sound every time they pronounced "about" in a Canadian way. I'm starting to hear the Canadian accent more and more and I really wonder what's changed with my accent that I can suddenly hear it.

--Taro 3Yen 2010-02-26

Great, I'm wandering drunkenly between accents....
--Michael

turning thirty

If you think 30 is scary consider the advent of 50, more is behind you than is in front and the ominous boding of decrepitude will shortly be in the offing. Those young 20's and 30's something girls in those short skirts will no longer give you that passing glance. There should be an off button that you could just put on a timer that would just gracefully shut you off before the supposed twilight years are imposed on you.

--Is it Over 2010-03-04

Wow, anonymous reader! Thanks for that frank and honest comment. For what it's worth, at 39 I suppose I already feel that more is behind me than in front. Time to live for my son, now.
--Michael

review: Minolta XD - XD-11

Hi ! I just picked up XD-7 (had been procured in UK by original owner). Its really amazing to use this beauty. Really love it. ciao

--narayana sharma 2010-03-05

Yeah, I love mine too. By comparison I find using a DSLR quite a lot like using a photocopier. I hope you have fun and enjoy the results!
--Michael

how I got kicked out of Japan

I can't imagine how stressed out you must have felt when you were told you were being ejected. What a story, complete with your declaration of love.

--Clarissa 2010-03-12

Yeah it was not fun but since I'd had that early warning it was not entirely unexpected. I was more unhappy with my employer than anything else. The immigration fellows were only doing their duty.
--Michael

how I got kicked out of Japan

Just wanted to make a clarification. While you have to obtain your visa outside Japan, you can do all the paperwork while in Japan on a Visitor's Visa. You are just not allowed to work while on the Visitor's Visa. Then once the paperwork is finished you can fly to Seoul for a couple days to get your visa at the embassy.

--James 2010-03-13

Thanks for the clarification. It's all behind me now and hopefully I'm on my way to permanent residency. But I just wanted to outline the safe and legal route rather than advocate tricks that haves anecdotally worked for some people but aren't the legitimate route.
--Michael

This mechanism of expats not paying taxes only applies AFAIK for countries with which Canada has tax treaties. For example, I pay US taxes, and because of that treaty I do not have to pay Canadian taxes as well. Or at least that was the case when I went abroad.

--kam 2010-03-14

What they seem to be getting at is taxation on world-wide income regardless of tax treaties. Another question mark on the whole idea!
--Michael

how I got kicked out of Japan

woha, troublesome... and let me guess: you never worked for this company again, right? I know I wouldn't...

--fritz 2010-03-14

That's it, I'm going to sit down next week to write the next chapter. 8^)
--Michael

how I got kicked out of Japan

I heard of a person that got kicked out of Japan after a year, I wonder if it was a visa problem as well...

--WIll 2010-03-14

Most first-time visas that I'm familiar with (engineer, spousal) seem to be issued on a one-year basis, so it wouldn't surprise me entirely.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thankx my grandfather just died yesterday and I can't write speeches for the life of me you,ve gave me some good topics and ideas!!!!!!

---Ellen 2010-03-22

I'm sorry for your loss, Ellen, and am glad that I could help.
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Hi great tutorial, just wondering how you lose the camera lens reflection, thanks.Marty

--Marty 2010-03-23

Hi, Marty, thanks for the feedback. I was shooting through a soft box, so most of the camera was hidden from the ring's shiny surface. Only the lens itself pops through, and even that was sitting atop the long piece of stiff card-stock paper that I was shooting on (it curled up in front, under the lens, just as it curled up out of sight in the back). I would then try to ensure that the lens wasn't reflected in a particularly noticeable location on the ring's surface. Also, I was using a fairly small lens, an old manual-focus item with a fairly small front element and overall diameter. Wiping out any stray reflections is always possible in Photoshop, but to tell you the truth I didn't find it necessary when taking care with the placement of the objects in the image.
--Michael

コメント欄いいですね! これからも楽しく読ませてもらいます。 明日から学校のきー君から一言 ”早く建君やマイクと一緒に遊びにきてください” だそうです。

--maki 2010-04-06

コメント第一号、ありがとう!!今会えたら楽しいだろうね~。 きーくん、学校がんばってね^^
--Michael

旦那さん、いい仕事しますね〜。 これからちょくちょく突っ込んでいくので、よろしくね!

--ひとみ 2010-04-06

ありがとうございます!なかなかすばやい対応ですよね。よろしくです!
--Michael

おおっ!かわいいなあ。 まさにうちのケンが今こんな感じ。うちは禿げてるのでもっとオヤジ色濃いよ。 コメント送信後、「今度はどこに行きたい?」がすごく良い!b(^▽^)d

--ひとみ 2010-04-06

あはははは。先生とこの健ちゃんも、お姉さん走りで笑わせてくれますよね。次は、欽チャン走り仕込んでください^^;
--Michael

鳥取は楽しかったですか?

--きーくん 2010-04-14

とっても楽しかったよ。いつか、きーくんも鳥取砂丘に行ってみてね。びっくりするよ!
--Michael

Quite Terrible. Could only understand the last line, but good attempt and kind of them to try explain the product in English, like you said. Nicely priced too I guess ^^

--Moshi Sqwashy 2010-04-23

I guess it should also serve as a cautionary note for me, when I try to write something in Japanese.
--Michael

Hello. I've just spent an hour or so looking through your archives. Your photographs are really excellent. And that's from someone who gets bored seeing albums full of the same cliched Japanese stuff on facebook...

--Craig Hunter 2010-04-26

Why, thank you, Craig! I think the quality and originality of pics on sites like Facebook suffers because a lot of photographers reinforce each other's ideas of what's an acceptable photo, how to frame shots, what sort of lighting to shoot in, etc.
--Michael

いいなあ、「しゅっぱつ ちんこー!」「ちゅっぱつ」にはならないで次だけ「ち」になるところ、もしかして狙ってる? うちの健はおつむ替えが大嫌いで、よく里沙に相手をしてもらうんだけど、一度健がおチンチン部分を触った時、「きゃーっ、おちんちーん!」と言って顔を両手で覆ってそらしたら、それが良かったらしく、里沙がいるといつもおチンチン部分をポーン!とたたいて「きゃーっ!おちんちーん!」と叫ばせてます。本人、受けまくりでポンポンたたくんだけど、お母さんはたたかれたブツのほうが心配よ。 「グリーンアナコンダ」いいねえ。今日は一日中「グリーン アナコンダ グリーン アナコンダ」とつぶやき周りを怖がらせる私でしょう…

--ひとみ 2010-05-04

ねらってる可能性ありですね!うちも、オムツ替えのとき、たたくのではなく引っ張って「ちーん、ちーん」て言って、慌てている母親の反応を楽しんでいるので、確信犯の可能性大です! 子どもって、こちらが過剰に反応すると、面白がって何度もやりますよね~。なんかやらかしたときに、大げさに反応しないようにするのが大変です^^;
--Michael

how I got kicked out of Japan

I am currently in Japan though I am not working. I will be here legally until July 28th and then will need to leave the country. I however would like to stay until October with my fiance who will be working here until then and then will be coming the the US on a finace Visa. I have heard that I can leave the country for one day and come back and gain an additional 90 day tourist visa, In fact I just called the consulate in Osaka and the woman told me that I could do that?! Do you have any knoweledge about this? I would hate to plan on this and then I get to immigration and they try to send me home. Thanks for any comments.

--Joe 2010-05-19

The gaijin community here seems to agree that there's a good deal of inconsistency in the way that the Ministry of Justice handles these things in Japan. Have a look at this conversation at Japansoc. If you have the advice of the consulate in Japan (I assume that you mean from your own nation?) that's a good indicator but I suspect that you'd better get corroboration from the immigration bureau (Ministry of Justice) directly. Good luck, Joe!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

I'm giving a speech for my grandfather's funeral this Friday. Your post was the first hit on Google and I found it very inspiring. Thank you for posting.

--Ian 2010-05-05

Glad I could help in some way, Ian.
--Michael

建くんもリオちゃんという女の子と仲良しなの! たっくんは、一つ年上3歳児の莉緒ちゃんと仲良しで 会える日はいつも遊んでいます。 いとこ同士気が合うのね^-^ 最近のたっくんは、おしゃべりも上手になって おもしろーいです また、おもしろエピソードを話しますね。

--maki 2010-05-19

まぁ、たっくんもリオちゃんと仲良しなのね。おもしろい偶然だね^^ いつか、ひかり園に行ってみたい!
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Standing a ring using wax is indeed tricky & messy. Here's what I do. It uses no wax and works with every size and width ring: Take a hard surface (wood, plastic or metal)and drill a 1/16" hole about 1/8" deep. Take a 1/8" drill and (by hand) chamfer the top of the hole slightly. Level this surface and stand ring over the hole. The ring will stay upright, and even though the bottom is slightly below the surface, it won't show in your photo.

--Ed 2010-05-20

Thanks for the advice, it sounds like a delicate but fruitful technique.
--Michael

Just don your Peril Sensitive Sunglasses and all will be well. Take care, Rich

--Rich Seabright 2010-05-25

It's true!
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

excellent tutorial! now if only I had a diamond ring ^_^

--Jamaipanese 2010-05-29

Well if you're ever in the market you know where to go! 8^P Thanks for the comment.
--Michael

Excellent writeup Michael! Interesting to hear how the process went :). By the way, could you give us some more information on how you conducted the surveys? What websites/methods did you use? What size user groups? How did you get people to take part? Would be very useful to know!

--Michael 2010-05-31

Thanks for the feedback, Michael. Sometimes it feels like I'd signed up for an education more than anything else. Every month a new and fascinating topic of study. As for the surveying, we evolved with time. In the initial round, we had about sixty participants, almost entirely native Japanese speakers, mostly women. Some were people we knew and had contacted for the purpose, but at least half were people who found our "coming soon" webpage on Google and happily clicked on the survey. The latter group were all interested parties who'd found our site looking for products like ours, so that was helpful. The toughest part was writing questions in a way that would prevent split answers and other undesirable effects. I researched survey writing to do this. We wrote the initial survey software ourselves, but in subsequent surveys (used for the beta testing process) we used survs.com and surveymonkey.com. Survs.com have since partnered with Google's "Google Docs", but I hope that that's only augmented their service and not imported the hideous restrictions we found with trying to use Google Docs directly for surveying. The thing requires that you add each party to the permissions for the spreadsheet before you've sent the survey—this spawns a notification to the user directly that they suddenly have write access to some Google Docs thing. This is very awkward to use and put us off using it on its own in any serious way. Survs.com supports Japanese.
--Michael

Hi Michael, Japan poses a lot of hurdles for the startup, thanks for sharing your experience. I had a look at the site and can tell you really spent time on this, the homepage really pops! I'd love to know how easy/hard it was to actually develop the site in Japan/Japanese? Getting the content translated, building the DB, working with and finding Japanese programmers/designers, hosting, updating, payments, etc. I've found that it is far harder, than say in vietnam or China, to easily, quickly and smoothly bring these people into the fold and build the relationships that are required to get to launch in a reasonable time frame. Without getting into an in depth culture analysis, the formality seems to pose an added complexity. Any development keys you could give an aspiring web start-up in Japan in this area? Thanks, and good luck with Caritas. Tim

--Tim 2010-06-02

Hi, Tim! Thanks for the comments. Yes, the hurdles were really something. And yes, we couldn't get anyone local interested in what we were doing. So we cheated, and did it this way: 1. I wrote all of the copy in English, and did the photography myself (all professional services here in Tokyo are obscenely expensive, and a pro photographer's time was unattainable). 2. I went around establishing deals with vendors either in English or in my very broken Japanese. Almost none of the Japanese places we approached would do business with us, as we'd be undercutting their other retail clients. But over time we won out, and LinkedIn.com connections were a real factor. 3. My partner wrote most of the software, and I provided the database design. We're both long-time veterans in IT after all. 8^) 4. We relied mostly on English-speaking parties outside of Japan for the assistance we needed (logo design, site design, the creation of the image on the home page, etc). Now things are different because we have twenty hours a week from an intern who's a native Japanese kid. He's really sharp and motivated, and has pulled a bunch of rabbits out of hats in the past few weeks. He's also opening a few doors for us just simply by being Japanese and being able to put people at ease. For translation work, we've been paying a pro. No way around it, when you cut corners in that area you get unusable results. Thanks for your good wishes! -Michael
--Michael

Thanks for the details. Actually my partner and I also decided a few weeks ago a college kid with some quality programming skills could really help us out with some of the details. We approached a local college but no luck yet. Did you post for such a position or did you find your intern by word of mouth? Tim

--Tim 2010-06-03

Are you in Tokyo? We went to Temple University and talked to the intern administrators there. They were very helpful. But I'm not sure that they have software developers. You could try "Hello Work", perhaps? Or guru.com or even linkedin.com perhaps.
--Michael

Lol, funny pic. Must be one of those Japanese kids here whose parents make them go to a different activity after school every day of the week, i.e. English, swimming, soroban, piano, etc. No wonder he changed into a zombie

--Thomas Gantz 2010-06-05

Actually his cousin on the far left is the one with all of the activities. Zombie boy's a shy, quiet kid who spends all of his time reading books designed for much older kids. Thanks for your comments!
--Michael

a custom wooden toy

Hi, I was looking for info about chinese visas and I found your website. Same situation, I need to go to Roppongi this week. And thats actually my question: do you know whether I need to go in person or can I send my wife there? Thanks mate, jj

--jj 2010-06-15

Sorry to respond without certain anything to tell you, but I just don't know for sure. I would attend in person if I were you. I don't recall signing any forms in person either on drop-off or on pick-up, but I think they checked my photo against my face. Good question, JJ.
--Michael

Lemon WOT? O_O ps: hahahah oddballs! pps: YEAH! TGIF (Thang God It's Friday!)

--JJLuke77 2010-07-02

Yup, lemon gas. And yes, TGIF.
--Michael

copyright

Thanks for posting that! I played with this set when I was 3-4, in 1986... Damn, so strange to see it again. i remember those great elements like yellow door :) one of the best sets ever.

--Maciek 2010-07-07

Glad you enjoyed it, Maciek!
--Michael

I just had to tell you... 'Kentucky Ken' is honestly the most adorable little kid I've ever seen.

--HoffiSiocled 2010-05-09

Why thank you HoffiCoffi!
--Michael

What a lovely lullaby! You are a great Dad to little Kenny. We are so looking forward to holding him and loving him. We are still waiting for word regarding hotel accommodations in Tokyo. Dad

-- 2010-07-04

Thank you for the kind words. And yes, we'll get on the hotel in Tokyo! Hopefully we'll still be living here then.
--Michael

and btw? it is summer - you need a new photo folder :)

--mom again 2010-07-05

Done!
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Great Jewelry design ! Really nice ! I like it. Thanks.

--Al Kamal Md. Razib 2010-07-15

Thanks for the comment, sir! I see you're with Clipping Path. Thanks to you for the good work your team did on our images.
--Michael

I would use it! :)

--Jennifer 2010-07-16

Great, a first affirmative vote!
--Michael

That sounds very useful! It's definitely worth sharing.

--Marcel 2010-07-20

That's two votes, then. 8^) Thanks, Marcel. Meanwhile, I've found this gorgeous site for studying kanji.
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

This is an amazing and useful tutorial. Thank you so much. I work full time as an antique jewelry photographer with no training on the subject and it is so hard to find information like this. I pretty much gave up on getting standing ring shots with wax and I love your angled technique. Now how to you achieve those perfect shadows??

--Suzanne Pressman 2010-07-23

Thanks for the feedback. The shadows were dropped in on another layer in photoshop. I was given a couple of hand-made "shadows" by a professional illustrator friend.
--Michael

how I got kicked out of Japan

Hi Michael, I hope you can help me with my situation. I will be resigning from my current IT dispatch company who is sponsoring my visa, I still have more than 2 years left in my visa after that. I have read that I can stay here in Japan for 3 mos. looking for a next job, and should be system engineering job only. I also want to visit my country Philippines for 1-2 mos. Do you have a knowledge regarding this matters?

--son 2010-07-26

I am not a specialist by any means, Son. But I've known people who have stayed in Japan for a lot longer than three months on an expired IT visa. Once you have the visa, I think it's valid until it expires. Certainly I see nothing about validity expiring when you leave your job at this page. The only thing you need to re-enter the country is a valid re-entry stamp and a visa that hasn't expired. And yes, you need a new job in the same field, or you'll have to change your visa. Once you've changed your job, remember to get your alien registration card changed, too. Again, I'm not a specialist. If I were you, I'd check with the immigration bureau. Good luck!
--Michael

how I got kicked out of Japan

Tnx alot Michael. I'm just looking for different point of views regarding this matter, I've been doing alot of research about this issue so that I already have some knowledge when it is time for me to do inquiries at the immigration. By the way, you have a beautiful family.

--Son 2010-07-26

Well thanks for the kind compliment. Let me know what you dig up, and I'll share your information here.
--Michael

Yeah... I think... O_o

--JJLuke77 2010-07-30

No one ever said that Tokyo was a beautiful city! 8^)
--Michael

Yeah, it's nice, though I don't like that much the red thingy they put on it. On "Bonzybuddies" it feels right. But on this one... I don't know.

--JJLuke77 2010-08-01

Some of the statues certainly have an odd look, don't they. The red caps are supposed to be for "protection", though for the god or for the stone I don't know.
--Michael

... & nose air! ON the nose XD (me too :((( !)

--JJLuke77 2010-08-02

For me it's the earlobes.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

i luv this speech i am even using it for my assignment

--ted 2010-08-16

Glad it was of use. Can I ask, what assignment involves funeral speech writing?
--Michael

I wish I could go too!!!

-- 2010-08-16

enchanting photo - will probably be my background for the rest of my life. I love that you got his proud mom reflected, too. Well done.

--mom again 2010-08-25

copyright

Awesome! Thanks for posting this. Our directions were water damaged and the pages dried together. My son is now playing with the legos I had as a kid so he wanted to build the semi truck. Thanks again!

--Carolyn 2010-08-31

Glad I could help! Nice to hear from a girl LEGO user, too. 8^)
--Michael

良い子じゃ!!そのままステキな大人になってほしいですね。

--ひとみ 2010-09-21

ホント良い子なんですよ。とにかく気が優しい。みーんな彼が大好きです!
--Michael

うちの健もクロワッサン大好きよ。まあ、ショップで無銭飲食は(まだ)しないけどね。(笑)

--ひとみ 2010-09-21

保育園の連絡帳に書いたら、先生たちみんなに報告が行ったらしく、「ケン君やっちゃいましたね~」って何人にも言われました^^;でも、先生によると上手がいるらしく、シュークリームに指で穴をポコポコ開けてたって子もいたらしいので、クロワッサン一つで済んでよかったって思えました。来年あたり、先生とこの健くんもお気をつけください^^
--Michael

Michael, as long as I'm around, you'll always have someone whose lack of Japanese language ability is just a tad more embarrassing than yours - at least you are trying!

--Jeff 2010-11-02

That's true, Joe-san. Ganbarimashou!
--Michael

I'm glad that you've had a positive experience there, though sad as well that you're no longer in Tokyo. I hope we do get a chance to get together for one of our infrequent dinners with Tal and Mabel sometime...

--Jeff 2010-11-02

Let's hope!!
--Michael

When I first saw the name, Neil MacKenzie, I became excited as that was my ggrandfathers name. I have been researching my family history to no avail. He was born in Scotland in 1816, emigrated to CB about 1828. He Married Margaret Morrison who was from Loch Lomond,CB. I know both died at Fourchu. I would appreciate any information that viewers may have. Thank you in advance. Malcolm Neil MacKenzie New Hampshire

--Mac MacKenzie 2010-12-04

Let's hope so, Malcolm. A lot of this stuff is available in ancestry.com. For a fee, mind you.
--Michael

Been really busy, just catching up. The "Urban Redneck" has been a part of the St. Catharines diaspora since at least 1987. Remember the Golden Rock Cafe? The police raids every Friday night to chase the Bikers through my backyard on Bond Street... Hoping things are working out for you. Rich

--Rich 2010-12-04

Wow, Rich... Don't remember that Cafe but it doesn't sound like I must have missed much. Also, I suspect that we under-appreciate the police. I know that living abroad has certainly taught me qhat a great job the local variety does.
--Michael

Mac from New Hampshire, Although I don't have any info for you on Neil, I believe he's also my ancestor. I tried your email on capebretongenweb, but it doesn't work anymore. sg8t8@hotmail.com

--Scott 2010-12-18

Looks like the fellow has descendants all over this end of the continent! And one little boy born in Tokyo.
--Michael

it is like a bad dream. trying to control overheating nuclear reactors amidst massive aftershocks where the epicentre inches closer and closer to fukushima each time.

--reesan 2011-03-14

It's a shame that neither of us can be in country to do anything, but at the same time I wonder what on Earth good I'd be doing.
--Michael

turning thirty

I am touched by your honesty and the way in which you express yourself to the world. You are a good man Michael and hopefully you have inspired me, pretty soon I will be 26 and I feel as if I have so much to figure out. Good luck my friend.

--Hillel 2011-02-05

Thanks for your kind words. 26 is a fine age indeed, be sure to balance the "figuring out" with some dancing. 8^J Also, I suppose I can now write my thoughts on "turning forty"!
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Thanks for the information! So glad I decided to check out your site; this will come in very handy. Very well written and illustrated.

--Edith Hopson 2011-03-28

I'm glad you were able to make use of it, Edith. Please pass on any suggestions or improvements you might discover.
--Michael

copyright

nice

--jackie 2011-03-29

Yeah, it's a simple set but a versatile one!
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

This is so funny! Why am I even reading your story about being shat on 10 times? My boyfriend and I were walking around a lake this evening (in Florida) and a cormorant was up in a tree over the path and shit exactly as we were walking under the tree and we both got sprayed with it! I sure hope it brings us some luck - we could sure use some! LOL I thought you might enjoy this old joke I found a link for - "The Foo Bird" www-personal.umich.edu/~bbowman/birds/humor/foo_bird.html

--Kathy 2011-04-12

Thanks for sharing your comment, and that joke. I'm slightly worried that my long run of getting crapped on abruptly ended some time back .. it's been eerily quiet since.
--Michael

The tank should easily take on the extra load. There used to be lots of platties in there (overflow from my daughters tank) which the angle would happily eat. Every once in a while the angle and the loach would have at it, but never to that extent. Could be stress related.

--Richard Seabright 2011-05-09

Thanks, Richard. I'm trying to juggle all of the fish and the feedings to see how it goes. I found it interesting that the author of the first article in the "For What It's Worth" book recommends a 55gal tank for beginners. I've always thought that 10gal was too small, but .. wow!
--Michael

funny that you mentioned it but i hadn't seen your journal posts in my FB news feed for a while now. also, i subscribe to your feed using the iPhone MobileRSS app. it went 1 week without an update from your site and then *bam* 10 new posts in 1 day.

--reesan 2011-05-01

Yeah, it's been a mess. Hopefully it's going to calm down now.
--Michael

seriously! you got it returned? sounds like you have some japanese feng shui stuff going on there. especially since your earlier entry talked about the shadiness of the car rental operator.

--reesan 2011-05-01

Amazing, isn't it. I tipped the fellow from the agency $20 for his effort.
--Michael

that is some hard-core ikke-ikke onna. they must turn the dial on the sunbed to beyond the max to get their faces that dark!

--reesan 2011-05-07

Kinda sad that the fad has passed on. I guess the kids'll have to come up with something new.
--Michael

Thanks Michael. Appreciate your time to comment and share it with your world. Thanks again for those encouraging words. Regards Kesava

--Kesava 2011-05-17

My pleasure! Thanks for popping by....
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

The diamond looks black. How do you prevent that?

--Canaan 2011-05-31

It does indeed. In our case we were building an interface with minimal colour and we were aiming for a desaturated look. I found the use of a clip-on LED light with a "snoot" made from electrical tape helped make bring out some fire.
--Michael

I'm in Vancouver BC. My hubby and I are going thought the PR app.. he's from India and hasn't been home since a year Sept. were told he could once he got an open work permit.. long story anyway so much conflicting info throughout from CIC and lawyers I could write a book.. just got apporved in principal, and now did you say up to 20 months? yikes.. how long did it end up taking for you two? I'm wondering if he can go home for family emegency. I'm gonna call Canadaan Border Services. Sheesh.. what an ordeal. Thanks for the info anyway sounded all too familiar. From Jean and Bhagwan aka guilty until proven innocent. I like that!

--Jean Sangtani 2011-06-09

Thanks for writing. We aren't through it yet at all, which is why I don't have more information posted. We're only at the phase where I've been approved as a sponsor and the application's been forwarded to the visa office in Japan. It sounds like you applied via the inland process? That seems to take much, much longer, but at least you don't run the risk of needing an interview in New Delhi. All the best to you!
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Thank you for the tips and techniques.. now to get to work! I think you missed a key ingredient from your list :) patience.

--Sachin 2011-06-21

That\'s a very good point! 8^) Thanks for your comments.
--Michael

Is engineering charges subject to withholding tax for non-resident company in Japan? In the tax treaty between Japan and Singapore, this can be classified as business profit and stated in Article 7 para 1 that this will be taxable if the foreign company has a permanent establishment in Japan. Thanks for your kind attention. Michael Lee

--michael lee 2011-07-05

Yes, any work performed inside Japan is subject to the withholding tax unless you obtain an exemption. This happens even without a permanent establishment. That\'s what I\'ve witnessed, anyway. I am not a lawyer or accountant, just someone who ran a business in Japan.
--Michael

That's it. I hereby christen you the honorable Mr. "Beanbag".

--Audrey 2011-07-11

Mr. Beanbag and Agent Vanilla, in the NCL refugee diaspora...
--Michael

Could be just not enough food is getting down there. Clown loaches are champion diggers and should be able to get at anything that is in there. The old one used to tunnel underneath the drift wood. Rich

--Richard Seabright 2011-07-11

Wow. I may just be drastically underfeeding them. I dunno, the old loach is being a real bully again - it\'s like we took out two of the babies and the thing turned on the angel (which, of course, is no angel itself). The latter\'s left pectoral fin is now in ruins. I haven\'t seen anything like this level of infighting before.
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Are Brio blocks glossy or matt and will it matter? Ed suggested hole to support any ring. Most rings are top heavy and will not easily balance as I tried and could not get a single one to stay. An old bar trick may work here. Sprinkle grains of salt and they will assist in balancing but providing side support. carefully blow excess away to remove the visible unwedged grains, supporting grains will stay. It always worked with salt shakers balanced on an angle. It's easier than it sounds when done.

--chucky 2011-07-16

Sounds like fun! But I found that simply photographing the jewelry on its side and righting the image in software was far more effective than manually propping the ring into the desired position.
--Michael

Great brief. Wonder if cloud services provided by an Australian company with no establishment in Japan subject to withholding tax as well or is it a gray area? No work is performed inside Japan. Thanks

--Gary Wong 2011-07-26

I\'ll follow up by email. ;^)
--Michael

review: Minolta XD - XD-11

Hello...I have a Minolta XD-11 In Original Case w/ several Lenses and accesories including flash. I would appreciate it if you could advise me how and where to sell it. Guy Sullivan

--Guy Sulliovan 2011-07-26

Hi, Gary. Thanks for writing. It likely depends on where you live, but I suspect that ebay.com might be about as good as you\'ll do. Prices there aren\'t encouraging for a seller ($100 per lens, as a rule). Which flash unit do you have? Which lenses? Some of them are still worth a fair bit of money, but there are only a few.
--Michael

hello, world

Just popping in to say hi, and to have a bit of a look around (looks like I could be looking a while).

--AdelaideBen 2011-07-29

Welcome!
--Michael

Hi Michael - interesting post. Just thought I'd mention that the early katakana doesn't show up on my browser (Chrome)... instead it looks like: Äå„É¥„Ç߄ɺ„Éç„Éê„ɺ„Ç∞„Äç

--AdeladieBen 2011-07-29

Thanks for the heads-up. I wonder how long that was broken!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hi just wanted to say a big thank-you for sharing your speech. I will be speaking at my grandfathers funeral on wednesday and it as helped me alot. It is inspiring, well written and has an honest approach that i also wanted to convey. By the way i dont think you should be too harsh on yourself looking back at your speech 10 years on. I think when you are grieving you always focus on a persons positive points- if you cant forgive them for their flaws in death when can you?? thanks again nat

--Natalie 2011-09-19

Very glad I could help. I think you raise a good point, too. Fare well in your difficult time.
--Michael

Hey, My Girlfriend and I are in a similar situation with the visa, we are going to get married and just wondering what is the best route. It seems that the "outland" option is best, however she is worried that if she needs to fly home for a family emergency it could effect the application. Also, am I right in thinking that we could her PR in about 6-12months plus the time it takes to process the marriage certificate etc?

--Gixxstar 2011-09-26

The \"outland\" option is by far the best. Depending on her country of origin, the entire thing could be wrapped up in well under four months (I\'ve witnessed this for people coming from the UK and Austria, for instance). You can also reapply through the outland route if your application fails or if you withdraw. Note that if you leave the country during the outland route there\'s a good chance that you\'ll get back in if you simply present yourselves and have a copy of your PR application in hand. That\'s what my wife did this summer when she returned to see her grandmother, who\'s not well. We took a chance, though, because it was up to the whim of the individual immigration officer. Do not be fooled, Canada\'s system is not as flexible and encouraging as its critics would have you believe. The \"inland\" process was a more recent addition to the government\'s policies, and it was created to allow people who\'d been living in Canada illegally with a means of landing. It takes about two years. And during that time you absolutely cannot leave the country. Moreover, it\'s a one-shot thing—if you withdraw your application or it fails for some reason, you can\'t apply again. I suggest you join this forum and find some useful threads or start your own: http://www.canadavisa.com/canada-immigration-discussion-board/family-class-sponsorship-b5.0/ My other advice: 1. Decide if you can really put up with months and months of waiting in limbo. If she\'s going to live with you in Canada she will be unable to
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

It's hilarious!!! I got bird's shit on my jacket yesterday morning, first time in my life. I said to my bf how can they poop while they are flying and how can I got it while I am running :)). He said it supposed to be a good luck which I though was a joke. However, yesterday afternoon, there's a customer bought all my ebay stuffs, seriously ALL. I posted many stuffs since i am moving to another place. So yeah, I do believe bird's shit brings luck :)) and even it doesn't we did have a good laugh after all.

--Phuong 2019-04-16

So there's something to it after all, good to know. Thanks for leaving your comment, Phuong.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

I am thirteen and my granddad died in the early hours of this morning and i got asked to say the speech at his funeral so i thought i might get on it right away because i knew it would take a long time to write it correctly then i read this and it brought a tears to my eyes its beautiful. If you don't mind could i use some of it in my speech please. xxx

--Courtney-Jade 2011-09-24

Please feel free to use any part of the speech if it can help you. I\'m sorry to hear of your loss and wish you all the best.
--Michael

Hi There Yes, Freelove Hill Rider is a unique name and she is my 6th great grandma. Unfortunately I know of only one branch of the family that used the name in succeeding generations. (It would have made some things easier if all the branches had used the name.) I wonder if your mother and I have crossed paths before while researching. I have not been able to work on the family tree in several years. But every so often I do a google of Freelove's name to see what new pops up... apparently have I have not done a search in a while. Tonight while waiting for some cold medication to kick in I thought to see what was new and I found you.

--Lisa 2011-10-06

Thanks for taking the time to write. It\'s always a pleasure to meet a (distant) relative. We\'ve just learned that my wife is pregnant, let\'s see if I can convince her to change our plans regarding possible girl names! 8^} I\'ve passed on your comments to my mother, you might hear from her (Gail Johnston).
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

I am 11 and nd, it's my Great-grandmothers funeral is today and I needed to write a sppech. This was the first one that popped up on Google. Thank you so much. And, it's beautifully written.

--Ashlee 2011-10-20

Thanks for your kind words. I hope your speech went well. All the best to you and your family, Ashlee.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

tnxs so much for this wonderful speech,this is the most suitable speech for my class project

--pheyie 2011-10-23

Glad it could help. I\'m always curious when I see this sort of comment - how this could be a class project....
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hello Michael, My name is Jason and I have been working on my grandfathers eulogy for about a day now. I have most of my thoughts written in note form. I was looking for "how to compose a eulogy" when I came across your post. I liked your format and remember that the notes on the bottom contained some good advise on how write and prepare.. I found the link but I can no longer open the page.. I was hoping if you had time tonight or tomorrow that you could copy the page with the eulogy and notes underneath.and email it back to me... It would be a great help. Thank you, Jason

--Jason 2011-10-27

Hi, Jason. The website\'s server software wasn\'t working for some reason. I\'ve restarted the server and all is well. Thank you for the warning that it wasn\'t working. It\'s not easy, coming up with the right words when you\'ve just lost someone. At my grandmother\'s funeral I was unable to speak because I\'d just gone through the breakup of an engagement to marry and despite her being very dear to me I couldn\'t get through it. All the best with your writing endeavor.
--Michael

hello, world

Hi Michael. It's been a while..... I hope you are doing great and you are happy in Japan. Good luck , Margaret

--Margaret 2011-11-07

Hello, Margaret! Thanks for writing. I\'m back in Canada as of this January. We came back after two grueling years of the economic downturn in that country. Happily, it was about two months before the earthquake, tsunami, and the incident at the nuclear power plant. How\'s everything on the west coast? I see the B&B\'s still on the go. 8)
--Michael

Hi I would like to ask for your help about the diamond jewellery photography taking. Can I ask for your email? Thanks!

--Okky 2011-11-08

Sure, send me your questions, I\'ll help if I can.
--Michael

Great pictures Mike. Love the texture.

--Kieran 2011-11-08

Thank you, sir!
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Thanks for the information, do you have any ideas on taking photos of diamonds only (not as part of a jewelry piece)?

--Jimmy du Preez 2011-11-11

Diamonds are damn hard. I never had much luck photographing the stones directly, but have to admit that I didn\'t take it too far because my focus was on the jewelry. I did find that I could get somewhere by shooting with a tight snoot on the strobe, in an otherwise dark environment, and lots and lots of experimentation. I did try some work with a cheap laser penlight and found that great for bringing out \"fire\" but it\'s damn difficult to capture. Do let me know if you sort it out!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

awww..Michael. dis is really good for my class project and for my deceased uncle. Thanks for this Michael

--Ummi 2011-11-18

Odd combination of uses, but I\'m glad it could help. Thanks for writing.
--Michael

Thanks for the article.

--Prem Anand 2011-11-27

Glad it was of use to you, Prem.
--Michael

Women, children and Canadians first!! :) That's a pretty cool job to get. And cool to find another Canuck who's fallen in love with a gal from Kyushu. We Maples know how to call 'em, right? ;)

--C Ohara 2011-11-27

Thanks for writing. It\'s a volunteer position, you too can become a warden if you\'re in-country. Contact the consular services (link below) and ask about their warden program. http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/japan-japon/consular_services_consulaires/contact-consular-contactez-consulaires.aspx?lang=eng
--Michael

review: Minolta XD - XD-11

"When in shutter-priority mode, the film speed appears in a box in the lower-right corner of the viewfinder..." Not the films speed but shutter speed.

--Mat 2011-12-05

Thank you for catching and reporting that mistake, Mat. I take it you\'re a fellow XD enthusiast? Merry Christmas and have a happy new year!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

This is touching.. my PawPaw passed on Sep 20... TRYING to make a scrapbook... I was looking for something to put in it... Thank you very much!

--Tatianna 2011-12-23

Sorry to hear of your loss. Good luck with your project.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

idiot

--krish 2011-12-24

Inciteful!
--Michael

Whoooo!! I love walking! I walked for 90 minutes today~ :D

--C Ohara 2011-12-26

Well, you\'ll live to 100! Happy New Year.
--Michael

well,in japan in case you didnt know,youre not supposed to be riding in the streets,youre supposed to be on the sidewalk.this isnt new york with all the bike lanes, youre only allowed to bike on the sidewalk.ask any local japanese. that was very dangerous on your part as well.

--ling 2012-01-07

Actually, that\'s not the case, Ling. Indeed talk to the police who hand out tickets for cycling on the sidewalks. Granted, they\'re not consistent in what the police - e.g. have a look at the following link for instance. http://www.tokyobybike.com/2011/11/japanese-cycling-laws-theyre-more-like.html The guy I was talking about in this journal post was using a phone while driving, and had no business attempting to veer into the lane where I was cycling.
--Michael

and the comment about small penises is just absurd, youre just racist and ridiculous tomake such a stereotypical comment. period.

--ling 2012-01-07

Zero for two, Ling, not a racist statement at all, I was talking about a ridiculous little bad driver. Not sure why you\'re fixating on this old journal post - what did you do, scour the internet looking for \"Japan\" and \"small penis\"? Overcompensate much?
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

The best speech I have ever heard, it really helped me write a speech for my grandfather. Thanks so much Michael

--Hopen 2012-01-11

Glad it could help!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hi Mike you've made my day.I was crying my heart out remembering the very good things about my mother who expired on April 25th of 2011,I was searching for my sons speech that he gave for his grandmother for comfort that was posted on You Tube.Then I came accross your speech how inspiring my tears were dried immediately,I kept reading & reading, the more I read the better i felt.I wouild like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for that inspiration.All the very best for 2012 with Gods richest blessings.Peace.

--Diane 2012-01-15

Very glad to hear it, Diane. All the best to you as well.
--Michael

Only possible, of course, because Amazon screw publishers (particularly the small ones). Great for consumers, no doubt, but on the other hand they stifle creativity. I'm becoming more and more anti-Amazon I'm afraid, but I appreciate that a) I am in the minority, and b) my viewpoint is slightly coloured by seeing things from the other side. Here's a blog entry on the subject, which gives a slightly better idea about what I'm getting at: http://blakerig.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/indies/ All the best Blake

--Blake Evans-Pritchard 2012-01-24

Hi, Blake, good to hear from you. I know what you mean, to be sure. I find Amazon's actual quality when it comes to novels to be several steps down from the selection you'd see in a store because of the high frequency of self-edited, self-published stuff that's squirmingly bad.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thank you so much for sharing this my grandad passed away a week ago and I want to talk about him tomorrow at his funeral but I'm struggling. Your speech has given me the inspiration required. Thank you

--Tracy 2012-02-02

All the best, Tracy.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

This speech was truely inspireing. my grandad died of pancreatic cancer and was taken so quickly. i wanted a speech that would make him proud and with this speech you have given me some amazing and incredible ideas. THANK YOU :D

--Kelly 2012-02-16

Very glad that it could be of some help. Thanks for writing!
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

This is what I always use and it comes out perfect http://howtohacklife101.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-to-clean-your-jewellery.html I use the one with the shampoo

--Jessica 2012-02-02

Thanks for your comment as well as the tip, Jessica. I've been warned off of the ultrasonic devices for good, though, having heard too many stories about stones being knocked out of alignment.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

My grandfather passed away last week. I want to thank you for this. All the best. God Bless

--Jake Robinson 2012-02-21

My pleasure, Jake. Thanks for leaving your comments, and best wishes to you and your family.
--Michael

I am Canadian can and I sponsor my wife and she got the PR Card and we go to our to her country for almost 4 and half year and her PR card expired and I am back to Canada to stay forever what can I do to bring here back to Canada. she only stay 2 month since she got her PR Card and our child are Canadian so should I sponsor here again or what should I do to bring her back to Canada? Thanks for answer me by email

--Michael 2014-01-24

I have no idea, my friend. You should contact Immigration directly, and if you can't get any help perhaps contact your member of parliament.
--Michael

Hi, Just want to use this medium to say a big thank you for support and advice to people. Am a Nigerian residing in south africa,I have a girlfriend who is a canadian,we love each other so much that we are intending to get married on her soonest visit to southafrica.she wants to apply a sponsorship spouse visa for me soon as she returns to canada after the wedding here in southafrica. So I want your advice on the best fastest way 2 apply so the visa can be approved without long delays.is it through inland or outland? Thanks

--emenike donatus 2014-01-22

There will be long delays no matter which way you go, but you definitely want to file "outland". Have a look through the questions and comments on my site, there is a lot of information there. Thanks for dropping by, -Michael
--Michael

It took us 8 months from submission of documentation to original PR card received in the mail...from within Canada. My husband is from the USA. One word of caution, your PR card is good for only 5 years. Make sure you start reapplying for a renewal ONE YEAR in advance or you may be without one for a while and won't be able to travel outside Canada. Also, make sure you note in an ongoing diary ALL DATES you leave the country, even if it's for a vacation or a quick trip across the border o/n. You will not only need this info for the new PR application process, but also if you apply for Citizenship. Don't get stuck like we did - looking through photos, emails, charge card statements for the past 5 years to get this info. It will take a minimum of 7 months to get the new PR card, and my husband can't leave (well he could, but he couldn't get back IN to Canada if he did)

--L A 2012-02-29

Thanks for the heads-up, L A. I'd already let the fact of the card's expiry drift aimlessly from my mind. This system's a grim screwy one. My colleagues were amazed that people are now going to lengths such as giving birth in bathtubs to get around the denial of health insurance during The Long Wait. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/02/24/bc-motelbaby.html Some info on the expiry of Canadian PR cards, for those who need it: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/pr-card/index.asp
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

This speech was truely inspireing. my grandad died of pancreatic cancer and was taken so quickly. i wanted a speech that would make him proud and with this speech you have given me some amazing and incredible ideas. THANK YOU :D

--Kelly 2012-02-16

Kelly, I'm not sure whether I've already responded to your comment, but I'm very glad I could help. All the best to your family.
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Thank You for Your advices. Using the wax was driving me crazy :). For me Your tutorial is the most helpful from all that i found in the net. Thank You once again and I'm going to put your advices into practice... Sorry for my poor english.

--Adam 2012-02-24

I'm very glad that you found it useful, Adam. The wax method is a dead end, isn't it. (And your English is fine! The only Polish I ever learned was "jedno piwo")
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Thank You for Your advices. Using the wax was driving me crazy :). For me Your tutorial is the most helpful from all that i found in the net. Thank You once again and I'm going to put your advices into practice... Sorry for my poor english.

--Adam 2012-02-24

I'm very glad that you found it useful, Adam. The wax method is a dead end, isn't it. (And your English is fine! The only Polish I ever learned was "jedno piwo")
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hi Michael, Thank you soo much for sharing this. I had to write a speech today for a dear friends funeral. I searched for hours trying to find help on how to do it and what to write. When I came across your speech everything just fell into place. It turned out absolutely perfect! Thanks again for sharing;) letter everything just fell into place. My speech

--Carrie 2012-03-03

I'm glad I could help. I seem to hear a similar story about once a week from similarly bereaved people. All the best to you and your family.
--Michael

Going through the same crap. Canadian perm/res sucks.

--Ponce 2012-03-03

It does indeed. Good luck with your long wait. (P.S. Did you apply inland or outland?)
--Michael

I will be in that situation. I need to know the route to follow. I reside now in the US going to school. My fiancee lives in the UK and we are planning to move to Canada. He is a UK citizen and I am Canadian. Where I start?

--Marie 2012-03-19

Hello, Marie; You can start with this unofficial immigration wiki: http://immipedia.ca It's been put together by people who have been through the experience. My strongest advice is: 1. Follow the so-called "outland" procedure, some guidance from the gov't is here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/famcls.asp And here are the forms. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/fc.asp (Your v.o. is London, not Buffalo.) 2. Start gathering proof of your relationship such as emails, photos of you together, photos of you with each other's family and friends, records of how you came to be engaged and where you have been seen in public together, if you own any property together, if you have any children together. Start gathering letters of reference (it's better if they're prominent people) in support of your relationship's validity (e.g. we even supplied one from our landlady). It would be best if you can show that you have a job in Canada. 3. Wait. A lot. The current government is not supportive of this entire process, and wait times have been escalating. The whole thing took us from January to October, and we were relatively lucky (e.g. note that several people who applied in April of 2011 still haven't gotten anywhere: https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?hl=en&hl=en&key=0AsXgiZGqzRb8dFhYVUxqYzRrU0hvemVGaDFoSEhKVFE&output=html
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thank-you soo much... My grandfather has recently passed and I needed to write a speech but just didn't know how to start and what to mention! You've helped so much. Really Appreciated !

--Mel 2012-03-25

Glad to have helped, Mel.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

That was really moving, thank you for sharing this. You seem to me like an authentic person who sees things real, be proud of this.

--Michael 2012-03-27

Authentic? Well, thanks for that. I guess if you don't have personality, character can stand in its stead.
--Michael

"4. Say goodbye to your warranty, and hello to a brand new experience with your Mini." I'm not sure if replacing your Mini's Hard Drive will void its warranty! I've replaced my own Macs' drives numerous times; and they're still "serviceable", provided that it's not an issue with the drive you installed (or issues caused by the drive you installed, or while installing it). The general rule of thumb with Macs is this: If your mods don't modify the Logic Board, or cause any operational damage… they're gonna let it slide. Replace the RAM, replace the HDD, take out the optical drive and replace it with another HDD, all okay! What most people would do if they need their Macs serviced, is put back the original parts before sending the Macs to the genius. I'm actually thinking of adding a secondary drive to my iMac, an SSD! But I'm not sure with the lack of proper TRIM support in third party drives. Did you enable TRIM on your Mini? Having said that, if your Mac Mini is past its warranty status, then… well, as you said… "goodbye". psst, I'm from CanadaVisa, and we're almost done with the whole PPR thing! yay!

--Evan Hindra 2012-03-28

I have not enabled TRIM, I'll have to look it up. Thanks for the tip on the warranty, too. (Psst, I know your name, sir - and saw your PM from the board. Congratulations, it'll be worth the wait! I'll get your details in hopefully this afternoon.)
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

My grandfather passed away 2 days bck . I wnt to say thanks for this. God bless u.

--rohit 2012-04-19

Glad I could help, Rohit! Be well.
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

thank you so much for sharing the technique :)

--Jon Soriano 2012-04-23

My pleasure, I hope it's helpful to you. Let me know when your site's out of construction; there is some nice work on the main page from what I can see at this point.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thank you so much! I have a project to write a 4 page funeral oration for an emperor of Ancient Rome and I didn't know how to make it sound less like a biography and more like a funeral oration. This really helped.

--Abigail 2012-04-28

I'm glad to hear. And a bit surprised.
--Michael

I'm thinking of doing the dirty and getting the PMP under my belt. Also checked out flight schools today. I promised myself to learn how to fly a helicopter on my 30th birthday. Still haven't actually done this for myself

--Agent V. 2012-05-07

Well it's a lengthy process but by no means the hardest exam I've written. I've you've got the inclination and the money and time, it certainly can't hurt. Though you'll find that the three months of lost Saturdays a bit taxing.
--Michael

Prolly don't want to deal with unhappy customers that have something go wrong with their gear after purchase. But yeah, it's only going to hasten Olympus' decline.

--Agent V. 2012-05-09

It's also possibly not a great idea to buy a lot of stock from a company that might sell that division outright. 8(
--Michael

I saw the same math for housing in the states prior to the bubble popping. In some areas, I still see crazy valuations. Been poking around Las Vegas on Zillow.com to look for deals. The downside, living in LV.

--Agent V... 2012-05-15

Never in this lifetime!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

It seems so movie TV drama...would it be bad to kind of joke? Because my great grandma just died and i don't really have emotions about anything...

--Alexis 2012-05-19

It's not really a joking matter, but you could always tell stories that will appeal to people based on your happy memories or funny incidents that showed the positive things about the deceased. All the best to you, whatever you decide. P.S. Don't try to second-guess your emotional state; death is a shock and shocks are unpredictable. If you don't find yourself feeling what you'd expect, set aside expectation and go with what you really feel.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Beautiful!

--Pri kimberley 2012-05-24

Thanks!
--Michael

I'm sure tall all over the planet can identify with this.

--Kevin Atwood 2012-06-06

Thanks for dropping by!
--Michael

I am in with LinkedIn (got the email) and Last.fm (haven't got the email yet).

--Agent Vanilla 2012-06-09

Dabbling, as I do, in information systems, I'm always amazed that any little thing stays secure. It's vastly easier to get things wrong than to get them right.
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Always learning man. Great article! I hope my customers will understand that dirty products make long Photoshop hours and imperfect results!

--Jules Product Photographer in Toronto 2012-06-15

Very glad you found it useful, Jules.
--Michael

This viewpoint has so many errors of appreciation it is horrifying. First of all, having lived overseas for over 30 years I can attest that NOBODY outside the country takes Canadian citizenship lightly, neither foreign or expats themselves. Secondly, the idea that Canada is an "easy" immigration country is, sadly, not true. How many immigrants have YOU attempted to get into the country recently? I have. Genuine, put-upon, threatened refugees who needed a country, any country, in which to escape persecution. You think Canada helps? You think we aid refugees? Then why does nobody in the Refugee office in Canada pick up the phone - EVER? Why do they refuse to respond to emails? These boys were willing to come to Canada (or anywhere at all that was safe) and work at the lowest possible level - agricultural labour. They speak fluent French. They had finished compulsory schooling. THEY GOT NOWHERE and that was with ME helping them and I am a former Federal Politcal Assistant. As for "regular" immigrants, there is currently a FOUR YEAR waiting list to process immigration applications at our Paris embassy, and we are supposed to WANT French-speaking immigrants. What reasonable professional person wants to fool around waiting for four years for bureaucrats to get on with the job? People can get a bone-marrow transplant in less time and that requires finding a DNA-match. Oveseas Canadians take ZERO dollars out of the economy. They are not entitled to public schooling nor the health care. They don't use the roads. What they DO do, is to work as "mini-ambassadors" across the globe, attempting to further Canadian business interests. I myself tried. When the big Scandinavian company STORA was looking for overseas lumber partners, I hustled in to suggest Canadian partners. They came back sadly, telling me that "Canadian lumber companies only want to do business with the Americans". Not surprising since the Canadian lumber companies seem all to be managed by Americans. Bravo Canucks. How clever is that? At the end of the day, you do not need a country full of lawyers only. You need plumbers too. You do not want a Canada full of English-descendant immigrants only. You want a mixture. And you do NOT need a country with a bizarre, frankly "American" attitude towards overseas citizens. You NEED those citizens, their input, their efforts. Not all will contribute. Not all resident citizens contribute either - some just live on benefits. But to wipe them all off the map based on a jingoistic rhetoric is to cut your own nose off in spite of your face. Please get to know some non-residents.

--Jill Monney 2012-06-26

Hi, Jill. Thanks for the comments on my site. You started with, "This viewpoint has so many errors of appreciation it is horrifying. First of all, having lived overseas for over 30 years I can attest that NOBODY outside the country takes Canadian citizenship lightly, neither foreign or expats themselves." Well, we've had different experiences obviously. I've been approached by Americans about obtaining Canadian citizenship. In two cases, they thought that Canadian citizenship would make a nice tax dodge if they could get it in exchange for their own citizenship. I've also met parties from African and Asian nations who've used Canadian citizenship to further their aims in living in third parties such as the US and Japan (e.g. spend 3-4 years in Canada, then migrate to where they really want to be). I've also worked with Europeans in Canada who decided that Canada was "second best and good enough" when their visas in the US expired. And lastly, I've met and been contacted by Canadian expats who wanted advice on avoiding their tax obligations in Canada - in fact as a volunteer warden for Canada's consular services in Tokyo I was forbidden from contacting even those Canadians in my jurisdiction who'd registered with the embassy because those expats wanted to minimize all official contact with Canada (and yet had registered so that people like me could help them in case of an earthquake). What can we make of this? Do these cases not sound like they've taken Canadian citizenship lightly? You asked, "Secondly, the idea that Canada is an "easy" immigration country is, sadly, not true. How many immigrants have YOU attempted to get into the country recently?" I've brought in my wife. It was a long process, and yes it was an opaque process and no I have no idea why the spouse of a Canadian is made to wait before being eligible to work, support themselves, and pay taxes. But my wife became a Permanent Resident within seven months of applying, something that would have taken ten years for me to achieve in her country. I have to assume from your belligerent tone and ignorance of my case that you've not spent any time either reading my article of anything else on my website. You also said, "Oveseas Canadians take ZERO dollars out of the economy. They are not entitled to public schooling nor the health care. They don't use the roads. What they DO do, is to work as "mini-ambassadors" across the globe, attempting to further Canadian business interests. I myself tried. When the big Scandinavian company STORA was looking for overseas lumber partners, I hustled in to suggest Canadian partners. They came back sadly, telling me that "Canadian lumber companies only want to do business with the Americans". Not surprising since the Canadian lumber companies seem all to be managed by Americans. Bravo Canucks. How clever is that?" Sounds just like my attempt to sell ethical Canadian diamonds when I lived in Japan. Not sure what your point is here, but I would posit that a Canadian expat community that is better integrated with Canada's economy would help present Canada's case. And then you finished with, "At the end of the day, you do not need a country full of lawyers only. You need plumbers too. You do not want a Canada full of English-descendant immigrants only. You want a mixture. And you do NOT need a country with a bizarre, frankly "American" attitude towards overseas citizens. You NEED those citizens, their input, their efforts. Not all will contribute. Not all resident citizens contribute either - some just live on benefits. But to wipe them all off the map based on a jingoistic rhetoric is to cut your own nose off in spite of your face." But that's the very situation that I'd like see addressed. Again, I have to wonder if you even read the article. "Please get to know some non-residents." And now I know you haven't read a thing I've posted. I've lived both in Australia and in Japan for a total of six and a half years, having lived and worked with expat Canadians in both countries. I honestly don't know what you're arguing, it sounds like we want the same thing - to make use of our expats wherever they live.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Your speech has greatly helped me. My Grandfather just passed away Monday (06/25/12) and as a writer, I felt obligated to write something in honor and memory of him for his funeral. However, when I sat down to write the speech, I was at a loss. I just became very emotional and put off writing it. My older cousin decided to take the easy way out and make a photo power point, and now I feel as if I have a bar to reach with my speech. I was very close with my grandfather, as well as the rest of my family, but the words just would not come out. Then I stumbled upon google where I found your speech. I am so glad I did. Its given me a guide on what is okay to say. I've never been to a funeral before, so I'm basically winging it. But this put me in the right direction which I thank you for. Tomorrow I give (or attempt to) my speech. Let's hope this goes well.

--Shelby 2012-06-28

I'm glad I could be of some help, Shelby.
--Michael

"Canadian expats are very unlikely to reference God during a rental transaction." LoL

--Agent Vanilla 2012-07-03

Well, in my experience. ;^)
--Michael

Mike the bill was a $1 bill and i still have it!

--paul haskins 2012-07-04

What!!! Wow, that's truly amazing. Paul, great to hear from you.
--Michael

I read an article about Botox that seemed to indicate it helped migraines. I remember you really suffer... might help you out.

--Agent V. 2012-07-05

I have looked into it. Doesn't look safe to me, also (incredibly) I don't qualify for insurance coverage on the procedure since I only run at around 40% of days with a migraine instead of 50%+.
--Michael

That sucks. I, too, like the idea of things 'Made in Canada' and by that wish, too, it included manufacturing (as opposed to only assembling). As for St. Moritz, though, I have to say I am quite pleased with the model I purchased of theirs (via MEC) some years ago now. It's worth adding I have a rubber banded model. I do have one small complaint, though it's not much of an issue really: the bright orange of the second hand faded. I brought it to their locating in Vancouver where they re-painted it or replaced it for free but it too eventually faded. Overall I am very happy with my watch and happened across this as I was planning to look at other St. Morritz models (I'l like a watch with an alarm). I am curious what direct contact you have had with them and specifically what their response was. If those Tense Wood watches are Canadian made why are they importing exotic woods? I can only assume our are not suitable, however, do foreign woods not put into question their genesis to some degree? Aside from that I don't think I'd be at all comfortable with a wooden watch. Yuri

--Yuri Doric 2012-07-09

I'm glad that your experience with the St. Moritz was a happy one. My contact with St. Moritz came to twice replacing the leather strap and once sending the watch back for repair. The replacement leather strap they sent met the same fate as the first one - it disintegrated. And the "repair" didn't seem to have worked out. I think these are cheaply constructed timepieces. Looks like it's true what they say, you get what you pay for. Happily, no one really needs a wristwatch in the era of the mobile phone. And no, I never bought one of the wooden timepieces.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thank you so much for this speech,it has really helped me for my project,all the same God bless you

--Goodness 2012-08-06

Glad it could help in some way.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hi Michael....! you just made my day full of Ecstasy... I'll use dis as my own speech 2 represent my department. Thanks brother...

--Michael ikechukwu 2012-08-06

...okay then?
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

I've been working on an assignment that involves speech writing.Now coming across ur speech just reminded me of my late grandpa.Its a good speech you wrote there nd i think it will me out in my speech writing.Dou mind

--Emmanuel 2012-08-06

Thanks for your comments.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hi Michael, Thank You! Your speech inspire my daughter to go before the family to speak about her grandfather. Young adults/teens sometimes have trouble speaking before an audience or expressing themselves clearly. Thanks again

--Marie 2012-08-07

That's great to hear, Marie, thank you for taking the time to leave a note. I'm sorry to hear of your loss.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

this has helped me in my assignment on speech writting

--gracefilled 2012-08-12

Great!
--Michael

Hi, my situation is a bit different than all the above I'm wondering if you have across it before. I am a Canadian citizen currently residing in the US because I am completing my PhD here. I still have 4 years left To complete my degree and so will be here for those years. I am married and my husband is from the middle east. I have heard and read online that since I am in a situation where I have a legitimate reason to reside outside Canada, my husband who would be accompanying me would have the right to apply for and get a PR status. Is this true? And if so, what avenue is best to take? Would we apply using the Outland process as well? Would I have to sponsor him then apply for PR? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

--Rita 2012-08-18

I don't think the government in any way questions the "legitimacy" of your living abroad, they just verify that the marriage is real. While I am not a qualified expert on any of these things, I believe that you should check the timing of your application carefully, as it is my understanding that you have to apply under circumstances that a) you can demonstrate the financial means to support your husband (e.g. you have a job waiting for you in Canada) and b) that you intend on relocating to Canada at a specific and upcoming date. In your case I imagine that it would be better to apply much closer to the date you intend to return (e.g. within 18 months of returning). But please don't take my word for these things, have a look at some of the online immigration forums where knowledgeable people hang out and answer questions. Best of luck, Rita!
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

hmm how about some photoshop tips? great tutorial btw!

--korkmaz atadinc 2012-08-20

Thanks for the comments. What is this Photoshop of which I hear so much? Certainly nothing for which I have a license. ;^)
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thank you so much Michael! Your speech has helped me to adjust my words and thoughts during the funeral service of a person who has become a father to me. God Bless!

--Rev Fr François Kouao 2012-08-22

Very glad I could help. Thank you for taking the time to write.
--Michael

review: Minolta X-700 camera

Hello, I am using a minolta x-700, with a vivitar MC tele-converter, and a sigma uc zoom 70-210. is this a good set-up with this camera. thanks paul

--paul durda 2012-09-09

Thanks for leaving a note! I'm glad there are others out there still using this stuff.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

I COULD FEEL YOUR PAIN READING THAT,YOU DONE YOUR GRANDAD PROUD-I'LL DO LIKEWISE WITH MY PAPPA TOMORROW.THANK YOU

--STEVEN DOUGLAS 2012-09-19

All the best, Steven, sorry to hear of your loss. Thanks for leaving a comment on my website.
--Michael

Hello Michael, I am glad to heart worked out. My wife and I are in a similar situation, all because her previous employer stopped giving out LMO letters a month before we decided to apply. We have submitted once already and realized there were some aspects that needed to be changed, therefore we requested that the application be returned before it was rejected. To date it has been 11 months that my wife has been unable to work, and according the the governments website it will be another 10 months before everything is finalized. I am truly frustrated with my government and the lack of care they have for their citizens.

--Frustrated in CAN 2012-09-24

From the way this lunacy plays out you might almost get the impression that our benighted government WANTS people to work under the table, wouldn't you? By sad comparison, in Japan (where they openly restrict immigration, and where they only "accept" 25 refugees a year, on average) a spousal visa takes six weeks. Six. Weeks. No interviews, no silently ignoring applicants for months at a time, no confusion about application routes, no arbitrary decisions based on the foreign spouse's country of origin. It's maddening. I wish you and your wife all the best.
--Michael

a custom wooden toy

Also to be noted is that the Chinese embassy visa section is only open 9am to 12 noon. Can anyone confirm if you can get a tourist visa to China while residing in Japan on a tourist visa as a gaijin. Thanks.

--mazhanshi 2012-09-29

I don't see why you shouldn't be able to do that, Mazhanshi. Why not contact the embassy?
--Michael

Now I am freaking out! We will do the outbound route as we are currently out of Canada anyway and we can survive where we are for the time it takes.... the thing getting me right now is I don't have a job to go back to and only have enough available cash to support my family for a few months upon arrival...and unless I convince an uncle or a freind to put me on the employment roster "for a while" this could really cause a problem.... like stated in the story, (which was very well written) even if I can convince an employer to hire me while I am not in Canada, how many will accept: Date available to start: "when the gov't approves my wife's PR"?

--Paul 2012-10-05

First of all, don't freak out. You'll get through this. Find other people going through what you're doing, and follow on the good advice and sense of support/community you'll get from them along the way. Having selected the outland route puts you on the right track. Figuring out the job/visa chicken-egg scenario isn't easy. But people do it every day. It sounds like you already have some workable ideas. Also, I'd strongly recommend that you start networking like a lunatic: prepare job leads based on people who know you're coming back and who know your skill sets etc. It's what I did for several months before my return, and I had three very solid opportunities take shape in a matter of a couple of weeks. I am still working at the job I selected, nearly two years later, so it doesn't necessarily have to be a desperation thing. When it comes to finding work, things can turn in your favour in the blink of an eye. Best of luck to you!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

I luv ur speech can I use it as a project plz

--Layla 2012-10-17

In a project? What kind of project is it, Layla?
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hi Michael - I found your page when my grandfather was terminally ill and in his final days a few weeks ago. I am not one to speak publicly, but knew I wanted to stand up at his funeral and say something to honour his memory - I just had no idea where to start... Reading your speech gave me the strength to believe I could do the same and I used it as the foundation to prepare what ended up becoming his eulogy, which I delivered about one week later. (It turned out no one else had prepared a speech and I found out at the service that I was delivering the eulogy, not just one of a few or many speeches.) If it had not been for your help, I could not have written the speech and despite a large family and nearly 100 people who attended the funeral, no one would have stood up to give a personal perspective of this amazing man's life. Even more amazing was that it even inspired my 14 year old son to stand with me and deliver a speech of his own at the funeral. I have never been more proud. Thank you so very much for your kind and generous gift. I hope you have some sense of just how meaningful it has been to those of us who have borrowed your strength when we needed it most.

--Melissa Kidd 2012-10-22

I'm very glad that I could help, Melissa. It's humbling that you were able to draw some strength from my scribblings. And your news about your son is encouraging, I can only hope that my kids (still small) will be that same way. Thank you for taking the time to write!
--Michael

dungeons and dragons monster: yellow tongue

Nice, hope someday l could work and live in australia.... Even i have disability conflict..

--perry reyes 2012-10-24

I recommend Australia, it really is an amazing place. Good luck with your plan and thanks for writing, Perry.
--Michael

so did you and, in particular, your brother. Ken-your-brother and I went to see "The Black Hole"(just he and I went because you were going to Paul Haskins' birthday party). In one scene near the end, the greenhouse where the heroes were standing was blasted into smithereens - and Ken was all indignation when they floated (still breathing) out of the greenhouse into space. Because there would be no oxygen (and would be a tad cold)- which a 5-year-old could figure but none of the moviemakers at Disney apparently could. Good tradition.

--Me again (mom) 2012-10-24

Haha!
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

Since i read this story , my wife feels a lot better. she thought she was the only one that had been hit 4 times in 25 years... Happy Crapping (Europe is not safe either) Cheers!

--Rene A. 2012-10-31

And happy crapping to you! 8^) The funny thing is that it's only happened once in the last four or five years. I'm getting paranoid.
--Michael

Michael, I really appreciate this article you've written. My girlfriend and I met while she was visiting vancouver, currently we've been apart for going on 3-4 years now - she has come to visit a few times and we've kept up our correspondence - we have kept all our emails and most of our IM chats - while i am working and going to school, eventually i will travel to japan and meet her family and have a small civil ceremony. then we will begin the outland application process. she is preparing her criminal record check in japan and her medical records - i will attempt to get a criminal record check done for her while she is in canada. i agree, the application forms are opaque/poorly worded - there is no form that says "i'm a 7th generation canadian and this is my wife - fuck your red tape" .. anyways, in order to guarantee smooth sailing, any tips? we are going through the manilla office, i suppose? do i still need to go through a 'sponsorship application' if i marry her in japan with a japanese marriage certificate? how high should my income be? currently i live and work in vancouver, so my income is SFA. there are a few questions i am forgetting, it's 7am; this is how she and i communicate: i lose sleep, every damn night. can't wait to just get it over with. when i see all the thousands of losers flooding in to the country and defrauding our system it pisses me off even more. she speaks fluent english and we just want to make progress. any suggestions are appreciated!

--Naked Official #9000 2012-11-08

7th generation, yeah you'd think that would do it, wouldn't you. Similarly, I'm the 11th to have lived here and my ancestors settled land all over the eastern half of the country. Nowadays it's all about optics, short-term politics, and pretending the rest of the world doesn't exist. I mean; we had a son, isn't it clear what's going on? /end rant To answer your question: use the "outland" process; get on some of the forums where people exchange tips and follow their advice; if anything gets jammed up, contact your MP - they have staff for dealing with these very things; gather references inside Canada that know you both (if possible); if at all possible, have someone from your family attend the civil ceremony or the reception (have a reception with her family in attendance. Since she's Japanese (welcome to the club) she can stay in Canada as long as your application (even an outland application) is underway, but it might make more sense to have her leave every six months (the term for a Japanese citizen w/o standing in Canada, last I knew). But if she has to leave the country it'd be best if she had a complete copy of the application forms and proof with her while re-entering; some of the border people can apparently make a snap decision to send her back. Naturally, with no standing in the country she won't qualify for health care, for an SIN (so no work), and there are no programs for her. Best of luck!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thank you so much for your great words of advice. I an 13 and my grandpa died two days ago and it means alot that someone like you can help. I an sorry for your loss.

--annynous 2012-11-08

Glad I could help. All the best to you and your family.
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

I don't know you nor believe in luck but I read your awesome story and I really believe your blessed. Some people have it easier than others but your optimism so wonderful. Today while walking to the store a bird popped right on my face and into. I was astonish and right when I thought of getting upset I just laughed at how great of a sense of humor God has :-) I had it tough most of my life but Im hoping that bird poop is some sort of a sign of a breakthrough. Anywho, have a blessed life and thanks for your post and optimism :-)

--kathy 2012-11-09

That's a great attitude, Kathy. I've tended to laugh them off as well. The first was a great gob that ran right down my chest and stomach. I just sank into the river where I was standing and had a chuckle. Never had it in the face, though - ugh! And may your life be blessed as well. d_(-.-)_b
--Michael

Michael, I really appreciate this article you've written. My Girlfriend she is Canadian by birth and i am Indian by birth right now i am in India and she is in Japan on her student visa. she doing her medical practice there. i need your help as suggestion as she can sponsor me visa from Japan. what is best for us where we can get married in India or Canada and how she can sponsor a visa from outside of Canada means from Japan.please suggest a good way of marriage and get a sponsorship and visa.

--zhir 2012-11-13

I don't think it matters where you get married, but my advice is to: 1. Get married somewhere that family members from both sides can attend, if at all possible. 2. Spend a lot of your time in public in the company of friends (and if possible, family) who will be in your photos, demonstrating that your relationship is public knowledge. 3. Visit with both families prior to the marriage. 4. Download the forms from the Canadian government's website and be familiar with all of the questions they'll ask. You'll want to do all of the things they ask about, like #1-3 above. 5. Pay strict attention to your visa requirements if you decide to come visit in Canada at any time. Do not overstay your visa. You'll want to choose the "outland" application process, not the relatively new "inland" application process. If you can wait until she has her medical degree, it might smooth the way if she can show that she has the financial wherewithal to support you for the duration of the sponsorship period plus the two-year visa "gelling" period (due to a brand new law, you must demonstrate that you're living together for two years once you have the visa). A doctor shouldn't have any problems there. For general advice, check out online forums like the one I reference in the article. Good luck with your quest!
--Michael

not as odd as mine!

--moi (mom) 2012-11-14

OK then!
--Michael

hello, world

this is pretty after the fact but it just came to my attention that there was a hello kitty hell website. i started reading comments and saw yours wondering if the canadian really made the hello kitty combat patch on his fatigues. i can assure you he did because i am his sister and i heard about it and saw pics of it back then!! just the irreverent family humour coming thru! there are only 2 patches and he was in afghanistan at the time. i was amused to see all sorts of kitty sacriliges on the website!! long live a warped sense of humour!! :) Chuckling Canuck

--kat (not kitty!!) 2012-11-23

Good to know! Thanks for taking the time to write. Is your brother back in Canada?
--Michael

I seem to be... At a loss. I'm under the impression that you need to have a criminal record check for all the places you've lived for 6 months or more, but I do not know how to go about getting such a thing, because my local police department turned me away, telling me they don't do stuff like that. I'm really at a loss. Have you come across something like this? This seems to be one of the hugest huddles for us to have to overcome.

--Kaine 2012-11-24

Check with the Canadian embassy or consulate that's managing your application. At the time of our application, the embassy in Tokyo had posted some information, and my wife was able to find the right application form and police department. We then took the police report to the Japanese consulate here in Canada for notarized translation. It probably varies quite a bit country to country. For instance, here in Canada there are private firms you can go to for a background check. Again, I'd start with the Canadian embassy or consulate handling your case. Best of luck to you!
--Michael

Hi Michael, In my case I have been working in Canada for 5years and have PR.... and I am planning to bring my wife (now fiance from India) to Canada and then Apply thru the In-land application, do you know of any cases where there have been no success of this being approved. Or it just an uncertain process because it is relatively new. Your advice is much appreciated.

--Jack 2012-11-29

Join some of the forums that I point to in my website and you'll soon see that there are indeed cases where inland applications are rejected. And once an inland application is rejected, you cannot apply again. Given the extra time involved with an inland application, and the added risk of not being able to apply a second time, I recommend that you look at the outland application process. Best of luck, and congratulations on your engagement!
--Michael

Your Dad will love this, not to mention Kenny!

-- 2012-11-30

8^)
--Michael

Thanks for sharing these instructions! We still have this set! My husband and I play Legos every night with our five years old son. Legos have provided with much happiness since our childhood till today.

--Ines 2012-11-30

Yes, Lego has taken over from the toy train tracks now. Happily, my son can play with some of my old stuff from the 70's.
--Michael

a custom wooden toy

Michael Great info - just what I needed but am slightly concerned you said pickup date was in two weeks! I thought I read it takes 4 working days. or 2 if you pay the extra 3000 yen Also probably going to stay with friends so can I give that address in stead of hotel or is it easiest just to book a cheap hostel online then cancel the booking? Thanks for any help J

--J 2012-12-01

It's probably high time I took that information down, J. It's been ~3 years, and it's entirely likely that things have changed or that circumstances vary quite a bit. For me I recall the pick up turnaround being two weeks, but it's entirely possible that there are short-cuts. Regarding the address where you'll be staying: find out whether your friends mind that you'll be putting their address on the thing before you do so: maybe leaving their address out of it would be an advantage to them somehow.
--Michael

Well i make myself freely after reading your notes... well we have put our file in 28th june,2012. On 11th sept,2012 process done in mississauga but till we have no any mail or email from mississauga nor delhi for further process... so just want to know normally in which time duration they send approved letter or whatever......

--Priyanka P Patel 2012-12-03

It all depends on who is processing the claim. If you used the "inland" process, it can take more than a year, from the stories I've read. If you're using the "outland" process it is up to the individual embassy that's processing your claim. Some are so busy that you won't hear anything for a very long time. With others it can be relatively quick. In our case we used the outland process and heard from Mississauga within six weeks or so. Then it was off to the embassy (Tokyo visa office, now closed) and we heard little until it was all over (ten months in total). Best of luck. Join one of the forums where you can discuss current events with other people going through the process. You'll find plenty from India, for instance.
--Michael

HELLO my wife has been in canada for the past 4 years and out of that 3 years she has been here with no status. we just got married and i wanted to apply under the spousal sponsorship from inside canada also she had worked with no work permit but she has got no removal order and cic does not know. can u pls help me out as if i can send in the application for spousal though she has no status for the past 3 years?how do i go about it? his dad is in malaysia and staying illegal and her mom is in japan where she is originally from. thanking u in advance ash

--ash 2012-11-30

Hi, Ash. I saw your comment on my website last week. I've been considering a response since that time but the best thing I think you can do is join a forum like the one below and ask your questions there: http://www.canadavisa.com/canada-immigration-discussion-board/index.php
--Michael

Hi Micheal, Thanks for the tips, would be glad to hear more from you. I would be grateful if you can help me to find questions per chapter (knowledge area), believe Rita CD is expensive Thanks Tariq

--Tariq 2012-12-04

Hello, Tariq; Have a look at this example: http://procept.com/guide.html Good luck with your quest!
--Michael

Congrats Michael! Great jorb :-)

--Audrey 2012-12-12

Thanks, Audrey!
--Michael

I find myself in the same situation as you - moving to Canada with Japanese spouse + child. I thought getting a spousal visa would be as quick and painless as it was in Japan so I was shocked to see what the process is really like. I have a couple questions 1) While waiting for the PR application, your wife stayed in Canada on a tourist visa ? Do you know if you can stay indefinitely while waiting for the application ? Or does she have to leave every 6 months? 2) While you were waiting - what did you do about health insurance for your wife ?

--Dan 2012-12-13

Dan, you didn't leave an email address; good luck with your wife's landing. To answer your questions: 1) Yes, my wife stayed as a visitor (no visa per se). She left the country once just after the six month mark (it should have been before that period, we screwed up) but she was able to re-enter without problem. I frequently encourage people to join one+ of the forums where people discuss these things - you can find out the current rules there. 2) We bought insurance through Blue Cross (and one or two others). It covers only a limited set of things such as emergency response, and not many other things such as hospital care during pregnancy or any kind of medications (to my recollection) though it does cover ambulance transportation, which isn't covered by provincial health care.
--Michael

a custom wooden toy

AN UPDATE I have just been through the process (am a foreigner living in Tokyo) and it was interesting! I prepared everything,form, hotel and flight booking ,photos and arrive early at the embassy. A security guard came out and explained where to go and the fact that bags would be searched and to make sure you had everything in ready. I was second in queue and at reception desk handed everything over only to be met by a torrent of Japanese ,only a few words I could understand - so switched to English and I was asked do I have Chinese family? NO, Ok so you cant have visa from here - a piece of paper with several addresses and phone numbers was thrust at me saying "you must call this agency in Ginza to get you visa" . I went down in the lift debating if I had time to call this place and get there , and as I got out the same security guard was waiting with a huge grin on his face and said " Oh poor foreigner , you couldnt get a visa eh - no problem , and led me outside and pointed to a small office nextdoor and said visa there OK" I entered and filled a different form and asked for a multiple 6month visa but was told I probably wouldnt get it cos I am a foreigner and have visited before (about 15years ago) Anyway I agreed to the two entry deal and was asked to pay 12,000 yen (quite a bit more than was stated on website) Four days later I picked up my passport and all seems to be Ok but it all seemed a strange process!

--J 2012-12-13

Strange? I'll say! Sounds like a bit of a shake-down. Mind you, I've been shaken down by officialdom in China itself, so I suppose anything's possible (e.g. see here: http://emuu.net/journal/2009.10.27/canal-town). Thanks for writing!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

I typed in "speech at a funeral" and yours was the first one (and only one) that I read. It is very beautifully written and your heart-felt memories about your grandfather made it easy for me to remember and write about my wonderful memories with my stepdad. Thank you for sharing.

--Cheri 2012-12-13

Thanks for taking the time to leave some feedback, I'm glad my speech for my grandfather helped.
--Michael

Too bad you've had such a bad experience. I have had the same St Moritz professioal dive watch for 15 years, as had my wife. I have had this thing ripped off my wrist twice in huge bike crashes, its been pummelled in surf and abused in snow and it is still perfect except for some well earned scratches on the rotating bezel (which still functions perfectly) Whenever I need service, I drop by St Moritz and they service pretty much for free with a smile. I would buy another St Moritz watch in a heartbeat, especially the professional dive watches. Perhaps the lighter models are not meant for abuse but I can recommend the dive professional. Good luck.

--John C 2012-12-14

That's great to hear. Mine wasn't up to the challenge of being worn to work on a regular basis; maybe it's just that the more recent ones are the problem? But I know I'm not alone, when I brought it to the MEC to see about a repair, the fellow behind the counter looked at it, shook his head, and said, "Yeah, I bought one too..." Only watch I've ever thrown in the garbage in my entire life. Thanks for writing, I've posted your comment to the site.
--Michael

I am an airline pilot and a timepiece is very important in my life. I have several watches of varying quality such as Cardinal, Citizen, Breitling (Aerospace), StMoritz. By far the worse watch is the StMoritz. Although very attractive in the showcase it is not made for endurance. Cheap leather strap, unreliable seconds movement. Too bad, love to buy Canada made. Over priced watch which I do not recommend for anyone on the go. Should stay in the store window where it belongs. Better off buying a cheapo at at Walmart than a StMoritz.

--LT 2012-12-16

Well put, LT.
--Michael

I purchased a Momentum M1 St Moritz watch from the store Watch IT and am having exactly the same fogging up issues. 1st time it happened I took it back to the Vancouver location (pain in the rear to get to) and paid $30-$40 to get it fixed. They put it through some tests which I think works out how the moisture got in there but of course it's the customer that did something wrong. That being said it wasn't a massive fee for the repair and I think they actually put a new faceplate in. The watch was mailed back to me and the fogging was gone. Only 3 weeks later the fogging is back and there is not a chance that the time adjustment dial had been opened. As far as we were concerned this thing was sealed and considering the water resistance depth is 200M it's not doing a very good job 'above' sea level. It wasn't even worn in the shower. Not sure what to do really other than just give St Moritz watches a miss in the future as it's just an inconvenience. I'm 45 years of age, have owned many watches and even the cheap ones have never steamed up. I too purchased the watch because it was a local company but whats the point. St. Moritz in Vancouver, Canada, you get a big thumbs down from me.

--Andrew G 2012-12-28

> I too purchased the watch because it was a local company but whats the point. Exactly. Adding injury to insult, isn't it - I'd love to know if there's anyone actually making watches in Canada.
--Michael

copyright

Thanks for posting and taking the time to scan in these instructions. I dug out my old set and had no instructions. My son and I bult the semi, it was just as fun as it was 30 years ago.

--Matt O. 2012-12-29

Great to hear! Thanks for writing, that made my day.
--Michael

I am a watch collector and own about 20 watches some Rolex some Breitling and Tags most Swiss but a few From Japan . Saying all that the St Moritz line is about at the same level as most Japanese watches. In fact most of their watches are Japanese movements with some Swiss movements. I believe they are a good over all watch if you stay with a dive style watch with a rubber or metal bands you can buy more then one at those prices without the need to lock up your watches in a bank volt like with the high end Swiss watches, always remember you get what you pay for to so don't compare a 10,000 Breitling to any 300$ watch made any where.

--Massimo 2013-01-03

You make some good points, thanks for writing. Thanks in particular for the comparison with Japanese watches, I was considering buying a replacement while in Japan for the near year. I really don't know anything about $10,000 watches but I do expect that even a relatively inexpensive watch would last longer than three years. I was willing to invest in repair and did so (in addition to replacing two leather straps in as many years), but neither the manufacturer nor a watch repair shop in my area could resolve the issues. I posted the article on my website as a simple warning that the watches aren't worth what St. Moritz is charging.
--Michael

Hey Michael, I am also Michael and I have a Japanese wife. I'm a Canadian citizen and we are thinking of getting a spouse PR in Canada. As of now, I saw the new rule stating "Effective October 25, 2012, sponsored spouses or partners must now live together in a legitimate relationship with their sponsor for two years from the day they receive permanent residence status in Canada." We've been married for a year already and in addition, I'll be living in Japan for three years so that will not be a problem. I would like to have a smooth transition when we move to Canada in three years. We do not have any children at the moment. I like to plan ahead so what kind of precaution or any advice would you recommend? When should I start applying?

--Michael 2013-01-02

Hello, we have a lot in common. 8^) In addition to the comments that I posted to the web page you found, I would stress: a) use the 'outland' process, which I suppose for you means applying through Manila (I think you still have to mail the application to the site in Mississauga). b) make sure you have lots of photo evidence of your relationship being a public one, e.g. you're with friends and both families c) consider whether you want to arrive in Canada, find work, then apply (still using the outland process); come back to Canada on your own, find work and of course leaving her in Japan while your application is in the works (bear in mind that even after our application was received it took six months, and that was when the Tokyo visa office was still functioning); or somehow find work while still outside of Canada and then apply from there and only move to Canada together. We chose the first option, many people do the latter and are apart for a long time. Good luck, fellow Michael-in-Japan. I'm actually in Miyazaki prefecture at the moment and am reminded of all that I've left behind in coming back to Canada.
--Michael

copyright

Great posting on these LEGO sets...I had this one when I was a kid, 722 is one of the best sets ever! Never knew what happened to it. I'm trying to find one for my kids; if you're interested in selling it please let me know.

--Shane M. 2013-01-21

Glad you enjoyed the find, Shane. But you'll get my LEGO from my son and me when you pry it from our cold dead hands. ;^) It wasn't for nothing that I got the space lego emblem tattoo'd on my arm! Good luck with your hunt.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Michael- Thank you for posting your speech - it is wonderful. I also felt obligated to speak at my grandfather's funeral about 10 years ago. I have gone over the speech in my head ten thousand times since then. Family and friends came to me after the speech and told me it was awesome and I should have been a preacher. I also have some remorse about the speech, though, and I can't figure out if it is warranted or not - At a point in the speech, I stated that "I didn't have a father around for a few years when I was young" (due to my parent's divorce and a deadbeat dad - of course I didn't say that) and that "my grandfather treated me like a father treated his own son". Evidently, this ruffled my older brother and stepfather, as if I had put them in a bad light, and to this day I think it still is contentious. They have never said anything to me, but my wife heard rumblings. It was never my intention to hurt feelings - only to remind people of the type of man he was. Anyway, I've never discussed with my family and really just needed to get this off my chest. If I had to do it over again, I probably still would say the same thing but possibly put it differently, I don't know. Anyways, thank you for your blog and allowing me to post.

--Anon 2013-01-22

It sounds like you probably hit the mark with your speech. If some people can't help but make it "about them" at a funeral, what can you do! It's easy to see how a funeral can be an experience that stays with you: I had just come through the dissolution of my engagement to marry when my grandmother died, and I didn't have the reserves to speak at her funeral. I've always regretted that. Thanks for taking the time to write.
--Michael

This is incredibly helpful. Thanks for taking the time to post what you have learned through experience...

--G 2013-01-22

I'm very glad that you found it helpful! Doing business in Japan is an ongoing experience of discovery, isn't it!
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

Omg the funniest thing happened to my friend today. We were eating lunch in our school quad, and my friend tapped my shoulder and asked me if there was something on her shoulder, I look and saw a small size of seagull crap, while laughing I helped cleaned it up for her. Then after a minute or so I was looking up trying to stay clear of the bird, I saw another bird shit, just in time to hit my fried AGAIN! Omg this time it was big. I couldn't believe it. It was so funny and awful at the same time. She was shy on twice on the same day within minutes I mean what r the odds??

--Claudia 2013-01-24

Wow. I guess the lesson is not to linger: once shit-on, twice shy! Thanks for sharing the story.
--Michael

hey guys i have a concern,recenty i have been asked for my spouse processing fee for PR,though i have sent that but made a demand draft on my name.Is this ok or can anybody please suggest me what to do.Is been 2 months now and no reply from the immigration office.

--imran 2013-02-07

Hello, Imran, I noticed your inquiry on my website. I'm afraid I don't have much advice other than to keep trying to reach Immigration, either here in Canada at their help line or through the embassy/consulate in your area. I don't know what a "demand draft" is, but if you've already paid them certainly you should have a receipt of some sort to forward them?
--Michael

hello,please i need someone who will help sponsor me to canada.i am a graduate here in my country cameroon and i am very hard working.i can do just any kind of job be it intelectual or physican. please you can contact me through chechunglucien@yahoo.fr Best regards

--lucien 2013-02-08

Hi, Lucien, I saw your comments to my website. My notes were intended for Canadians who have married abroad and are bringing a spouse to Canada. If you're looking for sponsorship under an employment, I suggest you start here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/work.asp or here: http://www.canadavisa.com/work-in-canada-job-seekers.html or even at unoffical sources like this: http://www.canadavisa.com/canadian-arranged-employment.html Best of luck!!
--Michael

I bought a Pathfinder men's watch some 10 years ago and returned it because it fogged up. I bought a Titan II about 8 years ago and I love it. I did need to have it serviced when the alarm (on/off) button came out but the service was quick and inexpensive. I certainly would recommend the Titan II because it is very light (titanium body) has an analog alarm and a stop watch. Two years ago I discovered a Speidel watch band made of some kind of rubber with a quick on/off clasp. It is fantastic and sells for $6.99 at Kmart.

--Jan 2013-02-12

I'm glad the second watch worked out for you. Thanks for leaving your note.
--Michael

a custom wooden toy

Michael, I'm foreigner living in Japan for 14 years.I booked the Flight,Hotel,my passport is ok and I have my alien card,with all the details you mentioned.At the embassy today,I was told that there is no more individual visitor visa.Instead,I was sent to travel agency for tour visa and there,I was asked letter from my bank,letter from my company,an invitation letter from a friend living in Beijing.Without those documents,I will not travel to Beijing.What must I do with my trip fixed from March,2?

--Biduaya Kayembe. 2013-02-18

That's news to me! If I were you, I would find a reliable travel agency in Tokyo and see if you can have that information confirmed. Depending on your nationality (you didn't say in the note you left) it seems that it's now possible to obtain a visa upon arrival in Beijing, but it's only a limited set of countries so I don't know if that helps. (See more information here: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2013-01/01/c_132075763.htm) All the best, Biduaya!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Michael, Having recently lost my very special 'Gramps' I would like to say some words at his funeral next week, but at the moment I can't find the words to truly capture what a wonderful man he was and how much we loved him. I wanted to let you know that your tribute is fantastic, it sounds like your grandfather was a great inspiration to you. Thank you for sharing this.

--Steph 2013-02-18

Very glad I could help, Steph. All the best in your time of grief.
--Michael

hi everyone, i have a lot of question in mind and i found this site...Thank God :) me and my boyfriend planing to get married next year 2014 january and he will bring me there in vancouver to apply for spousal sponsorship and we don't know how it works. is it a good decision to get married outside canada? or better to do there the marriage and apply straight away for spousal sponsorship after the wedding ? and can i gather my police clearance here in singapore bef going to vancouver? coz I'm a PR here and staying here for 10 years now, and my other option is to get married here in singapore then go for outland application... where should i apply here in singapore or philippines? coz for philippines it takes only 12mons. and here in singapore it takes 24mons. im just wondering coz im holding a philippine passport but residing here in singapore. if we decide to get married bef 2014 it will be held by june 2013 then apply outland...then after that we going to be separated again coz he have work in vancouver and i have work here and he cannot bring me there to have the PR status right away and it makes us frustrated and sad....we been in this relationship since 2010 and every six months we visit each other..i did visited him in vancouver once, he did the most since he don't need to apply for visa to come over here in singapore and we go back to philippines together most of the time to visit his mother and siblings.. we really don't know what is the best decision... we cannot take it anymore to be apart, please help us to think and help us see the other side of this situation that we are in. Thanks a lot and God bless us all :)

--jolian 2013-02-20

I strongly suggest that you arm yourself with all of the official information you can, and then find a support group such as the forums I link to on my website. There are many people from the Philippines doing what you're doing, you're not alone.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

This has really helped me a lot. What a lovely speech I have my grandads funeral next Thursday I was lost for words . X

--Kerry 2013-02-22

I'm very glad that it has helped you in some way. All the best in your time of grief.
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

Hey Michael, I live in Tasmania and work at the New museum called MONA, its a busy job where we welcome thousands of visitors every day. Needless to say we all need a relaxing "knock off" drink after work andck into a bean bag with my beer....BOOM! A huge seagull shit crashed down onto my left upper arm and ricocheted onto the pink bean bag. I was with a group of a dozen work colleagues who all witnessed this event and most where grossed out. But my good buddy and manager reminded me of the good luck aspect of this improbable event. Instinct to avoid embarrassed me to immediately wipe the shit from my arm onto the bag, but I now wish I allowed it to remain a little longer for a closer inspection of the luck bringing material. Fremory it was pale green and white, a little watery and seemed to be comprised of pchip. Anyway, it also caused me to remember that the preen shit on at the beach. Same arm just a little lower, same bird? I doubt it but now I'm reading your hilarious blog and I am excited to count myself in with the lucky crew! Also, my hands are tingling, but this could just be due to texting..ha! So now I will wait for the double dose of good luck to appear. I can sense that that someone, somewhere is about to give me a superyacht and a Carribean island for nothing, as the bird has already paid.

--cj 2013-03-03

Hi, CJ; One of the benefits of being repeatedly crapped on by birds is that it eventually stops bothering you at all. Which I suppose is good for people who work with the things! Thanks for the note, I could just see the situation you described unfolding. "Of all the luck!" ;^)
--Michael

My 6th Great Grandmother was also Freelove Hill. :) small world..

--Cathryn 2013-03-09

Thanks for leaving a note, Cathryn. Always nice to hear from (distant) family. 8^)
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thanks for this. my grandad died on sunday night peacefully. I want to say sometihng at his funeral because he was the best grandad i could ever think off. thanks for some ideas. going to use yours as a template.

--David 2013-03-12

Thanks for leaving a note, David. I'm glad that I could in some small way help. All the best to you and your family.
--Michael

I have this set! I love the old sets! They don't have the fancy special peices but they had more character and were more creative (IMHO) I have a lot of the old space sets. My fave is the little "mobile tracking station" so cute!!!!

--frankie 2013-03-12

Thanks for leaving your comment. I'm tinkering with the idea of "re-imagining" some of the old designs in the current Lego designer software with maybe an update or two but keeping it as "true" as possible.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

This has helped so much in writing my speech at my Grandmother's funeral on Thursday as it is only the second funeral that I will have attended, and the first where the deceased will have been a close family member. This has helped me so much and I'm sure your Grandfather will be very proud of you for the beautiful eulogy and helping so many people in their time of need. Thank you.

--Phoebe 2013-03-12

I'm very glad that I could help, Phoebe. I hope that the speech went well. All the best in your time of loss.
--Michael

I have a St Moritz Pathfinder, and it has easily outlasted the last two Seiko watches I owned. It is now over 5 years old, and I have never had a fogging problem, despite wearing it snorkelling, kayaking and swimming regularly. I have had it serviced twice at St Moritz, plus I have replaced the band twice (they do wear out). In my experience, Customer Service at St Moritz is brilliant. No problems with accuracy, either and for a sub $200 watch, I am generally pretty impressed, with absolutely no basis to complain. I would certainly replace it with another St Moritz product, when that becomes necessary.

--Don Radford 2013-03-14

Glad to hear it, Don. You were luckier than I!
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

I was on a short vacation in Palm Spring, California attending the tennis tournament in Indian Wells, when an earthquake occurred. I guess it was some kind of sigh?? While sitting in the stands of one of the stadiums, everyone looked up to see this beautiful flock of birds flying in several large formations. Maybe stirred up by the earthquake. All of a sudden the lady behind me informed me that I was hit with some bird shit on my nice red shirt. Oh well I figured it was just a continuation of my unfortunate events in my life! Then....I saw on TV the bird on the smoke stack in Rome and the selection of the new Pope, Francis (the bird Saint). Now I know how fortunate I am to have be selected by the birds, out of the hundreds of other fans at the match to be blessed by the birds. Red shirt like the Cardinals wear, Yes, I am waiting for the good news to come, I hope soon. Tom Dodaro, Lincoln California 3/18/2013

--Tom dodaro 2013-03-18

Good for you, Tom, that's a very positive story! Thanks for sharing your story.
--Michael

Hi, I know the differences between inland and outland applications. However everywhere I am reading suggests to apply outland as it is much quicker. My boyfriend and I just got married here in Canada while he was on a visitor's visa. So now we will start the paperwork. On CIC's website outland process for Jamaica says 18 months. For inland it says stage 1 = 6, then stage 2 = 8 months totalling 14 months. I am thinking to apply inland as it is 4 months quicker. But why does everyone say outland is SO much faster?? Are the time frames wrong on CIC website? To me it is a no brainer to apply inland as it is 4 months quicker for Jamaicans, and once approved as a sponsor my husband can apply for the work permit and health insurance. (Yes I know we cannot appeal if rejected). Am I missing something ?? Thank you for your input. Jenna

-- 2013-03-20

The one thing you were missing is a return email address, Jenna! 8^) But seriously, 14 months is a very, very fast turnaround compared to what people actually experience using the inland route. On the message forums you see stories where inland applications easily range to 2 or even 3 years. It's your choice but I strongly recommend the outland route.
--Michael

Thank you for the response. Sorry about the email address, I only realized after I hit send that I needed to send it! :) So I guess what you are saying is that inland processing times on CIC website aren't that accurate. I have read tons of messages on forums, but do you know specifically where I could find out about other people's experiences inland vs outland for Jamaicans? Thanks so much! Jenna

--Jenna 2013-03-21

Good to hear from you again. 8^) I think that the posted times on the CIC website, if they make inland seem quicker than outland, must be pretty optimistic. I have never heard of a country where inland was even close to outland in processing speed. Post a query with your express concerns, you'll get a response, I'm quite sure. And good luck!
--Michael

Hi, I know the differences between inland and outland applications. However everywhere I am reading suggests to apply outland as it is much quicker. My boyfriend and I just got married here in Canada while he was on a visitor's visa. So now we will start the paperwork. On CIC's website outland process for Jamaica says 18 months. For inland it says stage 1 = 6, then stage 2 = 8 months totalling 14 months. I am thinking to apply inland as it is 4 months quicker. But why does everyone say outland is SO much faster?? Are the time frames wrong on CIC website? To me it is a no brainer to apply inland as it is 4 months quicker for Jamaicans, and once approved as a sponsor my husband can apply for the work permit and health insurance. (Yes I know we cannot appeal if rejected). Am I missing something ?? Thank you for your input. Jenna

-- 2013-03-21

Those "inland" processing times seem very unrealistic. From what I've read in people's personal experience, I think 18-24 months is more typical regardless of country of origin.
--Michael

The nice thing about Toronoto's politicians is that I am constantly finding great articles to send to you!

--Auds 2013-03-28

Well, there is that....
--Michael

review: Minolta X-700 camera

Hello I've just purchased one of these models in "Mint" Condition £35.00 on EBay. I also Purchased a 9000 AF a couple of weeks ago. Love the feel and looks of both. Bit of a Minolta geek! Collector wise. Interested in your Review and experiences. Roy Haworth (Manchester UK).

--Roy Haworth 2013-03-29

Thanks for leaving a note, Roy. Good-quality used X-700 bodies abound, I've never had a problem buying excellent bodies for peanuts*. I hope it brings you years of delightful photography. I've got one of X-700 bodies with me this weekend. *From the manual focus age, I've found Minolta's bodies as good as anything I've used. I'm not sure that the lenses where equal to the market leaders but I find Minolta's bodies very well designed and reasonably reliable despite their age.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hi Michael, am greatly relieved in seeing this. Thank you for this beautiful eulogy it‘s really a help.

--Ezekiel 2013-04-03

Very glad to have helped, Ezekiel.
--Michael

I've used my St. Moritz Momentum daily since 2006. I've only had to replace the battery. It's the best bang for the buck in terms of dive watches. It's been through a lot as my primary watch. Diving, cycling, running, being knocked around, and not a scratch on the face. It keeps the time perfectly. I have the black rubber band... I'd really question why anyone would want to have a leather band on a dive watch anyway. My only complaint is the band, over time (7 years) the band has stretched a little bit, leaving it a little loose on my wrist. But in my opinion the band is not the watch, and bands should be replaced periodically.

--Allan 2013-04-03

Allan, it sounds like you have a good watch. I bought mine prior to yours, I don't know what went wrong, perhaps I just got a lemon. But it wasn't even up to daily urban wear. Thanks for leaving your comment.
--Michael

Hi, thank you for your article, it covers all the important points, indeed. I also have few questions as my patience is due to explode. First of all, here is our story: my husband is Canadian citizen by birth, I am from UK and have a child from my previous marriage. we applied INLAND, our application was received in March 2012 which is more than a year ago. Very true that they open the application after 3 months only! Then, if anything is missing, they will let you know. Like in our case we partly paid by bank drafts which on the phone to CIC they said is ok, bet when they opened our application, they decided it's not ok so we had to pay that portion by credit card, as well. The main thing is, they do one action at a time which is once in 3 months, I can't believe it. It's been 13 months now and my husband still haven't got his letter that states he's approved as my sponsor! Because UK is an except country and because we applied INLAND (and I applied for Open Work Permit together with the Spousal Sponsorship Application), I do not have to extend my visitor status as I am protected by the Canadian Law. But, according to their policies after 8 months of waiting, I should of have my Open Work Permit already!!!!! We've got absolutely nothing! They only contacted us in December, telling that I have to mail them original Police Certificates from all the countries I've been residing more than 6 months, also Medical Exam for myself and my child, and Notarized Statutory Declaration from my ex husband who confirms my full custody over my child and that he doesn't mind that we live in Canada. We paid fortune to get these additional documents to get them back and forth from overseas in two weeks time. They got everything on Dec 31st 2012. Today is April 2013 and still nothing. The worst thing is that no Medical Cover, especially for my child. My husband can put us under his Blue Cross, but we have to have our MSP number. Another insane thing is that we can't leave the country. There are many things coming up now like my husband's sister's destination wedding, our friends' destination wedding, visiting my parents in UK etc. To top the story up, I called CIC last week and she said to not contact them by the end of August. If we haven't heard from them by that time, give them a call back. Ain't that against the Law? I can call them every day if I want, can't I? Ridiculous. Also we are in contact with the local MP office, seems absolutely pointlessly, as she does absolutely nothing albeit she could. Anyways, my question of today is, because my husband is filing his taxes, can he put me and my child in his tax form, even though I have no status in this country at the moment, no SIN number, no nothing. And if yes, does he anyhow benefit financially from the government putting me on his taxes as his dependant, 'cause I m not allowed to work here, but it's been 1.5years since we're married in Canada. Thank you for your answer in advance. Dana

--Dana 2013-04-07

Dana; I'm sorry to hear of your struggles, and hope that this hasn't soured you too much on Canada. First of all, I'm not qualified to answer your tax question in any way. Secondly, when it comes to the CIC "service" line, I wouldn't push it. That line is specifically geared to answer very basic questions, they are not meant to be looking at anyone's file and answering specific questions. I'm sorry to hear that your MP isn't more help, the office of my MP helped me considerably when my documents went astray and the visa office in Tokyo couldn't/wouldn't respond. But to the main point - I have been told that the inland process was specifically created (long after the outland process had been established) to process spouses who are "out of status" in Canada. For people from exempt countries like the UK (and in my wife's case, Japan) it's considered to be much more efficient to use the outland process. And cases like yours are the ones that seem to prove the point. I don't know what else to tell you other than to suggest that you find a forum like the ones I reference on the page on my website and find others who are in the same situation as you and disprove the axiom that misery loves company. 8( All the best with your application. Good luck, and be patient. Maybe it helps that spring should be arriving soon. P.S. Even though we applied 'outland' (two long years ago this month!), my wife didn't have her PR stamp until 9-10 months had elapsed. Almost everyone in the group who had spouse coming from an exempt European country or the US went through before anyone else. Believe it or not, you would seem to be in the fastest lane for 'inland' applications, all other things being equal.
--Michael

a custom wooden toy

Thanks for the info but alas most of your page is now out of date as you can no longer get a tourist visa directly from the embassy. The place next door to the embassy has the cheapest commission rates I found, much less than if you use travel agents like HIS. So my advice is to not bother going into the embassy at all, and just go straight to the place next door. I was in and out in 5 minutes and had my visa 3 days later.

--Gareth (British) 2013-04-26

Good point. I'm retiring it. Today.
--Michael

Wow! I've been online for the past 8 hours reading article after article in numerous forums about moving to Canada, applying for PR, getting spousal sponsorship etc. and found this such a helpful post! Thank you! I am from the US, my boyfriend is Canadian & we've re-connected for the third time in our lives after 14 years! We are planning on getting married. We know its gonna take a lot of time to file for PR for me so my question is this; Would it make sense for us to get married the next time I'm in Canada, start the outland filing process and then I come back here to work until I get the PR status? It's already difficult not being able to see him much now, but I wonder once we're married if the CIC looks unfavorably on the fact that I wouldn't be living with him or does that matter? OR Do I go live with him for 6 months (giving up my apartment which would be my current US permanent address), we get married, then start the outland filing process and ask for an extension to my stay to be there longer after the 6 months is up? I have read hundreds of posts today and still haven't seen this same scenario...thanks so much for sharing your story & for helping others through this arduous process.

--diane 2013-04-26

Hello, Diane, thanks for taking the time to write. Your story isn't really that unique, I would think you'd find arguments for both courses of action among people who've tried one or the other. We did the latter of your two choices because a) we were already married and had only one apartment and b) wanted to stay together - Japan and Canada are many Skype hours apart, and travel cost between them is nuts. I can't comment authoritatively on whether "the CIC looks unfavorably on the fact that I wouldn't be living with him" but it didn't seem to impact our application at all. Then again, we were already married and had a child (plus, I had been a volunteer with the Canadian consular services with the embassy's emergency warden program - I was more-or-less familiar to the staff at the embassy). I would suggest that you look at the practicalities: e.g.: 1. If you marry now, would your family and his be able to attend a wedding together - this is the sort of thing that the CIC folk seem to like as proof of a valid marriage. 2. Frankly speaking, consider what six (more) months being apart will be like - remember that you'd possibly have a good deal of difficulty crossing the border with an application in the works. This "seems" (wherever you see me use this word, beware that I'm writing based on the urging of other people I've spoken/corresponded with about these topics) to be entirely in the hands of the individual border guard you talk to upon arrival - your husband would be the one doing all of the travel. Also consider that the strains of the process (and your not being able to work or study in Canada if you're living in Canada) can cause friction between you and spouse. In which of your situations are you more likely to face greater stress and strain, and more likely to overcome the stresses and strains? P.S. I don't know if six months is the real scope of it: these things can drag on in for a good deal longer. Ours was ten months all in. 3. Conversely, the opposite also holds true. We were warned repeatedly that my wife should not attempt to leave the country while our application was in progress. Due, again, to the difficulties some people "seem" to face re-entering Canada if they have a PR application in the works. I was told by several correspondents about horror stories like PR applications needing to be re-started, being forbidden, etc etc. So, if you go with moving to Canada and then go home to see your family, things could go badly for you if you attempt re-entry. We wound up doing this due to a family emergency in Japan (these, you can't plan for) and everyone on the forums told me, "Are you crazy?" 4. If you took the second route, you wouldn't be able to work in Canada, nor have health insurance for the duration plus an additional three month application phase even after you are granted PR status. If you become pregnant, there is no form of health coverage that will cover things adequately. My wife became pregnant during our ten months PR wait, and the only insurance I could buy was strictly for emergencies, not for conditions such as pregnancy. 5. How are you going to find work in Canada if you're in the US? Or can you work remotely for an American employer or work out some other solution. Whatever you do, I strongly recommend that you use the outland application. Those are my thoughts. Beware the "seem"s, they may all amount to needless worry. All the best with your undertaking and your new life in Canada. We started all of this just over two years ago, and it's already fading from memory. We're happily together with two children (one born in Japan, one here) and all is going well. I don't know if you've ever lived outside of the US before, but I can tell you from having lived not only in Japan but in Australia as well that living abroad is still living abroad: even a country that's very similar to your own is quite an adventure. Mari likes several things about Canada that have surprised her, it's her first foreign residency. P.S. Maybe a third solution could be, "Come to Canada, get married, live together, go to the US after your six months are up, and stay in the US for the (hopefully brief) duration?"
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hey Michael, cheers this really helped me in preparing a speech for my grandmother that passed away recently, I was a bit stumped on how to write things but seeing your speech gave me ideas on how to start it and finish. Thanks so much.

--Ray 2013-05-02

Glad to hear it, Ray. All the best with your speech and here's looking to a better day when your grief is past.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hey Michael, Thanks a lot for posting this speech .I too had a grandfather, until day-before-yesterday. I hope i can make up a decent speech for him. It helped , so thanks bro :)

--Dhruvin 2013-05-02

Thanks for writing, Dhruvin. I'm very glad my humble website could help. All the best to you and your family, and good luck with the speech.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thanx very much for posting the speech.It has helped me to finish my assignment on time.

--jared luvaha 2013-05-08

What assignment was that, Jared?
--Michael

Another glorious day in Toronto. Your mayor does scandal the right way, with copious amounts of cocaine!

--Audrey 2013-05-17

Yes, we're very proud. The fact that no one even bats an eye at this news is what's really tragic. Even just has a chuckle and says, "Yup, what a dunce," and moves on. It's like we're conditioned not to expect any better or any change.
--Michael

I think the article is interesting but you definitely did not need to ad the PS and the subsequent derogatory comments. Shame.

--John Neely 2013-05-19

Such are the hazards of allowing comments on the web site! 8^) Are you researching the subject of the word's origins? As with everything these days, there's a Wikipedia entry that explores more possibilities, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canuck.
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

What are you thoughts about shooting a ring that doesn't go 360 degrees? The bottom of the shank may be shot separately and layered in using photoshop. I haven't tried this myself but I was thinking about trying it. It would be a good solution, if it works that is, to have a holder that is notched out like a ring gift box, sponge covered with card stock, take the picture with the bottom of the shank missing and then take another picture with the ring upside down so it is easy to match together with photoshop. Great tutorial by the way, thank for doing this.

--Tammy 2013-05-24

That's an interesting idea. I found that any kind of holder for the jewelry at all wound up being reflected in the metal and left strange lines that ran against the shape of the piece in weird ways. I've seen this many times in the jewelry photography I've seen since. But I'd be interested to see your results, especially how it works out with turning the ring and stitching the results in photoshop. Would you mind sending along a pic of two once you're happy with it?
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thanks I loved it. Using Parts for my grandads funeral.

--Megan 2013-05-26

Glad it could help.
--Michael

HI I am Dr. Bhavik Patel. My wife lives in canada and she is living as permanent residence and she is eligible for citizen of canada. We have applied for spousal PR. CIC has told us that she is eligible for sponsorship and they have sent our application to New Delhi. Now the processing time in New Delhi stats almost 10 months. Its way too long. We already miss each other so much. now she is having vacation of one month from her job. She wants to come back to India for a month. Will it affect our Spousal Application if she returns to India for a month?

--Dr.Bhavik Patel 2013-05-26

From what I have read, this sort of thing does not seem to cause any problems. It seems to be an issue when the sponsored spouse makes trips into the country. But that's just my recollection when I was reading about these things two years ago, I'm really not qualified to say. Perhaps your wife should call the CIC help line and ask them?
--Michael

i know this is older now, but my wife and I have been trying this now for four years and it never gets easier. Your so right with the wait, we have applied four times and with little or no word from immigration. Once we went through the Canadian embassy in Bern, Switzerland and we have not received anything in the mail.... just nothing. I mean even when you call Canadian immigration the representative on the phone told me that there is NO WAY to tell if they got my application or not until the time of processing. I am Canadian and my wife is swiss we were married in Canada and even our son was born in Canada ($5000 birth). I can live and work in Switzerland no problem immigration there took two weeks SERIOUSLY!!! TWO WEEKS. We just went to the village office and handed them the correct paperwork and 9 days later we got a phone call to come to Aarau for me to get my photo taken for an auslander ausweiss (sp) a week later I got my card in the mail... just like that. The difficult thing is that my wife hates how dense the population is in Switzerland and after spending a summer with me at my parents farm she also wanted to have a more laid back (less stressful) life like that. I have farmed my whole life so when it comes to getting a job in Switzerland I'm at a loss. No papers means no Job, even when you spend 1200 on german courses and a work placement agency. So like yourself I too thought canadian immigration would be a simple venture. 4applications later 4 years 11months and still counting The most heartbreaking thing is about every spring if we never heard anything back from Canadian Immigration ( about every 12 months) we apply again. Well this time my wife asked me if we could immigrate somewhere else besides canada. She hates having to get all our pictures rounded up from our wedding and go in for her ''Yearly'' medical for the soul purpose of waiting and not knowing whether or not we will be approved, plus the fact that after 3months she can't drive in canada just stay at home. I know some couples go for years trying to get their spouse into Canada but I suppose we're the ones that just give up and go somewhere else. Sure makes a fella disappointed in his country. Well I hope everyone else has better luck than we did

--Alexander 2013-05-28

I wish I could say that your story surprises me. Can I ask which method you're using to apply? Sure the "outland" method? I'm just flabbergasted that you've applied repeatedly and have never heard anything? Can you have your parents contact their MP, perhaps? Surely *someone* can help!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Best speech ever mate.great wisdom words carefully

-- 2013-06-01

Glad I could help.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

thanks for posting this, its beautiful, really helped me in my assignment :)

--sami 2013-06-02

Glad it could help. I have to say, that whenever I see a comment related to a school assignment I wonder what the purpose of the assignment is...
--Michael

Hi Michael! Your information has been the BEST so far on the internet as it was very detailed and settled my mind a bit. My situation is that I am a Canadian citizen and I want to sponsor my Fiance who is currently in France (he is a French citizen). I am wondering which route would be best to take. He is thinking of applying to a working holiday visa in Canada, and then we would get married THEN apply for the visa. This way he could work up to a year and 6 months within Canada and be free to do as he likes. This would be an inland process. Another option is he comes soon and we get married, he goes back to France and we do the applications outland, while I am here and he is in France. Which option in your opinion is better? Also, he lived and worked in the UK for two years so we would have to get the criminal security clearance before he comes to Canada right? Another thing is I am a Master's student with fluctuating employment in the Government (I'm in the capital) but I hear even if I do not have a job while I am applying if I apply with a family member (like my mom) I can still be considered as a financially capable sponsor, does that work as well? I wish this whole process was easier and more clear but if you could answer my questions and point me in the right direction regarding online resources, it would MUCH appreciated. Thanks in advance, Katya

--Katya 2013-06-05

Congratulations on your decision to marry, I hope this visa stuff doesn't diminish your happiness in any way. It didn't ours! And for that reason, I advocate that you try the working vacation visa route and tough it out while you're together. We couldn't imagine having spent a year apart, I don't think it would have worked out. I can't comment on involving a parent in the application, I've never heard of anyone attempting a third party entering an application. But I can offer you some advice on the inland/outland thing: even if your fiancé is with you in Canada, use the "outland" process. From what I've read, it was always considered the normal route, and the "inland" route was designed for people with no standing in the country. I don't think this is what you want. But please drop into some of the forums as I recommend on my website. There are some extremely knowledgeable and helpful people there. You've done well to start researching this stuff, keep it up.
--Michael

Try sending this as an email to tcook@apple.com, you may be surprised in the response.

-- 2013-06-05

Yeah, I'll do that. e_e
--Michael

a custom wooden toy

Very interesting thread. My situation is I am in the middle of an internship in Shanghai and will go for holidays to Tokyo for a week in August. I have only one entry on my 180 days duration visa which means I can t go back with this visa if I leave chinese territory. My plan is to apply for a 30 days visa (duration long enough to complete my internship) in one of the agency you mentionned. Yet, i m a bit worried they would be reluctant to process it as I will just be coming out of China. Do you have any idea if they would actually bother ? Also, if you have the contact details of one of this agency. Please don't hesitate to share it. Many thanks in advance!

--Pierre 2013-06-14

Sorry, Pierre, I really have no idea and no solid leads for you. It's been quite a while since I went through it all, and given how quickly things change my notes might be completely out of date.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Dear Michael, Thank you for posting this, it's a beautiful funeral speech.

--funeral speech 2013-06-15

Very glad you liked it.
--Michael

Dear Michael, Thank you for answering in advance all my questions. The information found in this forum is gold. However, I couldn't find answer to my situation yet: I wonder how should I process. I know that outland process is faster than inland. I'm canadian and my girlfriend or fiancée is cambodian and lives in Cambodia. We are planning to get married in Cambodia next year in January 5, 2014. The restaurant and the wedding planner have been reserved and deposit have been made, we have of course the receipt or the contract to confirm. My plane tickets has already been bought leaving Canada to Cambodia on Dec. 25. My families plane tickets also have been purchased. However, I find that Dec. 25 is way too long before I see my girlfriend again. Therefore, I'm planning to get her a Visitor visa for 1 month for August. Once she get here, we will get married here in Canada and do the outland process AFTER she's back to Cambodia. By processing that way, I figure it out that her application will be in CIC agent's hand for about 5 months already before we get married in Cambodia. The other alternative is I will go to Cambodia this August and get a civil marriage and then apply outland as well. Of course the wedding planned for January 5, 2014 is still on schedule. Which way is the best in your opinion? Do you think the CIC will grant her the Visitor Visa since we have proof that she will be back for our wedding in Cambodia? If we use the second alternative, would the CIC might grant her her PR even thought we didn't do yet our wedding ceremony? If they required wedding ceremony pictures, would they keep our file on hold and will ask us to send them pictures of our wedding ceremony? Today with the goverment cutting lots of public servant services and jobs, how long would it take generally in your opinion to complete the process compared to 6 months average it used to be? On the website, it say 26 months to process a spouse application at the Singapore visa office, do I really need to wait 26 months?!? I'm freak out, please reassure me, thanks a lot. Thank you SO MUCH for your answer. Sim

--Sim 2013-06-17

Sim; The lastest I heard last week was that the people who do this work at the visa offices were actually on strike. I don't know if that's over, but yes, generally the durations that are posted to the websites are about right! If I were you, I would marry in Canada, have the celebration in Cambodia, then file the application. You want your application to be as strong as possible when you file it. This means lots of evidence that the marriage is real, including photos of her with your family in Canada, photos of you with her family in Cambodia, and if possible, photos of your family and hers together. This also goes for friends. You want to have proof that the two of you are known to be together by her friends and your friends, and that you appear together in public. I'm very sorry that our government has arranged things like this. In my case it took us a year from when we started gathering the proof and writing the application to when my wife had her PR, was landed, and had her health insurance (just in time, as she was pregnant). 26 months would normally sound insane but I believe it completely.
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

Found your page by googling "a bird pooped on my head" as this just happened to me in Chicago today (for the first time). I also have a dragon tattoo, so I expect many more run-ins with bird shit over the coming years. Cheers.

--Jason Rood 2013-06-19

Welcome to the club, Jason!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Dear Michael, Thanks for sharing your speech. I have to write a speech for my grandfather's funeral and I found yours most helpful. Thanks for sharing! Wilhelm

--Wilhelm 2013-06-24

Thanks for your note, Wilhelm. All the best to you and your family in this time of loss. Good luck with your speech.
--Michael

Sir, I don't know what you're fussing about in your article. A leather strap, if you wear your watch regularly, do wear out after a year or so and would need replacing. And why are you going back to St. Moritz to get another strap when you can order straps on the internet in any size, material, and style for as little as $10.00 or less? What kind of special support are you expecting from that company for something as trivial as a watch strap? It's not like you bought a PP, VC, AP, ALS, JLC, Breguet, or other high end luxury watches, and an original strap would enhance the ownership experience. Your St. Moritz is made up of parts from mixed origins of dubious quality. They could be made in Japan, SE Asia, China, even India and Vietnam; I certainly would not trust what the company claims regarding the water resistance rating of its watches without some proven track record. Don't even bother to spend any money on repairing your screwed up watch, the cost of the repair is more than what you paid for the purchase of it. I use to wear a Swatch Irony a few years ago. When I took it to my watchmaker to change the battery, I asked him if I need to have my Swatch serviced periodically like a mechanical watch, to which he replied not to bother because the cost of the service or repair would be more than what I paid for the watch originally. Therefore, I might as well throw it away and buy another one if servicing is ever needed. That's what you should do with your St. Moritz; it's junk, throw it out. Did you say you spent $300 on your watch? Instead of a St. Moritz, you could have bought a pretty decent model from the following list of manufactures: Seiko, Citizen, Casio, Swiss Army (or Swiss Military), Swatch, even Timex. Those contain Japanese/Swiss ETA/American made movements and parts which are most likely more reliable and better known than an obscure, mad cap brand like St. Moritz.

--JTK 2013-06-25

What I'm fussing about is that I paid for a watch that I did not expect to be worthless in 2-3 years. As a Canadian, I tried buying a product "made" here. In sharing my story, I hope that others won't make the same decision for the same reason. Between citing both Timex, a Swatch you had to throw away, and various expensive name brands, I'm not at all sure what you're advocating in your comment?
--Michael

hey , my name is noureddine , my wife lives in victoria canada we got refuse appeal (sponsership) , now we are going to re-apply , how long we have to wait for do it again , and we are plaining to have a kid , does it will help us ,,? THANKS for reply michael

--noureddine 2013-07-01

Sorry to hear it, Noureddine. I don't really know the answer to your questions, I believe that if you used the Outland process you can apply again. See the CIC website for this sort of thing Also, you didn't leave me your contact details, I cannot respond.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Pwuh, heart felt, micheal can i use it as a funeral speech for my assignment

--Joy 2013-07-01

Certainly, Joy. What's the assignment?
--Michael

Interesting hypoyhesis you have there! However I disagree and here's why... Tyrannosaurus rex was 4 m longer than Allosaurus And had a bite force of up to 3,300lbs. Also Tyrannosaurus rex Had thick serrated teeth that could cut through bone and it had an infectious, toxic bite that could kill an animal of infection within hours! What kind of scavenger has all those things? The only reason it looks like T-Rex is a scavenger in your article is because you have found a bad illustration of T-Rex and have taken advantage of it. P.S: I think it's great (although slightly strange and illogical) of you to think of something one million miles outside of the box!

--Riley Hall 2013-07-04

Hello, Riley; Obviously there aren't too many scavengers like T-Rex, that's true. There's a BBC video that you can watch on Youtube that amongst other things shows the developmental stages of the T-Rex and shows how they lost the serrated knife-like teeth as they aged. At the same time, their snouts shortened. It's basically looking like the older animals were full-time scavengers and not hunters. http://youtu.be/IEndtU0GniQ Here's one of the sources on (adult?) T-Rex being too heavy and having far too little muscle mass to run. http://stanford.io/YloAZk There's nothing out there about T-Rex having a poisonous bite other than pure conjecture. The only claims that have been made on that front were about Sinornithosaurus, but those claims have been contested. http://bit.ly/12JqcfR Thanks for writing!
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

Lol I am actually trying to quit drinking.on Friday I had to walk past my Fav bar and go home, it was really tough but I did it, a few minutes after some birds flew over Me and dropped poop On me, landed on my arm and laptop bag, it felt like God Pat me on my back.

--Damola 2013-07-07

Outstanding attitude, Damola! All the best in realizing your goal.
--Michael

The issue with Mister Griffiths view is that he argues that certain inalienable rights (like the right to vote, enter the country freely, etc.) are now tied to your income tax status. That removes the "inalienable" status from those rights. I also should note that the minute I begin to work in Canada again I am immediately taxable on my Canadian source income. However I am not allowed to avail myself of healthcare or education rights for six months. Until then I have to provide private cover for myself. The moment I am eligible for healthcare and education is the moment I am taxable on my worldwide income. So it seems the system is largely equitable as it stands and needs no further tweaking. The case of the Lebanon evacuation was extreme and not representative of the norm by the way. The Canadian Government makes it clear that I am largely on my own when abroad. IF I can get to a consulate THEN the Government will TRY to help but for the most part I must care for myself (and do). IF the Government has resources to hand to get me out THEN they will try and do so but again, otherwise, I am on my own. That said if a fair fee for consular registration is the answer then so be it. I'm not averse to paying for that service. It is no different to paying for insurance but note here that if the proverbial hits the fan I then expect a proper rescue effort rather than using a conveniently located warship to come and get me (and then apply full costing to justify taxing ex-pat Canadian workers as if they lived in Canada). Focusing on the more important issue though much of what is argued should be tied to tax status above are supposed to be inalienable rights of Canadian citizens - Ability to enter Canada freely at any time; (This is my birthright. Nothing more needs to be said here. For those that got citizenship and later left, for any reason, it's a perq but not one that infers any real cost on Canadians. FYI I see loads of non-Canadians at YVR subjected to much more rigour to enter the country and they aren't handing over a credit card to cover the cost of entry either so not sure where the "user pays" model fits here Professor Chant!) Easier entry and exemption from visa requirements when traveling to many other countries; (FYI this is a benefit of our Nation working well with our neighbours and, to a much larger extent of Canadian expatriates such as myself not being troublesome visitors to most countries - with the last point in mind you have to ask who is earning the benefit for who here? To an extent its us Expats, like the author living in Japan, that make it easier for Canadian residents on holiday to get in as the ex-pats demonstrate that Canadians are low risk, good value visitors) Consular services including protection if charged with criminal offences and assistance with other legal matters; (Generally assistance and protection here is limited at best and families must still fund their own legal defense in a criminal proceeding. Most legal assistance is provided to corporate citizens seeking to establish businesses abroad which is supposed to drive taxable income back to Canada but thanks to corporate tax structuring rarely does). Transfer to Canada to serve sentences for offenses committed on foreign soil; (Really? This applies to how many of the 2.7 million Canadians living abroad? really? this is a material benefit? This is the most absurd thing I've ever read - Professor Chant ) Eligibility for resident tuition fees and post-secondary financial assistance; (Only once I've been in Canada six months and am paying taxes) Easier qualification for healthcare benefits on return to Canada (Ummm that's because access to Government sponsored Health Care is a RIGHT for all of Canada's citizens...but despite that I still have to wait six months, which, (not so) coincidentally is when I'm fully taxable on my world wide income, to avail myself of this benefit). So the good Professor who wrote this is clearly talking out of his left ass cheek. I agree with Michael - if we are to be taxed as Canadians then we definitely get FULL rights as Canadians...even if one can strongly argue that if they were truly "RIGHTS" then it would have nothing to do with tax.

--Rory 2013-07-10

Brilliant commentary, Rory! I hadn't really considered the inalienable aspect of some of those rights. Possibly because I put up with following the rules on severing all of my ties with Canada when I left, and eventually of course my right to vote was taken away. I guess like to many Canadians in too many circumstances, I just did what I was told! One small point - I discovered that health coverage started for me three points after arriving. Maybe the distinction between three and six months is provincial? In any event, my son, Canadian by birth but born in Tokyo, was granted health care coverage immediately. Something that no one bothered to tell me about, causing me to needlessly spend on the very limited private coverage available here. In the end, the whole concept seems like easy vote buying from the portion of the Conservative base that's xenophobic and/or probably never had the opportunity to live abroad. And not a matter of any particular rationale. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

This article is hilarious!!...I was laughing out loud about your "moron co-workers" not telling you! such a great read..truely made my day! I had an interview today and then walked around the park and city for two hours before going home and just as i walked through the door.. there it was comfortably laying on my shoulder.. a miniature mushy brown look-alike dog shit! i could almost see the steam coming out from it...no idea how long its been there! I REALLY hope I got the job!!

--Jules 2013-07-11

Well if there's any truth to bird shit bringing good luck, then you'll have landed the job for sure. 8^) Thanks for leaving a comment,
--Michael

Hi i'm from philippines my husband sponsoring me and our daughter last year. He send a complete app. In canada last nov.5 2012. June 7 2013 manila canadian embassy requesting my original passport and also my daughter's passport. And july 9 2013 according to ecas "medical result have been made" when i check my email. So what will be the next ? And how long will it take? Thank u and i hope that you will answer my question.

--catherine 2013-07-12

No one outside the system really seems to know how ECAS is updated. But if the embassy in Manila has asked for your passport that's a very good sign. In fact, the turnaround from November has been excellent! I'd guess you only have a few weeks left to wait. Good luck, and welcome to Canada!
--Michael

I am so glad I came across your article and can get a better understanding of how frustrating this process can be. I have done much research over the last 2 years of dating my fiance. At one point he actually broke it off thinking he couldn't tolerate us living apart, but in the end we were meant to be. We are to be married in October in Canada, and plan on completing all paperwork immediately following. I am applying outland due to the supposed quickness of the application as well as I am going to live in the US to financially support myself/have health coverage and save for him and I to buy a house when I move to Canada. I have heard it is up to the border agent to let me into Canada once the process has been started but more acceptable to come and go into Canada with proof of established residence & work in US compared to applying inland where you are unable to return to Canada once you leave & application is in process. After 2 years of being apart and understanding it will take months, I plan to have all paperwork, letters from family/friends, photos in order to prevent delay in anyway that I can. I pray I am only looking at 8-10 months after marriage of being away from my soon to be hubby and step-daughter, I miss them a ton! Are there any other suggestions or words of wisdom from anyone that has had success with this process?? I never thought I'd be in love and follow someone to another country but I hope Canada's goverment doesn't keep a true genuine marriage/love apart! Good luck to everyone on here! ~Erica

--Erica 2013-07-14

To speed things along, it would be best to get your background check in your country (and in the US, once you've moved there) initiated as close as possible to the wedding date. They can take a couple of months. Also, schedule your medical tests for around the wedding date. If you're having anyone write letters confirming your relationship, make sure you get those in quickly. Get through all of the application forms and make sure you've got the correct information - don't leave any doubts unanswered. The best bet in that case is a forum (such as the ones I reference on my web page). In the mean time, collect "proof" (e.g. photos) of the two of you spending time together: in public; with friends; with family. Good luck with your application!
--Michael

I accidentally killed a fish due to cooking as well. I left my fishy with a roommate while I went away for a weekend trip. One part my fault, the water level was a little low when I left, then over the weekend really scorching temps. The water evaporated below the sensor on the tank heater, so the heater turned on and never turned off. Got back, immediately noticed the fishy was suffering, somehow still alive, put in normal temp water and the shock was too much for him. Floater....

--Audrey 2013-07-19

Ah, no. That's even worse.... And now we're back to dry and warm (not hot by any stretch). No doubt it'll happen once or twice more during the summer, pity it has to happen at all.
--Michael

Hi,i am from pakistan.my husband in Canada and apply 4 PR on Dec 2011. Now after almost 18 months I receive a letter for additional information. Which I send to visa office. Actually I want to now what happens next.how much long time period remains. With due respect I will wait.

--samina 2013-07-24

I suggest that you look for a forum where others from Pakistan are going through the same process. You'll doubtless find the information you need there. Have a look at this, for instance: http://www.canadavisa.com/canada-immigration-discussion-board/index.php Check under "family class".
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hi Michael, Did you ever think this post would still be helping people over 2 yrs after you posted? I just lost my grandfather last Saturday and the thought of writing a few words was just overwhelming. Thanks for alleviating some of my stress.

--Michelle 2013-07-24

I'm glad it could help, Michelle. All the best to you and your family in this difficult time. P.S. I originally wrote and posted this in the late 90's, it's been about fourteen years. 8^/
--Michael

Coincidentally, I got a really hard rain at 7/23 in Tokyo. I love the phrase "the sky opened up". It's cool expression.

--Shinsuke Satoi 2013-07-26

How are you Satoi-san? I'll send you an email. 8)
--Michael

Hello. I was wondering if someone might be able to help me on this one. I'm Colombian and married a canadian citizen, we have a beatiful baby girl and we applied from inside canada, about 6 months ago. My status in the country is legal because I came under a visitors visa and becuse I sent my work permit application with my permanent residency application, I can stay in the country legally. My question is: I have a multiple entry visa and I wish to go back to my country 1 month so my family can meet our baby. do you know if under my circunstances is that possible??? thank you.

--nath 2013-07-27

Hello! No, I don't know what your status is but the re-entry visa should be valid no matter your application process. My wife was living with me and our son in Canada as a visitor and had her PR application in progress when she went back to her country (Japan). She managed to get back into the country without issue. That said, since Colombia is not an exempt country, you may find that some border services personnel will react differently. Some of our border services people are great, some not so much. My advice: carry your daughter's Canadian passport (do not attempt to leave Canada without your daughter having a passport), whatever proof you have that you're the child's mother, and a copy of your PR application including copies of all of the proofs that you collected, etc. It's a bit of a pain to drag such a folder around, but I've been told that it can save you a lot of grief. P.S. Congrats on the little one, we have a baby girl as well.
--Michael

review: Minolta X-700 camera

I moved house recently after 30 years in one place, and I have just unearthed my X-700 from way back when, and am about to put a film through it. It all seems to be working fine so far. Results will tell. And I found its predecessor, an XG-M, which also works after cleaning up the battery contacts, so a film will be going through that as well. I have four Minolta lenses for them - 55mm f2, 35-70mm f3.5, 100mm f3.5 and 250mm f5.6 mirror lens, and two others - a Soligor 35mm f2.8 and a Vivitar 24mm f2. Should have some fun with all that.

--Mike Gwynne 2013-08-02

I've found that I keep coming back to film, and to my X-700 bodies, time and again. It brings back a lot of the simply joy of photography. I have a 35-70mm f/3.5 as well. And I've always enjoyed my 24mm lens on the X-700, such a nice balance to hold in addition to great results.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hi Michael my grandfather passed away yesterday. i wasnt sure how to right a speach. but when i looked at thise post. i thought it is going to be hard and emotional but i'm going to get through it.

--Crystal 2013-08-06

I'm sorry for your loss, Crystal. All the best with your speech.
--Michael

Hi Michael Thanks for all your helpful advice. I am in a same sex relationship and my girlfriend is an american citizen I am a Canadian citizen. We will be getting married next year and I will then begin the process to bring her to Canada. The obvious choice for us would be to take the outland application as it seems to be much quicker process. I know an American can be in Canada for up to 6 months. What I would like advice on is if we are to be married is it best for her to stay here until she is contacted to attend an interview in America. Or; is it best that she returns to America until contacted. I guess our concern is that once she leaves to attend the interview there will be a long wait before she may return. How likely is the border to turn someone away when they are going to visit their wife. What would be an average wait time between the interview and obtaining a pr if approved. Also will she be eligible to apply for a job and care card at that time. Thank you and best regards Christina

--Christina 2013-08-08

To put the quickest answers first: I don't know how long the wait between two stages of the process might be; but it's not a sure thing that either of you will be called for an interview. My wife wasn't. As a visitor she will have no rights to work here and will have no access to public health coverage. In fact, she'll have to buy travel insurance. Curiously, while you can do this from Canadian carriers, it's nowhere near as comprehensive as the provincial plan (e.g. my wife had no coverage at all for her pregnancy until the health coverage through the province kicked in near the end). The way it works for adults is there is a waiting period after you've landed in the province: in Ontario this is three months; I understand it's different in other provinces. Once she's got her PR visa in her passport, you'll do the flag-poling thing at the US border and then she can go directly to the various offices to apply for a SIN, provincial health coverage, etc. The SIN takes a few weeks. Given that she can stay here for six months at a time, it might work out for you to live here together and have her return to the US every six months so that she's not overstaying her visit. I've read a variety of anecdotes about problems with re-entry, but there seem to be many more who have no problem. I get the sense that people who give the appearance of treating the whole thing with due respect seem to have fewer problems. As I advised another visitor to the site recently, ensure that she takes a copy of the application paperwork with her when she leaves, so that she can show all of the forms and gathered proofs etc. My wife did this on an emergency trip to Japan and was fine.
--Michael

Hi Michael, thanks for helping me and my small son to build up some models I liked when I was a child! Stefan

--Stefan 2013-08-11

Glad I could help!
--Michael

Great news Michael...

--Agent Vanilla :-) 2013-08-12

Thanks!
--Michael

I bought a Momentum watch with rubber watchband at REI and swim with it, run with it also. No problems. Keeps uncannily accurate time.

--David 2013-08-14

Glad to hear it David, I'm envious. Thanks for leaving a note.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thanks for this wonderful speech... God bless everyone..

--Jules 2013-08-17

Thanks for your comment, Jules. 8)
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

I stumbled upon your article after someone on the street told me that a bird crapping on you was considered good luck. I'm still not convinced it's good luck, but sir, I believe you deserve an award for getting crapped on so many times and having such a great attitude about it! Yesterday, I was standing next to my car parked next to a meter covered in bird crap. I didn't think much of it until something hit my head. Mind you, I have long brown hair that hits me mid-back. I put my hand to my hair and pulled out a giant wad of pigeon crap. I screamed so loud that the entire street probably thought I was dying. Needless to say, I spent the end of my vacation standing on the side of street having my bf pour a water bottle on my freshly washed and styled hair. We didn't end up going to lunch because I was too upset. If it is considered good luck, let's hope that it carries over to my job interview in 2 days! Either that or it saved me from getting food poisoning at the hot dog place we were about to eat at. Oh and oddly enough, I have a dragon tattoo too, though I can't say I've been crapped on so generously as you've been. Let me tell you though, trying to wash out bird crap from your long hair is not an easy or sanitary task. Maybe we should invest in hats and raincoats.

--Tawny 2013-08-19

You know, it almost happened to me again the other day as well; I held a door open for some colleagues and a pigeon just above crapped all down the inside glass surface of the door. Still, I'd rather be cleaning that then my hair. All the best with the job interview. You've got your secret good luck weapons - you can't miss.
--Michael

This is a great article, definitely some gems of wisdom in there. I've been studying for the PMP certification exam for some time now, and any extra help or thoughts I can get, I really appreciate. I've also been using some of these practice exams below that have really helped me. I thought I'd share in case anybody is interested, it could really help: http://www.pmperfect.com/Public/PMPPracticeExams.aspx

--Lucy M. 2013-08-18

Thanks for the comments, Lucy. Good luck with your attempt! (Getting people through the PMP's becoming something of an industry in of itself, isn't it.)
--Michael

Hi Michael, I've gathered information on your forum but I still have some questions. I have been living in Japan for almost 5 years and I'm a Canadian near the Toronto area. I have a girlfriend who will soon move in with me. We have pictures together, I met her family, she's coming to my brothers wedding next year (March 2014) so she'll get pictures taken with my family. I plan to go back to Canada with her in 1 to 2 years later. What is the best route we should take? The outland route? Should we get married in Japan then after start the outland route in order of her to stay with me in Canada? Any information would be greatly appreciated, Thank you!

--Mark 2013-08-23

We seem to have a fair bit in common, I was in Japan for five years as well. Yes, you want to do the outland route; I've been told that the inland route was originally designed as something like a perpetual amnesty plan for sponsoring spouses who've been living in Canada without status; it's a one-shot deal, it's slower, etc. Getting married certainly wouldn't hurt your claim. Other than that, some wrinkles we uncovered (in no particular order): 1. Should she become pregnant, she won't have health coverage in Ontario that will cover pregnancy or child birth expenses until she has standing in. The private coverage you can buy in Canada simply doesn't cover those things. 2. She won't have an SIN until after she obtains her PR visa, so she won't be legally able to work, and I believe that staying here as a visitor she'd also by unable to enroll in school. 3. Flying back and forth during the process can be tricky; if you file the application then come here I'm not sure you can predict the outcome with the border services people; they sometimes seem to bar re-entry. Same thing if you move here, file, then she leaves and re-enters. 4. Living apart seems like a pointlessly difficult burden, but the inability to work/study or otherwise be productive has its strains as well. Oh; the Tokyo visa office is now shuttered, so you'll be going through Manila. And all of the visa offices are currently undergoing a strike by the staff, so you'll have to watch for news on that front as well.
--Michael

What a nice Chinpun and a cute Kanpun!! They look all angel to me!

--Shinsuke Satoi 2013-08-27

8) Thanks for the comment, Satoi-san.
--Michael

Troll? Really? Fantastic! So I wish I might have some "Hobbit Zashiki Warashi" blood in my line.

--Shinsuke Satoi 2013-08-27

I'm sure there are plenty of people who confuse the real versus fictional nature of both trolls and vikings. 8^/ Thanks for leaving a comment!
--Michael

Hello, I'm Czech and I have been living in Canada for 10months with Working Holiday Visa, which expires at the end of October.My fiancé is Canadian citizen and we are going to marry soon. I have read a lot of forum about this problem etc. so as soon as we get married I should apply for Outland PR (it was suggested for shorter time of processing then the Inland PR), so while the processing I am Not allowed to work in Canada,right? Do you think,that all the processing I have to go through I can do alone, I mean without any lawyer? How does it work with carecard if I live in BC? Any suggestions?

--Gabriela 2013-08-29

Hello, Gabriela; You don't need a lawyer, the actual filing is fairly straightforward, and you've found the forums where you can get a lot of support which is a good start. I've heard of way too many problems with lawyers: despite what they say, they can't speed up the process, for instance; also, there seem to be many lawyers who charge outrageous fees and leave you to do all the work. Since you already have a working holiday visa, I would have a look at what it would take to get another one or a working visa if possible. I really have no experience in that area, but whatever you do, I recommend that you not try to live in Canada without a visa. If you're here without a visa and you're not from a visa-exempt country (as you know, the Czech Republic requires a TRV), you're both breaking the law and potentially jeopardizing your PR visa application. Speaking as someone who was once ejected from Japan over a visa issue, I strongly urge you to stay legit. ;) Many people marry, start their application, then live apart for the duration. If you have to spend some time apart because of your visa issue, bear in mind that some sponsored spouses stay in a third country such as the US. Whatever you do, keep the CIC advised of your updates (e.g. where you've moved, if you've become pregnant, etc.). All the best, and keep learning about the situation and asking questions. 8)
--Michael

Hi Michael, I'm about to get married in Japan, and my plan is to then go to Canada to live with my wife. I don't have a job yet to support her though. So I guess my best way to do the PR for her is similar to yours? 1. Go to Canada 2. Get a job 3. She joins me in Canada 4. Application for PR About number 4, can we file the application in Canada but still going through the outside country path, if it does make any sense? Or she has to apply in Japan before she joins me? Also, should she do her medical and background test in Japan? Last question! Can she join me right away after I found a job, any advices? Thank you! Regards David

--David 2013-09-01

Your plan sounds good to me. She can do her medical test here or there, but be sure to use one of the approved clinics/hospitals on the CIC's published list. Her background check will go MUCH faster if she does it in Japan (where it's ten days, as opposed to six-ten weeks done here in Canada!). Yes, she can come join you at any time as long as she keeps to the terms of her visitor status. That is, staying in Canada for no longer than six months on any one visit—that was the duration three years ago anyway. There is a danger that she will be denied entry to Canada should she leave while your visa application is in the works, but I can't quantify that or even explain it. It seems that it's up to the whim of the border services guard you're dealing with. My wife accidentally overstayed her six month period by two weeks, left Japan for a family emergency, and re-entered without problem. But she had with her a) a copy of her entire PR application including all of the evidence (photos, everything), b) our son, who has dual citizenship, and c) a letter from me saying that she had my permission to be traveling with our son. One other comment: you may find, unless you have a solid network in Canada and your overseas visit was brief, that finding a job after returning from overseas can be a bit of a challenge. For some reason, the "recent Canadian experience" thing may be applied to you in spades. I can't explain it. I was thirty years old, an experienced IT hand, and had never seen a job search take more than two weeks when I first came back to Canada (after fifteen months in Australia). It took me three years (in the midst of the post 9/11 mess, mind you) of dealing with "What, you went overseas?" If I were you, I'd start working on rekindling your network here and perhaps be ready to make more than one trip to Canada for the purposes of finding work. All the best, and congratulations on your engagement.
--Michael

Hi there, I check your blogs like every week. Your story-telling style is witty, keep up the good work!

--Chang 2013-09-02

This is more of a collection of stories I've been sent rather than anything I've written. But thanks. 8)
--Michael

久しぶり。 サングラスの建ちゃんかっこいぃ〜! 保育園での優しい建ちゃんの様子も微笑ましいよね。うちは最近日本人のプレイグループに参加していて、他の子たちにはまだまだ馴染めない様子。びっくりして眺めていたり、おもちゃを取り合って叫んだり。ま、他の子を泣かすより泣かされる方が気が楽なので、喧嘩になる前に私が取り上げて相手に渡してるんだけどさ。 里沙が健を怒るのを聞いてると、私が里沙を怒る時にそっくりなので、あんな感じなんだねえ。きついねえ。と思わず笑ってしまうよ。冷や〜っとなることもあるけどね。

--ひとみ 2010-06-09

hi Mari-san and Ken-kun this is ERIKO how's it goin with your everything? anything all right? invisible as Mike- san was, he cried...hahaha that's interesting. It's good hearing from you guys. please say hello to Mari-san and Ken-kun. take care. keep in touch! see ya!

--to Mari , Ken from SHINAGAWA / ERIKO 2011-01-09

Happy birthday Ken-chan! I am Kantaro's mother. Kaede-chan's mother tells me this site and url. How is the new life in Canada? I am not good at english, so is it possible to read Japanese-character on your PC?

--okabe 2011-01-30

元気そうでなにより!!カナダの生活は、慣れたかな?楽しみに日々の日記待ってます!たくさん、聞かせてね☆寒いだろうから、体調に気を付けてね!またねー!

--英子 2011-03-07

my grandfather's funeral speech

My 88 year old grandfather who is a WW II vet is coming home today from the hospital for in home hospice. He was diagnosed with Cancer nearly 3 years ago. He is an amazing man and I want to honor him when he passes. Your speech gave me a great format so I will hopefully be able to convey the perfect message.

--Amy Bryant 2013-09-09

Thanks for leaving your note, Amy. I'm glad you found something to make it easier. All the best to you and your family.
--Michael

Hey, congrats on the CIA and this as well. Are you going to move the family over there? Is it a shortened executive program or a full multi-year thing? Do tell!

--Agent Vanilla 2013-09-10

Thanks! No, no moving, it's all online. There aren't any equivalent programs here in Toronto for some reason; I've made a few inquiries but the program I'm pursuing is by far the best course for me. For instance, with exemptions as a holder of the CIA, I'll be able to complete the degree in a year. I have only a small window left before The Boy starts getting involved in things for which I'll be taking him to regular events and will no longer be able to work 9-10 hour days plus study 1-3 hours a day. I was looking at an MBA but for a variety of reasons figure this is a better use of time, money, and energy.
--Michael

Hi I am a Pakistani and my husband has applied Immigration for me in may 2012, now it has been 16 months we applied, and at that time the processing time was 26 months but now it has increased to 31 months, I want to ask is it going to affect us as well? As we applied it was with all documents completed in every respect.

--M. Khan 2013-09-16

Yes, the changes in processing time apply to everyone who is currently in the process. If you find your case going beyond the 31 months, your husband might do well to contact his member of Parliament just to inquire as to where the application sits. Also, be sure to send the government any updates along the way (such as: changes in residence; pregnancy; etc.). It's obscenely long, isn't it? We really should be able to do better than this as a country. All the best to you and your husband!
--Michael

Yeah, well, Immigration at Mississauga lost my application. Mail tracking shows a guy signed for it in May 2013. I will need to do everything over again. My wife doesn't want to come now. So trust me, it could be worse. Much worse.

--Ignatius Tremere 2013-09-17

That's terrible. Sadly, it's not the first such case I've heard. Where's your wife from?
--Michael

Hi Michael, I just sent off my wife's sponsorship. we have been married over a year and living together 3 years in Kingston,Jamaica. Also we have two beautiful daughters together. I felt alone on this as to why the heck do they need 20 months i sent everything except blood and stool. We have never been apart for more than 3 days in 3 and half years of being together. I am now prepping for the sponsorship application being accepted. I am currently n Alberta and got work within 72 hrs of landing. just curious people who work for CIC and other agencies of government for Canada have told me for past few months now Canada doesn't like separating families and that our sponsorship will be priority and we could get approved within 8-12 months time not 20 months time. i don't know how valid this is coming from these sources could be a case of poor Chinese telephone. just want to know is there anything i can do to help speed up the process or send in to help them validate that our marriage is genuine. I was told once they deem our relationship genuine it should get approval. I m ranting here a bit but everything has been easy for me since i been back except not being with the family. skype helps and unlimited international calling helps but i missed the birth of our second daughter and she will be 4 months next tuesday. any advice will be appreciated. currently our application status on the CIC website is 'Application Received". How long does it take to transition to the next stage and what would the next application statuses be? My first daughter has her Canadian Citizenship and Canadian Passport already. once my second daughter can sit up for a photo i will send for her citizenship and passport which in itself takes almost a year altogether. I understand why they make the process so difficult mainly because so many are getting married just to come here. I feel like the good are suffering for the bad. I'm assuming why each country is given a months time table is dependent on how many applications received from that country. thanks for your time. -Brandon

--Brandon 2013-09-24

Brandon; First, there's nothing you can do to speed up the process once it's begun. As I've advised other readers, be ready to provide any changes in your situation as soon as they occur (e.g. change in residence, a pregnancy, etc.). Secondly, I seriously doubt that you'll find that the processing time will be shorter than the posted times on the CIC website. With the strike by CIC staff ongoing, the waits can't go down! If I were you, I'd take a look at some of the online forums where people discuss these matters. You'll pick up a lot of useful insights, and you'll get a better sense of what the real wait times are like right now for Jamaica. If nothing else some tips on how to stay sane during the time apart etc. I have a link or two on the article you found on my website. Good luck to you and your family. I know it's tough, but this is the system we have. And congratulations on your marriage and on the birth of your child!
--Michael

Hi Michael, I dropped my partner at Glasgow airport this morning for a flight to Calgary. He is a Canadian Citizen and I am British. We have lived together in Glasgow, Scotland for the last 10 years and we have been together for 13 years. Fortunately for us he is now also a British citizen. He has been offered a wonderful job opportunity in Calgary and decided to take it up. He has applied to sponsor me as common law partner and we have waded our way through the forms, collected photos and testimonies from friends and family and provided copies of our joint mortgage and bank accounts here in the UK. I've done my police check and medical and I guess now we just keep our fingers crossed and wait. Being apart will be very hard however we didn't feel that me moving to Canada and being unable to work was a good idea and I certainly would rather be in the UK working and surrounded by friends and family while the whole process is ongoing. I am planning to travel to Canada to visit him for holidays so I am hoping there will be no issue with this. Do you know if you have to declare that you have a PR application in progress? Anyway it is interesting to hear everyone's stories and hopefully we will not experience too many problems but I guess you just never know. I will try to stay positive and keep busy during the wait. Thank you for sharing your experiences of this. Best wishes, Fiona

--Fiona 2013-09-25

> I am planning to travel to Canada to visit him for holidays so I am hoping there will > be no issue with this. Do you know if you have to declare that you have a PR > application in progress? I really don't know, to be honest, but since you're from a visa exempt country I don't expect that there will be a problem. My wife didn't have any problems, and she was living with me in Canada for the duration of our application (and not working). If I were you, I'd plan to declare the application's in progress for sure, and I'd bring a copy of the application and a all of your evidence etc just in case. Also, you didn't mention any kids but if you're travelling with your Canadian-citizen child(ren) that should help (just be sure to have a signed letter from your husband permitting you to travel with the kid(s)). Thank you for sharing as well, and all the best to you and your husband. I hope you enjoy Calgary, I lived there myself for nine years.
--Michael

Hi Mike, Nice forum! I have a couple of questions. My wife is Canadian and I am a US citizen. We plan to move to Canada soon. I am confused about the Inland VS. Outland process. If she applies while we are in Canada what are the pro and cons. When she applies, can I get work permit, would you know the timelines? If She applies while we are in the USA, what are the pro and cons Regards Saad

--Saad 2013-09-27

Hi, Saad. Do not use the "inland" process, I've been told it is primarily intended for families in which the foreign half of the couple has been living in Canada without status. The major drawbacks include that it's one time - if you fail you can't re-apply; this is unlike the standard "outland" process. The other major difference is that the the inland process takes 2x to 5x the time. You'll need a work visa if you want to live here and work here, obviously. Canada and the US have reciprocal agreements, you'll have to figure out a strategy with the CIC website or perhaps by asking around on the forums. If she applies while you're both in the US, you'll be able to stay together and you'll both be able to work. That's a pretty big advantage - my wife was unable to work for the first 10-11 months we lived here because we applied when we were already here. It makes no difference to the application process where you live - what will make more difference is the completeness of your application and how convincing you are as a married couple. I thought that given we had a child that things would be very quick, but it took quite a while. Good luck whatever you do!
--Michael

I bought a Momentum M1 today. At $175 I consider it a really cheap dive watch. I have no real expectations except that it will get me through this weekend. Having said that, Momentum now insists that retailers recite a longish warranty and usage explanation to every purchaser of the watch: How to unscrew the crown, set the date and time, how to screw it back down correctly. The warranty does not cover water damage due to a loose crown. Don't ask me how they would know the difference between loose crown damage or a defective seal... maybe they have moisture indicators in the watch like MacBooks?... Anyways, apart from crown induced water damage, their warranty is two years. When two years is almost up, send the watch back to them. They'll replace the battery, and warranty the watch for another two years. Repeat over and over for the lifetime of the watch. I tend to abandon even expensive watches after two or three years, so how can I lose? If the watch comes back from a diving trip full of water, and they blame me for not screwing down the crown properly, I write a blog post about it and move on to another watch company... like you did.

--daryl 2013-09-27

Good luck with your watch, it seems from the comments that the company is still producing some good watches. Your plan makes sense. I was recently given a 55-year-old German-made watch from a defunct manufacturer that is still keeping great time. I need to wind it daily but it's a reminder that at one time buying a watch wasn't a complete crap-shoot for the budgets of everyday people.
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

I have a bald head an today on the way to mu moms house a bird shited right on my bald head , I said whst luck an smild at myself as I look for something to take it off so I'm waiting for my luck an then I thpught Im alive an well an going to spend the day with my mom so I guess that my luck.

--travis davis 2013-09-30

Gotta laugh and brush it off. Glad you kept smiling, Travis, what else can you do?
--Michael

Hello Michael, First let me thank you for all you do. I need your help with a couple of questions. I am a Canadian and our family is now six generations in Canada. I am now in the Philippines as a tourist this is my second trip. I was married on Sept.2 and Jovelyn, my Filipina wife, gave birth to our daughter Sept.13. So very beautiful. I am waiting for their passports and then all documents will be complete to submit the Spousal Application. Here is the Question ... Do I take the completed Application to The Canadian Embassy in Manila or to a courier and have it sent to Mississauga ? What is best ? ............ If I use a courier and have it sent straight to Mississauga from the Philippines and not use the Canadian Embassy is it still considered a outland application ? Or must I take it to the Embassy in Manila for it to an outland application. Thank you kindly and respectfully. Murray

--Murray Flach 2013-09-30

Having a look at the CIC website in Manila, I see that it says to mail everything to Mississauga. This is what I did for my wife's PR, and she's from Japan (one of the countries now managed by Manila, by the way). Your application will still be considered outland. I believe the inland applications are sent to somewhere in Alberta. Here's the site, you should have a good look at specific instructions that they might have (the old Japanese CIC site, when it existed, had some country-specific notes). P.S. You're very welcome, I do what I to help other people navigate this mine-field.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thank you for sharing this speech. I am speaking at my grandfather's funeral tomorrow and was struggling prior to reading your speech.

--Christy 2013-10-03

Thanks for your comment, Christy. Good luck with your speech, and I wish you and family well in your time of loss.
--Michael

hi I'm from Philippines, my husband sponsoring me last year (october 19, 2012), and now it's been a year since he filed our application, i just had my medical done last august 15, 2013 and they ask for my passport already and sent to Canadian embassy manila last Sept. 2, 2013. I sent an email to their office and it says: " we confirm received the submission containing passport. please be advised that your application is currently queued for review by the visa officer. Should I expect for my visa? How long will I wait before they release my visa? Thank you.

--mickay 2013-10-10

When I was going through the process with my wife, it seemed that Manila was one of the offices that asked for the passport very early in the process but then held it a long time. Hopefully that's now changed, and it's more the way that Tokyo was, where the asked for the passport as the very last step and the PR stamp comes back in the passport in a matter of weeks. If I were you, I'd go to one of the forums that I mention on my website, and ask around for fellow Filipinos/as and see how it's been going recently. All the best with your application, and I hope the rest of your transition to Canada goes smoothly. Who knows, maybe you'll be here just in time for the crippling cold. 8^D
--Michael

Thanks. It was the clearest explanation I've found so far.

--Clay 2013-10-12

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hi its Sphiwe I lost my granddad thursday so am googling the speech 4 him please help

--Sphiwe 2013-10-19

Sorry to hear of your lost, Sphiwe. Is there any advice I can give that's not already in the article on my website?
--Michael

hello, world

Michael, Thanks much for the shitlist! Spammers are the devil's spawn.

--James 2013-10-22

Can't say it's been a pleasure to build, but I'm glad you found it useful James.
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

I got shat on today - perfect end to the perfect month. I had the worst luck ever... until I got shat on! I searched in google cause I wanted to see how people reacted to being shat on. I laughed it off (im a virgin to bird shit). But damn your blog is pretty damn inspirational. Thanks!

--virgin to shite 2013-10-25

Correction, anonymous stranger: you were a virgin to bird shit. Welcome to your deflowered state.
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

When I was a little boy back in the early 1960s I got p1ssed on by a small bird as we were shopping at an old Five-And-Ten. I've been crapped on by birds at least twice already - at one time pigeon poop landed near my left eye and almost blinded me as I was crossing Wall Street in NYC. Today, I just got crapped on again as I was waiting for the start of a junior high school flag football match. Don't care what anyone says - this does not, I repeat, does NOT bring good luck. Perhaps those who get a good laugh out of it or the bird themselves may get a kick out of this but d@mn it, it's annoying to say the very least, can be very injurious if it lands on your eyes, and is terribly messy, too.

--OldyButGoody 2013-10-26

Great comment, anonymous visitor.
--Michael

That's fantastic news! You've had a load on your shoulders for sure...

--Agent V 2013-10-31

Yes, it's very welcome. Now I can get back to juggling the n other things on my plate.
--Michael

I have a St.. Moritz Titan I (thats right, the first model). It has performed flawlessly for so many years I can't remember how old it is. My favorite watch bar none! Only problem I have had is the metal band is NLA and the titan II band doesn't fit (it is now NLA as well) but ther is a perfect titanium replacement band that shows up occasionly on Ebay and I bought one of those to replace my broken clasp. My son has a Titan II and he is equally happy. Too bad you have had a bad experience but in my world St. Moritz watches are a great value for the money.

--Dave 2013-11-03

I do hear positive stories like yours. Just wish they'd get the quality control actually under control.
--Michael

I hope this forum is still open for questions as of November 13, 2013? I am a handicapped female Canadian senior citizen and my husband is American. He is in Canada on a one-year Visitor Visa which expires in July of 2014. I filed my outland application for Sponsorship in March of 2013. I have a letter from CIC stating I have been approved as his sponsor and that the application has been forwarded to the Visa office in the USA. The only note in our e-CAS states that my husbands' medical results have been received. We are hoping his PRV will be granted SOON on compassionate grounds. I have two questions. 1. In order to determine approximate processing time, how do I determine which US Visa office is processing the application to sponsor my husband (who is from Minnesota)? Would that be LA (because he is west of the Mississippi River? 2. would it cause a problem with CIC if my husband were to sign up with a Canadian Doctor (he is already registered with my family physician) and have a copy of his medical records forwarded from Minnesota to Ontario while waiting for his PR Visa? any help you can provide would be very much appreciated! Thank you in advance. thank you in advance.

--Penny 2013-11-13

The quick answers to your questions are "I don't know". For question 1, I would turn to the forums I mention on my website. You'll find others where an American spouse is being brought to Canada, and can compare notes and learn from that experience. For question 2, I believe that that would not be a problem at all. My wife, being Japanese, was able to stay for up to six months at a time, so she lived in-country with me (and our son) while the application drifted through officialdom. She didn't have to transfer any medical records, but she certainly was fully inducted into the medical field here, as she became pregnant during the PR process. No one batted an eye at someone without any status living in Canada, nor did they care about her lack of health coverage, as we simply paid cash. You and your husband would likely experience the same thing, as the only insurance he'd be able to attend would be something like Blue Cross travel insurance (which covers ambulances and hospitalization). (Again, bear in mind that I'm just some guy on the 'net.)
--Michael

Hi Michael, My situation is a bit different due to the following factors. I have been married for three years, known my husband for nearly six and have spent most of my relationship with my husband travelling back and forth from the UK on my passport and staying for the six month term they allow on my own savings. We have not attempted to apply for a spousal visa either in Canada or the UK because until January of last year my husband was on a medical benefit for depression/anxiety/stress (before this he was a civil servant for the British military). This meant he was unable to sponsor me to come to the UK on a spousal visa (as they dont allow someone on benefit to sponsor their spouse) and I was afraid that because of his age (53) and his medical history that he would be refused entry to Canada on medical grounds. We decided that in order for us to be together I would apply to move to the UK and he would need to come off his medical benefit and find work. It has been a process from him switching from a medical benefit in the UK, to searching for work. He had to "prove" he was well enough to work, he had all kinds of forms to fill in, medical evaluations he to go to and tell his doctor that he was well enough to job seek. He then had to sign on for a Job Seeker's Allowance and try to obtain a job which in the current economic market (and because of the space of time he was out of work) has been near to impossible. He was finally switched from a medical benefit to Job Seekers Allowance in the UK in January of last year. He has been job searching to no avail since. The UK also put in place in July 2012 a stipulation that to sponsor a spouse you must either make over 18, 600GBP or have that in savings. Any place we have gone for advice pretty much states that unless I am seeking asylum or if my husband is a refugee, they will not help us. Its been a nightmare to put it simply. Right now that amount is in appeals but will not go to the high court until March. I fear putting in my application because my passport will be stuck in a limbo with me unable to travel and we will lose our entire processing fee if I need to ask for it back and I could still be stuck waiting for months to see my husband. Him being on JSA means he cannot take a holiday outside of the UK or even that will be taken away from him. This entire time we have tried to do things the legal way, but now considering that he is still job searching and no longer on benefit, I am considering trying to bring him to Canada. Being apart is becoming unbearable. What is the medical exam like? Should I apply for him while he is still in the UK? or should I buy a ticket for him to "visit" and try to apply while he is inland? How long is the general wait time if I apply for him while he is still in the UK? The stress of this all has been unbelievable and the work we have had to do to try to be together should be proof enough our relationship is real and viable. I have felt so disappointed in both the UK and Canadian processes and when reading the forms have been left confused and unsure of what to do. Any recommendations you have would be appreciated. Thank you!

--Juans 2013-11-15

It's not clear to me whether you now want to sponsor him to come to Canada, or whether you're still trying to find a way for him to sponsor you, but I'll relay something from our experience: 1. The medical exam is straight-forward, there's a chest x-ray and a thorough exam - bloodwork, everything. You have to go to an approved site to do this. 2. Applying with him already living in Canada is not technically illegal. You can file through the outland process with him in Canada as a visitor as long as he doesn't overstay the terms as a visitor. For my Japanese wife, this meant she could not stay longer than six months. The danger comes in the form of being barred re-entry should a Border Services agent decide to refuse your husband re-entry on his nth time while your application is in progress. The good news is that since he's British, he'll be among the very fastest applicants to receive approval. You can look up the wait times on the CIC website (the CIC website for the British embassy may be helpful in this regard, if it exists). Your husband will not be able to work in Canada, nor have provincial medical insurance. You will have to buy travel insurance for him while he's here, and its coverage is limited. I strongly suggest that you go to the official sources and the forums I reference on my website and learn everything you can. You'll find plenty of Canadians with a British spouse on the forums. Appropriately armed, you'll be able to make a strategy accordingly. Yes, the spousal sponsorship program (and in particular those forms!) are a mess all right. Canada has a very strange relationship with its expat community (demanding that expats sever all economic, material, and professional ties to be deemed non-resident for tax purposes, for instance) and a very inconsistent approach to immigration. Immigrants and expats don't/can't vote, I suppose. I hope this has helped in some way.
--Michael

Hi, I just have a few questions regarding outland sponsorship. My husband and I got married in July. I have lived in Toronto for the past 7 years as an international student. However, my visa expires in September 2014. I was wondering whether we could start the outland application now, even though I still live in Canada. Once my visa expires we plan to go back to my country (we are having a baby in June, so it'd be nice to spend some time with my family). Hopefully I would receive my PR before September 2015, but if it takes longer, could I apply for another study permit to start my master's in Toronto?

--Juliana Ramírez 2013-11-20

Applying via outland application, and then being back in your country until the visa arrives makes sense - just be sure that you know where the passport will be routed once the stamp's been inserted. ;^) I can't comment on the second question about the student via, I'm just someone who sponsored his wife, not a visa expert. That said, I've never heard of an outland application taking nearly two years, I imagine you'll have your PR stamp well before then (very processing time for the visa office that handles your country). Congratulations on your wedding and the baby!
--Michael

Thank you Michael for shareing your experience. Once completed and submitted the application you feel like you become an expert, that's at least the way I felt a couple of months ago when we finished the sponsorship application within Canada for my PR. At that moment, the worst is yet to come; as you tell, the applicant has no right to work, no health care... It´s simply very hard. In my case, I am from Spain and don´t have kids but I would like to take this "empty" time to have a child. I wonder if there is any kind of medical assistance for immigrants or if somebody could give me advice on private insurance. Thank you, Maria

--Maria 2013-11-26

Well, a child will certainly fill your time! 8^) You can buy the sort of travelers insurance meant for people vacationing in Canada through companies like Blue Cross: http://www.bluecross.ca/en/products/travel-coverage.html It does *not* cover pregnancy-related costs, so you will pay for all of your clinic visits and other things out of pocket. It will, however, cover the costs of any emergency hospitalization (and unlike provincial coverage, covers the cost of ambulance trips). I don't know why Canada's health insurance system works like this, but your choices are very limited. Your child, born to a Canadian parent in a Canadian hospital, will have coverage from birth. Congratulations, and all the best on your new life in Canada.
--Michael

you're lucky to have interesting friends and you don't have to worry about fewer "numbers after your name" because you are two of the brightest people I know.

--no prejudice mom 2013-11-27

We're not worried. ;^)
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. It has provided so much inspiration in such a hard and tough time. I am currently in the midst of writing a speech for my grandma, who I was extremely close to. Trying to condense someone so wonderful's life, and all the fond memories and what they have taught you into a speech is really tough. Thanks again for sharing this!

--lucy 2013-11-27

Thanks for your kind comment. I agree, it's crazy and impossible but that's why I think it's important to speak to only one or two important things that the audience can share. All the best with your speech, Lucy, and to your family in their time of grief.
--Michael

Hi Michael, Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge with us, all of you comments are very helpful. My Fiance is a Canadian citizen and I am a Chinese citizen. I have a Canadian visa with multiple entries valid until 2017 and I visited him in Canada this year for a few months and met his family and friends. We went to church together there and took a pre-marriage counseling course together. He has met my family and friends too in China. We are planning to get married in Canada this coming summer in 2014 and I plan to fly to Canada in Jan 2014 to plan the wedding. We will apply for PR right away after the wedding or honeymoon. So my questions are: 1. If we cannot book everything for the wedding within the 6 months of my next visit, should I apply for extension of my stay (as we read on CIC's website that you can apply for an extension 30 days prior to your status' expiry)? We figured, if the extension allows me to stay for another 6 months, then surely we will be able to get the wedding done. 2. After our wedding, when I am still in Canada, should we apply "inland" or "outland"? We read on CIC that for our situation, inland would take 22 months while outland would take about 10 months. If to apply "outland" when we are both in Canada, how do we do that? Do we need to mail everything to CIC in Ontario or the Canadian Visa Office in China? Or do I HAVE TO fly back to China to apply? (tickets are expensive and flight is so long and exhausting…) It frightens me that there's no appeal if you got rejected applying "inland" (which makes no sense!!! Are they going to separate a couple forever???!), even though I can't think of any reason why they would possibly reject us, I still wouldn't want to take the risk. 3. "Inland" or "Outland", can I obtain my police check and medical exam in Canada? (do you know the cost for the medical exam done in Canada?) Do I need to get the police check notarized in Canada and how? 4. If I have to fly back to China to apply "outland", can I go back to Canada to visit him on my tourist visa? I am concerned that they might reject my entry because of our application is in process. In that case, I'd probably cry at the airport and fall apart :( 5. My job allows me to work from home and my clients are not located in Canada. So if we apply in Canada, can I keep my job and work from home or will I not be allowed to work at all? 6. If we are to apply from within Canada after the wedding, what documents do I need to obtain now before going to Canada? I read that the police check is only valid for 3-6 months, so it might have expired by the time we apply for PR. Your wisdom would be so much appreciated as this is really heavy on us. Thank you, Michael! Dand

--Dand 2013-11-29

I'll try to answer your questions but bear in mind that I'm not an expert, merely someone who's been through it recently. > We are planning to get married in Canada this coming summer in 2014 Congratulations! > We went to church together there and took a pre-marriage counseling course together. > He has met my family and friends too in China. That's great. Include photos of all of it in your application. > If we cannot book everything for the wedding within the 6 months of my next visit, should > I apply for extension of my stay I don't know. Have a look at the forums I recommend on my web page, where you can find other people in similar circumstances (and from your country). Also, check the website of the Canadian embassy to China. Those sources will be much more accurate than I could be. > After our wedding, when I am still in Canada, should we apply "inland" or "outland"? Outland! I've been told that the inland process was designed as an avenue for amnesty for people who are already living in Canada. Do not use it. > Do we need to mail everything to CIC in Ontario or the Canadian Visa Office in China? When I went through it, all of the spousal applications for outland applications went through Mississauga. All of the inland applications went to Vegreville (IIRC) in Alberta. I don't think you'd ever mail your application package to a location outside Canada. The application is first processed in Canada, including reviewing your husband for suitability as a sponsor, then forwarded to the embassy/consulate in your country. > can I obtain my police check and medical exam in Canada? The police check is done by the police in your country, not the Canadian police. With my wife's case, we waited until we were here in Canada to order the background/police check, and it took two months. If we'd done it in Japan, it would have taken two weeks. BTW, when you receive the police report, I believe it cannot be opened. You can do the medical exam in China or Canada or anywhere else, but the exam must be done by someone on the CIC's list. Here in Toronto believe it or not there were only limited options. I don't know what it might be like where you live in China. It's not a lot of money here in Canada (and my wife did not have medical insurance). > If I have to fly back to China to apply "outland", can I go back to Canada to visit him > on my tourist visa? I am concerned that they might reject my entry because of our > application is in process. Things like that do happen. Here in Canada, a lot of power is given to individual agents - if one decides to refuse you entry, you'll be sent back. That can even happen if you leave Canada because you were called to your country for an interview at the embassy, which is real madness. That said, my wife was here for six months, went back to Japan for a month with our son, and returned without incident. BUT: a) she had our son, a Canadian citizen and child of a Canadian citizen and b) she also had a full copy of her visa application with her to show the officials (if asked). > My job allows me to work from home and my clients are not located in Canada. So if we > apply in Canada, can I keep my job and work from home or will I not be allowed to work at all? I believe that you would not be able to file an income tax report until you have an SIN, so by all means continue to work. Your arrangement sounds ideal, but bear in mind that I'm neither a tax accountant, nor a lawyer. > If we are to apply from within Canada after the wedding, what documents do I need to > obtain now before going to Canada? I read that the police check is only valid for 3-6 months, > so it might have expired by the time we apply for PR. My information is a bit out of date, but have a look at the forms and the website of the embassy in your country - the website of the embassy in Tokyo was a life-saver for us. By no means let your medical exam or background check expire, get the application in as quickly as you can once you have them. > Your wisdom would be so much appreciated as this is really heavy on us. Thank you, Michael! It's not wisdom, it's just experience. But you're very welcome Dand, and congratulations and best wishes to you and your fiance.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

My brother fell at sleep about three weeks ago in Africa. I am thinking of giving a speech but dont know how. Will you let me use some of your paragraphs. Thnaks

--Peter Kokou 2013-12-07

Yes, use anything you like in preparing your own speech, Peter. Sorry to hear about your loss. All the best to you and your family.
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Oh, so much efforts! Really appreciated. Are the clients ready to pay top $ for all the efforts involved? in most of the cases for the e-commerce based websites, they hardly have any funds in place for the photography of their artificial jewelry.

--pashminu mansukhani 2013-12-12

I developed this procedure for my own e-commerce site, which is now defunct. I agree, performing photography for other sites would probably be a difficult way of making a living.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Its really nice and heart touching

--Rajendra Patni 2013-12-17

Thanks for your comment, Rajendra.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Seriously thank you so much for posting this, It is so hard to find the words sometimes. This was truly inspiring. I am giving my speech at my grandfathers funeral tomorrow. So i think it is the least i could do to post what i am saying at my grandfathers funeral. These are more or less notes so please ignore my many errors. Hi my name is James I am the oldest grandchild and Wesley’s favorite grandson (the only one). Thank you everyone for taking time out of your busy lives to be here with us to celebrate the life of Wesley . Wesley was the greatest grandfather a kid could ask for. Growing up nothing was more exciting than taking the long drive up the 5 to fresno to visit my grandparents. I remember all the warm days spent by the pool, and the many trips we went on. I remember the joy he brought in everything we did, whether it be a trip to story book land to retrieve a sorely lost shoe or a day spent at home watching football or golf with the bbq going and I remember playing cards and building forts. I remember his support in everything I pursued, whether it be the arts or photography or sports. He would teach me how to use my camera, come watch my football games, he would cherish everything I ever made in my art classes. He always had a way to help no matter what it was I did. He had an incredible talent, being a teacher, and as some of you may know I have not always been the best student, but I when he used to draw me problems out in his sketch book for some reason it always made a little more sense. He would sit with me out on the porch by the spa in that house in clovis I loved so much in my youth and draw out geometry theorems for me over and over until it finally sunk in. He was very patient with me. He would make sure to show me all angles of whatever it was to ensure I didn’t just know the formulas I understood them. In this time of celebration of his life I always try to remember that we carry him with us every day in everything we do. The thing I really wanted to say most, was just that, I see him in all of us, in my grandmother, my aunts and uncles, my sisters, my cousins, my own parents, especially my dad, everyone here today. Whether it be our sense of humor, our patience, our gift of teaching, our artistic talent, our general warm hearted disposition, our passion for life, and compassion for others, our incredible strength in the face of diversity, or even the trademarked stubbornness. I see him. It is amazing how much I see him. It fills me with a complex emotion I can’t quite explain. I feel how badly I miss him, but I also feel like he hasn’t left and he never will. because he lives on in us, I try to remember that he will always be with me in my heart, and I can always see him in yours. Thank you so much for coming. Please to anyone going through a hard time like this just remember, you dont have to say something inspiring. Just say what how you feel. Say what you want to be said. Thanks to everyone on this site I hope everyone struggling will find what they are looking for.

--James A Friend 2013-12-19

Thank you, Jamaes, for sharing your words of remembrance and advice. All the best to your family at this time.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thank you for your help my grandfather passed on Christmas morning and I have a hard time writing speeches so thanks you gave me some pretty good ideas

--Kristynn Lynn 2013-12-29

I'm glad it could help, Kristynn.
--Michael

Hi thегe, I enjoy reading through youг article. I wanted tо write a little comment tо support you.

--Samual 2013-12-31

Thanks!
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Hi Michael, Thank you for this article. I have been wondering for years looking at jewelery catalogs how in the world they managed to take pictures or upright rings without wax. But I will have to say that the technique you mentioned here will not work for everybody. First of all, you did not get any shadow of the ring on the acrylic base (or you removed it with photoshop). So it was easier for you to rotate the image and make the ring appear upright. Secondly, you had your ready-made shadows to place them just under the ring with the help of photoshop. And this will not work when using black acrylic or glass to give a reflection of the ring. I tried your technique, but without the ready-made shadows and a very soft shadow of the ring on the base, I could not get your effects.

--Prad 2014-01-03

Thanks for the feedback, this is the first time someone's presented such a case. I can certainly see the difficulty, and if possible, I'd recommend asking a Photoshop whiz for some advice. Perhaps a forum for people who make a living with such things? I suggest this because I needed assistance from someone in that line in order to accomplish what I did. And you're quite right, I removed every bit of the surface of the acrylic using a "clipping path" in Photoshop. In truth, I outsourced it to an outfit in India which at the time charged only $1 for each image. You can find them here: http://bit.ly/1dxzIfs Barring that, can I ask why you're using black acrylic? Are you looking for a certain effect, for instance a broad black reflection on the ring's surface? I tried quite a number of different surfaces, including different colors and textures, but ultimately decided that to control the appearance of the rings I had to use a white environment and selectively add black elements for reflections that would highlight the shapes. It's now been about 4-5 years since I was working on that diamond ring business (which never took off); I'm glad someone's still finding this technique worth a try.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thank you .:)

--celisha 2014-01-03

You're welcome.
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

Okay, haven't seen one like this yet, so here goes: when i was 16, my boyfriend and I were fooling around in a park at night. My hand was in his lap (if you know what I mean) and he was, um, exposed to the elements. Suddenly a huge plop! Guess where? Yeah, so my hand and his yoohoo were COVERED in runny, lumpy, gray and white shit. He immediately leaned to the side and started retching, while i rolled on the ground laughing. Suffice it to say that the romantic mood was ruined.

--Brandelyn 2014-01-05

Poor bugger. Thanks for leaving the anecdote, that was a good chuckle!
--Michael

What I am advocating in my previous comment is ..... chill, no need to hit the ceiling with your blood pressure over a heap of refuse like St. Moritz. You only spent ~$300; you get what you paid for. Sorry, I take that comment back. Whether you spent too much or too little depends on what you bought. Obviously you didn't spent your $300 wisely by buying a St. Moritz. I very much wanted to say I sympathize with you, but I don't really. I've mentioned this in my last comment, and I still feel the same way ----- For $300 you could have bought a really decent and reliable Japanese watch with a Japanese movement, or a Swiss watch with a Swiss movement, or an American watch with an American movement, etc. instead of a pile of junk from a little known and unproven brand like St. Moritz, which uses parts with dubious quality. Basing your purchase decision solely on "made in Canada" just doesn't seem right. However, it's your money, and you have the right to flush it down the toilet in any manner you prefer. If I were in your situation, I would not waste anymore time or money, or have any hope for St. Moritz. I would consider the money I already spent to be "tuition fee" for learning a valuable lesson ----- buy from reputable brands and manufacturers if you're spending more than $19.99. Also, as a general rule you get what you pay for, even though YOU did not. By the way, you seem to have misunderstood my last post. My 13 yr. old Swatch Irony is still running and keeping accurate time. It never needed any repair or special attention other than a new battery every 3 to 4 years. I received it as a gift (I doubt it cost more than $100), and it has a custom fitted factory bracelet that is still holding up well. I haven't wore it for 2 yrs. only because I became interested in wearing vintage watches. I also own a 22 yr. old Seiko complication watch that never needed anything other than a new battery every few years. That watch cost me barely $95. Now that's money well spent, don't you agree?

--JTK 2014-01-25

My friend, if I could parse the meaning of this post, perhaps I could agree.
--Michael

Your tips are very usegul for preparation of PMP exam! Thanks for taking the time to share!

--Ed Jobs,PMP 2014-01-25

Glad to hear it, Ed. Thanks for your comment.
--Michael

I am a Canadian citizen currently living and working in Malaysia for the last 5 years with my wife and 2 sons. My wife is Japanese. We got married in Japan in 2005 (I have been working outside of Canada since 2000). My eldest son holds a Canadian Passport, a Canadian Citizenship card and a SIN card. He was born in Germany. My youngest was born a year ago in Malaysia and I have already submitted his application for a Canadian Citizenship Certificate. About a month before we leave we need to apply for his passport (according to the Canadian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur). What I need to find out is what the process is for my wife for our move to Canada? Based on the comments I have read on the forum, I believe I need to apply for Canadian Spousal Permanent Residency while we are still here in Malaysia and before we go to Canada this summer? We leave in the middle of June (so will only be here for another 5 months or so) for a visit to Japan and then go to Canada. Am I supposed to do this process through the OUTLAND option and through the Canadian Embassy in Manila, and if so does this mean I would be sending all necessary documents through courier to Manila? Would the process be complete before we leave and if not, will that be ok?

--Brian 2014-01-27

Five months? No, I've never heard of anyone outside of the UK, US, or maybe Germany/the Netherlands having a PR application go through in such a short time even if you had your application assembled and ready to go tomorrow. Given the ongoing cuts to the service, I would expect 8-15 months to be more realistic if you're still wondering about which process to use. Ours took three months to assemble (just the police check back in Japan will take two months), and six months for the government to approve. Given the nationality of your wife, you'll submit your outland application to the processing center in Canada (I believe it's in Mississauga) and it will be forwarded to the responsible visa office after you're approved as a sponsor. That office is in Manila, but again you do not submit your documents there directly. After you've applied, your wife can come with you to Canada and take up residence here but she will not have any standing; as a Japanese citizen she is entitled to stay here without a visa (when we did this three years ago, the term was six months) but she will have to leave the country and re-enter after the six months are up. My wife did this, traveling with our son (also dual nationality) and she got in again without problem. Note that not everyone is so lucky, but again our son was with her, she was carrying a letter of consent to travel with our son from me, and she was carrying a copy of our application for her PR. Given your situation, this might work out well; your application will be well under way and possibly complete (I doubt it) before the first six month period is up. The government will readily return her passport with the PR stamp to an address inside Canada even if you use the "outland" process. Then you do the flag-poling trick at the border with the US (or fly internationally and return) and you're done. Remember, I'm not an expert, just someone who's been through it (my wife, like yours, is Japanese). But feel free to send any follow-on questions.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

I have just lost mum and dad in a car accident I have no idea what to say I am to emotional to speak I am a introvert and shy to speak and I have no one to speak for me who will speak I am not going to

--Ian smith 2014-01-29

Ian, I am very sorry to hear of your loss. It took me a few days to respond, and then I let that go a little long; I apologize. I have been to funerals of loved ones where I was too upset to speak, myself. Don't blame yourself, it's entirely natural. I don't know if your parents' funeral has already happened, but if not I can only recommend that standing to speak should only be something that helps you, not something that adds to the anguish. Don't feel pressured to do something that will only add to the pain. On the other hand, if you can find someone who can counsel you, the entire process might help you find strength and closure. All the best in your time of loss.
--Michael

Thank you very kindly Michael for your responses. As you say, it is unlikely that the process will be completed by the time we leave Malaysia in the middle of June this year. I am glad you clarified that I would not be making the application directly through the Embassy of Canada in the Philippines, but through the out land application processing center in Canada (which then goes through the responsible visa office). I really want to make sure I go through correct application. Would you be able to provide me with a link to the correct spot on the CIC site to begin the application process for my wife? Do you know whether I apply and then begin collection of all required documents, etc. or if everything goes at once? My wife is traveling to Japan at the end of March for 5 days. Do you happen to know when she has to send her actual passport as part of the application process? Or does that happen towards the end of the process or could it potentially happen after we leave Malaysia and we are already in Canada? I presume there would be something in the application about dependents. Would that mean dependents who do not hold Canadian passports? I do not know if there is anything else...

--Brian Pretty 2014-01-29

Everything on the CIC website seems to change periodically, it now looks like they may have amalgamated the forms for the two processes (inland/outland). Have a look at these forms to start with: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/fc.asp You'll also want to familiarize yourself with the guidance on the website of the Manila visa office: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/offices/missions/manila.asp Your wife will send the passport off to the visa office in Manila as the second-last process. The request comes either a) when she has been approved as a spouse or b) when they are now reviewing her as a spouse. The old visa office in the Tokyo embassy did it through route a) but at the time I went through all of this (in 2011) the Manila office seemed to follow route b) which means the request comes earlier but they retain the passport for a much longer time (a few months instead of 1-2 weeks). I'm not sure I follow your question about the timing of the passport submission, but from whichever point you submit the passport your wife would of course not be able to travel internationally. You'll have to find out (perhaps from one of the forums) if the CIC still wants all dependents listed or only those without a Canadian passport. At the time I went through it, our son did not have to be listed because he was a Canadian citizen.
--Michael

I would love your advice. My fiance (born and raised in Canada but in the US on a TN Visa that is expiring soon) and I are moving to Toronto. I'm a US citizen. From preliminary research and reading a few forums, it sounds like it would be in our best interest for him to submit the application to sponsor me now, while we are still in the US? What are the next steps and can I move with him when he moves or do I need to stay in the US until I am fully approved? Can I work in Canada while the PR visa is being processed? What kind of time frame can I expect for all of this? This is all really overwhelming and I'd love your advice!

--Megan 2014-02-03

It certainly is overwhelming, I was very disappointed in my country when I went through all of this. In your case I would a) ascertain the duration of your visit privileges to Canada (e.g. six months at one stay), b) whether you can come and go to/from Canada as an American if your visa application is already underway, and c) what the time frames are for your country at present (e.g. here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm-fc.asp and http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm/fc-spouses.asp). Our benighted government is withdrawing resources from the CIC program for spousal applications My wife and I decided that with her six month visitor's eligibility in Canada (as a Japanese citizen) to move to Canada and then start the application. We did this so that we could stay together whatever happened. In the end, it took us ten solid months to get her PR stamp, so she had to exit the country and return, a chancy thing because some border services guards could potentially block her re-entry for some imagined pretext (I think this was more of a risk in the past than it is today). But she had with her a) our Canadian son and b) a copy of our application, and she had no trouble re-entering. Again, this was just our experience, your experience may vary. Whatever you do, be sure you file an "outland" application. And no, you cannot legally work for a Canadian employer in Canada while your PR is pending because you won't have a SIN and you won't have standing. But, you can apply for a working visa after your spousal application is in the works. It's "explained" here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?q=679&t=17 This also limits your options for health care in this country, so keep the potential expenses in mind should you be considering a pregnancy. As it happened, my wife went through the first two semesters without real health coverage (you can only buy travel insurance, it covers emergency hospitalization but no "pre-existing" conditions) and it cost a fair bit.
--Michael

Hello Michael and again a big thank you for your advice. Do you see any reason not to start the process here in Malaysia before we leave in June? I mean, would it be the same as starting the process right away when we arrive in Canada in July? I guess either way it is likely or sure that my wife would have to leave Canada once before her 6 month visitor visa expires, and cross the border to the US, and re-enter? What would you advise? If we began the process in Canada, could an "outland" application still be filed? Do I fill out an application as a sponsor and my wife an application for sponsorship at the same time, to be sent together? Does it work that if I am approved as a sponsor then they will continue with my wife's application? Is she required to have an interview of some sort at some stage, and if so would that take place in Vancouver (I am hoping that it would not be Manila for example). Michael, would you happen to know if she would be eligible right away for BC Medical when we arrive? Thank you again

--Brian Pretty 2014-02-05

Yes, start the application from Malaysia. I think you can submit electronically now, so that will save you time. Definitely use the "outland" process wherever you're living. Ask around on the forums if you like, but the best answer I ever heard was that the "inland" process was effectively started as an amnesty program for people already living in the country illegally. When you're on "inland" you can't travel in or out of the country, and you can never re-apply should you be turned down (well, unless you remarry). The sponsorship application is a collection of forms that you submit at one time. I have no clue where the interview might be, it might be in Buffalo if you catch a break. Or Manila, if not. I just don't know. No, she won't qualify for medical coverage. She'll have no standing. It's blue cross insurance for her. Your <18 year old children WILL have coverage though, if BC's the same as ON. Take 'em in to the ministry immediately when you arrive. All the best, Brian.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

This has been so useful, it's my Grandads funeral next week, I spoke at my Grandmas funeral but I read a poem and a poem doesn't somehow seem right for my grandad. But when I think back I couldn't pin point one specific thing to mention so this has helped a lot!

--Bethany 2014-02-16

I'm glad it could help, Bethany. All the best to you and your family in this time of grief.
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

today, its the second time I am being crapped by birds shit when riding bike.

--David 2014-02-18

Sorry to hear it, David!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Awesome! it helped me with my assignment, it is good that your granddad left.

--sam 2014-03-01

Eh?
--Michael

copyright

I have an old set but don't have the electronic parts show in the windmill and snow plow instructions- they don't seem to have come with the set. Any ideas about where/how to find them? Thanks!

--Lisa 2014-03-05

A lot of pieces for older sets just aren't made any more, unfortunately. But you can always try ebay or one of these: http://shop.lego.com/en-CA/Pick-A-Brick-ByTheme http://www.bricklink.com/ http://www.brickrepublic.com/servlet/StoreFront
--Michael

Hi My husband is a Canadian citizen and we were in US for 4 yrs...Now I moved to India for my outland PR to Canada, with my 3 yr old child who is a US citizen. We applied on n0v 15,2013, got sponsorship approval on dec 18,2013... I got my AOR on Jan 30,2014...Now it is March 5,2014 but no further updates from CIC...Any idea how much more time can it take for PP request and then the visa? Thanks: alpha1

--Alpha1 2014-03-05

It sounds like you're on record pace! I wouldn't worry, you've got, on average, a twelve month process to look forward to, in total. At least, that's according to the CIC website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm/fc-spouses.asp
--Michael

Dear sir, How can i get legal advi.ce for spouse who entered in canada but her sponsor doesn't accept her ? Thanx

--Ramesh 2014-03-24

I'm not qualified to give legal advice, Ramesh. I suggest that you hunt around for an immigration lawyer. Be sure to get references, though, one hears terrible stories of the crooks in the business. For instance, there's nothing that a lawyer can do to speed up a PR application process, no matter what they may charge.
--Michael

Hi! I have a question about pr application of my dad. My mom's living in canada for yrs. now and was approved to sponsor my dad. We received an email from cic about lc2 and we responded and received the forms. It says in the email that we need to send the application to visa office in manila which we did last May 2013. We received an email march 8, 2014 from cpc vegreville requesting for medical exam for my dad that should be submitted within 60 days. However, my mom also received an email from vegreville last march asking her to send documents for her dependent with the checklist the same as the one we already submitted in manila. So my question is should my mom need to send the documents again together with the same forms as in the application or would the visa office in manila forward my dad's application to vegreville? I'm confused and we need to send the documents within 90 days from the date of the letter to my mom. If that would be the case we will be getting another nbi clearance for visa in canada and all the other requirements. Please help us on this matter. Your immediate response will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

--cho 2014-03-30

Hello, Cho. I'm not entirely sure if I follow your story, but I've never heard of anyone submitting an application to the visa office in another country: they're meant to go to Vegreville if you're applying for the outland route, and to Mississauga for the inland route. Since the Vegreville office is involved, it sounds like you've chosen the slower inland route. So be it. I would do what they ask you: send the requested form(s) and have the medical exam at an approved clinic who can send the results on to the Vegreville office as soon as possible. (Did you mean to say that you not responded to the original request since March of 2013?) I realize that it's a confusing process, Cho, I hope that I have helped in some way. Please note that I am not an immigration specialist or accredited in any way. I'm just a Canadian who's been through the process. Good luck!!
--Michael

hi Michael, my husband is Canadian citizen he apllied for my PR in july 2013 and i am in Pakistan,now processising time from Pakistan is 32 months so i want to ask you will there be any delay or complication if we plan a baby during my PR application process.

--fatima 2014-03-30

Yes, I see that the time is 32 months. Truly incredible! There will be complications if you have the child but do not tell the CIC. In fact, it would be best if you advised the CIC as soon as you are pregnant. Please be careful to familiarize yourself with the rules, there are frequently stories of madness associated with this system. e.g.: (http://on.thestar.com/1dLZAaD or http://bit.ly/1hWPTSz). I usually suggest that people go to sites such as http://www.canadavisa.com/canada-immigration-discussion-board/index.php to find others from their own country. Good luck to you! Thirty-two months, it defies belief. Thank you for your dedication in coming to Canada. I apologize that our system is such a mess.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

WOW - what a touching speech! My grandfather passed away a few days ago and I found this so inspiring for my speech. Your grandfather sounded like a wonderful man - very similar to mine! It's amazing after so many years how appropriate your speech is. Thanks again.

--Justine 2014-04-01

Thank you for your kind comments, Justine. All the best to you and your family in this time of mourning. All the best with your speech.
--Michael

hello. I'm from Mongolia. my husband is sponsoring me for the PR application. currently I live in Canada with him under visitor visa, and I'm very close to send my documents to CIC. but then inland or Outland is confusing me. have u heard anything about visa office in Beijing? any advise? many thanks

--Degi 2014-04-05

Definitely use the outland procedure. It has two major advantages: it's usual MUCH quicker, and if something goes wrong or you have to cancel it, you can always try again. With the inland route, that's not possible. Incidentally, there are two separate set of forms, be careful which one you're using. Also, it looks like the forms were updated a few weeks back (in January). If you've had yours for a while, verify that they're the current ones. Good luck with your quest!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Mine died two days ago that is beautiful

-- 2014-04-06

All the best, anonymous commenter!
--Michael

thank you for answering my question! I made up my mind and Outland it is. thanks again

--degi 2014-04-09

That's great! All the best in your undertaking. 8)
--Michael

Such good advice. I read some of your postings. You are a very good writer. I worked at Trimark when IT consisted of you, Charlie Yoon, Jean Cruz, Erano Huebia, Al Grossi.

-- 2014-04-12

Well, Jean and I weren't there at the same time, but we only missed each other by a couple of months.... Hmm, at that time I believe Trimark was around 500-700 people, so that doesn't narrow it down much. I'm stumped. Leave your name next time, friend. Glad you liked the advice.
--Michael

This info is invaluable. How can I find out more?

--Jani 2014-04-20

You can try the links to the CIC websites or the forums I've got above. All the best to you, Jani.
--Michael

Hi, I'm from island of Mauritius. My wife is a Canadian citizen. We have been married and have been living together in Mauritius. We have started our sponsorship application (Outland) back in January 2014, so she went back to Canada in January 2014. Last month, we got an email from CIC accepting and approving her as my sponsor ( step 1). We miss each other so much. We find it very very hard to be separated like that. My question is that : Since she is a Canadian Citizen, she could have stayed with me and start the application, but we didnt know that at that time. it is possible she come back to Mauritius to stay with me until I get my Permanent Residence approved? if Yes, Please guide us Regards, John

--john 2014-04-28

Yes, it should be possible. Many applicants and their Canadian spouses spend their entire application approval time together outside of Canada. I have a friend who's living in Kyoto with his wife and kids right now waiting on her approval. (Remember that I'm not an official source of information or any kind of expert. I'm just someone who's been through it. Your wife can always call the CIC help line for firm answers.)
--Michael

Hello,I am from Philippines, my husband is a Canadian citizen he sponsored me as spouse. CIC processing informed me that our application is now on que for filling ,i've just done my medical examination last april 15, 2014 which was my last requirement. Now i'm waiting for an update from CIC. How long will it take before they will file our application? And after it will filed, can i apply for tourist visa? Please any kind response will be appreciated, Thank you :)

--bing 2014-05-03

As you can see here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm-fc.asp There's a period where they evaluate your husband as a suitable sponsor, then they'll evaluate you as a spouse. The link above has a link to this page, which shows the average wait times by country. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm/fc-spouses.asp On the first page, it looks like sponsors are seeing approvals at 35 days at present. Then for your country it's a 14 month wait. Good luck, don't let it drive you crazy.
--Michael

hi, sir michael, i just want to ask you a question, i am a filipina work here in hongkong for almost 13 year from now, and my husband is canadian, we won the appeal last november 28 2013, and our consultant send the documents here in hongkong last dec, 04 2013..how long does it take to wait my refferal letter for my medical and police clearance, i am so confused because until now we cant hear from the canada consulate here in hongkong. thank you so much, and godbless...

--arlene 2014-05-05

By "an appeal", do you mean you two once tried a PR application but failed? I have no idea how long it takes to produce the medical and police background documents, but I don't think they'll be sent to you in any case; they go right to the CIC. My wife's police check took something like two months, if I recall correctly, but that was in Japan. Bear in mind that anything I write might be out of date, because it's been three years since we went through it. Have a look at the CIC website for the wait times. Once you've submitted your application, it will take over a month for your partner to be approved as a sponsor: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm-fc.asp Then, since you're in HK, it will take only seven months for you to be approved as a sponsor, assuming all goes well. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm/fc-spouses.asp#asia That's about the fastest anywhere! All the best with your application. -Michael
--Michael

Hi Michael, Thank you so much for helping everyone with their questions. I have a little dilemma. My husband and I got married in Iran on August 2013, we sent an application to Mississauga on December 2013 and got approved for sponsorship on January 2014. At that point it was sent to Turkey and we are now waiting until it's processed. The wait is unbearable and we don't think we can wait 14 months! Do you think it would jeopardize our application if he applies for a visitor visa? He can get letters from his employer saying he has to return. The only thing I'm worried about is if he gets denied, how will that affect our application for PR?

--Sarah 2014-05-07

I don't know enough about it to comment, frankly. Why don't you call the CIC? Or, you could check the website of the visa office in the country that's handling your case, and see if they list any contacts you can call/email at that office. The whole thing is so complicated and arbitrary that it's very hard to know without official advise. You can also check the forums (such as this one: http://www.canadavisa.com/canada-immigration-discussion-board/index.php). You should be able to find more knowledgeable advice there, and possibly some other people coming from either the Turkey or Iran who can give you first hand advice as you jointly share the same "adventure". Congratulations on your marriage, and all the best with your application.
--Michael

i agree with your comment it is our responsiblity to stop uses of plastic .because Much has been said about the lifestyle of the free plastic bag. How it chokes drainage, encourages mosquitos, strangles and chokes sealife, becomes ingested by almost any animal (to the detriment of that animal). And how they look ugly caught in a windswept tree or fence. And how they are being found with disturbing frequency in places where no humans live (e.g. the 'continent' of floating plastic in the centre of the North Pacific).

--aditya choubey 2014-06-07

Yeah. The sad this is we use a bag for 30 minutes, then it lingers for decades.
--Michael

that is some hard-core ikke-ikke onna. they must turn the dial on the sunbed to beyond the max to get their faces that dark! thanks you sir

--aditya choubey 2014-06-07

I was hoping that it was 100% make-up. But I suppose you never know. (Man, that was nearly a decade ago, already.)
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Michael, after all the supportive and positive feedback you have received, I hope you are very proud of yourself, and if not you should be, especially doing so well after your accident! I lost my 34 year old Daughter and than my mother all in one week, and reading your eulogy has even helped me with my own grief. Well done Michael, your a shining light for a lot of people out here in the internet world! Kindest regards Jackie from Australia

--Jackie Davis 2014-06-27

Oh, Jackie, I'm so sorry to hear of your terrible losses. It's deeply humbling that you would take the time to write under such circumstances. All the best to you and your family in your time of grief.
--Michael

Hi Michael,we send our Outland application in CPC Missisauga on april 9, 2014 and received April 11 , 2014 according to canada post office with signature. We call 4 times in CIC,the first call he said no application in the system,same as the second time we call,the third time we call wait for two weeks, we received email from CPC Missisauga on June 19, 2014,subject imm no application in the system,it says their they received our complete application on April 14, 2014 theirs client ID or UCI,then we wait. On June 30 we call again in CIC she told us wait till September,we send our application Outland not Inland,we even receive official acknowledgement of receipt from them,do we have to phone or email our MP to help us inquiry what's going on our application,in been 74 days waiting ....please I need your advice..

--Siegfred 2014-07-03

It can take as long as two months to hear that you've been approved as a sponsor. The CIC doesn't update their records very consistently, so it's possible that they won't know that your application is in the mix until you've been approved as a sponsor. So; don't panic, yet. That said, at this point it can't hurt to contact your MP. I've read of many cases where the Mississauga office mysteriously "lost" an application. All the best in your application, Siegfred.
--Michael

Congrats M!

--Audrey 2014-07-21

Thanks, A! How's life?
--Michael

well, the only attitude is what your grandfather said when you lost the $10 he handed you, just by crossing the street to the bus: "You can't change the past, even if it's only 10 minutes ago"

--mom the wise 2014-07-22

'Tis right. (I think it was $20.)
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Hi Michael, Great efforts and thanks a lot for sharing. i'm working in a diamond firm and on diamond photography experiments are going on. yet have not succeed but trying everyday to do something. your tutorial is very helpful and i would like to try this way. as in a diamond firm, generally we took diamond photos by using USB cameras connecting through the microscope. i would like to be in touch with you. and would like to know your email address. thanks, keep going ahead. sameer

--Sameer 2014-07-24

You certainly need to use some form of micro- or macro-photography to do this work, it's true. I believe I had a lens reverse-mounted for the macro-effect when I did this work. Let me know if I can help with any questions.
--Michael

Ohh god, reading all of this freaks me out a bit. My boyfriend is Colombian but with a Canadian citizenship and I'm Colombian, we were both long time friends for the past ten years when we were both living in Miami, Fl. I came back to live to Colombia and after years of friendship we started dating this year, we want to get married and he wants me to move to Canada, in fact I'm planning on requesting a tourist visa in a couple of days just to make sure I like it and if I could stand the cold weather (I'm planning on going on November). He has a steady, full time job in Calgary and I have a BA degree in graphic design from Colombia. Which of the applications should we apply to inland or outland (15 month waiting)? Or should I apply for a working permit? Thank you so much!

--Julie 2014-07-28

Hello, Julie. Welcome to the Great Confusion. I have no idea how work permits operate, you'll have to look elsewhere for that. I strongly recommend that you go with an outland procedure; I've been told that the inland route was designed for people already living in Canada without status. The way the program is designed, I believe it: for instance, you only get one shot - you cannot re-apply if you fail. We did the outland process even though my wife was already living in Canada. Best of luck!
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

Michael, For your info, this canadian lady had about the similar numbered as yours. http://www.legalnomads.com/2014/07/birds.html

--aramby 2014-07-29

So she has, thanks for pointing her out. I'll contact her, maybe we'll start an institute. 8^D
--Michael

I'm glad I didn't see your forum before I bought my Pathfinder. It's been running flawlessly for 4 years here in the wet temperate rainforests of BC with no sign of fogging up, or anything other problem to speak of. It's mated to one of their Italian rubber bands and it's proving to be a durable combo. I had St. Moritz' service department in Vancouver change the battery once. If it's still in the original 2 year warranty period they pressure check it (to make sure it won't leak and fog up like yours) and then extend the warranty to 4 years for no extra charge. Then they'll even do the same thing again and extend the warranty to 6 years. To me this is an example of a company that stands behind its product. It's too bad you didn't take advantage of the extended warranty plan, but maybe you should just bite the bullet and see if they can still fix it. They used to somehow keep breathing life into my 20+ year old Sportiva until I decided to upgrade to this Pathfinder.

--Derek 2014-08-07

I'm glad to hear that you had better luck than I did; as I explained, I sent it back to them and they looked at it without charging me, but it came to nothing. My guess is that QC might not be 100% or that the weeks of 40°C weather in Tokyo was just too much.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

thanks michael i want to say thanks for giving me advise anyway i really enjoyed ur speech,i am going to use it to me late grandfather.am Mailula Tumi

--tumi 2014-08-17

Thanks for writing. All the best with your speech.
--Michael

Yesterday was my day. Heard about somebody who is going off the deep end and nuking their family in the process. Was dying to talk about it, Brian was good for that. Mucho grumpiness yesterday...

--Agent Vanilla 2014-08-25

We lost a literally remarkable fellow in Brian. Death; what can we do. This is the second death for me this year, the other being back in the winter. I've been talking about trying hang-gliding for about fifteen years, I guess I should look at this as the impetus to finally do it.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thank you for posting this speech. I am writing a novel, and in it a funeral takes place, where the grandfather of a protagonist dies. This really helped me think about the formality and content in a funeral speech for a grandparent.

--Ruby 2014-09-06

Glad I could help. That's certainly a first as far as feedback is concerned. Good luck with your novel, I spent years working on one myself.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hey Micheal your speech has given me an insight of a funeral speech my. Grandfather's memorial is scheduled for 24 October 2014

--choolwe siamasamu 2014-09-17

Very glad to hear it. All the best in your time of loss.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thz speech is just amazing;my grandfathers first anniversary comes in the next two days;i came across this and i just feel good even though he 's gone i now have something to write.thanks alot for the job and G od bless you

--Nicholas 2014-09-22

I'm glad you found it helpful, Nicholas, and especially glad you managed to feel good about things. All the best to you and your family in your time of loss.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Michael, this is a great example and or template for someone who has trouble writing speeches. I would like to explain the project and assignment comments you receive. I am in a public speaking class and we are to give a commemorative speech 3-5 minutes in length. I am doing research and your speech came up. I hope the individuals who asked about using your speech weren't plagiarizing for their speech, but in any case I hope this clears up those weird comments.

--Brian Yoder 2014-09-26

Thanks, Brian. Good luck with your class!
--Michael

Tell them your alternative transport is a limousine, which you will be billing direct to them until they replace your chari.

--Adrian 2014-10-01

It's all sorted, at last. I just had to tell them I was filing a police report and would see them in small claims court. That happened after eight days of ducking my calls and emails.
--Michael

Hi there, im new here but i find this forumvery helpful... Im a filipina and got married to a french nationale with a permanent resident status in canada, our case has been sent to manila visa office. With regards to my passport submission, I requested for an urgent return of my passport due to a planned trip with my husband prior to a Passport Request I got thru an e-mail.My passport alone was sent back to me on October 2, 2014 without any further notice or instruction. I'm glad the embassy has considered my situation where i needed my passport before October 15 so i can travel. However, i do not know whether i have to submit it again or wait for another request from the embassy for my passport.Since my original copy of passport is reasonably required to complete the assessment of my application, i'd like to know if i must send it back after i get back from my travel which is on October 27. I am afraid that my concern will not be addressed and may cause future delays or refusal.

--jade 2014-10-02

Hi, Jade. I don't know how CIC would handle this situation, but I wouldn't be surprised if your application were put on hold while you have your passport. In your case, I would contact the visa office and ask them how to direct your passport back to them. You should probably include a letter explaining why you're submitting it; reference your application number in that letter. Good luck to you!
--Michael

hi i am sajjad from Pakistan , i got married with my wife according to Islamic religion Last years on 27th July here in Thailand , as i live and work here and i have Thai Work permit , but that marriage was not recognize by the Thai Law , in order to our marriage to be recognize we have to register our marriage in to District office here in Bangkok , so we have already register our marriage on 8th August 2014 , since me and my wife spend time together last year and we have cute daughter born in canada on 8th May 2014 , i have complete all the documents for suposal sponsorship , and now my wife has already flown back to Canada , and submit my application for Suposal Sponsorship , my wife was previously divorce and have one daughter , the problem , my wife was taking the Help from the Govt but now before we register our marriage here in thailand she has already stop the finicial help from the Govt , and now i am supporting her as she cannot work b cos my daughter is very young . please tell me can my wife will be approve as my sponsor as she is not working , and i am supporting her , but she is not taking financial help from the Govt , thanks and appreciate your quick feed back Sajjad jameel sajjadgolfer014@gmail.com

--sajjad 2014-10-07

Hello, Sajjad, thank you for writing. I am not an expert in the area you're addressing, but I believe that you can make this work if you can show that you have the financial resources to support yourself and your wife (I'm assuming she's a Canadian citizen or has PR standing). For instance, will you be able to continue your current method of income if you move to Canada? Do you have substantial savings that could support you for 2-3 years in case you can't find income in Canada? I think if you look at some of the Internet forums (I list some on my website) you'll find other people (even some from Pakistan) that can help you with questions like this. P.S. It's spelled "spousal", not "suposal". ;)
--Michael

Hi Michael, I'm a Canadian citizen and I'm getting married to an American citizen in February. We're currently expecting our first baby in January 2015 and was wondering what the easiest thing for us to do is. He wants to start a life here but I'm not in the best of situations (financially) to sponsor him. I'd be able to work or take OSAP as a source of income after I have my baby. Would him getting a work permit be the easiest route? If so, how does it work and how long will it take? Also, is it easier for Americans to get PR in Canada? How long do you think it'll take for that to happen? Thanks for everything!

--K. 2014-10-17

First, I'd strongly suggest that you find some people who know more about your specifics. I've heard enough horror stories about "immigration lawyers" to not recommend those, but instead that you perhaps go to one of the forums on my web page. I can tell you that Americans have just about the easiest time with obtaining PR in Canada. I would expect that if he's done his background check and medical exam in the US and you've completed your application forms with care (including lots of supporting evidence of your marriage) that the whole process would take six months or so once they've received the form. You can find up to date information on the CIC website here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm-fc.asp (Be sure to check the "view by visa office" page and find the US). Also, I would instinctively advise against filing a claim based on supporting him while you're on OSAP. If he has any savings, an in-demand skill-set, or source of income in the US that he can rely on while living here, that would look a lot stronger. Congratulations on your pregnancy, and all the best in your efforts to bring your fiance here. It can be stressful and confusing but you can get through it. I think the most important thing is to decide whether you have to be together during the pregnancy and/or birth - in the context of your financial situation. Sounds easy for me to say I know, but everything else will depend on that reality.
--Michael

Hi Michael, I really appreciate your help to my questions: We just applied and submitted an inland spousal application this month October 2014 , we are aware that process takes really long , anyway my question is I'm am in a woking permit and it's gonna expire on December 4, 2014 and unfortunately my employer will no longer renew any TFW in the company. My concern now what will I do to extend my stay in Canada with husband while waiting our application? Or do I really have to leave the country after my expiration of my work permit? Will it not be affect our inland application if I leave the country? Thank you in advance! Myles

--Myles 2014-10-24

You will not be able to work without a working visa. I suggest that you work on finding something another TFW, but I am not qualified to advise you on how to do this, or if you can even do that if you're already in the country. I suggest that you turn to some of the online forums and see what other people - who are living in the same circumstances as you - are doing today. All the best, Myles, I know it's not easy! Can I ask why you chose the inland route?
--Michael

Congrats Michael! This is great news :-) And you got a new new mayor today. Things are going your way!

--Agent Vanilla 2014-10-28

Yeah, what can I say, it's been a fine week. Had a bit of a chat with the boss about taking on some new duties, too.
--Michael

how I got kicked out of Japan

Lovely story with a happy ending. I was first attracted by the title. Glad everything actually worked out for you, and you made me think twice about my pending application.

--B 2014-10-31

Ah, go for it! 8) (Glad you liked the story.)
--Michael

I see the appeal of your vocabulary widget and submit my (late) endorsement.

--Jeff Johnson 2014-11-04

Thanks, Jeff! I've since left Japan and have turned my studies to my professional field, but it would be nice to get that thing running again. I appreciate your taking the time to write. 8)
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

Ran across ur blog/ article and laughed my ass off sorry to say this but to me it sounds like ur just a shitting post...

-- 2014-11-10

That's understandable. In my own defense, I can point out that I was usually moving when these things happened! 8)
--Michael

Whooooooaaaaaaahhh... I didn't think you were going to get a car any time soon! You even got a new bike just a bit ago. All sorts of good transportation things happening in House Beanbag :-)

--Agent Vanilla 2014-11-15

Yes, I know. I'll have to hand in my membership of "Cycle Toronto", and I'll no longer be welcome with the Green Party crowd. It's been a long time coming. Mari's been getting around with two kids and a stroller and transit for four years, but the winters are getting worse (we already have snow on the ground; ten-to-twenty-five years ago it never happened until shortly before X'mas) and now Ken's starting to get into "programs" that take him into an ever-wider sphere. She's been losing a lot of time with transit delays, and has grown more confident in her driving (e.g. on the right) as we've been renting. We chose it because it has adequate room for not only kids plus groceries but for the six+ trips to the cottage or grandma's house - no more renting minivans for $600++. With all costs in (except consumables like snow tires and air filters), we expect that this will cost us about $2,000 a year more than the combination of TTC, taxis, and rentals we've been living with. We looked at an Elantra wagon (no longer on the market) but it came to the same cost. Mari preferred the upright driving stance, they threw in a reversing camera. As for me, I don't really fit into much that's smaller. So "CUV" it was. This car purchase brought to us by the absurd run on the stock markets!
--Michael

My spousal visa got rejected since they felt i had applied for the sake of visa.. what can be done.... i am waiting to have my traditional wedding done

--sen 2014-11-19

Well, Sen, you didn't leave your email address but: a) If you applied through the "inland" process, your attempt is at its end. There's no re-applying once you've failed on the inland process. b) If, however, you applied through the "outland" process, you may once again submit an application. It's important to provide proof that your relationship is real. This is where the photos and other records of your life with your spouse are critical.
--Michael

Hi.i want to know this that i am Indian citizen and i got married with Philippine girl she is in Canada .she apply pr both of us in Sep 2012 and last Sep Canadian embessy send my paper to India embessy in new Delhi Canadian emvessy for to submit my medical and pcc.but i still didn't receive and call or letter from new Delhi Canadian embessy .could u help me to know that how long it will take Canadian embessy India to call or send me letter to go for my medical or pcc.

--sanseep 2014-11-25

Hello, Sanseep. Your situation is a bit puzzling: neither of you holds standing in Canada, yet you're simultaneously applying for PR status? Anyway, you can review the wait times on the CIC website here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm-fc.asp The number in the row labeled "Spouse, common‑law partner or dependent child" is for your spouse to be approved as a sponsor. Check the "View by visa office" link in the last column to see the processing time for the next stage. I understand that the office in New Delhi asks for your passport early in the process and then hangs on to it until the PR stamp is inserted. Best of luck with your move to Canada.
--Michael

Hi, I am sponsoring my husband from India and I am in Canadian citizen. We got married in 2008 and after marriage I stayed in India. I decided to move back to Toronto on Feb 2014 with our daughter who is also a Canadian citizen and start a life here. I applied on July 25th 2014. Got my approval letter on Sept 12. They send the sponsorship application to Delhi and my husband got an email on Sept 24 stating that they received his application and to pay for his Right of permanent fee if already not paid and submit PC if already not submitted. I have already paid the fee and we have already send in his PC along with the application. Since the application package has been in Delhi we haven't heard anything at all. It says on my ecas status that a decision has been made and they have received medicals. Since Sept 24, we haven't heard anything. We share a child together, is there any way we can expedite the process? Will talking to my MP make the process faster? Please help me here as I am alone working in Canada and taking care of my child and it's getting very difficult. I have no family in Canada. Thanks you

--arika 2014-11-28

Hello! I understand your predicament. Yes, talking to your MP might possibly help. But please note that there is no expedition due to having a child. As I just told someone else bringing a spouse from India, you can review the wait times on the CIC website here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm-fc.asp The number in the row labeled "Spouse, common‑law partner or dependent child" is for your spouse to be approved as a sponsor. Check the "View by visa office" link in the last column to see the processing time for the next stage. The office in New Delhi asks for your passport early in the process and then hangs on to it until the entire approval is done and the PR stamp is inserted. I hope this helps. Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, Arika. All the best in your application. 8)
--Michael

Have the doctors given you a better diagnosis for your girl? It's time they do! (possible dup message - sorry)

--Audrey 2014-12-05

It's the same diagnosis we're now well familiar with. She's going to have to live with it until she's 4-6.
--Michael

Hello I would really love your help, My wife is Canadian, we got married January 2014 and she petitioned for me. It was received may 9th 2014 and she was approved, the papers was then sent to Jamaica for more processing, its now December 2014 and I have not herd anything from the Canadian emigration office in Jamaica. Can you tell me how long the wait it.

--Avion 2014-12-10

Hello, Avion; Assume your wife filed under the outland process, you can review the wait times on the CIC website here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm-fc.asp The number in the row labeled "Spouse, common‑law partner or dependent child" is for your spouse to be approved as a sponsor. Check the "View by visa office" link in the last column to see the processing time for the next stage. At present, it looks like the process takes 27 months once the application is in Jamaica. Good luck!
--Michael

Hey its Avion again, thank you for the info. Is there any way i could get a quicker response from the Kingston CA office.

--Avion 2014-12-12

Perhaps if your spouse in Canada were to write to their MP?
--Michael

thank

--Avion 2014-12-14

Yup.
--Michael

Hi, My name is Kaye and I am a temporary foreign worker in Canada. I am about to marry my fiance (Canadian Citizen) in a couple of months and we will start to apply the spousal sponsorship. I read the forums that outland process is better than inland. I am a bit worried now because i still have a status as a temporary foreign worker until nov2015 so planning to stay and work in Canada while waiting. Do you think its ok to apply inland? Or should i come home in the philippines? I hope to hear from you soon because I've read a lot about the time waste for inland processing but I have my work permit good until nov2015 so thinking to stay here with my husband to be and work while i still have my temporary foreign work permit status. Thank you! -Kaye

--Kaye 2014-12-17

Of course you want to use the outland process. There's no chance of being permanently blocked from obtaining your PR, as there is with the inland process. It's also faster - in fact it's your only option now because there is simply no way you can use the inland process and obtain your visa before your legal standing expires in November. The only thing that may be confusing you is that can use the outland process while you are living in Canada. That's what my wife and I did, that's what people do every day. When you are preparing your application, be sure to gather lots of proof like photos of the two of you with each-others' friends and families. We provided timelines describing our path to marriage, and even letters written by friends to indicate that they knew our relationship to be real. Good luck!
--Michael

Thanks for the quick response i have a follow up question with my situation as a foreign worker. Can i still work here in alberta havingy work permit til nov2015 and file an outland process for spousal sponsorship? Or should i really leave canada while its ongoing?

--Erika 2014-12-17

You should be able to stay in Canada. In fact, the visa office in Manila will ask for your passport early in the process (after about six weeks, once your husband has been approved as a sponsor). You won't, at that point, be able to leave the country. I believe that you should look into "dual intent". http://www.canadavisa.com/immigration-canada-dual-intent.html And by all means, get all the information you can from CIC.
--Michael

I Got a st moritz professional 200 m ( dive watch) not working i have change the battery...still not working any idea

--joe 2014-12-23

I'd decide a budget on having it repaired, and get an estimate. E.g. Bring it back to the shop and let them send it back to the manufacturer. I did this with Mountain Equipment Co-op, and they did just that for me. (After warning me that they, too, thought the watches weren't terribly good.) Good luck!
--Michael

I got married in May 2014 and spent some time in India, was doing a software course and then wanted to spend some time with my wife and family so came back to canada in august this year. Got a job in September this year, collected all the documents and option C with our travel tickets in india and also our conversation on the phone, ( Vodafone bills, joint bank account statement, marriage pix, etc) and submitted the file.... but there was a change in the IMM0008 so I took back my application from canada post and asked my wife to fill the changed form and courier it from india....! finally sent it to CIC by end of Nov completely. It shows that CIC is processing october 14th file and Approval time shows 61 days...! I applied for a 2.5 weeks vacation at my job and it was approved so I am planning to go to India in Jan 2015 to meet my wife and family. There is also a festival in south india in January that is important for both me and my wife to celebrate together as this is our first festival after our marriage. I will be back in Canada in 2.5 weeks, would this be a issue or any kind of a problem for the file to be delayed ? Just a curious question

--Chaitanya Yechuri 2014-12-30

Frankly, I have no idea. Are you a citizen, or PR? I don't expect there will be a problem if she's living in India.
--Michael

hello, world

I have some question relating to jewelry photography and I was wondering if you might be kind enough to provide some insight. The article you wrote was great but there are still some question left unanswered Thank you

--Tony 2014-12-31

Happy new year, Tony. I'm not sure that there's a lot more I can add about photographing jewelry, but what would you like to know?
--Michael

Hi, I just want to share my concern that I got married to a PR of Canada in Month of Sept 2014 and he submitted my file for PR on 20.10.2014 including medical and other requirements. At present CIC shows that they are working on the files received on 16.10.2014 and we are expecting our file no around Mid of Jan 2015. I just want to know the approx time all the process gonna take as we have submitted our file through lawyer and they are sure that we going to get the PR letter within 6 months as our file is complete as the per CIC rules. Please Advice.

--Jyotsana 2015-01-02

Hi, Jyotsana; I'm assuming that you applied through the "outland" procedure? You can review the wait times on the CIC website here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm-fc.asp The number in the row labeled "Spouse, common‑law partner or dependent child" is for your spouse to be approved as a sponsor - this wait time starts when they begin to process your file. Check the "View by visa office" link in the last column to see the processing time for the next stage - it's typically much, much longer. You'll have to go through both processes. I understand that there's nothing a lawyer can do about these wait times. Best of luck with your move to Canada.
--Michael

Hi, im permanent resident in canada.i got married to my husband who is american citizen. I just move back from USA after 3 yrs. I sent the aplication on august 2014, and get approval as a sponsor oct 7. I was pregnant at the time. Now i just gave birth to a boy in canada. Do i have to notify cic about this since i dont need to sponsor him? My husband is in LA. I check online system said they they received application on August19,14 and medical results. How long do i have to wait to get this done? And can i travel outside canada to US to visit my husband for 2 months during the processing time . im afraid because i m not canadiab citizen yet. Anther question is, can my husband apply working visa while waiting his pr? Thanks,

--Gloria 2015-01-08

Congratulations on the birth!! Yes, tell CIC about this, without question, as soon as possible. I *believe* you can travel outside Canada, you are the sponsor not the sponsored person. If I were you, I'd call up the CIC and ask. If you can't get through, try some of the forums I reference on my web site. Yes, your husband can apply for a working visa. The requirements are a bit of a mess, from what I've read. You can find out more here, it seems to vary by the type of work he does. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/apply-who-nopermit.asp P.S. Please bear in mind that I'm not legally qualified in this field, I wrote what I did on the basis of my experience with the system.
--Michael

Hi Michael, Just came across this post and wanted to let you know that I had this watch for 10 years (2002-2012 RIP) with no problems other than fairly short battery life (~2-3 yrs avg). I too got mine with a leather strap such as yours and it didn't last very long. Replaced with a cheap Timex Expedition strap from Wallyworld several times. Canoeing, camping, swimming, snorkeling in Mexico - it took it all in stride and never missed a beat. The sapphire crystal on it never scratched (although the titanium case wasn't as lucky). Loved the low profile and light weight. I gifted my wife the same model a few years ago (was on clearance at MEC since the Pathfinder II was released). and she hasn't had any issues either. For the $160 spent, it was a great watch. Don't know where you can get one comparable (i.e. sapphire crystal, titanium case and an alarm) for close to that price. It's at the bottom of a flooded quarry now, having come off my wrist when the worn velcro Expedition strap came loose after I dove in. Maybe one day I'll bring down some dive gear and go looking for it :) Sorry you didn't have a good experience with this watch but I still miss mine.... -Stephen

--Stephen 2015-01-10

Thanks for commenting, Stephen. You're certainly not the only one to report a great run from the watch, I wish for the reasons you cite (low profile, good crystal, unobtrusive looks) that mine had fared as well. The luck of the draw it seems, and to my mind that's a problem with a watch. I've now got a Seiko SARB-033 - which in Japan was twice the price of the momentum - and despite its greater weight and higher profile I wouldn't trade. It keeps time with remarkable accuracy for a mechanical watch, is a bit more presentable in a business setting, and will last for decades. When doing anything that might scratch a watch, I wear a non-sapphire Casio that cost me less than $50 including shipping. It's now badly scratched indeed, and when I break it, I'll buy a cheap plastic digital. So it sounds like you really wear your watches - do you plan to buy another?
--Michael

hi dear i am married to a canadian resident (PR) we sent an inland application on march 2014 we got a letter says its processing i see that you don't recommend inland. just in case if my application is refused do i really dont have any chance to fight for it ?do i have to leave canada? can i try again? what will happen to my wife and my daughter maybe i should withdraw my application and try outland please give me some advice thanks javed khan

--javed khan 2015-01-13

No, you can not fight a failed inland application. Depending on your visa situation, I imagine that yes, you would have to leave the country. I don't know if you can with withdraw and application once submitted. I strongly suggest that you try one of the visa-related forums and get the advice from some of the more-seasoned people there who have seen these things before. Also bear in mind, that if your application is strong you shouldn't have a problem. But you will face a lengthy processing time, as you can see on the CIC website. All the best, Javed!
--Michael

hi michael I am a permanent resident (PR) and sponsoring my wife soon as she finish all the papers but my PR card is also expiring this february. i just renew it last october. should i wait first my PR card or should i just submit the papers?

--Billy 2015-02-12

Billy, I'm sorry to tell you that I really don't know. Are you in possession of your passport? If not, or if there's a chance that you'll have to submit it at some point during your renewal, I would wait. It might be a good idea to talk to the CIC about this, though.
--Michael

Does this mean we can be Facebook friends now? I do keep up on your daily goings on here. Mostly via RSS feed :-)

--Audrey 2015-02-18

Friend away. I have an account on Facebook, I seem to drop in every 18 months or so. I'll keep the journal going, but I've already trimmed away 80% of the website. 8)
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Good advice. I'm still working on this technique. Unfortunately I have very bad lighting and I always have the unwanted shadow.

--Marie 2015-03-05

It took me three months to develop this technique, Marie. Keep trying!
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Hello Michael, I am wondering if you would also know how to take images of the inside of a diamond instead of a jewellery. I need to take photos of the diamonds insides to show its clarity. Thanks

--Mr. He 2015-03-10

Good day, sir. Off hand, I can't think of a way to do this with most modern photography equipment. Back in the manual focus days we might have reverse-mounted a lens to get the magnification – but with today's auto-everything lenses I'm not so sure. I have seen such images from diamond producers, so it must be possible; perhaps they have special equipment for the purpose. Good question!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hi Michael, Thank you so much for posting your speech. My grandfather died a week ago and I needed help putting a brief but thoughtful speech together. Thanks for sharing this.

--Candace W. 2015-03-17

Sorry to hear of your loss, Candace. Good luck with your speech.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

My granddad died yesterday im full of emotion im not to sure how to feel about my lost i have many good memories about him. My earliest is when i was fairly young. He was the one all the childern went to to get candy after church. Its the first major lost in 20 years. I enjoyed reading your speech and it was of great help. Thank you.

--Mitch 2015-06-19

Sorry for your loss, Mitch. Thanks for taking the time to write.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hy Michael, Thanks for your speech, is very good to present for an assignment in school. i hope you'll allow me to use any part of it? i really appreciate

--Ogbonnaya Nnamdi 2015-06-21

I don't mind, people have been doing that for years. Be sure to use your own words, though — you can get out of school what you put in.
--Michael

my friend and his girlfriend are planning to get married in Canada. my friend has a visitor visa to Canada. he is on working visa in US. Indian Citizen. what would be the best option since out-land/ inland takes same amount of time? will he get the temporary pr in three months? or will there be no status? will he be able to get work permit in 3-6 months? as what they say online?

--sam 2015-06-24

Hi, Sam, I really don't know what to tell you, as I have never had any experience with working visas. But I strongly advise your friend to use the "outland" process. a) There's no way the inland process is as quick, it's usually a multiple of the processing time of the outland process and b) if something goes wrong, you can't re-apply if you use "inland". It's just common sense to use outland. Whatever route your friend takes, it's important to start gathering the application and evidence sooner rather than later. The whole thing takes a terrific amount of time, and errors only compound the problem.
--Michael

hello, world

Michael - How does one get off your "shitlist"? The IP address of our car club's website and listserver (zmgna.org at xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx) appears on your shitlist. I don't know how or why it got there, but we are having random problems with our members not being able to get messages, and as far as I can determine, your list is the only SPAM list that includes our IP.

--Chris Kotting 2015-06-29

Hi! You've just been removed from my list, but I know that others have picked mine up over the years and may still be doing so. Moreover, if you got on my list by spam being sent to my little domain, my guess is the IP was used for sending a spam to others. There are a wide number of blacklists out there. e.g. http://www.selectrealsecurity.com/public-block-lists That said, I've had a look at the following site, your IP came up clean. http://whatismyipaddress.com/blacklist-check No response from this one, but the lists look like the real deal, you might check each individually. http://www.dnsqueries.com/en/check_banned_ip.php P.S. You're the first person to ever write to have an IP removed.
--Michael

(I'm attempting a comment for the third time, apparently if I press the left arrow key to edit, your site navigates to your prior comment and deletes my comment! Garrrrh) I think Pluto's categorization requires a re-reconsideration. They downgraded it with the assumption that it was more a Kuiper belt object than a "real" planet. Now we've seen evidence of geologic activity! I thought Kuiper belt objects were dead ice cream scoops? Anyway, I'm holding a grudge on Pluto's behalf.

--Audrey 2015-07-22

As I understand it, Pluto's geologic activity amounts to the surface and even atmosphere consolidating as the object drifts further and further from the Sun during its Autumn. It seems to have a "summer configuration" and a "winter configuration". I'll experiment with the comments thing, to see if it's something I can fix.
--Michael

Hi Michael, Nice blog and great about me section :) My name is Carlo Rubinstein, I'm the founder of an Israeli startup. i wanted to share our product in case it might interest your readers, since we are all about diamond photography. I've linked our website below. I am available for you if you want to be in touch, All the best, Carlo

--Carlo Rubinstein 2015-08-30

Hi, Carlo. You've got an interesting product at tweezar.com. Thanks for your kind note.
--Michael

So, I was sending an e-mail to my mum and trying to remember the spelling of the name of the nice couple who lived next to us in Jordan Station. Then I found this site and can't stop reading the bloody thing. This is impressive and entertaining. A wonderful trip through your life.

--Jim Hill 2015-09-16

Yimmy! Now, there's a strange coincidence, I was thinking of you just a couple of weeks ago for some reason. Probably read some military history fragment*. My dad's visiting right now; I'll mention that you found my website. *Speaking of which, have you read "The Fourth Turning"? It's not military-themed but rather attempts to explain why Anglo-American history has been on a theoretically repeating cycle for the past millennium, featuring a cycle of war.
--Michael

How and in what context did this come up for you?

--Audrey 2015-09-22

Sorry, the first answer I sent you was wrong. On that occasion, my ex and I were renting a cottage near Haliburton, Ontario. We were hiking through the woods on the way to the lake and there was the cub.
--Michael

Did you bring your camera? If so, I hope you can send me a link to an album :-)

--Audrey 2015-10-10

No camera for the Detroit trip, I'm afraid. The whole thing was a rush. As is everything these days.. I'm clearly doing something wrong.
--Michael

I think you remember I'm a fellow suffer? Here are my thoughts... 1. Water, yep! 2. Protein, yep! 3. I suppose I should do this. Regarding point 2, avoiding crappy carbs is also really important to stay balanced feeling along with eating enough protein throughout the day. Have you had anybody look at your cervical function? AKA your neck? If my neck isn't in good shape it can create a grinding headache that persists for days. Add on top of that an actual migraine and I really want to die. I also wonder about NaCL influence. I've sometimes eaten a dish (almost always at a restaurant) where immediately afterwards start hallucinating stuff (technically a scintillating scotoma). I've blamed MSG, but I have read that excessive salt might be more the culprit. I've definitely crossed into the medication overuse category. I went cold turkey and try to go as many days as I can without taking anything.

--Audrey 2015-11-15

Hi, Audrey! One of the things they discussed in the training session was the route that a headache "travels" around the head. It starts at the place where the neck and skull join, travels over the scalp to the front of the head, then does this: It's really amazing to see some of these illustrations. So .. illustrative. I use salt (and caffeine) to control mild headaches. I'll buy a bag of chips and a cola. It can help skip actual meds if I catch it early enough. The place I went to is promoting a mix of medication and other treatments, including this. The migraine journal's a bit of a drag, when you see it all in writing. It sounds like you're managing yours?
--Michael

Hi Michael, Your site seems to be the only one I've found with any good information on spousal immigration to Canada. I'm in need of advice and can't seem to find answers anywhere (that aren't going to cost an arm and a leg). My boyfriend is from South Africa and we have been in a relationship for 5 years. I ended up coming back to Canada a few months ago. I had been living in SA with him since 2011. We are trying to sort out the best way to apply for Canadian PR. If you would be so kind as to contact me via my email i would greatly appreciate any help you could give my partner and I.

--Roberta Simson 2015-11-20

Hi, Roberta! When we did this, which is now nearly five years ago, the "outland" process was the way to go. There were two sets of forms that you can obtain from the government, the outland and inland. The former is the way we went, even though my Japanese wife was already living in Canada, for a few reasons: 1. It is much shorter than the "outland" route. 2. We could file again if we had to (e.g. due to some unlikely, unforeseen circumstances). 3. Mari would be unable to leave the country during the two year+ process The "inland" route originated as an amnesty vehicle for people who'd already been living illegally in Canada. That's the underlying reason for #1 - #3 above, but it also meant that the gov't would treat our application the same way that it does people in the amnesty category. There was simply no reason to go about things that way. Everything I can advise is on my website. But on the website I reference some free forums. I strongly advise you to go to one of those rather than my (rapidly aging) advice because I'm just not keeping current. All the best to you and your boyfriend!
--Michael

hello, world

Hi, My husband is a Permanent Resident in Canada and were both filipinos. He sponsored me and submitted the application in CIC Mississauga. Is that what you mean inland? I:m currently in the Philippines waiting for the email of CIC since my husband submitted it last Sept 30, 2015. How long it would take to wait for there update regatding this?regarding

--ANGELIE 2015-11-24

It's been almost five years, but I believe that if you filed through Mississauga, you're in the outland process. The CIC website has good figures on the wait times by country. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm/fc-spouses.asp As of today, that's 17 months, but that's after the "64 day" first setp (see the link near the top of the page). You did the right thing by choosing the outland process. The inland process has a total of 27 months. And if your application is denied, you're finished! http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/perm-fc.asp All the best with your application Angelie.
--Michael

OMG you poor thing. You've had a terrible stretch lately.

--Agent V. 2016-01-12

Eh, that's life. 8^)
--Michael

review: Minolta XD - XD-11

Hello enjoyed reading about your lovely cameras I came across the XD7 in about 1986 and thought about buying a used one but had already bought an X-700.I now own 2 X-700's and an X-500 but still would buy a XD7 although I cannot make up my mind between black or chrome! It's interesting to hear the PX flashguns work with your XD7 which means I will be able to keep using my 132PX when I get one. Thanks Karl.

--Karl 2016-02-26

Thanks for your comment. The PX strobes are good, if you can find one that's still got some life to it. The XD/XD-11 is hands-down the most fun I've ever had with a camera. It's tragic that we left behind such craftsmanship and simplicity. You hear the same from the turntable/vinyl music crowd and a number of other groups of adherents to certain technologies, and they all seem to date to around the same time period – the late 70's. Sadly, I gave up my A-mount bodies for good this past summer. Both of my XD/XD-11 bodies had insurmountable, constant electronics problems that survived expensive trips to the repair shops. And my two X-700 bodies had problems with the cloth shutter that would become too expensive to repair. It's taken fifteen years, but I find that the experience of using the modern digital cameras has finally gotten roughly close enough to that of the old manual gear, and I've made the switch. I went with a new Olympus OMD E10 MkII and a single prime lens. It's covered in buttons, literally covered, and I find myself missing the Minolta bodies on a regular basis. But I also miss the films that are now gone, the ease of development (even here in Toronto, with a population of 6m+ in the greater city, options are limited), and the time to scan film. Good luck with your magnificent gear!
--Michael

hello, world

Hi Michael. I'm from the Philippines and married to a Canadian Citizen. My husband have just submitted our spousal visa application. My concern is that I used my maiden name in the application. I plan to submit my updated Surname once I get my updated passport with my husband's surname. Do you think that they will consider the change during the application? If yes, when should I submit my updated passport? (Should I send it while the application is still in CPC or when it's in the visa office in country?) How can I submit the change of my surname? Will it delay the processing time?

--Msblithe 2016-03-24

Hello; Thanks for writing. I don't know if it will delay your processing time. Whatever you do, make sure you tell the CPC about changes in your status as soon as possible. Surprising them with something like a name-change could be a show-stopper altogether: my (amateur) advice is not to risk it. If you've already been told that your case has been sent on to the visa office in Manila, then I suggest you contact that office. I always found the in-country office more helpful than the general CPC help line in Canada. Try to find a website for the office in Manila and see if that offers any help. Best of luck with your application. We've been in Canada for five years, now, we've had a daughter here and life is stable. It's worth the hassle!
--Michael

Congrats!

--Audrey 2016-03-29

Thanks!
--Michael

Hi Michael, I am married to a Canadian Citizen. We sent the inland sponsorship application to CIC in Ontario 2.5 months already, but all we have at this moment is just an email of receiving acknowledgment sent to my husband. That's it. We checked our online status but it is not found so I think they have not started processing our application yet. Do you know how long does it normally take CIC to start processing time since the day they received the application package? Thank you so much

--Thu Tran 2016-04-03

Hi Thu, You can look at the processing times for different types of visas here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/ Since you've chosen the inland route (I'm assuming your spouse was in the country without standing?) you're currently looking at 26 months. The good news is that your spouse can obtain a work permit after 18 months. I am not an immigration lawyer, I'm just someone who brought their spouse in, so you'll have to verify the following information yourself (e.g. through a lawyer or on one of the forums I mention on my website). I don't know what country your spouse is from, but that can add quite a bit of time to the mix as well, as there is substantial work to be done in the foreign country. E.g. Germany and the UK have very short processing times. My wife's processing happened when Japanese citizens were managed through Tokyo, which was about 6-7 months. But it's now done in Manila, which adds another lengthy period for some reason. It gets worse in countries with greater obstacles for this sort of thing, such as Nigeria and Afghanistan. The government has never prioritized inland applications. From what I've been told, that route was originally created as an "amnesty" channel for those who were already living here without a valid visa. The official story is a bit different. But the outland process is uniformly faster, less restrictive, and less risky. I have never recommended the inland process to anyone due to the restrictions. http://www.cicnews.com/2014/08/problem-083622.html We applied through the outland process even though my wife was here in Toronto with me (and our son).
--Michael

Poor system admin who has to deal with all the locked accounts :-(

--Audrey 2016-04-04

This is policy, lady. Implementation's fer the riff-raff.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hey Michael, I want to thank you so much for posting that great speech! My grandfather passed away recently and I couldn't put to words for how I would prepare my speech to explain how much he meant to me. Your speech was the first I read and your grandfather sounds a lot like mine. I put it all into my own words but the base of my speech came from how highly you spoke of your grandfather. You are a great man for showing others what you said about your grandfather and I hope many others read it

--Josh cockburn 2016-04-11

Very glad it helped, Josh. It's not easy, writing something like that. I had such difficulty when my paternal grandmother died that I couldn't get up and speak. All the best to you and your family in your time of loss. And thanks for taking the time to write. I only recently turned on comments on my website again, after a long break.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

I'm sorry I did not leave an email on my last message. I'm sending this message to you with my email this time. Just in case you would like to respond.

--Josh cockburn 2016-04-11

Gotcha. ;)
--Michael

Did I miss something? Were you hit in traffic?

--Audrey! 2016-04-14

Yup! It happened on Thursday. A hit and run.
--Michael

Hi Michael, you're awesome for answering all these questions even after your process is done. Anyway, I'm about 80% done preparing my outland app, and I'm just wondering about the letters you used to support proof of your marriage relationship. Did you use original signed handwritten letters? Or would scanned copies emailed to me from my parents and friends who live far away suffice? Btw, as a Canadian just like you, I'm ashamed how terrible this process is.

--Christopher 2016-04-19

Yes, it's amazing when Japan, a country that admits 20-25 refugees a year, and which has no word in common use for "immigrant", has a better process than we do. We went with whatever people would provide us. I don't recall that any were hand-written, but they were certainly all signed and mailed to us. When you submit your application, be sure to submit originals of everything. I kept only scans. It's risky (they *lose* applications, somehow), but it's what they want to see. I suppose on the point of lost applications, it's best to send your package in a sturdy envelope, by registered mail. Good luck, Christopher!
--Michael

Hello, Michael. I'm not sure if you can answer this. I'm sponsoring my wife for PR, and we applied while we were both living in Japan. We are now in Canada, as of last month, and CIC made the decision just a week after arriving in Canada (bad timing!). However, they gave us a very tight deadline of April 30th for landing, less than a month. We sent the required form back to Manila, and they responded today saying they can't send the decision package to Canada, only to Tokyo. What do we do?

--Jay Dee 2016-04-21

I'm not sure which form you sent off, do you mean to advise them of a new address? It sounds like your wife might have to return to Japan, submit her passport to the office in Manila, and wait for its return. This was a very quick turnaround when we did Toronto -> Tokyo -> Toronto, by that I mean only three weeks or so. I hope that's workable. You might also do well to drop by one of the forums I mentioned on my website. There are people there who have been through every imaginable variation on the path to PR sponsorship. Best of luck!
--Michael

I am so sick of my board. This close to pulling the plug and saying Adios!

--Audrey 2016-04-23

Sorry to hear that! It's a bit like a job and a bit like sharing a hobby with paperwork and a bunch of people with whom you share litle, isn't it.
--Michael

Hello - I am Filipino Canadian and I am sponsoring my wife from Philippines; my question is? All our papers already submitted and approved here in Mississauga and immigration emailed a confirmation that they send a note to Canadian Manila for further processing, now medical is done and after 6 weeks my wife got an email from Manila embassy that she needs to submit additional documents like IMM's forms, and photos evidence these are all already submitted here in Canada, what should we do? please

--Angie 2016-04-28

Angie, you didn't include your email address along with your query, I hope you find an answer, somehow. If you've been asked for the forms and other evidence, though, I would do as they ask. You can include a letter stating that any missing originals were already submitted with your application. Good luck with the process – you're nearly done!
--Michael

Hi ,we got request for submitting the passport on 27th april 2016 for the candian pr...but my wife is 7month pregnant right now...so we submitted the passoprt and letter regarding her pregnancy to passoprt office...and earlier when medical was conducted she was 3month pregnant...so i m just worrying at this stage will they hold our passport after knowing that she is 7month pregnant or will give us our passport to give us a chance to travel to canda beofre delivery...my wife due date is 20july

--Harry 2016-05-02

Are you considering bringing her to Canada for the birth without the PR standing? I'm not an expert but it sounds like you have little choice but to send the passport along. Depending on your country it could be returned fairly quickly (this is not universal, of course). It was close for us, as well; we were already in-country but paid for my wife's various medical fees all the way along until finally receiving her PR stamp about mid-way in the pregnancy.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

This helped alot. Im putting together a speech for my grandmother who just past away on the 5th. Your speech caught my eye and i was complety lost on how to start. This would be my first speech ever so i need to start some where. Thanks alot for ur speech.......

--sandra 2016-05-07

Glad it could help, Sandra. All the best to your family during your time of loss.
--Michael

Hello Would you consider taking a look of my camera covers. I can send you a sample sheet with all the material I have available I have more than 125 vintage camera covers kits my webpage is hugostudio.com e-mail hugo@hugostudio.com Thank You

--hugo 2016-05-11

I'd love to Hugo, but I'm afraid I finally set aside my film cameras for good last year. I'd have nothing on which to evaluate it! I will say it looks like you've got a nice set of colors and from what I can see on the screen the texture looks nice. It looks like it must be fun?
--Michael

hello Micheal,my wife and i are applying for Canada PR.we both have a child together and both her parents and siblings were all at the wedding including that of mine.i applied in 2015 for a visitors visa to visit my daughter after she was born but i was refused on the reason that,the purpose of my visit.Now we are married and am applying from Ghana,Africa and my wife is a Ugandan Canadian.please tell me what do you think our chances of a successful application is going to be like.kindly advise

--joel 2016-05-23

I don't know how to gauge the likelihood of your success, but if you submit a strong application, and if the health and background checks work out, it should work out. The new government is putting more resources towards immigration, so it's possible that your processing times will even be a bit faster than the published rates of the past few years. To complete a good application, be sure to include all of the required evidence. For instance, I submitted letters from acquaintances who knew our relationship to be legitimate, and lots of photos of us with each-other's families (in public places). We did all of the needed tests. It took months, but it worked! Keep copies of everything in case the application goes missing. Send it by some delivery mechanism that will give you a receipt.
--Michael

hey Im Sara, my husband has his PR and we had submitted the outland sponsor to sponsor me as a PR. we got an acknowledgment from Delhi stating that the process has started in march 21st 2015, approximately how long would it take for me to receive a mail asking for my passports?

--sara 2016-06-02

You can find that information on the CIC website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/ All the best with your application!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Dear Michael, I am so very sorry for your loss. My Grandfather died today and I want to say something in his memory at his funeral. Your speech grately inspired and help me as I am in no condition to write one right now.

--Emilie 2016-06-07

Sorry to hear of your loss, Emilie. Very glad my write-up could help in some way. All the best in your time of grief.
--Michael

Hello Micheal. My name is Randa, l am a canadian citizen. I applied to sponsor my husband from Syria. Application received by cic marh 10/16 SA march 20/16 Aplication transfeted to Bucharest VO march 20/16 Both side sponsor and spibsored in process. Medical received How it would take VO to request sponsored passport.

-- 2016-06-15

Hi, Randa! It looks like the CIC may not be sending spousal PR applications to specific VO's any more. Have a look at this page: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/ It says the total turnaround would be 12 months. Which I believe is a big improvement over the times achieved by the previous government, as long as it sounds. In fact, Syria's now comparable with Germany, the UK, or Japan. All the best with your application!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

May his gentle soul rest in peace! I also want to write a funeral speech for my grand father, can i make use of some ideas in your speech? thanks

--Hanan 2016-06-23

Of course you may, Hanan. All the best to you and your family in your time of loss.
--Michael

Thank you Micheal Randa

--Randa 2016-06-26

Good luck!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

I just lost My Uncle Due To a Car Accident 💔 Duriing Times like this its hard to Write somethiing .Your Speech Helped me Alot Thank You Very Much

--Qhamaninande 2016-07-03

Very sorry to hear of your loss. Glad my speech could help in some way. All the best to your family during this time, it must be rough.
--Michael

Hi im a a Filipina married to a canadian , we apply for spouse visa last 05-05-16then my husband received an email last 06-29-16,he was approved as a sponsor and for the further process of the visa it was forwarded to manila last 07-06-16 and then just recently 07-13-16 i received an email confirmation about my visa being process , I submitted everything complete , even my medical , im just confused on family members medical do they all need to do it ? althou they are not going with me to canada

--MaryGrace Kunzelman 2016-07-14

Hello, Mary Grace; It wasn't clear from your message on my website what the nature of the request is, regarding medical records for your family. If you've had a request for such records, you'll have to provide them. Any inability to provide such records can only hurt your application. Please note, however, that I am not an immigration lawyer, nor an expert - just someone who brought his spouse into Canada, and that was five years ago already. I think you should get in touch with the visa office that is processing your claim, as well as the CIC help line. If that fails consider reaching out to your husband's member of parliament. Good luck!
--Michael

Just following up as I didn't hear back from you, sorry to email you again. I noticed your page http://emuu.net/journal/2014.11.13/16%2C000-days links to timeanddate.com. Unfortunately, that site isn't very accessible for the sight impaired. Would you consider adding a link to a more accessible version likewww.thetimenow.com which is WCAG 2.0 compatible? Also, if you ever want to see how accessible a page is, I recommend http://wave.webaim.org. It is really helpful. Thanks, Lily

--Lily Ward 2016-07-07

Thanks for the tip, Lily.
--Michael

came across this thread while researching that watch. Momentums claim that the leather strap is finely stiched Italian is just ludicrous! What l see is a glued split hide, with four single stiches at each lug. The buckle area seems to have a two coil single stich on each side and one single stich hold the end of the strap together. This extremely poor design will deteriorate very quickly under normal everyday use. Moisture of any type will only excellerate strap failure.

--Thomas 2016-07-31

Thanks for the comment, Thomas. Would you recommend replacing the strap with something better (and hopefully commonly available)? Or is the watch still hit-and-miss as reader comments suggest?
--Michael

I bought a St. Moritz Momentum Atlas 38 watch with "water resistant" leather strap. The strap failed in less than 3 months even though I only used the watch in the shower. I will replace the band with SLK rubber that they offer on their website, hope it lasts longer.

--Sergey 2016-08-02

Good luck, Sergey. Thomas, another commenter on the site you visited, says that the leather straps are particularly cheaply made. I hope the one you're buying is not one of the chocolate-scented ones from that manufacturer!
--Michael

I see no point in buying a new watch, then immediately spend more money on a new leather band. If the Pathfinder lll came with a quality leather strap or nylon strap at a better price, l might bite. But l do know of three Steelix Nylon watches that have been badly abused and are still going strong. A couple of years ago, a young friend of ours and two of buddies all bought watches before going into basic training. The watches have all help up and the boys have nothing but praise for Momentum

--Thomas 2016-08-04

I'm very glad to hear that Momentum's doing something right. I'd like to see a Canadian watch company succeed. I would have given them feedback directly if they'd given me the time of day when I contacted them.
--Michael

Even though Momentum is a Canadian owned company, there is nothing Canadian made about their products... except that is was designed in Canada. There are hundreds of companies out there that assemble their watches the same way. The parts, materials and labour are cheaply out sourced from China and elsewhere. If watches does has a Swiss or Japanese movement, there will be premium to be paid. Most likely the movement is made in Malaysia or China.

--Thomas 2016-08-04

Then there is the deception on what parts actually are in any watch. The Pathfinder says that it has "a new unique “Touch” alarm movement from ISA of Switzerland". One would assume by the wording used, that the movement was made in Switzerland right? And if that were the case, Momentum would write Swiss Movement on the dial face. In reality..... Momentum just says that the movement is from ISA of Switzerland, not made in Switzerland.

--Thomas 2016-08-04

It also sounds to me that their unique warranty and service plan is there for a reason! Why make consumer pay for an extended warranty plan every two years, just to have their battery changed? I am not sure how much they charge for this so called "service", but by the end of your six years, you will have spent enough money to buy a new watch. That $220 Pathfinder 3 watch that l like, is going to end up costing me $340 at the end of six years!

--Thomas 2016-08-04

It's interesting, to reconstruct a company's profile model through their behaviors. I imagine that that follow-on plan, and cost-cutting in things like the strap, makes the whole venture profitable.
--Michael

Here's a new complaint. I bought a Moritz watch in Toronto some time back. As per the instructions I sent it back to the MFG every once in awhile for a cleaning and a battery replacement. The most current request for a new battery was "we are no longer servicing that model" I also have taken it to a jeweller or two, here in the states. No one seems to know how to open the case. Does anyone have any idea how to open the watch case? jtxf@swbell.net

-- 2016-08-05

What? "No longer service that model"! Assuming you've paid for the warranty, I wonder what your state consumer protection laws would have to say about that. Because that wouldn't fly up here. I don't know how you'd go about opening the case, maybe you could call Moritz and ask for some instructions and/or the equipment needed? Hopefully, someone else reading this will respond with a tip. I'll pass along anything that comes up. Thanks for your comments,
--Michael

Hi, I'm applying from Mexico for my husband's PR. We sent our documents but I made a silly mistake on one of the forms (put his name where mine was required). The Mississauga processing centre replied really fast (within a week) telling us about the mistake and to please re-submit the form. How long can I expect to wait until they approve me as a sponsor after receiving the corrected form? I haven't heard from them in weeks. There is no acknowledgment of receipt of the corrected form. Thanks!

--Dani 2016-08-17

My information, having done this five years ago, is increasingly out of date. But it all depends on whether you're following an inland or outland application. For the latter, you'll receive word that the case has been passed on to one of the visa offices outside Canada, when you've been approved as a sponsor. Then there will be a longer wait, after which you'll hear that your husband's been approved. They will ask that his passport be sent along to that office at that time. The inland process has changed a fair bit over the years, but I think you'd hear nothing for several months before any requests for further steps (health check, etc) come back. It's a very lengthy process. I don't think they're in the habit of ever sending a note like, "we've received your update." The common advice I saw on the forums was to send everything to them in some fashion that you'll get a receipt back when they've received what you sent. All the best on your quest!
--Michael

I have only been buying St Moritz watches since 1990. Back then the watches had St Moritz stamped on the face. I own about 8 of their watches and have NEVER been disappointed. In my opinion, they make the best watches for the price. I can't afford nor do I want a luxury brand of watch and have only been purchasing St Moritz for the past 25 years. I will never buy another brand of watch.

--Marnie 2016-09-02

Good to hear that they're working well for you, Marnie!
--Michael

Yo. Forgive me, but I think your opinions about both Al and His Highness are both hogwash. Bellowing brutes with no brains? Allosaurus was at least as smart as a crow and capable of strategic thinking. So was T. rex. I'm an Allosaurus nut myself, but I believe, apparently unlike yourself, in giving credit where it's due. If your kid likes T.rex, big deal: he's FOUR, for Heaven's sake! He's a KID! Let him be a kid! We're only young once, and then never long enough!

--Benjamin 2016-09-09

This made me smile. Do you have a link comparing Allosaurus intelligence to that of a crow? That's a huge reversal on anything I've ever read. One of the interesting developments of the past few years is the possibility that many of the so-called species we've identified were really different forms of the same species at different stages in development. http://phys.org/news/2015-10-adolescent-rex-unraveling-controversy-growth.html It doesn't apply when comparing species from vastly different time periods, as we're doing, but I do find it amazing and fun that we're still learning so much. Thanks for writing! P.S. The kid's already 8 1/2. He claims to now have no preference between the two, but leans allosaurus.
--Michael

Been sick for 3 weeks. Been at 80% for about a week, but when I try to do "life", I get knocked back down again. If I'm not careful I'm going to pull a Hillary

--Audrey 2016-09-14

Yikes, very sorry to hear it. That sounds like it could be pretty discouraging.
--Michael

how to photograph diamond jewelry

Hello sir im Amandeep Singh from India I want to learn diamond jewellery photography. actually sir im photographer but im always fail to click the diamond jewellery. Im trying so many time but mostly same ruselt pls help me

--Amandeep Singh 2016-10-23

Most of what I know is on the page you found & commented on. I found jewelry photography to be a terribly difficult task, but I'd be happy to help if I can. What do you want to know?
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thank you for sharing this, it was tremendously helpful in structuring my speech for my grandfather's funerals and finding the right tone, after struggling to compose my thoughts. I'm very grateful that you shared your remarks, they've obviously been valuable to many people already.

--Philippe 2016-10-31

Very glad it could be of some help, Philippe. All the best to you and your family in your time of loss.
--Michael

I clicked around a bit today! I come at your site from RSS. Sometimes, the lead doesn't tease so I don't click through. Maybe you need a Facebook page :-)

--Audrey 2016-11-01

That'll be the day. Dang, just earwormed myself.
--Michael

I started collecting automatics over 15 years ago. About 10 years ago I came across St Moritz/Momentum (Quartz). I hate saying "great value for the money" because it makes them sound cheap. Let's just say I wear my Momentums (5) more than I wear my more expensive (Breitling, Doxa, Glashutte,etc.) watches. For the money you can't beat them. I change out most of my bands for high quality leather straps so I can't speak to the issue the original post had.

--Bob 2016-12-02

Thanks for leaving your story, Bob. It seems that you bought yours around the same time I bought mine. Perhaps it's a matter of quality control: some people get keepers, others are throwing the watch in the garbage after two years.
--Michael

I benefited from the site In evaluating Momentum watches thanks a lot.. Successful efforts

--ILhamy 2016-12-06

Great! Did you buy one, in the end?
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thank you Michael. My grandfather died yesterday and I already miss him. I want to say something at his funeral and this page really helped me. Thanks so much

--Eva 2016-12-21

I'm glad it could help in some small way, Eva. All the best to your family.
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

Thanks for taking the time to record your run-ins with bird droppings. I've had one on my right arm just this morning for the 1st time in my life. Birds particularly swans in Scandinavian Spirituality signals that the favor of a Valkyrie (sort of a guardian angel) is upon you, bringing you safely through various turning points in life; from life, death then rebirth. :)

--Dagaz Odinzon 2016-12-23

Maybe it's like tattoos, Dagaz, or making your first million: the first one's the hardest, after that they're much easier. 8) Thanks for the note from Norse mythology, it's certainly a rich tradition. As noted somewhere on my web page, there's another Canadian who's recording her "hits". We're currently tied for birds, but she's had one bat and I concede that that will be a hard one to match.
--Michael

My phone has two more data gotcha settings: 1) Roaming - I have this set to off 2) WiFi assist - this might an Apple specific thing, but whenever the phone thinks the WiFi is dodgy, if this setting is ON, the phone starts sucking data. This setting makes sense in HK, South Korea, but the entire North America has shitty infra. Should never be turned on.

--Audrey 2017-01-01

I didn't realize you could turn off roaming at the phone level, it looks like it was off by default on mine. Good to know about that Apple (it doesn't exist on my Moto E) Wifi assist feature.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thankyou for your speech it has really helped me shape my grandpa's speech during his funeral

--Reagan Mumo 2017-01-03

I'm glad it could be of some help. Thank you for letting me know. All the best to your family in your time of loss.
--Michael

Hi Michael, thank you for trusting us with this tank! Everyone has settled in for the night and seem to be quite happy. We have named them Daisy and Oscar :) Our one cat didn't leave the room for an hour ... she is not sure what we have brought into the house!! We will keep you posted on how it is going, Jule-Anne and Angus

--Jule-Anne 2017-01-06

Great names! The aquarium's in good hands. As we were hauling things in, a neighbour told Angus that he would Angus some fish. Angus suggested instead that the aquarium would need a settling in period, and that anyway, it was too small for many more fish. Exactly what he should have said! 8^D
--Michael

Hello, I did submit for inland applications for my wife and child while visiting me from Philippines last July 2015, finally I got news from CIC asking for medical check outs for my wife and baby, that means that its a step closer for the applications to be approved? thanks

--mario 2017-01-07

Of course! It's a big step. Good luck with your application.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thank you for sharing this. My Grandad passed on Tuesday and im finding it difficult to cope, but i want to be strong and let people know how much he means to me, this has helped me shape what i'd like to say, so thank you.

--Rob 2017-01-12

Very glad it could help, Rob. Be well.
--Michael

You are truly an idiot.

--WatchLover 2017-01-20

Says the anonymous troll.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

thank you so much

--krushna 2017-01-23

All the best.
--Michael

I bought an M1 many years ago after reading a review in some outdoor mag about its ruggedness as an ABC watch. I've used It in many outdoor sports including scuba, sailing, mountaineering, skiing.... it has been indestructible and reliable with only two battery and one strap (black rubber) change through the years. I have a variety of other watches from pedestrian to luxury and keep coming back to my old M1. It has been a great watch, not too big on my wrist and great value for me.

--Steve 2017-01-23

That's great to hear, Steve. Wish I could say the same; mine couldn't handle the rigors of a Tokyo summer!
--Michael

So I read somewhere, contrary to expectation, migraine sufferers are more intelligent than the population at large. The guess is that "migraine" as a symptom is an unintended effect of increase evolutionary intelligence. I'm sure that will make you feel so much better the next time you are suffering a migraine. But on a serious note, a friend had major success with diet modification. Have you tried something like this? She cut out all sugar and wheat I think. I can ask if you want to know mor

--agent vanilla 2017-01-27

Wow. I'm finding that magnesium at night, and vitamin B in the morning help quite a bit. I've had to cut out wheat and dairy due to an intolerance, and I'm currently once again cutting out caffeine. The dairy is a source of migraine for sure. As is champagne, and garlic, and chocolate... I'm working on regular sleep, but our four-year-old's got as much to say about that as I do. And if we're so smart, why haven't we taken over the world and demanded a fix for migraine! Damn us! Wait, we're already damned.
--Michael

Er, no, I don't have a link, but to be perfectly honest me and my twin brother did a lot of research of our own on Allosaurus (he's a T-rex nut) and, after watching the informative Jurassic Fight Club (which I highly recommend) we were wowed. An animal capable of strategic thinking HAS to be intelligent, don't you agree? T-rex was similarly intelligent: when you're the king of the killers in your environment, you don't need smarts, but if you're in a very competitive environment---and what preda

--Benjamin 2017-01-28

Jurassic Fight Club looks brilliant, thanks for passing that along. I agree that the Allosaurus looks like it would have been a nightmare for everything living at that time. I wonder if the dinosaurs would have simply carried on out-competing everything if that meteor hadn't come. Also, I wonder if maybe a mid-life T. Rex might have been a lot like an Allosaurus - apparently the T. Rex filled several niches during its life, taking on different forms as it matured. P.S. I see your comment got clipped. I apologize for that, but if it's any consolation your comment led me to a discover a bug introduced while fixing the previous issue last week.
--Michael

Hi, Thanks for the write up. I used cameraleather.com for about 8 years and the service within the last few years has been really horrible. On all of my recent purchases, I usually wait three weeks and then start a case with paypal. I normally get my covering within a month. Remember if you If you wait too long you won't be able get your money back with paypal. I have purchased dozens of different kits and covers over the years. The cuts are always very accurate, but some covers have gotten thinner and don't match up with the sides of the Rolleiflex or Rolleicord very well. The Griptac is ugly but my favorites for actual use. Hugo, your kits look reallynice. I'll have to give them a try.

--Scapedude 2017-02-01

Sorry to hear that that's the case, Scapedude. I eventually had to replace some of the leather kits due to glue bleeding through the material - quite disgusting on a camera!
--Michael

Hi There Michael, I am an American applying for outland PR through my Canadian husband. I do not currently live in Canada, but visit very often. We are just finishing up our paperwork to submit our application package. We found out we are pregnant a couple weeks ago (yay!), but I am not sure how that plays out with my application. Will they refuse my application until the baby is born? Or does it not matter? There is only one yes or no question pertaining to this issue on the revised application which asks if you or your sponsor and pregnant, but there are no follow up questions. I can't seem to find any information on this issue and how it affects permanent residency applications. Thanks in advance!

--Bay 2017-02-08

They will not refuse the application on that basis. As lunatic as the system seems, CIC isn't actually *trying* to be obstructionist. 8) My wife became pregnant after we were well underway. Just be sure to tell them exactly what's happening as things develop. At the speed with which US applications blast through the system I expect it'll all be over before there are three of you. All the best with your application, and congratulations!! P.S. Make sure you understand the rules of citizenship with regard to where the child is born. In Canada a number of years ago we had a "reverse anchor baby" situation, if you will. People who obtained Canadian citizenship returned to their country of origin and were passing on Canadian citizenship to their children and grandchildren. This was dealt with by the previous (Conservative) government, which passed a retroactive law so that anyone born to a Canadian outside of Canada could not in turn pass on their Canadian citizenship to a third generation. Unlike a similar rule in Australia, there was no mechanism by which the ability by citizens born abroad to pass on citizenship could be restored (in Australia this could be done by having the born-abroad child live in Australia for a certain term). I don't know if the US has similar rules, but it's an annoyance that we're living with since my son was born in Tokyo while I was working there. He can't pass on his Canadian citizenship, while our Toronto-born daughter can.
--Michael

Apologies, Michael. I did not include my email address in my last inquiry about how my pregnancy will affect my PR application. Here it is. Thank you.

--Bay 2017-02-08

Got it.
--Michael

2 in 10! what great news. hugs I truly sympathize. what's the database? anything that can be given out to other sufferers?

--Audrey 2017-02-09

The database is based on the CMS I made for this website. I could weld a user authentication piece to it and make it available for the public, for sure. I'll have a look at that in the weeks to come.
--Michael

All my paperwork is getting sent to our lawyer and it takes a few days for them to respond to my questions...I checked online and for about 6 months our status stayed at "application received" than it went to "in process" than I checked again at 8 months and it went back to "application received"..the screen did change though as it went to 2. medical records received..I'm wondering if I was approved as the sponsor since we went to step 2. And what's left? Thank You

--Marissa 2017-02-18

Marissa, you didn't leave your email address, so I hoe you do check back to see my response. It sounds to me like a) you used the "inland" route to apply? and b) that things are progressing normally there. If they're already looking at your spouse's medical records than I believe you've been approved quite some time ago as the sponsor and are in the final month(s) of the process.
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

Everything and anything that comes into your life you either directly or indirectly attracted it with your thoughts.

--Zack 2017-02-21

I guess I must have had bird shit on my mind- oh god, not again!
--Michael

Hey. I need to know how the visa office is assigned for outland. If someone is a citizen of country A but a resident of country B, but currently in Canada on TRV. which visa office will be assigned for further processing? what is the criteria for deciding

--gaurav 2017-02-27

Hi. The CIC website is worse than ever from the looks of things, but it seems that the table on this chart would tell you where you application will be processed. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/offices/apply-where.asp It all seems to come down to geography, but in the case you've described I think it's the country of origin and/or passport for the sponsored immigrant that you'd use as your guide. Bear in mind that I am not an expert, and am not keeping current on policy. I'm merely someone who's been through this (and even that was now six years ago). If you have questions of this nature, I suggest you call the CIC to verify things before making a mistake that could add months to your application time. All the best with your application, Gaurav.
--Michael

hello, world

Hi Michael, I am a Canadian but has been working in ASIA for the past 20 years. My son who is 13 years old is currently going to school in Canada, where my wife, a Japanese, is taking care my son in Canada on a visitor status. I applied the Outland spousal sponsorship last Oct and we got our "decision made" last week. While we are waiting for the COPR, I would like to ask do I, as the sponsor, need to return to Canada right away with my wife after she gets her PR? I have a job here in Asia which takes time for me to resign and I am not sure if they will start to deem me as a resident (from a tax perspective) right after my wife becomes a PR. Can I return to Canada on a later date and would it jeopardize my wife PR status?

--KK 2017-03-03

Hello, KK. I'd love to respond but you didn't provide your email address. I am not an immigration specialist or a lawyer, but here goes: You shouldn't need to accompany her, but it would be a good idea if your son were there: kids have a positive effect on these interactions. Also, you only jeopardize the PR status if you don't show that you're living together. You don't have to be in Canada, but you do have to be together wherever you live, for the majority of each period they consider. The period changed recently, and will recently change again, so I won't quote the current statutes, you should look that up. This might be a good spot. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=727&top=4
--Michael

I decided to live printer free for a while. Then got two printers for free, 1 then another after the first one died. Black and white ink jet only. When the current one breaks, I will probably not replace it. In a printing emergency, I can go to Fedex. Otherwise, the document goes on my phone.

--Audrey 2017-03-21

I never owned own at all, prior to this. I still find it odd, having one around the house. My father tells me to try "123 Inkjets". The office admin at my office told me to look into having them refilled. How could Canon's business model rely on people not figuring out alternatives!
--Michael

I went on a second 10 day course of a 2-prong antibiotic that just ended yesterday. Sinuses finally producing non-yellow mucous for 1st time in months. TMI :-) I switched from Sudafed to Claritin to deal with continued runny nose. It's made a world of difference. When I breathe through my nose, the air feels cool and refreshing inside the nasal passages for the first time in eons. And to kill the gum in my throat and voice box, I made a 100% lemon juice and salt gargle. 1 dose of this and viola, voice back in working condition. So in a nutshell, a cold or virus 1-2 years ago left me with a persistent low level sinus infection. This last bout of illness, the low level became high level. Apparently have also developed allergies making all this worse. Hang in there...

--Audrey 2017-03-26

Good lord! You'd mentioned your ongoing problems, I hadn't realized it was that bad – 1-2 years. 8^O I'm so glad it's worked out. That lemon and salt thing sounds like a killer. I had a chat with my brother yesterday, he's also got a cold. My office has been gutted by absences. What a year.
--Michael

Whoops! Got the bug I hope. And about the meteor: dinosaurs were already on their last gasp when it hit. A million years before the big whammy there were 60 species of dino in T.rex's landscape; 900,000 years later this number had plummeted to 19, and by the time of the Chixulub event this had sunk to only nine. Bob Bakker blames the Asia-North America Species interchange, which also meant diseases were interchanged too. Epidemics like Ebola are a modern example of this. It should serve as a warning to us all.

--Benjamin 2017-04-05

Thanks for your comment, Benjamin. Poor dinosaurs, beset by all manner of challenges at the end.
--Michael

I own a Momentum M1 watch purchased in 2002. I purchased this watch because it was the only watch I could find which had a stainless steel case for less than $300. I paid about $180 for the watch when every other stainless steel watch was over $500. It has a Japanese movement as noted in the bottom of the watch face. I have been wearing it daily for the last 15 years, with the original band. I very rarely ever remove it, I swim, ski, shower with it all the time. the only thing I've ever done is to replace the battery about every two/three years. I have never even replaced the gasket and yet it continues to be waterproof. It's been the best watch I've ever owned, and I've owned plenty. For the price it can't be beat. I wonder if the quality of their watches has diminished over the years?

--Sam 2017-04-13

It sure sounds that way, Sam! That said, I bought mine around 2004 so I wonder. Various commenters on my site have reported great luck, bad luck like mine, and scathing reviews of the materials/assembly/design. It's like there are different versions of these watches out there. Just my luck to get a lemon, but the irritating thing is that Momentum refuses to support their product.
--Michael

He's still got some growing up, there is more to the tooth fairy (and Hogfather) than meets the eye - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hogfather

--Adrian 2017-04-17

Well, he cannot help them now. Nor they, he. God I miss Pratchett.
--Michael

where we can intervene is the burgundy-coloured curve. And the green one.

--mom, the broken record 2017-05-03

Haha, yeah, we'll get right on that I'm sure.
--Michael

Hi Michael, I am a PR here in Canada and I am sponsoring my wife in the Philippines, we done here medical exam and the CIC sent me an email stating that they already forwarded the application to visa office in Manila, is this means that after they got the application they will request the passport or we are closer to get approved. Thank you.

--Alcris 2017-05-05

Hello, Alcris; You're in good shape. The system's changed a fair bit over the years, but you should receive notification, once the background check on your wife is complete, and yes a request for your passport. Assuming everything is in order, this should wrap up within a year of your application date. Remember that you can check the status of your application here: https://services3.cic.gc.ca/ecas/security.do?lang=en You didn't leave an email address, so I hope you check in again!
--Michael

I vote for rare bird and the best kind.

--Sue Masterson 2017-05-05

Twee, tweet. rare bird
--Michael

What if the statue telling you about the doors was the lying statue? :)

--Joe The. 2017-05-07

My son raised that point as well. To be honest, I didn't think it was that tough. I've been hunting through riddle websites looking for suitable challenges and liked that old one from an 80's episode of Doctor Who because there were statues and doors, which fit the genre.
--Michael

I purchased a (St. Moritz) Momentum M50 Mark II about three months ago. My "go to" watch for work is a 1997 (yet still fantastic) Omega Seamaster 120. I also have an old Tag Heuer, and a Bulova Accutron. So why did I buy a St. Moritz? Well, I was looking for a military-style,quartz movement, diver's watch for under $300. There were plenty of safer choices, including Seiko and Citizen. But I came across Momentum watches and read positive reviews. I also liked the novelty of a Canadian watch...and the feature set (sapphire crystal; 500m WR) was a good value for a $250 watch. I must admit: I absolutely love the watch. Is it possible that St. Moritz has improved their quality control? Or perhaps the Momentum line is somewhat different? Maybe I lucked out but I adore my M50 Mark II.

--Rick in Atlanta 2017-05-13

Good luck, Rick. A watch company that won't stand by its products is a gamble.
--Michael

Hey Michael, so sorry to hear of your friend's passing. keep the chin up.

--Audrey 2017-05-17

Will do! He was one of my very few friends in T/O the first few years I was back. Not a city for the making of friends.
--Michael

Hello, We made an inland application. I got the letter stating that I was already approved as a sponsor. It says in the letter that "The Application for Permanent Residence(APR) for your relative will be processed separately and he/she will be contacted shortly." May I know what's the ETA when they say "shortly"? Also, does this mean the sponsored person is already approved for PR as well? Your feedback is highly appreciated. Thank you!!

--John 2017-05-17

The ETA depends on the country which is handling your application. However, the variance is now very low, and usually all applications for any country of processing and either the inland/outland route is about a year. You can find out here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/ No, the PR recipient is not approved, just the sponsor. You might want to read up on the process on the CIC website. For instance, you may be asked for medical proof, and you'll certainly be asked to send away your spouse's passport either shortly or at the end of the process - it seems there's some variability as to when in the process the passport request comes. Good luck, John!
--Michael

Me too... me too Michael. 3rd since January, maybe 6-7 in a year?

--Audrey 2017-05-19

Third since January for me, too. Awful.
--Michael

Good day,I just came accross your page and its very informative. Please,i want to know how long a new PR card holder will stay in canada before being eligible to sponsor spouse and kids.. Thank you.

--Soyemi 2017-05-20

I don't see a minimum wait time on this page on the CIC website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/sponsor/spouse-apply-who.asp Why don't you call the CIC and find out? 8)
--Michael

review: Olympus 35DC

Hi! The 2 versions of the 35DC are indeed different as you described, but the shutter free button of the 1st version was transferred to the Battery Check button on the 2nd version as it is stated in the manual. So, the B.C. button on the 2nd version has a dual function. Hope this helps those looking for info on this very nice camera. Congratulations on the review. Regards, Ricardo

--Ricardo Miranda 2017-05-22

Thanks for that, Ricardo!
--Michael

That was not good daddy. Also you should of thought for a moment. FROM YOUR SUN KEN

--Ken 2017-05-24

Yes, my boy, I should indeed. How wonderful that my nine year old "SUN" has discovered a) my website and b) the comment feature.
--Michael

Mistakes from Ken . . Also you should have thought for a moment.~? . . FROM YOUR SON.~? / } / { ____

--Ken 2017-05-24

Yes, my boy, mistakes are contagious!
--Michael

Do not be a loyer daddy daddy.

--Ken 2017-05-24

Heaven forfend. It's spelled "lawyer", though.
--Michael

Do not be a loyer daddy daddy.

--Ken 2017-05-24

Again with the loyer.... I'm going to have to put some kind of kiddie firewall on the apartment LAN, I suspect.
--Michael

Sad and preventable thanks for sharing your story.

--Judi-Beth Atwood 2017-05-29

Thanks for your comments, Judi. When I was first elected to the board of Cycle Toronto, I met someone who'd been struck by a car that turned right on that stretch of Lakeshore into a driveway or parking lot. The driver struck the cyclist, leaving her with permanent neurological damage and symptoms ranging the length of one side of her body. There's certainly a lot more we can be doing.
--Michael

Hi Michael, firstly thank you so much for answering all of these questions personally especially after already finished the process. I am a CND citizen by birth and have been living in Japan for 14 years. I met my husband here, he is Pakistani, and we have just sent his Outland PR app. to Mississauga. My question has to do with an open work permit/possible move back to Canada before his PR is approved. He has temporary residency valid until August 2018, so coming and going shouldn't be an issue. He has a tentative job offer but we need to get an open work permit. I can't tell if you can apply for an OPW Outland, the cic webpage seems to show it possible from Inland only but other immigration websites say it can be done from outside, port of entry or inland. Do you know by chance? Thanks!

--Louisa Green 2017-05-31

Hello, Louisa. The short answer is that I don't know but I suspect it should be possible. I memory serves, you have to deal with the office in Manila now for questions around visas, so I would try their website and perhaps to call them. They may redirect you to the main CIC "help" line, but it's the route I would take. Beware third party websites (like mine!) the information there gets old (like mine!). 14 years in Japan is a great run. I showed up in '05 but only made it five years myself.
--Michael

Hi, Thank you so much for your answers! I submitted the application yesterday, I'm Canadian and my husband is in India. I just realized that I submitter copies of Birth certificates mine and my husband's, as well as a copy of marriage certificate. Do they ask for originals? :( would that be a problem?Actually, I don't even have my original birth certificate... I dont know where it is. I just always used copies. Also, how long it will take to hear back from them if I submitted an application yesterday and they've received it based on the mail tracking number. 3d question is. On the website it says that you need to link application to an account but it doesn't seem to work.. does it have to be done later? I just want to be able to respond to them as soon as possible if they need sm

--Lena 2017-06-06

Hello, Lena. You can find wait times on the CIC website, but they seem to average around 12 months these days. http://www.cic.gc.ca/EnGLIsh/information/times/index.asp We did not submit original copies of things like birth certificates. The point at which you'll hear back depends on whether it was an inland or outland process, and which visa office is doing the processing. Roughly speaking, though, it should take less than six weeks for you to be approved as a sponsor if all's well. You'll get that notice and then the paperwork is forwarded to the visa office in India. I've read that in India they will ask for your husband's passport fairly early in the next phase of the process (rather than at the end as was the case with my Japanese wife). It's in the second phase that the bulk of the waiting comes in. The broad steps are all on the CIC website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/sponsor/spouse.asp There was no linking an application to an account back in 2011 when we did this, but it's spelled out here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/my_application/link.asp (which was linked in the second URL) It's something you'll have to do. Keep an eye on that account and on your inbox. Best of luck with your application!
--Michael

Friends and I play a game called "Who Will Be the President?"... we imagine a Trump impeachment, then analyze if Pence would manage to keep himself out of the impeachment process. I lean towards Pence getting knocked out as well, which gives us.... President Ryan. The question is will Ryan himself survive? If he doesn't we get President Orin Hatch! I think the top ranks of the GOP party are corrupt as shit. Trump is the possible loose thread to unravel the entire thing.

--Audrey 2017-06-07

Occasionally it gets hard to breath, I'm finding. And interestingly, Canada's chosen to respond by allying with Europe and preparing to get closer to Asia. Just what the hell did Trump actually say to everyone at the G7 meeting!
--Michael

I am inland applicant. My file is sent to local visa office . Local visa office sent me email requesting to send my police clearance certificate(PCC). Should I sent pcc to local visa office or to 2 Robert Speck Parkway, Suite 1200 Mississauga, ON L4Z 1H8. Please suggest.

--Zeeshab 2017-06-11

Hi, Zeeshab; If the letter and the CIC website are unclear, I would send it to the local visa office. You can always try the CIC phone support people. Good luck with your application!
--Michael

what does it mean when at the end of the process before their final decision they ask for an updated medical? i have read that that is a positive and means essential it is approved as long as medical comes back ok. Anyone have any insight?????

--shanda 2017-06-15

Well, shanda, you didn't leave an email address so I don't know that you'll ever see this response. But yes, it's good news, and yes, you'll likely be approved once the medical report is in their hands. Good luck, and welcome to Canada!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Very heart warming

--Eric 2017-06-16

Thanks, Eric.
--Michael

😂😂😂

--Susan Masterson 2017-06-27

Yuuuup.
--Michael

Hey, Thanks for all the information - very helpful. I am Canadian, sponsoring my Pakistani husband. We have been living in various places abroad for the past ten years of our marriage and only have just applied for his PR because we are finally in a space where we can move permanently. We just received notice that his application has been moved to London. Is this any indication that we are close to the end? Thanks.

--Sarah 2017-07-07

Hello, Sarah; You're not exactly near the end, but you have been approved as a sponsor. The next step will likely round out the time to the one year mark from when you submitted the application; so if you applied two months ago, this step will take up to ten months. If the UK visa office works as the (now defunct) one in Japan did, you'll know the end is soon when you receive a request for his passport to be sent for the temporary stamp. Some visa offices in other countries (like India) seem to ask for the passport up front before continuing their work. So in summary: if the request for the passport comes soon, they'll keep it for the duration. If it comes later, you're nearly done. Good luck!
--Michael

Hi, How long does it take for the sponsor to be approved? It's been one month since I applied and only now i got an email that they received an application and it is in process.

--Lena 2017-07-08

For us, it happened fairly quickly, maybe six weeks or so. When we went through this in 2011 they did not send that first acknowledgement, believe it or not. Did your notification come from the visa office overseas or here in Canada?
--Michael

Looks good, shame they can't served at the Eucharist :-) http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40545023

--Adrian 2017-07-08

That is mind-blowing. So transubstantiation requires gluten.
--Michael

Good luck with the new contract,just keep in touch Cheers Judd

--Judd Rusnak 2017-07-12

Judd, great to hear from you! Thanks for the well wishes.
--Michael

Hey mate, commonlaw partner is sponsoring me, i just done and passed the medical, I keep seeing people talk about sponsor approval(sa) do you get this in an email or what happens, I thought i would have gotten this before the medical, any help would be amazing

--Charlie Burns 2017-07-13

Hi, Charlie. The sponsor approval is the first step, and usually only takes a matter of weeks. If you were asked to do a medical exam at some point after you filed it could be that a) they deemed your application incomplete without it, and have not yet approved your spouse as a sponsor or b) that your partner would have been approved, and that your approval is well along the process. You can find more information on the website of the visa office processing your case, and you might be able to talk to someone there. Bear in mind that I am not an expert, I've just shared what we went through. Also, that was in 2011, so things may have changed to some extent.
--Michael

This is an interesting bit of information you should know about all watches unless the are hydro filled, in the right conditions all watches will fog up. here is a watch sell demonstrating this. Since you were in Japan the humidity must have changed as you were traveling so you have to be very careful when setting the date and time of watches as it may allow humid air to get into your watch. The link is to the video demonstration of fogging a brand new watch up. by Long Island watches on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQFuZL14Aaw

--Ruka 2017-07-16

Interesting! What I found sad was that the manufacturer didn't so much as look at it when MEC sent them the thing. Thanks for the link. 8)
--Michael

better character classes for B-X D&D

Sounds like you just need to play a different game.

--TheREalD1971 2017-07-25

And so, I am.
--Michael

quietly despairing with Seiko's SARB033

A very nicely written review, of a very decent watch.

--Fawad 2017-07-26

Thanks, Fawad.
--Michael

quietly despairing with Seiko's SARB033

The most entertaining review on the SARB I have read / watched so far...especially your thoughts about the target customer / salaryman in Japan...great! Best regards Ron

--Ron 2017-07-28

Thanks, Ron! It's easily the best watch I've ever owned. This watch only leaves my wrist if I'm fishing or doing something else that will likely get it dinged up.
--Michael

Get him a swim towel, instead of normal towel. They're smaller, lighter and quicker. Here's a Japanese one, but I presume you can get them in Canada - http://products.mizuno.jp/c/item/85ZT75119/034046001

--Adrian 2017-08-28

Outstanding idea! I'll look into it.
--Michael

quietly despairing with Seiko's SARB033

I have read your great review on Seiko Sarb,although not despairing my lot.I am beyond that phase. I happen to be a watch collecting idiot. I have 3-4 Seikos,but the vintage ones. They are my favourite watches.Especially an ancient KingSeiko with the goldish coin on its back.A true classic,although the design has been stolen from Rolex Oysters without a second thought. I don't mind. I love your attitude to watches and watches as denominators of status in society.I completely share your being "ossified" re size. I might even be more ossified than you since I prefer square or rectangular watches .I am an old guy,65, seldom getting surprised. Your wise and peaceful review was a very pleasant surprise,though. God bless you,and your wife.

--George 2017-08-29

Thanks for your kind comments, George. I quite enjoy my watch, it's the finest I've owned. The King Seiko is a beauty, isn't it. A friend of mine in Japan was about to buy his first Grand Seiko when we last spoke, I should see how he's doing. Blessing on you and yours as well, sir.
--Michael

It is great that you insist upon keeping your ancestors'name. My favourite writer did just that and finally his impossible German name became the very synonyme of truly great absurd literature. Kurt Vonnegut.He got Freuenkirche in Dresden rebuilt from its ashes by way of a short crazy novel,Slaughterhouse Five. I am a Hungarian. There is no way for non-Hungarians to either write down or spell out our names. I use George instead of my true christian name György. Out of shere politeness.And selfishness,I guess. Avoiding embarrasment when abroad.

--George 2017-08-29

Yes, many Canadians are familiar with Hungarian names (like Nagy, which is pronounced very differently). I don't think I've seen "György" spelled that way before, and understand why you'd modify its spelling. My father and his brothers by and large went by Anglicized names, so Helmut became Hal, Wolfgang became Wilf, and Ulrich became Ollie. Only my uncle Horst stuck to the original spelling. 8) At the same time, a good friend named Miχalis (he's Greek) goes by Michael, and an employee of 20 years ago named Miroslaw went by Mike. A more recently employee named Youmna went by her middle name, Theresa. It's quite common here where we speak English. As an Iraqi Jew once told my mother: "We say in the middle east, if you speak three languages you're trilingual; if you speak two languages, you're bilingual; if you speak only one language, you're English."
--Michael

You never know how something really looks till you try to repair it or you get up close and personal

--Judi Beltz 2017-08-31

It's true. The first time someone hit the car and left without leaving word was only a few weeks after we bought it. Meaning it's been scratched from nearly day one. So it goes with car ownership.
--Michael

Hi there, This morning I checked my husbands status it says for background check it's "not applicable" what does it mean? I'm worried 😩 Thanks in advance, appreciate ur help. Measa

--Measa 2017-09-01

Hello, Measa; I wouldn't worry about that. If they had encountered a problem, they would actively tell you about it. I've heard of all manner of random changes to online status, and it's not uncommon for people to panic, but then it turns out to be some automated system making updates with no substance. You can call the CIC support line and ask them what's going on. They might not be helpful with that weird status message, but they'll certainly be able to tell you if the application's been rejected.
--Michael

I'd just like to point out the CIC have changed the application process (as of December 2016) for spousal PR, such that BOTH inland and outland applications are estimated to now take 12 months. Therefore, one should evaluate the pros and cons of both routes (i.e. inland = open work permit, but need to remain in Canada for the duration of processing, outland = no open work permit, but are free to enter and exit Canada while application is processed). The outland applications are no longer 3-4 months so I think it is important that people are aware of this change!

--Samantha 2017-09-04

Thanks for that, Samantha. The outland process never took 3-4 months. The lowest processing times I ever saw were in the 6-8 month range for the UK and Germany. One other thing of which I'd like to remind you: with the in-land process you get all of one chance in a lifetime. With the outland process you can submit multiple applications. Pity you didn't leave your email address for this conversation. 8/
--Michael

HI! My common law husband and I applied for the inland sponsorship route in July (right before the deadline for the new package) and have heard NOTHING. From anyone. Do you have any advice on how to proceed or how long we might wait to even get word? We did get tracking on our mailed application and it shows as delivered only a few days after we sent it but have had no correspondence. Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated!

--Nataly 2017-09-07

That's too early to have heard anything for the inland process. From what I've seen, the first step (in which they evaluate the Canadian spouse as a sponsor) takes longer with inland than outland because of it having originated as an amnesty program for spouses living in the country without standing. You'll likely hear something within the next six to ten weeks. Stick with it, you're two months into a year-long process. All the best to you and your husband!
--Michael

quietly despairing with Seiko's SARB033

Can you provide a link as to where you got the croc style leather strap from?

--Dan 2017-09-17

Hi, Dan. No link, I'm afraid, I bought it in a local jewelry shop. Which I suppose you won't find out, because you didn't provide your email address.
--Michael

One would hope this "Google Classroom" has an RSS feed for parents to monitor when homework assigned!

--Audrey 2017-09-18

No, it doesn't seem to. I suspect that if Google can't immediately monetize a service, it ain't getting built.
--Michael

My guess is that the only reason North Korea is firing missiles over Japan, is because they are land locked and have no choice if they wish to test the range of their missiles. Japan has long been within the range of their missiles so nothing new here. My other guess is that the only reason Abe-san is getting upset, is because it helps him push his agenda of changing the constitution and freeing the SDF to go on more adventures with his American friends.

--Adrian 2017-09-19

Those are good points. Hooray for adventure-purposed constitutional revisions! Next up; officially recognizing the nuclear missile installations on Japanese soil.
--Michael

quietly despairing with Seiko's SARB033

Just FYI - the bracelet links are solid, not folded.

--Another Sarb033 owner 2017-09-19

Let's hope so, ASo! 8^)
--Michael

quietly despairing with Seiko's SARB033

Here it is!

--Dan 2017-09-19

Hey, you came back. Sorry I couldn't help with a link. During the "summer water retention" months I go back to my bracelet. But I can tell from the recent flopping of my watch it's time to go back to the leather.
--Michael

Hi, I sent my husbands background check and the other day the status on his linked account shows not applicatable, do you think it means anything? Also, anyone have a fb page to ask more cic related questions? Thanks in advance, Maya

--Maya 2017-09-20

Hello, Maya. I don't know of a Facebook page, as I can't find things too well on that platform, but there are certainly forums on the 'net where you can get more information. As for the status that appears on the CIC website: I get questions from time to time but have never heard anything that tells me it's related to the status of the actual application. I wouldn't worry about it. You didn't leave an email, I hope you see this message!
--Michael

Hello Michael, I am form Punjab India. I want to know about my spousal file proccesing time. My wife submitted my spouse file at Mississuaga in May 2017.We subitted all relevant document. I have done my medical test in month of June. Office of Mississuaga sent file to my home country in New Delhi in August. They have known to me by email. From New Delhi They told me about two documents which i alredy submitted and they also told me if you already submitted them then ignore it. I just want know could you tell how much time they will take . Your s sincersly S singh

--S singh 2017-09-22

Good day, sir, and thank you for your comment on my website. I can't honestly tell you how long your PR processing time will take, but the average across all regions seems to be about a year or only a little less. You're doing well, I'm afraid I can only counsel you to be patient. As we were! My wife's PR was issued in 2011, and we've been living happily in Canada ever since. Good luck to you and your wife.
--Michael

Maybe time for a Go Pro? That way you might have enough evidence to have that driver slapped around a bit...

--Audrey 2017-09-29

That's what Mari's suggested a couple of times. It's a question of cost but also the maintenance, dealing with the recordings.... It's one of the things that came to mind when it happened, of course, but then on the same day it turned out that Mari was nearly hit by a driver pulling out of a short drive on our street - she just hopped in the car, started it up and started rolling.
--Michael

Try a body building type shop or store... :-) https://purebulk.com/taurine-powder/

--Audrey 2017-10-02

With a name like "purebulk", how could I resist!
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

Twice in my life.. first about 1980, on a brand new pair of jeans walking across the yard. Today, Oct. 6, 2017, sitting in a car(window down) eating ice cream. The latter was chunky redish brown. Most of it hit the inside door of the car and splattered onto my bare (Daisy Dukes) leg. Im currenly waiting on a call telling me when to start my new job after the background check. Laughing the rest of the day. ~Phoenix~

--Phoenix~Queen of Fire (~Ragena Kay) 2017-10-06

Here's hoping, Ragena Kay!
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

Posted earlier today about getting pooped on today. Rejoice with me! I start orientation at Sodexo on Tue at Tulsa University as Catering Supervisor! Thank you little bird friend! Phoenix ~Ragena Kay!

--Phoenix ~Queen of Fire! 2017-10-06

Congratulations, Ragena! The birds came through when you needed them. Hmmm, it's been a long time since I've been blessed by a bird.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

My grandfather passed away 2 days ago and I was told to write a speech. I couldn't put into words how much I missed him. Reading your speech helped very much thank you. Your grandfather's personality is very similar to mine. Thank you again.

--Meera 2017-10-06

I'm sorry for your loss, Meera. I'm glad my old write-up could be of some help to you.
--Michael

Hi, I had a query. I live in India, applied for PR to Canada - Family Class- Spousal Sponsorship. I applied on 9th Aug 2017. Over the last 2 months, my medical & Police Verification were asked for by the CIC, which has been done. Just got an email that my application has been sent to New Delhi VISA office for further processing. What does that mean? How long before they ask for my passport? How long will they keep my passport? I am planning to go to Canada on a tourist Visa for Christmas. Possible?

--Sam 2017-10-11

Hi, Sam; Your case has been passed on to the New Delhi office because your spouse has been approved and the next step is for the local office to review your case. From what I've read, I believe the Indian office asks for the passport fairly early in the process and then hangs onto it for the duration. All in, spousal PR applications seem to be taking about 11-12 months, so you'd see you passport again next August. If you don't have your passport, you'd obviously be unable to travel. We went through it, you'll get there too. All the best!
--Michael

Hey I live in India and my husband is a Canadian citizen. We applied for the spousal sponsorship program in may 2017 and now we finally got a mail saying it has been moved to New Delhi. They even took my PCC and medical. Just want to know how long will it take from now for the process to complete.

--Amrita 2017-10-28

Hello, Amrita; From what I've read, recently, it seems that the CIC is aiming to have all spousal PR applications approved within a year. So you're around halfway there. From what I've read, you should see a request from the visa office in New Delhi for your passport fairly soon. They'll then hang onto it for the remainder of your year. Mind you, this is all second hand. Please bear in mind that I'm not an official or an expert, I'm just someone who went through the process himself in 2011. All the best with your application!
--Michael

Sorry forgot to leave my email.

--cindy 2017-11-01

I wish I know what to tell you, Cindy. The situation sounds fairly complex, and bureaucracies tend to be unimaginative in their dealings with complexity. Perhaps it's time to find an immigration lawyer? Perhaps you could start with some of the immigration forums online to gather some advice. Good luck!
--Michael

My husband (he is an American PR) just got a notice stating that he has been turned down from sponsoring his son into Canada because at the time of his sponsorship he had to sign a form stating he would not sponsor his son ever because his son's mother refused to get a medical done for him. The letter said the application was being forwarded to the Visa Office. Do you know what this means? My first thought is that we will have to apply for a study visa. Any help or information would be greatly appreciated Thank you

--Cindy 2017-11-01

I wish I know what to tell you, Cindy. The situation sounds fairly complex, and bureaucracies tend to be unimaginative in their dealings with complexity. Perhaps it's time to find an immigration lawyer? Perhaps you could start with some of the immigration forums online to gather some advice. Good luck!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

my grandpa died on holloween witch is not a joke,r.i.p raymond ward 10/31/2017

--donald 2017-11-03

Very sorry to hear it, Donald. All the best to you and your family.
--Michael

Hi, just wondering if you could provide me with some insight as to where I am at. I submitted my husbands sponsorship application April the 4th 2017. So far so good, he did the medical and he was passed. And he was then asked to provide Schedule A and that was submitted October 13 2017. And few days ago, I checked the linked application online and it shows that background check which was submitted while back has been changed from not applicable to processing background check and we will msg you if more information needed. Is this a good sign? Should I be hearing visa news anytime soon? Thanks for your time, Measa

--Measa 2017-11-07

Hello, Measa. It's been ~6-7 years since my wife and I went through the process, but things sound very promising. The timing of the request for the passport (which I believe is the next step for you) varies by country, but will either be quite soon (and then they hang onto it for months), or after a few more months, in which case they'll likely keep it for only a couple of weeks. The government seems to be trying to process all files in around 12-13 months. Good luck!
--Michael

You need a real estate agent to secure a rental apartment? The landlady just arrived from India? How many family members were accepted where your s was rejected?

--Richard Seabright 2018-01-04

Our landlady's from India, originally, yes. She owns a few properties on our street and who knows how many across the city. And yes, landlords are using real estate agents to do the MLS posts and all the vetting these days for rentals. Credit checks, reference checks, reviews of income (including bank records!). We were being pushed to pay an extra month's rent to secure the place on Feb 1 while we'd be carrying the existing apartment - for a total of more than $4,000 that month. Toronto's a pretty crazy market for renters. I probably don't have to tell you what it's like for people trying to buy.
--Michael

Well, there must have been some weird stuff going on. Our 2-year new furnace decided to stop working. I never get sick and seem to have picked up a crappy head cold. Don't remember ever blowing my nose this much. On the bright side, my wine rack is full...

--Sue Masterson 2018-01-09

Sorry to hear about the cold. And the furnace, that's just crazy (and reminds me of shopping for ovens when I was staying with you upon return from Japan). But hooray for wine! 8)
--Michael

Hi Interesting reading everyone’s comments on the st Moritz watch. I bought two from eBay about 15 years ago because they were rated to a depth of 12000 metres, that’s right 12000 metres. This was made possible by the watches being filled with a silicon liquid thereby making them non compressible at great depths. Needless to say I never tested the manufactures claims, but the watches did work and kept good time for a few years. Fast forward to the present. I decided to get them working again, I couldn’t remove the quick release battery cover from one watch so I moved to the second one. Success, until I tried to extricate the battery from the watch. It seems to have got jammed in the holder in the watch. So there’s my story and BTW I can’t find that particular watch for sale

--Chris 2018-01-24

Thanks for the story, Chris. I've never seen any watch that made that claim for water resistance, but it's good to hear that they served you well.
--Michael

That’s actually rather cool!

--Audrey 2018-01-27

Ha! If you say so. 8)
--Michael

quietly despairing with Seiko's SARB033

Thanks for the nice writeup of the SARB033. My first decent watch was a 6309. I fell in love with Seiko watches when this watch lasted through 42 years of college, work, and into retirement. It has been a workhorse and only one cleaning and crystal replacement in all that time. I always wanted to get another Seiko that was a little more upscale.and after a half year of study I just now ordered a SARB033 and am waiting for it to arrive from Hong Kong. Looking forward to this beautiful watch and hopefully along with my other watch it will outlast me. In our throwaway world today it is rare to find a watch you are not supposed to toss after a few years, one that lasts without problems and is built with craftsmanship and pride. Thanks again for your article.

--Ken Albin 2018-02-02

Thanks for sharing your story, Ken. The 6309 is a great-looking watch. Good luck with the new SARB, and welcome to the club!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Hello, my grandfather died due to cancer he had been suffering eith for what we now know has been 18months plus. We only found out about it 17 hours before he died! My grandfather was not just a grandfather, he was my friend, my hero, my peter pan (a story teller, a big child, an adventurer). Him & i had a special bond and love for one another that neither of us, nor our family members could explain. He was my everything. His funeral is friday 2nd march and im giving a speech. I cant find the words that actually sums this man up. He was unbelievable. I cant tell you how much he meant to me. And im terrified of people seeing me cry (always have been, obviously some kind of psychological issue). What you said was lovely though.

--Georgina 2018-02-22

Very sorry to hear of your loss, Georgina. I wish you all the best, and my advice: don't worry about people seeing you cry, they'll be crying too.
--Michael

Sorry to hear of your bad experience. I have owned a Momentum dive watch for over 10 years, and have been exceptionally happy with it. It keeps incredibly accurate time, and, with the exception of battery changes - all done at the Service Centre in Vancouver - it has never failed, despite being subjected to challenging conditions sailing the BC coast. Mine came with a metal band, so I can't speak to the leather band issues, but I must agree with several other comments - for the money, it can't be beat!

--Art 2018-04-05

Glad to hear it, Art!
--Michael

quietly despairing with Seiko's SARB033

Thanks for this thoughtful review of a classic watch. There are quite a few of us who have discovered the watch online through youtube videos and message boards. I like that you identify the watch as a middle-management, tasteful conformity item in Japan. I've never worked in an office, but I can picture the thousands of Japanese salary men packed onto the train with their SARBs identically glinting in light. What personally appeals to me is the incredible value and classical elements of the watch. Put it side by side with a Rolex Explorer I or a 36mm Oyster Perpetual and you'll see how comparable it is in fit, finishing, and overall quality. The lack of AR coating, etc, doesn't bother me - it's a slightly rugged, sporty dress watch that looks best with its flaws and some scars from u

-- 2018-04-06

Since I replaced the metal bracelet with a decent leather strap, I've been happier than ever. I see what you mean about the Rolex Oyster Perpetual - I had to wonder if that wasn't a design reference for the SARB. Thanks for leaving a note!
--Michael

Hi,i am living in Abu Dhabi, UAE. I have been sponsored under family class (Spouse) by my wife in canada, my application was submitted by Dec, 2018 to CPC Mississauga. I regularly received communication through my GCKEY account. They requested for Police certificates and medical, which i also submitted . My wife received an email two weeks ago that my application have been forward to London visa office and now status on ECAS is "We started processing your application on April 3, 2018" how much more time it will take for finalizing this process ? Thanks

--Sajid 2018-04-13

Hello, Sajid; According to the CIC website, most regions around the world experience the same total turnaround, roughly 11-12 months. You likely have another six to eight months left. I wish you well with your application and immigration. 8)
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

This is such a lovely heartfelt speech.Thank you for sharing it. My dear Grandad died a few days ago and we are celebrating his life on Monday. I found your words helped me express what I would like to say if I can muster the courage to share at such an emotional time. Thank you so much for sharing.

--Emma 2018-04-28

I'm sorry for your loss, Emma. All the best to your family. Thanks for leaving a comment!
--Michael

I bought my M1 4 years ago .black plastic strap and pale white face. I had a chance to buy same watch with the yeller face newat a Divers Direct for $85.00 but momma said does your watch work ,yep so she said no. now they dont make that watch. I love the thinness of the watch. it doesnt get caught reaching into machines I work on. Great watch.

--ken wms 2018-04-30

Thanks for leaving your comment, Ken.
--Michael

Hello. I am Canadian, looking to sponsor my spouse. Right now we both live and work in Japan, where we met a few years ago, and recently got married. I would like to find a job in Canada and move back to Canada. I was planning to have him come to Canada on a visitor visa, then do an inland application, that way he can obtain a work permit. However, I'm not sure about obtaining the proof of co-residence in Canada - maybe as a visitor, he won't be able to put his name on the lease, bills, etc? I was wondering if maybe we should complete the outland application in Japan, where we have been living together for a year and a half and thus have lots of proof. But if you complete an outland application, then come to Canada on a tourist visa, can you still apply for a work permit within Canada?

--Jennifer 2018-05-01

Hi, Jennifer. I can't comment on the possibility of obtaining a work visa while there's a spousal PR application in the works. Do not use the inland application route, it takes much longer, subjects you to more scrutiny, and would restrict your husband's ability to travel. Also, if he's denied for some reason, there's no possibility of a second application. I have read that was originally created as an amnesty program for people living in Canada illegally. What we did in 2011 was this: 1. Move to Canada (Toronto) together. My name was the only one on any account or legal agreement, because my wife had no standing, as you point out. 2. File the outland application. 3. Receive the request for her passport (sent to the visa office which then existed in the Tokyo embassy). 4. Receive the passport with the temporary PR stamp. 5. Head to the US border in Niagara Falls, turn around and come back in to have her "land" in Canada by popping into the Canadian customs and immigration office at the border. 6. Immediately apply for a SIN and Ontario health coverage (she was pregnant by this point). 7. Wait for her PR card in the mail. At no time during all of this could she work, study, have health insurance, etc. If that doesn't sound workable, I would do what you're suggesting, and do the outland route while you're both still living and working in Japan. Congratulations on your wedding!
--Michael

Hi. I've been living in China for 11 years. My wife and I have been married since 2010 and we have 2 daughters, 4 and 6, who both have Canadian citizenship. We've decided to move to Canada next year for education reasons and I'd like to get the ball rolling on my wife's PR. My worry is that I have no connections with Canada (drivers licence, bank account...). One thing they look for when approving an application is ability to support the applicant while in Canada. I have an informal agreement with my old boss (from 2007) to work for him again but that's about it. How can I prove intent to stay in Canada with the ability of supporting my wife if I'm still living and working in China? Your advice is very useful and appreciated!

--Darren 2018-05-11

Returning after 11 years; wow. What my wife and I did was move to Canada and apply using the outland stream although living in Canada. I actually moved back first to find work, then returned to Japan to wrap up the place in Tokyo then bring them to find an apartment in Toronto. This was possible because of the visa requirements for Japanese citizens in Canada which allow Japanese citizens to visit Canada for six months time on a visitor's visa. I don't know if this applies to Chinese nationals. An alternative might be to come here yourself, ascertain your employment with your old employer, find a place to live, and then work out the visa application. The process takes a year, so ideally they'd be with you. I've also got a friend who did it the other way: no current employer in Canada, and no home in the country. They applied, went through the process, and then moved to Canada.
--Michael

quietly despairing with Seiko's SARB033

The SARB033/35 have the most legible date window I've seen on any watch. It's quite large considering the proportions of the watch and the dial size. I don't find it recessed into the dial at all. I've compared it to larger dial watches and the date window on my sarb is larger and more legible. To each his own I guess. Which watch that you have or seen has more legible date window?

--Nik 2018-05-11

Hi, Nik. I can't name too many models by their reference number but when I selected the SARB033 I was looking at a lot of watches and saw quite a few. I'm not too worried about it, in the end - at this point I would need one of those bubbles over the date to read it regardless of the models, and I can do without the whole mess. 8)
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

FROM FAVOUR

-- 2018-05-25

Great, glad I could help.
--Michael

I bought a Momentum Atlas Special Edition 38mm less than two weeks ago. The watch is beautiful and keeps good time. I couldn’t be happier with this purchase except for the band. It is supposed to be an Italian leather strap but in reality it’s a piece of crab. That is fake leather and not Italian for sure. I agree with Michael 100% in that respect. I removed the band from the watch and threw it away and replaced it for a real leather one. I spoke with a customer service representative in the US and he promised to send me a black cordura strap in the next two or three days free of charge. I like my watch from Momentum but I have lost trust in them since they are falsely advertising their products. This is my last purchase with them

--Carlos Coronado 2018-06-02

Yikes, that's crazy. When I went to the store to talk about watch the fellow told me they were currently offering a rubber band that smelled of chocolate. WTF? Good luck with your watch, Carlos!
--Michael

Greeting Michael Thanks a lot for your reply here, I can see you are doing great job and gave answers to those who seek comfort. I am Canadian living in Dubai with my wife and Canadian daughter, i submitted application to sponsor my wife and yesterday I received an email that the sponsorship application has been forwarded to London visa office. i can see you said it takes 1 year on average and I applied on April 3rd, 2018. Does this mean, they will keep the application in London and will not request the passport till the duration is close to April 2019?! are you aware of cases took just 7 months to have the visa stamped on the passport? Thanks Hassan

--Hassan 2018-06-29

Hi, Hassan. From what I was reading (on a regular basis) when we went through this in 2011-2012, the timing of the steps varies quite a bit from region to region. In India for instance, the request for the passport would come early in the process and then the local visa office would hang onto the passport for months and months. Way back in those days, applications from wealthy countries were moving through conspicuously quicker than in other parts of the world, with the UK and Germany etc taking a total of 6-7 months. In all cases I saw reported at the time, the request for the passport would come quite late in the process, but the passport would be back in two weeks. There's been a substantial reorganization since then, as well as a re-balancing that apparently is attempting to keep applications at a worldwide uniform total elapsed time of about a year. So I don't know where things stand today - the forums where people discuss these things might be a good source: I suppose that means Facebook these days. Good luck with your application!
--Michael

luck (and bird shit)

My fiance Josh & I are sitting in our truck after doing our normal morning routine of getting coffee & cigarettes, we are sitting and talking for a while before he has to go off to work....we hear all the crows chattering as the sun comes up. There's always a whole sky filled of them when we are outside. We look up & Josh just has this feeling that they are going to "bless" his just-recently washed truck...well, sure enough! Guess who's car in the entire row of cars gets shitted on????!!!! Josh's! His whole windshield and only.on his side of the truck from front to back of the truck! We laughed so hard after he jumped out to check if anyone else's car had been blessed...NOPE! ONLY HIS! that's how we both(without knowing) looked online at the same time and came across your page. Good laugh!

--Judi & Josh Washington DC 2018-07-18

Thanks for the laugh, Judi! Enjoy the good luck to come - perhaps a good sign for your planned life together. 8^)
--Michael

quietly despairing with Seiko's SARB033

Great review I have just bought one,great watch for the money What is the name of the first strap you have showing Or could you recommen a strap.not black My watch I have for fishing is citizen Eco-Drive I have had it for 6 years now,never had to re-set it

--Robert gardiner 2018-07-18

Hi, Robert. It was this one: https://amzn.to/2L8BugE The Citizen Eco-Drive watches are great. I've wanted one for quite some time. Hmm, I happen to be in Japan at the moment....
--Michael

Hi, I have just googled 'replacement St Moritz leather strap' and found my way onto this site. I am currently wearing a St Moritz watch which I bought last June ('17) and exactly the same thing has happened! The 'leather' is crumbling away like it has leprosy!! Glad to see i'm not alone! (although the watch dial is still lovely looking and working well, well it's ticking and tells the time at least!)

--Mart 2018-08-03

Haha, leprosy! Thanks for the laugh, Mart. Good luck with the watch.
--Michael

This is so sweet moment and touching scene! A brother and a sister.

--Amy Sun 2018-08-10

Yes, they're good kids. 8)
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

i love your funeral speech i will use it at my grandfather funeral

--adriana scotland 2018-08-11

All the best with your speech, Adriana. Sorry to hear of your loss.
--Michael

review: Olympus 35DC

Hey there! I´m scrollin the internet and it lead me to your website. I just bought this camera and I am lookin for someone who can help me with it. I don´t know what is going on, but I can´t set ISO settings higher than 100. The ring is working, the numbers of ISO value are rotating correctly, but just in the range 25-100, above 100 I can use all my force but, can´t rotate the ring. I dissassambled the lens, clean everything, use some vaseline. When I built it back and left settings on ISO 400, let´s say, everything is working smooth and perfect, but when I go back bellow ISO 100 and then wanna use ISO 200, the ring is blocked and it is driving me CRAZY. Do u know what can be a problem? Thank you very much :) Jakub, Slovakia

--Jakub 2018-08-24

Hi, Jakub; If you're able to disassemble and repair a lens, you know more than I do. I'm afraid my unit just plain wore out, despite two efforts at the repair shop. They're wonderful little cameras, and I'd certainly buy another if they came back on the market but these cameras don't seem to have been built with a 40-plus year lifespan in mind. Best of luck, at least yours works in good light. 8^)
--Michael

Very purposeful looking leader. : ) Did anyone swim out to the island?

--Laurie 2018-08-28

Oh yes. And others paddled canoes and inflatable boats. 8^)
--Michael

And a fine work of art it is! Say hello to both of them for me - thanks!

--Laurie 2018-08-28

Will do!
--Michael

Beautiful. Apt depiction of "sky-blue-pink!" (Maybe more purple?)

--Laurie 2018-08-28

Yes, it's a land of expressive skies. fishing boat out of water

fishing boat out of water
fishing under dark skies
fishing under dark skies

--Michael

How do you spell chiaroscuro? I guess it's not quite, but I like the contrast, and, I'll bet it's cool down there, too!

--Laurie 2018-08-28

It was lovely indeed, down there.
--Michael

I hope it's not a shrine to trapped soccer players who never made it out!!

--Laurie 2018-08-28

Well, it wouldn't be the first natural landform in Japan transformed into a place of worship.
--Michael

I hope it's not a shrine to trapped soccer players who never made it out!!

--Laurie 2018-08-28

Too soon, Laurie. Too soon. X^D
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

I can understand your pain and i loved your speech

--Simran 2018-10-04

Thanks for your note, Simran.
--Michael

those things are A/B tested to get people to break time commitments.

--Audrey 2018-10-07

Interesting. I wondered what, ultimately, it is in Nintendo's interest that they even produced the utility in the first place. Political cover for producing an addictive product?
--Michael

What happened with cameraleather.com? Who else provides high-precision-cut leatherette for Linhof Technika? Regards Frank

--Frank Gosebruch 2018-10-12

Hi, Frank! I don't know what happened to cameraleather.com. I had to write to them for replacements for two leather sets where the glue bled through the leather rendering the camera a sticky mess in both cases. Perhaps the costs of replacements led to losses? Good luck with your quest. When I lived in Tokyo, it turned out there were a couple of camera shops that sold camera leather, but I have no idea if they have any kind of online operation.
--Michael

quietly despairing with Seiko's SARB033

That is a great review. I got my sarb033 a week ago. Absolutely love everything about it. I have 19,5 cm wrists as well, so at first I was unsure if the sarb is a bit small for me (I am an electrician and in my line of work g-shocks are pretty much the only option, so I am used to wearing big watches). Sarb is going to be my "nice" or "dress" watch. Glad I read your review, it made me feel like I made the right choice after all.

--Oleg 2018-10-14

Thanks for your comments, Oleg. I'm glad you enjoyed the review, and that it resonated. Enjoy the watch, it's been 4.5 years for me and I'm still in love.
--Michael

don't buy a St. Moritz made-in-Canada watch

I must admit that I have the exact same watch and it is not the best of what they have to offer. The thing is that their M1 was my first Dive Watch and it has been working great for a lot of years now. Since buying the M1 I have collected over a dozen Momentum/St. Moritz watches and they have been great watches and superb value for the money. Just ordered another one yesterday actually. I would not give up on these great watches because of one bad experience. I am also happy to say that I have had little need of their Service Dept. but when I have contacted them they have been very helpful.

--Nick Kapell 2018-11-20

Thanks for telling your story, Nick. I've moved on to the Japanese brands and haven't looked back, but it's good to hear that I likely just had a lemon.
--Michael

I bought this watch ,a Pathfinder1, in 2007 for a trip to the Himalayas. It's been well used in a number of ways and has been deadly accurate to the present . The leather straps never lasted long until they gave me a better one, heavy enough for me to cut to length, leaving no loose end. This strap has lasted 5 years and seems indestructible. I've always taken or sent the watch back to Vancouver for regular battery changes and check-up. The Vancouver workshop staff always seem helpful ,friendly and often have a different selection, or samples ,of leather straps available. For some reason Momentum can no longer obtain spare parts for this Japanese movement.

--Ajeet 2018-11-23

Thanks for your comment, Ajeet. Too bad about the parts, though you seem to be having an excellent run with your watch. I find it astonishing how much they're charging for those watches these days!
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

very encouraging

-- 2019-01-22

Glad it could help, my friend.
--Michael

Thanks for the review!

--Chris 2019-01-25

Well, it wasn't much of a review. More a cautionary tale! 8^)
--Michael

hello, world

Hi Michael !

--Rohito Bhambhani 2019-02-26

Why hello, Rohito. How nice to hear from you after all this time. How's the wife and kids?
--Michael

hello, world

Dear Michael: I was wondering if you could send me your old PR sponsorship story..was about six pages printed out, if I recall correctly. Perhaps you took it off your site as some of the info is out of date? I would still like to review it. Canadian, with a Japanese spouse, in Japan. We are legally divorced, as that was the only way for her to survive there. The Canadain Consulate, in Fukuoka, now defunct, lost our marriage registration, among other things. A Canadian woman I used to know, daugther of my parent's friends, is going through hell to get her British husband into Canada. Both had UN jobs in Europe, and the type to folow the rules. They sent him on a plane back to the UK one Xmas. Thanks for the very useful website. Regards, Timothy

--Timothy Breitkreuz 2019-07-09

Hi, Timothy; Thanks for reaching out. Yes, I took all that off the site when I rebuilt on the new domain because it was already eight years old. I'll see what I can dig up and will send that along.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

I read this and i get emotional, i am going to deliver a speech at my grand father on behalf of us grandchildren for the first time and i got hint but more emotional. This is inspiring and educational.

--Anna moses 2019-07-31

Good luck with your speech, Anna. I'm very glad my words could help.
--Michael

Love this!

--Dave Edwards 2019-11-04

I usually find it best to set up a couple of angles when photographing a crowd. Breaks up the stiffness. Also, this should be a good pic for the bike shop! 8^)
--Michael

i just purchased a momentum piece called the "fieldwalker." black coated stainless, seiko nh35 automatic movement, sapphire crystal, screw down crown, and a rubber strap that smells like vanilla - they say it's to mask the funk of natural rubber. it was weird at first, now i don't even notice it, it may have mellowed out a bit over time. anyway, after doing some research, reading reviews, etc, i went into the vancouver store to take a look in real life and see how it felt. there was a demo piece on sale, a photography piece or something, it looked and felt great and the price was right, so i jumped on it. after wearing it home, and wearing it the following morning, i noticed that it stopped at some point that morning... well, at 9:20 and 20 seconds to be exact. i tried manually winding it up, flicking the rotor around to get it going, nothing. so i went back to the shop to have them take a look. i was expecting at least some paperwork, maybe a couple hour turnaround time, but nope, they inspected it right in front of me, couldn't figure what was going on with it, and zero questions asked, they replaced it on the spot. couldn't have asked for better service. my wife has also had a momentum atlas for 10 years, using it as a field watch working as an archaeologist, and has had zero issues with it. only anecdotal, i know, but so far dealing with them and their products has been smooth sailing. sorry you have had such issues, and thanks for your story. cheers from vancouver

--rob 2019-12-04

And thanks for yours, sir.
--Michael

my grandfather's funeral speech

Thank you, it encouraged me, speaking from your heart.

--Emanuel Roscoe Wilkins 2019-12-10

Glad to hear it could be of some help, Emanuel! All the best to you and your family in your time of loss.
--Michael

The 'tiny lock' is standard in Denmark.

--Michael Holloway 2020-01-08

All part of our society where "live and let live" has become "live and go fuck yourself".
--Michael