Nanaimo Daily News racist outfall regarding Don Olsen

28 03 2013

I assume by now you are here because you have already heard about the racist “letter” published by the Nanaimo Daily News March 27, 2013. (Story has since been pulled) Since there has been much already said about the subject of the letter, I will instead address not only  the author, but the publisher and their curious actions.

I use quotes around the term “letter” because that is what it is being referred to by the publisher since the public outcry started.

For sake of my timeline, lets start when I read a blog post my friend Davin Greenwell wrote as an open letter to the publisher. Davin got this as a reply:

In the Wednesday edition of the Nanaimo Daily News, a letter to the editor ran from Mr. Dan Olsen, which has caused considerable consternation among some of our readers.

While we would defend Mr. Olsen’s right to hold and express his opinion, the sentiments expressed were entirely his own and in no way reflect the views of the newspaper.

The letter should not have run.
We apologize for any distress this may have caused our readers.

Hugh Nicholson
Division Manager
VING

What bothered me about this is how it was referred to as a “letter” and not attributed as a story, I thought perhaps I missed something.

I went back and viewed the article and noticed these things:

Image

  • Nowhere on this page did I see anything about a “Letter to the Editor”.
  • The Daily News is directly attached to his name. He in turn is attributed to the Daily News.
  • Even the URL of the page shows it as a “STORY” not “LETTERS”. If you think this is trivial, just go to any one of their letters and see how not only the body of the page differs, but also the URL.StoryCapture
  • Hugh Nicholson addressed him as “Dan” not “Don”. hmm.

Then I noticed a Facebook post from my friend Jaye Lee where he too got a response from the “managing editor”:

Just received this from the managing editor of NDN;
Hi Jaye:
This was not a column, it was a private citizen’s opinion letter.
Here’s what we’re putting on the website, and in tomorrow’s paper.
In the Wednesday MARCH 27th edition of the Nanaimo Daily News, a letter ran from Mr. Dan Olsen which has caused considerable consternation amongst some of our readers.
While we would defend Mr. Olsen ‘s right to hold and express his opinion, the sentiments expressed were entirely his own and in no way reflect the views of the newspaper.
The letter should not have run.
We apologize for any distress this may have caused our readers.
Mark

Sounds familiar doesn’t it. Again addressed as Dan. Obviously a portion of this was cut and pasted for distribution and you can’t knock them for that. At least they were attempting to respond to individual complaints. What is also clear is their attempt to distance themselves from A)Don (Dan) Olsen and B)their (going to haunt them for a decade) mistake to run the piece. They flat out call him a private citizen, regardless of their choice to post him as an apparent staffer earlier.

Well it’s funny what the internet turns up. A quick google search provides us with this. An article by Don Olsen of the Daily News about First Nations spending written just two months ago on January 17, 2013.

Further investigation finds more “articles” written by Don Olsen and while at least one other appears to call him a staffer, the majority of them look like letters. A lot of negative letters. This guy must write a LOT of letters. Added bonus, one of the links below shows his face:

Him bitching about Teachers

Him addressing pipelines and First nations come up.

Apparently he likes to carve. (up shit)

While all of this is curious, I feel at this point I don’t care whether he was a staffer or not. He’s a dirtbag and he will now live a life of shame thanks to the swift wrath of the Internet. The Nanaimo Daily News made a big mistake, probably in hindsight, but they too are paying for it in the fallout. Outfall may be a better word at this point. Shit runs downhill, and Don Olsen has found himself at the bottom of a very large and populated hill.

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Driving me to disappointment.

16 03 2012

Aaron recently asked me what I thought about the movie Drive with Ryan Gosling. It’s arguably artsy but certainly polarizing movie that people either love or hate. Hence, you know, the word polarizing. I hesitated as I answered, “Hmm, yeah I liked it.” An odd response considering I just said people would love it or hate it. We were in the midst of discussing a post on Zary’s blog, pass me the somaNot surprisingly its a far more gooder written thing. He shares with us his top 10 movies of the year of which I admit I have only seen one. This is appealing to me because I really don’t need someone suggesting movies to me which I have already seen.

Anyhow, apparently it sparked something in me about Drive because this morning I woke up and started posting a Facebook status about why I was disappointed in the movie. The status started to ramble (shocking I know) so began typing a Facebook note instead. This grew into a well composed and compelling note that resembled it’s own blog post. Then it occurred to me. I have a blog. Granted it’s neglected and I had to google it just to find where I left it, but I do indeed have one at my disposal. So there we have it, a perfect post and a perfect medium for posting.

Now. Shit.

I made some tea and sat down to formulate a coherent blog post when it occurred to me that it may take up some of my valuable work time so I should finish my work first. 8 hours later the topic isn’t fresh in my head and I just realized I accidentally updated my iPad to iOS 5.1 before saving my note. So instead, you get to read this crap.

I can however recall why I was disappointed in the movie Drive.

Sound.

Not for intensity or choice of soundtrack but for insulting my intelligence in an auditory fashion. Right from the opening sequence the sound engineer, foley, editor and director began making mistakes that compounded to create this a less than spectacular movie experience for me. Odd considering the attention to detail that garnered Nicolas Winding Refn Best Director honours at Festival de Cannes.

The first jarring speed bump came after Ryan Goslings character (never named) is introduced to his getaway car, the Chevy”most common car in the state” Impala. They draw attention to the car’s blandness with subdued low tone background music, automatic transmission and plain jane road noise then, at the point of escape, the Driver steps on the gas and the car leaps to life. As a standard. As in manual. As in stick shift.

Now, I understand the car was hopped up and the growl of the engine rocketing to life awakens the little race car driver in all of us, but randomly assigning sounds of a manual transmission car to an automatic? Granted that alone is no big deal, but multiple times through this scene the car shifts gears while both of the Driver’s hands are clearly shown on the wheel.

The next driving scene was almost laughable as the Driver guides his Mustang through what seems like a never-ending gearbox. At the point I asked myself, “How many gears does this car have?” I started counting. He’s already on the road going at speed but, one shift, two… I got to eight. Eight gears from the point I started counting, not from when he started accelerating. That’s however many shifts it took him to get to 60mph, then 8 more. Just for point of reference a Nascar race car with 850 Horsepower only has 4 gears. Even the F1 Formula cars at the peak of racing technology only run 6 speed transmissions.

I realize you may think this is trivial, and I know they aren’t saying the car has a magic 15 speed transmission. What I’m saying is they may as well have some lady making vroom-vroom noises as she pushes his car down the road. It’s unrealistic and detracts from the movie.

The hilarity continues as for some reason while being chased on a straight road (in about 11th gear at this point) the driver spins his car around into reverse to get further in front of the pursuer. Then they proceed to throw logic and common sense baby out with the physics bathwater.

Image

The car begins to shift gears in reverse and accelerate away from the bad guys. I’m beginning to suspect Nicolas Winding Refn has never actually sat in a car before. Or he just rides around on his golf cart making motorboat and fighter jet noises.

Now at this point you may be thinking I’m being a little picky. Maybe a little harsh and have unrealistic expectations of sounds in a movie just because I know what a box end wrench looks like. I thoroughly disagree and would suggest that even if you’ve never driven a manual transmission vehicle before you would think something was amiss if your taxi driver started rowing through the gears like he was on the brink of plummeting backwards off a waterfall.

I have to add that any one of these on their own wouldn’t rank as significant but in accumulative fashion the shifting in reverse became the straw that broke the camels back.

I really don’t want to come across as someone who rants because a soldiers boots aren’t period correct for his uniform. That doesn’t bother me and doesn’t detract from the film, but just as a phone ringing in the theatre or someone talking in your ear, any distraction takes you out of the moment. It removes you from the story you were immersing yourself in.

Look we’ve all come to live with, and practically expect the silly things Hollywood does like tires screeching on a dirt road or the goofy punch that sounds like a flyswatter on a blackboard but that doesn’t mean I want that 18 wheeler to sound like a moped. I would just like to see someone respect the audience and put in some effort instead of just punching a button on the console that says “Car noize”.

In conclusion: If you’re waving your hand in front of my face making airplane noises there better be some fucking pudding on that spoon.





The Chronicles of Beard

11 05 2011

As I write this, I’m rubbing my upper lip. It might not seem significant to you but it’s been a while since I have been able to do this. My upper lip is bald for the first time in months. Maybe two? Maybe more? I’m not really sure. You see, I used to have a beard a few hours ago. I’m not sure when it started because I wasn’t really paying attention.

beard down here

I'm not sure how this happened

I didn’t set out to have a beard, nor did I try to grow one. Rarely does such a thing happen I think, I mean we actually go out of our way NOT to have a beard by shaving. Growing a beard it would seem, would be the exact opposite of trying. It would be the act of NOT doing something, as in shaving. To put this succinctly, shaving requires effort, not shaving does not.

Even once it was apparent to me that I did in fact have a beard, I never expected it to last very long. It got lots of attention, it was a topic of conversation, and I left it alone. A few weeks in, I still had no excuse for owning it nor did I have a plan for what I was going to do with it. It was near the end of the NHL season, but a little to early for a playoff beard.

The beard got a lot of attention and I in turn had to try and explain that I had not grown one intentionally, which seemed suspect to some people so I broke down and admitted I got bored at lunch a grew a beard. I was expecting some jeering and some playful jabs from friends but what I wasn’t expecting was how many people told me the beard looked good. Interestingly enough I received far more compliments with the beard than without. Again, because shaving requires effort. This is one of the few times I am rewarded for being lazy. I mean when was the last time someone told you, “Hey, good shave job.”?

As it turns out many some women are attracted to facial hair. I know, I was as surprised as they were. Some playfully commented on it, some just looked liked they were in junior high and something brushed against their nipple for the first time. They don’t exactly known what is happening to them but they like it and are slightly embarrassed at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lauding the beard, I think it’s hideous, but fun. I would actually apologize to people for having it.

While I enjoyed having it for a finite amount of time, I always knew it was coming off. I have only grown, er… not shaved a beard once before. I have had a terrible assortment of facial hair (goatee, chops, burns, flavour saver, billy goat etc.) but I blame the nineties for that. The last time I had a beard, it was an experiment. I wondered what I would look like with one, so I grew it  didn’t shave for a month and after I saw the results, I satisfied my curiosity and shaved it off.

Eagles of Beard Metal

That is, not before I documented it,  and each progressive stage of removal as evidenced by the photo to the left. Those photos can been seen in a Facebook gallery here.

It was then always in the back of my mind that when I shaved off this beard, having grown fuller and dirtier nastier better, I would create new and equally fun and fuller and better photos.

I had been putting it off for a while but I awoke thinking ‘today is the day’, and began formulating a plan.

Or reformulating to be precise. I had recruited two of my awesome hairdresser friends Danielle and Amy to help me with the task, but in typical Neil form, I wanted to do it, and I wanted to do it NOW!

Plans change. Move on. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

As the time came to start shaving I had a slight ‘been there and done that’ moment. I took a few moments and decided I was going to take my beard on a trip. I was going to take it places it never had the chance to see, and meet people it never had a chance to meet.

Flat Iron

What do you ladies call this? a Flat Iron?

So, in all of my shameless “if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at” self I set to work. I have uploaded the pics to Facebook for easy viewing and comments. I hope to have some outtakes and a behind the scenes post soon. Please go here to view and enjoy.

I know some of you are going to say, “You have too much time on your hands.” But really, I’ve been meaning to do this for a weeks and finally got the opportunity today. If it makes you feel better, lets call this a Saturday night, and I’m home alone. There, do you feel better?

Please be advised any such comments will be directed to this post.

The End. For now.





Customer “Service”

1 10 2010

I’m sure we all have horror stories about having to wade through 6 levels of automated phone systems only to wait 15 minutes and end up with someone who can’t help us anyway, so in my best run on sentence, I’m not going to talk about that. I am however going to touch on the “press one now” lady while attempting to share some of my observations from today.

My new thing is audio books. I don’t think they replace real books, but they have their place and we can argue their merits in a different post. I downloaded an audio book online (you can do this from the Library now!) and it took 30 seconds! Awesome.

I finished the book, and like a real book , I wanted to share it. A friend is 50th on a wait list for this audio book so I put it in my online Dropbox and continued about my business. A few minutes later I got a Growl notification that 1 of 163 files had finished uploading to my Dropbox. WTF? One? ONE? in three minutes? This is going to take hours. The status bar confirmed this.

And so began my hour long quest for faster upload speeds. I searched, I researched (I’m punny), and I even called Shaw. The initiated among you have already figured where I am going with this. Shaw tech support. I should put quotes around “support”.

I know the drill, I dont’ wait on hold, and instead defer to the convenience of a call back. Over an hour later the call back comes. I’m at the office now, but I talk the service rep through my problem and explain that my 30 second download is taking (at this point) over three hours to upload. She asks me to look at the back of the modem and find the wire that screws into the back.

“This is called the coaxial cable and I should unplug it, clean it and make sure the copper pin is neither bent or damaged.”

Uh, yeah, I know what a coa-“

“…and now I want you to follow that cable from the back of the modem to where it goes next. Do you have a splitter?”

“Yeah, but I-“

“… well you’ll have to disconnect each cable from the splitter and I want you to clean it and make sure the copper pin is neither bent or damaged.”

“It’s not that it’s -“

“…now I want you to follow that cable from the splitter to -”

“I know wh-“

“…it should plug into the wall with the same screw type fitting as the others. I want you to clean it and make sure the copper pin is neither bent or damaged.”

Sigh

I explain that  I know about power cycling the router (before she starts a step by step guide in how to unplug a cord from the wall) and that no matter how dirty the coaxial cable was that wouldn’t explain why I have tremendous download speed and terrible upload. It would in fact, affect both equally.

“Yeah well I’m going through the steps of telling you how to resolve your problem.”

“Yes, well as I said before I downloaded the same file in 30 seconds -“

“Right on.”

“…and the same file is taking 3 hours to upload.”

“Right on.”

This goes on for some time before she tells me she is getting off work and can call me back on MONDAY when she returns.

“Or,” I say, “I could just hang up and call someone else.”

I do call back, and I sign up for a call back again. I drive home and run a few speed tests on my computer. 18MBps (fast!) and 300kbps (note the small b. That’s bits people. Not Bytes. s l o w) I somehow stumble across a stats page on Shaw and discover, to my horror, that Shaw High Speed Internet has an average download speed of 7.5 Mbps and a MAX upload speed of 512 mbps! They do this on purpose!

*my phone rings* It’s the call back.

I answer and explain I probably already know the answer to my question. I don’t want to waste this guys time so I explain. As soon as I mention the 512 kilo bits thing the guy draws his breath in and lets out a slow “nooooo”

“I know!” I say excitedly as I know I have found an alli, “It should be far higher than that. But for some reason Shaw caps it at that.”

“No, it should be a way faster download than that. OH.” he catches himself, “Yeah, upload is limited to 512 max, but results may vary.”

He gives me some excuse about data volume in a fiber optic cable and sharing with other users.

“So it’s a problem with the system. It allows high speed downloads but multiple users uploading can cause issues.”

“Yes exactly”

“So I can download at 15MBps and that doesn’t load the system. But uploading does.”

“Yes”

“But that problem goes away if I pay more money?” I said alluding to the tiered options Shaw uses for internet users. I already knew that if I paid an extra $10 per month I would get 4x the upload speed.

“Uh -” I could hear him smile on the other end, realizing I knew what I was talking about “Yeah, well I guess that’s true.”

I hung up, and looked up Telus.

They have a cheaper monthly rate, oh and they offer a free X-BOX if you get high speed internet. I tried looking up their data rates. The more I looked, the more confused I got. $20 rate plans became $27 on their own, and it was $20 if it was in a bundle, but I had to pay for something else. It got more confusing.

Sign up for High Speed Internet and get a FREE X-BOX. $37 Cool. Ok, I’ll sign up. I go to the sign up page and it gives me an option for High Speed Internet for $25. Without the X-BOX. What? Wait. I thought it was free? WTF? Now it has an option for High Speed with X-BOX data bundle. I don’t want data for my box. I want internet. I want a free X-BOX. Yeah, the X-BOX is free, if you pay $13 more per month for 2 years. Idiots.

I give up, then search the site for a phone number. That alone was hard. They do NOT want you calling. I call the number.

Option 1 – Current Telus customers

Option 2 – New Telus customers.

Those fuckers. Now they are prioritizing you based on “We have you hooked and you can wait motherfucker.” Or “The water is great. Come on in! Handjob?”

While I’m on hold, I’m writing this.

*after several menu items* “Before you continue, please be aware the CRTC has deregulated phone coverage in your area and we have decided to rape you with a broken coke bottle while you wear vinegar goggles. If you hang up or continue to hold we consider this an agreement to our conditions.” Ok, perhaps I’m paraphrasing, but it was damn close to that.

The next menu item said, “If you are an existing Telus client you should have your bill and account information ready. If you are a new client you will need your credit card information as well as drivers license and address.” Why the fuck did I go through that first menu then? Remember? Option 1, Option 2?

I finally spoke to some call center in Delhi that referred to everything in “point OH.”

“Upload speeds up to 1.0” (spoken as One point Oh) “Download rates 6 point Oh.”

“Really? and how much is that going to cost me? 30 point Oh Oh Oh Oh dollars?. What does the O stand for anyway? Oblivious? Obtuse? You know it’s Zero right? O is a letter. Zero is a number. It represents integers. Real numbers. A value of nil. Meaning nothing. So why would you say 6 and nothing? How tall are you? 5 foot and a whole bunch of air above you all the way to space? We tend to nought mention things that aren’t measurable. See, that was a clever pun. When it gets really cold out do you say it’s sub-Oh? You sound like a back street boy with all your OH OH OH’s. I want to finish off your sentence by shouting – The Right Stuff!

Again, perhaps I was paraphrasing. I think I actually said,”Thank you.” and hung up.





Interesting reading

20 06 2004

I was checking email this morning and found myself clicking through the news sights having an interesting read. Here Micheal Moore talks about his latest film, and over here is an article about the first non-government space flight. Turns out there is a $10 million dollar contest for the first commercial space flight. Who knew?





Rack Shot trackback jack

11 06 2004

36.jpg
In relation to Davin’s RackShot post of Julie’s glorious bosom.
I’m sorry did you say something? *stares*





quotes

24 04 2004

mischiff: “I like her, she is a good person but I think me throwing up on her jacket had a detrimental effect on our friendship.”
talktalk: “That’s one of those speedbumps in the friendship learning process.”