Working To Move The Empire Forward

As some of you have noticed, and in some cases, commented on, things have not all been sweetness and light over the last few months for me.

Thankfully Kim has been my rock, especially the times she had to put up with the grumpy old fart persona.

Hopefully though there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, as long as some nasty bugger doesn’t lengthen the tunnel again.

This past Wednesday I was finally able to get out of the house and went for coffee with my friend Jacqueline. In amongst all her talents, she is a motivator, and I can attest that having a motivator for a friend is excellent. I try to be a motivator, with some success, however it seems that I’m totally ineffective when dealing with myself.

I mentioned Jacqueline in my podcast today which can be heard here. I also created a YouTube video of my podcast. It is available here on my YouTube channel. She has agreed to do a podcast with me in the near future, perhaps more as she has much to share.

I have also been adding to my Flickr channel, now having more that 3000 photos (some only available for family/friends). Today I added photos I took in 2011 during a tour in Annecy, France. Here is a small slideshow sample.

Slowly, but surely, I will be catching up and posting more of the thousands of photos I have, many yet to be digitized. I often say, what good are all these photos if people can’t see them.

I remind people that the best way to keep in touch with Wee Internet Empire activity is to subscribe to my newsletter, Old Guy, New Tricks. When changes, updates, or other interesting things, become available they will all be noted in the next issue of the newsletter.

I am on a number of different platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TicTok, Twitter, Matador, LinkedIn and others. All the necessary links are available on my website. I invite you to visit, and feel free to connect if you so desire.

Now I have come to the conclusion of today’s self promotion. However if I don’t work to spread the word how will you know what great stuff you will be missing. So thanks for your attention, your comments are always welcome, and hope to see you soon.

I try to wrap up most things by saying take care of yourself, and, if you can, help take care of those around you.

So A New Year Begins (Time Marches On)

Well, here we are, safely (??) into 2023.

It’s been a month since I’ve done a blog post, and I really have no valid excuse.

For most of the time both my body and my mind felt like crap and I basically just said “screw it” and did nothing about everything, right past the end of the year.

It seems that my post in November, Sick People, Stay The Fu*k Home, was not adhered to, and Kim’s coworkers brought sickness to her workplace once more and both of us ended up sick. It was very unpleasant for both of us. I basically stayed in bed and didn’t eat for four or five days. For Kim, at one point she was very weak and was unable to put on my compression stockings for several days (the reason for the stockings may be another blog post sometime). As a result our daughter came to help a couple of times, then AHS Home Care was arranged until Kim was able to do it again.

The end result was that Kim and I decided that other than her going to work (she always wears a mask at both jobs), we would both remove ourselves from any social activities until further notice. Only Kim would do any grocery shopping, once again always wearing a mask. Since then we have only gone for our regular weekend dim sum, where we sit at a table separated from the other patrons. The only other thing has been some scheduled medical appointments for each of us.

This has meant not going to weekly veteran’s group gatherings, along with missing Christmas occasions with our Kiwanis club, veteran’s groups, Kim’s work and family. As well, many movies have been streamed, and it may be that Otis is getting tired of having us around. I truly appreciate how Kim has been putting up with this old fart and my seemingly wide (at times) mood swings. I’m certainly in good, and patient, hands.

For now, we are keeping tabs on how events may be unfolding and are considering that perhaps we will be able to go to a veteran’s group monthly breakfast in two weeks.

I have decided that I really need to get to work on my “Wee Internet Empire“, so it has occupied much of my time over the last few days. I have been working on my computer photo compilation, improving both my storage and my backups. Photos on my computer comprise only a portion of those which I have on hand. There are thousands of prints or slides, covering the almost forty years of photo taking prior to my first digital camera, that must be digitized. So much to do! Already I have three more groups of photos up on my Flickr site.

Speaking of Flickr, I would like to ask your opinion. On my site I have the albums arranged in chronological order, having the one with the most recent photos first, then going to the oldest album. I have been thinking about doing the reverse. I would appreciate any thoughts you might have about this. When I put in an album, whether from years ago or recent, I always put a direct link to that album in the next issue of my newsletter, “Old Guy, New Tricks” (which you are encouraged to subscribe to).

I have mentioned this before, however it is worth repeating. Any feedback that is provided on this blog, or any of the other platforms I publish on, is greatly appreciated. Even negative feedback (hopefully not received) is a validation of what I’m trying to do, and how I can improve my subscribers experience.

So please do let me know what you think. Also, if you have thoughts of what I could include in a blog, podcast, livestream or what ever, please pass them along. Who knows how it will work out.

Well, that’s enough blathering for now. Catch you next time. Take care of yourself, and take care of others.

Domestic Abuse And Violence Is A Major Problem! – Were You Aware Of That?

After reading a CBC news article two days ago, and then seeing similar stories on the news, I was a bit upset.

Then I thought about it, then stewed about it, and now, I’m very upset about it.

According to the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters, between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, women’s shelters received more than 65,000 calls seeking support. That is a horrible number of women, often with children, seeking support from an abusive relationship in our province.

Even worse, in my view, is the fact that more than 28,000 women, seniors and children, were turned away from shelters. More than half of the refusals due to the shelters being full, with others being refused for other reasons, including staff shortages or lack of resources.

To be open and upfront, for over fifteen years I have been an active supporter of Women In Need Growing Stronger (WINGS), a 2nd stage shelter in Edmonton, for women escaping family violence and abusive relationships, with their children. I have also supported Jessie’s House, in Morinville.

These are just two of many women’s shelters across the province, most of which are unable to fully assist all of those who come to them for help.

The fact that so many are contacting shelters to escape abusive or violent relationships, to me is an indication that society in general has to do a better job.

From 2012 to 2018, I was employed as a casual cell block guard at a local RCMP detachment. During this time, as part of my work I was exposed to quite a number of cases of domestic abuse or violence.

Since that time, occurrences of this nature have increased, particularly during the COVID pandemic.

As I write this, it came to my mind that, during a period of time after the Fort McMurray fire the detachment I was at had an increase in “domestic” cases, often involving people fleeing the fire devastation which was several hundred kilometres away.

External occurrences like COVID or the Fort McMurray fire will often make a bad domestic situation much worse.

So, what is the answer? How do we solve this situation? How do we make it better?

Unfortunately, we have no simple answer, or in truth, at this time, even a complicated answer.

I do believe there are things that we can do, however.

Firstly, from a lifestyle aspect, we can pay more attention to those around us, friends, coworkers or neighbours. Quite possibly there will be signs of a person being on one side or the other of a domestic abuse situation. If so, there is often some action that we can consider taking.

On the community side, please provide support to a women’s shelter in your area. Make a financial donation. Donate clothing, household items, or contact them and find out whatever they may need. Also, they often are looking for volunteers to assist them in their activities.

Domestic abuse or violence is not an occurrence which is easily reduced or eliminated.

To improve the situation all must be involved. Individuals, community and government.

One thing to me is that we all must speak out more. Too many people are unaware or unconsciously tune it out.

Shout it out. Make them aware.

Give it some thought. What can you do?

Stop And Hear The Music

To preface… I did not write this. Eleven years ago, a friend of mine sent me this most interesting story.  Upon checking further, I was able to find the story behind the story.


This is a true happening, orchestrated by a writer for the Washington Post.  Read it through and then follow the link at the end to find out the rest of the story.

PERCEPTION

Something to think about . . .

THE SITUATION

In Washington, DC, at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

image

About 4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk. 

At 6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again. 

At 10 minutes:

A 3-year-old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was…

Joshua Bell

One of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $200 each to sit and listen to him play the same music. This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities

This experiment raised several questions: 

* In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? 

* If so, do we stop to appreciate it? 

* Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: 

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .

How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Here is the link to the Washington Post article, including a video.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html 


I hope you took the time to read the article, as it’s quite interesting.

So… the question once again is, how many things are we missing as we rush through life?

Definitely a question worth thinking about at any time, but particularly at this time of year.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your support and feedback.

Be well. Take care of yourself and take care of others.

A “New To Me” Car

So, just over a month ago I got a “new to me” car.

I wasn’t looking for another vehicle and really, didn’t need another vehicle. We already had a van that Kim drives as well as a car and a motorcycle that I drive. So, why get another vehicle? How did this happen?

Well, every morning as part of my online routine I have a look at Facebook Marketplace, mostly out of curiosity, just to see what’s there. I saw this vehicle, had a look, and moved on, as happens many times. Of course, because I had looked at it, Facebook made sure it appeared on other occasions as well. One day I noticed that the price had decreased quite a bit, so, I figured, why not check it out.

I contacted the seller and arranged to have a look at it. It was an older vehicle and appeared to be in excellent shape with very few flaws. The owner stated his bottom line for the vehicle. Okay. I made no commitment, and that evening mentioned it to Kim, showing her the posted ad. She said she would like to see it in person.

So, an appointment was made, and we went over to have a look, taking it for a test drive as well. When we returned, I was looking over the vehicle, checking things out and Kim was talking to the owner. As I joined them, he said that he would take an amount that was a fair bit lower than his “bottom line”. Kim seems to have this ability with people.

The end result was that we drove home the proud possessors of a new to us vehicle.

So, what is this vehicle you ask.

It is a 1999 Merecedes SLK 230 Hardtop Convertible, a two-seater sports car. Twenty-three years old and only 73,500 kilometres. Oh, and I should mention, because it was originally from Japan, it is right-hand drive and talks to us in Japanese on startup.

It was so nice to get back into a convertible, having had three at various times previously, and it being a true sports car was a bonus. It runs as good as it looks and we are enjoying it as much as possible before the ground turns white, at which time both the Mercedes and the motorcycle will buddy up in the garage until Spring.

Well, now it seems that I have become another old guy who drives around in a Mercedes.

However, we are realizing more and more that we need to do more of the things that we enjoy while we are able to. Of course, it will be different experiences for different people. Our health and financial aspects will differ, but the principle remains the same.

We certainly have our ups and downs, however as long as life continues, we’ll do our best to live it from a positive perspective.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy this blog post and the rest of what I share on my Wee Internet Empire. By all means subscribe to my newsletter and keep up with what’s happening.

Once More A WINGMAN For WINGS

A local organization here in Edmonton has, since 1986, provided a second stage shelter for women and their children escaping domestic abuse.

This organization is known as WINGS – Women In Need Growing Stronger.

I have been an involved supporter of WINGS for over ten years in a number of different capacities.

Last year, WINGS developed a campaign, primarily social media based, to encourage men to become more involved, to become a WINGMAN.

Today on my podcast channel, Anchor, I released a discussion with Rhonda Janzen from WINGS, talking about what the organization does and what it has accomplished over the years. I invite you to give it a listen. Here is the link.

Next week I will be doing another podcast with Rhonda specifically about the WINGMAN campaign so watch for that one as well.

As I’m a WINGMAN again this year, my photo will be popping up fairly soon and of course I will be sharing it. Actually, I’m sharing pretty much everything from WINGS as they do their fundraising. If you wish, you can donate using this link. Be sure and enter my name as the WINGMAN you are sponsoring. As well EPCOR’s Heart+Soul Fund will match donations, dollar for dollar, up to $20,000, so there is great benefit possible from this campaign.

You can find out more about WINGS on their website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

By all means stay in touch with my social media for further updates. One way to do that is you can subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t already.

Now some hashtags. #WomenInNeedGrowingStronger #yeg #WINGMAN4WINGS #DomesticViolence #HeartandSoulFund

Weather – Like It Or Not

So… April started out in fine fashion, however has not remained so.

To explain – among other things, I’m a biker.

Hmmm… immediately some of you will get a mental picture – long hair, beard, big belly, tattoos, piercings, leathers, vest with patches, noisy Harley, and so on.

Now lose your mental picture. Bikers are, in reality, a representation of society in general. They come in all sizes, shapes, genders, nationalities and ages, riding a plethora of different machines. They are many different individuals, each their own person.

Now for me, I have a beard, short hair, no tattoos, one piercing, yeah a bit of a belly, wear a leather jacket at times, have a vest with my veteran’s group patch, and ride a Suzuki Boulevard C50 Trike (which is a little noisy).

Anyway, back to April.

As I indicated, it started out well, and I brought my bike out from its designated winter parking spot in the back corner of the garage. It fired up right away, oil levels and tire pressures were checked, and shortly we were out on the road for a wee test drive to make sure all was working well.

Riding was done carefully as Spring roads in Edmonton, or any other place for that matter, can be quite trickly with all the crap that’s left from the winter. And… it seems that many drivers seem to have forgotten what a motorcycle is, and we fail to register in their brain, even when they are looking straight at us.

So, from the beginning of April, I was out riding pretty much every day. The weather was good, with promise of being better, albeit a bit cool, in the 4C to 10C range. Then it got warmer, staying over 10C, and eventually working it’s way up to 22C.

Wowzers, now we’re talking. Let’s go!

Wait just a goldarn minute. What’s this, the temperatures are dropping. No, tell me it’s not so.

Over the next few days we went down to 3C, then down to 0C, then (gasp) -3C, followed by -9C. Dammit!

Ah, but we’re not finished. This morning we were at -12C, and worse, there is a skiff of snow.

Yes, this will pass. Yes, this type of thing happens every year at this time. No, the world is not ending.

However to those of us who are bikers, and due to the climate where we live, we have been unable to ride for, in some cases, many months, this is almost like putting salt on a wound that is just about healed.

It is weather – like it or not.

虎年 – Year of the Tiger

2022 年 2 月 1 日

February 1, 2022

新年快乐! 恭喜发财!

Happy New Year! Wish you prosperity and wealth!

对于我们家来说,农历新年是按照中国传统来庆祝的。 我们是一个混合家庭。 我的妻子是来自马来西亚的华人,我们有两个女儿,他们的孩子住在马来西亚。 在我这边,我们有一个女儿和她的丈夫在加拿大,一个儿子和他的妻子在英国

For our family, the Lunar New Year is celebrated with Chinese traditions. We are a blended family. My wife is Chinese from Malaysia, on her side of the blend we have two daughters, with their children, who live in Malaysia. On my side of the blend we have a daughter with her husband in Canada and a son with his wife in England.

由于农历新年对我们家来说是一件重要的事情,所以我选择用中英文写这篇博文。 我使用谷歌翻译,它做得非常好(虽然不完美)。

Due to the fact that Chinese New Year is an important event to our family, I have chosen to do this blog post in both Chinese and English. I use Google Translate which does a most excellent (although not perfect) job.

在新的一年里,我代表我自己和我的家人,向所有人致以健康、幸福和成功的祝福。 愿我们在和平、和谐与理解中生活在一起,共享这个地球。

For the coming year, on behalf of myself and my family, I sent along wishes for good health, happiness and success, to all. May we live together, sharing this earth, in peace, harmony and understanding.

谢谢!- Thank you!

Internet Empire – The Back Story

Firstly, for clarification, I am using the term “Internet Empire” in a fun way.

As I have indicated in a previous post, I have been doing things on the world wide web for well over 40 years. I have been doing blogs, in various forms, as well as Facebook and Twitter, since 2008, for work, volunteer organizations, and myself.

As we all are quite aware, life has changed, some would say drastically, over the past couple of years. For me, it goes a bit further back.

I retired from my final job at the end of 2018 with the plan that I would spend some of my winter time in Malaysia and my summer time enjoying my motorcycle here in sunny Alberta. That worked to a degree for a couple of years, but, as often happens, life got in the way.

The pain I had been experiencing in my hip got worse and was eventually diagnosed as arthritis, to be remedied at some time by a hip replacement. This impacted a number of things, one being my overall mobility, and another my motorcycle riding. It’s hard to ride when one cannot swing one’s leg over the bike. For a biker, not being able to ride creates an unhappy place to be. Over the course of the next two summers I went through two more motorcycles, eventually coming to the one I have now. It is a trike that I am able to mount properly and now I don’t have to worry about my leg strength for stability.

Then, along came COVID-19 (followed by how many variants we have yet to find out). Now traveling to Malaysia is out, for who knows how long. It has also put a severe crimp on social and family gatherings, motorcycle events, volunteer group activities and activities with my local veterans group. As well, it has created another factor into the potential scheduling of my hip replacement surgery.

As a result, I’m literally sitting like a bump on a log at home, retired, mobility challenged, Covid restricted, and in the middle of a -30C (at times) Alberta winter.

Quite honestly, it was depressing, and I found myself imitating Jerry Seinfeld and doing nothing, although it seemed to work way better for him than for me.

I would like to say, then came an epiphany, however that was not the case. It was more like a gradual thought process. It started with the thought that, as an amateur photographer for many years, I might have some photos or even some videos that folks might like to see. Obviously, they are not doing much good just stored on my computer or in a trunk in the garage. Then came the thought that I like to write, and I do have some good stories to tell from the last 70+ years. After working with different youth groups over the last 15-20 years I have become familiar with various smartphone apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, Telegram, SnapChat and so on, so that I could stay in touch with them. They were impressed that the Old Guy could actually do that.

After pondering these thoughts for a while, I figured, maybe I can put all these things together (and perhaps some others as well), give myself something to do, and have fun doing it. Maybe even provide a commodity others may find interesting as well.

Hence came into being, the concept of an Internet Empire. It may not be grand in scope, however it is meaningful to me, and in the end, maybe that’s the most important thing.

This Internet Empire is moving along. I now have a website, LeSueur.ca, with links to my various internet platforms. Just recently I have have created a newsletter, Old Guy, New Tricks, where I can notify folks when I update any of my platforms (like this blog) or share other information. I invite you to subscribe.

As this process has moved forward, I find I am contacting with more people from all over. Now I subscribe to a good number of blogs (as you can see off to the right), quite a few YouTube channels, Flickr sites, and such. In addition to being very interesting, I have been able to learn many new online techniques as well.

So, this is a bit of the back story for my Internet Empire. You are welcome to have a look around, comment on things and share with your friends. All are welcome.

To The Unvaccinated

A friend of mine posted this on his social media today. After reading it, I asked him if I could use it for a blog post, and he gave me his permission. Thank you to Matthew Rogers.


I’m fully vaccinated and done with my booster shot.

No, I don’t know “what’s in it”. Neither this vaccine nor the ones I had as a child. Nor do I know what’s in the 11 secret herbs and spices at KFC. I also don’t know exactly what’s in Ibuprofen or any other painkiller– they just treat my headaches & my pains. I don’t know what’s in tattoo ink, botox and fillers, or every ingredient in my soap, shampoo or deodorants. I don’t know the long term effect of mobile phone use, or whether or not that restaurant I just ate at REALLY used clean foods and washed their hands.

There’s a lot of things I don’t know.

I do know one thing: life is short. Very short. And I, personally, still want to do things. I want to travel and hug people without fear, and find a little feeling of life “before”. Throughout my life I’ve been vaccinated against many diseases: measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chickenpox, hepatitis, influenza, tetanus, rabies. We trusted the science, and never had to suffer through or transmit any of those said diseases.

I’m vaccinated.

Not because I’m a sheep or to please the government. Not to make other people do it.

But I don’t want to:

  • die from Covid-19
  • clutter a hospital bed if I get sick
  • not be able to hug my loved ones
  • not be able to travel & enjoy events
  • live my life in fear

Can’t say it any clearer. I’m vaccinated for me and I wear a mask for you!!!

Do the same and knock some sense into people.


As is regularly the case, your comments are always welcome.