Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Nicole Corser

Today at noon, a beloved member of Taylor High School died after a car accident yesterday. Nicole Corser was in my grade. She sat beside me in Spanish last year, and though we were not good friends, she had always seemed to me a very nice person. Please pray for her family during this difficult time.

It's sad that it takes an event like this to make us recognize that life is precious, and short.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The End Result

I told you I was donning the Christmas apron!

And they DO smell amazing!!! We have some extra ones that we don't have enough lace for, so I'm going to tie a string to one and stick it in my car. They smell like Garden Ridge!!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Something New

Since we were little, Courtney and I have made ornaments through different things, and received them as gifts. There was a artist pallet from when I took art classes in Kindergarten. There were pony bead and pipe cleaner candy canes. There was a very pregnant bunny wearing a pink maternity shirt that said "Baby's first Christmas 1991." There were Santas and stars, Jesuses and angels. But when we moved, we left all our ornaments in Texas.

We really can't remember what happened exactly. There were some things that wouldn't fit in the truck that had to be left, but we may have accidentally sold them at the garage sale, or left them in the attic without realising it. In any case, my mom was pretty upset when she realised. The little clay nativity that I had made in that same art class was gone. The etching of an angel, and tinsel (probably for the best there- we'd had that tinsel since before I can remember, and it made your hands smell metallic).

Last night I was blog cruising, and I found this. So today after school, I did my Christmas shopping (nearly finished everyone!). While at Market Mall, I got two cookie cutters to use (we left those too) and on the way home, stopped at Safeway. I got Cinnamon, glue, and apple sauce, and while mom is out at Barry's (aka, "the edge of the world". He lives in the opposite side of Calgary), I'm donning our Christmas apron and making ornaments. I thought she would like it, because the sentimental attachment she had to them was that Courtney and I had made most of them, or they reflected a period in our childhood. I made two batches, and they're setting right now. I'll put pictures up when I finish, if they turn out decent. My only doubts lie in our "rolling pin." I guess we left that too, so I'm improvising by finding the longest uniform cylinder I can find- a Thermos.

It also saved us a fair share of money. The ingredients cost just $15, and we have left over cinnamon and apple sauce. Buying Christmas ornaments is so expensive. It looks just as pretty to have cinnamon-smelling ornaments that mean something!

Dating vs Courtship

I wrote a similar and more personal facebook note about this over a year ago, but I stumbled upon this blog post today, and thought it should be shared!
Wasting Time in Relationships

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lost In Space

I got lost today. I was heading back from Justine's house after school, and I am supposed to do this [green number being my "house" and the red number being Justine's]*:

I did this:

Resulting in a 45 minute round trip. Goodness gracious.

*Note: I'm not naive enough to put a map to my house on a blog, nor would I do that to Justine (plus, I'm really not sure where her house is, exactly). I just picked a random house in my neighborhood, and a random one in hers.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I just started filling out my online application to Trinity Western (though I have a year- they let me save it, so I'm not turning it in yet obviously) and as you may gather from the name, it is a Christian university. Once I got past the name, address, citizenship (which I hate. They never have duel, so I always feel like I'm not telling the whole truth. And which one do I choose???) the next question is denomination.

Luckily, they have a scroll down list so that you don't have to worry about spelling, but that means you have to choose one. It's like a multiple choice question- you have to pick one of them. I'm going to list them all here, as they're written:

Advent Chr
Africa Inland Church
African Christian Church
African Methodist
African Orthodox Church
Amana Ch
American Evangelical Christian
Anglican Church
Apostolic Church
Armenian Church
Ashland Brethren
Assembly of God
Associated Gospel Church
Baptist General Conference
Baptist Union of Western Canada
Beachy Amish
Bible Fellowship
Black Muslim
Brethren Church
Brethren in Christ
Canadian Baptist Federation
Canadian Reformed Church
Ch of Ch Cong [I'm guessing Church of China Congregation?]
Christian Church
Christian Missionary Alliance
Christian Reformed Church
Church of Christ
Church of Christian Holiness
Church of Christian Scientist
Church of England
Church of God
Church of God in Christ
Church of the Bre[theren?]
Church of Nazarene
Congregational Church
Conservative Baptist
Conservative Mennonite Conf.
Coptic Orthodox
Covenant Church
Disciples of Christ
Episcopal Church
Evangelical Covenant Church
Evangelical Free
Evangelical Mennonite
Evangelical Mennonite Confederation
Evangelical Mennonite Brethren
Evangelical United Brethren
Fellowship Baptist
Free Methodist
Friends (Quaker)
Full Gospel
General Conference Mennonite
Grace Brethren
Greek Orthodox
House Church
Jehovah's Witness
Korean Evangelical Holiness Ch
Krimmer Mennonite
Mennonite Brethren
Mennonite Church
Moravian Church in America
Netherlands Reformed Church
No Church Listed
North American Baptist
Old German Baptist
Old German Baptist Brethren
Old Ord Riv Bre [Old Order River Brethren?]
Old Order Amish
Old Order Brethren
Old Order Wisslr.
Overseas Mennonites
Pentecostal Holiness
Plymouth Brethren
Reformed Church of America
Reformed Episcopalian
Reformed Mennonite
Salvation Army
Seventh Day Adventist
Southern Baptist
Southern Methodist
Syrian Orthodox
United Brethren
United Church of Canada
United Church of Christ
United Methodist
United Missionary Church
United Presbyterian
Vineyard Association
Wesleyan Methodist
World Wide Church of God

So after I searched for the "Whoa" selection, and then had deja vu of filling out the back of the SAT form (it's like that, only you're supposed to bubble your selection with a number two pencil), I looked through them. Here are the conclusions I found:

Why Can't We Be Friends?
Yes, that song played in my head. Even if you eliminate things that are obviously not Christian (Muslim, Buddhist, Bahai, Jewish) and the ones that are questionable (not to insult anyone, but Jehovah's Witness, Mormon, Unitarian) and you are still left with a boatfull of denominations. I mean, Church of God, and Church of God in Christ??? Granted, I know the university has to cover its tail, but when it comes down to it, a majority of the denominations resulted from a disagreement of some kind (or potentially, geographic location). I agree that if your church is not holding to the Bible, there is something wrong with it and therefore a new denomination may be necessary, and this isn't always cut and dry, since people interpret the Bible in different ways, but there are a lot of denominations, and that's a lot of theological skiffs. I know the formation of United Methodism is full of different things branching off and joining together and it's a mess.

Which one?
Personally, I was raised United Methodist, am now attending a North American Baptist church, and have attended an Evangelical Church of Canada until a couple weeks ago. Each denomination has its issues. But when someone asks which denomination you are, do they really care if you're Methodist or United Methodist? Do they even know the difference? Is there a difference? If there is, do you know the difference? And what if you really don't know. I agree with a majority of Methodist beliefs, but there are a couple that I don't. If someone asked me which denomination I am, is there one that better describes my beliefs?

My point is, labeling denominations is necessary to help choose churches, and get someones beliefs in a nutshell, but once you have that basic overview, does it hinder us from asking tough questions? If someone tells me they're Lutheran, my pathetic amount of knowledge would tell me "Cool, Lutheran, aren't they the ones who don't share communion with other denominations?" and leave it at that. However, if we didn't have nifty denomination titles, I would have to ask, "Well, what's your opinion on this?" and "How do you feel about that?" This would also encourage people to question their own personal beliefs, rather than following a denomination that may not describe them.

Monday, November 12, 2007

UBC 2007

I got on the bus to head to UBC on Wednesday around noon. We did two practice debates and watched movies on our 13 hr trip. As we got closer to Vancouver, it started to remind me of Houston. First, it's sprawling, so we went through an area that looked like Fry/ Mason/ 99 and I-10. Second, it was humid and there was no snow. Calgary doesn't have green grass or leaves currently. Once we got into the city part, it was so different. We got onto East Hastings, and the first thing I thought of was, "This is where Insite is." (See previous post if you don't know what Insite is) I know we drove by it, because we followed it all down to West Hastings, and Insite is at East Hastings and Main Street, but I didn't see it. At one point, we came upon a large building on a corner with a crowd of homeless people in front of it. A lot were sitting on the steps, or talking in clumps. It was just so sad to see these things exist, though we hear about them all the time. When we arrived at the hotel at 12:45, I was in a room with Danielle (my debate partner), Corrine, and Alana. We crashed immediately.

The next morning we woke up, showered, and headed down for breakfast and did workshops. We prepped practice impromptu debates, and the like. For lunch we headed to UBC's SUB, and then for a tour around the campus with some time at the bookstore. Then, we went to West Point Grey to do some spar rounds. The first was opp for THW decrease the voting age. The second was prop for THB parents should have the last say in their children's medical treatment (implied: rather than doctors). Danielle and I won both, although the draw was kind to us and gave us sides that were easier. At West Point Grey, they had a piano, so between rounds we had a miniconcert, which was a lot of fun. That night when we got back, we prepared for our prepared rounds (see previous post). Danielle and I hadn't worked on it that much, so that was a nice time for us. Then we did improv games and headed to bed.

Friday morning, we did more workshops and went to Granville Island. It's reminds me of Kemah, only more artsy and less gaudy. We played with the seagulls, who tried to take our food, and wandered the shops. There was one store with a lot of neat scrapbooking and journal supplies. Then we headed to UBC, and sat in the museum of anthropology and worked some more. It was so nice and peaceful in there. Then we headed to one of the buildings for the briefing and the two prepared rounds.

Judging works as follows: a horrible debate is a 35- this cannot be given without justification. An average debate is 39, and "God's lawyer" gets 43- this cannot be given without justification as well. For the team score you add the two speaker scores together (so the range is 70-86).

First we competed prop for THW support safe injection sites. We got our ballots back on the way home, so I'll summarize it here: Judge 1: we got 79.5, opp got 76. "The gov managed to bring out the central points for their side. Opp touched on some possible important arguments, but they were not properly expanded on." Judge 2: we got 79, opp got 76. "POI well taken by gov. opp time wasted (1 min)" Judge 3 (loony bin): we got 77, opp got 78. "gov: good organization, the final segment of PM [my job for this one] was nicely done, but should not include rebuttals (MY JOB AS THE PM IS THE REBUTTAL). opp: not good conclusion, opposition team provided... sources (we're not required to). LO, despite a slow start was able to return to his situation after a timing error by judge (was able to summarize points in 3 minutes and expanded in next 5 minutes) [no, I don't recall he did. He finished early, but whatever.]

Next, we competed opp for THW support safe injection sites. The judge's writing is very faint, so I can't make much of it out- they got 77.5 and we got 77. Close debate. The comments included, "PM (gov team) good sign posting, MO [my job for this one] I liked how you started with how other groups are covering needs: don't need Safe injection sites, but then got caught up in gov subsidies which is a good point but not shown convincingly. LO [Danielle]: try to go for general concept over specific examples if possible. Harm for society vs. harm for user."

We were proud of how we'd done for those two. That night, I was laying in bed, unable to sleep, watching the glow of the city from the window, when I heard a loud bang. I swear it was a gunshot. Part of me wanted to go to the window and see what happened, but the logical side knew that I was safest in the bed, on the 5th floor. There was no way at that angle that I could get hurt from the street. I listened for a little, and sure enough, a couple minutes later, there were sirens. They were brief, but close. It was a little unnerving. It made me comfortable that we had moved to Calgary rather than Vancouver. Our downtown is still quite safe.

Saturday morning, we packed and dressed for debate. First, we went to the beach and enjoyed the view. It was so peaceful, and the waves sounded so nice. Then back at UBC, our first debate was prop THW ban child beauty pageants. We talked about the immodesty issue, how these girls were dressing up to be older than they are, and the effect of that later in life. We talked about how it exposed them to pedophiles, and, obviously, eating disorders, and how Miss N Carolina, who doesn't know Iraq is not "the Iraq," is not a good role model. Opposition countered with how they teach advertising skills (ex: Tyra Banks) and confidence, as well as a focus on the talent aspect. We talked about how the talent aspect can be shown in other competitions (aka, talent shows) and the only separation between this and beauty pageants is the beauty aspect, which is what we're trying to get rid of. We won, 79.5 to 76. Comments were: "Good arguments on both sides, opposition confused with points at times. gov effectively used POI."

Next, we were Opp for THW reserve seats in parliament for aboriginals. I don't like ones like this, because I don't know enough about Canadian gov yet, but it's the basic rigged election/morality aspects you focus on. The guys we debated against were good speakers, but the judge said their points were repetitive (rather than 3 distinct points, they overlapped). They focused on the harm done to the natives in the past, and the compensation needed. Then they talked about the current prejudices, and their inability to get appointed now. We took that to our advantage, and pointed out that by proposing this bill, they are definitely implying that they are unable to get appointed now, and the natives are insulted (if they are not implying that, then what is the purpose of proposing the bill?). We also talked about tension between other races, and how we've been unfair to Germans and Japanese during WWII. Then we went on about the point of democracy is nobody has a guaranteed seat, and it's representations of views, not races, that counts. We won, 79 to 77. Comments included "solid clash came too late in the round on gov whereas opp dealt well with gov's case easily."

At this point we thought we were doing well. Our competition was getting harder, which, because the meet was bracketed, meant we were doing decent to good. Then we received the resolution for gov (prop) THW boycott the Olympics in China. I'd done this resolution tons of times, but always on opp. Furthermore, when I was madame speaker for North American championships, I watched David Miko and Justen Russell (who went on to win North American championships) debate this as opposition, and they kicked proposition butt. I really had no idea the best route to take. We headed upstairs to start prepping, and in walked... you guessed it.... David Miko and Justen Russell. I froze. I knew their opposition case for this was foolproof- I'd seen it as an impartial judge. I was actually so anxious, I forgot to take off my converse, which I had been wearing around, and switch to heels, until halfway through my debate.

I really don't remember much about our case. We did the obvious- China has failed to recognize human rights violations in the past, the environment is unsanitary, and the Olympics should be presented as an award for a country that is successful politically, environmentally, etc. They came back with their engagement plan (which I knew was coming), that this time with them in the spotlight is to be taken to our advantage. Engaging them is the best way to do this. Plus, they're getting better environmentally and politically because of the coming Olympics. The thing about debating them is they are good debaters, and seem like nice guys (we talked to them a little afterwards), but they are ruthless in debate. When they stand up for POIs, they have that smirk on their face like, "did you really just say that?" and at one point David actually said, "We don't believe the propositions points are realistic, and we don't think they believe they are either." I just glared. No I don't think the reasons behind boycotting China are viable, but I'm assigned to debate it. That's just harsh. Score: us: 77, them 80.5

They went on to win UBC as well. We got 24th out of 74, with a score of 392. Then I got 52nd out of 148 speakers, and Danielle got 70th. Overall, I think we did a good job.

UBC 2007: Safe Injection Sites

Written on November 2 but not posted to prevent sharing of research until debate:

On Wednesday, I'll be leaving around noon for the UBC (University of British Colombia in Vancouver [west coast of Canada])competition. I have three impromptu debates, and two prepared: one supporting safe-injection sites, and one opposing it. For those of you who don't realize that these exist or what they are (I had no idea!), there are certain centers in cities with a high drug use record where you can legally use otherwise illegal drugs, get sterized needles, and recieve medical help (in case you overdose) from the trained staff (although the staff is allowed to give safer injection education, they are not allowed to assist advising the injection itself). For the purpose of the debate, most government teams will probably define their plan of setting up another site somewhere in Canada, and using Insite, Vancouver's site, as the basis of their argument (although there are also 50 sites outside of Canada in countries such as Germany, Australia, Norway, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and one opening up in Portugal). I've never done a prepared debate before. Because I'm in grade 11, Danielle (my debate partner) and I have to compete in the open category, not beginner.

So I was going to organize my thoughts on here. I'll first start with the Government's points, and then clash and give those for "Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition" (I love Canadian govern't titles!)

So, in support of safe injection sites:

Government position: Safe injection sites are healthier for the clients and society.

  • Safe injection sites promote health, because they provide sterylized needles. A major delemma with drug users is sharing unsterilized needles, and thereby contaminating themselves with HIV and Hep C. After Insite opened in Vancouver, the sharing needles reduced to 6% of clients per month, and HIV rates decreased 30%. Beyond health, they promote life, because trained staff are there with the training in case someone overdoses. No drug user has ever died of an overdose of heroin in a supervised injection site, despite the over 400 that have occurred. Furthermore, they have prevented an estimated 200 overdoses with medical advice.

  • Safe injection sites also promote recovery. In the centers, there is counceling and referrals for clients. One in five regular insite clients go into detox.

  • Although other citizens were originally against the idea, it has actually helped clean up the areas around the center. In drug-ridden areas of cities, syringes can be found along roadways and people are injecting themselves in public, making themselves examples to young children who may be watching. By providing a safe area, these activities are taken off the streets. This prevents an estimated 234 000 public injections per year. Areas around insite have not reported an increase in drug dealing or robbery. They actually reported a 30% reduction in Sydney [Don't ask me to explain that logic. I just get the stats]. The public in the area around the site now have an 80% approval rate. (The opposition can rebut that this is a fallacy; just because the public approves does not make it morally right).

  • It helps the healthcare system. Ambulance calls for overdoses reduced 86% after these clinics opened up. Also, if someone overdoses on the street they spend an average of 10 days in the hospital, whereas if they overdose in the clinic, they only spend 1 day. This frees up hospital beds. Currently in Canda, women giving birth are lifeflighted to Washington, Montana, etc, because there are not enough hospital beds. Over time if these beds free up continuously, the hospitals can reorganize their beds and it is more effective overall.

Now for the opposition :)

Opposition position: Safe injection sites harm the government economically and morally.

  • The healthcare provided to these clients is a free service, but costs the government money. The centers are completely funded by the province. Not only to centers such as Insite take money to build, but to staff and stock with supplies. 61% of the clients rely on social security benefit for their income. 70% are homeless, so they are obviously not using the SS payments on housing. If they live on the street, all that's left are food and drugs. Therefore, the government is already using tax dollars on those who are not contributing to the economy, and now they are spending more money to allow these people to continue habits that they selected for themselves. While it is inherent that addicts will continue their addictions, it is a choice they made. We agree the government should help it's citizens, but how do you help someone who doesn't want to help themselves? The average term of usage for clients is 13 years, although some have been using for up to 51 years [side note by Chelsea: how does someone LIVE that long on drugs???]. They started this behaviour, knowing the risks (average age of starting is 18), before these sites were created. We are not obligated to care for them because they have made the choice to contradict the original help we gave through education.

  • Also, these drugs themselves are dangerous. The long term effects may cost more for our socialized medicine in the long run because of things like cancer.

  • The government is morally conflicted. It creates laws that make these drugs illegal, and then allows for their use in certain situations. There is a reason these drugs are illegal- they are harmful. Reducing the harms does not eliminate them. Allowing centers like these is hypocracy. It is merely giving up. One of the purposes of the government is to look after the health of the citizens. This can be done more efficiently by condoning drug use, rather than cleaning up the mess it makes post-addiction. It is, in essence, assisted suicide, which, by the way, is illegal as well.

  • Furthermore, Canada is rejecting international drug laws, and treaties that it has signed by the UN. In Article Four of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, it is stated that countries will impliment laws that allow drugs only for medical and scientific purposes. By allowing certian social situations where clients can use drugs independently (it's not medical- they're not being medically reccomended drug use) and socially, it is breaking this treaty. If Canada is allowing for otherwise illegal drugs to be bought and sold, it is promoting international drug trafficing. Heroin is the largest drug used in these facilities, and 75% of the world's heroin comes from Afghanistan. The Afghan farmers cannot sell their product to the government, so they sell it to the terrorists, who then make a profit by selling it. If you do not reduce the demand for the product, you cannot reduce the supply. This decision impacts not only Canada, but the international world.

  • If the clients are really going for counceling, as the proposition suggests, then they have other opportunites (1-800 numbers, walk in clinics, etc). The fact of the matter is, this still leaves 86% of the clients whose purpose is to use the injection rooms.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Remembrance Day

In Flander's Fields
by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
PS My debate went well. I'll be posting all that tomorrow.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


This morning I took my own advice and woke up early to see the sunrise over Calgary. Here are some pictures, all from a south facing view (from Northwest quadrant). You can see the mountains in the distance.

"Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning." (Ec 11:7 NLT)