Sweet

An Ice Cream cone adorns the side of a building in Niagara Falls, Canada, photo by author

Sweet

Better get to the ice cream quick before somebody else finds it.

Sweet

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Happy Trails

A roadside view of my vacation
A roadside view of my vacation

Summertime

I am going on a summer vacation of sorts……at least until around Labor Day.

I wrote be writing very much, but will occasionally post an image or three in coordination with Illustration Friday or concerning my travels around Montana.

Unti then……..Happy Trails

The Latest With Demand Studios

NASA picture of moon
The “Dark Side of the Moon” as seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

New Notice At Demand Studios

 I went to Demand Studios today to check up on my monthly earnings and lo and behold I was not able to access the information. It seems that DS had posted a message that I needed to update the Contributor’s Agrreement that I had signed, when I started writing for the company back in 2008. That in itself was not so bad, but the fact that the site programmers had changed the page coding, so that I could not access my earnings data without signing the agreement has made me rather upset about the whole state of affairs at the Santa Monica content mill.

What It Means

At present it looks like I will not receive any more money from DS unless I sign the agreement. Is anyone else experiencing the same thing?

Uncertain Future

My first impulse was to sign the agreement so that I could continue receiving the measely 15 to 25 dollars per month that the California company still owes me on Revenue Sharing articles until they expire several years from now. However, common sense came over me and I realized that DS should honor its previous agreement without any further ado. Having to sign an additional agreement after my termination as a regular article writer seems way out of line.

What This Means

My hunch is that Demand Studios is presently facing a host of complaints and legal actions regarding the way that they let go of the vast majority of writers during the summer of this year. Personally, I am not so mad that I was let go, but more upset over the way that it happened. The real issue that bothered me was taking articles that I had claimed, out of the queu, so they could not have been completed. However, on their behalf, I must say that they did allow articles in draft to be finished.

My Recourse

At this point I think I will not sign the new agreement, because I don’t think it is necessary. Losing the several hundred dollars that will eventually come my way seems minor compared to what they are asking me to do… And that is modify an agreement after it has gone into effect.

Visiting Canada with Will and Kate

Wall painting in Niagara Falls, Ontario
Wall painting in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Canada is a nice place to visit even if you you happen to be traversing the country at  the same time as the royal couple’s visit. By coincidence my leisurely three-week journey from Montreal to Thunder Bay, just to happened to occur at the same time that Will and Kate made their nine-day visit to the former British colony. When they first landed in Ottawa, I was making the rounds in Montreal. This included sampling a smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s and then sipping a tasty pale ale at a nearby microbrewery.

Colors of the Plateau, Montreal
Colors of the Plateau, Montreal

But by the time they had left the country, I was anchored down in Thunder Bay, a colorful town located near the western end of Lake Superior. In the mean time Will and Kate, made it to Montreal, Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, Yellowknife and the Calgary Stampede. All in all it was a small cross-section of Canada, but most people up here glad that the famous duo spent so much time in the country.

Canadian Greyhound Bus
My main means of crossing the province of Ontario

What really impressed me about the visit of the royal couple was first of all how much time was spent in the country and secondly what a large cross-section of the country they were able to visit. Of special fascination was the trip to Yellowknife, where they received a chance to paddle a canoe and explore the backcountry.

Bus station graphic, Schreibner, Ontario
Bus station graphic, Schreibner, Ontario

The only missing thing was a chance to visit Niagara Falls, but I’m sure they’ll hit that natural wonder on their next visit.

MY Empty McDonald's Sundae Dish, Toronto
MY Empty McDonald's Sundae Dish, Toronto

Next stop on the royal couple’s North American tour is the good ole USA, where I will be arriving in the near future. Not to be outdone the two visitors from the UK will spend nine days in the former colony. Though the history between the US and Great Britain differs significantly from that of Canada, I’m sure they will have a busy and eventful journey across the states. By the way this is the first British royal visit to the US since 1939.

Two Brits Visit Toronto And Get In An Argument

Outdoor Advertising in Toronto
Outdoor Advertising in Toronto

This weekend was the last in a planned series of public discourse, called the Munk Debates. An initiative of the Aurea Foundation, the Munk Debates occur twice a year and are featured on CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting company. Having the past Prime Minister of Great Britain, participate in this event, probably heightened  exposure for the occasion. For as it turned out, the debate was widely covered by the press, both in the US and Great Britain. (I think live viewing was restricted to Canada)

According to a poll of attendees, Hitchens won the exchange with his premise that religion is a destructive force in the world. Tony Blair, who has converted to Catholicism since leaving public office, took an opposing view that religion can be a powerful force for good.

The public appearance of Hitchens was noteworthy as he is currently undergoing chemotherapy at present for cancer of the esophagus. Presently the noted man of letters has a bit of a ghostly appearance due to his frequent medical treatments. Reportedly, Mr. Hitchens had cut back on his chemo, so as to be mentally awake for the debate. My only wish, is that it’s a shame the two could have taken opposite sides on the most recent Iraq War that still lingers on, even to this day.

Toronto Skyline at Dusk
Toronto Skyline at Dusk
Downtown Toronto
Downtown Toronto

Gonzo, the Movie

gonzo sundance
gonzo sundance

I guess I just can’t enough of Hunter Thompson. Since I just finished the book last week, I’ve gone out and rented the movie. If you like Hunter Thompson you’ll probably like the movie. Even if you are lukewarm or so-so about the the departed rascal, you still might enjoy the documentary. The film really is a good glimpse into the times that made Hunter famous.

Complete with interviews by George McGovern, Pat Buchanon, Jann Wenner, Jimmy Carter, Hunter’s two wives and of course Hunter himself, the two hour trip through nostalgia land is a fun ride that will come to its sad climax before you know it.

Accented by film clips of the Chicago Convention riots, Hell’s Angels, Hunter in Aspen and Las Vegas, Gonzo does an in-depth analysis of the man, who made fear and loathing, a pair of household words. Johnny Depp does the narration, but after a short time you kind of forget that Johnny is there, for the content is strong enough to stand on its own. There are even some clips of a pre-teen Gonzo and a fascinating appearance on the TV Game show, To Tell The Truth, where all four panelists guessed that he was the mad journalist who wrote the book, Hell’s Angels.

So if you haven’t got much to do on a weekday night give the two hour DVD disk a spin on your DVD player you’ll like it. Here’s another image of Hunter, taken by Al Satterwhite and used by Vanity Fair.

Hunter Thompson in Cozumel by Al Satterwhite
Hunter Thompson in Cozumel by Al Satterwhite