Monday, May 31, 2010

Am I Paranoid?

I'm worried about Paul! - Sitting in a closet, with the doors locked, the curtains drawn, not answering the phone - Does that make me paranoid?  (I'm not actually doing any of those things - but I did consider them... briefly)

To recap (for those of you who haven't read my last post, and can't be bothered to click on the link I provided above) Paul is some guy whose picture I stole whose picture I found on the internet and downloaded, then posted in my last post without being able to expressly ask his permission first (though I DID try) - and I gave him credit for it (as much as I could.)

That's not stealing... right?

I've been worrying about it since.  You see, I don't know this Paul person.  I've never met him; know nothing about him.  Well almost nothing - he takes pictures, apparently has access to a plane, and knows where Eyebrow is.  I don't know that he's not a 300 pound, homicidal maniac, ninja terrorist, with a really bad temper who hates people who rip off use his pictures without express permission.  I don't know that he's not on his way here at this minute to murder me and my entire family....

He's probably dressed in his bad-ass Ninja suit and in his plane right now  - which apparently he has -  and flying here - it would be way easier and faster than driving all the way here since Eyebrow is in the middle of the bald, flat, prairie 45 miles from the nearest city and driving all that way would be a pain and since the land around Eyebrow is flat land - I mean really FLAT  (you saw the picture) - it would be easy to land just about anywhere, and....

"Breath Neil! If some crazy Ninja lands his plane in Eyebrow intent on murdering you and your entire family - just call 911."

Sigh - Let me explain!  Have I mentioned that Eyebrow is 45 miles from the nearest city?  We happen to be right on the edge of two policing districts - both of them centered quite a ways away.  And I'm pretty sure that 911 calls from here get routed through Toronto via Sri Lanka... so it would probably take the RCMP  (which is who provides police services for Canadian towns too small to have their own Police force) a while to get here and...

Hmmm... not so sure that its a good idea to include that last paragraph - Paul might be reading this.  He already knows where Eyebrow is, how easy it would be to land his plane, and (thanks to the Google Van) it would be pretty easy to find where I live - or he could just ask someone (it is a small town - everyone knows everyone.)  To mention the lack of police protection might make it too easy for him....

Well - I suppose I could call the Fire Department.  Eyebrow does have one of those, albeit a volunteer fire department.  Fire calls are routed automatically to the volunteer's cell phones and turns on the town alarm, so....

Ya, that would be the way to go!  A half-dozen or so friends of mine showing up with fire-axes should make homicidal ninja killer Paul think twice about murdering me and my entire family.  And they'd get here way faster than the response from a 911 call routed through Toronto via Sri Lanka would bring the police.

Paul might be a ninja though (I don't know that he isn't) and they're sneaky.  I could think about defending myself.  Thanks to last year's Eyebrow Garage Sale I have a very cool set of Samurai Swords

- on sale for only $10.00!  For the whole set and the stand! (Ahhh garage sales!)

Didn't expect that, did you Paul!  Me meeting you at the door with a Katana in my hand?!

Ummm... but Paul MIGHT be a Ninja!  And I KNOW that I'm not.  One of my sons studied Kendo, but that's him and.... well I'd be likely to do more damage to myself than Paul would do.

So how about this....

Paul if you're reading this - instead of flying here to murder me and my entire family - how about if we just TRADE pictures.  I used a nice aerial picture that you took - I'll give you some nice pictures that I took.  You can have them!  Free of charge!  Just don't fly down here and murder me and my entire family!  OK?  Please?

Here's the pictures:

See Paul?  Pretty pictures! All yours - free! Now leave me alone! please...

If that doesn't work I can always hide in the closet with the lights off and the curtains closed....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I'm not a lawyer - please don't sue me!

I want to explain: I’m not a lawyer, so I probably don’t understand copyright laws as well as I should… and I’m not rich (far from it) so don’t sue me if I’ve infringed on your copy right….

Let me back up a bit:

If you read my previous posts you know that:

A) The Google Van came through Eyebrow – which is awfully big excitement here on the bald, flat prairie in the middle of nowhere.  I discovered this by accident while creating a link to Google maps showing where Eyebrow was in my first post.  This gave me hours of entertainment as I took a virtual tour of my town, peering in through my neighbor’s windows (kidding… I’m not stalking you, or a peeping Tom, or anything weird like that… much!) and then branched out to finding other people that I know and looking at their houses, and .… Hey, it’s a very small town – you make your own excitement.

B) Eyebrow is a very small town and quite a drive to the nearest city (I might be repeating myself here.)
Having finished with the virtual tour, I went looking for pictures of Eyebrow that I could share, to let you see what it was like – because I like doing those kind of things, it interests me so it will interest you as well – right?
Anyway – back to the point of “Not Being a Lawyer” and Copyright.  In my (admittedly incomplete) understanding, the information on the internet is posted (usually) for the world to see and share.  So long as I give proper credit to the person whose work I’m referencing it should be OK – right?  And they shouldn’t sue me for showing off something that they put onto the internet for others to see, if I give them credit and don’t claim it as my own – right? (I worry about these things , not really having the money to pay for a law suit against me!)

Focus Neil!  So, a google search for images found me a thumbnail of this wonderful aerial photo of Eyebrow.  With a link to the larger picture  and a link to the page where the picture came from  which gave me the error message: 

Oops... there's nothing to see here. Either you do not have access to these photos, or they don't exist at this web address. Please contact the owner directly to gain access.”  and a link to Paul -but the photo couldn’t be found by following the link to Paul – nor is there contact information to reach Paul.

“What do I do,” I thought to myself.  It’s a really good picture – the best that I could find and not one that I could take myself – unlike Paul, I can’t fly.  Finally I decided, hey, I’m using it.  I’ve done my best to get permission and I’ve given you as much credit as I can give you.  If that’s not good enough – contact me and we’ll work something out.

Don’t sue me!  Please!

Here is the photo that caused me all the stress and anxiety!  Nice picture Paul!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Google Van was Here, The Google Van Was HERE!!!

Oh my God!  The Google van came through Eyebrow!  I can't believe it!  By the look of the street views, it must have been about a year ago but it was here! - and I missed it!

OK, I admit to being a bit of a techno-geek - I suppose that's probably a bit obvious at this point, from my excitement above.  I'm almost a little sheepish about the excited outburst I just wrote....


Ok, sorry!  I won't let it happen again.  It's just that Eyebrow is tiny, in the middle of bald, flat, Saskatchewan prairie, almost an hour's drive from the nearest city, and really on a highway that doesn't go anywhere and....

I can't believe that the Google van took street views of eyebrow!

Thank God the house looked OK and the grass was freshly cut!

Eyebrow, Saskatchewan? Is that a real place? Really?

Google it.  You do have Google, don’t you?  Even here in the middle of the bald, flat Saskatchewan prairie, 80 kilometers (that’s 45 miles for those of you still measuring THAT way) from the nearest city, we have internet – mind you, our comes by dial up, or at very best it’s beamed to our houses with a wireless connection from the top of the town’s grain terminal.  I kid you not.

So why write about Eyebrow – what could ever possibly happen in someplace called Eyebrow that would be interesting?  Well you might be surprised…

True, we don’t have the excitement and night life of larger, wilder places, like New York or Toronto or Swift Current, but it all depends on what you’re looking for.  Why just this past weekend a trio of events converged in a “Perfect Storm” of ecitement… by Eyebrow Standards.  Let me explain:

The “May Long”, The “Lost Finale” and “Garage Sale Day” all came together in one weekend!

Now I probably don’t have to explain the “Lost Finale.”  From what I can gather from television and the internet, it was generating comments and excitement all over the place. The “May Long” might be a little more confusing.  Especially if you’re not from western Canada or at least from Canada somewhere.

The “May Long” is properly known as “Victoria day Long Weekend” though most people just call it the May Long and it’s a big deal – especially out here!  See, here in the west, we’ve just survived six months of winter.  I’m not talking about 3 inches of snow – call out the national guard – shut down the city kind of winters that you hear about some places without mentioning any names like Toronto or Vancouver.  I’m talking about real winter – 40 below for days at a time; blizzards with sideways blowing snow, piling up four feet deep in drifts across the highway, that we somehow manage to navigate through to work, and work in – for six months!

The May Long signals the end of that. It’s viewed as the kick-off to summer (though usually the weather doesn’t agree)  which is celebrated by people - especially cabin fever afflicted teenagers - by heading out to provincial park campsites (which open for the season this weekend) with copious amounts of alcohol, to party (read: huddle in the cold and/or rain drinking themselves senseless before running home with hypothermia and huge stories of how much fun they had.)

“Garage Sale Day,” what the heck is that?  Well, if you’re a jaded city dweller who can drive down any residential street all summer long and be inundated with garage sale signs you might not get it.  Garage sale DAY?  WTF?  Did I mention that it’s a 45 minute drive to the nearest city?  Constant, easy, access to garage sales may have lulled you.  Perhaps you’ve grown tired of the thrill of sifting through someone else’s junk for that perfect treasure - lost the excitement of bargain hunting and the joy of dickering over prices.  Well…. Too bad for you.

In small towns, there aren’t enough people to make holding a garage sale worthwhile.  So someone, in their wisdom, created a day where everyone in town with treasures to part with (and everyone’s junk is SOMEONE’s treasure) can do it all at the same time – Garage Sale Day!  The excitement caused by Garage Sale day rivals the excitement of a major rock concert in the city and attracts hordes of people from every small town within an hour’s drive. 

So - this year, Eyebrow’s Garage Sale Day was held on Monday, May 24th – Victoria Day! With the Lost Finale on TV in the evening!  See what I mean: excitement’s Perfect Storm!  And you thought that nothing exciting happened in a small town.