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October, 2010:

Trashy in China, 3.0 – Food! Glorious food!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Topmost of any discussion during our days in Beijing is the question of where to eat that night. Beijing offers a multitude of epicurean choices that cross-cut regions and cultures. No need to ever eat at the same place twice (though we do).

The other night was no exception.

Century eggs. Had ’em at one of our fave duck haunts the other night. And as disgusting as the idea might be, they were actually pretty tasty!

And these were made from yams and sugar. What great presentation!

Last night was dinner at a very good Indian spot just around the corner from the hotel and tonight we may be stopping at a bar high above the Forbidden City. It supposedly has an awesome view and – as a bonus point – serves cocktails made with Baijiu.

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Trashy in China, 3.0 – The Summer Palace

Took an amazing trip today to one of the places in Beijing I had yet to experience – the Summer Palace.

Located in the northern-west part of the city, the Summer Palace is a UNESCO world heritage site that was first established in 1750 during the Qing Dynasty. Most of the grounds are comprised of the beautiful Kunming Lake upon which pedal boats scurry about. There is a very long boardwalk, an amazing pillar bridge and dozens of breathtaking buildings. The colours are so vivid and the architecture is awesome!

And today, I shared this experience with three of my colleagues and about 150,000 other close companions. It was a busy and beautiful Saturday in China’s capital.

But what a BEAUTIFUL day! I have not yet seen such blue skies and clear air. It was a bit of a taxi ride – about an hour (cost – about $15! What would that set you back in Ottawa? More than a C-note, I’d guess!) – but the ride was worth it.

Take a look for yourself. If you ever happen to be in this part of the world, I would definitely recommend this locale!

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Trashy in China, 3.0 – First full day = zombie day!

I have gotten used to the fact that the first full day in China is spent in a state of semi-consciousness. The 12 hour difference kicks in an you spend the afternoon waiting for bedtime. Usually I come over 2 days before the meetings are set begin to give our bodies one day of acclimatization so we are in a bit better shape when we have to work.

Of course, due to the election, I flew in here on Wednesday afternoon with the meetings starting this morning at 9 am… so no down-time.

I was surprisingly better that I had expected until 3 pm hit and I felt like I was in a real bad dream where I was being forcibly kept awake in a dimly lit, poorly ventilated meeting room as a form of torture for losing the election. And everyone was speaking Chinese!

But I made it through the wall and was actually sort of productive.

By the time I actually got back to my room, I was starting to wake up cuz the ol’ natural rhythms were saying “yo! it’s morning!”

I hate those natural rhythms.

So, as I was waking up quite nicely, I hit the Silk Market to order  few shirts. Of course the very persuasive sales girl tried to sell me three suits, 2 pants and a tie in a pear tree – but I wouldn’t bite… want to see how much cashola I have left after I buy shoes, purses and what not.

Then it was off to my fave Szechuan resto on the planet – South Beauty. Hmmm… spicy lamb chops, tofu made at the table, chicken and peppers… hmmmm… Eat yer heart out Joe!

Tomorrow is the traditional banquet – which were told is a “surprise” this time. Not sure if I should be looking forward to this or to assume a fetal position in a far corner of my room.

I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, enjoy your morning / afternoon / evening!

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Trashy in China, 3.0 – Back in the Middle Kingdom

So here we go again…

I felt and feel horrible about the timing of the trip this time around as I left the morning after the election and the RLG was obliged to drive around Ottawa picking up the election signs – have to be removed within 48 hours, doncha know.

I’m not entirely sure what recourse the City would take if they found a sign outside of the time frame… maybe send out a crew of 4 to remove it and then bill me? Yikes!

In any case, the timing did suck and I owe big time! I’ll be doing the single-Daddy thing for a week later in November, but 5 nights versus 10 nights? No comparison.

It’s 2:57 am as I’m writing this as the usual time zone zaniness kicks in. Went to bed early so i did have a pretty good sleep, but if don’t sneak in another 2 or three hours, I’ll be wiped by tonight… especially after a full day of meetings.

The trip over went pretty smooth. The flight from Ottawa to Vancouver was turbulent, but I’ve seen worse. And the leg to Beijing was uneventful save for the jerk behind me who kept opening his window shade while I was trying to nap!

I think the shopping segment of the trip will commence tonight. On my list are shoes and a purse for my RSD/Campaign Manager, a purse for T, and Xmas gifts for the kiddies. I’ll also snag a new leather jacket for myself if the price is right… and of course the obligatory tailor made shirts, pants and maybe a suit for me!

If you have read any of my posts from earlier trips to China, you will know that while I , in general, despise shopping, I love it here!

On tap for the weekend… up in the air, but there was some talk last night over dinner (which was yummy and so inexpensive – I never get over the price of food here!) about a trip to the Summer Palace – haven’t seen that yet. I’d also like to get to Mao’s tomb if there is time.

OK – back to bed… nite-nite.

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Thanks to all 4,462 of you!

So OK, this isn’t the post I was hoping to out up the day after the vote, but I am proud nonetheless.

I gave her a run for her money and while I truly thought I had a shot, it was not to be. This time.

Will there be a next time? I don’t know. It really depends on what the Board and Ms. Funiciello do over the next few years. I will be watching them closely.

What will I do between now and 2014?

Well, I will stay involved in child and education related groups and follow the issues (e.g., integration of Early Learning into our schools). I am going to integrate more discussions of these issues into Trashy’s World.

I am going to involve myself even more in the comings and goings of my local community. One thing that this campaign has taught me is that I have missed the political side of community involvement and will be engaging even more intensively over the next while.

So watch for me… I’m not going away.

Bronwyn – congratulations. You ran the campaign well and you earned the win… and it was nice meeting you. It is clear that public education is as important to you as to me, but heed the sentence above. I’m in this for the long haul. I will commend you when earned and will criticise when warranted.

Mohamoud – great meeting you too. You bring a lot to the table and I sincerely hope our paths cross again.

Aside from the 4,462 voters of Zone 6 who voted for me, I need to thanks some folks who made this possible. Politics is really a team game and without a good team, success is difficult.

  • All who volunteered their lawns to be the home of an advertisement for yours truly.
  • The friends and family who took time out of their own busy lives to go door-to-door for me. I appreciate your commitment and I will never forget this. Ever.
  • Riley Brockington – thank you for your advice and your confidence. It was and is appreciated. Too bad about EMC screwing up and putting the ad in the WRONG paper!
  • The other Trustees and Trustee candidates who gave me encouragement and advice. I will not forget who you are. And that goes also to the Council and Mayoral candidates who I had the pleasure to meet.
  • All of the folks in the Twitterverse who provided me with endless entertainment, valuable information and a good belly laugh or three.

And most importantly… my family, who has put up with me over the past few months.

  • Steve, Stella and Vicky for helping out in an amazing way! Steve and Stella actually drove from Montreal on the first day of my campaign just to hand out flyers for a few hours!
  • My daughter and son, Addy and Owen (6 & 3), were my War Room coordinators…. stapling business cards on to flyers and cutting out other promo materials.  They have delved into this like a couple of political hacks!
  • My 17 yr old daughter Torii, who has always amazed me with her personality and confidence, but I never imagined her being an eager canvasser! She took to it like a fish to water. Thanks Bubba! You earned a nice gift from China.
  • And the biggest thank-you goes to my beautiful, talented and incredibly organised wife, Colleen. She was simply amazing through all of this. Picked me up when I was down, kicked me out the door when I didn’t really feel like hitting the sidewalks and most of all – kept my head in check.  Those of you who have run in campaigns know what I mean when I say that the full committment of one’s spouse is essential. Without it, you might as well forget running. Colleen’s support was over the top. And guess what she is doing today? As I am on my way to Beijing on a business trip (I’m writing this in the lounge of the Vancouver airport), she is driving around Zone 6 picking up signs.

Are we up to 3 pairs of shoes and a girls’ weekend, honey?

That’s all I have to say for now. I think I’ll be taking Trashy’s World in a bit of a different direction anyhow… less Hill-centric and more local-centric. I was tiring of criticising Harper and the gang… though, if he deserves it, I’ll be there!

So that’s about it for the election for now. When I return from my trip, I will be offering up some observations about the Ottawa municipal election.

The next post I will be penning will be a continuation of my travel posts – Trashy in China.

OCDSB Zone 6

Total %
Number of Polls/Nombre de bureaux de scrutin 76
Polls Reporting/Bureaux de scrutin rapportés 76 100.0%
Total Votes/Total des votes 13127 4
Mohamoud Abdulle 1311 9.99%
Bronwyn Funiciello 7354 56.02%
John Marshall 4462 33.99%

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Now just go and vote for Marshall, would ya?

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John Marshall for Trustee – the end of the beginning

Here we are, folks.

The day before the election.  Tomorrow, we will vote for our Trustees, Mayor and Councillors.

Yeah, I put Trustees first on that list…

I have received so much encouragement from so many people…. got a call the other night from someone who I repect and this gave me the “oomph” to stay the course for a few hours more.

Here are the brass tacks: I will do as I say. I will listen. And I will respond.

The past few months have been really enjoyable. So many great folks in this community. So many concerns.

So many great ideas.

And I even lost a few pounds on my journeys… fringe benefit to campaigning, eh?

I ask for the honour of your vote on Monday and I will put these great ideas into motion.

Thank-you…

And yes, I know I look goofy below… it gets better.


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Trustee Brockington endorses John Marshall for Ottawa Carleton District School Board Zone 6 Trustee

October 20 2010
*For immediate release*
Trustee Brockington endorses John Marshall for Ottawa Carleton District School Board Zone 6 Trustee.
Public School Board Trustee Riley Brockington offered his endorsement on Wednesday to newcomer John Marshall for Zone 6 Trustee (Alta Vista and Rideau/Rockcliffe).
“Mr. Marshall has consistently shown both through his service to his community and throughout his campaign that he has the skills and enthusiasm necessary to be a strong voice for the Zone 6 community at the Board table. I am confident that his election would mean a truly representative and responsive voice for parents and other constituents in Alta Vista and Rideau/Rockcliffe,” Brockington announced on Wednesday.
Marshall responded that “I am very pleased and honoured to receive this endorsement. Trustee Brockington has a long history of service to the Board and his community and his confidence in me is very encouraging. If the voters of Zone 6 see fit to elect me on October 25th, I look forward to proving myself worthy of his endorsement.”
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Why vote for your Trustee?

After campaigning full tilt for the past month, I have found that among the majority of voters, there is a misperception or no perception of the role of the Trustee.  Young and not so young, high school graduates and PhD alike, there is certainly a disconnect when it comes to understanding the Trustee and their place in our system of local governance.

Yes, School Board Trustees are elected at the same time as the Mayor and the City Councillors. And it is your democratic duty to vote for them as you would your Mayor or Councillor.

When you arrive at your polling station, you will be given 3 ballots, one (a very long one in Ottawa) ballot for your choice of Mayor, one for your Ward Councillor and one for School Board Trustee. Depending on which system you gave designated as having your support – through your property – taxes you will receive either a ballot for the English Public, French Public, English Catholic, French Catholic. You mark an X beside the Trustee of your choice just like the others.

So why bother? Say you don’t have children and never plan to, why vote for someone who is not going to impact your life?

Well, for starters, the children now are the Doctors, Engineers, Builders, Teachers, Emergency officers, Nurses, etc. of tomorrow. The decisions that the Board makes DIRECTLY impacts on how these children are taught, what they are taught and where they are taught.

So you do have a stake in this.

Plus, whether or not you realise it, you are paying into the system so why not have a say? Through your property taxes (they are buried in your rent if you are not a homeowner), your provincial taxes and the HST you are paying… and paying big! The OCDSB, for example, has a budget of $700 million! That is not chicken feed.

Finally -and this is a pet reason of my own – by not voting, you are sending the message to Queens Park that local control over education decision making is not important.

Since the Harris days, power has gradually shifted from our local communities to the Province of Ontario. Provincial officials are making decisions that affect Ottawa families and I strongly believe that these decisions are best made by local communities.

The Boards do still have considerable authority. They choose which programs are offered in which schools. ESL, French Immersion, Gifted Programs – all, with limitations, are under the authority of the Board. They choose to open schools or close (gulp!) them. They vote on student transportation, programs with the broader community, infrastructure.

They are responsible for our schools and the safety of our kids.

Their role – albeit diminished from past years – is vital to our City.

In short, please do vote for your Trustee. Even if you don’t vote for me, at least cast a vote. This is democracy in action!

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Thanksgiving at the GG’s

Thanksgiving at Rideau Hall

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