All posts by daveo

Ways to Immigate to Canada including a Self-Assessment Test

When folks come to visit here in glorious North Vancouver, they often opine, “gosh i wish we could live in Canada” to which i say, if you have something to bring to the table, then you can. While many/most applicants retain a lawyer for this task, if you are diligent, patient and a good form filler outer, then you can do it yourself. There are many details to tend to, so stay alert!

Bear in mind, i am not a barrister but i do have some first-hand practical experience with these immigration matters – regardless, i’m pleased to run my mouth on this but admonish you to seek elsewhere for further opinions since i am just riffing here and might miss something.

The whole deal is all very nicely up on the Canadian gov’s site – appropriately called Immigrating to Canada – but since you are here … here are the status categories which allow you to move to (and work in) Canada legally, divvied up into a few buckets:

Refugee (Humanitarian) class – If you are, or will be, persecuted unjustly in your home country if not provided with sanctuary, you may apply for refugee status, some US military service evaders are currently grinding through the refugee system with minimal success – more luck if you are from Burma today or Darfur or other such debacle-laden land.

Family class – If you marry a Canadian (note: this includes common-law relationships and same-sex relationships), the Canadian partner can sponsor the other into Canada – this involves a stack of paperwork and may include a year or two before the non-Canuck can work legally in Canada and the sponsoring partner must commit to supporting their spouse for 3 years and not go on welfare. The CIC (Citizen Immigration Canada) will do extensive background checks, including addresses, family, criminal and health history checks. The Canadian must show ability to support the spouse and prove the validity of the relationship (save those holiday photos).

Note: As of Feb. 2004 (IIRC), you can apply from within Canada under a weird loophole known as a “sweetheart” clause in which they “pretend” your spouse entered legally and then applies within Canada rather than arriving as a landed immigrant and then applying from within Canada and being unable to leave Canada during this time. Minors (kids) get an application too and medical tests etc.

Lions Gate Bridge from Stanley Park, Vancouver - British Columbia Investor/Entrepreneur/Self-employed – break em down:

1) entreprenuer – if you have $300K to invest in a business, you can come on in – buy yourself a Quizno’s franchise or start a business but you do hafta have money, experience and a plan with a reasonable chance of success so … your big crazy idea to build dinosaurs in Stanley Park is out cause that’s just insane and even suggesting should land you in the crowbar hotel (pardon my digression),

2) investor – if you have $800K, you can let the Canadian gov plays with half of it ($400K) for 5 years (interest not-paid) to boost Canada’s job market and allow some mid-level to bureaucrats to party on with your bread (just kidding) while you spend your other half eating fine meals and lolling about ;-)

3) self-employed – this is the “special” category for sports, arts, culture, entertainment – i.e. elite athletes, entertainers, performers, sculptors, announcers, writers plus and farm managers whom Canada needs/wants (dying family farms and all that) also some librarians – you gotta be noteworthy though but this is a great way if you can swing it

NAFTA Professional – this actually is the status i know least about but the one i come across the most since Computer Programmers are on the list of skills needed in Canada and, through the maligned North American Free Trade Agreement (Reagan and Mulroney), various professionals are afforded a fast track to come on up once they’ve been offered a job by a Canadian firm who will sponsor you to come to Canada (and thus you may sorta be stuck with them for a period of time). Lots of you more on this status than i, so fill me in.

Totems - Comox Valley, British Columbia - Canada Provincial Nominee – this is the wild card since each Canadian province can nominate and fast track anyone they want really based on strategic occupations needed – in BC, this un-met demand includes new media and IT along with construction and health, education and other professionals – really its about the economy, if you help build it, they want you but you gotta have your stuff together beyond “i can make webpages, can i come in now?”

Skilled Worker – and now to the best part, if you are a non-Canadian with professional skills and relevant experience, particularly in an in-demand job, you can likely immigrate – really, it’s that easy (note the US has no such program, only a lottery to get in, really, a lottery) and Canada is quite pragmatic and seeks out workers with skills in-demand in Canada (famously exotic dancers fall into this category from time to time)

The test inquires if you speak a second language (French really), finished college, worked in your chosen field for a period of time, have some skills etc. If you score 67 or better, you qualify to sponsor yourself to Canada (no spouse or employer needed) which means you have responsibilities to not fck up.

So get started eh, here’s the test: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/skilled/assess/index.html

Did ya score get 67 or higher? If so, haul bum over to http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/apply-how.asp and chose the simplified process (unless you are in one of the categories which requires the un-simple “regular” process like you are provincial nominee (this is another class which i know little about), you’ve been selected by Quebec (this francophone-heavy province seeks out French speakers specifically, again i know little more), or a few other odds and ends.

You're *so* tough.Tax and other crap

Once you’ve leapt across the border and are flipping the bird at Bush and his cronies back in the US, you’ll still need to be very aware of international tax laws (all US citizens abroad need to file US tax returns and myriad other details). Thus, i’ll direct you to David Ingram who is a bearded tax and immigration consultant – his rates aren’t trivial so subscribe to his old-school e-mailing list (in dire need of formatting) which discusses the mundanity and minutiae of international tax law. In brief, you gotta declare your worldwide income but it’s not all taxable.

What’s next

Once you are in and off your double secret probation period, you can consider applying for permanent residence status (equivilent to a US green card) allowing you to do most anything but vote and hold top secret government jobs. Three years after that, you can start thinking about the Citizenship test too. Goodtimes eh!Sad Dave after Sweden loss

Now show you are Canadian and turn the hockey game on, sing Oh Canada! and eat some perogies,

Thanks to Will Pate, Kris Krug for photos

Lt. Magnum’s Philipines Exploits Exalted by the USN

Puffer fishMy brother who did some time in Iraq as an engineer for the US Navy (long story) then shipped out aboard a vessel USS Peleliu named for the my fave island
Peleliu, Palau – for the Philipines to tend to some humanitarian tasks for the people dealing with the strife caused by a recent typhoon.Dave's trip to Peliliu

Turns out, the goodly Lt. performed such noble service, the USN wrote a press release article extorted his efforts. The article twas found ‘in the wild’ by brother #4 who is bound to be the future mayor of some small town in Alberta.

 The photos mentioned in the release were not attached (i’ll write the military attache for help) … but instead, here are a few photos Lt. Magnum snapped while in the islands plus one from my trip to Peleliu back around 1995 or so.

{His tasks remind me of a great podcast episode on BicycleMark’s Citizen Reporter about the Rainbow Family helping out down in the Gulf Coast region in the wake of Katrina.}

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug 2, 2007 [0711]

Navy Engineer Makes a Difference

NAVFAC Far East Engineer Recounts Pacific Partnership Humanitarian Mission

My security detail

YOKOSUKA, JAPANWhen Lt. Robert Olson volunteered to be an embedded engineer for the Pacific Partnership Humanitarian Mission in the Philippines he knew the area needed help, but he didn’t know the full extent of the difference he was going to make. He went as part of an advance team – his part, to plan projects for the Seabees. Olson, whose primary responsibility is as an engineer for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Far East, Public Works Department, learned about the assignment while he was serving in Iraq. He returned to his home in Japan for two weeks and left for the assignment.
The areas where he worked in the Philippines had been hard hit by volcano and typhoon damage from eight months ago.Entire areas were buried.

“It was the kind of contribution I wanted to make from the very beginning,” he said. “Everywhere I looked, there was something needing to be done – they needed help!”

Olson identified the projects to be worked on immediately, such as a hospital in desperate need of repair, where most of the doors and windows were missing.The roof was damaged with ceilings handing down.

Olson said he learned a lot from retired Senior Chief Builder, Ed Guillermin, who worked with him from the onset. “Guillermin had a lot of experience,” Olson said, “especially with preparing the bill of materials.”

Mayon smoking

The next hurdle was getting the materials, but they had quality help there too.Olson explained that a retired marine named, Duane McDavid, working in Singapore was the contracting specialist.He said this man also made a difference.He was able to award contracts to vendors to deliver materials locally – getting the materials on site when they were needed while helping the local economy.

“Another plus was that the materials were to the local standards,” Olson said, explaining the importance of this issue as events unfolded.

He went to Manila to work out materials but acquired more than materials on his trip.

“I stopped in to the headquarters for the Philippine Seabees and met with their Rear Admiral and asked if he could spare five Seabees. He gave us fifteen! Additionally he put us in contact with the Philippine Army Corps of Engineers who provided us with an additional 25 enlisted and officer engineering personnel. So we went from having 20 Seabees to having a work crew of over 50!”

After a day at sea

Olson put them to work, coordinating work efforts in several locations.

“It made things interesting,” he said.

One of the projects included a river clogged by debris. They started by clearing a section with the one bull dozer that the Seabees had.

“We started with that,” he explained. “When the Army saw that – they wanted part of the action too, so they brought their bull dozers and it turned into a real international cooperative effort.”

Olson discovered the value of charitable organizations saying there was a great spirit of volunteerism. They provided lunch time meals, coordinated equipment needs free of charge, and provided transportation for the Medcaps.

Island on way to Pardito

The medical portion of the mission was part of Olson’s job too, scouting for landing sites and making ready for on-land needs for the USS Peleliu – a ship carrying doctors, dentists and other specialized health care personnel.

The Pacific Partnership Humanitarian Mission resulted in 2844 pediatric patients and 4987 primary/acute care people being seen. Health care providers filled 21,112 prescriptions and specialists made 3683 eye glasses. A total of 14,133 patients were seen in all areas of patient care.

But that’s not all. . .a river now flows free.

PHOTO

Lt. Robert Olson snaps a photo while at the Headquarters of the Philippine Seabees.

PHOTO

Lt. Robert Olson photographs river project

Noise to Signal cartoon makes fun of web biz goofiness

Rob (day job = Social Signal) Cottingham brews up some witty and well executed cartoon about web culture, the biz grind, work life, geekiness, corporate shillery etc.  Somewhere between Dilbert, Farside and Family Circus ;-) and less self-referential to the “web 2.0 community” as Blaugh.

Check out a few samples (served up via Social Signal’s site) and subscribe to Noise to Signal RSS feed

Note: the original posts are accessible with written description for page readers – very nice.  Oh yeah, he does political stand-up – hire him for your fundraiser ;-).

Noise to Signal cartoon

Rob Cottingham's Cartoons on web biz

Rob Cottingham's Cartoons on web biz

Levon Helm’s New Album, with downloads

Reposted here to encourage the world to get their mitts on the talented Mr. Helm’s new offering

Inspiration from the Delta: Levon Goes Home for Dirt Farmer

Levon Helm’s first record in more than a decade, Dirt Farmer, will be released to the public on October 30, through Dirt Farmer Music LLC in conjunction with Vanguard Records. Levon sings and plays drums, guitar and mandolin on the CD, accompanied by Larry Campbell on guitars and fiddle, and the voices of Amy Helm and Teresa Williams. The record explores songs Levon learned as a boy in Arkansas and others in that style.

“Growing up on a cotton farm in the Arkansas Delta, Dirt Farmer rings true to home,” Levon said. “Amy encouraged me to go all the way back and try to record some of the family songs from home that we always loved best.”

The record reveals the essential beauty of traditional songs like “Little Birds” and the Stanley Brothers’ “False Hearted Lover Blues,” and takes a new look at Paul Kennerley’s “A Train Robbery,” Buddy and Julie Miller’s “Wide River To Cross” and another sentimental favorite, Lauralyn Dossett’s “Anna Lee.”

Levon said: “‘The Girl I Left Behind’ was one of the first songs my parents taught me as a child, along with ‘Little Birds’and ‘Blind Child.’ ‘The Poor Old Dirt Farmer’ is a song that my wood-carver musician friend Michael Copus and I learned together when we worked with Jane Fonda on The Dollmaker down in Tennessee. ‘Single Girl, Married Girl’ is one of my favorite songs of the whole session. It gave us the chance to address a traditional standard with the entire rhythm section using non-electric instruments and a full set of drums. It also gave us the chance to monkey up the rhythm of a traditional country beat.”

1. False Hearted Lover Blues 3:29
2. Poor Old Dirt Farmer 3:52
3. The Mountain 3:35
4. Little Birds 4:41
5. The Girl Left Behind 3:35
6. Calvary 4:53
7. Anna Lee 3:42
8. Got Me a Woman 3:11
9. A Train Robbery 5:28
10. Single Girl, Married Girl 3:18
11. Blind Child 3:26
12. Feelin’ Good 3:31
13. Wide River To Cross 4:52

Help us earn…
…buy, don’t burn
levonhelm.com

DOA on DVD with Smash the State

D.O.A. Smash the State DVD release show Sept. 27th The Plaza Club, Vancouver, BC
World renowned punk band D.O.A. is back with the brand new DVD “Smash the State.” It will be released September 25th, 2007 on Joe Shithead’s Sudden Death Records.

This long awaited compilation is loaded with a ton of raw footage shot at four shows in the San Francisco/Bay Area and the infamous Canada Day Anarchist Picnic in Vancouver.

The DVD features D.O.A.’s original line up: Joe Shithead Keithley, Chuck Biscuits, Randy Rampage and Dave Gregg at their best. Smash the State includes 21 classic songs, interviews, newscasts, plus footage of the day anarcho punks took over Vancouver’s Stanley Park on July 1st, 1978.

  • Guest appearances by: Keith Morris (Circle Jerks), Dirk Dirksen (Mabuhay Gardens/San Francisco punk guru), JB Shayne (legendary Vancouver DJ) and Zippy Pinhead (Los Popularos, The Dils)

Canada’s punk godfather Joe Shithead had this to say: “I really wanted people to see the original version of D.O.A. performing. You know, the completely raw band that went out and took on the world. So I gathered together some of the best footage I could find and came up with Smash the State. Most of the footage is taken from shows in San Francisco and the East Bay. This makes a lot of sense, as San Francisco became D.O.A.’s home away from home in the late seventies and into the eighties.

Our very first show outside of Vancouver was in S.F. I took a train, Biscuits and Rampage took a bus and Brad Kent hitch hiked. When we arrived we had to scramble around to find enough gear to play. But it was great, so from that point on, it just took a phone call like “Hey, can D.O.A. play a show with the Avengers and the Dead Kennedys next week?” Of course we fucking can! So we would hop in any old wrecked vehicle we could find, and headed down to the Bay area to help start a punk rock riot.

The last part of the DVD was our fifth show. It was an anarchist gathering in Vancouver‘s Stanley Park on Canada Day in 1978. It was billed as “Anti-Canada Day”. We didn’t have a permit, so the cops tried to stop D.O.A., The Subhumans and Private School from playing that day. Our pal Phil Smith managed to talk a local picnicking church group into lending us their park permit once the picnic was over. This of course infuriated the Vancouver Police, but they could not stop the show. This is documented on Smash the State, there’s even footage of Rampage giving a cop a kiss. Hey, cool shit, but I don’t know if the cop thought so.” – Joe Shithead


For a lot of people all over the world, D.O.A. was either their first exposure to punk rock, or one of their earliest memories of that blistering phenomenon. When you watch Smash the State you’ll understand why D.O.A. has influenced everyone from Green Day to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Henry Rollins to Jello Biafra, Rancid to Nirvana and NOFX to Bad Religion.

Message to the Highlands!

Dopefiend and I enjoyed recording Midnight Riverside Joint with the Dopefiend – Choogle on #51 so much that we brewed up a custom message for Queer Ninja after listening to The Sounds of World Wide Weed 38 where he offers discourse on the meaning of choogle and rocking out some CCR among other hilarity and positive vibes.

Dopefiend.co.uk

Laugh along with Message to Queer Ninja from Uncle Weed and Dopefiend (.mp3, 3:36, 5MB)

Midnight Riverside Joint

Managing a Hyper-local Community with Drupal – Raincity Radio podcast ready for your ears | OlyBlog

photo by OldTimey Dave via Flickr

Source: Managing a Hyper-local Community with Drupal – Raincity Radio podcast ready for your ears | OlyBlog

As per previous communique, while in Olympia I had a stirring 23 minute chat with docent Emmett plus Zhonka’s Jay, Nat with a cameo by Old Timey Dave. Not just tech talk, plenty of banter about Olympia’s unique character, you Olybloggers, free speech and fascism.

Get your mitts on the goods at: Managing a Hyper-local Community with Drupal – Raincity Radio podcast MISSING AUDIO – will update if found

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… and here’s the ‘offical’ blurb and snaps for posterity:

Managing an active, hyper-local community blog site using Drupal is the topic as Dave O sits down with Emmett, a docent at Olyblog.net and Drupal-ists Jacob and Nat from Zhonka Broadband at an Olympia, Washington coffee shop.

Bonus:

Podcast Photos from Olympia Coffee Cherry Street

Podcast Photos from Olympia Coffee Cherry Street

Barcelona Travel Tips for tokers and foodies

Some amigos are Barcelona-bound and since i’ve been to this fine city, i’ve assembled a few travel tips and resources for them. Ergo:

Stuff to See:
Picasso’s museum – a wide-ranging collection from youth paintings to pottery to blue period classics by the local boy made good housed in a classic manor house

Antonin Gaudi’s architecture – especially Parc Guell and Sagrada Familia – this master is less known in the west but will blow your mind with melting buildings and a bewildering rethinking of space and material

Goudi's Sagrada Familia Goudy's Parc Guell in Barcelona

Las Ramblas – this is *the* main strolling drag of the city, put on big sunglasses and stop a dozen times for a glass of wine here, tapas there, rent a chair to gaze a little while, take your time – every one else is …

Make sure to:

Eat lots of Gelato – better for ya then ice cream so eat more! a variety of flavors makes hard to choose especially when each is laden with fresh fruit

Tip the posers – along Las Ramblas you’ll see are elaborately-costumed street performers striking poses for tips – throw in your coin and get a brief performance and a chance for a photo

Mmmm ham – it seems in every cafe you’ll see ham aging, tied from ceilings – this marbled meat is served impossibly thin and tasty and makes a great picnic – This guy agrees

Tapas – the aforementioned ham along with hundreds of other small tasty snacks are the norm for eating – be sure to stop along the way for one or many of these small appetizer plates most are displayed in counter case for easy ordering

La Boqueria Market – this meandering indoor market displays the finest the region has to offer from fresh seafood to whole piglets – load up with bread, cheese, meat, olives and Mediterranean fruit for a vast movable feast

I haven’t even mentioned the street musicians in cobbled courtyards, the happening late night vibe, the cable car over the harbour, the fabulous beaches, Columbus statue, clubs and pubs galore, huge steaming paella feasts …

More Tourist Resources:
Dopefiend’s trip to Barcelona – Dopecast #81

Doepfiend in BarcelonaHe says: “In a special Dopecast partially live from the scenic surroundings of the Port Vell in Beautiful Barcelona, the Web’s Favourite Cannabis Commentator tells what makes Barcelona an ideal stoner location and re-lives some favourite memories of the city while smoking some very tasty Moroccan pollen.”

Bonus: Uncle Weed’s podcast with the Dopefiend and Max Freakout  – Choogle On #38

Tourcaster – Getting To Know BarcelonaGetting to Know Barcelona feed

National Geographic Walks of a Lifetime (.mp3)

“Take a ramble with Traveler on tree-lined Las Ramblas, a thoroughfare in Barcelona that actually incorporates five streets and comprises one of Europeâs most electric pedestrian foot fairs. Some say it’s the most famous street in Spain. For our money, it’s one of the world’s greatest promenades–with no intersections and no motor vehicles. Our walk can take you several hours–or all day–depending on how much you decide to sample the city’s world-class art, street performers, and tapas bars. And if you venture the route at night, well, you’ll probably see the sunrise before you get home.”

Rick Steves’ Travel in Europe podcast on Spanish travel and culture

You probably already know that the flamenco, Sunday evening bullfights, tapas, and sangria are some of the flavors of Spain. Now, as part of the European Union, Spain is a re-energized democracy that might also provide us examples for coping with the threats of terrorism.
Also, we’ll learn how the Spanish tradition of taking a midday nap — the siesta — has been helping Spaniards beat stress for centuries…and how its days may be numbered in modern, urban culture. Julio Astor of the Spanish Tourism Board joins Rick to explain the role of “the siesta.”

Thanks to my Mom on Flickr for Barcelona photos
Here’s an interesting Barcelona tag on Flickr in case you want fancier photos

Purple Kush testing episode reaches new err … highs

[cross-posted from Choogle on Forum at The Grow Report]

I usually have little problem spieling on about cannabis or whatever related topic – even while taking a walk or on the seabus and shockingly, i am almost always coherent. Well, in the Purple Kush testing episode, i break my loquacious tradition and stumble along in a debilitated state of speechlessness after joints, vaporizers and hookahs of my beloved homegrown bud.

This almost went into the “lost tapes” pile but Queer Ninja’s adamant request encouraged me to dig it out and dust it off.

Glorious Purple Kush Testing Sessions Choogle on #49

Cousin Herb joins me for two testing sessions (one early in the cure and one later when the bud is perfect) and the second features me drooling on about a recent dentist visit and the struggle to toke with a frozen mouth along with some anecdotes about my horrible job hanging the Christmas lights.

While this one may not make it on the “Greatest Hits” album, you may love it and feel the cold Canadian winter being warmed with the finest herb.

Next up posting Thursday 4:20 PST as Dopefiend and I roast out on my porch, entitled Interrogating a Russian Over Drinks” – not too weedy but I do ask “everything you ever wanted to ask a Russian but were afraid to ask.”

… and in episode #51 is the long awaited Hemp for Victory interview with authour Kenyon Gibson – i wanted to make sure to collect lots of relevant links and notes to give this amazing book the attention it deserves.

Meanwhile be sure to check out Kenyon’s blog “Hemp for Victory” for news and opinions on hemp in the UK and around the world.

Art lovers head Northward for Monet to Dali | OlyBlog

Enjoyers of modern art (impressionalists to surrealists) should run to the bus stop immediately to head north for the Monet to Dali exhibit at Vancouver Art Gallery (that’s Vancouver BC eh).

The pieces on loan from the Cleveland Museum give a fantastic narration through the development of modern art sensibilities starting with early Monet’s (you get a great sense of Monet’s progression beyond the customary waterlillies stuff), plus Manet, Pisarro and Renior (including some from the original Paris exhibitions) – then moves on to a Cezanne, two van Goghs a sculpture room with a few Rodin bronzes before Matisse, Gauigan and a half dozen Picassos and a room of German experimentalists and Dadaists then surrealist collection with a huge canvas by Henri Rousseau, a couple of Dalis and finishes with a Henry Moore sculpture. Whew.

The exhibit ends on Sept. 17th so rush up as the crowds are growing as the deadline looms.

Here’s a fine camera phone snap to *really* convince you to go:

By the way, the Gallery Cafe is a great place to have a glass of wine and a cheese plate while listening to jazz al fresco and watching the Vancouverites stroll by.

Source: Art lovers head Northward for Monet to Dali | OlyBlog