Canadian citizenship questions are kinda funny

My friend Julia is getting ready to have her Canadian Citizenship test, as she’s tired of being merely a Permanent Resident, and now apparently wants to have more say in these taxes she’s been paying.

To that end, she’s received and is now reviewing the requisite materials for the test. (I offer you the list of questions she gave to me, unaltered, as a starting point.) As one might expect, the test has a number of questions that, yes, an average born-and-raised-in-Canada Canadian would flunk. (I would imagine the same is true of most countries.) Some of these are taken for granted, as just about everyone just accepts things as they are.

But some of these questions are … well, let’s say that they just scream for alternative answers.

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Forty years from one step

Like almost everyone in my generation (who isn’t more than three years older than me) has lived in a world where humans have set foot on the moon. For us, this isn’t just an historical event — it’s a part of our culture. Almost everyone knows the phrase:

That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.

It’s more than a line from a movie. It’s more than a scene from a newsreel. It’s more than a footnote from a history textbook. It’s the moment when the sheer power of human will and imagination proved that the impossible is not beyond reach.

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Diversions at Parque Diversiones

Well, Kiddo, today was a really fun day!

Plans don’t always go according to plan, but there are those times when one plan ends up giving who new plans that are possibly even more fun than the original ones. I’d like to think today was like that, largely because we got to go somewhere fun, and I got to spend nearly the whole day with you! (Except for, y’know, when you were sleeping.)

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Stampede breakfast, Costa Rica style!

Right now on this very week, back in Calgary, AB, is the Calgary Stampede. It’s the largest outdoor show in the world (at least that’s the story). It usually means a massive influx of cowboy- and cowgirl-wannabes (among the real McCoy, mind you, which the Stampede also attracts in large numbers), a lot of public drunkenness. A lot of Calgarians happen to take vacation during Stampede week, for obvious reasons.

One thing the Stampede is also famous for is something that doesn’t actually happen at the Stampede — it happens just about everywhere else in the city: the Stampede pancake breakfast. It’s a tradition dating back decades, supposedly started when one kind rancher shared his breakfast with those around him.

There’s only two rules with pancake breakfasts: have a lot of people, and it should be free! (There are even websites to help people find the pancakes.)

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I wouldn’t have done it that way

I’ve recently run into a common programming problem. While turning a development project over to another development agency, we heard that worst of comments:

Why did you build it that way?

It seems like a simple question. But it belies it’s true meaning. What they’re really saying is:

We wouldn’t have done that. This design is bad.

It’s a completely valid point. And you know what? I probably already thought that same thing.

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20 years of blogging (and Post #1,000)

Well, okay, not so much “blogging” as journaling, but most of them are now online for everyone to ignore.

Twenty years ago, I got to do something that (comparatively) very few westerners got to do, and will never get to do again: I went behind the Iron Curtain. I visited the (former) Soviet Union. Believe it or not, the journey was a field trip, organised by one of the teachers in my school board. We had to do prerequisite classwork and had to write two length reports, all of which added up to academic credits.

And we had to write a journal.

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