Monthly Archives: May 2012

Hump Day: Good friends, good veterinarian and class reunion saved

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

I used to joke around with my friend Anne that I didn’t like to read autobiographies because they were invariably out of date as soon as they were published.

Just as I would read the last line of a book by a celebrity who’d gone through many troubles, i.e. ‘I think I’ll be OK now,’ I would read in the newspaper the next day that they’d just jumped off a bridge, swallowed a bottle of rat poison or were on the losing end of a game of Russian roulette with a loaded gun.

So last week, when I wrote about my 11-year-old cat Casey and the fact that he was on the mend from a bout of illness, I found myself reading the column last Wednesday while watching him take a turn for the worst. He went from being fine when I wrote the column to being gravely ill by the time it was published in the newspaper.

It was all a bit baffling at first, but he ended up being diagnosed with pancreatitis – severe inflammation of the pancreas, described as ‘a gland in the abdomen that produces enzymes which aid in the digestion of food,’ in a definition I found online. It’s not something I normally worried about in my pets, but when Casey became ill for the third time since the beginning of April, it was all too apparent that I had no choice but to take him to the vet again.

Since he’d already been to the vet twice in recent weeks, the dollar signs were flashing in front of me. I started to wonder how long much it would cost. This worry was then compounded by guilt at even thinking about it – and then compounded by mounting grief that this could be the end for the little buddy I adopted from the shelter in 2004 when he was three years old.

I was also kicking myself for not giving it enough time before concluding he would be OK after his previous visit to the vet the week before. Regardless, even the vet clinic thought it was unusual that he was sick again because he was still on medication from the last time we were there.

After I dropped him off for what was considered a ‘re-check’ since the last visit was so recent, the vet petted him when she greeted him in his cage when she had a minute between appointments. (This happened a few minutes after I left.) When she felt that his ears were hot to the touch and beet red (a sure sign of high temperature in cats), he was rushed into treatment. Something wasn’t right – big time!

After a two-night stay at the clinic, Casey was on the mend – thankfully! – and back home to recover.

Instructions for medication, including antibiotics, were carefully listened to by a nervous nursemaid (me) and I headed home with a cat who’d had more needles, pills and potions during those days than likely his 11 previous years combined.

While he was at the vet, I announced to my Facebook friends that he was terribly ill. There was universal sympathy, of course, but also some dire warnings from people who’d gone through similar things with aging pets. Some told me to prepare myself for the worst. Oh, trust me, I was quite capable of doing that myself without being reminded to do so, especially when there was no one else around.

In the meantime, I was supposed to attend a university reunion on the weekend – one that I’d actually helped plan, so I really wanted to be there. But what to do with a sick pet versus the desire to see old friends – many of whom I hadn’t seen in 25 years? (I graduated from university when I was five years old, in case you’re doing mental math while trying to figure out how old I am.) With my paternal instincts kicking in, I chose Casey over the reunion, of course. There will be other reunions, but there’ll only be one Casey. So, I cancelled the trip to the reunion. There was too much stress going on by not cancelling.

I couldn’t handle worrying about both Casey and the reunion, so the reunion got the boot. I just didn’t know what I’d be dealing with when he came home.

Before he left the clinic, I was told he was doing much better and needed some medication and special food. Otherwise, he should be OK unless another attack came on. We’d do what we could to help prevent a recurrence and just let nature take its course – hopefully a good healthy course!

I asked the vet about the reunion and she told me there’d be no problem leaving him alone for a few hours. He was getting better and should stay that way unless something drastically wrong happened.

They did every test known to cats, so I was also certain they didn’t miss anything. Both his front legs had patches that had been shaved for IVs, while his neck was shaved for blood tests and a large part of his belly shaved for an ultrasound.

He was starting to look like a checkerboard.

In the end, I decided to go to the reunion, which I’m so glad I did.

Casey was fine and likely snoozed the entire time I was gone. He’s not eating as well as he used to, but he’s eating a bit more each time, which is exactly the way he should be progressing.

After reading my Facebook updates, at least 20 people at the reunion asked me how my cat was.

I’m just grateful that I could say he was fine and just as grateful that I could spend some time with old friends from my university years.

It was one of those weeks when I was thankful for a lot, including good friends and a good vet!

Social Media Matters: Moncton launches tourism promotion

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, May 25, 2012
Metro section

Moncton launches tourism promotion

I was very happy to see that the City of Moncton is using user-created social media to its advantage.

The Moncton Moments Video Contest runs until Dec. 12. To enter, submit a video of between 45 to 90 seconds in length that answers the question, ‘What’s your favourite thing to do in Moncton?’ Contestants need to end their video with the question, ‘What’s your Moncton Moment?’ The contest is open to Moncton residents and tourists.

The contest’s purpose is to share community pride and promote the city’s quality of life.

Each household can submit up 10 videos. Those entering between May 17 and July 4 will receive a coupon booklet with savings and discounts to a number of Moncton attractions. You will also be entered into an early-bird draw for an iPad.

According to a City of Moncton news release, ‘The most creative and passionate videos can win up to $5,000 in prizes, including iPads, gift packs and the grand prize of a $1,500 digital package.’ In July, August and September, five videos per month will be chosen by judges to win $100 merchandise packages. At the end of the contest in December, the $1,500 digital package will be awarded along with three iPads.

Participants must be at least 19 years of age. If anyone younger appears in the video, their face(s) must not be recognizable. For more information, visit the contest’s website at www.monctonmoments.com or follow them on Twitter at @monctonmoments. This is a great initiative. What better way to get authentic and heartfelt love letters for Moncton than to ask people to submit their real-life videos? These will be much more impactful than scripted, professionally produced videos.

There’s a place for those, of course, but this is a perfect way to gather some promotional content at very little cost.

Bell Aliant makes TV more social

TwitterAfter the launch earlier this year of its Facebook app for its TV service, this week Bell Aliant launched the next logical step – a Twitter app!

After downloading the Twitter app through their Bell Aliant FibreOP TV connection, viewers will be able to tweet about what they’re watching right from their TV using their remote. Viewers can also post a tweet, read their Twitter feed, view tweets about the show they’re currently watching and check out trending topics in Canada.

According to a news release issued earlier this week by Bell Aliant, the idea of social TV is popular among Atlantic Canadians, with 83 per cent of Newfoundland and Labradorians, 75 per cent of New Brunswickers, 72 per cent of Nova Scotians and 71 per cent of Prince Edward Islanders responding that they would like to use their TV to surf the Internet or access social media.

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Each week, I suggest three YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current to May 23. Have a favourite channel? Let me know about it and I may feature it here!

EFT Tapping Chart
EFT Tapping Chart courtesy of eftwizard.com

I recently picked up the book Tapping Into Ultimate Success: How to Overcome Any Obstacle and Skyrocket Your Results by Jack Canfield and Pamela Bruner. Subsequently, I started doing some research on tapping, an emotional freedom technique (EFT). According to the U.K.’s The Energy Therapy Centre, tapping is described as ‘an EFT treatment involves the use of fingertips rather than needles to tap on the end points of energy meridians that are situated just beneath the surface of the skin.

The treatment is non-invasive and works on the ethos of making change as simple and as pain free as possible.’ Yup, I admit that it sounds a bit “out there,” but if it’s good enough for author and success guru Jack Canfield, it’s good enough for me! There are many uses to this form of therapy, including overcoming fears and phobias, weight loss, motivation, confidence, etc. Here are a few YouTube channels that show how tapping works.

1) Pamela Bruner, Success Coach (668 subscribers): Bruner is the co-author of Jack Canfield’s book on tapping. She also as a website at www.MakeYourSuccessEasy.com and has more than 5,000 followers on Twitter at @PamelaBruner. Her channel description: “Discover powerful, effective ways to market and grow your business specifically for spiritually-oriented transformational entrepreneurs.” (Most popular video: How to Tap for Money Faster.m4v – 23,071 views.)

2) EFT with Brad Yates (9,002 subscribers): Yates describes his channel as: ‘Tapping videos to help you move through limiting beliefs and enjoy an ever-greater abundance of health, wealth and happiness, which you deserve. Create the life of your dreams!’ His 280 videos have garnered nearly 3.8 million views and touch on issues such as feeling lucky, getting inspired and living with passion. (Most popular video: Tap O’ the Mornin’ with Brad Yates – EFT – 564,482 views.)

3) David Childerley EFT Performance Coach (17,997 subscribers): Childerley is a broadcaster and performance coach from the U.K. whose channel has 152 videos with nearly 18 million views. His videos touch on topics such as worrying, manifesting more money, fear, health, sex, feeling safe and grounded, becoming more aware, and changing your life faster using EFT. (Most popular video: SEX Tips: EFT Impotence cure works! – 3,089,202 views.)

Hump Day: Multiple pet ownership can make for a hefty veterinary bill

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

I’ve had some pretty bad luck health-wise lately with my house full of pets.

First, my big ol’ lovable male cat, Casey, developed intestinal issues in early April. He’s a good eater, so when he doesn’t show up at the bowl at feeding time, it’s pretty much time to call the kitty ambulance.

If I die at home and the cats have no one to feed them, I’m pretty sure he’ll be the one to start chowing down on me for sustenance. My ample (and hopefully delicious) remains won’t last too long once Casey sets his mind to it.

Let’s just say that Casey is to cats what piranhas are to fish, so when he doesn’t eat, there’s something terribly wrong!

A trip to the vet and some X-rays showed that the walls of his bowels were thickened. Come to find out later that he has inflammatory bowel disease which will likely flare up from time to time. So, after an anti-nausea shot and some pills, he seemed fine after a day and was back to his old hungry self.

I paid the vet bill and was happy that Casey was on the mend. The staff at the clinic told me how much they loved him because he was so affectionate. That’s my boy! I expect one of the pets (dog Milane and cats Casey and Cindy) to get sick at least once per year. I guess this was Casey’s kick at the can for 2012.

Earlier this month, it was time for Milane’s rabies shot and other various boosters. I also bought some flea treatment products for her and the cats so as not to get any nasty surprises this summer. After Milane reacted very badly to the cheap flea treatment stuff I bought last year, I opted for the good stuff from the vet. Yup, more money, but hey . . . very much worth it! Surely, that would be end of the vet bills for a while.

A few days later, I dug further into my pocket and brought Milane to the groomer for a much-needed trim. She has a very thick coat and is uncomfortably warm when it gets too long. She got back from the groomer and looked and smelled spiffy! She went from off-white to pure white and was as cute as a button. When we arrived home from the groomer, Casey shoved his nose into Milane’s fur for a good whiff of the shampoo.

A few days later, though, Milane started acted strangely. She was biting at her tail and I noticed that her belly was splotchy. There seemed to be some sort of allergic reaction going on. I called the groomer to see if they’d changed shampoos, but they hadn’t. Things weren’t getting any better – only worse. Milane then stopped eating and was getting sick to her stomach.

So, you guessed it, time to go back to the vet only a week after she was there for her check-up and a few weeks after Casey’s illness.

The vet shaved the back of her tail to see what was going on (good-bye grooming job!) and we discovered that it appeared that black flies (of all things!) had done a job on the poor little dog and she’d had an allergic reaction to their bites. I know people can have bad reactions to black fly bites, but I didn’t know it could happen to dogs, too! Now, I know better!

Milane got an allergy shot to quickly take care of the rash and I was given some cream to use on her for 10 days to ward off infection and clear everything up. To make matters more interesting, I was to apply the cream to, uhm, well . . . her ‘lady parts’ and got explicit instructions to rub in the cream for at least 40 seconds.

‘Oh, that’s just wonderful!’ I thought. I wondered if Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC’s To Catch a Predator would pop out from around a corner in my house and ask me what the heck I was paying so much attention to that poor dog’s ‘lady parts.’ Hopefully, he’d believe me when I’d say, ‘Doctor’s orders!’ The fourth trip in as many weeks to the vet took place last Thursday when Casey again fell ill. After a couple of days of waiting for it to take care of itself, a visit to the vet was inevitable. He was dehydrated when I brought him in and hadn’t eaten in a couple of days. Furthermore, he was getting sick to his stomach and the dry heaves were clearly distressful and painful.

The poor guy! He’s such a lovable cat! He’s so easy-going that I can literally wear him around my neck like a scarf and walk around the house with him draped over my shoulders and purring.

The vet decided to keep Casey overnight to rehydrate him and run further tests. The ‘cancer’ word was used – and that got me terribly concerned, knowing that cats often seem perfectly healthy until they show their illnesses suddenly. It’s a leftover survival method from the wild, I think.

I spent the next 24 hours worrying and hoping that he’d be OK – and knowing that the vet bill would not be cheap. But hey, ya do what ya gotta do. Luckily, he was clear except for that bowel condition that will reoccur from time to time. Now, it just needs to be properly managed and treated to minimize flare-ups and pricey vet visits.

It’s been a rough month for vet bills, so if you see me selling everything I own in the classifieds or asking you, ‘Would you like fries with that, ma’am?’ or ‘Would you like cream in your coffee today?’ at a fast-food place’s drive-thru, you’ll know why. Fingers crossed for a healthy animal household for the rest of the year!

Ganong Bros. chairman David Ganong to speak in Moncton on May 29

David Ganong
David Ganong

NEWS RELEASE

May 23, 2012
For immediate release

Ganong Bros. chairman David Ganong to speak in Moncton on May 29

MONCTON, N.B. – Ganong Bros. Limited chairman David Ganong will speak in Moncton on May 29 on the evolution of succession planning within his business as well as the roles businesses and governments must play to ensure a successful business environment for future generations.

The speech is the inaugural event in the Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Club’s Distinguished Speakers Breakfast Series. It takes place on Tuesday, May 29, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Delta Beauséjour Hotel in Moncton. Doors open at 7 a.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are $40 each. Tables of 10 are available for $400. The Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Club will return all profits from the event to local charities, including Food Depot Alimentaire. Tickets are available by calling Jackie or Charline at 854-7600.

“We are very pleased to welcome such an extraordinary business leader at our first Distinguished Speakers Breakfast Series event,” said Russ Mallard, president of the Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Club. “We hope the Greater Moncton community will turn out in large numbers to hear what Mr. Ganong has to say and learn from his tremendous experience.”

David Ganong has made outstanding contributions to economic development in New Brunswick. A fourth-generation chocolatier, he has proven to be a creative and visionary business leader, emphasizing product innovation, employee satisfaction and solid community relations to ensure Ganong Bros. Limited’s continuing success. He is also known as a national advocate for corporate governance, serving as a model of integrity and accountability in Canadian business.

To help promote rural economic growth, his company employs hundreds of people from the St. Stephen area and works with the Town of St. Stephen to support tourism initiatives such as the annual Chocolate Festival.

Mr. Ganong is a member of the Order of Canada, a Canadian Professional Sales Association Hall of Fame inductee and a member of the University of New Brunswick’s board of governors. Ganong Bros. Limited in Canada’s oldest candy company and was founded in 1873.

-30-

Media contacts:

Russ Mallard
President
Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Club
854-7600 / rmallard@sandler.com

Samuel Saintonge
Fundraising Committee Chair
Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Club
854-7600 / samuels@sandler.com

Social Media Matters: Did Facebook rants cause election losses?

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, May 18, 2012
Metro section

Did Facebook rants cause election losses?

Municipal elections were held in New Brunswick earlier this week. I followed many of the online comments written by various non-incumbent candidates on Facebook, especially the comments of those running in Moncton.

Regardless of an issue, public discourse should remain courteous. Yes, things can get heated at times, however on a few issues, it seemed that conversations got heated, with finger-pointing and insults. Everyone’s welcome to their opinion, but I have to point out – at least from my observations – that none of the candidates who went negative on Facebook got elected. Every one of them went down to defeat.

And you know what? I’m sure most of them were shocked that they lost. But let’s get a reality check here: While it’s true that you have the right to say whatever you want online (as long as it’s not legally defamatory, etc.), people also have the right to react. And if your Facebook privacy settings are not set properly or you’re saying negative and insulting things in a public online forum, that message can go out to thousands upon thousands of people at lightning speed. People can copy and paste, forward, print, etc.

Quite frankly, I read comments that are fine if shared in private between two people, but to post such negative language in an accusatory tone in a public forum? Some candidates came across as perpetually angry, bitter and unpleasant. Voters who read these comments aimed at people the candidates disagreed with could only come to one conclusion: If he’s talking that way to ‘Bob’ or ‘Mary’, he’ll likely talk that way to me, too.

Most people would rather avoid that scenario, so they voted for others. And that’s exactly what happened. On election night, I watched closely how certain comment-prolific non-incumbent candidates were doing – and each and every one of them lost.

Just because you think you’re preaching to the converted doesn’t mean others can’t see your comments, too. They may even agree with your cause, but they may disagree with the tone. In the end, they want someone who’ll listen, not yell and insult. If you’re a candidate who’s doing that to others online, then people will assume you’ll do it to them, too, either online or in person.

While a bit of careful well-placed passion has its place online, people are also looking for vision – and they’re watching how you react to your opponents.

If you treat them with constant anger, people can only come to one conclusion: You’re always angry and most likely quite unpleasant. It may not be true, mind you, but your online persona is the only way they know you.

Just some food for thought for when the next elections roll around, but a little politeness in debates goes a long way.

Viral YouTube video raises safety concerns

If you’ve been anywhere near the Internet lately – especially Facebook – you’ve probably noticed a viral YouTube video called ‘How To Wake Up A Kid,’ where a three-year-old boy asleep in the car is seen waking up to music by Nirvana. Instead of being annoyed, he wakes up happily while playing air drums.

Some have pointed out, however, that his seatbelt is in the wrong position and could pose a serious hazard in case of an accident. The seatbelt is shown in the video to be placed across his neck instead of his chest and shoulder. This is certainly something I would never have noticed, but it’s definitely a good thing that the improperly adjusted seatbelt issue was brought up – even if the video was meant to be ‘cute.’

This week’s featured You-Tube channels

Each week, I suggest three YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current to May 15. Have a favourite channel? Let me know about it and I may feature it here!

1) Jenna Marbles (3,015,319 subscribers) : I’m not sure how I never heard of his very popular blogger. With more than three million subscribers and 520 million channel views, Jenna Marbles (real name: Jeanna Mourey) is certainly one of the most popular YouTube personalities around. She posts a rant every Wednesday on a particular subject, often about men or insights on women. Each video routinely gets around five million views within a week or two. Warning: Her rants are laced with profanity and definitely not kid-friendly or work-friendly. (Most popular video: How to trick people into thinking you’re good looking – 40,483,499 views.)

2) The Chopra Well (2,723 subscribers) : This is the official YouTube channel for public speaker and writer Deepak Chopra who focuses on mind-body connections. Having just started about four months ago, this is a relatively new channel so is just starting out with only 10 videos and under 3,000 subscribers. (Most popular video: Decoding Deepak – 420,026 views.)

3) Clutter Diet (2,550 subscribers) : This YouTube channel is a companion to the book The Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life by Lorie Marrero and its website. Here, you’ll find nearly 90 videos hosted by Marrero on the issue of clutter and getting organized, including tips on how to take control of your ‘stuff.’ (Most popular video: Free Wallet Reminder Sleeves – Prevent Clutter & Save Money! – 30,772 views.)