Monday, February 10, 2020

I have been living in Quebec since 1983. When I first moved here, they were in the process of forcing everyone in the Province to be Francophones. I was no exception.

For some reason, until that point in time, whoever had been in charge of the school boards in Quebec, in their ultimate stupidity, had decided that the Francophones and the Anglophones would go to different schools. Anyone who didn't have an Anglophone birthright, ie, a Grandparent who had studied in an English school in Quebec, was relegated to attending the French language school board.

At the time, it was likely a really good idea. It would ensure that all immigrants would learn to speak French.

But they made a mess of things.

The Francophone kids were given one hour of English class per week. And the Anglophone kids were given half days in French. So, inevitably what has come to pass is that Quebec boasts a fully bilingual Anglophone population and a sadly unilingual Francophone population. The Allophones seem to have gotten a hit and miss attitude thrown their way, in that if they are Anglophone at home, they are bilingual, but if they are Francophone at home, they have a similar non-existent English skill.

Needless to say, I went to a lot of effort to translate my website sales pages into French. Ensuring that should Quebecers EVER decide they might be able to eat something hotter than a jalapeno, they'd be able to shop on my site.

A few years back someone reported us to the Office de la Langue Francaise du Quebec: aka, the Language Police. The fellow who came to visit our offices was a very nice man, his English was immaculate and his original mother tongue was Spanish, since he came from Columbia. I was vrey surprised to learn that French was not only not his first or second langue, it wasn't even his third, as his mother was Chinese, he had been taught Mandarin. It was only as an adult, upon moving to Quebec that our Language Cop learned to speak French.

I love that story.

Needless to say, we were told to put a button on the Front page so that our customers could find their way directly to the French pages and we were done. 3000 pages in both official languages and we didn't even get a nod on the LOCAL news media. Everyone in the world who gets audited by the OLFQ gets national coverage but us.

I have had people behave like we are pariahs because we are Anglo, even though both of us speak French fluently, I moreso than Greg.

Needless to say it was really insulting when we received this email...

Bonjour, je cherchais des sauces et j’ai été très déçu de constater que vous accordez si peu d’importance à la qualité du français sur votre site internet. Je trouve que c’est dommage, c’est un critère important pour moi en tant que consommateur.

At first, I was really insulted and then I remembered who I am and why we do what we do.

When Greg and I started this little project called Peppermaster, we had to import all of our chilli peppers. ALL OF THEM.

Today, we boast 90% locally grown peppers during the fall harvest season. That's a lot of work on our part. We didn't do it alone, certainly, but we are definitely one of the main reasons that farmers in Quebec began growing peppers and now you can get ghost chillies in the grocery store! Amazing!

Well spirit and light beings that we are, we decided to put a spin on the incident and make ourselves feel better.

So we did. I put a Google Translate button on the website. Now you can enjoy our QUALITY GOOGLE TRANSLATION.

Dear Mr. Client,

I typically would respond to your email in French, but I wanted to be sure that you understood me quite clearly, and since my French is so weak, that you felt the need to write about it, I thought I would write you back in English, and let Google translate do the work for me.

I was born in St. John's Newfoundland. I moved to Quebec to go to school and have gone to great lengths to no only learn to speak French, to write it as well. I have met many a Quebecer whose "Quality" of French is well below mine. In fact, my first husband born and bred in Quebec and nobody in his entire family speaks French. I personally find that offensive. So I actually went to McGill and studied French so that I could speak it, and speak it properly, obviously, that has not been the result.

My husband grew up in the Caribbean, where English was the only language. So, although, he can speak a modicum of French, he is far from fluent.

Writing the language is a whole other ball game, though, and certainly using colloquialisms, whether in English or in French, may put some people off, but that's why your note was so inspiring.

We are a very small company and hiring a translator is simply unavailable to us, at this time.

I am an Anglophone and so is my husband, and it would be horrible if nothing other than my low quality French prevented someone from purchasing the World's best hot sauce. Then, it is clear we've made a huge marketing mistake.
So, we took your email to heart. I have now offered a landing page where a French speaking customer will be given the option of Google Translating our website or visiting it in the words of the owners of the site.

I hope this solution is works, and look forward to sending you a bottle of hot sauce of your choice in order to thank you for the heads' up. I personally recommend the Hurricane Mash. It is our best seller and Greg has been eating it every day since he was 8 years old.

We invite you to visit the website, again, and choose a product to try. When you find one, use coupon code: coupon code removed

And here is the Google translation:

Cher monsieur

Je répondrais généralement à votre e-mail en français, mais je voulais être sûr que vous m'avez bien compris, et comme mon français est assez faible que vous nous écriviez, je pensais que je vous répondrais en anglais et laisserais Google Traduction faire le travail pour moi.

Je suis née à St. John's à Terre-Neuve. J'ai déménagé au Québec pour aller à l'école et j'ai fait de grands efforts pour non seulement apprendre à parler français, mais aussi à l'écrire. J'ai rencontré beaucoup de Québécois dont la «qualité» du français est bien en dessous de la mienne. En fait, mon premier mari né et élevé au Québec et personne dans toute sa famille ne parle français. Personnellement, je trouve cela offensant. Je suis donc allé à McGill et j'ai étudié le français pour pouvoir le parler, et le parler correctement, évidemment, ce n'est pas le résultat.

Mon mari a grandi dans les Caraïbes, où l'anglais était la seule langue. Ainsi, bien qu'il puisse parler un minimum de français, il est loin de parler couramment.

L'écriture de la langue est un tout autre jeu de balle, cependant, et certainement utiliser des expressions familières, que ce soit en anglais ou en français, peut décourager certaines personnes, mais c'est pourquoi votre note était si inspirante.

Nous sommes une très petite entreprise et l'embauche d'un traducteur ne nous est tout simplement pas disponible pour le moment.

Je suis anglophone, tout comme mon mari, et ce serait horrible si rien d'autre que mon français de mauvaise qualité n'empêchait quelqu'un d'acheter la meilleure sauce piquante du monde. Ensuite, il est clair que nous avons commis une énorme erreur de marketing.

Nous avons donc pris votre e-mail à cœur. J'ai maintenant offert une page de destination où un client francophone aura la possibilité de traduire Google notre site Web ou de le visiter dans les mots des propriétaires du site.

J'espère que cette solution fonctionne, et j'ai hâte de vous envoyer une bouteille de sauce piquante de votre choix afin de vous remercier pour votre attention. Je recommande personnellement le Hurricane Mash. C'est notre best-seller et Greg le mange tous les jours depuis qu'il a 8 ans.

Nous vous invitons à visiter de nouveau le site Web et à choisir un produit à essayer. Lorsque vous en trouvez un, utilisez le code coupon: Code coupon éffacé

Tina Brooks

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Life as an Autistic Person Confounds Me and it is Awesome!

Life with autism confounds me, or I should say it used to until I learned I was autistic and suddenly life made sense.

When I was little people were the most confounding creatures. I found my mother illogical and weird, and she found me cold and distant; occasionally mean. I didn't know I was autistic then. I was just me.

When I was little, everything seemed to be as big as the universe. Nothing was ever a little deal. I've since learned that I have hypersensitivity. Things don't just seem a bigger deal to me. They are a bigger deal. But when I was little, everyone just thought I was melodramatic. So it confounded me.

My mom is a pretty good cook. It's a wonder that she has no idea how nice she was to me considering I had no idea why I didn't like food then, either. Sometimes the way food felt in my mouth bothered me. I like peas, but they explode in my mouth, so I don't like peas. I like potatoes, but everytime I'd ever eaten them, they'd come right back up. So food confounded me.

When I was little, little pictures were seen and not heard, so I didn't have privilege of the exposure to adult interactions that little kids get today. The only reason I got to hang around with the adults was because I was enormously shy. I wasn't so shy, I was petrified of children, they were mean, they were loud, and they were violent. So even though there were gads of kids to play with, I far rather'd hang with my Dad. He understood me while the kids confounded me.

When I was little I hated the feeling of clothes touching me. I couldn't stand the tags rubbing against my neck. I got rashes where the clothes touched me and I was constantly covered in rashes. When I was little, I was told, it's soft, it's nice, when I found it picky and itchy. So, clothes confounded me.

Ultimately, I think in being an undiagnosed Aspie, I got lucky. My life unfolded in such a way as I had to learn how to deal with it, because I didn't have any reason to not. I didn't have the luxury of explaining all my little idiosynchracies away as Aspergers Syndrome.

So, I'm going to be 50 on my birthday in December.

Life continues to this day to confound me.

So, here's the bad news.

None of these issues have gone away. I'm just as confounded on a daily basis as I was when I was a child.

The difference now is that I have a diagnosis that explains why I have always felt like I am different...

I am different.

And contrary to what some autism groups suggest, that is not a bad thing. It's just a thing.

In fact, once I'd figured out how to deal with and alleviate these difficulties in my life, I grew up to be a pretty cool person because I'm different.

My parents looked for the special in me and focused on what I was capable of doing, trying never to compare me to other children. So, they didn't really look at my odd milestones and see them as setbacks or savantism, they just saw these wonders of their baby girl growing.

They taught me that I am not my challenges, they are simply issues I have to deal with. I'll never outgrow these challenges, but as I get older, I continually learn new coping skills and mechanisms that make my autism less stressful and confounding.

I'm lucky, most days, I'm pretty calm and function pretty well. But sometimes I can't function well at all. So my life is arranged in such a way as to have the supports I require when I require them. When I can't function... the ball gets picked up and sorted on my behalf until I'm back functioning again. Usually, I'm out for a day maybe two at worst.

And then I pull it back together and life is totally awesome. Until the next challenge hits, like the shingles outbreak that I'm about to endure for the third time in the last five years. Or the illness I will have to deal with tomorrow morning because I had conventionally grown vegetables for dinner. Or because my shirt has gotten so annoying that I've gotten trapped in it trying to get it off. I like to joke that if I bump into three walls before I get out of my bedroom in the morning, I go back to bed.

Being autistic isn't easy somedays, but any day, it's me, and embracing it is a lot better for my sanity than fighting it. So, on bad days, life will most assuredly continue to confound me. On good days, life is awesome.

This blog was written for Autistics Speaking Day 2015.

To raise Autism awareness and Acceptance, and battle negative stereotypes about Autism. To advocate for the inclusion of Autistic people in the community. To offer a forum to broadcast our stories and thoughts, and to help the messages of Autistic people and non-Austistic allies reach as many people as possible.

I invite you to click here to read some of the other blogs that were written in honour of this day.

We share these words so you can know how absolutely awesome people with Autism are, regardless of our challenges.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Boycott Autism Speaks Flashblog

I'm autistic. I'll be 50 on my birthday.

Did you know that there are adult autistics?

We don't outgrow it.

It's a lifelong neurological condition we cannot simply remove.

Autism Speaks' mission is to change my future.

They are dedicated to funding global research into the causes, prevention, treatments and CURE for autism;


They don't know that the best parts of me are BECAUSE I'm autistic.

They don't care to listen. They claim that it's "time to listen",


They do not wish to listen to Autistic voices.

The problem with finding the missing pieces of the puzzle is that you're not actually using the EXISTING PIECES to solve it.

Talk to us.

Ask an autistic person what it is like to BE autistic.

Ask the autistic person what THEY need.

Stop giving donations to Autism Speaks and put your money where people will actually LISTEN!

Boycott Autism Speaks

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Readers' Studio 2015 Swag

I was a day late to the Studio and two late for the Psych conference but I lapped up what I managed to attend! OMG... life changing.

This is me at RS 2015 with Donnaleigh de laRose.

Carrie Paris; you are my new Goddess a million blessings on your house for the love and healing you shall encourage on my pathway.

Theresa Reid, your encouragement, your faith and assurance that I would get to the conference! It was worth the Cobalt Blue... what a gift!

Dan Pelletier, as always for your friendship and your encouragement along my pathway.

Every heart I touched, every heart that touched mine. I thank you and bless you everyone! See you all next year.

Tarot Swag from RS 2015

See you next year! 

Monday, March 16, 2015

The King's Journey Tarot -- Bordered Edition - A review

I got an email from my firned Christine Aguiar who is working with James Battersby on the highly anticipated Cultural Revolution Tarot, asking me if I was up for doing a review of James' latest deck. The King's Journey Tarot - Bordered Edition that she was working on.

Knowing how amazing the original deck was, of course I said, yes, so here is the review.

Now some of you may be thinking, "HEY! I have that deck in my collection!"... and you'd be mostly right. The original King's Journey Tarot was published in 2010 by my friends, Chanel Bayless and James Battersby. As you can see, the cards had no borders or numbers and the reader was left to decipher the card by the image. A stunning deck, but many young readers find it difficult to connect with.

James says that he'd always wanted the borders and numbers, especially since he is an artist first and comes to the tarot by way of his art.

This new release is THAT desire come to fruition.

Chanel declined participating in this deck revival as she walks a different pathway, so James called on Tarotist, Christine Aguiar to help him to stay true to the card meanings.

Well, yesterday I opened the deck. It came wrapped in printed newspaper that I had to take great care not to rip. And in a purple and silver tulle drawstring bag.

My first thought as I fanned the deck? What beautiful colours.

The Borders really stand out and lineate the cards. James has inked beautiful Celtic designs all the way around the cards that frame the images beautifully while creating a frame under which the names of the cards have been painted on scrolls.

He's suitably chosen colours to match the images; green for Coins, blue for cups, yellow for swords and pink for wands and lavender for the Major Arcana.

If you are an owner of the original deck, the first thing you notice is the minimization of the beautiful images that James painted. The artwork is absolutely stunning. I understand why Chanel chose him to work with originally.

This deck is less shocking in its presentation, which, in my mind, is going to make it far easier to be used by tarotists as their working deck.

Per my usual procedure for getting to know a deck, my first action is to have a conversation with the deck to see how well it thinks it can read for me.

Decks never lie, and it doesn't matter how well or how poorly they are painted.

Well, this deck responded to my request for introduction with the Hierophant.

Which is to say, I will be your teacher.

At first, I thought it was a pretty arrogant response for a deck to take with me, but, the voices I hear when I read are so varied, I didn't think much of it... yet.

Having had a little chat with the deck, I will do a series of cold readings for people. Usually, I'll do them on one of my tarot groups where I am exposed to other readers, but this time, decided that I wanted to show off my "talent" to a group of friends who live in my area but aren't familiar with my reading ability.

So, I offered a series where I would do a Tarot Twreading for whoever in that group wants one.

I got about 20 takers.

The most impressive image of the day was when the Seven of Swords presented itself in a reading to represent a group of bikers. The querant tells me that the young woman peeking out from behind the tree is VERY reminiscent of her. She showed me a photo, and so it is.

Needless to say, the cards sang to me, they gave me information and images that I have yet to truly experience with any previous deck. My heavens this deck is lovely to talk with. I like it, like it, like it.

The learning curve for a deck is often tricky for tarot readers as the tarot images are sometimes vivid and clear and other times obscure and difficult.

These images are anything BUT obscure. Testament to its beginnings with Chanel's knowlege and expertise of the tarot and James skill as an artist, these images are quite expressive.

Now, I'm an intuitive reader and I only really know the "book meanings" of the Tarot because most artists paint them. In this case, the paint is true (at least for the cards I've read with so far). And since my readings don't care if I understand Tarot or not, the images in these cards work very, very well with my intuition and as an extension, my spirit guide, Melody.

I invite you to read this deck. I hope you find it as warm, friendly and talkative I have. And if not, it is a beautiful addition to your collection.

Thanks to Christine and James for gifting me this beautiful voice. I truly look forward to offering it as one of my working decks.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

iChing Dead Moon a Tarot review and an iChing lesson.

When I first started reading the Lo Scarabeo iChing Dead Moon cards, I was doing it backwards. I was reading the tarot and expecting the iChing to fall into place. It wasn't working. Then I thought, try it the other way around.

When I was a teenager, I'd learned the iChing using pennies I carried around in a native medicine bag, so, this should be a piece of cake, right?

Each of the iching symbols represents a specific energy. They are done in pairs, because the interactions between the two create an even more intricate depiction of the energy of the card. When you read them as tarot style cards, the images on the card SHOULD add to the "human" understanding of the energy; If the energy depicted feels different from the energy of the glyph, then it's not going to work very well. So far they are playing nice. Then energy flows very well if you can see/feel it in the iChing.

I didn't understand that until I did my first iChing Dead Moon reading; even though I'd used it all those years.

Ambitious, I have to relearn the iching meanings, differently. This could be a brilliant adventure. I blame Dan Pelletier.

There are eight trigrams only. But each trigram is coupled with another to create the iChing's 64 tiles.

Once you have a feeling for the iching, then the detail in the tarot card comes to life.

I'm enjoying this course. I look forward to being able to use this deck as my working deck.

Some iChing links:

If you learn both... it's more in keeping with the original creation. (IMNHO).

Sunday, February 08, 2015


There are some wonderfully loving intelligent people who are buying into the Islam = Muslim Brotherhood = Jihadist, when they are not the same thing.