the thirties grind

get up, go to work, raise kids, pay bills, sleep. repeat.

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

Santa’s Secret Wish

Today, I came across a little Christmas book that was given to my children by my mom.  The first story in it is so meaningful.  My four year old son was mesmerized with it and actually comprehended the meaning.  I thought I would share it with you here: Read more…

The REAL Real Housewives of Vancouver: Lisa Corriveau

When not blogging on The Sprog, Lisa can often be found in a park somewhere in East Van with her little boy, freelance writing, sewing clothing, tweeting (@blauelibelle), reading just about anything, performing on stilts, eating chocolate or drinking craft beer. (Sometimes several of the above simultaneously.) Living in a way that’s good for her health & the planet is important to her, so she usually gets where she needs to go by bike or on foot, sometimes transit & occasionally with Modo vehicles.



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Fifty Shades of Grey Marketing Fail

Spot the fail in this Barnes and Noble ad:

Absurd Vancouver Property (November 23, 2012)

It’s Black Friday…and seemingly we’ve now adopted this tradition in Canada.  I’m not sure when that happened, but we sure do like to copy what our pals down south are doing, so I guess it was just a matter of time.  There are a few bargains happening in various markets – some decent celebrity abodes up for sale.  Are you wondering if the same is applying up here in Vancouver?  Seemingly our market is stagnating…great news if you’re a buyer who’s been patiently waiting and, hopefully, saving your pennies.

Check out this Silver Lake (L.A.) property recently put on the market by Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation).

Sold for just over a million dollars, the 2,171 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 1.75 bathroom home is stunning inside and out. Read more…

The Thirties Grind Holiday Gift Guide

I’ve taken the liberty of putting together a little gift guide for you, containing what I think would be great gifts for the important people on your list.  Feel free to make your own recommendations!



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Are you afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? You should be…he’s using technology to sexually exploit our children

Red Riding Hood – depiction by Gustav Dore


The Children’s Commissioner for England just released its interim report on their “Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation In Gangs and Groups.”  In this report, they explicitly identify technology as a way in which gangs and child predators solicit and recruit young people into their fold.  Not really surprising – but nevertheless important to know and consider.  The report states: Read more…

The REAL Real Housewives of Vancouver: Bianca Bujan

Bianca Bujan is a foodie, blogger, shopaholic, and arts enthusiast. She works as the Manager of Business Development for by day, and spends her evenings and weekends catching up on quality time with her loving husband, two beautiful children, and Dalmatian. In need of a creative outlet, she started her blog Bits of Bee in July 2011. Through her posts, she shares advice, quotes and anecdotes on her life as a career mommy of two, with interwoven stories about her life as an adoptee. She chose the name because each post represents only a tidbit of the person that she is as a whole. Her ideal weekend is spent enjoying the outdoors with her family, with lots of snacks and a fully-charged camera. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram under @bitsofbee.

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Enough is enough: Amanda Todd’s mother and other concerned B.C. citizens call on Facebook to block child predators

Amanda Todd was a victim of a child predator and online abuse. She took her own life in October 2012.

Yesterday, Premier Christy Clark held the ERASEBullying anti-bullying summit in downtown Vancouver.  A new website and reporting tool was launched, that will help both students and educators to work towards the elimination of bullying.

It is a great start, but it is not enough.

We have entered an era where Social Media has gotten too far ahead of us.  These companies have grown to have billions of users…millions of whom are children.  There is, surprisingly, hardly any safe-guards in place to protect minors online.  The onus has been placed on parents and, frankly, parents cannot do this alone.

It takes a village — and we are living in the global village.

I am part of a movement of concerned citizens who are demanding that companies like Facebook take action to block child predators from their sites.  These companies use technology to mine the data on their platforms to a molecular level…in order to sell advertising — this is how they make money.  The same technologies can be used to mine their sites for explicit, inappropriate and abusive content — but there is no money in that.

Please take the time to read our letter to Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, below.  I would love to hear your ideas and comments also.  This will not get better until there is some form of consumer protection in place.  We need to hold these companies to the same standards that we demand from other private enterprises.


November 14, 2012

Sheryl Sandberg
COO, Facebook, Inc.

Dear Ms. Sandberg,

We are a community of concerned citizens in British Columbia, including Amanda Todd’s mother. As you may know, Amanda was contacted and blackmailed through Facebook by an adult predator who impersonated local teens to enter her circles of friends.

We write imploring you to lead change in the social media industry by correcting the security failures that made such victimization possible.

As shocking as Amanda’s story was, there is still much cause for worry. A YouTube channel, The Daily Capper, openly celebrates and promotes the sexual exploitation of many young girls, fueling traffic to a dark web of under-age sex sites.  Meanwhile, reports out of Indonesia document that predators use Facebook as a key tool enabling them to abduct under-age girls into human trafficking.  Instagram, a photo-sharing program owned by Facebook, now features tens of thousands of images of children uploaded by their babysitters, available for viewing by some 8 million daily users. No security prevents the inadvertent publication of profile information such as home addresses and phone numbers, and Instagram has a map function that enables predators to find the location of many photos.  Omegle is a site that invites kids as young as 13 to “Talk to Strangers” via video or text, and integrates directly with Facebook Connect. A simple YouTube search yields online instruction for contacting very young girls, and Omegle itself has a feature through which lurkers can prompt users to inter-act with each other, and to watch them anonymously.

These examples point to serious systemic design defects that place children and teens in harm’s way.  Known security gaps in a proliferating host of mobile applications have converted mainstream social media sites into highly effective devices for predators and abusive bullies. And in what can only be described as the cruelest irony, YouTube now sells advertising on Amanda’s desperate video cry for help, while in a well-documented trend, her Facebook memorial page was desecrated.

Facebook has become a brand feared by parents, when it should be one they can trust.

We appeal to you as COO of Facebook, a mother, a visionary digital media leader, and member of the board of The Walt Disney Company, to lead industry-wide adoption of systemic security to block predators and abusers from accessing kids on major social media platforms, starting with Facebook itself.

This is a consumer protection issue. Facebook has over a billion users around the world, of which an estimated 20%, or 200 million, are aged 17 and under. Those users should be secure from contact with unscrupulous predators and abusers.

We are delighted to hear of your current initiative to reduce bullying and make young Facebook users safer through stronger reporting and educational resources, and we applaud your efforts. Yet while education of parents and kids is laudable, the onus for safety must not rest solely with consumers. Parents are not equipped to navigate complex technology and what their kids (or their kids’ friends) do online is often outside their control.

Indeed, the principles of consumer protection are well established, particularly for products intended for use by children. The burden of ensuring systemic product safety rests with the industry that designs, engineers, markets and distributes it.

Real safety in social media requires systemic change across the industry.

We know that everyone in the legitimate social media industry wants kids to be safe. As a society we have a duty to use all our powers to ensure young people are free from exploitation and abuse.  Over the coming weeks and months our BC community will build a coordinated effort to press for industry reform and consumer protection. As one final note, we implore you to ensure that memorial pages are monitored and abusive posts immediately removed.

We would love to meet with you to discuss how Facebook can lead that change.

For Amanda,

Sandy Garossino, civic advocate, business owner, View from BC panelist, CKNW
Raffi Cavoukian C.M., O.B.C., Centre For Child Honouring
Carol Todd, mother of Amanda Todd
Kim Cunliffe, bereaved mother of teen Darin Cunliffe, whose Facebook memorial was desecrated
Kip Woodward, Chair, Vancouver Coastal Health
Dr. Marlene Moretti, Senior Research Chair, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Saleema Noon, B.A. M.A., Sexual Health Educator
Out In Schools, Drew Dennis, Executive Director, Ross Johnstone, Director of Education
Maureen Palmer, Director CBC documentary Sext Up Kids
Melissa Carr Vancouver’s “Top Mom Blogger”
Bill Good, host, The Bill Good Show, CKNW, Corus Radio Network
Bridgitte Anderson, VP, Corporate & Public Affairs, Edelman Vancouver View from BC panelist CKNW
Alise Mills, Strategic Communications & Media Relations,View from BC panelist, CKNW
Jen Shaeffers, Executive Director, CKNW Orphans Fund
Jessica Gares producer, The Bill Good Show, CKNW
Michael Tippett CEO, Ayoudo, Co-founder, NowPublic
Michelle Rupp, Community-builder and Principal, Lighthouse Leadership
Peter Ladner, Author, columnist, former city councillor
Bif Naked, International Recording Artist, author, advocate
Grimes, Claire Boucher, International Recording Artist
Shane Koyczan Canadian poet, anti-bullying author and advocate
Linda Solomon, CEO, Observer Media Group, Publisher, The Vancouver Observer
Mark Busse, Partner/Managing Director, Industrial Brand, Vancouver organizer; Creative Mornings
Meeru Dhalwala, Partner, Vij’s & Rangoli, author, healthy living advocate






















The REAL Real Housewives of Vancouver: Lori McGrath

Lori McGrath is a mama, blogger and communications consultant. She loves reading, yoga, scrapbooking, and seafood and is learning to be more domestic everyday.  Catch up with Lori on her blog The Write Mama where she dishes on life, love and motherhood or on Twitter @thewritemama.

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Lazy Sunday Morning Muffins…

After working full time all week, the weekends are for my home and my family.  Saturdays are usually spent running around doing errands, going to soccer games and catching up on housework…Sundays, however, are all about relaxing.  I love lazing about in the morning with a cup of coffee after making something a little extravagant for breakfast like Eggs Benedict or brioche french toast.  Then I typically bake a batch of muffins, that I can throw into lunches during the week.   Read more…

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