Subject: RE: Happy Birthday
From: "Bill Howell. Hussar. Alberta. Canada" <>
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2018 09:58:16 -0600
To: "Ingrid de Alwis. Retired IT Reconfiguration Mgr. Service Canada. Ottawa"

Good to hear from you.  No, firefighting isn't keeping me in shape, as I stopped almost all physical activity 1.5 years ago, other than walking a bit to an from coffee.   Most volunteer firefighter deaths are caused by heart attacks, so I'll have to get away from project work on the computer at some time and get back to exercises I was doing (great facility in Drumheller).

So, murder mystery based on actual events.   Funny, right after replying to you, I have to finish email comments to daughter Sarah, who sent my a ?[proposal,prospectus]? for a sci-fi film series she is putting together in partnership with a film compositor.  Sarah (Sarah Howell. Director-Actor-Freelance E-Journalist. Dream Bravely. Panama Columbia Peru Singapore  NZ <>) took BA [political science, religious studies] at McGill, then a correspondence script-writing, and (I think) [online, some presence]  MA filmaking course from a well-know (not to me) college in the US.   She was living with a Norwegian engineer working on international projects for Norsk Hydro, so Peru or Chile (I can't remember all the places - maybe 2 to 4), and ended up with him in Singapore for say ?3? years.  She loved Singapore, which has a nascent film industry (including high-end animation, which she doesn't do), and she put together a string of short artistic films and plays as [scriptwriter,director] (one or two award-winning in a Malaysian film festival (Asleep with him)), together with commercial advertising to bring in some bucks.   Sarah didn't want to marry, they split up, and Norsk Hydro shut the Singapore office (apparently very difficult to compete with the Chinese on massive hydro-electric dam projects).  She couldn't stay in Singapore as a stand-alone (you have to have a business that hires enough Singaporeans), so she left Singapore to work with her sister's business in Auckland, where's she's been based for ?3-5? years.

So you get the picture - both daughters moved to the other side of the planet away from their Dad.

I had visited Catherine (Catherine Howell. Founder. EightLoop Social & Yeity website. Auckland. New Zealand <>) in Australia for an awesome tour when she was there on a one year travel-work visa for young people. 

This part of the story you probably already heard :  While there, she spent a short time in Darwin (too rough and boring for her), then bought a car and with two or three friends started an odyssey to Perth.  One night, she phoned me to say "Guess what, Dad?  I stopped at Wolf Creek."  This meant nothing to me, so she had to explain that Wolf creek was a meteor impact sight on a sparsely traveled back highway on the dry side of Queensland.  So what?  "Dad, Wolf Creek - didn't you see the film?"   No, never heard of it, but I was then obliged to rent the video (Blockbuster still existed in Ottawa).  I got through about 1/3 to 1/2 the film, but both daughters know I'm the wrong guy to watch a horror film with.  I end up cheering for the monsters (if you're dumb enough to go in there, I want the monster to win).  Anyways, she parked the car at Wolf Creek overnight, but left the car light on (that way predators can see you better, and it blinds you so you can't see them - good idea).  That killed the battery, so she had to get help from the odd odd rare passerby.  Anyways, I joined her in Perth (her car was demolished when they hit a kangaroo on the long highway in the South of Australia, perhaps in the Great Australian Bight area?), and we spent a week or so in Perth, Sydney, Brisbane.  Catherine couldn't extend her Australian visa, so when she got back to Canada, she applied for a 2-year NZ travel-work visa for young people.  While in Darwin, Catherine had met a kiwi merchant marine first mate, whom she ended up marrying - at Jasper Park lodge in the Rockies of Alberta.  My father had treated us all to a Xmas there one year, which obviously left an impression, so she married in the dead of winter. 

The first mate, James Pemberton, became a sea captain for oil service vessels, but when they started having two kids (first Carter, then Charlie-Rose),  he quit (except for a minimum one or two month per year stint to maintain his tickets or whatever).   By then Catherine had completed her high school, ?BComm? marketing, and was doing a Marketing or business MA when she dropped out to found Eight Loop social, a social media marketing company ( .   That exploded (right time, talent,luck,drive & ambition,HARD work,ups&downs), and she and Sarah spend considerable time business traveling to NA and Europe (Sarah's in Seattle right now - I won't see her this time, but I'll see them maybe once a year during their business travels).  A year ago, James & Catherine split up, maybe 6 months after things blew up between Catherine and I during a Xmas visit. 

Perhaps two or three years ago, Catherine had told me that the rapidly-changing social media marketing area was transforming into a video-based industry - like TV advertising.  I can't foresee these things, not matter how obvious.  Her business was at risk, and she needed to build a video capability fast - and you can fit the pieces together at this point.    Anyways, I also have to finish an email to Catherine on her theme "paradigm shifts".

Pickel ball, eh.  They're doing that at the Drumheller rec facility, but I prefer to shoot hoops (alone - don't want yet another [time,place] obligation!!).

For Sajiv - tell him that plate tectonics theory is broken!  I love that sacrilegious statement - it drives my [geologist,geophysicist] friends right up the wall.   The interesting part is that some are climate skeptics - it's strange to see open eyes in general, but definitely closed and hugely emotional when their own scientific religions are targeted.  But I know it's true - I spoke with Batman a few months ago at the Calgary Comic Book Expo, a great surprise to see him there, as I had been following his theories on the  history of the Earth with huge interest (actually Neal Adams, a famous [Batman, Green Lantern, ...]  comic book artist, way smarter than the scientists, without the math).  By the way, that was the first Comecon I've attended, and I was shocked - it's an AMAZING family event!!  However, I prefer ACTIVE events to spectator stuff.

Anyways, thanks for the reply, and I thought you appreciate some blah-blah on Sarah and Catherine, as you had an influence and role with them.


-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Re: Happy Birthday
Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2018 11:11:52 -0400
From: Ingrid De Alwis <>
To: Bill Howell. Hussar. Alberta. Canada <>

Thanks for the birthday wishes!
Glad to here that you're getting organized after all this time.

Looks like you're continuing to do what you like best with research projects etc and taking membership in community clubs and firefighting! It must keep you physically fit.

I retired in Dec 2016 and been busy doing what I like at my own time. I spend Jan to Mar in Sri Lanka. Snowbird of sorts! Trying to make the best of both worlds. Feel really blessed to have a huge network of friends and family there to do things with.

While enjoying Ottawa summers, I am writing a book, fiction based on a true murder that took place in the 1940s, in front of my ancestral home. The murderer also happens to be in my family tree, with the De Alwis last name. Lol! So my investigations and research gets interesting.

I am also the President of our tennis club. I'm up to my eyeballs in administrative work with 10 new executive members who need a lot of hand holding. This year we're transitioning to a multi-sport facility by introducing pickleball into the mix. It's in high demand among the active senior communities. Even the city has included it in there indoor programs. We have 190 PB members registered and only 60 tennis members. One of these days all this will settle and I will have less work.

I also volunteer at the local food bank and joined a local choir that sings at old age homes. So, no time to worry about getting old!!!

Hope Catherine and Sarah are are doing well? I think you have grandchildren already?

Sajiv works at Measurement Canada in their gas labs, as a Metrologist. They're conveniently located at Tunneys Pasture and he has an apartment close to work.

Take care...

On Sat, Aug 11, 2018, 4:11 PM Bill Howell. Hussar. Alberta. Canada <> wrote:
Sheesh, I finally put lists of birthdays on my "ToDos" spreadsheet late in the winter.  Facebook covers Hash House Harrier Friends, but family and others were being forgotten.

Anyways, I don't know if you took pre-retirement or are still enjoying the challenges at work, but all the best... and happy birthday.

As for myself, I'm running insanely late (years) on my priority research projects in retirement.  Funny, this year is physics, not Neural nets, even though the "AI" theme catching eyes right now is NN-dominated (it's not AI - it's CI).


Bill Howell
Volunteer firefighter, Member of Hussar Lion's Club & Sundowners
P.O. Box 299, Hussar, Alberta, T0J1S0