Back to Politics

It seems the country is in turmoil again. I am pretty certain that every conservative person in Canada is going to be frustrated by us “left wing, whining, bleeding hearts.” And really, I can’t blame them. If the tables were turned, I would probably be bitching about the “right wing, hard-assed, neo-conservatives.”

For those of you not in Canada, and not familiar with our political system, two of our political parties (the main political parties number 5, the actual number being 20, with an additional 23 unregistered parties) have joined in a coalition to overthrow our Conservative Minority Government. In it’s most basic form, what this means is that a small majority of MP’s (members of parliament) who have been elected by Canadians, from different political parties, have banded together and will put forth a motion to our Governor General in which they will ask that she not recognize the leader of the Conservative Party as the political leader of Canada.

One point I have found interesting, and I have read notes, articles and posts by several people of the same opinion, is that there is an underlying fear that the Canadian Multi-Party Parliamentary system, which is heavily reliant upon the ancient British system (ancient in modern democratic terms,) is headed towards a two party, Executive political system. This is a system that has been perfected (as much as humanly possible) by the American Republic, and has been mirrored and tweaked around the world.

I understand fully what people are saying here. I would be very saddened to see Canada move from a parliamentary democracy to an executive form of government. That being said, I would like to play the devils advocate, even if it’s only to indulge myself and work through thought processes that have arisen since day one of the Harper minority.

First of all, a coalition government is a basic part of the Canadian constitution. Our political leaders have a right to act in what they see as the best interest of all Canadians (I am not saying that this view is always correct.) This form of government is ingrained in the parliamentary system for a reason, and I think we do need to give it a shot. It isn’t entirely unprecedented, and the worst that will happen is that a stalemate will ensue. (I’m not belittling the harm that a stalemate would have on our laws and economy, however, in my humble opinion, it would be better than the hellfire, insane, cowboy attitude that King Harper and his band of neo-conservative zealots have taken with the recent Fiscal Report.)

Now, to address the point of the political structure changing in Canada, scary though it may seem, an executive type government is something that is known to work. With this type of republican (not the party) government, there are no “Minority Governments” or coalitions in commons. If the majority of the country is in a conservative mind set, then the ruling party of the day is a conservative one, and the same holds true if the majority of views are more left wing. If the Progressive Conservatives, Alliance and Reform parties were allowed to merge into one conservative juggernaut, I would ask why the Liberals and NDP parties would not be afforded the same luxury?

The government is in a state of flux, and that breeds a dynamic environment which could cause a great amount of problems, or, just maybe, a chance for an antiquated system to redeem itself and actually do what it is meant to do, rule a country.

I may come across as a political idealist with that paragraph, and I really don’t care. My thought is that if there is a bright side to look at, especially in the time of multiple major world crises, then we have to look to it. Just remember not to be blinded by the light and keep an eye on the more dire situations which we all face.

As for Harper, I think everyone who knows me well knows without a doubt that I will not shed a tear when the man is dethroned. His abdication would have been much nicer and more becoming of a “statesman,” but I think that would be a little too much to expect from a conformist bully. In reality, he had his agenda and he forced it down everyone’s throat, he was unwilling to serve another term as a Minority as Canada had voted, and instead, again with the cowboy attitude, chose the route of “my way or the highway.”

I kind of wish I could be there when he is evicted from 24 Sussex Drive. Although if I was, I might pee a little bit, which would probably be a little embarassing.

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Moral Dilemma

So, I work for a major corporation as an easily replaced underling. I have a 10 digit number by which I am known throughout the country to said corporation. Sounds great, eh? Well, on top of the disillusionment that I have with being a worker bee, I have the added bit of guilt for working for the man, putting small businesses out.

Before I get too far itno this post, I have to explain my logic and ethics. These both can come across as skewed at times, however there is a method in all of it. I have what I like to refer to as “situational ethics.” Basically my moral and ethical code is dynamic, not a set of static dogmas that I must live by in every situation. My logic is similar, I have a very open mind, which leads to being able to absorb many points of view into my thinking, which in turn leads to a different set of logical notions to each and every situation in which I find myself. It works for me, it keeps me from getting bored, and ultimately helps me move through life much more easily. I am not ashamed or proud of these facts, they are just who I am.

Now, on to the moral issues at hand.

As I stated, I am a cog in the commercial machine of a major corporation. I’m not naming the corporation because although I dislike the fact that I am there, I do like getting a pay check every other week. I do, however, feel a small amount of shame in the fact that I indirectly have a hand in taking business from the local vendors who sell good similar to the ones at my place of employment. This is a situation.

I have been thinking on this all day, and I know there are many people who are in the same situation as I, and may or may not be conscious of the fact that their job is not necessarily helping the local economy, rather causing a centralization of economies in major centers. My day consisted of figuring out how to tweak my moral code (I’m a cashier, they could get a monkey to do my job if it was legal) so that I do not feel so horrible about working there. I was basically trying to figure out a way to ease my conscience while still putting some money in my pocket. I came to a realization sometime between lunch and the woman who bought her entire Christmas shopping in one go (three carts.)The idea is so simple that I was surprised I hadn’t thought of it already.

Buying local is the way to go. If I can get something, such as milk (Kawartha Dairy or Reids Dairy) from a local supplier, then I will be taking the money that the corporation gives me, the money that Consumers (I use a capital to denote a group of people and differentiate between people who buy with a conscience) spend at the store, and feeding it back into our local businesses. I’m kind of like a modern day Robin Hood… without the tights of course. I’m taking these buggers down $8.75 for every hour I’m there.

So, although the company I work for is a major cause of fiscal centralization in Canada, therefore indirectly causing me to have a hand in the issue, I am personally and directly taking the steps necessary for decentralizing the economy.

I issue this challenge to all people willing to read it. Buy local if at all possible, and buy globally responsibly. Know the products you are buying and be sure there isn’t a local alternative before you go to the Mega-Low Mart. When you cannot find something supplied locally, try to purchase from as close to your locality as possible. It’s environmentally responsible, and it’s financially responsible.

The wonderful world of Crochet

I have to start this by saying that I love to crochet. It’s my me time where I can ignore everyone with good reason and no one expects me to remember a word they say. Wow, I’m really antisocial, or a prick… probably a healthy combination of both.

Anyway, since picking up lace crochet I have had the opportunity to create new combinations of expletives. I love the result, it is amazingly intricate and I can hardly believe that it is something that has come from me. The process to attain the result is tedious in the extreme and very hard on the eyes.

It’s not that I went into this undertaking with expectations of quick work or even ease, but damn! I have been working one lace for several days now. It looks great and I am really proud of it, but I find myself trying to figure out ways to make the lace a little shorter or try to work in longer stitches without having to start over. I am seriously coming up short.

The good part of this work is that although it is tedious and repetitive, it puts me into a trance like state. I just zone out and I don’t even focus on what I am doing. It’s this incredible state of zen, my mind is blank and I am not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow. It’s the same when I knit something easy, or crochet with yarn, but something about zoning out and then putting down the work to find this delicate thing hanging from my hook just blows my mind every time.

Well, I guess I worked through that on my own. Since that epiphany is over, I guess I’ll get back to it.

Obligatory Spats Post

Here’s a tease for you Melanie!

That is the first lace for your spats! I hope you like them. It is actually an easy shell pattern:

  1. ch 4, dc 4 in first ch, turn
  2. sl st in first three dc, ch three and dc twice in same space, turn
  3. sl st in two dc, ch 3 and dc four in same space

And is goes like that till it’s done.

Phone madness

I was extremely happy with my cell phone… then I was extremely angry with it… then I was happy with it again. I had a mini heart attack when I hooked the phone up to the computer and found that none of the pictures I took were available to copy over… actually nothing was.

So, I figured it was a Mac incompatibility, I’m used to those. So I plugged it in to Chris’s beige box and checked there. Again, the phone was devoid of any pictorial masterpieces. Not cool. So I made the stupid move of formatting the memory card (using the phone, not Disk utility… I’m not THAT stupid.) At this time I was listening to my current happy song (Japanese Boy by Anika) on repeat in unending frustration. How could a phone be so pretty and so stupid at the same time. Pretty things are supposed to be user friendly and technologically advanced!

I turned to google. Completely useless. People just saying “I can’t get anything on my phone.” and then responses “I don’t have a problem.” with a distinct lack of any explanation of how the successful party was able to manage the feat. At that point, I gave up.

With a heavy heart, I called Telus to discuss exchanging my phone for another model that would have the functionality that I need. The manager (who sold us the phones) picked up the phone. I explained the lack of functionality, and he said that the phone will work with the computer, I just have to change a setting. He didn’t tell me what setting, he just said it was somewhere in the million page manual.

I curled up on the couch and resigned myself to reading the entire manual. I found what he was talking about, but I had followed all of the steps. I yelled a little bit, Teddy joined me in a good howl (as an aside, that’s the best part of owning a beagle, they howl with you.) And then decided that it was time to fux around a little bit.

I took Chris’s phone (which is the exact same phone, right down to the colour) because the memory card in that one hadn’t been formatted. At this point, Chris had already been awake and witnessed most of my madness. He took over, and decided that it was time to be all methodical and logical about the situation. Somehow, I don’t quite know how, we figured out how to get music and pictures to and from his phone. Remember, I formatted my memory card, so I had to rebuild the folder hierarchy, which is more tedious than hard.

I am not expecting Telus to make it easy for me to download and install games, but I am okay with that, I’m sure there will be a firmware hack eventually that will allow for it. Until then, I’m sure I can deal with the stock ringers and have fun writing 5318008 on the calculator and giggling (I am not above puerile… actually far far below it,) instead of playing a game.

I do apologize for the previous post. It was late (for me anyway,) and I didn’t realize that the ringtones would not play when linked from sendspace.

Cell phone gush

Thanks to my wonderfully generous partner, I have become the proud new owner of a Samsung Slyde. We have signed up for the Student plan at Telus (none of us are at school… minor point, I guess.) With that we get a great service called fave 10, like the fave 5 that every other company offers, but it’s 10 numbers! This is great, except for the fact that we have free local calling for 3 months, and the only long distance number I couldn’t remember to add to my faves was my parents house in Smiths Falls. It’s a new number, I’m not a bad son!

Anyway, as is the case with most new cell phone owners, I was not happy to just have my new gadget, I have to add to it… new ring tones, maybe a few games, whatever. The only problem is that we have to let the battery fully drain to give it the first charge. The damned thing charges over USB (I know, I was in tech support so I should have known that.) Anyway, it was Angie who made that mistake, not me.

So I have been surfing around Zedge.net making a few ringtones and looking for bejeweled (it’s even more addictive when it’s on you cell phone.) I forgot how fun that site was! I made a ring tone for Angie (Justin Timberlake, the song from Shark Tale,) and one for Tammy (P.I.M.P… if you know her last name, you’ll giggle a little bit.) I also found an awesome ringtone for Lynda, and the Mission Impossible theme for my sister.

My next feat is to find the perfect version of bejeweled… the one that I had on my Sony Ericsson W810i… and a couple of solitare games or something. I am basically looking for something to keep me occupied while I am on the bus, touring around town and looking for full time employment.

I am pretty tired, so I am going to end this, for fear of sounding entirely unnecessary.

PS: Here are the ringtones I have so far…

Angie\’s Ringtone

Chris\’s Ringtone

Crystal\’s Ringtone

Lynda\’s Ringtone

My Mom

Tammy\’s Ringtone

For my environmentally minded wino friends…

I saw this on the weather network this morning (I know, random place for booze ads.) It is the first carbon positive wine. It’s better than carbon neutral, apparently. The wine is called Plantatree and it’s from Lifford Wine Agency (which has a 416 area code, so I assume the company is based in Ontario.)

The great thing about this wine is that for every bottle that is purchased, a tree is planted in Sudbury. That tree, according to the company’s website, will “absorb approximately 650 lbs of carbon in it’s lifetime.”

With some further (minimal) digging, I found that Lifford’s company policies are geared toward the preservation of natural resources and carbon neutrality. They boast that their annual tasting for last year was carbon neutral, and they purchase their power from Bullfrog Power which is itself an entirely green company.

In addition to their new wine offering, the company has an entire section of the Plantatree site dedicated to information regarding climate change, eco-business, and planting trees.

There is some corperate responsibility! Great job Lifford Wine Agency, this is a company I can get behind.

(I wasn’t paid for this, I just thought it was an awesome example of a company doing their part.)