Monday, July 30, 2007
I met with Ms McD again yesterday, and we watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Even after repeated viewings, I still catch things that I'd missed previously.
My situation later this week is still up in the air. Today and tomorrow I'm working in the office, but later in the week I'm likely going to either Guelph or Markham; presumably I'll find out which today.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
The aforementioned Ms B-D is not doing well. Apparently she suffered a massive stroke as a complication of the surgery, and has not yet regained consciousness. Her son and daughter-in-law have said they'll get back with additional information as soon as it's available, but this definitely does not look good at all.
Yesterday I spent the day with Ms McD, and the whole day had a surreal quality to it (perhaps because of massive substance abuse). She has suddenly decided to go out to New Brunswick for the wedding of a friend that she just reconnected with on Facebook. She's leaving on Tuesday and plans to stay there for most of August. As far as the day's activities, we hung out with a friend of hers (who we'll call Buddy); he's a former cab driver, about 50 years old, now living in a rooming house in downtown Kitchener. We played a wargame that he's developed; it's a lot of fun, though it takes a very long time to play. The whole scene, though, just felt weird for some reason.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
You see, last month when I boarded my return flight from Winnipeg, it was around 7 AM and I was wretchedly overtired and hung over from being up late drinking with Half Muppet Half Mucus and some mutual friends of ours. On the way to the gate I was accosted by someone trying to get people to apply for one of these cards. I was in no mood to say no to anyone, so I did. After all, it has all kinds of cool shit. Extra Air Miles when you buy WestJet flights! Companion flights after you spend $3000 in flights! Deals on car rentals! Deals on hotels! Cash advances! Amazing!
Nothing, however, amazed me as much as the one piece of cool shit that I didn't learn about until I actually received the card. They have given me more than a third of my gross annual income in credit. And that's not including several grand in credit that I already have from my other cards.
Just think about that for a moment. For the simple act of turning up hung over in an airport early in the morning, I have been given the ability to piss away thousands of dollars on all manner of shite in very little time. Want a Wii? Step right up, mister. Plasma TV? No problem. And look at all the cool Air Miles I can collect! Hey, a few flights to Winnipeg or the Dominican Republic and I can afford a flight to Europe! There's an airline that flies to England right out of Hamilton. Or hey, I could just get thousands of dollars in cash advances and go to the casino. I could get lucky, right?
Of course, if I were to do this I would be saddled with enormous payments soon after. Many, many people do this. Naturally, if it got really bad one could declare bankruptcy, but that makes it awfully hard to get credit in the near future.
Or, I could simply store the cards away for emergencies. Not a bad idea, but I've been told (I can't confirm this, but the reasoning seems sound) that having lots of credit that you don't use is actually bad for your credit rating, because it becomes riskier for others to lend you money. After all, your existing credit is virtually a time bomb- given a whole bunch of available credit, sooner or later many people will suddenly go deeply into debt. Anything could stimulate this- losing your job, having a nervous breakdown, falling in love with the wrong person... the possibilities are endless.
So I'm not going to activate this new card, and I should probably cancel at least three of my existing five cards as well. I haven't had any real need for them for a long time anyway.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Today Ms McD and I are going to the Ps' housewarming, then I have to leave for Bracebridge again at 6 PM.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
This week I had one of those periodic bursts of increased dream activity (or rather, dream recall). In one dream, I was at a social gathering in Winnipeg, and someone who I knew from the U of Winnipeg suddenly cornered me and said, "I heard you're working in a dump! Are you an idiot?" The only response I could come up with was "no, more of a loser." In real life, this person is quite nice and would never have said something like that, but it got me thinking about my job situation, and cost me a couple of hours' sleep brooding over it.
And my laptop is on the fritz. Damn. I hope I can get it working properly before we go back on the road on Sunday night.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Friday evening I ended up hanging out with Ms McD and the Ps. They'd never met before, but they got along extremely well. Ms McD told us a rather unsavoury story about her crackhead upstairs neighbours. It seems that they got evicted for non-payment of rent, and decided to take a stand for tenants' rights by smearing shit along the walls in the upstairs hallway. Ms McD says she suggested to the caretaker that it might have been a kid who had an accident, but the caretaker said no, the hand prints were adult sized. Yes, hand prints. I don't know about you, but I can't see myself being spiteful enough to smear shit with my bare hands. Then again, I don't smoke crack, so maybe I just can't understand.
Saturday morning I donated blood for the first time since the needlestick. In the afternoon I was going to go to an NDP barbecue with Ms P, but we were deterred by the rain, so we just hung out and watched a movie. Later I met up with Ms McD again, and we watched two more. Not the most productive way to spend a day, but oh well.
Tonight, unfortunately, I have to leave at 6 PM for Bracebridge. C'est la vie...
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I identified with the Canadian soldiers at the funeral mourning the loss of their friend. Like them, I went to Afghanistan believing in "fighting terrorism" and "liberating Afghans." During my first mission, we were protecting refugees escaping an area that was under attack by the mujahedeen. I was deeply affected by their misery, and by the poverty and suffering of the Afghan people in general. In my mind, our presence was "helping Afghans," particularly with educating women and children. My combat unit participated in "humanitarian aid" -- accompanying doctors and delivering food, fuel, clothing, school and other supplies to Afghan villages.From here.
It was only later that I began to wonder: Did that aid justify our aggression?
Monday, July 9, 2007
I'm finding Facebook oddly fascinating. I've come across people there that haven't even been too keen on computers till recently (the Gravolmeister is there, for instance).
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Friday, July 6, 2007
I guess that means that the next time I go to Winnipeg I should take the Greyhound. Which would suck, being a 33 hour trip and all, but I guess that's one of the ways we have to adapt.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
The secret's out—many thermostats just trick building occupants into feeling more comfortable and in control. Here's why they're so effective.
On Jan. 15, The Wall Street Journal revealed that the HVAC industry has an unconventional way of attending to the comfort needs of building occupants—using thermostats that aren't configured to have an effect on the HVAC system.
"Looking for an office thermostat that actually works? Good luck and Godspeed," wrote Jared Sandberg. "You may never find it…If you do spy a thermostat, it's probably locked, or encased behind shatterproof glass."
"Even worse, HVAC experts acknowledge what millions of office workers have suspected all along: A lot of office thermostats are completely fake—meant to dupe you into thinking you've altered the office weather conditions."
Some may say "dupe," but the purpose of installing nonfunctional thermostats is to keep building occupants feeling comfortable and in control, say many engineers, contractors and wholesalers in the HVACR industry. Still, some manufacturers do not approve of their intentional use—or non-use for that matter.
And even though these thermostats do not actually provide a direct interface to the mechanical system, by giving the illusion that they do, they act as a placebo in many cases.