Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Reform

Yes, this is a big topic, but I would like to deal with a small part of it.

In watching the TedEd video on Does Your Vote Count I was reminded that a lot of states (and provinces etc) are often known to always vote for the same party. While reading my twitter feed, I was reminded that this past week the Google searches for "Who is running for President" spiked. Those two together speak to a population (global, I'm sure) that votes for the party, not the person.

Reading my Facebook feed, I came across a friend who at least gave a reason why she would not vote for one of the candidates. Not a reason I would consider a reason to vote for the other guy, but a reason she is passionate about and therefore, a valid reason.

Therefore, my proposal for election reform is to have a separate piece of paper that you have to fill out that says WHY you voted for the person you did. Not for the party. Not why you didn't vote for the other guy. But why you chose the person you voted for. I have determined that this can not determine if the vote will be counted (Florida has proved that in the past), and judging for validity would cause issues beyond belief. However, a suggested, second paper that is not counted as a vote that says: I voted for _______ because _____. This provides good feedback on why people are voting the way they are. In the future this would help all candidates campaign to what people are thinking (ok, I'm not sure if this is a good thing) and be a good classification system for what people actually care about. I propose these forms are classified by independent people who can tag them with key words like policies, economy, human rights, jerk, religion, good hair or whatever other underlying reason is given.

The outcomes should force people into thinking about the reason for their vote, as hopefully the answer "well (s)he belongs to (my party)" will make people realize that that is not the best reason to vote for someone as the parties have (apparently) evolved over time. As well, it would be quite interesting to see why people vote the way they do. I wonder how many people would say things that contradict what the candidate said or what they say their policies will be.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Customer Service

We ordered dinner from Boston Pizza today, delivery. The whole order arrived relatively quickly, but no one checked to make sure that what we received is what we ordered. By the time I finally got to my meal (feeding baby comes first), I realize that they have brought me the wrong sandwich. I also can't eat what they brought me because it is too spicy for my limited diet. We eventually call and complain and the manager says that he was waiting for our call. Now, it has been a year since I've worked in customer service, but isn't the first rule of making a mistake fixing it as soon as you realize that it has been made? The manager noticed that he had given us the wrong meal, but he did nothing to fix it until we complained. Clearly he had access to our address, so why not send a second delivery guy right away? Why wait for us to complain? Once we called, he offered to send out the sandwich, but that was an hour later. I had no desire to eat that late, the family meal was long over. Instead, he will mail us a gift card that is $2 more than the price of the meal we didn't receive. Right, so now we have to give them more business? I would rather not.

When did customer service become something you do after a complaint is made? Proactively fixing our (small) issue would have made a world of difference. Due to circumstances, if they had sent my food as soon as they noticed their error, the replacement food probably would have arrived before I had even sat down to eat. This would have given me an awesome story to tell. Instead, I got to eat a $13 side salad, the ingredients of which I already have in my fridge. Thank you Boston Pizza for making an already difficult day more difficult. Obviously they can't have known this, nor was this done on purpose, but not proactively fixing the problem was on purpose and therefore, I will do my best to not go to the restaurant chain again.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


About two and a half years ago, I got a cat. Her name is Tenny, she was from a rescue organization. She loves exploring and finding that small spot to hide. Normal cat stuff. Because she lived the first 8 months of her life in a shelter, I think she learned that making noise doesn't do anything. No human is going to come running if you complain, so when she first came to my house, she was silent. She purred, eventually, once she trusted us, but nothing else.

It took her a few weeks to warm up to us, and realize that we were going to keep her. Eventually she came out of the crawl space, and she started wanting attention. Still silently, and because of a birth defect, she couldn't jump on the couch, so we had to try to catch her to give her the attention she wanted.

Then, one day the husband left a dresser drawer open, no big deal, right? Well, Tenny decided to climb into that soft bed of clothes. Due to a shift in weight, the drawer then closed. She must have been stuck in there for hours, and we had no idea. Eventually, we realized that we hadn't seen her in a while (luckily it was a weekend, so we were home) and started searching the house. We found her and figured out that we couldn't leave things open.

When we went on holidays the next summer, we left her with my Aunt who has a very vocal cat. And, low and behold, when we came back, our dear silent Tenny was replaced with one that yowls exactly like my Aunt's cat. How I miss my silent Tenny.

The good news is that after a couple of years, she has gotten much stronger and can now jump onto our laps while we are sitting, but can not quite make the distance to the table or counter height. This is perfect as I would hate to have to try to train her to not go on the table or counter. We just have to have the chairs pushed in all the time, or she does go on the table and eats my plants. Tenny also runs around the house as quickly as she can. Now, I live in a three level split, with about 440 sq feet on each level, so her space is quite limited, and the stairs are relatively short. I can not wait to get a bigger house to give her more room to run around it. I just hope that it does not give her the extra strength needed to jump to counter level.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Changes to Come

For a while now, I have been meaning to cut back on the crappy diet and really work towards a healthier lifestyle. Having heard horror stories similar to this one I have cut out some pop, and all diet pop. However, I really have to cut out all caffeine, all refined foods, and most importantly increase healthy veggies. I realize that this should have started a year ago, before I tried to get pregnant, but better late than never I guess.

I am looking for simple, healthy and great tasting meals for my family. Simple because, so far, I have not been a fan of cooking. That is one thing that I will most definitely have to convince myself that I love and is worth doing. Ok, I know that it is worth doing, I just have to actually do it.

One small thing I started this week, and hope to be able to continue, is to have a frozen lemon in my freezer. That way, I can add a small bump of fresh Vitamin C to any meal with just a few passes over the grater, and basically no cleanup. I tried it on my homemade banana bread and it is wonderful. Now to test it on the pizza in the fridge and other foods as they pass through the house.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

We Stopped Dreaming - Neil deGrasse Tyson

We Stopped Dreaming - Neil deGrasse Tyson

Transcript of We Stopped Dreaming by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Here’s what happened, in the 1960’s, we were at war with the Soviet Union, Cold war, and a little bit of hot war over in Vie- South East Asia. So, we fear them because they put up Sputnik. Which, by the way people forget, was an emptied out casing of an intercontinental ballistic missile. And, Sputnik itself means ‘fellow travellers’ it was all peaceful, but it was a ballistic missile head, without explosives. So that was a signal and we freaked in America. So NASA got founded on the fear factor of Sputnik. Alright, so, we then go to the moon on the fear factor that Russia will control high ground. Then, we go to the moon, space enthusiasts say “oh, we’re on the moon by ’69, we’ll be on mars in another ten years”. They completely did not understand why we got to the moon in the first place. We were at war, once we saw that Russia was not ready to land on the moon, we stopped going to the moon. That should not surprise anybody looking back on it.
Meanwhile, however, that entire era galvanized the nation. Forget the war as a driver; it galvanized us all to dream about tomorrow, to think about the homes of tomorrow, the cities of tomorrow, the food of tomorrow. Everything was future world, future land. The world’s fair, all of this was focused on enabling people to make tomorrow come. That was a cultural mindset the space program brought upon us. And, we reaped the benefits of economic growth because you had people wanting to become scientists and engineers who are the people who enable tomorrow to exist today. And, even if you are not a scientist or technologist, you will value that activity and that, in the 21st century are the foundations of tomorrow’s economies and without it we might as well just slide back to the caves, because where we are headed right now, broke.
I’m tired of saying this, but I have to say it again. The NASA budget is 4/10th of one penny on a tax dollar. If I held up a tax dollar, and I cut, horizontally into it 4/10th of one percent of its width, it does not even get you into the ink. So, I will not accept a statement that says we can’t afford it.
Do you realize that the 850 billion dollar bank bailout, that sum of money is greater than the entire 50 year running budget of NASA, and so when someone says we don’t have enough money for this space probe. I’m asking, no, it’s not that you don’t have enough money, it’s that the distribution of money that you’re spending is warped in some way that you are removing the one thing that gives people something to dream about tomorrow. The home of tomorrow, the city of tomorrow, transportation of tomorrow. All that ended in the 1970’s, after we stopped going to the moon, it all ended, we stopped dreaming. And so, I worry that decisions that Congress makes doesn’t factor in the consequences of those decisions on tomorrow. They are playing for the quarterly report, they are playing for the next election cycle and that it mortgaging the actual future of this nation. Tomorrow’s gone.
If you double NASA’s budget, right now it’s half a penny on the dollar, make it a penny, go ahead, make it a penny, go ahead, be bold.  That would be enough to go to mars soon, with people, and go back to the moon, and onto asteroids. NASA, as best as I can judge, is a force of nature like none other and so what worries me is that if you take away the manned program. A program, which if you advance frontiers you make – heroes are made. There is a force operating on the educational pipeline that will stimulate the formation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians and technologists. You birth these people into society. They are the ones that make tomorrow come.
A half a penny. That buys the space station, the space shuttles, all the NASA centers, the rovers, the Hubble telescope, all the astronauts, all of that. Nobody’s dreaming about tomorrow anymore. The most powerful agency on the dreams of a nation is currently underfunded to do what it needs to be doing, and that’s making dreams come true.
How much would you pay for the universe?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Hampshire

I just read an article here about how in New Hampshire they want to make it legal to refuse to  "provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an individual if the request is related to the solemnization, celebration, or promotion of a marriage and providing such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges would be a violation of the person’s conscience or religious faith." This opens up many other issues. Since it's not just about same sex marriages, it's about all of them. Can I move there and open up a wedding facility that only caters to same sex, interracial and other contested marriages? I refuse to marry a white man to a white woman as it is my belief that they get enough privileges and don't need any more. According to the law, no actions could be taken against me, as it is my conscience that is guiding my decision.

What ever happened to the US being the home of the free? Is there a little number next to that line that goes to a footnote that says As long as you are a straight, white person who enjoys the same past times as I do? You can have freedom, as long as it does not disrupt my outdated image of a perfect society? A society that is long gone, and has evolved into something containing many different colours and ideas.

Two other states are tabling laws that give school children a free pass on bullying, if they are making hateful statements about gays or being gay. What message does that send? I realize that in many ways to be successful in the US you have to at least appear to be a Christian, and that homosexuality is bad according to Christians. But, I know that the bible says a whole lot of other things that we ignore now. So, why do we keep this idea around? If it is illegal to discriminate based on other things, why is it still ok to discriminate against homosexuality (it being a choice or not is irrelevant )? You're not allowed to discriminate against me because I'm a woman, or because I choose to have a family (not-choice and choice respectively).

Land of the Free, so give your people their freedom. All of your people. You don't get to decide who is a worthy citizen and who is not, that ended with the civil rights movement, and women getting the vote. We are all equal under the law, so how can you make it legal to discriminate against homosexuality?

Friday, December 2, 2011


I'm going through a big life event soon, and due to various circumstances, I'm only inviting blood relatives. A friend of mine for the past seven years had always assumed she would be involved with the event. Now, she's mad at me. It's my fault, I'm too happy, too excited. I want to tell people all about it. I guess saying "guess what, that awesome thing is happening, but you can't come" is bitchy. I have to stop telling people. I have to stop talking about it to people who are close to me but I'm excluding. That's what I'm doing, I'm excluding people who I have confided in for years. I guess this habit of telling myself that I have no friends is really just me pushing my friends away, and an old habit from back in the day when I really did have no friends.