I blog here now: http://thinkingoutloudblog.blogspot.com
I blog here now: http://thinkingoutloudblog.blogspot.com
"Most people assume the fights are going to be the left versus the right, but it always is the reasonable versus the jerks." -- Jimmy Wales, Keynote Speech, SXSW 2006
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I'm trying to be objective, really I am. In a sense it's working; there's plenty of things in the Conservative agenda I agree with. One of them was the commission to oversee appointments, which (like the idea of publicly interviewing Supreme Court Justices) I thought could work well.
Then this happens... "MPs grill, reject PM's pick for federal watchdog: Harper won't put forward new name without a majority"
Now, considering the fact that one of the appointments Mr. Morgan would be overseeing would be Immigration and Refugee Board "judges", the dodginess of his comments vis-a-vis immigrants is a legitimate concern, whether or not he is in fact racist or xenophobic. Public officials must possess not just actual objectivity, but also the outward appearance of it...isn't that half the reason for reforming the appointment procedures?
I have my concerns with Harper, but the downright petulance he has displayed in this matter is a new side of him we haven't seen before. Is this a tactic he'll continue to use, refusing to work within the confines of a minority Parliament, threatening Canada with a stalled government unless they accede to his demands for a majority?
Any Prime Minister trying "work-to-rule" is disgusting, but I find it especially disappointing from a man and a party who claim to represent rational pragmatism and small government. If we're lucky, this is an isolated incident, but we are in so much trouble if this becomes a pattern.
...but it's the truth. The Conservatives want to delegalize gay marriage, despite it being a civil right protected by the Charter.
I know everyone's already weighed in on this, but since the budget has been approved in principle (thanks, Bloq) I felt compelled to put my two cents in. And I'll make it as simple as I can...
$1200 ≠ $6500+
Okay? Are we all clear on that? In what alternate reality does it make sense for the Tories to dole out a credit which is a) large enough, when all recipients are totalled up, to make a sizable dent in the budget; b) taxable, for heaven's sake, c) totally freakin' useless? According to Childcare Ontario, median annual cost in Ontario for regulated daycare is $6500-$9500. I realize there are other subsidies and tax benefits at work, but come on. It's a flat fee even. PLEASE TELL ME NO ONE IS BUYING THIS! *facedesk*
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Speaking of which, I was pleased (though unsurprised) to see the new government follow through on its committments to the military. Although I am concerned to see Harper import American-style crypto-Evangelism into Parliament, I feel oddly confident that no stance, no matter how pro-military, will lead to us embracing American-style belligerent foreign policy. I must admit I grow weary of the constant anti-military yammering we are currently deluged with.
Most of you know I'm pretty pro-military.
This fellow sums it up pretty well:
For whatever reason, apprently Canadian youth agree; according to the War Child Canada Youth Opinion Poll (see starting at p. 49) the majority of Canadian youth see our military as too small. Michael Ignatieff seems pretty pro-military too. The truth is, as he says, that we need to be prepared to do "heavy lifting". A crippling fear of bad PR and a public unwillingness to accept any casualties has lead to a dangerous trend in foreign policy, in the last few decades, and we can only hope it will reverse itself now. Canadians apparently want up to pull out of Afghanistan because of the 15 soldiers who have died since 2002. Their deaths were tragedies, but what is perhaps more tragic is that people are unwilling to attribute any meaning to their deaths except to serve as anti-military symbols. 15 soldiers is simply a very small number, compared to other trobling statistics Canadians seem unwilling to hue-and-cry about. In 1997 (the last year for which I could find data) there were well over 3000 deaths by suicide, 626 from HIV infection, and in 2004 there were 172 shooting homicides, 205 by stabbing, and 135 by beating. In fact, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan in 4 years, doing thier duty, for which they volunteered, knowingly and honourably risking death, was roughly the same as the number of Canadians intentionally burned to death in 2004 alone.
My point is, a fear of public blacklash tends to make governments tiptoe in to military operations, contributing the minimum of troops and resources. This means the wars are longer and more people die, our troops, their troops, and civilians. It's a fairly established piece of military wisdom that - at least, when it comes to infantry-based ground wars - the best method is to overwhelm with superior force from the start. Literally, go big or go home. You simply cannot half-ass a military campaign.
So here's to our troops in Afghanistan - may they begin to receive the support they need, both from the government and from the Canadian people.
I hope frosh are still laughing at that after all these years...
Anyhoo, yesterday I apparently decided to spend money like wo. I went down to St. Lawrence Market (which is only like 8 minutes from my office), intending to buy some Guatemalan Antigua at the coffee roastery there. Well, no such luck because they only seem to sell unground beans and I still lack a grinder. So instead I went to the bulk food store and bought one or two scoops of several things to keep in my desk for when I get draggy. Then I walked back toward King on Front and. coming across a Starbucks, thought "Screw it, I'll get half a pound at least". They were even brewing my new favourite, so I ordered a grande. When I was all rung up ($10.38) I pulled out my debit card, and the barrista got this horrified/sheepish look (with which I can totally sympathize), saying "Actually, our debit machine is down...do you have any other method of payment?" I reached into my blazer pocket and pulled out a ten, and just as I drew breath to say "No," she chuckled and said "We can definitely spare you the thirty-eight cents." So I said "Works for me," and off I set with my sweet sweet cup of amazing coffee and a bag of it which I could smell for the rest of the day.
That may be my favourite thing about customer-service oriented jobs...those incidents where if either side wanted to they could make it a total day-killer for the other side, but for some reason instead everyone's reasonable and good natured and friendly and everyone walks away feeling satisfied. I love it from both sides of the counter/desk -- one reason I really miss working day hours at the doctors' office, and Second Cup (even though I worked there a million ago) and QTS too even.
Consumer-whore incident three was a badly needed one-hour appointment with an RMT at Healthwinds. At some point I thought it would make more sense to get 1/2 hour massages every month or so, but honestly that does no good...it takes me the first half hour to not twitch every time the RMT touches me. Also, I had been looking at other places around the city to find something cheaper, but honestly, at what works out to only an extra $5 for me, I'm going to stick with the friendly spa-atmosphere and retardedly convenient location. That said, if anyone's looking for a massage on the cheap I recommend the Sutherland Chan Student Clinic. The ambience is a little lacking, and you get asked questions, but I've been and found it satisfactory.
Incident four was unplanned and totally my own mistake...I ducked in to the new Body Shop at Yonge and St. Clements. Damn those eco-friendly socially-conscious beauty-peddlers. All I wanted was something for my mangled hands, and that is what I ended up getting: Almond balm for my cuticles and nails, and a 50mL mini of the Shea Body Butter for my hands. But oh, the temptation to go wild! I also got a membership card, which since it cost $10 and guarantee's a $10 gift in your birthday month, seemed pretty win-win.
Anyway, enough with the profligate spending of money I don't have...I have an ethical quandary and I was wondering what y'all's two-cents were:
At work, my (primary) job is to edit the written reasons for decisions made by a quasi-judicial tribunal (most of you know what for...lets just say that these are issues of life-or-death for legit applicants, but that a lot of our applicants are also either clearly unqualified and they or their counsel should know better, and some are even outright scam artists). Because it's only "quasi-judicial", the regular rules of evidence don't apply, also, cases can be appealed to the courts. Now, a lot of these cases are cookie-cutter, and a lot are decided on the simultaneously key and dodgy principle of credibility. This is statutory, decided at the highest levels, not just something the people I work with decided to do because they're crotchety. It is a little concerning though, because, well, define "credible"? One of the major ways they test this is to compare the applicant's written statements with their testimony. Several times, in editing the decisions (which involves going through the file to properly footnote stuff) I've notices that one of my bosses has totally misconstrued a written statement, and I mean a black and white difference. Stuff like, "If Mr. Smith was married as he testified, why did he say he wasn't in his initial interview", but right on the first page it says: "Q: are you married? A: Yes I am." Also, they often require documentary proof of things people could quite reasonably never have documentary proof of, e.g. clandestine intimate relationships.
So here's my quandary: an error like this could easily lead to the court calling a do-over...this might mean the applicant has a second chance with someone more permissive, more likely to extend the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, since there were other reasons backing up the decision, the court might say that the other reasons alone justify the decision, and then this person would have wasted a lot of money on appealing, so there's a lot of what-ifs there. Conversely, if I point the error out to my boss (which heretofore I always have -- but which, I should point out, is not my job) he or she will simply correct it and the decision will be recorded without any errors that give a basis for appeal. Bear in mind that it is improbable verging on impossible for me to convince one of my bosses he/she has made an incorrect call, and hard for me to legitly do so given that I never meet the applicants or hear them testify. The whole system is predicated on them making these highly subjective decisions, and how much slack or benefit of the doubt they're willing to extend is highly variable between bosses, days, time of day, previous experience with similar cases, et cetera.
Although I feel guilty and a little cowardly about it, I've sort of decided that, given the relatively small chance of me actually helping someone by letting my boss screw up, I should for now continue to do the job as best I can while noting all these flaws in the system, the better to chip away at them when I graduate. Does this make me a) sane and reasonable, b) equivalent to a Nazi government file clerk circa 1938? What would you do in a similar position?
Okay...I know I've come up with some random, stupid spellings/phrasing in my life...who hasn't?
But the most depressing lesson I have learned at law school/here/the Journal all year is that, apparently, there is an inverse correlation between the prestigiousness of your legal career and your ability to write coherently. This may be applicable to professionals in general. I find this frustrating beyond belief. I mean, law is all about logical analysis, right? How can you perform or present an analysis if you can't communicate your way out of a wet paper bag? Rewarding people with such a gap in their skill sets with partnerships, judicial appointments, and tenure is like appointing a brilliant physicist head of NASA even though he's been in a persistant vegetative state for a decade...sure, maybe he knows more stuff than the average joe, but he can't tell you any of it!
Now, don't get me wrong...most of the people I work with are pretty good. You can point things out to them and they see their error and sign off on your correction and all is well. But sometimes I run up against the "she's just a secretary, and a student to boot" attitude where people insist on retaining the terrible grammar/syntax they originally wrote in. It's a morale killer. Maybe I'll post some of the worst examples.
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I went into Sephora yesterday looking for light-gold nailpolish. Why does no one make it? WHY? They do have a good selection of other stuff, but who can afford $33 eyeshadow? Guess I'll just have to wait until I'm retardedly rich to become a regular. In the meanwhile, I heart Shoppers.
I need green eyeshadow...hmm....
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In coffee-hunt news, Starbucks Komodo is quite good though a little dark for my tastes. It smells burnt, but it doesn't taste burnt, so that's a plus. Seattle's Best Creme Brulee is good too, but it was over-cooked and I had to use aspartame with it, so it was a little acrid. Worth another try under better circumstances.
Starbucks Guatemala Antigua is le yum.
|Your Extroversion Profile:|
|Activity Level: Medium|
|Cheerfulness: Very Low|
|Excitement Seeking: Very Low|
I spoke to soon. No wonder I don't get any work done here.
Speaking of, I've been doing some coffee-related research. I'm drinking Folgers at home *shudder*. Can anyone give me a review of the following varietals?
What I'm looking for: chocolateness, spiciness (esp. cinnamon, clove), sweetness
What I avoid: anything darker than a medium roast (why do they always say "bold"? it's not "bold", it's burnt), acidity
By 10am of my third day I finally had access to all the computer programs/printers et cetera I needed. Excellent? Still no phone though. Ah well.
Dammit, I had stuff to talk about but my brain is rattlingly empty. Guess that means it's time for a coffee.
Finally moved out. I suppose 2 days to actually move a person is good, but I was so sick/wiped that I was on the verge of flipping right out the whole time. Mom & Ron were super good and helpful and patient with me.
On Sunday we went to brunch for Hazel's 80th birthday. I was the only (pseudo)grandchild there! As usual when we're visiting fam, Mom was would super tightly, trying to make sure hers and my outfits/hair/makeup/etc were perfect. Near the end she asked "Why am I so hard on myself?" Good question. I can see why it drives her so crazy that I usually totally ignore the way I look, beyond basic "Am I clean and does anything clash too hideously" concerns.
We went to this place called Toula's which is on the 36th floor of the Westin Harbour Castle. Pricey and so not worth it (dirty glasses, almost an hour between each course, incorrectly prepared Eggs Bennidict for the birthday girl) but sometimes you gotta splash out. I must say, I was impressed with their balsamic vinegrette (sp?). Usually people cheap out on the balsamic and so it's hella acidic and burns, but this was the stuff so old it's syrupy and almost sweet. Very nice. I'm very picky about my salad dressings, so much so that I rarely eat salad out of my own home.
Today was my first day (this year) as a Federale. They've blocked external e-mail! So I'll follow this with a friends-only post with my cellie, for anyone who doesn't have it or needs it in a hurry. Feel free to txt me too.
And now I need a coffee large enough to drown a baby in...
Tired like wooooooooo
I spent most of today unconscious. Ran out of meds and coffee and the pharm up here is...well, up here and I couldn't fill my Rx 'cause there's just no damn way I'm hauling my ass back up here in a month or two for a refill. That means I did minimal packing, and I have no clue how I'm gonna get stuff packed for tomorrow. I was going to do some tonight but no dice. I'll pass out now and get up early I guess. I hate having to rush out of a place right after exams - no time to decompress, rest or relax, no wonder my body/brain is giving me shit.
I am a) out of coffee, b) running a fever. No, for reals.
There is Mountain Dew Fuel in the machine in the lobby...I know that sounds awful, but it's carbonated caffeinated orange juice (from concentrate, but relatively real) and therefore the ultimate energy drink as far as I am concerned. Not diet though...I should get some when I go hand in this
piece of crap essay.
You know what I want to see? Vending machines that dispense useful things, like boxes of KD, packages of ramen noodles, packets of ground coffee or tea bags, cans of evaporated milk, single-serving peanut butter, mini-boxes of just-add-water pancake mix....that would be so cool.
Since I've hit a wall, I took a 15 minute OK Cupid break. The results...
( The Geek, Tarot Card, ADD, Existential Crisis, and Brain Hemispheres Tests Collapse )
...was one of the hottest men alive.
The one, the only, the mustachioed...
See, this is why I should never start essays more than two weeks before they are due...my attention span is shot. I am just so bored with refugees. I have all the information, I know what I want to say...I've written about 4500 words (he's asked for 6000). The problem is putting it down on paper. Or screen, as the case may be.
Also, I did waaaaaaay way way more research than needed. I'll have a 5 page bibliography, which is excessive to say the least considering the scope/size of my paper.
Also, studying for Constitutional? Not so much. Again, my id is all "but we've done this already! let's look up random shit on Wikipedia instead!"
As a treat for myself, I'm going to get go for a spa 1/2 day in May some time. Massage, manicure, pedicure. Pretty sure my insurance will cover 1/2 the massage.
Witness my new icon. I have a nifty new Colbert Report one too, but for some reason, LJ insists it is >100x100 pixels. It's not! I promise!
Ok. No more TV till House for my dinner break. Back to MSWord I go!
Apparently N has turned me into a morning person. Horrors! On the up side, this means I can easily wake up in time for Kim Possible and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, which may in fact be (in the immortal words of Matt Amond) the best-slash-worst-best again show on earth.
( More KF: TLC, cut for pictures!Collapse )
I was watching the Colbert Report last night, and Caitlin Flanagan was on - she's written a book called To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife. I can only assume she was being satirical and I just didn't get it. Even Steven was finding it hard to keep agreeing with her. I bought into her first premise; it's disgustingly hypocritical of self-identified "feminists" to rag on women for choosing to make a career out of caring for their children. That's where our common ground ends. To say, however, that women have a duty to stay home is patently ridiculous. For some women, maybe even most women, that would be antithetical to their temperament, and lead to depression and resentment. She also posits that women should just give their husbands unlimited sex, rather than forcing their spouses to "woo" it out of them. This assumes, among other things, that women do not want sex themselves, also that it is a chore for which they are responsible.
What a fruit-loop.
You know what irks me to an irrational degree? That Goodnites commercial where the kids are talking about their probs with bedwetting, and that one kid says "My Dad wet his bed till he was twelve, so...it could be genetics."
NO IT COULDN'T. "It" (bedwetting) could be "genetic", but bedwetting cannot be genetics because they are not the same thing. If the question was "What is the study of biological determinism", the answer might be "It could be genetics". Petty and nitpicky maybe, but true, dammit.
Quel jour bizarre!
Je ne pouvais pas rester éveillé ce matin, donc je faisais la sieste pour des heures. Quand je me réveillais, j'ai fait une chope de jus et Sprite. J'ai tourné au réfrigérateur, et j'ai écouté un clic. J'ai tourné dos et pris la chope par la queue, j'ai le levé, et voila! La chope a cassé en troi: le corps vide de la chope (avec la queue), un cercle (la extérieure-base de la chope), et un disque (la intérieure-base). Bien sûr, j'avais verre détruit et aussi jus et pop partout ma cuisine.
Quelques heures plus tard, je faisais cuire œufs au lard, et je sauvais le graisse de cuisson en une jarre. Quand je versais le graisse, ma main a frissoné. La jarre a volé et il a percuté le linoléum. Graisse et éclats de verre partout ma cuisine. Je ne pouvais pas essuyer la graisse avec les éclats, donc je les draguais avec mon petit balai, qui absorbait la graisse ensuite. Parfait.
Ce soir, je mangais moitié d'œuf de Pâques de Laura Secord. Chocolat noir rempli avec fondant. Mon dieu. Je suis les deux nauséeuse et extatique.
( Google Translate says:Collapse )
( And I actually meant:Collapse )
I caught a (very small) bit of Larry King last night, and the topic du jour was polygamy. While I'm the first to admit I don't know a ton about the subject, what I do know has left me very torn.
On the one hand, people who've left polygamist communities in the US (namely, the FLDS church) speak of brutality between the wives, under-age marriage, and generally a life of patriarchal horror. Clearly, the way polygamy is practised leaves open the door to a lot of serious issues of exploitation.
That said, and as you all know, I bristle at the essentialization of any cultural practice as wrong. And that's what most criticisms of polygamy come down to: "It's just wrong!" as though it holds the same visceral horror for people as incest or paedophilia (which I am content to say are "just wrong"). That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. For one thing, polygamy is encoded into our genetic structure - I'm no fan of genetic determinism, but that does mean we have at least a biological affinity for it at some level. It's practised by a number of totally independent cultures. It's not inherently patriarchal - if the practitioners didn't a priori accept that men were to make all the decisions, then the women in a polygamist household would outvote the men. Consider that in (much rarer) cases of polyandry, as are practised in certain parts of India, the women are even more oppressed because not only does their culture accept the inferiority of women, but they literally have two or more masters. Also, as with every social practice that is as inevitable as it is potentially harmful, criminalizing it has the effect of pushing it underground rather than ending it. Although this is pure speculation, I wonder how many women from American (and Canadian?) polygamist communities put up with abuse and social problems because they feel ostracised by mainstream society and fear that they must choose between their beliefs and getting help.
What do you think? I've created a survey here, and/or feel free to comment below.