Monday, November 14, 2011

Surprise! It's Snowing!

Seriously, folks? It's November 14. Edmonton has actually set a new record for latest first snowfall this year. If you didn't think winter was coming, you're living in a completely different world. I'm impressed Momma Nature held off this long.

On the plus side, the snow brightens things up at the dogpark - since the only time we'll be seeing that place in daytime is on weekends and holidays, I have to say, it's nice to be able to see my dog without the benefit of the Disco Collar (video to come on the next dark night).

As for the snow, well, let's get it over with and start the process of enjoying winter.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Who's to blame?

I just watched a Yahoo news video about an 86 year old Vancouver grandmother on a fixed income who was scammed out of $10,000, and is upset because Royal Bank won’t forgive the debt.

Grandma received a call from someone who sounded just like one of her grandchildren. The caller told her he was in jail, needed money for bail, and had her check her Visa card limit ($22,000.00). He then told her how to withdraw money from her credit card, and had her wire it to his “lawyer” in Montreal, a fake name, and obviously not a lawyer.

Royal Bank should have asked questions about such a large withdrawal, especially from a Visa. Royal Bank acknowledges this, and will waive the interest on Grandma’s account. But Grandma is still responsible for the debt itself. Grandma views this as “unfair”. She thinks large credit limits are bad. She never wants to have a Visa again.

Um. Really? Don’t get me wrong, I have some sympathy for Grandma. But Royal Bank didn’t force her to wire money to her “grandson”. It is not up to the bank to monitor what people do with their money. If I want to take $25,000 off my credit card and burn it in homage, that’s my business (other than the part where destroying money is a crime…)

I have a bunch of questions for Grandma: Did you call your grandson’s parents to find out what the hell is going on? Or his siblings? Or his cousins? Did you ever ask your bank to reduce your credit limit?

You took the $10,000 off your Visa. How did you plan to pay that money back? Did you stop to ask your bank if they would give you a loan at a lower interest rate? I expect that during THAT discussion, it would have come out why you were seeking a large sum of money, and the bank might have said some stuff in conversation while filling out the paperwork that would have had you look into things a little more carefully. But it is UP TO YOU to check into the veracity of this claim.

And the news video I watched was completely silent on one important point… Grandma stated that this caller SOUNDED just like her grandson, called her “Gramma”, knew stuff. At NO POINT IN THE CLIP was it stated that her grandson was NOT involved. Which makes me ask… WAS the kid involved? (And is Grandma the type to be on a news cast crying and telling the viewers “my grandson is such a good boy, I can’t imagine what he was doing in a stolen pickup truck with a body in the back, four hookers in the front, and eight pounds of crack in the glove box but I’m sure it’s not his fault…”)

Either way, my thoughts are that the bank is not culpable, Grandma needs to use come common sense, and people need to be accountable for their actions.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Unicorns and Other Myths

A mythical creature resembling a horse, with a single horn in the center of its forehead: often symbolic of chastity or purity.

We (the Royal we, being my friends and I) also refer to The Unicorn as a curse. (N.B. If you are one of my friends and didn't know about this, take notes) For us, The Unicorn is also known as "The One Who Got Away". Love perfected. The ideal partner. The woulda/coulda/shoulda relationship we have all had at some point our lives.

More sacrifices have been made in the name of The Unicorn than we care to count. Stop and think about it for a second. Is there one person in your life that you wish you could go back to? Be with? Track down? That one person, who, if they called, you would stop what you were doing to see if it would work out? The standard who you compare all your relationships againt? That's The Unicorn. I've had a few.

Unicorns are bullshit. They don't really exist. What you see, at a distance, is a big white horse with an optical illusion sticking out of its forehead. You get up close to it, give it some time, and you will find that the horn isn't a horn, the hooves aren't really silver (or cloven, or ring like bells, or whatever version you want) And if you get to close, you are either going to get covered in horseshit or trampled. Maybe both. (My unicorn turned out to be an ass.)

The only way to learn that The Unicorn is really a horse is to chase it. People can talk until they are blue in the face, all you will hear is blah blah blah. Funny thing, though. Sometimes, just sometimes, you get up close and it turns out that you were looking for a horse in the first place, and things work out fine. Your unicorn is taken from myth to reality, and it's a reality you can live with.

As for me, while I love the idea of unicorns, I just don't believe in the myth anymore.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thought for the day

Just in time for Valentine's Day, courtesy of Paige.

Sometimes the one you think is your
knight in shining armour turns out to
be a retard in tin foil.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Divide and Conquor??

It seems like every second non-profit radio commercial touting fundraising is for cancer research. Cancers above the waist. Cancers below the waist. Women's cancers. Men's cancers. Breast cancer, lung cancer, tropic of cancer.. oh, wait, not that last one.

I am completely in favour of finding a cure for cancer. (Actually, I half believe one already exists, but drug companies are making FAR too much money peddling other drugs, why release one that they could be pressured into providing at reasonable cost?)

Anyway, completely in favour of curing cancer. The sooner the better.

But... I have to ask. Are we putting our eggs into too many baskets? There's a foundation for nearly every type of cancer, and one for virtually every province, country, state or region. Each doing their level best to raise money to continue to find a cure. (And don't get me started on the fundraising conspiracy theory, that's a topic for another blog entry.)

Wouldn't it be better to have the money less spread out? Less requirement for administrative costs. Less building upkeep. Less lab upkeep. Are some (or even most) of these organizations duplicating each other's research? How much money is being wasted simply by the sheer number of organizations trolling for donations in the first place?

In the past year, I've given to breast cancer, cancer cancer and prostate cancer fundraisers. I've supported the Terry Fox Run fundraising drive. My question is, are all these organizations doing everything they can to get the most bang out of our bucks?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Canada Food Guide - Revised Edition

Some foods should have their own food group.

Chocolate, for example.

Or bacon. Bacon definitely deserves to be in it's own group.

Pizza covers all 4 food groups, if you get the right kind - meat, bread, veggie and dairy.

Wine is technically in the fruits and veggies group. Beer and most spirits are technically in the starchy foods group.

I'm just saying that a well balanced meal might consist of pizza, with bacon as one of your toppings, a beer, and possibly some chocolate for dessert.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Show me the money!

So, being single, it's tough to meet new people. I don't date from the work pool (not that I work with any single men anyway) and I'm not really into the bar scene. So I joined eHarmony a while back.

As I want the option of communicating with people who interest me, I pay for my membership. Membership is not terribly expensive, and if you pay attention to the promotions, you can get a short term membership really cheap.

There are several men who send icebreakers and such (wink, smile, whatever) for free, and never follow up when you express recipricol interest. The conclusion I draw from this is these are non-paying members hoping you have paid and will send them a message including contact info and an email address.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY??

In my mind, this is the dating website equivilent of asking a girl out then expecting her to pay for the whole tab. (I'm not opposed to going Dutch..) Or sending someone flowers COD.

I'm serious enough about finding a partner that I don't mind paying a small fee to use this website. When I see men trying an end run around the fee part, it makes me wonder if they are so cheap they don't want to pay, if they are not really serious (or worse yet, not really single) or if they just can't afford the $60 for a three month discount membership.

Needless to say, these guys quickly get crossed off the list of possible matches. You might be the greatest guy on the planet, but if you can't make a little effort, you aren't what I'm looking for.