Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 end of year

 Well 2011 is swiftly drawing to a close. I've been thinking about 2012 some.

Up until last summer things had settled into a fairly steady state for the last couple of years. Alas, that era is ending and a new chapter is beginning. There was a series of financial setbacks starting fall of 2011. On another front let's say that there's a higher probability of other changes this year; the highest it's been in several years. I don't have a lot of control over some areas, I just have to deal with what may happen.

So given all that I've tried to look at spending and to cut spending. I had some modest success but not a lot so far. Some things like rent are large and fixed. Still I have to continue to work on this and be vigilant.

Like many years, I'm not making any resolutions this year. I failed at previous ones due to failures in strategy and execution. I know what I need to do so I'll figure it out as I go along.

As a year ends it's interesting to think back on this time last year. Think of the stuff that happened during this year 2011 that ended up being important. Like many years, I had no idea that was going to happen at this time last year. It wasn't on the radar screen. So 2012 may be much the same. The predicable steady state has ended (to the extent that it ever existed) and unknown waters ahead.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dead City by Joe McKinney

I finished another book. It was Dead City by Joe McKinney. It was another zombie book. This book is the prequel to Apocalypse of the Dead which I read a couple months ago.

Dead City takes place over a single day. It is the account of a San Antonio police officer Eddie Hudson dealing with an initial report of a disturbance in a neighbourhood which turned out to be zombies. They didn't know that at the time. It's the story of how the undead quickly overrun San Antonio and officer Hudson's struggle to survive, find what's left of authority, and find his own family.

It was a good book. McKinney's writing style is fast paced and the descriptions of the zombies are very believable and terrifying. After reading Apocalypse I wanted to read his other titles. I believe there's another McKinney zombie title which I'll look for in the new year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Flaherty please shut up about Europe

So recently some more finger wagging from Jim Flaherty about Europe debt. in addition to earlier comments [1] [2] and others.

What's the point of this anyway Jim? What are you trying to accomplish here. It's not like Canada with a $1 billion a week of federal borrowing and an irresponsible commitment to increase federal health spending by 6% per year forward as far as the eye can see is any kind of model of financial restraint or responsibility.

Canada has the same structural flaws as Europe including low birth rate, aging population, large public sector, high debt from previous governments, large segments of the population living off government cheques, political preference to borrow and spend today and deal with the financial side "in the future", lack of political will to make unpopular cuts, etc.

It makes me think of an apartment building. Two neighbours make $40k a year. Paul has $20k in credit card debt and is insolvent, unable to meet his commitments. His neighbour Jim has $15k in credit card debt, can only make minimum payments, and continues to spend more than he makes. This would be like Jim trying to shame and lecture Paul about personal financial responsibility.

Get your own financial house in order Jim. Canada's fate is Europe's fate is way things are going right now. You should be treating the European situation as a very clear warning to you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Canada Youth Plan

I noticed the Paul Dewar youth scheme go by. It was standard NDP. Lots of spending. Lots of bureaucracy. Lots of unconstitutional federal intrusion into areas of provincial jurisdiction. No discussion of where the money will come from.

Any discussion of youth in Canada should discuss that youth in Canada are becoming extinct. What I mean is the low birth rate. 1.58 per, Canada is slowly going extinct.

Dewar ignores this issue. In fact I've never heard any politician discuss it ever. Which is strange considering how critical this is to Canada as we know it long term survival. Presumably a taboo subject. I wonder why?

I'd like to see a real discussion on the subject of Canada's birth rate some time. Something willing to go past the "Government has to spend more" NDP line and air some topics historically not open for discussion.

  • a frank discussion about abortion
  • the perspective of men who don't want to marry, don't want children, don't want more children
  • the burden of living in a hyper-regulated society

Thursday, December 15, 2011

fire the Halifax school board - high school hockey

What a disgraceful, disgusting decision. Students banned from attending their own team's hockey game. How can there be a high school hockey game without the fellow students being there?! What is this bullshit?

So what if there were some individual fights in the past? Deal with the individuals in that case. You cannot have high school sports without student attendance. That is an absurdity, a monstrosity which cannot be allowed to stand. I call on the students of both schools to have the courage to do the right thing. Stand up for your rights. Attend the game and support your team.

There have been brawls and rumours of brawls as long as there have been rival schools. Big deal. Have more security on hand. The school admin is just being typically lazy, weak and cowardly by banning the students. What a weak disgusting cop out. Anyway if there are fights deal with it. If there's a brawl deal with it. If there's a rumble deal with it. This has been happening for over a century as long as there has been middle and high school sports.

I would never make the mistake of counting on Carole Olsen to do the right thing. By appearances she had a hand in this. It's clearly up to the elected school board to intervene here and do the right thing and overrule this miscarriage of the education system. Since they are apparently disinclined to make the effort to do the right thing then at least on election day we the voters can fire them all. On election day vote every single one of them out.


I had some stuff to do this morning. I got up at 7 which was early for me on vacation. Got moving and dropped car at mechanic at 8:30. They said it would be done around noon. I went over to first choice for a haircut which was next door. But they were not open until 9.

I stopped by CAA to ask why I hadn't received my regular card yet. They pulled it up and quickly determined they had my street address but not my apartment number. That one was on me. They corrected it on file and will mail me my card shortly. I got another temp card to hold me over until then.

So I went down to Bayers Road shopping Centre and walked around for a bit then cycled back. It wasn't busy when I got back and I went right though at first choice. It was $20 tip included. I had been with a regular stylist at head shoppe on a 6 week cycle; but I will be using discount hair care and longer cycles going forward. Torri was fine but prices increased and it had crossed the $30 barrier. So I would rather spend $20 every 8-10 weeks for a good enough haircut instead of $32 every six weeks for a good haircut. I've got some more to say about spending but will save it for a later post.

Then back to Bayers Road SC. I checked out the Canadian blood services but they weren't open until 11. So with more than an hour to fill in I went to stone hearth cafe which I didn't even realize is a restaurant in BRSC. I had a coffee and started on a book. As it happened it was free refill and they had a nice seating area which was pretty much empty when I was there. Towards 11 some more people were coming in and I got going and freed up the table.

I was able to go right through at the blood donor clinic. That is a nice setup they have at bayers road. I'd been meaning to go for a while but didn't quite get around to it. I last went in April. That's not great, donated twice this year (I suppose it's also not terrible). Next year I should try to get back on a more traditional pace of 3-5 donations a year. They have a nice kitchen area there and I got a nice soup, cookies, and chocolate milk from the friendly volunteer after I finished.

After that I walked up to check on the car as it was around noon. As it happened they were just finishing and printing the bill. Good news it came in less than I had budgeted for. That was a surprise. I had been getting an annoying squealing sound at low speed right after startup. The mechanic adjusted the belts and fixed it under warranty as it was related to the work I had done a couple of months back. Plus winter tires on and fresh oil I should be good for the winter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I finished up work for the year Friday. It was busy that last week was in every evening through Thursday. Nothing planned, I just didn't have any reason to take much vacation during the year so it just ended up being used here in December. Still nice to be on break I've done this end of year vacation a number of times over the years.

I joined twitter. Felt like trying it out. It's pretty good so far. No followers though I guess I'm not very popular oh well.

The online purchases have now arrived all in order. Did some Christmas shopping in Dartmouth today. As usual it was a painful experience. Got some stuff and some more to get still here and there. Will hope to hit Bayers Lake tomorrow and then see where it's at. I hate shopping and I hate Christmas shopping. Hopefully will have it all done within a week or so. At least got started a bit earlier and using online helped.

I signed up for Netflix free trial. It's been pretty good so far. Selection is pretty good. There were a couple of searches that missed such as I Am Legend. I've been watching nearly 1 movie a night. I'm not sure if I'll keep it after the one month trial so I should try to use it up. There is a pretty good list of movies I missed over the years that I wouldn't mind seeing.

Although I wonder if Netflix will turn out like Columbia House records. Anyone remember Columbia House? They would send this deal like 12 CDs for 1 penny. Then after that you have to buy 12 more at regular price over the next 2 years from the Columbia House catalogue. The thing is the catalogue is a subset of all the artists and not everyone I liked was signed on. What I found was that it was pretty easy to fill out the initial 12 CDs (especially when converting cassette to CD back then, late 80s era). Then I found it hard to finish off the contract because I had everything I really wanted. So what was left was ok, it just wasn't all that interesting to me. Right now with Netflix it feels like that 12 CDs for a penny because there are so many movies from the past that I missed for whatever reason.

I've been thinking about end of year stuff lately. It's a bit early to write about it, will plan to post something later this month like most years.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

more stupid rules - ski helmets

The most over-regulated people in the world have just had a new rule added. In Nova Scotia ski helmets are now mandatory. Disgraceful! Of course we are embarrassed to be the only jurisdiction in the world with this rule.

Useless NDP. What do you expect? I can only hope the NDP government is one-and-done. We got by for over 250 years in Nova Scotia without the NDP and I hope it is that long before they return to power here.

I turn on the news and first it was some bobblehead saying we can't have the oval sponsored by beer (again the only area in the world with such a rule); then the next day some crap that adults cannot decide for themselves if they should wear a ski helmet. Screw you fascists.

I remember bygone days with the RCMP "the Mounties always get their man". And the 'man' they were pursuing in the past was a dangerous criminal. Today apparently the RCMP priority is now to go up on ski patrol to hand out $250 tickets to honest working law abiding citizens.

That's now the most important thing for the modern police to be focusing on, harassing and criminalizing peaceful law abiding middle class private citizens over ever more ridiculous, arbitrary and intrusive rules.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Yahoo messenger has been hacked

For the last couple of weeks I've been seeing some strange email bounces. Usually on Sundays. It is an email apparently originating from my own Yahoo mail account to a list of about 10 people. The email list is people I interacted with a long time ago so many of the emails are stale and have been bouncing. One of the people on the email list is one of my own email accounts!

It's strange because I don't use Yahoo mail anymore. I set up forwarding to my gmail account and hadn't looked into yahoo mail in quite a while. There has been other strangeness too lately like Google told me one day this week someone had recently logged into my account from Germany. I quickly closed all sessions and changed that password. I've run a full scan on my own computer but the virus scan is not showing any problems.

So today I actually logged into yahoo and after clicking around some this is what I saw

well there's your smoking gun. a bunch of Y! Messenger Auth from all over the world. Starting November 20. I have never used Y! Messenger so that would be the source of the spam emails. I hope Yahoo notices this and fixes it. although I'm not sure. I clicked on the link to the support site and the result is an instant Connection Refused. nice