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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Arrested Development Development

The New York Post reported Tuesday that the Showtime cable network has picked up the cancelled show and ordered 26 more episodes. The news supports recent Internet rumblings about producers hammering out a deal with Showtime execs. Excuse me, I have to call MR F.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tent City 2006

Spring is in the air in Victoria. Bicyclists are knocking pedestrians off of the sidewalk. Geezers are counting flowers to boost the tourist trade. Vendors are polishing their plastic Mounties. What tells me that Spring is imminent? Protestors are practicing their civil disobedience tactics. As we drove by Vancouver & Pandora, we saw a number of slackers in mock handcuffs practicing rolls and maneuvers to free themselves when chained up by police.

These guys are all ready to fight the Power, the Man, the Establishment. Where were they a month ago? They were sitting comfy in their homes afraid of the harsh Victoria “Winter.” It’s amusing that while they hate Order, almost every one of the protestors is on welfare. While welfare pays a pittance, if these guys can’t stand the man, why do they show up for payday?

I saw a bill posted on a telephone pole that called for people to gather at St. Ann’s again on Feb. 26th. Great. This will begin the spiral: these riff-raff and their dogs will overtake and ruin the grounds of a public park. While The Man is the threat, these guys are keeping me out of one of my public spaces. While I should protest the Establishment that organizes emergency services and roadwork; it’s these guys that are leaving spent hypodermics and broken wine bottles on my property. These guys aren’t standing up against injustice: they’re the source of problems. We’re overrun with a false sense of entitlement. People think they have the right to get more out of others. When street people hold their hand out instead of rolling up their sleeves, it comes from the idea that they deserve free money and free food.
Now that docile weather is returning, they are ready to set up camp again at St. Ann’s Academy. They will gather with tarps and dogs and couches; drugs and booze and a mislead sort of rage. Why are they camping at St. Ann’s? Why are they practicing their rights to sleep outdoors there? Close to the downtown core, they are nearby soft touches for handouts. This is why you won’t see them out at Goldstream Park: it’s too hard to get to the liquor store from there. If it’s hard, these new age anarchists won’t do it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

President's Day: Best and Worst of the fictional Presidents

Chowdaheads-It seemed like a good idea at the time: President's Day: Best and Worst of the fictional Presidents

Great piece on the the best and worst presidents. If I can put in my two cents:

Best Presidents:
Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact. Really, he rocked as president. I'd see a movie of his if he played a Home Depot Manager.

Worst Presidents:
EG Marshall and Richard Basehart. I think in the 1970s, they took turns playing presidents in almost all of the movies. They fit the old white guy mold. Or is that mould?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Quick Quiz

Quick Question: How can you tell that the education you obtained is worthless? Quick Answer: you went to a place registered as a private career training institution. I think the California equivalent lists the Hollywood Upstairs Medical College.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Be Unkind To Me Today I Didn't Give Blood Today

I was a little excited to go down today and give blood. My daughter was excited. She wanted to see how all of this worked. I thought I could instill her in that it was painless and easy to give blood. Then by her 17th birthday she would start doing it herself. Unfortuantely, I gave her a lesson in a faulty bureaucracy that took lives a generation ago and is now doing it more passively.
They couldn't take my blood. Was I fresh from a vacation in Haiti with my gay IV-drug-using lover who shared my penchant from British beef spine tartar? Nope. I took a back pill for a sore neck. The stunned nurse didn't know what a back pill was and she phrased her questions like she was helping me better remember what brand of smack I buy. She trucks out to the lobby and comes back with a phone book. I guessed that the generic pills I bought two or three years ago came from London Drugs or Shopper's Drug Mart. She called someone at both (likely not a pharmacist) and asked the question about what was in back pills in such a perplexing way that they couldn't guess what she was asking. Somehow the staff at the blood clinic and two drug stores didn't know that there is such a thing as pills for muscle and back pain relief. Granted, I don't put too much faith in nurses*. So she apologized, said she couldn't take my blood and asked if I come back tomorrow. What? Why? Because a bureacracy without a blockage is like a fireman in an village made of stone. If the pills disqualfied me, why come back on the next day? Who cares if I couldn't give blood every day of the week. As long as I kept showing up, I would be contributing to their workload.
The Canadian blood supply is broken and it will take a crisis like an ebola outbreak or The Big One to expose the catastrophe that we're paying tax dollars to perpetuate.
In the 1980s, the Red Cross chugged away quite nicely. People would give blood, they'd rush it off to the hospitals and all was well. Then came AIDS. The mystery illness turned out to be transmitted by blood and bodily fluids. Eventually a test came about to screen out infected people and infected blood. Eventually, the Red Cross adopted the testing regimen and screened blood for HIV. The problem: the Red Cross took a while to employ the screening. People who took lifesaving blood ended up contracting HIV and some of those people died of AIDS because of the blood doled out by the Red Cross. A few years later, history repeated itself when it was found that blood tainted with hepatitis got through the system and infected recipients. The shake-up meant that the role of blood donation was taken away from the Red Cross and put into the hands of an organization with the sole role of dishing out blood: the Canadian Blood Services. Gone were the anonymous blood drives tht would pop-up here and there. The Canadian Blood Services had established locations. They made appointments for donors to show up and they tried to put order and routine to the process. Along the way, they added bureacracy to protect them from getting their ass bitten again. Have they gone too far? Have they gone far enough? Respectively: yes and no.
They have levels of screening. There is a questionaire. There is a brief inspection by a nurse. Then (presumably) there is testing of the blood.
The questionaire asks if you are an IV drug user, if you have engaged in any high risk activity (like gay sex) or if you've travelled to hotspots for blood borne diseases like the UK (oooohhh, the tea slurping hinterland and home to mad cows). These questions screen out a lot of people (heck, the questions screened me out: when asked if I took any medicine, I answered honestly and now I'm blogging angry). My wife lived in the UK in the late 1980s, so she can't give blood. If you've had diaherra in the two weeks surrounding your blood donation, you're disqualified. What gets me is the questions they fail to ask. Here are some good ones and why they should be automatic failures:
Do you work as a custodian or janitor? Janitors have to clean bathroom. Urine, feces and used feminine products are ideal transmission mediums for hepatitis, e coli and HIV respectively.
Do you work in law enforcement? Show me a cop who hasn't had to dodge junkie spit or bleed and I'll show you the Easter Bunny.
Do you work in the health industry? When AIDS emerged, the order of people who contracted it was something like this: 1) gay men, 2)hemophiliacs and 3)health care workers. Health workers are more protected but just as exposed to HIV. This question will never make it onto the questionaire, because the questionaire is written by health care workers.
Have you had non-vaginal sex since 1977? With all of the teens becoming friends-with-benefits then becoming blood donors, they're a way higher risk group than anyone referenced on the questionaire.
Have you had any liquor in the last day? If I'm three sheets to the wind and my donation is 0.9% vodka, wouldn't that have an effect on someone in dire need of blood?
Have you eaten beef products from the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada or the US? The questionaire targets people who lived in the UK in the period when Mad Cow could have made it through the food chain and onto the dinner table. Many other countries have had cases of Mad Cow disease and leaving them off is irresponsible.
Have you accepted food for sex? They ask if you've accepted drugs or money for sex. If you're really desperate, you'll put out for a burger. Heck, when I was poor and single that would have been killing two birds with one stone.
Then comes the brief inspection by a nurse. She checks your arms for needle marks. Maybe my neighbourhood only gets all of the non-altruistic junkie; the giving ones are giving blood when they're not stoned. Any junkie who doesn't want to get caught will shoot up between their toes.
You are asked if you are who you say you are. You have to produce other ID. What is there some scam I am missing here? Is someone repeatedly donating free bad blood and making a lot of money at it? Who came up with this protocol? Americans? That would make sense. In the US you can sell your blood, but not your kidney. How messed up is that? The nurse quizzes you on your answers. Then you jump that hurdle and give them your paperwork. This includes two little stickers. One basicially says, "use my blood" and one says, "don't use my blood." What the hell is that all about? You jump through all of the hurdles. You sit there and they bleed you a pint of your life's blood. Then you pop on the thumbs-down sticker and after all of this, they toss your blood. Why? Well, if you've lied on your questionaire and fooled the nurse and wasted everyone's time, you can still have a chance to do the right thing. What a stupid mechanism. I can understand how you get this far. The questionaire has so many arbitrary questions that if you second-guess the questionaire and still want to give blood you can back out.
Presumably there is the testing of the blood. Given all this pre-screening, I have a concern that they spot check the blood and test only some donations. Given the questions they fail to ask, they had better check every last packet.
The oughts are the decade of CYA. Rather than do your job right, people are insulating themselves in a protective padding of paperwork. Rather than preemptively refuse most people before they give blood, they have all of this busy work. It's like confiscating nail clippers to combat global terrorism. People can stockpile their own blood-- but they've made that so difficult that its impractical. If you showed up to tap off some of your own blood just-in-case that would be a slam dunk for screening (you can't give yourself AIDS) but that would leave a lot of Canadian Blood Services dweebs with nothing to do but manage people's private accounts of blood. Really: this service is there to provide for the sick and injured. The injured often put themselves in harms way. They so little forethought about their well being, they're not about to give blood even if it is too keep themselves alive.
I know two people who also give blood. Of all of my friends and associates: two. Between the three of us one time donors, none of us give blood anymore. For me, the frustration factor did me in. The frustration factor may be so pernicious that its why so few people give blood. So what happens after the supply perpetually falls short of the demand?

* My favorite nurse story: a patient came out of post-op with an IV drip of saline. It was supposed to dispense saline throughout eight hours; she screwed it up and it chugged in a litre of saline in less than 30 minutes. She kept it a secret from everyone but her fellow nurses and defended herself with, "Fine. Tell someone and I'll get in trouble." When you're in a hospital you're in a kill zone between doctors, nurses and your illness.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Resistance is Boxed

Coming this March for geeks everywhere. The 14 DVD Borg Fan Collective. The price? According to the report, $42.99. Wow. Star Trek is so good at sticking it to the fans (e.g. $175 for a season of Voyager? C'mon, when I see it on TV, I phone the cable company to get some money back) this is a surprising sticker price.

Here's a rundown of what is on the set:

  1. ST:ENT's "Regeneration"
  2. ST:TNG's "Q Who?"
  3. ST:TNG's "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I"
  4. ST:TNG's "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II"
  5. ST:TNG's "I Borg"
  6. ST:TNG's "Descent, Part I"
  7. ST:TNG's "Descent, Part II"
  8. ST:VOY's "Scorpion, Part I"
  9. ST:VOY's "Scorpion, Part II"
  10. ST:VOY's "Drone"
  11. ST:VOY's "Dark Frontier" (double-length)
  12. ST:VOY's "Unimatrix Zero, Part I"
  13. ST:VOY's "Unimatrix Zero, Part II"
  14. ST:VOY's "Endgame" (double-length)
Here's the link to the write up.

tags: Star Trek, Borg, DVD, 7-of-9

Is Pedestrian Target Practice Under Threat?

The City of Victoria is going to look at the situation and blow $30,000 on a study of how to improve bus stops and sidewalks. Here's one way:
GET THE MOTOR VEHICLES OFF OF THE SIDEWALK. (yes, I know that counts as a shout to geeks). How could I tell that the weather was improving in Victoria? Simple. The number of idiotic bicyclists on the sidewalk. They have this artificial sense of entitlement that they can bicycle up and down the sidewalks. They ring their bells. They bleat out plaintiff, "excuse me" and "on your right". Fuck off. Under the Motor Vehicle Act, bicycles have one place: on the roads. The problem is the bike mafia. It's environmentally conscious to bike instead of drive. So, if you fault them you're to blame for global warming. Government workers can reek to high heaven without rebuke, so there is no disincentive to bike to work them plunking yourself at your desk. The Tour De Rock was peopled by a bunch of police officers who bicycled around Vancouver Island. When a bicyclist with a gun drives by in a police cruiser, they have a bias to ignoring that cyclist pelting through pedestrians-- some aging, some toddlers, some physically disabled so they cannot drive or bicycle themselves. This isn't about the police. When they have made an effort to ticket offenders, they got heckled by the media who thought there was more important work to do. I say that the City of Victoria police were on target when they focussed on bicyclists. I have had my car broken into twice in 18 years. I have to dodge bicyclists daily. My wife and I have both been hit by bicyclists while walking on the sidewalk and in both instances, they were hit-and-runs. When one person breaks the law, they're a criminal. When 100,000 break the law, they're a citizen. Forget the popularity of bicycling. Forget the environmental aspect. We license and punish bad drivers. We need to punish bad bicyclists.
What amazes me is that John Luton, formerly of the Victoria Cycling Coalition is now executive director of Capital Bike and Walk. In a city where bicylists bully pedestrians out of the way, melding Bike and Walk advocates together is like the KKK co-opting the NAACP. The organizations that he has been a part of do nothing to promote or enforce bicyclist responsibility. They push for cycling safety, more bike lanes and an increased presence of bikes in the regions. When challenged, they say, "Oh, there are a few bad actors in every bunch." C'mon John: step up and hand out pamphlets to the bicyclists as they jet across the wooden planks of the Johnson Street bridge walkway. Inform them that they are breaking the law. No. No, that's not what Bike and Walk is all about. Besides, if you piss off bicyclists you lose traction. If you lose traction, you lose grant money. If you lose grant money, you have to work for a living.
In that council meeting, the likes of C. Joe Richards brought up this issue. And City Hall has anted up $30,000 for the production of an Engineering report: Sidewalk Policies and Standards. If this is anything like the City of Victoria traffic crippling of Douglas Street, you can expect more pedestrian fatalities.

Of course, this is certainly not by first rant on bicycling: Click here

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Saturday Afternoon Windstorm

We avoided the windstorm by driving to Nanaimo. When he came back, it was in full swing. We went to Dallas Road to check it out. Poor 52lb. Alice is still airborne.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Groundhog Day!

In honor of Groundhog Day: here is the bit from the movie of the same name (I did this from memory as the bit appears 10x in the film and I've seen the film 30 times-- you do the math. Next week, I'll post the whole audio track of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, also from memory).

(Music: "I got You Babe" fades)
: OK Campers. Rise and Shine and don't forget your Booties 'Cause It's Cold Out
HR : Cold Out? What is this? Miami?
: Not Hardly. And you know you can expect hazardous travel later in the day from that blizzard.
: Blizzard thing. Blizzard thing. Oh, here's the report from the national weather is calling for a big blizzard thing.
BDM : It'll be especially cold. There's another reason why today is especial --
HR : Especially Cold?
: Especially cold, right. The big question on everyone's lips-- HR : Chapped lips
BDM : Chapped lips. Do you Phil think is gonna come out see his shadow? HR : Puxatawny Phil.
BDM : That's right woodchuck chuckers!
Both: It's Groundhog Day!

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