PSA of the Day

PSA of the Day: People, listen up, you cannot, I repeat CANNOT, give more than 100%! 100% is a whole, it is complete and is the most you can give. It does not matter if you are a hockey player or a star on DWTS – 100% is it! Thank you for your attention.

John van Dongen

Our Solicitor General, with responsibility for ICBC and the Motor Vehicle Branch has had his drivers license suspended for excessive speeding. Apparently, the Minister is in a big rush to get to places. I am not going to go on about how inappropriate his driving habits are or that he could have killed someone, even though all of that is true. I could also talk about the lack of morality in the BC Liberal Party (although the same could be said for the NDP). How can we expect more from a political party whose leader has been charged with impaired driving. In fact, Gordon Campbell showed his true colours when he commented that no one could run for political office in this province if they have never had a speeding ticket. Well, Gordon, I have news for you I have never had a speeding ticket in over 20 years of driving. Sadly though I am not available to run for election in your right-wing party.

Instead what I would like to address is the importance of an independent civil service. John van Dongen had responsibility for the Motor Vehicle Branch. In essence, when the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles suspended his license he took away his political boss’s license to drive. This illustrates the importance of having an impartial civil service who work at arm’s length from their political masters.

For those of you who have never been a bureaucrat you likely find decisions made at ICBC, CRA, welfare, MCFD etc to be beyond comprehension. Many times they do not seem to be logical or make common sense. What many people do not understand are the machinations that go on behind the scenes. Politicians make laws. These laws are then translated into policy for civil servants to administer. I would use the example of welfare benefits as I worked there for several years. All of our authority to issue money to clients came from legislation and policy which set out strict eligibility criteria. If someone did not meet these criteria they were not eligible for assistance and I could not issue funds because there was no legal authority to do so. It works the same way in other branches of government.

Now, back to John van Dongen. Even though he is the Cabinet Minister responsible for this area of government he was not above the law. Basically there is a piece of legislation that spells out a consequence for too many excessive speeding tickets in a certain amount of time. The civil service worked well in this case. The officers who pulled him over gave him tickets and the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles applied the correct consequences to the situation. Even though our political leaders in this province are of questionable moral fibre, at least the civil service seems to be working.

Plastic Buttons

Ok, so apparently plastic buttons can break. Who knew? Well apparently Craig over at ‘Our Green Year‘ knew. Deb will get right on chopping down a tree and whittling herself a new button. Maybe she could just use one of the bigger pieces of hog fuel in the yard. I just hope she has all digits intact once she is done.

One more reason to love Gmail!

I have been madly looking for a file on my computer. It was one I did at home but I thought for sure it had been saved on the memory stick. Well, alas, it did not make it to the stick. So, after off and on searching for 2 days, it came to me that I had emailed it to someone because I needed their contribution. I searched Gmail for this person and sure enough, there was my file saving me hours of re-creating it.

Probably if I had not had a critical incident today I would have focused and not found it until after I went looking for the information I had needed in the first place. Then I would have been *head*desk*head*desk*.

Have I said it lately that I love Gmail?

However I have noticed a glitch in google chrome – it does not display html tools in WordPress. I wonder if they know…

“Today” – is the day!!!

Deb jokes that there are only 2 days a year where I am happy with the weather. Today is one of those days. This morning it was a very pleasant 15 degrees celcius in Maple Ridge. It was warm enough to drive with my big sunroof open all the way to work. It was neither too hot nor too cold and the sun was just right! Sigh…

Phrases I am tired of hearing

The following are making me mental:

1. Global Financial Crisis – seriously, the more they talk about it the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
2. The ‘wildly successful social networking site Facebook.’ We all know it is there, we all know it is successful now can they please shut about it.
3. The ‘wildly successful social networking site Twitter.’ Again, we all know it is there and it is successful. Just because Ashton Kutcher got a million followers and then mentioned something about mosquito nets does not make him a hero.
4. Still on twitter – for all you newbies on twitter when one posts it is a tweet. You don’t post a twitter.
5. Go Canucks Go. Enough said.
6. Anything to do with the BC Provincial Election. They should all just shut up. Better yet, none of them who have been in power for the last 20 years should be able to run again. We have Raymond Lam posting pictures on himself in his ‘tighty whiteys’ while others are pulling on them and he has to step down. But the Premier of the province can be arrested for drunk driving in another country and still get re-elected. There is something wrong here.

That’s the list for today!

SAINTS Documentary Tonight

The SAINTS documentary will air tonight on CBC on the National. Please tune in if you can and if you love animals please consider making a donation.

SAINTS is an end of life sanctuary for senior and special needs animals. SAINTS provides a real home environment for the dogs and cats. There are also farm and barnyard animals.

This time of year is very hard for SAINTS as it is before the major fundraisers.

We have had severals SAINTS grace our home: Mabel-Mae, Molly, Tucker and now little Gemma Joy (post to come soon).

Tech Stuff

I am constantly amazed at how my life is enhanced by computer addiction. I love my computer – we are one. Think of the borg and you will get it. So, I thought I would share what things, tech-wise, I am really digging these days:

1. Facebook – I am not a big fan of the remake of facebook yet again. However, I love how much more interactive it has become. Commenting on friends’ status updates and having long conversations going has become the highlight of my day. I am spending way more time on facebook then I ever did before. I especially like seeing the little red notifications number in the double-digits. I know, I have no life.
2. Google Chrome – after reading several articles on Mashable about Google Chrome I decided to make the switch. Mostly I was getting annoyed at how slow Firefox seemed to have become. I am opening up the same number of tabs in Chrome yet it loads in about a quarter of the time. There are other features I really like as well. You can re-order the tabs1/. When you open and close tabs in Chrome, it automatically re-sizes them to take up about the same amount of space. I like that the bookmarks menu is right under the new tab icon – very good design feature. When you open a new tab, thumbnails of sites you have been to recently are there and you can select them. Oh, and I love that you can search in the address bar. I had become so tired of opening another tab to get to search. I am not one to embrace change when it comes to computer programs2. In fact, the only reason I switched to Firefox was because I did not want to leave myself open to viruses.
3. Gmail – I continue to love Gmail. I have even converted my mother to Gmail because she has 2 houses and she could never figure out where her emails were. She wanted one email in Radium and the other in Calgary. She was making me crazy. I kept explaining what the problem was and she finally got it. Now, the big test will be whether she will figure out how to access her Gmail in Tuscany! I love the labs feature in Gmail and enjoy trying new things out.
4. Google Calendar – I love google calendar. I have now managed to sync my 2 google calendars (home and work) with my blackberry seamlessly. I make a change now and it propagates through the system in about an hour. I also love the ‘desktop’ calendar that you can use on the Windows or Google sidebar.
5. Google Reader – still in love with Google Reader. What more is there to say?
6. Yet another google product – Picasa. I love how all the photos in my computer are organized and easily viewable. I came across some photos yesterday that I had not seen in a while. Picasa saves you the hassle of going through all the folders. Plus you can tag and caption them. I am sure there are more features and I intend to explore them.
7. iTunes DJ – I have been using this feature a lot lately. Basically what it does is cue up music for you to listen to in a random fashion. I am horrible for buying music, only listening to a couple of songs and ignoring the rest. Sometimes I am just not in a mood to appreciate new music. This feature allows me to discover ‘new’ songs I had missed.

1Which in my OCD world is very important. I like to have everything in the same order all the time. There were times I would actually shut down Firefox only to re-open it so the tabs were in the correct order. Now, with Google Chrome, if I accidentally close a tab I can re-open it and put it where I want it.
2I am still highly annoyed about MS Office 2007 and it has been out for 2 years. Way too much change there!

Greenwash – Part 3

I neglected yesterday to address Day 340 of the “Our Green Year” blog. This entry needs to singled out as a clusterfuck of all that is wrong with this blog. This blog post focuses on using natural remedies for some very serious medical conditions and problems. Even though Craig assures us that he and Layla are not doctors they feel no hesitation in recommending ‘natural’ cures to their readers.

So, let’s begin with the advice dispensing:

If you are feeling down, instead of taking anti-depressants, you can put a couple of drops of lavender oil on your temples. This can temporarily relieve anxieties and help calm you. Having lavender smells in your home or office will also help.

First of all, doctors do not prescribe anti-depressants for those ‘feeling a little bit down.’ Instead they are far more likely to suggest counseling, self-care and making some changes in one’s life to improve mood.1 If someone has severe enough depression that it requires anti-depressants then a little lavender oil on the temples is not going to help. Clearly neither Craig nor Layla or anyone close to them has suffered from depression or they would not write such drivel. As someone who has recently joined the ‘anti-depressant’ club as a result of chronic illness and anxiety I have to say that a little lavender oil would not have done anything for me. I only went on the anti-depressants when my anxiety and depression were almost debilitating. If counseling, self-care and making changes in my life didn’t work why would lavender oil? Moreover, the insinuation that people who are ‘a little bit down’ would take antidepressants is insulting. Mental health is a very complex and serious issue and not one to be taken lightly. Quite frankly, I was insulted by this post and I am sure many others were as well.

Continuing with the ‘mood’ theme:

Another tip for your mood is to buy 100 percent natural flower essences. What are those? Well they are flowers you grow outside with nothing but water and the sun. Flowers are a great way to add nice aromas and balance your mood.

Now everyone likes to get flowers. They smell nice and looking at them may make you feel a little happier especially if they come from someone special. I am at a loss as to what they could do for one’s mood pharmacologically speaking.

This one is great:

If you are having troubles with high blood pressure, try some nice herbal teas or use some dandelion tea.

I think if you have high blood pressure you need to be making dietary and exercise changes and taking medication if it is recommended by your doctor. I am not sure which herbal teas he would be referring to but I think if you drank any tea that had any affect on your blood pressure and you were taking medication, you may lower it to dangerous levels. This piece of advise is dangerous. Please, consult your doctor before you take any herbal remedies to deal with high blood pressure.

More condescension in this little exercept:

If you have trouble with diabetes, asthma or any number of conditions, you can contact a herbalist and see what options are available to you. Make sure you choose someone who has credentials and training with herbs and you should be able to get some very beneficial herbs.

I am sorry but people don’t ‘have trouble with asthma or diabetes’ they have them. End of conversation. Quite frankly as one who has asthma I would not give up my inhalers for any herbal remedy. If I am having an asthma attack I need to fix it, now! People with diabetes risk losing limbs, their sight and kidney function if their disease is not managed. I am not sure what a ‘herbalist’ can do for these conditions but I would bet they are far better treated by a medical doctor.

Craig ends this post stating:

So, unless it is a severe medical issue that only a doctor can help with, we will be using natural remedies for minor things like colds, flus, aches, pains, headaches and more.

Given that he has addressed severe medical issues like depression, diabetes and high blood pressure as diseases that can be treated with natural remedies I wonder what he would consider a serious disease?

1 I am also pretty sure they are not going to recommend lavender oil. Just my thoughts but hey, I am not a doctor.