Driving Pet Peeve – the signal light edition

Signal lights are one of the best ways to communicate while driving. Everyone is taught that signaling prior to a lane change or turning is not only mandatory but necessary so that others know what you want to do. Anyone driving in the lower mainland will realize that many drivers believe signaling to be optional.

Then there is another kind of driver – the ones who forget to turn them off. Today for instance I was stuck behind some jerk on the highway with his/her left signal light on. We were in the right-hand lane so people in the middle lane were unsure what this vehicle was going to do. I was fairly sure he was going to do absolutely nothing because I had been behind him/her for a long time. The other cars would pull up, wait and see if the car was going to move and then go by quickly. It was a very annoying commute to say the least.

Our Yard

I was outside to cook steaks on the bbq, which for most people, is a pleasurable experience. Not at our house. As soon as I opened the sliding door and went outside the neighbour’s dog started to bark and he continued to bark the entire time I was out there. This is a common occurrence. It doesn’t matter if we go out the front or the back that dog is barking. It does not matter if the people are home or not he barks constantly.

Dogs are social creatures and need to be part of the family. If they are not or if they are isolated for long periods of time they develop undesirable behaviours. In the case of the dog next door he is left outside while the rest of the family is inside. Separation anxiety is another problem dogs can develop. The real issue going on in the house beside us is the fact that no one can control that dog. There is no ‘alpha’ so he is on constant patrol with the intention of keeping his family safe even if they don’t see him in the same way.

People get dogs for many reasons. In the case of our neighbours it seems that their reason was to get a guard dog. They fail to understand that dogs need far more than food, water and a little attention. This is why no one should get a dog without fully understanding the commitment.

Dogs need a stable home. They need to have a place in the family and they need to know their place. Like any person or child a dog needs boundaries and rules. In our house all the dogs are a part of the family. We are the alphas and they all know it. Our dogs are pretty spoiled but there are some rules. The number one rule is no aggression. They all know that any aggression will get them yelled at pretty quickly. We have scared more than one house guest by the synchronized yelling of the alphas of the house. Action is quick and swift and if the yelling doesn’t work to stop it the instigators will be isolated until they calm down. Right now there is not much aggression in our house.

The other major rule at Chez Shihtzustaff is no barking. Our dogs have never been allowed to bark outside. We do this for a couple of reasons. We have always been over the limit in whichever municipality we live in so we try to make sure that we don’t piss off the neighbours. Plus we know what it is like to listen to a dog barking ad nauseum. All of the dogs know that if they bark they will be brought in.

The only other real ‘rule’ is that those who can be toilet-trained are expected to do their business outside. We work really hard to toilet train everyone using positive reinforcement. If we catch them in the act so to speak they are put outside otherwise we just clean it up.

The other thing we try to do, especially with puppies and rescued dogs, is to set them up for success. For anxious dogs this means crating them when they are alone so they feel safe and contained. We put them out to pee a lot and celebrate every success with a treat and a party.

I really hope that things get better for the dog next door. I wish that people understood dogs as very sensitive beings who desperately need to be part of the family or the pack. Perhaps we should force people to get a license before they can have a dog.

Pet Peeve: the Printer Edition

I went today to get a new cartridge for our printer at work and learned some interesting facts about laser printer cartridges. You would think that your printer will continue to print until such time as it runs out toner. We all know the trick of shaking the cartridge to get more prints from it. We were all wrong.

I took an empty cartridge in to get re-filled today. Apparently it was not empty. I asked why it would not print anymore. I was told that there is a chip in the cartridge that limits the number of prints at 5% coverage. So if you have a black cartridge, particularly in a colour printer, with a page limit, there could be toner, a lot of toner, still left in the cartridge. How freaking annoying! What a complete and utter rip off. According to the refill guy I talked to all of the companies do this to some extent.

I find this offensive personally. I feel as though we are not getting the full use of a product for which we pay. A product I might add, that is quite expensive. To add insult to injury the initial cartridge that ships with your printer is designed to only print ½ as many sheets as the replacement cartridge! One company I was told only allows the first cartridge to print ⅓ of the amount.

The cost aside, this cannot be good for the environment. Not everyone recycles or refills their cartridges. So we are, no doubt, filling our landfills with partially used cartridges.I think the only we can mitigate this cartridge planned obsolescence is to refill and recycle them whenever possible. It also really makes no sense to print on draft-quality because the page is going to count whether it uses toner at full strength to cover at 5% or printing it normally. The bottom line is you are not going to get more copies out of your cartridge beyond what they say.

Horrid Driver

I was behind the most horrible driver I have seen in a long time. The guy was driving a Volvo. For the 20 minutes I was behind him, both on some back country roads and the MaryHill Bypass he was atrocious! Here is a list of what I observed

1. Buddy could not stay in his lane on the back roads: He went on to the shoulder, then across the yellow line. This happened about 6 times.

2. We got on to the Pitt River Bridge he went incredibly slow in the right hand lane. As soon as we got off the bridge, he passed me and came into my lane without signaling.

3. He then made 6 or 7 more lane changes without signaling!

4. On some of his lane changes he would speed up to pass someone and then slow down once he changed lanes. These kind of people cause accidents!

I think we should have a bad driver hot line where other drivers can report them.


If you enjoy a good rant, read on:

  • Paralympics – I was really looking forward to the Paralympics. I had hoped that at least the media would be paying some attention. It seems like the ‘official broadcaster’ can barely be bothered with the event. I missed the Open Ceremonies on Friday because I was at a Visioning* meeting for work. I found out the event was being re-broadcast yesterday. We were watching it and at exactly 2 hours it cut off. The ceremony was not over. The cauldron in the stadium was barely lit what a piss off. Then I looked for the coverage on CTV and there was not very much. I think this is an insult to the athletes of the Paralympics. They deserve celebration every bit as much as the Olympians do. In fact, they have probably worked harder than any athletes as they had great hurdles to overcome. I think this would have been a great opportunity to extend the Olympic party to everyone.
  • Our neighbours. Let me state it unequivocally – I hate our fucking neighbours. They leave their German Shepard dog out for most of the day and evening where he barks almost non-stop. We cannot let our dogs out for any length of time because we cannot take the noise. They however are oblivious. They now have their front yard fenced. So as soon as it is not raining they are sitting out front with the dogs. They also have 2 dachshunds living there. They can’t control them either. The three dogs barked constantly this morning. The incessant barking and the yelling was what woke me up. I sleep with ear plugs and it is still that loud. We have chronic illnesses where fatigue is a huge issue. We need to sleep. It is even more important when the time springs forward because we lose an hour. I really don’t understand why they think it is ok to let their dogs bark.
  • My mother and my sister. I was talking to my mother who wanted to tell me about her shopping experience with my sister today. She tells me about the stores they went to blah, blah, blah. Then she says that my sister was annoyed with the whole event. I ask her why and she tells me it is because my mother is now smaller than my sister and apparently this pisses my sister off. My mother has been obsessed with her weight her entire life. She was usually a size 18-20. I used to joke that she had lost the same 40 pounds 57 times. This is not an exaggeration. Needless to say she passed her weight obsession to her daughters. I do better when I am not around her and her obsessive relationship with food and weight. When my dad died in 2004, my mother basically stopped eating. She is 5’7″ and the last time I saw her she looked rail thin to me. I can only imagine how she looks now. I get so tired with our cultural obsession around weight and women’s clothing sizes. It all makes me very tired.

*Visioning work – is led by a facilitator and the group identifies common values, comes up with a visioning question about the organization and then you work towards answering it. Great process. I can’t wait for stage 2 where we will write the strategic plan.

Pet Peeve

One of my biggest pet peeves are people who forget to turn off their signal lights as they drive down the highway. I got stuck behind a car all the way from United Blvd to Grandview with some yahoo with their left signal light flashing. It makes me mental. Finally, they turned it off and made a lane change, and, you guessed it, to the left.

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.

Pet Peeves: Smokers

I have a confession to make – I am a reformed smoker. I had my first cigarette at age 8 and by age 12 I was addicted. I then launched a pack a day habit for about 12 years. I finally quit April 21, 1991 at 10 pm.

Now there are those pure non-smokers, who have never had a puff, who probably don’t think I have a right to complain but I don’t care. I am sick to death of smokers. I am tired of seeing them drop their butts carelessly on the street. In the summer, those who flick them out of their windows while driving deserve a special place in hell as far as I am concerned.

I hate walking by people smoking on the street. I am now allergic to smoke and it can set off a headache. I really, truly cannot stand the smell of cigarette smoke.

Just needed to vent…

Pet Peeves: Not so Christian?

Some people really bother me. I was at our local, relatively healthy meat store picking up a chicken and ordering our Christmas turkey at Hopcott Premium Meats and just I was leaving there was this guy with a monster-sized crucifix on, in his late 60s I would say dragging on a cigarette. I think he must have been lost as he was accosting people going in and out for directions. Being the good lesbian that I am I have an aversion to large crucifixes as I am never sure what they intend to do with them. At one point, he was bothering yet another person and he throws his cigarette on the ground. He is too lazy to pick up the butt let alone stomp it out. I was disgusted. Then, as I leave the parking lot, I see his huge monster truck, blocking traffic in the parking lot and still running. Some people take up a lot of room in this world and it is really not ok. I hope he is still lost.

Pet Peeves: Sarah McLachlan

So, news flash, Sarah McLachlan has put out yet another compilation re-hash of old material. Her latest disc, Closer, boasts 2 new tracks. I don’t know about the rest of you but I am tired of being worked by the Sarah McLachlan machine. She has 18 discs out yet only 5, a mere 27%, are completely new material. We have had at least 2 discs of “B-sides and Rarities”* there have been discs of re-makes, live albums, Lilith Fair etc. This latest ‘album’ is a serious slap in the face to her fans. She expects us to pony up another $10-$15 for music we already have just so we can get 2 new songs? Are we that desperate? Apparently, Sarah McLachlan is banking on it. She is also hoping that we going to be so titillated by her new single status that we will be scanning her new song lyrics for any hint of personal information. Well, I have to say that I am completely done buying Sarah McLachlan’s music. It all sounds the same, because it is the same stuff hashed over and over and over again.

*Sarah McLachlan’s career has mostly spanned the post-45 record era. There are no B-sides to cds.