13.10.09

Keep Broadband Competitive

These are not my own words, but the words of a friend of mine (Solstice_sings on LiveJournal). He has put things much more eloquently than I would have, and I feel the need to spread the word:



Unless you make your voice heard, a CRTC decision sets the stage for rapid increases
in prices for your telecommunications and broadband services. You can reverse this
decision, and making your voice heard takes only 30 seconds.

http://www.competitivebroadband.com

Very rarely do I feel strongly about an issue to send it to every single person I know. I really don't like spam in my inbox more than anything. But the truth is, unless people do something about this and lend their support to the campaign, the Internet in Canada will become a lot more expensive.

Simple fact is, the CRTC has recently ruled that Bell can force small ISPs to cap their internet at 60gb per customer, or they can levy a per-gigabyte cost. If Bell's infrastructure had been built on their own funds, this might NOT be an issue, but Canada's phone and internet systems were publically subsidized with tax money. This amounts to a private company imposing a tariff on all other companies using publically-funded phone lines and infrastructure, while THEY don't have to pay the same.

The only competitive advantage that small companies like Acanac, TekSavvy and MTS Allstream have right now is their ability to offer their internet at cheaper prices. As soon as they're forced to charge with UBB (usage-based billing) at the the same or higher rates as Bell and Rogers, they lose any chance of competing, as these two companies will temporarily lower their rates until the others are out of business, then jack up prices to astronomical levels.

It's actually already happening in BC for television. A local, smaller company
called Novus was recently granted the ability to sell television to 225 high-rise condo and apartment complexes. The local big-money competitor is offering their services at a price that is far below cost or anything that Novus could afford. What do you want to bet that as soon as Novus is out of business, Shaw will increase prices even higher than they were before. And this may even be on a private
network, not public infrastructure like DSL was built on.

http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2009/08/24/novus-shaw-television-predatory.html

What do you think Bell will do when THEIR competition is destroyed by the
foolishness of the CRTC?

Please, send this to the people you know. Do you really want a future where our internet is more expensive, lower quality, and with less choice than some 3rd world countries? Do you really want a future for the internet in Canada where doing something as simple as streaming a movie trailer or sending a family video of a child's first steps has to be weighed and measured as 'too expensive'?

11.9.09

Trombone Hate

So I am having a serious hate-on for life and my program and my professors right now. I don't really have any justification to be so enraged, because they are doing things by the system that they set out in the beginning, even if they consistently ignore it in every other case. (Even partially in this case.)

Here's the story:

I had my placement audition yesterday, and I was gunning for an orchestra placement. I had worked really hard to outplay those that I had to outplay, and to be generally competent. I was expecting that the guy who is a year ahead of me would get it, as he is hands-down a better player than me. Beth, the second player from last year, and I are on pretty level ground as far as playing ability goes, but I figured if I worked at it I could do better than her. I expected Brendan to be considered for bass trombone, because he is better than me at it. I accept that fact, but I thought I could maybe at least outdo him and get placed on bass. Earlier in the day I was talking to Brendan and he told me that he was not taking lessons. I was really surprised, knowing that he is a very good player. It turns out that he failed out of the program and is now an undeclared arts major. This made me incredibly happy, though I felt really cruel for it. Never in my life have I even heard of someone not in the music program being placed in the orchestra. It just doesn't happen. Ever. This got my hopes really high, and I was elated for the rest of the day. Until the auditions finished, of course. Heaven forbid I should actually get something that I had my hopes up for. The trombone prof came out of the audition room and talked a bit and proceeded to name off the people in the various ensembles. He numbered them off and pointed. "One..." He pointed to Tyler, like I expected. "Two..." He pointed to Beth. Oh well. There's always bass. "Three..." He looked around at the group assembled, hesitated for a minute, and Tyler said "Brandon left." It was at this point that I turned around and walked away.

Am I wrong for thinking that it is not right for a person in second year who failed out of their program to be given one of the three most coveted spaces in the ensembles, while someone who has worked their ass off to not fail out for three entrire years gets shafted to work with the newbies? I don't think I am.

18.6.09

Updates?

So here I am, still alive and still blog posting, if rarely. I guess I could give an update on my summer, as if everyone doesn't already know. I'm working at Swiss Chalet in the pantry, (and the joke about tossing salads all day stopped being funny a LONG time ago,) and still living with the same people plus Bryan. Living with Bryan is pretty wonderful, to be honest. I was worried that we wouldn't handle it well, but he and I have been handling it famously. He doesn't deal well with the roommates, but that is a temporary thing, and as long as he doesn't go berserk and try to break up because of the people that we live with, we should be able to move past the silly struggles that we have currently. (Which are few and far between, admittedly.) I have a few things that I need to work on in regards to the relationship, and he has his few at the same time. As that may imply, we have had a couple of good talks and sorted out the roots of our troubles and are working hard to get past them. Things are looking hopeful currently. (From my side of things at least.)

I am currently in the market for a second job, but I have not got my hopes up on that front. I am barely managing to afford my life currently, as I am only working part time really, and the income is not good enough to support me. Hopefully OSAP will be enough to live on for the school year, along with whatever I make at the Swiss. (Which will be minimal.)

I went back over that and realize that I really need to think as I'm writing about being coherent. I am sort of just doing a stream of consciousness kind of thing currently, and it comes out really babbly and not making a lot of sense. Here is me trying to make sense. Ready?

Life has been a bit of a struggle lately, between money troubles and relationship stresses, but I am working my way through both of those, and surviving. To be honest, that really sums up everything that I just said, in a nutshell. Oh well. I'll try and keep everyone posted when things actually happen in my life, which they almost never do.

20.2.09

Cuba 7

Leaving tomorrow. Not getting back to Waterloo until Sunday, but one step at a time. Today was another day at the beach. I am staying out of the water tomorrow if I can. Piercings are not agreeing with the salt water, nor is my skin, though it certainly not as bad as it has been. My shins are getting better though. I plan to sleep a lot tomorrow so that I don't have to spend my whole day waiting to leave.

Very little exciting happened today. Beach, food, the show. (Which was pretty good, even if it was just fast ballet danced to Latin music.)

I am not excited for all the shit I have to do when I get back. It will seriously impede my making up for lost hang-outs.

19.2.09

Cuba 6

Three more sleeps 'til Waterloo. We leave the day after tomorrow. Not sure how I feel about that. I'm not bored with this place yet, so I will be a little sad to leave it, but I feel like when Saturday night rolls around I will be ready to go. There are only so many days in a row you can spend in agony (I'm exaggerating) on the beach and then read for the afternoon. I suspect that will be my next couple of days, as it was my day today. It was nice to just sit and read for a while. Alone time is important when I am spending time with my family. (I guess it's important always.)

I kind of wonder, after seeing and hearing about how these people live, if the people who work at the the resort don't resent the guests. I know that, in their position, almost anyone from our culture would hate everyone that they served. I guess there is just a completely different mindset here. Either that or they are just really good fakers.

I am finally getting a bit of a tan, now that my burns are fading a bit. I will get a bit of sun tomorrow, stay inside for the afternoon and hopefully my burns will be okay by Saturday so that I can actually get a bit of sun. I will also have some braids, which is kind of exciting. I'll have something to show for the trip, I guess, because I certainly won't have a tan.

I am kind of excited to go home with gifts. They are silly and cute and people may like them. I will find some random coral or shells or something tomorrow too. I am still debating whether or not I want to keep the banana knife, but I bought it as a gift. Hopefully the recipient will think it is as neat as I do.

18.2.09

Cuba 5

I have been waiting for this day. My skin is killing me, I am all sticky from being covered in aloe vera, and I have sunburns in ridiculous places. (The fronts of my shins and the tops of my feet, for example.) I am in a pretty substantial amount of pain. Looks like it is going to be a tame day at the beach tomorrow.

So all this is because of the ride on the catamaran today and sitting out on the nets like an idiot instead of under the canopy with the sane people. But, despite some mild skin-melting, today was pretty spectacular. Left first thing in the morning for the catamaran, which went for about 40 minutes to an awesome (living) reef, where we snorkelled for about an hour. Some pretty exciting fish and some awesome coral. After that, more boat ride to the place with the dolphins, which we swam with. Pretty neat. Dolphins might be one of the cutest animals ever. Dolphin kisses for all. It was very cute. Lots of good pictures. It was, to be honest, a little hokey though. I can deal with that. Then back to the resort and wasting time and all that. I came in because I was really sleepy, but I really wanted to call home while I was sitting by myself. I am missing Waterloo quite a lot. All kinds of things that we have been doing just make me think "I wish So-And-So were here with me" I ended up not calling because it is late and expensive. Hopefully I will make the same decision in the next few nights. $3.50 a minute is a lot.

17.2.09

Cuba 4

The silly shows that are put on every night are very silly. But funny. But silly. Anyway, miserable weather today, but it's the first time it's happened, so I guess I can't complain. It wasn't even rainy, it was just windy, so it ws cold and we couldn't swim at the beach. (Which is probably for hte better, as far as my piercings are concerned.) I actually contemplated paying for internet today, just because I had nothing better to do. I ended up taking a nap and then reading. Maybe later in the week I will internet it up.

We did hit the market in Guardalavaca (which I learned the name of today) and it was kind of neat. It was just kind of hokey and silly. You know how it is. All the same stuff at each stand, all really touristy, but some of the stuff was neat. Clav├ęs are neat. Anyway, I don't understand how I can still be tired. I've been sleeping like 10 hours a night, and I slept for like 3 hours this afternoon. If I lie down right now, I will pass out. I guess I have been doing more and getting more tired than I realize. It's a good way to get fat, living like this. Doing nothing but getting up, eating, maybe swimming a little, more eating, then sleeping. Ah well. Better carry on the cycle. I'll worry about being healthy again when I get home. (That's a lie. I will start worrying about it starting now, and eat less. Buffet meals are killer.)

16.2.09

Cuba 3

Better day today. We spent almost the entire day at the beach. As a result I have some minor sunburns and a tiny tan. (The bottom parts of my ass cheeks are burned. That's what happens when I forget that my bathing suit doesn't cover me as well as I'm used to.) We decided on a trip today, which I am really fracking pumped for. We are going on a catamaran to swim with dolphins and snorkel on a living reef, not a dead one like the one at the beach. There will also be lobster. This is on Wednesday, so we have a day to waste before then. Probably will spend much of it at the market in Guadala-something-or-other. Maybe I will be able to waste a bit of my spending money.

Another thing from yesterday, now that I remember, I have been "hit on" by more guys in the last couple of days that most of the rest of my life. A bartender told me that I have beautiful eyes and always makes a distinct effort to serve me at the bar. (Not sure if that qualifies.) Some guy offered me a smoke out of the blue at the ship bar, (I call it that because the supports for the roof are decorated to look like masts,) and a couple of guys were VERY obviously checking me out at the beach today. (The kind of checking out where there is eye contact.) So I feel flattered.

Anyway, not a lot of crazy excitemend today. Beach, snorkelling, LOTS of fish, (that swim all over you when you give them bread,) and a silly dance show at night. I am missing home, and periodically I think about how long until I go back. I was right though. Calling would be really expensive, and there is no guarantee of a conversation if I go online. I guess I will just have to hold out.

15.2.09

Cuba 2

Today has been ridiculous.

Start at the beginning. Snorkelling was fantastic. I intend to do it again as often as possible. SO MANY COLOURFUL FISH! ...We spent most of the day at the beach, swimming and snorkelling and stuff. By that I mean that I snorkelled and everyone else ignored me. Not the point. I think the salt water might be messing with my piercings though. The one is getting much grosser. I guess I will have to deal with it when I get back, because it is sure as hell not going to stop me from swimming. The food in this place is mediocre, but food is food. Whatever. We also are trying to work out our one tour for the week, and figure out what to do. Everyone wants to do a different one, and no one wants to pay as much as any of them cost.

Cuba 1

[For the record, I wrote these by hand in Cuba and am just posting them here for the benefit of anyone who wants to know a bit about my trip. That's why they all have old dates on them.]

So, Valentine's Day, Cuba, first internationsal travel and first plane flight ever. Big day. I was up crazy early this morning because I was excited, so I spent most of my morning talking to people via text and wasting time. Talking to people was kind of nice before I left.

Plane rides are bearable, but they are SCARY AS HELL. Taking off and landing I was white-knuckled the whole time. (Good ice-wine mid-flight though.) I have only seen the resort in the dark so far, but it seems gorgeous. The beach is big and lovely. Plan to hit that first thing after breakfast tomorrow.

We got in at the resort at about 22:45 or so, by the time we got in at the airport and took a coach for an hour to the resort itself. Not bad time, I guess, but it sure makes for a long day. We got in and settled in our rooms and then went to the all-night bar, because it is the only place that you can get food after 22:00. I learned there that a daquiri is apparently just a cup full of run with some sugar and a lime. I did not enjoy it.

Mom was cute and tucked little heart chocolates into our luggage before we left, so when we got settled in, it was cute.

Well, it's now almost 02:00 and I am exhausted. Maybe my tiredness will make up for the ridiculously hard and uncomfortable bed. Here's hoping.

23.1.09

New and Exciting

Wow. I forgot that this existed, kind of. Anyone surprised?

So, what has been new since the last post? Me and the boyfriend have had our ups and downs, but the two year anniversary is coming on strong. I'm pretty excited about that. I'm not sure why. It just seems like a big deal. It's the longest relationship either one of us has been in, and that's important, I guess.

Right now I am getting ready for formal tonight. Waiting for my hair dye to ferment, and all that good stuff. Pumped for it. It should be a really good time. The family is going to Cuba in February. That is news. We are going to Blau Costa Verde, in Holguin. I am pretty frigging excited. I'll miss Valentine's day, but I hate V-Day anyway, and I'll be back in time for the anniversary. So all is good. I am really kind of out of things to say. There hasn't been a lot of excitement. I did okay in my courses, there has been a little bit of crazy drama, but c'est la vie. You know how it is. Maybe I'll try and update every now and again. We'll see.