Category Archives: Rants

On Voting

I don’t talk about politics very much here because it’s my journal, and politics annoy me because they’re not what they ought to be.

But after watching highlights of the French leadership debate, overhearing bits of the English debate (notably the crack of “Where’s your platform, under the sweater?” which I heard clearly all the way in the bedroom), and reading about the various statements that leaders have made while on tour, I have this to say:

I represent Stephen Harper’s worst nightmare. I am an educated woman with a post-graduate degree. I am an artist, one of those people who drive a significant portion of the economy. I happen to practice an alternative religion, think that the environment needs a hell of a lot more attention than it’s getting, and think that the long-term effects of policy are more important than short-term effects. I read policy (when platforms have actually been released) and make my own decisions, factoring in track records regarding how planned policy is carried out.

And I’m now registered to vote in my riding. Nice try, switching my husband’s riding but conveniently not switching mine. But I’m not taking it personally, even though it’s happened every single federal election since I’ve been married/earned that post-grad degree/stood up to be counted as someone practicing an alternative religion. I’m sure it was just an oversight.

You can be damn sure I’m not going to vote for someone who has repeatedly insulted my intelligence, that of the majority of my friends, and that of the entire country. And this isn’t limited to the current party in power.

Oh, Great

HRH lost my cellphone today between school and the metro station. He couldn’t find it. Someone else did, and used up four dollars worth of time between when I accessed my account online and when I cancelled the damn thing.

People suck.

HRH is buying me a new phone this weekend. I have little faith in someone handing mine in to a lost and found either at the school or the STM, even if it doesn’t work and has been reported as lost/stolen to the provider.

A Farewell

Well, this is it; the last day of a somewhat sane CBC Radio 2.

This past spring, CBC announced a major overhaul of Radio 2 in an effort to find more listeners. They’re broadening their musical scope to include, well, pretty much everything. Radio 2 was developed as a classical music station. Over the past few years they’ve slowly been whittling away at that, adding jazz, fusion shows, a little bit of this, a little bit of that… essentially music in which I have zero interest. Each time I’ve dropped another show I once enjoyed. Gone was Danielle Charbonneau’s lovely, relaxing program Music for Awhile between dinner and eight; gone were the live classical concert recordings of Symphony Hall at eight o’clock that I’d listen to at home before bed or on the way to orchestra. I turn the radio off at six now, because I find Tonic harsh and discordant and it drives me up the wall (although I like Katie Malloch, go figure). I find that I often flip the dial to the CJPX 99.5, the local French all-classical station, although I miss a host’s presence identifying the music and it doesn’t keep a reference list of what played when on its web site. (Although having just visited the site to start an Internet stream, I see that they now have a date/time search function. That’s good.)

I’m grieving for the loss of Tom Allen’s weekday morning show, Music & Company, in particular. Of all the daily hosts, I find he’s the most in tune with my sense of humour, my musical tastes, and my mood at the time. He’s going to be the new morning show host, although the content is going to be very different, and I’m trying to find solace in his continued presence. I’m going to give it the good old college try, but I suspect it’s not going to be what I need in the morning.

I’ve written of my displeasure to CBC and groused about it here and to people in person, but I’m feeling frustrated and useless at a move I sense will lose more listeners than gain new ones. It’s unfocused, a patchwork of scattered musical style, and although they claim they’re maintaining a commitment to classical music the only show with classical as its base is scheduled between 10 and 3, when many people are at work or school and can’t access a radio. I’ll be the first person to stand up and say that the definition of ‘culture’ is not limited to classical music, but in many places across Canada there isn’t an alternative to the classical content found on CBC R2 up till today. I’m not the only frustrated listener, either. Stand On Guard is a website devoted to proving to the CBC that there is a substantial percentage of listeners who do want classical music to remain as the focus of CBC R2. They’re also fighting to restore the CBC Radio Orchestra, the last surviving radio orchestra in North America, which was axed this past spring as well.

I’m listening to Tom Allen’s final minutes as host of Music & Company, and I feel as if saying goodbye to it is like a microcosm of my commitment to Radio 2. Goodbye Studio Sparks; goodbye Disc Drive. Thanks for being the soundtrack to my life for thirty years, Radio 2. I’ve discovered many new artists and composers through you. You’ve been with me through two university degrees, my marriage, my retail and freelance careers, the writing of five books for publication and countless not yet published novels and short stories, and motherhood. You inspired me as a musician. I’m going to miss you very, very much. I will be open-minded and give the new programming a try next week, but I sense I won’t be tuning for long; it’s just not the kind of music I want to be listening to. I’ve sent personal farewells to some of the hosts, and left notes on CBC blogs as well. These people deserve to know what they’ve added to my life.

Now I’m thoroughly depressed. This probably calls for some Invisible. ‘Holiday in Cambodia’, perhaps, or the PPK medley.


… was a complete washout. I spent the entire day struggling with technology in some form or another. A USB port that had been working perfectly well up till yesterday around noon, and into which was plugged my external hard drive, decided to malfunction (yes! I show as a drive! no! there is nothing on me!). At first I thought my external hard drive (you know, the one that holds everything as a backup, plus all my music?) had given up the ghost, so that’s where I focused my attention once I recovered from the heart attack. After a couple of hours I discovered that it was the USB port creating an I/O problem. The tower won’t recognise the USB hub I own, so I had to juggle my peripherals. (Six. I have six things that require a USB port. There are only three ports that function now. Oy.) Then I tried to get the printer my dad had sent home with me to work, with zero luck. There were power issues (no matter where I plugged the damn thing in it wouldn’t turn on) and when I finally resolved that (by, erm, hitting it) I discovered that it won’t print anything. Oh, it thinks it’s printing, but nothing appears on the page. Even when the ink cartridges are full. Even after cleaning both sets of contacts and the ink intakes on the printer itself.

I did cross other things off my to-do list, but it was the kind of day where there wasn’t enough accomplished to account for the energy invested, and the grr of the hardware issues mightily outweighed the minor relief of crossing things off the list. So I got exactly no work done, other than sending an invoice for hours worked so far on the local freelance project I did before I left for Toronto. The boy’s thirty-eighth month post is late as a result. I can’t return a book to Amazon because I can’t print out the return form; I’ll have to beg Scarlet to print it out for me tonight.

Rawr. And gnarr.

The boy and I are running errands today. Wish us luck.


Bad. Day.

Very, very bad day.

I am fine. The car is fine. No thanks to the two different speeding snowploughs who forced me off the road into snowbanks where the car got stuck instead of slowing down and letting me pull into a driveway, or the jerk in the Hummer right next to me who forced me into the median when his lane merged into mine to get around a stationary city truck with hazards flashing, and who didn’t think that another car occupying the space he needed to occupy was important. (Do I need to say that he didn’t signal?)

And this on top of not being able to get out to the driveway for fifteen minutes because the wheels wouldn’t grip the surface, and being redirected twenty minutes out of my way while trying to drop Liam off this morning. Thanks to having to dig myself out of the second snowbank a plough drove me into and trying to get the car to pull away from the snow-filled median with little effect thanks to the slick surface, I didn’t get back home until eleven-thirty.

It’s not the weather that has driven me into the Spring Now! camp. It’s the unacceptable state of the roads, and the idiots who don’t think about the other people driving when it snows. I’ve had enough of it.

And you know what’s possibly the worst thing about the bad day so far? The fact that it’s only half over. I have to leave again in four hours to get the boy, and then I have orchestra tonight. And the roads won’t be any better, or the drivers any less self-absorbed. Shoot me now, please.


HRH and I just spent an hour and a half at the bank, closing HRH’s accounts and our joint account, and opening new ones and bringing our info up to date. Or, in his case, changing the info back from the false info to which the identity thief had changed it.

Words cannot describe how furious we are. Once again, we break our backs trying to make a living and doing things by the rules, and once again someone who thinks they don’t have to work tries to take it away from us and screw things up.

The good news: No money was taken. (One wonders if they thought it wasn’t worth it: there was $9 in the primarily compromised account. We’re thankful this happened a few days before the first paycheque of the year was auto-deposited.) Several applications for credit cards and attempts to do phone banking were what triggered the security freeze and the call to us, once the security department called up my profile as the other name on the joint account and compared addresses. The bank officer thinks it was a case of identity theft to set up money-laundering accounts, possibly through mail theft to get HRH’s info. His SIN wasn’t compromised. So other than losing a few hours yesterday calling institutions to freeze the automatic withdrawals that come out of the joint account, talking to Services Canada about what to do if the SIN was stolen, and the hour and a half this morning doing paperwork and updates, the only thing that has been lost is yet more faith in mankind, some hours of sleep, and decent moods.

Our bank people rock. They jumped all over this, and the security department is dealing with the tracing of the thief. I hope to all the gods they nail the bastard. Because we know we’re not the only ones to have been hit, and no one should get away with this kind of thing. Ever.

Our Day So Far

The phone tech came. He fixed the upstairs phone and left.

HRH went upstairs to use their newly-fixed phone to call Bell and yell at them for being idiots.

(I know, I know — the tech just looks at the address and phone number on his clipboard, and in retrospect we should have opened up our own ticket just to be sure even though it was outlined in the original call that both civic numbers were affected. But gods, I wish people would think.)

ETA: Aha. The same thing happened to the people behind-kitty-corner to us — both upper and main floors of their duplex went out, a tech came, and only fixed one of them. (We are flabbergasted: the tech who fixed the upstairs line *knew* this, and he didn’t think to check ours? Gah!) The original problem seems to have been with a new tech who went and somehow messed up the main box around here and affected half a dozen lines. Anyway, our Personal Visit From This or Another Unthinking Tech will happen this afternoon between 12 and 6. The poor woman who took HRH’s call was speechless as to this morning’s debacle.