Saturday, November 30, 2013

[Consumer Rant] @BCHydro STILL billing incorrectly.

I've tried contacting people at BC Hydro by a few other means and I've been completely ignored. Let's try a new route.

I pay between $55 - $65 per month in hydro electricity. To give you an idea of why this is ridiculous, a friend in an apartment a third again as large pays at least half, sometimes two thirds, as much. Caveat, I am home most days due to being disabled and not working, but you'd think that would lead to a symmetry in my usage, not spikes in the weekends. Yes, I have a washer and dryer, but I use them once every seven to ten days, not every single day. When I went away for three weeks, my bill was equally ridiculously high even though the only thing running was my refrigerator. While my refrigerator may not be the most energy efficient model on the planet, some how I don't think it's using $65 worth of electricity on it's own.

I have been promised an "investigation" when I phoned. No investigation was ever performed that I can tell. I suspect this is all a matter of a mislabelled meter, nothing more, nothing less. I'm also willing to believe that the smart meters aren't so smart. I have had letters ignored. When BC Hydro announces they're hiking their rates something like 26% over the next several years, I get cranky. I'm already overpaying by a good deal - and even if I've been paying someone else's bill since the smart meters went live, I'm pretty sure I'll never see a refund. However, I'd kind like this fixed so I'm not paying more for electricity than I spend in six weeks of gas for my car.

One disabled woman, one laptop, one fan, a gerbil, a refrigerator, a barely used oven, and semi-regularly used kettle and microwave shouldn't generate this much. I'll start doing the actual math if BC Hydro continues to ignore me and then pitch a real fit -- via the news media.

The realistic answer, however, may be to start getting Freddie the Gerbil to generate electricity by running on his wheel.

Monday, November 25, 2013

[Consumber Rave] Kuseno Pillows (@KusenoComfort )

We're supposed to spend one third of our time in bed; in reality, most of us probably spend only a quarter. However, that's still a pretty impressive chunk of time. A lot of talk goes into the comfort of the bed but little goes on about the pillows. My disclaimer is that right off the bat, I know Alan. I've known Alan for probably twenty years or more, he is a friend. However, if I didn't like his pillows, I'd just not write a review rather than blow smoke.

Kuseno pillows, at their heart, are buckwheat shells in a pillow case. High quality craftsmanship is just the start of it. Each pillow is zipped so you can add or remove the hulls as you want to for a customized experience. They're heavier than a normal pillow, but they are squooshier as well. I liken them to sleeping on a beanbag, without the lumps.

I can't speak for anyone else, but when I sleep, I normally wake up every forty minutes to an hour, get up to move around due to pain, then go back to bed, readjust my pillow and try to get back to sleep. That getting back to sleep can normally take between ten and fifteen minutes. Since switching to a Kuseno pillow, I don't have to adjust the pillow, I just have to fall on my bed and am go back to sleep. My stiff neck and vague headaches on waking up are a thing of the past .

If you enjoy a firm pillow, Kuseno is perfect for you out of the gate. I, personally, like a bit of sponge to my pillow, so I slipped a flattened cheap pillow into the case and it's perfect. The buckwheat holds the shape I want, the much abused cheapy pillow, adds a bit of softness and I sleep as well as I have since before I first met fibromyalgia.

I give Kuseno pillows a very big thumbs up, and not just because they'd probably give a great whumpf in a pillow fight.. and it's gluten free. ;)

[Consumer Rave] My first experience with @TargetCanada

I went to the new Canadian Target. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting beyond "Zellers with a new brand name," mostly due to all the flack and bitching I've been hearing.

Zellers was Canada's Wal-mart. It was a cheap product big box store. The quality wasn't great, but it was very much get what you pay for. The problem was, it was grungy. Its interior design was very crammed together and the colour scheme made you feel like you should power wash the whole place with bleach. It didn't help that none of the stores had probably had a face lift since the mid 80s. Their stores were often old and looked it. Target was bright, clean, room to shop, and had selection. I didn't feel like I was walking into Zellers at all.

I didn't do much exploring, but from the bits I meandered through, it was laid out similarly to the American Targets I'd been in, had similar product types and quality and had elbow room to shop with. Was it more expensive than Walmart? Yup. Y'know why? Because they don't treat their workers like they're in Victorian England. Their workers have better working conditions, better pay, better treatment all around. Also, when Walmart came to Canada, it got a deal with our government that keeps its costs lower -- Target didn't get that deal.

So, really, the choice isn't "Shop at Walmart and pay less or shop at Target and pay more for the same stuff" it's "Shop at Walmart and support the abuse of the working class, or shop at Sears, or Target, or HBC, or Real Canadian Superstore and support Canadians." If you want to shop at Canadian institutions, Sears or Real Canadian Superstore will happily accept your money. Walmart treats its workers and everyone to do with them like crap, every time you spend a dollar there you're supporting this. You're perfectly okay with people being treated like crap. Don't just post things to Facebook; talk with your dollar.

Many bitch they didn't have any choice but to shop at Walmart, well y'know what? You do now. I get told they can't afford NOT to shop at Walmart, try to have a few less wants. Superstore is on par price wise with food and home goods. Sears is more expensive but their clothes and products are also of a higher quality and will last far longer. HBC still has the most awesome blankets on the planet.

I give my local Target a thumbs up. All I need to do is find the yarn/crafting section.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

[Personal Rant] Doctor Who's 50th.

If you've been living under a rock or are one of the lucky who aren't addicted to Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or  Slashdot, you may not know it's time for the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Yup, fifty years since the first show aired, a whole bunch of "Doctors" later and we have fifty years of a mad man with a blue box.

For those not fans of the show, the gist is simply he's an alien who can go anywhere in time and space, goes where he's needed, not necessarily where he wants and drags human companions along with him for the ride. It's dark fairy tales, exploring what it means to be human through aliens, humour, satire and darkness.

I stumbled across a thread of people bitching how sick and tired of Doctor Who "stuff" they are and insulted the show and the fans. Are people really that shallow that they can't just smile, shake their heads and move on? I'm sure there's lots of things that are popular that the minority didn't like. I didn't "get" Breaking Bad. I didn't curse, bitch, moan, insult and harass anyone who dared talk about it or enjoyed it. I think baseball is just about the most boring sport in the world, but again, glad it brings people happiness. How hard is it to just skip over the posts that involve that which you, personally, don't enjoy?

Are people so full of their sense of 'you are special, unique and the universe revolves around you' that they expect other people to put their own small pleasures on hold just because it's not something you enjoy? I could get it if these people have to go way out of their way to avoid the fluff, but seriously, any show making it to fifty years would get the celebration. Just wait till Star Trek hits fifty in 2016 for even more of this sort of mayhem. Heck, what about those who don't celebrate Christmas? They get to endure the same nonsense every year!

So you don't like something, that's fine. I don't think anyone is chaining anyone else down and making you watch anything. If you gave the show an honest try and said "Nope, not my thing," then I don't think any Doctor Who fan wouldn't respect that. (Okay, at least the non-butthead ones would respect it.) I don't think anyone is saying "You HAVE to celebrate!" or "You HAVE to enjoy!" so why do these people find it necessary to try and pee on the corn flakes of others? Bitterness? Jealousy? Feeling excluded so everyone has to come down to their level?

I don't get it and I'm not sure I want to get it, probably because I'll be too busy enjoying a community that welcomes anyone who appreciates a mad man with a box.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

[Conspiracy Rant] Get your kids their vaccines.

There is an article going around the internet that is essentially "OMG! Secrets of vaccines revealed" and I've had seven people send me the link. The article lost me with the horrific grammar and abuse of quotation and apostrophes. Overlooking the list of links to conspiracy sites, overlooking the abuse of the English language, and even overlooking the need for humans to find some big bogeyman to blame for everything wrong with our universe, I can find countless sites disproving humans landed on the moon. We plain didn't have the technology at the time. You can find sites on the internet that will take all sorts of morsels of information and twist them ten ways to Sunday. By the way, those hidden sessions are well documented here and have been for years.

That said, I'm pro vaccine; it's not a secret. I have several friends who are anti-vaccine, whether it comes to their children, themselves, or both. What if we hadn't vaccinated against polo? Small pox? Would you wish the chance of either on your kids?

"But Lorna, it's JUST the measles!" (insert chicken pox, etc, in place of measles as you wish.)
From the CDC, "About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. About one out of 1,000 gets encephalitis, and one or two out of 1,000 die. Other rash-causing diseases often confused with measles include roseola (roseola infantum) and rubella (German measles)." That's the AMERICAN stats, people. It's not much different in Canada. And those are just the stats for one disease your child will probably get due to the growing trend of not vaccinating.

You're giving your kid a .001% chance of death if they *only* get the measles. You may say "That's not a big chance, Lorna." Do you know what the chances of complications from a vaccine are? I didn't either, I did a Google search. The answer from the CDC is 1 in 1,000,000. While, yes, people play the lotto with worse odds than that, you're saying that your child's 0.000001% chance of having deadly side-effects from a vaccine are more important than your child's 001% chance of death from the disease.

And it's not just your kids. It's every kid your child gave the disease to before your child started to show symptoms. Does your child have any child at their school with a weakened immune system? A kid in treatment for leukaemia? An adult who is HIV +? This isn't your problem, you may say. That child's parents should vaccinate or not vaccinate then, you may say. That would make you a pretty shitty human, I say. Not only are you are placing the needs of your child over the needs of every child on the planet and some adults too, you're putting the needs of your child over the needs of those who can't get the vaccine. (And adults have a much higher mortality rate.) I have been told "That's what being a parent is about." And maybe it is, because let's face it, I don't have kids so I don't know. However, my parents got me vaccinated and my Mum is an RN and any who have met her will know she's a rather smart cookie, a smart cookie who would investigate things being put into her children pretty closely. Vaccines have only gotten safer since the mid 1970s.

Diseases that should be disappearing are making a come back. They're killing children. They're killing children at a rate that would make a serial killer go "Holy [cow]." Why is it so okay for you to enable the death of others just because of something you read on the internet?

It's been proved that vaccines do not cause autism. It's been proven that there's more mercury in your drinking water than there is in the average vaccine. Don't give me this crap. Don't be a selfish, unsympathetic human being and go get your children their vaccine. Hell, even do it for your own kids, they'd be better off.

There is no conspiracy to take your or the government's money. There's just a conspiracy of people like those who make computer malware; they think it's funny to mess you up.