Whole lotta shakin’

Well actually no. Despite three big quakes hitting within reach of Vancouver Island at 11 last night, all I can tell you is that the Sticker household might have been shaken, but not stirred in the slightest. Not really surprising as the tremors were geologically speaking on the other side of the Juan De Fuca fault zone. Which means that, although I was sitting at my desk at the time, I never felt a thing. Not a grumble, rumble or anything else going ‘umble’ in any way shape or form. Now this may be down to the quality of my office chair, which is very comfy indeed. However, my six ten inch(!) tall Lemon tree plants never moved a micron on their window-ledge perches. Nothing shook or even essayed the faintest shimmy. So I think we dodged a bullet there.

Now of course this could be a precursor to something I think of as the ‘Great unzipping’, where 700 miles of the North American West Coast undergoes a massive 9.0 plus Richter scale event, one which we’re often told is way overdue. However, when the Cascadia fault does go, we’d all better be good at learning to surf, really, really quickly. At least in downtown Victoria, where a three or four metre Tsunami would put a crimp in everyone’s day. The Sticker household not so much, as we’re a hundred plus metres above sea level. Although we have been hearing unexplained booming noises over the weekend, which might be the Yanks trying something secret out of Puget Sound, where their big Naval base is.

Central Washington University geology professor Nick Zentner has an interesting lecture on the topic. Could be another hundred and ninety years until the next great unzipping, or it could be tomorrow. Who says Mrs S and I don’t like living dangerously?

Update: At 12:02 PST today (Tuesday) I was mildly startled by a loud booming noise that actually rattled my office window.  Checked the online seismographs – nothing.  No quake reports, nothing in the newspapers or online news, nada.  But it was just like an explosion had happened nearby.  Yet construction explosions don’t sound like this and are always muffled by blast mats.  Curiouser and curiouser…..

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Excuse me for a minute or two.

The new job I’ve taken on is one of those you really really hate after a while. Not because it’s that difficult, just that I have to interact with smug NPC bureaucrats who have to follow their obstructive rules ‘cos it more than their job’s worth to meet me half way. I don’t get this kind of dumb insolence dealing with the private sector.

Between them and my employers asking me to do the highly improbable, I’m having a real ‘Dave’ kind of a day.

Non Player Characters

There’s a very funny little take on a certain group of people doing the rounds of the jolly old Interweb that 85% of people are effectively what Gamers have taken to calling ‘Non-player characters’. Specifically people who react rather than think, use their limbic brains rather than their pre frontal cortex and often seem to be so self involved in their own little bubbles that any observations of neural activity can be thought of as purely accidental. They never seem to have the self reference to ask “Why am I doing this..?” or perhaps “What good am I doing…?” Followed by an existential “What defines ‘good’ and is attacking other people the right way to attain it..?” The more insightful might think that perhaps these NPC’s are painting themselves into a very small corner by not thinking.

Maybe the aforementioned is a function of their peer group structure? The self awareness of an NPC-level mob being the cube root of of the dumbest member? Yet these ‘activists’ are people who claim to know what is best for everyone and are willing to beat people up who happen to disagree? What they forget is that even if they win once, there will always be someone bigger, tougher, more skilled and more determined right around the corner. Possibly with a warrant. Or a grudge. No-one is immune. Direct action meet reaction. Hope you’ve got good legal and health insurance.

As an apposite aside, long ago (3rd February 2005 Yikes!), on a blog far, far away I wrote;

“Several years ago I worked out that roughly 75% of the human race are either plain stupid or just not paying attention. Mrs Sticker agrees, and helped modify the criteria so that the rule covers 85% of humans. After much spirited debate I was forced to agree. A proper mathematical analysis would bear this figure out. Think about it. In order for a proportion of the human race to be of average intelligence and above, statistically there has to be a corresponding fraction below those levels. Furthermore intelligence manifests itself in a number of ways. For example a Professor of Mathematics may be highly intelligent in a specific way but be a complete klutz in the kitchen. He / she might be great at advanced calculus but like many humans, reduced to the standard of the average moron when in charge of a car.

I’ve even joked that the zombie apocalypse has been with us for some time and left wing NPC’s area prime example, only there are right wing NPC’s too. This means we have two main tribes of zombies out there. Oh no, that can’t be right, the zombies are everywhere because each tribe only watches their own narrow section of the media and here’s the kicker, that’s what is eating their brains. Or should that be past tense? Has eaten their brains?

Make up your own mind. Just look around, observe, draw conclusions. Do not simply accept what you are told without question. Too many are willing to lie to back up their standpoint. NPC’s, Zombies, call them what you like. They all unthinkingly regurgitate what they’re told. Why? Because in the little bit of humanity they still do possess, they realise they really do have nothing to say. Because it’s the line of least resistance.

Slow acting dope

Here we go, we’ve just had a little leaflet explaining Canada’s new Cannabis law which come into force this week (17th October). Here’s the skinny on them, which may disappoint a few people.

First. No, not everyone can use. There’s an age limit, like for booze. Depending on your Province you’ll have to be over 18 at least to buy and legally smoke it. In BC, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nunavut, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the age limit is 19. In Alberta and Quebec 18.
Second. No you can’t smoke your weed anywhere, Smoking a joint has exactly the same restrictions as for tobacco smoking or vaping. No smoking anywhere near anyone or anything, anywhere. At any time. So there.
Third. Yes you can grow your own, but only four plants at any one address at any one time in BC and a couple of other places. No converting the front room and saying “Swelp me ossifer, I only planted four seeds. These things do tend to spread don’t they?” When the tax man comes to call.
Fourth. Yes you can make Cannabis cookies or cake at home, but only with a maximum of 30 grams, which is all any one person can have on them at any one time. So watch those leftovers in the fridge.
Fifth. Only the Ontario Police have a saliva testing machine at present for checking if drivers are under the influence of old Maryjane. All the other Provincial and city forces and RCMP will rely on the old ‘Walk the line’ and ‘Touch your nose with your eyes closed’ type roadside tests. Although if your car reeks of the stuff to start with, your proverbial feet may not touch the ground. On the other hand, if a high driver ploughs through a bus queue, then they may find the book being thrown at them and insurance refused forever and ever amen. Not to mention working three jobs to pay court ordered compensation for the rest of their days.
Sixth. No you can’t take your stash over the border. Our Southern cousins won’t be happy for one. Nor will Canadian customs. No use offering them a joint either, they’ll just go into acute humour failure and you can join the hoi polloi in the slammer for a while along with all the really naughty people. Which may rather take the edge off your high.
Seventh and finally. No you can’t grow your own marijuana to sell unless you’ve got a licence, and those don’t come cheap. And like with alcohol, only licensed outlets can sell duty paid product all legal and properly stamped. Supply chain management eh? Ain’t it great?

Me, I’m doubling down on my Pizza outlet investments. With the predicted Canada-wide outbreak of the munchies after the 17th, I’ll be having to keep both hands in my pockets to hold my trousers up from all the money I’ll be making.

May, you leave?

Excuse the comma, but Madame Tracey, UK Prime Monster really has got to go. A vote of no confidence from her own party is needed and then she should step aside to let someone who can deliver BREXIT, not the abortion currently referred to as the ‘Chequers deal’. Even the EU is offering a Canada-style (a.k.a. Canada-plus) free trade deal which would allow the UK to negotiate outside of its auspices, so why the focus on Chequers when nobody likes it? As David Davies points out in the Sunday Times this week (Paywalled), the public does not like Chequers, Parliament doesn’t like it, nor does the EU. So why on Earth is Theresa May so damned keen on pushing this dead donkey up a hill? Despite what the big corporates think, no deal is way better than chequers. Oh and by the way, weren’t they part of the cabal that got the UK into this mess?

I’m just old enough to recall all the propaganda surrounding joining the then European Economic Community, how big business promised more car sales, more sales of everything to this wonderful ‘common market’. What happened to the UK’s automotive sector? Leyland/Rover got flushed down the pan. Land Rover and Jaguar are still going (now owned by Indian conglomerate Tata). But the big Longbridge site I was once familiar with is long gone. Remember Rover?

What the propagandists also forgot to mention was how over three decades the EU would morph into a bureaucratic monster. Even though that was in the game plan all along. A European Superstate run by the self-selected ‘elite’ few. Democracy to be quietly sidelined for the convenience of bureaucrats. But you knew all this didn’t you? Because all the relevant information was openly posted on the EU’s own web sites. Go and look. Don’t just take my word for it.

Yet despite assurances the UK’s sovereignty has been repeatedly sold down the river. First by Heath, then John Major with Maastricht, then Gordon Brown effectively committing Treason when he slunk off to ratify the latest Lisbon treaty salami slice without a mandate. May on the other hand has a mandate and furthermore has reiterated that BREXIT means BREXIT.

One could say, well article 50 has been triggered.  Northern Ireland has a border which may need extra customs officers, but so what?  Why the prevarications?  Well, one answer may be that May is a known Remainer who appears to be doing a bad job in the hope BREXIT will all go pear shaped so that the UK stays within the oleaginous grasp of the EU. Another explanation might be that she lost her nerve early on and is trying to please everyone but ending up pleasing no-one. Which is one good reason why a vote of no confidence and a short sharp leadership contest might not be such a bad idea.

Power

There is no such thing as power without responsibility. Well you can try, but it always ends in tears. Even when you don’t there are winners and losers. Let me enlarge…

Over the last three weeks we have been busily involved in exercising our legal powers as powers of attorney on behalf of an old family friend. Emphasis on the ‘old’. We’re talking upper nineties here.

Recently our very good friend became ill. For twelve long hours she lingered at death’s door, or should I say dithered indecisively before deciding to stay with what she knew. Which annoyed some people, but less about them later.

Upon hearing the news, we thundered up the Island highway. Made sure all was under control at the hospital, obtained reports, discussed issues with medical staff and care home manager. Then we thundered back down home getting back late and very tired. Daily phone calls to hospital and relatives ensued while juggling new work issues. A disinterested and cynical reader might think we were being a bit over the top, but we reckon we owe our elderly friend a debt of gratitude for the help that she and her late husband gave us when we first landed. That is a debt I will not consider paid until she is gone and her estate settled.

What didn’t help was Hospital staff and Doctors often giving conflicting information. On one occasion within an hour of each other. On the third day one refused to give us any details over the phone because we “Weren’t on the list” which we bloody well most certainly were. Top of the list of contacts as legally registered powers of attorney if you please.

In the middle of this muddle our friend was blithely and obviously non compos mentis so we held all the aces. A terse conversation with hospital administration was had. Apologies were received. “Oops, sorry, that was on another screen.” Yeah, right. A full report was forthcoming. Necessary people were notified and informed, arrangements made, through which our old friend glided sedately as a Swan, while we and others were doing a lot of desperate paddling underneath. Which made some people, how shall I put this delicately, a little defensive.

Let me explain. A lot of West Coast Canadians hate confrontation to the point where it’s almost comic. They cannot negotiate like a European or our Southern cousins will. They either duck the issue and pass the buck like nobody’s business or get all whiny and passive-aggressive. For our part Mrs S and I handle confrontations without all the circumlocution and squirming West Coasters so often go in for. To us a spade is a spade, you use them to dig holes. Or hit people who won’t give you a straight answer. As people we are often direct, concise and to the point. Which makes us unpopular but what the hell. Did I say West coasters hate confrontation? The passive-aggression we occasionally meet is easily deflected by a flash of legal powers. The opposition might know their ‘rights’ but unfortunately for them, so do we.

Notwithstanding, another trip up and down the highway with a two night stay was booked so we could be there for our friends release from hospital into her residential home at the weekend. Then a phone call from the Care Home Manager. Why not from the Hospital? We’re the powers of Attorney, not him. She’s being sent home when? Today? Hells bells! Thanks for letting us know, you utter tossers. Change of booking. Thunder up Island highway again. Negotiate care instructions and agree with fortunately co-operative Manager of Residential home where elderly friend is resident. At least he appreciated our no-nonsense approach.

I’ll say this for this particular care home, it’s very nice, more like an upmarket hotel for Seniors than a UK pattern care facility. Elderly friend’s apartment is compact but more of a studio apartment plus bedroom. It’s roomier too with a full en-suite bathroom. The facility also has it’s own care unit for the less able, which is where elderly friend stayed until she retrieved all her marbles and got reassessed so she can go back to living more independently.

Additional problems arose when a couple of ‘relatives’ decided to turn up out of the blue and foist themselves on our elderly friend. Eating her food, using her facilities, which we, as her powers of attorney thought was a bit of a nerve. Especially when other family members far closer than we would not put them up. Which I found a little odd. When we asked why, no-one wanted to deal honestly. Mrs S and I found it quite comic listening to someone literally squirming on the other end of a phone line. Obviously no love lost there. It was a pity they couldn’t just be honest with us. “No, they’re an utter pain we don’t want as a house guest.” Would have been quite acceptable as a response, but no, we had to listen to fifteen minutes of ever more elaborate excuses. They had their own lives and wanted someone else to make the hard calls while the vultures descended.

My attitude to the vultures is simple; visit by all means, but pay your own way please. Elderly friend gets charged for having guests in her apartment, which even we as her legal guardians are refused access to. Another set of terse phone conversations were had with the care home. Veiled statements of legal intent were issued. Instructions were reiterated. If elderly friends recovery is threatened by these people, out they bloody well go. Do not pass go, do not dip your hand into her wallet. Elderly friend is supposed to be resting after a very life threatening illness, not in need of ‘cheering up’ or ‘taking out of herself’ by mindlessly well-intentioned freeloaders with their piggy little eyes on our old friends money. Have the common decency to wait until she’s dead, you greedy bastards.

That’s one thing about our part of the Sticker clan is our fierce loyalty to close friends. We look after our own and we like our friends alive thank you very much. Now sod off.

Once upon a time…

I’ve been looking around of late, in my few off-duty moments, wondering if the online culture war of faux-outrage has any cause and I regret to say I think it’s always been going on. Why I think that is a convoluted path, but the answer can be summarised with a Trudeau-like “Because, Humans”.

This answer derives from the 1941 movie (Okay, I love old black and white Frank Capra movies, so sue me) “Meet John Doe” starring Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper which is a satire on the state of journalism and politics during the early to mid twentieth century urban USA. What it, and many other similar productions tell us is (Including one Marx Brothers comedy) how mainstream media outlets, like all human institutions, are partisan and how that partisanship plays out with an audience and the powers that be. Particularly when said dead tree press is struggling to survive under severe financial pressure. I particularly liked the portrayal of a prototype SJW as a fat, rich and idle white woman bloviating over the phone to the Mayor’s office, giving him hell for not “Doing something” about an issue invented to save a journalists paycheck, then that invented ‘problem’ going on to create a national cause célèbre.

The parallels with today’s online society are obvious. A vociferous minority with otherwise empty lives, the #MeToo movement as a case in point, get told a lie to further the agenda or line the pockets of some rent seeker, then without looking at whether the information they are given is sound or not, go off on a rant about it. In the process not caring about the harm they do to any innocent party. Rather like the Salem Witch trials or Nazi and Soviet era denunciations. Due process goes out of the window, there is no examination of any evidence. In their eyes the accusation is the evidence. Emotion is all, mere facts or lack thereof are irrelevant. The Twitter or Facebook lynch mob wants blood and no evidence of innocence can be countenanced. Bugger human rights, sod innocent until proven guilty, the unthinking mob just want to see those necks stretch. They love the drama, the endorphin hit of feeling they’ve done the right thing, regardless of any inconvenient facts or even the lack thereof. Or the innocence of the people whose lives they try to destroy by going after their employers or family.

The irony of privileged white people crowing about the “end of white supremacy” is not lost on this blog. If these people had any real self awareness or insight they’d understand that if the societal freedoms and responsibilities they call “White supremacy” do disappear, so will their own privileged indolent lifestyles.

The rest of us end up with our freedom of expression muzzled by poorly thought through “hate speech” laws. And eventually so does theirs, because the law is a two edged sword, which cuts both ways.

Update:  A gentleman named Mark Kern has suggested calling SJW’s and their media allies “Information Terrorists”.  May I suggest an alternative term, “The Enemy”.

Busy signal

New job, new software, steep learning curve. New Internet too, if Tim Berners-Lee has anything to do with it. As for me, I’m not quite biting off more than I can chew, but there will be a short pause and a word from our sponsors.

Love this quote: “We are not talking to Facebook and Google about whether or not to introduce a complete change where all their business models are completely upended overnight. We are not asking their permission.” Yeah, go Tim.

World domination doesn’t happen all by itself you know…