Category Archives: Thoughts

Political Football

Back in the 1970’s, the British Columbia provincial government took automobile insurance away from private companies. Since then, one has to buy auto insurance from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.

ICBC makes money, and governments spend it like water. Consequently, ICBC gets raided to balance the budget.

I recently got a car. It cost me $1484 to insure it for a year. I thought that was somewhat pricey. When a co-worker mentioned that it would cost about $1000 less to insure it in Alberta, the word rip-off occurred to me.

To add insult to injury, a 15% price increase was scheduled to take effect around now so I just missed even worse!

A Hidden Downside of Economising

Quite often, people make purchasing decisions on the basis of cost. They buy the cheaper item. This has an advantage that manufacturers are encouraged to be price-competitive, but it has a nasty disadvantage.

That disadvantage is that manufacturers may cut corners to make something cheaper. The manufacturers do not often state what they are doing.

If packaged similarly to the original item, one may purchase it by mistake. I was once suckered this way into buying a butter/margarine mix that was just about the price of butter, but that was not suitable for my mom and me.

The corner-cutting can continue for several iterations until the cheap item may bear little resemblance to the original product. Consider most so-called ice cream compared with the real thing. If you have not done so, this is fun research that you should get going on.

“Let the buyer beware.”

Bugs in Human Systems

Human systems have to be flexible, but whenever the pendulum goes too far one way, the system can be abused.

Suppose you have been harassed at work and make a complaint to HR. A common policy is to believe the complainant.

Can you see the bug?

If a wrongdoer complains about someone, that can cause a lot of trouble. The wrongdoer will be presumed to be telling the truth despite that the claim is baseless. So much for the presumption of innocence.

Recently, there have been many allegations of abuse within Hollywood and other areas. I expect that many of these allegations are quite truthful. I am concerned that some are not, and my reasoning is given above.

It’s On Our Website

“It’s on our Website.”

Ever heard this?

For me, too many times. My usual question is where?

My credit union allows one to look up information about branches. What would be most useful for you? For me, it is the hours. In particular, the hours for and around holidays.

Unfortunately, the hours listed are the usual hours. I already know those. Apparently, holiday hours are put elsewhere on the Website. Where? I do not know.

What is on a Website might not be what is needed. See this xkcd comic for an example for a university. (My alma mater’s Website really is about this bad.)

Convenience of Use of Tools

Tools are sometimes not nearly as convenient to use as they should be.

I have to deal with some back taxes and have to submit some supporting data. I could just scan it in and send the files. Right?

Unfortunately, setting up an account with Canada Revenue Agency is not that easy. I start off in restricted mode where I can not send files. Sending files is why I wanted to set up the account.

There is more. Apparently, even after getting full access, I have to send the files one at a time. I have about thirty files to send. No, they do not accept .zip files.

So I am having to print out my scans and mail the works. A bother to print out each file, and then, I ran out of printer ink. Being smart, I have a spare. At this point, I found that I had been sold the wrong cartridge, and not being so smart, I had not noticed at the time.

Should we have maybe stopped at fire and the wheel?

Pain and Attention

I hurt my arm recently. It is one of those cases where moving it can be jarring or even painful, and so can not moving it. And which did it kept changing.

I really did not need a reminder—or several or many, actually—that pain is a real attention-grabber. Waking out of a sound sleep early in the morning to pain is not my idea of “Rise and shine!”

May you not get any such reminders.

Compassion Done Wrong

There has been an argument in Kamloops over homeless people. The police recently did a crackdown and recovered a number of stolen shopping carts. Store owners were probably rather glad to get back their property; the cost of a shopping cart has been stated in at least one article as being $800 each.

Some people have been justifying the thefts. Others do not like theft.

The letters column of Kamloops This Week has been rather active with people writing about the issue.

Recently, a letter was published wherein the author wrote an allegory. Some people were compared indirectly to rats.

There were reactions, strong reactions from the compassionate side. Unfortunately, the reactions were anything but compassionate. I decided that I had had enough and wrote a letter about this; it appeared in the Tuesday, October 24, 2017 issue.

I have seen this thing before. Someone does something that is disagreed with by the “compassionate people”. They attack, and oftentimes, their behaviour is worse (and can be much worse) than the original behaviour being disapproved of.

It is too easy to vent one’s spleen and lose one’s compassion.

We have sure seen this in Kamloops.

Explaining Quickly and Clearly

In my job, I have recently had to explain to other people how to do parts of it.

How does one do this quickly without appearing to treat the other person as if he were stupid but still get the important points across?

Over the past four months, I have picked up a number of points that are important. For a fairly simple job, there sure are a lot of them.

It is something like an elevator speech. (How would you introduce yourself if you were in an elevator? (Limited time.))

I have not figured it out totally, but it is an interesting exercise.

Perspective

I had someone helping me with my job today. The person had just started with the company and did not know the ropes. He was just following my instructions. (He did quite well.)

I found that I was quite busy making sure that he stayed busy and that work items were completed properly.

What I learned from it is that there is a lot of admin knowledge that I have picked up that I have to know in order to do my job even though my job is a labourer position. I appreciate the perspective.

Kamloops Municipal By-Elections Results

“It doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government always gets in.”—Unknown

Well, the results of the by-elections I wrote about last week are in. The candidates I voted for did fairly well relatively speaking.

I voted for Bill McQuarrie for mayor. He placed second with 2,661 votes (18.34% of the votes). The winner was Ken Christian with 9,274 votes (63.91% of the votes). The other candidates all got fewer than 1,000 votes each.

I voted for Ray Dhaliwal and Bill Sarai for councillors. The winners were Kathy Sinclair with 3,421 votes (12.29% of the votes) and Ray Dhaliwal with 3,292 votes (11.83% of the votes). Bill Sarai placed fifth with 2,182 votes (7.84% of the votes). If the percentages look low, remember that there were 21 candidates for two positions. There was no big gap as in the mayoral race; the numbers just gradually become less as you go down the list.

With the number of candidates, I wonder how badly the vote got split. Over time, first past the post voting tends to reduce the number of candidates to two. For an excellent explanation of this, watch
The Problems with First Past the Post Voting Explained by C.G.P. Grey
. He also has other videos on other voting systems (and other subjects, too).

(The election results come from Kamloops This Week which is Kamloops’s newspaper.)