Category Archives: Thoughts

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.)

Kamloops Municipal By-Elections

Sometimes, one gets the idea that the local Council is not doing a good job. Apparently, a lot of people in Kamloops are thinking that way. We have by-election coming up on September 30. There are six people running for mayor, and there are twenty-one people running for two councillor positions.

I wonder if the city government will catch on that they are not doing nearly as good a job as they think they are. One questionable decision that they have taken well-deserved flak for is changing the recycling program so that plastic bags are no longer accepted.

If you are a Kamloopsian eligible to vote, please be sure to.

Attack-X Gaming Convention Last Weekend

The big event of the year on my social calendar happened last weekend (from Friday to Sunday, September 15-17, 2017): Attack-X, Kamloops’s own gaming convention.

I played some Dungeons & Dragons.

Once again, I played The Mutant Epoch by Will McAusland (who lives in Kamloops).

I played some board games. I bought some board games.

Oh, yeah, there was tabletop wargaming, too. (It is the main focus of Attack-X.) The wargamers had a good time, and once again, I got to see some very nice painting and game setups.

I had a great time.

Attack-X Gaming Convention This Weekend

The big event of the year on my social calendar is happening this weekend (from Friday to Sunday, September 15-17, 2017): Attack-X, Kamloops’s own gaming convention.

Attack-X is mainly for tabletop wargaming, but once again, I will be there upholding the boardgaming contingent. There will be other gaming, too (some RPG and historical gaming, at least).

Come see some very interesting games. Tabletop wargaming with all those painted figures and scenery is an aesthetic treat even if you do not play.

Come play some games.

Public Transit Planning II

Last week, I wrote about bad public transit planning by transit planners. The other side is not perfect either.

Some routes do not have many riders. The route that I take way east out of downtown to work does not have a lot of riders. The route does end at B.C. Wildlife Park so it is useful to have bus service so schoolkids can get there on fieldtrips. The number of passengers on a trip is usually in the single digits though.

Sometimes, it seems that transit service is wanted only so that people can tick a box. A couple years ago, I was on an inventory counting job in Quesnel, BC. The hotel where I was staying was in the outskirts of town. I decided to check out the hobby store downtown. I got a bus schedule and proceeded to arrange my trip. While riding, I noted that the route was not direct but did a lot of twisting and turning through residential neighbourhoods, and that no one was getting on. I asked the driver, and she said that she had been driving the route for about six months, and in that time, she had picked up only two passengers in the neighbourhoods.

If a route does not exist, there will not be passengers, but if there is a route, it still might not get used much. This is rather expensive.

B.C. Transit, in Vancouver, used to publish a newsletter called The Buzzer. I remember reading an article that mentioned some of the costs. Apparently, the system made money on the Broadway bus route (although it would not have if there were not other routes). Some of the other routes were quite expensive to run. The worst cost approximately $12.50 per passenger trip; this was when bus fare was about $1.25 or $1.50.

Public transit seems to be stuck between the two. I wish I saw a solution. Do you have any ideas?

Public Transit Planning

Do you ride public transit? Do you know any public transit planners who do?

Some of the routes and timings that I have seen over the years are truly boggling. I have sometimes said that a public transit planner should be required to give up his driver’s licence as a condition of holding the position. That way, he might have to actually ride the system he designs. However, he would probably find another way around it.

A common route model for a city is the star. Routes run from the edge/suburbs to and from the center. If you wish to get to an adjacent suburb, you have to go all the way in and back out.

Routes that start late and end early can be frustrating. The earliest that I can get to work by public transit is about 8 AM. My shift supposedly starts at 7:30.

Transfer timings can be bad. I once hopped on a bus in a hurry. While I was riding downtown, I checked the schedule to see when my connecting bus would leave the loop. Unfortunately, three minutes before the bus I was on was scheduled to arrive or twenty minutes after.

It is not all bad, but as bus trips tend to be rather longer than car, any additional issues tend to make it quite a bit longer. Next week, I will cover some of the points of the other side.