Apr

27

Posted by : Patrick | On : April 27, 2015

So I fell into the cult of Keurig a few years ago, and I have to admit, I like the convenience, simplicity and I’ve found quite a few coffees that I enjoy. Basically you’re paying 10x what you would for a cup of drip coffee for the convenience of a tea bag, and a consistent cup of coffee.

It is wasteful (they’re promising recycle friendly cups soon), and the quality of the coffee isn’t always great.

So my Cuisinart brewer decided kicking buckets was fun and did that, so, sitting on around 200 unbrewed cups and not wanting to waste them, I went out and spend $150 on a shiny new Keurig 2.0 brewer at Costco – when they came out with the 2.0 brewer, they came out with 3 models, a low, mid and high end machine. The cheapest machine is the one they sell at Costco – oddly, also the high end version, which costs a bit more if you buy it from the Green Mountain people (Keurig). It has a huge reservoir, machine works like a charm, and it will even brew a pot if you want to spring for the brew a pot pods – tried it out, works quite well.

The Costco edition, which is again, the high end machine with the biggest water reservoir (for the same price as Green Mountain sells the low end version) comes with a bunch of coffee pods, 4 carafe pods, and a box of tea.

“Convenience of a tea bag”

That’s what I wrote up in the first line. Tea bags are just as convenient, inexpensive, and do single servings perfectly – I can make allowances for single serve coffee, 50 cents per cup if you buy Costco’s Kirkland brand, or find deals online for other varieties, but tea?

I’m sorry, but it’s cheaper and just as easy to brew a cup of tea from a bag – no mess, no fuss, and a biodegradable waste product. To add insult to injury, they come with English Breakfast tea – anyone who’s every brewed a cup of English Breakfast can tell you, stuff doesn’t even need to steep. You have a dark, rich cup of tea almost before you’re done adding water to the cup. Add some sugar and milk and off you go. There is no legitimate reason to replace something already super easy and quick with something roughly as easy and quick, with 10x the cost per cup minimum, as well as waste plastic.

Seriously. Tea?

I call myself a moron for making coffee that way some days. But tea? If I replaced every tea bag in my cupboard with K Cups I’d need a second bedroom in my apartment to store them all, and I’d have enough extra plastic waste I’d probably need to register as an environmental menace with some kind of international regulatory body. All to save no time, and get the same thing – in fact, if I steep the tea a little longer, I can make a 24 oz mug of tea (huge) with the one tea bag. I’d have to use 2 of the plastic cups to pull that off.

So yeah – stop with the tea already. That particular beverage has already reached a peak of excellent that a K Cup can’t even begin to approach, and it’s just overpricing for the dumb. Picking on dumb people isn’t cool, especially in such an obvious way.

Tea Bag > K Cup

Sep

27

Posted by : Patrick | On : September 27, 2013

So I wrote a post in 2011

Trying to think of how things have changed since then.

I’m not working right now, so that doesn’t help, but everything I’ve learned since I wrote that just solidifies everything I was thinking at the time I wrote it.

“Stuff” doesn’t matter.

By stuff, I mean luxury items.

There are things that are vastly more important in life, most of which have no quantifiable cost.

The people in your life are 99% of that

Of course, in 2011, I had no idea what was wrong with me – I knew there was something wrong, I can’t deny that, but I had no idea what it was or what the long term implications of it might be. If you’ve read some of my recent entries, there’s some frustration at finding out I have a condition known as Multiple Sclerosis. Based on what they know about it, they don’t know a lot. They know that certain drugs can help, they think it might be an autoimmune condition (they’re pretty sure of that actually), but then, some people have had some success treating it as something else entirely, so it might not be.

Anyways, the dream is still the same.

I’d like to get my own place, preferably a small condo with room for 2 people and a dog. I have the dog already

I don’t feel any huge need to be in a relationship, although I do miss human cuddles (I get lots of cuddles, but they’re puppy cuddles – which are awesome in their own right), but I don’t miss complications and all the crap involved with having to be things I’m not because that’s what someone else wants… Unless I find someone who’s cool with me as I am, there’s no rush.

Baby steps.

I need to get myself back up and running at a properly functional level, get back to work, and improve my skills so I can increase my income – No more scraping by at the bare minimum, because there are things I need personally (mostly my own space) that are pretty much impossible to get at what I was making. Plus my medical costs are extensive apparently (I’m not on any drugs at the moment, but the drugs my doctors want me to take cost more than some people OVER the poverty line make in a year)

On the bright side, I think I’ve finally managed to get my dog house trained – she still has accidents, but it’s more 1 a week, as opposed to 3 times a day… gets me out and moving on a regular schedule, so that’s good too.

My goals for the coming year are easy

1. Be more active
2. Eat better (eliminate processed foods as much as possible, cook for myself, stop being wasteful with groceries)
3. Downsize – eliminate shit I don’t need, focus on quality, not quantity
4. Improve the skills I do have so they’re more marketable
5. Teach Kaia how to put her toys away when she’s done with them
6. Be more social, nothing good comes from sitting in my room watching TV

Aug

09

Posted by : Patrick | On : August 9, 2013

Telus, Bell, Rogers?

All of you are awful.

roll back 10 years, my cell phone was low tech, not all that spectacular, and 30 bucks a month got me 200 daytime minutes, unlimited evenings and weekends from 6pm. Minutes that went over the limit of 200 were 25 cents

my first Smart phone was a Palm, and I was paying $60 a month for 300 minutes with unlimited data and all the bells and whistles. 35 cents for minutes

Then a BlackBerry – same plan

Then an iPhone, they took away the unlimited data, so I had 5gb and 300 minutes + bells and whistles all around, $60 a month

Next iPhone, I bumped to 6gb of data and 300 minutes, $100 per month, same bells and whistles, 45 cents for additional minutes

Current phone (still an iPhone), still 6gb of data, still 300 minutes, 5pm evenings and weekends, 45 cents for additional minutes, paying $80 a month – the upward trend reversed a little.

JUST looked at the websites for Telus, Bell, and Rogers (the 3 “BIG” telecom providers in Canada), and to get what I have now?

$140 to $160 a month.

To be fair, that includes unlimited calling.

Big deal – I’ve never even come close to using my 300 daytime minutes, not even once…

so the price of data is going up (while the price of providing data is still dropping), the price of overage minutes is still going up (while the price of providing those minutes is NOTHING), the price of roaming keeps going up, while the cost is less than they charge for our normal domestic services…

Telus, Bell and Rogers – the cash grab, ripoff cousins.

and they’re complaining about Verizon coming to Canada – obviously… when you’re running a huge ripoff on Canadians, and trying to sell it as being an awesome deal? Bringing in a competitor more interested in number of subscribers than profit per subscription is a pretty huge threat.

Hey Verizon – unlimited calling North America, unlimited 4G data with tethering, unlimited messaging… $99? sound fair, because I’ll pay that, and jump ship in a split second.

Aug

09

Posted by : Patrick | On : August 9, 2013

George Takei labelled the Sochi Olympics coming up as the Winter of Hate (click the name for the petition to move the 2014 Winter Olympics to Vancouver)

I have to commend him, and the critique he’s done of the whole situation, and the analogies he’s drawn to the earlier games in Germany – the leader of that nation also singled out a group of people prior to the games, bastardized their existence, and watched as people supported and cheered him on because he wasn’t after them

WASN’T AFTER THEM

that’s an important thing.

Because in the end (hopefully everyone knows the story), that distinction ended up being nothing. Nobody was safe.

Any time a leader chooses to attack, discredit, or eliminate a group of people because of who they were born, regardless of what that criteria is, they’re openly saying “I can pick and choose who is good enough for me”

who he chooses isn’t the part that matters, it’s the fact that he’s willing to openly attack his own people.

the who could be anyone.

next could be people who like cats, or dogs, people with brown eyes, people who like American music… people are not defined by those things, yes, it’s a part of who they are, but they don’t determine how good they are of a person, how well they’ll work at their job, whether they’re kind, or helpful or loving. Some of those things are choices, some are not.

Being LGBT is much like that – it was never a choice – people are born with their sexual orientation, much like genetics determines eyes colour, skin colour, hair colour and gender, it also determines sexuality.

They can still be assholes or amazing people, wonderful friends, phenomenal athletes, or drunken louts with no redeeming qualities. None of those things are determined by their sexuality. The only thing determined by that is who they’re attracted to.

It’s not a condition, it can’t be cured – no more than being born with any other distinct feature can… sure, you can dye your hair, or wear coloured contact lenses, or any variety of cosmetic things to alter appearance, but none of that changes anything about you, it just temporarily changes how you look.

So anyways George suggests moving the Olympics to Vancouver.

There’s a HUGE upside to that idea for Vancouver – they’d have to find a place to put the athletes up, and get security and event planning in place, dust off and polish the venues… but considering they’d get massive amounts of revenue for a very minimal cost since everything is already in place, it’d turn the 2010/2014 event into one of the most profitable Olympics in history.

Or take it a step further… split the event calendar, and have 1/3 in Vancouver/Whistler, 1/3 in Calgary/Banff/Kananaskis and 1/3 in Edmonton/Jasper

Western Canada is a place that knows how to do hospitality, and knows how to handle adversity – and this whole scenario is a heck of a lot more pleasant than a giant flood, which Southern Alberta already handled with grace, poise and dignity.

Don’t give Putin a platform for his disgraceful policies – pull the Olympics, and let the athletes compete on ground where all will be welcome, all will be safe, and all will enjoy – honestly, it doesn’t really matter where, so much as where not.

Sorry Sochi, I honestly hope you lose the Olympics – not because of Sochi, because of Putin, and his fascist sensibilities.

Aug

07

Posted by : Patrick | On : August 7, 2013

This is a pain.

I wake up at a reasonable time, and just can’t motivate myself to move. After a night of dreaming about infinite possibilities and crazy wonderful things, I awake to the reality that I feel like I’ve been awake for weeks, with no rest. Just exhausted. I look in the mirror, and it’s the same guy who had energy and motivation to do things a few months ago. The “now” me is eating better and sleeping better than I ever have before, but energy levels have been dropping steadily.

I wonder where I am and how I got here.

It’s not as simple as you think.

I mean, I know where I am, and I know the path I took to get where I am, but knowing why I feel this way when I’ve made a conscious effort to boost my energy levels and health… choosing better food, better sleeping habits, a healthier routine?

I may as well have kept drinking heavily and eating fast food, because I can’t even describe how much today lacks clarity or energy, or will to proceed.

I have myself trained to do a number of things automatically, I don’t even think about them anymore… I wake up, have a shower, make a cup of coffee, clean up after my dog, check the mail, make some breakfast… 2 of those have happened so far (woke up, made coffee).

I just don’t feel like I can do it.

I will, because I need to… but it’s a struggle today – I want to be useful, to feel useful… but today I just don’t. Too many days in the last few weeks have been like this.

Aug

03

Posted by : Patrick | On : August 3, 2013

Life it always changes

you’d think getting terrible news would be a downer, and it usually is – but sometimes, it’s just knowledge, and a challenge.

I have this terrible tendency to blow up my life completely every 3-5 years… change what I do for a living, who I live with, everything. It’s not a stable kind of life. It’s a good life, don’t get me wrong, but it lacks any real sense of stability.

AND then I got some bad news. I have a disease.

But it’s not all bad honestly!

Yes, I have something I have to watch for, be careful of, and deal with. But it explains a lot of the things that lead to those “blow up” situations, and as far as I’m concerned, that part of my life is over.

I know what causes it, and I know how to control myself through the situations that left me in shambles every few years – and will probably continue to do so… but knowing what it is?

I know it’s me now. I know I can move beyond those feelings, and those times, and continue moving forward with the things I’ve built in between those times – I can realize, and react as I would if I didn’t feel that way, because I know before coming out the other side, I still feel that way, I just have muddled mental miscarriages, and that they don’t represent who I am. I know, without a doubt, who I am, what I stand for, and how to be the best version of me, even in situations where it doesn’t feel that way.

Jul

12

Posted by : Patrick | On : July 12, 2013

Just a couple pics of my pup

20130712-200447.jpg

I told her how I was feeling (pretty rotten) and that was her face.

20130712-200629.jpg

Then she got over it, as puppies tend to do :)

And there’s my puppy post for today :)

Jul

12

Posted by : Patrick | On : July 12, 2013

I’m sometimes astounded by the quality of people I’ve got in my life, whether they be friends, close friends, family, or simply acquaintances from random internet places

the words of encouragement, support and caring leave me wondering sometimes how anyone can feel despair at all, ever… if I’m just lucky? I’m not sure. I hope everyone out there has at least some friends and family they can count on when things are tough.

I’m not sure I say it enough, or could even begin to show the appreciation I feel for the people in my life

You are amazing people, and I love you all dearly!

Jul

11

Posted by : Patrick | On : July 11, 2013

Today I was just going about my business, thinking (as I tend to do) about life, the universe and everything (you might notice that’s a common theme with me, I’m a huge fan of Douglas Adams, and I find much happiness in those particular words) when I came across some pictures from my Niece’s 4th birthday this weekend. I had the pleasure of speaking with her briefly on the day in question, and I quite enjoyed the picture (on Instagram).

Now, here’s the conundrum.

The Instagram in question belonged to one of my sisters, with whom I’ve had no contact in a number of years due to a rather hasty falling out with my father. Thinking it might be time to make some kind of connection with someone I’ve always considered to be pretty amazing, and rather special part of my family, I decided to follow her on said site – I was almost immediately blocked.

And I got to thinking about what led to the falling out.

It had nothing to do with my sisters, who are all wonderful girls (women now, and undoubtedly still amazing people), it was a confrontation I had with my father. I don’t regret that, because he should have heard what I said to him, and he deserved to hear it. At the same time, I offered him forgiveness for all of it. I’m not going to go in to details here, since that’s a personal, private situation. All I know is shortly after that, I was persona non grata in that household. My name was not to be spoken, my sisters were not allowed to be anywhere I might happen to be at any given time, I was to be considered evil. I’ve never tried to make contact with them after that, since that was the way the “family” wanted it. Once sister contacted me, and I was glad she did. I’ve not spoken out against her parents (My father and stepmother) to her even when she was rather angry with them. They’re good people for the most part, with some quirks that can be rather hard to deal with at times. No good could come of speaking against them, nor belittling them. I simply encouraged her to be patient with them, and keep the lines of communication open. Sometimes, the things parents do is hard to understand when you’re young, quite normal.

Blocked.

I’ve been absent from her life, but that wasn’t by choice. It was how my father wanted it.

It didn’t really hit home just how isolated I was from that part of my family until that moment, and I found myself weeping rather uncontrollably.

Part of it was the whole “You have MS, and we can’t cure that” thing. Something I’ve had since I was a wee lad, before I found my words – or the ability to control my bodily functions in a voluntary way. Something I didn’t know about until just recently. Over the years, I’ve had many episodes where I was, quite frankly, not myself. I’m not a rude person, or an inconsiderate person most times. I do tend to forgetfulness, which is odd, since in other regards I have an outstanding memory. I remember 3 birthdays – My own, My best friend growing up and my father.

It’s not that I set out not to remember others, in fact, I write them down, I enter them in all kinds of reminder calendars, I repeat them to myself, I make lists… for some reason, they never stick. This year was actually the first time I’ve ever remembered my Mom’s birthday ON her birthday. I called her a few times to no answer, and then called her back the day after. So I was a day late, but not for lack of trying.

Anyways, I forget birthdays.

That was a bone of contention.

And in the midst of an emotional, draining and angry MS attack, I wrote my father a long winded, very detailed, very honest, rather critical email (the confrontation I noted above) which ended along the lines of and I forgive you. He’s never even tried to forgive me apparently. At the time I sent it, there was no diagnosis, I didn’t understand what I was going through, but I knew I was upset, and I knew that he’d done some hurtful things that needed to be addressed.

So today, after realizing how completely he’d poisoned that side of my family against me, after an hour of crying, and feeling awful, I sent him another email.

I didn’t apologize for what I’d said in the last, that would be a lie, and I’m not a liar.

I explained my diagnosis, what was going on, and that I really, really need my family now – more than ever before. I asked for forgiveness and understanding.

And I have no idea if I’ll get even that. I really hope I do, because these are people that, despite their flaws, despite all the shit and garbage and crap, are my family, and I love deeply.

Wish me luck.

Jul

09

Posted by : Patrick | On : July 9, 2013

So a few months ago I underwent a change

It’s not the first time, and it probably won’t be the last. It wasn’t all bad of course, but mostly.

The left side of my body went numb, my head went fuzzy, and I had difficulty maintaining a decent energy level. The last part is still true, more than 3 or 4 hours of activity leaves me feeling done.

I also lost the ability to focus my eyes, so I was seeing double. When that situation resolved itself, my vision was better than before it happened. That’s not a good sign really – what it means is that my optic nerve healed, which means it was damaged in the first place.

Being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis changes everything for me. It explains my meltdowns every few years, going months unable to function in any reliable way. It passes, everything goes back to normal… a few months that redefine everything, every time.

The plus to being diagnosed is maybe, just maybe, that doesn’t have to happen any more. I know it can happen, I know why it happens… I have an explanation for what’s happening, and I can share that explanation with the people it impacts other than myself.

It doesn’t make the things I’ve said or done or felt any more or less than they were at the time. But now I know.

It’s a struggle trying to explain to myself things that I’ve done that don’t fit with how I feel about life, the universe and everything – but now I have one. My own immune system attacks my brain, and I’m quite literally not myself for a while. I’ve gotten better at compensating for this, even before I knew what it was. I know what I would do when I’m well, and I try to stick to that, even when it feels wrong.

Regardless, it’s going to be a long, tedious path to keep things normal.