Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Canadians need a Backbone!

Don't get me wrong, I love my country and I think the people in it are generally nice, laid back and wonderful people . However, there are occasionally times when our tendency to take things as they come gets in the way of our need to collectively stand up as a group and say "No, I don't think so!" Unfortunately, and as as much as it galls me to say it, Americans are much better at this than we are. I remember when Gas prices started to soar (as it it hit 80c/l. shock and horror!) an American that I knew who was living up here made a comment that if prices rose that quickly in the states, people would be rioting and burning down gas stations. Now, I was shocked beyond words then, and I do still find this attitude extreme, but one has to appreciate this mans confidence in his irritatingly boastful (ooops did I say that?) fellow citizens to make a statement. It kinda makes me wish I knew people who knew how to vehemently stand up for themselves without breaking into violence.

However, the issue I am slightly riled about (yes I know I am not much better than the rest of us) today is not rising gasoline prices (as a non-renewable resource, I am bowing to its rising price as inevitable and planning to walk more until and alternative is found or we all die from starvation because of our dependency on long distance food sources), But rather Traffic Shaping,the loss of Net Neutrality, Throttling, whatever you want to call it. Basically, the issue is that we Canadian types are slow to follow our southern neighbors in protecting ourselves from becoming slaves to our Internet Service Provider's control of the internet and how we use it.

Currently, the immediate issue revolves around the ISP's limiting speed to certain users, based on what they are using their bandwidth for. Peer to Peer downloading is the bad guy of the moment. Torrents and MMO games being the main offenders. Which in my case, is my main internet usage. However, what may start as an attempt to evenly spread the so called "available bandwidth" among their user (and I am not techie enough to comment on whether ISP's are making up the shortage to justify their reluctance to upgrade their equipment, but that is my suspicion), and thereby slowing the service of these P2P "offenders", can lead to even more controlling behaviors. I am okay with internet prices rising along with everything else. It sucks, but its the way of life. As long as we know what our money is getting us, and it is the same for everyone.

However, if no one tells these big capitalist corporations that they actually CANNOT control who or when or what the internet gets used for, we are going to lose our only unbiased form of media. Suddenly websites owned by Telus related companies are going to load faster then their competitors'. the new Bell video downloading site will be the fastest way to get movies or video clips. Those alternative news blogs that tackle the hard issues and point out flaws in the corporate or government structure are going to load way slower that CNN, if ever. The internet will have a toll run fast lane for those who can pay for their connection or their website to run as well as it does now. When the Chinese government censors the internet to promote their views, we all tsk and shake our heads, sad for the loss of freedom. But what happens when our internet is censored for the sole purpose of making money? Will we feel outrage? annoyance? or will we just follow the big glowing arrow the money makers have put in our path and pay the toll and use the approved features because they are more convenient?

The sad thing is, Canadians are just cluing into this. This battle was fought and won in the states not long ago, and very few people up here noticed. Meanwhile, the ISP's have been cutting back services unannounced, and blocking rival websites and goodness knows what else, while the CRTC, which is supposed to protect the Canadian Public's interests in the media sits on its thumbs and says, "well gee. we might want to do something about this, but the big companies won't like it. maybe we will wait and see if enough people notice". Its actually kinda terrifying.

I know few, if any, read this usually half hearted journal/blog of mine, but I needed to vent somewhere. If I would be out east, I would have joined the protest in Ottawa. I almost feel bad for not being the type to organize one out here. But I would join it.

There is a petition. Sign it. Tell someone else.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Big Changes

Okay, so just after Christmas, I decided that I finally had time and motivation to join Curves again. Such a great workout. Anyway, along with this I decided to sign up for their website that runs their diet program, complete with meal plans, and nutrition tracking, health articles and all that stuff. So I went from sitting on my butt and eating whatever I felt like to working out a few times a week and planning meals and eating less and differently. Its been 3 weeks and 7 or 8lbs and quite do-able thus far.

However, today I have got the mid winter blues. I am cranky and tired of being stuck in this house. Because Gord has the car all day, I can only work out in the evenings which is a drag cuz I am most energetic mid day, and going to work out when my day is almost over seems tiring. and I am starting to feel a little trapped in this apartment. When I got rid of my car a year ago, it wasn't a big deal. I was working and going to school and didn't have a whole lot of time to spare anyway. But now that I am only working a couple days and have one class, I have a lot of time to kill and not much to do with it. I really should make use of the bus system in this town, however stupid it may be.