to SIN or not to SIN

Good gravy.  I’ve been contacted four times in the past 24 hours by a machine claiming to be from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.  The recording states that my Social Insurance Number has been compromised.  Good gravy!  How gullible do you think I am?  Here’s an announcement from the actual OPC.  Don’t be fooled, people!  Hang up!

when things go wrong (aka cursed server)

I drove to Rosedale, BC to take care of Father’s house, as I told everyone.  However, on the second day that I was gone, my server crashed.  <AAAAAH!>  Every time I leave, something happens to the computer!  I phoned Floyd to help out.  I guided him through various steps to get it running again.  No go.  I needed the server to update to everyone how things are going there on lesjohnston.ca and here, to post things for sale, to upload pics to share with various people, etc, but the server just would not work.  I got back into town yesterday evening, about three weeks later, and worked on the server.  It’s now running again.  Piece of crap.  It’s cursed.  It only crashes and refuses to restart when I leave town.

virus and backup

There are a few entries missing from the Ongoing Letter because the server caught a virus.  Actually, I made a mistake and opened up an FTP service on it without encryption.  I thought, “No one will ever know there’s an FTP site here.”  Stupid.  Within a week, a virus showed up.  I had to reinstate a backup from about two weeks ago.  So, students and others, if your web page is not up-to-date, please let me know.  Those of you who posted something on your own page, “Sorry!”  You’ll have to re-post.  Better to be virus-free than to screw around with patching up an infected server.

Korean age

Holy cow.  Amazing.  I thought it would never happen.  (Still might not.)
South Korea mulls ending arcane age system to match rest of world

Believe it or not, the phrases “happy birthday” and “how old are you?” are unrelated in South Korean culture.  They’re completely separated concepts.  So, when an English (that is to say, ESL) book links age and birthday together, Korean kids are confused.  

Yet, if I were to buy a car made June 2, 2018, it would be one year old.  On the other hand, a Korean baby born on the same day would be three!  Go figure.

I think a question to drive the point home is, “How long have you been alive?”

But does this mean we all have to start calculating our age from conception?  Now there’s something I don’t want.

If you stick with the Korean age system, don’t blame anyone if they laugh hysterically when you say your newborn is two years old.

I say, pick a standard and go with it. 

older

It used to be that everyone my age was older than me.  That is, until this accident.  Now I’m really slow, or have been since the crash.  Whiplash is an unforgiving thing.  If I should meet the guy who drove his van into my car, I’d kick him in the ass.  My back aches, and my neck is constantly stiff and sore.  The good news is that my headache is finally clearing up.  I go for physiotherapy twice a week.  It apparently will last about 90 days before it clears up.  I look forward to it.

replant, and plough no more

The Guardian reports that we’re seriously boned unless we change our ways … now.

‘It’s a groundswell’: the farmers fighting to save the Earth’s soil

I planted native southern Alberta wildflowers near the house this spring instead of watering and expecting green grass to grow there.  It’s supposed to be conducive to the lives of birds, bees, butterflies, and or course beauty.

Yes, I bought a larger van, but you have to remember that the embodied energy needed to invest into a new vehicle is quite serious – the fuel equivalent to somewhere around 130,000km of driving.  I didn’t even get that far in seven years in the Kia Soul.

I plugged in my little electric foot scooter today.  It costs – and I don’t care if you don’t believe me – I’ve done the research and calculations – about $1.00 of electricity to go about 1000km on this.  Of course, I can’t carry lumber or a family or suitcases and cannot drive in winter.  But it serves its purpose.

And of course there’s my favourite – my bicycle.  But my physiotherapist is frowning on using it just yet.  The bonehead to T-boned my car made sure of that.

complete crap

This is amazing.  People are weird.  I switched from a plastic garbage bag in my home office space to a paper bag.  I don’t dump grease, spit, coffee, or any other liquid in it.  Never have.  But people feel compelled to carry plastic around with them anyway.  Aren’t there enough doo-doo bags out there?  You’d think that people would have wax coated paper by now.  “I don’t wanna cut down trees!”  Okay, then don’t.  Use recycled paper.  “Recycling’s not the answer!  Reducing is the answer!”  Okay, then get a smaller dog.  Besides, waxed paper can degrade, and so can poop.  Don’t like paraffin (fake wax from petrochemicals)?  Then walk quickly home with your poop.

Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?

The issue is that people don’t want to change their habits.  Back when I was a kid, my mother used a paper grocery bag for garbage with a couple of newspaper sheets at the bottom and stapled an old newspaper to the top of it when full.  Nothing leaked.  All good.

US bond yield curve

According to CNBC, the US bond yield curve has inverted, a significant indicator of a slowed economy.

Now I’m no professional economic analysis expert by any means – but is it not just as simple as knowing that the industries and, indeed, industrial models you’ve relied upon for “growth” all this time have started to fail because they should?  Did the steam engine not get replaced by the Diesel?  Then the Diesel-electric?  Did stone houses not make way for brick, then wood, then steel & glass?

Is Alberta not suffering now because people have a poor idea of the reputation of oil sands?  Lethbridge, for example, has an enormous amount both of sunlight and wind.  Isn’t the writing on the wall stating that, within 20 years or so, oil will seriously on its way out?  Now I’m not getting on the Liberal bandwagon and saying we should all convert farmland into solar panel land.  …  Then again, you’re building huge advanced greenhouses to grow pot.  Good for you.  (There’s a facetious tone to my remark, by the way, in case you couldn’t hear me.)

Instead of looking at this as a doom-and-gloom thing, this seems to me to be a sure indicator of the need for innovation, changes to the status-quo, advancement of “alternatives” (as though oil is the benchmark and everything else is an alternative).  In short, the stuff you’ve invested in is losing ground.  Stop trying to prop it up with make-shift measures.  Let it die.  Move into something else.

And Trumpy wants to open up more coal mines and “put Americans to work again”, as though going back in time will save us all.  Fool!  And you’re dragging everyone else down with you.

the flow

I am reading a book called You Are a Badass.  It’s about having good intentions, good thoughts, good vibes, for lack of better explanation.  “The Universe will match whatever vibration you put out.  And you can’t fool the Universe.”

“Can I get a name?” Starbucks staff asks when I order an Americano.  “Allan.”  (Yes, you already knew that – but she didn’t.)  Why a name?  Because many people might order an Americano.  So the woman after me, after being asked her name, said, “No.”  …  Uh … “Okay, I’ll just leave it here for you.”  Is the world this concerned with privacy that she can’t leave a name?  Maybe she should say, “Esmeralda” or “Lapodopolis” or even “Steve” or “Jesus”.  Sorry, but I have no tolerance for people like that.

By the way – her coffee sat there and waited for her, exactly where the barista said it would be.  The woman was miffed.  <puff, pant, huff, snort, throat clearing, cough>  Good fracking hell.

I met a Canadian in Korea who refused to walk with the crowd.  “I’m going this way, not that way.  I don’t care if people are on this side of the sidewalk.”

I know – I used to be this person, a million years ago.

HTML vs. Moodle, WordPress, etc.

Okay, so this isn’t 1990 anymore.  Websites are dynamic, not static.  No one uses .html (hypertext markup language) anymore.  Instead, modern websites use https, .asp, databases, interactivity, splashy advertisements and pictures that fly across the screen, areas of the page that stand still whereas others move around … all that is terribly impressive.

But, after fidgeting around with with WordPress, Moodle, Joomla!, add-ons to those, databases from MySQL and Microsoft SQL, and various other CMS packages made for teachers & students & school admin, I’ve decided they all suck.

Read moreHTML vs. Moodle, WordPress, etc.