• Why I cancelled @siriusxmcanada, and their #fail.

    Date: 2014.10.09 | Category: Articles, Rants & complaints | Response: 1

    No Sirius XM

    Back in March I was in an auto collision, with my 2007 Mazda 3 being written off by my insurance company. I was very disappointed, as I’d had that vehicle for 7 years, and loved it!!

    Because of that, I was forced to buy a 2010 Ford Focus. It’s a good car, and good quality, but not really the primary subject of today’s blog post. No, today’s subject is a feature that came with the car! SiriusXM radio!! It came with a few months for free, and after that, with a coupon code in hand, I decided to subscribe. I had found a couple of channels I liked, and wanted to hear.

    Then recently, SiriusXM Canada decided, in their infinite wisdom, to cancel the only progressive talk channel they had – SiriusXM Progress. But then the Canadian arm decided to take it off of the radio. It’s still available online, at the cost of bandwidth to me, but not on my radio.

    Of course I emailed them – twice, and wrote to the President, Mark Redmond, via snail mail, all to no avail. So when someone from Sirius called me today, I finally cancelled, as I had promised in each communication.

    I am done with SiriusXM Canada. They apparently aren’t progressive, which means they’re conservative. I won’t pay my hard earned dollars for that.

    Bring back my channel, and maybe I’ll re-subscribe. I sorta started listening to Canada Talks, but the programming is all over the place, and none of it on Canadian politics. I’d love a Sirius channel on Canadian politics. But the progress channel was fairly awesome, and I enjoyed it for a few months.

    Screw you, Sirius!!

  • The return of… Sailor Moon

    Date: 2014.10.07 | Category: Articles, Education, Television | Response: 0

    sailor_moon_moon_tiara_magic_by_sprintmcracer-d4awblo

    Shiney makeup!

    After 20 years, the tv show of a generation is back… Sailor Moon. It has been rebooted for 2014, and premiered in July on Neon Alley, Crunchyroll, and Hulu. Right now it’s subtitled… no dub yet. However, it’s still the same Sailor Moon amazingness as from way back in 1992. The new theme for Sailor Moon Crystal was done by a popular Japanese band. It’s a fantastic song, I have to say.

    Every time something traumatic happened in the show, the Scouts found joy after the suffering because no matter what, they all stuck together. There were countless times heartache, pain, suffering, death, breakups, and confusion hit hard. No matter what though, the girls made it through everything. This gave me a hope that everything will always be OK and that everything happens for a reason.

    This show was not only fun to watch, but taught the value of friendship, and for the many boys watching it at the time, how to treat girls, and women right.

    Thankfully the show is back, in its new form, Sailor Moon Crystal for both the die-hard fans, and a new generation…. and it’s streaming online! The other bit of good news with this, is the original Sailor Moon, all 5 seasons, is being re-dubbed by Viz Media!

    If that’s not good enough, then you’ll have to stop by AlphaLikes to buy followers for your facebook page!

  • Renal services in Barrie – a letter

    Date: 2014.09.23 | Category: Health, Open letter, Reading | Response: 0

    11 September, 2014

    Janice Skot, President & CEO
    Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
    201 Georgian Drive
    Barrie, Ontario L4M 6M2

    Dialysis machines in Barrie, Ontario

    Dialysis machines in Barrie, Ontario

    RE: Renal services at RVH

    Dear Ms. Skot,

    Have you ever had to undergo long-term treatment for an ailment like cancer, or dialysis for failing kidneys?

    I have been a renal patient for approximately 30 years. I have been to a number of renal clinics, from the Hospital for Sick Children, to The Ottawa Hospital, to yours; and seen the various models, and services. What RVH currently offers is, in my opinion, both a blessing and a curse.

    The other day I had to visit RVH to have a blood transfusion in the medical treatment clinic. It was a very nice clinic, with three nice nurses. At any other hospital, I could simply have had that transfusion during my dialysis treatment. I already spend upwards if 12 hours a week at medical treatment, I don’t really enjoy spending extra time on top of that, when a volunteer could simply have gotten into a cab, and brought it over to the dialysis unit. Or RVH could do this new, and novel approach many hospitals are practicing – by putting the dialysis unit in the main hospital.

    Why is this not a priority?

    In many ways, I love that the dialysis unit is separate. You’re saving me a ton of money on parking. But then you go and try to gouge me by paying to watch your TV. I haven’t spent a dime on it. (I choose not to watch it.) As far as I am aware, RVH is the only hospital in Ontario to charge its dialysis patients to watch TV. We have no choice but to be there three times a week, and you want to nickel and dime us?

    Ultimately, however, Barrie as a city has approximately 135,711 residents, according to the 2011 census. Kingston, Ontario as a city has approximately 123,363. Kingston General Hospital has a renal transplant program. Why does RVH not have one? And don’t use us not having a University as an excuse. RVH could easily partner with the University of Toronto like you already have for the family medicine program.

    As a result of this situation, I would like you and RVH to make renal services a priority. Start now to bring a transplant program to RVH in the next 5 – 10 years. At the end of the day, Ms. Skot, it’s go time!

    Respectfully yours,

    Peter V. Tretter

    P.S. Could you please do something about all those styrofoam cups that end up in the landfill? Perhaps by replacing them with paper cups that can be recycled? Thank you.

  • An open letter to @Telus

    Date: 2014.07.13 | Category: eBooks, Open letter | Response: 0

    Dear Telus:

    telus logo

    telus logo (Photo credit: DennisSylvesterHurd)

    I have been a Telus Mobility customer on and off for the last 15 years, and most recently for the last three. I enjoy your coverage areas, and prices for tablets.

    But Telus, you and I aren’t going to be BFF’s much longer. I’m sorry, but it will probably have to change. Our relationship that is.

    Why?

    I signed up for pre-authorized payments to my credit card. So my bill is paid in full, on time, every month. Not once have I ever been late with a payment.

    Apparently you decided that wasn’t good enough for you, and so now according to your email, you are going to charge my credit card 10 days in advance of the billing date.

    I don’t pay any bill that early. It’s rude for you to assume that I’d agree to that. And when I called to complain – I got nowhere. The manager who called me back refused to leave a callback number.

    So now I am going to shop for a new provider. Possibly Bell or Rogers. Maybe Wind because I know about the letter’s you’ve written to the CRTC opposing competition.

    So take this letter to heart, and change. Now. Before you die of old age. As a Pastor once said, “We’re all terminal.”

    Sincerely,

    Peter V. Tretter
    E-mail me!

    P.S. I ask friends, and family to please share this article on their social networks!!

  • The right question

    Date: 2014.06.21 | Category: Uncategorized | Response: 0

    English: St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, On...

    English: St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada – at night from Queen Street. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    I’ll agree that there is no such thing as a wrong question. However, I firmly believe that there is such a thing as the right question.

    Last week someone asked me something I’ve never in my 30 years as a renal patient ever been asked before: How long have I been on the transplant list?

    Of course for those who know me, would respond to that with a question as well: Which time?

    Because for those who truly know me, would know that my next transplant won’t be my first, second, or even last, as unfortunately as it is for me to type that. No, it’ll be my fourth. And no, I cannot have an indefinite number of transplants.

    Back to the original question though: This time, I have been on the list since 2007. Now to qualify that, when a renal patient goes on the list, they have to have gone on dialysis first. And your place on the list is based on what day you went back on dialysis. So despite the fact that St. Michael’s Hospital didn’t formally put me on the list until 2009, it went back to the day I went back onto dialysis.

    And every year I do a series of tests to ensure that I am medically capable of remaining on the list.

    A hemodialysis machine, used to physiologicall...

    A hemodialysis machine, used to physiologically aid or replace the kidneys in renal failure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     

    So what does that mean for me?

    Well, likely I will be on the list until at least 2017, possibly longer. Because I’ve had so many transplants, I also have every antibody known to man. Thus, matching a donated kidney is difficult at best. A PITA at worst. At least I’m not getting any false calls… except for that one time in 2011 or 2012. Missed a day of work too.

    And the reality of it all is – until they can change my DNA to cure the underlying problem that causes the chronic rejection, the prognosis is that I’ll likely keep a transplanted kidney no more than 5 – 7 years… and then I’ll have to lather, rinse, and repeat.

    It can be a morbid subject that at one time might have caused some brief depression. Now in my own words to the doctor: “That’s 7 years I have freedom to do anything.”

    I have some freedom on dialysis, but it’s not true freedom. I can’t go on vacation in California, because I have no one to foot the medical bills. OHIP pays very little. They’re cheap bastards.

    So the question isn’t about how long I have been on the transplant list. The question my friend, is about weather or not I’ll be on it again. Or weather or not I’ll even want to bother with dialysis in the first place. We all assume I will. But until I am there making that decision, in the moment, I have no idea.

  • The web this week…

    Date: 2014.06.10 | Category: Articles, Green Party, Health, Politics | Response: 0

    First off is an amazing YouTube video that if you haven’t seen it, you’ve been living under a rock. It comes to us from Volkswagen. It’s a must watch!

    If you’ve been living under the same previously mentioned rock, then you’ll have completely missed that this upcoming Thursday is election day in Ontario. I’m not going to lecture you on whom to vote for, but instead share more YouTube vids!

    noevil

    Next we have an awesome photo from the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Read my February blog post on organ donation.

    10462602_10152246240613871_1432080778427234494_n

      • My own non-profit, Journey to Diversity Workplaces released its June newsletter today.
      • A cancer donation box was stolen. While I don’t support giving drug companies even more money, this seems wrong.
      • Postmodern Jukebox released their new video titled No Diggity. Though Like a Prayer is still my fav.
    Clockwise from top left: Marge, Homer, Bart, S...

    Clockwise from top left: Marge, Homer, Bart, Santa’s Little Helper (dog), Snowball II (cat), Lisa, and Maggie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      • Not sure who your Green candidate is on Thursday? Find out.
      • Turing test beaten by Russian chatterbot.
      • 10 Words That “The Simpsons” Invented.

    Find out all this and more by following me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+!!

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  • Why @Kobo is full of it. #fail

    Date: 2014.04.17 | Category: Articles, eBooks, Reading | Response: 0

    Once upon a time, I had a Sony e-Reader, I had gotten through the Airmiles reward program. It was a great e-Reader, but I soon upgraded to a Kobo. Since then I’ve upgraded to the Kobo Aura HD.

    Kobo Aura HD

    Then it was recently announced that Sony was getting out of the e-Reader business, and that my library would be transferred over to Kobo.

    Oh did I ever rejoice.

    It was a very happy day, now I can sync those books with the iPad app, and the android app. I was ecstatic.

    Then I got the link. The lovely link to transfer over my books. Should have been easy.

    It wasn’t.

    About half of my library was moved over, the rest weren’t under the explanation that Kobo didn’t sell them, and thus couldn’t put them in my library. Ok, no big deal. I already have them on my hard drive, I’ll live.

    Then I uncovered the lie – some of those books were available in the Kobo library. So I submitted a ticket. In the end they can’t put those books in my library for free because… they’re the wrong format. PDF vs ePub. So because of it being PDF, I get screwed out of it being in my library, and thus have to manually load it onto my Kobo.

    If the company makes a promise, they should keep it. This is just another epic fail that is making me reconsider this company.

    The other factor – Kobo is challenging a Competition Bureau deal worked out with 4 publishers to end the ban on coupon codes when you buy their books. I’ve long hated that I can’t use coupon codes on Kobo, and I’m on the border… of switching to a Kindle.

    So Kobo, get your act together, or you’ll lose my business, and I will stop recommending you to everyone who will listen. In fact, I’ll specially tell them to never buy or shop from Kobo.

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  • Are the @CanadianGreens as inclusive as they could be?

    Date: 2014.04.15 | Category: Articles, Green Party, Politics | Response: 0

    English: Dialysis machine with bed side setup

    For reader’s of my blog, you’ll know I am on dialysis. I have treatments three evenings a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This is both a blessing, and a curse. A blessing because I am still alive, and a curse because it makes it really hard to travel.

    I am the immediate Past President of the Barrie Green Party. I was President for almost 6 years. I have been actively involved with the party since 2005, and this is my 10th year as a member.

    Coming up 18 July – 20 July is the Green Party of Canada’s Biennial General Meeting in Fredericton, New Brunswick. I am sure it’s a beautiful city, but it has a huge barrier for me as an attendee. Horizon Health Network operates the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital. They have a dialysis unit….

    but it’s a satellite of the hospital in Saint John, New Brunswick. And they’re full.

    If an attendee was in a wheelchair, we’d ensure there was ramp. If they were deaf, we’d ensure there are American Sign Language interpreters.

    Saint John is approximately 1.5 hours away from Fredericton. I’d have to make two trips. One to see the kidney doctor, and another for the actual dialysis treatment. Upon visiting a new dialysis unit for the first time, it’s standard practice to see the kidney doctor. So the party is asking me to make a 6 hour round trip… at my expense. And I’m already a low income member.

    Why couldn’t we simply have the convention in Saint John?

    I had a similar problem in 2009 when the convention was in Nova Scotia, which unfortunately I couldn’t attend due to getting the flu. But 2010 in Toronto was fine, as was 2012 in Victoria, BC.

    This past Sunday at its Annual General Meeting, the Barrie Green Party heard from Sandra Holdsworth from the Trillium Gift of Life Network. She pointed out that those on the waiting list for a heart transplant go around with a backpack that has an artificial heart in it to keep them alive until they get a transplant. I imagine they can’t just travel anywhere. How are we accommodating them?

    So I am asking my fellow members to help me find a solution, as I could be on dialysis for a very long time.

    If you live in Ontario, I encourage you to ensure you’ve signed your organ donor card, by visiting the Barrie Green Party’s campaign page. (If the link doesn’t work, visit beadonor.ca)

    Thank you for reading.

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  • Revitalizing democracy

    Date: 2014.04.01 | Category: Articles, Green Party, Politics | Response: 0

    Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

    Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    On April 13th, I will be stepping down as President & CEO of the Barrie Green Party after almost 6 years. If I were the President of the US, that’d be a term and a half. Alas, I’m a volunteer President, and so after 6 years it is time to move on.

    I leave behind a legacy of democracy. When I held my first Annual General Meeting in 2009, we could barely make quorum. Over the years we’ve completely replaced the constitution with one that works much better for us, and not only do we meet quorum at our AGM’s, we exceed it. Simple things such has having a speaker, and sometimes Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner help bring out members, friends, and supporters. One change we made in 2014 was moving the meeting from January, to April, where we can promote it at our annual Earth Hour activities.

    This year we present Sandra Holdsworth, a presenter with the Trillium Gift of Life Network who will be speaking on organ donation. Sandra herself is from the Simcoe/Muskoka area, being a local native herself.

    I’ve always felt it was the President’s job to protect democracy within the Electoral District Association. I always claimed the AGM as mine, my event to organize, and invite the members to. To ensure it is not only held, but that anyone who wants to attend can. I also moved it from a boring evening during the week to a Sunday afternoon at the Barrie Public Library, where notably, the room is free.

    The new President of course will be able to chart their own course, but I am proud of my 6 years, and I cannot wait for whatever window opens next.

    “Second star to the right and straight on till morning.” – Captain Kirk, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

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  • Let’s dance again… by volunteering.

    Date: 2014.03.09 | Category: Articles, Green Party, J2DW | Response: 0

    I like to keep active by volunteering. I find it gets me moving, the blood flowing, and I get to meet all sorts of amazing new people. This is especially true when I am the volunteer head of the organization. Two of which could really use your help.

    In 2008, the Green Party of Canada, here in Barrie, had it’s best result ever, having a statistical tie with the NDP for third. Everyone was shocked. We couldn’t have done it without our volunteers. Three years later, we didn’t do so well. Why? We didn’t have as many volunteers. The Globe and Mail has actually come out and said that if we want to change how politics is done in Canada, citizens should join a political party and change it from the inside. I agree.

    Coming up this July, the Green Party of Canada will hold it’s biennial general meeting in Fredricton, New Brunswick. In the Green Party, the only policies the leader is allowed to promote are the ones voted on by the members. It really is grassroots democracy. And you can be the change!

    I’m also the volunteer head of another, non-political, non-profit, non-charity organization Journey to Diversity Workplaces.

    J2DW was created because of a real desire for change — in our pocket books. To change the way we work, the way we treat each other, employees, managers, and co-workers, and to make life a little more stress-free. We want workplaces that are ethical, moral, and legal. No loophole searching.

    J2DW as born this past December, but we still need a few good people to join the Board of Directors during the infancy of the organization to help us find out balance as we start to stand on our own two legs.

    If you would like to volunteer for either of these two amazing organizations, please don’t hesitate to email me.

    Neither of these two groups peak your interest? Email me anyway, and perhaps I can put you in touch with an organization that does.

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