You knew it was coming

Posted by bernicky - December 28th, 2005

Another shooting in Toronto the good.

More gun play.

I watched the news and discovered that it isn’t the romanticization of gang violence in popular music that is at fault. It isn’t the popular culture of music video that glorifies gang life as a cool choice at fault. It isn’t the celebration of ignorance and academic failure which has even the president of the United States using words like “egghead” to describe intellectuals that is at fault. It isn’t the people with the guns doing the shooting who are at fault. It isn’t the families who raised the gun players at fault. It is the GOVERNMENT (read the majority community) who are responsible for the gun play on Toronto streets. John Q. Public is responsible because he hasn’t ponied up enough money paying for public schools, public health, city athletic programs etcetera but has failed to find an effective way to engage a youth market which disdains work, honesty and integrity as a path to success in favour of guns, drugs and Escalades.

Face it – if you are a tax payer it is your fault that people are getting shot. You best get used to it now because it will never be the fault of the guys pulling the trigger.

Micro@#%@#$^@^

Posted by bernicky - December 26th, 2005

On some things Microsoft just sucks. I have been having this problem with a computer on my network for a long time and have not been able to find a solution for it. The really annoying thing is that it only applies when I try to connect from my desktop to the computer called Vader which is also the print server. Every other computer on the network connects without issue. I have found scads of people with the same problem but none with a working solution. It’s days like this that make Linux look more attractive than ever.
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My Network Places
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\VADERSharedDocs is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions.

No network provider accepted the given network path.

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OK
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Christmas is past.

Posted by bernicky - December 26th, 2005

Well Christmas has come and gone and there are scads of ripped coloured paper left in its wake. I scored some cool running gear for Christmas, running mittens, running shirts, a new PT strap some body glide and a chess clock. Had a five minute speed game with my son last night after he kicked my butt playing Shogi (Japanese chess) and won back some of my chess honour.

This has been a good year. On the family front we had a first with hiring an accountant and financial planner. Hiring Anthony Ortona was the best decision I have ever made in my less than laudable financial history. My son got into the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program at St. Thomas High School which is the program he wanted. My daughter has been doing well at school on most fronts. My wife has been doing well on the cancer front though there have been problems with carpal tunnel syndrome in the last few months that has both her hands in braces. If there is an upside to health hurdles it is that having cleared quite a few already I am sure my wife will have no trouble clearing this one either.

It has been a very good year, a tremendous year for me personally. There have been a lot of firsts for me this year: First 10K, first ½ marathon, first marathon, first ultra-marathon, first broken ribs, first broken foot and first triathlon (Olympic distance). Another good decision I made this year the best decision for my physical well being ever was joining Club Boreal runners. It is a great group with an amazingly supportive spirit. They welcome runners of all levels and I don’t think I would be running nearly as well as I am right now if it weren’t for them. So far, with six days to go in the year, I have run 1944.51 K so needless to say I have set my sights on a 2000 K year for this year. If I run healthy (I had to take off a total of 12 weeks in 2005) I should be able to bump that to 3000 K in 2006 so that will be one of my goals for the year. On that note I am going to head out to the mountain this morning for a run in the newly fallen snow.

On the edge of…

Posted by bernicky - December 19th, 2005

Men don’t cry.

Men are allowed to cry under certain circumstances which are as follows: The death of a close family member or life long friend or when excessively drunk and maudlin after being dumped by a woman who was too good for them anyway. (Let’s face it most men marry women who are better than they are so pretty much any time a guy gets dumped this is a reasonable reaction though not as reasonable as visiting Chez Paris 🙂 )

Tonight I almost broke my own rule – almost. I went for a run tonight but almost didn’t make it. It has been ten days since I went for a run. To non runners that is a meaningless statement. To any runner that is ten days of torture. I have been looking forward to today for a week but I didn’t realize how much until I stepped out the door. As I stepped out the door I stepped onto the handle of a snow shovel that had been blown down by the wind and rolled my right ankle onto its side and yelped in pain. At that moment every single frustration which had been building up and waiting for that escape in the freedom or running threatened to burst forth. I came closer than I ever had to bursting into tears right then and there. I was furious but walked it off and stretched it out then went for a run.

The run was slow and painful with my legs tightening up early and feeling sluggish towards the end of a very cold and blustery evening 8K run but it was a run. Tomorrow I will do a slow 10K and keep it slow for a couple of weeks. I’m just happy to be on the hoof again.

Holocaust denial

Posted by bernicky - December 19th, 2005

Iran’s president has said the holocaust is a myth. Of course this is the same man who has called for the annihilation of Israel which kind of puts the myth statement into perspective.

It may seem strange, but I find the Iranian president’s statements reassuring. It is reassuring that Canada and the United States do not have a corner on the market when it comes to electing the mentally deficient to public office. It could be that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is just playing politics the Middle Eastern way where the first question asked of any politician is not about medical care, education or civil liberties but rather what is going to be done to get rid of Israel. I don’t think so though. Whether he is calling for the annihilation of all Jews, the relocation of Israel to Germany or Austria the president is clearly playing to the majority population of his country whether he believes what he is saying or not.

Eventually even the currently myopic Iranian public will see that electing officials such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is counter productive and move on to someone more enlightened. I trust this to happen because Iran has been moving forward two steps and backwards one step for a decade now and I have to believe that process will continue.

Imposing contracts

Posted by bernicky - December 13th, 2005

The television news on CTV in Montreal ran a poll tonight – people phone in to vote – asking the question: Is is time for Quebec to impose a contract on the public sector?

The vast majority of respondents (over 70%) said yes it is time to impose a contract.

What does an imposed contract mean to the teachers?

1 – The teachers have been working without a contract for almost three years. This means that their wages have been frozen for that period of time. Putting that into perspective the inflation rate in 2004 was 3.3%, 1.9% in 2003 and 2.2% in 2002. Net out that means the same salary being received today is purchasing 7.4% less than it was when the teachers contract expired.

2 – The salary offer on the table is 10% over 5 years for teachers. Which means that only at the end of 3.7 years of the contract will the teachers make up for the lost purchasing power over the time for which they did not have a contract. Assuming inflation remains at an average of 2.4% over the next 5 years that means inflation will come to 12%. Do the math – starting off at -7.5 + 10 – 12 = -7.5. So after 5 years teachers will be exactly where they are today which amounts to a 7 year wage freeze.

3 – The government is trying to redefine the categories of special needs students, to reduce the number of categories available. They say this will make it easier for teachers since they won’t have to remember as many codes. What they are not saying is that this will reduce the number of students entitled to special needs services in the educational sector and force those students into mainstream classrooms.

4 – Class size which is already frequently oversized is not even been addressed by the government. Teachers are already coping with classes of 32 are frequently asked to cope with classes of 34 or 35. If you don’t think an extra 2 or 3 students is a big deal you have never had to do a lesson plan, give assignments, correct assignments and handle a classroom. Add to that the potential under the new government proposal of having special needs students mainstreamed into the same classrooms and you have a pedagogical disaster waiting to happen.

5 – The public may have forgotten Law 111 in 1983 but teachers have not forgotten – the government rolled back wages of teachers by 20%. It was only during the last contract that teachers salaries started to come back into line with what their salaries were in 1983 – the actual dollar amounts not when adjusted for inflation.

The public has a mysterious view of teaching. On the one hand people insist that teachers are invaluable but seem to believe that a seven year wage freeze is perfectly acceptable. Teachers are supposed to put the students ahead of their personal lives and their professional lives and failure to do so is a sure sign that teachers are essentially just greedy money grubbers. Parents and students have both criticized the ban on extra curricular activities which teachers usually run. Whether coaching sports teams or running clubs teachers do so on their own time. They are not paid for any extra curricular activities still parents and students seem to believe that it is their right to have these activities. The very idea that teachers should be compelled to do volunteer work seems to fit in perfectly with how most people perceive the role of teachers in society. I cannot think of any other profession which expects the members of the profession to volunteer their free time.

One of the things I hear people say the most often is: “Teachers get the summer off.” Like that is something weird. My brother in law worked for FedEx and got 6 weeks a year paid vacation a year. I know several people who get that and some who get 8 weeks per year. Teachers do not get paid for the weeks they do not work. A teachers salary is based on the hours they work from the 15th of August until the 30th of June. That salary is then divided into 26 pay periods if they are tenured. If the teacher is not tenured and working on year to year contracts then their pay periods are not averaged over the 52 weeks.

A teacher in Quebec with 14 years experience will top out the pay scale for teachers at about 63 000 dollars. A teacher with the same seniority in Ontario will earn 76 000 dollars. A first year MNA (government legislator) in Quebec earns 98 000 dollars.

The way I see it the public wants teachers to take a 7 year wage freeze, an increase in class size, a reduction in health benefits (health insurance premiums have risen by 90% the governments contribution has not changed in a decade), an increase in the number of special needs students in the classroom and less resources to use in the classroom.

Next time I will talk about support staff negociations (or lack of negociations) which is my union.

You’d’ve thunk

Posted by bernicky - December 13th, 2005

Who knew your butt muscles were so important to locomotion!?!

Mine right buttock it toying with me. It will seem perfectly fine for a little while then wham I’m limping again and in a great deal of pain. Hopes of maybe running on Wednesday are evaporating quickly.

Patience – I keep telling myself – Patience.

Taking time

Posted by bernicky - December 11th, 2005

I did not run Friday or Saturday and will not run today. I have been running injured which in retrospect wasn’t the brightest thing to do and it got to the point where walking was becoming problematic.

Two days of rest have been a fight. I argue with myself about going for a run even when I know it would not be wise. I was inches from getting dressed for a run this morning when I pulled back and came to my senses. I will run tomorrow which is a scheduled speed work day but I am going to keep it light with an easy 10 K at a relaxed pace. It is hard not to push when you have been pushing for a long time. Of course my main conern is with weight. Every day without running is a day when the weight creeps up again. Still if I don’t get healthy again then I won’t be able to run so it is a necessary evil at the moment.

I have come up with my resolutions for the New Year. I am going to create a homepage for them so that every time I open a browser window it will open to my resolutions for the New Year. I will be posting them so all three of you can keep me honest through 2006 🙂

Compulsions

Posted by bernicky - December 4th, 2005

Are we all creatures of compulsion?
I wonder this sometimes even though I think of myself as a disciplined person most of the time I find that I end up doing things which are non sensical. It is as if on some matters I have no control or a decided reduced capacity to think clearly. Oatmeal cookies are a case in point.

It may seem trivial but for someone who has reduced their weight from 310 to 172 only to see it creep back up to 180 cookies are an issue. The cookies seem to be part of a cycle of which I am aware but seemingly unable to control. I eat cookies – too many cookies – and then feel like crap because I at the cookies which leads me to eating more cookies. Where did my logic go? It’s not just cookies it’s a whole host of other things too.

This time of year with so much in the stores being presented to take advantage of our lack of impulse control can be dangerous for people like me. People who think they have control are in more danger at this time of year than people who know they have no control. When we break we really break and so does the bank account.

There are only three weeks left until Xmas is done with so it is down to me to try and get things under control. With the New Year coming it is tme go make a resolution. I haven’t made a resolution in years but this year I am going to try and come up with one or two and see if I can realize a specific achievement over a one year period.

It’s what people think it means that counts.

Posted by bernicky - December 2nd, 2005

Just a short rant: Technology is not a physical thing it is knowledge of how to use things. Technology is used as a catch all for new inventions and electronic gadgets. While technology was involved in the creation of these gadgets the gadgets themselves are not technology. A computer is not technology – language is technology. A hammer is not technology – knowing how to use one is technology. Yes I know it’s what people think it means that counts as far as the newspapers and public in general are concerned. The language evolves because we invent new words and reinterpret old ones. In this particular case though we haven’t invented a new word for technology we have just changed it to mean “a new gadget or tool”. What set this all off? You can read it here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/12/02/domestic_cyclotron/
Rant over.