Category : Reader Friendly

Letter To My MPP: SmartMeters? What The $^&*$@%!# Are You Thinking?

This was a letter sent to Mr. Smitherman, my MPP regarding Toronto’s new Smart-meters that if without opposition could start infiltrating Toronto homes as early as this summer. Although a good idea in concept, the way they are going at it is as boneheaded as only politicians have the gift to make it.

This is Mr. McGuinty’s plan to have Torontonians save electricity by doing their laundry at ‘off peak’ hours. Like, let’s say 3:00am in the morning.
If you rent than this affects you! Write your MPP, make them earn their lunch money.

Good day Mr. Smitherman,

I am taking this opportunity –my first in fact – to write to you about an issue, which has gravely alerted my attention. Mr. McGuinty’s proposed use of ‘smart meters’ in the city of Toronto, although a good plan at heart, needs to be rethought before it can ever come upon real-world implementation.

Mr. Smitherman, this plan does not take into consideration a landlord’s responsibility to upgrade a tenant’s unit or appliances to the latest most energy efficient models. I would also wager that most would be unable to financially fulfil this task. Further still, once they are no longer footing the hydro bill, it is easy to see their desire to replace them waver even more. Especially if McGuinty allows landlords to mandate their own generic discount on a tenant’s rent. After all, a building does not have to be environmentally friendly or efficient to pass code.

Under these circumstances, if a landlord cannotrefuses to upgrade appliances, don’t you think passing the expense of hydro over to tenants is not only unfair but an obvious lack of environmental concern by Mr. McGuinty and Queen’s Park? It sounds more like a misguided attempt to save a quick buck rather than avoiding an ‘energy crisis.’

So what if this plan comes into fruition? I can only imagine the logistical nightmare of keeping track of the new hardware and the billing system that will surely come with it. Instead of having one bill, now you are going to deliver over 320 to my building alone? How many trees are going to be cut down every billing cycle in order to keep Toronto’s mostly circa ‘80s appliances running? How about the new staff that will need to be hired?

To quote Mr. McGuinty from his April 19nth, 2004 Legislative assembly speech, it is easy for him or anyone to say “That old, inefficient beer fridge in the basement may seem like your best friend at playoff time — but every time you open the door it’s “pay-up time,” because that fridge can be costing you about $150 a year in extra electricity — electricity we can’t afford to waste.” Well, what about when that ‘inefficient fridge’ takes the form of your inefficient heater, or your stove, or your kitchen fridge? These things happen and they are not being addressed, could someone explain why tenants should pay for something they have no control over?

On a different note Mr. Smitherman, why no one ever touches on the fact that we do not need the CIBC tower on the Northwest corner of Yonge and Bloor lit up like a Christmas tree every night? Or what about the Manulife Centre? Or the Eaton Center Tower? Or most of the downtown core for that matter? How many lights does an evening cleaning crew need? Ultimately the key of this enterprise is not to save a buck but to save power, and hopefully save a buck or two meanwhile we are at it. I doubt that my own apartment building at 40 Gerrard Street East could ever compete with the power usage of the Royal Bank plaza at Bay and Front streets, as they have the advantage of their thousands of computers but only a soul or two per floor after 9:00pm.

If we are trying to save electricity why not legislate for landlords, particularly of large buildings and the private sector to implement solar power panels on their roofs for example? Generally, most roofs have gravel and a few pipes, they have the space and it will benefit them in the long term.

What about lower income families? Those very families who happen to live in less than perfect conditions; do you think Mr. Smitherman their landlord would have the funds to fix their drafty windows, bad heating and replace their energy wasting appliances? When that does not happen, whom do you think will be left in the cold when they are not able to afford to live even in those less than perfect conditions?

I am not saying that smart-meters are bad idea Mr. Smitherman, but the way Mr. McGuinty it is going about it definitely proves his $100,000+ a year salary has segregated him and is now out of touch from the average Toronto citizen and father still from someone who is an actual tenant. Where is ‘our’ voice being represented in all of this?

I am expecting a response to see what will be done about this matter. Oh, and if I may, could you be kind enough to email me a response. No fancy paper on regular mail, please.

Thank you for your time,

You can find some other thoughts on the matter if you click to this quick exchange on this forum.

Newsbriefs Part V: Hudson Bay Company to Rewrite Own History

Founded in 1670, back when Canada was pronounced ‘Kanata,’ the beaver was the King of the predators and the British and French mocked each other with slurs like: “Aha, you have a funny accent!’ A small HBC rose to become what it has been for more than three centuries: a Canadian beacon, a symbol of national pride, and as of late a company who sold out to an American dandy with a few billions burning a hole in his pant pocket.

When the world is your oyster,’ said new HBC owner Jerry Zucker after the $1.5 billion purchase, ‘you can get bored of oyster juice pretty quickly.’ When asked what the fuck he meant Zucker replied, ‘I decided to start buying history! I am a genius!’ When pressed to stop smoking marijuana on interviews, Mr. Zucker further explained, ‘Now that I own the HBC group, I am officially changing its place in history, and I am writing myself in it.’

After asking Mr. Zucker for a few tokes of what was obviously good cannabis; he continued, ‘they spread insatiably far and wide and without mercy; they were the Starbucks of your early nation. But its history is a sleeper; there are no car chases and nothing ever blows up good. I am going to change all that.’ After a few minutes, it all started making sense. ‘That’s some good shit, Sir,’ said this reporter.

Throughout its history, HBC represented Canada as a mosaic of overpriced wet, smelly furs to just overpriced clothing today. ‘That’s great and good, but I thought for example, what if HBC employees travelled through Canada in helicopters as early as the 1700’s? That makes sense to me, I always wanted to be live in the 1700’s and I AM a certified pilot. I have tons of changes in mind, like why didn’t fur traders use machine guns? They are awesome! If they had used them they would have fought competition off more easily. If that had been the case, then maybe I would not have been able to buy HBC now. Woah, chicken and the egg man, chicken and the egg…’

Watch for HBC’s revised history to hit HBC’s books section as early as this summer.

–This and all Newsbriefs have been published at the University of Toronto’s satirical newspaper The Toike Okie, and/or the even more twisted BruckNews e-zine.–

Newsbriefs: Part II

How to be an Internet Playa!

It was only a matter of time before technology and the human mating dance met face to face, went out for a few drinks and ended up in a Super 8. The result? A cyber-jungle of IM services plus a volley of single, dating and discrete encounters sites. A scene not much different than the de-humanizing meat-markets found in any half lit nightclub, it seemed like things were just going to be business as usual.

With the invention of that great equalizer known as the Internet, it is finally irrelevant if you are shy or if your friends call you a Picasso come to life!

Now not only the ludicrously hot (not you) and extroverted can enjoy the sinful pleasures of straying into the fancy of multiple partners, whether you like it or not!

‘How does this remarkable system, undoubtedly created by a sage in the arts of seduction works,’ you ask?

Simple, I made it a personal quest to travel the world, hopping from frisky Jamaica, to romantic Paris and to the more laissez-faire city of Amsterdam to collect research. The rest of Europe, Asia, and Africa were also on the itinerary—somewhere— but unfortunately, I got as far as mythical London, Ontario before running out of funds and forced to use a Money-Mart to buy the bus trip home. Either way, after ten minutes of Googling, I was able to extract the elixir to create this revolutionary system.

Yes, and you should be.

As part of your guide into history, you will receive my smouldering ‘How to be an Internet Player’ guide, smack full of essays and ‘how-to’ nuggets. Such as:

Chapter I:
Don’t offer to buy her a drink, you stupid.
Chapter III:
Typos as the lubricant of Internet love.
Chapter VI (a):
Stretching the truth is just another way of saying ‘I like you.’
Chapter VI (b):
Instant Messengers are crude forms of communication, so what if you said you are 6’3’?
Chapter VI (c):
Having a six pack means different things to different people. How to just go with it.
Chapter IIX:
Ask her which Hollywood star she thinks is hot; then tell her you just happen to be his look-alike! If you have any qualms with this, refer to Chapter II.
Chapter X:
How come the women on the Lavalife dating website don’t look anything like the ones in the commercials? The mystery explained!
Chapter XIII:
How to type with only your left hand.
Chapter XX:
So, she ended up being a man? How to just go with it.

Yes, but there is more! Aside this soon to-be New York best seller, you will also get my 24\7 email support in case you have any questions. Yes, I will personally read and analyze your concerns and will advise in a true mentor like fashion. Send me your questions and orders to:

Are diamonds ever free? Most women have to get married just to get one. But don’t worry; you don’t have to marry me. I will settle for only five easy payments of $19.95! Yes! Benefit from my lack of pride! You will be enjoying the benefits of this brilliant system in no time, whether you like it or not!

3 in 1: Just coming back… Happy New Year! Goowy… an online desktop for those on go!

Ah, how time flies when you have a blog. I have been away for quite sometime. New Year’s was great. Went to Niagara Falls and had a blast. Won’t go into the details but it was one of the better New Year’s in the last couple of years. Besides, I really dislike doing the club thing. Not my cup of tea. Too much of a meat market ideology, everybody trying to pick everybody, besides, one pays upwards of $80 to enter a club that normally would cost $10 and for what? A few snacks and a cheap glass of bubbly at midnight? Come on… and throw in the fact that you are mostly surrounded by strangers? Really, there are better ways of ringing in the New Year.

Okay on another note, I work for a bank and as such they like to block as much Internet access as possible. I am sure most other workplaces are the same or pretty similar. Also, they are not very keen on us installing any software on their machines. Okay, I sort of respect that, they are a business and they do not want their employees messing up their machines. However, did I mention that I am an Email admin? Well, they like to block all of us. Particularly tech people, since we are the sneaky ones who might try to get something by the system.

So, that is what I am doing. Sure, I am not installing anything on my machine, as a lot of companies out there are pretty vigilant and that would be wrong **cough**—they keep a record of what we install—**cough** However, I have found this app that gives you the power to have an “Online” desktop that you can pretty much carry everywhere you go. That way, you can access it from any machine that has Internet access. You got email (inbox is 2Gigs!), a calendar, RSS feeds, weather, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. Sure Yahoo and others do the same but a lot of companies block such obvious solutions. Also it would be a crime not to use it, particularly since it is free! So here give it a try, Google the name ‘Goowy’ read a review and enjoy the newest fad. Desktop on the go!

Oh, or if you are the impatient type, then just click here, and create and account and be one of the cool-geek kids!

This is dedicated to those tech (Read: Geek) friends of mine who say I never share anything good and cutting edge when I find it.