Archive for the Aggravations Category

Tax Free Savings Account Angst

Posted in Aggravations, Thoughts with tags , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

I am getting really tired of hearing about the 70,000+ Canadians who recently received notices that they have over contributed to their TFSA.

When I opened my account in March ’09 I read all of the documentation that PC Financial had available, and then I read everything I could find on CRA’s website.  I knew and understood the rules from the day I opened the account.  And now, I don’t owe any money.

But apparently there are more than 70,000 people who didn’t do the research and now they owe 1% per month for their over contributions.  As far as I am concerned, they should be required to pay every cent.

Instead, CRA has extended the deadline for people to submit the paperwork for an appeal.  That is garbage.  I learned in grade school that there are consequences to not paying attention.  These people must have been home sick that day.

FIFA World Cup 2010: England vs. Germany

Posted in Aggravations, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on June 27, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

England’s loss today was probably the most disappointing match so far.  They played terribly, and deserved to lose, but still totally disappointing.  I don’t know who to cheer for now.

Get ready to upgrade your Blu-ray player!

Posted in Aggravations with tags , , , , on June 25, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

I don’t even own a Blu-ray player yet, and there is already a new specification that requires an upgrade. The specs for the BDXL disc will allow up to 128GB worth of data to be stored on a single disc.   I thought that the drastic drop in the price of harddrives, combined with the increasing use of solid-state drives was going to let us move away from optical media… Apparently not yet.

To the guy in line ahead of me at the grocery store:

Posted in Aggravations, Random, Thoughts with tags , , , , , on June 20, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

The website is not called Wickerpedia!  It is Wikipedia!

Wickerpedia, were it to exist, would probably be an open encyclopædia containing information about wicker furniture.  Of course, such an encyclopædia does not exist because – in addition to the fact that it would be very silly – nobody actually likes wicker furniture.  However, even if it did exist, I am certain that it would not contain any information regarding the production of candy.

As such, when you tell your wife that you know the answer to the Caramilk secret because you read about it on Wickerpedia, you sound stupid.

Oh, and incidentally, there is no explain of the Caramilk secret on Wikipedia either (as of this posting).

Unnatural disasters

Posted in Aggravations, Rules with tags , , , , on June 20, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

Why is it that we ascribe the term “natural disaster”  to floods, avalanches, mudslides, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and other perfectly natural occurrences only when they destroy completely unnatural, man-made structures?

An earthquake isn’t a disaster – it’s a basic geological phenomenon.  Likewise, the leveling of a city is not natural – cities are about as far from nature as we can get.

Yes, floods, avalanches, mudslides, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and tsunamis sometimes destroy our things, and it is very unfortunate.  But we should be clear:  when this happens it is not nature ravaging humanity, it is humanity getting in nature’s way.

Nature was here first, and nature will be here last. Lets all agree to stop mixing these concepts.

I don’t care about the music industry

Posted in Aggravations, Music, Random with tags , , , , , on June 7, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

I was thinking about the new copyright bill last night, when I suddenly realized that I just don’t care about the music industry.  (Yes, I know the bill isn’t just about the music industry, but this post is. Relax…)

It’s not that I don’t like music – I really like music.  And it’s not that I think artists should go unrewarded.  It’s just that I don’t think music should be a commodity.

Industries are for cars and forestry. Industries are not for art.

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Sex and the City 2 is bad

Posted in Aggravations, Movies, Thoughts with tags , , , , on June 6, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

Let’s get one thing straight – I didn’t want to see this movie.  My aversion was not because I thought it would be bad – I try to have an open mind – but because I was simply not interested in a story about middle-aged women coming to grips with the fact that they are middle-aged.  Unfortunately, I saw it anyway.

And it was bad.

First, there is no plot. This movie uses a Seinfeld-esque methodology in that a lot goes on, but nothing really happens.  This would be fine if we were still living in 1998, and I were talking about a 30 minute sitcom.  But this is a movie – a very long movie – and I generally expected that something would happen.

Next, the messages that this movie sends are deplorable:

  • We have woman #1 who is clearly getting bored with her two-year marriage. In her words, it has lost its sparkle, because she wants to go out partying on a Monday night while her husband would prefer to stay home and relax.  She ends up taking a few days to live away from her husband (in her old apartment which she has apparently kept fully furnished despite being married for two years), and when she comes back she gets upset that her husband wants to be able to do the same thing once in a while.  Somehow, checking out of the relationship for two days was just fine when she wanted to do it, but not when he wants to.  Then woman #1 goes to the United Arab Emirates where she purposely entices and kisses an old boyfriend – a man who has been married for years and has three kids.  Make no mistake, she does purposely entice the old flame, and while this certainly doesn’t let him off the hook, it at least puts her on it with him.  After all of this, woman #1 tells her husband what happened, and how does he respond?  He buys her an enormous diamond ring, which she must wear as punishment! What? How is that punishment?
  • We also have woman #2 who is having so much trouble taking care of her two children that she hires a full-time nanny.  She hires the nanny, but when everyone points out that this nanny is hot and doesn’t wear a bra, woman #2 gets worried that her husband is going to cheat on her.  But in the end she finds she had nothing to worry about because the nanny is a lesbian. Huh? So she doesn’t actually trust her husband, or the nanny – she just figures they won’t have sex because of clashing sexual preferences?
  • Then we have woman #3, who is so completely liberated as a woman that she goes well beyond the realm of equality and into basic indecency.  We are supposed to laugh because she does all sorts of indecent things in the UAE that supposedly embarrass and enrage the highly conservative culture.  The problem is, most of what she does would embarrass and enrage people in Manhattan too.  I won’t go into the gory details, but I can assure you that if she was acting that way at a restaurant table next to mine, I would be just as angry and far less restrained in my response than the caricatured Muslim people in this movie.
  • Finally, we have woman #4 who has a terrible job that pays buckets of money but keeps her from spending time with her family.  So what is the solution?  She quits and finds another job that is equally fulfilling, but less demanding.  This is of course the obvious and sensible thing to do, but for some reason she is made to seem like a hero.  I’m sorry, she’s not a hero – she’s a normal, sensible person.  The writers were clearly trying to use the “inequality for women in the workplace” card here, but it fails.  Why?  Because she isn’t your basic underpaid, overworked, single parent stuck in a dead-end job.  She is a highly paid lawyer who happens to have a crappy boss.  She doesn’t need to courageously quit her job – she knows that she can find another job, and has more than enough money to keep her going in the mean time.

Even ignoring all this, the movie is one long homage to luxurious American excess.  The four women go on vacation for a week and each one gets their own butler and car – while they stay in a suite that is supposedly $22,000 a night. Plus it seems that they each have a new outfit for each hour of the day – none of which are respectful of the culture they are in.

There are definitely some funny moments in this movie, and there is a long scene in a karaoke bar that is clearly meant to be a woman power moment.  Unfortunately, they are all completely overshadowed because of the incredibly unlikable women involved.

This movie is about offensiveness for its own sake – a goal that makes even less sense coming from a middle-aged woman comedy than it does from a teen comedy.

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Sometimes PostSecret makes me mad

Posted in Aggravations, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , on May 26, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

I really like PostSecret.  I’ve visited the site every Sunday for more years than I can remember, and I own all of the books that Frank Warren has put together.

But every once in a while a secret is posted that really bothers me.  Sometimes I’m bothered because I can relate to the situation; sometimes I just think the situation is fabricated. And still other times I am bothered by a secret simply out of principle. For example, this secret was posted in most recent Sunday batch:

From PostSecret - 23 May 2010

I find the sheer selfishness of this person appalling.  They are literally wasting some poor guy’s time, for nothing more than convenience. Some people are really just terrible.

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An open letter to Dan Packer at Student Works Painting

Posted in Aggravations, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , on May 20, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

Dear Mr. Packer,

When I arrived home from work last night, I discovered one of your advertisements in my mailbox.  The ad itself consisted of a letter addressed to “Homeowner”, in which you explained your experience running a franchise, offered to provide a free estimate, and included a number of coupons. It also included a detailed explanation of exactly what your crew would do to prepare any surface that I might need painted. As it happens, just the other day I was thinking of looking for a company to do some paint work.

However, I will not be requesting the services of your company, and I would like to explain why.

First of all, I discovered your ad in my mailbox – the one that has a sign, almost as big as the box itself, that says: “No junkmail, flyers, or advertisements.”  As a client, I endeavour to employ the services of companies that have a high attention for detail. Placing an advertisement in a box that clearly states not to, shows that you are either incredibly unobservant, or simply unwilling to respect the wishes of potential clients.  Either way, I am not sure that I want you to paint my house.

But what really made me decide that I would not be employing your services was the fact that your letter included the following line:

While I was touring your neighbourhood, I noticed that the exterior of your home will require maintenance.

Oh really! Is that right?  So you were walking by and thought, “That house could clearly use my services!”  Well, please let me give you a little piece of advice.  When you are trying to attract business, insinuating that your potential client’s house looks bad is not the most effective way to go. As I said, I was indeed looking for someone to do some painting for me – interior painting. I am actually quite happy with the exterior of my house.

I obviously don’t know how well your painters paint.  But what I do know is that the image your business presents to the world speaks a great deal about the kind of company you run. Some might claim that it is unfair to judge your company so harshly before actually seeing any examples of your work, but to that I would respond that the very purpose of an advertisement is to make a good first impression.  It should give me the confidence to allow you into my home.  But your advertisement not only failed to make a good impression, it actually made a bad one. And quite frankly, if you can’t make a good impression in a flyer that you had plenty of time to prepare, what kind of impression will you make when you are talking to me face to face?

I admire your entrepreneurial spirit, and I hope your business finds other clients. But honestly, you need to rework your marketing strategy.



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What does the office photocopier know about you?

Posted in Aggravations, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

I just came across this video of a CBS news report on the potential privacy risk of photocopiers.  I definitely had no idea that most of today’s photocopiers actually keep a digital copy of every print, fax and copy that is made.  It never even occurred to me that photocopiers would need to have hard drives, much less that manufacturers would purposely store images on them.

Needless to say, this has significantly changed the way that I think about copiers…

How many times have you used the office machine for personal use?  I know I’ve copied all kinds of things from resumes to my driver’s license and birth certificate.  It’s pretty unnerving to think that when my office got a new copier, the old one may have been sold to someone who already knew about this.  But that’s not even the worst of it – how many employers actually do know about it and are using it to check-up on employees?

And I don’t even want to think about all the times I have made copies of personal information at Staples and other copy shops.

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