Why I won’t be voting Liberal

On 11 May 2013 the Vancouver Sun published a list of 20 hot topics in the
upcoming BC election with the positions of the four major parties. Based upon
their responses, the BC Liberals have put a lot of their eggs in the Liquified
Natural Gas basket.

The BC Liberals are proposing that LNG be expanded greatly in BC over the coming
years, and the revenues from that will be fed into a BC Prosperity Fund. This
Prosperity Fund is listed in four of the twenty topics:

Housing/poverty: No specific housing promises, but creating of an
LNG-funded BC Prosperity Fund will help ease affordability problems.

Energy/pipelines/LNG: Preconditions demanded before support for Northern
Gateway, Kinder Morgan; LNG to fund new BC Prosperity Fund. Support Kitimat
oil refinery, new fracking rules.

Balanced budgets/debt: Limit government spending growth to GDP; create BC
Prosperity Fund for debt reduction; 50% of excess revenues to debt reduction.

Crown corporations: A third of new BC Prosperity Fund revenues to pay down
BC Ferries debt; accelerate paydown of BC Hydro and Port Mann Bridge debt.

The province currently gets some revenue from LNG. However, over the last eight
years, natural gas revenues have been overestimated five of the last eight years,
with an average error of $584 million. The most recent budget originally
overestimated natural gas revenues by $65 million before Finance Minister Mike de Jong corrected them.

With these kinds of errors in estimating natural gas revenues, the BC Liberals
are gambling on BC’s economic future. Not only that, they’re doing it with a
fossil fuel, in the same month that carbon dioxide levels have passed 400ppm.
We need to reduce the amount of fossil fuels we dig up and burn, not increase.
The BC Liberals are proposing burning and polluting our way to prosperity, which
in this day and age is the last thing we should be doing.

This isn’t the only reason I’m not going to vote for the BC Liberals, but it’s a
fairly major reason.

Why I won’t be voting NDP

I’m a big supporter of the NDP. I voted for the NDP in the last federal
election. I’ve considered becoming a member of the federal NDP. I agree with a
lot of the NDP’s policies.

But I won’t be voting for them in the 2013 BC election.

I really like what they’re doing around electoral reform, specifically their
promise to ban union and corporate political donations.

I really like that they’re opposed to the Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan
pipelines.

I really like that they’ll increase the corporate income tax rate to 12%.

I really like that they’re going to expand the carbon tax to oil and gas
operations, and use a portion of the carbon tax revenues to fund transit and
green programs.

Judy Darcy, the NDP candidate for New Westminster, called me to talk about their
plans for better community healthcare centres, improving families’ access to
health professionals. That nearly won me over.

But I’m still not going to vote for them. They’re a very close second choice,
though.

I’m not voting for them for two reasons:

One, they’re going to win in my riding of New Westminster). In the 16 elections since 1953, the CCF/NDP has won 15 times and the BC Liberal party once. New Westminster is a safe NDP seat. Even the unofficial burger poll has the NDP well ahead. Me not voting for the NDP isn’t going to make a lick of difference in New Westminster.

Two, they don’t go far enough on electoral reform. They’re entrenched as one of
two major parties in BC, and they don’t want to give that up. I would love it if
they revisited some form of proportional representation, but there’s no mention of
that in their platform.

Those two reasons are why I won’t be voting NDP on Tuesday.

Wherein I describe “fractally wrong” using Christy Clark as an example

I like to use the phrase “fractally wrong”. Loosely, it means “wrong no matter
how deep you look” or “wrong no matter how many ways you look”. It’s best served
up with an example.

British Columbia Christy Clark was recently featured in a Vancouver Sun article.
Let me pull some quotes from that story to describe “fractally wrong”:

Driving across Vancouver’s west side, wearing a dirt-stained Whitecaps hat, yoga
pants and a black Lululemon sweater, Christy Clark is just another mother
driving her son to school.

She’s been on the road since 5:10 a.m., having taken 11-year-old Hamish to an
early morning goalie clinic across town.

In her son’s bag is the pizza and Krispy Kreme doughnut Clark packed for his
lunch. Left on the dining room table at home is the raffle-ticket sign-up form
that still needs to be completed.

At times, the two seem more like sidekicks – siblings even – than they do mother
and son. And especially so the morning when the two were on their way to
Hamish’s goalie clinic.

“Let’s see you go through this red light,” Hamish challenged as they pulled up
that morning, at 5:15 a.m., to an abandoned Vancouver intersection.

“I might. Don’t test me,” Clark replies.

“Yeah. Go ahead.”

“Should I?”

“There’s no one.”

“Would you go through? You shouldn’t because that would be breaking the law,”
she says.

And with that the car has already sailed underneath the stale red stoplight and
through the empty intersection.

“You always do that,” says Hamish.

Of course, the obvious first level of wrong is that she blew through a red
light. With her son in the car. At her son’s urging. That’s pretty wrong.

But then you dig deeper. She did that with a Vancouver Sun reporter in the back.
That’s stupid, and another level of wrong.

But then you dig deeper. She apparently always does this. That’s another level
of wrong.

But then you dig deeper. “In her son’s bag is the pizza and Krispy Kreme dougnut
Clark packed for his lunch.” Honestly? Her son is athletic (as is evidenced by
being in goalie camp) but gets horrible nutrition for lunch? That’s pretty
wrong.

But then you dig deeper. Her son’s eleven. He’s old enough to pack his own
lunch.

But then you dig deeper. Krispy Kreme is an American company. Why not Tim
Hortons? That’s pretty wrong.

But then you dig deeper. Yoga pants? Vancouver ended up third-worst dressed city:

There is one reason, and one reason only, why we’ve decided to include
Vancouver on this list of the sartorially damned: yoga pants.

At least the sweater she’s wearing is from Vancouver company Lululemon. That’s
about the only thing that’s right in this fractally wrong vignette.

Heaven-sent Bad Baby Names

Here’s my thought process as I was reading this week’s list of baby names in the
Hawaii Tribune-Herald:

“Nathaniel. That’s a good name. Navaih. That’s… uh, wait, that’s pretty close
to that stupid Nevaeh name. That’ll go on the post. Next… Nevaeh. OH JESUS WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?”

So not only were Navaih and Nevaeh born sometime in the past month in Hawaii,
THEY’RE TWINS.

First off, Nevaeh is a stupid name. Flipping a word around and naming your kid
is just diputs. Secondly, did this family seriously go nine months without
knowing there were twins in there and had to think up a new name at the last
second? No, that’s not how things work. They had plenty of time to come up with
a new name (maybe Lleh to keep with the theme) but the best they could do was
Navaih? It sounds nearly the same as Nevaeh!

You’re not George Foreman,
you can’t name your kids the same thing, and you really can’t name your kids
different names that sound the same.

I’m not going to go much farther on other bad baby names. For the third week in
a row, some kid was named Legend. There were also Titus-Tayzon, Kelcyn, and
Lyric. They’re not the biggest losers this week though.

That honour falls to Navaih and Nevaeh. Yikes.

Old Spice deodorant or Canadian indie band?

Have you seen Old Spice products lately? They’re going completely off the deep
end with names that don’t seem to have any grounding in reality. In fact,
they’re so crazy they’re nearly indistinguishable from indie band names, which
naturally means it’s time for a new game of “Old Spice deodorant or Canadian
indie band”!

Ladyhawk

  • Answer: Canadian indie band from Vancouver, they recorded their 2008 album “in an old barn with no working bathroom.”

Sunset Rubdown

  • Answer: Canadian art rock music group from Montreal, their 2006 album “Shut Up I’m Dreaming” was Pitchfork’s #15 album of 2006.

Hawkridge

  • Answer: “Hawkridge can never be owned; it can only be rented out to any man who desires the attention of a woman.”

Foxcrest

  • Answer: “That original druid elixir algorithm has been tweaked and reworked to produce the Foxcrest that we have today, protecting the women’s hearts from being melted into a warm drink and instead subjecting them to uncontrollable romantic desires.”

Dawntreader

  • Answer: Dawntreader was an indie rock band from Vancouver, active between 1998 and 2009.

Woodpigeon

  • Answer: “I’ve always been in love with the word Woodpigeon for as long as I can remember.” Woodpigeon is an “independent rock collective” from Calgary.

Wolfthorn

  • Answer: “The sharpest romantic mystery available in a smelling solution.”

Wolf Parade

  • Answer: Wolf Parade’s 2005 album “Apologies to the Queen Mary” was nominated for the 2006 Polaris Music Prize for best full-length Canadian album.

Matterhorn

  • Answer: “The actual Matterhorn is comparable to one thing on this planet: Old Spice Matterhorn.”

Wintersleep

  • Answer: Wintersleep won the 2008 Juno for New Group of the Year, opened for Paul McCartney and have released five albums.

Pacific Surge

  • Answer: “Even if you lit yourself on fire and stood in the blast radius of a nuclear bomb, this stuff would not stop working.”

Awesome Baby Names are Legendary

The people of Hawaii County must be learning, because this week’s list of baby
names is filled with awesome. Let’s get started!

Kicking off the awesome streak is Falen. Now, I’m not quite sure how this is
pronounced, but if it’s pronounced “failin’”, then this kid has an instant
awesome nickname: “Can’t Be” Falen! Awesome!

And Jaxsen. Jaxsen! Such a great name! Jackson is such a common name, a boring
name, an unoriginal name. In 2011 it was the 23rd most popular boy’s name in the
United States. How could you possibly go with boring old Jackson? Throw an X in
there and it’s awesome! Time for some learning: did you know that the Romans
used an X to mean ten? That’s clear proof that Jaxsen is ten times better than
Jackson. That’s science, and you can’t fuck with science.

Speaking of Rome, there’s now a little boy running around named Rome Chancem.
You have got to be kidding me. Getting a name that’s just begging to be
sponsored by Caesars Palace? Can you say “free
Vegas trips”? You can’t get much more awesome than free Vegas trips.

One little boy got the completely awesome name of Brayden Stryker. FUCK YEAH MY
MIDDLE NAME IS STRYKER SUCK IT.

I know I poo-pooed Legend last week,
but like an awesome fungus,
this one is growing on me. Another family in Hawaii named their kid Legend last
week. If one was bad, two must be badder, and by badder I mean awesome.

I might just have to call it quits on the Bad Baby Names posts because clearly
the baby names aren’t bad any more, they’re awesome.

Adventures in Urban Beekeeping

I keep mason bees.

Today was another nice spring day, and the forecast was for continuing warm
temperatures through the week (highs between 15 and 17), so it’s the perfect
time to put out mason bee cocoons.

The cocoons on the left are from last season. My mason bees laid about a dozen
eggs, which hatched into pupae, which formed cocoons. The cocoons in the box on
the right are from West Coast Seeds
— yes, you can buy bees at a gardening store!

The bees will hatch over the next few days, and hopefully one or two will come
back to lay eggs in the nesting tubes in the little house. More about the bee
house next time!

Bad Baby Names are back!

I figured out If This Then That and set it up to email me
the Vital Statistics page from the Hawaiian Tribune-Herald
every time it gets published to the web. This means that I get a fresh new list
of baby names every week, and you get a fresh new Bad Baby Names post every
week! We’re all winners! Except for the babies with bad names, of course.

To tell you the truth, I’m a little underwhelmed with the first week back. There
weren’t any truly horrific names. Nary a y out of place to be found.

Raiden is a bad name though. Good if you’re into WWII Japanese fighter aircraft,
but given Hawaii’s history with Japanese aircraft…

What? Too soon?

Giving a boy the name ‘Legend’ is a bit much. Awfully big shoes to fill there
for little Legend.

The worst baby name of the week is Jaxxon-Taylor. It’s not cringe-inducing like
most winners here. It’s all incredibly anti-climactic. Thanks a lot, Hawaii
County parents. Sheesh.

canspice.org moves to octopress

I’ve decided to move my blog away from WordPress and to
Octopress.

Why?

Simple. I don’t blog as much any more, and I don’t have time for blogging much
any more. Part of being a responsible website operator is making sure your
website hasn’t been hacked to serve out bad things. WordPress, being a
dynamically-generated site, can be hacked (see
here,
here,
and
here
for a small taste of how easy it is). If you run a WordPress site, you have to
keep everything up-to-date, and doing that takes time.

Octopress, on the other hand, only makes static HTML available. You write your
blog posts in static files, then run a Ruby
script to convert them into HTML and copy them into your publicly-accessible
directory. There’s nothing to hack, because they’re all static files that
aren’t writable by anybody but me.

So unless someone hacks my password on my webserver, I don’t have to worry
about my blog being used for malicious purposes.

Of course moving to a new blogging platform means I have to either abandon all
of my old posts or migrate them over here. There are migration steps available, but
it doesn’t look like they generate new posts in a particularly nice fashion, so
I’ll move them over one-by-one. Obviously this will take some time (there are
710 posts going back to 2004) but it’ll get done.