Monday, March 31, 2008

Sometimes people actually listen to me

I've been thinking ahead to this summer, where I will enjoy some time outside in our all-too-short season. One of my favorite places to go is the Irving Nature Park. I have frequently seen, on a sign in the park or in the newspaper, various events that are held at the park. Inevitably, I forget to note them somewhere and end up missing out.

This is where Facebook comes in handy. I really like using Facebook to create or join, and attend, events. It conveniently reminds me of all the details in one spot, and helps me keep track of everything. Seeing what events my friends are attending also brings me the potential for new ideas or experiences.

I went searching yesterday for a Facebook group for the Irving Nature Park, but there isn't one. With all of the events they run in the summer and fall, especially for kids, I thought it would be a perfect fit. I emailed them yesterday to suggest it, and heard back from them today. They told me they did not currently have a FB page, but thought it was a great suggestion and would forward it on to the park manager.

Hopefully they decide to follow through and create a page and events.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

All but one

I have been working away at changing my email address to a new address I set up. I've been through every website and newsletter I can think of, and I am down to one remaining site that needs to be changed. Ironically, it is, the very company who is shutting down my address and making me go through all this hassle in the first place. Their website is horrible and has no noticeable way to change my username (which is currently my old email). Even help/FAQ did not yield any answers. I sat on the phone for at least 30 minutes trying to talk to someone, then gave up and decided to email instead.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Things I learned this weekend

About Tupperware:
  • It's a Thatsa bowl, not Thasta. I wonder how many times I've embarrassed myself by saying the wrong name. A bit of dyslexia there.

About JCS (I watched the commentary with Ted Neeley and Norman Jewison):
  • The costumes for the guards are supposed to be a mix of past & present. The cammo pants & combat boots are to represent ties to today, the purple tank tops are "Roman purple" since they are Roman guards, and the helmets were chrome so they'd shine. I think they were a little off when it came to Roman purple.
  • The tank scene is supposed to be signifying Judas making his decision and they drive him toward it.
  • Ted Neeley did such a good job at trashing the marketplace that they only had two takes of that scene before too many of the props were broken. Luckily they got everything they needed in two takes.
  • All of the ruins were actually there, and even some of the scaffolding. They added a bit more scaffolding, grew the grass for Gethsemane, but added very little to the set.
  • The choreographer fell down the stone amphitheatre and was badly injured. He had surgery in Jerusalem and then had to be flown back to the US on a stretcher.
  • The final scene was supposed to just be the sunset and cross. The shepherd and sheep were unintentional, but "came from out of nowhere" into the shot and Jewison left it in the final cut.
  • Ted Neeley met his wife on the set, though they didn't start dating until after the movie was finished.
  • During Simon Zealotes, the dancers were working in 110-115°F (43-46°C) heat and could really only work for 30-40 seconds at a time.
  • Jewison did a voiceover for the third man to deny Peter

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Throughout our lives, we form attachments to things. They become part of our everyday lives, settling in to our subconscious as we take them for granted. One of those things, for me, has been my email address.

I picked it out when our local cable company (my Dad was a VP there at the time) was just beginning to set themselves up as an ISP. This meant I had my pick of addresses, and thus was able to get liz@. I am trying to remember how long I've had this address, I think I had it when I left university, so at least 11 years, likely a bit longer. I just found out today that the bank of address domains to which I belong is being shut down at the end of March.

This poses a big problem for me. I use this address for everything other than person-to-person communication. I now need to go to every website I can possibly think of where I may have registered and change my address. Some websites will only recover lost passwords by emailing the registered account -- which, after the end of the month, I won't be able to do.

I'm angry that I wasn't given any warning about this change. I could have phased it out over time, given the opportunity. Now I have to fit these changes into a two week span. Argh.

No longer will I have that "really easy to remember" address, and that bothers me. I guess I knew this day would come eventually, but to only know about it 15 days before is so frustrating. I don't want to be forced into this change because Rogers doesn't want to keep up the old domain.

I now have to decide what to do. Do I move everything to an existing address, or create a new address just for this purpose?

I don't need this. I don't want to deal with this. In a small way, I feel like I am losing part of my history. Things change whether I want them to or not, so I guess I don't have any choice but to deal with it. It just pisses me off that I am now inconvenienced by another large corporate decision.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tax laws suck

Let me begin this blog by stating for the record that John was right. I should have looked into this sooner.

I started doing my taxes yesterday. After coming to a refund total that was larger than I expected, the software halted because my spouse doesn't have a SIN. Knowing that Canadian taxes are based on residency, I have been under the assumption that John's side would be a non-issue for 2007 because he wasn't a Canadian resident. After some research, though, I discovered a few anger-inducing things:
  • Because he married a Canadian, he has "residential ties" to Canada in 2007 and thus may be deemed a resident.
  • I cannot electronically file my tax return because he doesn't have a SIN, so I have to paper file.
  • I have to fill out a 4-page form to determine whether or not CRA deems him to be a resident for tax purposes. This may take 4-6 weeks for an answer.
  • If he is deemed a resident, I have to apply for an Individual Tax Number (ITN) so that I can file a T1 for him. Getting the ITN may take an additional 4-6 weeks.
Today being March 10, I have about 7 weeks until our tax deadline of April 30. I may get the residency answer back in time, but I may not get the ITN. I don't really want to apply for the ITN if it isn't necessary, because he will get a SIN as part of his permanent residency application, and then I will have to deal with getting those two numbers merged.

I am really tired of having to fill out paperwork, get things notarized, and constantly explain over and over again the details of my relationship to my husband. It's really not that complicated: he's American, I'm Canadian, and as of right now, we live apart.

Had I researched this earlier, I could have begun the process and received all of the appropriate answers in time for April 30. I'm mad at myself for not checking into this earlier, but at least I didn't leave it any later.

The kicker of this whole thing is that he doesn't have any Canadian income, will have world income which he will have already paid tax on in the US, and will likely not owe anything... though I wouldn't gamble on it. It just angers me that I will have to go through a lot of trouble to get to that point.

Immigration wanted us to prove that we have ties with one another. The tax department will take those ties and say he is deemed a resident and could possibly have to pay tax in Canada. No matter which way we go, we seem to get the short end of the stick. Thanks Canada.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

WestJet -- not as great as you thought it might be

When the SJ airport secured WestJet as a tenant, it was lauded as the "next big thing". Competition is wonderful, now you have two choices, Saint Johners! Um, no, we really don't.

Let's say I want to go to Montreal to attend a baby shower for my nephew-to-be. Here are the inherent problems with that plan:
  • WestJet only flies to Toronto from Saint John, so your flight will involve going way out of your way, changing planes, and then backtracking. More flights = more chance of delays and getting stuck somewhere.
  • WestJet only operates on Monday/Wednesday/Friday from Saint John. So much for any weekend getaway plans. [They are adding flights starting on the Victoria Day long weekend, so they will fly every day except Saturday.]
  • WestJet only operates one flight per day between Saint John and Toronto.
  • WestJet's regular fares (ignoring taxes & fees) are consistently more expensive than Air Canada. Seat sales, if you can get them, are better unless Air Canada gets wind of it and matches the price.
I have done more than my share of complaining when it comes to Air Canada, but I just don't see the WestJet advantage when living in SJ. With Air Canada, I can choose between 4 flights per day to Toronto and 3 to Montreal. Flights are scheduled for every day of the week. Prices are still cheaper the majority of the time.

I have heard lots of great things about WestJet -- their have a better record for being on-time and their service is much friendlier. I haven't yet tried them out, though, because of their limitations. I hope as time goes on, and SJ begins more of the energy projects that are in the works, that WestJet will be a better option, more competition, and able to lower their regular fares. Until then, I'm sticking with Air Canada.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

In search of snowpants

John still marvels at the snow here, and is eager to catch up on all of that missed opportunity earlier in life for making snowmen, snow angels, possibly snow forts, etc. Thus I am in search of snowpants for an adult male. Not an easy task when you don't want to pay $200 for ski pants, as we found out during our shopping last night. Being end-of-season, and the fact that medium is a popular size, the selection is very limited. Things are going on sale though, which is good.

So far no luck on finding him snowpants, but we are still on the lookout.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Breakup weekend

[No, not me.]

'Tis the season for breakups, apparently. I know 4 couples who are going through the breakup process, and it seemed like a lot of it culminated this past weekend (or at least that's when I heard about it). It's tough to know my friends are in pain. I certainly have been through it myself and know how painful it can be. I've been trying to help in whatever way I can, but Time is the only healer.

Take care, friends. It will get better.

Diamond Shreddies

I was driving down Fairville Blvd a few weeks ago and I noticed a billboard with "new Diamond Shreddies". Hunh, I said. I wonder if they made them frosted or less soggy in milk or something. Since the billboard didn't tell me anything (and I hadn't yet seen the TV ad), I said I'll have to look that up on the Internet later.

I mentioned it to my mother, who told me she'd seen the TV ad multiple times and it looked like they'd just turned Shreddies on their side. I said they must have done something different with them to be using this marketing campaign. The funny thing is, they didn't.

Once I watched the TV ad and visited the website, I immediately saw that it was a clever marketing campaign. A great way to get people interested in a product that has been around for a long time and hasn't changed because it doesn't need to. It actually got me to thinking that I should buy a box of Shreddies since I haven't had some in a while -- exactly what they want me to do.

There are a number of bloggers/comments out there who just don't get it. They're frustrated by the fact that the company is "lying" to us and there's not really anything different about it, totally missing the point of the campaign. One comment even suggested that some people might get so upset about this campaign that it may result in boycotts. Come on. People who buy Shreddies regularly will continue to do so, and people who may have forgotten about Shreddies might buy a box now, after being cleverly reminded to look for the product the next time they're in the grocery store. It's brilliant, really.

I also learned some interesting things about Shreddies while I was looking around. Shreddies started in the UK, and there they also come Frosted and Coco (I bet those would be yummy). Kraft Foods has the trademark rights for the US, but Shreddies are not marketed there. UK boxes of Shreddies used to feature Tom & Jerry.

I miss Honey Shreddies, as I didn't have to add sugar to my cereal because the "honey" flavor gave it the added sweetness I like. From what I can tell, it's still being produced, but I haven't seen it in grocery stores around here for a while. I may have to do another product request.

Creepy Red Eye™, or more?

When I went to see the doctor about my broken toe, I also mentioned my 3 times of getting Creepy Red Eye™. The doctor ordered some bloodwork and also referred me to an opthamologist (for which I still haven't gotten an appointment, but that's expected with the backlog for those right now). I was back at the doctor last week to get the results.

All of the tests came back great, with the exception of one. My ANA result was off the chart. I had a level of 1:640, where the desired level is 1:40. My doctor is concerned that there is possibly some kind of connective tissue disorder going on, and my optometrist had told me that Rheumatoid Arthritis was the #1 thing that Creepy Red Eye™ could be indicating. My grandfather had RA, and my younger brother has Lupus, diabetes, RA, among other things. There are definitely reasons for me to be checked out further by specialists to determine if there is something more serious going on. My doctor ordered a chest x-ray to check for any other areas of inflammation, and has referred me to a rheumatologist, more of a cautionary measure for the referral.

The good news is that I am not experiencing any symptoms other than Creepy Red Eye™. My rheumatoid factor was negative, and I tested negative for Lupus. I'm getting older, and thus don't feel as peppy as I used to, but other than that I'm fine. This could just manifest itself in my eye and then do nothing else, but it's best if I continue to investigate. John, being very familiar with this area, tells me that my blood test result wasn't uncommon, but it is still on my mind. Is this why colds/flu have hit me so hard in the last couple of years?