Reality TV Needs To Go

Reality TV is by-and-large terrible. It’s misleading, edited for dramatic effect, and – in many cases – scripted. Which makes it FICTION by the way, not reality. We’re inundated with the same formula for these programs: shoot endless amounts of footage of people doing relatively mundane things, edit it in a sensational manner, and splice in interviews with cast members who recall their “feelings” during various situations. Stations like TLC, A&E, Discovery, History, and National Geographic used to be known for quality programming. Now they carry an endless parade of garbage like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Toddlers and Tiaras, Say Yes To The Dress, Most Dangerous Catch, America’s Next Top Model, Parking Wars, Extreme Makeover, Ice Road Truckers, Restaurant Stakeout, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, The Biggest Loser, Jersey Shore, Bachelor Pad, Storage Wars, American Chopper, Survivor, All American Gypsy, Big Brother, Breaking Amish, and on and on and on. These are all just Jerry Springer with higher production values. And at least you knew Jerry Springer was fake (at least I hope you did). 

Defending the Teaching Profession

The teaching profession has a bad rep. Based on a number of comments and stories I hear, somehow teachers are thought to be lazy, uncaring, and mediocre-performers at best. The most frequent comment is that teachers have it “easy” with short work hours from 8:30am to 3:30pm, extra days off throughout the year, and two months off at summer. While holding back my exasperation, I respond with two questions: 1. Do you know any teachers? and 2. Have you ever had to stand-up and actually teach a class of kids for as little as an hour? The response to the latter is usually “No” and to the former is either “No” or “Yes, but that person hates teaching.” It’s nice to see people have well-informed opinions. Without a doubt there are some lousy teachers out there. But let’s agree that the same can be said about every job – restaurant owner, doctor, janitor, project manager, salesperson, lawyer, CEO. So how is it that one job is so poorly regarded on the whole? 

An Inquiry About the SW Leg of Anthony Henday

If you live in Edmonton, you’ve likely heard about or experienced first-hand the lengthy delays that are a direct result of the ongoing construction on the southwest leg of the Anthony Henday. I used to commute using this leg of the Henday every day but have had to find alternative routes for the past two months and will continue to do so until the end of September when the construction is expected to be complete.

Normally I’d post or write a letter complaining about this but have, instead, written my City Councillor, MLA, and the Minister of Transportation asking for further information. My goal is is to gain greater insight into why we’re faced with this issue. Specifically, I’d like to know: 

Three-Day Weekends

Out of the average 40 hours in a five-day work week, you’re probably only productive for about six hours in each day for a weekly total of 30 productive hours (it’s okay, you can be honest – we’re all friends here). Don’t believe me? Think about the time you or your co-workers spend on the internet, talking to someone about what movie you saw last night, going to the bathroom, making a personal phone call – I bet these all add up to about 2 hours a day. Still unconvinced? Consider how in a “short week” you manage to produce nearly as much work as a regular week. And, by the end of those four days, you find yourself saying, “wow, for a short week this certainly felt long.” So, if you can get relatively the same work done in four days as in five days, why not move to four-day work weeks with a much-coveted three-day weekend? Really, this isn’t that big of a logic leap: some companies already offer adjusted work schedules such as 4 days x 10 hours. But I’m more interested in 4 days x 8 hours.

Augustus the Office Hero

Everyone who’s ever worked in an office anywhere in the world knows an office hero. This is the guy or gal who brags about how many hours they worked last night/week/weekend, how little sleep they need, how much coffee they drink by 9am, how they saved a company huge dollars, how much willpower they have to work while sick, and a plethora of other feats that no mere mortal could ever seemingly accomplish. I have the distinct pleasure of working across from our office hero (we’ll call him Augustus) who drives me and my cubicle-mate crazy with his endless stream of bluster and bullshit. What makes it even worse is that Augustus is also a work conduit (where deliverables move through him but are never actually completed by him) and manipulator (where he talks out of both sides of his mouth and has an answer for everything to always be seen in the best possible light). So when my cubicle-mate and I put our thoughts together on a project delivery approach, he quickly reviewed our work and indicated this was the direction he was already headed in. Oh really? Because all signs indicate you haven’t done anything around this. But, being the work conduit he is, Augustus bastardized our work and passed it off as his own in a meeting with management. Fortunately, a number of the management team know who really did the work. Not that this didn’t create fires we had to put out thanks to our office hero. 

Canadian Wireless Providers…

…Are a fucking joke. Evenings and weekends used to start at 5pm or 6pm depending on the carrier. Now they start at 9pm and you have to pay $7/month to start at 6pm or $9/month to start at 5pm. Extra minutes used to cost 10¢ but now cost 45¢. Not to mention that the cost of things like voicemail, call display, and text/multimedia messaging (or bundles thereof) have all steadily increased in price. Yet there are no offsets to the number of daytime minutes or included options in light of these price increases. So, based on this alone, I accuse the Canadian Telecommunications industry of collusion and price-fixing and the Government of Canada of turning a blind eye to the plight of Canadians.