Virtual Education

So, I have been taking a class for several weeks now (I don’t even remember how many) that was supposed to be a one off, but has since snowballed into what I think is quickly becoming a full business program.

This is not important to the story, but my boss wanted me to take it. Since work is paying for part of it, I obliged. It wouldn’t have been my first choice to take, but I won’t say no to education!

So, the first professor was/is great. He understands my work schedule, he understands the stresses of being in school in general, without the full-time job tied to it. He’s just… chill. He’s my kind of a professor.

The second professor, she’s cynical as all hell. She’s giving me major flashbacks to those entry level courses everyone was required to take in first year of university. (Yes, I know that sentence alone showcases a lot of privilege) She’s questioning everyone. She doesn’t care about stressses of being a student. She doesn’t care about people who are also working. She doesn’t seem to care about anything beyond her rules.

The second professor, she has a rule that we’re required to have our webcams on the entire class. The problem is, she records these sessions. She’s recording them and she’s not giving them out to people to look back on. So she’s recording them and keeping them… for something? Who knows. Who cares what she keeps it for.

I DO NOT like being recorded.

It’s a thing for me. I worked in PR too long, I know the nefarious things that have happened with recordings. I have, myself, been responsible for burying recordings of people. I have, myself, been responsible for turning over recordings of someone for a criminal investigation. I don’t like recordings of me existing. I’ve seen too much of how the sausage is made, and I just… am not for it.

What if I wanted to become a spy? I basically would need to wipe my existence. I can do that if some professor has all these recordings of me.

What if I wanted to become a criminal? I don’t need her turning over videos of me that people could use to study my behaviour.

What if I just really don’t like being recorded? Why can’t she just… tell me I can turn my webcam off?

It really doesn’t matter why. If I don’t want to listen to her lectures with my webcam on, I really shouldn’t have to. It’s not like I’m taking an exam. I’d understand if they waned to see me to ensure I wasn’t cheating. It’s a lecture/discussion class. My mic and webcam don’t need to work in sync. I can use my mic without the webcam.

If I do end up taking all of these courses, I’ll probably run into this more and more. I know I need to chill and just go along with her rules. I just… think her rules are stupid. You should not be required to be recorded in order to complete a course.

It’s expensive to have crappy vision

I have extremely poor vision. I always have. I was that baby who was wearing glasses with the elastic around the back of her head so that I wouldn’t pull them off.

So to frame my perspective (no pun intended), I’ve had glasses since I was a baby, and I’ve had contact lenses since I was thirteen years old.

Eye doctor exams in Canada run between $135 and $210, depending on where you go. To wear contact lenses, you’re required to get an eye doctor exam every year. So, if I were to low-ball an estimate of what I’ve spent on eye-exams from the time I was thirteen to now, my eye exams have cost $2,565

Every major benefit provider in this country will pay $100 for a Canadian to get their eyes checked every second year. So, I will subtract $600, as that would have been paid for by benefits.

Out of my pocket, I’ve paid $1,965 to sit in an exam chair and have a doctor tell me that I have shitty vision.

That, in of itself, doesn’t include the special treatments and tests I’ve required over the years because of my vision being so poor. I can’t even fathom how much that’s gone on to cost. Special requirements aren’t often covered by benefits providers, because apparently I just messed up and should’ve come out of the womb with good eye sight? Let’s low ball my treatments over the years to roughly $5,000.

I have a special prescription for my eyes that makes glasses between $800-$1,200 per pair when I get them. ($800 if I choose the cheapest frames, $1,200 if I try to get something a little more sturdy)

Now keep in mind here, I have no choice. I need to wear some sort of a corrective lens in my eye, or in front of my eye, in order to be able to see. Otherwise I walk into large objects, I would’ve never been able to drive, and would likely fall down stairs. I say that “I’m blind” when people ask. Whilst I’m not legally blind, the world is 50 different shades of fuzzy without some sort of vision correction.

Because I’ve prioritized contact lenses over glasses (they work better for me, my lifestyle, my mood in general), I typically get myself a new pair only once every four years. The reason for this is because I only wear my glasses at night after I’ve taken out my contacts.

If we do the math of when I started paying for my glasses at 13, to now, I’ve owned 5 pair of glasses. Let’s say, I chose the cheapest frames every single time I went (I didn’t but I don’t remember what all of the costs were). $800 x 5 pair of glasses is $4,000 spent on glasses.

To recount, I’ve spent roughly $1,965 on eye exams, $5,000 on special treatments for my eyes and $4,000 on glasses. Right now, we’re sitting at $10,965 spent just to care for my eyes and correct my vision.

Now, I have made the choice, since I was thirteen, to wear contact lenses. This has been a choice that I realize makes things more expensive, but it’s overall suited my life better and has been attainable to me, so I have willingly chosen to do it. I understand that life would be cheaper if I just wore glasses every day of my life. So this isn’t a mandatory expense, but a chosen expense to make my life easier.

The contacts that I wear cost $725 per year. The one thing that I’ve always appreciate about contact lenses is that the fee is always the same. It’s been the same since I was 13 and the price has never gone up, even when my vision has gotten worse.

$725 x 19 years is $13,775.

All major benefits providers in Canada will pay for $100 every two years. Since I wear glasses less frequently then contacts, I’ve always elected to have that $100 go towards my contact lenses. So, if we subtract an estimate of $100×10 years (to be on the fair side), I can take one thousand dollars from the total of my contact lenses. So I have paid $12,775 for contact lenses.

Since I’ve started paying for my own vision care at 13, I’ve spent $23,740.

It is extremely expensive to have shitty vision. And, it’s really a luxury that I’ve been able to afford correcting my vision all of these years. Listen, I’m lucky that for the majority of the past 19 years, I’ve had some form of benefit in some sort of way to help with that fee. But, it’s still fucking expensive with those vision benefits.

With or without benefits, these fees aren’t attainable by a lot of people. I think this is something that a lot of people don’t realize. Vision care is a bit of luxury. Granted I choose to wear contact lenses so my total is more expensive, if I wore glasses every day of my life, I’d likely need to replace them more often, so the total wouldn’t be that far off.

Now, I’ve been very lucky in my life that I’ve been able to afford this luxury.

And sadly, it is still a luxury to be able to see properly in this world.

I can’t even begin to imagine what these eye doctor visits and treatments and whatnot would cost in the United States. Probably more?

As much as I wish all kids could be born with perfect vision, that’s just not reality. There are a lot of kids in this world who just have shitty vision, for no other reason than just because. It can be really hard for their parents to afford eye doctor examinations and glasses, especially if their vision continues to change/get worse.

And for adults, you know, I’m exceptionally blessed to be in a situation where this is a feasible expense for me. I can completely understand, though, this tough for a lot of people. People who really don’t have extra money, people who live pay cheque to pay cheque, people who were laid off in the past year due to COVID, it’s hard to fathom spending vast amounts of money on this.

This is why so many people will go without.

Or, they’ll get glasses of some sort, or contacts of some sort, and just stick with that because it corrects their vision ‘enough’, despite their vision worsening.

A lot of people will just get by with what they have because it’s too damn expensive to get a new pair of glasses, or a new order of contact lenses. Can you imagine? Can you imagine having to get your driver’s license renewed and knowing you’d then have to go get your new glasses in order to get your driver’s license renewed, otherwise you can be denied? It’s an expense, on an expense.

This is something that I care very much about because I’ve always had bad vision and it’s gotten considerably worse with each passing year. It’s expensive to be blind. It’s expensive to have shitty vision. No one chooses shitty vision. Vision care needs to be made more accessible to the masses. The truth is, if your vision isn’t corrected properly, it could be made worse because of that. You could also be subject to frequent headaches, dizziness, increased lethargy, all because your eyes are working so damn hard to just see the world in front of you.

With it estimated that as much as 70% of Canadians needing corrective lenses in order to properly see (I can’t even imagine how high that stat would be around the world!), why isn’t more being done to make vision care and corrective lenses more accessible to people.

You need to see to drive. You need to see to read. You need to see to judge distances, or understand depths, or avoid hazards. Corrective vision should be way more accessible than it is, in Canada and around the world.

Air conditioning is a luxury – a rant

The past few days I’ve seen quite a few people around the internet stating that people in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada are stupid for not having air conditioning.

I’d like to remind those people that air conditioning is a luxury. It’s not automatically installed in every home that’s built.

Why? Why should it be?

We don’t all live in Arizona. I say that jokingly, but also truthfully. The Pacific Northwest is the rainiest place in the continental USA. Western Canada is covered with snow 6-8 months of the year, and the rest of the year, barely manages to reach 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). It’s not normal for the weather to be this hot. Nor should it be.

Fewer than 50% of homes in Canada are built with air conditioning. Actually, it’s probably closer to 30%.

I’m not as familiar with the warmer states, but I have a hunch that air conditioning is not as likely of a regular feature there as well. Air conditioning costs money. A lot of money. To install. To run. To maintain. With so many people at, or below, the poverty line, air conditioning isn’t likely something accessible to them.

Please don’t call people stupid for not having air conditioning.

Be grateful that you have air condition and recognize it for the luxury that it is. Then, understand that not everyone in the world does, and that’s okay. Heat waves like this make life unnaturally difficult to bear in this part of the world. But, there are people who deal with this heat regularly where no one has air conditioning at all! Have some compassion. It’ll take you a lot farther in life.

End Rant.

Saturday Morning

Shout out to the neighbour’s roofing crew who started replacing the roof at six-o-clock this morning. You know what’s not quiet? Replacing a roof. You know what’s not conducive to sleep? Listening to a roof being replaced, shingles being torn off and ten men shouting barbaric things at one another(that are not, and will never be funny) at six am.

Am I short on patience today? Sure am.

#FirstWorldProblems

ENOUGH with the mansplaining already – a rant.

Every time, EVERY TIME, that I go into speaking about any subject, there seems to be a man right there ready and waiting to interrupt me so that he can explain to me just what it is I am talking about.

All day.

Every day.

Justin, from our Texas office, is particularly bad with this. Actually, all the men at my company are. If I’m being completely honest, I think they see their advanced degrees in specialized subject areas as a classification that they’re ultimately smarter than everyone with respect to every subject. Axel doesn’t just think he’s smarter with respect to everything, he KNOWS with his whole heart and every fiber of his being that he’s smarter than everyone else on earth with respect to every subject matter.

During our meeting this morning, I was drinking a smoothie. After being asked what was in my smoothie and not making it past the ingredient ‘protein powder’ I was promptly cut off so that I could listen to a tangent about what proteins are best for me as I’m female and I can’t just go to the store and pick a protein powder because the packaging is cute.

Apparently that’s all females do, select any and every product they buy based off what the packaging looks like. At least that’s what I got out of the 20 minute tangent I listened to this morning.

It’s getting to the point where I’ll avoid conversations outright and make up excuses to get out of conversations so that I don’t have to listen to people mansplain. I think I’ll be okay if you don’t interrupt me today. How about you go back to your own job and leave me alone.

My coworker, Kat, says ‘You just get used to it after a while’. Kat, I don’t really want to get used to it.

There’s a BIG difference between making a suggestion, telling me how to do my job and telling me why I’m doing my job wrong. There’s a BIG difference between asking me what I’m drinking and telling me that I shop based on what the package of a product looks like.

I’m annoyed.

Influencer murders HEALTHY dog then uses dog’s death for click-bait

The title explains itself. I’m mad. I’m not including a picture of this woman. Honestly, her face and existence makes me angry, for a lot of reasons beyond this story.

Nikki Phillippi, YouTube influencer, has come under fire (rightfully so) for putting her HEALTHY dog down and then using the dog’s death for click-bait to promote her YouTube channel, where she monetized the story “explaining” why her dog needed to die.

In her Instagram post, promoting the upcoming YouTube video, Nikki showcases a myriad of photographs taken with the family and their dog THE DAY THEY KILLED IT. They literally went out into their backyard and had a family photoshoot with their dog, right before putting it down. In the caption she explained that she was saddened she was forced to make this decision, but it was the right decision to make and her YouTube video would “explain everything”.

In the video, Nikki and her husband explain that their dog (a bull terrier) was attacked as a small puppy and had lived with trauma that made it skittish and defensive ever since. Nikki said that she felt the dog was aggressive because of unresolved trauma.

YA THINK?

If your dog is attacked, you need to get it proper training and give it proper love to help it work through its trauma.

In the video, Nikki and her husband explain that the dog was amazing, and their “cloud angel”, and that he was so good to their family and that he was their child prior to having children. She then immediately contradicts all of those statements by saying that this dog attacked another dog five years ago and they should’ve put him down then, but they weren’t going to provide any details because they didn’t want to dishonour their dog.

Nikki, who’s been on record in previous videos saying that her and her husband didn’t have enough time for the dog and felt like they neglected that, at one point proclaiming she hadn’t walked their dog in months, exclaimed that their dog wasn’t aggressive unless their son was bothering it. Her husband tells a story in the video about how their son pulled at their dog’s ear so badly that he got ‘cauliflower ear’ that took more than a month to properly heal. She goes on to tell more stories about how her son would go over and yank on it’s neck and steal its food out of its dish, scream at it and pull on its tail to wake him up.

As parents, normally people teach their children to be gentle with animals. These people, just seemed to brush off their son’s behaviour as ‘kids being kids’ not understanding that they need to teach their child how to act around, and with, animals.

So we have a bull terrier who doesn’t get walked, isn’t let outside, whom they let their toddler scream at, yank on it’s fur and tail, steal is food and wake it up.

Yeah, maybe the dog’s mad.

Maybe the dog’s annoyed that it cannot vocalize the child consistently pissing it off. Maybe the dog cannot vocalize that it’s tired of being a prisoner kept in your own home.

In the video, they explain how they wouldn’t let their dog outside unless it was in a car.

So they wouldn’t take it for walks, they would just put it in the car and drive around with him.

Dogs need exercise.

Dogs need love.

Dogs need affection. They need attention. They need to be made to feel as though they’re a part of the family too. Dogs do not need to be tormented by a small child that no one has ever taught to act with animals.

I’m not blaming this child. This child is a toddler and if it’s parents have neglected teaching it how to act around a dog, it’s not the child’s fault. It’s Nikki’s fault, and her husband’s fault.

Nikki talks about how great their dog was with their son. How amazing their dog was and how their dog always protected their family. In the same sentence she says ‘But he was aggressive, he bit our son. It wasn’t a bad mark, but it was a small mark.’

When they talk about the “small mark” (direct quote, not paraphrasing) the dog left on their son, her husband proclaims that right then and there, he wanted to take the dog out back and put it down right then and there, but he restrained himself.

So basically, he was a great dog, but he was violent because he left a small mark on their child after their child attacked him. He was aggressive in his past and they considered putting him down before, but now was the right time to end this dog’s life.

OHHH and she said the Humane Society told her that she couldn’t rehome her dog because she’d be liable if the dog attacked someone whilst living in a new home. She said the Humane Society told her it sounds like they were just waiting for ‘a big attack’.

So they paid someone to come to their house and put their dog down after having a family photoshoot with it in the back yard. She promoted her upcoming YouTube video on her Instagram account proclaiming that she’d “explain everything”. She then monetized a YouTube video where she and her husband talk in circles for 24 minutes about how aggressive, but not aggressive, their dog was. She then used the end of her video to promote the “Upcoming changes in her life” and that she “hopes people will follow along with the next stage of their family’s journey”.

She NEVER mentions getting the dog training.

She openly admits to not walking the dog anymore.

She openly admits to neglecting the dog.

She didn’t teach/hasn’t taught her child how to be gentle with animals.

She didn’t rehome her animal because of some “person” at a Human Society who told her an animal cannot be rehomed and retrained to be less aggressive.

But it was the right decision to put the dog to death. Because he was aggressive, though he wasn’t aggressive. Oh, and he comes from a dangerous breed.

She murdered her dog. She’s now trying to justify murdering her healthy dog. She monetized the entire story because she knew it would boost her channel clicks, make her a big pay day and help promote her platforms.

Do not read this.

I think that every man should have to, in their lifetime, wear a bra.

What? What a bizarre thing for me to say, I know.

They should have to walk into a store and blindly guess as to what size would ‘fit them’ (and I use that term loosely because, if you’re a woman you know most/all bras don’t really fit anyway) and they should have to wear it.

You know, if they wanted to go above and beyond and go to someone to get measured for said bra, I wouldn’t be against that.

It’s a learning experience, one that I think even if just tested for a day, could allow men valuable insights into a struggle us women know all too well. There are certain experiences we go through in life as women at that men pretend they know about that they really have no idea. Maybe having to spend a day wandering around in an uncomfortable bra could show them 1/100th of who we are.

Life Lessons from Me

It is not appropriate, acceptable, okay, or EVER warranted to tell a woman she’s beautiful in a professional setting. It’s not now, it never was and it won’t ever be. That’s not a compliment.

Women do not go to work to be eye candy. They don’t want comments about their appearance made in the workplace.

Women work long and hard to reach the levels they reach in their professional careers. When a man is willing to interrupt a meeting to refer to a woman as beautiful, what he’s doing in that moment is telling her that no matter her education, no matter her work experience, no matter her skills, her intelligence, her professionalism and her ability to change the very face of the company, workforce and world, he will never see her as an equal. He won’t ever see her as anything more than a shell.

A woman’s appearance has not a single fucking thing to do with how well she can do her job.

Just don’t do it. Just don’t comment on a woman’s appearance in the workplace. Please don’t. EVER.

Stupid people in public office part 2

A senior public servant at the Public Health Agency of Canada accepted an all-expenses-paid holiday to Jamaica courtesy of Air Canada Vacations in November, even as her agency has been advising Canadians since March to avoid non-essential travel to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Dominique Baker, the acting manager at PHAC’s Office of Border and Travel Health, flew with a friend to the upscale, all-inclusive Royalton Blue Waters resort in Montego Bay in mid-November.

Courtesy of The Gobe and Mail

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

I cannot even begin to explain the frustrations I have with the behaviour displayed by Canadians working in public office, believing they’re above the guidelines their very fucking offices are implementing.

This is… this is… this is nuts.

In her ‘off time’ from her day job, Dominique Baker is a social-media ‘lifestyle influencer’. I hate that term. The very people we elevate as a society to hold influence over people are the people who seem to make the worst decisions, have zero morality, common sense or decency and… believe there’s a standard for us normal folk and a different standard for themselves.

How does she still have a job?

How is it not a conflict of interest that, in her ‘off time’ she’s accepting all-inclusive, paid for vacations from one of Canada’s largest corporations in the middle of a global pandemic? She literally works in the office that manages the federal regulations that have been handed down to Canadian with respect to international travel for the past ten months.

How is Air Canada paying for her holiday not being treated as a secret lobbying effort? They paid for her to take an international vacation just as Canada entered the worst month of COVID of 2019, knowing full well what office she worked in and what position she held within the office that manages the federal regulations on international travel.

And again, HOW DOES SHE STILL HAVE A JOB? She’s working for the government. She’s making three, if not four, times the salary of the average Canadian, she exhibits this behaviour and it’s totally okay?

Now, and only now, that this is public knowledge, she posted a short video to her Instagram today, exclaiming that this was a safe trip, but it was the wrong time to go. Comments are limited to come from only people that she follows, so of course it’s all of her friends kissing her ass and telling her they love her for owning up to her mistakes. From what I can see, her video is the farthest thing from owning up to her mistakes.

Also, she said “If you’ve been thinking about getting away, I urge you to stay home until it’s safe.” That’s rich coming from someone who’s already back from her trip, only encouraging practicing safety now that she’s made national news, and just fifteen seconds prior assured us that her trip was completely safe.

Meanwhile I’m hear in Calgary, haven’t seen a soul outside of video chat. It’s worth noting that since November when numbers started rising here in Calgary (and all over Canada), more than 3,000 surgeries and treatments deemed non-essential have been postponed due to the COVID pandemic. In her home province they’ve been averaging 1,500 – 2,000 cases per day and I cannot even begin to fathom how many people have had their treatments and surgeries delayed because of it. Field hospitals are being built in parking lots across this country because our health care system is overrun, past capacity and cannot be sustained with current facilities.

But it’s okay, because she was super-super safe, and there was noooooooo conflict of interest whatsoever in her accepting an all-inclusive paid vacation to Jamaica as Canada was tightening travel restrictions and quarantine time?

I HATE PEOPLE.

‘Measures not restrictions’

Our Premier came out of hiding yesterday for an unprecedented showing of just how much of a fucking moron he is.

To the surprise of no one with a brain, the Premier stood in front of national television cameras (47 minutes late) to gaslight Canada into believing he’s taking adequate measures to control the spread of COVID in our province. Which, I would like to add, is still the province with the most positive, presently active cases in the country. The provinces ranking second and third for most active cases have three times, and double the population of our province, respectively.

Refusing to call them restrictions, because they’re not, the new ‘measures’ he’s ‘putting into place’ are effective Friday. The funny but not so funny story is, they’ve already been mandated at the municipal levels since July. And yet here we are.

Effective Friday both my city and the other major city in this province have a mask mandate for all indoor public spaces. Both my city and the other major city in this province mandated that at the municipal level in July.

Effective Friday social gatherings are no longer allowed… except in restaurants, pubs, bars, movie theatres, casinos, water parks, and the mall. A thinly veiled effort to keep people in public, spending money. You’re not allowed to meet your family at home, but if you want to go out for dinner, have-atter. Oh, and you might as well make a night of it and stop at the waterpark some good clean fun before you go home.

Effective Friday stores are required to operate at 25 percent capacity. Because nothing screams ‘I’m trying to help you keep your lights on’ like ‘I’m going to limit the customers you can see in a day, so just make them buy more when they’re in your store’.

Effective Friday hotels are required to only see guests by appointment only. I’m honestly not sure what planet he’s living on but I’m pretty sure the hotel industry has been operating with reservations since the beginning of time.

Also, to go with the ‘appointment only’ measure… all hair, nail, waxing salons, barbers, etc… are required to operate by appointment only. Because, you know, they haven’t been. Up until now you’ve been able to casually walk into any salon in this city and ask for a four hour colour, cut and perm appointment and they sat you right down to get started.

Churches are no longer allowed to operate at 30 percent capacity, they’re required to operate at 1/3 capacity and there are zero exceptions to this.

Oh and fitness classes are cancelled until further notice. If you want to workout, you cannot go to a class, you’re going to have to go into the gym and share the weight and cardio equipment with every other Tom, Dick and Harry who refuses to wipe down equipment like the gym was meant to be used for.

Perhaps his biggest measure of the announcement, the one he’s most proud of, effective Friday all concert venues and conference centres are closed, indefinitely. Because, you know, concerts and conferences have been going on as though it’s business and normal and that needs to be stopped. Concerts can absolutely not happen any longer.

The economic and mental health impacts of staying at home are far too restrictive for the people of this province to be able to live freely. People need to be able to go out and infect each other if they so please. The premier hopes, though, that with these measures, he’ll slow the earth-shattering depletion of our health care system minute by minute.

Oh, and if you’re someone like me who suffers from anxiety and being in public right now, just stay home, he says. The mental health implications of stay-at-home measures are far more important than the mental health implications of the deadly virus currently running rampant (un)checked throughout the province.

He finished by once again reminding us that if we just all ‘work together’ and do the right thing, the spread of COVID will slow. He’s been spewing that line since September when he had 700 cases. Perhaps he just doesn’t watch the news and isn’t aware of the 15,000 presently positive cases (and climbing by the thousands daily).

It seems like we’re in for a world of further hurt in this province with this moron at the helm. What’s really sad is that the way our law is written in this province, the chief medical officer has absolute power to overwrite his ‘measures’ and actually put restrictions in place to slow the spread. She won’t though.

My biggest takeaway… if you want to see someone who doesn’t live in your home, just go to the casino. Or maybe the mall. Actually, the mall is a really good idea because then you’re inclined to also shop local, right? Right?