I don’t do well being sick. I find it hard to focus on getting better. I find it hard to give myself permission to focus on getting better. I want to be productive, and I’m hard on myself when I’m not. The discomfort is annoying, and I can’t wait to get better. Sometimes though, because I’m so bad at focusing on my needs, I am sicker longer than I need to be. The last few days, I’ve been sick, but today is the first day that I’ve focused on getting better. Not because I want to, but because I have to. When I take meds, I pass out. When I don’t, I cough all kinds of disgusting materials from my throat and lungs. What a fun couple of days…
The tall glass and steel skyscraper shone in the early days light. Kya felt excited as she approached the building. She smoothed out her blouse tucking it neatly into her skirt, making sure everything looked perfect. The doors to the building were constantly opening and closing as a wave of office workers flooded through the entrance. With her completed checklist still repeating endlessly in her head, Kya joined the masses, and entered. The air inside the building was dry, and slightly warmer than the chill of the morning breeze.
Walking between the elevators, and around behind to the hallway, she saw the familiar solid wooden doors of Classic Communication. It was as though a fire was igniting within her, one she knew she couldn’t quell, and she would likely never want to. Continue reading
The bridge was simple, and reminded him of the Defiant class of ships. The command chair was in the center, with spots for others in a semicircle in front of him. The biggest difference, and one that would only matter to someone in his profession, was that the command chair was attached to the back wall. Everyone entered the bridge in his sight line, and sat in front of him. Leon grinned, as he thought about how his less savvy senior staff had been in accidents causing him to be promoted years before he would have been otherwise. Continue reading
Kya read Sam’s message over and over, trying to decipher his tone. She was fairly sure that he was not impressed with her for causing him to have to hide out for a few days, and she knew they had not spent much time together recently. She worried that he would want her to move out and that was what he wanted to discuss. The notion of leaving the apartment felt like a lead weight inside her, dragging her down. Kya tried to push it aside and focus on getting ready for dinner.
A bundle of clean clothing from the community was waiting in the room Kya was assigned to. Her jeans and GEEK t-shirt were folded on top. She moved them aside and chose a moss-green skirt with a slightly tattered hem line that went to her knees, a beige tank top and a plum coloured long sleeve shirt that wrapped across the front and tied at the side. She brushed her hair, and then pulled back the strands around her face. She looked in the mirror and was happily surprised by the version of herself staring back at her. Sun-kissed skin, well rested looking eyes, a faint smile at the corners of her lips. She was more than satisfied with her appearance and went to meet Henry and the rest of her new friends in the mess hall for dinner. Continue reading
I recently found a very interesting discussion on Reddit about welfare programs. Someone asked if the US would save or spend more money if they cut all the current programs and changed to a flat-rate, guaranteed minimum income system, click here to read the full Reddit post.
A user, by the name of imkharn, responded and has received over 2241 points over the last seven days. His words really hit a chord with me. I will admit that I’m not smart enough in this area to have all the answers, so I’ll try just to present information that is coloured with a few of my own personal experiences.
Not all money given to the poor counts as welfare. The government has a much more restrictive definition allowing a much lower cost quote. If you include earned income credit and housing assistance, spending on the poor is 1.03 trillion a year. Keep in mind this may be a little high because not all welfare money goes to the poor.
According to the Census Bureau, there are 46.5 million Americans living in poverty, with the poverty level defined as $23,021 for a family of four
This means it would be cheaper for the US government to simply cut a $22,000 check to every adult in poverty each year than keeping the current 80+ program welfare system.
A more efficient use of that 22K is to give it out in graduated amounts. Ensure no one makes less than 22K a year, but if they make more than 22K a year, for every 2 dollars of additional income they make, remove 1 dollar of subsidy check. This smooth transition doesn’t remove incentive to get a job and was proposed by Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman who despite being a libertarian supports a minimum guaranteed income.
Here is a cool spreadsheet image showing what different systems would look like using a similar model and comparing the current costs mentioned in the links in imkharn’s comment.
The need for such a system, at least in my mind, really drives home the issue with our economy, but much like minimum wage, I think this idea’s time has definitely come, and a more simplistic, standardized system could be beneficial, easier to maintain and while it would suffer from people gaming the system or outright lying, we have those issues in our current social assistance programs.
I would love to see how the numbers would stack up in Canada. I don’t know if $22,000 is the right amount, but currently if someone in Canada worked a minimum wage job ($10.25/hr) for 40 hours per week, for an average of 48 weeks per year, they’d have $19,680 pre-taxes or probably around $15,000 per year after taxes which means surviving on $1250 per month. I couldn’t make that work here in Georgetown. My rent alone would take two thirds of that amount, and I live in a worn down, low quality bachelor apartment.
Under such a system, that same person, would have nearly $30,000 guaranteed. They would have around $2500 per month to spend on an apartment, clothing, food, services, and could thrive in a much more normal way. The money they would spend on goods and services would help the economy, and the government would save money from not having to manage such a complex system, and get a piece of the action back in sales taxes from purchases.
There are a great number of awesome comments within the post, and it is definitely a must-read if you have any interest in this topic. My hope is that more people can start trying to develop systems to help society get back on track. Unfortunately this system, like nearly any single idea, won’t help the income disparity between the highest and lowest earners in the economy, but as one person said, a system like this could mean the difference between surviving on a minimum wage job, or thriving.
We definitely don’t live in the world that my parents or grandparents lived in when it comes to wages versus expenses. I am super fortunate to have a pretty darn good job for an amazing company, but I still struggle sometimes thanks to financial mistakes made earlier on in my career.
I am now running one of the new default themes that WordPress ships with. Created for the next major release, Twenty-Fourteen has been added to WordPress.com.
From it’s release post:
For the first time ever, the yearly default theme for WordPress is ready to go before its namesake year begins. Consider it an early holiday gift from the WordPress community to you, a tradition we hope to continue for many years to come.
Say hello to the default theme for 2014, a magazine theme with a sleek, modern, and beautifully crafted responsive design.
I’ve changed it’s colours, and got it running, but I can immediately see the issue I’m going to have with it: despite colour changes, all 2014 blogs look the same. I’m going to have to customize the theme further if I want it to really feel like it is “mine”. Beyond that, I feel like it has a nice density of information. I feel like I’m showing more above the fold than I did previously.
One thing that’ll take some getting used to is having images in my posts. Twenty-Fourteen is very image oriented, and I haven’t been up to this point.
Overall, I am looking forward to using this new theme, and I’ll probably stick with it for a while. Expect to see some visual changes though as I steal things from any Child themes that come out, and try to find more ways to make it feel more unique to me.
My job lately has been to work with converting our documentation for Gravity Forms from MediaWiki to Markdown. One of the developers has worked on markdown rendering for WordPress, and now it looks like WordPress.com has added Markdown processing.
What is Markdown?
Markdown is a set of rules for writing text that is processed and converted to HTML.
Markdown lets you compose links, lists, and other styles using regular characters and punctuation marks. If you want a quick, easy way to write and edit rich text without having to take your hands off the keyboard or learn a lot of complicated codes and shortcuts, then Markdown might be right for you.
I am using Markdown in this post.
I am not a fan of Markdown. I think HTML is easy enough to use. Converting hundreds of MediaWiki articles from one format to another is annoying. The advantage of Markdown for us is that it will let us export the documents easily and create styled PDF guides of the latest version of the documentation on demand.
The hardest part about Markdown for me thus far is that there doesn’t seem to be a central group controlling the rules. Sometimes one character might bold text, and another it will italicize or start a list. This is very frustrating, and learning different rules based on the whims of the developers takes time. HTML is standardized and since I’ve already learned it, I’d love if everything just could be worked through from that. I don’t really like having to learn another document formatting language if I don’t have to, especially one that I don’t feel does everything I can do in HTML.
WordPress.com doesn’t support Markdown on its Visual editor yet, and this is another major flaw for most people. If you try, it’ll likely make a mess.
I don’t know where things are heading, but this just seems like a weird choice right now. Maybe in a year or two, I’ll look back and think I was foolish for not wanting to jump on the Markdown bandwagon, but I am not convinced that Markdown is the best thing for writing on the web.
Tonight, I will be going to Weight Watchers with Annie and her sisters. I think I will be up, and probably a good three or four pounds. I took a week off from my weight loss journey this week, and while I didn’t track my weekend, I did track everything else, and I wasn’t really over in points. I used my daily points, almost exactly each day. I had a few points where I was over, and that just went into my weekly points I’m allowed.
So I didn’t really go off plan by any stretch, but I used all of what I was allowed to. I didn’t walk much this week, only having gotten in two thirty minute walks.
I will update this post this evening when I get back, and I’m also hoping to get back on track this week, and start working on it again. Sometimes, it feels more like a battle than a lifestyle choice. It isn’t fun being fat, feeling fat, but I know that if I persist, then if nothing else, I won’t get heavier than I was before. Getting over three hundred pounds again scares me.
Here’s hoping the rest of this week goes well, and that my weight doesn’t go up too much compared to last week.
Update: I’m up two pounds compared to last week. That seems totally impossible to me. I’m more than a little frustrated.
Exiting the turbolift, Leon was presented with a transparent hallway. His ship, the Raven, could be seen on the other side. It was long and sleek, looking like smaller, more aggressive Defiant class ship. It was built for speed, and stealth, but weapons were identifiable all over the hull.
“There it is. Pretty nice looking, eh?” Sean said. He walked forward and placed a hand on the window. Continue reading
Annie and I finished our Marriage Preparation course with the Church this past weekend. It was a marathon ten and a half hours of speeches, activities, conversations, music and praying.
Overall, I found the course to be pretty good. Read my previous thoughts on marriage prep here: Marriage Prep Course.
Throughout the day, I continued to ask questions, but by around six in the evening, I was completely drained and no longer felt able to ask questions, and the organizers noticed. There was more than once where they would say, “anyone have any questions?” and then point me out. At the end of the day, when passing out our certificates, they joked that they had to long consider if I had passed or failed because I had asked so many questions.
Some people seemed to appreciate my questions more than others. Annie was also concerned sometimes that I was sharing too much, which would seem like I’m a know-it-all. I guess I just wish that the couples going through the course felt more free to share. There was one moment where a couple did, and it was really meaningful to me, as it was regarding something that Annie and I are still learning to deal with as well.
Did Annie and I learn much that we didn’t already know? Probably not. Did we make some new friends? Most definitely. If nothing else, the course was a great way to meet couples going through the same thing as we are, and most of them were of the same faith background as Annie, which gave another commonality to our interactions.
Was it worth it in the end? Some people, when they hear what I went through think they dodged a bullet by not having to go through all of this, but I think it does have some benefits. I can definitely see where if a couple hasn’t thought about children, finances, communication, conflict resolution, faith, and family then they might be presented with information or conversation starters.
I can also appreciate the interaction with the community. I got to meet some great people, and spend time with them. It was like our own little club, and I know when I see them out in the community, we can give each other a knowing nod. Having moved here from Ottawa, it has been hard for me to meet new people that aren’t just connected to Annie and her family.
While it was a huge commitment of time, I’m happy that we went through it.