tvordlj: (Bus)
There was a nearly 2 month transit strike last year almost this time of year. And the drivers got a very nice settlement and payout as well. In the fall, a brand new terminal was opened, to the cost of a few million dollars. Now it's budget time and guess who's asking for a fare increase? Yes, you could make the argument that they have to pay for the upkeep and new technology. I wouldn't mind so much if we got better service. If you live in the downtown core there are lots of options. If you live anywhere else, you get one bus, maybe two if you're lucky depending on which direction you want to go. You might not even have that bus on a sunday or a holiday though admittedly with Sunday shopping, most areas have one bus an hour for those days which isn't really that great. Many busses seem to come at once at the terminals or transfer points so if you miss that bus, especially on a Sunday/holiday, you have a very long wait. yet they want to encourage people to take the bus. They launched a trial period for Seniors to be able to get the bus for free. But only on Tuesdays. After the morning rush hour.

We do have monthly bus passes which save you a bit or a lot if you use it nights and weekends too. I would love to see weekly passes and day passes for the tourists. I would use weekly passes during those months when i have more than a week vacation. I buy tickets then but a pass is so much more convenient but i won't buy a monthly pass for just 2 weeks. Even better, wouldn't it be nice if they had a yearly pass loaded on a smart card? Maybe someday but we probably don't have the population to support that. Although... They have a scheme with most of the local universities now where the tuition was hiked by (not sure the exact amount) $150 (?) and the students all get a bus pass that's good from September to May. They all get it whether they want/need it or not.

I work for the City, which also runs the transit system as it's not privatized. I suppose we should be grateful because if a private company was running it for a profit, it would be even more expensive with worse service on routes that don't make much money. At least with the city running it, though they don't want to make a loss and need to at least make enough to pay for it all, it's a public service. I would love it if they gave city employees a bit of a discount on bus passes but they don't. Would i still use the bus for work even if i did have a car? yes. Downtown parking costs a lot, adding on the cost of gas and the cost of the bridge fare, it ain't cheap! Parking can cost you at least $150 a month, the bridge costs $10 a week (doesn't affect everyone but it would affect me, living on the other side of the harbour), gas is currently about $1.30 a litre. if it cost $50 to $70 to fill the tank and I'd probably have to do that at least twice a month or three times... you can see where a $70 monthly bus pass is much smarter. Tickets will cost a little more, maybe close to $80 a month (four weeks).

If and when i ever move house, i'll be sure to find somewhere nice and close to a bus stop, regardless of any future vehicle ownership, preferably a route which goes right into downtown at rush hours to save changing busses in nasty weather.
tvordlj: (Default)
So the busses are finally back on the roads today! Yay! Of course i'm not working today! I'm having a very low key day but i plan to go out somewhere tomorrow just because i can!

Still on the hunt for a mini lap top or netbook. I think i'll just bide my time, wait for a sale or if i see what i want. All the netbooks seem to mainly have 1 gig memory which people keep telling me i won't find helpful because they all run Windows 7. While i don't need blazing speeds, i don't expect it will be *that* slow for what i need it for.

Also good news, apparently our section at work is changing some of it's policies in line with those of the Finance business unit. Our department was realigned and are now included in the Finance B.U. One of the new "guidelines" is the EDO, (Earned Day Off). Long time readers may remember we used to have that in our group but it was ended by the department manager because not all sections allowed their staff to do it. It's still going to be on manager's approval but my manager is ok with it and now that it will be official, I think i can finally go back to working a little extra each day and having a day off every third week. I don't know if the other two programmers will take advantage or not but we'll coordinate it so we aren't all off the same time.

2012 books )
tvordlj: (Bus)
Busses back on the roads Friday and free rides until the end of the month.
The mayor is already making noises about a fare increase to help pay for expansion of the system, which, to be fair, is needed. Expansion but also streamlining in some areas. Not all the routes are very useful either and the scheduling on sundays and holidays sucks. On holidays, they use Sunday reduced schedules so if you want to get around to do some of the events that are put on for special holidays here, you can't always get where you want to go because some routes have no Sunday service at all, much less reduced to hourly service like on other routes.

Anyway, at least we can all get back to a normal routine. I've not had it as bad as some. I've been working a longer day and taking Fridays off and i'll do that this week as well since i will have put the hours in already. We go in early enough that the traffic hasn't been awful and even going home hasn't been too bad either.

Got an all day training/testing session today for the Evoting module. Guess i should go and get some caffeine!
tvordlj: (Bus)
AND the union voted 88% to accept the contract offer. Now it remains to HRM Council to vote to accept it as well tonight. I can't think why they wouldn't. Busses could be back on the streets by Friday. Yay!
tvordlj: (Geek)
I made the rounds of all the tech stores in the Crossing yesterday and only saw one netbook possibility. There were  a few but they were HP ones and i don't really like them. They look and feel cheap and i am not really confident in them. The one i saw at the last place i looked is an Acer notebook, 11 inch screen, 4 G ram. I forget how big the hard drive was but it was reasonable. They didn't have any in in spite of having a display model out. And no, I don't really want to buy the display model. They did have another version, 2 G ram and a smaller hard drive...FOR THE SAME PRICE. Dude. No. It doesn't work like that. What would you expect from Future Shop, though eh? Even if he said Acer is the one that sets the price? Don't think so.

there's another place i may go to look at the netbooks but i'll wait to see when the busses go back. They were talking and negotiating all weekend and there's a contract offer to vote on tomorrow so we might have them back on the road by the weekend. Everyone cross your bits!

So the search continues but you know? If i don't end up getting one it's no big deal. It was always a "nice to have" rather than something i really needed. I did get a new phone, something similar to the one i have now and wouldn't you know it? The random shutting itself off hasn't happened all weekend! Now i don't know if i should activate the new one or not. I might though, as it's a Samsung and they're usually tough little buggers. It wasn't expensive since it isn't a smart phone and it has the slidey out keyboard. Mine has the keyboard but it's a flip out one. I kind of like that better as it's sturdier but if the phone isn't reliable, it's not reliable. The camera on the old one is 3.2 MP which is better than the new one at 2 MP but i could always keep the old phone in my purse as a spare camera! I'd have to see how good the pics are on the 2MP one. They might be fine. One thing i think the new one can do that the old one can't, at least from the user guide i downloaded, is setting the ringtone to an MP3 which my old LG phone won't do.

I also replaced my slow cooker so the shopping trip wasn't completely wasted.
tvordlj: (Reading Woman)
I couldn't get to sleep last night. I laid there and my mind was on the spin cycle. Nothing fretting me or anything like that, i just couldn't get my brain settled until nearly midnight. I know that probably doesn't sound all that late for that kind of thing but it is for me. It was a long day, too. I got home from work, slapped a peanutbutter and jam sandwich together, went out, cleaned off the car (borrowed mom's) and drove to get my nephew who then came with me to a doctor's appointment. He did that because he wanted to use the car today. There was the usual 40 minute wait, got done what i needed doing and got home by about 8. Watched Corrie, did a few things and went to bed to read a bit. That usually settles my head down but for some reason it didn't. Ah well. Burny eyes and lots of caffeine today.

The transit strike continues. What a nuisance. Their latest trick was to hold up the road crews and snow plows and salt trucks yesterday for 10 or 15 minutes as they were leaving the depot. Yeah, that's going to help their cause. All the public outcry in the media seems to have died down. I think people have realized it's not doing any good. Nobody in charge on either side seems to care, being more involved in their own agenda than conceding that transit is an essential service. People are losing jobs, losing time at school, not able to get to appointments and both sides are holding the public hostage. Both sides have dug their heels in and not budging. Council meets again today behind closed doors to get an update and discuss the situation further and a couple of them have now come out in favour of binding arbitration but the mayor says no way. Why should he bend? The City is saving a bucket load of money even taking the losses due to the fares into account. Many of the university tuitions here include an extra charge for a school year bus pass. I wonder if any of the students will get a partial refund? Not likely.

My ereader has been giving me grief for a little while, the computer doesn't seem to want to recognize it past the first minute or so. This happens on my work computer too so it's the ereader, not the puter. I bit the bullet the other day and went through the factory reset process. That resets your settings and erases all the books from the ereader. Then you have to plug in and the desktop application reinstalles the ereader's latest operating system and all your books from the Kobo site are reinstalled. I then went through the rest of my stash, copied on the other ones i wanted include what i was reading and had to open all the ones i had on the go and return to the page i had last been on (i'd made a note). Most of the bookmarks existing were a little out of date because i hadn't synced it to the desktop program for a couple of weeks.

It seems to have done the trick though i did get an error copying a group of books to it, but i think the problem was one particular ebook that was very large and perhaps the ereader didn't like it. It seems to me it was the same title as has crapped out in the past and i wonder if that had corrupted something before. I haven't tried it again since so I hope the reset took in spite of that. I can always do it again if need be.

I usually load about 30 books on in addition to all the ones Kobo insists i should have on it even if i've finished them. I delete them, Kobo keeps putting them back on so I'm just leaving them now. I think if i delete them off the Kobo library it might work though i've done that in the past and it seems to keep finding them and replacing them.

2012 books, my full review behind the links.

22 Lady John - Madeleine E Robins
A red headed heroine and a Regency romance. I don't read these often but i did enjoy this one. Apparently this is an older book but it must be newly released electronically. I got it through a member giveaway on Librarything.com. It doesn't seem to be for sale electronically on amazon at the moment.
Review here.

23 War of Nutrition - John Beresford
This is a book by a good friend of mine. It's a thriller centered around a corporation that's released a food supplement that was being tested but before it was fully tested and the results are disastrous. There's a race on to expose them while people are dying all over the world in the meantime.
Book is available on Amazon for Kindle and other ereader formats from Smashwords.
Review here

24 From Dead to Worse - Charlaine Harris
Another in the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse and the vampires. More of the same but I do like the books. Light, easy reading.
tvordlj: (Daffy)
I'm a bit cranky this morning but that will soon pass. The bus was late. It was crowded and i had to stand all the way. It's snowing so the traffic is heavier and slower than it usually is. My pass card wouldn't work with one of the access doors to this floor so i had to go down an elevator and around to the other side of the building and back up again. Sheesh. But that's not a problem with my card. The building management installed a disabled access automatic door opener and closer on this particular door which leads to a parking garage and ever since then, the security scanner is hit and miss but they aren't going to change it or try to make the two work better together. If i was in a wheelie and went to that door and my card didn't work, i'd be a bit pissed and i'd be taking it up with the building management but because i'm not, there's not a lot my complaint will do.

So then i am finally here and am reading the newspaper and i read about people getting their cars broken into in the parking lots of the malls. FFS 2 out of the 3 had left inviting parcels in plain view in the back seat! If you buy a tv or dvd player or something that's asking to be stolen, do you put it in full view? If it doesn't fit in the trunk of the car, i'd have the store hold it until i was ready to leave. People can be so naive. You can't help if your trunk is broken into but you can at least be a bit sensible, try to leave a coat or something over the dvd box (or whatever). This time of year is especially bad for it.

I see local Wal-mart stores are going to be open 24/7 from now until Christmas Eve. *shakes head* as if Sunday shopping wasn't enough! Don't get me wrong, i like Sunday shopping and i suppose there will be enough sales to make it worth their while bit it's a bit overboard. Ah Capitalism! The province is passing a law though, to mandate retail closures on statutory holidays and i agree with that too. It's nice to have especially Christmas *and* Boxing day where the stores and malls are closed and it's quiet and you can relax, visit, and chill out. There's time enough to exchange gifts and use up those gift cards. Most stores won't even take exchanges and returns on the first retail day after Christmas anyway because they're so busy with their sales.
tvordlj: (Default)
On the radio this morning, they alerted to a crime scene that had a main street blocked off and i thought the traffic might be bad so i took an earlier bus. First that bus came earlier than scheduled and it seemed the driver was trying to set a speed record. No traffic whatsoever. We sailed across into the city so i'm here very early. Lucky job i brought both yesterday and today's newspapers with me!

The Transit drivers voted on their new contract yesterday and accepted it. That's that out of the way for another 4 years at least.

In other news:

A vatican official says he only pretended to be gay to further his studies as to how homosexuality is harming the Catholic church. He was caught on film chatting up a young man but insists he's heterosexual though has never broken his vow of celibacy. He's been spending time in gay chat rooms and talking to gay men about it. Colour me skeptical.

Good heavens, there is a photo in the paper this morning of Castro and Hugo Chavez who apparently met in Havana yesterday. Odd seeing him in other than a military uniform and he does not look well at all.


(ahem, 33 sleeps)
tvordlj: (Bunnies)
I had a pretty quiet weekend, nursing my back which is feeling much better. Still creaks a bit getting up out of a chair but then it does that often anyway. My real annoyance for today is a call i got at 1:30 a.m. from a doctor wondering if i was the one that paged her. This has been happening lately, not constantly, but 3 or 4 times a month at least, various doctors calling and answering their pages. I asked the doctor last night where she was calling and she said she just gets a page that has a four digit number, i.e. 4444. She calls in and tells the person that she was paged from 4444 and they forward her call to that number. But they could be forwarding it with the full 7 digit number, i.e. 444-4444 and it's coming to my house instead of the hospital department where it was supposed to go. Or... whoever in a hospital paged the doctor and entered their own code is entering 4444 and should have entered 4445. Just example numbers there. If it's that situation, i won't be able to track down the problem but if the problem is originating at the paging service, i might be able to call them and speak to someone and tell them to make it stop! I didn't get back to sleep last night for over an hour because it was quite warm.

Latest news which isn't really any news at all from the Transit people, when asked how the negotiations are going, the response was "They're going". I take it from that to mean that they're still talking which is a good thing. I just don't know whether to buy my bus pass or not. If i get one and they strike, it's going to be wasted money. If i buy tickets and they don't strike, it's fine just for going to work but i use the bus outside of work as well so it'll end up being more expensive than a ticket and i can't use it for a tax deduction like i can the pass. I might get the pass and cross my fingers.

I have to report for jury selection on Tuesday and also on the Monday two weeks after that. If i get selected, and i'm car pooling because of a strike, that's going to cause trouble. Maybe i can get excused for that, i dunno. They do pay a daily stipend that would probably be enough to pay for a taxi but the traffic is going to be murder.

My cousin Linda and her husband are driving across Canada as we speak. It will be the first time she's been east from where she grew up and lives in British Columbia since she was a kid in the late 60s. I've stayed with her twice on visits out west and a couple other relatives have stopped by but she doesn't know most of her cousins and relatives here. It will be nice to see her again and Mom is having a bit of a family get together on the weekend. They're planning to be here by then, and then going to PEI after that. They're travelling in an RV with their little dog Zeke as well :)

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