Archive | July 2013

Off the Record. 26 July 2013

Good afternoon folks;

 

This will be a small bit on double standards; specifically applying to one such person of whom shall not be named. Back in High School this said person did not pay attention in history class, choosing instead to nod off at the back of the room, and forget his homework. His time was – instead – given to World of Warcraft, Games Workshop miniatures, and drawing. Now, three years later, he complains about how his history class never taught him anything.

What universe were you living in at the time? What sort of mindset were you in at the time period? However I suppose he was a teenager – as was I – back in the day, and therefore naive, and wild as a stallion. The point I am trying to make here folks in this short piece – this very short piece – is that this individual complains about a great many things, and yet they fail to notice that in the past they had the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, but instead opted not to do so.

Well, maybe if you had paid attention in class Mr: “I never learned anything because they never taught me anything,” then maybe we would not have this problem today now would we? Yet in the end all this blunder is pointless: they are free to do whatever they want within the confines of the law, and think however they so choose, once again within reasonable limit. Free country right?

Update. 24 July 2013

Good morning folks;

Just thought I would update you on what is going on currently with this blog: as most of you are aware, there has been a reduction in activity these past few months, as the topics that I generally cover have – somewhat – reduced in pace, and subsequently the less news I have in my hands to write on, the less I have to write with – if that even makes any sense.

Over the past few weeks I have been thinking that I will keep to the usual gaming news and Quebec affairs as my foundation rather than run about searching for a new topic. After all the Telegraphed Gazette chiefly focuses on these two topics, with some additional items mixed in there for some added flavour. Therefore I think I will stick to this format for the time being, though I might cover other items depending on the news situation of the week.

Now, what have I been doing lately? Well, Steam Sales just wrapped up a few days ago, and I have managed to gather approximately 5 games, all at the price of roughly 30 dollars. Thus far the two games I have spent the most time in are Borderlands 2, and Sleeping Dogs – though with sleeping dogs, it is mostly the Year of the Snake DLC which puts Wei Shen as a beat cop, subsequently allowing me to arrest people at will. Yes folks, in the Year of the Snake DLC, rather than an undercover cop, you are a beat cop, and you can beat down criminals and then arrest them rather than – let’s say – drag them towards a door, and then proceed to bash in their skull with it. The arrest feature also works on all the other NPCs roaming the streets of Hong Kong: you just grapple them, and use the same button again – I am playing this on PC so it is “F,” then “F” again – to cuff them and leave them on the floor.

Thus far both games have acted as time sinks for me; but then I am on summer break, and while writing has its’ self-fulfilling qualities, so too does gaming. I might do a review on Borderlands 2 as with Sleeping Dogs I mostly spend my time speeding around Hong Kong in a squad car, then pulling over to make a mass arrest of various NPCs. I know my reviews are not as speedy as the videos on Youtube; but then this blog is all about quality, not quantity.

Also on my list of ideas is a new section titled: “Coffee Break,” where I tackle single-issue topics, rather than the broadsheet format of the Telegraphed Gazette. I figure some folks would like some short little bits to read before they head out the door, go on lunch break, or just before they turn on their console and begin to play a few games. This most likely will take form as some days I just do not wish to write such a lengthy broadsheet paper – so to speak – plus there are enough topics I find for me to cover via this format, than by grouping it together with whatever else I find in order to fill up the gazette. All of this at the moment is in thought and planning, though keep an eye out for it; it might just turn out to be something interesting.

Right well that wraps up this update for the 24th of July 2013: I would like to thank all my readers for their support, and I look forward to writing for you all. The name has been Vince, and I will see you next time.

Telegraphed Gazette:Column. 22 July 2013

The globe and mail article released via the Monarchist League of Canada’s Facebook page has brought to light an interesting scenario. Apparently some Irishman wants to fight the oath to the Queen citing republican values and different political views. Right so in what universe is it right for an immigrant to say: “I do not wish to swear allegiance to the head of state because I feel they do not represent me!” Should this Irishman wish to become an American citizen – for example – and they refuse to swear allegiance to the flag of the United States; good luck getting through to the actual “you are now a citizen of the United States of America” portion of the ceremony.

Look, I understand people have a sore spot for what happened in the past, but if that were the case, why not as well make it so our oath includes a catholic praise? There has to be an understanding that Canada is a unique country, and it will never be exactly like the Republic of Ireland. Our head of state is her majesty, and yes I do in fact support this continuing as time and time again we see politicians – nasty ones too – take up the mantle of responsibility with no real control over their actions, and not to mention the huge bill that the tax payers have to front in order to keep the presidential office in operation.

When the word “Monarchy” comes to mind, the stereotypes of aristocratic, greedy, and squabbling delegates comes to mind: a vile mixture of society’s most black-hearted people. Yet did anyone think about actually looking up this information? How about actually looking up the constitutional role of the monarchy in Canadian society? Now more than ever we are connected to the internet which provides us a wealth of information, and what do we do? We still place a pot over our heads and bang it with a wooden spoon until our ears ring. Looks folks, we all like Canada as Canada, and one of the aspects that makes us unique is we have a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy.

Nothing is perfect in this world, but I can safely say that the monarchy is a heck of a lot cheaper than a president, and the political fire extinguisher it acts as makes me sleep soundly at night. Though I am aware of what our current Prime Minister is up to, he is well within his power to conduct his affairs in such a manner. You know who first tried to instigate equal citizenship within the British Empire? Queen Victoria; not her prime minister, nor her parliament, the Queen herself. How did the British Parliament – as well as the other parliaments – react? Fire on the ships from India carrying Indians looking for a better life outside of India, bar them via legislation, and the list goes on. Do I really want rats like those to be my head of state? Does this sort of behaviour resonate as a head-of-state kind of practice which is acceptable? No, plain and simple.

Sure we have changed in this day and age, yet the political fire extinguisher is useful in this day and age: especially this day and age when politicians are accused of rubbing up to bankers. After all, politicians are the ones in power – effectively. There is no sign that our democracy is weakened with a monarchy; rather it is strengthened by having the Queen as head of state; for she is neutral in politics, and represents all Canadians. Now if a politician was head of state, say George Bush for example, he represents Americans……but whom? Does he represent the conservative Americans, the liberal Americans, or both? Her majesty is not clear cut, and is therefore able to represent all Canadians; plus the political stability I quite enjoy, not to mention we can use “royal” as a prefix. After all, Royal Canadian Mounted Police sounds a lot more respectable than Canadian Mounted Police: you might as well name them “The Police Service” and be done with it.

Ultimately what I am trying to say in this rush of words is this: if you wish to become a citizen of any country you immigrate to, you must be prepared to swear allegiance to their head of state, and subsequently perform any civic duties expected of you, including military service. Afterwards, you will be able to reap the benefits of citizenship, and enjoy a more prosperous life in your new home. Life is a give and take scenario, and there is always a price to be paid. Hypothetically speaking, should I choose to immigrate to a country in which their head of state is a president, yes I would swear allegiance to that head of state because I want to be there, and it is therefore part of the social contract that binds me as a new citizen to that country. Makes sense right? Besides, at least the British tradition is one of responsible government, rather than a wild mess like Cambodia, Laos, or South Vietnam; I would take our system over those any day, in any lifetime: those mass executions and re-education camps are not a laughing matter. The link to the article is located below:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/would-be-canadian-citizens-set-to-fight-oath-to-queen-as-discriminatory/article13160104/

The link to the Monarchist League of Canada’s Website with information on the cost of the Monarchy.

http://www.monarchist.ca/

Thanks for reading folks, and I will see you next time.

The laws of language in Le Belle Province. Telegraphed Gazette Column. 11 July 2013

Good evening folks;

Just thought I would post this little piece I have had sitting in a folder for quite some time now. Earlier in the year I dived head first into a sort of project in order to better help me understand why and how the OQLF and Bill 101 came into existence. The article itself – though it may sound a bit messy here and there, and I do apologize for that – was written with the purpose of helping myself understand the situation in Quebec, and why these two items exist today. Hopefully the article will provide some insight into why and how Bill 101 and the OQLF came into being, and possibly with some re-reading, will help you folks understand the situation as well.

National Assembly of Quebec

Over the past few days I have been wrestling with the concept of official bilingualism in Canada, and how it is achieved. Officially the Federal government is mandated to provide services to both groups in their respective official languages: that being French, and/or English. Now I have come to dwell on the thought of just how useful the OLF and Bill 101 is in preserving Quebec’s unique identity as a French-speaking province. Therefore I have decided to record some of my thoughts here on this piece, and hopefully through this I will be able to better understand the situation.

Canada has two official languages: French, and English. Both languages are the primary vernacular of the respective, entrenched populace of the country, and both languages have been here since the nation was created. While the rest of Canada speaks English, and encourages newcomers to speak English, Quebec is predominately French-speaking, and in turn will encourage newcomers to pick up and speak French. Now the past few months have been spent analyzing the situation of Anglophones in Montreal; however little thought was given to the reality that Quebec – the province as a whole – is French-speaking, and naturally the province’s largest city – Montreal – will in turn be home to a large portion of that population. 6.8 million Canadians speak French at home, and of this number, 6.2 million – 91% – reside in the province of Quebec. Therefore it is no wonder that they are in support of Bill 101, with varying support for the Office Quebecois de la langue Francais. Amidst a sea of English-speaking provinces, Quebec stands as the sole that speaks primarily French (New Brunswick is bilingual, but the population is amongst a minority, and Ontario is similar in that only certain regions are designated as Bilingual). Considering how we here in the lower mainland and the rest of Canada demand that newcomers adopt English for public life and for public interaction, it is understood then that Quebecers would do so with newcomers to the province.

Belgium is a bilingual, sometimes trilingual country: French, Dutch, and German are the three official languages of the country. Dutch is official in the entire northern section of the country, and French the entire southern half. The German language sits off to the eastern rim of the southern half, and constitutes a slim bit of land where the language is primarily spoken. Now Belgium is similar to Canada in that one region is primarily French-speaking, while the other half is mainly Dutch-speaking. They did not choose one language or the other; rather they took both, and more or less separated them from one another, yet unified them through legislation. Now in the bite-sized bits of information I have attained regarding the Belgian Army; they play host to both Dutch-speaking, and French-speaking battalions. Government officials on the national level are required to be bilingual, and at the “provincial” level are encouraged, but not entirely required to be bilingual. This bit of Geography analysis then brought me to think: how does a language become official?

Coming back across the Atlantic; in Canada French is spoken mainly in Quebec, as only 7.7% of the population in that province speaks English. Thus the end result was to include French as part of the official languages of the new-born nation, so that they are able to preserve the union and fight off separation. The situation we have here in Canada is similar to that in Belgium: two dominant linguistic groups exist, and both are equally worth keeping, and equally worth preserving. Therefore it is in the best interest of the nation – if she desires to remain as one – to make both languages of the majorities of their respective regions the two official languages of the nation so that the federal government will represent both parties equally. Readers I realize I am jumping all over the place here, but I have to understand linguistic entrenchment and preservation first, in order to secure a better understanding and reason behind the formation of the OLF and of Bill 101. Summarizing what was just said: French and English are official languages because the majority in their respective areas seek to preserve their already entrenched linguistic practices, therefore when the nation was created it was in their best interest to declare official languages in order to prevent either one from disappearing from the nation (though French only received official status Federally later on in the 60s to 70s).

Right, now I understand how French and English came to become official languages. A smart move; that way those who arrive to this nation will understand that the majority of the population communicate, and conduct themselves in either of the two official languages. Okay, so Bill 101 therefore is similar to the language requirements here in British Columbia. It is obvious that a public servant cannot work in the courts without knowledge of English, therefore it is understood that the same can be applied to Quebec in that one cannot work in the government bureaucracy without a good command of the French language. This makes a lot of sense then, as Bill 101 is similar to language requirements for immigration and for employment. The majority of the populace speak French, and it is therefore in the best interest of the individual to learn French so that they can engage in the culture of the province, as well as participate in the political scene, and in turn gain a few friends here and there and enrich their lives in Le Belle Province. However as everyone knows legislation is useless without a physical entity to enforce it: in come the OLF. The OLF is mandated to preserve French in Quebec, and to review any cases of Quebecers complaining that they had their language rights violated, and that the businesses in question were unable to comply with the language laws. It is understood then that the OLF is set up as a means for complaints to be heard, and to preserve the French language in the province. The only real problem that I have with the OLF then is simply overzealous inspectors. If the shop can provide service to the customer in French, and the co-workers can communicate in French, then there is no problem. If the co-workers choose to speak another language in the back, and switch between French and another language, that should not be a problem either. Again this has more to do with overzealous ideas and practices than the actual office and legislation.

Preservation of both English and French in Canada is important, not only so that the majority are served, but to also aid in assimilation when it comes to immigration and migration. This brief piece has therefore helped me to understand how and why bilingualism exists, and the subsequent protection of these languages in the nation. Ultimately I guess it boils down to this: there was a sizeable majority in the country that spoke French, so it was declared official alongside the language of the rest of the country in order to not only keep this cherished section of the country, but to ensure that they too can serve the nation and function within it in their own language. With the two majorities and their languages protected, the laws then seek to promote integration of newcomers rather than simply allowing them to settle and form their own sub-community. I guess when it comes to assimilation the two majorities have to be a bit selfish in order to achieve unity. Otherwise various groups will refuse to assimilate and in turn could fracture the country on cultural-linguistic grounds.

Canadian_flag_on_ship

Telegraphed Gazette. 6th of July 2013

Many years have passed since the sounds of war echoed through these hills: too long has the voice of reason been silent amidst a sea of chaos and lawlessness, but no more! Ladies and gentlemen; welcome back to the Telegraphed Gazette for the 6th of July 2013: the name is Vince, and I will be bringing you the latest round up of news related to Quebec, and the games industry. Topics for today’s edition: Microsoft reverses its decision to impose DRM, and unpaid internships exploit vulnerable generation.

Xbox-One1

Well this is good news; Microsoft has reversed its’ decision on the DRM it wanted to place on their Xbox One. Earlier this week the company announced that it would reverse its decision following a massive consumer backlash against the proposed practice. Now interestingly enough some people were complaining and expressing their disgust for the announcement, however for the majority of consumers, it would appear that Microsoft has listened to the consumer and will now switch back to a better format where the games are no longer restricted to how many people it can be traded to, and where the purchaser holds exclusive rights to sell, keep, trade, or lend the game at their free will.

The honest opinion regarding this reversal of fortune is it was to be expected: if Microsoft did not take a hint when Sony opened fire on their ship, then they would have sunk into the ocean with their hull riddled with cannon fire. However since they took the hint, they have steered the ship 180 degrees around, and has ordered the sailors on board to begin patching the hull in hopes of regaining the confidence of its supporters. All arguments aside, it is nice to see that the next generation of consoles will be on a somewhat even playing field – of course there is the issue of the Kenect making the console cost 100 dollars more, but that can be debated as to whether or not the item is worth the money.

Another bit of good news is that the console is no longer region-locked, which is good for countries like Singapore and Poland where the massive amount of gamers living in those countries were previously excluded from the console: ironic seeing as how one of the console’s best selling series the Witcher is made in Poland, where the console was supposedly not to be sold. The article related to this topic is located in the link below:

http://ca.ign.com/articles/2013/06/19/microsoft-reversing-xbox-one-internet-used-game-policies?utm_campaign=fbposts&utm_source=facebook

article_internship-13

According to an article on CBC, about 100,000 young Canadians are working as unpaid interns: “with an unknown number of others missing out on key, early work experience because they cannot afford to go without a paycheque” (CBC). The article goes on to say how these companies are asking for the employee to work – what is essentially – full time hours with no pay; to which in some extreme cases they also seek to replace paid workers with interns. This article has caught my attention mainly because of the companies and their practice of unpaid internships at a time when the economy is at a downturn and people are in desperate need of cash. What bothers me is that these interns who get in have a strong financial background whereas single parents and students on loans are not able to get these positions due largely to a lack of resources. Adding insult to injury, even if these interns have a strong financial background, during their internships they are used as pack mules who go around doing all the menial tasks for the office instead of getting valuable work experience: something of which they were supposed to get when they signed up for the internship.

Now volunteer work and unpaid work experience exercises is all fine and dandy when the economy is doing well, and when people have some spare cash in hand that they can afford to do so. However right now – especially right at this very moment in time – things are not as well as they should be, and people now more than ever are in need of stable work as my previous paragraph states. The idea is if an intern is good – perhaps even better – then the company will hire them on and pay them in order to keep them from migrating over to the competitors. Yet it seems as though the university-aged interns are as disposable as a Russian Conscript in the Second World War – to be thrown away when their expiration date is reached. This sort of behaviour seems to be on the grounds of self preservation; that the employees who run the company, work in the company, or own the company, do not wish to be replaced by someone who is younger, more energetic, and possibly more talented.

The idea that interns are made to do menial work signals – to me at least – that the workers there dislike interns out of a fear that they will be replaced. This can be tied to the economic downturn in that the working population who still have a job, wish to keep the job for as long as they can. When people live longer and longer, those expenses start to rack up, and when money is tight, people will fight for low pay positions in order to survive. Much like how nations in ancient times worked: when land was scarce, war erupted for the survival of their people, and of their way of life. Historically people lived to about 60 or 70 years of age if they were lucky, and often at times the older generations would move on, leaving positions open for the new generations to enter into, and to continue on the work. Yet things are changing, and we see that even the older generations need the work to either support family, or to help them earn retirement savings; thus the dilemma arises in that the younger generations keep growing up, and graduating, only to be slammed into a wall of stagnation built by those who do not wish to be replaced.

Employers can only afford a certain amount of employees, and as such a company may not hire more people – much to the dislike of the younger generations – because there is no room for them. The idea of a business is to make money – and no it is not to exploit people for such a practice is savage and feral in nature. Much like in a real-time strategy game; if you lack the minerals for those marines, or supply depots to train those marines, you either need more minerals, more supply depots, or you use what you have – resulting in whatever outcome befits such a decision. People are resources, and resources cost money. Currency was developed as a means to exchange goods and time with something which in turn can be used to be exchanged for goods and time. You pay someone for a product because you cannot – or do not – make it, and in turn the person can take the currency and use it to pay for a service or product they themselves cannot perform or get on their own.

This story does not come as a surprise to me as the current economic situation has brought some companies to engage in practices ranging from unpaid interns to temporary foreign workers; however given the situation we face, it is likely that this will continue for some time unless there is sweeping changes to both legislation, and how people think with regards to salary/wage expectations and career advancement. Like many topics covered here on the Telegraphed Gazette, there is no easy answer, but then this is what makes life interesting right? The article related to this story is located below:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/06/26/f-unpaid-internships-labour-laws.html

Alright, well that wraps things up for the news section of the gazette; there really is not much else to cover for me at this time and as such – many of you may have noticed – there has been a lack of stories or even a lack of a telegraphed gazette these past several weeks. Aside from the usual minor toss up with the OQLF, or a small attempt to stir the hornet’s nest with topics such as Canada Day in Quebec was named “moving day,” things have been somewhat quiet. However I suppose the arrest of that Anglophone mayor from Montreal has sparked some interesting discussion surrounding city council and the commission’s tireless efforts to crack down on corruption, but I am not a gossip magazine, so I will not entertain that story.

On the plus side however, I have been keeping up with news surrounding Gibraltar and the whole situation with Spain; so this topic may enter the gazette’s line up of news and comments as the situation is getting a bit out of hand, but once again – like Quebec – this sort of politics and land-based debates continues as countries vie for territories so small and insignificant, yet seem so important on their agendas.

Good news however from Calgary – my hometown – the Stampede is underway since July 4th. While the celebration is a token of what it was meant to be, this show of recovery will help boost morale for the exhausted workers and rescuers who continue to toil in order to help rebuild, and rescue the city of Calgary and her population from the disaster that struck weeks ago. Yet what frustrates me is the lack of sympathy from a certain demographic of people who stated that it was the Calgary’s fault that their city suffered from the floods, and subsequently found some sort of correlation to the Alberta oil sands operations further north past Edmonton. What universe are these malcontents living in? This universe also includes some sort of mythological entity that attacks city dwellers for what their representatives do while in office? This notion of: “it was their fault” is absurd and immature; however it was a comment made on CBC and with all things on the internet, it is uncontrollable. Free country right?

Anyways I digress: the state of the blog! Well, right now I am enjoying games, working, and working out, of which I have spent much of my time enjoying the summer weather and little time really looking into articles and stories. Regarding stories from Quebec, I seem to have struck a submerged wall in that I do not wish to swim past, climb over, or go under the wall in any capacity as the “treasure” on the other side seems to be less and less enticing as the weeks go by. The thought in my mind is that I have exhausted the topic, and am now looking for fresh new stories to cover for my gazette; something that will be interesting yet relevant to my viewpoints. Now regarding the games industry, after E3 and the stampede of discussion surrounding Microsoft’s reversal of decision, not much else has surfaced. Previously stated numerous times, I am not in the business of covering game releases, so there is not much else for me to do: as my usual topic avenues have gone dark as of late.

Summarizing what I have said: things have slowed down for me during these past few weeks. They may pick up, however I cannot guarantee much as I am just not in the mood to produce – what I perceive as – lengthy broadsheets on a bi-weekly basis. Rest assured dear readers that there will always be content appearing here and there on the blog; it just may come suddenly and swiftly, like an attack by the Germans during 1939, or that pie that your cousin has decided would look good on your face. Either way folks do keep subscribed to the Telegraphed Gazette; for when goodness strikes, it causes…..happiness? Anyways folks, stay safe out there, and I will see you next time.

Oh Canada.

Canadian_flag_on_ship

Back in time, it was on this day in 1867 that our great nation was formed. Since then we Canadians have strived to make our mark on this earth, with blood, steel, sweat, and a little toughness tossed in there for good measure. There comes a certain sense of pride to being a Canadian, though it is not as pronounced as the Americans and their patriotism. Being part of the world’s greatest Empires gave rise to our cosmopolitan view of the world; being part of the Empire also taught us the meaning of valour, and honour. Despite our shortcomings, we as a nation stand as an example to the rest of the world; that we would rather drink beer and enjoy the company of others than go about looking for weapons of mass destruction, or forcing religious beliefs on others.

I am grateful to be part of this great nation: my world, my family, my friends – all exist with its borders. This sense of gratitude is where the commitment to duty stems from, for I could have been born under an apartheid regime, forced to live as a lesser to a particular ethnicity; I could have been born at a time when the world was at war with fascism, and my life would have been brief, and violent. I could have had my rights denied to me after a civil war because a certain select group of states decided it was not right to give the vote to a minority; I could have been born under the rising sun and sentenced to death because of their need to expand past the home islands. Instead, fate has seen fit to reward me with this life here in Canada, and as the years passed I have met such wonderful friends, seen such wonderful vistas, and even had the opportunity to partake in the election process, and serve in her military. Citizens of other nations may not have the same rights and privileges as I, and for that I am truly grateful. Seeing as how my family narrowly escaped the hell of the Second World War, and that this country extended its arms to welcome us, I have a reason to be grateful, I have a reason to serve, and I have a reason to remain loyal to the cause.

Some days I wish Quebec would stop her nonsense and see this too, but I also understand why she behaves as so. Some days I wish some families I have ran into would show a bit of gratitude rather than bicker and whine before proceeding to look to foreign shores; but it is a free country and they are free to express their opinions. However let us not worry about all these things on this day: let us celebrate as a nation, as a family, and as friends. Let us embrace one another under the maple leaf ensign, drink until we can no longer feel our fingers, and dance into the night; for it is our nation’s birthday, and we have a reason – many reasons – to be proud to be Canadian.

Happy Canada Day everybody!