Archive | April 2014

Some days I write, and some days I do not.

Rather unusual title, but the circumstances warrant such a “creation.” Some of you lovely readers out there may be thinking these exact words: “why has our writer not published anything as of late? Why the sudden blitz of stories and topics, and then silence?” The answer will become clear once I throw down some of my thoughts – I do hope all of you are smart enough to dig through and find the meaning. Really this is not rocket science and there is little to no enigma involved in the writing process.

Past few days have been uncomfortable; being sick is neither fun nor short in terms of duration, and it saps the energy out of people and leaves them wanting nothing. Yet while I spent my days removing the sickness within (actual illness, not some metaphorical illness), the devils’ hands have been busy. McDonalds – or at least McDonalds Canada – sent their proud CEO out to greet the media with rather crude words and less-than-adequate responses which can be summed up with this word: bullshit. Oh yes the CEO of the rather large fast food chain’s Canadian operations went on camera to curse and call CBC’s reports as false, lies, and even going as far as to name them conspiracies designed to bring down the economy: the last little bit might have been exaggerated but he did indeed call CBC’s reports “false.”

Truth be told the whole temporary foreign workers fiasco has brought to light just how poorly thought out this plan was: makes you wonder whether or not we as a society should bother recruiting politicians, and instead opt to make clone-leaders: much like clone troopers from the Star Wars universe. Imagine the possibilities of leaders who are literally bred to lead: all our problems would magically evaporate. Then there is of course the slight issue of tampering: creating clone-leader madmen who have such power and strength to ruin everyone’s happy hour with their rather draconian laws and actions. Coming back to the topic at hand however, some sushi establishment in Calgary went on camera to complain about how the halting of the TFW program has caused some staffing issues with his business. Ultimately these business types have no love or loyalty to country, no sense of pride or patriotism that drives them ever onward. The gold coins are the order of the day, to which the reply will be: “adjust to the situation, learn to attract local help, or go under.” Your business cannot survive without local coin, and should you lose this support, will your foreign workers make up the loss in profits by buying food from their place of work and therefore “return” the money they were paid? Doubt they would even consider answering the phone on their day off, never mind coming back to their workplace for a meal.

Now with that out of the way let us talk about the website Elite Daily: further down the road I may just release a small article detailing just how ridiculous some of their articles are, but let us lay down the foundation here this evening. That website illustrates just how indecisive and idealist the so-called “Mellenials” are, and how they view the world around them. Some days the website produces good content, but other days – most days – it ruins the image of our generation – my generation – by painting us as self-centered, idealistic, over-enthusiastic, talkative, lazy, indecisive little rats that the world despises and wish it would hurry up and skip so that the next generation can fix the mess the previous two generations made, and hopefully restore our people to their former glory.

Idealistic sentiment is plastered all over their website, after all they love to take on the title: “Voice of Generation-Y.” Newsflash kids, you do not represent people like myself, but you are free to represent the ill-mannered little rabbits you call an audience (ironically I occasionally look through their site as someone would look through a tabloid magazine while at the checkout line in the store). Lucky for you I am nearing my end for this little update to my blog, but one thing is for certain: when reality hits you, your nose will break, your cheekbones will shatter, and all you thought was true and beautiful will turn out to be nothing more than a poster with scented oils.

God-Emperor on his golden throne from Terra help me; as stated, later down the line there might just be a rant of sorts about that website, but for now treat this as a – per se – teaser of sorts. Readers love teasers right? Anyways folks thank you for reading, and I shall see you next time.

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Telegraphed Gazette. 23 April 2014

Hello folks and welcome to another edition of the Telegraphed Gazette for the 23rd of April 2014, in the headlines today: McDonalds has halted its foreign worker practices pending further investigation, and Justin Bieber apologizes for visiting a Japanese war shrine.

 

McDonalds has halted all temporary foreign workers contracts while a third party conducts an audit of the company’s use of the program. According to a news article from CBC, due to recent criticism and public outcry over certain franchises choosing to hire temporary foreign workers and giving them priority over local Canadians, the McDonalds company has opted to surrender itself to investigation and to review whether or not it will continue with this practice. Federal employment minister Jason Kenney has also noted that anyone caught abusing the program could face fraud charges and possible jail time according to CBC.

mcdonalds

Right well many of you readers saw this coming, with the whole fiasco touched on in a previous gazette edition some time ago. McDonalds is very much in a “damage control” mode as it scrambles to save its name from the pig’s pen so to speak. The company – unlike many franchise owners – knows it cannot survive without customers, and if it goes far enough to piss off a national government, the results could be disastrous for the company. Indeed McDonalds wishes to quickly save its business so that the profits continues to pour in through food purchases; after all that is what their business is primarily interested in. Like I said before: “who will you turn to when the locals stop buying your products?When the locals discover you are mistreating their fellow countrymen, will they continue to give you business?” The link to this story is located below this paragraph.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/mcdonald-s-foreign-worker-practices-halted-in-face-of-investigation-1.2619431

 

 

Now normally I do not chase after celebrity news but I found this story to be “interesting”: performer Justin Bieber is in some hot water over his recent visit to a Japanese war shrine. According to another CBC article, the young singer had recently apologized for visiting the war shrine and taking photos of the place; mostly due to pressure from the Chinese government. Bieber is no stranger to controversy as last year he visited the Anne Frank House museum and wrote a rather distasteful comment in the guestbook at the museum.

Alright well what can be said about this: the boy is still a boy and he has much to learn of the world in which he lives in. Fame and fortune are not barriers against politics, and Bieber must understand this if he is to survive with his career intact. While young girls in mostly English-speaking countries adore him, his fan base could shrink over time as these young girls find other musicians who are less outlandish, and more mature. Bieber is not popular outside of his circle of screaming fans, and indeed he needs to learn to watch what he says and what he writes and posts on the internet.

Now with the whole: “smarten up young man” talk aside, let us talk about the scenario at hand. China was quick to condemn Biebers’ visit mostly because there was a certain conflict some 70 years ago in which China suffered greatly at the hands of Japan and her imperial ambitions. China lost a lot of good soldiers fighting the Japanese, and during the course of the pacific campaign it was China who had to grind out day after day just to survive against the Japanese – this is especially true for those who were living in occupied territories like Hong Kong and Shanghai. The US may have gotten lucky via their Island-hoping campaign, but their casualty numbers pale in comparison to Chinese forces who were fighting for their very survival as a nation and as a people. When compared to other imperial powers, Japan is by far the worst with respect to absorbing acquired territories. One key thing that the British never did was cut off the heads of defeated kneeling men, or bury them alive just because they were of a certain group of people – try swallowing that the next time you want to open your mouth and complain about something of which you are most fortunate to enjoy on this side of the earth: life.

China to this day – both Taiwan and the PRC – are not entirely willing to simply forget the past, and every time some Japanese official visits a site that remembers the soldiers from that time period as heroes, it will be met with criticism of the strongest language. Yet if those young men who went forth to fight for the Empire of the rising sun were not remembered by their own countrymen, who will remember them? Like it or not, Japan has a history, and while some may condemn it, understand that she has a right to pay respects to their war dead, much like Germany has a right to remember German soldiers who fought for Germany – keyword “Germany,” and not “the Nazi party.” Again this comes back to a key point that needs to be stated: this is politics. Japan will have her opinion, and China will have hers and people caught in between need to be careful lest they upset both parties and run the risk of walking into someone who keeps up with the news and is armed with a melee weapon. While you may be relatively safe here in the west, other parts of the world are not so forgiving, and shouting: “freedom of speech” will not save you from being beaten until you are bleeding and unconscious. The link to the story is located below this paragraph.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/justin-bieber-apologizes-for-japan-war-shrine-visit-1.2619097

 

Alright folks that concludes this edition of the Telegraphed Gazette: thank you for reading, and I will see you next time.

The Telegraphed Gazette: 22 April 2014.

Hello folks and welcome to the Telegraphed Gazette for the 22nd of April 2014; in the headlines today: waitresses in Saskatchewan have reported losing their jobs to temporary foreign workers, and Canada-China trade ties are at a stand still due to a divide over cabinet decisions.

 

CBC released an article earlier in the week featuring two waitresses who have lost their jobs after their employers fired them in favour of temporary foreign workers. According to the article on CBC one waitress who worked for a business called Brothers Classic Grill and Pizza – formerly El Rancho – in Weyburn Saskatchewan was suddenly let go by the business who was doing a staff shuffle – if I may be allowed the phrase. The lady in question is not alone as another woman also from the same business was laid off as the business turns to foreign workers. Experts featured in the article say that this sort of practice is not uncommon, and that many Canadian employers seek foreign workers rather than Canadian employees.

Right well this sort of thing should not be happening, but it is happening. Indeed like the McDonalds fiasco that occurred not too long ago, these businesses are only in it for one thing and one thing only: money. Business owners tend to look at profits as the sole reason to establish their enterprise, so not to sound cold and calculating, but what do you expect from these people? Indeed many small businesses would prefer to hire local help, but not every business owner is in the same mindset. When push comes to shove, something will eventually break from under the pressure.

Foreign workers may be helpful in the agricultural sector when seasonal labour is unavailable, but the government expanded the program to include service sector jobs which is quite a lot of jobs when you look at the labour market as a whole. Again this statement must be written: do you think the locals will be willing to put down their hard-earned dollars at your business when they find out that you are doing more harm than good for the local economy? Will they be willing to give you business when it is discovered that you are not helping the local workforce, but hurting it? Who will you turn to in order to earn that money spent in setting up shop? A strong local economy means growth for the entire nation, but these business owners cannot see past the ends of their noses – no surprises here. The link to the full article is located below this paragraph.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/waitresses-in-saskatchewan-lose-jobs-to-foreign-workers-1.2615157

 

Fears over espionage and cyber espionage has prompted a freeze in trade ties between Canada and China. The article from CBC details how the cabinet is divided over what to do in regards to relations with China. Indeed the PRC has engaged in cyber espionage as well as real espionage when it comes to foreign nations and Canada is no exception. Despite talks of closer trade ties, the Canadian government is undecided as to what to do when it comes to the situation at hand.

Espionage is indeed an interesting phenomenon, and one that is unlikely to go away anytime soon. Every nation, every entity, every group of people – tribes included – have conducted espionage operations against other political entities in the past. China wants to grow, and if she cannot do so via trade relations or brute force, she will seek to gain the information via espionage – information such as secrets to ship plans, or airplane specifications. Now one can argue: “are you just being paranoid?” The answer to that would be: “do you really want to trust China with your information?” Certainly governments like the US government are not entirely free of spying, but they are not the ones who will go around kicking down doors and executing political sweeps to eliminate all opposition – as much as some of you want to/are lead to believe.

The simple fact is when it comes to things like technology and building specifications, nations will fight over them much as they did in the past for salt, gold, food, and other physical goods. Sure your airplane plans might not mean much; an airbus here, a jetliner there. However imagine if the Chinese government were able to nationalize aircraft production and sell it at a significantly reduced cost, and with lower safety standards – will you want to fly on one of those things? Now imagine if the Chinese secret service got a chance to tamper with the interior – do you think your conversations with your friends and loved ones are entirely private? Not only will privacy become an issue, but jobs will also be at stake. Why should an aircraft assembly plant hire so many mechanics when they can just order in fully built planes instead and stamp a logo on it? Aircraft mechanics will lose their ability to bargain for a better wage, and be thrown down from a position of strength and prosperity to a position of desperation and poverty (in the absolute worst-case scenario). All the while the PRC drinks in trillions of dollars, and has hands in the pockets of broke and near bankrupt companies; companies that could potentially also manufacture military hardware for key nations in the world. Imagine then what will happen when our own fighter jets are turned against us? Typical “someone steals the keys” scenario.

Yet one has to also note that China is a growing power, and while political reforms and the likes are debatable, her ability to actually make a difference in the world economically is not easily shaken by a few words. Indeed trade with that nation means vast quantities of goods, and foreign currency with which investment can occur. However being where I am and in the position I am currently in, I can say that the talk regarding these foreign assets is a complete farce. Many of the “foreign investors” will not pour billions of dollars into our economy, but rather sap billions of dollars out of it. Those foreign students coming over to study are not studying, but rather joyriding with their parents’ money because the government in China is attempting to crack down on corruption – the source of these people’s wealth.  Sorry to burst your bubble folks but a lot of that money is dirty money, so unless you want money that was extorted from the government to travel to your country along with the toxic practices that aided them in acquiring their assets, I suggest you look elsewhere for business. The link to the full story is located below this paragraph.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/china-canada-trade-ties-stall-over-cabinet-divisions-1.2611129

 

That is it for the Telegraphed Gazette for the 22nd of April 2014: thank you all for reading and I will see you next time.

Covenanter: smaller means better.

Hello folks;

 

After months of playing nothing but the Old Republic, it was decided that the World of Tanks vehicle inventory needed some dusting off. After some re-working of the crews and vehicles available, the tank that is now the centerpiece of the collection is the Tier 4 Covenanter light tank. Fast, highly maneuverable, and sporting a rather powerful QF 2-pdr Mk. X, the Covenanter is quite the fun tank to drive. However there is one issue I have with the tank: the OQF 3-inch howitzer Mk.1. Suffice it to say the larger caliber gun is dangerously inaccurate, and has cost me many battles over the span of two hours testing the weapon.

Now the gun itself is optional, but before you spend the credits on a “better gun,” just know that as a light tank, you have few opportunities to line up a shot and send it before the enemy spots you and turns you into an instant scrap yard. Only tank destroyers and heavy tanks have the luxury of sitting and shooting: light tanks on the other hand need to spit out that piece of lead, and put the pedal to the metal before the enemy forces have a chance to turn around and train their sights on you.

Apart from that little bit regarding the “better gun,” the suspensions and engines – upgraded or stock – are quite nice to have on a light tank, and spending that extra bit of credits on a 75% crew will be well worth it when you are causing medium tanks on the enemy team much pain and frustration. Dare I say I think I have found my particular play style; I should have known when I was playing Planetside 2 that going as a light tank would be the obvious choice for myself. After all Prowlers and Lightnings from the Terran Republic were both fast and well armed: something to keep in mind the next time the good idea fairy decides to tell me to pick up a tank I have absolutely no knowledge about. Anyways folks the Covenanter from the British tier 4 line: now available in World of Tanks (it has always been there). Thank you for reading, and I will see you next time.

WOT_covenanter

Elder Scrolls Lore: Daedric Prince Hircine – review.

Hello folks;

When the new voice actor did his first lore segment for the ShoddyCast channel titled the “Wolf Queen of Solitude,” I was quite impressed with the man’s ability to interpret the script in such a manner as to give us – the audience – the feeling of sitting around in a tavern listening to an old, grey man talk about the various fairy tales that exist in “our” world. Fast forward to the present, and the same voice actor continues to do incredible work, this time with the lore surrounding a Daedric Prince Hircine.

Being a creature of neither good, nor evil, Hircine appears to be the patron Daedric Prince of hunters, and of the predator, as well as the prey (though more so the hunter/predator than the hunted/prey). The lore piece dives into Hircine’s relationship with the present story arc set in Skyrim, as well as some back story into what had happened in years past. Take comfort in the fact that you will once again be transported into a tavern somewhere in Tamriel, and once again you shall sit with a flagon of mead in your hand, a warm fire to your back, and a tired old man to your front telling you another story written centuries ago. Dear readers there are some things that are just too good to simply let chance decide, and thus I bring you the link to the video from the Shoddycast’s youtube channel. Watch, listen, and bring to life the Elder Scrolls universe once more.

The Telegraphed Gazette. 14 April 2014.

Hello folks and welcome back to the Telegraphed Gazette for the 14th of April 2014, in the headlines today: McDonalds is facing investigations over their use of foreign workers, 900 SIN numbers have been stolen from Revenue Canada because of the heartbleed bug, and the Vancouver school board considers giving students a week off in November. Let us begin shall we?

 

McDonalds is in some hot water after more evidence surfaces regarding their use of temporary foreign workers who take on full time positions rather than Canadians. According to the article from CBC news McDonalds franchises across the country are making use of foreign workers to staff their shops rather than looking to hire local Canadians to do the jobs. The article lists several former workers who have either lost their jobs because of the foreign worker program the Canadian government has in place, or have since left their jobs because of a reduction of hours in order to give the full time postings to the foreign workers. Now this is a very real issue here as many Canadians are still feeling the bite of the economic downturn and are looking for work wherever they can find it – especially if there is a family to feed. Now one former worker in the article noted that if they tried to complain about poor treatment at the workplace, it could be seen as racist and therefore their complaint would either be thrown out the window, or they would be fired on the spot – the worker cited that mangement positions were occupied by foreign workers as well.

mcdonalds

Here is the problem, these foreign workers have no connection to the local population and are therefore not interested in helping their co-worker. “Now Mr. Writer” some of you may say, “what about the concept that all are equal?” Yeah keep dreaming pal; many of these foreign workers love to identify themselves as foreign and are proud to display the colours of their homeland – remember our concept of equality may not be shared by the rest of the world. That is problem number one. Problem number two is that these franchises love to maximize profits and minimize expenses, and Canadian workers generally prefer a higher wage in order to actually make a decent living off of their labour. Therefore to combat the issue of rising wage costs, these companies would far rather slap down a $2,000.00 deposit to recruit a foreign worker who will take the minimum wage offered by the company; key reason being that when you do a currency exchange it becomes gold over where they are from, and not just pennies for pay.

These fast food franchises have no love of country – they never did to begin with. These fast food companies only look to make money – such is the nature of their existence. Therefore does it really come as a surprise when foreign workers are preferred over Canadians? Call the people lazy all you like, but even you the reader would love to earn a decent wage if you are working at a place like McDonalds or Starbucks. Emperor be damned even a university degree these days gives you nothing as many of the business and technology sector jobs are also given over to foreign workers like the whole incident involving the Royal Bank of Canada or RBC: they contracted out IT work to foreign countries months ago. The government may have had slip-ups in the past, but this is just utter tripe: Ottawa should know better and should do more to protect those who they claim to represent. What a wonderful democracy no?

However there is one key factor they forgot in their number crunching: if the locals do not buy from your shop, who will? When the locals find out that you are not hiring their kinsmen, who will buy from you? Short term yes they will save money and even make a bit more in the process, but in the long run when the locals of a given town or city find out that you are not hiring their fellow countrymen to work at your establishment will they continue to support your business? Burgers are not like video games, they cannot be sold digitally, and so you are at the mercy of those around you, and if your store does not hire the local populace, then the local populace may not – will not – come into your shop and give you business. Try swallowing that truth: the link to the story is located below this paragraph.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/mcdonald-s-foreign-worker-practices-face-growing-investigation-1.2607365

 

Canada Revenue Agency has reported 900 SIN (Social Insurance Numbers) numbers have been stolen during a 6 hour span of the announcement of the heartbleed bug and the subsequent shutdown of their website. According to CBC news the Revenue Agency is offering free credit protection to those affected, and the RCMP has launched an investigation into the breech. According to the article the Revenue Agency suspects that the numbers were taken from a non-accessible portion of the site, though nothing is being confirmed (apart from the 900 stolen numbers) at this time.

Great now people will be in panic over who is part of this special 900 persons brigade: you would think the Revenue Agency would not use OpenSSL but rather stick to a more reliable form of online security and privacy for their users. Regardless this heartbleed bug has caused quite a stir as of late, and the loss of SIN numbers is a serious issue indeed. Here in Canada, for those of you outside of this country, a SIN number is required for employment as well as other government services: in short if a SIN number were to be stolen private information such as taxation and employment history could be at risk – not to mention other private details such as date of birth and so forth. SIN numbers are the centerpiece to our collection of important data and having it stolen could spell identity theft and worse. Indeed terrorists would go out of their way to buy stolen information to forge documents for travel: think you are secure and have no need to worry? Picture this: you travel to  – say – the USA on vacation, suddenly you come up on their computer lists as a potential terror suspect because someone used your information to enter the US and cause trouble. Guess who gets to sit in a detention cell for eight hours before being deported? That is right readers, you. Other countries are also not going to let a flagged person enter their system and disappear amongst the locals: now you cannot travel.

The article quotes an expert who predicts that the 900 people affected are those who accessed the site before the shutdown; thus anyone who filed their taxes before the bug discovery or after the sites’ reboot this past Sunday are safe. Those who were unfortunate enough to access the site prior to the shutdown and just after the bug discovery may be at risk. Whatever the case the people who file their taxes online might just make their way back to paper-based tax returns: after all dropping it off at the actual Revenue Canada building in your respective city is a guaranteed way to ensure those taxes are done and no information has gone missing. The article is located at the bottom of this paragraph.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/heartbleed-bug-900-sins-stolen-from-revenue-canada-1.2609192

 

More days off seems to be the order these days according to yet another article from CBC – good heavens they seem to have a monopoly on this edition of the Telegraphed Gazette. Due to budget shortfalls the Vancouver School Board is considering giving students a full week off from school to save some money from their operating budget. Currently students get Remembrance Day off and the school board also approved an additional day off in November. The VSB also plans on cutting the elementary school band program but will not immediately take action until the end of their scheduled public hearings on April 15 2014. Parents are already complaining with some saying that they will have an even harder time finding work as their kids will have more time off and thus it will either come down to more daycare money, or more time off – the latter being less favourable with employers who need their workers on site, especially when they only have a few workers employed.

Vancouver school board

The main concern from this end (the writer’s desk) is whether or not the week off would result in shortened semesters which start to feel more and more like university semesters. Currently an average public school semester in British Columbia is about five months long with the last month focused more on exams and preparation. University semesters span an average of four months with three being actual instruction time and the last one spent on exams. Now if one were to immediately blame the provincial education minister, remember that teachers have always been asking for more resources: more money for pay, small class sizes, more equipment, more funding, and so forth. Money does not grow on trees, and with the population growing once more smaller class sizes may not be an option in the near future. Adding to the issue is the fact that the province has a limited amount of resources to distribute between its various jurisdictions, and when push comes to shove, education can be shaved down to just books and study – completely removing programs like sports and music out of the equation (physical education not withstanding). The parents of the city of Vancouver wait patiently for the VSB to decide what to do in the coming months: the story is located below this paragraph.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-school-board-eyes-november-week-break-1.2609539

 

Alright folks this concludes the Telegraphed Gazette for the 14th of April 2014: thanks for reading and I will see you next time.

Prince Oberyn Martell.

There are few characters who appear in the first opening acts of a game, film, or television show that outright amazes myself through their dialogue delivery and ability to portray their given character. Yet the television series Game of Thrones never ceases to impress as the actor who portray’s Prince Oberyn was able to deliver the dialogue and character in a very natural way. According to my sources the actor Pedro Pascal plays Oberyn Martell of House Martell in season 4 to which I must commend the producers for choosing such a fine actor who fits the role like a tailored-glove fits a king.

The man is portrayed as fully in-tune with his desires, as one scene while in a brothel with his wife, he then tells the male brothel employee to take off his clothes, all the while completely comfortable with his wife engaging in sexual relations with the female sex trade worker. This is then followed up by a sudden switch from lust to vengeance as he detects the Lannister’s main song (no doubt due to a keen sense of hearing), and proceeds to dispatch the two Lannister soldiers before Tyrion walks into the room. This sort of lax attitude towards sexuality, as well as a dedication to vengeance (recall the events leading up to season 1 or the first book in the series which is titled “A Song of Fire and Ice”) makes this man – Oberyn – a dangerous fellow indeed.

Interesting enough, Oberyn reminds me of the Sith from the Old Republic, only less bloodthirsty; aggression is still present. There is definitely a hint of interest in seeing this character through season 4, but after reading the books I can safely say I am prepared for what happens to any of the characters I like and admire. Indeed the actor chosen did an excellent job with the first episode, so let us hope he does not disappoint us for the rest of the season.

Oberyn_Martell