Year: 2011

2011 in 12 Sentences

As the year comes to an end I usually come up with a long post about the year that has been. Plinky suggested only on sentence per month so here goes.

I went to BC. I learned about caregivers. Learned how to program Macros in Microsoft Excel. Lots of sports and trips to Fredericton. I went to Toronto. Started walking a lot more than ever. Went to Montreal and New York City. I got really, really bored and booked a trip. Went on a last-minute camping trip to 10 European Countries. Got better from travel illness. Started taking it easier and planning more. Started doing new things, like translating WordPress to Canadian English and Operation Red Nose.

When I Started Using the Internet

How old were you when you started using the Internet regularly?

When I first started using the internet I was 13. My first exposure to the internet was using GOPHER, and having to search using Veronica.

Then when I was 15 I made my first e-mail address (Hotmail pre-Microsoft, I had three within a month). Then in November of 2007 I make my first website “Charles’ Anything and Everything Site” on Tripod that eventually transformed to this site.

Council’s Last Chance at Transit

It is now 7pm in the council chambers and the councillors are now arriving. As council begins there is 44 people here.

The meeting has now begun the councillor are doing their opening thanks to different community groups.

Joe Mott is absent tonight. Most of the routine business is quite boring and routine. The first item is 12.1 on the demolition of a dilapidated building on city road no one will miss. Next is a review of the Taxi by-law review and a full presentation with slides.

Council has after an hour approved starting the process of drafting the new Taxi By-Law something that has been talked about for close to 15 years now. Now they are discussing changes to the procurement policies.

Now it is time for transit (11.2). Councillor Higgins has moved to reassess the decision to cuts. Now the motion is a refer to budget deliberations. Councillor Farren sounds hesitant as long as it does not increase taxes. Deputy Mayor Chase does not seem to really support this. He is even denying that Higgins did know that the facts that she is denying and is stern on holding the budget. Councillor Norton is proposing a public review on route changes, but is being cautious. Councillor Snook is supporting transit but is supportive of the public consultation of optimizing routes. The City Manager is trying to educate council that this is not a cut but a limit to the increase to 1% even though Transit has been increasing the city’s subsidy by about 8%. Court was not favourable to the motion. Councillor Sullivan is not wavering on the fact that Transit is not a council priority. They are trying to wash their hands of transit and placing responsibility on the commission and the province for the taxes on the garage.

Some appear on delaying a decision. Councillor Titus, the council representative on the Transit Commission, is placing the blame back on council. He is insisting that the transit commission placed much thought on the routes. The cuts were based on cost effectiveness of service. The pension issue is of great importance and that money has been already been spent on printing of new schedule.

Titus insists that there is not really $5-million dollars extra. Insists that we have really good services, that citizens should be proud of.

Higgins makes a good closing point that perhaps if more than one transit passenger was on the commission it could be more efficient. It could be better promoted, and that the larger percentage of users are renters and renters pay 2x the tax rate of regular residential.

Considering that East Saint John is getting hit the hardest. It is despicable that Councilor Court is taking such a hard line against the prosperity of transit. Councillor Court does not stand up for is own ward and should likely be cut come election time. Voting time it is a referral motion 8-2 in-favour. Titus and Sullivan against.

Jade City

There are menu items to avoid, but the rest of the food is very fresh and they have a good take out lunch buffet.

212 McAllister Drive
Saint John, NB E2J 2S5

This Review was originally posted on Yelp, in 2019 I deleted my Yelp account and moved the reviews here.

MapleLeaf Queen’s Buffet

There was a good selection of food, but much was reheated frozen food. The tables have cheesy plexiglass on them. Very large dessert selection but most of it looks bought and not cooked there.

 
212 McAllister Drive
Saint John, NB E2J 2S7

This Review was originally posted on Yelp, in 2019 I deleted my Yelp account and moved the reviews here.

A Memorable Mass Transit Story

Remember that one time on the bus, when…? Share your mass transit stories.

One of my best memories on the bus was on an East bus headed to the mall on March 25th, 2004. I happened to run into my friend Tony, we were both heading to the mall. At this point I had my first batch of 25 names on the nomination papers. This was where Tony signed as the witness.

As soon as I got to the mall I instantly went to head back to the north end to file the papers. The first time 8 of my names were rejected as the people who signed were not actually registered to vote. Then the second time 45 minutes later I was 2 names short. Then 25 minutes later, I was officially on the ballot.

When it finally got approved, the first thing I did was to run to every media outlet that I could find and dropped off my Press Release.

Running for Mayor was one of the most interesting times of my life, and all the people and aspects of the community that you get exposed to is unreal.

Then six and a half weeks, and 448 votes later that part of my life was over. Thus leading the way for 2 days later when I left the province on my first vacation and train ride later.

And the travels continue…

My first job was a Credit Card Telemarketer

Question: What industry ushered you into the workforce? Describe your first work experience. How long did you last?

My first job as was as a credit card telemarketer for $9/hour. It seemed like a good job at first. The training also seemed very decent. Then shortly after things started to change quickly. It was the Easter long weekend coming up, and they were offering overtime for I think it was Good Friday but it was for a different bank, and credit product, with a different script and a much different “terminal” interface.

Just as an aside, most people called them DOS screens just because it was all keyboard operated and text-based. Some people are just totally wrong, and non-technical.

Getting back on track, after the weekend ended there was a push on leads for this other bank and since I had done it for a day I was kept on the new campaign and was expected to have results on the leads with out the proper training on the program, just three sheets of paper. To make it worse, just as soon as I was catching on, I got thrown back and forth between the two very different credit card products.

After 7 weeks, there was a presentation that I wanted to go see at council, it was the operating budget of Saint John Transit. I went to work because I felt I had an obligation to the job, but then I had the worst customer ever, and a very un-supportive supervisor. So I signed out for my first break, left my key card next to the keyboard, and went to council. I never returned.

From this job, I learned two very important lessons. Sometimes, you have to take the initiative to learn on your own that you need to know to excel at a job. This is something the has been very critical to a few of the jobs I have had. Before I worked as a graphic designer at Johnny’s Coupons I had never used CorelDraw ever. In my current job, everything changes everyday and there is a steep and very broad knowledge involved, not attempting to learn on my own would result in me not getting as far as I have.

The second lesson was when an opportunity arises jump on it. Taking risks is a necessary skill to advance. This came true again about three and a half years ago. I was asked “Do you want to work on a six-week contingency project?” If I missed that opportunity to say yes, the last few years would be incredibly difficult.