Enter Rage

Dear readers,

I am incensed. Enraged. Maddened. Infuriated. I’m sure at this point that all of you lovely people are sitting on the edge of your seats, wondering what possibly could have provoked such a reaction. I am a kind and benevolent blogger, so I’ll give it to you straight – we got our electricity bill.

An accurate depiction of my pre-Ontario days.

Living all my life in Alberta, land of grainfields and country music, I arrived in Ontario with wide-eyed naïveté, full of hopes and dreams for a future filled with prosperity and joy. The first slap in the face was the 13% HST charge on darn near everything. Going from 5% to 13% is very disturbing. That’s an increase of 260% (I know you all love numbers!). After 2 months I’ve grown used to it despite my bitterness, and have come to terms with a necessarily reduced budget. However. I was not prepared, in the slightest, for the affront that was the electricity bill. Allow me to escort you into the nightmare realm wherein the evil entity know as Horizon Utilities lays out with cruel, macabre, almost sadistic pleasure, the money that, formerly ours, it will rake in for itself with pallid, leprous claws.

To properly empathize with the shock I felt upon looking at these wicked charges, I’ll tell you what happened immediately prior to their unleashing. Ben and I had gone down to get the mail together, and spent the ride in the elevator predicting the costs we had incurred. My prediction was $25 per month, Ben’s was $30. Not unreasonable; in 2008, I lived for a short time in a main floor suite with a dear friend. In a typical month, our total bill would be approximately $20-$25. We also had many fishtanks running, drawing power for lights, filtration and heating, not to mention over twice the floorspace of our current apartment. So I figured that our total energy consumption in the apartment would be significantly less, but was generous with my estimate given the propensity of costs in Ontario to be saddled with loads of tax. Take a deep breath and, in the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson, hold onto your butts.

The billing period: July 22 to Sept 17
(Note: Apartment was only inhabited in that period from Aug 9 to Sept 17)
Total kWh: 690.12
(Note: We had to use a huge-ass air conditioner 24/7 for 3 weeks because we would have otherwise perished)
Total Electricity Charges: 50.52

Sounds good, right? Especially because my estimate of $25/month ended up being spookily accurate. But wait. There’s more…

Regulatory Charges: 4.99
(I was expecting this, no biggie)
Debt Retirement Charge: $4.65
(Had to look this up; this charge pays down the debt of the former Ontario Hydro. I am disappoint.)
Delivery: 52.14

What.

This bird's obviously using Horizon Utilities.

52.14 > 50.52
Delivery Charge > Electricity Cost
WHAT KIND OF SICK WORLD DO WE LIVE IN?

Surely, this must be a mistake. Surely somebody drunkenly squashed a keyboard and messed up my bill, right? Investigation ensued, leading to the calamitous conclusion that it was not a mistake, that this larceny was intentional. As you can see here, in the Detailed Breakdown of Residential Electricity Rates & Prices section, there was no error, only a cackle of vicious laughter.

In my outrage, I decided to take advantage of the Free Market, and switch to an electricity provider that’s not quite so avaricious. A problem quickly began to present itself; there’s not much of a Market. We’re currently being bled by Horizon Utilities, which after exhaustive research turns out to be the only provider for our area.

$57.11/month for electricity, 46% of which is a delivery charge. My heart races every time I think about it…and I don’t think there’s anything I can do. The injustice.

-T

P.S. I apologize for my numerous acts of italicization; the words were being shouted in my head as I typed them, and I try to avoid all-caps whenever possible. But the emphasis needed to be…emphasized.

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention by the lovely Sonjia Veltri that “The delivery charge is actually not charged by your Utilities company, it’s a flow through charge from the people who hung wires in you[r] community.” So now my rage is directed at those people, who are in all likelihood the Ontario government. They built the original infrastructure, though I’m not 100% sure who’s maintaining it now. Whoever it is, they’ll rue the day…

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Meet the Family (5 of 100)

Dear readers,

Today I’m actually hard at work on a detailed how-to post. I’m attempting to make it as detailed, accurate and accessible as possible, so I’m going to publish it tomorrow. What I have for you today is an introduction to the animals I’m living with.

Rawr.

Animal number one: The Ben

Hardy har har. With that obligatory picture, I’ll continue on. We have a leopard gecko named Sam (short for Osama bin Lizard (I call him Samwise)), and a cockatiel named Phoenix. Without further ado, CUTE PICTURES!

Gorgeous eyes!

Sammy looking contemplative

Sammy fell asleep on his bug dish. Sorry for the crappy phone camera!

I love this rock!

Now onto birdie! I have a billion pictures, but I will select a few of the very cutest.

This is just way too cute!

Phoenix singing to the handsome birdie in Bird Talk magazine.

Sleepy bird!

My sweetie pea!

Hopefully that’s enough to tide you over while I write this massively awesome post for tomorrow.

-T.

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Curb my what? (4 of 100)

Hello once again, dear readers.

Today, Ben has finally convinced me to watch the phenomenon known as Curb Your Enthusiasm. I’ve avoided it to this date because it’s the brainchild of the demon that created Seinfeld, Larry David, and as I loathe Seinfeld with a gut-wrenching passion, I figured that to avoid undue angst I should give “Curb” (as I’ve heard it referred to) a wide berth. In addition, I’ve already seen one clip, by accident. This clip. I think you can see why I would never want to watch another second of this show.

Enter Benjamin, master of televisionary torture. The only person ever to make me watch more than one episode of the accursed Seinfeld in a row, has been on my case to give Curb Your Enthusiasm a shot. Well, I’m in a good mood tonight and have an hour to kill, so here we go. For your reading pleasure, here is a play-by-play of my reaction to the first episode of CYE (as it will be henceforth dubbed, because I’m too lazy to type the whole title).

Okay. He’s frustrated that his pants make an awkward tent. That’s understandable. Now he’s trying to go see a movie with a dude who’s on a date. Okay, here’s a funny face. So far, I’m not loathing this. Good! Oooh, there’s nice plants in the kitchen. Some African violets, an asparagus fern, parlor palm, I’m getting good ideas for my place!

He’s in a theatre. Oh mannnnn now I want popcorn! Uh oh, he’s starting a scene with a chick who won’t move. Actually, I kind of wish I could do that to irritating people. I’m a little unsure as to what this is, is Larry David playing himself? In any case, his manner REALLY reminds me of somebody I know, but I can’t think of who. It’s a little frustrating. OH SNAP! The tent pants struck in the theatre! Somebody has misunderstood this situation! Hilarities! Okay, unsarcastically, those pants look hilarious.

Office now. LD (Larry David) is talking to some dude. The dude’s parents took an off-the-cuff Hitler comment way too seriously. Not a ton of humour in this. Now there’s an argument that’s involving two people talking a lot at the same time. It’s a little irritating. I want to punch one of them for interrupting, but I can’t tell which one is the offender. They’re both annoying in their own special way.

Now he’s apologizing to two old people that he offended. There’s still a lot of people all trying to talk at the same time. It’s kind of stressing me out. OH CRAP. His wife is trying to sort out the tent-pants misunderstanding in the living room. RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRG. NOBODY IN THIS SHOW WILL LET ANYONE ELSE TALK. My blood pressure is rising.

Okay. New setting. Hopefully people will quit interrupting each other and I can start to enjoy myself. It’s a restaurant. Aw jeeze; remember those old people that LD was apologizing to? Well, he just ran into them at the restaurant, and they’re mad because he didn’t go look at some kids? Oooookay, he is playing himself, he was just referred to as the creator of Seinfeld. Alright, I can dig self-deprecating humour. Oh, here’s a foreseeable circumstance; LD’s reservations got messed up, and he had to sit with the stupid old people. Prepare for awkwardness. Awkwardness ensued. The end. Alright! To the analysis!

My verdict: barely watchable. There were some funny parts, so funny that I actually did laugh. However, the stress was so uncomfortable that I had a really difficult time. I guess that I’ll have to watch more, to cement my opinions and allow the show to develop. I can really sympathize with Larry David in this episode though; everything he freaks out about is totally something I would freak out at in the same situation. Perhaps I’m a little better at curbing my enthusiasm for molding the world around me to my will, but the base rages are quite similar.

Well, that’s it folks. See you tomorrow!

-T.

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The Greatest Tragedy of the Modern Era (3 of 100)

Dear readers,

The post you are about to read is dedicated to the plight of destitute, vitamin D deprived fanboys and fangirls everywhere. One of, if not the greatest injustices of our times is the inability to purchase fantastic games when they are new. I’m speaking to you of this from the heart, from the depths of heart-wrenching frugality. I shall begin the examination of this dilemma by analyzing the emotional toll it can take.

Part 1
Being unable to fulfill my whims instantly is a constant strain on my overall well-being. If I want something, there is absolutely no need to avoid instant gratification. That is, unless, there is money to be saved. Unfortunately, the precedent for video games is that price decreases significantly within about 6 months; this causes my inner Smaug to refuse to spend an extra penny on brand-new games, especially when finances are tight. The roiling turmoil that results from the inner tug-of-war that ensues is rather enough to send me off the deep edge. In addition to self-inflicted emotional struggles, there’s also the knowledge that I could, this instant, be taking part in the collective discovery of a new gaming experience, a feeling that is not unlike being in a super-cool clubhouse where all the members have a secret handshake and code language.  By purchasing a game six months after release, you’re being the kid who comes to the club meeting in last week’s outfit with last week’s cypher, wearing crude orthodontic devices and flinging spittle with each awkward plosive.

Part 2
Spoiler avoidance is next to impossible when one frequents such topical, up-to-the-minute news sites as reddit, which I have been known to do on an all-too-frequent basis. Not only that, but the entire internet veritably explodes with gossip about juicy details from fresh-off-the-presses games, and there’s no way in hell I’m avoiding the entire internet for six months. One must tread very carefully, and pray that others have the decency to include spoiler alerts if they absolutely must divulge them.

Part 3
I could go on, but I’m very tired, so I’ll just summarize. By not buying new games the instant they’re released, lasting mental damage can be incurred. The emotional drain of self-denial combined with being out-of-vogue and risking all the twists of a plot being revealed prematurely pose a significant threat to a person’s livelihood and stability. Therefore, it is an extremely lamentable situation to be so poor as to have to wait for prices to drop; in fact, it is demonstrably the most lamentable situation.

-T.

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A Night to Remember (2 of 100)

Dear readers,

As i write this, I am being assaulted visually, aurally, and adrenally by a band of hooligans. As I write this, it is 1:07 am EDT (the time zone in which I now reside. Just in case you didn’t clue in). Now, to preface this, sleep would be slightly difficult to come by tonight regardless of human activities, as we have a very epic thunderstorm buffeting our ears and lower GI tracts that is expected to continue for some time. However. There are certain endeavours that simply aren’t necessary, that aren’t and should never be tolerated at the 1:07 hour of a Thursday morning. One of those hobbies, which I implore you to avoid, is the ignition of amateur pyrotechnics. Especially if you live two floors above me.

Please forgive any awkwardness in my prose; I’m practically delirious with glandular panic as I write this. You see, some upstanding members of society have caused firecrackers to explode intermittently three feet from my window. The window that is open due to sweltering heat, and approximately three feet from my own head. Let me break it down for you. Six feet from my face, explosions are rocking the midweek early hours. THIS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.

-T.

Alright folks, apparently in my prey-animal defensive state last night I forgot to press submit, and this didn’t get posted. Which is well and good, because I didn’t have anything particularly interesting to write about today. So here you are; my intense (but no longer topical) reactions to last night’s tomfoolery.

P.S. I totally got Ben to call in a noise complaint about this.
P.P.S. I would have done it myself, but medication-induced grogginess would have made it exceedingly awkward.
P.P.P.S. Our super lives in the building. Why did they think exploding things was a good idea? I will never understand young people these days.

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BACK! (1 of 100)

Hello kiddies, I’m baaaaaack!

I sincerely apologize about the drought. First I was lazy, and then I was way too busy to even think about writing anything, and then I didn’t have internet.  Then I got lazy again. But I’m here now! And because the last challenge was a huge flop and I don’t even know how many posts I was at, I’m starting over. Back to number 1; I totally deserve it.

I moved to Hamilton, that was a big deal. So I’m here in Hamilton now. More stuff about that later. For now, I want to leave you with this.

He just can't be bought.

This is generally how Phoenix receives my gifts.

-T.

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Long Journey is Long.

Hello, dear readers,

Today’s been a very long day. I’m not going to write much of a post, because I’m exhausted beyond belief and I have ZERO creative juices.

The challenge doesn’t say what I have to post, as long as I post every day. So, here is a link to a very interesting and inspiring talk I recently watched. 

Sorry for the cop out, will post more tomorrow!

-T.

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