What’s Next Needs to be Done Now


Today, the price of taking my wife to Tim Horton’s just got more expensive.  A medium black coffee and a small black coffee comes to $2.99.  With the penny being dropped from us and rounding up or truncating, it will now cost me $3.00 cash money.  A penny more today and seven cents if the dog gets his way and we go for a walk and a coffee every day.

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By itself, this shouldn’t put too big a hit on the family fortune.  And, if it becomes too big a burden, I could always pay by debit or gift card where the costs are still calculated to the penny.  Looking into the future, I can see our descendents laughing at all of the discussion and reporting around the demise of the penny.  After all, they’ll be using their Smart Phones or something even more sophisticated for all their transactions.  For today, it’s big news and certainly was the lead item on the 6 o’clock news.

What about that penny?  To be honest, in the car, I have a change pouch where I put my $1 and $2 coins and another for the quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies.  You’d think that with this organization, I’d be able to pay the $2.99 by taking coins from both pouches.  That doesn’t happen though.  I’ll take a $1 and a $2 coin from one pouch, pay for the coffee and then put the penny change into the second pouch.  There it will sit until it gets full.

At that point, it will get taken into the house where it gets dumped into a big container which also holds my tie clips and extra watches.  When that container gets to the point where I can’t close the lid, I’ll grudgingly take the time to separate the coins from the other things and give it to my daughter to roll and put into her bank account.  As she’s doing this, I’ll talk about the good ol’ days when we double counted and then rolled coins with paper rollers.  None of those clear plastic thingies that have the locks already pre-punched in them.  Kids these days have it so easy.

With the retirement of the humble penny which reportedly costs the government $0.016 to produce, my pouches might go a little longer before they need rolling.  My daughter is in for a raise as she’ll be rolling nickels instead of pennies.

What of the nickel though?  How long will it be around?

I’m sure that one of the lessons that was going on in so many Canadian classrooms today was the life skills needed to make and receive change given the new rules.  I recall when it was announced that the penny would be going away – I thought “this is chump change.  I don’t find the nickel any more useful in my life.”  Why don’t they get rid of it at the same time?  As I was drinking my more expensive coffee this morning, I read this story. Penny’s passé, nickel’s next: MP.

It makes complete sense to me.  The nickel is only marginally more useful than a penny.  I must admit that I didn’t see the logic that’s in the private member’s bill.  Lose the nickel AND the quarter and keep the dime, make a 20 cent piece, and re-introduce a fifty cent piece.  That makes the rounding a lot more logical.  And, you won’t have to teach the population a second set of rounding lessons.  After all, we handle everything well with the metric system and it’s all based on tens.

It would just be nice to know how much it costs to make a nickel.

That’s why it’s such a puzzle to me that today it’s just the penny.  Why not move to where we’re going to end up anyway?  Or will we?  Maybe this is the change that we all need to make transactions via Smart Phone the norm.  Wouldn’t it be nice if banks, credit unions, and caisse populaires subsidized our phones in the name of better and more accurate finances?  We’re going to end up there eventually.

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Of course, Alfred


Yesterday, my friend Alfred Thompson threw this Twitter message by me…

Now, I know that he doesn’t get it.  When we’re together at events like the CSTA Symposium, he just doesn’t understand it when I complain loudly that I long for a good cup of coffee.

But still, he felt compelled to run this Twitter message by me.

Half an hour later, I felt strangely compelled to have a cup of coffee to accompany me on a dog walk.  I have three options in Amherstburg – two formal Tim Horton’s shops and the one at the local Walmart.  I just had to check-in at the Tim Horton’s on the way to the Navy Yard.

I’ve still got it!

However, I do wonder about the original assertion from the @stats_canada so I’ve got a query in to the account.  I might find it more believable if the statement was “1 in 3 Canadians using FourSquare is a Mayor at a Tim Horton’s”.  Regardless, it keeps the misconception alive.

I wonder to any Canadian readers here – are you a FourSquare mayor at a Tim Horton’s?

For any non-Canadians or Americans not fortunate enough to have one in your neighbourhood and are wondering what the heck is going on, click here.

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Is it OK to be a Passive Blogger?


First of all…my sincerest apologies to those that subscribe to this blog via email.  You received my post yesterday with many uses of the word “cemetery” spelled as “cemetary”.  Then, later on, my friend @pbeens let me know that I’d screwed up using the dreaded “it’s” instead of “its”.  Gasp.  This is all so bad.  I’m convinced that the “it’s” problem comes from reading it so much online that it becomes engrained.  I normally don’t make that mistake but, when I do, catch it on the proofread cycle.  It just slipped through the gaps yesterday.  How embarrassing.

Let me tell you how I blog.  I used to just write and post.  Using that pattern, posts could appear at any hour of the day or evening.

In a desire to be more consistent, I started scheduling the posts for 5 in the morning.  My logic was that it was a little less annoying for those who don’t care that I’ve “Just Blogged…” and that it was ready for those who do some reading in the morning before go to work.  It turns out to be the very best decision that I ever made.  It gives me the flexibility to blog when the mood hits and to be able to start a number of posts and file them away until I feel like I can finish them.  Sometimes, I’ll use Popplet as a graphic organizer in the pre-writing, other times, I’ll just add a bunch of bullet points and then flesh them out when finalizing my writing, other times, I’ll go a screen capture of something that’s of interest and then write around it when the mood and availability hits, and yet other times I’ll just sit down and write from beginning to end while the thoughts were in my mind.

That’s what happened yesterday.

Now, depending upon where I am (rec room, home office, patio, Tim Horton’s, …) I might write in the WordPress editor online, with LiveWriter, with OmmWriter, with Qumana, with ScribeFire, or with the WordPress iPad application.  The bottom line is that it could be written entirely online, entirely offline, or a hybrid of the two.  Each have their own advantages but the WordPress online editor has a wonderful set of writing tools.  I brought the post into the editor and used Google Chrome’s search to find and correct all the “cemetary” mistakes.  It was later that I fixed Peter’s catch.  I certainly appreciate the writing helper and feedback from readers like Peter.

As I brought the post into the editor, the writing helper looked like an English student’s worst nightmare!

editor

Could there be more wrong with it!  The red underlines are spelling mistakes (that I would certainly have caught had I used the WordPress editor from the beginning) but the green underlines are messages that I’m writing in the passive voice.

passive

As I sit back and reflect on this apparently butchered attempt of a post, that really has me thinking.  One entire flagged sentence appears below.

buried

Even as I look at it now, I can’t think of any other way I could have written the sentence!

For a long time now, when I use the WordPress writing helper, I get flagged for using the passive voice.  I know that, in school, English was my poorest subject.  Am I continuing as a blogger?

I’ve thought about this quite often.  In my mind, I rationalize it this way.  There are times when I post very aggressively when I’m positive that I’m right and want to convince my audience.  Most of my posts though, are designed to get people thinking and perhaps challenge me with opposing viewpoints.  Using that logic, I typically glance at these suggestions when I see them and usually ignore them.

But should I?

I know that there are many readers of this blog that use blogging as a writing form in the classroom.  What are your thoughts about the passive voice?  Is it something to be  ignored when blogging?  Or, is it a red flag that all bloggers (especially me) should be  addressing at all costs?

I thought that yesterday’s post about cemetaries, er cemeteries was one of my most inspired and interesting posts in a long time.  The WordPress writing helper thinks otherwise.  I’ve illustrated just a couple of things that were flagged.  In fact, the entire post was riddled with suggestions.  What say you?  Do I need help?