Quit While You’re Ahead

Obtained under creative commons licence attribution: "Television" by Vande Walle Ewoud  https://www.flickr.com/photos/103635341@N02/11346286793/in/photolist-ihCFLn-82tjig-8SKFUn-ihCKUT-cKUCEW-6Kathh-aD9m6B-64wBNU-9dmrST-56oiSP-4vjYS9-7aG7TF-8vvoRi-8K4HmC-8vsJTt-4R6yMg-4ydgPZ-6k49oe-dgzBjU-8vtsqD-8vwHnS-8vttiV-6GiJEm-4ueaaQ-8vwdWd-8vta3M-8vtGqP-8vsCQR-8vxHZ5-8eWNET-bvwAhF-8vt6ck-bxAnne-8vxKwm-8vtyRx-8vuFTD-8vsUSp-bjFumC-5aHooy-8egY3c-5BzKEz-8NjoZf-2T2jWQ-ghLWWW-4WjYdn-agAr25-4YPRaa-4fp1CU-8gPdR9-z2sbh
Obtained under creative commons licence attribution: “Television” by Vande Walle Ewoud https://www.flickr.com/photos/103635341@N02/11346286793/in/photolist-ihCFLn-82tjig-8SKFUn-ihCKUT-cKUCEW-6Kathh-aD9m6B-64wBNU-9dmrST-56oiSP-4vjYS9-7aG7TF-8vvoRi-8K4HmC-8vsJTt-4R6yMg-4ydgPZ-6k49oe-dgzBjU-8vtsqD-8vwHnS-8vttiV-6GiJEm-4ueaaQ-8vwdWd-8vta3M-8vtGqP-8vsCQR-8vxHZ5-8eWNET-bvwAhF-8vt6ck-bxAnne-8vxKwm-8vtyRx-8vuFTD-8vsUSp-bjFumC-5aHooy-8egY3c-5BzKEz-8NjoZf-2T2jWQ-ghLWWW-4WjYdn-agAr25-4YPRaa-4fp1CU-8gPdR9-z2sbh

Here’s a story of a man named John Q. Public.

John Q. Public drops cable/satellite tv because of ridiculous costs, and joins Netflix, subscribes to Apple TV and/or finds other ingenious ways to get content into his home.

At first, the Canadian networks offer their content online for free, until big telecom buys them (Bell owns CTV , Shaw owns Global TV, and Rogers owns City TV. The Canadian government owns CBC network, but since no one watches it anyways, likely there’s little threat to revenues!)

After Big Telecom buys the networks, and indeed purchases most of the cable channels such as HGTV, John Q. can only watch their content online if you have a cable account. (CTV is one exception – according to their website content is online for seven days after first being posted. However, to watch archived content online, you must log in with your subscriber account).

Costs to have cable and/or satellite TV continue to skyrocket.

John Q. Public sighs, figures out a way to get American Netflix from Canada –believing the internet should be borderless—blocks his IP address and streams and downloads more. (If the CRTC is going to block content at the border, why not block violent pron? Just saying…)

More loss of cable subscribers ensue. (I can only surmise Telus Optik TV was a dismal failure, perhaps because if you had it, you changed to a dynamic IP address and thus lost the ability to stream due to no static IP address).

John Q. Public rolls his eyes, makes popcorn, and now nearly all John Q’s content is now streamed and downloaded. He buys a digital antenna to watch the local news.

One of Big Telecomm (Telus, but can Shaw be far behind?) latest moves is to charge for excessive data use, as if trying to get account holders coming and going. http://globalnews.ca/news/1841624/new-telus-data-charges-could-cost-some-netflix-users/

John Q. rolls his eyes once again and ditches Big Telecomm and switches providers, perhaps to a company like this. http://teksavvy.com/

The takeaway? John Q. will find a way to get their content as cheaply as possible and, for every roadblock Big Telecomm tries to put up, some industrious entrepreneur will find a work around.

Big Telecomm should quit while they are ahead.

Not Quite Welcoming

standard-church
We participated in a book club discussion recently at church that discussed the book “Welcoming but not Affirming, an Evangelical Response to Homosexuality”.  That discussion sure revealed there were two camps in our church body:

Book Club Discussion, Camp Number One:

The fundies, who believe “sure homosexuals can come in the door, but oh no, they can’t  become members” (so, only so “welcoming” I guess). However, cynical me says these same fundies are probably happy to take their financial offerings!   Anyways , to continue,the fundies in our midst that morning further thought that once a homosexual set foot inside our church, we should descend on them like a pack of wolves to try and turn them from their “gayness”, including, but not limited to, forcing a Christian, committed, gay couple – even a gay couple who was abstinent – to live apart. To which I responded that was a non-starter if that’s the first thing we do the minute a homosexual enters our midst, they will walk out the door and never return.

 

(I suspect these same fundies would force a heterosexual couple who started attending our church and who were living together – whether they had children from that union or not – to move into separate dwellings until they married. And membership? Well, forget that.   That’s right, rip a family apart.)

 

“He who is without sin let him cast the first stone.”

 

But I Digress..On To …

Book Club Discussion, Camp Number Two:

The second camp – the one we were in (which was a pretty lonely place, just my husband and I and maybe one other person) – believed, as the author of the book seemed to state, that we are to come alongside homosexuals and love them and accept them and let God /Jesus/Holy Spirit sort out the rest.
Thanks to said discussion, we contemplated revoking our church membership.
Sigh.
We have been a part of that church community for approximately ten years. Leaving anything one has been a part of for that long — be it church, job, a relationship, or a community — is not any easy decision to make, yet is one we are contemplating.
Nonetheless, at the moment our decision is to stay, to continue to help out in small ways, attend occasionally, and discontinue going to church meetings. I believe in our food distribution program our church has for example, and have taken a larger role in that recently.
We feel like we don’t belong anywhere, church wise.  It’s clear we don’t fit in with the fundies (which is most of our current church) because we are quite progressive, and yet we are not quite liberal enough in our beliefs to attend other churches.
Rock, meet hard place.
Jesus loves all, accepts all, died for all, and rose for all.  Both those who identify as insiders (i.e. believers) and those who identify as  outsiders (non-believers). Isn’t it time to end the “us vs. them” mentality so prevalent in Christian circles?
All means all, people. Wouldn’t it be nice if this Easter if the fundies could finally get that?

Chinese Hekka {Low Fodmap & Gluten Free}

[getty src=”148212469?et=A_vjmk0MRoN43UZA4O6UPg&sig=ehJQqKBvirWP-n_OeXUq1nEGbhGVJty2OMD9iPjhhvk=” width=”508″ height=”337″]

“Hekka” is a Japanese style dish.  Adapted (to make it Low Fodmap) and streamlined from a recipe in Company’s Coming Casseroles.

1.5 lbs. lean/extra lean ground beef

1 pepper, chopped

4 c. coleslaw mix

2 c. celery, chopped

1/2 c. gluten free soy sauce

1/2 c. water

Brown ground beef and pepper in a frying pan on medium heat.  Combine in a large bowl the beef/pepper mixture with coleslaw mix, celery, soy sauce and water.  Spoon into a 1.5 quart casserole. Bake, covered, at 350 F for 45 minutes. Serve with rice. Serves 6.

Connected, But Alone

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In a scene from The Big Bang Theory, Raj – who can’t speak to women unless drunk – develops a relationship with Siri, “the intelligent personal assistant that helps you get things done  … Siri understands your natural speech, and it asks you questions if it needs more information to complete a task” (Apple.com).  The producers of the show have Raj doing more things with Siri than just asking questions, such as taking “her” out on a date. Eventually, Raj falls in love with Siri.  Arriving at Siri’s office with a bouquet of flowers, Raj is once again dumbstruck when he sees Siri in the flesh. (The Beta Test Initiation)  Raj was able to speak to the technological version of Siri but not the real person.

Raj’s behavior is not dissimilar to the findings of Sherry Turkle, MIT professor.  Her  TED talk Connected but Alone (http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together.html) reveals how the love of our devices harms real relationships.

Ms. Turkle highlights how technology is “taking us places we don’t want to go.” (Turkle, Sherry.) Ms. Turkle has discovered technology changes behavior towards others.  Texting, emailing, or checking Facebook happens whether people are alone or with others.  Dichotomously, she also learns many of us fear intimacy, vulnerability, reality and solitude.

Cal Henze, a Calgary, Alberta psychologist, responds:

 

The core of this is simple: People are and have always been lonely — and have gotten there because they are afraid of intimacy. They have always devised means of numbing out and of trying to assuage the fear of intimacy — and yet those means are, for a change, also a means of connection. The real problem is that it’s leaving researchers behind who cannot understand and participate in the intricacies of it — them, and the elderly and a few who, likely, years ago would have been named as hermits because they do not know how to connect.

A small poll of family and friends revealed the majority of respondents shut technology off at night and felt texting while in the presence of others was rude or showed a lack of interest in their companions.

My husband summed up by saying: “Communicating solely through social media and texting speaks to how some people don’t want authentic relationships and community, just the illusion of community.”

No Muss, No Fuss

In his article for The Atlantic Is Facebook Making Us Lonely, Stephen Marche states:

… new technologies lure us toward increasingly superficial connections at exactly the same moment that they make avoiding the mess of human interaction easy. The beauty of Facebook … is that it enables us to be social while sparing us the embarrassing reality of society …  Instead, we have the lovely smoothness of a seemingly social machine. Everything’s so simple: status updates, pictures, your wall.

This avoidance of the messiness of face-to-face interaction comes with a price.  In his book You Are Not A Gadget, Jaron Lanier states: “I fear that we are beginning to design ourselves to suit digital models of us, and I worry about a leaching of empathy and humanity in that process.”

“They Don’t Even See Us” 

Brene Brown, a vulnerability researcher, would agree with Lanier.  She wants us off our cell phones, for the sake of humanity.  In her article for The Houston Chronicle entitled Time to Get Off the Cell Phone, she speaks about how the prevalence of being on the cell phone while in an appointment at a day spa, paying for groceries, or buying a fast food item demonstrates a lack of respect towards those who assist us.  Moreover, service people feel invisible:   “Thank you,” the attendant at the Chik-Fil-A says emotionally to Brown when she apologizes for taking a call while at the drive through window, “Thank you so much. You have no idea how humiliating it is sometimes. They don’t even see us.”

Conclusion

Technology connects us, but it can disconnect us too – from reality and from the vulnerable, messy, face-to-face interaction with each other.  Concerted efforts can be made, however, to mitigate this by controlling when and how we use our devices, fasting from technology, and enjoying time with each other.

(Note:  this was written in 2012 for one of my University of Calgary courses)