Working to Live but Then That’s Not Even Enough

A friend from long ago recently shared their struggles with an injury from an accident they suffered earlier this year. The basic story is that some bones were broke, there have been multiple visits to get medical treatment as they have recovered, and they haven’t been able to work for the past two months because of all of it.

This is what they shared on Twitter the other day:

Well, the bills are rolling in for the medical care I’ve had to pursue after this accident and that “covered by insurance” amount is… lower than I thought

And this is supposed to be “good” insurance.

Lol the per-month payment that’s suggested by my medical portal is well above a car payment amount for my wrist surgery.
And we haven’t even fixed my knee yet.

AMERICA, THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD, UNTIL YOU NEED MEDICAL CARE, THEN FUCK YOU

This is probably also a great time to mention that with all this I haven’t been able to work the last two months

<looks toward GoFundMe, America’s actual funding of medical fees>
I might just have to do it.

– twitter thread

This is hard.

I’ve been a Canadian citizen for one year now. I just passed that milestone shortly preceded by getting my gallbladder removed after dealing with increasing issues with it for just over a year prior, maybe longer in hindsight.

It took a while for it to all culminate in getting the surgery, and my situation didn’t make it an urgent thing to get taken care of. I shifted my diet to basically eliminate fatty and fried foods, stopped drinking alcohol, worked out when it allowed me to, and started doing more yoga than I ever had before. Also discovered the bliss of a good heat pad as a consolation bonus to it being necessary for the pain that the stones and polyps caused inside this angry organ on increasing occasions.

Prior to surgery, I also had a colonoscopy just so I could have some personal assurance that it was just a gallbladder that we had to deal with. Once everything checked out there, it was still another couple months until my surgery date.

Each time I went to a medical facility for an appointment, I presented my B.C. Services Card each time, saw who I was supposed to see, and walked right out the door when done. Ultrasound, blood tests, surgeon consultations, and the hospital where I left a piece of me behind at.

So many Americans don’t know what this feels like. What it is like to pay taxes for something that benefits you so directly that is so completely not obvious to so many people in the fifty states. What it feels like to walk straight passed the front desk and not worry about any additional charges needing to be dealt with.

That’s it. Without getting into the how and why, this is more about that this should be a reality.

Because I think about this every time someone I work with loses their job, which happens a lot in broadcasting. It’s a brutal profession with an even more brutal reality where being good at your job does not equal job security.

And I also think about this when someone I know leaves their job or career. Quitting your job in B.C. means you can do so without the enormous fear of not having that job meaning you lose all of your medical coverage. Even if you get a part-time job somewhere, you’re still covered if you break a toe or get cancer.

This is how taxes should work. Health is the one thing that everyone has in common. In a civilized society, we shouldn’t be bound to a job just because the benefits are too good compared to the dream job we’d rather be doing.

It’s not a perfect system here in B.C., and there is much more to that statement, especially today. The system that we have is something to be cherished and improved upon each and every day.

But in America, this story of so many having to ask others for monetary help is so uncomfortably common, especially for someone who was gainfully employed prior to this accident, now has a broken ankle, busted up knee, and a family to take care of that I’ve watched grow from the day they got engaged.

I don’t know how a dream like this becomes a reality, but it really should be better than this for a nation that is so great, prosperous, and wealthy.

One Year of Being Canadian

Cupcakes from the little citizenship party we had, November 2021

Today marks one year since I swore my allegiance to Queen Elizabeth and that I will fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.

Do I feel any different? Not really, but there is more of a greater love that I feel for nearly every part of what makes Canada the country that it is. To list all of them would take too much time, but I hope that I can be better about sharing these things going forward.

Like butter tarts. I failed to take a picture of them at the small celebration we had to mark the year and a half long process came to an end. It just feels good to be Canadian with the Canadian I moved to B.C. to be with.

From Iowa to the PNW

It actually is morning and much more sunlight in Iowa than there is an Vancouver right now. Funny how Reddit serves up sometimes.

Even my B.C. sister-in-law was impressed with the dawn and dusk skies of the Midwest. It’s a different beauty to appreciate.

Elon Musk’s Twitter

It pains me to even type his name so that it lives in perpetuity, but here we are.

One of the most prolific venture capitalists in the history of capitalism has done what a wealthy capitalist does, which is to buy something simply because they can. That’s how I look at this in a nonfictional context.

But where does that leave us, the consumers of Twitter?

I joined the site when it was nothing more than a website in 2007. Smartphones were still in the single-stroke engine phase of their technological evolution, and initially, the only mobile engagement you got was a one-way interaction via text message, meaning you could post a tweet through SMS but not really get any engagement back because all of that effectively happened at the terminal level.

The terminal level

It brought on a whole new level of engagement that we all declared to be called “microblogging”.

And the truth is that Twitter was the beginning of the end for the culture that blogging had become around that time. One technology overtaking another technology is a tale as old as time, so in hindsight, this should not be surprising.

Over the next few years, many blogs, mine included, went pretty quiet because tweeting was a quick, rapid fire method of dissemination that cost basically nothing and was simple to grasp the concept of. Blogs, like this site, took a little more to understand how the method of publishing content with pictures and links works and how to do it well.

#nettuesday “social media for social change” event at workspace where I’m sure someone mentioned microblogging, circa 2011

Ease of use and instantaneously reaching the entire world at the click of a button was a huge jump in information sharing in human history, and anyone, not just those who could afford it, could suddenly do it with Twitter.

Because if you look back in time, the evolutionary track of how we share information is filled with the commonalities of how a handful of powerful players influenced, steered, and profited on technologies like the printing press, telegraph, the electrical grid, wireless, radio, television, to the internet. There were even other forms of microblogging sites that tried to be “the next” or “an alternative to” Twitter, but they came and went with varying forms of success and failure.

Tillamook Cheese Factory, Oregon, circa 2012

Twitter happened to be one of the first and got lucky to have investors that helped forge it into what it became.

So now that Elon has bought it and cleared out the core of those who were at the top of the company’s operations, I would say that there is something going on that can certainly destabilize Twitter as a business.

Tech companies have come and gone by the thousands, and no business is ever too big to fail. There is an absolute possibility that Twitter could cease to exist, which was true before Musk even thought about buying it. But being that he has forcefully removed those at the top of the company’s ecosystem, we’re going to see the beginning of a brain drain with employees walking out from the lower ranks.

That’s the real foundation of any operation where without those people knowing the daily ins and outs to how things work will cause a noticeable shift. It’s impossible to guess as to how much and to what degree, but this is true of any job, especially if you lose lynchpins that take multiple people to do the same things that a single person did.

99th Grey Cup Tweetup, circa 2011

That’s really my first thought. How long before the first fail whale resurfaces? What about sabotage? Because this is the type of event where there will be no two-week notices. Folks will quit by just standing up and walking out as their personal thresholds will be tested against that benefits package and steady income that is just too good to leave your job for.

“Oh. Steve used to take care of that. I guess we forgot to put someone in charge of that… three months ago.”

The last few days has seen a sharp rise in derogatory language on Twitter, making people publicly ask if this is the free speech that Elon is professing his reasoning for this takeover.

This is where we have to wait and see how this will play out. Because even if someone is wealthy enough to do powerful things, that does not mean they are the best, the brightest, or the most successful. It just means that they are rich.

Up and until now, Musk has been good with his capitalist ventures because he has invested in developing products. How will he be able to handle something service based? How do you keep users, not customers, content?

If someone has a problem with a Tesla, you can give them a new Tesla. If someone has an issue with a rocket, you build them a better rocket.

First official Grey Cup Tweetup in CFL history, circa 2011

If the Twitter experience is ruined for someone, that’s it. There is nothing shiny or new that can be given. With users, you have to apologize and promise to be better, and then the final decision is in the hands of the user to stay or go.

And if you start introducing new things, then you risk users not liking new Twitter and fading away while left desiring Twitter classic.

Because Twitter doesn’t have to exist. It could have gone into the ground years ago under poor leadership and misguided direction, but depending on how you look at it, we’re lucky it didn’t in a weird, sometimes sad, human experiment sort of way.

Accepting that, I’ll continue to use Twitter because I remember the time when we didn’t have it as well as those times where it really showed the power of how the internet could bring people together and get out from behind our terminals. Long live cat photos and viral sensations. Down with anger and hate.

Edit: Here’s a great take on The Verge, “Welcome to hell, Elon”

The Love for Sport

I think it’s important to point out that I’m titling this post “The Love for Sport” instead of using the phrase, “of Sport”.

WFC2 vs TFC2, April 2015

Let’s come back to that idea later.

There is something to be said about the subject of sport because I certainly have my interests and am not relatively shy to admit it.

Working the sidelines for TSN Radio at the 102nd Grey Cup, November 30, 2014

Futbol (soccer), hockey, and baseball are among the top of the list, but I also appreciate rugby, Australian football, a good tennis match, nearly any sport featured in the Olympics, and the occasional gridiron football game but get more engagement from the Canadian version than the American flavor these days.

But I literally grew up in the hills off in the distance that you see in the background of the baseball field that Kevin Costner’s character built in Field of Dreams, so you can bet I grew up playing baseball.

Field of Dreams Movie Site, July 2010
Continue reading “The Love for Sport”

The Bright Side Will Win

I started watching this guy named Dan about a year ago on his YouTube channel after seeing one of his videos shared on Reddit that was a tour of his apartment in Russia.

I was fascinated.

Dan was wanting to make videos about what life is like where he lives in Russia while using the English that he had taught himself and wanted to improve upon so he could one day travel the world.

Eventually, his wife joined in on the videos, and they simply showed what life was like in their neighborhood, countryside, and just everyday life. Shopping at the mall, getting groceries, building his own house, and even starting a family.

Did you know that gas lines run above ground in Russia? Because I do now.

Dan’s stories and insights hit that spot in my heart that drives me to see more and more of the world that is as basic to the notion of driving to the end of a road just to see what’s there.

And then the invasion of Ukraine happened.

Dan’s content was a little hard to take at the beginning of the war from my perspective. It wavered along some perceived indifference to the conflict but still offered some valid insight on how their cost of living was being effected while steering clear of any viewpoints that could get them into trouble.

But one thing that is for certain is that his heart has no room for anyone or anything that goes against the notion of love and peace. On that, we could find some common ground.

And since this war has started, I’ve found other creators who offer similar insights from their various perspectives. Many of them have made their way out of Russia, some before and some after mobilization.

But I keep checking back on Dan and his family as new content appears, especially since his daughter turned one around the same time that Ukraine was invaded.

His recent content has been getting more downtrodden, and the latest (embedded at the bottom of this post) has a real sense of despair that has come over him.

He will be leaving Russia with his family. They will soon buy tickets and see where they can go, if they are not stopped at the airport. He doesn’t know. No one knows. All they can do is try.

At the end of the video, he said something that I wanted to transcribe because it’s something that I hold in my heart as well. It’s something we all need to believe.

The bright side will win.

The dark side is more easier to live in the dark side. In dark side, people can be very rich, very powerful because they have contract with major general and their life can be easier.

But in bright side, you can keep you soul. You can save your soul. And your heart.

The most expensive thing in this world is your soul.

Don’t trade your soul.

What if We Worked Together on a Grander Scale

Something I’ve often wondered was why we haven’t made more of an effort to create some sort of entity to work together on problems that face the North American continent as a whole.

@ChuckGrassley on Twitter, October 24, 2022

What most people in elected offices do is play the political game of using issues like drugs and immigration as consistent cannon fodder for their own interests. It’s a constant tactic used to maintain their position in government, stoking their constituents into believing that their simple raising of the issue amounts to some sort of solution to the problem.

But it doesn’t. And it won’t.

Continue reading “What if We Worked Together on a Grander Scale”