Sunday, August 31, 2003

I have a hair that's grey near the bottom and dark at the root. This means that this follicle lost its pigment, and then somehow got its pigment back? How the hell does that happen?

Saturday, August 30, 2003

I can't believe so many people are this ignorant! And they admitted it to a newspaper reporter!

In light of this information, I propose that everyone should have to take a brief test before voting. Anyone who passes the test, regardless of age, would be allowed to vote.

The questions on this test are as follows. (This one is on the provincial level, it can be altered for other levels of government)

1. Name the current premier and the current leader of the opposition
2. Name two political parties and the leaders of those parties
3. Name two candidates in your riding and their party affiliations
4. Name one issue in this election, and briefly describe any candidate's or party's stance on that issue.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

They should make public washroom doors open automatically from the inside but not from the outside
It's like the instant I graduated, my body betrayed me. It realized "Okay, she's not a student any more, she's a professional - let the aging process begin!" Grey hairs are more frequent, fine lines are starting to appear around my eyes, my ankles are (imperceptibly to anyone but me) thicker, red stretchmarks have appeared where only white stretchmarks have been before, my tummy sticks out enough to make any clothes that aren't perfectly cut look frumpy, my waist is suddenly higher than the waistband of any of my clothes...

...but in my body's sudden rush to age me, it forgot to turn off the acne.

It's weird, my diet is healthier than it has ever been, my weight on the scale is the same, I get the same amount, if not more, exercise than I did at any point during school, but suddenly I'm aging. I thought I'd have a few more years before this happens.

But despite all this, I don't wish for a younger body. Maybe my 19 year old body, before the first grey hair turned up, but I certainly don't covet the adolescent body. It was awkward, ever-evolving, betraying me at every turn, always older than I felt. Perhaps this just means that my body is always destined to be older than I feel.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Is your ISP Shawcable? Do you have my old school email address in your addressbook? Do you have an email address in your address book? If you answered yes to all these questions, your computer has a virus.
Now, because I know you all want insight into my twisted little life, a list of some of my Guilty Pleasures (the first ten I can think of):

- Lemon butter cookies
- M*A*S*H
- The rampant plot and character analysis found in the forums of Harry Potter fanfic sites
- Dogs With Jobs
- Insaniquarium
- On days when I don't have to get up early, setting my alarm to play the radio at some time in the morning, ignoring it, and dozing back off
- Loudly cracking some random joint in the middle of a conversation, making it look like an accident ,and innocently continuing talking as though I have no idea that I just produced this disgusting noise
- Reading the comics before the rest of the newspaper
- Putting mustard on my fries

I'm surprised to see Ernie Eves make such a stupid strategic error. If he does, in fact, mean that he doesn't intend to impose his personal values on the province, it would have been a better move to keep his mouth shut.

In making this statement, he might have been attempting to pander to those who are vehemently opposed to same-sex marriage. However, he isn't actually attempting to make any policy to eliminate same-sex marriage, and lip service isn't likely to earn him any extra votes. Also, he is the leader of the most right-wing provincial party in Ontario (with the possible exception of fringe parties that I've never heard of and never win seats), so people who are opposed to same-sex marriage are most likely to vote for his party anyway. So he has won few, if any, votes, but likely lost the votes of every queer conservative in the province and the few other conservatives who support same-sex marriage. If it's a question of a politician whose fiscal policy you like versus a politician who respects your human rights, I think human rights are going to win out every time.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Attention world: you need to evaluate politicians based on their party's policy, not on their speeches in times of crisis. Speeches aren't leadership - they're being a talking head delivering the message that was agreed upon in the war room and designed by speechwriters and damage control specialists. You can only evaluate leadership based on policy and execution thereof, which is best determined by looking at the party's past record and the speeches they make to each other within the party itself.

Monday, August 25, 2003

I'm watching Monty Python, and despite the fact that it's one of those horribly-edited A&E episodes, it's full of lovely moments that I had completely forgotten about: The Royal Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things, Eric Idle standing innocently in a drawing room while furniture collapses and people die all around him, Welsh coal-miners arguing about the Treaty of Utrecht - I can't believe I'd forgotten about all of this!
A few days ago I was watching a documentary on LaughLab. One of the things they did in their experiments was ask people to rate how funny each joke was, and then they ranked this by country. Germany ranked the most jokes as funnier, while Canada was a distant tenth. The people at LaughLab said this means Germans have the best sense of humour, but I'm not sure if thinking everything is funny constitutes a sense of humour.

Then today I read about an experiment where they asked people of various ages to pick the punchlines for some jokes from a multiple choice list. Younger people got all the punchlines correct, while older people missed a few. They concluded that this means older people lose their sense of humour.

I think they're missing a factor that can explain the findings of both these experiments: the internet. There are a lot of jokes on the internet, possibly every joke in the world. Jokes get posted onlines as quickly as they get thought up. I know that since I got online, hearing a joke I have never heard before has become an extremely rare occurence. And the vast majority of these rare occurences happen online.

Canada is one of the most wired nations in the world. While everyone in the laughlab experiment must be online, it is more likely that Canadians have been online longer than some other nationalities, and therefore have heard more jokes. Canadians rate the jokes lower simply because they've heard them before. I love the joke about the two hunters that won the title of funniest joke in the world, but I know it already so I might not laugh when you tell me it. Meanwhile, I might laugh at a not-as-good joke that I've heard before.

Similarly, young people are much likelier to be online than old people. Since being online increases the likelihood that they've heard the jokes used in the experiment, they are able to complete the punchline not because of a better sense of humour, but because they already know the joke.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

I expected better from the Toronto Star. Phys ed classes are not going to get kids to embrace a healthier lifestyle. It may get them moving for a couple of years, but it is not likely to have good long-term effects.

Two questions to ask yourself:
  1. How many people do you know who developed a great love of athletics and fitness because of gym class? ("because", NOT "despite")

  2. How many people do you know who developed a great dislike of athletics and fitness because of gym class?

People who think gym class is panacea may have forgotten that it's nothing but torture for everyone, with the possible exception of the kids who are already athletic.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

A lot of the political analysis I've been reading lately seems to point to one thing. Politicians ignore young people's key issues because young people vote in very low numbers. It's easy to understand why - most parties that represent our views are traditionally marginalized, it's harder to vote when you're in the limbo between living in one city for school and having your permanent address in another city, and those politcians really don't seem to care about us.

We have to make them notice us by voting, of course, but we also need to make them notice us before there is anything to vote on. So the homework for everyone reading this who is under 25 is to engage in one piece of political activism at each level (local, provincial, federal) before each respective election. A piece of political activism can be writing or emailing your representative, writing a letter to the editor, starting a petition - anything to indicate your support for or disapproval of any issue. Those who have two addresses depending on the time of year can rightfully write to their representatives in each jurisdiction, thus being heard twice!

If every young person in the country spoke out and said "I'm here, and I have political opinions too!" those grownups would think twice before marginalizing us.

So get out there, do something, and pass this message on.

Friday, August 22, 2003

The problem with the movie Thirteen is that it will make parents freak out. Parents will hear about the plot of this movie (even if they don't see it themselves) and think they have to supervise their daughters better, and then they will keep too tight a rein on normal, shy, awkward, confused adolescents who just want to spend a bit of time with their friends without their parents breathing down their neck. Normally-attentive and over-protective parents will supervise their kids even more, keeping them from having a normal social life and thus alienating them from the peer group and making them more inclined to indulge in risky behaviour when given the opportunity in order to assert their independence from the oppressive regime at home. Meanwhile neglectful parents, to whom the cautionary aspect of this tale was likely originally directed, are not likely to notice. This movie is a bad strategic move on the part of everyone involved.
Someone should invent a way to do a search-and-replace through an entire folder of documents instead of having to S&R each document individually.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

I took a sick day this afternoon. It's weird - I wasn't hugely sick, but I had this crazy headache that seemed immune to Advil, and it was preventing me from working. I simply couldn't think. So I went home and lay down in my dark cool room and slept for four hours. I feel a bit better now - I could probably still sleep through the evening, but I have laundry that badly needs doing. I still don't know what was/is wrong with me. It almost seemed like a migraine, but I don't get migraines.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Someone needs to make an algorithm that will index the Webtender database and determine what combinations of ingredients will make the most possible drinks. I.e., this program should be able to answer the question "What ten ingredients should I buy to allow me the most drink-making possibilities?"

Bonus points for a program that will tell you which ingredients to buy to make the most possible orange-juice-based drinks.
I just realized that all day today I was using "I typed it by hand" to mean "I actually typed the words into the computer rather than copy-pasting them from somewhere." Sign of the times?
Why do elevators have stop buttons? I can't think of any situation in which bringing an elevator to a sudden stop would be helpful. Unless, I suppose, it was in freefall, but I doubt a button would help then.

Monday, August 18, 2003

I got tomorrow off too! WOOO five day weekend!!!

I love my job :)
On Thursday, before all the drama started, a Canada Post delivery notice was put in my mailbox. I assumed it was my latest Amazon order and I thought "Whoa, that was fast!" But I just checked at Amazon, and my latest order hasn't shipped yet. I have no idea what this package could be and I have to wait until tomorrow to find out!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Lewis Wheelan, RIP

Poor Lewis, he deserves better. This is the problem with the warnings they give not to use air conditioning and not to call 911 except in a real emergency. I'm sure everyone would agree that Lewis' case was a real emergency, but, knowing him, it is very likely that he heard on the radio "Don't call 911 unless it's a real emergency" and decided to wait it out, saving 911 services for seniors and people trapped in elevators.

Similarly, I can see seniors in need deciding not to turn on their air conditioning because Ernie Eves is telling them to keep it off, thinking "Meh, I've been through worse than not having A/C" They should tell people "If you have a medical condition where you are affected by the heat, go ahead and turn on the A/C. If you have such a medical condition and you don't have electricity yet, call 911 so paramedics can evacuate you." Or they should just tell everyone to set their thermostats to 30 degrees, and then everyone will have A/C only when they absolutely need it.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

I don't understand why people are so pissed off that it took the politicians so long to give press conferences. I wasn't expecting to hear from politicians, I was expecting to hear from their communications and media representatives. I didn't think there was anything wrong with the absence of politicians, I figured they would be receiving information, making decisions, taking action. Aren't our elected leaders supposed to be providing leadership? If I knew that their job was simply to be talking heads for their jurisdictions, I would have voted for the person with the best diction.
THIS IS SO COOL! Now when I'm trying to cook I never have to mess around looking for a measurement unit converter again!
I'm bored. It's weird - I'm bored because I can't go out. (Well, I can go out, but there's no point in doing so because the subway is down and most places in my immediate neighbourhood are closed, so it's not worth the trouble of walking down 14 flights of stairs). If this were a normal weekend, I wouldn't be bored. If you told me last Thursday that I'd spend Saturday sitting at home, reading, eating, watching TV, playing computer games, I'd think that sounds nice and restful. I have two newspapers and 2 unread novels in addition to 100 TV channels and the entire freaking internet! But just the fact that I can't go out makes me antsy and bored.
My face is freaking out. I'm covered in splotchy red zits and I have no idea why. The grocery stores in my immediate vincinity remain closed while they deal with spoiled merchandise. Grumpiness for me today.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Why does it bother parents so much when kids watch TV and play video games?
People, most of whom weren't affected by the blackout, are going "What's the big deal? People didn't have electricity for centuries!"

It wasn't that big a deal, mostly a minor inconvenience for me personally, but a few thoughts:

- My stove is electric. Before they had stoves people would use fire to cook, but I don't have any safe place to make a fire because my building was built decades after stoves were invented, so the ability to safely make a fire would be a luxury.
- I live on the 14th floor. Before the invention of the elevator, buildings weren't more than 6 storeys tall. I am quite capable of climbing 14 flights of stairs, but the fact that pre-elevator buildings were never this tall is testament to the fact that it isn't reasonable to do so every day.
- My local grocery stores are closed because their register and inventory systems are all electronic. Not all stores can just spontaneously switch back to a manual register like they had before electricity.
- Same thing with banks. Even if the branch were open, they can't process my withdrawl manually.
- Water is pumped by electric pumps. Before the existence of this sort of system there were hand pumps, springs, and wells. However, I'm not likely to find a well in midtown Toronto.

PS: Mayor Mel: how can you tell all the businesses to close, and then tell everyone to go buy a flashlight all in the same breath?
Well that was interesting. I was very lucky. I was in the office when the blackout hit, so I managed to get a ride home with a co-worker. The stairwells in my building were pitch black. It was like one of those movies where they put a prisoner in dark solitary confinement and he goes insane. I was fully prepared to sit in the lobby and wait, but then these two old ladies convinced me to go up with them. So we were slowly walking up, counting our steps, narrating our journey, feeling our way along the walls, and on the sixth floor we met this guy with a candle, so he escorted all of us back to our apartments. That guy is a hero!

Luckily I hyper-cool my apartment when I'm at work, closing all the curtains and cranking up the air conditioner, so it was still cool when I got home. Water wasn't working, but fortunately I had 7 water bottles, 2 big bottles of coke, 24 cans of iced tea, plus some lemonade and wine and orange juice, so I'm not going to die any time soon. I had a peanut butter sandwich for dinner so I wouldn't have to open the fridge and read the newspaper and Harry Potter until it got dark.

I took a sleeping pill at sunset - I don't like to take them but the last thing I needed was to be in pitch dark in a power outage freaking out because I can't sleep. It's surprising how dark things are without electricity! Candles produce so little light! (Don't worry, I had my candle in a very tall jar and kept it well-supervised). Life must have been so bleak before the invention of electricity! I quickly nodded off, and woke up at about 4:45 am when the power came back on. I listened to a bit of radio and watched a bit of TV and puttered around. Took a shower even though I don't know if I'm supposed to. I was surprised to see a Globe and Mail at my door, but that gives me something to keep me amused.

I assume I don't have to go to work today. I'll stay home until someone calls and says "Why aren't you at work?" anyway. It's a state of emergency and I'm certainly not an essential service, so I doubt I'd get in trouble for not going. I'm trying very hard to be a good girl and conserve energy, but it's very hard to sit at home all day and not use energy. I obviously have my computer on, I did have a shower (since I don't know if the power and water will go out again, I may as well be clean), and while I'm not keeping my TV on 24/7 I will turn it on when I find something I want to watch. I also cooked some pasta so that I'll have food if the power goes out again. I could really use some groceries, but I doubt stores are open. The problem with having taken a sleeping pill is that I'm not tired at all, and napping would be a good thing to do today.

Ah well, I had been sort of hoping for a day off.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

I read the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail. The Toronto Star's editorial stance is very much in line with my personal politics, while the Globe and Mail is a tad conservative. However, I've noticed that lately the Star seems to be a bit more optimistic than the Globe and Mail. Take, for example, their stories about the element in the Liberal party that wants legal same-sex unions not to bear the name "marriage". When I read the Star's story, I got the impression "Some people want to prevent same-sex marriages from being called marriages, but it's okay, they'll never get away with it." When I read G&M's story, I got the impression "They will go to any lengths to prevent same-sex marriages from being called marriages, and there are a great many of them!" (It should be noted that this is the impression I got from a quick skimming of the articles, which is how I generally read newspapers. A more in-depth read reveals multifaceted views of course, but I'm talking about my first immediate impression).

Now I don't know which of these views is more correct since I am not a Liberal party insider and I'm not qualified to interpret law for a reason. However, the G&M story compelled me to write to my MP and remind her how important it is that the word marriage be used, while the Star story, had I read it first, would probably have made me think "This isn't so good, but it's okay, they law won't allow half-assed civil unions."

I think it would behoove the Star to be a bit more pessimistic in their editorial stance. The Star is Canada's most widely read newspaper. If they had managed to elicit the slight panic that I felt from the G&M article, more people for whom the use of the word marriage is very important would have been more compelled to write to their MP and give the Liberals more of a mandate for the word marriage, while more people who did not want the word marriage used would have felt more complacent and taken no action. An optimistic editorial stance leads to increased complacency among people who agree with the paper's politics, while a more pessimistic attitude would lead to increased activism.

Monday, August 11, 2003

It's interesting how the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail can have completely different takes on the same story. It's also interesting which newspaper decided to spin it which way

Sunday, August 10, 2003

I'm now going to be one of those annoying people who points out mistakes in Harry Potter. In OotP, 12 Grimmauld place is so heavily disguised and hidden that you can only get in there if Dumbledore personally tells you where it is. And yet Harry managed to send Hedwig there before he knew where it was by telling her to find Sirius.

So why doesn't the ministry just send an owl to Sirius and follow the owl to find out where he is?
I was getting ready to go out with my playlist playing in the background. Smells Like Teen Booty came on, which is a really good song to get ready to, so I started dancing and singing along as I put on my makeup. Then Stairway to Heaven came on next, but since it isn't as danceable I kept singing Smells Like Teen Booty. When Stairway to Heaven hit the instrumental bridge, I realized that my singing actually went with the music. This means that both Bootylicious and Smells Like Teen Spirit could be mashed up with Stairway to Heaven. Someone with the proper software and more musical and artistic skills then me better get right on that!

This psycho lady tried to get on the bus with an invalid transfer. The driver told her she'd have to pay her proper fare because you can't transfer your way through a round trip (at least not so obviously - I've certainly done it before, but you don't try to use a subway transfer on a bus that's going INTO a subway station). So Psycho Lady freaks out and starts threatening to contact various imposing-sounding government departments or organizations. Too bad none of them exist. There is no treasury department in Canada (there's a Treasury Board Secretariat, but they certainly wouldn't concern themselves with this), Toronto doesn't have a county clerk, and while there is a Governor General, I'm sure she wouldn't care.

I found the most gorgeous blouses ever. They are ribbed diagonally, so they are extremely flattering, and they come in at least three colours that look good on me and aren't red! (I own way too much red already) And one of these colours is exactly the same as my eyes! The only problem is they're at Fairweather's, and I had sworn not to shop there because they were mean to me. But they don't have blouses this perfect anywhere else! The label said that they're hand wash only in cold water, but I'm waiting for my mommy to rule on their real washability. Hopefully she'll say they are, in fact, hand wash only, then my decision will be made for me. But if I can put them in the washing machine, then I'll either have to be a hypocrite or go without perfect blouses.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

When they make the movie of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Professor Umbridge MUST be played by Patricia Routledge.
I've figured out why the use of the word marriage is so important to me. Not calling same-sex marriage marriage implies the sort of squirming, cringing homophobia that is more often found in middle school. It gives the impression of desperately trying to avoid anything that could even be remotely described as gay so as to avoid being thought of as gay oneself. It seems like the unspoken train of thought is "Oh no! If gay people can get married...I'm married! Will that make me gay? What if people think I'm gay?"

While I will heave a world-weary sigh and begrudgingly acknowledge that this squirming cringing adolescent homophobia still does exist among some elements of our society, it should not be in our legistation. Our legislation should represent the best of us.
At work, I'm supposed to be learning. I'm supposed to be learning so that I can work completely independently within two years. It's a slow process because I'm learning from experience. I tend to get impatient with this process because there's nothing I can actively do to accelerate or facilitate my learning, I just have to do my job and trust that the learning will happen by itself. It's weird, because in my 19 years of school I could always do something active and specific to learn, but here I have to detach myself and just let it happen.
We have to do something about this. The last thing we want, in Canada of all places, is ghettoized, "separate-but-equal" social institutions. So it's time to write to your MP again and let them know, particularly if your MP is a more conservative Liberal. And if you are, or are likely to be, involved in a heterosexual marriage, it would be helpful to subtly point this out. No "I'm straight, but...", but a "my husband and I" might work.
I hate friends-only LJs. I don't have an LJ account so I can't be people's friends. And some of the people whose LJs I want to read would find it weird that I'm asking, but I'm not one of the people they're avoiding.

Friday, August 08, 2003

How come when people die in movies, they always have a trickle of blood trickling out of their mouth?
You know what everyone in the world has completely forgotten about? Human shields.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

It reminds me of middle school. In middle school, when kids would annoy the substitute teachers, they would punish the entire class. Their logic in doing this was that while only a few kids were annoying the subs, the rest of us weren't doing anything to stop them. I always resented this, because I certainly couldn't do anything to influence the behaviour of the rest of the class. If I could influence their behaviour, my life wouldn't have been such a living hell.

They seem to be doing the same thing by blaming the community leaders (who, incidently, aren't elected representatives or anything) for the violence in the community. Whenever you have a group of people who are forced together rather than chosing to be a member of that group, just as there are some people who can't influence the behaviour of anyone, there are some people whose behaviour can't be influenced by anyone.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Why do old men always hike up their pants at the knees before sitting down?

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

They're talking about the Nova Scotia election on TV. Right now, the tories are in the lead, and NDP is in 2nd place. I realize that it could still go any way, but a tory government with an NDP official opposition is an interesting concept.

Monday, August 04, 2003

All I want is an mp3 of Johnny Favourite's Root Beer and Licorice. And it doesn't exist on Kazaa! WTF?
I have a zit in the most annoying place. It's on my lower eyelid, right where the eyelid skin turns into normal face skin. It looks like the kind of wart that a witch would have, and because it's on such delicate skin I can't squeeze it or apply too much zit cream. Applying my sexy light-diffusing concealer helps, but when I'm wearing full makeup I apply this concealer all over my lower eyelids to hide my disgusting permanent dark circles, so the zit is no longer de-emphasized.

I have to buy stuff to drink. I don't have much to drink. But drinks are heavy and there's a humidex of like 35 out there.

And I ruined my khakis yesterday, and I wanted to go shopping for more today but I overslept. It's just as well though, this isn't a good week for trying on light-coloured pants.
Every rant against same-sex marriage seems to be a personal affront. I want to get married one day. I do have a candidate in mind, and we've already established that we do not want to produce children, and we do not want our relationship to undergo any religious consecration. But it is very very very important to me, for reasons that I can't yet completely articulate, that our union be called a marriage. Every time I hear people ranting about how marriage should only apply to a religiously consecrated union whose purpose is to produce children, it feels almost like hate speech.

And I'm very lucky - the candidate I have in mind happens to be of the opposite sex! I can only imagine how this feels for people who are marrying someone of the same sex!

For those who say that only religiously consecrated marriages should be called marriages and other marriages should be called "civil unions": Since you seem to want the two to be called differently, how about we call anything that involves a marriage certificate a marriage, and if it has a religious element it gets the further designation of "religious union"?

For those who are fretting over churches suddenly being required to perform same-sex marriages: are religious institutions currently required to perform marriages that they find are incompatible with their creed?

An issue that I'd like to see addressed: if, on the off-chance, the current draft bill is overturned, what do the opponents of said draft bill suggest we do about all the existing, perfectly legal, same-sex marriages? The government can't just unilaterally declare two people unmarried!

Sunday, August 03, 2003

On Friday I did a bunch of ab work. I did a total of about 100 situps focusing on each muscle in the six-pack, and then some yoga postures that crunch your abs. I'm still feeling it today. It's a good sore, but it's so sore I can't do situps. I'm sucking my stomach in because that's more comfortable for my aching muscles.

GAH! I've become one of those annoying people who talks about her exercise!

Saturday, August 02, 2003

So apparently divorce agreements are starting to include clauses on very specific elements of parenting. The problem with this is that kids change, circumstances change, kids gain the ability to make decisions for themselves long before they reach age of majority. Then what happens? So one parent is in charge of medical decisions. But then the kid grows up, becomes sexually active, and feels she can confide better in the other parent about her birth control needs. So one parent has the legal right to take charge of the child's religious education and the other has to comply with those decisions. So when the kid decides he doesn't want to go to church any more, would the non-decision making parent be in trouble for not forcing him to go? So the children aren't allowed to sit in car seats with airbags until they reach a certain height. Suppose one of them is an inch below that height, but she gets carsick if she can't sit in the front. And I have no idea what this height might be. Suppose it's 5'2", and the kid stops growing at 5'1" and want to learn how to drive. What if the non-custodial parent is in charge of educational decisions, and then the kid wants or needs to change schools?

Supposedly this is helping to focus on parental responsibilities, but it sounds to me like it's just taking more rights away from the kid. Ideally they should have a clause that the kid can overrule or amend any aspect of the agreement for any moderately good reason.

Friday, August 01, 2003

I've just been hit by a sudden wave of contentment. I have three days off. I have immediate access to the entire internet, more TV channels than I've ever had before, a fridge full of food, and all five Harry Potter books. Every morning I will get one or two fresh newspapers at my doorstep. Anything I might possibly need to purchase is a block away. At this exact moment, I lack nothing.
And now for another Brilliant Idea The Would Be Impossible to Implement:

Imagine a system where every firearm will only work for one person. Some kind of high-tech fingerprint/DNA/retina scanning device. Then imagine that every firearm leaves a distinct fingerprint on the bullets. So any fired bullet can be traced back to the person who fired it.