Saturday, May 28, 2011

Plot hole in my childhood

From time to time when I was a kid, I'd be sitting there, reading a book, minding my own business, and some grownup would walk in and say "Turn a light on!"

I'm now the age that my parents were when they had children, and this doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever! How does it even occur to a person? You walk into a room and...evaluate the suitability of the light levels for some activity you aren't even planning to engage in? Why would you think that a person who knows full well how to operate the lights wouldn't adjust the lighting levels if they were uncomfortable? Why would you think you know the appropriate lighting level for someone else to engage in an activity you're not doing when you don't have their eyes and aren't engaging in their activity?

At the time I chalked it up to grownups being weird, but in retrospect I'm baffled!

The other scars of bullying

Sometimes when I tell people that I was bullied, and that "just ignor[ing] it" didn't make the bullying stop (at least not for years and years and years), they respond with something like "But it made you stronger, right?"

No, it didn't make me stronger. It fucked up my interpersonal interactions until well into my twenties. But I haven't figured out a way to successfully explain this to people who want to impose the "made you stronger" narrative on my life.

Fortunately, Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, can explain it more articulately than I can:

These girls described feeling unfamiliar with the most basic rules of relationship, things taken for granted by any socially adjusted person. They no longer feel certain of what makes people angry or upset, not to mention how to tell when someone is feeling that way. Their emotional radar is incapacitated. This can turn a girl into a cautious ghost of her former self, stifled and silenced by fear.

This fear is felt by degrees among girls who struggle with everyday conflict. One of the chief symptoms of girls' loss of self-esteem is the sense of being crazy, of not being able to trust one's own interpretation of people's actions or events. Did she just look at her when I said that? Was she joking? Did she roll her eyes? Not save the seat on purpose? Lie about her plans? Tell me that she'd invited me when she hadn't? The girls I'd interviewed confirmed a similar unrest, the disturbing belief that what they were sure they knew or saw wasn't that at all, but was in fact something quite different. In discord between girls, gestures of conflict often contradict speech, confounding their intended targets.


I always felt like society was operating on another secret set of rules that was completely different from what I was being taught, and I had to guess what was really expected of me. This feeling didn't start to go away until I was in my mid-20s, a decade after the bullying ended, and nearly 200% longer than it lasted. This is what bullying does to people.

What if all political candidates had to work with exactly the same funding?

In the news lately has been the Conservative government's desire to get rid of the $1.75 per vote subsidy, leaving only fundraising to pay for election campaigns.

I've been thinking about what I like and dislike about election campaigns, and I think I'd like it better if fundraising wasn't even allowed. I'd rather have all candidates in each race allocated the exact same amount of money, with wouldn't be enough for a particularly lavish race, and strictly limited in the kind of donations they're allowed to accept.

Whatever the amount of money is, it should limit candidates to communicating with voters (in person, online, by phone), having an office, and handing out/mailing printed materials. No assholic TV commercials, no ridiculous promotional stunts, no rallies or parties apart from election night itself. (I'll allow lawn signs too, although I think they're silly and we'd be better off without them.) There would be budget for the minimum staff necessary, at the going rates for seasoned professionals. (This leaves the candidate with the option of larger paid staff who are less experienced.)

The amount each candidate receives should be commensurate with the realities of the riding. For example, candidates in downtown Toronto can probably get everywhere by transit and don't need a car, whereas a private plane would be a necessity for candidates in Nunavut. However, the Toronto candidates would probably have to pay more for office space.

No one would be allowed to donate money to election campaigns. Candidates would not be allowed to use their own money for campaign stuff. (They'd probably be allowed to buy themselves suits etc., but they can't pay for their own domain name - that has to come out of campaign funds.) People cannot make in-kind donations (i.e. no donating free printing for flyers). The only donation allowed is volunteering one's time. I haven't decided yet whether donating one's own professional services should be allowed or prohibited.

The goal here is to put all the campaigns on rather minimalist equal ground and leave the candidates with not much to do but dialogue with voters. This would leave us (and the media) with nothing to focus on but issues and candidate-voter relationships, which would make the whole thing a lot more pleasant for everyone.

"Setting up personalized settings for: Windows Desktop Update"

I just installed the latest Windows 7 service pack, and, after I rebooted, my computer gave me a message saying "Setting up personalized settings for: Windows Desktop Update", and then stayed on that message for quite a long time. I was certain the computer was frozen, but I was in the middle of exercising so I decided to wait until I was done to do anything about it.

It turned out the computer stayed on that message for 15 minutes. Then the screen turned black and, again, stayed there for quite a long time. Again, it seemed frozen, but the mouse moved and the numlock key still worked, so I decided to give it some time. The screen stayed black for about 12 minutes. Then Windows finished booting up as usual.

So the moral of the story is: if your computer appears to freeze on "Setting up personalized settings for: Windows Desktop Update" or on the black screen that comes after, give it a really long time before you decide that it's frozen and interrupt the service pack installation. My computer is only 5 months old, so if your computer is older than that it might take even longer than the 15 minutes. (I guess the other moral of the story is don't install service packs if you're going to need the computer right away - wait until you have some time.)

Dear Windows Update designers: a percentage complete/time remaining progress bar at that point in the installation would be helpful.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What if they taught noblesse oblige in school?

I first learned about the concept of noblesse oblige in sociolinguistics class, when we were studying U and Non-U. To give us some context, the prof talked to us about the British conceptualization of old money (generally title nobility) vs. nouveau riche. The most memorable example she gave was that titled nobility would wear an extremely good quality cashmere sweater that they bought 20 years ago, while nouveau riche would ostentatiously buy the trendiest new clothes every year. I found the noblesse oblige concept appealing, and try to work it into my own life on the few occasions when I can find an opportunity to do so.

A number of things recently have made me wonder "Haven't they ever heard of noblesse oblige?" Some of this comes from politics, some of it comes from my recent readings on bullying theory. Most recent was from this article:

At one Southern school, some popular kids keep the price tags on their clothing so that classmates can see that they paid full price at a nondiscount store.


WTF? Haven't they ever heard of noblesse oblige?

Actually, they probably haven't. I first met the concept in an upper-year university sociolinguistics course, so why on earth would I think schoolkids should have heard of it?

But wouldn't it be useful if it were a more widely-known concept? What if they taught it in school?

Obviously they can't teach it as a thou shalt - that would come across as lecturey and sanctimonious and would never work. It would have to be closer to how I was introduced to it, simply "This is a thing that exists. Nobility does it."

So how would you do that? First thing that comes to mind is in a novel. For one or more of the books everyone reads in English class, pick something where noblesse oblige is a plot or character point. Appealing protagonist characters demonstrate noblesse oblige, and unappealing antagonist characters fail to do so. It wouldn't be the whole moral of the novel, just an underlying thread, like how entails are an underlying thread of Jane Austen novels but the books are far more than just a lecture on the follies of entails. That would introduce people to the concept of noblesse oblige in a non-lecturey way, and maybe the idea would stick with some people and help make the world a better place in the long run.

"Feminization"

This train of thought has been festering for a while, but it started with this article about how there are fewer male students in veterinary school, a phenomenon that researchers refer to as "the feminization of veterinary medicine".

I recently something similar in language. Apparently male (Anglophone) students are hesitant to study French because they perceive it as being "for girls". You also often hear it spoken of in reference to elementary education. Apparently boys get less than enthusiastic about reading etc. because it's being modeled and encouraged by (primarily female) teachers, which apparently makes boys thing it's "for girls". Again, the word "feminization" is often used to describe this phenomenon.

The word "feminization" makes it sound like the thing is being made more feminine. But that isn't the issue. The thing isn't being made feminine, the thing is exactly what it has always been. The issue is that a previously neutral thing has started being perceived by boys as feminine (presumably because girls are doing it), and this makes boys not want to do it. So the real problem is that boys don't want to do things that they perceive to be "for girls."

But can we as women even do anything about this? It seems like an internal characteristic of male culture (insofar as it's even remotely useful to think of male culture as something homogenous), and I can't imagine that anything that women might say or do would make a difference.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Teach me how to burn .avi to DVD

Has anyone out there successfully burned an .avi file to a DVD so it can be played in a DVD player? If so, what exactly did you do? Windows DVD player says it can do it but it doesn't work (it reads the resulting DVD as blank)

The internet has entirely too many suggestions and they're all different, so I'm looking for first-hand experience. Has anyone out there done this successfully?

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Wii Fit chickened out on me today

In some of the activities in Wii Fit, you can "challenge" your trainer to see who can do the most reps. Since your trainer is actually a cartoon, that really means that she'll say she's tired and can't do any more after a few more reps than you managed to do the last time you challenged her.

So today I clicked on the jackknife challenge, fully expecting to do about 60 reps. The trainer popped up and said "I'm a little off today. Why don't you come back again later to challenge me?" Then it returned to the menu without putting me through any jackknives.

Isn't that weird???? But, you know, I kind of like it when a computer gives me an unexpected excuse not to do an exercise. It's the exercise equivalent of a snow day!

Why OHIP should cover telephone prescription renewals

From a Globe and Mail column, explaining why doctor's offices have to charge for telephone prescription renewal. OHIP doesn't cover telephone renewals, and the article explains why doctors would lose money if they didn't bill for them:

Something as simple as a prescription refill, he points out, takes about 15 minutes of physician and support staff time. The chart is retrieved, taken to the doctor’s office, where it must be read. A decision is made to renew and a note made. The prescription must faxed or phoned in, then the chart re-filed.


All these things need to be done if the patient comes into the office too. But, on top of this, support staff time is needed to book the appointment and check the patient's health card and exchange basic pleasantries when they arrive. The patient sits in the waiting room, thus being exposed to and becoming a vector for whatever contagions any other patients may have. The patient exchanges basic pleasantries with the doctor, is asked if there are any changes to their health, probably undergoes a basic examination since they're there anyway, and might have an unrelated but quick and simple question to ask while they're there. This all takes up more time and resources (and actual appointment slots), and because it involves presumably non-contagious patients going to a medical office (which is more likely to have a higher concentration of contagious patients than the general population) it slightly increases the possibility of contagion, which is a worse public health outcome and increases the burden on the health system. On top of that, the patient probably has to take time off work to come into the office, which costs the patient and/or the employer money and reduces the patient's economic productivity for that day.

In short, in-person renewal is a greater burden on the system than telephone renewal. The difference is small, but for each and every factor in-person is a greater burden than telephone. The only time in-person renewal is superior is when the doctor needs to examine the patient before writing or renewing the prescription. Therefore, OHIP should cover telephone (or even internet!) renewal in addition to in-person renewal, because it is better for society.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Why Gay-Straight Alliances in Catholic schools are consistent with the teaching of the Church

Recently in the news, a number of Ontario Catholic school boards banned Gay-Straight Alliances in their schools. But I recently stumbled upon something that suggests the permitting Gay-Straight Alliances is more consistent with the Church's teachings than forbidding them.

Straight out of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.


A Gay-Straight Alliance is a source of the support of disinterested friendship, respect, compassion, and sensitivity for those faced with these trials and difficulties. In a Catholic and educational context, it (like any other Catholic school-related organization) can be used to help students fulfill God's will in their lives and gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

To forbid a Gay-Straight Alliance is unjust discrimination, which is quite specifically contraindicated in the Catechism. Moreover, it is an outright failure of the schools' duty towards their students. All Catholic school students are, by virtue of being unmarried, currently called to chastity, and, by virtue of adolescent hormones, currently subject to temptation in this regard. Within the internal logic of the Catholic church (and, especially, the current pontiff's inclination towards moral absolutism), the situation of queer students is morally equivalent to the situation of everyone else. So why should their school, which is entrusted with their mental, social, and moral development, deny them the respect, compassion, sensitivity, unity, support, friendship called for in the Catechism to help them fulfill God's will in their lives and gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection as called for in the Catechism in the face of what the Catechism defines as trials and difficulties?

Questioning the illegality of assassination

I was surprised when reading Noam Chomsky's reaction to Bin Laden's death to learn that assassination is illegal under international law. This surprised me, because all-out war can be perfectly legal under international law, and war is far messier and hurts far more people than assassination. I googled around and it seems to be true, and I also have a vague memory of in 2001 when Canada was first going to occupy Afghanistan, asking why we couldn't just assassinate Bin Laden instead and being told that that's illegal.

I think we need to rethink this. It just doesn't seem right that it would be illegal to, say, send in a small team of spooks to neatly assassinate Gaddafi, but World War I was perfectly legal. Why should it be legal to kill thousands, even millions, of soldiers and civilians and destroy infrastructure and livelihoods, but illegal to sneak into some despot's compound and off him in his sleep?

I'm certainly not saying that people or countries should be allowed to kill people and then get a get out of jail free card by calling it assassination, or that assassination is even objectively a good thing, at all, ever. I'm just thinking it might be a less unpalatable shade of grey than full-out military action.

In his article, Mr. Chomsky says:

We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.


And his point, that the American people would not be best pleased with that development, is, of course, correct and valid. But I suspect the American people would be even less pleased if war were declared on the whole country and millions of innocent civilians found themselves bombed out and under military occupation when the occupying force really just wanted that one guy.

Perhaps it would be useful for international law to create a framework inside which assassination can be legal. Perhaps countries who want to assassinate someone could go before an international court and get an assassination warrant. (Q: But then wouldn't the target know they're about to be assassinated? A: Are there any plausible targets for assassination who aren't already assuming someone wants to assassinate them?) As a starting point, I propose that, in any situations where war or other military occupation would be legal, targeted assassination should also be legal (and military action should not be a prerequisite to targeted assassination.) Perhaps, before military action could be considered legal, the initiator should have to justify why targeted assassination isn't an option.

I'm certainly not under the impression that military actions normally stick to the letter of international law in the first place, but nevertheless, even if just for form's sake, the action with the less harmful outcome should be just as legal as the action with the more harmful outcome.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The mystery of Reitmans Comfort Fit pants

This year, Reitmans Comfort Fit pants have a tag on them suggesting that you try wearing a size smaller than your regular size, "for a smoother fit that will hug your waist".

But the pants are already smaller than last year!

I know it's the pants and not my weight because I still have the ones I bought last year. Last year's size 13 currently gives me a generous, and perhaps even roomy, fit in the thighs and seat, in more of a 90s aesthetic. This year's size 13 is fashionably snug in the thighs and seat. This year's size 11 makes my hips and thighs look like sausages, even fatter than I look naked.

I can understand making the pants narrower in keeping with this year's aesthetic. And I can understand encouraging people to maybe try on a size smaller to get a look that's more in keeping with this year's aesthetic. But why on earth would you do both? What could that possibly achieve except make your customers feel fat?

Monday, May 09, 2011

Things They Should Invent: measure the non-NIMBY vote

In Local Motion, there are two stories of excessively NIMBY behaviour. In one case, a family put up a fence in their yard so the kids could play safely, and the neighbours objected because the norm in the neighbourhood was not to have fences. In another, a family wanted to tear down their old house and build a new accessible one to accommodate member of the household's disability, and the neighbours objected because of the historical nature of the house being torn down.

Both of these cases ended up having public meetings held about them, and it occurred to me that this is inherently unfair. Do you want to go to a public meeting about the Jones's fence? If you think their fence is an outrage, your answer is going to be "Hell yeah!" But if you don't care either way about their fence, your answer is going to be "Of course not, I don't care if the Joneses build a fence!" The vast vast majority of the neighbourhood might be completely indifferent, but the Joneses still find themselves in a public meeting facing dozens of angry opponents. No one is going to bother to go all the way to a public meeting and stand up in front of people just to say "Really, I do no care one bit," but most of the neighbourhood probably feels this way.

Non-NIMBYs often truly don't care, and may even think the issue is none of their business. This makes them harder to count, but we really do need to come up with a way to have the indifferent vote counted without requiring too much effort by the indifferent.

How to make me conservative

I've been watching Johnathan Haidt's TED talk on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives, and I realized that I actually have quite a lot in common with conservatives. I don't have a high level of openness to new experiences. I like things that are familiar, safe, and dependable. Mr. Haidt says that liberals "want change and justice, even at the risk of chaos" and conservatives "want order, even at cost to those at the bottom." I don't necessarily want change, except when it's necessary for justice or to improve things. I wouldn't say "at the risk of chaos", the strongest I'd go is "at the risk of reasonable sacrifice." I rather like order as well (although not when it's code for authoritarianism), just not at the cost of anyone - especially not those at the bottom! Overall, I like the rut I'm in and would very much like to stay here. My politics come from my personal desire not have my comfy rut taken away, and my socialist value that anyone who would like to do so should be able to enjoy the same benefits from the status quo that I do.

The more conservative people around me seem to think that I should be more conservative, and based on Mr. Haidt's theories it seems like the potential is in me. So why am I not there?

I've been thinking about this for a while, and I think it comes down to two things: the status quo is not satisfactory, and there is sufficient will among people who identify as conservative to change the aspects of the status quo that I find positive to make me nervous. I am naturally inclined to unquestioningly accept the status quo, and to fiercely cling to the aspects of it that I see as positive. Elimination of threats to positive aspects of the status quo is the most likely way to make me conservative.

So what does that mean in specific terms?

1. Good jobs for all Employment gives me money which buys me my comfy rut. If I could be confident that my earning potential (along with that of people I care about, people I identify with, and people I look at and think "there but for the grace of god go I") is not going to vanish due to circumstances beyond my control, I could feel safe and secure enough to be conservative. However, as long as the status quo is moving towards contract hell for all, I will be disinclined to protect the status quo.

2. Maintain our rights Everything else that I value about the status quo can fall under the broad category of retaining our existing rights, and everything that I want to change can be defined as either expanding existing rights to everyone, or restoring rights that were eliminated in living memory. I feel secure because I have access to all the tools I need to remain childfree, and I want that available to everyone. I feel terrified that the police could just round up everyone who happened to be in a particular area of a public street during the G20, and I want to go back to a world where that couldn't happen. If I could be confident that my rights (along with those of people I care about, people I identify with, and people I look at and think "there but for the grace of god go I") are not going to vanish due to circumstances beyond my control, I could feel safe and secure enough to be conservative. However, as long as the status quo includes people very loudly trying to take them away, I will be disinclined to protect the status quo.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Things They Should Invent: Vote "Yes, but..."

Sometimes elected representatives will vote against a measure when they approve of its general direction, but don't think it goes far enough.

For example, suppose the status quo is that people have to buy their own widgets at retail prices, which is really hard on the poor. Widgets are a necessity of life, but they really are awfully expensive. An integral part of the Purple Party's platform is that the government should provide free widgets to everyone. However, the Purple Party is not in power. The Yellow Party is, and they have just tabled a bill to provide a 10% widget rebate to help citizens pay for the cost of widgets.

The Purple Party would consider this bill a step in the right direction, but nowhere near sufficient. Under the current system, they may well not vote for it. However, I propose that they should have the option to vote "Yes, but..." on the bill. "Yes, but..." is understood to mean "We do not consider this bill an adequate solution and it is not our intention to consider this issue closed. However, because this bill is an improvement over the status quo, we will support it until something better can be implemented." It counts as a yes when they're counting up all the yeas and nays, but also makes it clear that the Purple Party does not consider this sufficient. That way, the Purple Party cannot in the future be accused of supporting the Yellow agenda, and the Yellow Party cannot in the future claim that their bill had the full support of the House. And the people can at least get a 10% rebate on their widgets until the Purple Party can get a better bill through.

To use a real-world example, as I blogged about before, it has been reported that Canada may get in the way of royal succession reform because apparently "Canadians aren't interested in a debate on the monarchy." If a "Yes, but..." option existed, Canada could vote "Yes, but..." on gender-blind primogeniture, saying "While we agree that this is better than male primogeniture, we don't necessarily agree with this whole monarchy thing in the first place and reserve the right to dissociate ourselves at some point in the future." No need for a big messy debate no one wants, no one's views go unrepresented, and the right thing gets done.

I think this concept would be very useful, but "Yes, but..." is a stupid name. Taking suggestions for better names.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

My traditional post-election test of the Hill Knowlton predictor

Click here for a projection of the 2011 election outcome made with the actual 2011 popular vote numbers.

It predicts Conservative 166, NDP 70, Liberal 36, Bloc 35, Green 0, Other 1.

You can click on the map to see what it predicts for your own riding.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

More information please: post-election edition

1. I can haz poll-by-poll data? I'd very much like a map like this for the 2011 results. I found the swing within my own riding less predictable than I'd prefer, so I'd like to be able to look at poll-by-poll results and see where it's happening, and perhaps figure out why.

2. Whither riding predictions? I, and many others, use riding predictions when considering the possibility of a strategic vote. There were more predictors available this election than ever before, but their margin of error is also higher than ever before. What happened? How can they be made better? I'm glad to see that many of the predictor sites are already doing post-mortems. Hopefully, we'll have better predictions available next time. (Or, like, a fair voting system that makes strategic voting unnecessary...)

3. Whither St├ęphane Dion? One interesting development last night is that Michael Ignatieff lost his seat, but St├ęphane Dion kept his. And this in a context where the Ignatieff Liberals lost a huge quantity of seats, and the NPD, whose policies were closer to Dion's, gained a huge number of seats. I always found the transition from Dion to Ignatieff rather odd. Dion was there, quiet, unassuming, with a platform that showed some degree of thought and innovation, and suddenly out of nowhere the media started reporting that he was dislikable. Even weirder, they started reporting that his accent is difficult to understand, when even the staunchest (and actively anti-Liberal) Anglos I know told me they have no trouble with it. (Direct quote from someone who lives in a small town where I've never heard anyone speak English with an accent: "It's not like we've never heard an accent before!") Then, there were almost immediate reports that Ignatieff was the frontrunner for Liberal leadership, even though there was no sign of this other than media reports. But Dion has survived, and Dionish policies have thrived. What will Dion's role be in the future?

4. Whither Quebec separatism? Conventional wisdom on the Anglo side of things is that the defeat of the Bloc means the death of Quebec separatism. But it occurs to me that, as some time passes, a Conservative majority might fan the flames of Quebec separatism. Quebec went overwhelmingly orange, with very little blue. Their collective values much further left than the Conservative Party's. With the MPs who represent Quebec unable to get play for the wishes of their constituents, and tax dollars tied up in projects they don't support, Quebec might feel held back and oppressed by the federal government and increase its desire to get out. It occurs to me that Canada's last Conservative majority (Mulroney 1988-1993) led to the creation of the Bloc in the first place.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Voter's Resources

This post is post-dated. If the date and time indicated for this post have not yet passed, there may be new material below it.

Getting Started

Election Day is May 2!

First, go to the Elections Canada website and type in your postal code to find out your riding, your candidates, and where to vote.

If you have not received your voter information card, you can still vote on election day, you just need to take ID.

Your employer has to give you enough time off to ensure that you have three consecutive hours off during polling hours.

Issues

The platforms:

Bloc Quebecois (If you can't read French, click here for an English PDF)
Conservative Party
Green Party
Liberal Party
Libertarian Party
New Democratic Party


To help you figure out which party is best for you:

CBC Voter Compass
Political Compass: compare your results on the test with the Canadian political parties chart

Note that the two compass sites use different scales and their Y axes are the inverse of each other. Your results will not fall in the same place on both compasses - if they're in the same quadrant, something is very wrong.

Strategy and Predictions

My "How to Vote"
My "Where to Vote"
My "How to Vote Strategically"

Riding-by-riding predictions to help you with strategy:

- The Election Prediction Project
- Hill and Knowlton Election Predictor. (You need poll data for this. The site provides some, more is available all over the media.)
- DemocraticSPACE
- ThreeHundredEight (riding predictions in the right-hand column)
- LISPOP
- Project Democracy is designed specifically for those considering a strategic vote against the Conservative party. If this includes you, it might be of use. If not, stick to the other predictors.
- Too Close To Call

Other interesting sources

- How did your neighbourhood vote in 2008?
- Pundits' Guide
- Election Almanac

This post will be updated through to Election Day as I find more information. Do you know of anything else that should be included here? Are any of the links dead? Let me know in the comments!

Campaign roundup

Signs seen: Liberal, although it was taken down after the vandalism started. Saw a Conservative sign AFTER I'd voted.

Mailings received: Green and Conservative

Canvassers seen: zero

Answered my tweets: NDP, Liberal, and Green

This year's election night drinking game

Drink every time a riding changes hands. Go!

Voted!

Bright new green leaves just beginning to bud on the trees, diverse people walking around the neighbourhood. It looked like a condo ad, which is rather a propos. Despite the fact that there was a bit of a lineup for people who didn't have voter cards, I right breezed in and out with my own voter card. It was literally as quick and easy as humanly possible.

BUT: I didn't see ANY doggies today! This is a horrible sign! Usually petting a dog means a good election outcome and I was planning to be really assertive about approaching dogs today, but I didn't even get an opportunity!