Daily rantings of Starsia

A place to express educated opinions and learn something new.

Rental Laws- Know how to protect yourself!

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September 15th, 2012 Posted 01:10

A landlord may not ask for more than the total of one month rent as a security deposit. After you pay the security deposit the landlord must legally place it in an interest baring account which they must pay out yearly unless another agreement is made by both parties. The security deposit may never be raised once paid even if rent is raised. A security deposit is used in case a renter moves out without notice and did not pay rent. The landlord can only use the deposit for damages or other things if agreed in the lease by both parties or verbally by both parties when moved in. The deposit must be returned within ten days of the moveout date minus any agreed amounts and in total if they owe you interest.

The landlord can only do a inspection within a week of the renters moving in and it must be done in writing with both parties present and both parties signed. If you sign the inspection you are agreeing to everything thats on it so make sure you are careful to watch for damage or issues so it’s clear they were there first. A landlord may do the inspection without you if they try to make one with you at least twice and you cancel or don’t show up without good reason. When you move out the inspection must be done again within a week of you leaving and before anyone new moves in. Both of you must be present and sign the written inspection. If there is damage caused by you and you have agreed to allow them to take it out of the deposit they have ten days from the day you move out to do so. Make sure they do not take advantage of you in the amount they ask for but also be fair if you have caused damage. If you have not previously made an agreement to take costs for damage out of the deposit they may not do so. They must send you a bill for the amount they believe you owe. If an inspection was not done at all when you first moved in then legally they may not do an inspection when you move out because there is not way to prove which damage was caused by whom. A landlord should know this and they are being shady if they try and do one when you leave without an initial move in inspection. They cannot threaten or keep your deposit if you tell them that they did not do an inpection to begin with and so you will not be paying any damages or costs. If they try tell them it’s ilegal and if they do not give you your full deposit back they can be fined at least $5000.00 by the government.

A landlord can raise rent by as much as they want at one time but they must give you three months notice of the raise in rent. They may only raise rent once every 365 days and that 365 starts from the day that rent is raised not from the day they gave you the three months notice.

Landlords are required by law to keep the house safe and in good repair. If a vital appliance or system in the house breaks the landlord has a maximum of 24 hours to fix this. For instance if the heat breaks they must fix this right away not within days. Or the stove stops working. You need the stove to cook so it’s considered vital. The non vital items are allowed to have a maximum of a week before they are fixed. For instance my washer broke and the land lady took three months to fix it. After this happening four times over two years I went out and bought a new one and charged her for it. If you have told the landlord about your issues repeatedly and they do not fix the issue within a resonable time frame or are so cheap like my landlady that the fix it guy scams us and it keeps breaking then you are legally allowed to purchase one and charge them for it. If they say no you can tell them it’s pay you back for the item or pay the fine from the government for not fixing it in the legal time frame. Don’t go buy the most expensive item you can find because they don’t have to pay you back for that. If they try and evict or vacate you than again you are in the right and no judge would side with them. You just stay in the home and hand them back the notice. The first time you call them to fix something it’s ok to call but if they are problem lanlords it’s best to give them letters asking them to repair your items so you can keep copies as proof in your favour of effort with no return. It’s better to have physical proof than word of mouth.

There are a SMALL amount of reasons that a landlord can evict you or ask you to vacate. They can give you an eviction notice if you have missed rent and a few days late does not count. Unless you have a lease that stipulates no late payments and you signed it. They can evict you if you have caused significant serious damage to the home. They can evict you if you have threatened or have acted on threats of violence towards the landlord, their family or the home(utterance of threats if difficult to prove if you actully did this than you deserve to be evicted and go to therapy however if they are just trying to get you out by being slimmy then write a letter that says you disagree with the eviction notice and you will be fighting it. Then you call the rental law people and they will tell you what to do because you don’t have to leave just because someone evicts you if you can prove they are wrong). They can give a notice to vacate if they want to move into the rental themselves or a family member of them. If you are on a month to month they must give 90 days notice starting from your rent due date. If they serve the notice late it does not take affect till the next rent date. ie: If your rent is due on June 5th and the serve you on June 7th than the 90 days doesnt start until July 5th. They can give you a notice to vacate if they are selling the house but they may not give you the notice till the sale goes through and the papers are signed. If they served you early you will have to move out and wait till you see the for sale sign goes up. Then you can go to the rental laws or court and claim a wrongful vacate. Once you win they will be made to pay up to your moving costs, any rental truck costs, if rent costs extra at your new palce they may have to pay the difference, a settlement, a fine for breaking landlord laws and anything else the judge sees fit. They can vacate you to do repairs on the place or to tear it down and rebuild in this case they must give a month to month tenant 365 days to vacate. A notice to vacate or evict must be in writing. It MUST have the address of the rental premises, the date the tenancy will end, the signature of the person giving notice, the landlord’s reasons for ending the tenancy. If you do not agree with the notice or you KNOW it’s ilegal you can give a written letter refusing the notice or just go over and give it back. You should also keep in mind that if you know the notice is ilegal like our first notice was an eviction notice that made demands and threatened if we didn’t sign it by seven days later we could get our credit ruined. I KNEW this was an ilegal notice as for one you can NOT evict anyone to sell the rental it MUST be a notice to vacate and you can not threaten to ruin a credit report if someone does not sign a notice as renters do not sign notices only landlords do. Plus we are on a month to month so they have no access to our credit. They are just horrible people who wanted the house empty fast and have always been selfish about how they landlord. They never fixed anything.

I hope it goes without saying that if you have signed a lease of 6 months, 1 year or any amount of time that a landlord may not give you a notice to vacate for any of these reasons. That’s the point of a lease it protects them from you leaving after two months and it protects you from them asking you to leave for any of these lame reasons. Make sure you read your lease carefully and don’t sign it till you both have what will make you happy on it. A lease should NOT have everything the landlord wants without anything you want. That’s a scummy lanlord and they will take advantage of you.

It’s very important to be good renter whether you have a good landlord or not. For one part of being a good person is doing the right thing and if that’s not a good enough reason than if you have a scummy landlord and you have been an excellent tennant it makes it near impossible for the landlord to win if you have to take them to court or make a complaint. If you are like us and always pay your rent, stay calm even when you are pissed off about repairs not getting done and do them yourself if they are small and ask nothing for it than it will look so one sided it will be difficult not to listen to your complaints. If you have been given a notice to vacate or evicted and you decide just to leave because you are tired of it yourself; and the landlord like mine is clueless to how selfish and horrible they have been despite you constantly asking for things to get done; and they want to write you a reference letter and say the truthful nice things in calls than wait till after you move to make the complaint so you can use those refences to get a nice place. Make sure the next place is worth your while and you get treated with respect or at least they obey the rental laws.

If you are a tennant that pays your rent late even by days on a regular basis than you are being selfish and need to remember that landlords spend money on those houses too. If you pay late they have to cover the costs. For some people when you pay late you are paying the mortgage late and if you owned a house and did that on a regular basis you could lose the house. A smart landlord would make the rent due date a least a week before the mortgage date just in case because people are human but late payments should be like a once or twice in a rare occasion with notice and appologies. If you are the kind of tennant that has not respect for the home and puts holes in walls and ruins carpets and floors than you need to either move back in with your parents or live in a half way house because you clearly don’t have the maturity to be on your own nor do you deserve to live on your own. You are a selfish individual who makes renting harder for the rest of us.

The moral of all this is to be mindful and know what you are getting into whether you are a renter or a landlord. If you are a scummy landlord or tennant than get a life!

Posted in Educational, Society

VooDoo Lounge

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September 13th, 2012 Posted 09:02

720 16th Avenue NW
Calgary, AB T2M 0J7
(403) 265-1112

Three and a half out of Five stars

The voodoo lounge was a pleasant surprise. The booth was big and comfy and made visiting with all the interesting guests at our table all the better. The ambiance was fun but still not too loud. There are at least a dozen tv’s all playing sports for those that enjoy that kind of thing. I thought it was hilarious that all the tables were bolted to the floor. I guess the place can get pretty wild on the weekends.

Our server was nice and patient with all our questions and we asked plenty. She was fairly attentive and kept our glasses full. She was also training a new server and that didn’t get in the way of service at all.

The main pull of the voodoo lounge is the choice on the menu. Everything is basically a build it your way idea. For instance Colin had a burger so you start by choosing how many patties, beef or chicken and begin to build it your way from there. Choosing off a list of what you want on your burger and then which sides you’d like. Everything on their menu is the build it your way idea. I really love this idea because I’m one of those people who always wants to change the order on the menu to fit what I like. To be honest when you pay for a meal you should always be able to have it the way you want it as long as they have the ingredients.

Voodoo lounge also carries a list of fifty flavors for either wings, shrimp or pork bites. While having fifty options had me excited there are some HUGE problems with it. For one the list of flavors includes some inventive names but no explanation for what the actual flavor is. Some of the flavors are a dry rub and some were a sauce and the only way to really know was to ask. They really should make a small book to explain all the flavors and separate them by dry rub or sauce. Instead I spent twenty mins going over the list of fifty at light speed with a server and still barely knew what the flavors were like because she explained half as hot and the other half as pretty good. The last HUGE issue with the fifty flavors is that you have to have the whole pound in just one flavor. I have never had wings at a place that wouldn’t even let you do half one flavor half another. Even Regal Beagle will let you do between five and ten wings for each flavor and that includes on wing night. Given that voodoo explains their flavors so poorly it’s barely worth it.

As far as the actual food went I was pleasantly surprised. The voodoo jungle caesar is more than meal sized so if you plan to eat more it’s probably best to ask for the side caesar. Other than size my caesar was perfect. It was made with the hearts of the romain so the lettuce was crispy and a little naturally sweet. The dressing was not so much as too drown the salad and not too little so that all you tasted was lettuce. There was lots of fresh grated Parmesan all throughout the salad and plenty on perfectly cooked bacon. The croutons were sparse which is how I like it. The dressing was creamy with a touch of garlic and just a taste of tang. To be honest it was one of the best caesar salads I have had in a long time. I ordered the sweet chili shrimp and the honey garlic chicken wings. The sauce on the honey garlic wings was thick and well balanced but not that special. The chicken wings were the smaller sized bar kind which is how they should be for proper wings but they weren’t a great quality. Maybe they were old meat or maybe I’m just used to eating my organic chicken wings at home and notice the processed stuff too much. The sweet chili shrimp were better than the chicken as far as the sauce goes. The sauce was thick and sweet with just a touch of heat. The shrimps were disappointingly small. Colin said he thought his burger was not bad for a restaurant but we still make better ones at home. The fries were the home cut with the skin still on which are much better than frozen fries. The gravy tasted really weird, it was almost tangy and sweet while at the same time having the classic beef flavor.

One of my favorite drinks at a bar is the mojito and although there was barely any mint in mine voodoo still did a really tasty job of making mine. Lisa’s mojito had berries in it too. Colin had the voodoo on tap special house beer which was called black magic. It’s a really light colored beer that tasted like a lite pilsner.

For a lounge they do a pretty good job at food and service. I’d go back here in a heart beat unless somewhere like Catch or River Cafe was an option. They have a dress code that included no sweat pants, steel toed boots or bandanas so keep that in mind if you are headed to the voodoo lounge.

Posted in Food Reviews

Cookie Mama

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September 13th, 2012 Posted 08:42

1420 9 Ave SE
Calgary, AB T2G 0T5
(403) 266-5431

Four and a half out of five stars.

For those of us with dietary restrictions finding treats can be difficult. I know full well that I don’t have to have a cookie or a cupcake but I like to once in a while. Places like cookie mama allow us to have the treat with out suffering serious illness or pain.

The wide array of cookie and cupcake flavors available in gluten free and dairy free options makes picking a/some treats fun. Some places offer gluten free/ dairy free options but they taste like card board; this is not the case at cookie mama.

My favorite cookies are the meringues and the purple rain which is a ginger cookie. The ginger cookie has a strong ginger flavor and is not too sweet which I love because it feels like a little bite on your tongue. It’s not as soft as I normally like it but still tasty. The meringue cookies are cooked perfectly with crunchy edges and chewy middle.

I had the revolution cupcake which was amazing flavors. The berry flavors in the frosting made my mouth water it was so good.

Some people feel the prices are expensive and I can see how it might seem that way. When you talk to the owner and hear about how she goes all over the city to find the best ingredients for gluten free/dairy free products that also taste good it makes more sense. Plus she stores all her gluten free/ dairy free icings, toppings and batters separate from the regular products in order to insure avoiding cross contamination. All this is very costly. So I agree that it seems very expensive but I also understand why it would be.

If you have special dietary needs and you want a treat or if you just like your dessert to be made with healthy ingredients than I think cookie mama is worth every penny. They also make coffee, specialty coffee, tea and hot chocolate. I have never tried any of these so I can’t comment on the quality.

What is a healthy friendship?

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May 14th, 2012 Posted 05:32

I have recently been discussing with my significant other about relationships and how to make them or keep them healthy. He is surrounded in his life by a lot of unhealthy people and the question of what a friend actually is came up. I realized that if he and many/most of his friends do not have a real and healthy friendship than how many others are living with these unhealthy relationships that maybe don’t want to. My definition as follows is, yes, strongly based on my own opinion but also backed up by hundreds of thousands of mental health professionals and I will tell you that if you type “what is a healthy friendship?” into google and read all the professional and even some personal websites you will see the evidence for yourself. I will not be providing mutiple links because of how easy this one is too look up.

A friend is someone who knows who you are and accepts all of you as a whole. This means that if you are for example; like me a short, small, hard to hear because I talk quietly, love animals, afraid of spiders, won’t eat raspberries, doesn’t really like sports but loves education and movies type of person; that they will accept all of that and not try to change it. It does not mean that if you are rude, condesending, pompos, selfish or other really negative qualities that they should accept that too and never mention it because a real friend is also honest.

A friend is someone who listens to what you have to say and supports you so that you feel safe enough to express your feelings and dreams. This means that you can feel safe with your friends to share any dream or feeling that you’ve had with out being bullied or ridiculed. This includes (for example) if someone shares with you that they think they should always get their way or that they hate babies. A friend would not ridicule you bringing these things up, instead they should ask you why you hate babies. If these subjects were brought up by a friend because they want to trust you with it than you should be sensitive to how difficult it was to bring up. Try to emphasize with your friend at how difficult it was to say. If they ask you what you think be honest but try not to be to harsh. Brutal honesty is best saved for when they are not opening up to you.

A friend shares secrets with you because they know you will keep it. When a friend shares a secret it’s because they trust that you will be keeping it between them. They may need someone to talk to because no one else can know. If you spread a secret around that has been told to you that is not being a friend.

A friend is someone who you can say “NO” to without fear of guilt or reprocussions. If you or your friends cannot say “NO” to each other without fear than you have a very unhealthy relationship and certainly not a friendship. When you say no to going out or anything else normal their should not be guilt involved. Saying NO is not the same as just not showing up for something you have already agreed too. When people are constantly late for things or if they don’t show up for something they made plans to attend they are being selfish. When you show up late it tells the other person/people that whatever you were doing before you got there was more important than them. That’s not good friendship. When you don’t show up at all after making solid plans it shows a total lack of respect for anyone and is entirely self involved. If you can’t make it to something than at the very least have the respect to let the person know you won’t be there. It is normal throughout a friendship to slip up and be late on the RARE occasion and you may even have an emergency that causes you to miss plans. Just remember that a real friend lets you know and appologizes.

A friend is honest with you even when it can hurt to hear. This is a friendship deal breaker. If you aren’t honest with your friends then it’s not a friendship. My significant other has many a “friend” that are NOT in any healthy way his real friends and never have been because they are NEVER honest with each other. By this I mean (for example) one of his friends is late for just about everything and he often disapears for long periods of time when he’s actually out with us. While the lateness has been mentioned by both of us now and then the running off for large periods of time is only ever lightly mentioned by me and because this person is very self involved he calls me a trouble maker and starts fights rather than just appologize for ditching us when he invited us out. The same person says very crass and ignorant things about other ethnic groups and thinks its hilarious to be just plain racist. When I have mentioned that I personally don’t appreciate this he turns it around to I’m being stuck up and not being laid back enough. So name calling and blame shifting. If he was a true friend he would just not make racist comments when im around because their is no casual avenue in which a friend can argue being racist is acceptable. The only time people actually get away with racism is in movies, comedy and certain entertainment situations. He does not in any form fit these.

A healthy friend does not lie to you. Some people might argue but what about if your wearing an ugly shirt and they say it’s a nice color or some other white lie. The problem is that a real friend should be the first person to tell you if what you are wearing looks bad, if you have bad breath or other important things that someone needs to tell you the truth about. Plus if it’s a real and healthy friendship they will tell you in a non bullying way. “Hey sorry to have to point this out but your breath is kinda stinky.” or “Here have a mint, you need it a little” then giggle and make light so they know it comes from a loving place. For the tougher stuff they can tell you ” The way you act around my girlfriend is not very respectful I would appreciate if you acted a little more grown up” or ” Your girlfriend has fits when we are over regulary it’s really strange behaviour for an adult and it causes tension for us”. So that these examples are more real I have been using situations that did happen or should have happened. These two are the behaviour of a couple who my significant other thought were his friends. However the disrespect the male showed towards myself and I would honestly say himself is sad and not friendship behaviour. The fits that his girlfriend has on a regular basis should be dealth with like adults but her absolutely childish behaviour is seen as acceptable in both their eyes because my significant other is not honest with them and does not have a real and healthy friendship with them. It is quite sad when people have no honesty in their lives and become so self involved that they cannot see their incredibley immature and distructive behaviour because of it. Sadly too many people these days are lacking this most important key to a real and healthy friendship which again is honesty.

A friend is there when it really counts whether it be for an encouraging word on the phone or face to face support to get you through it. If your mother dies or you lose your job and your friend tells you that’s too bad and then you hear nothing else from them unless they invite you out for something they want to do than they are kinda crappy friends. If you are going through a big change or a tragedy and (this is also vital) you tell them what you are going through and they react by not being there then you need better friends. Being there is constituted as consoling you on the phone or in person, helping you find a job or plan a funeral or something that makes you feel like they are taking an active interest in helping you through the tough time. Every single thing you deem as an emergency in your life may not actually be a when it counts moment. If you need someone on a weekly basis for some new “crisis” than you are also not being a good friend. Forcing your self involved always in crisis mode isses on to a person is also not being a good friend. It’s important to pick and choose what those times you “need” the constant support so that you are also spending time being their support and nuturing the friendship.

A friendship is all about give and take. It should be pretty close to equal. In a healthy friendship the give and take will regularly go both ways. It should feel just like sharing. There will be times when one of you will need more for a while and then later it will be the other way around. If you give more of your attention to them than they give to you. If you are constantly giveing and rarely see any take for you in a friendship than you are likely being used or in a relationship with a person who is vapidly selfish. Either way you deserve more than this if you are always giving. You can “be honest” to this person and tell them its not a real or remotely healthy friendship/relationship and you need to feel loved, respected and treated like the friend you treat them. if in all likelyhood they blame you or act like a victim than you should really re-think having them in your life.

It’s important to know that argueing or disagreeing with someone does not mean you can’t be friends with someone. In fact if you never disagree about anything in your relationship I can almost guarantee that you are in a very unhealthy relationship. Everyone has disagreements but it’s how you deal with them that makes the difference. Having a discussion where you both disagree but do not call names or lose your control and can hang out and get along afterwards is fine. Yelling, throwing things at each other, calling names, causing physical harm, refusing to listen to the other person and having any kind of a fit is not an ok way to disagree or argue a point. If someone has actual proof that you are wrong and I am talking real evidence not just I said so and you refuse to admit you were wrong or need to stop arguing than this is extremely unhealthy. (for example)That same couple I used above that have fits, come late or leave us while out, I will use again as an example of unhealthy behaviour. Both of them love to argue, they will start arguements about everything, when you prove your point one might have a fit and lock herself in the bathroom and the other would say that everyone thinks he’s a GOD and you are a bad person because you see through them and do not whorship the ground they walk on. Neither of these are even close to healthy behaviour and when that is pointed out to them they will either start a bigger arguement with very little to back them up but lots and lots of yelling or blame you for their behaviour saying that it’s your fault that anyone’s unhappy. This is called projection of issues and very childish victimization over reaction. These situations are perfect examples of how an unhealthy disagreement might go. If it were a healthy one that both people would make their points and provide evidence for them. If one proves to be right by irrefutable facts the healthy response is to say you learned something new or sorry for starting an arguement. Just admitting you were wrong when proven such can go a really long way. If neither of you proves a point or its just a discussion with real proof in either direction like religion than try to make sure the other person knows you have heard their point of view. If you are both in a healthy relationship than wether you disagree of not you will still feel respected and not be worried at all about the safety of your friendship after the discussion. If things get a little heated and you fight a little than cool off a bit and after let each other know you are sorry you fought and you still love each other. If you have a healthy and real friendship than the fight will not ruin your friendship.

If you treat others in the opposite way of a healthy friendship than don’t be surprised if that’s how others treat you. If you are rude, disrespectful and selfish than you don’t deserve better friends than that. However some of your friends may deserve better than you. Try to be aware of the way that you treat the people in your life. Being a real friend will in turn make you deserving of one.

If you are unsure if you are in a healthy friendship/relationship than ask yourself this; does being around that person make you feel scared, sad, angry, upset, worried, on egg shells or alone? A real relationship/friendship allows you to feel safe and loved in what you say, do and who you are. A healthy friendship does not involve pressure to do things or to be someone you are not. (this is not to say if you are not a very good person and your friends expect you to grow up and treat them with respect that you shouldn’t because you don’t want too.) If you are not a good friend it is more than likely you will be too self involved or immature to see it in yourself. Listen to what others tell you. If a LOT of people tell you that you are rude, grumpy, self involved, childish or any other negative attribute than instead of turning into the victim try and find a way to change for the better. If a real friend is telling you that you are rude than work on not being rude. Being a better person is never a bad thing. On the flip side of that if you have a friend that is selfish, has fits when she doesn’t get her way, is a poor sport at games and blames everyone but herself for anything that happens and she is telling you stuff about yourself to change than go find a real friend and ask them if that is a true issue with you. Unhealthy people tend to project their many issues onto others.

The best way of course to have happiness and mental health in your life is to surround yourself with real healthy friendships and keep striving to be a better person and friend yourself. If you are stuck in the same situation as I am where your significant other has surounded himself with almost all bad/totally unhealthy friendships and relationships plus he has the same issues with family than you will feel stuck. You want to love and support your partner but the people in their life drag their attitudes and personalities down which starts to affect you. This makes it very difficult to keep striving to be a better person because you have to fight negativity left right and center. My only advice would be this: Don’t forget who you are. Constantly be asking yourself are the negativities that they point out in you a real issue for you or is it about them trying to make their lives easier and acting selfish. Having completely seperate people who are healthy friends that you can talk to and hang out with occasionally will give you a break and much needed perspective. There will be some things that those selfish, negative people have brought out in you that is not a good thing. Deal with it on as soon as you can and attempt to be yourself again. Try to see the good in these people as you are forced to hang out with them. Lastly they may not be mentally healthy enough to tell each other the truth about the horrible things they do but that doesn’t mean you keep your mouth shut. Fight for them and yourself when you can. For example that couple I mentioned before I tell him it would have been nice if she hadn’t run off and had a fit and it makes the night a bit uncomfortable. He has turned this around to makeit about me being hard to deal with because no one tells him the truth. I have defended myself in letting them know that her childish behaviour makes the night awkward and I word it in a reasonable and often more than kind manner so I have done my part of being a friend. They may never change but they definately won’t if nothing is ever said. Or when my significant others family talks non stop about how great one another is and after eight years together mentions nothing or next to nothing about me. Not including me in their praise for every single person there but me is rude and it’s inconsiderate. It also makes them look very self involved because they often talk about themselves. It took years of mentioning that I don’t appreciate being left out of family dinners when I’m invited to attend before they even considered changing. In fact always in the begginning and even now still they would tell me I was just causing trouble and being selfish this again is projecting. I know for a fact it’s not selfish to ask to be included in encouragements or being asked how my life/day went it’s in fact a really healthy part of the give and take in relationships.

Don’t get me wrong I do have healthy friendships in my life and my significant other has one couple that is a real friend to him and us. I just felt the need to write this because it is shocking that a person is surrounded by people and family and out of his tiny group of friends and family (around 20-25 people and that’s all his friends and family) maybe in a high estimate five of them would meet the standards for a healthy relationship. It’s something that is both scary and sad because now I’ve put myself in that situation by being with someone who is often not a real healthy friend himself.

Anyways Friendship can be different to everyone but there are key elements that HAVE to be there to be a healthy friendship/relationship.
1. Trust
2. Honesty/No Lies
3. Communication
4. Safety
5. Dependability
6. Love
7. Ability to say “no”
8. Acceptance
9. Give and Take
10. The ability to take/give healthy critism about negative attributes.

How does this make you feel? Do you have stories about healthy friendships/relationships or unhealthy ones? Have you been a good friend or bad one? What else makes a friendship important to you? Any helpful suggestions on how to deal with the unwilling to be nice, kind and healthy people I’m dealing with? What would you like to hear about next?

The Importance of type of Cat Food

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April 21st, 2010 Posted 04:53

The type of cat food you feed your cat can make all the difference in the world. Your vet bills will be smaller and your cat will live a longer and healthier life. Just because the food you buy is from your vet does not make it the best and usually it’s not even close. Vets don’t know as much as they should when it comes to cat food and it’s up to us to take care of this part of our pet’s lives. Many people make excuses for buying shitty food like that their cats are happy or rarely see the vet. Well some people smoke and eat crap their whole life and live to 100 it doesn’t mean that they should have or that everyone else should either. Make sure that your cat food is grain free, high in protein, it should contain some fruits and veggies, low in ash or ash free (which my cat food is) and there is no reason why cat food has to be made with animal by products (again my cat food has free run chickens, whole eggs, grain fed turkeys and wild caught never frozen fish).

The food I feed my cats is called Orijen. It was named the cat food of the year for 2009-2010. I have been feeding it to my cats for two years now. Since i started feeding them it they slimmed down to a more reasonable weight, the two with arthritis don’t need to take pain meds anymore and the one with a weak stomach no longer has diarrhea or throws up anymore. It took us three years of vet visits and cleaning up diarrhea all the time and trying multiple kinds of food to find this kind. It was because they just figured out how to make grain free dry food that held together two years ago. Before that we fed them Wellness which is the next step down if you can’t afford or find grain free food.
Please have a look at orijen’s website and read about their ingredients. if you can’t get Orijen where you live than at least you know what to look for in your cat food.

http://www.orijen.ca/orijen/about/

It should be said that I don’t work for orijen or even know anyone there. It’s the food I picked after years of trying to find what’s right for the cats. This brand doesn’t have to be what you buy your cats but the grain free part is important for your cat’s health.

You should also be feeding your cat’s wet food at the very least once a week. It is best if you can afford it to give your cats a tablespoon or two of wet food a day as a treat with their dry. Don’t mix it together unless that’s something they like. If you are only doing it once a week than let them have half a can to a whole can each depending on the size of the can. Cats have a tendency to not drink enough water. If you mix some canned food with water and make them something like a gravy this will help them greatly. Don’t water it down so much the flavor is gone. The cats need dry and wet food in order to keep their kidney function excellent. The most common death of older cats is Renal failure and this is due to food and lack of mositure in their diet.  Also make sure their canned food is the same quality as the dry food. Grain free, quality protein, contains some fruits and veggies, low in ash or free of ash and not made from animal by products. Some that I have found are good brands are: Evo, Grammy Pot Pie and Ocean Breeze. As I said just take my check list with you and if they have all the things I mentioned it’s probably ok. You can always message me and I will find out for you as well.

Lastly the raw food diet, some people swear by it. The argument is that in the wild it’s what they would eat so it has to be the best possible thing you can feed them. However this is just plain wrong, first of all these cats are domesticated so their digestive systems are not quite the same as when they lived in the wild. Plus animals that eat birds and mice often die of worms and other diseases from the meat being raw. As owners it’s our job to keep them alive as long as we can and in order to have a great long life we have to also be smart about how we do that. The raw food diet is hard on their digestive system and often causes diarrhea, vomiting and lethargic behavior. plus cats require fruits and veggies in their diets daily and the raw food diet does not provide enough of these needs. Homemade raw food diets are the most dangerous because people are not educated enough about the dos and don’ts. The meat needs to be free range and disposed of if not eaten within 30 mins to an hour at the very most. cats need veggies and fruit but only certain kinds. Bones that can splinter must be removed. Plus they still need vitamin C and fatty acids. If you do it wrong your cat can get sick or die and it can take a long time to happen. I shudder to think of how many cats are living unhealthy lifestyles because of irresponsible owners. Also the less processed a food is the better it is for your cat and organic meats and vegetables are very expensive. i just bet people take the less expensive route and buy packed meats not antibiotic free ones and fruit and veggies covered in and grown with pesticides. I’d rather people not make their own food. Remember I work for an animal shelter so I see proof of this every day.

My last point is about feeding cats people food. Cats can have some meats as a treat. Like when I make shrimp wontons i will give the cats a tiny taste each. or sometimes i share a bit of my mango with Prometheus the big Tabby we have. If you are ever going to give cats any kind of people food it has to be absolutely appropriate. A tiny little piece of raw shrimp that has been washed once in a while is ok or a bit of mango is ok. Chips are not ok. Any kind of processed people food at all is not ok. They may like the taste of it and it might be cute to watch but it is extremely irresposible to feed cats processed people food. It is bad for their systems and it will make them sick and fat. Also too much of the things they can eat like the shrimp is not ok. I let them have about a pinky nail sized piece of shrimp maybe once a month.

If you decide to look into it and take my advice to feed your cat healthier food, than be patient with them. They might not want to eat the new stuff at first. Make sure you get trial sized or very small bags of a few brands and flavours of grain free dry foods. Than let your cats have a few days to try each food. If you find one that they like than buy that one and replace their old food with that. Start by mixing the new stuff with their old stuff about half and half for a week or two and then you can remove the old stuff completely. They may ignore the new stuff when they realize the old stuff is gone but DO NOT give in. If you think about it it’s like letting a kid have junk food anytime they want then suddenly feeding them really healthy meals. The child would probably try refusing to eat for a while to try and get the junk back and your cat might do that too. After a while they will get hungry enough to eat the new stuff and they will like it. Also they will need to eat only about half or less of what they ate of the junk stuff so pay close attention to what the bag suggests because some cats try to eat more even when they are full. Here at my house we let them eat as many times a day as they like but we just give them small scoops at a time. Then they meow at us when they want more. Please don’t be one of those people who only feeds the cat one time a day that is cruelty. How would you feel if you got one meal a day? Plus if you feed them small amounts multiple times a day they will not balloon out in weight. Also the most important thing is to make sure that cats have fresh water at all times but especially with food.

Posted in Animals, Educational

Hello world!

10 Comments »

March 22nd, 2010 Posted 00:51

This is my new site. My previous site had too many issues with spammers. The site is not as pretty but I get a lot less spam than before. I look forward to having anyone read what I have to say but if no one does than at least i got to say it for me. I had believed that people would after reading this be smart enough to realise that posts all with the same post date would have been reposted from my previous site but this was not correct. All posts have correct post dates on them and all readers are reminded to read the legal disclaimer FIRST. Please also remember that blogs are for expressing yourself and I could say the moon doesn’t exist if I wanted to even if that does not reflect my true beliefs and I could say that I am an astronaut though I am not because that is the beauty of blogging.

Posted in All About me

Earthquake world

1 Comment »

November 27th, 2009 Posted 15:50

These last few months have been full of earthquakes word wide. Even the west coast of the USA had a pretty good sized earthquake recently that scared a lot of it’s residents. Now I have been following earthquakes since I was old enough to read because natural disasters are a interest of mine. I have a program that sends me the data for earthquakes the second they occur and it’s never needed to be revised (that’s the real word not downgraded) because the data it receives comes from the sources themselves. My pet peeve comes in here. I read in news reports and on twitter the most that an earthquake has occured and it’s let’s say 7.1 like the one in solomon today. Now the real and accurate magnitude is 6.8 and that is what I received to my program the second it happened. Most people continue to post 7.1 -7.5 as the magnitude but some people start writing that it has been downgraded to a 6.8. Well Only a tiny handful of earthquakes have ever been downgraded and that was after they changed the scale. When the USGS posts the incorrect magnitude the will later post a revision on the magnitude like today when they posted their revision to 6.8. This does not in any shape, form or way mean that it has been downgraded and it is inaccurate to state this. The usgs sends out a preliminary report about earthquakes on their basic sites and data gathering programs based on those sites. This report contains the magnitude that these sites/data programs have been able to gather from preliminary sources. The second report is called a Revised report, if you are on the usgs official site or recieving the emails from them the word downgraded  will not be found anywhere. The reason is that this report has the correct magnitude collected from seismographs and data centers directly in the area of the earthquake. It takes time and effort for this information to be checked and varified which is why most sites and data programs have the wrong magnitude based on the preliminary report. Programs like the one I use are correct up to the second because they are connected to the actual seismographs and data centers at the area of earthquake for all earthquakes but end op costing money as a fair trade. Not all software/program that costs money will be accurate you will have to do research to find out how accurate they are. Why do so many people have an issue with saying I was wrong. If I have done or said something wrong I will admit it, after careful research to be sure that I am.  I know that earthquakes are one of the most ignorantly and inaccurately published subjects. People need to take a few more mins to research their sources before they publish. When I take the time to search out a day or a place that a earthquakes occured on most of if not all of the first articles that come up have the wrong information. We should care about the quality of information that is flowing into our lives and yet to many people just believe everything that they hear. You might ask why does it matter whether they call it downgraded or revised. Downgraded means that the first number was correct but the usgs choose to make the magnitude lower for some reason. Revised means that the preliminary report was just as it suggests and that the revised report contains the up to date accurate information. The revised report is the adjusted magnitude based on new information. I shouldn’t even need to explain this given the fact that their reports never say downgraded. The second report on the usgs site says revised right on the top in big black bold letters. When sharing information with others it’s important to share the correct information in order to help reduce ignorance in the world today. Earthquakes are very followed by the masses and it’s sad to the lack of correct info out there.

In case some people have heard the word “downgraded” from the USGS directly (as in on the phone) I have included below what they mean by it. They tell media this on the phone because they mistakenly believe they understand that it means the new data has caused them to decrease the magnitude. That doesn’t change the fact that the magnitude always was the “downgraded” magnitude to begin with, they just had to revise their data to reflect the accurate number. I’m sure this is why the email their new magnitudes with the word “revised” in order to avoid people who don’t understand.

Q. Why are there often different magnitudes reported for the same earthquake?

A: When an earthquake occurs, the first information that is processed and relayed is usually based on a small subset of the seismic stations in the network, especially in the case of a larger earthquake. This is done so that some information can be obtained immediately without waiting for all of it to be processed. As a result, the first magnitude reported is usually based on a small number of recordings. As additional data are processed and become available, the magnitude and location are refined and updated. Sometimes the assigned magnitude is “upgraded” or slightly increased, and sometimes it is “downgraded” or slightly decreased.

Sometimes the earthquake magnitude is reported by different networks based on only their recordings. In that case, the different assigned magnitudes are a result of the slight differences in the instruments and their locations with respect to the earthquake epicenter.

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/faq/?faqID=22

This is exactly what I have been saying. That the “downgraded” magnitude is simply the accurate magnitude, not actually downgraded by the usgs for being to high based on their opinion. Downgraded is a poor choice of words which is why they use revised on their site an emails.

Posted in Disasters, Educational

IT systems management, web design and hosting solutions available at competitive prices.

6 Comments »

June 21st, 2009 Posted 11:21

www.imperium.ca. This is my boyfriend’d website. He owns this company which he started almost a decade ago. In the last few years it has become successful and offers a wide variety of IT solutions to a multitude of companies. If you are looking for website design, hosting solutions or IT system management than please give imperium a look. Imperium is unlike a lot of companies with employees that barely know eachother. Most of the team have been friends since childhood. This allows them to start with a bond of trust that can take years to build. One downside to this is obviously a narrow pool of talent as hiring is based as much on relationship as ability. The website has a selection of finished jobs to peruse through so that you can see examples of their skill level. They will work hard to make you happy and to achieve the best the can for you. Their creativity and skill is at the level of small to medium businesses as well as some large businesses. They would most likely not work for an actor, artist or someone with a huge need of imagination and complexity. Some of their bigger clients include: Sunnyside Home and Garden Center, University of Calgary, PicBuddy and a recent IPhone application for Fashion.

When I first met him this company was basically Colin and Keith. They worked hard and mostly for free. It took years of the two of them working their butts off to get where imperium is today. I have even done my fair share of free or for low pay work for imperium from the beginning. After years of those two working very hard to get the company going Colin was able to hire employees. At the point he is now his company has near ten people on his team including himself, keith and his employees. They all work hard at each job that they take on.

I have over the decades volunteered at a humane society fostering kittens and helping with the odd administration jobs that they need extra help with. Imperium has been donating items and money for the last few years. Recently they donated a 180 GB notebook for a gala that will feature a silent auction. As well as one hundred and fifty dollars to a silent auction that supports abused families and children. The donating to charities was my idea but it also helps the community, gets their name out there and establishes them as philanthropic.

The imperium team all work from home except for business meetings which are held in a coffee shop, a pub or the clients place of business. By working at home they are able to save vauluable time commuting to and from work. Many people spend up to hours a day in traffic getting to an from work. The members of imperium are able to get up and go straight to work mins later. When an issue arises or a client needs help they are available to fix it in record time. The downside to this being that the separation between work and home life is blurred so much that personal relationships suffer and I always end up waiting for Colin or coming second to the work. Working from home is environmental in a lot of ways such as the saved commute, saved power from an added building to house all the employees and computers and of course the saved paper because when everyone is printing on their own paper they are more likely to be careful how much they use.

The great information highway

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June 3rd, 2008 Posted 19:15

The great thing about having the technology we do now is that you can find anything you want any time. The bad thing about it is that you have to be smart enough and motivated to know how to find the information that is correct. To many people are posting information on YouTube, Twitter, Blogs, question and answer sites, numerous Internet sites and worst of all Wikipedia that is ignorant or just plain wrong. The majority of people are either too trusting, too busy, too lazy or too ignorant themselves to know better or look harder. I am meeting far too many people that spew incorrect information as if it is well known fact and they get extremely defensive when they are told they are wrong.

There are ways to research or find information without ending up with too much incorrect information.

1. Wikipedia should be a last resort and only used if you already know about what you are looking up but just need some simple names. It cannot be trusted. Respectable universities will fail you or force you to rewrite a paper that cites wikipedia as a source. A scientific study found that on average Wikipedia was no more than 60% correct in the information in it’s articles. I almost never use wikipedia and my friends and family have as of yet to be right in a discussion with me.

2. Look for sites that were written by people with PHD’s, MD’s, scientific awards, respected by peers in their community, have years of experience in their history, respected scientists and organizations that have scientists and people educated in the correct discipline as well as well founded statistics. People who are simply interested in the subject can be used to back up information that you found on sites owned by the trusted types listed above.

3. Never take for granted basic logic. For instance the moon landing being faked. Maybe you are a hardcore conspiracy theorist but it doesn’t mean you have to be ignorant either. Just think about how much logic is missing from the moon landing being faked. If you spend just twenty mins you can find logical answers to every single excuse for why the moon landing was faked. It honestly comes down to the fact that the people who say it was faked do not understand space…at all. When you spend some time and do some real and fair research you will find that most of the time when people say things like this it’s because they do not understand what they are commenting on.

4. You have to learn to make unbiased search points. Too many people type in what they want to in the search bar and end up with incorrect and sometimes ignorant information. You have to learn to search with out a bias. For instance with the moon landing hoax you can’t just type in “the moon landing was a hoax”. That is too biased and you won’t get true results. Instead you simply type in “moon landing”. This way you get information about the subject you are looking up and it will include the most relevant results. Then you skip over wikipedia and look through your responses.

5. You should be reading/skimming over at least 4-10 reasonable websites before you repeat anything as fact or reliable information. Even after this you may end up being wrong. Being good at research takes time and effort as well as natural intellectual ability. Some people will still not get it.

6. You have to be willing to admit when you are wrong. I am very rarely wrong but I am always looking for correct information so I am wrong at times. I don’t get pissed off or deny it or make excuses and lies for why I’m still right. If you are wrong then admit it. “Oh well I was wrong at least I learned something new.” That’s how I take it when I’m wrong. I really love to learn so I just see being wrong as an opportunity to learn something new. People need to get over themselves and learn to be wrong. If you can’t do this you will never learn anything new and the only one who will think you are smart is you.

7. Be willing to learn from other people. If you hear something from another person that you did not know do not be intimidated. They probably learned it from another source themselves. never take it as fact. I always politely say that’s interesting when in person, then look it up when I get a second. If they were correct than just remember who told you or thank them if you like. If the were wrong you can make a note to yourself, I tend to point it out politely as I can because if i were walking around misinforming people I would hope someone would mention it to me. If the information comes in online than you have plenty of time to check yourself and decide if you wish to comment or not. Personally I think there are too many ignorant and incorrect facts floating around out there so I make a point to say something when I can. Most people are too narcissistic to change but some are healthy and willing to discuss the information out there.

8. Keep an open mind. I have beliefs and opinions of my own but I have read some information and met some people who have have changed my mind on rare occasions. If you are completely unwilling to change your beliefs or opinions than you are not basing them on educated information because it takes so long to learn everything that we must constantly change to keep up with knowledge.

I think that these are a good basic for beginner research. If you can successfully complete all these steps you will find correct information far more often and you may even find that you really enjoy to learn as I do. Just remember that information takes time to learn. You can’t possibly learn something and completely understand it in a few mins. Give information time to sink in and keep learning all the time.

Legal Disclaimer- Must Read

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August 5th, 2006 Posted 14:34

The opinions in Starsia.com are the opinions of the blogger and are not given with malice toward any religion, ethnic group, organization, company, individual or thing; especially those with the ability and desire to get defensive. As an intellectual being with an open mind my opinion can and will change from time to time. This is my right as a human and a woman. Anyone affiliated with RBC Insurance in any professional or personal manner may not have permission to copy or use anything off this site ever, this includes past, present and future content. I am the legal copyright holder of the material on my blog and it may not be used, reprinted, or published without my specific and dated written consent. All content may not be copied, reproduced, republished, manipulated, altered, transmitted, or distributed in any way, without written permission. You may feel free only to VIEW all blogs, photographs and art. I welcome all comments on my website but will moderate/remove those of a racist, malicious or overly cruel nature.

Posted in All About me