Sunday, March 29, 2009

We're in a recession, but the tire business is booming. Apparently.

I'm convinced that the Harper government is randomly puncturing the sidewalls of our tires as part of their economic recovery plan.

It's kind of like the home renovation tax credit they recently implemented. If you're fortunate enough to already own a home and you have a spare $10,000 kicking around, you can get a tax break this year for doing upgrades to your home that probably weren't needed in the first place. The general idea is to get people spending money hiring licensed tradespeople, which pumps cash back into the economy and keeps those tradespeople working, reducing EI payments and such. It's a well-intentioned idea that kind of misses the mark a bit, since the only people who really stand to benefit from the tax break are the ones who don't actually need a tax break in the first place. And in that sense, it's kind of like the Universal Child Care Benefit, which redirected money that had been earmarked for the creation of subsidized childcare spots for low income earners. Instead of providing those spots, the UCCB provides a monthly taxable sum of $100 per child per month to the lower income partner in every household with young children, regardless of income threshold. So now, a single parent working a minimum wage job and the stay-at-home spouse of a millionaire are treated equally and given the exact same amount of assistance per head, and everything is "fair". You know; kind of like Communism.

This is what comes of having a government that caters to the wealthy. It's like living in a country run by Robin Hood. Only in reverse. And without archery or fancy outfits. Try Conservative - The Un-Robin Hood!


Not that there's anything wrong with being wealthy. I myself aspire to it someday. And I am certainly a fan of plans that focus on encouraging selective spending to aid economic recovery, if the plans are implemented correctly. I am also a fan of all things pretty and clean, as well as of efficiency in general. But I think there are limits as to how far one should go. Not so for the Honourable (and I use that word loosely) Nancy Ruth, an Ontario Conservative whose "kill two birds with one stone" philosophy extends to cover off the death of any two inferior beings. One bird and one poor person, for example.

The following editorial is taken from page A14 of the March 29, 2009 Edmonton Journal. Enjoy.

"Another blow to the poor, beleaguered Canadian Senate was struck last week by the Honourable Nancy Ruth, an Ontario Conservative appointed by the Martin Liberals. Ruth was holding forth on her important priorities at the Senate finance committee on Tuesday, as the body deliberated the budget for Canada's Food Inspection Agency, which hasn't had great outings of late.

Ruth's laser-like gaze fixed on the vexing national problem of dirty Canada geese. They are a "health hazard," she said, since they foul the waters around her summer cottage. That produces the malady known as swimmer's itch, and Ruth was itching for a war against our iconic fowl. They're also soiling her home in downtown Toronto, she continued.

When enlightened by colleagues that waterfowl hunting rules are a provincial matter and only aboriginals are allowed to shoot Canada geese, Ruth pronounced that as "excellent. Why don't we kill them and feed them to the poor in Toronto?"

While we're at it, senator, why waste all that summer roadkill when food banks are looking for supplies? Surely, the hands-down winner of the 2009 Marie Antoinette on the Rideau Award is Senator Nancy Ruth, doing the people's work, one (dead) honker at a time."

They're dirty. A health hazard. They cause swimmer's itch. They foul up our waters and soil our homes. So let's kill them. And feed them to the poor. Who presumably will voluntarily ingest dirty, diseased waterfowl? Excellent!

As ridiculous as that is, it is clear that the Conservative government is looking for solutions to the crises in our nation. And we know that one such solution is to encourage spending to aid economic recovery. And for that, I applaud them. But random acts of vandalism? Seriously?

The thing is that so far this year, we have experienced six (yes, six) irreparably flat tires. Each time, the puncture has occurred in the sidewall, where it cannot be patched. Some of these tires were new. Only one was under warranty at the time. And so, we have had to pay for five new tires so far this year. Sidewall punctures are relatively rare, so it's a bit odd to see six of them in the space of three months. And this leads me to conclude that the Harper government, wanting to encourage spending in the tire and rubber market, is puncturing our sidewalls in order to force us to buy new tires. Really, it's the only logical explanation.

Dear Harper government: You've gotten us six times. Please move on to someone else's vehicles now. We should not single-handedly be responsible for the revitalization of the entire rubber industry. Our contribution has been made.

To everyone else: Protect your sidewalls. For Big Brother is here, and he wants your tires. There is no telling where he may strike next. Be warned.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It is inappropriate to have a "favourite large yucky bug"

Today, I had to phone H at work and have him come home. I've had a severe headache since Saturday morning. My positive thinking and careful Tylenol dosing have not helped it to pass. I couldn't cope with the pain today, so I couldn't take care of the kids properly. I also couldn't drive myself to the doctor because I could barely see. H loaded the kids into the van and drove me to the doctor, then returned home to wait for me to call for a ride home. And I waited at the doctor's office for over two hours before I was seen.

It's a severe sinus infection. Hurts like hell. Imagine someone attacking your eye socket with a crochet hook. Yeah. It's kind of like that. But now, I have drugs. The doctor says I should be feeling better by the weekend.

As painful as this is, though, I think it may actually be preferrable to the torture H had to endure at the hands of our children while I was away.


H: (singing) Rock-a-bye baby ...
J: Daddy!
H: ... in the treetop ...
J: Daddy!!
H: ... the cradle will ...
H: WHAT, J?!?!
J: I want you to pretend to be the big giant cockroach from "Men in Black".
H: ...
H: Rock-a-bye ...
H: FINE! (In a really low voice) I am the big giant cockroach from "Men in Black".
J: Big giant cockroach?
H: *sigh* Rock-a-bye baby ...
H: Yes, J!!!
J: Cockroaches are my favourite kind of large yucky bug, because they have big sharp teeth coming out of their cheeks.
H: Good. Is that all?
H: ... when the wind blows ...


That? Or the sinus infection? I think it's a toss-up. But what would you prefer?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Irritation and Injuries

Yesterday, I turned my back for a moment to put in a video for J to watch. J took that opportunity to swan dive off the couch, landing directly on his face on the hardwood. Good times.

I worked to stop the blood that was pouring from J's nose and mouth, trying to console my little boy, while also admonishing him that "This is why Mommy and Daddy tell you not to jump off the furniture like that". I realized that he'd banged his mouth and nose but good, and he'd also smacked his chin and forehead. He had tooth punctures in both his upper and lower lips. I was worried about his mouth. His teeth. His nose. His head. Oh dear ... I hope his teeth are okay; his nose not broken; he has no concussion.

And J screamed and cried. And I applied pressure to his nose and mouth. And I phoned H. And I carried the crying J up the stairs, while he shrieked, waking N from his nap with screams of "I WANT MY N!!!" (It's sweet that he's so attached to his little brother.)

J went to emergency. He is okay. No breaks; no stitches. Popsicles to reduce the swelling in his mouth. And he feels better today. Sadly, he continues to leap off the furniture like a little maniac. But hopefully, he has learned to land on his feet and yesterday's faceplant will not be repeated.


Today, I feel agitated. It's a general unhappy rage. I'm not 100% certain of what has caused it, but it is there nonetheless. I don't like it. I wish it would go away. But these moods take time to pass. And so, I wait. And as I wait, I brood. And question everything and everyone around me. And wish for a happy headspace, which will only come when it is good and ready.

Mood swings are a part of me, and you'd think I'd be used to them by now. But apparently, I am not. So for now, I grit my teeth and wait for the tides to turn. I hope happy, fun posts will soon appear. They'll come; they always do. Just takes time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Getting in touch with my inner 6-year old

Youtube thought I would like to see this tonight.

Youtube was correct.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Random Dorito Tuesday ... with cake and toilet paper


N is in his exersaucer. He rocks back and forth like mad, propelling himself across the room. He operates the exersaucer like a car with no wheels. Every so often, I get nervous that he's going to flip the saucer over, and I call out to him. "N ... NO!" He stops rocking briefly, looks at me, and smiles engagingly. And then proceeds to rock violently, as though I had never spoken. This can't bode well for the future.

N's favourite toy is the red phone on his exersaucer, which he holds and waves about as he drives about the room. J's favourite toy is anything round. J loves to share. And that is why N is presently standing on a bunch of balls of assorted sizes, all of which are apparently now stored in the bottom of the exersaucer. I've given up removing them; it doesn't work.

Auditing exam went well. I was temporarily deceived into thinking there were no questions fresh out of left field on this one. That's uncharacteristic for the auditing exam, so I wondered what I might have missed. Then my classmates pointed out to me that those questions were all about law. Which is my other education and experience base. I didn't even notice. I think I did pretty well on it. Hopefully I'm correct. Won't know until May 6. The two month turnaround is aggravating, but I'm kind of getting used to it.

I want Doritos. We have no Doritos. There should always be Doritos. A Dorito-less house by itself cannot stand ... or something. And I think my Wii Fit trainer would like Doritos too. If she ever ate anything. Which she doesn't, because she is a computer animation. But if she had an actual mind and body, I bet I could corrupt her and make her gain a whole bunch of weight.

My training was suspended for an extended time while I prepared for my exam. Back to my Wii Fit this week. I have to lose about a gazillion pounds, so that should be entertaining. When they invent the Doritos and Chocolate Cake diet, I'll be very, very happy indeed. (Mmmmmm ... chocolate cake ...)

H gets irritated whenever I forget to throw out the cap from a bottle of formula and he finds it on the kitchen counter. I get irritated whenever I find an empty toilet paper roll that hasn't been thrown out and/or replaced. So the solution is clear. I've now told H that I will be stockpiling the formula bottle caps and placing them next to the empty toilet paper rolls.

Now, go visit Keely, and do your own Random Tuesday Thoughts. Very freeing!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yeah ... 'cause THAT's what's important there ...

Watching "Sleeping Beauty" with J tonight. And ... well ... you know the scene where the beautiful princess pricks her finger on the spindle and collapses to the ground, near death? And the evil witch sneers in triumph right before she disappears into a big ball of evil green aura? Happens right around the 3-minute mark ...

J: She forgot her ball!!

(He was genuinely alarmed by that. Couldn't have cared less about the plight of the beautiful 16-year old princess, of course.)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

This post has absolutely nothing to do with auditing ...

... and isn't that a relief!


Okay. One of these days, I'll be getting to the "google search post". 'Cause there are definitely some good ones I can put up here now. But for the moment, when I'm short on time, I'm just going to comment on a particular search anomaly.

People keep coming here looking for words that rhyme with other words. It's an all-too-common search, invariably landing an unfortunate searcher on this post about potty training. What a disappointment!

Though there have been several very interesting searches of this type, the most common appears to be for "words that rhyme with connection". Which makes perfect sense. Now, I could spend time thinking about it and posting all the words I can think of to help you out (convection, inflection, correction, protection, the list goes on). But I think what you're really looking for is probably just a rhyming dictionary.

So ... yeah. You're welcome!

Friday, March 06, 2009

But it'll all be worth it when I meet Mickey Mouse

Studying frantically. Test on the 13th. J is allowing me to study. Mostly because I have told him that in a few years, when I'm designated, we will be able to take him to Disneyland. Whatever works, right?

Just one problem. What's the risk that we never get to Disneyland because of the risk that I incorrectly assess the risk that may or may not be involved in the risk of death from infection caused by jamming a fork through my own eye just so I don't have to read any more of this crap?!


Auditing is ghastly.

It's theory. All theory. Picky, niggly, ridiculously in depth theory. Theory that you cannot begin to grasp unless you have actually audited. Personally, I have not. Now, they do mention this fact in the course. Not in the course syllabus, mind you. Nor in a note about the course pre-requisites. No. Nothing so simple. They mention it at the very end of the summary of the very last module for the course. You will not understand this class until you have auditing experience. Thaaaaanks!

Auditing involves a series of standards, assertions, procedures, objectives, tests, and communications.

Generally accepted auditing standards. One general, three examination, and four reporting standards. They are involved and detailed. And they should not be confused with assurance standards, which have three very subtle differences but are otherwise virtually identical.

Management assertions. Different assertions apply to balance sheet accounts, income statement accounts, and note disclosures. Accounts are linked together in various cycles. Each cycle includes primary assertions. Assertions must be substantiated with a procedure. General procedures are: analysis, enquiry, inspection, observation, computation, and confirmation. Different procedures are used to test different assertions. Specific procedures are not so much provided as made up as you go along.

Internal control objectives. Each corresponding with a management assertion. These fall in categories and levels. General controls. General IT controls. Application controls. Input, processing, and output controls as subsets of application controls. Three subsets of input controls, one of which is entitled "input controls". Eleven controls in this category. Tests of controls. Reliance on controls. Weaknesses in control. Manipulation of control. Different duties which must be segregated in different account cycles for effective control.

Communication. The auditor's report. Engagement letter. Management representation letter. Derivative communications. Two other letters I'm forgetting. Communication with predecessor auditors. Does this client even need an audit? Three paragraph standard report. Introduction, scope, opinion. Qualifications in "except for" wording. Where do extra paragraphs go? What should they say? What should be in each paragraph? Audit report addressed to shareholders. Dated. Signed. What is the date? When do you issue qualified, unqualified, adverse, or denial? When do you resign from an engagement?

Law. Liability. Ethics. Structure of the CEPROC. Computer auditing. EDP. EDI. Through vs. around computer. Computer assisted auditing techniques and when to use them. Sampling. Statistical vs. non-statistical sampling. How and when to sample. Upper and lower error bounds. Unadjusted vs. adjusted error bounds. Interpretation of results. Stratification of samples. Types of independence. Audit risk model. Types of risk: alpha, beta, sampling, detection, audit, business, information, inherent, control, incorrect acceptance, incorrect rejection. Risk on top of risk. Risk of assessing risk incorrectly.

Risk of assessing risk incorrectly? You can't be serious. What happens if you assess the risk of assessing the risk incorrectly ... incorrectly? Hmmmm?

Auditing is ghastly.

But this is why designated accountants get paid the big bucks. 'Cause everyone else would rather just drown themselves than even think about this crap. And I personally am contemplating ripping out my own liver and beating myself to death with it, just so I can have something else to do. I bet the magazines at hospital emergency rooms are more interesting, and they probably mention nothing about the audit risk model; not even once.

Exam on March 13. Can't wait for it to be over. As long as I pass, it's good. I just don't want to have to repeat this class.

Dear lord, I hope my next class is better. But I dread it, too. Theory courses are problematic for me. And this next class has "theory" built right into the title, so that just can't be good.


So ... What's the risk that I might make an error in assessing the risk that in a few years, my son may or may not be emotionally scarred for life at the hands of a giant rat who insists on hugging him forcefully in the middle of a theme park while "It's a Small World After All" plays on a pipe organ over a tacky PA system?