It's hockey season again

Hockey season can only mean one thing — time to find a watering hole without a TV.

I know I am letting the side down by even suggesting I don’t want to watch hockey, but I don’t want to be forced to watch hockey.

My favourite point to start watching is about 15 minutes into the third period. That is where all the action is after all. 

I find TV’s distracting if I am trying to have a conversation. The specific thing that annoys me with hockey is it starts now and seems to finish somewhere around next summer.

It is a flippin’ long season. 

Aside from simply enjoying the food and drinks at your favourite dining location, one alternative catching on is board games. The analog version of the ever-so-popular video games.

I didn’t realize that board gaming was such big thing. But apparently it is huge. 

The forecast for the board games market is to continue increasing to $12 billion by 2023. While gaming is forecast to continue to increase in popularity so are places to go “board gaming.”

In the U.S., 5,000 board game cafe’s were opened in 2016.

So what is the big deal? We are complaining that people spend too much time looking at a screen and so obviously getting away from the screen requires an equally compelling distraction, hence the upswing of board-game locations. 

In Kelowna, we have a few to choose from but one of the most popular is still Muninn’s Post. With a Google rating of 4.6/5, Muninn’s or “The Post” as it is referred to locally, offers a diverse and often changed selection of craft beers from around the province and a selection of freshly prepared meals.

At 4.9/5 on Facebook, the restaurant is again ranked as one of the top places to enjoy some fun in the Okanagan. 

As you soon as you walk in the door, you immediately notice the Norse theme with the Viking Ship bar and  memorabilia on the walls. If you are a local and frequent board gamer, you may even drink from your own Viking horn.

What you will see is groups of people sitting at various tables usually talking to each other and playing one of several hundred board games that are available.

The location has also become a prime location for live music with jazz and metal typically the flavour of any given live music night. 

So next time you wonder what to do rather than watch hockey, check out their Facebook page and head on over. 

Oh, and you typically won’t see the one TV in the place turned on.


Political Peter Pans

Getting Rid Of Good-Idea Fairies

I think I’m living in a Peter Pan story.

Tinkerbell is running around putting thoughts in almost every politician’s ear.

North and south of the border on an almost daily basis, I hear the good-idea fairy planting nonsensical seeds and then politicians are saying things as if they did not know their outside voice was actually working.

A few weeks ago, I heard Elizabeth Warren say that she was going to create a fully green electrical grid in the U.S. without any form of nuclear energy.

Does she know what she is talking about?

It would be a mammoth task that today we probably don’t have the answer for, but she is going to use scientists. Bravo, a step in the right direction, but it will be hugely expensive.

Tinkerbell had an answer for that too... she is going to charge all those giant polluting and greedy corporations and they are going to pay for it.

Oh good, so the voter is off the hook.

I hear similar promises here in Canada almost daily:

  • free education
  • free daycare
  • taxes on oil companies.

The list is endless, but the good news is the good-idea fairy solves all the fiscal problems with a wave of her magic wand (assuming in today’s world that fairies are “hers” and not “theys”).

All the big, super wealthy, ultra greedy, oil polluting businesses are going to pay. Right.

In reality, once the mythical fairy has long fluttered away, the big, greedy corporations are only producing what we are demanding, so perhaps the first change should happen at home.

Second, no big corporation foots the bill. There is only one person doing that — you and me.

Here is what I would love to see at the next good-idea fairy debate.

Each politician adds up the cost of all the good ideas and forget who they think is going to pay because you and I know it is us.

Then, divide that number into the number of taxpayers and let’s see if we can justify our ROI because it is our money not the government’s.

It makes all the rhetoric simple to cut through. No BS, just numbers and results.

Let’s see, perhaps the good-idea fairy was just whispering in my ear.

Civil discourse missing

I was interested in Wikipedia’s page on civil discourse described as this in the first paragraph:

“Kenneth J. Gergen describes civil discourse as the language of civil discourse", and suggests that it requires respect of the other participants, such as the reader. It neither diminishes the other's moral worth, nor questions their good judgment; it avoids hostility, direct antagonism, or excessive persuasion; it requires modesty and an appreciation for the other participant's experiences.“

Then, I wondered what has happened to the polite art of discussing all manner of topics. Regardless of the topic, it seems that if you don’t agree with a stated opinion, then you are an idiot. There is nothing in between.

There appears to be no conversation, no discussion, no willingness to explore another’s point of view... just you agree or you are an idiot. 

I even saw a post on a friend’s Facebook page that resembled verbal vomit. She was clearly passionate about her opinion in regard to Brexit, but essentially told everyone else to **** off and don’t reply because she will delete all replies.

Is it stemming from social media? Is it a trend in the way we negotiate now with “Trumpian” bullying tactics, or are we just ignorant. 

My wife and I were discussing it and decided that one of the most important things missing is the all-important one hour family gathering around the dining table to eat and — discuss.

We grew up discussing all manner of things with family and visiting friends and were eager to learn other’s opinions and discuss our views on the subject.

If I had taken the stance that someone was an idiot for not agreeing with me at the dining room table, I would have received a quick clip around the ear from one of my parents. 

It appears this week as though a passionate young Swedish girl. Greta Thunberg, has riled a lot of people with her opinions on our care-taking efforts of her and her generation’s future.

The responses would indicated you are an idiot if you believe her or you are an idiot if you don’t, depending on which side of the fence you sit. 

The young girl in question has committed herself to her cause and I commend her for doing that.

The fact that we may not have been good custodians of the environment needs discussing and debating. Hollow commitments to reach carbon net neutral in a short period of time with no particular plan is exactly what she referenced in her talk to the UN.

The situation needs action not a signature on a document with an empty promise. 

To get to the action plan, we need to discuss. We need to get out of the kindergarten sandpit, drop the baggage, forget party politics and look at best practices to proceed with an economy that is fruitful and sustainable.

To do anything else, is, as she pointed out, an injustice to future generations. 

Help wallet and planet

When it comes to driving habits, we often ignore the ability to drive economically, which happens to be the same as environmentally. 

Of course, safe driving habits needs to overrule any attempt to drive economically. For example, you cannot drive at 40 km/h on a road with a speed designation of 80 km/h.

You become a hazard and you will ultimately risk getting a traffic violation ticket.

However, there are many things we can do to drive economically. Eighty per cent of new vehicles do not have a spare tire. It is not because we have run flat tires on vehicles today.

We do add a solution that is designed to seal or slow a leak, but really you are now stuck with making a phone call to the car's manufacturer to arrange for the repair, which is not economical, but as it turns out is a benefit to the environment.

Sort of!

The lack of a spare tire in a vehicle reduces the weight which allows most manufacturers to meet the stringent emission requirements that until a few days ago were in existence, at least in the U.S.

But how can you personally make a difference?

Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure you check your tire pressures against the decal on the B pillar of your car inside the driver's door frame. Running low tires is the easiest way to guzzle more fuel. 
  • Have your wheel alignment checked. A poor alignment leads to increased rolling resistance, which means you will consume more fuel. 
  • Check the drive settings on your vehicle. Make sure you have selected the economy setting.
  • Monitor you litres per hundred kilometres to compare one fill up to the next. 
  • Plan to avoid traffic snarls. The more you can drive at or close to the speed limit, the better off you will be.​
  • If you drive a standard gear-box vehicle, learn to short shift. In other words, change gear a little earlier than you typically would. If you change too early, the car will chug, which is not good for the car or economy, but changing a little earlier will go a long way. 
  • With an automatic gear box, you can “feel” when you are close to a gear change and with a slight lift of the throttle, you can force an automatic gear box to short shift also. 
  • Accelerate smoothly and a little slower than normal. Putting your right foot down hard off the line is what consumes a lot of fuel. Getting there a little more slowly will help a lot. 
  • If you have a turbo, learn to drive the car using the turbo as little as possible. You may have a boost gauge, which will tell you when the turbo is working or you can hear it. If not a turbo typically will really kick in around 3,000-3,500 r.p.m. Learn to back off the throttle at that point a little and you will reduce the gas guzzling turbo from kicking in hard. 
  • Take advantage of the down hills. I see people brake going downhill and accelerate going uphill! Why? You can use the downhill stretch to maintain the speed limit and then, as travel uphill, learn to slowly and carefully back off the throttle so that you maximize the natural momentum of the car. 
  • Learn to drive without using the brakes. That means keeping a safe distance between you and the car in front and approaching corners by decelerating carefully to the correct speed rather than braking at the last minute. 
  • If you do all of the above, stay in the right lane of a two lane highway, because you will not need to block traffic driving slowly in the left lane.

Then you can save the extra money in an account to buy your next vehicle.

More It's All About . . . articles

About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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