Anita Ward, Go Away!

It’s been several months of being woken up at 3am to the doorbell ringing, only to find that it’s the same girl, looking for her roommate to buzz her in. I can’t be sure if what the deal is. Maybe she’s lost her keys, maybe it’s just her friend’s house so she never had keys to lose, or maybe she thinks it’s funny to ring EVERY buzzer in the entire building.

At any rate, a few nights ago I took an exacto-knife to the intercom system, chipped the nine coats of paint off, and disconnected the damn thing. If I move to a new place, I’ll re-connect the unit before moving, which is the only reason I labeled the wires.

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TTC Strike

Leaving the channel last night, I walked to the streetcar stop on King Street, and was surprised when I saw two streetcars pass by with their red ‘out of service’ banners in place.

A very drunk man at the stop wandered by me muttering something about a strike, but I wasn’t inclined to believe him since I thought all the union disputes were resolved by 6pm last Sunday. It was only when another man, with a Blackberry or a Treo told me that, yes, there was strike, and he had just looked it up online because four streetcars had passed him.

I laughed. “Really?” After a bit of small talk, we were both wondering why the union hadn’t given 24-hours notice, like they had said they would, in the event of a strike. We both agreed that it could be worse. It could be the middle of the winter, and it could have been raining. “At least we’re not going to freeze to death.” His phone rang, and he wandered off.

I quickly immediately found a taxi and headed home. The driver hadn’t heard anything about the strike, which had only been in effect for 15 minutes, and he was pleased that he was going to make alot of money that night, and every cab we sat next to at the lights, he was yelling out the window telling the other drivers about it. It was 14 bucks I didn’t want to spend, but I got home with little hassle.

I say good for them. The TTC, though basically an essential service, has the power to shut down the city, and they effectively have. They called to strike on a Friday night, when many people are using the service, and at a time when the impact of a shutdown could be felt by many. Today, Saturday, less people head to work than on weekdays, and it’s not going to be as disruptive as if this was a Monday morning.

I have to work today. Work is not walking distance. I have 2 options: I can drive, or I can ride my bike. Usually, I drive to work on Saturdays, because I have use of our parking lot, and sometimes I bike to work, though those days are few and far between. Today, I’ll be biking. I need the exercise and it’s a nice day out. Plus, parking at the channel might be difficult considering the number of people who work on Saturdays, and who will likely be trying to park because they didn’t take the transit.

The workers of the transit union do get paid. They make more money than alot of people. Some of them make more money than I do. However, I don’t believe that the reasoning of ‘I need the transit to be in service because I need to get to work’ is good enough to complain about the strike. The drivers and the majority of their workers are right in the line of fire. If a drunk angry passenger gets on the transit, it’s the driver who has to deal with him, with little to no outside resources. The major sticking point of the contract disputes has been pay when workers are sick or injured.

Yesterday heading to work on the streetcar, I was incredibly impressed with the driver. It was streetcar 4042 (I believe), and the driver was a 30-something guy with long-ish hair. Around Harbord street, a woman tried to get on, but her baby’s stroller kept getting caught on the door, and on the stairs. The driver immediately helped her, and when she apologised for taking so much time, he said, quite happily, “Don’t be sorry, it’s a baby’s stroller.”

My experience with public transit has (usually) been a positive one. If it takes a strike to get the workers what they want (and need), then so be it.

I’ll ride my bike.

March 3, 2005

One night, driving around with Matt and Jimmy, this contract somehow ended up drafted and signed. No, none of us had been drinking. None of us were dating. I believe that we all signed this, and then licked it (for good measure). My favourite part is “No puppy because we can’t, but if we do it will be named “Christoper Walken” or “walk” for short.

This is just a small indication of the things I hang on to. I still have my dental molds from 1989 when I had a retainer.

This contract

On a sidenote, sorry about all the password-protected posts on this page. While I was doing a bit of  testing, WordPress went a little screwy on me, and I haven’t figured out how to get rid of those yet. I should have them back as public pages in the next day or so.

America is Sideways

There are times when it’s arguably necessary to lie to young children in order to protect them from things they can’t understand. There are times when it’s necessary to lie to adults, say, so they don’t find out what you’re buying them for Christmas.

There are, apparently, times when the American President has lied in order to boost public morale, and in turn, has created public delusion that will outlast the time that he has remaining in office. The only thing I can be thankful about the George W. Bush’s presidency is that is going to end.

From The New Yorker:

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

A young friend recently served fifteen months as a combat infantryman at an isolated patrol base in the nasty farmlands south of Baghdad. One day, he was enjoying a hot meal in the chow hall at a nearby forwarding operating base, when Condoleezza Rice appeared on the TV screen saying that the violence in Iraq hadn’t reached the point at which random bodies were turning up in the streets. The noise of dozens of hungry soldiers eating came to a stop. Some of them exchanged glances, but no one said a word. Since my friend, while out on patrol, regularly came across the corpses of tortured and murdered Iraqi civilians, he wondered if the Secretary of State was dissembling or deluded. It was, he let me know, a bad moment for him and his buddies. Read the rest of this entry »

Not All Journalists Went to Grade Four

NBC_April 2008

Even when working for a national media corporation, some people, and editors, manage to overlook even the simplest of errors. The ‘poppy’s’ being written about didn’t own shit. They’re plants.

For more context, it’s an article about an old couple who were growing and cultivating more poppies for heroin than the United States has ever seen. 3670 plants were seized and the pair is being investigated. I might be the only person who finds it odd that the husband is 84, while the wife is hardly even 60.

As easy as it would be to judge their age difference, or their garden, maybe they are quite content with their choice of ‘job’, whereas this uncredited journalist may well be an idiot.

Read the original story here