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TTC – try taking cabs

Filed under: General — 19day @ 15:57:09

So we had a nice little wildcat strike in Toronto’s transit system, and it caught me entirely by surprise, embarassingly enough. Wildcat apparently means I don’t know anything about it, get screwed over as none of the cabs will return my calls or my hails, and end up near death trying to get to work. I had lots of time to try to do something about it, I was up at 6, but I tossed and turned and watched episodes of things on my computer, since I was intending at showing up at 10am anyway. Silly me.

I went out at 9am, walking uncharacteristically to the next stop to avoid all the kids who get off there (and thus block all attempts at getting on at my usual stop). At first, I was like ‘it’s been 15 minutes, where the hell is the 34″… then I thought for a minute… “hmm, it’s been 16 minutes, where the hell is any bus at all?”
Then a passer by asked “Oh, is the strike over?” “What strike is that?” “TTC is on strike, but it was supposed to be resolved for the morning” “When the hell did this happen” “Earlier this morning….” “Damn.. thanks.”

And so I decided to go home to regroup, which is fairly easy when you are a single person. I walk in to find maintenance being done on my ceiling (which I had reported friday when I was home sick, and they came in several times over the course of a few hours to look at it, disrupting my attempts to block out the jackhammering on the balconies outside, whilst trying to recover) and go into my room to consult webpages. Ah, there we go, TTC, no service, thestar had things to say as well, strike on, not over yet, woe to you mere mortal. Joy.

So I pull out the phonebook and start phoning cab companies at random, since I never consider cabs a viable form of transportation (they fall off my radar usually), to get endless busy signals, which seemed about right. So I resolve to walk and try to flag down a cab, which proved fruitless and embarassing. So, in a final sigh of stupidity, decide to walk it.

Essentially, the walk is straight down Eglinton from Mt. Pleasant to Don Valley Parkway (There are more bits to either side, but for anonymity’s sake, I’ll use major roads). On the bus, it seems so plausible. And it might have been too, if not for the heat. 30 degrees, 42 humidex, not pleasant when standing still, but marching for the two hours required to get to work was somewhat more painful than I expected. I had only bought a single 710ml Powerade at a store at the start of my journal, and it is fortunate I did that much, as I’m sure I would have collapsed otherwise. However, buying two would have been better.

The problem with Eglinton once you get down to about the halfway point between Mt Pleasant and the DVP is that there just isn’t anything around, it’s just a pavement desert, no stores to buy drinks, not even shade for the most part. The heat was terrible, the slight inclines of the road unwelcome. I ran out of drink near Leslie, had to start taking more frequent breaks, my heart was racing dangerously, and it was hurting in my chest. I was getting more tired, dizzy, and wanting to collapse. I might find a little bit of shade behind a utility pole, and try to rest, but as soon as I trudged on, my heart would race again. Not to be melodramatic, but it felt like I was near death. Not sure what sunstroke is, but if I were to give a name to the feeling I was having at about the Leslie point, that would be it. What I experienced was more dehydration (which to me is ludricrous, I mean, I have my own hump) but maybe my dizziness, weakness and heart-speed would have been in the sunstroke category.

Finally made it to work, and collapsed a bit, it’s been hours, and I’m still recovering, my head still hurts and I’m a little dizzy. I’ve drunk rather a lot of liquid, and only hours later needed to use the washroom, to discover I not only looked like hell, but have sunburn on my face as well.

I’m not sympathetic with the drivers this time, or with TTC, or with anything at all. I mean, if only they had bantered about a strike for a bit before this, there might have been time to do something (which I guess was the point). They can’t screw the owners directly, but we can, only through being screwed ourselves. Which is how it is for public-facing services. We are merely the tools they weild, they risk backlash at themselves, but if they convince us that they were pressured into the position, then it’s hoped we will direct our anger at the owners themselves. In any case, we’re the ones who get dicked around with. I pay higher fares (or in this case, lose a day’s use of my Metropass) and I doubt any lasting change will come of this.

I mean, there are other actions, like the TTC apparently refusing to side with the drivers when they get kicked and spit on during fare disputes. Their job action? To not argue, basically the bus is free (sorta, some will still argue, the rest will just be really angry at you, or suggest you wait for another bus). I was with them on that, since it was against the TTC and not the fare-paying public.

I’m tempted on my next ride to pay my exact fare, and then kick and spit, well, not really, but it’s certainly going to be hard to go down to the station this week to fork over approx $100 for the June Metropass and feel I’m making a good move. I should just buy a car.


What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

Filed under: General — 19day @ 22:16:24

I nearly wrote this entry once before, but I abandoned it when I thought it was obvious, and it is, but I guess I forgot the point I was actually trying to make, since there is a personal outlook I failed to factor into the idea.

The topic of today’s entry is Mating.

Hopefully that word doesn’t attract google (pun not intended initially, but relished)

I was thinking a couple weeks ago about a philosophical outlook by someone I can’t remember (and thus can’t look up) that I read about in my Philosophy of Love PHIL 201 course from waterloo. It basically sounded like the type of thing I might have come up with as a 40 year old virgin (damn you google), were as love, and thus love-making, and thus reproduction, were sort of the things our genes trick us into doing. There was one quote that I remember and will certainly misquote here, but paraphrasing, they said that giving in to sexual desire made one (temporarily) the fool of the species. I had two problems with this (three if you could how it sounds like bitter recriminations), one: Without it, there would be no one around to say that it makes us the fools of the species as there would be no species at all. And two: What else would we be doing? Somehow I feel it is possible to think the high thoughts, attain the high immutable truths (if any) while still partaking of love in it’s various (albeit silly-looking) forms. In fact, another philosophical theory states that one cannot even contemplate the high uttermost truth/knowledge/philosophy while baser desires go unfullfilled.

Anyway, it was the “fool of the species” I was thinking about.. since I feel like it often, not really with the “of the species” part, but just foolish trying to invoke relationships since it seems quite labourious, futile, and most notably a shock to the other person that you were steering the conversation in that direction. However, I’ve tended to think my pursuits are a little less tarnished than some others’ statements of love might be. Some people might speak in flowery words only to gain a chance to mate, and then flee. Indeed this seems to be a theme that goes back a long while. Here is quote from Hamlet I remember from highschool, from father to daughter:

Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know,
When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Lends the tongue vows: these blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat, extinct in both,
Even in their promise, as it is a-making,
You must not take for fire. From this time
Be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence;
Set your entreatments at a higher rate
Than a command to parley. For Lord Hamlet,
Believe so much in him, that he is young
And with a larger tether may he walk
Than may be given you: in few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows; for they are brokers,
Not of that dye which their investments show,
But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bawds,
The better to beguile. This is for all:
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you so slander any moment leisure,
As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
Look to’t, I charge you: come your ways.

I more remember the analysis we did at the time, rather than retain the ability to analyze it now. My skills at this ye olde english are not good (actually, I beleive this is considered New English, as is ours, while Canterbury Tales is Middle, and Beowolf is Old, and is truly incomprehensible to the uninitiated). Anyway, basically, Hamlet is on the make, wants Ophelia in the physical sense, but has no real further desire. His fire has little light, and less heat, not to beleive his vows, etc. And of course, it’s still easy to see that, from friends, to media, there are many who do this, at least until they get older, wiser and settle down or something, whatever it is those people do.

But I thought, I’m not like them, when I pledge my affection, it is for that reason alone, I am not trying to beguile. But then I think to the point at the top of this entry, that we are fools, in a way. This can be analyzed fairly simply, why are certain things attractive, or rather, cause arousal. It’s like asking why breathing feels good (after say, not being able to do it for a while)… because it’s how we developed, it’s intrinsic to our nature. If I were making love, I wouldn’t need to think that it is arousing to be aroused… I’d be too busy being aroused, plus it’s all handled above the level we are able to control, for the most part. I liken it to the kind of instant processing someone will do to determine if someone is attractive to them, they may not be entirely sure of the actual determining aspects themselves, they just know it when they see it, since it’s the parts working away above their conscious interpretation just sending them pre-processes “TRUE” or “FALSE” signals.

My concern then, is how can I be sure about my own intentions, motivations, etc. I can’t get direct access to the outside unfiltered inputs any more than anyone else, so I can quite easily be convinced of my own shiny intentions, while at the higher level, my brain is just trying to trick me into things another way… can’t win a heart with an ugly body, so go for the sincerity. Possible, and of course, utterly untestable. That’s the problem with philosophy, it’s always in search of questions that it knows it damn well can’t answer, not really.

When I started taking philosophy, I used to think that it would be this cool, intellectual screw you to idiots I had to contend with when I was a child, but as I started taking courses, I was just bored. Some of it was interesting, but actually sitting down and reading Plato was just tiresome, and I rarely got the point. When I finally did get the point of some of it, it turns out some of it was stuff I had come up with, except they came up with it first, many many many years ago. So I guess that leads me to a unixism that I’ll adapt.. those who haven’t learned philosophy are doomed to re-invent it, poorly.

For the moment, I’ll beleive in my own convictions as the truth. Not that it matters, as I get a whole lotta “FALSE” from people anyway.


It’s been done, but I don’t care

Filed under: General — 19day @ 18:49:19

I’ve seen the future, it is murder.

The future of cutting your face


Midnight doesn’t mix

Filed under: General — 19day @ 21:21:58

I took Midnight home-home for the weekend, to meet Burroughs the incredibly laid back cat, and Joey, the hyper Jack Russel terrier. I figured Burroughs would be her natural ally against Joey, but, unfortunately, Midnight hates other cats. It does seem to match her pattern. I figured she hated the neighbours cat when she lived there because I hated that cat too, but Burroughs didn’t do anything to her, but Midnight hissed whenever he was near, moved, meowed, or even chirped as he slept. She just hates other cats.

She hissed at Joey a bit as well whenever he charged at her, but all in all, she tolerated the dog a hell of a lot more than the cat. Oh well, guess I won’t be bringing her home often. At least she likes people well enough, and got friendly with my parents, but she was quite glad to get home (ignoring the travel cage, which she hates more than all other things that do and can exist in this universe).

Anyway, finally got a picture of her. My brother had a spare USB cable for linking my camcorder to my computer, so I captured an image. It’s not great quality, I think I need to tweak the capturing software. Anyway, meet midnight.



We’re still sorry

Filed under: General — 19day @ 21:52:17

I had written about this later on when she had been found, her body anyway. Here is the text from my entry Hellfire, which was part of my old journal, reprinted here.

Cecilia Zhang

Cecilia Zhang’s body was finally found. For anyone who doesn’t pay attention to Toronto news (which must be quite a number of people), she was kidnapped in october. Being cynical, I figured the worst, although the police were reportedly optimistic that she was being held for profit. I had been following this story since it started. Though I was not optimistic, stranger things had happened, like Elizabeth Smart’s case… Cecilia’s remains were recently discovered, and I have no personal doubt that she was taken, raped and murdered in fairly quick order. This is the legacy of my gender. I have never wished harder that the christians are right, and that there is a hell, because the man who did this should burn, very slowly, for a very very long time.

Of course, this goes on a lot, and every now and then the media latches onto a specific case. I’m not sure how to feel about that, I guess it’s a balance between reporting all the news all the time between the occurance and the resolution, and giving an architype like report, to remind us of the evil that surrounds, permeates, and is, us…

Cecilia, we’re sorry.

I’m somewhat pleased to know that I was wrong, always assuming the that the self-confessed murderer, now charged and having pled guilty, is telling the truth about what happened. I don’t know if it’s any real comfort to anyone, that she died of smothering during the kidnapping. I thought perhaps it was, but then thinking about it… what would I prefer? To have my raped, beaten, tortured daughter returned to me alive, or have her bones, she who may not have suffered much, perhaps, but is still gone forever.

During this, and other such cases, my mind repeatedly goes back to a game I played, Chrono Trigger. It was an RPG, where you started off as a party of one, Crono, who met up with a bunch of other characters and could create a party of 3, but always with you, Crono, in it… until you die. You are utterly destroyed by the evil monster when you encounter it too early (but are scripted to do so of course). The rest of your party escapes, and returns to the End of Time (the game heavily involves time travel and time manipulation). The Guru of Time tells you there is only one possibility for saving Crono, and gives you the Chrono Trigger, which is just a symbol of changing time, but time can only be changed if the timelines will allow it (in defiance to the changes in the timeline made in the game already by your actions, but whatever). You get a clone of Crono (in fact, a doll won at a fair that looks exactly like him) and return in time to the moment he died, and invoke the trigger.
Time is stopped, and you are able to swap out Crono for the doll, and leave, time resumes, and for all intents and purposes, Crono is killed there and then, the timelines have no disagreement about that… but he is also saved.

I have wished such a thing were possible, of course if obviously requires travelling in time, but say you couldn’t make any changes since the changes were already integrated into the pre-travel timeline… at least with the Chrono Trigger concept, it may not be impossible.

And then look at Cecilia Zhang, smothered and put in a trunk. When he checked on her later, already dead. If ever a time machine could exist, would it not be a perfect time to swap a perfectly created (but unalive) clone for her, and revive her. He even seemed surprised that she had died, perhaps this has happened already… the religious are not the only ones who engage in wishful thinking I suppose. Hopefully my thoughts to a video game are not too distasteful given the subject matter.

Sadder still, is how her parents pleaded for her return, how the police suspected she was alive, and why not, for at least a day or two you’d figure, time to do something…. but she was dead before her dissapearance was even discovered, no time for anything. And the reason for her kidnapping at all… pointless…

The media is as fixated on this case I have been. It’s not particularly good, or fair, to focus on the deaths of particularly fair and young girls, but still in our collective unconscious they represent the upmost innocent, and the photographs of Cecilia herself almost appear to be an advertisement for innocense. Perhaps the media should shine a bit more light around to the other cases, but once in a while one comes along like a sign post to show you exactly how bad things have gotten.

Everyone always says it, so I will as well: “I can’t imagine how it must be for the parents.” It’s almost enough to make you not want to have children at all, to know your sanity will be determined by the wellbeing of offspring that you’ll want to do anything to protect, but know that you never could possibly do so all the time. You never know who will be waiting outside the window.

We’re still sorry

More information about this on wikipedia


Ugly is as Ugly Does

Filed under: General — 19day @ 09:27:23

I wanted to write this entry after reading a couple stories in an online paper but now I’ve left it so long I can’t remember what paper it was, or which story. But I’ll just say stuff without references or proper quotes, and you’ll just have to trust me on it.

Anyway, I was reading about some kind of murder, and they caught the guy, and the family had said how surprised they were when they saw how normal the accused appeared to be, how they expected the monster that killed their relative to be monstrous in appearance as well as in deed.

And that does appear to be the case in general, isn’t it? People want the people who do ugly things to be ugly themselves. Of course, it always seems that these murderers are described as “normal, guy next door” sort of way, which probably is what scares people the most since you aren’t on your guard with such people. So who are they on their guard against? Ugly people? Those who they expect to be more likely to commit such things, despite the ceaseless “normal guy” criminals popping up.

But this is hardly surprising, as psychology has taught me that attractive people are more often attributed virtuous characteristics, and the unattractive attributed the uglier characteristics. I’ve felt this myself, well, some might argue in favour of prudence over a general attack on my character, but when you move into a house with someone who then has the landlord affix a deadbolt lock on her door, but not yours, I take that as a suggestion of what kind of person she thinks I am. (and to top off that story, her non-rent-paying boyfriend, who ceaselessly came over, barged into my room while sleeping to borrow something, hmph)

The Just-World view is also fairly prevalent, which goes along the sensible line that good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people. Most people, to one degree or another, believe something like this, as a the alternative Shit-World view (I dunno what to call it) is too depressing to contemplate. However, it leads to interesting fallacies and inferences, like if something bad happens to you, you must be a bad person, since bad things happen to bad people, and somehow I feel that ties into the attractiveness bit. Being ugly I think is generally considered to be bad, as in, who would opt to actually be described as ugly? So if you are ugly, then you must be bad.

Hmm, sorry.. as I was thinking about this topic and what I would write, I thought I had a lot of insightful things to say, but I think I’ve forgotten some of it, and it was probably crap anyway.

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