Saturday, April 30, 2005

May I present to you...

Jodi Avery and Brad McLean, married couple. Together at last in matrimony and financial assets. Congratulations guys!

It was a beautiful wedding, regardless of how jaded I am towards these things. Lovely, heartfelt speeches by all, lots of tears from all the wedding party, giggles from march down the aisle to first dance. Almost makes me want to have a wedding of my own. As long as there are Ewoks and Imperial Stormtroopers there. No droids though. We don't serve their kind here.

Unfortunately, John started burning up with a fever, so I took him home when the dancing started. I may be coming down with it too - I can feel the tickle in the back of my throat. So Carly, if you or Eric or anyone else comes down with anything, you can blame John, even though he tried very hard not to shake anyone's hand. (Thanks for reading!)

I think part of my personal resistance to the whole concept of weddings is that in most modern day relationships - where the couple lives together and consummates their relationship before the big day - there's very little change in the situation after the fact. And people spend exorbitant amounts of time and money arranging these days, and often end up in debt afterwards. They force relatives and friends and other acquaintances who may not get along well to sit together for hours, awkwardly, if not drunkenly. (No, not you Jodi and Brad, everything at your shindig was perfect.)

It's all well and good, I suppose, if you're in a situation where you haven't ever seen your partner naked, or when you don't live together. Weddings act as the group acknowledgement to the two of you having sex. "Cheers!" They whoop as they drink to your future boot-knocking. "You may now shtupp as much as you like!"

Of course it's not all about the money or bad relations. I'd love to have a big party to celebrate - I just don't want to do the white dress and walking down the aisle and having bridesmaids and speeches and flowers and what not. Tradition is the killer of invention, imagination, and innovation.

For me, it would be enough if John accepted me for his wife 'til the end of days. I mean, isn't that enough?

Well, maybe that, and if Elvis were to preside over the ceremony. With Wookiees as witnesses.

(P.S. John, if you want to have a wedding, I would very much love for you to plan it. Maybe a giant lan party? Where we get to shoot Nazis until a beer and pizza dinner is wheeled around to us? By Imperial Guards, no less! Man, that would be so FREAKIN' COOL!!)

Oh. Dear. God.

My good comrade in arms, Flocons de Mais, has somehow managed to find a link to the nearly complete Star Wars Holiday Special. Starring the original SW cast, as well as Chewbacca's hirsute wife and son.

And Carrie Fisher sings.


Friday, April 29, 2005

One Man Nerdom!

All I can say is BRILLIANT.

The One Man Star Wars and One Man Lord of the Rings shows last night were spectacular. Charles Ross ripped through 3 movies, hundreds of characters, dozens of scenes, and even did all the music to the Star Wars Trilogy and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, each in under an hour.

If you get the chance to see his shows, go. He has an uncanny gift for imitation (though his Yoda sounded a bit Irish for some reason) and did a perfect job of portraying characters like Luke Skywalker, Samwise Gangee, Frodo Baggins and more.

Now, go see it.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


I'm on vacation!


A whole 10 and a half days for me to do NOTHING!

So expect very little blogging. Or maybe lots. Depending on what my mood is. Oh who cares, I'm on vacation so NYAH-NYAH-NYAH-NYAH-BOO-BOO! *raspberry*

Going to see the One Man Star Wars show and the One Man Lord of the Rings show tonight - welcome to nerdfest '05! A post about it to come.

Also, the first of my friends' wedding is taking place Saturday. Some plithy commentary on how beautiful/corny/overhyped weddings are in general (still trying to get over my sister's 2003 wedding) will ensue.

In the meantime, what the hell is with Dufferin Mall? It's so OOGIE. I was just there to pick up a few things at the Wal-Mart and ended up having Mclunch in the food courtarium. Horrible horrible horrible! Granted, Dufferin Mall's done a lot to improve itself - lots of renovations, new washrooms, more big name stores, etc. Yet it retains that if-I-ever-worked-here-I'd-slit-my-wrist-in-three-weeks kind of feeling.

(For a really cool site on these types of malls, visit

I once read an interesting article about the invention of the shopping mall, the different categories, and how shopping centres, from the suburban plaza to hugungous megamalls, evolved. I can't find it online, but it basically outlined how shopping centres are classed according to their main draws: major department stores like Sears and the Bay, grocery stores, lower-end outlet department stores like K-Mart and Zellers, and so forth.

In my mind, I think there are only two basic classes of malls: the malls that deliberately separate the people with money from the people that don't; and the malls that don't have bookstores and usually have birds living in them.

Dufferin Mall is of the latter. Of course, it doesn't have any of the ooginess that either the Promenade Mall (the one at Dupont, not Thornhill) or Gerrard Square have. Now THOSE are ghetto. It comes down to this: if there are more dollar stores or crap stores than, say, washrooms on the first level, it's a ghetto mall. To take a page from John's musical life:

"In the ghetto mall...
the poor man walks to the dollar store/
and he learns how to steal off the sales floor/
in the ghetto mall...."

Understandably, these craptacular malls reflect the clientele and the neighbourhood they're in. I saw groups of old men who obviously didn't do much more than meet and yak all day in the food courtarium; teens with too much makeup and dead looks; and the ubiquitous mothers with crying screaming kicking children in tow. I wonder what would happen if the mall were to be filled with health food stores and clothing co-ops? Since so many people tend to spend so much time in these places, would regular exposure to wholesome things change them?

Probably not, but in my universe...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Look! Up in the Sky!....

Well, she can't fly, but she has X-ray vision...

If I could have a superpower, it would be to make snack cakes appear out of thin air. That would be cool. Speaking of which, Twinkies turn 75 today.

Hooray! Cream-filled-cakey goodness! YUM!

Happy Passover!

Okay, I'm a little behind in the celebration, but here's my shout-out to all my Jewish friends.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Johnnie's coming home! YAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!

My goo boo mafoo schmoo is on his way here!


In light of this, light blogging will ensue. Don't even know if there will be time to go to the gym over the next week or so. Besides, I'm on vacation as of Thursday afternoon: I plan to do more than just sit in front of the computer all day.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Happy Birthday Hubble!

The Hubble telescope is celebrating its 15th birthday!

See some of its coolest snapshots of the universe here.

My favourite is the one with lots and lots of galaxies, like handfuls of diamonds and emeralds and rubies and sapphires in an inky pool of darkness...

...Oooh, shiny.

Holy Mackeral

As Wedge would say, "Look at the size of that thing!"

If I may give you a little preview...

Sunday, April 24, 2005

May the Farce Be With You

In the May issue of the Village Post - a community magazine - there's a little article asking three of the city's politicians which Star Wars character they identified with most. David Miller said he was Luke Skywalker, Jack Layton said Yoda, and John Tory said Obi-Wan Kenobi.

My John was quick to point out to me that Layton is much more like Emperor Palpatine, since he has proposed to dissolve the Senate. And possibly build a grand army of the Canadian Republic using clones. And can probably shoot lightning from his hands.

Other politicians who should identify with Star Wars characters:

Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone as Wedge Antilles:

If Mayor Miller is Luke, Joe has to be Wedge. Joe Antilles has been in the Star Wars universe as long, if not longer, than Luke. Though he's had his own series of comic books and novels, Joe will sadly never get to be the real hero in the Star Wars universe. He just doesn't have the glitz and glamour a Jedi knight does.

Prime Minister Paul Martin as Admiral Ackbar:

Think of Martin's recent speech about the sponsorship scandal. Then think about Ackbar yelling, "It's a TRAP!"

Opposition Leader Steven Harper as Grand Moff Tarkin:

Dude just scares me. Sure, we all thikn he's kinda cool, but in that bad be-my-friend-or- I'll-beat-you-up kind of way. I fear what Moff Harper would do if he could get his grubby little hands on a Death Star of his own...

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe as Jar-Jar Binks:

You have to respect Duceppe - he's a man with integrity. Then Episode 2 proved that Jar-Jar Duceppe's absence really didn't do much to affect the overall suckiness of the film. Besides which, I think we all want to hear him say, "Meesa French!"

So those are my picks - what are yours?

Ace of Clubs

Just came back from a rare night of debauchery. Well, a night on the town after a VERY long Saturday at work, anyhow.

My friend Jodi is getting married - woo hoo! So her bridal party threw her the mandatory girls nite out with lots of drinking and dancing. I don't know about naked men since I wasn't around for the first part of it, but I'm sure there were enough gross-tacular men at the club for all of us.

The club is a very interesting scene. One which does not often get enough analysis. Not in blog form, anyhow. Then again, I don't read many blogs, and I'm rather djrunk with a j right now, but... what was I saying?

Club etiquette is one of those things you learn in the "hidden curriculum" as my teacher sister likes to call it. No one really tells you how it's done, or what to do - you're just expected to know.

Not being much of a clubber, I observed some key points to a successful club night, even through my exhaustion and somewhat tipsy stupor, and here I will share them with you all.

1. Get drunk. Not crazy fall-on-your-ass drunk: just drunk enough so that the swaying of the crowds matches the swaying of your head. If you walk in more sober than Jesus during Lent, head straight for the bar and down the easiest-to-drink cocktail you can. Then follow it up with a sipping drink of your choice - wine, beer, cooler, whatever.

The best drinks to have on the dance floor are bottled, so they don't spill everywhere. If you must have wine or a cocktail in a big-mouthed glass, drink it down to at least below the 2/3 filled mark, otherwise it's bound to splash as you make your way through the undulating forest of bodies and back to your circle of friends.

2. a) Bring as little baggage as possible. Having no more than a small shoulder purse, or better yet a hand purse, prevents extra jostling on the dance floor. Check everything you can at the coat check, including sweaters, umbrellas, scarves, etc. This goes for clothes too - it may be only 10 degrees Celcius out, but inside it's a balmy body-heat-induced 30. So yes, tank tops are enough. Check that extra pullover in at coat check.

When it comes to footwear, I've found that sandals at the club, while cute and pretty, really aren't practical or necessary, mostly because 1) the floor gets lots of spillage from dancers' drinks as well as broken glass, and 2) no one can see your cute little pedicure in the dark anyhow. Might as well don those comfy dress shoes and keep your little piggies from being stepped on.

b) Be nice to the coat check people. I almost lost my leather jacket tonight as it had been misplaced, but getting angry and swearing and yelling really doesn't help get anything done faster. Most coat check people get stuck into a horrible little area and are forced to pack in hundreds of heavy leather coats in sequential order on a limited number of racks.

If they really do lose your coat, check around for a sign that says "we are not liable for lost of stolen items." If there isn't one, you have a case to bring to the manager. It's that simple. They'll pay for your jacket if you have a receipt or something (I keep my receipt for my leather jacket because it's under warranty) and won't hassle with you if you even mention a lawyer. In any case, I got my jacket back by being smily and patient. Smiles and not swearing at people should be applied to all the club staff - bartenders, bouncers, bathroom attendants, whatever. Think about it: they'll never be able to relax and unwind at a club like you are because it'll be just like work. *Shudder.*

3. Dance! Most of the standing room you're occupying is dance floor. In fact, at most dance clubs, there's nothing but dance floor. So don't just stand there sipping your drink: shake that booty. Otherwise, you'll 1) look like a total stick-in-the-mud, and 2) probably end up spilling your drink if you don't sway with the crowd.

When it comes to dancing, I find it's best to just do what you do, even if you think you look like an idiot. How do you know if your dancing sucks? Well, if people keep staring at you, pointing, and laughing, then that chicken-dance you're showing off probably isn't going over well with the crowd. Try planting your feet in about the same spot and just gyrating your hips, shoulders, knees, hands, whatever. When the swaying of the crowd is in sync with your own swaying and the room looks as though it's stopped moving, you're in the groove.

4. Avoid dirty men. These are the guys who creep into the centre of your circle and try to grind with each and every one of you and your friends. These guys are prowlers: men looking for nothing more than a quick cheap feel or - heaven forbid - a tumble in the hay. You may be drunk, but don't encourage them. If you feel even remotely uncomfortable, ignore him and turn around and start talking with a friend. If he persists, tries to touch you or talk to you, stop all dancing, frown at him, roll your eyes at your friends, do something to indicate to others around you, "I don't like him, let us push him from the circle." It will become an unspoken - or sometimes loudly spoken - understanding among your group. The dirty man will leave. If he doesn't, that's what bouncers are for.

5. Have fun! And if you really aren't having fun, stop torturing yourself and the people around you, give up your 2-foot-by-2-foot dance floor space and gracefully bid all a good evening. Go home, shower, cuddle up with a good book, whatever turns your crank.

So that's it. I'm exhausted now and pretty sobered up, so to bed I go.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Fiona's finally out of the ER

...except that her colonoscopy won't happen now until... well, probably never.

She was told by the nurses that she was fine and that there probably wasn't any reason for her to stay any longer. So just as she was about to leave, the GI specialists come and tells her she can't leave and that her colonoscopy is scheduled for tomorrow.

If I stay another day, Fiona asked, is the 'scopy guaranteed to happen? No, of course not, they replied. Then I'm going home for a shower, she said.

So that's that. More than 82 hours in the ER being fed nothing but liquids, jello, and a hearty helping of seeing the city's most injured come in and out, and no word on what's wrong.

It almost - not quite, but ALMOST - makes me think a two-tiered health care system would work. Except that no one in my family would pay for medical attention. Bah, broken leg? I have another. Vaccines? Who needs 'em. I don't have the disease now, I'm sure not going to get it later. Am I right?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Fiona's STILL in the ER, part II.. and milkless me, part 1 of 8 turned on its side

Yep, still there, and her colonoscopy has been postponed yet again.
I didn't go to see her today - I was cleaning up the house in anticipation of her return. I'm sure the last thing she needs to see at home is a giant mess.

Meanwhile, on the subject of bowels, I think I've determined that I am lactose intolerant. I've had various stomach problems most of my life, ranging from the gut-wrenching pains like those Fiona has, to mild indigestion, gas, bloating, and the like. I decided after one particularly uncomfortable bout to heed the suggestion of a few websites and start eliminating things from my diet, starting with wheat. Milk was second, and its elimination proved to substantially lessen my overall queasiness.

Problem is, I really like milk. I have cereal 6 days a week. I really like cereal. Now I'll have to eat it with soy milk, or something weird like that. Flocons de Mais will probably suggest beer. Unfortunately, beer definitely contributes to my oogy-tummy feelings.

I don't know why I'm discussing my tummy problems openly on the net. Then again, I discuss them with anyone who will listen, or at least not walk away while I'm talking at them.

Blogs sure are fun that way...

Monday, April 18, 2005

Fiona's STILL in the emergency ward...

...along with the drunks, crazies and now, a lot of old hurt people.

The ER was BUSY tonight. There were four stretchers with people in them. Lots of old people, including a woman I was sitting next to in the waiting room who had broken her leg. I could see the bones in her ankle and shin had been shattered pretty badly. It was lumpy and pale like oatmeal. Yet she did not complain - maybe it was her other leg. Who knows?

Fiona remains where she was, more than 40 hours after her arrival. She told me she had a bad night's sleep with doctors flitting in and out of her curtained-off cubby, checking her blood pressure and taking blood samples. Thank goodness the pain and bleeding have stopped. She was scheduled for a colonoscopy today (collective AAUUGHH!!!) but it's been delayed until tomorrow, which means another night in the ER.

We've made her as comfy as possible with blankets and pillows, comic books, school work, music, toiletries - we'll be moving in furniture pretty soon if she doesn't get out of there fast. She's been allowed clear fluids here and there, but not 12 hours before the 'scope, so oral nourishment of any kind is as sure as rain in the desert at this point.

The IV drip is pretty gross. The nurses keep missing her veins, so her arms are covered in bloody holes. At one point we were watching how quickly the bag was dripping and jokingly remarked that Fiona must be hungry. About an hour later the nurse came by and was rather shocked at how quickly the flow was, so stemmed it. Heny and I felt stupid for letting Fiona's IV arm get so swollen with saline.

("I am tired of people making fun of my enormous hand. It all began in 1975, when I was born...."The nurse looked at me funny and edged out of the room backwards. She probably thought I was the crazy lady a few cells down.)

I could write a post about how crappy our health care system is and about the long wait times in the hospitals, but I really don't feel strongly about anything going on there, knowing these doctors are overworked and underpaid. I do, however, mind the gaggles of staff - nurses, doctors, technicians, paramedics, etc. - that seem to gather about in little knots and just yak it up for hours, doing not very much else. I mean, aren't there people you could be, I don't know, helping? Couldn't you just go out into the waiting room and hand out some packs of gum and juice boxes or something?

At one point, Fiona wandered up to a random doctor in the ER and asked for a Tylenol. He said rudely, "I don't know who you are," and walked away. Luckily, one of the nice nurses - the same one who quickly edged away from me after the giant hand story - went and checked to see if Fiona could have the painkiller, got her one, and settled her.

Now, if all the doctor had said was, "Sorry, I can't get you any drugs unless we check if you can have it first. Let me ask the nurse to check," I would not have taken his stethoscope and given him an emergency my head. Fortunately, there are good people who make up ten-fold for the bad ones. They make this planet worth saving.

Anyhoo, poor Fiona has to stay another night.

One more thing before I end: the public washroom is exactly next to Fiona's cubby in the outer hall. Whenever the toilet is flushed, it sounds exactly like a man going, "WOO-HOO!"

More on this later.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Mmm, yummy

Just finished watching Coppola's The Outsiders. Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillion, Ralph Macchio (that's right, the Karate Kid had another role!), and C. Thomas Howell, all before they got old, wrinkly and funny-looking.

I especially liked the scene where Darell Curtis (Swayze) is changing out of his itty-bitty black t-shirt and Rob Lowe walks out of the room wearing a towel and a smile. And before any of you who haven't seen the film think something's Sam-and-Frodo about them, I'll disappoint you now: they're brothers in this flick.

I give this movie 6 abs and an unattainable eighth up.

Fiona's in the hospital... again

I awoke and found no one in the house. Several open bottles of various stomach medicines. So I thought, "Hmm, either they've gone for dim sum without telling me, or Fiona's in the hospital."

She had gut-wrenching pains and blood in her stool. Heny took her to the emergency room at Toronto Western Hospital this morning at 4 am. They're keeping her overnight for observation and more tests. That really sucks.

What sucks worse is that right now she's still in the emergency ward - a big room with curtained off cubbies, each filled with other emergency patients. There were several drunks who had been in car accidents. One needed a skin graft for the front of his body. Fi said he was still puking and farting and getting over the alcohol even as we spoke.

Then there were the crazy schizophrenic ladies, and various other people in different states of mind and injury. Many of them djrunk with a j.

Lovely. Thank god she's being moved to a room tonight.

I'll keep you apprised - we hope it's nothing serious, but this time it could be worse than usual.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Too much money

You all know of the infamous list of stupid things my boss asks me to acquire. Well, just so you all understand what he's like, here's a little story.

Once upon a time, Boss bought a 20GB iPod. Or maybe it was 40GB. Possibly even 60GB. Who knows? He had that kind of money to spend, so he might have had all three.

Months after proclaiming its glory and superiority over all things cool, whisperings of a smaller, prettier iPod, the 4GB mini-iPod, were heard among the techno-gadget geeks. "I MUST have one," he declared, and promptly discarded his 20GB/40GB/60GB-whatever iPod and preordered two of the Minis, one for himself and one for his wife. He did this twice with two different employees, perhaps because he did not trust either one to do it right. Or perhaps he had simply forgotten he was spending $400 to $500.

Fate - or Apple, as we sometimes call it - delivered the shiny new fashionable players to Boss's doorstep. He loved them and caressed them and treated them as third and fourth children, just as he had with the previous old dog, the original iPod.

And all was good until the circles of nerds stirred and rumour of an even smaller player - the 1GB iShuffle - made its way to Boss's ear.

Can you guess what happened next?

And so it went, with smaller and and niftier and more useless gear passing through Boss's hands until one day, he realized he could have spent that money on his kids' tuition, or perhaps a scholarship fund for students in need, or maybe a donation to a homeless shelter, or a cash gift to the cancer society, or as a gift to a certain disgruntled employee, or....

Depression Away!

Just realized that my last few posts have been rather dark - not that it's unusual for me anyhow - but I'd better post something fun and happy before someone thinks something's wrong.

And oldie but a goodie - Lions! - and from the creators of Lions, BADGERS!

And if this doesn't make you smile on a Friday night, well then, you're probably as depressed as me...

[collective morose sigh]

The only thing they're 'Ultra' in is being asshats

An excellent commentary on CBC's site about how the recent soccer riots in Turin, Italy were caused by major soccer fanatics known as ultras. They go around doing REALLY stupid things that are definite causes for RAAAARRRRGGGGHHH. Like waving Swastika flags at games, and making monkey calls to black players.

Humanity is very strange this way. A small handful of violently psycho fanatics always manages to ruin the reputation of a much larger group of less psycho fanatics.

Why can't we all just... beat up the idiots?

Whoa, jinx-tacular

I came across this while searching the web to confirm whether or not the actress who plays the Ben Stiller's fiance's sister from Meet the Parents did die recently. And she did. Of pneumonia. That was misdiagnosed three times by different doctors. Boo-urns.

Now, normally I'd embrace the morbidity of this site, but something about it dosen't quite sit right with me... it makes death too REAL or something, I don't know.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Why I prefer to be cremated

Obviously, I don't want to have even the slightest chance of waking up in my coffin a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 6. But here's yet another good reason. And besides, can you imagine the real estate prices when I die?

Better than cremation, how about turning me into bling? I like shiny objects.

And stay dead

Good riddance.

Not that I condone violence, murder, or anything that leads to unnecessary death. Therefore, I propose that whoever gets convicted for the guy's death should, as part of his sentence, eat the remains, just so we can say he didn't waste the meat.

(Anyone out there want to donate a deep freezer for the cause?)


I was watching the Italian news and saw footage of a guy getting bonked on the head with a magnesium flare. Ouch.

More flares were thrown, riots broke out, people wearing bandanas were rushing police lines. I thought it was footage of a great political uprising in Turin, Italy, over something important.

But alas, no. It was Liverpool vs. Juventas.
If the Pope were here, I bet he'd be angry. "Jesus H. Christ, it's a football game!" he'd yell.
Or, as North Americans call it, soccer.

Hey Liverpool/Juventas: calm the heck down or the Pope's going to come back and lay some holy smackdown on y'all.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Ann Coulter

Thanks to Michelle, my favourite passtime has just gotten easier.

Vic is ok. That's me in anagram! And anagrams don't lie. Ever.

And now for my favourite anagram subject:

Ann Coulter=

Cunt loaner (I figured that one out all by myself! I'm so proud!), A runt clone, A con let run, Lace on runt, Clean or nut?, Unclean rot, Central Uno, Not nuclear, not unclear, Nun locator, Cartel noun, Rectal noun, Clan en tour, Neo Clan rut, Our Clan net, No true clan, Can our lent, Can't rule on, Can't lure on, Orca tunnel, Taco runnel, Lone car nut, Act role nun, Lone cat run, Cat nun role, Lean con rut, Lean cot run, Nonreal cut, Learn no cut, Real on cunt, Real cot nun, No real cunt, Real con nut, Real cot nun, Earn no cult, On near cult, Non cult era, ultra nonce, An ulcer ton, Ran to uncle, Rant no clue, No cruel tan, Cruel on tan, Lone tan cur, No uncle Art, Rat on uncle, Tar on uncle.

John Michel McGrath (cuz he's my schmoo)=
Major mech hatchling, Hmm he can jilt ho crag... you know, there are so many of them, you'd better go look for yourself.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Another cause for RAAAAARRRGGGGHH!!!!

Now, as much as I like Ray and understand where he's coming from (and that he's saying this all in relative jest), his beef with the TTC is mostly unjustified.

Dude, like, you gotta lay off the TTC workers. I'm kinda miffed that I have to taxi to work on Monday too, but it's not the bus driver's fault. They work under a union and it doesn't really represent the wishes of each individual TTC worker.

Think of the teachers' union: if we kicked teachers in the head everytime they proposed strike actions because they want a little time for prep, my sister, who is often opposed to striking, would get a big boot to the noggin'. That, and no one would be around to watch the brats between 9 and 4. And The Fonz says that ain't cool.

(end address to Ray. Begin address to the masses.)

We can't blame TTC worker for their grievances. Think about all the shit they have to put up with every day: dumbass customers who don't know where they're going, a large sundry assortment of crazies, people throwing themselves in front of the trains, punk-ass kids who frequently forget their student pass, aging buses and streetcars, working 12-hour days and on holidays and weekends, tracks that desperately need repair, an administration that makes them all look like idiots by investing in stupid ideas like the Sheppard Subway line, and so forth.

Yeah, sure, you can say all you want about a secure, cushy job sitting on your duff all day, and you can argue like many do that the points of contention are "all about money". But the people who are getting paid "well" in our eyes are the people who often have to put up with tons of shit. What would happen if we only paid TTC workers $30K a year? How well do you think the system would run then, with massive turnover and even more unfriendly workers who couldn't give a rat's ass if you got off at the right stop?

Over the past 25 years, the TTC has only gone on strike for a total of 10 days. That's 10 days out of 9,125. That's 1.09% of 25 years, for all you mathmaniacs out there. And I gotta say, 99.9% of time in service ain't too shabby.

There's no one place we can lay the blame. The TTC has had to endure funding cuts along with a decreasing ridership. People say they hate the TTC because it's crowded, it's late, it's not reliable, etc. Well why the hell do you think that is? Let's break it down, shall we?

Not enough money = (less funding for mechanics who fix buses + less money for drivers & other TTC workers) = fewer buses on the roads = less frequent service and more delays as stupid people jam into subway doors as they're closing = more angry people = fewer riders and more drivers on the road = more traffic congestion (= more air polluition) = even more TTC delays as buses try to get into traffic (that's why they have a by-law that gives buses the right of way, but no one seems to be heeding it) = MORE angry customer = fewer riders and less funding for the TTC = Not enough money = get the idea.

Public transportation is vital to so many aspects of urban living. It's one of the only means of long-distance travelling for the lower class (like me!), it cuts down on pollution with fewer vehicles on the road, it keeps taxes down by decreasing traffic on high-maintenance roadways which cost millions to repair every year... do I have to get Suzuki on y'all now? Pollution causes asthma, which taxes our health system. Oxygen-making, air-cleaning green space is being paved over for parking lots and space-wasting suburbs. Gas prices are soaring because there's less and less of it every day. Cars that wouldn't be on the road except for the fact that the drivers "don't like public transit" run over kitties and puppies and sometime kids.... I could go on forever.

So what am I supposed to do? Cram into the subway and leave my SUV at home? Or, heaven forbid, bike or walk?

YES, you moron! You may have to endure standing next to someone who doesn't smell as pleasant as you do, but the discomfort you'll feel when you're 60 and breathing with a ventilator that you paid a fortune for because every day's a smog day will be much, much worse.

And if you think privatizing the transit system will make things better, decrease fares and so forth, well, I might just point to privatizing Hydro as a stunning example of stupidity.

So my message for today is this: forgo that drive to whereever the hell it was you were headed, and take the transit, bike, or walk. Don't accept offers for drives down to the store unless the driver was headed that way anyhow. If you have to take your car out, do everything you possibly can to make the most out of your mileage. And for good measure, don't leave your car stalling.

Friday, April 08, 2005

It's WAAAY better than my birthday!!!

I came home to find my new MP3 player and my new stylish vinyl purse I got off eBay had arrived in the mail! On top of that, my previously broken CD/DVD ROM drive has been replaced by Senan. Yay for Senan! Perfect timing!

Finally, the nightmare of leaving my room to be entertained is over!

He-llooooooo video games! Did you miss me?

As I am now filling my happy little eyeshadow-compact-sized player with the contents of my CD collection, I am amazed at how far technology has come since I was 13. The coolest thing back then was to have a chunky yellow CD sports walkman that everyone could see, and you had to save games and files on 3.5" floppies.

I remember most of the games I loved - the Sierra games that you can now download in a matter of minutes online - would take up 5 or 6 of those floppies, and they'd all have to be inserted in at some point, and they were text based with graphics... I learned how to type playing those games!

*Sigh*... meeemmm-or-rieeeess... of the daaaays we use to knooooooww......

I have an evil suburban twin

...and her name is Michelle and I hired her to take my old job.

Isn't there a law that says if you meet a version of you from a parallel universe, you have to do battle until one version of you defeats the other and sucks her life force dry so that the winner becomes the most powerful version of you?

I'm pretty sure it was a Jet Li movie. But if Michelle knows Neil Gaiman as well as she says she does (actually, I have no idea if she does, but she does link to him) then she'll know where else this notion came from...

*Vicki throws gauntlet down*

(*nerd trumpets sound*)

Thursday, April 07, 2005

An addendum to the previous post

I would also like to announce that I have secured tickets to the One-Man Star Wars show and the Once-Man Lord of the Rings show. Hooray for me!

John's lucky to have such a nerdy girlfriend - at least I don't drag him to chick flicks and craft shows. Okay, maybe once I took him to a craft show. And I make him go shopping with me. And he's frequently forced to look at shiny objects. But comic book shops and G.I. Joes make up for all that, don't they?

Nerd it up, fangirl...

And do it the only way you can - in STYLE!

I MUST GO SEE THIS! They're only playing two shows in Toronto on June 5 at Roy Thomson Hall. MY DREAM HAS COME TRUE!!!

Go get tickets.


...And tell 'em Boromir sent ya'!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

One more bundle of newsprint we don't need

It's called Dose. It's a daily flyer paper affiliated with the National Post which also has outlets in Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, and Edmonton. It's geared towards the 18 to 34 crowd, and looks a lot like eye or Now. Today is its third day on the streets.

Dose's design tries to be fresh, using mostly stylish sans-serif fonts and grey scale boxes to separate stories and sections. But the content on each page is so dense and blocky, it's hard to tell where one story begins and another ends.

As for content, Dose's identity is "offspring of 24 Hours/Metro after a group orgy with eye/Now." I imagine the "word gurus" pulled fresh out of Journalism school were probably directed to spin out as much snappy Salon-ish content as possible in as few words as possible so that a college freshman with a 60% average out of high school can sound really smart in front of his buddies.

One of the najor problems is that the one-liners at the top of each page try to tie a whole story together, but they end up making no sense, and frequently go off topic. For example, this Apr. 6 edition's theme was "No one can keep a secret." The paper has stoies here and there about secrets, keeping them, what's not a secret, publication bans, etc. But it does it in such a condensed way it reads like a drunk sporadically ranting about his favourite topic while also talking about his wife until he pukes all over the pages.

The paper is replete with factoids and condensed features whose topics - though intriguing and not quite run-of-the-mill daily news material - really need much more than 250 words.

For example, an article about the use of biogas technology in Uganda went on long enough to explain how it workedand where it was "successfully" in use. But it didn't bother to explain why the hell we're not using it here.

Of course, this Coles-notes feature style is where Dose is likely to shine. Their target readership doesn't have time to read a whole article about anything important - they've got to finish reading King Lear or The Last of the Mohicans by next Thursday! And with it's sleek, urban, I-also-own-an-iPod slim design, it makes an excellent alternative to its bulky sires, eye and Now. Its the perfect thing to take with you to Tim Hortons and leave on the bus.

At this stage, I can't say I welcome yet another flimsy daily that will clutter up the recycling box and fill our drinking water with more runoff from the pulp and paper mill. Hell, I work at a magazine, and we probably kill at least one tree everyday. The only good thing about this paper so far is that the National Post has removed many of its rarely-filled, beaten-up distribution boxes to make room for the shiny new black-red-and-white Dose boxes. (There's a moratorium from the city right now that's restriciting any new publication boxes on the sidewalks.)

Sorry, didn't mean to go on so long about this, but if you're reading this last line, it probably means you skipped everything in between. (See? I was right about people not wanting to read about anything important!)

Now make it say "I like women's underwear!"

Talk is cheap. Gobble gobble gobble gobble...

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Peter Jackson did it the hard way

Watch this, this, this and this.

Can't get enough? Then see the rest of them here.

Monday, April 04, 2005

"What my parents tried so hard to keep from me" - OR - "This explains a lot"

We had gathered to celebrate my sister Fiona's 30th birthday (happy bday, older-not-bigger!) and were discussing her natal day, the freak winter storm that closed Toronto schools that April 4th in 1975, and subsequently the birth dates of my younger sister, Jenny (hang in there, kiddo, school's almost done!) and my own.

Granma (Dad's mom) arrived from Hong Kong on the day of my birth just hours before my mother went into labour with me. Once she was in the hospital and my father had settled my Granma in at home, he got the call. "We had a girl," Mom said.

"Hey Ma," Dad yelled to Granma in Cantonese, "We had another girl. What should we call her?"

My Granma shot my Dad a look as if it were obvious.

"Number Two, of course!" she said.

My Chinese name, So Sik Yee, means "great, plentiful and suitable." Great. Now I can finally add the word "poo" to that particular descriptor.

Man, I always knew I was a great big heaping pile of shit.

Thanks Granma. And subsequently, thanks for fattening me up and chasing me all around the house with spoonfuls of food whenever you were bored. Now I'm a shapely lemon of a girl with bright yellow skin and great big birthing hips. THANKS.

Dad said that before she went back, she really wanted to see me take my first steps. Only I was too fat to stand upright. I think the sound he made at the dinner table to illustrate this point was: "BAL-LUMBP!"

See, Granma? That's what you get for making such a fey-fey-dey (fatty-fat) kid!

(Granma died more than a decade ago...I never met her, but really folks, I am grateful. Please don't kill me Dad.)

Friday, April 01, 2005

Trying to get someone sued...

I was reading Get Fuzzy today online, then later came across another strip in Metro, the commuter paper, called Pearls Before Swine. And I thought to myself, I feel a great disturbance in the Force.

So, who wants to sue who first?

(April fools!)