A jet-lagged worldview

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i am finally suffering from the jet lag. It is 3:15am and i am not in the least bit tired. In fact, my legs are sore (atrophying muscles most likely) and i cannot stop fidgeting in bed.

As i lie here, pressing my back up against the silver velour body pillow i have owned for just under 2 years now, i inadvertently catch myself reaching behind me in an absent-minded gesture of love towards a sleeping body that hasn’t been there in a very long time and won’t ever be again. These are not half-sleep wishful forgettings, but rather conscious thoughts manifesting themselves reflexively. I used to know who i was and why i was doing whatever it was i was doing. Right now, i feel adrift without even my circadian clock to guide me down the road that is supposed to be my life.

i am fearful of returning to the gym and having to confront what four weeks of sickness has undone of hard work. I am fearful of returning to school and having to confront my lack of motivation yet again. I am fearful of going home and having to confront my parents and their endless demands on my “feelings.” I am supposed to cry because my grandmother is dying goddamnit – not feel numb as though nothing at all had meaning. as if i can’t imagine suffering anymore pain, heartache and loss without giving in to the approaching oblivion. i don’t even have the willpower to give in to that oblivion. submitting is infinitely more easy than taking any steps.

At moments like these, i very seriously wonder at the soundness of choices i have made. choices that looked brilliant on paper, didn’t feel right at the time, but sounded sensical. you can’t rationalize emotions and perhaps self-destruction is better than self-doubt. There is, however, no turning back.

I’m afraid to continue applying to PhD programs. I’m afraid of getting accepted and having to commit to something for five years. I’m afraid of losing anything that lasts that long. I’m afraid of losing what little sense of who i am i still have to some new identity, place and role. Yet i want to throw myself with abandon into some project. To no longer have the time to lay here, fidgeting with achy legs, and questions, doubt and loathing.

I’m tormenting myself over how my actions have hurt other people and affected their lives. It’s fun satisfying. I deserve to be miserable because i am a miserable wretch, ruining people’s lives left, right and centre, acting irresponsibly at the first sign of trouble. Incapable of self-control… i binge and gorge while silently loathing both myself and those who let themselves be manipulated.

I want an excuse. Something to make this state okay – and i find it in jetlag. How classic. Nothing has anything to do with me – everything is external. The world owes me something because i wasn’t born beautiful and rich – as if Canadian and passably attractive weren’t enough to open doors and overcome all obstacles.

THERE IS NOTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT – SO DRINK A NICE TALL GLASS OF SUCK IT UP AND FALL ASLEEP ALREADY!

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Long-lost friends regained and upcoming milestones

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Perhaps one of the best feelings of this past year has been re-establishing old friendships – discovering after years of sporadic contact that you still have much in common with a loved one and that there is a whole cornicopia of new, wonderful stuff to share.
the best thing i’ve got going right now is likely the best friend status – yeah to friendships begun in kindergarten, strengthened in grade 5 and ebbing by grade 11 to be resurrected in grad school.
i’ve also found anew my first boyfriend, my first new friend from high school and my first boss to be younger than me.
I hate people. I love individuals.

I am rapidly approaching my 500th post. Reaching number 500 seems to signify something… like that i should invest in web-hosting and relocate again, for good. That i should develop my own lay-out. That i should start an honest-to-goodness food blog. all of the above. none of the above. any suggestions?

The highlight of today was simple: i was dragging a cart filled with groceries across a busy intersection when a freshly washed white car stopped completed within and surpassing the crosswalk. i yelled at the woman driver. she made a face at me… i proceeded to life my foot and pretend to kick her car screaming that “it’s a motherfucking crosswalk bitch!” she backed up (because there was no one behind her).

Have i mentioned that i hate people?

Questions for the little man at the centre of the universe – take 2

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I have an in-class composition to prepare for Italian on Tuesday. As i am still deep in slacker mode, i was contemplating writing the 450 word assignment in English, running it through the google translator, and then correcting the errors.

Lo and behold… Google offers as user interface not only Klingon but also… bork, bork, bork. I was perplexed as to what Bork, bork, bork is… until i looked it up on wiki and discovered that it is the language the Swedish-chef speaks on the muppets.

What the hell are people thinking? Who wants to translate webpages into Klingon? or Bork, bork, bork? Do these people not have better things to do?

Grrr…

Back to writing about how summer is a better season that winter.

questions for the little man at the centre of the universe

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Why do people write graffiti in washrooms? Particularly in places they are unlikely to return to… like, for instance, Union Station.
What are the chances that you are going to return to the same stall and get a kick out of reading “[insert name here] is a dick”?
Better yet, why do people respond to these scrawlings with other scrawlings? do we just want to parrot ourselves? Can the responder not come up with something more ‘original’ to write? Do they really want to be known to the world as the person who wrote “is not”?

So happy to be Canadian

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I believe in gun control, but i am also willing to recognize that PERHAPS the Second Amendment isn’t all wrong…

The author of this article in today’s New York Post has clearly misunderstood the concept of self-defence.


Anti-Gun Goofs
by Michelle Malkin

SEN. Joe Biden is the embodiment of snide. Snide is the embodi ment of the left-wing attitude toward gun owners. So when snide Joe Biden confronted a YouTube user who asked Democrat presidential candidates about gun control during a debate Monday night, what unfolded was a Teachable YouTube Moment – the caught-on-tape embodiment of ideological snideness toward the Second Amendment and those who defend it.
“Good evening, America. My name is Jered Townsend from Clio, Mich.,” the YouTube citizen-questioner began. “To all the candidates, tell me your position on gun control, as myself and other Americans really want to know if our babies are safe.” Townsend then pulled out his Bushmaster AR-15. “This is my ‘baby,’ purchased under the 1994 gun ban. Please tell me your views. Thank you.”

Noting that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has “one of the highest NRA ratings,” CNN host Anderson Cooper asked Richardson to respond first. He ran so fast from his record, you could see the Road Runner puff of cartoon smoke billowing at the base of his podium.

“The issue here, I believe, is instant background checks,” Richardson sputtered. “Nobody who has a criminal background or is mentally ill should be able to get a weapon.” He babbled for a few more painful seconds about “attacking poverty, bringing people together, dealing with those kids in the ghettos that are heavy users of gun violence,” while the liberals in the audience sat stone-cold silent.

Not a peep from Richardson about the fundamental right to self-defense, of course.

Cooper rescued him by turning to The Smirk from Delaware. “Sen. Biden, are you going to be able to keep his ‘baby’ safe?” Snide Joe grabbed his opening: “I’ll tell you what: If that is his baby, he needs help.”

Biden threw red meat to the blue audience – and was richly rewarded with loud applause.

Showing off his lawyerly credentials, he continued to wallop the YouTube gun owner: “I think he just made an admission against self-interest. I don’t know that he is mentally qualified to own that gun.” Why? Because he showed affection for his possession? Because he’s an enthusiastic hobbyist?

Because he talked about his gun the way Paris Hilton talks about her Chihuahua or Brad Pitt talks about his Ducati or Al Gore talks about his Priuses and compact fluorescent light bulbs?

The audience roared with laughter at Biden’s mockery of the gun owner’s mental health. So much for politically correct sensitivity toward the mentally ill, eh?

“I’m being serious,” Biden chuckled. “Look, we should be working with law enforcement, right now, to make sure that we protect people against people who don’t – are not capable of knowing what to do with a gun because they’re either mentally imbalanced and/or because they have a criminal record, and . . .”

Cooper interrupted Biden’s rant, but he stuck in one more jibe at Jered Townsend, the YouTube gun owner: “I hope he doesn’t come looking for me.” More laughter.

Did any of the other candidates pipe up to defend the gun owner? Not a one. Biden’s snark and smarm spoke for them.

The Democrats remain the party of gun-grabbers. Its leading presidential candidates view gun-owners as crackpots and nutballs, and treat the Second Amendment as a nuisance to be circumvented and cured. Big Nanny, not bedrock constitutional principle, rules.

The Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot by taking arrogant potshots at gun owners in a nationally televised debate. A recent Gallup Poll showed that roughly one in three Americans who live in the Midwest and South owns a gun; 27 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats identify themselves as gun owners. A majority use their weapons for crime prevention.

Who in the Democrat Party speaks for them?

Are the majority of women gun owners who own a gun for self-defense “mentally imbalanced,” too?

The Dems can enjoy Biden’s YouTube-able wisecracking now. But come general election time, it may be Second Amendment defenders who get the last laugh.


Ar-15
This is the assault rifle in question – it is not designed to protect people, but to kill – and in mass numbers. I don’t think anyone that asks a candidate a question while holding one of these should be taken seriously… I mean, c’mon… you really think you have a RIGHT to own that? What exactly are you going to do with it? If you lived in Iraq, maybe, but this isn’t a handgun or a hunting rifle… You do not have a right to have the ability to commit a massacre. But then again, i’m not only a left-of-centre, but also a Canadian. What do i know?

Old people are taking over the world

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and the rest of us are just supposed to drop dead…

I wrote a letter to the editor about this. I’ll share it if it gets published (otherwise i’ll write something longer).

Source:Jeff Gray, “Escalator wisdom turned upside down,” Globe & Mail (Toronto: June 22, 2007).

Safety concerns spur TTC officials to scrap signs reading ‘Stand right, walk left’

TORONTO — The unspoken rule that governs behaviour on an escalator – stand on the right, walk on the left – is considered by many a measure of urban civilization.

Officially, though, it is a safety hazard.

It may come as a surprise that this long-standing accommodation between the hurried and the not-so-hurried in malls and subway stations runs counter to the advice of safety officials and the escalator industry.

No one, they say, should ever try to walk on an escalator.

In fact, the Toronto Transit Commission – the country’s single largest escalator owner, with 294 – has removed all of the signs from its escalators that used to read: “Stand right, walk left.”

Dexter Collins, the TTC’s acting superintendent of elevating devices, said the decals were originally installed years ago at the busiest subway stations, Yonge-Bloor and St. George, where herds of rush-hour passengers change trains, taking escalators from platform to platform. Over the decades, the stickers migrated to all escalators across the system.

Then some employees of the provincial Technical Standards & Safety Authority, the agency that regulates and inspects escalators, noticed the decals at Islington Station – near the TSSA’s headquarters – and brought them up in one of their regular meetings with the transit agency.

The TSSA, Mr. Collins said, recommended the signs’ removal because they appeared to condone people walking on the escalators.

“I said, ‘No problem,’ I’ve never been big on that idea anyway,” Mr. Collins said. “The intent is for the escalator to carry the people up the escalator. If they are capable of walking, they should be utilizing the stairs.”

One province appears to be standing behind the escalator tradition, however. Kari-Ann Kuperis, a spokeswoman for Alberta’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, which oversees the provincial agency that regulates escalators, said “Stand right, walk left” decals are common in Alberta, and there are no plans to stop the practice.

Officials in Toronto acknowledge that walking on the left has become part of the culture and that they are powerless to control those who tempt fate and insist on walking up escalators. No one will be arrested in mid-stride. But both agencies say at the very least, the TTC should not appear to be condoning it.

Mr. Collins said 138 people were injured on TTC escalators last year, most often because of a fall. The majority, he says, are elderly people – a growing group on the system – who get knocked over by an impatient escalator-walker.

“We have some young whippersnapper whizzing by, nudging them because he’s got some place to go or something to do,” Mr. Collins said. “It seems to be the elderly who are paying for it.”

TSSA spokeswoman Bernadette Celis said there was no “formal safety requirement or regulation” banning the “Stand right, walk left” decals, and that her agency’s principal mandate is the proper maintenance and mechanical safety features on escalators.

“But from our perspective, we always promote that any kind of movement on an escalator is discouraged,” she said.

The industry-funded Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation of Canada, a wing of the U.S. group based in Mobile, Ala., distributes safety materials, mostly aimed at children. They also agree that walking up an escalator is a bad idea, and say escalator-education campaigns are being updated to emphasize it.

“Any time you start moving, it adds potential for an accident,” spokeswoman Leslie Schraeder said. “It’s definitely the foundation’s advice with escalators to step on carefully, hold the handrail, ride all the way to the top, and then step off.”

She added that you shouldn’t even walk on a deactivated escalator, as the stairs are taller than standard stair height, putting you at risk of tripping. As for “Stand right, walk left,” it is the official safe advice for that horizontal cousin of the escalator, the moving walkway, she said.

Last November – after the TTC had already agreed to remove its decals – an accident on a GO Transit escalator at Union Station sent six people to hospital, one with very serious injuries. Witnesses said the device appeared to suddenly go into overdrive, speeding up and piling people on top of one another. The TSSA says it is still investigating the incident.

Every few years, news reports surface of catastrophic-sounding escalator accidents. Last year, after a handful of escalator incidents involving plastic clogs similar to those marketed by Crocs Inc., the company issued a statement insisting its footwear was safe. In 2004, 16 Montreal high-school students were sent to hospital after an escalator stopped suddenly.

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By the numbers

138:Number of TTC riders injured on escalators last year

50:Number needing a trip to hospital

191:Number injured on stairs

245 million:Estimated number of escalator riders daily in North America

476:Number of escalator accidents in Ontario in 2005

8:Number of injuries considered serious

Fun escalator facts
World’s first escalator: Coney Island, N.Y., 1894
Canada’s first escalator: Eaton’s department store, Toronto, 1904
Canada’s longest escalator: York Mills subway station, 148 steps
Sources: Technical Standards and Safety Authority, The Globe and Mail

Transit Strike

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I would like to let out a resounding: “If you don’t like your cushy, overpaid, highly-protected, government salaried job – why don’t you try working in the private sector like the rest of us you whiny fucks” to the maintenance workers who feel the need to look a gift horse in the mouth.

For those of us who actually have to work, here is the schedule (thank God for the essential services act):

Public transportation services will be available during the following periods:
Monday to Friday
Morning : From 6:00 to 9:00
Afternoon : From 3:30 to 6:30
Late evening : From 11:00 to 01:00

Saturday and Sunday
Morning : From 6:00 to 9:00
Afternoon : From 2:00 to 5:00
Late evening : From 11:00 to 01:00