Posts Tagged ‘wtf’

* Cross-posted from On Memory And Desire*

One of my favourite advice websites, Captain Awkward, has a commenting rule: no remote diagnoses. No matter how much the letter writer’s annoying aunt reminds you of your mother, you can’t diagnose someone with Borderline Personality Disorder based on the description of a biased third party.

This is good advice, but rarely followed (even on Captain Awkward). Unless you’re living under a rock – and if you are, I might come join you for a weekend just to get away – you will have by now heard of Toronto’s mayor trouble. For the journalists of Toronto, Rob Ford and his antics have been the gift that keeps giving, as the man continues to reach new highs or new lows or just new levels of weirdness. It’s easy to treat the story as entertainment, and it’s difficult for those of us who are not fans of the mayor to react with anything other than schadenfreude. Or, to repeat a phrase coined all the way back in 2008, Schadenford (Noun: Perverse pleasure derived from observing the foibles of Toronto mayor Rob Ford).

But I am going to attempt to follow the good Captain’s advice and keep my itchy fingers off the DSM. I mean, it is pretty obvious that Rob Ford has psychological problems ranging from addictions to rage issues to some reeeaaally dysfunctional family dynamics – I hope if I am ever caught smoking crack my mother doesn’t take the opportunity to appear on national TV and call me fat! – but let’s leave the specifics up to the trained professionals when he finally makes contact with them. Plus that article’s been done already.

More interesting is the psychological profile not of the man himself but of the city which elected him. A brief history for the outsiders: (more…)


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So after the mammoth joke of a public consultation we had last week, the Powers That Be have spoken.

They didn’t raise TTC fares or cut daycare, but this is what they did do (via Now Magazine):

– No more free garbage tags. This actually makes sense – it’s not like they cost a lot or anything, and hardly anyone seems to use them. I didn’t use mine last year and can’t find the ones we got this year even though we could totally use them now. (Tags are only for extra bags that don’t fit in your city-provided garbage can.)
– Turning over the running of city zoos and farms (we have farms?), excluding Riverdale Farm, to private companies. Um, why? What’s the rationale here? Will the companies be paying for the concession, or are we talking groups of amateur enthusiasts here?
– Something about not trying as hard as we were to plant trees. Apparently Toronto had a goal to “improve our tree canopy”, increasing the tree cover in the city by 30-40% over the next 50 years. Now there’s no deadline, just like there’s no deadline on building bike lanes. Because fuck trees!
– Maybe cooling it with the planters on major streets. Because fuck flowers!
– In a Scrooge-esque note, turning The Christmas Bureau into a private charity, then cutting off city funds. Jesus, what’s next, taking crutches and wheelchairs away from poor people?
– Yep! No more Hardship Fund. Because a $60/year car tax is too much for drivers to afford, but a $2000 wheelchair is entirely within the means of someone struggling to get by on disability because they have MS. WTF, Toronto? What kind of assholes are we?
– Selling off the Toronto Centre for the Arts, the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts (the Sony Centre), and the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. This seems really short-sighted to me, because these theatres cost an arm and a leg to rent and are booked year-round, so they must be turning a profit. You keep them, you get the revenue indefinitely. You sell them, you get the cash once and then it’s gone. (If the theatres ARE unprofitable, that’s probably fixable by raising the rental rates. It’s not like non-profit community groups are using them anyway.)
– Selling the Toronto Zoo. WHY? WHY ARE YOU SELLING THE ZOO? THIS IS EVEN MORE STUPID. Aside from the fact that, as I pointed out above, turning a long-term source of income into a one-time windfall is short-sighted, I don’t like the idea of a private company having control of, say, tigers. I don’t like the idea of Rob Ford having control of tigers either, but at least there are checks and balances in place to keep him from bringing one to council meetings and threatening Adam Vaughan with mauling. If the zoo is privatized ANYTHING could happen. It just takes one eccentric billionaire CEO and an unfortunate incident with the orangutans to lead to a Rise of the Planet of the Apes situation, people.
– Transferring the operation Black Creek urban farm to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Again, I didn’t know we had farms. No opinion on this one.
– No more police officers at construction site. This I am totally in favour of. We do not need to pay cops $65/hour to guard holes in the ground. This was a sheer waste of money and I’m glad they cut this.
– Turning Heritage Toronto into a private charity. I don’t really know anything about Heritage Toronto, but they seem to be all about promoting and preserving Toronto’s, um, heritage. Don’t really have an opinion on this one either.

So overall, a couple of good ideas, a couple of meh/probably dumb ideas, some REALLY dumb ideas, and some egregious assholiness.

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– Also, dude was invading my personal space the entire time.
– I just want to ask mankind, do your balls need that much air at all times? You can’t just keep your legs together for 10 minutes? Because girls do.
– It’s a magazine-length magazine-style compilation of ads for housing developments.
– I noticed something weird: lots and lots of white people. Like, an unusally large number of white people.

78 (83%) White
(actual: 52.4% White)
9 (9.5%) Black
(actual: 8.4% Black)
7 (6.5% Asian or South Asian)
(27.5% Asian or South Asian: 12% South Asian, 11.4% Chinese, 4.1% Filipino)
Not pictured: Latin Americans
(actual 2.6%)

62% female
(actual: 52% female)

Conclusion: WTF?

– out of 9 Black people, only 2 were dudes
– perhaps because to Toronto Sun readers, Black man=Crime
Don’t believe me? Check out this cover story from a few days ago.
– white people/Britishness=”Classy”



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Seriously, Richard Nixon’s corpse would make a better mayor than this buffoon.

– Someone stole my credit card number! And bought gas!  The bank just called to ask, “Hey, did you buy gas this morning and yesterday?” I didn’t, because I don’t have a car.  Bastards.

– Sadly, Paul the Psychic Octopus is no more. May he predict more football winners in the great aquarium in the sky.

– I can’t get over this. ROB FORD IS MAYOR.

I keep telling myself that the damage he can do is limited, because the mayor is just one vote on council and everyone on council hates him, but it’s disheartening to know that at least a plurality of my fellow Torontonians think that I (a bike-riding vegetarian artist) am a parasite and a blot on the landscape.

Anyway. To cheer myself up I made a collage video of the Daily Basset pictures.

And Ben is home!  Yay!

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As you know if you read my last post, I just made a quilt for my sister for her wedding.

Have you ever made a quilt?

I’m guessing no, because it’s not exactly a universal experience, but if you have you have my sympathy. If you have not and you are thinking, “Well, what the eff is she complaining about?” you can just shut your bloody mouth.

You know why? Here’s why:


And you should care because making a double wedding ring quilt is hard.  Or if not “splitting-the-atom” hard, it is “making really nice mitred corners on crown moulding” hard.  If you ever run across instructions for something that include the phrase “Make 98 arcs” you know you’ve come across something tricky.

Of course, I made the quilt because a) I thought my sister would like it and b) I really like making things.  But Christ on a cracker it did take a lot of time.

Each square of this quilt took about 2 hours to piece, not counting cutting time.  Once the whole top was pieced, it took a few hours to baste the top to the other layers, then about 2 hours per square (again) to hand quilt the layers together.  There were 20 squares.  (20 squares x 2 x 2) + several other hours = This quilt took at least 100 hours of labour to make.  So now you know why I blogged so little in July and August – because every spare minute that wasn’t engaged in practicing or sneezing 97 times in a row (RAGWEEEEEEEEED!) was taken up by quilting.  Also, think of what a labour of love it was.  If I were to sell it and pay myself my normal hourly rate I could not have found a buyer for it, it would cost so much.

Fortunately this was a gift for my only sister on the occasion of her wedding, so she could hardly say no.*  And I’m happy to have made it for her.  When/if my brother-in-law gets married I will make a quilt for him, because I do really enjoy making things, and it’s a nice thing to do for your immediate family members.  But if you want me to make you one, it’s going to cost you at least $3000.  And you will have to put up with severely limited blogging in the interim.


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For the video in one piece, please see the Complaining with Kay page, download it here, or grab it from the podcast feed.

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I was going to insert a crazy G20 protest image here, but there are too many to choose from. Just search #G20 or #g20report on Twitter and insert your own.

Steve Paikin is not a radical.

The host of a political/current events show on TVO, Canada’s yuppiest public station, Paikin is an establishment centrist who attends protests in a seemingly anthropological way. I stood next to him and a woman who may have been Belinda Stronach at the Canadians Against Prorogueing Parliament rally – see my video, Going Prorogue, here:

He looks a bit freaked out. Possibly by me. Who knows? Anyway, the point is: Steve Paikin isn’t anti-establishment. He isn’t pro-establishment. He IS the establishment.

So when you find him saying something like this:

I have reported from war zones in Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Lebanon, and Israel.

But last night’s confrontation between peaceful demonstrators and riot squad police was the scariest situation I’ve ever been in, in almost 30 years of reporting.

then something really fucked up is going on.

We missed the protests because we were out of town, and I probably wouldn’t have gone anyway, because I am not eager to be tear gassed and randomly arrested.

Three of Ben’s friends – one lawyer and two bike couriers – were arrested for no reason and held overnight. Someone I know was arrested, too. She happens to work for the Globe and Mail.

I don’t know Lisan well – she’s a friend of a friend – but I’ve met her on numerous occasions and I very much doubt she was out there with a black kerchief on her face setting cop cars on fire. She was there as a journalist covering the freakin’ story, and she got arrested along with a bunch of peaceful protestors and innocent bystanders.

Do you remember how I said – just a few days ago – that this security buildup wasn’t about safety? That it was about dick-waving and theatre and making people feel scared so you can take away their rights and “protect” them?

Think I was right?

I, like Steve Paikin, am quite shaken up by this. I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty realistic person. Not a cynic, not a romantic, but one with a decent grasp on reality. I’m beginning to wonder if I was wrong, and the world I live in isn’t the one I think it is.

I thought that I lived in a democracy with a good record on human rights. I thought I lived in a country that guaranteed civil rights for all. I thought that I could protest or otherwise engage in political action without fear of spending the night handcuffed in a makeshift jail or getting driven out to the suburbs and left there. I thought that I lived in a country that respected journalism as vital to democracy and civil society. I thought I lived in a country of more or less reasonable and sane people.

Well, I guess I was wrong.

If you are against police state tactics, beating and arresting journalists, and arresting people who have done nothing but exercise their political and free speech rights, I suggest you join me in protesting at Toronto Police Headquarters (40 College) today at 5:30. I’ll be a bit late – I have to teach until 6.

In the meantime I think I’ll go home and cry a bit.

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