Don’t Go Breaking My Chart

The Set Up

Sometimes, I think that our generation is the worst one; this is even in comparison with the spoiled kids that are running around today. I believe that our parents were the last generation (as a whole) that really worked hard. Don’t misunderstand me: there are folks from our crew that put in their time; but I think that a good number of us were spoiled by our own parents, resulting in a flippant attitude towards things like jobs and parenting.
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Generation WTF

Hell-o-ween

Wow. I guess that header might be a tad strong; though, on pondering further, perhaps it is just right.

This year’s Halloween was interesting. As usual, I completely misjudged how much candy we were going to need, making my mad scramble to the local retailer somewhat unnecessary (if you’re in the vicinity, drop by my desk and you can have a bucketful of candy).

I have no idea what the deal is, given how many kids are at the local school, but the numbers were just not there this year. Small groups of kids would come and go, but nowhere near the same amount as years previous. There was also a conspicuous lack of teenagers with crappy costumes this year. I guess that’s sort of a blessing; but to be honest, I could have used their pillowcases as a way to get rid of the metric ton of sugar that remains (that will eventually find its way onto my frame as gobs of fat).
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Dog-Gone

Neighbourhood Watch Dog

I’m not really a dog person; while I like dogs, I would just never own one. My nose tends to remind me of one of the reasons (the smell) while the behaviour of our four-legged friends is a bit too rambunctious for me. Continue reading

Heartbreaking

Today My Daughter Broke My Heart…

Little J acted out because she’s desperately trying to walk the tightrope of acceptance. It’s obvious that she acted in a way that she probably thought would earn her some cred with the “alpha” kids. While not explicitly saying it that way, she did explain her behaviour to me and that is how I understood it.

It reminds me of my own childhood: fighting the fight within where you either stay true to yourself or sell out and feel that elusive sense of belonging.

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That Was the Week That Was

G20

I posted something a little while ago that addressed my thoughts on the event; specifically, the poor choice of venue (downtown Toronto) and the amount of money (more than I will make in a lifetime).

During the event (and frankly, after), I expressed my shame at being a Canadian; this opinion was met with a lot of resistance, disbelief, and some commendable positivity. I haven’t really written anything further about it because I wanted it to settle in my mind; I wanted to learn more about what happened on all sides of this disaster, so that I could better express myself in a way that could be easily understood.

I will break down this discussion into sections, partially for my own benefit, but also so that one may follow what I have to say that much more easily…



The Protesters

It takes a lot of guts to express your opinion while armed and armoured enforcers are standing by, watching you. Of course, I’m referring to those people who were actually there to convey an actual message. Unfortunately, the messages were hard to see on all forms of media because the focus tended to be on those who were causing a disturbance.

The anarchist groups take so much away from the legitimate protesters because of their behaviour. I’m sure that most of them are intelligent people, but, one has to wonder; rampaging up and down city streets causing a swath of destruction sort of takes away from the word ‘peaceful’. And, pardon the pun, all of it tends to be not in the least constructive.

One of the many things that piqued my interest was a journalist trying to film them doing their thing; many of them were masked, but the ones that weren’t were taking offense to being filmed on camera, citing that it was a violation of their personal space. Then they would smash the front windows of a business that was as far away from being part of a national franchise as I am from the South Pole.

There were also those that were in the face of the police at all times. I understand expressing yourself, but badgering people and provoking them is not a good idea. I am honestly surprised that more of these people survived with their bones intact.

Then there were those who are sheep. They want to be cool and unique, but they don’t have the balls to do it on their own. You know the ones that I am talking about; they stand by, wishing to be part of something great, and when the first brick is thrown they decide to do what everyone else is doing and start causing problems or mouthing off. They are the first to complain when apprehended, explaining that they were merely caught up in the wave. I call them cowards.

I am ashamed of being a Canadian relative to these people because we are supposed to pride ourselves on our ability to keep an even keel. Why the destruction? Why the belligerence? We should be better than that.



The Police

I avoided being downtown for the whole week. I telecommuted, and enjoyed the peace and quiet of my basement office while others less fortunate were stopped and had their bags checked. While I respect law enforcement, there is something to be said about the effect of having so many of them in one place; not to mention the unspoken paranoia of having to protect world leaders. It is not an enviable position.

I am confused as to what was going on at some points on the weekend, but this much is clear: those in charge of this massive undertaking were taken by surprise, even though they were supposedly prepared. In fact, on the Saturday, I wonder what the plan was considering: that a rampaging mob went unchecked for a significant period of time on two of downtown Toronto’s biggest streets; police cars were left unattended in intersections, long enough to be set on fire; at least a billion dollars was spent.

The strategy for the Sunday seemed to be clear: let’s intimidate the hell out of everyone and hope that it keeps everything quiet. That’s what it seemed to me, anyway.

The sad part is that no matter how good of a job they did, the damning video footage of some of their antics is forging a path towards a public inquiry. There was much brutality and overreaction from parts of the group, leading to the injury of many innocent people.

I am ashamed of being a Canadian relative to this group because these are the folks we look to when order needs to be kept; a number of these people chose not to be respectable. There was anything but order during parts of the weekend, and the sad part is that command did not send units to disperse what was obviously a group bent on violent action without any thought. In fact, rumours are floating about that the destruction was all part of some greater plan, though what that plan could be baffles my imagination.

I feel for the good cops; the ones who do a great job and work hard, shrugging off the tantalizing lure of the behaviours they could enjoy due to their station. People will not look at them with the same level of trust and respect that they would have before.



The Government

In my opinion, our government dropped the ball on this one, and really, should be held the most accountable. By staging this meeting in an area very easily accessible to everyone, they practically handed out gilded invitations to criminals and shit-disturbers everywhere.

If you throw a party, and someone that you invited turns out to be a very negative influence, would you invite them again? If other people have thrown parties and are unlucky enough to have invited some unsavoury individuals into their homes and paid the price, would you invite those same individuals to your next party? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

A friend indicated in my last G20 post that holding the event in a more remote location may not have been feasible from a resource standpoint. I respectfully call bullshit. I highly doubt that holding meetings of this nature in a remote location with an elite security force would really cost much more than the money that we spent on this joke. My wife has pointed out that people may still get together and cause mayhem in the closest city, but I would think that having this far from ANY urban center would make people think twice; I doubt that most people would spend the money to travel too far to cause mischief, unless they had the same conviction as those with an actual peaceful message.

In a classic my-dick-is-bigger-than-yours play, the Government has given Toronto (and I’m quoting a few writers when I type this) a “black eye”. Maybe the whole point of trashing the city was to prevent any similar future events from occurring? Perhaps that’s giving them a little too much credit.

I am ashamed of being a Canadian relative to our Government, because as our leaders they should represent our interests; they failed. In a time where money is more precious than ever, they spend like there was no tomorrow, providing many people (not from our city) with equipment that would never be used and overtime that was probably never even needed. Don’t even get me started on the fake lake.



C’est Tout

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months as interesting facts and stories rise to the surface of public awareness.

That’s all I really feel like typing for now. I just wanted people to know why I typed what I did before (in Twitter and so forth), and that my source of disappointment had some focus. As a Canadian, I try to be the best person I can be, and so do many other people that I know. Of that I am not ashamed.


Gee, Twenty?

Why?

I find it interesting that we are hosting a bunch of countries to talk about the world economy, and are crippling the economy downtown to do it. A dramatic over-statement? Not really. Considering a truck accident on the 401 years ago cost the city a crap-ton of money in lost trade revenue, I would say that closing off a section of downtown and putting a good chunk of the rest on lock-down is probably not much better.

The billion-dollar line item on the budget (for security) is astounding. I guess it’s because of the potential danger posed to the world leaders from all of the protesters. This begs the question: would you need to have so much security if you held the summit in a more remote area? No, they would not. In my opinion, holding the summit in one of the most accessible places in Ontario by all forms of transit is just an invitation for protesters to flock to the area and do their thing.

This all smacks of childish dick-measuring.

Trying to compensate for something, Mr. Harper?


The Cycle of Violence

Case Against Bryant Crashes

The buzz on the street these days revolves around Michael Bryant; the case against the former Ontario attorney general seems to have fizzled out after the crown withdrew charges against him stemming from the unnecessary death of Darcy Allen Sheppard, a troubled bike courier.

While I do not condone what happened, the backlash from the cycling community is pretty dramatic; phrases like “…the message I’m getting is we deserve to die for riding a bike…” and “…it’s official: we are roadkill…” are being tossed around. The death of Mr. Sheppard is unfortunate, and the fact that his possible killer gets off scott-free is even moreso; however, I am finding it difficult to sympathize with the cyclists.

I have said before that a great majority of cyclists really piss me off; there are many who ride bikes that will cry foul when an automobile driver toes the line between safely assertive and aggressive, yet a good number of those same people have little regard for the rules of the road themselves. I can tell you that I have had quite a few near-misses with cyclists in my neighbourhood, as they breeze through the stop signs at break-neck speed; I certainly have no problem with a rolling-stop policy, but that involves actually checking for oncoming or intersecting traffic, be it on wheels or on feet, rather than blindly zooming through. I have a number of examples of this sort of hypocrisy, but I really don’t feel like getting worked up.

My message is simple: If you are a cyclist, and you are angry at the verdict of the case (or lack thereof) that recently transpired, make sure that you live up to the ideals that you stand for when your feet touch your pedals; or you’ll be just as bad as the Andretti’s that you bitch about.