Monday, April 21, 2008

A promise to the TTC

If the TTC ever arms its special constables with tasers, I promise that I will boycott the TTC.

Increasingly, the TTC is treating its passengers like the enemy. Initially, it was passive aggressive or careless actions like not announcing stops or dragging people stuck in the doors of the subways.

Now, instead of focusing on improving service and their relationship with commuters, the TTC has become obsessed with "a desire to address health and safety concerns that the special constables have regarding their work." In recent contract negotiations, a key issue was how workers assaulted and injured on the job would be taken care of.

Arming special constables with tasers will only be the next step in this seeming war against passengers. When I ride the TTC, I already feel like a cow being herded from platform to platform. It is not a leap of the imagination to foresee frustrated TTC employees using their tasers like cow prods. Their counterparts in BC have already shown themselves all too ready to use tasers to deal with situations as minor as fare evasion.

A recent episode of The Age of Persuasion recalled the reinvention of the Paris Metro in the 1990s. They catered to their customers by adding the convenience of 300 shops and 1500 vending machines, the ambience of artwork and live concerts in their stations, and a website that provided traffic information and other useful commuter info; they became a "provider of services for mobile people" and ridership and customer satisfaction increased. If only the TTC showed the same amount of creativity and care for its passengers.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Predictable Idiots in College Park

Joe and I walked by College Park today and, to our amazement, it wasn't solely populated by pigeons for once. Instead, it was the meeting place for a marijuana smoke-in. Whoops!

Unlike other drug addicts, potsmokers tend to elicit scorn rather than fear in me. In part, this is because potsmokers are usually too lazy to engage in violent behaviour, which may be why I did not see any cops covering the rally. But, more importantly, they are so damn predictable.

Besides the 'activists' who were just sitting on the ground and smoking up, the rest were doing what you would expect:
  • Waving Canadian flags where the maple leaf has been replaced with a cannibis leaf - check
  • Playing tribal drums - check
  • Feeling the music - check
  • Playing hacky sack - check

    When I got home, I decided to do a search on the internet to see if a call to rally could confirm what I saw and found this online forum.

  • It made me laugh that one forum poster had a signature that stated:

    First they came for the Communists,and I did not speak up because i wasn't a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak up because i wasn't a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me,and i did speak up because i'm a marijuana activist.

    This is obviously a bastardization of "First they came...", the famous poem about the dangers of political apathy. However, in a complete 180 degree turn, this pothead has turned the message into a proudly, self-serving declaration. Bravo!

    If ever there was a law against stupidity, the closest would have to be laws against widespread use of marijuana.

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    A nostalgic moment for plastic bags

    When I read that the LCBO might be eliminating their plastic bags, I applauded the idea though with a little bit of regret.

    I am in favour of reducing the wasteful amount of plastic bags that we use and currently carry a cloth bag in my purse in order to avoid having to use them. And yet, I still fondly remember when LCBO plastic bags were crazy thick, even more so than now. Cost as opposed to environmentalism probably prompted the reduction in plastic. Yet, the heft made sense since bottles of booze can be quite heavy.

    What did not make sense to me were the Bell plastic bags; those silver and blue bags were easily 1 mm thick. It is true that home phones used to feature a lot more metal than they do now but did anyone really need a bag that thick to carry their phone home? My parents used to save those bags for special occasions, when normal plastic just would not do.

    Finally, I miss the smell of fresh plastic bags. It is a scent I rarely smell now because recycled plastic does not carry it and the majority of plastic bags nowadays are, at least, partially recycled. At the Food City with my parent, I used to feign helpfulness by grabbing a bag of groceries then raise the bag to my face to take in a good whiff of that fresh plastic bag smell.

    I still remember when I first encountered a recycled plastic bag. My father used to regularly buy books for me from World's Biggest Book Store and the bags that the books came in would carry that wonderful smell. Then one day, the plastic bag he brought home was different. It claimed to be made from recycled materials, featured a rough surface and did not have the fresh plastic smell (!). In retrospect, the change was probably for the best since all the reading in the world would not have counteracted the possible brain damage from constant plastic huffing.

    I would love to see an old time heavy plastic LCBO or Bell bag, and as with all things mundane and Canadian, a Google image search turns up nothing. If you have a cool plastic bag, don't keep it to yourself. Plastic bag enthusiasm may well be the way of the future as their widespread availability becomes a thing of the past.

    Sunday, April 06, 2008

    I think I'm going to hurl

    I think I need to get back into art really fast. My life is already halfway through this scenario...

    Friday, April 04, 2008

    Doppleganger update: wasted opportunity

    Nothing much to say right now so I'll fall back on my trusty (hand waivers between 'dopplegangers' and 'cannibalism') ... doppleganger! (Previously on mein doppleganger.)

    I brought up mein doppleganger with my parents recently and to my shock, found out that we share genes in addition to a name. It turns out that her father is my grandfather's youngest brother. Later, my travel agent mentions that a friend of his is a friend of hers. It's all just too much!

    I came across her on Facebook and, for months, I was tempted to message her but what to say? 'I have gotten mistaken for you' or 'We share genes' or 'I look up information about you using Google'. So many ways to go wrong.

    Unfortunately, the opportunity has been taken out of my hands; mein doppleganger recently left Facebook. Of course, I still have her mailing address but that is just too creepy, even for me.

    I do not know if the opportunity will ever present itself again for mein doppleganger and me to meet but I vow that I will not hesitate again. Hopefully, a sense of humour runs in the family.