Archive for July, 2009

Crotches can only take us so far

Posted on July 31st, 2009 Be the first to comment

Just like a divorce, it’s not over until the final piece of paper is signed and delivered. Today, that’s what they did at City Hall.

With that, the Toronto garbage is strike is now officially over.

Naturally, some found it hard to let go:

flying US colours ... I'd say that was suspicious

This gentleman assured me most seriously that mere moments earlier, there had been a large crowd on this very spot supporting this early-morning protest. I must say, that’s exactly what’s needed these days; a sense of humour. Good guy.

But despite the comedic relief provided by these folks, it was a pretty tense day at City Hall. Everyone stood up to talk, two guys left in a huff, someone else threw crayons and teased the two kids leaving. Bad scene. How did my girl hold up in the vote? Naturally, she cast the wise choice.

And today, for the first time in forty days, birds are being flipped from truck windows again:

i'd be bitter too

So, that’s it for another five years, or whenever this agreement expires.

Are you bored to tears with this strike already? Me too. Let’s get back to summer!

like europe, only not

Just like being at the beach, huh? A sophisticated beach! That had been paved over. With no water. And big buildings. Also traffic and the occasional deciduous tree. Surf’s up!


Woaw! The zipper for the giant pants of the bank behind it. In fact, the entire financial district is filled with giant testes. (In the “they’ve got some balls!” sense. Not in the complimentary sense.)

Okay, enough of that for one day. Crotches can only take us so far and besides, we don’t want to get sunburned on the first real day of sunshine.

Speaking of getting burned, a story emerged a couple of days ago that the website of Toronto Hydro, my electricity provider, was hacked. Hydro claims that all that was stolen were the personal contact info and last bill amounts of some of their customers. We were advised that we may be receiving a letter if our personal information was accessed.

Since that moment, I’ve been walking around like a kid on December 22nd. I crossed my fingers each day as I opened my mailbox only to find that, no, I would not be the lucky recipient of the Toronto Hydro letter. Not that day :(

But guess what … today I got one! :D

it's not the colour i wanted, but i still love it!

Isn’t that exciting?They say it’s just a precautionary letter, but I know it’s meant just for me.

Now some twitchy teenager with a brick in his underwear knows where I live and how much juice my lair requires. Kid, if you’re reading this, you’re welcome to the info. In fact, feel free to apply some credit to my account next time you’re in there.

Interestingly, in the letter dated July 23rd, Hydro says that they don’t how the hacker(s) got a hold of the information. Meaning that they didn’t know they’d been hacked. So how did they know the information had been accessed?

I know, I don’t seem terribly concerned, but I’ve had fraud at least once on every card I’ve ever owned. And I would love to see someone try to take out a mortgage on my credit. Haha!

Ahh. That’s the best way to start a weekend; with a laugh.

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

INVESTMENT TIP: Toronto parking lots — BUY BUY BUY!

Posted on July 30th, 2009 8 Comments

Do you remember yesterday with those street-borne communiqués around the city?

Mama meme-a!

This time we have a website and a comfortable patch of grass. I would applaud this effort, I really would. But I actually started to read the web page:

“We want to re-examine public space and to create work which explores our relationship with the space we inhabit. We wish to de-center and disrupt the accepted n…”




*wipe drool*

I don’t know what that site meant but I’ve reprimanded my netbook for showing it to me. I’m sorely tempted to put my programming skills to use in creating a tedious content filter of some sort. When it would detect a web page that fell below the customizable tedium level, the browser would warn you with a gentle weeping sound lest you waste a moment of your valuable life. Also, a shudder if your hardware is equipped for it.

Meh. I’d rather be outside anyway. It’s hard to be bored, especially with Caribana just around the corner. And the rampant crime that goes with it:

Why bother with a dollar sign? It's already an outrageous number!

That’ll go up to twenty bucks on the weekend. Bumbaclot!

Lamport Stadium is where the Caribana judging takes place, and if memory serves, they have about one-hundred million-billion floats and get-ups to evaluate. It’s a lot, whatever the precise number is.

When it comes to parade costumes, people go certifiably insane. They seal themselves up in darkened workshops for months on end, devoid of any human contact. There, they toil away, metamorphosing wire, fabric, and sequins into wings, antennae, and gaudy headdresses.

Finally, after many months and a third refinancing of the house, they emerge.

As a beautiful, gargantuan butterfly!

gimpy leg or awkward erection?

I’m sure it’s much more impressive than it looks. From what I remember of past parades, the costumes are enormous. That thing he’s pulling out of the truck is probably meant to be worn on the eyebrow. The rest of the costume usually arrives by helicopter.

I suppose I can understand why they’d want these creations protected behind fences this weekend, but I’m not sure if they’re legally allowed to call it Caribana unless everyone, including spectators, are jumping around. Seems like a fence would dampen that enthusiasm.

When I walked along Lakeshore Boulevard (the parade route) today, it felt a bit like I was in a penitentiary exercise yard. With the natural barrier of Lake Ontario on one side, and the gun-turret-like projections of the Direct Energy Centre on the other, winin’ and/or grinin’ just seems out of place.

Guess we’ll just have to see.

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

I am still not a crook. More of a banker, really.

Posted on July 29th, 2009 6 Comments

After five weeks off the job and finally managing to walk away with the bank, you’d think the unions would be eager to get back to work, wouldn’t you? I would too. But we’d both be wrong. Now they’re fussing over how they should return to work.

Have you ever done that thing where you rub the palm of your hand into your forehead in an agitated, twisting motion? Yeah.

Do you wanna know what I think happened? I think that City Hall saw Caribana looming and figured it couldn’t afford to lose it. Perhaps because of money. Perhaps reputation. Perhaps both. The negotiators blinked and, as a result, Miller has offered our collective anuses up for all sorts of wanton abuse. I can’t believe I used to call him General.

Oh well, at least it’ll be settled soon and we can all get back to doing whatever it is we do. Which is actually pretty much the same thing we’ve been doing all this time. How exciting.

Sarcasm, you say? Moi?! The impropriety!

Just hit the streets if you require evidence of various, excitingly subversive a-goings-ons:

JaMaCo Unite!

Now who feels like an impudent little monkey?

Unfortunately, these people are so underground, I have no idea who they are or what this is all about. It’s clear they’re fucking with the post office, I  just can’t fathom why. Until they make themselves known, I guess we’ll just have to call them the Jacket Mailers Collective, or JaMaCo for short.

I know, right? That would make a good song. JaMaCo, down in Key Largo, blah blah blah blah, on the go, etc. Already half written! Unfortunately, JaMaCo is going to need a kick-ass stage show because someone already beat them to the headlines:

talkin' to the wrong guy, pal, a domain whose brilliance is bested only by

The nifty people behind this campaign are targeting one Janet Nixon, wife of Gordon Nixon, president and CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada. RBC is one of the few remaining bank conglomerates in Canada and I believe Gordon can have people legally “disappeared”. He’s that powerful. The bank invested in a, let’s say, controversial project called the tar sands. It’s a messy way to get oil out of tar-covered sand patches.

The group has been trying to stop the project’s source of funding, which is RBC, but Gordon doesn’t much care for their company. What to do?

Of course; talk to the guy’s wife!

The website features a fireside chat addressing, in a casual and friendly manner, Mrs. Nixon, asking for her assistance in helping her husband see some reason. “Thank you, Janet. Thank you very much.”

So nice.

In keeping with the sentiment, I’m so glad you could join me and share a moment of your time. That’s right, I’m pointing directly at you. Thank you.

Now, unfortunately, I have other duties to attend to, so I’ll have to bid you adieu. I’m sure you understand that I would never eschew you for something if it wasn’t critically important.

speaking of tar sands :D

Filed under: Pictures, Why I'm Right

War on Trash: … and on day 37, peace.

Posted on July 28th, 2009 6 Comments

Thank. God.

Thirty-six days of military analogy was getting to be challenging, to be quite honest. For some strange reason I had decided I would never use the same term twice to describe the unions. Maybe I was trying to illegitimize them. Half an hour each night trying to come up with a new military unit: squad … squadron … division … unit … Luftwaffe … damn it! … squad? … I’VE ALREADY SAID THAT! … hmmm … how about … unit? … *much wailing and gnashing of teeth*

Not easy work; the cogs turned slowly and in circles much of the time. Did it keep me honest? Oh no, just constipated.


But at least it’s over. Here, have a final gander; bury your face in this one last time:

is it really ... over?

Has anyone invented Smell-O-Web yet? Because this is the reason to avoid that.

However, I really want to take a moment to stress that this really is both temporary and isolated. A TCL reader had expressed concern that the agreement would be too little, too late for this weekend’s Caribana festival.

I give you my personal pledge of honour (it involves a hand gesture!): even if the strike hadn’t been resolved by this weekend, the wiser and more responsible Caribana leadership had a contingency plan in place. Too many people would be really bummed out if it was canceled, especially over something like garbage. There’s the loss of income thing too.

Besides all of this, neighbourhoods and businesses have done a great job in keeping their own surroundings clean. They’re not as clean as usual, but that should be taken in context; for a major metropolis, Toronto is unusually feces free.

Anyone with a struggling shop open in a highly populated area understands that people don’t want to be shopping on rotting filth. It’s just natural that they’d want to keep the place looking neat.

hustling the bustlers

If you’re looking for something to worry about during your visit, may I suggest murderous teens?

I had followed this case a while ago because it had so many interesting elements. The story basically goes that a teenage girl withheld sex and goaded her boyfriend to kill a girl she had perceived as her rival (though they had probably never met). The boy stabbed the “rival” outside of her own home on New Year’s day, and the murder’s been pretty much under wraps until the verdict. That came today.

The guilty part wasn’t surprising. The fact that they tried and convicted her as an adult was. And the life sentence. First-degree murder, pre-meditated through hundreds of very clear text messages. Not a very bright girl. And then there’s this:

melissa todorovi -- really?!

The guy killed for that?!

Look, that’s not even being shallow; everything I’ve read indicates she’s unbelievably self-centered, clearly manipulative, crass, and devoid of any remorse or personality. Along with the extra storage for the winter months, that doesn’t leave much room for advancement in her life, does it?

Obviously, the boy’s father should be held responsible for not teaching him about masturbation, porn, the internet; even a simple Sears catalog for heaven’s sake! The whole nightmarish thing could’ve been prevented.

Such lovely brazier models. If only …

Filed under: Pictures, Why I'm Right

War on Trash: Day 36

Posted on July 27th, 2009 8 Comments

yeah, i get the internet on these things Oliver had that smug, knowing look on his face this morning. It suggested that maybe I turn on the radio and get an update on the War.

I flipped over to CFRB where it’s guaranteed that even on the slowest of news days, someone will be seething live on the air over something or other. Usually the latest about the War. Today, however, a strange sound emanated from the tinny bedside radio; it sounded like cheers and claps. And it went on for a long time.

Oliver nodded in my direction to indicate that this was it; or that he wanted to be fed. In a few moments, the announcer who had been feeding the delirious applause live through his mike returned. The news did indeed warrant applause.

Before you go on, would you care to pause a moment at the end of this sentence and guess what the celebrations were about?

You are one-hundred and fifty percent correct; a peace treaty is imminent!

I should caution that we shouldn’t be unrealistically optimistic here. The “a” in that sentence means one. The 416/79 , as you may recall, is a joint squadron under two commands claiming to speak and move as one. As a condition to ratification, the 416 generals are hanging their peace treaty on a similar one between the 79 and the city. And they, as yet, have nothing. Also, there are some alarming questions being raised about how high a price has been paid for securing this first agreement.

We can only hope and pray that General Miller didn’t cave under pressure. The picture that the unions paint is one of rogue trash consciously creeping out of detention and attacking tourists. Does that seem realistic?

they're attacking!

It would be safe to conclude that Gen. Miller hasn’t set foot outside his compound since the start of the War. That would be the only explanation for his lack of oversight on the ground. The atrocity above is real, but scenes like this are increasingly few and far between. I mean, have you seen Chinatown lately? Granted my memories are bit fuzzy, but I don’t remember this intersection being so trendy:

spadina stylin'

As skeptical as I am of their dubious implications, I believe that two peace treaties will be signed before the week’s end. I can say that with a fair degree of certainty because:

a) I don’t get paid per prediction.
b) If anyone is reading this blog to forecast the future, they should consider seeing a professional. Any kind is okay; they can refer you.
c) If this blog is so influential, where the hell is my free coffee?! That’s right, no free coffee. Not even a phone call to thank me. Nothing.
d) I have seen the times to come and this blog is a record of my visions.
Just messin’ with ya  ;). See a shrink. Seriously.

*sigh* I just want to get my old Toronto back; the clean home where all cultures feel comfortable and at ease:

fluffy pavement

Update: It seems the 79 union now has an agreement too. Now my prognostication seems especially pointless.

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

War on Trash: Day 33 (Everywhere!)

Posted on July 24th, 2009 8 Comments

Is it me or was it really mean-looking today?


The morning started out normal enough. Ever the early bird eater, Oliver chided me awake for neglecting my blogging duties. And his litter. He’s a real hard-ass, but keeps me motivated:

chiding ollie

By the afternoon, it was obvious that Environment Canada were up top their usual hijinx. With a batting average of about fifty percent, this week’s forecast had reliably managed to misinform almost all my umbrella decisions. Thank the darkened heavens I decided to forego it today and simply poke my head out the window:

coming down

The downpour didn’t last very long, but it brought down a lot of water. Typically this wouldn’t be a bad thing, but with the War going the way it’s been going, the water now serves to help detention centre run-off seep into the ground. This is hardly desirable under good circumstances, but with the advent of chemical warfare, especially in the urban theatre, it’s much more serious.

A swelling grass-roots movement is trying hard to reverse this. Today they held a candle-lit vigil in Moss Park to shine a light on this under-reported consequence of the War:

not really sure what the point of the candles was

The underground movement’s savvy organizers appear to be keenly aware that the War is not only fought on the ground, but also in the mind. While General Miller and the 416/79 leadership seem to have abandoned public relations, the people who pulled this little shindig together did just the opposite:


That’s Francis D’Souza in the fancy threads. He swept in out of a parked Citytv SUV like a mother hawk with hungry chicks spotting the first meal of the day; split-second reflexes at the ready for the live six o’clock feed.

“What should we do?”, asked the demonstrators while the TV crew was setting up. “Don’t you worry none”, responded Francis in a John Wayne drawl, “you just stand there ‘n I’ll do the reportin’, little missy.” He was actually talking to a man, but that’s how certain Francis is of his own rugged masculinity. Who could blame him?

The report was over in seconds.

With a gunpowder cloud still hanging in the air, he thrust the microphone into it’s low-slung hip holster and sauntered back toward the waiting car, spurs marking out his confident gait at regular intervals. It was only when someone cried out “Francis!” that he stopped. “Francis!”, came the pleading voice again, “what did you say about the four-one-six?”

He swaggered back toward the group. “Here’s what I know”, he said. “If’n that four-one-six gang don’t get their comeuppance by midnight Sundy, they’re fixin’ to walk away from the table.”

That wasn’t what anyone wanted to hear. The group thanked Francis who, with the tip of his Stetson, rode into the dying sunset, his shadow grown tall on the street behind him in the shape of his true self.

(He’s actually a lot smaller than he looks on TV. And he’s not a cowboy. It just seems appropriate to describe him like that.)

To punctuate the grim news, the suggestion was offered that this action may signal the need for binding arbitration; the beginning of the end. Wouldn’t that be something?

As I was preparing to leave myself, I spotted a couple of the brightly-shirted gentlemen I’d been meaning to speak to for the past few days. You may recall they were, contrary to all detention centre reports, actually helping people schlep trash from the trunks of their cars. To assuage my curiosity, I asked them if they were associated with the union. No, they said, they were not. They were management staff and had never left their post.

Management doing the hard work. What a crazy, topsy-turvy war this is.

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

War on Trash: Day 32 (Salute to Mr. Lakey, Star)

Posted on July 23rd, 2009 6 Comments

Every Saturday(ish) as I sit in my favourite breakfast joints gobbling up artery-hardening goodness and flipping through the comics section, I remember how much I’d been wanting to write about the Toronto Star.  I do like to link to this paper so I guess it’s no secret, I think it’s the bee’s knees.

The outstanding feature of this city stalwart is how it seems to maintain that great journalistic root of hit-the-pavement reporting. It has the fewest misleading or indeterminate headlines of any of the major dailies, probably even fewer than this blog. And they’re not afraid to go where the action is.

Today, for example, I discovered an article by a brave front-line journalist named Jack Lakey. In it, he recounts a horrific scene of utter devastation; a forgotten mound of burnt wood, broken cinder blocks, smoked glass, and protruding hunks of dangerous metal; remnants of an iconic bicycle store. And garbage:

kinda cozy

It doesn’t get any more raw than that. A salute, Mr. Lakey.

For obvious reasons, I didn’t want to stick around too long. The overcast sky was bringing an early evening and soon the crack-heads would be rising from their graves, hungering for human brains. Brains on crack. *shiver*

By the time I regained my composure, I was already halfway up Spadina in CHINATOWN! I hazily remembered the last time I’d been here; it was only day two of the tactical strike and already the troops were taking a beating. The memories of that day were like dark, hellish, black-and-white photographs. I didn’t even want to imagine how the area had ended up.

And as it ended up, I couldn’t even have imagined:


Clean streets and empty garbage bags, even in Chinatown; who’d ‘ve thunk it?

I’m actually starting to feel a little sorry for the 416/79 command. A sizeable number of their strikers have hoisted the white flag and requested to defect to our side. I believe they have seen the error of their ways and should be afforded clemency and dignity. We must eliminate this savage brutality; that wanton barbarism; those angry little picketers with their bashy smashy little placards. Take it easy, lady!

We can all still emerge from this with a little humanity. A little understanding. A little peace.

slumber now, king of twilight and fancy stones

Dream of magic and unicorns, sweet prince. Or winning the lottery.

(Click on that link, I promise the story’s interesting – it’s the Star!)

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

War on Trash: Day 31 (First month Wariversary!)

Posted on July 22nd, 2009 Be the first to comment

My diving into the deep waters of the interweb today fished out an odd little Toronto blog in which the author prescribes dumping garbage into store parking lots because, I guess, the businesses owe us for something or other. He also believes that the 416/79 legion are “setting the bar” for society and that their tactical strike should be supported.

So I ranted. For a long time.

Later on, I started to wonder if he was playing the contrarian just to bait me. I mean, is it even possible that the 416/79 have any supporters left?

summer killers!

Take that, CUPE!

They must know that they’re taking a bit of a beating right now. People are refusing to put up with their style of guerilla warfare:

united front

As my own small contribution to the struggle, I was recently mulling around the tactic of generating income for the city, to be used for private waste disposal, from unsolicited city posters. I realized soon after that there was a fatal flaw in the plan; if the removal guys are collecting fines, who’s removing the posters?

Today I received an answer:


They remove themselves!

Can victory really be that far off? For the final push, General Miller must mobilize all troops, especially those in public relations. Because right now, both sides are being described as exceedingly bratty kids, the kind that make you want to go in there and just clip ‘em both behind the ears a few times. They can’t even sit in the same room together!

Maybe they need to see the real situation on the ground; see which way the pendulum is swinging. Some districts are not coping as well as others, but there are increasingly more oases of so-clean-you-can-eat-off-it serenity:

mr. clean lives in these tunnels

Dear reader, I hope you trust that all of my accounts are true as far as I know them to be. I have been witness to this war from the very first day, and the simple reality is that most of Toronto doesn’t suck as badly as the 416/79 would like it to. In fact, most of it doesn’t suck at all.

I’m going to look up that blog again to insinuate inserting my digital boot up his binary ass for trying to suckify the city. Especially when blending is such a clear and easy answer.

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

War on Trash: Day 30 (accompanied by friendly police officer)

Posted on July 21st, 2009 4 Comments

yeah! who does do that?!

That’s what I’d like to know!

Well, I guess by the title you’ve already guessed that the offensive is still in full swing. I really do wish I had something more to report but the War has either moved into ultra-secret territory, or both sides are sitting on their thumbs. Something I read stated that this could potentially lead to a large increase in the rat/mouse population. According to the exterminator that was being interviewed.

But I think the implications go much deeper than a few extra rodents. Garbage on the streets has now become commonplace, so much so that many people don’t think twice about just tossing stuff to the ground. Even I find myself struggling to find that line that separates garbage from, umm, not garbage:


Ah, blessed gaudy stars, rusty segues into my next encounter, another television shoot somewhere on Victoria Street. Here I was cautiously approached by two police officers who asked if it wouldn’t be a better idea if I asked before taking a photo. I explained to them that I really just wanted a quick snap of the “ambiance”, and verified that this was considered a public location and was I within my rights?. “Yes”, said the Asian officer, ”but it would be nice.” And then, he asked if he would like me to have him ask the crew on my behalf. No trouble. “That’s quite alright, officer”, I replied, and moved on:

about to be arrested ... by kindness!

A few steps up the street, the other officer (right) caught up with me. “Don’t worry”, he assured me, “I’m not following you. Just on an unrelated errand. Nothing to do with you and I don’t want you to feel alarmed.”

I reassured him that I was as cool as a cucumber and that it hadn’t even crossed my mind. And it’s true.

So had I come across as that much of a dick? Skittish, maybe? An over-informed citizen with a hard-on for litigation?

Now, to pull a final segue out of my pants, I think it’s safe to say that we are all a little curious to know if the guy clocked at 140 kilometers an hour (87 miles), on the 401 this morning, while awash in portable DVD pr0n, had both hands on the wheel.  Ha ha! The wacky things people do behind the wheel. Precious.

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

War on Trash: Day 29 (almost a month!)

Posted on July 20th, 2009 Be the first to comment

Ah, weekends; two days to remind you of how good life could be.

It’s not that I think Mondays are bad, per se. They’ve simply been relegated to being the first days to shatter happiness and joy, to be the harbingers of pain and sorrow. And so on.

The gosh-durn WordPress update never seems to go smoothly (it’s always one plugin after another, isn’t it?) and, well, the weekend was so interesting, I almost forgot that the War still lurked just around the corner — with a bat and a belief I owed it some money.

Sadly, our own local detention center has now moved off-court onto (I believe) wood-chip-covered earth:

on the grass!

Can you believe that it’s been almost a month now?

But luckily there’s a curious twist at this point, otherwise I’d just be regurgitating the same old war stories again. That’s gross.

If you look at the photo again, right at the back on the left are two guys in DayGlo-yellow shirts. They’re actually taking trash from people’s cars and hauling it in here themselves. Somehow, the 416/79 cavalry have managed to miss my little enclave; these guys were actually helping people get their trash in. Most excellent service too, if I may say. I’ll definitely have to ask more questions tomorrow.

But you know that even if they were strikers, which they were not (?!), it wouldn’t stop some kind of festival from happening. With genuine regret, I managed to completely miss the Festival of India parade, but at least managed to fill my crowd quota for the day with the big balls of Just for Laughs:

big balls

All the comics must’ve been on their smoke breaks because everyone there was definitely not funny. Well, there was this one funny part where a gymnast flew dangerously off course, and oh-so-close to the audience:

oh shit!

The look on his face as he lifted himself off the canvas was a masterpiece of raw human emotion; disbelief, horror, embarrassment, relief, self-doubt, and anger; the kind of face you make when you’re in the privy trying, grimly, to eject a particularly unrealistic log. OH, C’MON! WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE!

Anyway, it was funny.

Funnier than cleaning my sofa when I got back to my place:


Eureka, leave a comment and I’ll contact you about where you can send the royalty cheques. What? You didn’t think it’d be just one, did you? Just like foxes, you are.

Now, dear reader, before you berate me for the frequency of my house-keeping, I would like to point out that this is a week’s worth of collected Ollie hair and open-window city exposure.

Plus, we’re in the middle of a war! A dusty, dusty war.

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures