Tag Archives: ego

On Signing Petitions (via Margaret Atwood: Year of the Flood)

I rarely sign petitions myself. I tend to have the opinion that they accomplish nothing but demonstrate a bunch of people (but not enough to make an impact) cared enough to sign their names to a piece of paper (and sometimes not even that much… http://www.petitionspot.com/ anyone?).

Nevertheless, I also can be influenced by individuals whose opinions I respect. And I did type my name on the petition Margaret Atwood mentions in her most recent post, one which like every other piece of writing she creates made me chuckle, smile, sympathise and sob. Ok, I didn’t really sob, but I could have.

So, I walked into The Office of O.W, Toad Ltd., where the usually smiling staff (two in number) who attempt to run my life with whips of steel were giving me the frowny treatment. “You’ve been signing petitions again,” they said. “Naughty Margaret! Don’t you remember that you promised not to do that?” I knew it would be pretty feeble of me to protest that signing petitions was something anyone in a democracy should feel free to do. That would be … Read More

via Margaret Atwood: Year of the Flood

By the way, should you be interested in a bit of Q&A with my favourite author, check out Sept 20 – 24 on here.


10 observations about the G20 presence

1.  The TTC gets unpredictably shut down.  Is this a) to protect riders?  b) to prevent protesters from getting downtown quickly?  c) give the personnel an excuse to snooze?

2.  Stores I want to shop in are either closed or close early.  And after this afternoon, they’ll probably be closed for repairs.

3.  Protests pop up on a daily basis causing traffic delays, even for pedestrians like myself.

4.  Rogue protesters break stuff, set stuff on fire and generally wimp out on making a message credible.  Nice covered faces, no balls.

5.  Too much money is spent on cushy dinners and unattractive fencing that could be spent on dinners for the hungry and city beautification (amongst other worthy recipients).

6.  You can’t freely walk wherever you want to.

7.   World Cup + G20 = the majority of all conversation

8.   Steven Harper comes off as a gracious Canadian host.

9.  Muskoka was celebratory about the G8 presence;  Toronto is generally irritated with the G20 presence.

10.  The herds of raid police produce a feeling of police-state rather than of safety.

I hate you (or maybe it’s just your behaviour), Part 1

Normally I don’t focus on the negative.  I used to.  When I was a teenager (and probably before that too), friends would call me on my complaining.  I realized that no one liked a constant complainer.  However, sometimes, you just need to vent.  And thanks to an alarming number of irritating situations in recent weeks, I feel it is my civic duty to warn you of your potential anger-inducing behaviour.  Please, heed this advice for otherwise, I may punch you.

See these doors?  These types of doors close automatically:  subways, elevators and the cool ones in Star Trek spaceships.  The thing is, with subway doors in particular, people rush to get to them before they close.  Sometimes it’s a matter of being late for work;  other times, it’s just the challenge of narrowly making it a la Indiana Jones.  Whatever the case may be, I always seem to be behind the person who successfully makes it and then comes to a complete stop once through.   I’ll make it on, but I’ll get squished by the doors because dickhead doesn’t care about who’s behind him since his quest was already fulfilled.

A similar situation happens with elevators except it’s often on the way out.  I work for a school of international “adult” students.  The cram into the elevators, talking in their languages and laughing like the claustrophobia means nothing (take a look at this pic for proof).  Then, once we get to the ground floor, they saunter out in a lollygaggish way with no regard for the others still trying to exit.  Why get out of the elevator only to stand right in front of the doors?  Can you not just move to the side or–dare I suggest–walk to where you originally intended to go?

If you are either of these people, I hate you (or maybe it’s just your behaviour).

When life throws you lemons…well, you know.

If life has thrown you into a direction that you didn’t see coming, it can be difficult to see the positive, but it must be there.  Here’s some advice I try to tell myself when this happens:

When a door closes, a window is opening.
–>Maybe that door isn’t locked;  it’s just temporarily closed.
–>It can be hard to find that opening window when it’s dark and you don’t know the floor plan very well.  Look for a light to help you see.

I just want to crawl in a hole and hide.
–>That’s ok, but you’ll eventually want to come out because that hole isn’t very comfortable.

I don’t want to do anything else.
–>Eventually, it’ll get boring to do nothing.

This too shall pass.
–>Nothing lasts forever?  Well, that must include bad times and sadness.

So if you find yourself in a situation that makes you sad, try looking at it differently.

Police vs Pedestrians

Yonge & DundasIt’s a particularly nasty month for pedestrians (and drivers) in the Greater Toronto Area in January–14 pedestrians hit, 7 of whom have died (this compared to a mere 2 last January).  At first, it seemed like just a bad string of luck.  After one of the first–a young mother killed by an 80-year-old driver, everyone was up in arms about the age of the driver and that they should not be allowed to drive, but by the 9th hit in 9 days, we realized that something was different this time and a clear-cut blame game wasn’t possible.  Are pedestrians being more courageous in their choices of jaywalking or perhaps drivers are more distracted by the million gadgets we have?  Maybe the crosswalk lanes aren’t white enough?  What if the police aren’t policing those terrible jaywalkers enough!

Wait, today they are.  As militaristic as it might sound, police have been standing out at the corner of Victoria and Dundas issuing tickets without warning to people crossing the street at the crosswalks during the no-walking sign.  The violation?  $35.00.  Let’s just set aside the futile nature of giving tickets like this for a second to talk about consistency.  Under normal conditions, police could be standing on the corners.  You walk across the street when it’s clear.  The police pay no attention.  But today, that’s not true.  So when violators are flagged over by the watching police, they don’t even realize there’s a problem and they almost don’t pay attention to the police.  On top of that, getting a ticket for $35.00 suddenly for something you’ve never been penalized for before?  Infuriating.

This is just another unfair, knee-jerk reaction to an unfortunate set of circumstances.  If you want to change behaviour, educate, don’t punish.

Signed Copies of Books

Last month, we were in Indigo looking at new books and I found a signed copy of Margaret Atwood’s latest novel, The Year of the Flood, which I promptly bought for regular price minus the membership discount.  I was so happy to have come across it as I’d always wanted a signed copy of one of her books.

This fascination with signed copies I think stems from my comic book collection.  Whenever you get a signed copy of a comic and it’s in excellent condition and it’s been graded by CGC, it’s worth quite a bit more than just a regular comic by itself.  I’ve been lucky enough to obtain a few signed comics, and whenever I do, I feel this pride, like I’ve invested wisely in my future.

With books, I’d never had a signed copy.  I don’t know whether they appreciate in value afterwards.  But since I love Margaret Atwood novels, hers was the signature I wanted to start off with.

Does this also apply to my industry?  We had Adrian Underhill, author of Sound Foundations, at the store for a workshop, I thought it would have been a great idea to have him sign a bunch of his books.  Of course when I thought of it again, he’d already left.  But then the question came up again, would teachers be interested in having signed copies of ESL/EFL/ELT books like I was about fiction and comics?  Is there the same desire?

Now please add your personalization to my blog by completing a little survey on this topic courtesy of my friends at SurveyMonkey?  I thank you in advance.

It’s 2010 (that’s “twenty-ten”, thank you)!

What an linguistically awkward decade this has been, moreso than probably any other since the 11th century.  Overstatement?  Maybe. But with regards to years, the last ten have shifted us away from our normal numeric naming system for the first time in our lives anyway.  What is normal you say?

Before 2000, when was the last time years were called by their full numeric phrasing (eg. 2001=two thousand one; 2008=two thousand eight) as they were during the last decade?  Sure, none of us were even a sparkle in our great, great grandparents’ eyes, but I’d venture to guess it was 1009?  We can at least agree based on movies, television and school books, that from 1100 until 1999, the year names were separated into two halves (eg.  1173=eleven seventy-three; 1984=nineteen eighty-four).  Remarkably, it was at least a thousand years minus 10 of people saying ##-## and we still dislodged it with “two thousand”?  Granted, “twenty-oh-oh” or “twenty-hundred” doesn’t quite have the smooth ring to it.

Thankfully, ten years into the century, we’re finally able to go back to what’s normal.  Say it with me:  20-10, 20-10, 20-10!  That’s right!  I was happy to see that I wasn’t the only one irritated by the dichotomy presented in the last decade.  Still, there are a few resisters and likely will be for the next couple years.  But think about these and say them to yourself:

2010 Olympics

The 20-10 Olympics are in Vancouver!

Who'll win the 20-10 World Cup?

There's some sort of Expo in Shanghai in 20-10.

Hopefully you’ll agree with me and end the decade of abnormality.

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