Monthly Archives: June 2004

First torture, now slavery…

It's no secret that America dramatically underpays its front line soldiers. With government contractors taking home salaries between $500 and $1000 a day and defense suppliers making even more, many active-duty military families live under the poverty line and need the help of food banks and community assistance to stay afloat. To be clear, the private security that are hired by US defense contractors are making more in a day and a half than many soldiers make in a month.

Because so much money is being given away to corporations stealing war profits (more, more), there's not enough money left over to pay the people willing to die for their country even with the ridiculously low salaries. So, instead of cutting back on corporate subsidies, the Army has decided on a new path (bolstered I guess by the “success” of torture), and that is slavery. They're hiring Indian workers and paying them about $0.45 an hour (more) so that they don't have to pay Western workers a real wage…

All thanks to corporate subsidies being far too large. Think about it. We have a sociopolitical environment where it is extremely profitable for corporations when wars are raging. The current US leadership are direct reprentatives (as in currently salaried) of these corporations, and these corporations are the primary factor in getting one “side” or the other elected.

Seem like a good idea to you? Hell, how many Americans have even met their reprentatives? We're coming up on a Canadian federal election on Monday, and I've met four of the people running for government in my riding in person. Anyone who wants to can do the same. I met the previous Prime Minister twice as well. Rachel was pretty weirded out by this, but I guess in the US that Representatives are so monstrously wealthy that they don't have time for things like this?

Anyway… Let's assume for a moment that you agree with the idea of Manifest Destiny and that American ideals are the “best” and should be adopted by the rest of the world. Is what's been going on lately going to achieve that? To answer the question, let's rewind to elementary school.

There are two kids who hold positions of power that can be emulated. First, there's the school bully. He's bigger than everyone else, he takes what he wants from everyone and gives back selectively to only a few. In theory he's not a bad kid, but he breaks the rules whenever he feels like it and gets angry whenever he's called on it. He lies to his friends, has tantrums every time he gets a bad grade, and lashes out at anyone he thinks might be saying something bad about him.

On the other hand, we have the cool but aloof popular kid. He's friendly to everyone, but only hangs out with other cool kids. He tries hard at school and gets good grades. He's also quarterback on the football team and student council president. He's polite and teachers like him, and he always helps out others try and learn as well, although he won't do their work for them. He comes from a self-made wealthy family that has taught him the value of hard work and he tries to encourage his friends to do the same. Oh, and he plays in a garage band that everyone thinks is going to make it big.

Ask yourself which one of these is valedictorian, and which one's life eventually falls apart, and ends up in prison, penniless, friendless, and without options for the future…


Last night I took this photo from our balcony (it doesn't do the scene justice). An immense rainbow started from the centre of High Park stayed visible throughout its entire arc, and ended around Yonge and Bloor, all while the city was lit with a strange deep yellow and purple sunset.

Stair climber today, stairmaster tomorrow

As you know I've been taking the stairs every day (up to the 27th story from the lower parking level). Yesterday I didn't because I was carrying one of those big 18L water jugs and that would have been a bit too much for me. Anyway, I was surprised that even taking a day off whacked me back to getting winded a couple stories before the day before.

If you don't have the innate drive to do it, it can be really hard to stick to an exercise routine of any kind, so I try and fit as much into my daily life as I can. I think for anyone seriously interested in body modification (and thus their body), excercise can be extremely rewarding, especially when it's difficult. When things are tough, you can feel every part of yourself and you become aware of what makes you work on a physical level. It has a lot of the same rewards as being acutely aware of how you heal.

They say that one of the reasons people cut is because they feel numb and disconnected from the world, usually because of some kind of emotional stress making parts of their brain shut down. Thus they cut for reassurance that they are alive… I really want to propose to those of you that are cutters that exercise might fill that same “need”, and in some cases, might even solve some of the trigger-problem in the first place. If you try this experiment, drop me a line and let me know if it's good advice or not.

While I'm standing on a soap box, here's my other piece of life advice: when you find a place that you love, live there. We watched a movie last night that took place in Hawaii… without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I've been to in my entire life. I loved Miramichi as well though, and Tweed, Philadelphia, and Toronto and most of the other places I've lived. I like living in different places and I've gotten a lot from that, but I'm not sure it's “right” to always be longing for somewhere else. The Caribbean was gorgeous as well (the photo above is from the porch of a house Rachel and I almost bought).

One day soon…

BMEfest Map

As promised, here are your directions (and a glimpse at our gargantuan space)! is being held at Toronto's Lamport Stadium at King and Dufferin. If you'd like to type the exact address into a mapping site, it's 1155 King St. W., Toronto, M6K1E9. You can see a couple pictures below, as well as a rough map (again, go to something like Yahoo! Maps for more). I've tried to “point” at some major landmarks/roads to make it easier as well.


Taking Transit
If my directions don't make any sense to you, just tell the TTC that you need to get to King and Dufferin. It's an easy location and they'll be happy to help you. It will cost $2.25 to get on transit.

Option 1: Take the subway to Dufferin Station (make sure you get a transfer when you first enter transit). Leave the station and go upstairs and take the bus (the “Dufferin 29″) south to King St. W. (it will turn around that little dog-leg that you can see on the map above, so that's when you know you'll have to get out in a minute). Get off at King St. and walk a couple blocks east (toward the CN Tower) and you'll be at the stadium.

Option 2: If you are on King St. (ie if you exit the subway at St. Andrew or King station, or have a hotel on King St. or a short walk from it), just take the “504 King” streetcar. Assuming you are east of the location, that means you want to be going west, or away from the CN tower. Get off at Dufferin.

Taking a Cab

Just tell the cab driver that you need to go to “Lamport Stadium, just east of King and Dufferin”. It will cost about $10 from most of the downtown core.


Honestly, you're probably better off using a site like MapQuest for your directions, but I'll mention what to do with your car. There is street parking, as well as a paid parking lot on the south side of the station. To be perfectly honest though, if there is any chance that you'll be drinking, please please please just leave your car at your hotel and take a cab or transit. Oh, and gas is a little more expensive in Canada (about $2.50 US per gallon) so if you're driving on a budget, you may want to gas up south of the border.


If you're interested in watching the space launch today, it is streaming on MSNBC and should start in less than half an hour. CNN is also playing it. On the other hand, if you're interested in the continued end of the world, Iran (not Iraq) just took out three British Navy ships (developing).

Update: They did it!

Let me repeat:

“A new life awaits you in the Off-World colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure. New climate, recreational facilities…absolutely free! Use your new friend as a personal body servant or a tireless field hand — the custom tailored genetically engineered humanoid replicant designed especially for your needs. So come on America, let's put our team up there!”