Sunday, February 28, 2010


So, I'm bumming around the local doctor's because my girlfriend has the pneumonia, right? There's not a ton to read, so I reach for the Toronto Star. I just about had a fucking aneurysm.

Toronto Star Article on Guns in America

By the time I finished the article, my blood pressure was through the roof. Here are some of the more interesting quotes:

"As a senior instructor with the grassroots, three-year-old U.S. rifle instruction program The Appleseed Project, Bries teaches shooting techniques usually encountered only in the police or military. He isn't paid for his trouble, but he doesn't care."

The tone suggests that it's bad to shoot like a soldier or cop. Why the hell is that? Clearly, this person has never been shooting. Shooting fundamentals are shooting fundamentals. It doesn't matter whether a hunter tucks the stock of his rifle deep, or a commando does it. The articles goes on to disparage people who have the audacity to DARE to prepare for disasters, and twist the words of Massad Ayoob.

This is the kind of thing that makes me want to head south. The best part- that wasn't in the opinions or editorials section of the newspaper. It's put forwards as something Canadians should be alarmed about.

Burns my fucking hash.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Children of Men, and Liberia

I was talking Sigboy, and I brought up Children of Men. He hadn't seen it. Fair enough- it's a bit obscure. I showed him the trailer, and I said to him:

"This is how I see the world in twenty years. Maybe not the infertility thing, maybe not Britain Stands Alone, but the world moving on. The world looking polluted, filthy and bleak."

It's a great flick, even with the ridiculous political subtexts. And it's not hard to see the world headed that way, either: the setting is two parts East Germany, one part Israel during the Intifada. Broad economic depression, despair, radicalization. Police brutality the norm, pollution out of control, terrorist acts a fact of life. Endless bureaucracy and random violence.

And then I came on this gem:

Most definitely not safe for work. It's an eight part documentary on Liberia. Some people view it as a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It's not. It's hell on earth. I have to wonder...what sort of people could let this happen? What sort of people would do that to others, and why?

You have to wonder, sometimes, what kind of animal hides beneath the face of your next-door neighbor and stuff. People are capable of damn near anything.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ezra Levant is the New Trudeau

It doesn't start getting good until about 2:10. Basically, this dude got called before the Alberta Human Rights Commission for publishing the old Mohamed cartoons in 2006. At the time of this interview, he was still being accosted by the government, over 800 days later.

Political correctness is a euphemism for censorship. So why do people want to enshrine it in law?


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nuts, Bolts and Nuts

My last semester of this Goddamn program is almost done, so I'm starting to gear up to look for work in the field. So far, by and large, it's been a top-down sort of experience. Lots of focus on the field as a whole, lots of focus on things from the top.

I'm not so good at that.

I don't play well with bureaucrats. I understand the need for them, but I have an objection to being buried in red tape. I have a firm belief that no one who's been elected to a position should be involved in disaster relief. Why? It's simple. Elected officials didn't get that way by a regime of clean living and honest dealings. Who do you think is going to get the majority of the dollars, people, etc if a mayor is running an emergency response? Their voters, the districts that didn't vote for them, or the slums? Too much graft in politics.

This, of course, does not go over well with local despots.

I like the nuts and bolts of this course: looking for vulnerabilities, potential disasters. I like planning a response to a flood or whatever. I like looking at current doctrine, and saying 'what's the next evolution?'. Here's an example: lockdowns. I understand it's the most effective response to an active shooter situation RIGHT NOW, but do you honestly think that potential spree shooters aren't seeing it? Hell, there's probably a whack growing up with the lockdown drills as a part of school life this instant. Do you think that won't factor into the plans of the next Harris and Klebold? So I was ignoring a discussion about how to mooch off of Uncle Sugar and thinking about this, right? And what I came up with was that if I was the devious, evil mofucker that would shoot up a school, I'd have noticed the lockdown placards everywhere. If I was the type to go postal, I'd have noticed the same thing at some workplaces. And I would ask myself, how can I break this? How can I exploit this? And then, how can I counter that?

The world is moving on, folks. If you think that this sort of thing won't happen, you're an idiot. School shooting have been going on forever. Hell, Canada's been documenting them since 1902. There's at least one a year- and I'm not talking about bangers blowing each other away at school. I'm talking about spree shooters. One a year, at least, at a school, every year. This doesn't take into account places like army bases, office places...

Can you see where I'm going? This is just an example. Everything up here is reactive, which grates. And people just aren't security conscious up here.

Well. Enough bitchin'. Back to my resume.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On Open Carry

I like any sort of carry. It's better than the alternative. I encourage people to carry in the home, around town, out in the wild. There's one thing I just don't get- urban open carry. I can understand open carry around the house. On your property, if you're out away from the burbs or the city. But what the hell do you expect the urban sheeple to do when they see you with a piece? Man, they will FLIP THEY SHIT. The Law doesn't appreciate it either, and I can understand that. You're scaring the herd, and if they're getting calls like "ZOMG MAN WIF GUNZ OMFG!" every fifty feet you walk, then of course you're opening yourself up to harassment.

And another thing...what's up with UOC? I mean...sure, it's an improvement over not carrying, but it's mostly in the city. In the city, it'll cause you a metric shit ton of problems, and since it's unloaded...yeah, limited help.

I can understand wanting to carry. But urban, unloaded open carry? You're asking for trouble.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Only Slightly Better than Furries

There are things you can't describe. You can't describe the utter shittiness of something. 'Infinite Twilight, Except Much Gayer' seems to be a good start, though. And no, I'm not hating on gays by saying that. Wait, let me back it up.

I associate with persons online who, while good people, have dark sides. They stare into the abyss daily. One recently linked me to...Fanfiction. Let me explain this to you: take a series, a book, comic, or more often movie or TV show. Now, take the worst, most juvenile writers in existence, and turn them loose on it.

No, that's not even close.

Think, the 4chan of writing. A site of such infinitely powerful shit, that it becomes a shit singularity. A shit black hole, from which nothing can escape. An alternate world of utter, incredible shittiness- one with its own rules, its own language. 95.9% of everything related to it is approximately of the quality of Twilight. In fact, most people who are serious about writing consider Twilight fanfiction in everything but flagrant copyright violations (but it's touch and go, anyways). The vast majority of writers of fanfiction fall into the following categories:

1) The Mary Sue: Insert a perfect character into the plot line, who magically whisks away the main romantic interest. This character is basically a perfected version of the author; they are vastly more powerful, more beautiful, more...whatever than everyone, and are written to be everyone's best friend/paramour.

2) The Hand Wringer: Take a perfectly good existing character- let's say, oh, Inara from Firefly- and then reduce them in emotional maturity to the level of a 13-year old girl. Angst, crying, starry-eyed infatuation. No, this is not restricted to female characters. Imagine endless stories of Jayne Cobb blubbering like a hungry, angry baby.

3) The Slasher: The less is said about this, the better. This has nothing to do with violence or torture, by the by, just astounding perversion. Imagine all the characters of Lord of the Rings, having sex with each other...and werewolves, orcs, etc...all the time. Not necessarily consensually either, and NEVER heterosexually.

These characteristics are by no means limiting. You can have a Hand Wringer with a Mary Sue who always manages to cheer up someone, and then...well, like I said. The horror. I'm lucky. I had a guide to this, someone to warn me of the many perils, sift through the shit singularity. There is an upswing to all of this endless horror. Oh, and it IS endless. Reams and reams and reams of it. As 4chan gave us 'All Your Base', Fanfiction has provided some small, marginal good. For instance, the new Battlestar had subtle acting put in it due to a piece. Watch Karl Agathon and Racetrack throughout the series. Of the remainder of Fanfiction, 1% of the remainder can actually be described as 'good'. Some people have, dare I say it, taken it upon themselves to expand on small, subtle points in series, or expand backstory, or continued series that died early like Firefly. They can fill in gaps or explain reactions or whatever.

It's not all bad. It's just 99% bad. Which still puts it just ahead of furries and 4chan.

PS- it was a fair-to-middlin' story about where Jayne's gun from Serenity came from. It Also, I feel like I've been neglecting this blog, so here's something to make up for it.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Healthcare 101, for the Retarded or Liberal

Let me explain something the Canadian public has learned the hard way:

Doctors go where the money is. It really IS all about the Benjamins.

It's simple. Doctors spend up to a million skrillas to get their papers. They tend to be the best and brightest, and know their worth. The government takes over healthcare, they go on the payroll, right? And what happens when the government decided to cap their salaries?

They walk.

They go back to private industry, or move someplace where they can get paid commensurate to their skills. So, what happens is the number of doctors in country drops, their quality drops, and you get fucked. Seriously, it happened here. Some stupid number of our new doctors (I want to say like 50%) turn around, and walk across the border because a hospital in St. Louis or New York will pay them two or three times what they'd make at a clinic and half again what they'd make at a hospital here. It happened here, it'll happen to you.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Something I figured out, all jittery and coming down off a caffeine high. I'm still rushing through work, but once you get to the tail end of the buzz, you get unfocused. I was sitting there, thinking about what I might be working at. Thinking about almost everyone else I know who's gainfully employed. And I said to myself, how many people are at dead end jobs that they're miserable at? Why aren't they getting ahead?

Because they're chasing money. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not what they really want. They put it ahead of a few too many things, and as a result, they get paid to be depressed and frustrated. Nature of the game is you're going to have people suckered into being cubicle meat. Some people enjoy it. Some people won't have a choice. Like I said, nature of the game.

It all comes back to purpose.

You can have shitty, miserable, back-breaking labor. But if you feel it has purpose, you have purpose. And that will make it enjoyable, in a way. Not like playing your favourite game happy, or drinking every night happy. No, more like that burn in your arms from a good workout. Like looking at something you've built and having pride in it. Knowing you've done something right. The other (and more lucrative) option is to do something you're miserable at for more money. I know you, I've seen it enough. Been it once or twice. Sitting there, feeling like it's all a waste. Feeling underused, undervalued, a piece of a giant, faceless machine with alien aims. In the end, you end up paying. You pay with your misery, your emptiness, for all those nice pictures of dead presidents.

As my namesake put it, "To pay hell is one thing. But do you want to own it?"


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Culture Vultures

I've been absent lately, trying to finish all the work I can before the strike begins. I don't want to scramble if they go on strike and try to cram our semester's work into whatever time is left.

But I've been thinking. I know, it happens a lot. I was thinking about the future. Things are going two ways:

Firstly, there's the general decrepitude of culture. The celebrity-stalking industry in North America pulls down more money per year than most of Africa does, combined. Kids are rolling up from high school, doing essays with emoticons. Putting out games about being a serial killer makes more money than California. People refuse to think critically any more- it's all reaction, reaction. Regurgitate what you're fed, don't analyzed. Doesn't matter from where, people accept what PETA tell them, or punk rockers, or whatever.

Secondly, I've noticed a few people are taking modern technology, and actually using it for something culturally valid. Some games nowadays are coming out with -dare I say it- story lines worthy of a novel. Some come with three novels of dialogue. Most of it isn't bad. I figure sooner or later, people will make the leap, and turn games and similar media from 'pop art' to 'actual, valid art, not like that post-modern crap'.

That is, providing people stop stalking Brad Pitt long enough to notice.