Archive for the ‘good bad ugly’ Category

Bad For Business + Sex Tape – FRIDAY NIGHT!!!

Whoa. An “extreme” one two punch coming at you this Friday night. Lewis Cruise and Love Skateboards with back to back video premieres. Good times will be served. BYOB.

Shooting Has TTC Closing Part Of It’s Subway System

The TTC closed the a section of the Yonge-University-Spadina Subway from St. George Station to Union Station after a shooting at Osgoode Station (University Avenue & Queen Street West). The Police are now investigating the incident and the TTC are operating buses to divert commuters. Keep an eye on the TTC to keep on top of any further TTC Service Advisories.

Hoping that for a quick recovery for the victims and resolution/arrest of the perpetrators.

Dave Nolan as seen by Harry Gils (larger than life)

h_gils_davenolan-drop.jpg

I saw this massive skateboard pic of Dave Nolan near Yonge and Dundas. ¬†While the shop posting this massive ad doesn’t even sell skateboards at least it’s by a Toronto photographer (Harry Gils) and is shot here in Toronto.

Toronto the Turtle of High Speed

Awhile ago I saw a PBS documentary on so-called high speed in the US and how American telephone companies could not deliver on high speed because of not replacing copper wiring with fibre optic cables. Tonight I watched CBC’s Marketplace compare high speed services between four of the largest Internet Service Providers in Canada: Rogers, Bell, Telus, and Shaw. The Rogers user came in close to the company’s advertised speed; the Bell user came in dead last, like waayyyyy last. At the end of the program, they recommend going to their website to check your own speedy (or lack thereof) connection.

There they link to Speedtest.net. Speedtest has a nifty graphical interface and aside from the difficulty of clicking on the Toronto pyramid due to it hiding behind the Hamilton one, it was pretty easy to use and to test one’s own broadband connection speed. After testing, you can compare your speed to others using the same ISP, or see the stats for Toronto or Region or Canada.

Let’s just say that we might live in the largest city in Canada, and we might be the capital of Ontario, but we get no respect. The big players, Bell and Rogers, are absent in the top ten list of the speediest downloaders in Toronto — Toronto Hydro’s speed of about 16 Mbps easily crushes anything by the big telecoms — but the Canada stats tell the real sorry tale of Toronto speeds. Toronto is nowhere on the map, and Ontario is pretty dismal. The ocean-bordered provinces do way better. What’s up with that? Toronto is supposed to be the economic hub of the country; we’re supposed to have businesses that require both speedy connections in their skyscrapers as well as for their employees at home; we’re supposed to have upgraded fibre optic cables — after all they crowed about replacing copper wiring eons ago and, as well, haven’t we all been inconvenienced by Bell employees replacing our ancient lines and giving us new lines for the past many years?

Still, the stats paint a different picture. When it comes to broadband high speeds, Toronto is distinctly in the slow lane, except for Toronto Hydro Telecom, which the city just sold off.

Round Two: Garbage Bins

Holy cow, did you get a gander at the new garbage bins? No, not the monstrous blue, I mean round two of bindom.

Garbage Bin Ad

I think she must be Glenn De Baeremaeker’s sister. Questions: Will Cabbagetown residents get more ticked off and ensure they get to continue to use bags for their garbage too? Am I going to have to make another call to get rid of this bin too?

If you couldn’t get worked up over round one, how about the fact that this time, you get to pay for it? These bins aren’t the ones they presented to the media last summer — those ones were tame compared to these behemoths! talk about massaging the message — but for the privilege of polluting the visual appeal of your property, even if you don’t use your bin some weeks, the bigger the bin, the greater the hit on your wallet. (BTW the reason why the smallest bin is much bigger than they advertised last summer is because they have to make it bigger for automated collection, which is impossible outside of the burb areas of Toronto but who cares about that small detail, and so they put in a false bottom. The actual bin capacity is half of what you see. You’ll get a $10 annual credit for using that one. Be still my beating heart.)

Of course, if we’d gone to bag tags and continued to be allowed to put out garbage your way (whether bags or bins) you’d have to pay only when you put out your garbage, not every two weeks regardless of how much, if any, garbage you put out. The bag tags also are an easy and visible way to show how much you can save if you put out less garbage; the bin way it’s far more of a hassle to reduce your garbage, that is, you figure out you could go down a size, but then you’d have to know you could do that every 2 weeks, for sure, and maybe you’re not sure plus you have to call City Hall, and who enjoys doing that? So in the end, why bother? So no, the bin way is a less-satisfactory method of reducing waste production plus it penalizes large families and cultures that live in extended-family units. But then Toronto really wants more taxes out of you, and bins are the way to do it. Have a good day!

The Hassle of Rating and Commenting on Metblogs

Metblogs is looking better and better, now that they’ve fixed that really-really-wide banner. It’s so much easier for us bloggers to use, and I think it’s nicer for blog visitors to read. But there’s one problem: it’s a bitch to leave a comment.

Oh, it’s no problem if you’re a Metblogger or a WordPress user, but what happens if you’re just Joe Blow who wants to leave a comment? Who wants to set up a WordPress account just to do that? I wouldn’t. It seems strange to me that the designers were unable to devise a sign-in sheet as easy for a commenter to use as Blogger’s or the old Metblog’s.

So for all you kind readers who would like to leave a comment, but understandably don’t need the hassle: rate it! Um, well, that’s what I thought….

Down at the bottom right of each post are 5 grey stars. You’ll notice as you mouse over them that they turn green. Just click on the desired star and boom, you have your desired number of lit up stars. Try it — when you move over the stars until you get to the fourth one, click it! (After all, doesn’t this post deserve at least 4 stars?)

Even if a comment is out of the question, at least we will know what you think of our opinions and writings. And isn’t that worth clicking a star?

You’d think so, or at least I did. After all, don’t we want to encourage some interaction between bloggers and readers? But after I wrote all that star stuff, I went hmmmm…..maybe I should sign out and see if a non-WordPress, non-Metblog user can rate it too. Nope. Heck no. Like way nooooooo.

Sorry folks, if you want to comment or rate a Metblog, you’re just going to have to become a WordPress user. Sucks, I know. But I don’t have control over the admin interface. Personally, I’d use anti-scam guns, of which there are plenty, and allow legit humans easily (the emphasis on easily) to leave a comment or rate a post.

Mr Garbage: Bins Are More Esthetically Pleasing Than Sunny Porches, Flowers, and Lawns

CFTO evening news (oops early senior’s moment CTV Toronto News) did a story on the unsightly blue box tonight. Tom Hayes reported that since the blue bin program started 20 years ago, they’ve been increasing the amount of stuff that goes into the bin and so the bin had to grow. Um no. Here’s a thought: the frequency of pickup had to increase NOT decrease. The illogic of trying to get people to recycle more while decreasing frequency of pickup boggles my mind. But let’s continue.

As the person-on-the-street mentioned, she doesn’t even have to walk out her front door, she just has to look out her window, and there they are: big butt-ugly bins hogging the sidewalks and the visual line of sight. These bins are so big, they do not fit! As Hayes points out, they are changing the esthetics of the entire city. So much for aspiring to be once again Toronto the beautiful or the clean.

“I thought we cared what the city looks likes,” said the person on the street. Apparently not.

The fact that Councillors and city staff members actually thought that these bins would fit and not pose a safety hazard (more later) shows how utterly out of touch they are with the realities of city living when you can’t afford hired help and to rent storage areas. Or in Glenn De Baeremaeker’s case, be in love with garbage. After all, only someone who loves the sight and smells of garbage would actually come out with this stupid line:

“When we go to the garbage bin system, we’ll have a nice row lined up like soldiers of garbage bins, all basically the same shape size colour and function. It’ll be very efficient. And I think it’ll look actually better esthetically on most streets.”

And if you don’t like it, tough. “Get used to it,” he, Mr. Garbage, adds.

If you don’t believe me, that I quoted him exactly, check out the list of videos in the blue band on the mid-right side of the screen: Blue boxes an eyesore for some residents.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m fighting this Councillor’s arrogance. I looked out my window recently and saw the first line of soldiers hitting the sidewalks in my neighbourhood and wondered where I’d walk. You see, the bins take up half the sidewalk at least — and these are just the FIRST rollout, there is another set coming — which means I’m relegated to the edge of the sidewalk, not the safest place to be. In the winter between snow banks and bins, there would be nowhere to walk except the road…where the cars are.

But wait, it gets better. After the garbage men came through, flinging bins hither and thither, there was nowhere to walk. I could walk two steps, pick up bins, walk three steps, move bins, walk two steps, pick up bins, or I could walk on the road, keeping ears out for cars and get home in a timely manner. What about the poor mobility challenged? Finally the snow is gone, they can go out again, hurray. Oh but wait, it’s garbage day. Now the sidewalks are for bins, not humans, certainly not humans with canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters or buggies.

Get used to it, says Mr. Garbage. Get used to only being able to use our sidewalks 6 days out of 7; get used to having to use the roads as sidewalks in the winter time every garbage day; get used to a garbage esthetic because that is what Toronto is becoming unless you e-mail your Councillor and the Target70 team and tell them this is unacceptable. You won’t be alone. I understand the Target70 team can’t keep up with the irate calls from Torontonians to get rid of the butt-ugly bins and return to a saner method of pickup. Perhaps we should start flooding Mr. Garbage’s e-mail box too. After all, he should be at least half as harassed as we are with this new insane pickup method.

The Monstrous Blue Coming to You

Bob Hepburn in The Toronto Star wrote an excellent column on the ginormous, so-called “medium-sized” uglification campaign called the new Toronto blue bin. Excellent column. It reflected exactly my feelings on the matter. I have zero idea where I’m going to put my new, improved blue bin. It doesn’t fit anywhere except as a front-lawn statue to Toronto politicians’ projected garbage guilt.

Apparently, he’s received dozens and dozens of responses to his column and will be writing more. Others have written earlier about these impending (now here in much of the city) bins, but probably because folks couldn’t see them, they vented, then shrugged. But now that they’re here, folks are real upset. They can see what a boondoggle these bins are, how they do not address the garbage problem, and how they contribute to the deteriorating beauty of our city. There is a consensus here, and we can grab the momentum to bring sanity back to Toronto’s garbage policy, but only if we protest loudly and longly. No shrugging and willingly being run over by City Hall!

For many, the problem is where to put it, but for the most vulnerable in society, it’s how to use it. Those with upper body weakness won’t be able to open or close it; those with upper or lower body issues won’t be able to maneuvre it. Those with any kind of weakness or fatigue will find it particularly hard to get it up and down steps, and many, many homes in Toronto have steps, even homes in which people who require canes or wheelchairs live. And this is just bin #1. Ginormous bin #2 for garbage has yet to arrive. And what’s the betting ginormous bin #3 to replace the current green bin will soon follow? One Councillor is working on a way to use this huge medium-sized bin for both recyclables and garbage so that homeowners won’t have to store two, just one; however, if the bin don’t fit and is not usable by the most vulnerable in our society, even one is one too many.

The whole thing is bogus anyway. All garbage, whether straight trash, recyclables, or compostables, is a waste byproduct of our consumption. The more we consume, the more energy we use during manufacturing and sales, and the more garbage is produced, even if it is recyclable. Even worse, manufacturers are using much more packaging than they used to. Some have called for requiring retailers to remove the packaging at the cashier’s desk since so much of it is impossible to get into. I know I’ve ended up throwing out new products as I simply could not open them up. I have no idea how people with (bad) arthritis manage to break open some of these packages, especially those who live alone or with an infirm partner and can’t easily get help from a strong individual. Furthermore, not all plastic is recyclable, yet I bet most people have a hard time figuring out which is which — which can go in the blue box and which can go in the garbage. The whole sorting thing, which requires those calendars, challenges persons with developmental or mental difficulties especially, trying to understand them, never mind able-minded people who simply have a job and family to run.

And in the end, why do we as individuals need to be virtuous about sorting garbage from recycling? It’s not like we choose our products based on whether they’re recyclable or not. I bet only the fanatics and eco-nuts do that. The rest of us don’t. So why is it virtuous for us as individuals to recycle? To assuage our guilt for not making the “right” choice at the time of purchase?

Worse, all this work results only in homeowners’ garbage being sorted, no-one else’s. I’ve written extensively about garbage before, but perhaps the reality of these blue monstrosities will get Torontonians up in arms and moving into action.

If the city really wanted to tackle the garbage crisis, really wanted to be green, really wanted to clean up this city it would do three things:

  1. Build a facility that sorts garbage into recyclable, reusable, compostable, and trash. Then go back to picking up all garbage twice a week. The entire city would thus have their garbage sorted. This would also particularly help large families who per person may not produce much garbage but in aggregate do; it would help the infirm and disabled who can’t carry much weight and thus with more frequent pick-ups would have a manageable amount of garbage to put out. It would also get rid of that ridiculous calendar with those incomprehensible dos and don’ts. What a waste of paper that is!
  2. Build a clean, modern incinerator, like the ones in Sweden, to create electricity from trash. This would replace the nonrenewable fossil fuel power plant the idiotic Ontario government foisted upon us and allow Toronto to (a) use a renewable resource (trash) to (b) create electricity so that (c) in an event of a natural disaster, Toronto would have a local source of electricity generation that does not reduce our fossil fuels. This would also bring harmony back to our relationships with our neighbours by eradicating the need for landfill and trucks belching smoke down the highway.
  3. Band together with other municipalities to force manufacturers to reduce their packaging.
  4. Require retailers to remove said packaging at the store — businesses are far more likely to act than apathetic Torontonians in forcing manufacturers to get real about their ridiculous packaging.
  5. Recognize that garbage is garbage. One kind is not any more virtuous than another. It’s all waste from consumption. Thus allow people to use bags. In conjunction with item #1, that would mean our sidewalks would be free of clutter so that pedestrians aren’t forced to use the road even after the garbage is picked up, and bags can be tagged. Bag tags have proven effective in other cities in reducing waste and injuries among the sanitation workers. I’m not a big fan but somehow we need to reduce our overall waste production and foisting a humoungous bin on people ain’t going to do it.

Right now we need to protest this blue bin. Make your Councillor so uncomfortable, like the Riverdale residents Hepburn writes about in his column did when they protested, that they will reverse this stupid bin idea and go back to the drawing board. If you don’t know who your Councillor is, click here. And in the meantime refuse to use the new bin. Torontonians used to know how to do protests. Maybe we’ll learn all over again.

Littering the Waterfront with Corporate Names

Is Burger King’s Quay a future street name?” asks the Toronto Star this morning.

Waterfront Toronto is so starved of cash — why? are the Feds not ponying up? is the Province hemming and hawing instead of providing financial incentive to get it going? the city is broke, that we know! — that it’s considering giving corporations naming rights to our Waterfront.

Great. Now instead of a relaxing and pleasing-to-the-eye landscape, a place of beauty and rest, especially for Torontonians unable to leave the city for vacation spots, we’ll have a length of lakefront dotted with inane names like Rogers Centre. It’s bad enough the government reneged on their promise to keep the name SkyDome, but now we’re told that we may have every single square mm of our visual landscape littered with these stupid names, which names will be guaranteed to change everytime the Waterfront needs more money and a different company steps up to the plate.

To wit, I am now completely lost as to where I’m supposed to go with some venues as the name changes every time I turn around, it seems.¬† I even get stopped on the street and asked for directions to such-and-such a place, except that that place no longer exists, well, it physically exists, just that the name no longer applies. This is the big problem when you follow the American model instead of the European model and when the big governments swimming in cash do not fund the small governments and public property properly.

Mr Fixit at The Star Tackles the Lazy, Filthy TTC. Good Luck!

TheStar.com | GTA | Sick transit: TTC dirty, leaky, decaying

“Dingy, decaying, depressing, and definitely not The Better Way.”

No kidding! It’s not just sick, it’s comatose and on life support, heading to the morgue. I knew that the day I saw a rat bold as you please sniffing the subway platform, way above its usual haunt of the subway tracks.

“Councillor Adam Giambrone, who chairs the TTC, says the people who’ve complained about deteriorating conditions are wrong.”

Giambrone as usual has his inexperienced head up his ass. A dirty system is still a dirty system; whether or not it’s as garbage- and filth-strewn as it was two years ago, it’s still filthier now than it was decades ago.

“There’s a lot more to cleaning a subway station than it might seem, said [Gary] Shortt. For example, the black grime coating so many surfaces is a fine dust created when the brakes on trains are applied as they slow while pulling into stations.”

He goes into detail about how this grime can’t simply be washed off and requires maintenance staff to do it, instead of janitorial, which of course explains only a few walls, those not near a platform, and not the rest of the walls and floors. Plus how on earth did the staff manage to keep stations shining 20, 30 years ago? Were they just better workers back then? Judging by how much more surface drivers had to do back then and how much better they were at ensuring people knew where to get off, I’d hazard a yes to that.

Jack Lakey, The Fixer at The Toronto Star, is certainly taking on quite the task this week, challenging the TTC to fix up their system. The TTC whiners have one thing right — subway riders have become incredibly disgusting in their habits. OTOH, maybe they always were, but TTC janitors used to be adept at cleaning up after them and so we just never knew what inconsiderate and filthy hogs Torontonians were and are. And isn’t that what’s wrong with the city today — of which the TTC is in microcosm? That we no longer reflect our best Sunday suit to ourselves and the world. Instead, we’ve degenerated and now show the unwashed Sunday lie-in side, to such an extent that when I told some new Torontonians that the city used to have a continent-wide reputation for being really clean, they laughed and laughed. They thought I was kidding. No folks, I’m not. We used to be so clean, Hollywood had to truck in garbage to make our streets look believable for the big screen. I don’t think they do now. They probably have to haul out the power washer and litter picker-uppers. How sad. How very, very sad.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.