happy things.

It’s not all that bad!

1. I was totally in the dark not knowing what was wrong with the sentences in my short stories. The anguish was consuming me. I digest a good dose of short stories every week and have read many books on the art, but nothing helped. A random book off the shelf unlocked a world of profound literary insight! I am forever grateful to the genius author, Bobby Christmas for giving me a chance to write in style! I will tighten my sentences, avoid adverbs and eliminate useless pronouns wherever possible. Each chapter deserves a reread! I don’t want any invaluable detail to be over sighted. I am convinced that this book was the very thing I’ve been looking for in my quest to become published! Horrah!

2. scribendi.com has been another discovery that I’ve been extremely grateful for! This BBB accredited online editor provides speedy and top notch prose polish at the best rate yet!

3. The best days of my life have been at Gram Parson’s in Tampa Florida, but I’m going to get into details on that in its own blog, maybe even a book, maybe even a documentary. It’s that cool!

4. Good friends.

5. Cool musicians. Thanks.

6. A rare act of kindness that happened lately… a good man offered his hand while I was in some befuddling muck. He has withheld judgment when I thought he would be the one to have it the most. To my surprise he has only been encouraging and caring and this has restored faith in myself… and humanity. He is probably the only one reading this blog.

7. Oh, and thanks to all the people on the internet who put their free time in sharing their expertise! You made life easier.

8. I almost forgot to mention my Mom who still talks to me no matter how heated our arguments get. I made a site to showcase her paintings, http://shanapaints.ca in case you are interested…

Beating the greedy software companies… again

With the advent of technology, software is becoming harder and harder to rip these days! It takes more than a serial code and a torrent!

Adobe Photoshop is one beast I had to deal with lately. Since I connected the internet on my computer, Photoshop wouldn’t work until I register online. Not with my illegitimate serial was this possible, so I took the time to call Photoshop posing as a paying customer, but they didn’t really buy my story.

I gave up. It was time to give into the man and purchase the damn program. But how could I? My jaw just dropped when I saw that it was $1000! I couldn’t justify this price, especially since I use this software on a casual and seldom basis. Why are these companies making it hard to be honest consumers?

Here were the legal options I was left with:

1. I could go to a co-op media post production editing facility where they charge $7/h to use their computer, but the only one I found based on a google search was in Vancouver http://videoinstudios.com/post.php .

Somehow public funding at Toronto Reference Library wasn’t enough as they charge even more at $10/hour to use Photoshop in their Digital Design Studio! http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/spe_lea_digital_design.jsp#details

Here is an even better alternative I discovered:

2. Download an equivalent software programmed by a collective of do-gooder computer wizards in what is known as an “Open Source” Software.
How it works is that the original software programming is taken and tweaked around to change it, if not make it better, so it can be free of copyright infringements and made available directly online with no hassle.

One of the most popular photoshop open source software is “Gimp”. http://www.gimp.org/ . Of course on the site itself, there is no mention of the word “photoshop” but any graphic designer can feel at home with when using it. My tecky friend recommended gimp to me, and I have been using it since with great success. Anyone using it should pay what they can to these selfless programmers as there is an option to donate made available.

To learn more about this cool concept of Open Source software, you can of course wikipedia it, another genius invention brought together by a collective of selfless professionals.

“If you don’t like it, get a car!” – TTC driver

I must have had another heart attack yesterday when I learned that the TTC may consider fare increases to $3 and bus passes to $126. There must be something extremely inefficient in a partly subsidized transit system that’s services costs are becoming closer and closer to cab fare. And I’m further perturbed upon learning that New York’s metro pass is $70, and Montreal is $64! That’s half price!

The argument I hear back is that Toronto is a bigger city. Yes, true, but there are more people in that city, and more people mean more taxes and more ridership. It makes me really interested to hear a forensic accountants take on the TTC after reading their balance sheets. Something is definitely wrong here.

What’s also wrong is the attitude of a bus driver on the 68 warden today who was yelling at these women to pay the full bus fare. They paid the student fare but didn’t have a student card. “STUDENT CARD OR ADULT FARE!” She shouted. I didn’t think there was a need to embarrass these women with their wal-mart shopping bags. They paid the full fare at once, but the driver still was shouting at them with an almost psychotic tone. Maintaining their dignity, they yelled back at her, bitch this and shut up that. “Pff, the bus fare is already too much,” one of the women retorted.

“If you don’t like it, get a car!” She yelled so condescendingly as if that was an option people aspire to, as if being in poverty was a filthy and lowly crime.

Is this the option we are forced to consider from what was supposed to be the public’s transit, the proletariats chariot?

Hasn’t anyone understood by now that it makes no logistical sense for everyone to be driving a car? Do we need our streets to be clogged with anymore grid lock, or more lanes paved to add to our unaesthetic landscape? Do we need more smog clouding our air and into our lungs?

I’ve been to other cities, and I feel like Toronto is the only place where people take the bus only if they couldn’t afford a car. Countless times I’ve seen guys browsing through the listings of auto magazines in the bus. I hear of people foolishly slaving off for minimum wage to get their wagon. Many times I’ve received pity from people when I told them I don’t have a car. This childish materialistic attitude has got to change. I keep on trying to show people they have been misled in the empty promises and dreams of car culture!

The goal is to get from place to place fast. The only efficient way for people to be transported in a city is undoubtedly properly managed public transit.

Why can’t decision makers put the politics aside and realize this?

We need to increase service! We need to decrease the fare!

I always believed a two way fare of public transit should be less than half of an hourly minimum wage… that’s around $9, and the proposed 2 way bus fare is at $6, that’s 2/3rds of the way. It’s not fair. The system is bound to collapse!

If the driver had to ask me, I’d say, No, I don’t like it- but I won’t get a car- but I will ride my bike. The fight for cheaper bus far and the push for increased services seems like a losing battle.  I think my energy is best put towards the push for indoor bike lanes for winter. Once that’s built, we’ll have full mobility around the city and there won’t be a need to pay someone 80K+ a year for each lane.

Annual resolution as of Nov. 3

I need to kick some bad habits.

So far, I’ve won a few challenging battles. When I was six I taught myself to stop stuttering. A few years ago I completely quit minesweeper.

I know what I want to do, but minor time management issues gets in the way. I make the conscious effort to time myself, look at the watch here and there, but it’s not enough. Inefficiency must be clear and gone for good.

The only way it will be solved is to make it official, write it out somewhere, on my walls and on a public blog so people can remind me of these self-promises. I won’t wait until new years or birthdays to make radical changes to my life!

From now on…

1. I promise to sleep not a minute more or less than than 8 hours a night

2. I will never put a second into spacing out and/or daydreaming

3. Log onto the internet and check e-mails only once a day

4. I will put a full hearted effort into all my endeavors

5. 8 hours a day towards the projects… no exceptions. ever.

A friend of mine who recently became a millionaire in the recent years once told me, “if you fail to plan, then plan to fail”

Ramblin’ on about Flakes

The plagues that run through my life, lift me up with hope, high and very dryly ringing me down, oh the many memories I have of flakes. The despondent to utter failure!

Admittedly, I might have been one on very few occasions in my life, though not intentionally and not recently… especially upon my entrance to adulthood… post uni… a phase more or less characterized as time being money and money being time. But now I ain’t got none…

Alas, it happens. how do I prevent it? use judgment?

maybe I’ll think more clearly in the morning. I’ll get back to you!