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Filed Under: Opinion

I have three admissions to make. First, I have lived in Montreal for nearly 15 years and I don’t speak french. Second, to all those forming some kind of immediate opinion about me based on that information fragment I say: I proudly could not care less about your opinion. Finally, it is my intention to start learning french in the near future in spite of, not because of the bleating ignoramuses telling me I must.

“How long have you been in Montreal? You don’t speak French? Shame on you!”

I think it would be surprising to many people the frequency with which people think it is appropriate to say just that. It's critical to say I’m not talking about people who are surprised, or friends that ask why I haven’t learned yet, or even request I do. Surprise could be warranted and curiosity is the finest spice of life; what I am referring to nearly complete strangers casting vociferous shame upon me all while blissfully knowing absolutely nothing about me. Even more amazing is how perfectly acceptable this is considered to be by most people.

Can you imagine a world where it is considered acceptable and justified to confront strangers with any random notions of perceived insufficiency? Shall I start quizzing people on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership treaty and their plans to affect its progression? Can I castigate strangers for not having a well formed answer? I’ll tell you what, in my opinion, and I’m 9/10ths of the way to saying objectively, the TTIP is immeasurably more important than your or my choice of language. I choose the example subject advisedly, but that subject could be any one of a virtually unlimited number of topics all of which are way, way more important to me than what languages you, or I have learned.

This is what I like to call a non-issue. A non-priority. Go ahead and make it something important to you, if you like. That’s great. Just please keep in mind that I couldn’t care less what phantasms and threats you imagine hide in the recesses of the english language. You probably don’t care how much I hate everything Michael Bay has ever committed to celluloid. I, at least, have the good sense to not confront you with that opinion as if it is your obligation to know it.

That I’ve lived in Montreal this long without learning the majority language is a testimony certainly to my stubbornly selective social isolation; and it is little embarrassing, to say the least, that I haven’t simply picked french up by osmosis. But a shame on me? No. Not.

The unvarnished truth is that I don’t care enough to invest my energy placating the demands of the sort of people I’d really rather agitate. French may well be a part of your identity, it is certainly a part of the city’s identity, and it is undoubtedly a part of Quebec’s identity. But do I care about your identity? No, not really. That’s yours. Your thing. All I really know for sure is for a select few of you part of that identity is being an intrusive jerk. Identity is a mirror, a descriptor, not a code of conduct. The world changes and grows. Deal with it.

Here’s the thing; I have lived in an anglophone neighbourhood, and frequented anglophone businesses, and enjoyed anglophone friends, and worked for anglophone companies. I didn’t need french. I don’t care about french. French is like english in that it is a utility. It is a communication protocol. French is to a conversation what the HTTP protocol is to the internet. Do you care about the HTTP protocol? No, of course you don’t, because it doesn’t matter. The sites matter. The people matter.

The people matter a lot, actually, and recently I have been lucky enough to be introduced to and mostly warmly welcomed into a new community in Montreal. The specifics of that community are immaterial to the point, excluding that these members happen to be mostly french.

So there you go; after 15 years of dealing with the snide, crass and juvenile baying of french-first jerks to no effect at all, I’ve now started looking to carve time out of my schedule to learn french. My level of caring about said jerks and their opinions about french or Quebec remains at exactly zero, but all it took was a couple cool folk I like to spend my time with and the simple desire to be less of a burden to them by forcing them to use an alternate language.

Magic, right? There’s a reason to move learning french into my priorities beyond ignorant, ideological xenophobia. My priorities follow lifestyle demands with little resistance or fanfare, and with no need for senselessly obtrusive laws or screeds. Do I expect I’ll be more like the kind of people who would author such ignorant things once I’ve loaded another communication protocol into my head? Obviously not. It would be ridiculous to think otherwise.

The lesson to learn, dear jerks being jerks, is if you want others to agree with you, you should probably set about being open, cool people instead of insulting and bullying. You’re free to keep that part of distinct culture all to yourself.

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Filed Under: Journal

The Atlanta Radio Theatre Company is consistently a blast.

"The Colour Out of Space" is a short story written by American horror author H. P. Lovecraft in March 1927. In the tale, an unnamed narrator pieces together the story of an area known by the locals as the "blasted heath" in the wild hills west of Arkham, Massachusetts.
-- "The Colour Out of Space" Wikipedia


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Filed Under: Journal

@Cmdr_Hadfield's a pretty cool guy.

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Sabrina sent along a link to these guys at Fairphone building Android based smartphones with an eye on being more socially responsible than your standard suicide net monstrosities. They need to sell a little over a thousand more pre-orders in the next two weeks to start production on what looks like a pretty cool little.

Their press kit says the phone will be completely unlocked, ready for root access. More details are obviously available on their site. Right now they're only shipping to locations in Europe, but if you know someone with an address in one of the countries listed, maybe it's something to consider.

Here's the pretty, feel-good video the site provides:

... and the device with specs.


Fairphone specs:

Dragontrail glass: Ultra thin and light; super durable and scratch-resistant
Mediatek 6589 chipset: Quad core CPU for faster processing and page loading
16 GB internal memory: For music, movies, apps, games and more
qHD display: 4.3 inches of touch-screen goodness
Dual front/ rear camera: 8 mp + 1.3 mp for photos and video calls
Android OS (4.2 Jelly Bean): Special interface developed by Kwame Corporation (Also open!)


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Filed Under: Journal

Outlawed in Pakistan

2013.05.30 10:42am
Aaron
When 13-year-old Kainat Soomro accused four men of gang rape, she risked everything: her reputation, her education and even her life.

Just a few dudes, hanging out, lamenting the big mouth of a rape survivor. You know, any Friday night, really.

With a US proxy, check out the full documentary over at Frontline now.

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Filed Under: Journal

In 2012, three garment workers were shot during a protest outside a Puma supplier factory in Cambodia. Despite their pain, the women have all returned to work. Their shooter remains free.



You can see/ sign a petition over at change.org.

You can also learn more about Cambodia and the Garment Industry over at Heather's site.

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Filed Under: Journal

Thirty four might be "young" in quotes, but I'm not addled enough to think it's charming to provide my age against the contrast of my youth being an implausibility.

Fuck you, you condescending, smug, assholes.

Also, capitalize your name; lower case proper nouns aren't hip, they're illiterate.

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Filed Under: Journal

Home

2012.11.21 06:11pm
Aaron

It's not completely clear the edges of why this is so depressing, exactly, but it is.


Cyanide and Happiness. Buy some of their books.

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This provides me with a bit of hope.

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The Truth Hurts

2012.06.30 07:26pm
Aaron

Gametrailers.com is making me re-register following their site revamp and their Tees and Cees are prefaced with this little gem:

Social Project ("SP") is established in the United States, meaning that you are accessing a community network in the U.S. Any personal information you provide to SP is governed by and will be dealt with in accordance with the SP Privacy Policy and U.S. law. Please note that U.S. law provides a lower standard of protection for personal data than the laws of various countries including, but not limited to, the European Union.

Man, the truth hurts. Oh, and the link to their SP Terms is a 404. So pretty great work. Also, IIS? Really? If you say so guys.

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Filed Under: Journal

It Gets Better

2012.06.27 05:09am
Aaron

Sappy, tragic and lovely.

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Just like the title says. I threw together a toy to mess around with lighting patterns for Minecraft. I think it's correct. Popped out full size.

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Justice

2012.04.09 04:54pm
Aaron

Justice denied may still become justice delayed, but in these cases the price for our failure has already been paid. The burden borne by those who always end up paying: the poor and the powerless. The price for Pakistan's misoganistic society paid by an innocent woman. The price for Greece's corrupt government and imbalanced austerity plan paid by an elderly pensioner.

KARACHI, Pakistan — Fakhra Younas went under the surgeon’s knife 38 times, hoping to repair the gruesome damage inflicted by a vengeful Pakistani man who had doused her face in acid a decade earlier, virtually melting her mouth, nose and ears.
...
On March 17, after a decade of pining for Pakistan, a country she loved even though its justice system had failed her terribly, Ms. Younas climbed to the sixth-floor balcony of her apartment building in the southern suburbs of Rome and jumped. She was 33 years old.



The 77-year-old pensioner pulled the trigger as people were emerging from a nearby metro station in the morning rush hour. One witness told state TV that before shooting himself he had shouted, "I'm leaving because I don't want to pass on my debts."
...
The 77-year-old had written in his one-page, three-paragraph suicide note that it would be better to have a "decent end" than be forced to scavenge in the "rubbish to feed myself".



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I've written a piece about the recent Rush Limbaugh flap for DateDaily called: Missing The Forest For The Trees. That is all.

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SOPA Strike

2012.01.16 06:51am
Aaron

For what it's worth I will be joining the strike on the 18th.

I tend to think there's a value in solidarity even for low traffic sites, so I'd encourage anyone with the ability to consider joining the blackout. My understanding is that there are Wordpress plugins available to simplify the process for most blogs.

That's all I've got.

After the fact...

SOPA Shelving

2012.01.16 07:32am
Aaron

The legislation has been shelved until 'consensus' has been found. If the blackout is called off, I won't do it. Until then I'm still on track.

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Hitchens

2011.12.16 05:42pm
Aaron

I copy the work of others. There are intellectuals without whom I would simply not be capable of elucidating a single thought. So barren and empty would be my understanding that I can scarcely believe I would be even a ghost of the man that I am today. Language is a tool to the masses through which we can express ourselves, and in so doing find some kind of connection with one another. To form a node, however delicate or indelicate, as the case may be, in this thing we call a civilization. You or I wield words with the incoherent but intense intent of a baboon mastering a newly found revolver. We elate or injure each other through sheer will. The image I intend to impress upon you is that of intellectual Neanderthals pounding at our chests for attention, or to express that we're hungry.

Yet, among the noise produced in the bleating tumult there are voices which ring true enough to cut through the cacophony. Signal piercing the noise. The world has just lost one of those rare signals in the static. I have never met Christopher Hitchens, and yet I feel comfortable in saying he has informed my adult understanding of the world around me nearly as much as any single figure could have. It would be a disservice to the man to suggest that I learned so little from him as to adopt his espoused positions, simply indoctrinated, and instead I feel I've come to know more about the process of thought itself. Hitchens had a ravenous hunger for truth regardless of whether that truth was philosophical, or literal, or spiritual truth. He had a immeasurable capacity for expression which tragically, and paradoxically is no longer present to formulate its own description.

There may be no spiritual ether into which the sum of the parts of Christopher Hitchens will pass to reside and educate and entertain its denizens, but as one of many I am certain he soothed my own bleating tangibly and in so doing with us all added materially to the civilization of the world. It is with a heavy heart I fear that no matter how many of my fellow mammals he has touched, the net civilization will still not approximate the loss of his signal in the noise.

It's impossible to crystallize a career of brilliance into a 2 minute clip, but my tiny mind wants to satisfy my urge to try, and so here it is:


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So that's that.

2011.11.30 04:19am
Aaron

Democracy Now hosted Kamran Loghman yesterday to add some context to the UC Davis incident as one of the men who helped the FBI weaponize pepper spray in the 80's.

I can't help but include the specific refutation to Megan's lulz, but the whole interview is informative and interesting.

AMY GOODMAN: Fox’s Megan Kelly and Bill O’Reilly. Kamran Loghman, your response.

KAMRAN LOGHMAN: Well, first of all, in regards to pepper spray being a food ingredient. Aspirin also comes from bark of a tree so does wild yam is a natural herbal thing, but then again, what you derive from that becomes birth control pill. That doesn’t mean the end product is still something that you can eat. It is true that it is being derived from capsicum and chili pepper, but by the time it is weaponized and becomes a weapon grade product, you can’t eat it. I mean, it is impossible to eat the end product. So that’s that.

The whole thing is worth it if only for the vague disbelief in Amy Goodman's voice acknowledging the musical credit to Miley Cyrus for the previous break: "The singer and actress Miley Cyrus, yes, Hannah Montana, a new remix of her song, 'Liberty Walk.'".

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Cleaning up the Mess

2011.11.24 08:49am
Aaron

I shudder to think of the coverage when they discover the weapons cache more than five times larger than #OWS' in my kitchen.

They should have stuck to stockpiling something safer, like pepper spray.

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What the Problem Is?

2011.11.17 01:59pm
Aaron
Buzz is the apparently just another word for surly.

What's your problem?


Yeah, you know what? I don't care.

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Yep. Wasted time doing this. I can't describe, honestly, I can't describe how much work I need to be doing. But here it is. A spreadsheet with MW3's SMGs, Assault Rifles, LMGs and Shotguns. The data is pulled from several different places.

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Title says it all. No real news yet. There are no doubt many live feeds up, and this is one of them.

After the fact...

New York Times Reporting #1

2011.11.14 11:03pm
Aaron
The New York Times has posted:
The New York City police began clearing Zuccotti Park of the Occupy Wall Street protesters about 1 a.m. Tuesday, telling the people there that the camp would be "cleared and restored" before the morning and that any demonstrator who did not leave would be arrested.

But also,
"The city has determined that the continued occupation Zuccotti Park poses an increasing health and fire safety hazard." The protesters were ordered to "to immediately remove all private property" and that if they interfered with the police operation, they would be arrested. Property that was not removed, the police said, would be sent to the dump.

It's hard to imagine what 'restored' means considering the second quote.

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Laden with messages. Lightens the heart. Shocks the conscience. Fires the loins.

You can... um... go ahead and attach each sentence fragment a pane. At your own risk.


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Product of the intentionally stealthy preparations for the blockade run of the Tahrir and Saoirse very few people have heard about their departure from Turkey, or more importantly their run in with Israeli authorities. I'm not going to bother trying to summarize using my no doubt flawed understanding and will leave that to Democracy Now's reporting from Nov 3, Nov 4 and this blurb from the Democracy Now site:

Democracy Now! has just learned Israel has detained our correspondent Jihan Hafiz while on assignment. She was on board the Canadian ship, the Tahrir, covering the "Freedom Waves to Gaza" flotilla. Hafiz has been filing daily video reports this week from aboard the Tahrir. The reports have aired on Democracy Now! and distributed internationally by the Reuters news agency.

We lost contact with Jihan Hafiz earlier today shortly before the Israeli Navy intercepted the Tahrir and the Irish ship Saoirse. Both ships had left Turkey on Wednesday bound for Gaza.

Hafiz is a U.S. citizen born in California. Her family lives in Arlington, Virginia.

We urge Democracy Now! viewers and listeners to call your Senators and Representatives to encourage them to help secure the immediate release of journalist Jihan Hafiz along with her equipment and footage.

Numbers for U.S. Senators can be found here

Numbers for U.S. Representatives can be found here

I'd point out there are lots of other people without the blessed status of US citizenship as well. The Canadian Boat to Gaza site has a very short post: "I write to you from cell 9 of the Apartheid State of Israel" that at least on the surface suggests that the entire group has been detained.

Screencap from: therealnews.com: Jihan Hafiz on Reporting From Libya

After the fact...

"I write to you from cell 9 of the Apartheid State of Israel"

2011.11.06 11:41am
Aaron
From the Canadian Boat to Gaza site:
I write to you from cell 9, block 59 Givon Prison near Ramla in Occupied Palestine. Although I was tasered during the assault on the Tahrir, and bruised during forcible removal dockside (I am limping slightly as a result) I am basically ok. We, Ehab, Michael, Karen from Tahrir, as well as Karen, Kit (US) and Jihan who we saw briefly this morning. We are most concerned about our Tahrir shipmate, Palestinian Majd Kayyal from Haifa, last seen by us at Ashdod being photographed and put in a police car.*

* Majd Kayyal was released, but it appears David the other political prisoners weren't told where he was taken.

So there's the more on the state of the crews.

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Child's Play is a great charity with a low, low (approx 5%) administrative fee that gives video games to sick children. You need to read more you stingy jerk? Fine. You sick, selfish bastards can read more below, and the rest of us will: donate online, Text 'GAMERS' to 50555, friend on facebook and follow on twitter.

From the Child's Play about page:

Since 2003, we’ve set up and organized Child’s Play, a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games in our network of over 70 hospitals worldwide. Over the years, you as a community have answered the call and come together to raise millions of dollars.

Child’s Play works in two ways. With the help of hospital staff, we set up gift wish lists full of video games, toys, books, and other fun stuff for kids. By clicking on a hospital location on our map, you can view that hospital’s wish list and send a gift.

Child’s Play also receives cash donations throughout the year. With those cash donations, we purchase new consoles, peripherals, games, and more for hospitals and therapy facilities. These donations allow for children to enjoy age-appropriate entertainment, interact with their peers, friends, and family, and can provide vital distraction from an otherwise generally unpleasant experience.

Now stop reading and give them money because either you have too much or you're not a sick kid in a hospital. If you're a sick kid in a hospital please disregard this message.

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Occupy Montreal

2011.10.16 09:04am
Aaron

Montreal was, yesterday the 15th October, and is continuing to be Occupied to some as yet undetermined level of effect.

I stopped by the Occupation yesterday for a little while to grab a picture or two, see what was the what and most importantly to make the crowd of people one person larger. Just one of the "Students, unions, homeless people, artists, drummers and people of all sorts gathered..." mentioned by CTV, I suppose. I guess I'll choose to be an 'all sorts' of person, though the list suggests more drummers and homeless were present than employed professionals. Who am I to say, right? Well, I'm the sort who was there and doesn't recall seeing swarms of homeless or drummers. I guess we don't want to let reality stand in the way of a comfortable narrative.

I have no idea if a protest of a thousand people has any value, but I'd still encourage anyone who hasn't yet to go down and be counted. If nothing else there are at least drummers to enjoy.

Also, should you wish for some real information about the occupation, there is at least one Facebook page, and of course there are twits on the twitterfeedburner.net.

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Wheel of Andrew

2011.10.11 08:25pm
Aaron

What am I going to do, not put it on my site?

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The Minecraft 1.8 beta is out. Those bastards.

... they pull me back in.

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I'd like to share a small sample of the 325 photo study I'm preparing for a showing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York. It is a dramatic opus in uninterrupted continuum I have titled: "Man Watching Michael Bay's 'Transformers'".


"Disbelief"


"Bewilderment"


"An Appeal to the Gods"

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Or: I really don’t have as much free time as this implies.

I’m brushing up on AC3D for a development project and as a result I measured my apartment and modeled it so I could decorate one of the walls efficiently. I gave two reasons there. Let’s go with the brushing up on development because that makes me less ridiculous.

I need to get up to (and ideally) nine game racks onto the wall, hopefully in some kind of interesting way. Maybe some kind of spiral? Suggestions are welcome, because I have no creativity whatsoever.

Home improvement is hard. I've been "painting this wall" for something like four weeks and it isn't even painted. It's primed. It's like, at the stage where I can start doing the work. Fuck that. It's a white wall now. Like the man said: Fuck the Karate Kid.

Sure am taking this vapid, all about me approach seriously, eh?

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