Thursday, June 30, 2011

Major Pet Peeve.

As a Canadian one of my pet peeves, is hearing the United States of America, being called America. Last I checked, there were three countries in North America, Canada, the USA and Mexico. There are many more countries in central and south America. These people probably find it equally as offensive. 

Technically as a Canadian I'm also an American, as I live also in America. If anyone bothers looking at a map!  It used to piss me off when I was visiting Belgian relatives in my teens and they would talk in French all about l'Amerique. Same thing, calling the USA the name of a whole continent.  More insulting was that to come to visit us in Montreal, they felt they need to fly to New York first and then to Montreal!

I mean sure the USA is a big country that wants itself to be a #1 player in World affairs, but it is very arrogant of them to refer to themselves as Americans like they are the only ones on the continent.

Here's a link to a Life magazine slide show that's on topic  "How Canadians know you're an American". If you read the captions on all the photo's, one of them shares my sentiment exactly. :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The 2nd episode reminds me of MASH

I really enjoyed the 2nd episode of Combat Hospital. This episode really reminds me of   M*A*S*H, perhaps a combination of 2 or 3 episodes.  I think I'm going to be taking out my MASH DVD's. I'm due for a MASHathon.

It also reminded me a little bit of Army Wives.  They really do like to stereotype surgeons though don't they? No matter which show you watch where there are a couple of surgeons as characters, there's always one who's a playboy and womanizer.  I wonder if this is just a Hollywood perception or if they really are as stereotyped.

Here's a link to a CBC video about the real Combat hospital in Kandahar.

Mice droppings

One of the weirder things that happened to me today is that I opened my desk drawer at work to find some sticky tabs and noticed I have all these pistachios. I didn't remember having pistachios in my top desk drawer. Then upon further examination I realize they are just empty shells. That's when I realized that I also had mouse droppings.

So the company has mice and one in the past month has been going into my top drawer to peacefully eat pistachios.  Once I removed all the papers and clips that I keep in there, you could see lots of mouse droppings.  This is what the mouse left in my drawer tray:

UGLY Black google bar

Sometime in the past day this ugly black bar appeared on top of my nice personalized iGoogle page. I like it just as it is. I really dislike this toolbar. It's distracting. 

But here's the thing, I have yet to find  a way to disable the damn thing. Despite using Firefox 5.0 and installing greasemonkey and installing this script I found here and still I have the ugly black bar. UGH.  I mean it's one thing added a new feature. It's another thing to just impose something like that.  I just want it disabled. Otherwise I won't be using the Google search so much anymore. 

I'm not any more impressed with the white one that appeared on my G-mail either. Like lets make a way for users to turn this stuff off if we want to.  Has it not occurred to anyone but me that several layers of tabs and pull down just makes it to chaotic for some people.  I don't need another layer of menu's and pull downs. I'm already over stimulated as it is. 

Users should have options of turning off features they don't like. It shouldn't be in your face .

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One of our Stagieres put out an LP!

A few years back I had hired a student to help out with our Linux testing. He had but the basics but we were happy with him as he did a good job. He's one of those hard working types that doesn't get phased by much.

I kept in touch on Facebook and recently, under the stage name Sage,  he's put out an album that has 15 songs "Boulevard des Cicatrices" which translated to English means "Boulevard of scars". It's in Quebecois hip hop/slam style with what I would call a north African influence.

Personally I don't care much for rap of any type, less so for Quebecois music with a few notable exceptions, but I like what Sage has done.

Here's a link to Youtube for the song Trialogue entre Mères  and here's a review  in French.

Wet summer and opportunities for Canadian Women.

I had read reports that summer 2011 would be a hot, dry, see droughts, summer.  Really? So far the days of summer we've had in Montreal have included rain, hail, rain and more rain. We've had few days were it was sunny, and if it was it wasn't all day.

It's dark and gloomy this morning, today and tomorrow we might have scattered thunderstorms and then Thursday showers, because the scattered thunderstorms weren't enough.

Interesting read about women this morning. Women currently feel they have access to a lot more then their mothers did. I certainly do. I know my mom had little or no rights when I was a baby. I had rights as a single mom in the late 80's that my mom didn't have as a single mom in the early 60's.  I'm not sure like the women in the article, if I feel worried for my daughters. I feel they will have at least the same advantages I had growing up and maybe less worries about if they can succeed as women in the world. It was harder to believe though I had women in my family who were successful single women as they were not the norm. Right now my daughters have lots of women who they can look up to for inspiration that are outside their family. I think that rocks.

Of course I worry about the women in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and other parts of the world where they have little rights and little access to education and I hope that with time their daughters will have access to the same life my daughters do.

Monday, June 27, 2011

New shoes

Blue Suede Size 5.5 Rockabilly.
Often the best way to offset a really bad day, I find is to get a new pair of shoes. I'd already spent the entire week-end thinking about the shoes. I'd tried out a pair of blue suede Rockabilly style Hush Puppies last Thursday and at the time I didn't think I wanted a blue pair. In fact I asked the store if they could get in a black pair in my size. They didn't have the suede blacks but they had the leather blacks. So I said yes.  Still waiting for the pair to arrive at the store. It should be some time tomorrow. I'll see if I still want the black pair.

This morning I decided to try out the blue shoes along with a new dress I'd picked up last Thursday at Sears of all places.  I think they look nice together. I had also checked out my closet to see how many dresses could be worn with the blue shoes. The answer was several so the shoes came home.

They are so comfortable for a healed shoe. I have a feeling I'll be wearing them a lot this summer. They are so cute too. I have a thing for cute footwear.

You have to admit they look good with the dress!

Really pissed over life's stupid insignificant absurdities

The things that led up to me being pissed off isn't relevant. The real reason I'm pissed off is that my routine is all screwed up because of events beyond my control, and having to get around these events is causing me lots of stress. I also don't deal well with my routine getting screwed. It sucks to admit it but it's the truth. 

I also have days where I don't deal well with the small annoyances of life. Some people are more patient with that then with others.  Today to top it off I've been playing "Let's change the appointment time again" with my therapist.  If it's something I have a hard time with, it's dealing with appointment changes. I can't help but wonder if he does it on purpose, but it drives me ABSOLUTELY CRAZY. 

I originally had an appointment on Wednesday at 7pm. Then about 2 weeks ago it was changed to Thursday at 7pm.  Today I was asked if I could come at 4pm. No because I'm planning to work till 7pm on Thursday since I'm only in 3 days it will be 3 long days to get through my work.  So finally we agreed on Tuesday at 7:30pm which is tomorrow. 

I suppose this isn't a bad thing. If I'm still in this mood tomorrow I can talk about why I get so angry over routine disruptions.  I always struggle with change. Too much change drives me crazy. Whether it's change I impose on myself or change that others impose on me.   The irony is over time I deal well with change and I do adapt but the period where I'm adapting I'm generally really grumpy about it. 

I'm trying to think why this kind of change is so hard on me. I've always been like that. Every time I go somewhere new, any time I go somewhere familiar and things change, it stresses me out. And yet at the same time I get bored easily and need this kind of new stimulation, I mean I go out of my way to try out a new grocery store or a new mall.  It's not like I never try new stuff, I try new things all the time. But it seems I have low tolerance for new experiences on some days. And on those same days when things don't go my way I feel like I was a 4 year old having a tantrum. I also feel like I have as much control over my emotions as a 4 year old those on those days.

It's sad. My boss, who's been working with me for years knows how poorly I can deal with announcements of change so he has a talk with me first to tell me about changes, knowing fully well it's going to take 2 more weeks before he can have an intelligent conversation with me about it. My first reaction is to see everything that can go wrong and at times on some days, it's like it hits me like a brick and I all I can see it's that the change is bad and I respond very abruptly. I'm not purposefully snappy, it just happens because I'm busy processing the fact there's a change.  There's other times where he takes me aside to tell me something he thinks I'm going to react poorly too, and I can feel him bracing himself and I just smile and say "Oh that's nice" and move on to another topic and I'm sure he wonders...

I think I freak out over change because whenever there is a change I have to change part of the process and I already know I have processing issues, really that's what ADHD is about for me. Which means when I have to deal with change I also have to deal with maybe double or triple the processing issues. Which means I make more mistakes and I'm annoyed at doing things differently and keep making mistakes  I mean I may be intelligent and generally I'm quick to think and reason stuff out but other things I'm slow to process. Very slow I suspect.

Well trying to figure out why I was pissed today was actually somewhat helpful. I'm not so pissed off anymore. I'm just simmering 

It's also kinda stupid that I can't get out of the mood because I have a day off, it's a beautiful sunny day and I'm sitting here still simmering.   Even the new pair of shoes didn't help. [Though I will blog about those later when I'm in a better mood. They are really rocking shoes!]

Automation woes

I may not be the most technologically savvy person I know but I'm pretty savvy. Comes with working as a PC technician for the past 19 years.  I may not be the first to adopt a new technology but I'm usually pretty competent with new technologies.

Admittedly with my paranoia and distrust of the internet for anything that has to do with finances I'm not that keen in tracking my accounts online.  I still demand most of the companies I deal with send me paper invoices - just because I'm old school.

During the Canada post strike I've been having to make due with other ways of dealing with paying Bills and it hasn't been a huge success. Both the Fido customer support representative at Fairview and the one over the phone told me I could get my balance directly without talking to a representative using *28.  I dunno if anyone has used it successfully but I called 3 times last night and all 3 times when I pressed account balance, was transferred instantly to a representative.

You know what annoys me? It's like going through the automated menu at MasterCard. They ask you to enter your card number, and then once you get a person, you have to tell them all over again.  They argue "Yeah well it didn't show up on my screen". Well then perhaps those who design those menus could think about it. Why have person keep putting his card or account number if the person who picks up the phone will ask for it again. What I have nothing better to do? Yeah in the scope of things putting a number in several times isn't a big deal, unless you have ADHD and it takes a lot of focus for me not to mess up a long number. Then people wonder why I find it so incredibly irritating to have to deal with customer service representatives.

So this morning I figured I'd go through the internet based interface at Fido to access my account balance to see if I can get the new phone. Won't be able to get new phone until balance shows 0. Otherwise they want me to pay it upfront. I've already payed it at the bank last week.  So I made sure I could log into FIDO but when I try to access my account I get "Sorry! Your request cannot be completed at this time due to a technical issue".  So it leaves me with no other option then to call yet another representative. It's highly irritating.  Why have 20 ways to access something and in the end none work and you still are stuck talking to a representative. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Daou's Lebanese restaurant

Tonight we went to Daou's Lebanese  and Middle Eastern restaurant in Ville St Laurent.  We arrived around 4ish well before the dinner crowd. We ordered shanglishe salad, hummous balila, makanek, and a mixed grill, which had shrimp and meat with french fries.

I was disappointed with the shanglishe however, after eating some particularly good shanglishe in Zahle, I don't think I'll ever be thrilled with any other. Hubby though it was good by most standards. He agrees that the hummus balila wasn't as good as mine, apparently I make kick ass hummus balila. Hubby enjoyed the makanek and the shrimp, oh the shrimp, it was absolutely divine. Some of the best shrimp I've had in years. Would go back for the shrimp any day.  The fries were nothing special. But I don't go to Lebanese restaurants for french fries.

I've been spoiled. I've gotten to sample Lebanese food in restaurants in different parts of Lebanon, I've gotten to taste some of the best shanglishe, I've also gotten to sample amazing thyme salad, various fish dishes, that I will probably never eat again except if I happen to go back to Lebanon.  I also go to try hummus balila  and the one I make is very similar to what I first sampled. Both hubby and I love it.

So I'm spoiled. No Lebanese restaurant in Montreal will ever get me to go wow. However of all the Lebanese restaurants I've been to with hubby in Montreal, Daou is the best. I'm sure we'll be going again.  It doesn't mean much in some ways. Two of the restaurants I didn't care for, have since closed. One I tried to sample having read amazing reviews had closed.  Of those we have sampled that are still around Daou is still the best.

Dubai it's not all Dark for women

Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi - I was
taking picture of fountain, woman is
incidental. December 2007

By North American standards perhaps Dubai still looks like it has a lot of work to do before men and women get treated equally by society. But from Middle-Eastern standards, Emirati women are the best off in all the Arab world. For starters they are the best educated women in the middle east. Education is payed up to the doctorate degree and many women have taken advantage to get an education. In any subject that interests them.

Wearing an Emirati style matching
Abaya and Hijab. This one has a
simple pattern some are more fancy

One thing I can say from observing Emirati women moving around Dubai is that they do not walk like women who are oppressed. We've all seen in photos and sometimes in real life, women who appear to be carrying the entire world on their shoulders, you can sense the oppression. Sometimes it's almost palpable. Most of the Emirati women I've seen, walk like they are gliding. It's really something to watch a few young Emirati women walking through the Mall of the Emirates, it's like they walk on air with their bejewelled abaya's and matching hijab.  I know the majority wear plain black abaya and hijab, but it's gulf style. They don't wear an abaya/hijab because they are oppressed and have to wear it, they don't wear it because a law imposes it on them, they wear it because they are proud of their culture, proud to be Emirati's. Proud to be recognized as Emirati's, considering in some parts of the UAE they are only 10% of the population.

Linked from a blog - Emirati women
wearing stylish black abaya's.
Those who want it all can have it all. When we opened our bank account at the Jebel Ali HSBC, we were served only by Emirati women. It was interesting, one wore a simple bejewelled matching abaya and hijab, one wore a plain black abaya and hijab and  her abaya was opened to show western clothes underneath, and another was just dressed in western business attire. One of those working at the bank was glowing with pregnancy.  From what I understand those women who want to work can work. The UAE has recently opened both their military and police force to women.  Sure there are some jobs that aren't accessible to women right now, but it is changing really fast.

From a Western standard we may think our Emirati sisters are being oppressed but from their perspective they have it good. They have access to a free education as far as they would like to go. They have access to careers should they want one. They can marry who they see fit and they can also get a divorce if it didn't work out.  They are entitled to a dowry.  Even if they chose to stay home, undoubtedly they have help with the children and with the house care. An American woman has a good blog entry about women in contemporary Dubai Culture.

Emirati women and child walking on
Dubai beach. One of my original
pastel drawings finished 08-03-10
From my perspective Emirati women seemed respected by their male counterparts and pampered and treated like princesses by their male relatives/husbands.  Fifteen Emirati women are in the list of the one hundred most successful Arab women When I look at the rights I have as a woman here in Canada and compare to the rights the women have in the UAE, I can see that there is room for improvement in both cultures.

I'd would have loved to have pictures of Emirati women to illustrate this blog, but I was respectful of the Emirati's right to privacy and have almost zero photo's of them going about. The ones I do have were incidental shots, and the majority are of Emirati men. I was taking a building or fountain and someone happened to wander through.

Here's other entries on Dubai:
The dark side of Dubai
More on the dark side of Dubai
The dark side of Dubai laws
Dubai Benefits from the Instabilities of the Arab Spring 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Amusing and sad at the same time

Did you know that since Canada post has been on strike they are still advertising? I guess once the advertisements are payed for people don't bother removing them, even if they end up being false advertising. 

What a waste of money! I was on the web just a few minutes ago and I was barraged with ads for Canada post as being an efficient way to send a package. Perhaps this will become true, but as of today, if I wanted to send a package I would be hard pressed to be able to send it using Canada post. 

I need a new pair of Rafters Antigua style sandals.

Antigua Rafter red sandals
I picked up at Winners in 2007 two pairs of Rafters 'Antigua' model sandals. They were probably one of the best buys I did in years. This is a flip flop but with more straps. The sole appears to be made from old tires.

What can I say? It is probably the most comfortable flip flop I've ever owned. I have weak ankles and generally if I walk long distances I will need ankle support. These flip flops have sufficient arch support that I can walk all day in them and not get sore feet, sore back, or sore ankles.  I walked probably more then 10km at Petra some of it up hill wearing these. I think I might have twisted my foot once, and a minor twist, didn't even hurt the next day. I love the fact that the sandals have a fairly good grip unless the ground is wet tiles. The fact the straps are made of fabric prevents blisters that plastic might give on a hot day.  The sole is so flexible that it follows both your foot and the ground you're stepping on, and gives you a good grip for a flip flop.

Antigua Rafters Green Sandals
My problem? Both of my pairs are getting dead. They've been with me around Cyprus and Lebanon in June 2007, They've travelled with me in Dubai in December of 2007. They travelled around cape Breton in September of 2009. They've been around Lebanon, Syria and Jordan in September of 2010.  They are great for travel. Take almost no room in a bag and are perfect for walking long distances in the torrid heat.

I need new pairs but I cannot find them in Quebec. I cannot find stores that appear to ship them to Canada. I'm so jonesing for a new pair of Rafter Antigua's, size 6. If someone can tell me where to find them near Montreal, Quebec, I'd be forever grateful.

Heck if you scroll down to previous blog entry about Dubai, I'm wearing my red/orange ones on 3 of the pictures. See if you can spot them :P

The dark side of Dubai Laws

 With hubby and our G-Nome at the
Fujairah corniche on the Oman
Sea in December 2007
Before going to live in Dubai or even visiting Dubai very few check out the local laws. Sure it appears to be a very liberal Middle Eastern country but looks can be deceiving. Admittedly the laws in the UAE are far more modern then in Saudi Arabia. Women have the right to drive and on the surface men and women appear to have equal rights.  Dubai is the most "open" of the 7 Emirates. They are more conservative in both Abu Dhabi and Sharjah for instance. However no matter how open and modern Dubai appears, the law haven't kept up, and while there is both civil and Shari'a court, often matters are resolved using the most conservative approach.

In the Dubai Desert during a desert
safari in December 2007
Don't get me wrong it's not up to foreigners to decide how Dubai or the UAE should design their laws or apply their laws.  As I stated before, women have far more rights in the UAE then in some other gulf states. However if you're going to travel there or go work there you may really want to know what goes on so you adjust your behaviour accordingly and avoid being one of those who land in jail and then gets deported. 

Pack very carefully. Dubai, and the UAE has a zero tolerance drug policy.  We're not just talking standard common sense rules that apply to most countries like travelling with marijuana, cocaine or heroin. We're talking about common things like POPPY SEEDS. You had a bun with poppy seeds at the airport  somewhere in Europe and they find one on you in Dubai it can land you in jail. So can anything with codeine and various other over the counter medications easily found in most other countries, like allergy medications.You can even be arrested and jailed if someone says you consumed drugs like this man. You'd better have prescriptions for your prescription drugs, otherwise you'll land in jail too. They say prescription from a local doctor, but I suspect if you have just the quantity of medication related for your stay and a script from  your doctor that it's probably ok. I  didn't have any issues travelling with asthma medications.

Public Beach on Al Sufouh road
Dubai December 2007
One Emirate, Sharjah is dry - or alcohol free. Don't get stopped by the authorities with alcohol in your vehicle in Sharjah. In Dubai, so long as you aren't Muslim, you have a resident card and a Interior Ministry liquor license, you can buy alcohol. There are bars and nightclubs but the majority are part of international hotels. Don't get caught with alcohol in your system if you're Muslim like this man.  Don't get caught driving drunk. They also have a zero tolerance  drunk driving policy. You get stopped and they smell alcohol, you will be jailed, fined and then deported.  Good luck trying to ever come back into the UAE even for a visit.

One of my favourite photos because
it reminds me of a Club Med ad.
Public Beach on Al Sufouh road
Dubai February 2007
The worst part is, Alcohol is surprisingly easy to find, and easier to get addicted to while in you are in the UAE. The isolation many expats who live in Dubai find themselves in, coupled with long work hours does seem to fuel the drinking. In fact the authorities in the UAE are now realizing there is a huge drinking problem among the expats, and some Emirate's too. 

People forget because it appears to be so modern in Dubai, that it's still a Muslim country and they still have rules about intermingling between genders. This is still a somewhat segregated society. Generally you either see people together as a family unit, or you see men hang out together and women hang out together. You rarely see large mixed groups of locals.  You can find a copy of the code of conduct here.

Hubby and I hamming for the
camera in the Mall of the 
Emirates in February 2007.

When I travelled through the UAE in 2007, they were pretty tolerant of western style dress, but I'm told it's a bit more conservative now, here's the dress code.  They really frown upon public displays of affection between members of the opposite sex.  Sure they turn a blind eye if you don't go overboard.  I have several photo's of my hubby and I in a form of embrace while in public in Dubai, but it could also have gotten us in trouble. At the time we needed to take as many photo's of the two of us as possible to prove our relationship to the Canadian government when he applied for residency as my spouse.  Photo's of us aloof would not have been as effective as photo's of us close together.

Dressed in Emirate style
Abaya and Hijab.
It depends a lot if the locals complain or get offended, we thankfully did not appear to offend anyone at the time. Hubby had several different women as roommates at different times while he was in Dubai, usually to help them out short term. It is forbidden to live with a person of the opposite sex who is not your spouse or relative in the UAE. Thankfully when I visited hubby the first time, his sister was staying with him, so we had a "chaperone". The 2nd time we were married and we had our marriage certificate with us. I also found since his apartment was in new Dubai that people were more relaxed. If we had been in "old Dubai" people might have been less tolerant.

However people have been thrown in jail and deported for inappropriate and immodest behaviours. These two Brits were accused of kissing in public.  I remember two Brits a few years back who met in a nightclub in Dubai and went on to make out on a beach. Someone complained and they were arrested and thrown in jail. It goes without say that consensual sex will also get you a jail sentence, be it straight or gay sex. Here's the story of 2 men caught having oral sex. Here's the weird story of a trio caught having "illegal sex". Here's another strange story, where cab driver called the police.  Also don't have an affair while in Dubai as this woman found out. There's another bizarre story here, where 3 men and 2 women go to jail for 'illegal sex".

Fountain at Marina Mall in  Abu Dhabi
Notice the cuddling Emirate couple!
Here's where it becomes nasty. Don't get raped while in Dubai. Chances are if you report a rape you will be the one who gets arrested.  Whether you're a male or female. Here's one story. Here's another. It amazes me. The police really have no interest in investigating the crime you report. Instead they try to see what rules you might have broken, charge you with crimes, jail you and then deport you.

Here's a story about an Emirate woman who was gang raped, who ended up in jail for year for reporting the rape. Here's the story about an Australian woman who landed in jail for reporting a rape. Here's the story of a maid, who gets accused of illegal sex after being raped by the 15 year old son of her employers.  Here's the story of a 15 year old  girl who was raped by two men who is getting deported.  This Emirate woman was raped by her uncle, and ended pregnant and in jail too.  This Russian woman claimed to be raped, but was charged with consensual sex.

Top of Jebel Hafeet at sundown,
December 2007
How about one where a 14 year old schoolgirl is being accused of committing adultery? I mean she's not even an adult, and by the UAE's own laws, usually you cannot be a suspect of a sexual crime unless you're 15 years old.

Among other strange laws, if you attempt to commit suicide and fail, you might land in jail this like this Marine. Also do not take pictures of the locals without first getting their permission. You could be arrested like these women.

Here's an article about shock tactics taken by two embassies to prevent arrest of Britons in both Thailand and the UAE.

On Jebel Hafeet December 2007
Now I'm not saying Dubai or the UAE is bad and you shouldn't go. As a tourist the first time and a visiting spouse the 2nd time I had a great time in Dubai. In fact my hubby who lived there 2 years got to see more of Dubai in specific and the UAE in general in my company.  I figured if I travelled this far even if it was just to visit him, I was going to see as much of the country as possible.

Admittedly if I had the opportunity to go back I would, as there are still things I'd like to see, like the oasis in Al Ain.  I'd also like to visit several castles, ruins, springs, mountains and archaeological sites in Fujairah as well as the Al Bidya Mosque and go on another desert safari and hope not to puke!  There's the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi that I'd like to see, I hear it's impressive and it is open to visitors, and there's the pink Jumeira Mosque in Dubai that can be visited, and I'd love to see it too.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Joyeuse St Jean Baptiste !

This wasn't the best St Jean. It rained, at times heavily throughout the day. It wasn't particularly warm either, sucks it was a day off work. If anything this should have been the weather of early June not late June. But it won't stop me from enjoying my 4 day week-end. I really hope it won't rain all 4 days, I still need to do a lot of work in the garden. 

This is how today felt. 

Syria on St Jean Baptiste Day.

More sanctions are being imposed by the European Union to Syria. In their text they say "By choosing a path of repression instead of fulfilling its own promises on broad reforms, the regime is calling its legitimacy into question".   Bashar has been saying the past week that it's the European Union that is being the unrest in Syria, the West along with the Muslim Brotherhood.  Because that makes so much sense.  I don't think the 'west' as he calls it would encourage a Muslim state, but I digress.

There are now around 12000 refugees in Turkey alone.  There have been around 1300 people who have died being killed by the regime, another 10,000 are missing being detained, and I bet that number is higher. They have been using the 10,000 number for weeks. I know Bashar has issued 2 amnesties but how many people has that affected? Who knows? I suspect the number of detainees is higher then 10,000.

I always thought a country's army was there to defend the people of that country. Well not in Syria. The armed forces in Syria are there to keep the rest of the Syrian's oppressed. You have an opinion that's not sanctioned by the regime, we'll beat you, torture you, detain you and if you're really lucky we'll kill you too, this way you won't keep suffering.

Bashar Al Assad could have made a difference. He could have brought his country into the 21st century in terms of human rights and economic reforms. Instead he chose to be a dictator and that will be his undoing. Mark my words, once it's all over, he won't be among the living.  He will be forever remembered as a butcher.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Canadian TV show

I had seen an ad or two online for Combat Hospital a little while ago and didn't think much of it. When I looked at some of the previews a couple of nights ago, I started to wonder. I've been a huge fan of M*A*S*H and of China Beach.  The first showing surgeons from the Korean war, the second showcases the nurses of Vietnam.

This one seems to be based on an ISAF ally hospital in Kandahar, and the life of doctors and nurses  who are from Canada, the USA, the UK and Australia.  Of course I was curious to see if it was more like Mash or like China Beach. Obviously it's going to be it's own show, but I think it's going to be more like China Beach :)

I enjoyed the first episode. I like the character of the female Canadian surgeon. She's got chutzpah! We'll see how the show develops. But so far I like it.

Co-worker a bit of an exhibitionist

I mentioned a while ago that I work in a male dominated industry.  There's only 4 women who work under my boss, and about 25 men.  One of the other women, I was hearing comments months ago when she was working alone with a guy in a team. One of the comments the guys had was that she doesn't wear a bra. 

I hadn't noticed it myself, I don't check out women's breasts as a rule, but I remember one day the shirt she was wearing was rather tight and she was cold and she had massive headlights. That's when I noticed she wasn't wearing a bra. I remember mentioning it to the gf who works with me and she commented, she'd been hearing about it from the guys for a while. Of course none of the guys would ever say it to her. 

Today this same woman is wearing a long white dress. She's not wearing a bra or a slip. When she walked away earlier pushing a trolley, you could see her underwear clear as day.  This white dress isn't leaving anything to the imagination and I can't help but imagine what if she left and it was raining. Can you say Wet-Tshirt? 

If you're going to wear a white dress, you'd be well advised to wear a slip. I learned this years ago. I have a short black slip that goes mid thigh and a short white slip of the same length. I do not wear any summer dress without putting one of the two slips underneath.  Then I don't need to worry if the dress becomes see through in certain lighting or out in the sun. I also don't have to worry too much if a gust of wind lifts my dress, since the slip is narrow and won't lift. So worse case scenario, you'll see my slip and not my ass if it's windy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vancouver riots much like Montreal

I've been reading more in the newspaper about the rioting in Vancouver after the loss of the game. Heck I even checked out a "conspiracy theory" video about the riots on Youtube. Here's my take on it:

On the first couple of nights they had the giant screens downtown Vancouver the police and security managed to keep the amount of people entering the area under control and the area securely cordoned off. On the night of the riot, a large number of youths rushed one of the entry points and managed to get in. Once one of the entry points was breached, they opened  all the others because people need a place to leave from, if people just pour in.  Obviously it was handled poorly.

Once one of the gates was breached, people should have been warned.   The conspiracy buff thinks they did it on purpose to create a riot situation. I don't think so. Perhaps fact the previous nights were more quiet, security got more complacent, less well coordinated? Stranger things have happened.  Sometimes it's the ego of people who lead the teams that cause lack of teamwork and coordination between the various police forces used.

If there's one thing I've learned living in Montreal, it's to sniff the riots before they happen. I really have a strong aversion to angry mobs. You would think most  people do right? However I know some seem drawn to being part of a mob, especially a rioting one.  I stay well away from them if I can help it. So whether or not I care about hockey or watch hockey, I generally know when the Montreal Canadians play in playoffs to avoid downtown Montreal those nights like the plague. 

I can't say I know what prompted me not to go to the Metallica/GnR concert in 1992 that turned nasty, because I was a huge fan of both.  I also avoided the mob at the Genesis concert at Jarry Park in 1982,   because I was sitting at the far end of the park nowhere near the stage or stadium for that matter. I'd already seen Genesis at the Forum earlier that year and didn't have budget to see them again, but I figured I could listen for free.  That kept me away from crowds and problems.

I mean if there's something predictable it's the rioting after hockey games. The Canadians don't even have to be playing at home for it to happen either. I remember when I was living in a triplex in RDP,  in 1986 that year the Canadians won the Stanley cup. I remember the night well it was quite warm out so the windows were opened. I was watching the game, neighbours were cheering so loud. By the middle of the 3rd period many of them poured out into the streets and into their cars. Some just drove around the neighbourhood honking and cheering and making noise, others went downtown and joined what became the riot of 1986.  I didn't need to be there to know it was going to happen. Perhaps it's because 5 of Canada's hockey riots happened in Montreal.  The remaining ones were 2 in Vancouver and one in Edmonton. Here's a list. Out of the 5 that happened I was an adult for 4 of them.

I know that for the duration of the playoffs, each night the Canadians played, large number of police was deployed in the downtown core in 2011. I also know  when Montrealers rioted in 2010, many of them were found via photos and videos taken from cellphones by other people in the crowd.  I've been reading many people who are against this policing by social media. It's funny too, because some of them who are adamant that it's not cool to tell on your friends to the cops or to tell on anyone to the cops using photos and videos on your cell phone, are the same people who support the protesters in Syria against the regime and support their use of the photos and videos taken from cell phones.  Which leads me to think that a percentage of people here who support the Syrians are just supporting them to be anti authority and anti police and not really pro-democracy? Just pondering out loud here.

I wonder how those same people are enjoying their tax dollars go up in flames each time a kid decides it's a good idea to torch a police car?  I don't think throwing them in jail is the solution either. You just turn them more criminal.  No you torched a police car? That's a bill for 50k [Or whatever the cost is for the car that was damaged]. You can pay it up front if you have that kind of cash, you don't well, now you have car payments for the next 5 years.   Put them all to work to pay for what they destroyed.  Was going to school full time ? Sorry, now you're working full time on restitution.

One comment I read on one of the news articles I read said "What's the big deal? The stores affect just collect from their insurance. No one got killed".  No.  But again they need to be held accountable. Besides it's reasoning like this that made my insurance bill 30% steeper this year. 

There has to be a fine balance. Vancouver was screaming not too long ago that their police were too aggressive. Now as an aftermath of this riot Vancouver is screaming their police is too passive. We have also been screaming in Montreal recently after that innocent bystander was shot by police, and should they have been shooting in this situation? Lets not forget how at the G20/G8 event, they were arresting Quebecois to prevent them from doing illegal things? Last I checked going to protest an event is not illegal.  That was a horrible abuse of power right there. Read more.

Somehow the police force has to be able to anticipate riot creating events, such as hockey games for us crazy Canucks, and deploy enough men and use just enough reasonable force to keep large groups of people from turning into a rioting mob, without themselves turning on the people.  Such a fine line between a police state and a lawless state...

Monday, June 20, 2011

One week vacation is too short!

I didn't do much other then weed some of my flower beds and do some laundry. I spent most of my week off doing nothing.  It's funny I'm nearing 50 and I always feel guilty when I do nothing. I figure I should be doing something more important. There's always something important to do and when I do nothing I feel guilty.

Funny thing about growing up Catholic - even if you drop it at some point in your life, the guilt remains. It's so easy for people to play with that guilt and make me feel less then nothing just with a little guilt.  One thing I don't feel guilty about is that I did get some rest. I feel well-rested, but one week isn't enough.

Well I did finish a few pastels including one done all yesterday. I like it a lot - called Syria's Spotty Future. Sadly it remains that spotty after Assad's speech which had nothing new to say. I mean the fact he was calling for refuges to come back home, that the army was there to protect them. Some refuges in Turkey are saying "Go home so they can finish us off". Sadly that's how much credibility Bashar Al Assad has nowadays.  His own people are seeing him as a butcher.

We still have no mail and it's becoming a HUGE PITA for me as I have to find all my bills and take them to the bank. The only one I can't do that with is my dentist bill. Not sure how I'm going to pay it. Drive the cheque over?  Gonna have to figure it out.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

New pastels inspired mostly by Arab Spring

Through most of the spring I've drawn my inspiration from the Arab Spring. Some drawings are more inspired then others.

I think I've linked this one before, but I feel it's part of the series so I'm linking it again, Arab women walking away.

This one is called Lebanese March for Secularism, it's self-explanatory.

This one is of Syrian women watching the sunset - inspired by current events in Syria.

This one is dedicated to Hamza AlKhateeb, it's called "Mosque in Damascus under a blood red sky".

Last but not least, one silly one made of spots, called "Syria's spotty Future". I say it's silly but it's also very serious. The red spots, each one represents the bloodshed.

I have one more, which has nothing to do with the Arab Spring but I'm including it just to be thorough, there is nothing special about it, but it was all I had to give that particular day I would suppose.

More on the dark side of Dubai

Dubai Desert December 2007 - Its all sand. Nothing else.
Those who live there and those who visit notice there are different classes of people in Dubai. There are certain jobs in Dubai reserved exclusively for the Emirate's. They are about 5-10% of the population  in Dubai but they are on top. Then below them or almost equal are the gulf state Middle Easterner's, followed by the westerners from Europe and America, then "westerners" from Russia and the eastern bloc, then other Middle Easterners [Like the Lebanese] and then finally those from south-Asia at the bottom. Some might argue the Filipino's are the best off in this group but that might be disputable, depending which Filipino you talk to.

You can have 5 people in an office doing the same job and each will be earning a different salary based on their ethnic background. The lower down the scale you are the less rights you have. Companies might find it difficult to ask westerners to give their passports to their employers for "safe keeping", but most employees from other parts of the world will give them up. Once the guy you work for has your passport, he can pretty much have you do what he wants.  It's when your 9-5 job is no longer 9-5 and you really have no leverage because they have your passport.  It may also be when your $4000 per month job suddenly becomes a $2000 per month job as well.

Sheik Zayed Road going towards new Dubai in rush hour, December 2007
That's another thing I find crazy. You're paid once a month. If you're not used to balancing a budget that might make it difficult to have money to eat every day of the month. That's when you start going into debt. To make your end of months meet, you start using your credit card.

Then there are living arrangement scams. When my hubby first arrived in Dubai in 2006, rents were pretty steep, you know the whole supply and demand. Also unlike here where you might be asked first and last months rent, they expect the whole years rent to be paid up front. Imagine, you've just arrived in Dubai, and you need to pay up front the entire years rent. So this is where your company comes in graciously to give you a loan and pays your apartment for you.

Fountain at the mall of the Emirates in Dubai UAE
Often the deal between your employer and landlord means your employer is stiffing you of your salary.  For arguments sake let's say your rent is $1000 a month, meaning your company paid up front $12000 for your rent. So they keep part of your salary each month to cover the rent. Except that the rent was really $10,000 and the extra $2000 is money they are pretending to pay you and then taking right off your salary.

At the same time every luxury type store is available in Dubai. From memory the top floor of the Mall of Emirates has a lot of the top European designers boutiques.  It's also reasonably easy to get a loan.  So those who arrive get fancy cars on credit.  It's very easy to drive a Mercedes or a convertible Mustang in Dubai. It's easy to get lost in the glam.  So long as you have a job, they practically run after you to offer you credit and lure you into spending money you don't have.

Why buy a car? You really couldn't get around other then by CAB if you didn't own your own car.  Public transport was really non-existent back in 2006. I know they have opened a subway/train type system now, but I'm not sure how many people it really benefits.  Travelling by taxi is a joke. Most taxi drivers couldn't find their way out of a brown paper bag. Calling for a cab means having lots of time to wait. Even if you can get into a cab, if you don't know where you are going, good luck ever getting there. Maps are almost useless as every other day they decide to change the roads to accommodate new roads or new construction.

For those who think "Ride a bike" or "walk" or "in-line skate". For starters there are no sidewalks anywhere for pedestrians [Except maybe in the old Dubai in the tiny little streets].  It used to amaze me to see South-Asian workers run across 10 lane highways between cars coming at them at up to 160km per hour.  Also try walking in 50C heat for more then 10 minutes. You will feel like you've been BBQ'ed, One of the things people told me looking at my Dubai pictures were "Where are the people it looks deserted". Well they aren't outside in the sun, no matter how much glitzy buildings and artificially sustained trees they put out there, it's still the DESERT!!!!

Suddenly lose  your job, they tell the bank probably before they fire you. The next day your accounts are frozen and you have no job, no means of supporting yourself, and often no way of finding another job. And you end up as one of the destitute in Dubai, who don't have their paperwork, either the bank or your employer kept your passport, and you cannot leave. Dubai also has laws to prevent you to leave if you owe money.  But everything is set up to make you fail. Other then relying on help from family and friends, either in Dubai or elsewhere you're pretty much shit out of luck.

Burj Khalifa - still in construction in December 2007
Most people went to Dubai thinking they would make a killing. The salaries seemed high and their seemed to be no taxes. Sure there is no income taxes, but there are all sorts of  hidden sale taxes. The only thing who's price wasn't unreasonable was gasoline, which in 2007 I estimated to be half of the price of gasoline in Canada at the time.  Clothing seemed to be about the same price as in Canada. Food was expensive - no surprise, Dubai is the desert, there's no where to grow food, restaurants were expensive. Water was cheap all things considered. Hubby managed to save up 25k as a nest egg to come to Canada in the close to 2 years he was there. He is one of the very few who pulled it off. He also worked crazy hours and had no life to talk about in Dubai.  He went from his AC'ed job to the AC'ed mall to pick up essentials to his AC'ed apartment, surrounded by noise and construction.

Construction in the Dubai Marina area of New Dubai - February 2007
Those in the worst shape today are those who bought property. At some point it became possible for non-Emirates to buy property.  Due to the hype back in the boom, property prices were incredibly inflated.  Now since the economy crashed, the value of some of these properties has dropped by 55%  up to 70% since their peak in 2008.  So people owe more mortgage then the property is worth and banks are calling in mortgages. In most places, buying property is an investment. Buying property in the UAE was sheer folly.

Never mind those crazy people who bought properties in the various Palm projects or The World. I think most of those projects have been stopped and I'm sure any money people have payed for these properties is long gone.

Here's something else. Who builds large high rises in the SAND????  I mean I don't care what the construction companies told the investors but my gut tells me that about half of the buildings won't survive 20 years with the current conditions in Dubai.  When you build a building it has to be on solid foundations. How solid is a foundation built on sand? I don't care how many layers of concrete were put on top of the sand, I still know it's a disaster waiting to happen.   Some buildings have already started to sink  less then 10 years later.  Heck one building's entire facade fell in 2009 several days after workers reported the ground sinking. It wasn't even finished.

You can see how the poor live in shacks and tents in the desert.
We joked in Montreal about our Olympic Ruins. The newest ruins in the world after the fiasco of our Olympic stadium.  Well I'm going to joke that in 20 years, Dubai will sport the newest ruins in the world. I bet 80% of the high rises that were built or partially built, will stand empty, half of them partially sunk into the ground. Around them sand dunes will have started taking over the land.  And instead of the traditional Emirate Bedouins living in tents in the desert, all those people who came to Dubai seeking financial gain, who got stuck passport less and unable to leave, will be living in tent communities in the desert. The new desert dwellers.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The dark side of Dubai

How to make Dubai appear like a paradise.
It's still the desert.
It's not something you read about much. For one thing, in Dubai you can't say anything negative about Dubai. It will get you in trouble. Then there's the percentage of expats in Dubai who go to Dubai to benefit from the slave labour. They won't say anything negative about it.

They love it in Dubai. Until something goes wrong and suddenly they can't leave because they are so in debt and there is no such thing as bankruptcy in Dubai. Not something that most people know when they arrive in Dubai originally thinking it's going to be paradise, or at least a place to make quick money.

Taken in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE - workers being moved like cattle
in a glorified pickup truck December 2007
I've never been dazzled by Dubai. I don't care much for the concept of Las Vegas. One of the big computer trade shows is COMDEX held in Vegas every November. After hearing descriptions from my ex I just had no interest.  I've heard Dubai compared to Vegas. First big turn off for me. Then it was seeing the men, exclusively from South-Asia, slave in the heat, and the unsanitary conditions they worked in. I never saw the places they lived in. Though some I suspected lived on the sites they were working. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that they work in horrible conditions. They get carted around like cattle and I'm sure people treat their cattle better then these men are treated. But it's OK you get re-assured, they make more money here then at home.  That's not even guaranteed, and that's if they survive Dubai. 

South-Asian workers sit in the tiny bit of shade waiting for their
bus along Sheik Zayed road near Marina Diamond buildings,
Dubai, UAE Taken February 2007.
One of the things the article I linked above doesn't cover at all, is that to renew your work VISA to stay in Dubai, you get tested for HIV. If you are found to be HIV positive, you get deported back home. Often they won't even tell you why you're deported other then "health reasons", so you go on to infect your wife and other lovers back home.   Admittedly at least it was easy to buy condoms. They were available in plain sight at gas station convenience stores next to the gum, as I recall. Though I'm thinking with the lack of wages I'm sure condoms doesn't come high on the list of priorities for the South-Asian 'slave' trapped in Dubai.

Dubai skyline December 2007 seen from Emirates road E311
We aren't going to see any form of protests in Dubai unless it's from the South-Asians and I doubt they would find a way to organize themselves. The Emirate's are probably one of the most spoiled people's on earth. The government provides extremely well for them. They aren't going to protest at all, and we won't hear about the dark side of Dubai except the day the economy there completely tanks and this won't happen for some time yet, as Abu Dhabi keeps them afloat.

One of the thing I loved about the article I linked above, was this line " All the people who couldn't succeed in their own countries end up here, and suddenly they're rich and promoted way above their abilities and bragging about how great they are. I've never met so many incompetent people in such senior positions anywhere in the world".

Friday, June 17, 2011

Saudi women drive around Saudi Arabia Today

Rumours of some Saudi women driving around themselves today have been heard. They are encouraging women who have driving licences from other countries to use them to drive around Saudi Arabia.

It's pretty sad when Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prevents women from driving. The rationale is that if women know how to drive, it will permit them to associate more freely with strange men.  The society in Saudi Arabia is still very segregated.

You gotta wonder about societies where they treat half of the population like 2nd class citizens. Women have consistently proven in various societies that if given the opportunity they can do just about anything men can.

Courage Saudi sisters, keep fighting for your rights.

It's Friday and it means more protests in Syria

Syrians took to the streets in large numbers today again after Friday prayers. As much as the military forces are beating down the North East of the country, elsewhere people are out in numbers in the streets to protest. It is said that marches took place after Friday prayers in Homs, Hama, Deraa, Der al-Zour, Jableh and other cities, including various suburbs of Damascus.

More then 9000 people are in refugee camps in Turkey but that hasn't stopped them from peaceful protests either. They don't want to be forgotten because they left the country.   Turkey is also preparing care packages for the 10,000 Syrians on the border getting ready to cross should things get worse.

I realize that the Syrians in Syria get very little information through outside sources since the crackdown and it amazes me the depth of their courage to go out there knowing that it could be their last day.

I keep hoping this week is the week that the Assad government falls, but my Lebanese husband tells me that there will be much more bloodshed before it's all over. I find this difficult to believe. How people can kill their neighbours like that. Especially in a country that prides itself for making it's population literate. You'd think people would think twice before shooting at crowds of unarmed peaceful protesters.

I do realize that not all the protesters have been peaceful. But after the armed forces start shooting with no regard for life, I'm not surprised some just take to arms and return eye for eye.   It is said that in some protests men go bare chested to clearly show that they are peaceful and not armed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Women have it worst in Afghanistan

The top 5 worst countries to be a woman  in descending order are: Afghanistan, Congo, Pakistan, Indian & Somalia.

Most were shocked to find out there are worst places to be then Somalia.  I've just spent the past hour lost on Wikipedia looking up such things as FGC and other problems facing women of most of those countries.  Apparently 87% of women in Afghanistan have never been to school and are illiterate. Most women of the countries listed have little or no access to medical care. In Congo, there is so much rape, it's why it's up there on the list.

We need less straight white men who blog as lesbians and more people who help the condition of women in these countries, so that they can learn how to read and write, have access to a minimum of health care, be allowed to chose who they marry and who they have sex with,  and so they no longer get treated as chattel and get sold to the highest bidder.  One of the only ways to do it is via education.  Children in these countries, both boys and girls have to be taught human rights, and gender equality.

Of course not only in these countries. These are currently the worst in the world for woman's rights but not the only countries where women have few rights.  Saudi Arabia comes to mind as the only country where women aren't allowed to drive. I also hope that societies where men and women are constantly segregated eventually come to see that segregation is worse for people then mixing both genders together.

I know it takes time. I mean I remember when I was a little girl, there was a certain amount of gender segregation too. In large gatherings all the women would end up in the kitchen and all the men in the living room. Certain jobs women didn't do when I was little, but I was raised by women who believed women could do anything men could do. In fact I think my family was very disappointed when my dream of being a medical doctor didn't materialize.

My family can be proud to know that I've worked in a non-traditional job all my adult life. Including my boss  we are 22 under his supervision. Only 4 of us are women. 2 out of 13 in Software and Hardware Quality Assurance, and 2 out of 8 in scripting for SQA.  There are currently no women in the Software development team - they are probably around 50, and there are a few in ASIC and hardware, but we're talking 2 out of 40 or 50 men in each case. 

Some of the guys in software have been saying for year that their job environment is unnatural. That in real life there are much more women.  It's not the company who discriminates against women. Very few ever apply. When I get stacks of resumes from universities sometimes I get 2 out of 40 resumes from women. I do try to interview all the women who apply for my jobs, but it doesn't mean I'm going to hire them if they aren't the best candidate.  Like this summer, we have 3 male stagieres. I know we interviewed several women, but they didn't' impress me as much as these guys did. I have no regrets, these students are working out perfectly.

I'm always happy when I can not only hire a female, but when she comes from a country where women don't have much rights. Earlier this year I had a female student who was from Senegal. I hear the human rights there are better then in the countries I've listed above, but they still have a lot of work to do . I was glad to show her a work environment from Canada. I know that she gave me 100% of what she could do. She overcame language barriers and societal barriers in her stage. She was the first female student I had working for me who was also a mother of a small child. 

I admired her courage and determination. I found it sad, that she was so isolated being a full time student and married and mother of a 3 year old, that she is considering going back home after her studies are over. I hope for her sake she changes her mind by the time she is finished her education. I hope she runs into another engineering student with a small child that has similar responsibilities with who she can bond and feel part of Canadian society. No matter how hard a time she is having here, I know she would face discrimination in her country and may never be able to work as a engineer where as here in Canada she would be able to.

They riot in Vancouver too, when they lose the Stanley Cup

One of the things I've always hated about Montreal is that when the Canadians play in Stanley cup finals, whether the game is played at home or away, there are often revellers angry at lost or jubilant for a win, who take to the streets, and among them there is always a rioting/looting element.  I mean even protests for a cause end up with rioters/looters, who take advantage of the situation to damage store fronts and steal merchandise.  Others just like breaking things and putting cars on fire.

I know the last time it happened in Montreal, people came forward with video's and photo's taken on their cell phones to help police.  This seems to be a new trend. I guess people like me who find it appalling that every time a large group amasses in Montreal, a riot breaks out, who are helping police identify those who cause the problems so they can be brought to justice.

After the game in Vancouver last night, which sadly the Canucks lost 4-0 to Boston, there was rioting in the streets of Vancouver. Before the evening was over there was two new Facebook groups.  One who's aim is to ID the rioters, that attracted 20,000 people in less then 12 hours, and a second who's aim was to clean up the mess left after the riot in Vancouver. I applaud those who came up with these groups. If citizens who are concerned for their city get together like this in the future there will be a lot less rioting in Canada. People do it in large groups because they figure they can get away with it. If they no longer get away with it, they will think twice before damaging someone else property.

I generally try to avoid being part of  large groups of people because I know most often then not there is a component that encourages violence, looting and rioting. Perhaps thanks to social media and camera phones I'll have to spend less time worrying where I should not be and more time enjoying myself.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What is wrong with people?

I'm in a mood this morning. Between being woken up at 4:30 AM by either my allergies, the birds [I had all the windows opened], or Ziva, the only cat in the room with me, or perhaps a combo of all of the above, and some of the things I've been reading the past few days I've been wondering what is wrong with people?

I guess there is something to be said for being gullible. It also leaves me a certain open mindedness where I don't first come to conclusions that people are inherently bad. I'd like to think there are more good people in the world then bad people. I'd like to think that most of us start off with good intentions, though sometimes misguided. I like to believe that the world I live in isn't just full of people just there to make me miserable or try to take advantage of me.  Yeah I have a touch of paranoia and sometimes I have a persecution complex. Sure people who make me miserable and who try to take advantage of me, generally don't give a crap about me, it's all about them, and what happens to me is just the fallout.

That's neither here or there. I wonder about people who think being less then honest is the right way to go and then are surprised when people are upset at the deception. I wonder about people who condemn everyone else from their perceived moral superiority and yet if you were to look more closely at them or their family you'd realize they really shouldn't be spewing this kind of vitriol with what's in their own closet.

One of the articles that set me off this morning is about a 9 year old girl, who stabbed her dad because he was threatening her mom with lethal force. What's even sadder is that it's the 2nd time in 2 years she's had to do this.   I'm sad thinking about the girl, who's had to use this kind of force to rescue her mom. It should be her mom protecting her and not the other way around.  But then I read the comments. Is it because she's black? Is it because of the neighbourhood that people assume things?

I dunno.  I hate to break it to all these morally superior people, but poor black women aren't the only ones who keep bad men around their children. The more money one has the more he can hide the fact that he mistreats his family.  A lot of the people commenting wanted to remove the girl from her mothers custody saying that if she can't protect her, she shouldn't be her guardian. I wonder how many of those people have been in foster homes? I also wonder how many of them have had to live with a family member with an addiction problem, be it to drugs, alcohol, gambling?

I mean my ex is a good example of someone who's toxic. At least to me he's toxic. But he wasn't dangerous to my daughters and I. Not in a physical way.  But currently all three of us don't want to spend any time with him because his engaging drunk personality is so toxic that none of us want the risk of having to deal  with it. Other then the fact for some reason he still treats my daughters like they were 5 & 6 or something like that. The age they were when he first met them. Never mind that he asks them what they are up to, so politely they explain their university program, and then he mocks them.

Because he's had a great career in nothing  and hasn't keep a job for more then a year or two, when he's actually been employed in the past 20 years. As a high school graduate he feels justified in mocking my daughters who are both doing an undergraduate program, one at McGill, one at Concordia.  I might not be sure the program they chose was the right choice, but I was never sure anything I did in my life was the right choice. However the role of a parent is supporting your adult children choices as much as possible.  I mean if your mom, the one who is supposed to give you unconditional love isn't supportive, then who can you expect to be?

Sadly a lot of the stupid comments I've been reading stem from ignorance. People who have little life experience to base themselves on. Bad people come from all walks of life and they exist in every race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. Most didn't start off that way, they were hurt and abused themselves either purposefully or just by well meaning misguided people. Others it seems are just wired wrong and are bad. I suspect there aren't that many of those as of the other kind around. 

It always really bugs me when people say things about a visible minority and  then you realize they have never even crossed paths with these people. But they have heard 4rth hand about this horrible story. It also bugs me when people from first world countries treat people from 2nd and 3rd world countries like disobedient children

Anyways.. enough ranting. After saying all that.. what's wrong with people? After all they are humans, and fundamentally as humans we are all flawed. I suppose I should be preaching for forgiveness and acceptance.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Beware of Lesbian bloggers, they might be a straight white guy

So not only was Amina Arraf the fabrication of a 40 year old American but he was encouraged to continue blogging by none other then Paula Brooks of LezGetReal - who today has also been exposed as a 58 year old American man. 

Read somewhere "Because white dudes just don't get enough attention in the media" ....


The BBSer friend who was to visit Canada Day/US Independence Day Week-end, had her plans thwarted.  Because they fired another employee, they are expecting her to fill in on the Saturday I believe she told me.  That sucks. 

I had just started to anticipate her visit. If I don't anticipate at all, then I seem uninterested and don't have enough enthusiasm when someone visits. If I anticipate too soon and plans get changed then I feel like crap because I was all psyched up for the friends visit and they aren't coming.  

On the one side I feel for her. I know she's working out of duty, not because she wants to work. She needs a vacation and sooner would have been better then later.  The positive side of the coin is that they offered her an extra day off Labour day week-end, so she's rescheduled for then.  Here's me keeping my fingers crossed that they don't pull another fast one on her Labour day week-end. She deserves a break and besides I'm looking forward to meeting her. Doesn't that count for something?