sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (death is coming)
Last night, [ profile] the_axel and I went to the Kensington Market Festival of Lights. Inexplicably, he'd never been before, and I hadn't been in about eight or nine years, so it was Necessary. It's a Solstice celebration and one of those weird, beloved Toronto traditions where you sort of wonder how this became a thing in the first place.

I was going to bring my camera, but at the last minute I was le tired, so all I have are crappy cell pictures. Still, you can see a little of what goes on there and why I adore it so:

warning: clowns )

Today was my last teaching day of the year. Then I rushed home to finish up the Christmas baking to distribute to neighbours, co-workers, and friends tomorrow and this weekend.

all the cookies )
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (red flag over TO)
Mystery solved!

Police have located the two men who built the tunnel near York U and determined that:

a) They are not terrorists. (Read: white guys.)
b) They pose no danger to anyone.
c) They did it for "personal reasons."

Yes, that was what the official police statement actually said. "It's all good, no charges will be laid, they did it for personal reasons."

In not-entirely-unrelated news, I can only assume that this is our police department's new logo:


Seriously. Our local police make official statements that combine the words "mysterious tunnel" and "personal reasons" and they expect to get paid $100,000+ a year and no one has a problem with this.

Other sources have reported that the two men built it as a "man-cave," though since they were not identified in any media, I can't rule out the possibility that what they were building was actually a Bat Cave.

In fact, I think it was probably a Bat Cave.

That, or they were scabs trying to cross the picket lines (good luck, 3903 friends!).

But it was probably Batman.

ETA: The National Post, of all places, has more speculation and a diagram. The video is worth watching.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (pinko pie)
It's miserable in my fair city and everyone is depressed. I, for one, am horrifically ill and dragging my sorry, hacking corpse to work everyday through -30°C weather as I have an underdeveloped sense of self-preservation. The coldest winter in the history of ever shows no signs of abating, and there's little to rejoice about.

Until. The York Tunnel. Otherwise known as the best thing to happen to Toronto since the IKEA monkey. This has made everyone's day.

Short version for those who don't like paywalls: a conservation officer stumbled upon a sophisticated tunnel near York University and the future site of the PanAm Games. Some people lost their shit because TURRISM!; others suggested drugs or sneaking into the PanAm Games for free, still others hailed it as the closest we've gotten to a subway line since they decided to put a university up in the middle of nowhere with no decent transit to it. The cops, remarkably, seem to have maintained cool heads about the whole thing, leading to one of the funnier tweets I've seen in awhile:

If you built a tunnel near the Rexall Centre in give us a call, k? 416-808-2222

They found a rosary and a Remembrance Day poppy down there too, meaning that if it is terrorism, it's likely the "gunpowder, treason, and plot" type of terrorism. But it's probably not terrorism.

What is it? The Beaverton (our national equivalent of the Onion), hailed it as an "extended metaphor for student debt."

Twitter was on the case:


A friend of mine suggested this explanation:

Anyway, whoever built this thing, it's cold outside and we're all pent up and we're very bored, and there's nothing we like more than a really weird mystery. I for one welcome our new subterranean overlords!
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (eat your ballot)
I really really really wish there was a gravy spewing Marxist tax dragon so that I could vote for her.

P.S. That's the best campaign site. Better than the one I made. Not just in Toronto, but anywhere.

P.P.S. My ward, of course. It had to be my ward.

P.P.P.S. Of everything, "amateur dental hygienist" is making me laugh the most. Even more than "phrenologist."

ETA: Oh, it's Dimitri the Lover, professional sleazebag. It all makes sense now.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (gother than fuck)
Had a great deal of fun at Nuit Blanche last night. We hit Moonlight Tribe, which involved bellydancing, the Charleston, and can-can, as well as live goth music that was quite good, and No Blue Jeans, No Nice Sweaters, No Big Bop Rejects, a.k.a. the Goth Flash Mob at midnight. Just like back in the old days, they played two good songs, both by the Sisters of Mercy, and a whole bunch of crap. It was lovely.

Ran into a bunch of friends and co-workers over the course of the evening, and missed many more. Missed the Ai Weiwei installation as well; I am perhaps too old and tired to hang out at all-night art events that are spread across most of the city.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (red flag over TO)
So Toronto experienced epic flooding last night. I am lucky enough to have been spared, so if anyone needs electronic devices charged or a dry place to hide out, let me know.

I'm sure you're all surprised that the Honourable Wife-Beater is being useless in terms of crisis management, leading Toronto residents wondering if we could borrow Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi for a bit. Here's a comparison between the two mayors' Twitter feeds. (Somewhere, I saw that a benefit for flood relief in Alberta had been cancelled because of the flood here.)

The most dramatic moment yesterday involved a submerged GO train that had to be evacuated by boat, but I didn't realize just how dramatic it was until [ profile] corwin77 texted me just now to tell me that there was a snake on it, too. I am sick of these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking aquatic train!

It does seem like no one died or was seriously hurt, so that's a relief, despite chronic underfunding of city services and infrastructure maintenance. It could have been a lot worse. But with extreme weather becoming much more common, perhaps some actual planning might be in order here.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (red flag over TO)
Okay, I've been up half an hour and [ profile] sphinctourist has already managed to make my day.

I don't know if this is true. I don't even want to get my hopes up in case it isn't. It's just that if you happen to live outside of Toronto and you feel the earth quake and hear a strange noise, as if 2.6 million people simultaneously pissed their pants laughing, you might want to know what it is.

Sarah Thomson claims she will be sharing "the video" tomorrow - Imgur

That Sarah Thomson. That video.

Oh man, if this were true, it would be So. Great. Sarah Thomson is a nutty libertarian fringe candidate who runs a ridiculous magazine and is one of those Colourful Municipal Characters that I'm inclined to like even when I strongly disagree with their politics. She's fun. She's rich. (Rich enough to have bought the video? Maybe.) She mentioned the HWB's substance abuse problems long before the crack video surfaced. He publicly groped her, got away with it, and I can fully see her deciding to take terrible, glorious, epic vengeance.

There are a lot of reasons why this is probably not a thing that's going to happen, least of which is that I just checked her FB and this post does not appear there, but if Sarah Thomson is the woman who takes down the mayor, I will be one ecstatic little Sabs.

In news I can confirm, the house in the photo has been identified, as has the "municipal man of mystery."

ETA: This guide for new staffers is pretty cute.

New employees are obligated to watch a training video that provides insight into the effects of Mayor Ford’s leadership on the city of Toronto. The video is the 1998 blockbuster Deep Impact. The mayor is the comet.

ETA II: It's a troll. She posted a video that is not the crack video.

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (red flag over TO)
I hope no one is sick of me posting constantly on this, but really, the Rob Ford crack scandal has done such wonders for my mood that I can't help myself.

Yesterday, after picking up the first round of rock star t-shirts, I sat out on my porch with a friend and tossed around conspiracy theories. Later on that evening, I tossed around a few more conspiracy theories with [ profile] chickenfeet2003 over dinner and wine before hitting the truly excellent Figaro's Wedding (which, naturally, had a Rob Ford crack joke in there as well). Tossing around conspiracy theories about the Fords seems to be all anyone does in Toronto these days, and it seems like the more implausible the idea, the more likely it will be proven correct in the Star by the following morning.

If you don't live here, if you haven't, like me, lived here for 15 years and come to know the city as a nice place to live but not very exciting on a day-to-day basis, I don't think you can imagine how much bloody fun we're all having. Note that this scandal has not rocked the Honourable Wife-Beater's support at all; he retains about 34% support among the public. Olivia Chow would clean the floor with him in an election, but she's yet to announce formally that she's running.

This is no exaggeration: I wake up every day with my radio timed to the 8 am news on CBC, then I take care of the cats and bounce downstairs to read the latest updates. Sometimes I don't even make it downstairs; I scan Facebook on my phone for any exciting developments. Some of you know how hard it is to get me up in the morning. This has done it.

Today's updates:

There's been a new arrest in the murder of Anthony Smith. It seems increasingly likely that Smith had the original video and was killed for it—either by the Fords' allies in the police department or organized crime, or by rival drug dealers who realized its value.

Obviously, Ford was lying when he said that there was no video. If there currently is no video, it's because he destroyed it.

Interesting commentary on the potential that this scandal could lead to the de-amalgamation of Toronto. (Spoiler: It won't. And I'm not sure that's even a good idea—lefty sacrilege, I know, but I have a certain attachment to Scarborough and the hopes that it will ultimately benefit from the megacity.)

I will be at the rally to demand Ford's resignation this Saturday. In a massively ironic twist, I don't actually want Ford to resign. The best thing that could happen would be for him to hang on stubbornly by his teeth, further fracturing the Sensible Right and the Crazy Right, ruining Tim Hudak's chances in the next provincial election, exposing how deep the criminal rabbit hole goes among the city's rich elite, and, most of all, ensuring that Future Mayor Chow wins by a nice wide margin.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (red flag over TO)

So. When the guys selling the Rob Ford crack video disappeared, I made one of my usual tasteless jokes, which was that they were probably wearing concrete shoes at the bottom of Lake Ontario.


What does it take to get rid of this guy?

Of course, now I'm hoping that he stays in office for just a little bit longer, on account of my rock star t-shirts, due to arrive on Tuesday night thanks to the seriously charming kindred spirit at the local t-shirt printing place. And because at this point, if he leaves office, the right-wing could get someone with similar politics but a more subtle approach in, whereas if this drags on and on, we are guaranteed a left-wing mayor (hopefully one named Olivia Chow) with a wide majority on council to clean up Ford's clusterfuck.

But I mean. The Globe is outshining the Star with their epic investigative report that, among other things, links the Ford family to fucking Wolfgang Droege, notorious Toronto neo-Nazi. Note: I don't give a shit if Doug dealt hash in high school—who didn't? What does interest me is whether he knows people who can have inconvenient people disappeared. Answer: Apparently yes.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (quit your whoring now)
Via [ profile] the_siobhan, a truly excellent moment in Toronto history: The Toronto Circus Riot of 1855.

No one seems to agree on exactly how the fight at the brothel got started. Some blame a particularly loudmouthed clown. Some say the clowns cut in line — or knocked the hat off a fireman's head. But this much is clear: that night, the clowns kicked some firefighting ass. At least two of the firemen were seriously injury [sic], dragged out of the brothel to safety as the Hook & Ladder crew retreated. For the rest of the night, the clowns could drink and have sex in peace.

But it wasn't over yet. Those firemen had a lot of friends. In those days, Toronto was still pretty much entirely run by a small group of Protestant, Tory elites. They were all members of the Orange Order, hung out together at the Orange Lodge, and made sure that other Orangemen got all the important jobs in the city. The police were pretty much all Orangemen. And the firefighters were too. Usually, they focused on beating up Catholics. But they were willing to make an occasional exception.

The whole thing is quite short and worth a read. Also possibly worth a reenactment as part of a Heritage Minute commercial, if Heritage Minutes were actually cool.

On a related note, I finished watching Carnivàle and am quite sad that it got cancelled. It's basically exactly my cup of tea, if instead of tea I were into methamphetamine.*

* I'm not really into either, but you get the point.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (zizek)
There is not a lot that could get me out to Nuit Blanche (which combines huge drunken crowds, exhaustion, cold, and corporate sponsorship of the arts) but I have very few celebrity crushes, and one of them was speaking at it. Accordingly, I ventured out to Symposium: Until the End of the World to see Slavoj Žižek talk about the apocalypse at Toronto City Hall.


the apocalypse will be averted because the Communists will win )
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (champagne anarchist)
Saw two movies at HotDocs tonight: The Man That Got Away and She Said Boom: The Story of Fifth Column The latter was the one I went to see, being one of those precocious suburban teenage punks who saw Erica Ehm interview Fifth Column on MuchMusic as part of a general drift into zines and mixtapes, but both films were actually pretty wonderful.

The Man That Got Away is not really a documentary as such other than being about a real person, the filmmaker's great-uncle Jimmy. It's a musical (with impressive original music and choreography). It follows Jimmy's life from his roots in rural Alberta to his brief career as a chorus boy in New York City, to his eventual drug-related death on the streets of Vancouver. In between, there's a stint in a sanatorium where he meets Judy Garland. The entire thing is played out in a downward spiral on the ramp of a parking garage in Edmonton. It's completely bizarre and beautifully made.

If you haven't heard of Fifth Column but are into La Tigre and Bikini Kill and all that feminist punk stuff, there is a gap in your musical history. Fifth Column were the band that started basically queercore (and got written out of the history of Riot Grrrl because they were just a little too anarchist and a lot too gay to be marketable back then), launched Bruce LaBruce's career, and burned rather explosively on Toronto's music scene for about fifteen minutes back in the day. GB Jones, the band's drummer, is also an experimental filmmaker, and the film makes excellent use of Super 8 footage as well as contemporary interviews with the band members. There's some particularly affecting imagery of Toronto from the late 80s to mid 90s that makes someone like me go, "I remember that," which is a cool bonus. But the main reason to see the film is its exploration of queer radical politics and history that is not so much unwritten as it is cut and photocopied and shoved into someone's basement in a milk crate.

At the end during the Q&A, an Irish woman got up and said how emotionally affected she was by the film, given how queer history is still so repressed back home. She said that she was turning 40 this year, and it was the first time she's seen a film with lesbians in it.

Oh, and I got to meet GB Jones, albeit briefly and I'm always a dork in these situations.

Anyway, I'd highly recommend both films if you get a chance to see them.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (purged!)
Hey, I haven't done a leftist sectariana post in forever. Let's change that. Check out Cause Pimps. (Warning: If you are prone to seizures, don't check it out.)

It was brought to my attention courtesy of two people who seem to be among the author's primary targets. (They're both lovely people, incidentally.) Once again, I was insulted that I have not been included in the directory of Bad People—as Wilde put it, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about—and it occurred to me that perhaps I should join the SPO just to warrant a mention. But I don't like their logo. Anyway.

Cause Pimps is an interesting site for a few reasons. I mean, the most obvious is the hilarious animated gifs and unfortunate colour choices. But politically, it's interesting because it seems to be an attack from the left, or at least from someone who was on the left at one point, but doesn't hesitate to use right-wing talking points, and occasionally swerves right into full-on conspiracy theories. I can almost guarantee that I'd know the author by face, if not by name. This is someone who has been on the wrong side of either an OCAP schism or a CKLN schism, or both. Not a hard thing to do, and however much I respect the work both groups do, it can be a painful, isolating thing, so I might have a little sympathy for our mysterious webmaster. Except, well, he's wrong, and also the site is really terrible and eye-watering.

A few highlights:

The control system seems to work at three levels. The rawest is the police/judicial complex which is widely said to be run by the Masons. The Toronto police headquarters is surrounded by Masonic symbols.

Anyone who has tried to get justice done through either the civil or criminal courts has become aware of a seamless system of denying justice. It runs from the cop on the beat through the legal aid system to the court staff to the judges to the attorney general's office. If the Masons are not the coordinating system in this, then it is some group much like them.

I can think of many, many reasons to hate Toronto cops and cops in general. The theory that they are Freemasons is not one of them.

The kind of people and organizations who you will be given intelligence about on this site are really, really not going to like it. We expect intense efforts to try to take this site down. Let them try.

If, by "take it down," you mean linking to it on their Facebook pages and directing everyone there for a good laugh, yep, that's what they're doing right now.

Should we complain to google? Anyone hitting Andy Lehrer" and "pimp" can find this page due to cross links with other pimps pages. The truth will come through despite all the efforts of the liars to throttle it.

This quote, admittedly, is a hundred times funnier if you know him. Still, I think he'd be pretty amused if people were actually Googling "Andy Lehrer" and "pimp."

The world is also full of people with unresolved mental problems, or who have serious mind circuit problems. The true crazy refuses to accept that there is something wrong with him, not with the world around her. Generally, they think the world is slighting them and sometimes they become violent.


Toronto activism is so weird, you guys. So. Weird.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (AK Hello Kitty/springheel_jack)
Would you like to hear about awkward times on public transit? Of course you would.

See, the thing is, when you have hair like mine, complete strangers frequently want to strike up a conversation. I mean, if you're a reasonably presentable lass, complete strangers will strike up conversations anyway, but both the quantity and diversity of these random conversations has increased since my hair became a decidedly unnatural colour. There are more guys who try to pick me up, but there are also weird old ladies who want to talk to me about municipal politics, and little kids who point me out to their parents, and so on.

Anyway, while there was a weird old lady who saw my unconventional hair colour as an invitation to strike up a conversation about municipal politics and the entitlement complex endemic in Toronto, this is mostly a post about a dudebro who tried to pick me up on the subway.

my life is an indie movie with a Regina Spektor soundtrack )
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (red flag over TO)
I know I've been ranting a lot about my city, and the destruction being visited upon it by our Honourable Wife-Beating, Law-Breaking Mayor, but I don't want it to seem that I hate it here.

Example #5201 of Why I Love Toronto (more or less SFW unless your work objects to topless dudes):

It just makes me smile. Far more than this sort of crap does.

Now back to the Ford Nation lulz: Doug Ford hasn't heard of Margaret Atwood, and apparently thinks that the only people who deserve a voice are elected officials. Um. Maybe he should visit his local library and read up on Canadian literature and democracy.

Speaking of evil assholes hell-bent on making my home shittier, check out Harper's G+. It's largely kitten pics, with the odd creeptastic picture of his family and weaksauce political statement. The kitten is pretty damned cute, though.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (no pigdogs)
Elected official brings his camcorder to the Dyke March.

You know.

Just to make sure that nothing improper is going on. Like ladies with their shirts off or doubleplus ungood speech.

Mammoliti's campaign to defund Pride, and ultimately to stop it (because that's what the homophobes who have taken over our municipal government want, let's not kid ourselves) has just levelled up in squickiness.

i can haz restraining order?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (no pigdogs)
I got to see the naked bike ride today! That was very—not the sort of thing that you want to see while having lunch, believe it or not. But I was done my mango mock chicken and it stayed down so that was good.

I tried to snap a picture with the Infernal Device but it didn't save properly. Consider your eyeballs spared. The Infernal Device is kinder than I would have been.

Anyway, I say this as someone quite supportive of Critical Mass and its variants—how does one actually ride a bike naked? It sounds like a recipe for pure pain.

In lieu of that brain-scarring image, I offer another: How to succeed as an Ayn Rand character )

On an unrelated note: Bear lost — and now "kidnappers" want $10,000 in cupcakes. This is one of those rare headlines where reading the whole article actually makes it funnier. Because the cupcakes have to be gluten-free.

Bat Vespa

May. 13th, 2011 06:18 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (watchmen orly)
I saw the absolute best ride in the city today. There was a fellow stopped at a stoplight on my way home driving a purple and gold Vespa, trimmed with lace frills, and decked out with Batman decals. He had a matching helmet I complimented him on the fabulousness of his Vespa, whereupon he replied that it was really the cape that made it.

Yep. He was also wearing a matching cape.

My day: Made. Thank you for being awesome, whoever you are, Bat Vespa Guy.


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