Monthly Archives: September 2001

Under the boardwalk

A lot of people, even people who live in Toronto, don't know this, but Toronto actually has quite nice beaches (don't mind the poison water). After a meeting with Gary about church stuff, we went for a walk across the sand, a climb in the rocks, and then a stroll down the boardwalk…

A variety of birthday pix

I'm stopping by Ryan and Corrie's house on Monday, so if there's mail waiting for me (and I'm told there is), I'll post a couple more pictures.

Rachel gave me some rubber piggies to keep me company in the bathtub.

She even got me a cake with writing on it! And it sure is yummy — plus she baked me a turkey lasagna.

Saira gave me a book that's quite obviously relevant!

Carolynn made this great card for me.

This kooky card from Fern and Pete is even piered with real jewelry!

Fern and Pete got me these two Jim Woodring books — amazingly the only two I don't have! The Jim book is amazing, I hope they read it before sending as it explains much of the mythology in the Frank comics.

Rachel gave me this super-cool yo-yo. It's ball bearing based and the fastest yo-yo I've ever used!

This was my present to myself (the V guitar). It's sort of silly, but hey, that's what I'm all about.

OK, this was my other present to myself.


I went to visit Shane earlier today. Because it's Sunday, parking lots are flat rate — it's cheaper for me just to buy some beer and park in the Beer Store parking lot. Anyway, as I'm waiting in line, I think some old guy was trying to pick me up — he kept leering at my tattoos (sort of a lustful version of a glare). Eventually he told me they were “wonderful” and wanted to know if they were “all over my body.” I told him they were and then he told me “oh I wish I could behold that.”

Then I noticed that he was missing not just three fingers on his left hand, but half the hand to the wrist — after the wrist his hand was just his first finger and thumb, and never wider than about two inches, like a big claw… I figured since he'd just asked me some personal questions, I'd do the same. At least I got to hear the story about how in 1985 he was working on the railroad and he got run over by a water car.

It must seem sometimes like I tell stories and provide links that are very “unamerican”. Now, I do think that America's public and international policies are disgraceful, but they are not a strictly American phenomena — the same things happen here in Canada, and in most Western cultures. So I thought maybe I should tell two stories about attrocities that have happened here in Canada.

A Pakistani man was driving from Belleville to Toronto (Belleville is about two hours east of here) to visit his brother and his nephews. He was also bringing them a box of pastries as a present. On the way there his car broke down, so he bought a bus ticket. Part way through the bus ride, the other passengers started to get nervous. A rumor spread that the “brown guy” was bringing “candies” to the American embassy. The bus driver called ahead, and when it pulled up to the station here in Toronto, a SWAT team dragged the guy off the bus at gunpoint. After a lengthy interrogation and abuse, they clued in that he really was just a guy bringing pastries to his nephews. His only “crime” was brown skin.

The same thing's been happening on airlines — one interesting example is the LA to Toronto flight that got turned around by fighter jets because of the middle eastern guy they say was spouting anti-American stuff and threatening to blow up the plane… At least that's the airline's story. The interviews with other passengers on the plane have all said that the guy didn't say anything and that it was the flight staff that was yelling at him. Or the Pakistani guy who was asked to get off the plane because the pilot felt he was endangering the flight — he was travelling first class to Pakistan for his brother's wedding, and had just donated $5000 to the Red Cross. There are endless stories like this. It's sickening.

But here's one that's even worse — this happened here in Cornwall, Ontario. Start with a couple of awkward kids — “freaks” as the other kids at the school put it. Both brothers are constantly bullied by the jocks at the school, and the administration does nothing (after all, it's part of the natural order for jocks to abuse freaks). Then the older borther was severely beaten and hospitalized by the jocks, and a few days later in drama class for a creative writing assignment, he writes a story called “Twisted”. Twisted is about a kid who's constantly bullied and then eventually blew up the school to get revenge (ever seen the movie Heathers?).

He was immediately expelled and arrested. He spent 34 days in prison before being released on bail — his 14 year old brother is also up on similar charges, even though the police found no evidence that they had explosives, or had any intention of using them.

The charges were eventually “dropped”, but only on the following conditions: he had to post a $100 bond, keep the peace, and be on good behavior for 12 months. He can't come within 2km of the school, and he has to enroll in a full-time education program (it just can't be at the school that expelled him). So basically he was tried and convicted without a trial, and it's pretty much a guarantee that all of this has screwed him up way worse than he may or may not have been before.

If you think that's bad though, in most US schools you can be expelled — fully denied an education — because you decide to get piercings. You can even be expelled at many schools because you dye your hair an “unnatural” color. What are we trying to do? Is this system designed for education or for conditioning? Why are they able to expell someone because he writes fiction that's somehow considered inappropriate? Thought crimes. That's what they got him for. And thought-crime laws are what all the new laws they're trying to institute are about. God bless the free world.

What did Niemöller say? “First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and by then there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Don't think they won't come for you, and don't think they won't turn what you believe in into a crime as well. It doesn't matter that you're a law-abiding citizen — it's bad enough that you have had unamerica thoughts. It's sort of like the Christian concept that if you sin in your heart, you're as damned as if you'd sinned in actuality. It doesn't matter that you didn't blow up the school — if you even thought about it, you're just as treasonous.

When I was in University, I was there on a full scholarship for fine arts. I got that scholarship specifically for doing edgy art — to me, art that doesn't push limits has very little value, and is really nothing but visual masturbation. My senior year was spent doing massive amounts of psychedelic drugs and pouring that into my art — it nearly killed me and I still suffer psychiatric effects from it, but I believe that I produced some truly profound works and learned a great deal about myself and the world around me. My first year of university was spent not only planning, but actually poisoning my performance art class (it's a long story that I'll tell later). Even though it got me a serious talking to and the board of the university did debate my fate, the end result was an A grade and a great deal of respect from my professor. I suspect though that if I were in school in 2001 instead of 1992, I'd be in jail instead of where I am now.

As Bush said, if you're harboring a terrorist, you're as bad as a terrorist yourself… If you're living in the free world, and you allow this abuse of your rights to happen, are you as bad as the tyrants who commit these crimes on the population? Stand up now and stop this process now, before your rights are gone altogether. Got a tattoo? Say hello to Mr. Jailcell. You're a tattoo artist? Say hello to Mr. Electric Chair. Don't think it could happen? Take a look at world history. It happens all the time.

My day

Today was my King Of Fools day (getting tattooed that is). On the way there I saw a horrible woman nearly kill a pedestrian — she hit him with her BMW, and then spent the next fifteen minutes on her cell phone, constantly looking at her watch, and glaring at everyone around her. I shouldn't say “hit him” — she actually ran right over him, realize what she'd done, and then backed up to get off of him, running him over a second time. She almost killed someone, and couldn't care less — the meeting took priority.

I told Shane and Amanda all about our earthship building plans, and coincidentally a friend of Amanda's was there who'd just returned from BC where he'd helped build a straw bale house… And he had lots of pictures of it with him! Anyway, on to the tattooing. We didn't do much; we just designed and quickly outlined the shoulder cap:

It'll get filled in on October 10th (my appointment is right after Fugu's).

I've been getting a lot of messages from people asking about immigrating to Canada and working in Canada. These questions are largely from computer professionals. For those of you that haven't been following the news, America is considering even tighter legislation which would, among other things, make hacking, and even many forms of legitimate security and encryption related programming VERY illegal. They won't be considered felonies — they'll actually be considered acts of war against the state, meaning that you can be held indefinitely without trial and then subject to extreme penalties.

In addition, the laws are set up so that a programmer can be charged for software released by a company they work for (in the theory that if you're involved with an “unamerican” company, you're unamerican yourself I suppose). In addition, the laws allow for people to be prosecuted for “potential” crimes… So, for example, if you develop a piece of software that has the ability to be abused, you can be charged for the abuse even if it never happened. Penalties aren't small either — 25 to life is the sort of thing we're talking about.

Anyway, these new laws — and sometimes just strengthened old laws — are not just directed against programmers. There are even areas in the US where it is illegal to use solar power (Home Power Journal generally runs monthly features on people doing “guerilla solar” if you'd like to learn more about that issue). I guess it's clear that this “war” is a financial war, and laws are strengthened to punish anything that could damage the capitalist system… I guess sending a person running solar panels to jail helps protect the integrity of the utility companies?

In any case, if you're affected by these new laws, you have a few choices. Sites like Escape Artist are certainly a good start. For all I know, if these laws are actually passed, you may be able to apply for refugee status. On a purely financial level, US companies may have to either get the laws changed or have a mass exodus from the country — since the US government recent admitted to using the CIA and Echelon and related systems to spy on European companies, the EU is officially putting a strong push on using heavy encryption. An editorial in ArsTechnica pointed out that if the US government is successful in banning encryption technology, the US will no longer be able to sell software to the EU…

I've been taking lots of online tests lately, and jenc0 just pointed me to the Cocktail Test. In real life I'm quite fond of drinks like Smurfettes and Jolly Ranchers. According to the test, my top three drinks are a Tequila Sunrise (tequila, oj, and grenadine), a Fuzzy Navel (vodka, peach schnapps, and oj), and a Shady Lady (tequila, melon juice, and grapefruit juice)… The Shady Lady sure does sound good.

Anyway, they say she comes on a pale horse, But I'm sure I hear a train. Oh boy! I don't even feel no pain!

I guess I must be driving myself insane.

A few weeks ago I picked up an unbelievable recording of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. It's one of the best albums I own, along with my Pet Sounds boxed set… Anyway, because Rachel has gone out for dinner with Lyz, I get to blast that as loud as I'd like without driving anyone crazy. For some strange reason, not everyone loves progrock. I hear they're into some emo thing.

Anyway, I've spent the past hour (before turning on the stereo) learning to play The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald. It's not a hard song or anything, I just haven't played much in the past ten years, and I certainly haven't read much music… But it seems to be going well. So far I think I have about 45 IAM members who have submitted music for the compilation CD.

Does any one know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searches all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her.
They might have split up or they might have capsized;
May have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.