Why must there be so many evil, vile people out to ruin other innocent people’s hard work and the fruits of their labour? People who rob and then stab their victims, even though they’ve already stolen what they wanted? Or for that matter, those creepy, anti-social type people who sit in basements crafting computer viruses and malware, for the sole purpose of causing other people harm?

As some of you probably know, Forget the Box was hacked last week forcing us to temporarily take the site offline. (The hack has since been cleaned up & we extend a wealth of gratitude to Terry Cutler: The Ethical Hacker for his help cleaning our system. We apologise for any inconvenience and have taken steps to make the site more secure.) Overall for me this ordeal was quite disheartening. Forget the Box is one of the only successful ventures I’ve ever been involved with, and I’ve seen it begin to flourish and grow.

Forget The Box is one of the only good dreams of mine to have come true. Through the hard work and efforts of the whole team, as a media collective which we’ve done our best and worked tirelessly and often thanklessly to get this far.

Then someone decided to sabotage our collective dream!?

I admit it! I don’t know what a “l33t hx0r” is. I’m told that it’s a code for hackers. A hacker is someone who deliberately breaks into the code of a software program or website, for the purpose of creating and spreading computer viruses, spyware, malware, and adware.

A hacker is also the name of a bronze-age chopping tool used for butchering meat into more manageable sizes by cutting pieces off, usually at the joints. It was also used for torture. These computer hackers deserve to be hacked apart with one of these, a death that is slow and extremely painful, as the dismemberment begins with the digits and continues, joint by joint, until all the limbs are cut off. If the victim somehow survives, they will pretty much be a helpless vegetable for whatever is left of their miserable lives, which of course, will be very short and filled with pain.

The torture I just described was also popular among despotic kings from the early Bronze Age until about the renaissance, a period of roughly 4500 years. Of course, computers, as we know and love them today, didn’t exist back then, so hacking a website at that time would probably not have been possible. (More on that in a future rant.)

In other news, Prince William married Kate Middleton, in an overblown and over reported ceremony. I mean according to the news for the past month or so, the only things happening were the Canadian federal election, and the royal wedding, and who made the cake, and who was invited, and what a ‘Fascinator hat” is.   To me, this was a nice thing, but really didn’t merit even one tenth of the coverage it got.

Saturday night was the FTB FUN(d)raiser at Trios Minots, on St. Laurent in Downtown Montreal. A good time was had by all and we thank everyone for coming out to support us. Photos will be up soon 🙂

Today is Election Day in Canada. The polls close at 9:30PM, so if you haven’t already done so, GO VOTE. If you don’t know who to vote for, check out our election coverage!

I was shocked and appalled last week when the skyrocketing price of gasoline topped $1.40 per litre. This is a 40% increase in less than two years! I had already complained bitterly about rising gasoline prices and the underhandedness with which gas companies treat their consumers less than two years ago when the price hit $1.06!

The rate of inflation is set at roughly 2% per year, but the drastic increase in the price of fuels makes the price of everything go up considerably. This poses a problem in a place where well-paying jobs are scarce and getting scarcer. In fact, many people are now earning less than they were ten years ago, but the cost of living keeps on going up at a speed which is impossible to keep up with.

It’s no secret that the oil companies are extremely greedy. On top of that, much of the world’s oil comes from countries with currently unstable governments, many of which produce terrorists in addition to producing oil. Many of them make unreasonable or even ridiculous demands in exchange for cheaper fuels simply because they can. They have North America and the western world by the balls and they know it.

It is truly unfortunate that North Americans are so strongly addicted to oil and the fuel from oils, when other power sources for transport should easily be made available But all of them were bought out and shelved by the oil companies.

Blaming the foreign sources doesn’t change the fact that these oil companies are very, very, very rich, and very, very, very greedy. They bring about environmental disaster and wreak environmental havoc almost as if they were holding the world for ransom, creating greater demand for petroleum-based fuels. The Plastics industry is also dependent on oils to make the polymers needed for use in the production of plastic products.

Maybe if I could stop driving, without all of the headaches and frustrations which come with public transportation, I would, but despite living in a city which has comparatively good public transportation, I still find using it to be excruciating, frustrating and time-wasting, especially when traveling to outlying areas. Of course, if the price of fuel keeps going up this drastically, the price of public transit fares will go up accordingly. So will the price of everything that needs to be transported, to the point of a total economic collapse.

It’s no secret that BP deliberately did not cap the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for quite a long time, until the government of the USA, which included a lot of former BP employees, was forced to. They otherwise would have left the oil to spill into the Gulf killing all life in the Gulf of Mexico! The only reason I can think of is shear greed on BP’s part. BP would have an “accident” at the cost of the   American taxpayer.

Corporations are in control, except that they are out of control. Chaos ensues, litigation happens, people get hurt, maimed and killed in the interest of a very small number of people acquiring their almighty dollars off of the backs of those who can no longer afford to get to work because the price of gasoline has gotten so ludicrously high.

* Photo by Cindy Lopez, photoshopping to update the price of gas two years later by Jason C. McLean

I’d like to begin this one by wishing my grandmother, Zelda Tenenbaum a very happy 90th birthday!

Kittens don't make you responsible: Harper

Stephen Harper even sent in a form letter that was signed by a machine to tell her just that! Harper might not be the best choice for Prime Minister, but out of the current candidates he seems to be the only candidate with any real experience as an incumbent Prime Minister of Canada.

Of course, Harper hasn’t exactly done any better of a job at being Prime Minister than any of his predecessors. In fact, many of his predecessors did a far better job than him, but then if he was doing a good job of running the country, taxpayer’s money would not be going in to be blown on the fourth election in seven years. It could probably be put to use by building more jails and buying more ludicrously overpriced fighter planes that are available to him at a much lower cost.

In reality, longer sentences in prisons without appeals, along with deportations of many, not all of whom were foreign-born, have been on the rise. So has unemployment and the general crime rate across the country. This achieves and accomplishes the creation of only a few jobs, and an infrastructure that costs Canadian taxpayers a very large sum of money indeed. The Liberals are led by a seemingly power-hungry out of touch lout, as per usual, and I’m wondering whether NDP still stands for “No Damned Principals?”

For further erection coverage, consult your fly.

…And now, on with the rant…

It’s April, and with the melting snow comes all of the garbage, the stink, and especially the dog-excrement that lies like landmines just waiting for someone to step in. Cleaning up after a pet is responsible, and really should be backed up by law. If someone doesn’t clean up after their dog, they should then be forced to give up their dogs, followed by their own immediate execution. OK, maybe that’s going too far, but I think at least that if we made urban landmines actually explosive, like regular landmines, a lot more people would clean up after their dogs.

Now wouldn't that be nice!

Therefore, I propose a bill that would have dog food manufacturers put nitroglycerin and other explosives into the dog food, with some kind of time-release system where the owners of the dog could safely clean up after their dogs, but if left out for more than, say, an hour, they will then explode on contact, causing damages to the property, with dire consequences for dog owners who are irresponsible.

On the other hand, I realize that most dog owners are usually responsible, respectful, law-abiding citizens and those few irresponsible and ill-mannered dog owners simply give the rest of the dog-owning populace a very bad name. Therefore I believe that if anyone doesn’t clean up after even one infraction of their dog pooping on the sidewalk (clean it up with a pooper-scooper, and empty it into the nearest municipal trash can) and instead covers their dog’s excrement with the snow that is conveniently there because no trash can is readily available, then the excrement must be mailed to city hall by way of priority courier, destination: the mayor’s desk. Trash cans will pop up fast all over town shortly thereafter. If they don’t, then you must keep shipping your dog’s excrement to city hall until they do.

Really, though, irresponsible pet owners should not be permitted to own pets.

And if you would like to send any care packages to the Mayor his mailing address is:

Hôtel de ville
275, rue Notre-Dame Est
Montréal (Québec)
H2Y 1C6

* Photos by gerryporter.blogspot.com and thehydrant.wordpress.com

Lousy smarch weather: slush on the streets of Montreal

Good evening everybody. I hope all is well. It’s March 14, and a good thaw to you all. My thaw so far has been one of frustrations, particularly where my car is concerned. The other day, I hit a pothole that was hidden by a speed-bump, and was filled with water. My car stalled out on me the next day. After around half an hour, the car started again without a problem.

On a totally unrelated note, a swimming pool near my apartment in St. Henri, had just re-opened after being renovated, around three years after the “official” date of re-opening. I was planning to use it on Thursday night. It seemed like a nice and healthy way to spend an evening.

A few days later, on Thursday night, I was driving back home when I hit another major puddle and again my car crapped out, around five o’clock. Rush hour, in the middle of a busy intersection. After a lot of people honking their horns and shaking their fists and fingers at me, I managed to get out of the car and push it out of the middle of the street and into a bus stop.   Needless to say, my evening was ruined, and I never got to try out the pool. In fact, I’m pretty sure that my evening turned out to be very unhealthy, with all the stress and whatnot.

Around four hours into the interminable wait for a tow-truck, a policeman came, due to a complaint from the public transit authority. Luckily, he understood that there was nothing I could do about it until the tow truck arrived so I was able to talk my way out of a   fine. By the time I got towed to my garage, it was almost midnight, and the garage was closed until 7:30 the next morning.

As it turned out, my alternator was flooded and had to be replaced, to the tune of around $400.00. At least my car seems to be okay now, but I don’t think I can afford to replace any more parts this month.

That day there was a lot of slush everywhere. maybe that’s what the slush fund the mayor’s office keeps investing our money in is for.

It’s also pothole season, when watching the traffic slalom around trying to avoid hitting the craters, cracks, and old buried streetcar tracks that pop up back through the pavement becomes a spectator sport. This is the season of broken axles, pierced gas tanks, lost hubcaps and badly abraised skid plates. Your tax dollars at work.

Can you see the streetcar rail? Another Montreal pothole

The next day, after having my car fixed, I   came home and turned   on the television. Nothing but blandishments and banalities and   commercials, as normal, until the news came on.

My previous ordeal paled in comparison when I learned about the 8.9 Richter scale earthquake that hit coastal Japan, causing a tsunami which washed away houses and cars, and killed at least 10,000 people. the tsunami sent tidal waves as far away as Hawaii and now threatens meltdowns at two Japanese Nuclear facilities.  

Sort of puts my day in perspective.

* Photos by Laurence Tenenbaum

It seems that the Harper government is now expecting to be called the “Harper Government” officially. They seem to want to try to alter the general hegemony in this country in order to keep control. Still, when I hear the term “Harper Government” it’s usually in a negative sense, and the few times I hear anything positive about the government, the particular political party in power   usually doesn’t have their name mentioned.

In fact I used to wholeheartedly support the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. The very first time I voted in a federal election, it was for Kim Campbell, because I wholeheartedly didn’t think things would degrade further if they   were re-elected into power, and that if the Liberals got in, the country would go to pot. I was 18, idealistic, and incredibly naive back then.

Since then, I’ve bounced politically from right to left, back to right, and back to left, usually trying to navigate my way down the middle of the road but generally keeping an uneven keel. I later voted for the Tories, NDP and Green parties, and I have been berated several times   for not voting Liberal. During the reigns of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, there were some die-hard Liberals who almost attacked me physically for being anti-Liberal. I admit that I have never voted Liberal in a federal election in my life, and I’m pretty certain that I never will.

When The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada merged with the Reform Party of Canada, I was feeling very skeptical of the way that things would turn out. I believed that the Reform Party of Canada was very dangerous and just as unstable as the Bloc Quebecois. Who, as a proud Anglophone living in the province of Quebec, I felt I must never vote for. That was akin, in my mind, to a Jewish person like me voting for the Nazi party immediately after the Holocaust. Of course I’ve always exaggerated things.

I supported Stephen Harper when the two parties merged, as I liked him better than Preston Manning. I supported the federal Conservative party until the Harper government began blundering, and bending over backwards for the Bush administration and their corrupt corporate backers, whose interests are not always in line with those of the general Canadian population.

I still prefer the Conservatives to the Liberals, but more and more I’ve been leaning towards the NDP. I admit that I’ve never liked Jack Layton, but still, I do agree with many of his party’s policies. Since voting in Canada is for your local representative, and not for the party leader, I will probably vote NDP in the next Federal election.

A few months ago I was laid off from my job as a printer. I have since been collecting employment insurance, a system which I paid into and am now living from, and I’m supposed to receive benefits until about June. Like one is supposed to do when one is out of work, I’ve been looking for a job.

I recently found a job involving telephone sales, but didn’t take it, as it was not a good match for me. The government then started threatening to cut me off because, like a complete idiot, I followed what I was told and reported a day and a half of work to EI. So they’re threatening to cut me off now. Lesson learned, NEVER LOOK FOR WORK WHILE ON EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE! If you do find work, don’t be honest. If they catch you in a lie, commit suicide, as you will likely be ordered to anyway! At least that’s the message I’m getting from the Gestapo when I read between the lines.

They guaranteed a delay in processing and now will likely cut me off early, forcing me back into a perilous free-fall; a downward spiral that will without a doubt lead to depression, and potentially, force me to commit a crime.

When I called Service Canada, after a while on hold, I was answered by a dime-a-dozen phone rep, named Jorje. Jorje read his script off a monitor, much like a telemarketer, in an annoying fashion. As I was beginning to try to explain my situation, he hung up on me. He just didn’t want to hear it. He’d filled in his little check-box and wasn’t interested in my situation.

What the hell am I supposed to do now? It’s the beginning of a month, rent is due, and there’s a likelihood that I won’t be able to pay my rent and could end up homeless in the wintertime, courtesy of the government of Canada and an annoying little immigrant with an immature voice named Jorje.

All this because I tried my hand at telemarketing again, and was quickly reminded that telemarketing is really not for me. This was a job that paid less than EI was paying, and I wasn’t very good at it. I thought that once you were on EI, it didn’t matter if you worked for a day or two, to test out a potential new job, but didn’t take it, as long as you reported it. I think I was wrong.

Now there’s a very severe chance that I could be losing even my other benefits. Needless to say, I’m scared. They say they have to “investigate” the matter. If it was a dismissal, I lose. If the employer says I quit, I lose.

I want to strangle these government bureaucrats until they’re dead, and still keep strangling! Kinda in the same way the Government of Canada seems to be strangling me!

As I write this,   I’m also struggling with a very high debt load that keeps climbing. I don’t like to think of such unpleasantness, but what choice do I have? I get no benefit from my income tax either, which goes to pay the interest on my student loan. Is this what debt bondage feels like?

Debt image from bustathief.com

This is an experiment in automatic writing, as it’s four o clock in the morning and I’m pretty much writing this in my sleep.

The conspiracy theorist in me is thinking that the chemical trails left in the sky by various military and corporate interests are hurting everyone under the earth’s atmosphere and are partially responsible for all the acid rain and global climactic changes and economic disasters we’re currently experiencing.

After all, we know that the chemical trails are left there to block out the alien flying saucers from regular sight. In fact we’ve been in close contact with alien beings since ancient times, except with breaks of roughly two to three centuries where us puny and inferior humans had to fend for ourselves in the wild world. This has mostly led to wars and violence, along with various other unhealthy practices that we’ve been engaging in.

Perhaps the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 was a call out to the aliens who came to find out what the hell was going on, only to be shot down near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947?

Let me see… Aliens supposedly crash land in the American desert in 1947, and the State of Israel is formed in 1948… Coincidence? Well, probably, but then again, there was apparently a voice above the people of ancient days who said something about the reformation of the land and of a second returning from those beings with UFO’s behind their heads. I believe they refer to it as the second coming, but I could be wrong about that.

In fact, if you look at many religious paintings and frescoes from ancient times until modern day, the “Saints” often seem to be depicted with something floating behind their heads. This has sometimes been defined as “Haloes of light” but how then do you explain the two-tone ones? Or the ones with windows?

For that matter, how do you explain anything about the accomplishments of Bill Gates and Steven Jobs? Why were they successful where others weren’t? Why does it seem that most of the US presidents were somehow related to the specific Puritans who came to America aboard a ship called the Mayflower?

How would you explain that giant, dorky-looking robot that our dear leader, Stephen Harper has supposedly admitted to being, according to a recent article?

How do you explain the internet, with it’s vast array of everything from wonders to diseases, including all manner of viruses, worms, and social networking sites? How do you explain Telemarketing?

You know, there once was a time, not all that long ago, when everything had to be made by hand, the only media was printed as books or newspapers using movable type, which was of course, hand-set, we used horse-drawn trolleys to get around in cities and horse-drawn carriages or horses alone for our longer voyages, and walked as our basic mode of transportation. Food was always local, as were most things which were usually hand made by somebody related to you if not made by you, yourself. Geologically speaking, our ridiculous advances in every possible type of technology is on a timescale that is incredibly minute. In only two centuries we’ve had an industrial, then a consumerist, and then a technological revoloution, in a manner unforeseen.

It must be the “aliens,”

Unless, of course it’s us. Quite frankly, I don’t believe   Humans are all that smart of a species, and Neanderthals were smarter. Maybe.

Disclaimer and warning: the opinions, views, and interests depicted in this rant may or may not necessarily reflect the views of Forget The Box or any of it’s affiliates. It also might not make any real sense whatsoever. No animals were hurt during the writing of this rant, aside from those that were, or might have been.

(/-\)nniina Loves U / Anniina MäkeläIt’s Monday. It’s February 14. There is an arrow aimed at some people and machine guns aimed at others. I haven’t had a real relationship with anyone in G-d only knows how long, but I know it’s more than a decade. So Valentine’s day, which to me is a greeting card holiday, is pretty much just a sick joke, where those who have significant others can rub it in the faces of those that don’t. I never had the woman behind me that has been sorely needed, as I came up in an era of shoe-gazing, riot Grrrls, and staunch lesbian feminazism. On top of that, I sometimes have a problem where I come across as creepy.

Now, I don’t blame any women for any of my problems. If anything, having them around more would’ve been a very nice thing. Unfortunately for me, most of the parties I attend or get invited to are usually sausage-fests, and let’s face it, I’m a fat, hairy guy with wild, staring eyes, a loud voice, many feelings of inadequacy, and general shyness. Not exactly qualities women are looking for in their potential mates. In fact, The last date I had felt more like a job interview I wasn’t expecting, for a job I know they won’t hire me for, in part because I’m just not qualified.

Last week, I revealed a secret that perhaps I shouldn’t have, but since I never meant it seriously, and everyone knows that, I think I’m ok. The truth is, that my friends are the best friends I could have, and without them I’d probably have been dead for several years now. Or living somewhere other than Montreal. It’s my friends that have made my life worth living, especially since I’m still prone to prolonged bouts of depression and other problems.

Some of my friends have also been known to wreck it for me. This is usually unconscious on their part, but since I’m thought of as “friends with this guy”, or that guy, who has whatever qualities they don’t like, I’m automatically guilty by association. I’m 35 and I live like a college student instead of a married guy with kids. Sometimes I feel truly pathetic.

As many of you may already know, I like to consider myself as an artist, but I know I can be temperamental, finicky, and sometimes violently destructive. I would like to thank my friends for bearing with me through all the thick and all the thin that my moods/wallet/temperament has gone through. Through the periods of work and unemployment, through the periods of wealth and poverty, and then into the proverbial overtime the game will inevitably go into.

By the way, I also associate St. Valentine’s day with the massacre, because prohibition was and still is a very stupid thing, which gave rise to organized crime rings comprised, in part, of otherwise legitimate businessmen. These businessmen were ambushed and slaughtered on this day, back in 1929, in Chicago. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.   The criminals involved in the liquor trade during prohibition evolved into criminal syndicates, assorted mafia and the families thereof, who needed to protect themselves and were occasionally forced into crime by unscrupulous and overzealous policemen, politicians and lawyers.

Photo by (/-\)nniina Loves U / Anniina Mäkelä

sigh
Sorry to be such a downer...

Good morning everybody. It’s Monday again…

Time for…

“Laurence Rants.”

My name is Laurence, and I’m the uptight, right-wing SOB who complains about everything. I like to hang around with a group that I affectionately, and up until now secretly, referred to as my ‘gang of idiots.’ I’m no leader, but I fancy myself one. I’m told that my intelligence quotient slightly above average, hovering at 120 or so, so naturally I consider myself just as stupid as most of my friends, if not stupider. I have one friend who seems better-adjusted than most. He has a stable, well paying job, lives in a nice house, and his IQ is only around 90. Conclusion: Stupidity is prized in today’s society.

In fact, we’re probably all above the average level of intelligence, heck, we’re probably all geniuses, except that we seem to mostly be stricken with A.D.D., A.D.H.D., P.O.V.E.R.T.Y., as well an assortment of monopolar, stereopolar, and surround-sound polarization diseases, not to mention the 6th sense, the 7th sense, and the senselessness that our group often finds itself in.

Even though, at the moment, I’m an unemployed broke-ass, I at least try to pull my own weight. Unfortunately I’m not always able to do so. I often have to take the flak for other people’s mistakes, errors, or oversights, along with my own. Heck, I often have had several people yelling at me because of their own mistakes!

What can I do? I live in a world of micromanagement where the things that go right are usually unacknowledged and the few things that go wrong are generally overreacted to and often results in some form of being punished. Sometimes I feel like I’m being punished for nothing. That was the original punishment, now I’m being punished for being punished!

I haven’t exactly had an easy life, and I’ve made a hell of a lot of mistakes over the years, but just the same, I deserve better than to feel like all this time I’ve been struggling to pay everyone else’s dues while my own went unpaid and therefore, I get no benefit. Seems to me that so far, I’ve been getting a raw deal out of life.

I know, I’m kind of a downer, especially on a Monday. Yes, I’m often depressed, especially by the situation I’m stuck in. Yes, I have anger issues, yes, I often feel extremely frustrated with the world and constantly thwarted by the life I’m currently living and the fact that I’m not very well off.

To that idiot from the party I was at on my birthday who tried to kick me down his stairs, you should have to live through the hardships I already have, and I should only have good things happen to me from now on.   I know, life isn’t fair. Those kids who bullied me in high school are now bragging millionaires whose children are now bullies. What a life.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this rant do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Forget the Box Media Collective, or any of it’s members. Having said that, on with the rant.

Good morning everyone, I hope this cold Monday finds you in good spirits. There is spirited rioting going on in a few dictatorships in the Arab world, where it seems that many of the residents have been trying to subvert and topple the governments due to being exhausted by the tyranny thereof. As a result, they have blocked the internet and cell-phone communications in Egypt, leading to a fiery, bloody protest and a battle against the people by their own dictatorial government.

Speaking of dictatorial governments and the internet, the CRTC has recently announced that they will allow a metered usage for internet users, limiting severely the level of access by way of very high and stiff charges for “Overuse.” Considering that the major internet providers in Canada are also the major Cable/Satellite TV providers, and more people are watching online instead of watching cable, and using cellular telephones instead of land-line telephones, this is a way for the rich CEOs to stick it to the little guy all over again, protecting their obese incomes while making the general population pay through the nose for basic services.

Since the main benefactors are TV providers, I believe that the corporations behind it are truthfully trying to get people to remember the box. I’d very much prefer to forget the box entirely, as thinking outside the box just simply is not enough. There is a group called Open Media where you can sign a petition against this bill online. Also flooding the CRTC Complaint department with complaints might help block this bill from passing.


Sign the petition here!

A colleague of mine at Forget the Box wrote an article about the current problems protesters are facing, including the cutoff of all internet and cellular telephone services in Egypt, and I couldn’t access Forget The Box until another article was posted. I’m not entirely convinced that this was coincidental.

I’m also not sure if the Egyptian government does get toppled, that the replacement government will be any better than the current administration that the people are currently trying to overthrow. Democracy might be a nice concept, but I strongly suspect that there will be another dictatorship, this one worse than the current one, to replace the current government. Tunisia was taken back by the people, and what will probably become another dictatorship with rigged “democratic” elections.

Maybe I’m wrong, I hope I am, but it seems to me that very seldom is a dictatorship ever replaced with any form of true democracy. I also believe in communalism, communitarianism, but not communism. I do believe in free enterprise, but I also think that the playing field is quite unfair. It tends to slide towards those who have money, in a rather biased fashion. Because of this, along with increasing cost of living, unemployment, and increasing poverty, the crime rate is on the rise.

Having said all that, I have noticed a lot of pre-season for-sale signs in some of the wealthier areas of Montreal.

I live in a city which bustles along at a furious pace. Nobody really cares for anyone else when they’re in a hurry. I was walking down the sidewalk the other day, minding my own business, when out of nowhere a runner comes up from behind me and BANG! Kicks me hard in the ankle, almost knocking me down, resulting in a whole weekend of excruciating pain for me. I know I’m just as guilty of this, but people really should learn to look at what’s in front of them and stop being so darned self-centered and selfish when it comes to their walking/running/driving habits.

At the same time, the ladder-lock on my backpack failed and fell off my back. I re-attached the strap to the bag and tied a knot in it to prevent the slip from happening again. I don’t usually carry a laptop in my bag, but that day I had borrowed an Apple Macbook Pro, which I was taking to an internet café. Upon opening the backpack, I didn’t notice anything wrong, at first. By the time I returned the laptop to its owner, he noticed a dent and a buckling in the aluminum casing.

Naturally he screamed to make sure all the neighbors in the area knew what a retarded pariah I am, stating that I’m a “Special Needs” case and that I really shouldn’t be living away from my parents unless I was in some kind of asylum. I told him that he was full of it and immediately made an appointment at the Apple Store, where it was verified that the damage was very minor, cosmetic damage that was not worth the price of repairing it. I don’t think I’ll borrow that laptop again anytime soon.

Can you see the damage?

Pain is a very unpleasant thing, particularly when it is being inflicted by others because of simple in-courtesy towards your fellow people/objects. I’m sure that if instead of me, there was a low, sharp pike in the sidewalk, or if there was a hole in the sidewalk, he would have run into that. Nobody believes in being nice to strangers anymore if they’ve got nothing to gain from it.

Certainly, we live in a society where nobody can afford to be patient, yet we are always waiting, or making someone else wait, often for hours at a time, because we’re all often quite self-centered. This is a citywide social disease, commonly found rampant in any city with a population of over 100,000. Sometimes smaller towns can succumb to this fast-paced urban type “Me First” mentality. Of course I’m no better than anyone else, having grown up in Suburbia and living the downtown life since well before I moved into town.

It reminds me of a rule we had on a class trip in elementary school. The rule, which I didn’t completely understand at the time, was “No Me First.” And was supposed to state that everyone else comes before you do. That was the rule. Because of it, I got lost, thinking that it also meant that asking for information, or directions, was wrong. It must have left a lasting impression on me because I’m still often afraid to ask questions, ask for directions and with a learning disability piled on top of it all, I find I don’t always end up where I should have gone.

photos by Laurence Tenenbaum

If you want to rant about something leave a comment below!

So far in 2011, I’ve had only one major meltdown at the sheer audacity and lack of respect offered by my fellow man in this town. That’s the whole problem. While I could attempt to analyze the scenario and go over the events and details with a fine toothed comb which would probably be tedious, extremely boring, and only serve me to suffer through the pain and hypertension all over again. Dull read, and it’s not worth the heart attack.

So far, this year has been relatively quiet in my world. In the world at large, however, there has been a lot of things happening, from birds and fish suddenly dieing, to senators being shot, to electric lime green coloured rivers reminiscent of the green slime used on “You Can’t Do That On Television” In fact it’s been a rather busy week for Mother Nature, as well as a few loud and obnoxious crazy people with guns. So far 2011 isn’t turning out very well in American states that begin with the letter “A.”

Next week I turn 35. As the date draws closer I find myself more and more apprehensive about it. All kinds of thoughts have been buzzing through my head, such as: “I’m 35 now. What have I accomplished?”, “Why don’t I have a wife and children?”, “Do I even want a wife and children?”, “Where’s my ten billion dollars, my mansion and exotic car collection?”, “Why haven’t I had any of that stuff in years?”, “Why don’t I want any?”, “What kind of liquor do I want at the party?” etc.

Actually, I found a cool party to go to that happens to be on my birthday, January 15. I figure it’s better than trying to throw my own party, where four people show up, all guys, and most wanting to go to the other party, and they’d likely convince another friend who might likely try to do something incredibly stupid in a way to kill the buzz and make the day royally suck. I’d prefer to have a very good time on my birthday weekend, thank you very much. Instead I’ve got a party for charity, The Montreal International Auto Show, and then, if I still have the energy, a concert of folk music, I think.

Another problem I’ve noticed is that my endurance levels aren’t quite where they used to be. I’m told that these next few years are difficult ones as I approach the summit of life, only to go speeding down at an alarming rate, ending with frailty, senility, and general elderliness. I don’t want to get old, and yet I feel old much of the time. I have many friends who are much older than me, who consider me a mere spring chicken, to recycle an overused cliché, telling me, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” I hope they are both right and wrong by saying that.

I hope this year brings me love, luck, prosperity and health. I hope this coming year’s adventures exceed those of previous years. I hope that the various projects I’m directly and indirectly involved with have great success, including: Alien AWOL and Forget The Box. This is my first rant of 2011. I’m almost another year older, and while I do believe that age is only a number, I will definitely accept any birthday gifts that you send up my way. Thank you.

Photo courtesy of: http://johnpaulg.blogspot.com/

It’s been a heck of a year. A lot has happened. Let me see.

In January I turned 34. I saw a pretty good metal show on my birthday. I began the year with high hopes and then ranted about ageing and cold medications. I was forced to get a credit card again. My human nature made me run up a larger bill then I should’ve allowed myself. I also got robbed and was frauded on my credit card for somebody’s kitchen renovations.

We had long and painful hockey season, which was compressed by the International Olympic games on stolen native lands, followed by the international world cup soccer championships in South Africa. I attended a solidarity march and vigil for the missing native women from across the country. I was accused of multiple atrocities simply for disagreeing with someone, who threatened dire consequences. I put my foot down on a few things.

The skid plate on my car needed to be replaced. I struggled with parking and snow removals. I got a parking fine. I worked very hard as a printer and complained about my lack of sleep and of the bullies in my past and what it’s like to live with sleep apnea and ADD. I moved back to my previous apartment, with my previous roommate and cat. I gained another cat from a former roommate, I got a space at 1180 for my band only to have it snatched away and then returned. I lost my job as a printer.

There were lots of parties. I started doing spoken word again. I re-joined the Quebec Writers’ Federation as a full writing member because of “Laurence Rants.” I celebrated Forget the Box’s new home and instantly became good friends with our new Copy-editor/Arts editor, Cassie Doubleday.

I scratched my head at the atrocious ludicrousness issued from Toronto’s new mayor, Rob Ford and I complained bitterly about the mayor of Montreal, Gerald Tremblay and the corruption and evil for which he and his party stands. I supported Projet Montreal only to be appalled and disgusted by some of the actions taken by members thereof. I wasn’t surprised though, power corrupts. I shuddered at what the provincial liberals did and nearly vomited over actions taken by Quebec Solidaire. The Parti-Quebecois almost scarily started to make sense to me, but then I remembered that, as an Anglophone in Quebec, they see me as a second-class citizen, if a citizen at all. My family has lived in Montreal five generations before me and yet I’m an illegal alien in the city I was born in. Obviously, I can’t support that. I fell from right wing to left. Well, more left than I was before.

I shuddered at the political landscapes at the federal level in both Canada and the United States. I got annoyed by protests and irritated by the sheer amount of idiocy and lies that were plastered to every lamppost I saw. I lived it up and down. I felt like I was 19 all over again and I felt old at the same time. All in all, 2010 was a much better year for me than 2009 was, but not without its trials and tribulations. Hopefully next year will be better than the previous year was for myself and everyone reading this. Thank you all for a good year.

Good day, ladies and gentlemen. I hope all is well and this holiday season finds you in good health and in good status. I know it seems like a strange title for a Christmastime rant and despite the way I feel about the holiday, I’m not going to be one of those douchebags who try to spoil everyone’s fun. That’s just not me.

Recently, I was at a party where my backpack was stolen, along with a few other items belonging to various people. The thieves probably thought there was a laptop computer or some other large ticket item in it. The most valuable thing in that backpack was the backpack itself. Stealing from someone at a party violated my good time and put an indelible tarnish on that whole experience. If there had been something as valuable as a computer in the bag, it’d certainly be equipped with a GPS in case of theft and would have been found very quickly.

Instead I was out around $140 for the backpack, the change of clothes, the grooming supplies and the bottle that was in it. The bottle was for the party I was attending and the backpack was because I needed SOMETHING to carry it in and sometimes I might have other things in it to take with me. Then I got sick and was stuck at home with the flu, when somebody decided to have his or her kitchen redone and paid for it using MY credit card. I don’t have the $4300 that was charged and I only found out about it when I got the bill in the mail.

Needless to say, I freaked out. I called the credit card company immediately and got through in a record hour and a half to somebody who barely spoke English, only enough to pass me off to someone who did. I complained that I had never heard of this renovation company before and that this charge was both obscene and unaffordable. If it turns out that I have to pay for this fraudulent error, I will be forced to commit unspeakable acts in order to pay it down. These acts would then require me to be treated accordingly, that is, tortured to death.

Naturally I contacted the RCMP Fraud squad, and was given a telephone number for the company who charged me. I called them and informed them about the situation and that an investigation was underway. The lady on the other end of the telephone seemed to understand and sympathize, saying that she didn’t blame me for calling in the fraud squad.

The bill for the credit card is due on the 25th of December. Merry Christmas. All I ever really got for Christmas was fired anyway. Of course, being Jewish, Christmas doesn’t have the same sentiment and appears as a giant wave of consumerist BS and is a truly capitalist holiday. Twice I’ve been let go on Erev – Rosh Hashana, which is equivalent to being fired on Christmas Eve, and my last job they waited until a week after because of the way they knew it would look if they fired me on the evening of the high holy-day.

So if you believe in Christmas, or follow those traditions, have a Happy, Healthy and safe one. Hopefully you won’t be in too much debt after. Hopefully somebody won’t have committed a fraudulent purchase of an extremely expensive item and use your credit card number to do it. May the next year be better than the last year for all of us. Amen.

Next week: 2010-in-review.

Photo: http://memegenerator.net/Antoine-Dodson/ImageMacro/2878390/We-gonna-find-you

I know I bellyache a lot about winter in general and the negative ways in which it affects the city and me. My most recent beef with the city of Montreal and winter is of course about snow removal. Those of us who live in the city and also drive cars know what I’m talking about.

At the beginning of last week, as I was recovering, the city had its first winter storm. The cleanup hasn’t been finished yet. In fact, it seems to take this city a long time before the giant piles of snow do get cleared. I guess I should be thankful they get cleared at all.

What’s worse, the snowplow simply buried my car under a megaton of snow, and my only shovel was a flimsy little piece of garbage that snapped in two at my first dig. So I bought a new shovel. This time I committed overkill, buying a shovel that just barely fits into my trunk, and takes some doing to get in there in the first place. Another problem with keeping the shovel in the trunk was that the trunk was buried inside the snowbank created by the plow.

In Montreal, parking is already a nightmare. In winter, with huge piles of snow, buried vehicles, struggling vehicles, annoying orange signs announcing snow removal ,which doesn’t always happen, I should be used to this. If I have to listen to one more idiot on the news who “Loves winter” and “Wants more snow” I will root them out and strangle them, then make them shovel. Funny how this idiot kid who wants more snow should be interviewed immediately before a commercial for winter sporting goods comes on!

Snow under the car, snow in my face, snow upon snow and it won’t end for another five months! I know. Shut up! There are far greater issues facing us right now that this giant avalanche of snow that hits the city every winter and usually gets worse before it gets better.

Also, it gets very cold. I don’t like the cold. I mean, I like it in my drink in summer, and I like having some cold in short bursts perhaps intermittent with warm bursts, but the level of cold outside is kinda ridiculous. Makes me wish I lived in a warmer climate.

Speaking of a warmer climate, the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference wrapped up recently in Cancun, Mexico. The Canadian delegates including ministers and media didn’t accomplish much, but I’m sure they were distracted and busy, scantily clad and enjoying sun and margaritas served by pretty, equally scantily clad señoritas on the warm, sandy beach, but then… maybe I’m feeling a little bit of jealousy there… no matter, when they came back to this weather, I’m sure the shock sent taxing troubles to their immune systems, and all of them caught the cold that the passenger in seat 36G had, despite the fact that they were all flying first class and he was in third “Economy.”

Ok, maybe I’m being a little too liberal, after all, I’m supposed to be one of those guys who supports the right wing, but leans somewhat towards the left. In fact I lean often a little too heavily to the left for my own liking. Politics aside, I’m voting green because without a planet, political policies are kinda moot.

Photos: 1. snow: http://publicsafety.utah.gov/homelandsecurity/images/411snowcars.jpg /
2. Green Party: http://windconcernsontario.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/green-party-simplified-flower-election-logo-english.jpg

Dear readers, originally I had a completely different rant, but internal circumstances prompted me to write this one, partly out of frustration. Also, a shout-out: Happy Belated Birthday to Irkar Beljaars! I would have been at your party if I was feeling better then I have been. I also should have been at the potluck party with Pappillon, and the Chanukah party at my parents’ house. Happy and healthy Chanukah to my Jewish readers.

Now, the rant.

I hate being sick!

I know, most people also don’t like it, but damn! Why must the “messy wet phase” be so god-awfully wet and messy? Why am I experiencing bad muscle and chest pains? Why does my jaw and arm hurt periodically whenever I’m going through a coughing fit? Why so many coughing fits!?

I was supposed to have a very full weekend of partying and drunken revelry, but instead I’ve been too sick to go out anywhere and I’ve been taking only some cold medication, which doesn’t seem to be working. I haven’t even been outside since Friday morning! It really sucks!

I must apologize to anybody I had made plans with over this past weekend. Illness is a bitch. Between the hacking, the coughing, the wheezing, the sneezing, the runny nose, the fevers, the nightmares and the explosive sinusitis, I don’t feel so good and I’m probably very contagious (and my throat hurts too).

I know that at the present moment, if there is a cure for the common cold, it’s been bought and shelved by greedy pharmaceutical companies, in order to sell their “Magic Elixirs.” They generate new viruses and variants thereof in order to sell more medications. They’ve been caught doing this many times. Corporations are above any country’s laws as long as they’re large enough to be multinationals. In many places, governments are mere puppets to the corporations.

Go ahead. Hang me for stating the obvious. Hang me for sedition. I’m no citizen because I failed the physical to join your military to fight giant insects. Sorry. Fever tangent to the bad movie playing in the background. I bet you can guess which movie that one is by my description.

Sorry if I’m all over the place today. I’m still kinda sick. I think I am recovering, though. Although right now I’m on a lot of cold medication. I already ranted about that here.

I was originally going to rant about the erosion of rights in the United States that seems to be currently going on, as freedom of speech the internet in America leads to being called, labeled and treated as a terrorist. I don’t believe that Wikileaks, for example, supports terrorism necessarily,   but I do believe that one should use their own judgment and decide for themselves based on the fare available. I know it can be difficult choosing which lies to believe, but if a website, or a newspaper, or a television channel reports something true, they should not really be penalized for it.

But what do I know?