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Saturday, June 05, 2004

A retort. 

As with many things, Ben, I disagree with what you say, but I would lay down my life for your right to say it. Now then, a response.

It acknowledges the fundamental mistreatment of minorities. Once again, we resign ourselves to broad generalizations. Not every member of a minority group is a victim of historical crimes against his people, nor is every member of a minority group (or the white majority, for that matter) capable of great things "if only they had been afforded better opportunities". Minorities are systemically discriminated against until they can't keep up with better-schooled students. This is not because they are inferior to said students, but because they have not been given the same opportunities. And just how, per tell, do you distinguish between a student who is "a victim of their inferior education" and one who is just slow/lazy?

Furthermore, not every white kid has had access to all the world's opportunities. Affirmative action, in the described manner, would benefit an affluent black student while shirking the needs of thousands of trailer trash white kids. If it's about helping the disadvantaged out, why is race an issue and not assessed financial need? Bullshit notions of artificially creating/promoting diversity, that's why.

It's about time that whites feel what it's like to be shut out? You're aware that a significant portion of people living below the poverty line are white? I sympathize with the plight of the traditionally down-trodden racial minorities, but comments like this just set their cause back by antagonizing people who might otherwise be willing to help.

If one wants to break the cycle of poverty, then social programs geared towards inner city kids/schools are the way to do it. My brother's music school in Regent Park did just that, and now a number of its alumni, like Thompson Egbo Egbo, are world class performers. This is the core of my point: we should be trying to provide them opportunities instead of cutting them slack for not having them.

Quite frankly I don't buy the "I am a product of my upbringing/society" line, given that both of my parents came from poor backgrounds and are now quite well off. The same can be said of so many immigrants who come to the New World and work their asses off, and send their kids to college. The Italian community in America started off this way, so did the Irish, so did the Jews, and now look at them. Special treatment be damned - those sufficiently determined will prosper despite anyone's best efforts at bring-down. Lower mark cut-offs is no substitute for affording kids horizon-expanding opportunities earlier in life, because you really can't honestly say that their lower marks are because of their upbringing or their capability. Giving them the benefit of the doubt is going a little far, in my opinion - in the name of equality/equity, everyone should get the benefit of the doubt. I may have extenuating circumstances that may be far more severe than "growing up in a bad neighbourhood" and aren't as outwardly visible as a "racial handicap", and affirmative action affords me no such luxury.

Affirmative action is a very simple-minded and ultimately flawed solution to a complex problem. Judgement, in academic setting, that is based on anything but merit serves to cheapen academia as a whole. Also, while it was a caricature, the bake sale was illustrative of not the marginally "good" things about affirmative action but the fundamental problem it creates.

I disagree. 

Affirmative action doesn't imply inferiority on the part of those minorities who benefit from it. Rather, it acknowledges the fundamental mistreatment of minorities and women by a patriarchal, capitalist, white supremacist society. Historically, minorities have not had the same access to education, for instance, as whites. Because of this, they have been resigned to the hired help. They are often ghettoized, and it is needless to say that schools and services available to them are not the same calibre offered to predominantly white areas.

All this adds up. Minorities are systemically discriminated against until they can't keep up with better-schooled students. This is not because they are inferior to said students, but because they have not been given the same opportunities.

Affirmative action aims to give disadvantaged students the opportunities that others have. The idea is that after a student goes through university, they'll be better equipped to assist their offspring and give them opportunities formerly unavailable, and the cycle continues, eliminating injustice.

The problem is not the privileging of minorities over whites (cause it's about time whites feel what it's like to be shut out, quite frankly), but that systemic discrimination continues in other areas, reversing the effects of affirmative action. Besides which, any gains made will ultimitely be lost because capitalism requires a class hierarchy.

In summary, affirmative action is not two wrongs making a right, the Young Conservatives' bake sale is selfish and an unfit metaphor for affirmative action, and we must recall that structural equality is very different from practical equality, especially in the post-modern world.

Ahh. The Kathedral gig. 

Track 5 is the absolutely awful improvised cover of Sympathy For The Devil. I think it does exist but I've destroyed most record of it. It's better that way. Happy New Year was very History-Teacher-esque, The Divide, I never thought of as having an MGB connection. In fact, I figured out just recently that the lead guitar fill is surprisingly similar to the one in Push by Moist -- did I subconsciously rip it off? If anything, Imitation Leather always struck me as a more upbeat Symbolistic White Walls.

Jacob, amen with the diversity schpiel. Affirmative action, in my opinion, is a pile of crap. Would I feel the same way if I were something other than a white male? I'd like to think that yes, I would. In fact I'm almost sure I would. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s epic speech I Have A Dream addressed exactly what you're saying - judgement based on strength of character and not skin colour. Which way the scale is tipped is irrelevant - discrimination is discrimination. This article had me really laughing my head off. Despite the fact that the bake sale was organized by Young Conservatives and I'd hardly call myself a conservative, I'd side with them. Their little stunt does serve to illustrate the ridiculousness of affirmative action. Two wrongs don't make a right, and they never will. I think that a lot of level-headed members of racial minorities would agree with me - receiving applications from a white guy with an 80% and a black guy with a 70% and considering them equally for the same spot in university seems to be an acknowledgement that blacks are by nature inferior, and need "special treatment" in order to keep up. If you're aiming at fairness, then a student/potential employee/etc. should be judged on his merits, and his merits alone.

Work goes well, that it does. So does calculus, actually. Not much to report, which is why I haven't written anything until now.

Root Down 

Diggin' through some old MP3 cds today-- I have like fourteen of the 700mb mothers, besides what's on my robut and my brother's server-- and what should I find? The Belligerent Goats, Live (at the Reverb?). I marvel at the MGBness that you can feel on some of these track, Dave, particularly Happy New Year and The Divide.

Track list as follows:
01 Vanilla Cigarettes
02 I'll Stick Around
03 Imitation Leather
04 The Brews
06 Flowers
07 Happy New Year
08 The Divide (plus Long Division)

What was track number five? Why don't I have it? Does it exist?

(T minus fifty-three minutes until I go To the Five Boroughs.)

PS. Where are our womenfolk?

Friday, June 04, 2004


Everything's looking good.

I've got my sister hooked on (dumb) video games.

I've only got one full week left here.

Garfield's gonna rock even harder than I, Robut.


Thursday, June 03, 2004


I got the fifth degree today from Unit Mom about not being seen for like, four days. I've been around. I came home every night but one, and I told them where I was, and I had my cellphone. They could have called. Apparently, I'm missing out on "family time", or some such nonsense. Right now, family time seems to be consisting of watching television, not talking to each other. Yeah, fuck that.

Instead, I sit here and play Call of Duty, aka Band of Brothers the Game. When I could be doing a million better things with my time, away from here. The sheer idiocy of this all astounds me. ARGH I WANT OUT I AM JUST GUN' RUN

Back Early! 

Well it's 4:30 as I write this and I'm not at work, I'm at home. Why? Because today was orientation. And yes, it was terrible (though it did end at 2:30 and we all just went home). It wasn't physically painfull per se (though there was a bit from the blood-taking, needle injecting and that weird thing where they put a box over our heads and sprayed in chemicals). No mainly it was just boring. Hours and hours of stupid speakers mouthing mindless platitudes (UHN has a committement to innovate excellence!) and stupid buzzwords (paradigm) take their toll on the soul after a while.

One of the worst was the presentation on diversity. Now just the mention of our Fun New Thought Police automatically sets me on edge. And they pretty much fulfilled my expectations. I'll summerize: We have to battle discrimination. Also, we should we should replace the old golden rule with a new one "Do unto others as they would have you do to them". Instead of "equality" we should aim for "equity", recognize inherent differences in order to properly accomodate diversity blah blah blah. Here's my question, aren't they saying that we should treat people differently based on certain characteristics. Isn't that *gasp* discrimination? And what are these variables. Well there's Region, Race, Colour and Ethnicity (Talk about redundancy). Than as we're going through Religion and Gender, we hit something really stupid. Record Of Offenses. That's right, the UHN Diversity Office actually forbids discrimination of people based on whether or not they were a rapist!. Great idea guys. I'm carrying mace to work from now on.

Of course they might say that positive discrimination is necessary to right historical wrongs. There's certainly argument there (though they should pretending they're against discrimination) but certainly it shouldn't extend to quotas. Take my office. Crunching the stats we have 1 WASP, 1 Latina, 2 East-Europeans, 2 Italians, 3 Indians and 3 Chinese people. As well we have 1 male and 11 females. Clearly we are out of whack, we Do Not Look Like Canada. About half of Canadians (49.5%) are from either British and French background. Only 8.3% of our office can say that. Sino-Indians are also over-represented. 25% of our office have Indian descent and 25% have Chinese descent. Compare that to Canada which is 3.2% South Asian and 6% East Asian. And let's not forget the fact that males have only 8.3% of the office while we're about 49% of the population. Clearly we have to import a bunch of stupid white men to level the playing field. Or maybe- just maybe- we should give people jobs based not upon the colour of their skin, but on the content of their character. Maybe if some hypothetical white males might not be able to save as patients we shouldn't hire them just to conform the workplace to a rigid mathamatical model of society.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

i love sirius black 


harry potter.


be there.

or die 'cause you're lame.

I don't care if we all go together or not, but it would be nice to have dinner as a real family for once. I hope to have tickets bought for me (via credit card! woo hoo plastic!) by a heather gough, so I officially don't know when I'll be seeing it. but by all means, bug Ben about it, cause I'll likely pull him along and draw a lightning bolt on his forehead (wouldn't that be CUTE??? I kinda wanna add some freckles in there too, but that would mess up the potter image.)

um. should I dress up? ie: as her-my-own-ee? or would that stoop me to new levels of fan-girlity? forget it. I already know the answer, and don't care. or do I? be there and find out. or not?

oh. Ben: thursday, bathurst station, 7:30pm. don't wear running shoes, cause apparently there's a dress code. do you have the cards or do I? also, nevermind. just call me, we'll talk.

I've been paid for babysitting. I feel all warm and rich inside. like a fat cat.


Right now I'm reading The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity by a guy named Tariq Ali (when my mom saw the author's name she thought it was one of Saddam's lieutenants). It sets the events of 11 September in a historical context with the rise and fall of Muslim civilization. I'm learning a a lot and it's pretty entertaining. Once I'm done this book I'm moving on to Mutiny on the Bounty which I picked up at a yard sale for 50 Cent. Seriously, I actually traded Fiddy to the yard sale people, they were quite impressed.

Speaking of yard sales, we had ours on saturday. My dad put out 3 or 4 big boxes of vinyl LPs and sold them them for 2 dollars a pop, which I told him was silly because he could probably sell them for five or six times that amount. He couldn't understand who'd want his old records. In the boxes was some great stuff: The Clash, Led Zeppelin II, and the Beatles Blue Album (which I think we may have kept). He had some fucking twentysomething yuppy say they were very excited about STARTING their record collection. I hate yuppies.

My bike got stolen and I'd like one to take a bike with me to cadet camp, so if anyone has a large men's bike that they'd like to sell, me gimme a shout.

Leo- If you're done watching The Codfather I'd like it back, my uncle's asking about it.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Flim, you heard me, flim. 

So, I just watched The Godfather. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. Did it live up to the hype? Certainly, it was quite good, I don't know if I personally felt it was one of the greatest films of all time. Quite complex, need more time to mull it over and dissect it all.

Also, I'm sure y'all know Adaptation, one of my all-time favourite films. Remember the seminar Donald the hack keeps pressuring Charlie to attend? It's by a guy named Robert McKee. Robert McKee is real and I'm pretty sure he plays himself in that film. Anyways, I just was lent a copy of Robert McKee's Story from the man I'm writing a script for. My first response was, "ha, ha, he's Donald and I'm Charlie." Then it was, "This book sickens me". Then it was "this is where my (largely disliked) prof gets all her ideas from." Now it's, "Okay. Wow. Insightful. So that's what's wrong with everything I do." mixed with only occasional disgust.


McKee says-


I don't want to hear it!

Jacob - hands down funniest post in ages with "I Love the Economist"

Don't read if you haven't seen Star Wars 

I have a job interview tomorow, which is good. Unfortunatley it means I need to shave again, just as I was finally starting to look properly scruffy, well a bit anyways.

I got to thinking about Star Wars today. When our kids see Star Wars they'll be watching it in the actual order that they take place in, so 1-6, instead of 4-6 and then 1-3. So what I'm thinking is, will the impact of Luke learning Vader is his father still be there at the end of Empire? Or will people already know that Vader is Lukes father. I wonder how exactly Lucas is going to do this, knowing him he's ruining the suprise and impact of it for future generations.

Like I said, my thoughts are turning nerdier and nerdier.

There was something else I wanted to mention, but at the moment I can't really rember what it was. Oh well.

Monday, May 31, 2004

I love The Economist 

One reason I love is it keeps me informed about what's happening in the world. And not just the normal stuff, but crazy obscure shit like why the Chinese government should be afraid of Hu Shuli (or maybe exposing certain scandels she helps prop up the system by making it appear transparent). Plus, I don't really read business news, so I get it from there.

But the main reason I love it is that it makes me feel important. As I read it all the ads are like "Please, invest in our country!" and the classifieds are like, "Wanted, proconsul for Kosovo". Clearly, it's not aimeed at my demographic but I can pretend it is. Plus there's that subtle throw-away snobbery they have. I remember in article they were discussing trade policy and casually mention "This is the greatest threat to free trade since the British Corn Laws of 1864 (Which this newspaper of course opposed at the time)".

Another retarded post. 

Am I the only one who thought "George Dubya" instead of "Games Workshop" when presented with "GW"? God, I'm losing it.

To quote the Economist today:

Mr Bush is sufficiently worried about loss of support within his own party - remember that it was Republican defections, as much as anything else, that cost his father his re-election in 1992 - that he took the unusual step of travelling to Capitol Hill on May 20th to rally his allies. He duly got his standing ovations, but the speech produced a worrying bit of symbolism. He likened the handover to taking the training wheels off a bicycle: "It's time for [the Iraqis] to take the bike and go forward." A few days later Mr Bush fell off his own bike in Texas, badly scraping his face.

Heh, heh, heh. And now, a special Memorial Day treat.

Weekend over then. 

Yeh Leo, I know. I just liked "touch this elephant with dynamite" better. Send me the rest of the goddamn cd. And read Dune, it's pretty wacked.

Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge is nuts. It must cut every two seconds. It's really hard to watch. But Roxanne is a great sequence.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Asimov is rolling in his grave. 

The one thing I keep wondering about the movie is how they even intend to make the robots go nuts. There is no logical reason why anyone would program so many robots without the three laws of robotics, and in order for the First Law to be damaged beyond repair the robot would have to suffer so many systems failures that it would be rendered inoperable.

In order for the trailer to even make sense, the robots would have to be ones that were specially designed to ignore part of the first law of robotics. They would be forbidden from killing people directly, but allowing people to come to harm would be okay. Then they would be placed on or near a destructive reactor or something. Then they would carefully set up a series of circumstances in which the reactor would blow up, or douse the area in radiation or something, which would kill all the humans, leave the robots unharmed and be entirely allowed by the fragment of the first law. Either that or the movie won't make any sense. Maybe an unusual number of people will have been crushed by falling crates that mysteriuosly dropped from the darkness of the warehouse ceiling. And then Will Smith will be sent to investigate, because it's a shit job and Will Smith's character is too cool for the rest of the cops, and they hate him for it.

I've just made myself really depressed.

Kill the producers, man. 

It's the producers, not the screenwriters that push for a more action-oriented, robuts vs. pople version of I, Robut and other such tripe. Sign Will Smith on and the producers ask for another Independence Day, everyone loved that and it's been a while since we had one. I thought Final Fantasy was a really good armaggeddon(sp?) movie, but it was too wordy and too nerdy so it didn't do that well at the box office. Plus it was a cartoon and it wasn't even for children. What the hell? What do we do with this? How do we sell this?

Touch this "Illa-Fifth Dynamite". It makes no sense at first, but the rest of the album is peppered with references to The Roots as the (Ill) Fifth Dynasty.
Neil, good call on No Return, it is a great song. Canibus thinks up three inventive ways for himself to be killed. One, a chunk of the exploding earth hits the space station he's escaped to before he, wounded, can transfer the shield codes to another operative. Two, killed by the Taliban in a convenience store. Three, as some kind of special has-mat team, he gets sent into a flaming building where he tries to rescue a woman and is killed by fiery debris. All these outlandish deaths got me through some tough yard work. But Neil, if you went to that "GW" convention, I really shoulda had you handing out fliers for selling my old miniatures. Boo to you for not mentioning it to me.

Also, is this Dune book something I should be getting my hands on? Before Ender's Game, another SF I've been told to read?

PS - Lizardmen army for sale. Damaged, cheap.

Except you can't do that. Becuase the union wouldn't let you.

Garbage men and Hollywood screenwriters... first against the wall. 

Jacob - my worst fears have thus come to life. I am a die-hard Asimov fan and yes,. I was pretty upset when they stole the title for Bicentennial Man, but even that wasn't so bad compared to the travesty at hand with I, Robot. Needless to say I am very upset with Hollywood right now. Asimov is sacred to me, even more sacred than Frank Herbert - Frank had some good reads but Asimov has him trumped, and Foundation has yet to be bested. If there's anyone who should be corpse-fucked, it is certainly not Isaac.

A few odd/humourous things I witnessed today.
  • A Muslim woman wearing a pretty huge traditional headdress, working at Harvey's. I've seen people with just the hijab working before, but this thing was more than just covering the head - it had weird lacy things going half-way down her body in a triangular pattern. I'm surprised that such things are allowed by the Harvey's uniform code. But all the power to them, I guess.
  • Some rather silly looking white guy, playing really loud rap music in his jeep while stopped at an intersection. The light turns green. Suddenly, (presumably in response to him hitting the gas pedal) his jeep stalls on him and as he turns the key to get it going, the music stops dead. It was a moment to be remembered. I'll never understand people who put more money into souping up their car stereo than they do actually keeping the car in working order.
Also, I really hurt my hand as I was folding cardboard boxes today. The box folded suddenly and collapsed inward, pinching me just above the thumb, so that now I have a big cut-shaped bruise on my hand. Why was I folding cardboard boxes? Because the overpaid unionized sons of bitches we call garbage men won't take pieces of cardboard that are bigger than a given set of dimensions. We should fire them all and hire homeless people - tell them that whatever they find in the trash they collect is fair game. They'd be all over that.

I'm not anti-union, not in the least, but when people give in to really stupid demands on the part of their workers, it pisses me off and hurts society at large. Their job is to take away refuse, and if that involves a little bit of folding (oh me oh my!), well, tough shit. We're not asking you to fight to the death with a cobra, we're asking you to break/fold boxes. This is especially bad given that as far as city employees go, sanitation workers get paid quite handsomely. Is it so much to ask that they do a good job of it and not whine about the little things?

Sadly, it's the same story with the TA union at the University of Toronto - they've got such a chokehold over the place that they can get away with murder and still keep their jobs. But that's another story. I'm going to go put some more ice on my hand.


I just spent the last two days volunteering at Conflict Toronto, a GW convention. Moslty what I did was guard various doors and not let people in, if they didn't have the right tickets. Now my feet hurt. It was fairly fun overall though, got lots of really cool bits, I haven't seen this many shotguns since marathon.

So I notice I haven't posted in a while, I don't know why. So a bit of catch up is in order then. I'm still searching for work, and despeartley need money, my thoughts have been turning nerdier and nerdier as the summer progresses as usual. Its at the point where I'm pretty hooked on Inquisitor now. So its pretty much summer as usual at this point.

Yesterday night Jacob, Matt, Ben and Shirin came over, we watched some good episodes of futurama, and they ate all my ice cream. And drank all my coke.
I've pretty much been running on caffine the last two days actually, but thats not THAT bad.


to Sam, Matt and anyone else who might be coming to Gamesday (Ben (?))
at Games day an somewhat overenthusiastic overtalkative kid might show up at our table with a dark eldar he made. Sorry.

Speaking about corpse-fuckers... 

Well I saw the trailer to I, Robot. They're dug Isaac Asimov up and they're doing the Kevin J Anderson to him. For those of you not familiar with I, Robot it's a collection of Asimov's early Robot stories. The stories are to some extent or another logic puzzles based around the three laws that are hardwired into every robot:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

The basic theme that runs through all the stories is that robots will be able to make life better for all the world, that robots are tools that can help enrich humanity. Many characters share the belief that robots are better than humans because of their tirelessly and unselfishness. These efforts to bring robots into everyday life however are resisted by ignorant people caught in the grasp of irrational robophobia (Asimov terms it "the Frankenstein complex").

Now the movie is completely the opposite of Asimov's philosophy. It's the standard robots-rebel-against-their-creators-and-must-be-destroyed idea that Asimov battled so hard against. It's not just a perversion, it's a betrayal.

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a gorilla with no superego.