Saturday, 11 July 2009

Blog Redux

This is one of my favourite posts, and I felt the need to repost it after rereading it today. It's still applicable.


A small list of things that bother me, feel free to disagree.

1. REEEAAAALLLLYYYY old people driving 30 in a 60 with their brakes on in the fast lane. Even the buses were honking at her.

2. Things that break too soon, like modern electronics. Why is shit only built to last a couple of years before the self-destruct mechanism goes off? Why do manufacturers think we're going to run out and buy another one of their shitty devices after the one broke the day after the warranty runs out? We're going to buy a different brand, think about it.

3. People who make too much noise late at night, like the idiot down the road running his dirt bike down the alley at top speed at 10pm. I'd like to throw a net across the next time he flies down. This is also the guy who plays with an extremely loud remote-control car on the street. I'd like to accidently back over it.

4. Strikers. Nuf' said.

5. News broadcasts that reiterate what was just said with a text version across the bottom, AS THE PERSON IS TALKING. If you can't hear it, turn on your sub-titles. Broadcasters shouldn't presume that we want to have to read what's being said as it happens. Cut it out CNN.

6. Spam on my cell phone. Hey jackasses - I have to pay for your call. Shut the fuck up. That also goes with texting me about my personal credit history. Let's think about this - you're making it worse!

7. Texting and twitter. People don't really care what you're doing every minute of every day. We have our own lives to think about. Cut it out. As far as texting goes, pick up the damn phone if you want to communicate with me somehow.

8. Cable TV. $60/month to see informercials about shit I heard about on my cell phone. I wasn't interested then, I'm not now. Then rebroadcasts of the shit the networks picked up cheap, like stupid reality shows that cost nothing to produce and take an exacting toll on our brain cells. If I wanted to see and hear people doing normal everyday shit in a house, I'd put webcams throughout my own. Or better yet, get a twitter account.

9. Reality TV. See #8

10. PETA. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. These people are just plain weird and need to be shipped off somewhere. How about somewhere with lots of animals for them to play with, like Borneo. I'm sure they will have a great time playing with man-eating snakes and carnivorous rodents. When they tried to have fish renamed sea kittens in an effort to halt fishing they drew the line. They thought the cuteness factor would do it. Do they really think that me eating a nice cedar smoked sea kitten is going to make me enjoy it any less? Mmmmm, sea kittens... Mmmmmm.

11. Pants hanging off people's asses. It's not sexy. Get over it, your fucking pants are falling down. Either eat a donut or buy a smaller pair.

12. Low rise pants. We don't care to see your C-section scar. As per 11, get a pair that fits.

13. Remakes of things that shouldn't have been made the first time. I hear there's a live action version of the Smurfs coming to a theatre near you. Hopefully not me. Stop it. Get an original idea for Christ's sakes. Bad remakes and bad movie ideas are melting our population's collective brains. People who waste their money on this crap are only contributing to the producers of such shit wanting to make more. Michael Bay is a horrible director. Face it, Transformers 2 sucks, as does most of his movies. Somebody ship him off to Borneo. Maybe there he can get inspired to write an original movie about PETA members being eaten by hordes of angry man-eating parrots, with the cannibalistic residents picking their teeth with the leftover bones. Maybe Michael Bay can be eaten.

14. Sarah Palin. Just shut up and go away.

15. Remixing classic music. Rap artists remix old classic music with new lyrics and sell it to the masses claiming originality. Stop it. Anyone doing this should immediately be sued and shipped to Borneo. Vanilla Ice (remember that freak?) started it, he had no talent at all and proved it when he ripped off Bowie and Queen. Borneo. Nuf' said.

16. Kim Jong Il and Osama bin Laden. Please die.

17. People who keep their jobs with absolutely no effort and no brains. How do you people keep bringing home paychecks? Why is it that with so many people on the unemployment lines you can't see that you really need to make an effort to keep your jobs? This isn't an employees market, it's an employers market. Bosses should fire shitheads who spend all day goofing off and providing absolutely no contribution to the economy. You're taking up valuable space. Go away, get a double wide somewhere in Mississipi with a bath tub and a car motor on your front lawn and leave the jobs for those who will appreciate them.

18. Special interest groups. PETA, NRA, Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, Greenpeace, Pro-Nuclear, Anti-Coal, Pro-Man Eating Parrots, I don't care who you are. You shove your message down our throats with a militant zest. We can't escape. If we don't agree with you, we must be against you. Well, yeah! Of course! Shitheads. Hand out your pamphlets and let us make the choice, don't read it to us and threaten us if we disagree. Just shut up.

19. Vandals and Thieves. People who slash tires, knock over grave stones, bust windows, spray graffiti, steal bikes and lawnmowers, stop it. You're a bunch of bored kids looking for a thrill. Here's a thrill - Borneo. Please give me my 6 bikes and lawnmower back.

20. Arrogant narcicistic morons. Stop looking at yourself in the mirror and become a member of society. You're really not that great, if you were, we'd praise and admire you. Ghandi was great, Trudeau was great, Mandella is great, you're not. Look past your own face for once.

OK, so if you qualify as anyone on this list, or practice anything on this list, stop it. You piss people off. Or maybe just me, but hey, it's my blog, so get over it.

I've played nice nice lately with posts, but this was overdue.

I feel better now.


Friday, 10 July 2009

Kids can't climb trees

My son hosted a party last week for his grade school graduate friends. A very well behaved bunch of kids, 24 of them, I actually enjoyed goofing off with them, however being addressed as Mr. Wilson was a bit disconcerting.

At one point someone scrambled up the tree, other tried, and couldn't. Yup, no idea how to climb a tree. I jumped up at one point to the cries of 'how'd you do that so fast! Do it again, I want to see what you did!'

So I jumped down, and within 5 seconds was back up. Not a big deal, it's only a crabapple tree. But the kid who yelled that couldn't figure it out. Too much TV and video games. It proved to me that kids just don't know how to be kids anymore. Kids don't go outside anymore unless they have to! I remember growing up having my dad kick me out on a Saturday, and only let me back in for meals. We spent the day outside biking, climbing trees, skipping stones into the river, searching for crayfish, and generally exploring. That was childhood. Beautiful endless summer days filled with carefree pointless activity and imagination. Looking back, I wouldn't have had it any other way. We learned to have fun with what we had, no Wii, no TV, no cell phones, you get the idea.

A couple of weeks ago I took my son for a long ride, we went back to my old neighbourhood. I wanted to find the old tree we climbed as a kid, and at one point started building a treehouse in it. We did find the tree but sadly, it wasn't half as big as I remember. Everything's bigger when you're 10. But it's still there, now behind a fence on the grounds of a factory, but it still beckons to the brave - climb me.

The kids who tried to climb my crabapple tree know none of this. They know video games and cell phones. That's really too bad. They have no idea how to truly be a child. They are being forced to grow up too fast. Enjoy your life, enjoy your childhood, it only comes once. Climb trees, watch clouds, chase butterflies, use your imagination. Play in the rain, ride bikes, play baseball, frisbee, play with the water hose, whatever, just play. At at certain point in your youth you realize that these things can't be done anymore with the same innocent attitude, when these things become silly, you've grown up. Then you get to my age, and start doing them all over again, silly becomes fun.

My son has started to explore this summer. He's expanded his horizons on his bike, going farther and seeing more. He's not asking for rides as much. I hope his friends will accompany him to the old tree one day, and he can relate the stories I told him. I hope he can inspire his friends to be frivolous and just play. Just be a kid.

It only happens once.


Monday, 6 July 2009

The Wandering Mowmen

After our little park cleaning escapade on Saturday we have somehow managed to get a nickname. quite unintentional, and quite misleading - one of the 'mowmen' is indeed a woman. I guess mowmen just has a better ring the mowpeople. That kinda sounds like we should be living in a dark hole somewhere.

Thank you to all who passed along the post from Saturday, it's nice to see that the word is getting out there that there are people who just don't give a shit anymore about the contract dispute between CUPE and the City of Windsor. There are more people out there who want to get back to normal than carry this ridiculous strike on any further. My blog from Saturday had the most hits of any posting since I started Mid Life Pie. It's not that I'm in it for the hits, but it does lend credence to the idea that people are concerned about the situation and are navigating to stories about it. In this case, a feel good story. We haven't had enough of those, and apparently we won't see them on the news unless we cause them!

Yes, CUPE has made some public relations afronts, but all too often they are completely overshadowed by the crap their members manage to pull. CUPE put down their picket signs one afternoon to clean up a park in Forest Glade so little league baseball could continue, and they also cleaned up the cenotaph in time for the D Day remembrance ceremonies. I'm sure there are more goodwill gestures, but they have been overshadowed by the public relations boondoggles that have forever branded them with city residents. Could we attribute this to our local media only attending events that will shock viewers? Is it not newsworthy that a group of residents took back a park?

That answered my question. But even this, was media savvy due to it's somewhat startling nature. People want the clash between the two sides, or so that's how the media portrays things. We could have called the local TV or newspaper when we took back the park, but that wasn't the reason we did it. As much as I would have loved to have seen a feel-good people story in the paper (for the record I would have skulked away at the site of a camera), we did the clean up for the kids. Not for my hits on this site, not for notoriety, not for confrontation, we did it for kids. Our kids, who play in that park. Period.

We want this over. What we did helped in our little way; it did squat to progress the talks, it did loads to help our children have some sense of normality on a beautiful summer day.


Sunday, 5 July 2009

Taking back our park

We did it, we cleaned and cut a park last night.

3 of us headed down there with lawnmowers and garbage bags in hand not knowing what to expect. We thought CUPE would arrive quickly and try to extinguish our fire, we thought that the neighbours would sit on their porches watching, we thought the people in the park would clear out
instead of becoming embroiled with some heated battle between us - the community minded people who don't want our kids playing in filth and waist-deep grass full of shit, and the striking CUPE workers who would surely come to stop us.

Guess what -
As soon as the 3 mowers revved up, people did too.

One by one, neighbours grabbed their own mowers, garbage bags, brooms and gas cans and joined in. We all smiled at once seeing them come over to the park. Within a half hour our trio had grown to 10 mowers and countless others doing their part to take back the park. Little kids with grocery bags wandering around picking up trash, one little girl with a broom sweeping the pathways off, people with clippers trimming the overgrown bushes, people bringing out bottled water for the workers, and others emptying the large garbage bin that had been duct taped up to prevent use. It was truly a sight to see. For over 2 hours last night the neighbourhood
reclaimed its park and we couldn't have been more proud to be a part of it. All it took was someone lighting the spark, the rest came naturally.

I think the only reason this hadn't been done yet is fear. People keep hearing the stories of strikers disrupting any attempt to clean up the mess that is Windsor, saying that we're doing their jobs. Well, here's our response - YOU'RE NOT DOING YOUR JOBS. What you complain you don't get paid enough to do, we just did for free, as a matter of fact, it cost us to do this, our gas, our garbage bags - which by the way, we have to pay to dispose of ourselves, because you won't!

No CUPE members showed their faces last night.
Not one.

There was someone circling the block a few times, but we can only speculate on why, they never stopped the car. People did make their opinions known last night, dozens of cars honking and giving us the thumbs up. One man even walked around to everyone shaking their hands, then he started picking up sticks. All ages, all neighbours, at least 30 people in that park last night, all because someone took the initiative and started it. We didn't really want to stop when the cutting was done, we started a second round - some of the grass was still kinda high. Maybe we wanted confrontation? Maybe we were hoping to prove a point to the strikers, or maybe we were hoping that a random news crew would show up? I don't know what kept us going, except that now our kids have their park back. Period.

Someone did accuse us of helping CUPE, that person was quickly corrected. We don't want to help them at all, they got themselves into this, they can get themselves out. The point is why should the citizens suffer? Why is it that when Google puts our fair town online in a few months all people will see is the massive piles of garbage and unkempt parks?

Why hasn't the Health Ministry stepped in to order a clean up? Why are 1,800 people holding over 200,000 people hostage in our own city?

I hope more people step up the way we did last night. I hope CUPE comes to it's senses. Please people, go back to work. You are our friends, family and neighbours too. You have families to feed and homes to keep. You have lives too. I know it's you inept leadership that is keeping you out, I know that many of your members are on the verge of losing their own homes because the strike pay just doesn't cut it. I know that you want this 13 weeks of hell over as much as the rest of us. Face it, the city won't give in and either will you. I appreciate the principle of the matter but enough is enough.

The next time we do this (hopefully we won't have to), I hope to see CUPE members alongside of us, cutting and cleaning. I hope CUPE realizes who has been hurt by this. 2009 will be remembered as the summer the kids couldn't play.

Thank you to everyone who helped last night.

The photos are courtesy of a relative who lives on the park. Faces have been intentionally blurred.