*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Toronto GTA < Chiba

Chiba Prefecture:- population, 6 201 046
- area, 5156.15 km2
- density, 1202.65/km2
- seashore and low mountains
- core population in the north, scenic in its south
- hotsprings
- great fish, it's Japan
- dozens of train lines and a real international airport
- a half hour to an international city (Tokyo) by train or car

Toronto GTA (greater Toronto area):
- population, 6 054 191
- area, 7124.15 km2
- density, 850/km2
- a lakeshore you can't get to
- sprawl to the edges
- gas stations and Tim Horton's, and Tim Horton's in gas stations
- some of the worst Japanese food or fish you can get
- two and a half-subway lines unimproved for half a century
- a half-day to an international city (New York) by plane, if the Americans don't take you aside to assault you

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Cutting the TV cable

Cable TV cord-cutters, anyone? Anyone done the HDTV antenna and/or Internet route?

Our new (Toronto) building only has Rogers, which we hate, and no sane Canadian will disagree.  Their cheapest package is $40 and gives us feck-all, and the next option worth considering costs double and adds precious little. We have Bell cellular already (and can add Internet but not Bell TV, because stupidity*).  I want to live long enough to see the cable business die, and Rogers go bankrupt.  Who has a land-line anymore?

If it were up to me, no TV, minimal online streaming.  That's how my English media rolled in Japan.  In Japan, reading I could not do without; TV shows just jerk you around to watch more commercials; I missed watching movies, but not enough to do much about it.  My J-wife watches too much TV, even though Japanese TV's about as pleasant as a root canal done by a vaginaless sex-bot with a dental drill voice, the dentist's office painted in bad trip on 'Tina'.  So of course she wants Japanese TV 'for the kids': NHK.

We can get one Japanese TV channel from Rogers or Bell for $20, on top of the cost of any other service: $40 for the most basic, which has only what we'll pick up free with an antenna from the unit we have high up, facing the right direction.  So, fuck cable from our last choice company: we're going with a 'smart tv', HD antenna, Netflix subscription**, and a 'Wavecast' box sending shows from her mother's for Japanese indoctrination: hooks into Japanese cable input, and Internet for output including cloud storage PVR.   I might buy our own PVR to store English shows, except why bother when I can watch from Netflix on my own schedule.

I'm going to be run out of this most conventional city for breaking the PB mold:
- no cable
- no car
- no diet of sugar
- no half-million-plus mortgage on next to no money down
- no willingness to line-up at 'happening' restaurants

*Not available in building, even though good Bell Internet is, and the speed is high enough to support Bell TV which comes via Internet.  Rogers bought off the builder?
**Of course I would never use a proxy to access the US' much better service...

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Teachers in Ontario aren't given computers... 2014?

Anyone have experience with a Chromebook?  I need something dirt cheap for simple tasks to teach my class as my school board's so fucking stupid teachers don't get a computer of their own in... 2014!  

My principal actually repeated the same imbecility used when I started in 2000: 'computers are for the children, not the teachers'.  Funny they expect me to complete reports on them, check my board email, and more, yet stolen minutes in the computer lab when someone else's class is trying to find computers still working doesn't cut it. Principals must be attending the same administrator's seminar as the first moron who repeated something at me too stupid to ever exit my mouth in earnest.  It was stupid fourteen years ago, and the expansion of the web hasn't made it less so, you know?

Entering a new school, was it too early to give my principal my 'are you fucking stoned?' look?  Too bad.  Good impression gone, as if it would have lasted.

Advice on the cheapest tool to use web, Word and Excel, please. I refuse to put any real money in.  If it isn't stolen or broken, it's still too beyond belief it isn't standard staff equipment for me to pony-up much.  There's going to be no personal data on the thing, most items stored online (no children's surnames or other identifiers).  Thanks.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Utopia, The City

Turns out More's Utopia was Copenhagen.  Never been.

My perfect city could be made of a combination of others, and I'm wise enough to base it only on those I've been to:
- Vancouver's geography
- Toronto's seasons, tree cover, diversity and employment opportunity
- Montréal's je ne sais quoi and affordability
- London's museums and history
- Lisbon's architecture and people
- Bangkok's temples and river
- Singapore's food
- Hong Kong's ordered chaos
- Tokyo's transit, density, dining and drinking culture
- Osaka, because Osakans aren't Tokyoites
- York's and Québec's extant walls
- Xiamen's Gulangyu, a car-free ex-foreign concession island with lived-in pre-Pacific War poly-European architecture

No use for Washington's imperialism, Ottawa's tedium, Chicago's Mid-Western boredom (but maybe its waterfront), Taipei's legacy of deluded grandeur (apart from The National Palace Museum), a single thing from LA, or much from cities under a million.

Tokyo wins most, but the climate and the concrete hurt its standing badly.  Toronto nearly as many, but fuck it's uncool.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

'This is why you're fat!'

There's even a website.

I had this breakfast.  Who eats like this, with regularity?  After four years in Japan, this bloated me for the rest of the day, 6'1", 180lb man though I am.

Let's get your umbrage out of the way, if you're feeling it.  I do not care if you, an individual, are overweight.  I do not want to hear your elaborate denials, but other than that, have nothing against you at all.  I have a real problem with entire societies morbidly obese and in denial.  That's where we are.  I have written this before.

Now the Japanese do over-salt everything, not that they'll admit it despite their basic foodstuffs based on salt; however, it's a great country to live in if you think deserts might have some flavour not overwhelmed by one taste: SWEETENERS.  In half a month, it's gotten to the point that we dread going out to eat anywhere, or eat my mother's meals (at over seventy she ought to know better) because we're going to feel bloated and sickly by the end of it.  It's not only portion sizes, which seem to be 150-200% of Japan's, because people are bigger here (even in their BMIs), but that there is sugar, and much too much of it, in so much.  It's a new normal.

So is size.  Jesus but everyone's huge.  Fine, not everyone, but a far, far higher proportion than in Japan: where 'metabolic syndrome' isn't rare.  Now don't give me crap about different body types, because the NE Asians here are also rotund often enough.  I've had to explain to my J-wife, who'd lived here years, that no, few of those women are pregnant, but the only way to tell is by shape, not size.  It's a new normal.

More disturbing is what it's done to my attraction to females.  As I'm vanilla apart from a preference for Asian (which has itself become a norm) I'd always been attracted to females near my age, and in my youth slightly older.  Well, now that the norm is for women from late teens to run to huge and cellulite* (without the reasons of age or pregnancy), and that the body-fat percentage needed to start menses is reached a half decade earlier than when I was a teen, the mid-teens have the figures twenty-somethings once had.  It throws one off, and disturbs, for a fine figure to be topped with a child's face.  It's a new normal.

Fuck the normal, and its abject failure to take any responsibility.  Rather society flaunts this excess, seated in trucks, wearing camel-toe bearing yoga pants that've never seen exercise, downing a thousand calorie 'coffee' with one hand, and scratching thrush with the other.

*The males are as fat, of course.