Runaway Future

30.11.2010

I need some sleep

Filed under: The Daily Grind — forbes @ 0:19

The Halifax Sleep Stalker/Sleep Watcher has been running rampant in the city’s South End for the past two or three years. Sneaking into the bedrooms of girls and watching them sleep, taking off when they wake up and (more recently) beginning to touch them.

To me and my buddies, because we’re crude and callous individuals at times, it’s also been a bit of a joke. The joke being that because of the vague description (5’10-6’0, medium/athletic build, dark hair, living in the South End), that I could, in fact, be the perpetrator. I’m not the guy, obviously, but living alone, with no one who could really confirm when I was home or not, especially late at night, my buddies often joked that they could, at the very least, make it uncomfortable for me, and bring me in for some awkward questioning. I continue to joke that that’s why I grew the beard, to eliminate me as a “suspect”.

Anyway, in the bigger picture, it’s actually kind of frustrating as the actual Sleep Watcher continues to be at large and the police continue to be unable to do anything about it (just like they were unable to stop the swarmings in the Commons, the random beatings in the downtown area, etc. etc. etc. but I digress). He comes and goes, curiously follows the academic schedule when kids (girls especially) are plentiful in the South End and some have even speculated that he might also be a student. But in any case, the incidents continue.

Now, I’m sure that the police are treating this investigation with the seriousness that it rightfully deserves, especially considering that the situation has gone on long enough that the Sleep Watcher is getting more brazen with his actions. But after reading this post, something stuck out to me:

The real issue is that it’s common for these young guys to use this excuse to case buildings for robberies. They get into the building during work hours, and they can walk around knocking on doors figuring out which apartments are empty during that time of day.

The author was describing guys getting into an apartment building (buzz until someone lets you in) and selling third-party gas providers to residents.

How does this circle back to the Sleep Watcher? Well, like I mentioned, he targets women, usually in those houses that have been turned into apartments, the ones that dot the South End (as opposed to proper apartment buildings). I’ve always wondered how he knows what houses to even try to get in (I can’t imagine that he just fumbles into bedrooms and oops! it’s a guy! and back out he goes). Part of that wondering is obviously selfish (though I think he would be more disappointed than me, should he stumbled in to my bedroom (haha just kidding, I’m sure I look like an angel)) but part of it is…well…I’ve lived in the South End for almost six years now and I’ve spent most of that time checking out pretty much any girl I see in the street. But I couldn’t tell you what house on my street has girls living in it and what house has guys, or even what apartment in what house is girls…and so on.

For reference sake, the street I live on is two blocks long. That’s it. And I’ve lived on it for five years. I know there are girls living in the dozen or so houses turned into apartments on my street, but I’ll be damned if I know which ones live where. And I like to think I’m pretty observant.

So let’s file my experience under the ‘normal person’ file and then try to explain the Sleep Watcher. Either he’s a) casing the joint ahead of time (stalking the girls before they sleep), which might be easy to key into, although the vague description hurts the detection effort a bit. Or b) somehow he’s getting verification on where these girls live.

Going back to our third-party gas providers, I then wonder about all the guys going around to apartment buildings selling Eastlink cable or newspaper subscriptions (with a cut of it going towards their tuition). Certainly it’s enough to at least ask the question?

29.11.2010

And then I ran like hell

Filed under: The Daily Grind — forbes @ 23:30

So tonight some rather disappointing news hit. Nothing huge, everything is more or less fine, just something I was hoping for didn’t really happen and it bummed me out. I just came back from a run (8.5k…yay) and immediately felt like going out again, just that release. But I didn’t.

In fact, I started making plans to sit around and feel sorry for myself. My fridge has some beer, my liquor cabinet some rum, some scotch and some rye. I was going to pop in Airplane! or one of the Naked Gun movies (purchased today in a sort of memory for Leslie Nielsen who passed away on Sunday…also a bummer) and drink for a while. Ignore responsibilities, things I had to do. Just shut off.

And then I went to put my clothes in the dryer. The elevator door opened and out stumbled a guy who lives down the hall. It was about 8pm and he was loaded. Couldn’t even stand up, reeking of booze. More than reeking. Even after he staggered off, the smell was still in the elevator, so pungent it took me a second to actually process that someone could smell so distinctly of alcohol. It’s was about 8pm. And I just shook my head, instantly knowing that I didn’t want that guy. I never want to be that guy.

I’ve cut down drinking a lot over the past few months. I’m certainly imbibing less than back last year when I wrote this. I feel obligated to say that it was never a problem, but at the same time, I’m somewhat proud that I’ve been able to tail back, that I’ve been able to “stop anytime I want,” so to speak. Part of it has to be simple growth and maturity. Going out and drowning my sorrows, regardless of whether or not it was a school night was a welcome release, but the morning fog and the blahs afterwards weren’t making anything easier (regardless of how proud I was of my ability to rebound).

I’m trying to find better ways to deal. I’m trying to resolve those issues that I have that cause this retreat in the first place. I’m trying to be a better person. And that’s what tonight was really all about anyway, isn’t it? Despite this setback, I’ve got to keep trying. Not fold.

So tonight, I did laundry and cleaned up some of my apartment. Like a responsible adult.

Or something like that.

20.11.2010

thoughts on religion

Filed under: The Daily Grind — forbes @ 15:11

Gleaned from Lewis Black’s Me of Little Faith

As the heady, turbulent, confusing sixties wound down and lurched into the much more complacent seventies, with its incessantly annoying disco beat, may of my generation turned their attention away from hedonistic indulgences and toward more spiritual pursuits. Somewhere among the drugs and the music and the growing paranoia of the times – or perhaps it was just the overwhelming sense of hopelessness, since we naively believed we would change the world and our legacy seemed to be long hair and bell-bottoms – the next logical step seemed to be in the direction of religion. If you could NOT change the outer world, the theory went, maybe you could change your inner one.

When you think you’re going to change the world and ultimately you find out that it’s just not going to be possible when your president and Congress don’t really give a shit, and you aren’t going to participate in an armed revolution or start another food co-op, the search for an underlying immutable force starts to make sense.

Maybe that’s why a marked resurgence of Christianity took place a few decades later. If you can’t change this world for the better, then you’d better find peace for yourself in the next one.

It was the Beatles who played a large part in bringing to our shores religious figures from the East. The incredibly influential rockers had taken a trip to India in 1968 and had hooked up with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his path to enlightenment, called Transcendental Meditation. The group’s trip was one long commercial for the Godhead.

By the time the Maharishi hit Stateside, people were lining up to see him. Imagine if the Beatles had embraced Islam, the way Cat Stevens did. Who knows where we would be now. We might have avoided September 11, or maybe we just would have attacked ourselves.

Religion is supposed to provide solace. Why, then, do so many people who practice religion end up killing themselves?

It’s a question that has been nagging at me for some time. Perhaps it’s the feeling of failure that that overwhelms them when they can’t measure up to the kind of life they were told they should be living. And, couple with either a chemical glitch in their makeup or an overzealous religious leader, they decided to end it all.

Or maybe they are opting for the promise of an eternal life they believe will be so much better than the vale of tears they are forced to endure in this world that they design their own demise.

But, even if the Bible is a dead-on accurate transcription of God’s words, it’s rather shocking that God only had two books in him, the Old and the New Testament. I’ve actually written two books and I am sure God would have written more than me.

Two book? That was all he had to say to us? You think he would have put out at least a pamphlet in response to the Holocaust. And if not a pamphlet, a couple of well-placed fireballs, for crying out loud. This is the Supreme Being we’re talking about, who whacks Sodom and Gomorrah and turns Lot’s wife to salt, and Hitler doesn’t get so much as a twisted ankle?

16.11.2010

curl up or push on

Filed under: The Daily Grind — forbes @ 17:26

Tonight is a miserable night, it’s wet, it’s cold, it’s raining for likely the 12th day over the past 14.

It’s a perfect night to curl up in sweat pants, close the blinds and do nothing but stay warm, stay inside and look inward. Maybe watch those DVDs I’ve been putting off or read that book I just got from the library.

And I’ll do that. Just after I lace up and run 6k.

Last week, I found myself in a conversation with a co-worker about running. Go figure, an active office, it seems we all do something. Anyway, the main thing we talked and laughed about were the little tricks you play on yourself to convince yourself to run. That sentence probably won’t make much sense to people who don’t run, but it’s all mind games, tricking yourself to throw on the shorts and go, especially on crappy nights like tonight.

When I did my first half-marathon, I was hung over and the trick I pulled on myself was putting on body glide on my legs. In order to go back to bed, I would need to shower. So yeah, I ran my first half-marathon because in my deluded state, it made more sense to put on the shorts and leave the house then it did to shower. Once I got out of the house, once the door closed behind me, the decision was made and off I went. Did I mention this was the Hypo Half-Marathon? So named, because it’s in February, running over ice and snow. Yeah, deluded tricks.

I’m signed up to run the Hypo again next February. It will be my fourth half marathon. I don’t feel like I’m in a state where I need to run, at least not as much as I did when I first started this funny hobby, to deal with work, with life. Now, I feel like I have a bit better handle on stuff. So that makes the tricks even more important, as that’s the only way I’ll go out.

So today, I looked out the window all day, watched the rain, imagined the cold, studied the greying skies and my mind kept telling me how I didn’t need to go running tonight, that I could just stay home and watch the DVDs and read the book. The whole day, I had my little internal persuasive dialogue going, telling me it wasn’t necessary. Then I came home and put on my shorts and off I went.

I ran 7.52km, of that about 200m was a walk, when my mind got distracted on Oxford and so my legs just stopped. More than what I planned, I found myself running behind people and secretly racing them, trying to catch up. There was a kid who was running and walking (maybe 10 and 1s but his timing didn’t seem to be right) and so I kept trying to pass him. I lost him after I stopped to walk.

I initially imagined that this entry would be like a previous post where I novelized a run and so as I ran and told the story of my run back to myself, it kept me distracted for the additional 1.5km. My pace is far too slow, I haven’t run enough. I can only hope that by talking and thinking about running more, I’ll go out and do it more. Last week, I read and posted this on Tumblr. I just need to run more.

And I want to. But it’s all playing tricks on yourself, to take the first steps.

15.11.2010

the interweb is dangerous business

Filed under: The Daily Grind — forbes @ 15:56

Tumblr is acting up a bit and normally, I’d just post something about this on there, but so it goes.

This caught my eye last week: Cooks Source swipes content

The general story is that a small-time cooking magazine called Cooks Source ran someone else’s recipe that they lifted off the Internet. The original author contacted Cooks Source about the matter who replied with some sort of short-sighted and completely incorrect statement (‘it’s on the Internet, that means it’s free! lol!’) and then the good ol’Internet justice squad came to the table.

Within a week, there’s half a dozen different Facebook pages about this as well as scathing commentary on Twitter and mass media coverage (see here, here and here, among many. many others). Part of the problem was just made worse when the owner/editor/operator of Cooks Source tried to make a new Facebook page to get rid of the ‘hackers’ (it’s a small operation) and then other parody sites popped up and the situation continued to worsen.

All in all, the whole thing is a great example of the double-edged sword of the Internet. It allows you to reach millions of people, a world-wide audience that you would never have the opportunity to tap into. But in the same breath, it allows those same world-wide masses to reach you, even (especially) when you do something wrong.

Clearly the owner/editor/operator of Cooks Source was ignorant to things like copyright and how it applies to the online medium, which is, in itself, quite distressing since she was publishing a magazine. But she was also completely unprepared for the backlash that occurred from her ignorance. It’s a rather frightening lesson to learn and as the world wide web becomes even more accessible to the lowest common denominator (and more businesses look to ‘go online’ without understanding exactly what that means) these incidents will only become more and more frequent.

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