Interstellar

   19 November 2014, early morning

I ducked out of work in the afternoon last Tuesday to watch Interstellar in IMAX. I have been waiting patiently for this film since the first trailer was released. Set in the future, on an Earth where all our crops are dying, Matthew McCaonohay leaves his family behind in search for a new planet to call our home. In many ways it feels like a homage to 2001: A Space Odesy. There are certainly many nods to the film throughout this one. The film is a bit melodramatic, but I think it’s all done well. Like all of Nolan’s films it feels a little bit creepy throughout. One of the themes of the film seems to be about trust and lying, which certainly adds to that creepiness. There are robots and they are great. The film visually stunning. I recommend you also see it in IMAX if possible. I love everything Christopher Nolan puts out. This film was no exception.

The official Interstellar website.

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Citizenfour

   19 November 2014, early morning

Edward Snowden contacted two people to tell his story about the great excesses of the NSA. One of Glen Greenwald, who over the course of many weeks and months has told Snowden’s story in article after article. The other was filmmaker Laura Poitras. She met Snowden at the same time as Greewald, and has been filming him since. Citizenfour is the documentary about this whole story. It’s really quite incredible. There is footage from their first meeting, when Snowden first sees his story coming out, when he is first interviewed, when he tries to leave Hong Kong. Seeing everything play out neatly in a coherent narrative makes this story of mass surrvalience much easier to understand. Snowden really does seem quite principled and selfless in his pursuit of getting this story out. He looks to have been ready to give up everything. I think everyone should watch this film. It’s a great documentary. It’ll make you so paranoid.

The official Citizenfour website.

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My Scarborough Commute

    6 November 2014, early morning

My trip to work yesterday took something like two and a half hours. There was random delay after mechanical failure after medical emergency, and with the TTC regardless of where those events happen the whole network ends up effected. These sorts of epic delays happen every couple months it seems. That the TTC is so slow isn’t frustrating, it’s embarrassing.

Travelling from Scarborough into the city is terrible. The fastest I can get downtown is about an hour and fifteen minutes. People who do transit planning talk about LRTs and people who try to get elected talk about subways, but neither would actually solve the problems many people in Scarborough face trying to get to work. A subway that ran right to my parent’s house in Agincourt would probably shave 15-20 minutes off my commute, never mind that particular subway is never getting built. The LRT lines they had planned for Scarborough wouldn’t help someone like me: I’d have to grab a bus to Shepard and then take that LRT to Don Mills and then take the Shepard subway to Yonge and then take the terrible Yonge line downtown. Scarborough does need LRTs as an alternative to its network of often late and crowded busses, but they aren’t an alternative to a good commuter train network. Oh wait, we sort of have one of those!

Driving to the Agincourt GO station and taking the train from there would probably cut my travel time in half. That’s what I’m talking about! Sadly, I don’t drive. Getting to that GO station isn’t that easy. There’s also the fact i’d have to pay a GO fare and a TTC fare. Have they figured that out yet? I’m actually lucky to live “reasonably” close to a GO station. Huge chunks of Scarborough aren’t particularly close to the Lakeshore East line or the Stoufville line. GO seems more interested in moving people outside the city than it does with moving people inside the city. To be fair, that is supposed to be the TTC’s mandate.

My solution to this problem was to leave Scarborough. I live downtown and my commute is shorter partly because my transit options after better, and partly because i’m physically closer to where I need to end up. This isn’t a real solution to this problem. Toronto needs one.

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Tory takes TO

   28 October 2014, early morning

Yesterday’s mayoral race was the first election in a while where the polls called things fairly accurately. Tory won by a nice margin, Chow coming in a distant third. A loss for the Fords is a win for Toronto. I’m disappointed that Chow lost, but I’ve been voting for the NDP my whole life and have grown quite accustomed to voting for candidates that lose.

What’s actually far more disappointing is the number of incumbents that were returned to city hall. All the terrible Scarborough councillors? They are all back, including Raymond Cho, the champion of doing nothing. Mammoliti? That asshole is back. Mike Ford—a 20 year old camp councillor who completed a year of college—defeated John Hastings for his school trustee seat. Of course, Hastings is actually qualified for the job. A few ridings may have benefited from ranked ballots to shake things up, but for the most part useless incumbents have a base of support that feels like it’s beyond reason.

There were a few high points from last night. My friend Parthi defeated the shockingly corrupt Elizabeth Moyer. Ausma Malik also became a trustee, despite a pretty racist and Islamophobic campaign against her.

Who knows what the next four years will bring. I’m assuming it can’t be worse than the last four.

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