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Fightin' Stress -- Paint Through It!

Fightin’ Stress — Paint Through It!

Stress comes in many forms and sizes. It is part of life and for some out there it happens more often than with others. People handle it differently, depending on the subject in question. I once knew someone who lost their home, separated from their wife and got laid off work, all within the same month, sounds like the start of a feel-good movie, no? They went into a downward spiral which lasted years. A bit of self-destruction and self-pity never helps anyone. Couldn’t blame the man though. Although he finally snapped out of it, I will admit I did no approve of the way he handled it although he is doing better now. However, who am I to judge?

But as inspiration of his tale of woe, I decided to start painting as a way to get out of any gloom or glum that somehow manages to come my way. ‘I change is always good,’ I say; a change of perspective, a new beginning is something we all need from time to time. A start a new chapter of one’s life per se. So I thought of posting some of them in the upcoming posts.

So without any further ado, my first painting ever, ‘The Rabbit Hole.’ An excellent abstract work in which, if you observe, it perfectly juxtaposes man’s ever haunting need for existential relevance and me smearing globs that slimed off the paint lids onto canvas.

Seriously, I seen works like this at the AGO, so you just gotta love art’s crazy subjectivism. All I have to do now, is convince their board that it is worth $1359.99! And that I accept Visa and Mastercard.

Getting To Know Your TTC (Part 1)

It is no secret the TTC is far from perfect and if used extensively, you surely have come to curse it at one point or other; which is a natural response to all Transit Systems, politicians, lawyers, and well, everything actually. However if you are car-less like me, then you know Riding The Rocket is probably the best way to and fro around Toronto’s urban jungle.

For my own motives –mostly common sense– I have always tried living within a token’s throw of a subway station. Having grown in the suburbs and commuting then two hours to York University for school pretty much scarred me for life –but my mental state is another post altogether. In the end, unless you have children, are urban-phobic or your mate demands he/she is chauffeured, then the TTC is your best bet.

Escalating fares aside; $109 for a MetropassReally? SERIOUSLY? Well, rant aside, I guess, I am happy to see they are trying to modernize the system. The newer subway cars will hit the tracks rolling sometime in 2009 and look at ‘hem, they might be a nice pimpin’ ride. Although that remains to be seen, there is no mention as of when in 2009 the deployment will start and if it does, it will be only on the wealthy line that is Yonge-University… plebbed Bloor-line be dammed! There are other changes like the Transit City project which is basically making lots of Spadina’s and St. Clair’s right of way streetcar lanes, but that won’t be finish until 2021. So, let’s just wait on that one for now.

For the time being, one of the best new services provided free of charge are their TTC-eAlerts. Which in our always-on-line generation can be seen as a blessing in disguise. Having been launched on January 14, it has been tested by me and has given its users another perspective of the TTC. The only catch is that at best –with about 10 minutes advance warning– you might find out of an outage until you are about to head to a station, so “knowing” is not half the battle, as you might not be able to circumvent the issue due to it still being too short notice. Thus you will be hindered, except you are now armed with the knowledge that you will be stuck and left wrestling for shuttle busses or cabs with hundreds of other passengers ahead of time. 

So yes, subway lines go out of service a lot, the most I have seen is four in one day! So if you want to have a daily shot of paranoia as to whether your train breaks down in the middle of a tunnel while someone in your car may or may not be coughing up a lung due to swine flu, this is your ticket!

In the end, it might not save you a headache or that much time or money if you decide to cab it but it will provide you with undeniable written proof you can show to your boss as to why you are late and in my opinion, that’s a start. TTC, I salute you.

If you would like to subscribe to the TTC alerts, click here.

Adventures of an Organizer! (2009)

Flash back to circa 2005 — Who knew? A quick search to find like minds with whom I could practice my fleeing Spanish, would lead to such a great adventure? Indeed, 4 years ago, my Google search led me to a fruitless dead end. There were no Spanish Speaking networks in Toronto! At least not ones wanting to be found easily. Where did Spanish speakers convey then? Shady backrooms accessible only through back way alleys? Where you had to knock 7 times to the rhythm of La Curacha and dance a riff from the Macarena before a doorman suavely said ‘Si’ and allowed you entry? Seriously, I was at a loss.

Ah, such dichotomy in between the world wide web and the Spanish speaking community in Toronto.
Then the one thing I have learned is, if you can’t find something that you need, then well, create it. As such I started a group on Meetup.com. Back then the site had already been at it for a few years and it seemed like the perfect venue. For those not in the know, Meetup allows people to become an organizers and pretty much become an event planner. If people like your group then they join and off you go.

It went well at the beginning and with time I decided to branch out into other areas. Mostly social, since it is my belief that there are never enough ways to meet new people and enlarge one’s circle of friends. As such, the Toronto 23-35 and the Toronto 25-40 Social groups came to life about a year later. It seemed easy at first, pick a random pub, send an email to the then 10 members or so and see what would turn out. ‘Keep it simple’ I used to say.

Well, 334 events later, we are crossing quite the milestones! What started as smalls flower requiring plenty of attention and care have become a weed and is spreading like wildfire! On May 1st, we will having a party to celebrate the 3 group’s combined 3130 members! Incredible!

It has been quite the journey, meeting so many interesting people including some very quirky ones. If anything, it was a constant reminder of just how different and alike we all are. Regardless of religion, ethnicity or age, we all found something in common. The underlying desire not to be alone and to share experiences with one another. Some pragmatists would also include dancing and booze but digress it has been well worth it.


Aside the countless friendships, many have found significant others within the hundreds and a few –5 couples, that I know of– have gone off and even gotten married! You know, its corny but being able to make a positive difference in people’s lives is really quite the upper, not to mention Dharma-friendly. Take that, Law Of Attraction!

What will the future hold? Who can tell at this point… but I consider myself, not only I have learned some valuable skills but made some friends who I cherish and count myself as being very lucky to have meet. I am sure, eventually a point will come in which I may not have time to keep them up, but slowly a new generation of people are coming in, helping out as the groups keep on expanding but until then, let the Pachangas go on!

Editorial: About That Last Post

NOTE: READ PREVIOUS POST FIRST.

Stem Research, why are people okay with this?

Perhaps in the end, perhaps people are tired of an old parable book telling me to throw sheep off a cliff to clean my sins. Wait that’s the old Testament. Okay, New Testament, because it says if someone smacks your cheek then that I should give him the other — good moral. What a great book! Wait, later it read that if someone hits your cheek to smack him back. Eye for an eye!

Are people tired of ancient bi-polarism trying to rule people’s daily lives?. The fact is that when it starts saving lives, Religion as a whole will probably just quietly accept it, as no one is disputing the earth is the center of the universe anymore.

Food for thought, technically, are you allow to ‘refuse’ treatment as the Bible says you cannot choose to take your own life which if you refuse treatment isn’t that like doing the same? Only God can do that, right?

Aha, Religion backpedals itself into vagueness yet again. People might be tired about that.
Also because religion per se has nothing to do with this topic, as there is no difference in between killing an embryo which would have been a life than a man masturbating, washing the sheet and killing millions of possible (half) humans. Harsh but a point to think about.

Either way, I am sure everyone is going to be waiting to see results.