Ideas Marinating Blog

Little Known Facts In British History (Prt. II)

One of most interesting developments in the Human condition occurred in the small-backwater-town of Enfield, England, just 16.3km from Charing Cross, 18.8km from the London Stone and in case you are an abradant cockney, 18.9km from St. Mary-le-Bow, you dandy city-folk.

In 1810, at age 40, philosopher but mostly part-time cat farmer Meil Sans Bishopsgate had, after living a tremendously menial life come to the realization of his sad menial life and decided to do something about it. Being far too poor to purchase bullets or rope, he decided to make the best of it.

He immersed himself in philosophical study for two years at the Clarke’s School in Enfiled, with the set intention of improving the quality of his being or at the very least be able to then afford a bullet or two – the second, in case he missed.

Sans Bishopsgate almost quit his studies mid-way due to the elements and the never ending stream of insults coming from the children who attended the school -although in all fairness, from time to time, the teachers joined in too.

His muse, per-se, was a young and brash tuberculosis ridden boy who beat Bishopsgate to a pulp outside the local pub after a fight broke over the iconic importance of the King James Bible, England’s level of abject poverty and Meil having a stupid name. In his memoirs, published for his mother in 1815, Sans Bishopsgate describes the incident in detail and joyfully recalls, ‘Damn Keats’ boy. Hope he dies soon.’

After finishing his two years of standing outside the window where the philosophy class was taught, a full year of what he called ‘staring up at the sky’ followed with him to the conclusion that he was perfectly happy in his life. Meil wrote, “Even though, I have yet to taste the pleasures of the flesh, one must wonder, what does the body of a man truly encapsule? His Spirit? His gravitas? Does a man’s worth be set upon his receding hair line? Would the tender touch of a woman, nay, the spectacle of her bosom and weaving flocks heaving through the wind from a galloping horse bring peace to an aging man? Am I able to achieve these sights with my bare hands and sheer will?’ Sadly, Meil’s body was found at his mother’s cottage the next morning. Who knew? Sliding off the stairs head first had accomplished what self-illusion and the two bullets encrusted on the wall had not.

In the end, Meil Sans Brishopsgate peeked into the human psyche seventy-three years before Freud and coining the term “Mid-life Crisis” in the last page of his journal. Now, used by men loosing their hair and in desperate attempt of transcendental gratification. For this, he will always be remembered. By the way, that Keats boy ended up becoming one of England’s best poets. Go figure.

3000 Member Bash — We Have To Do This Again!

Who knew? What a great bash it was. Indeed. On May 1st we had a chance for all three social groups to come and socialize under the same large dance floored, pool tabled, patio-ed studded roof! The evening just like most parties start small with most people being fashionably late, after all, no one wants to be the first one at a party, some individuals consider that a bit of a faux pas. Luckily as the Organizer, I had to be there to set the stage just right for the evening and to have a small talk with our Montana’s sponsored snacks. Soon, however everyone came in droves!

Thanks to another of our sponsors, JamesVII who kindly donated a few free T-shirts, valued at $127 each, we had a raffle which is something we don’t get to do as often as we would like for our members. Plus there were a few random free drinks to the winners of impromptu games played throughout the night. Seriously, I have this is the best way to make events, and I am already thinking to see how we can make larger and even more fun bashes. Later in the night, pool games and dancing ran wild, just the way we like them!

It is interesting to see so many people having fun, and it really has made all these last few years as an event planner seem worth while, leaving me with a desire to do more. Of course it is not all fun and games. There is a bit of planning that goes behind the scenes which are far from hosting a party. Great it would be if it was just all about that.

But a great thanks goes to Moe from Montana’s who was the liaison between us and Montana’s 2nd. He was quite friendly and flexible. Indeed I wish most locales where like that but that is just part of the game. So what is next for these groups which started as a hobby a few years ago? Well, that is an interesting question, as much fun as it has been, I sometimes wonder if I can keep this up. I already have entrusted one of the groups to an assistant who runs about half the responsibilities of Toronto’s Spanish Group and I am about to name a second one for the To23-35 Socials. Am I taking on more of a managing role? Ha, nah. But I would like to have more time for myself although I would like for the groups themselves to grow, even if I am not there anymore. 6000 Member bash? Sure, why not.

So going back to the bash, it was a great time had by all. With over 100 people this is one of the largest parties we have had — this month– and I certainly hope our next party is as fun and as pleasurable to host as this one.

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 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!