On your last nerve? Or right at the end of your leash? Submit your rants & raves to us so we can put them here:) We're are listening and so is Toronto.

Written by Anonymous

Bet that word just gets you going?  Most people want to go on and on about how much they have suffered in life… like there will be some fabulous prize in it if they can prove their suffering is worse than others (in fact I believe there’s a radio station out there that does offer prizes for just that).  I think it’s quite ridiculous.  There’s even a disease to explain away a Mother offing her child because of a desire to have people feel sorry for her.  What a joke.  How come there’s no diseases out there that are a direct result of Hope or Faith or Courage?  Why doesn’t anyone want to reflect on how wonderful they have it compared to others?  Why do people seek so hard to outdo others in their plight for the most pitiful story they can think of?  Is our society that devoid of compassion that people can’t suffer… get help from the friends, family and support networks that are there and then take that help to move on?  Why do people lose such perspective?  I’ve never really understood the pathetic nature in complaining about things that can’t be changed and dwelling on things that have already happened.

I have kept in touch with a child sponsor of mine from The Republic of Chad for the last 3 plus years now and whenever I feel even the slightest bit of sorrow for myself I think of him and how happy he seems in his letters and life even though he lives in one of the poorest countries in the world and has so little to hope for.  I am in awe at his hope and his passion for what he does have and how the littlest things I send him (like pictures, stickers and cardboard cut out action figures) seem to bring his spirits up.  I know he has no idea how much he brings my spirits up sometimes.  It’s not something I would ever write to him…”Hi there sweet one.  My life is going pretty crappy right now but Thank God I’m not you and Thank God for the perspective you give me and the courage and the humanity I need to carry on.”  Somehow I think those words could never mean as much to him as a friendly update on the events of my life and my new son’s life and this beautiful country we live in.  His name is Dieudonne (which means gift from God in English) and we communicate in French, as it is my second language.  I don’t think he could ever understand fully the extent of how his life is a gift from God to me.  I wish he could… maybe when he’s a little older… or when I win the lottery and go visit him and build a school or a well or something to benefit his little community (ahhh dreams and wishes, who hasn’t wished to win big?).

I go on about how wonderful my life is… which at times seems a farce to me.  It is wonderful now and I Thank God for that (and the meds… no joke there either… my life didn’t begin to make sense to me until the meds came and stayed for good).  It wasn’t always wonderful and the number of challenges and tragedies I have overcome could far outweigh most people I know.  I have had surgeries, was born with a liver disease that is gradually scarring it permanently so that I will most likely need a transplant by the time I am 50, oh and did I mention that I have had 2 of the closest people in my life die (one right before my eyes as I watched her deteriorate) and oooh last but not least… endured a childhood that lacked physical and emotional security.  I can actually think of more hurt and anguish and despair but I prefer not to.  I think of suffering this way… Those who have never truly suffered have never truly lived and could never truly appreciate the beauty that life and our world offers.  Those who have suffered are those who make a choice to be a victim or a student of life.  Victims make me sick… they have a tendency to have a contagious affect on other victims even when they truly aren’t victims.  Students of life are like all students… they attend class no matter how much they want to skip out on it… they follow through with the necessary curriculum and if they have learned anything at all, they graduate from being a lowly freshman victim to a somewhat wiser graduate student ready to attend more classes even as they simultaneously hope that school’s out for good.

There is a proverb (some say Chinese some say Arabic… the origin really matters not since the message is the same no matter what language you speak) that goes somewhat as follows:

“If something goes wrong and you can change it then there is no need to worry… If something goes wrong and you can do nothing to change it then there is no need to worry.”

I’ve been writing since I was 14 years old.  Never published… never had the courage to try really since my words seem so personal that sharing them is a dangerous expedition.  I began writing to survive the unmedicated state of confusion in which I was living every day.  I wrote to live because if I hadn’t found the outlet to get the orgy of random and vicious thoughts out of my head they would have overcome me.  There is such a fine line between what makes someone a successful graduate of suffering or a complete failure doomed to pass it on in the vilest ways.  I was so lucky to have found inside me the ability to let out the stream of painful consciousness that stalked me every day.  If I hadn’t found it, I most certainly wouldn’t be here today blabbering on about this and that in perhaps complete incomprehension.  I would have done more than just walk the plank with no one there to push me or watch.  I would have run straight on to it and performed an Olympic dive into the depths worthy of a perfect 10 score.  I’m sure glad that didn’t happen because I’m not a fan of sharks or salt water and I don’t know anyone who’s got a boat with a plank on it anyhow.

I guess what I aim to get across here to myself and to anyone who reads this is that outlets are all over the place (unless of course they’re filled with child proofing devices like in my home).  As worried as BP people get about losing their passion for life because of the meds, there is so much more at stake than such selfish ignorance.

It’s not easy… nothing in life that is worth anything at all should be easy because it would be worthless.  I admit it… amid my sorrow and self-indulgence of pain I wrote some of the best things I have ever written.  My compulsion to the creative and crazy wordplay was unparalleled.  It was an animalistic instinct that surged within me (I guess that’s why generations thousands of years ago wrote so many things on caves and rocks… how else could they deal with the idea that they can’t even brighten the night because fire hadn’t been invented yet).  I wonder if that’s why most of the prolific and astounding inventions and artistic relics are from so long ago?  Can anyone really compare an I pod or Crackberry to the wheel or a Salvador Dali painting?  Is the crap that we listen to (and I confess I too indulge in on occasion) anywhere near the Cadillac of all music… classical? 

I imagine that instead of finding one of these outlets that can give back to the world people who think their suffering is astounding have instead taken the easy way out.  The path more traveled.  And while I don’t mean to diminish the trials and tribulations that one person can go through, I most certainly question the methods that they use to deal with them.  True, I can’t write anywhere near as well as I used to.  A good chunk of the creative descriptive juices have been squeezed out to make room for the meds but I also can’t complain because those meds brought something far more valuable to me.  Next to the meds I take every day is a coffee maker that I ritualistically make my morning cup of coffee in as I prepare my son’s cereal meal.  Above them is a cupboard full of glasses that I use to drink clean fresh water from (even if the taste on occasion has a chlorine tinge to it).  Under the meds is a dishwasher I use to wash the dishes in… a luxury I could most definitely do without but am grateful is there (especially since my son was born).  The meds are a fixture in my kitchen and my life and they have given me more than any reckless excess of words ever has.  I read back some of those words and almost feel pity for the woman I once was.  Then I realise that my son sleeps in the room across from the bright solarium that I sit in as I write here and I know that the meds are my lifeline to my life.  There may be more rationale in what I put onto the page these days but there is less disenchantment and hopelessness and more Faith.  There is a certainty that no matter what is thrown in my way, I will be a graduate once again and maybe soon I will earn a Doctorate… geez who knew that in my world suffering was a gift of education that doesn’t have to be subsidized by the government?

Like the senses I had last time I wrote, I know that my son is soon to awaken.  My husband is off to work and I shall go now to walk him to the elevator.  A kiss goodbye and a conviction that if he or I were to be taken unwillingly into that sea at the end of the plank, we would be okay (at least I would, sometimes he can be somewhat of a dork… but men really are almost always a wee bit behind us women in the art of revelation and metamorphosis).  He would know I Love him even when every little thing he does on occasion drives me even crazier that I sometimes feel inside.  I pick my battles quite well and I can say with complete honesty that I never hang on to the anger and resentment that suffering projects.  It’s just not worth it and no matter what happens I know that like my meds, he and my son are permanent fixtures in my life that give me Hope.  Golly, I sure do hope I win that 30 million tomorrow J !!  Once again I sign off with a poem written during one of my creative survival modes… class was tough that day:

Just Passing Through
Just a very short while,
Just a sliver in time,
But a moment to smile,
But a brief sight divine.
One small view of the truth,
One glimpse of hot passion,
Our faint dreams of fresh youth,
Our quick shows of compassion.
That sweet breath of new laughs,
That hint of devotion,
A kind touch on our pasts,
A simple emotion.
The chance from a meeting,
The basic surge of desire,
My quiet hopes fleeting,
My strong heart up for hire.
This taste of craved Love,
This slight hope held at bay,
As stars fall from above,
As swift hands seek out play.
It’s not much to work with,
It’s little thoughts of Bliss,
To reach for my zenith,
To lost embraces I miss.
When the sun takes its rest,
When my soul at last feels,
I shall stand alone Blessed,
I shall know that God heals.

Written by Daniel Stad


Brampton's Rohan Morris couldn't be any happier. He has started his own entertainment company, ColdFire Entertainment and expects to make $150,000 on its first project. Not bad for someone who's only 18.

Not everyone's resume would have a first job as an "entrepreneur" with an investment in the tens of thousands. As far as career planning goes, this 2nd year Ryerson student already has it all figured out for the rest of his life.

"I first got the idea from the 'Legends of Cricket Live' event last March," said Morris. "I want to bring artists that young south-asians want to see and hear."
And the first artist that he has chosen to bring to Canada is the Paksitani rock group Junoon (meaning "passion" in Urdu and "craziness" in Arabic). Undoubtedly the most popular south-asian band, Junoon has sold over 25 million albums worldwide since 1990. Their classic rock inspired tunes have influenced the new generation of south-asians around the world including Canada.

Morris' game plan was enough to convince the band to perform in Mississauga, Montreal and Vacouver this year before heading south of the border. With the exception of Mississauga, Morris booked and arranged for the venues from the comforts of his home. Now he is in the process of attracting media sponsors for the event.

But Morris is in a hurry. Emigrating with his family only five years ago from India, he feels for his father who works 18 hours every day to support the family. To make his father retire comfortably, he wants to leapfrog into the position of the man of the house.

"My dad worked as a civilian in the Indian Army and we were well-off back there," he recalls. "Now I feel I have to do something to step into his shoes."
Morris' dad did however lend financial support from assets he had brought from India for the venue rent and sound arrangement. There is no doubt that all that money is at stake on the success of the company's first project, something that is keeping Morris twisting and turning in bed at nights.

For now, Morris is making plans about the next act he wants to bring to Canada. He already has his eyes set on Bollywood stars, local music acts and a similar version of "Legends of Cricket".
Junoon's first 2007 Canadian performance is scheduled for August 3rd at Mississauga's Hershey Centre for 7 p.m. Morris has opted for a sound setup that cost him more than the venue itself, featuring speakers that deliver 20,000 watts of earth-shaking thumps. The band will then hop to Montreal to perform on August 5th and and finally in Vancouver on July 20th.

Written by Robert Pasiak

The very best of Francophone cinema in our own backyard

One of my most vivid childhood memories is sitting cross-legged in the middle of our living room and staring at the TV and taking in ‘W Starym Kinie’ - ‘At the Old Cinema’.  Until today I am not really sure why I followed the weekly series with such passion at the tender age of five, but the old, black and white movies mesmerized me just as much as Disney’s cartoons and adventure movies.

There was no color, oftentimes no sound and certainly no special effects and visual gimmicks to supplement the plot, just the story in its simplest form and that was all that mattered to me. 
Now, why the heck would I write about this?  Just recently and decades after my love-in with the TV show passed, I had a chance to revisit my sentiments for movies with a vintage and feel to them.  Just weeks ago my girlfriend, in her never ending search for interesting venues around town, suggested ditching a group of friends that we had planned to see the movie ‘300’ with and checking out CineFranco – The Toronto International Francophone Movie Festival. 

I must say that I was intrigued, and we walked down College Street that brisk March evening only to find a lengthy lineup in front of Royal Cinema.  There, I was surprised to find out that this was already the Festival’s tenth rendition and I had never heard anything about it in the mainstream media.  Despite an annually impressive lineup, strong corporate backing and an obviously high regard among the Francophile and Allophone populations of Toronto, I had managed to miss out on nine previous Festivals! 

We saw ‘Peindre ou faire l’amour’ (‘To paint or make love’) that night and neither one of us had any qualms about missing out on ‘300’.  In fact, the sharp and refreshing portrayal of a middle-aged couple and their rather unexpected mid-life lifestyle change, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the French Vercors region flooded both of us with emotions.  We literally could not stop talking about the film, and it is this emotional upheaval that it created within us that is the true measure of its strength.  ‘The sign of a good painting is the mood that it creates in the room’, proclaims the ageless Daniel Auteuil, cast here as William Lasser, an affluent, middle-aged retiree who upon moving out of the city faces a realm of new and tempting sensualities.  As we walked back from the viewing I could not help but think that this quote holds so true for movies as well. 

Just before the screening I actually had the pleasure of meeting Marcelle Lean - the founder and artistic director of CineFranco.  She is a charming lady with a warm, big smile and an even bigger dream – the dream of making French-language cinema a part of the cultural fabric of Canada’s most multicultural city.  However, despite CineFranco’s successes over the past decade, even Lean is still surprised at the relative obscurity in which movies of such depth and quality dwell in Canada.  "I cannot explain why they don't go to commercial cinemas," she says, "but I certainly see a growth of the Anglophones, and the Allophones who are Francophiles." 

This certainly bodes well for the future and my hopes of seeing more than one film in 2008.  I look forward to exploring these affirming, liberated, and almost grassroots feelings aroused in us by the film.  According to Lean, they actually permeate the entire event and "there is something magical about a festival like this; it attracts people.  There is a freedom of reaching out to people, of sharing your impressions.  It's like a big family getting together because they love something.  In a commercial venue, you buy your ticket, and you might be with your companion, but it's not the same atmosphere." 

While the glitter of The Toronto International Film Festival annually captures the city’s collective imagination, CineFranco remains Toronto’s hidden gem that illustrates so well the difference between North American movies and European cinema.  As much as I appreciate the Hollywood movie industry and many of its stars such as Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson to name a mere few, there is a different kind of depth in foreign movies and their artistic value can be monumental.  While Hollywood movies often seem to follow a synthetic blockbuster formula that deals with many aspects of the movie-making business but NOT the story, cinema refers to more independent, free-thinking art, characterized by emphasis on dialogue, exploration of emotions, and an intensity that is more cerebral than corporal. 

It is not easy to define this cinematographic dichotomy, this difference between ‘movies’ and ‘cinema’, which despite the fact that many people in North America actually consider the words interchangeable, certainly exists.  Perhaps the words of Samuel Goldwyn, one of the forefathers of Hollywood as we know it, best illustrate the differences in reasoning behind this paradox: "Pictures are for entertainment, messages should be delivered by Western Union."  This certainly holds true even today, as while surfing the internet in Europe you will usually find film listed under Art & Culture, while in America movies are listed under Entertainment.  I guess that a night at the cinema gave us both an understanding of the more cultural value of film that we may at times take for granted.  And we did not have to go far – it happens every year, among the hustle and bustle of College Street, in our own backyard.


Written by Matthew Carter

It gets pretty frustrating when a major portion of your lifestyle is openly scoffed at and shunned by mainstream society.  I would go so far as to say that such actions can be downright infuriating when the root cause for them turns out to be nothing more than blind ignorance.

This became all too apparent to me after reading a short article in a certain publication, where rappers were condescendingly and ignorantly referred to as simply “people who can put words in order” and “bejewelled idiot[s] stammering about how they’re hot with their bitches.”  It frightens and offends me that such uneducated notions about the Hip-hop culture – or anything for that matter – can be widely held and accepted in our society, to the point where nobody so much as blinks an eye when such words are printed in official publications.

Yes, freedom of speech is a definite cornerstone within the foundation of our modern democratic society, but at the same time nobody likes it when ignorant, negative-essentialist jargon is being broadcasted from the proverbial pulpits and soap boxes across the land.  We are a nation that prides itself over its liberal philosophy of tolerance, so the only thing we shouldn’t tolerate is uneducated persons who think they’ve got the scoop.

Rap is far from the empty, crass hullabaloo it is commonly portrayed as being.  It is a legitimate form of art residing within a culture that, like any other, is rich in beliefs, customs, and traditions.  And even though this has been recognized even by organizations such as the United Nations, everyday society fails to do the same.  Instead, it remains content with being spoon-fed the exaggerated, stereotypical fiction it so desperately craves.  However, with the Information Age being how it is, we as individuals should each make a conscious effort to investigate and challenge these notions in order to discover the shrouded truths.

In other words, we need to look before we leap – or in this case, read before we write.

Written by Daniel Stad


The latest episode of Gossip Girl tonight has inspired me to write this article. When Serena’s “friend” Georgina almost reveals through videotape Serena has killed somebody, it made me think of how - and why - girls can be so, well, mean. So, I thought that maybe I should go forward with my plan of showing that the differences TV shows outline about female interaction during different ages are not mere exaggerations, but useful deconstructions of reality. I will show this, through the examples of television programs, such as Gossip Girl, The Hills, and Desperate Housewives. Gossip Girl is about teenagers, The Hills is about young women in their early 20s, and Desperate Housewives is about adult women in their 30s and 40s.

Let’s first talk about our primary subject: Gossip Girl. Gossip Girl is a modern outlook into the lives of elite teenagers - private schools, limos, smancy parties: the whole deal. While the series is about a bunch of girls who gossip, Gossip Girl is the omniscient narrator who also poses as a website (kind of like Facebook and TMZ.com put together, only she knows absolutely everything that is happening with anybody who’s somebody, and tells you directly - or indirectly - in cyber-article format…hence the singular term “Gossip Girl”). But, back to the fact that this site (or TV show) is not just about one girl. Using this site, these rich, spoiled girls spread scandalous rumours about each other. But, unlike your typical teenage girls, they don’t just talk behind your back; they threaten you with their undeniable power - and harsh words - to your face. Gossip Girl, in a lot of ways, is just like the 2004 smash hit movie Mean Girls. It depicts girls in their most vicious state; they act like fake-ingly, nauseatingly “nice” friends to your face, then once you do something they don’t want you to do, their mission becomes turning the whole world against you - or, at least, their world. And once you climb up the social ladder, you’re trapped with more danger; you immediately enter the competition, even if that wasn’t your intention, and once it’s about showing whose prettier and more popular, it inevitably becomes about appearance rearing its ugly head. Hey! If you’re that famous, everyone loves you - or they hate you….
But, time passes, and, eventually, these girls mature - a bit. Nevertheless, women are like wine; they get better, when they age - slightly. So, let’s discuss girls who age a bit from their adolescent years - girls from The Hills. Shall we? Well, I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s because Gossip Girl is dramatized, and The Hills is a “reality” show, (which could explain its lack of emotional expression and ambiguity…). Whatever it is, something makes The Hills different from Gossip Girl, other than its references to “everyday life.” Perhaps it’s the fact that the characters on The Hills are slightly older than the characters on Gossip Girls. So, let’s explore this fact more readily, by examining your prototypical Hills girl. She’s an early 20s, college-bound, fashion magazine intern. But, does that really make her more adult - and deal issues with other women in a rational, adult matter? Well, let’s see. What I notice from watching The Hills is that a lot of tone and body language are concealed. It’s good that they confront their girlfriends in a straightforward, calm manner, but if they say something upsets them directly, damnit, show that they’re upset. I mean, I don’t believe - nor I can tell - you’re upset, if it looks like Botox fixed that permanent monotone expression on your face. “Oh my gawd, I’m, like, sooo upset!” Really? Your voice doesn’t raise in intonation, your eyes don’t light up - you’re like a text message. I can’t tell what the meaning or emotional value behind your words are. Perhaps The Hills depicts reality, because it isn’t as extreme as Gossip Girl; the girls talk behind other girls’ backs, but they also talk to their faces, in a mostly collected manner. So, it does show that girls do these things, but I don’t see the reality of emotion, unless you count the continuous feud between Lauren and Heidi (choosing Spencer over their friendship). Now, the time it’s taking to forgive that is realistic and worth watching…
…but is it as worth watching as the award-winning Desperate Housewives? Well, the thing is that just because it’s more down-to-earth doesn’t mean it’s more realistic - or truthful. I mean, Desperate Housewives is not a reality show, and the girls are more neighbour-like than the “reality” of that of The Hills. But, I guess it could also be because Desperate Housewives is set in a suburban neighbourhood, where everyone is friendly, until behind closed doors. Or is it the age difference that makes…the difference? Desperate Housewives are about, um, housewives in their 30s and 40s. They all reside on Wisteria Lane, practically next door to each other. They all live - and seem - pretty close to each other, yet they don’t always know each other’s secrets. They watch each other closely - invading privacies - to supposedly protect their friends from harm, unless they have their own subconscious selfish and desperate motives. But, despite Gabby’s abuse of handicapped people, Edie’s betraying sex-escapades, Bree’s leaving her son homeless, and the rest, these women are each other’s most loyal confidants, meeting at each other’s homes for tea and cookies, while they laugh and console over their most significant experiences. In their 30s and 40s - most of them nurturing mothers - you can expect these women to lend you a shoulder to cry on - whenever, wherever - unlike those cruel girls who will laugh at you, and are probably the ones making you cry…
In conclusion, when it comes to girls, does age really matter? Well, it seems, according to television, girls in 2008 seem to play nicer, when they’re older. But, of course, each show’s situation may not just depend on the consensual age of its characters and their interaction, but their individual personalities, location, and position in social class. So, it’s safe to say that no matter what the age or factor, girls are always going to be girls. There’s always going to be drama, and girls will always be expected to handle it sweetly and innocently - on the outside.

Written by Shei-Lynn Kranz

Diatribe about trust to follow... there is a point, trust me (hehe)
Do you find that too few people trust nowadays?
I've heard, "They've got to earn my trust," come out of so many peoples mouths that it kind of scares me.  What truly frightens me though is this phrase, "You can't trust anyone anymore these days."  I look at how wonderful our world is and I am truly abashed that people's minds have come to such foolish and emotional conclusions.  These conclusions no undoubtedly have often been reached after the airing of news media specials on accounts of child abduction, identity theft, fraud, murder et al.  I guess what people don't truly understand is that those things are going to occur one way or another... most existed since the creation of man.  Most will continue until the possible destruction or hopeful success of mankind.  We all deal in trust or the lack of trust in every part of our lives.  The employer trusts that his employee will come to work on time... and work.  The worker trusts that she will be paid on time.  The landlord trusts that the rent cheque will be in his hands on the 1st of the month.  Husbands and wives trust about so many issues they could not be listed here (perhaps one great reason that marriages are so hard... there is not enough trust).  I trust you to read this article and have some sort of reaction to it... good, bad, ambivalent... anything that provokes thought would suit me just fine.  So in a world where trust is a part of our every waking moments, why do so many feel that they can trust so few?  Ask yourself this... when was the last time you were walking down the street, looking the world face on in a state of joy or fulfillment and you had someone say hello to you?  In your elated state of being, did you say hello back?  Did you just keep walking and wondering... "what the heck?"  Did you secretly wish that you were the one who had said it first?  It's such a simple thing... a smile, a hello... but society in the bigger cities has turned trust into something... rare.  Mother Theresa once said that, "A smile is the shortest distance between two people." 

What I find even odder though, is that if you are by nature a trusting person (as I am) other people think that when you trust them so easily there must be something wrong with you.  Why would anyone be so open and so trusting unless they have hidden motives?  Or maybe they're just stupid and naive?  Don't the trusting know that sooner or later that flippant attitude towards trust will bite them in the a**?  Maybe they have heard all the warning stories.  But I see it this way;  maybe they refuse to let the fear of being openly trusting bring them down.  Maybe they have simply decided to press on gleefully with life any how.  Fear is a part of their vocabulary... if they're stuck in the woods with a big black momma bear ready to attack and defend her cubs; if they're standing alone on the sea side on their exotic vacation watching the tide suck so far back into the ocean it could mean only one thing... tragedy is about to happen.   So it's not to say that trusting people don't have fears about some things but rather than let the fears consume them... they choose instead to trust themselves and the universe.  They don't walk a path of fear... they skip on a path as they prepare for life.
Worse though... what if people are afraid to have others put their trust in them?  Maybe they don't feel they deserve it and as a consequence push that person away because of their own inadequacies?  To be trusted means that someone out there has decided you are it.  You are the one.  You can be there and listen, maybe help, possibly console, hopefully cheer up with humour or give guidance with life wisdom.  Then after you've done your job... been trusted... listened... helped... cheered... guided... you start to think to yourself.... who the hell am I to be that one trusted person for her/him?  My own life is not a model of picture perfect serenity and balance.  I have no right to say anything and since he/she trusts me so much then something more must be going on there.  I best get myself as far away as possible so I don't really screw someone else up. 
It saddens me a little when I think about trust and how often it is used either as a weapon or as a defence mechanism.  It has become so distorted I don't even know what to call what I feel for every person I meet... is it trust?  I'm not a subscriber to the "earn my trust," motto.  I believe that anyone I meet has my trust immediately.  If they lose it then there can be some serious consequences to that.  I can trust someone the moment I meet them and then be wary of them by the time I have ended the conversation.  The trust hasn't dissipated but the ability to be cautious about how much of that trust I give out at first is refined.  First impressions are a farce and only time and experience can answer the question... "Can I really trust this person?"  What layer of trust can I offer... yes I trust you to pay me back that $5 you owe me.  Sure I trust you to recommend a great restaurant to me and my family.  Of course I trust you enough to be honest with me about the outfit I'm wearing tonight.  I think I trust you enough to borrow my car just to go to the corner store.  Well, I haven't known you that long... I'm not sure if I quite trust you enough to watch my kids... give it time.  The layers build over time.
So, as a result... I don't really have trouble being honest with people right away.  When they ask me questions, I answer them.  I don't lie... I see no point in lying... even if it is to save someone's feelings.  Why lie when all people really want to hear is the truth and more often than not are relieved when someone finally tells them how it really is?  Trust and truth... only 2 letters differentiate those two words.  The truth... why should men trust women in bars or relationships for that matter?  Women have a tendency to lie to, "Save hurting his feelings."  I'm not sure but I think at times women are so caught up in their own world of thought that they don't understand how much easier it would be for a guy to hear, "Hey, thanks for your phone number but I'm really not interested.  I enjoyed chatting though, and hey... thanks for the beer," than it would be to have the girl feign interest and give out a fake number?  Lying is easy... telling the truth is hard.  If you can't tell someone the truth, then how can you be trusted?
Now confiding in others... that takes me a little time.  The trust is already there but the bond has yet to be tested.  Testing that bond is a tricky task... almost like walking a tightrope.  You want to confide because you feel a camaraderie with the person.  You want to share because let's face it... sharing feels good.  It feels good because we all seek to be understood in some fashion or another and that cannot be found without sharing and comparing.  Confiding is a point that can make or break any relationship... from a friendship to a familial connection to something as simple as telling someone close to you how much they mean to you.  The breaking comes from the motives that the receiver can tend to put behind the action.  Not every person who confides in another person has ulterior motives but a lot of people who have others confide in them may think differently, even when this type of thinking and assuming is not warranted. 
The worst breaking of a bond being tested?  It comes from those people who do confide solely because they do have ulterior motives.  It is people like this... the manipulators and schemers, that taint the whole symbiotic cycle that pure truth and trust can create.  A victim of one of these people is by and large a subscriber to the "earn my trust," motto.  The motto sticking to them often like superglue for the rest of their lives... especially if the victim has been a victim more than once.  Sadly the role of victim often leads to many other treacherous states... fear, sadness, hopelessness, inability to forgive, stagnancy, bitterness, loneliness, anger... do I really need to go on?  So ultimately the breaking of the bond comes from confiding in the wrong person... the type of person who will not meet you with understanding or even the slightest attempt at understanding but with distain, with manipulation, with ridicule or the most difficult one... with judgment.
Judgment is probably the biggest obstacle to trust and the act of confiding.  Why do you think priests have a legal obligation to keep all the secrets they are told?  Why must they offer confidentiality and help as much as possible?  Why is it their job to be compassionate, calm, forgiving, encouraging... to just be there... during almost any crisis of life (we all know the exceptions)?  Why?  Because if they didn't, no one would turn to them in need.  It is that guarantee that makes the bond and though some of these priests have misused that trust... to manipulate and betray.... that does not mean that their entire profession should be regarded with fear and distrust.  If that continues to be the case then we would be right back where we started.  "If you can't trust a priest, who can you trust anymore?"  That's as fool hardy, I believe, as saying if cars get in accidents all over the world, all of the time, then you can't trust to drive one without knowing at some point you too will be in an accident.  But the good priests don't roam the streets of our towns or peruse the neighbourhoods in which we live.  We have to find our own "good priests," and that process can be tricky.
If done successfully, not only will both the confidant and the confessor feel better but two lives will be changed forever... forming a new course for both.  To be trusted and to trust entails great responsibility and a wonderful joy for both parties.  The relationship need not be with a divine representative of the Lord.  It need not be with a counsellor or a licensed physician of psychology.  It need simply be with someone with whom you have gone through all the layers of trust with and gotten right to the bottom where the nice, rich crust awaits.  I guess it's just the search for trust and truth along with the trial and error during that search that is the hard part. 
After that... it's all sunshine and roses... trust me!


Written by Kimberly Hart

There are many mornings where I am too tired to remember exactly why people are staring at me on the subway train. Did I have something on my face? Am I not wearing any pants? Ah crap, I have a big green stream of snot extending itself from my nose to the floor, don't I?

As I sit and ponder these questions in my mind, asking myself just what I was doing that was causing everyone to look at me, it started to dawn on me. As I stared from my feet to my reflection in the glass on the opposing side of the train, it hit me.
"Just look at that goofball!" I thought, "Hair extending its way towards the roof, and a face adorned with so much metal that you could lift them with a fridge magnet"

Yep. That was me, alright.

I went bug-eyed as the facts started to sink into that sleepy skull of mine. That crazy-haired lady in the glass was me. Sometimes I just forget, as you begin to get used to looking a certain way year after year. Still staring at myself and feeling eyes drilled into the back of my head - hundreds of early morning commuters studied me from all directions.

Now, if you were to ask somebody what the greatest thing was about being a punk, they might tell you about being in the mosh pit at the latest Subhumans concert, setting off fireworks in garbage cans, or perhaps getting rowdy with their friends under the bridge out of town - getting trashed, wasted, and vomiting into their friends favorite Fedora. Those times are all well and good, but I would have to say that the greatest thing about looking the way I do is probably sitting on this subway train right now.

I love the music. I love the attitude. But getting trashed and passing out in the streets didn't particularly interest me. No, it didn't really appeal to me at all. But sitting here amongst people who don't really know you can have it's advantages and its fun. A situation that many punks will tell you that they hate to get themselves in.

I am a contemplative punk. A label not heard of by many, but only because I just made it up. A label that I stick to myself with pride - a label on my leather jacket, held onto me by many buttons, zippers, and safety pins.

Every weekday morning, I make this commute with many others. Various suits, ties, frilly shirts and short skirts - overcoats, dress shoes, and pointy healed hooves. Often times I stand by the door, but if I am lucky I will grab a seat if it isn't already taken in this ridiculous rush-hour traffic - this is where I begin my morning routine.

I look around the train and spot many faces. Some look away in discontent, and others continue to stare in my direction. I always seem to wonder about the people who don't look away when I catch their gaze. As you look into their direction, they continue to stare. As you look back at them, straight in the eye, you are wondering what exactly they are going to do next. Are they going to say something? Make a face? Grin? Frown? Or just look away.

At times, you will get the odd person that smiles or says hello, and often a hello is also accompanied by a question. Questions are usually the same, ranging from things like "Where did you get that jacket?", "Hey! I've heard that band!" as they point to a patch on the jacket, or "How long does it take to do that hair?". For somebody that enjoys meeting people from all walks of life, this starts my day with a smile. In this circumstance, I usually get to enjoy a conversation with a curious person until the train either reaches my stop or theirs.

But there are special moments where somebody goes out of their way to speak to you. Without even looking at them, they will initiate an interesting story. An example being this middle-aged man with a suit, tie, and a brief case. He told me about his glory days where he carefully put up his three foot bright orange mohawk and went to all sorts of shows - naming off bands I had heard of and listened to, something you just couldn't make up off the top of your head. Or the thirty year old business dude that told me about the time he partied with the members of Killing Joke after a show at the Siboney. The unexpected delighting you with stories of their pasts and rebelling against society.

Wherever I may be, whether on the Subway train or walking through Chinatown or Kensington Market, I always seem to run into an interesting situation between me and the crowds, whether I am the topic of somebody's gossip and whispering, or having my jacket used as reading material for the long commute home. That seems to be something that a punk runs into each and everyday, and I always say that if you are going to look the way you do, people are going to look, and that's just the way it is. Whether you like it or not - you can hate it, or you can embrace it.

So, I chose to make a story out of it, thus - embracing it.

Written by Daniel Stad

After an interesting speech by an acquaintance of mine, I've come to the conclusion that the TTC's Monthly Metropass should be based on the number of days in a month rather then on the month itself. Other countries do it, why can’t we?

Here’s my proposal, if the regular fare is $2.75 (which is already extremely high itself), then the average person who does not use a Metropass would pay about $5.50 a day providing they only make 2 trips on the TTC.
I think that if a person commits to a month on the TTC then they should basically cut the cost by 50%. We’re supposed to get a tax credit anyways, why not give the credit at the point-of-sale? It shouldn’t matter how much or little you make, the government wants us to go green, then they should make it more enticing.

So you’ve bought a Monthly Metropass? Here’s what I think you should have to pay;

January $85.25

February $77

March $85.25

April $82.50

May $85.25

June $82.50

July $85.25

August $85.25

September $82.50

October $85.25

November $82.50

December $85.50

Realistically the Monthly Metropass should cost half of this. Why? Because we pay taxes!  Canadians are taxed almost to the point that they starve. Very few countries tax its citizens they way Canada does. In fact, most of the countries that I’ve traveled too don’t even have sales tax.

I don’t want to appear anti-Canadian, but I want us to think about ourselves and be a bit more selfish. Because most Canadians don’t really have a clue what happens in other countries, we don’t really know what to complain about. We know that taxes are too high, but we don’t really know why.

I’ll continue my tax story in another article.  

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