Monthly Archives: June 2010

G8/G20 Summits

Other than the people renting their downtown condos at lucrative prices (that work out to $50/HOUR and up), I don’t know of anyone who’s happy about the G20 being hosted in Toronto. The inconvenience of the security, plus the social outrage at the nearly $1B cost of it all (the media have reminded us that the economy is still struggling its way up) – it’s just fuel to the fire of protest.

But I think given the circumstances, spending truckloads of money on security is money well spent. As bad as it is, I’m sure everyone would agree that the absolute worst thing that could happen would be a serious security breach.  And even one problem would be embarrassing for Canada. (side note: I’m very curious as to what that would mean for our various levels of government, and even how the public would react, etc)
No, spending $1 billion is fine, given the circumstances.

But the circumstances should be different. For one, it’s all nice and well that they chose Toronto to host the G20, but they could have been a lot smarter than choosing the downtown core. I won’t be the first to suggest here that Exhibition Place would have been a lot easier to fence off, not to mention at significantly less disruption (fewer major streets closed) and less cost (fewer checkpoints).
And weren’t they just going to host both summits in Huntsville anyway?
And are the world leaders really going to go out and enjoy the city?  No, they’ll be shepherded from hotels to meetings and barely see the light of day.
So because of the government’s tremendous lack of foresight that led them to choose the convention centre, spending $1 billion on security is (sadly) a good move. Now if only two wrongs made a right…

World Cup

There’s a World Cup of Football going on right now, and despite the obvious popularity, somehow I’m hearing nearly as much about it from people expressing their dislike of the whole thing. Ok, free speech, no problem. But: Really? I can’t remember any good event for which more people have denounced it. And to clear any misunderstanding, by “good”, I mean positive and enjoyable, rather than things like the Gaza blockade, or Mike Harris’ honourary degree*.
I can’t wait for school to end so I can watch more matches. Here’s how excited I am to watch more soccer: I will get up in the morning.

I’m torn, too, about the vuvuzela, aka those annoying horns. They’re so bad that when I first turned on a game, I wondered if my TV was busted. Then again, they represent both national pride (imagine people wanting to ban our Olympic mittens!) and home field advantage.
I like this quotation: “A ban would rob the tournament of part of its cultural identity, leaving thousands of locals perplexed: could you imagine being told by an international body that you could no longer drink beer at American football games, or fall asleep during baseball?” Ryan Bailey, Yahoo Sports

I still wish I was going to South Africa, despite the $3000 plane tickets. I’ll make another try for Brazil in 2014. Cheers!

Stereo Sound

I have a riddle for you: What’s worse than your headphones not working?

A: Only one side of the headphones not working. (Also acceptable: AIDS, being stabbed, the Toronto Maple Leafs…)
This was the unfortunate episode that presented itself to me today. It was a psychological dilemma! If your headphones are completely broken, you put your mp3 player away and read something, or even – get this – not block out any non-musical aural stimuli. Yeah, stimuli. I went there.

Anyway, with one side working, do you pack up your player? Or will the promise of Filter and the Tragically Hip enlighten you too much to say no? (Spoiler: They did). And if you wear your headphones, do you wear both sides or just one side?

My headphones are the “real” over-the-head kind, because I don’t like earbuds. Under most circumstances, I feel normal if I push one earspeaker away, but when that earspeaker wasn’t playing anything, I felt silly. It was like I was fooling myself. And then I had an even worse revelation: I was effectively listening to my music in mono. Mono! It’s been outdated since FM radio. I felt cheated. My left ear was in a state of self-pitying envy. My brain was confused (“Don’t we usually hear with BOTH ears?”) And yet – I don’t know what this says about me – I kept the one-ear set-up the whole way home.

It occurred to me that The Beatles recently (?) released a compilation of their music in mono. So people who already own the dozens of Beatles albums and compilations can now pay a handsome sum for the privilege of hearing the same music in lower quality sound. Yeah, sign me up! Maybe I’ll rent my favourite movie and wear an eyepatch when I watch it, too.