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Ramblings of a pseudophilosopher
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Here is my travelogue post for our travels so far, because I know I won't remember all this stuff later if I forget to write it out!

Wednesday: 12:01 AM bus got us into Montréal around 9 AM. We putzed around for a little bit trying to figure out where around the bus station we could get money changed and have some breakfast, then we got on the second leg of our bus trip up to Québec City. We hauled our bags through St. Roch and then uphill across the city because we didn't know about the public elevator. :p We eventually found our boutique hotel on Grande Allée Ouest - it was a really charming room for the price. It rained much of the day, not yet having let up by the time we went out for dinner. We ordered the table d'hôte at a French restaurant on Grande Allée, and I suspect it might have been a tourist-trappy restaurant, but I didn't really care because the food really was great.

Thursday: We did some marathon touring, having gotten a little more accustomed to the cold. We walked around the Citadelle, along the Governor's Promenade, saw Chateau Frontenac, wandered all about the old city, Place Royale, Quartier du Petit Champlain, the Breakneck Stairs... much, much walking. :D Grabbed some food from a cafe in Place d'Youville.

Friday: We took the bus out of Québec City (some getting lost, ending up at the terminus of the wrong bus route, and wandering about in pouring rain was involved, but hey, I think getting lost at least once is travel for you :p ) and visited Montmorency Falls. Then we took the 5:30 bus back to Montréal to stay there for a couple of days. Checked into our hotel; tried poutines.

Saturday, today: We toured Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal, which was beautiful! Then walked around Vieux Montréal and the Viéux Port and had dinner at Aux Vivres vegan restaurant. We were trying to go easy on the walking today because my foot pain has been getting worse. And now I'm posting on the intertubes and we're watching anglophone Canadian TV. TV is just as bad as I remembered it. :p

Sunday: ???

Monday: PROFIT!
darkladymara
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I found this on the wikipedia entry for Yonkers, NY:
"The city having declined to join the City of Greater New York, plans were dropped to extend the new subway to Getty Square."

.... !
That's such an incredibly weird thought. I had no idea.
darkladymara
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I love gazing out on the haze-enshrouded skyscrapers of midtown on an otherwise clear day. Some days I've got to bitch and moan about how I can't wait to move to a cheaper city, or maybe somewhere I can see real nature, but then some days I look out the window and even though I've seen these views a million times, my heart still flutters just like it did when I first discovered this city nearly ten years ago...

... you never forget your first love. ;)

Current Music: Billy Talent

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Another wonderful tale of animal welfare out of a chain pet store that sells live animals and doesn't believe in cutting profit margins by springing for proper animal habitats or veterinary care. If it makes you as sick to your stomach as it does me, call or write Petland NOW.

Reportedly (at least according to someone posting on a blog about this) this employee has been terminated, but she's just one symptom of a mass culture of disregard for the mass-produced animals for sale for tiny amounts of money in these types of places, IMO...

Warning: GRAPHIC IMAGE
http://www.examiner.com/x-750-Pet-Examiner~y2009m8d5-Petland-lands-in-center-of-rabbitdrowning-posted-on-Facebook
darkladymara
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It makes me sad that Flatbush is being promoted by some developers as an area for kiddies who can no longer afford Williamsburg rents.

"Flatbush Gardens: because you're sick of begging your parents for money" reads an ad in amNY today.

Blargh.

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darkladymara
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http://www.hudsonvalleyruins.org/yasinsac/yonkers/mulford.html

I was reading that because I wanted to learn more about the now-defunct Mulford Gardens project in Yonkers, but I was totally floored when I got to the part about the fence constructed by white neighbors around the black neighborhood of Runyon Heights. I was just looking at aerial photos of the street layout today, and there are visibly a lot of dead ends for no good reason.

That is so incredibly depressing. And I guess the fence is still standing in some places because the photo of it appears to be recent.

Wowee.

This NY Times article was really interesting too: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/17/realestate/if-you-re-thinking-living-runyon-heights-yonkers-dead-end-signs-recall-bitter.html

I really think the city of Yonkers has only begun to face its long history of terrible race relations problems in earnest, as opposed to merely in compliance with a court order, in the past decade or so.

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darkladymara
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Old Sproutie mouse finally died yesterday after about a week of looking like he was at death's door. He was almost three years old. I loved that little guy so much, but I'm glad he's not suffering.

Taking him out to bury him in the park today. It's a warm, sunny day outside.

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darkladymara
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Papers alter Israel cabinet photo
FAIL! They should've replaced the women with Where's Waldo instead of black rectangles!
(Also, I'm disappointed phones aren't made Kosher by boiling or something. :p )

Also, Iowa is a good state. I'm happy.
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When I was out for lunch, I saw a bus go by bearing an ad on the side that read "Queens Library System is here for you!" One of the bullet points of awesome library features listed underneath this header was "free library card."

Don't you just hate those cities that make you buy 'em?

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*speaker clicks on* GOOD MOOORNINGGG BROOKLYYYYNNNN! *speaker clicks off*

A few minutes later...

*speaker clicks on* New York city public schools are closed today, it's a movie day! *speaker clicks off*

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darkladymara
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You know those unlicensed livery vans that have specialty horns that play little jingles so they can get the attention of people at bus stops? We have a lot of those driving up and down Flatbush Ave. because the bus service here is subpar (B41 rated one of the worst buses in Brooklyn! woot!). Well, I just can't take them seriously when they're stuck in traffic and honking with their jingly little horns. If I were driving in front of one of those vans honking at me, I'd probably go even slower.

I'll post more observations as I settle into this area more...

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Current Music: All-American Rejects - Move Along (my happy-making music)

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So this is a few months old, but I just found out about it today, and I'm pretty tickled by it.
Former Yonkers superintendent Hornsby sentenced to prison

I no longer do a very good job of keeping up with news from that city where nothing is on the level, but I'm pleased to see there is at least some justice in the world, if not in Yonkers itself. I'm hoping John Spencer is next. (I felt a little like people from Wasilla must've felt when Sarah Palin entered the national arena when that man tried to run against Clinton for the Senate and boasted of all the wonderful things he'd done for Yonkers.) A crook of a schools superintendent, a crook for a mayor, a crook of a DA protecting all these people. The rot spreads all the way down the tree. Even as a high schooler, I knew there was massive nepotism and corruption plaguing the ways things were being run in the school system. I remember things like that contract to put iMacs the teachers didn't want in every classroom which were then thrown out the windows by students during the chaos of the teacher strike and the intentional sabotaging of programs at our blue ribbon school by diversion of funds to the superintendent's pet project, the IB program. I remember our protests outside of the system's administration building which was conveniently right next door to my high school, the cuts to school security officers which were simultaneous with the attempts to make the physical layouts of the schools resemble prisons, his my-way-or-the-highway steamroller towards school uniforms no one wanted. I remember the high-paying jobs he gave to his family and friends who were completely unqualified. Everyone in the city and the public school system knew how terrible this man was, but because it was Yonkers, he knew he would forever be immune while he was there.

In a way, though, I owe Hornsby one because I doubt I would be as politically involved as I am today if I hadn't been exposed to that sort of thing when I was a teenager. I started caring about politics when I realized one of the major reasons Yonkers was such a shithole was because people refused to WAKE UP and see what their own elected officials were doing to them, because they refused to demand accountability, because they refused to find decent alternatives to run against them (I don't know that the local Democratic party was much better than the Republican dictatorship). Classic story of people getting the leaders they deserve and those of us who realize what's wrong being lone voices in the wilderness (wilderness of Getty Square, that is).

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Current Mood: gloomy jaded
Current Music: Anti-Flag

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http://lrionline.com/ <= I got an ad for that site on my gmail for reasons I can't comprehend, and it's freaking me out.

"We provide a consultant who is assigned the task to “probe” the facility as if he or she were attempting to organize it from the outside... Based on this report you will be able to identify strengths and vulnerabilities in as closely as possible to an actual attack by a union organizer."

"LRI videos provide a solid foundation from the start of an employee’s tenure with your company. These videos are a concise, repeatable way to deliver the message of your corporate culture, and to dispel myths and provide accurate information about union issues"

"The LRI Persuader deployed to your campaign will be the right fit for your workforce. Former union affiliation—as well as issues of culture, language, and industry—are all considered when you and the Labor Relations Institute make the critical decision of which and how many Persuaders are needed to assure victory."

And finally, this slogan at the bottom: "Helping the workplace work"

So Orwellian it makes my head hurt....

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I'd never even heard of a buncher until I saw the term used in that nutty "re: William" exchange on the NYC craigslist pets board. Then I read this. It's pretty terrible.

You can't even feel safe in the knowledge you're doing a good thing by homing a foster animal in this day and age. :|

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1) The Obama transition website uses the word "meh" in the Open for Discussion section!!

2) Can't stop playing Lego Indiana Jones. Kinda reminds me of the retro text-based adventure games I loved up through earlier this decade. Why did I ever give those up?

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Current Mood: tired tired

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"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." - MLK in Letter from Birmingham Jail

Letter to Cinemark, an American theater chain showing and hoping to make some of your money on the film Milk so the CEO can continue donating large sums of his earnings to anti-gay causes (just in case his $10,000 for the Yes on Prop 8 campaign wasn't enough)Collapse )

Webform to contact Cinemark for those who would also like to write
Blog post on this issue - scroll down for reply listing the email addresses of members of Cinemark's board of directors

In general, I like to think of myself as an early adopter of things, and this is going to be the biggest civil rights battle of our generation.

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Current Music: Collective Soul - The World I Know | Powered by Last.fm

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I just requested tickets for Obama's inauguration in the lottery on Senator Schumer's website. Apparently 100,000 other people have already entered his lottery. Somehow I don't think I'm going to DC this January. :p

Hillary? I can has ticket plz? I totally voted for you in the primary!

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Current Music: Enigma - Return To Innocence | Powered by Last.fm

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http://www.theamericanscholar.org/su08/elite-deresiewicz.html

Saw this on Nathan's profile; thought I'd share it here as well. Although I don't agree 100% with all of it, the overall sentiment very much resonates with me. American elite colleges are turning into corporate leader-producing factories. I think this hits on some of the reasons I never really felt like I fit in at Columbia and why I've felt so much tension career-wise - I came out of a system that pushes its graduates, hard, into the most high-paying corporate jobs possible, operating under the assumption that greater wealth equals greater life, but at the same time, I've never accepted that money leads to happiness. I have conflicting urges in me both to be traditionally "successful" and to give the system one big single-finger salute, and I hope the latter is the drive that eventually wins. It's just so hard to push oneself to be low-income and doing things that are personally meaningful when constantly bombarded with messages of wealth and conventional Manhattan-style success!

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Current Location: work
Current Mood: awake awake

darkladymara
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Last night, as soon as the networks started calling the election for Obama, we could hear people all around the neighborhood screaming out the windows. Someone starting setting off firecrackers on Hamilton Place and cars were blowing their horns nonstop. So, because I'd already had a little to drink, I went outside and walked to Amsterdam Ave. and started screaming and cheering as well. There was a large knot of guys who seemed like they might have been drunk as well chanting "what time is it? It's OBAMA TIME!" on the corner of 141st. There was such electricity and shared emotion among everyone that the moment felt completely magical. I had this sense of being swept up in history, in something I wasn't entirely sure was going to happen until I was 65, not 25. I love Harlem SO MUCH, and things like this help to remind me how.

Yes, the anti-gay stuff that passed in CA, FL, etc. is aggravating, CA in particular both because it's overturning a court decision that had already granted a right to a minority in order to take it away and because if can't even win California we have very little hope right now for a lot of the other states. But I think soon, in less than a generation, the wind is going to start blowing the other way and a lot of the gay marriage bans are going to start getting overturned. I have hope.

I'm still completely stunned and in awe, and I haven't come down from the high yet.

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Current Music: Obama victory speech

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