Tag Archives: Halifax

Hey! Wise Advice for My Butthead Neighbour

I am so irritated I could spit. I wish I was the kinda gal who could chill when people are behaving like total a-holes. It’s one thing if smokers want to kill themselves, go around smelling like ashtrays, become a burden on the health care system which our tax dollars are paying for, make their children sick, loose productivity at work because they are outside caging a smoke…wait, that’s more than one thing…the point is, I only believe minimally in smokers rights, because when their addiction impacts ME and invades my personal space, I have to draw the line! The butthead who recently moved in next door (anorexic-looking twit with a 8-4 job, a stupid boyfriend who makes her squeak when they’re having sex, and a cat that I feel VERY sorry for), might be very quiet tenant (except maybe for all the knocking on her door by people using a ‘secret code’ on the door seven thousand times a night, golly gee, is she selling drugs too?!), but it turns out the common wall we share, transmits her cigarette smoke. Great. I pay an obscene amount of rent money for my haven, my oasis, my mecca of personal space…and I am forced to suck up the result of HER addiction. Hey Butthead! Capital District Health Authority is giving FREE smoking cessation aids if you join their program. Com’n babe. You can do it! Quit killing yourself and that stupid cat of yours, and most of all, stop irritating ME...and then maybe I won’t be so inclined to use all of the 200 watts of speaker power (‘Van Morrison Live’ tonight) to blast out my frustration. The fact that my window must be open during a wacky March blizzard, just so that I don’t croak, seems a little silly. Sigh. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt so touchy about the smoking thing tonight, but this morning, I walked by a Metro Transit bus shelter (ironically, it was outside the hospital), and a bunch of QEII hospital employees were using it as a smoking hut. Very nice. Where are you HRM by law enforcement officers?! You guys just blew a $350.00 fine TIMES at least three or four buttheads! If you added up all the potential butthead infractions and collected the fines, maybe we could afford to run this city efficiently. OK, Now I need to put on some music again…let’s see…I really like that John Mayer CD…

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Halifax Bus Drivers Going, Going… Gone Goofy

At one time, people accused me of picking on Halifax’s Metro Transit and their bus drivers too much….they don’t announce bus stops despite the undeniable swath of pan-Canadian litigation and Human Rights rulings which has forced other cities to do so…they have inaccessible route and schedule information, AND they have yanked the “free pass” which allows the blind to travel free, a minor concession for inadequate Accommodation.
It seems that I don’t have to complain about Metro Transit drivers anymore. Why? They are behaving like a big bunch of goofs with EVERYONE these days; Recently, one driver rammed a courier’s vehicle on Barrington street and held up a busload of passengers for 20 minutes while he ranted. Then, last week, a driver refused to allow a veiled Muslim woman on his bus…a definite no-no (a bystander complained, not the woman), this on top of recent accusations of racial profiling and finally, this weekend, one particularly goofy driver got out of his bus in front of the spring Garden Road Library to whack a mock bloody seal with a stick; the toy seal was being used by anti-seal hunt demonstrators. I guess he was just trying to express his opinion? The driver was picked up by the cops and eventually returned to his bus. It seems he’s been invited to join Metro Transit big cheeses in a discussion today (Oh, to be a fly on the wall!). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; give these drivers a refresher course…no, not ‘sensitivity training’…they need a course on how to locate their brains…the one’s stashed away in their back pockets…the pockets attached to the lard asses they sit on as they drive their buses (a job for which they are over paid, if you ask me), confident with the knowledge that the money they shell out in monthly union dues will cover the cost of lawsuits and other damage control expenditures for these ‘special’ (and increasingly often) times when they behave like the big bunch of goofs they really are.

Thank God I’m a PFA

I’ve been cross-blogged. Cross blogging is not unlike cross checking in hockey. A local blogger caught the doo dad I did on TV re. the service dog park story. She somehow ended up checking me out and has concluded that I am not adjusting well to blindness and feel beset upon by everyone,  and that I use my blog to rant about how the world is unfair to me yada, yada, yada. Hmm. Actually, dear (this IS Nova Scotia where we all get called ‘dear’ a lot) I think I’m OK with my ‘adjustment’ to blindness. I just can’t adjust to being a PFA. For those of you who are in the dark, a PFA is the short version of ‘Person From Away’…a term coined to refer to anyone who is not born and pedigreed Nova Scotian.  It is a term that even appears as a reference in internal government material. Hmm. As a PFA, the first thing I noticed 16 years ago when I got here, (once I got past the charming painted houses, regional accents and general ‘quaint, quietness’ of the East coast) was the perplexing, passive acceptance by the local population of inferior service; at the hands of bad waiters, shoddy contractors, shop keepers and so on. People here tend to also accept cheap or defective products, bad decisions by government bureaucrats etc. Once in a while, you see a spark of complaint or revolt (“Ooo we’re so upset that you want to take away Johny’s school lunch program”)  Being a PFA from Montreal, we tend not to suck it up, but to complain and ACT. Then we go home and sleep well, instead of whining to our spouses or neighbours  behind close doors about it. I choose to blog. My ‘rant’ is a literary device, not an indication of my state of competence and ‘adjustment’.  “GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM!”, I hear. Hmm. I like the sea air and sleepiness of this town, even though no one here (except transplanted PFA’s) speaks Yiddish or understands the true meaning of “vibrant” when referring to a city. You can’t buy a  decent bagel,  French books or interesting art or furniture here either. It is laughable when news of a local swarming generates comparisons to ‘urban life’. PFA s make the world interesting and keep people accountable with their complaints.

Regards the service dog park? Just to clarify, I have no problem with pet dogs.  It’s the  HRM legal department that does. I proposed an enclosed dog park for all dogs. They are the ones who won’t go for it because of “liability issues”.  It’s not that service dogs can’t ‘mingle’ with pet dogs. And yes, I do know that some are running around  off leash with their ‘well adjusted’ handlers in Point Pleasant park. It should be a matter of choice as to whether or not someone wants to let their dog off leash. But then, this IS Nova Scotia and choices are few and I AM a PFA….

Run Opal, Run…and I REALLY Mean It This Time!!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, service dog handlers, dog lovers, friends and readers; I am pleased and proud to announce that HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality) has approved funding (via a recommendation from the HRM Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities) in the amount of $20,000. towards the creation of an off leash dog park which service dogs and their handlers will have priority use of.   What does this mean? Guide dogs, hearing dogs, special skills dogs, other service dogs and their mums and dads will have a safe, fenced place to go and exercise OFF LEASH. An existing site, already partially fenced has been secured.  The funding will allow for total fencing,  clearing of the area, addition of some seating and refuse bins and posting signs. The location is more than suitable, with bus and ferry service routes nearby. Service dog handlers who require parking will be accommodated as well. Use is not exclusive to service dogs, however signs will indicated that pet dog owners must vacate when a service dog handler wants to use it. A public awareness and education campaign will  hopefully ensure that this is a workable stipulation. The parks department will take care of maintenance.

I have worked on this proposal through its various incarnations over the last two years that I have been on the ACPD, and more so in recent months as the committee’s chairperson. When this dog park is finally established, it will be a first in Canada.  We are the city to watch. We will be the model for all other initiatives seeking  to establish similar facilities in Canadian cities.

When I finally pronounced the outcome of the motion today, Opal rose and stretched. Sure, I know that she was bored, but I like to think that she was showing a little interest. I KNOW she will when I take her to the dog park next year (hopefully fully functional by then) and let her free run. She will go foolish!

Wise Advice Chief and Staff Robbed!!!!!

This just in! Details are sketchy, but reports from our Canadian affiliate indicate that Wise Advice Chief, HRM (aka Lablady) and her staff have been robbed. Local diva, Poprah Minfrey claims to have witnessed the whole thing. “I was strolling up Olivet street, on my way to buy some organic broccoli and Twinkies at Sobeys. They’re on sale ya know, the Twinkies, I mean. Anyway, I was coming around the corner, and there was a guy with a pick up truck near the corner. Him and his buddy got out and stand around…ya know, like they’re up to no good. They commence to picking up the garbage can and hauling it to the truck! I yell, “Hey, that’s Wise Advice’s can. Her sweetie ‘re-located’ it for her!!! Get your own can, you bunch of f…goofs!”  But they didn’t miss a beat. They just threw it in the back of the truck and took off like they were on fire!”Ms. Minfrey had no other comment, except that she did not want to miss the sale at Sobey’s.

Wise Advice and her staff (Opal IV) discovered the theft for themselves last evening, after much groping near the bus shelter for the missing receptacle. Staff member, Opal had just contributed her usual after supper ‘environmental offering’ which was collected in a small non-bio degradable bag and necessitated deposit. “Shock and Awe, that’s what it I’m feeling at the moment”, says a distraught Wise Advice. “Who would steal a 35 pound trash basket? It doesn’t even have a lid. And my sweetie sweated bullets hauling that puppy over from the other side of the street one morning last July. Sheesh! Some people have nerve! I have a good mind to take out a PSA asking for its return. Maybe I’ll offer a reward…yeah, how about this?; ‘Just return our can, no questions asked. If you do, I won’t start bringing poop bags onto the bus (’cause there’s nowhere to dump them now) which would cause the driver to gag, keel over and drive off the road into a crowd of old ladies coming out of St. Agnes’s Church after bingo! Ya don’t want THAT to happen, do ya? You’re reward is that you get to save a bunch of old ladies from getting hit by a bus. You’ll be heroes.” Staff member, Opal had no comment, though clearly she is equally distressed.

The RCMP continue to investigate at Wise Advice’s request. Constable Courrier des Bois commented, “We’re calling out the dog squad on this one”.

Opal Goes to a Luncheon at City Hall

Mum says we’re going to a boring luncheon at city hall today. I don’t get it. I LOVE luncheons, especially at city hall where there is always lots of food, even though mum says the food is overpriced plastic crap payed for at the taxpayers expense.  She says we have to go so we can bug the mayor and some city councillors while the going is good…something about a municipal election coming up and they’re falling all over themselves trying to get some votes.  They don’t usually hold this event until springtime, but the mayor (you know, the little guy with a whiny voice?) wants to score political points NOW.  She says we must shmooze with them…work the room before they know what’s hit them.  I don’t get it. Why would HRM council not want to do the right thing in the first place?   She says they could  build me a service dog run (yeah!!!) and improve transit (maybe pay for a voice enunciator on buses to announce stops), and hire some bylaw enforcement officers, and FIRE some dead-weight HRM staff whose salaries suck up the city’s budget which could be better applied elsewhere, and get some funding to provide recreational programs for kids with disabilities, and spend more money on removing physical barriers instead of making ridiculous expenditures like the Chebucto road widening project which destroyed property and trees to allow a few more gas-guzzling SUV’s to squeeze into town, and make the public library services more equitable for the blind who don’t care to use the ‘charitable’ library, and find some balls ( not the kind I like) so they stop caving to the interests of developers who are destroying the city with condo and commercial development in all the wrong places, and….why don’t they just listen to mum in the first place? I think SHE should run for council in the next election. I’d love to run around my new service dog run.

‘Blindness’ the Movie…Bunch of Blind People Will “Watch”

The movie, ‘Blindness’ opened at the Atlantic film Festival last week.  It opens in wide-release on October 3rd in Halifax. Ya gotta know that a bunch ‘o blind folk are going to have something to say about it.  At least, that’s my hope, idea, delusion, nightmare-to-be… When I heard about this movie, based on the book by Jose Saramago, I thought that it would be a great opportunity to get the Halifax chapter of Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians together for a little outing to view this thing. My plan? Send out a media release to local feature hounds and hope that they might be interested in interviewing the blind ‘Blindness’ viewers for on-the-spot reaction to this movie’s spin on blindness.  I listened to the trailers on the Internet that are pimping promoting this movie. It’s difficult to get a handle on what’s going on in this city where everyone suddenly goes blind. You know it can’t be good…a little chaos, panic, tortured emotional claptrap and the mandatory heroes who shine when their ‘lights’ go out.   I wanted to consult the book in preparation. It’s only fair to compare before you go to the flic, right? Well, bad news. It’s not available in audio within the Halifax public libraries. I doubt it exists in commercial audio format. The ‘charitable’ library (CNIB) might have found some bored Scarbourough housewife volunteer to read/record it on THEIR discs ( the ones they destroy when you return them..but that’s another story and a past blog—-go look), however, I quit my ‘membership’ with that service in protest. No matter. Who needs a book? Full steam ahead, I say! I rang up my AEBC buds to invite them to the ‘event’. Now,  I’m wondering…”What was I thinking!!!???”  It’s bound to be, umm…interesting. I predict the following; A. (with poor O & M –orientation and mobility)  will get lost on his way to the washroom, or worse, fall down the escalator. B will be shocked (devout Catholic) when she hears (despite her hearing loss because the sound will be maxed out for this monster movie on a Saturday) the sex scenes, foul language and violence which ‘Blindness’ promos and  ratings promise (I forgot to mention this to her).  A. (who has a brain injury) will show up at the wrong theatre on the wrong day, or not show up at all.  C.  (a smoker) will get wedged in the washroom stall with her walker as she tries to sneak a smoke that will set off a fire alarm. There will be lots of chatter amongst our group during the film…”What’s going on? What does that mean?..” which will cause other patrons to hiss. Opal will need a pee in the middle of the show, so I will step out (requires 15 minutes meandering through a mall) during which time, A.  will have had a loud fight with J.  (they don’t get along). The reporter (only one will show up from an obscure media outlet) will be awaiting our profound comments and reactions…after all, we are the pros, right? His recording device will fail. That may turn out to be the only blessing, as my motley crew will have no profound observations to make, other than that the sound was too loud and nobody ‘got it’. Oh, yeah…D’s guide dog, the ‘German boy’, that Opal loves so much, will bark incessantly  as we depart the cineplex.

ADDENDUM: It has become evident that the movie, ‘Blindness’ seriously impacts the blind community. It is a graphic and some times horrifying film that portrays blindness as a terrible condition that robs its victims of their humanity. It will compound and perpetuate the existing irrational prejudices of blind people which are based on stereotype. It falsely depicts blind people as incapable of almost everything and even suggests that blindness alters the human personality. The complex decision for blind people everywhere is if they will spend money to see  it (thereby supporting  the film maker) or boycott…or protest…or go, sit and watch until they are disgusted (somewhere long before it ends), disrupt the show as they leave, and demand their money back and then discourage the general public from viewing it…choices to be made.