Read the damn signs!

People should really learn how to read signs – other than signs offering something for 50% off that is.

On the main thoroughfare near my home run three bus routes.  One of these is the local bus, run by Durham Regional Transit (DRT).  The other two are intercity routes, run by GO Transit (Government of Ontario Transit, hence “GO” and one of the few things the government of Ontario hasn’t screwed up too badly).   The two intercity routes are the route 94, which runs from Oshawa to Yorkdale Plaza in northwest Toronto, making all regular GO stops along the way.  The other is route 95, which also begins (or ends, depending upon direction of travel) in Oshawa, but ends at a different terminal and only makes certain stops.  At some stops, there are signs showing both the DRT and GO logos, indicating that the local coach and the route 94 will stop there.  There is an additional note “Express” for the 95 at its designated stops.  At all stops are also signs, in English and French, that instruct passengers to flag down the bus they want.  With three distinct routes, this makes sense rather than have each coach stop because someone is waiting when they might not want the bus that stopped.

If you’re familiar with buses, either because you take them or you see them in your rearview mirror (intimidating, aren’t they?), you know that on the front is a destination sign.  With the electronic signs now in use, the GO buses display the destination on the top half of the sign, such as OSHAWA GO, and the bottom of the sign displays places they stop, such as Pickering, Ajax GO, Whitby, so that people will know both where the bus is going and what cities it stops in along the way.

What prompts this is that today I travelled into Toronto.  You may recall in my posting of yesterday, “Now they’re using Benin”, at the end of that post I mention  I had a better use for the $100 they wanted, that use being a pair of red stilettos.  Went and bought them today – they look fabulous ☺ .  Okay, now back to my story.  Despite all the signage, people still won’t flag down the coach they want.  They’ll just stand there and expect the bus to stop.  The drivers are aware that passengers have to indicate, usually by waving, that the customer wants them and not one of the other routes, so don’t stop unless signalled.  On at least three occasions today (I was sitting in the front seat on the right side) I noticed people at a bus stop who just stood there. Every single one of those people appeared to get most upset when the bus kept on going.  One person got lucky because the light just past the stop was red and the bus had to stop and that person managed to board the bus.  What she said to the driver I won’t repeat, but the driver simply pointed out the sign says to hail the coach and that since she hadn’t done so, he didn’t know he needed to stop. Lady, read the damn sign.

As I wrote above, the front of the bus displays the destination and various towns and cities it stops in.  With all this information available, can you see any reason why someone would have to ask the driver if he’s going to Oshawa?  Read the damn sign – it shows the destination as OSHAWA GO in capital letters no less.

Is the problem, and it isn’t just restricted to public transit but anywhere there are signs, that people can’t read anything when the words contain more characters than a word in a typical text message?  Is it perhaps that  they just can’t read; or are too lazy to exercise their brains for the length of time to read the words “Hail GO bus” in green against a white background?  Could it be they feel they are too important and those instructions are for other people of lesser importance?  They would rather ask the bus driver foolish questions.  These questions could be answered before the bus even stopped if they would just read the damn sign.  And,  answering these unnecessary questions can, and often does, put the bus behind schedule, thereby inconveniencing the other passengers – those who did read the sign.

Okay, I’ve ranted and I feel better. Now to go and see if those shoes really do look as good with the outfit I had I mind as I think they will.

Since it’s Friday, enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.
And remember to read the damn signs!



Stop being so helpful

I don’t know how many of my readers are on Facebook, but I have a question for those who, like me, are part of the 900 million.

Do you find it as annoying as do I when Facebook suggests friends with whom you share no mutual friends or any common interests?  Do you also find it annoying when you decide to look at one of these people only to find they’ve got their profile set on private so you can’t even find out if you have any common interests?  I’d love to know what criteria Facebook uses when suggesting these people as friends.  Is it that we’re both in North America, or is the geographic area broader, like say,  planet earth?

My profile says I’m a photographer and writer.  Most of the friends I have follow similar pursuits and in some cases, are known to me personally.  This fact makes me wonder why Facebook is suggesting as a friend a thirty-something bodybuilder.  Where’s the common ground?  Granted it’s always nice to expand one’s horizons, but in this case, what possible mutual interest could we have to even start a discussion?

I recall reading somewhere that Facebook was proud of its various programmes that could and would match people who had something in common with a particular user and suggest them as friends.  If so, I think they need to refine that just a tad so it considers more than the fact we’re both human beings living on this planet.

Yes, there have been occasions when I’ve become friends with someone Facebook suggested, but only when I’ve been able to look at their profile and see their photography or read their writing, but that doesn’t happen very often.

To Facebook, I say – I plead – “stop being so helpful”.

To my readers, enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.


What could we call it?

I came across an interesting question this morning.

Random thought: If “standard” time covers approximately 4 months of the year, wouldn’t daylight savings time really be standard since that is what we use the other 8 months?

Good question isn’t it?  Can you think of any other instance where the lesser amount (or in this case, span of time) is the standard rather than the larger portion?  I can’t.

I don’t think the logic can be faulted either.  For eight months of the year, we function under what is called “Daylight Savings Time” and for the remaining four months, half the period under DST, we are on what is called Standard Time, so purely on the basis of that ratio of 2:1, Daylight Savings Time is in fact our standard.

Places like Saskatchewan, which don’t turn the clocks forward (or back) wouldn’t be affected by any change such as that suggested in the question.  To them, it’s always the same time.

But, let’s assume for the moment the inquirer’s question were to be taken seriously and someone with much more time on their hands (sorry)  than you or I decides that “yeah, that does make sense.  Let’s do it” and makes Daylight Savings Time the “new Standard Time”.  Okay fine, we now have a Standard Time that covers eight months out of the year.  Now this brings up another matter.  Obviously we can’t have two “Standard Time’s”, so what do we call the clock setting for that four month period.  Since I’m in Canada (aka “The Great White North”) one idea would be “Winter Time”.  Now obviously that name may not have much support across the southern United States where, for the most part, ice is found in drinks or hockey rinks.  I suppose you could opt for “Sub-standard Time”, but that sounds like an extremely boring party and isn’t really very complimentary.

Now obviously such a change isn’t going to happen, but following the fiction writer’s favourite words (or what should be a fiction writer’s favourite words) “what if …” I’m open to suggestions on what we might call the “old Standard Time”.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend – obviously I am – and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.


It isn’t meant as news

Once again I have been taken to task for apparent bias in my postings.  As I wrote in “Bring him to justice – my perspective”, I had no idea my postings would become the only source of information on the search for George Flowers.  Now since I also know people who dated this man, I do have an interest in seeing him caught and yes, I am not presenting a balanced view.

Blogs are opinion pieces.  They are slices of life from the writer.  They are how-to manuals in some cases.  What they are not is hard news.  You are getting the writer’s opinion or viewpoint on a topic, be that pro or con.  Be that something as light as whether white kittens are cuter than black kittens, or something potentially controversial, you are reading the writer’s personal view on the topic.  (On the kitten question – my cat is grey, so leave me out of that one please.)

If you want indepth, unbiased news coverage, go to one of the news sites or tune in to one of the newschannels on television.  Just keep in mind that most media outlets have their own biases, especially when it comes to political issues.  But once you’ve found a news site that agrees with your personal bias, then you go to the blog sites to see what other people, with differing views, think of that particular issue. Or would you rather not be subjected to opposing views?

If you want a comparison, think of newspapers (you do remember newspapers, don’t you?).  Newspapers have reporters, those whose mantra is, or should be, that of Joe Friday from “Dragnet” – “just the facts, ma’am”; and they have columnists. Columnists are the print media version of bloggers – they express their opinions on the (unbiased) stories the reporters write.  Now, when you’re reading a newspaper columnist, you are aware it is the writer’s opinion, so why should you view someone’s personal blog any differently?

To those who would chastise me for not writing to their approval – if you don’t like what I say, don’t read it.  To my followers and intelligent readers, thank you.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.


Just a bit off-topic

For a writer like me, who writes about whatever catches my interest, spam folders can be a goldmine. I found the following in my WordPress spam folder this morning:

good articles    
Submitted on 2012/09/21 at 5:33 am

Thanks, I’ve just been looking for information about this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I have found out so far. But, what concerning the conclusion? Are you certain about the supply?

Sounds like a great comment doesn’t it?

First of all, this was sent from Poland, as shown by the “.pl” extension. In recent months there has been a great increase is scams, spam and phishing expeditions from that part of Europe.  Therefore the “.pl” raises my shields automatically.    Obviously this was written by someone who speaks English, as opposed to some others I’ve received which appeared to have been written in Polish, then run through a translation programme, such as Google Translate.  Oh, the words were all there, but the order was so convoluted, the message made no sense at all.

Now, let’s examine the content. “Thanks, I’ve just been looking for information about this topic for a while and yours is the greatest I have found out so far.”  Flatterer.  You know, this might have been a great comment and worth moving from spam to comments except for one little detail.  The posting this was intended as a comment on was “WordsupPressed”, which was about my  problems with catsworld1 so I doubt you were looking for information on bloggers who’ve had problems with WordPress.  Too bad spambots aren’t more discriminating.  But then again, if they were, I’d lose a lot of blogging material.

“But, what concerning the conclusion? “ The conclusion?  I suppose I could say the conclusion is “and Cat blogged happily ever after in her new home, “anewcatsworld”.  I could, but that would just be sarcastic.  Accurate, but sarcastic.

“Are you certain about the supply?”  In a word, “yes”.  I would appear to have a guaranteed and never ending supply of topics, such as the idiocy of my local politicians, spam like yours and the mis-use of the English language.  So I would say the supply is assured.

It’s Friday and the last day of summer. Enjoy what is left of the summer and the work week and remember to hug an artist – we need love (and genuine compliments) too.


I can spell, I just can’t type

Grammar and composition always came easily to me throughout my school years.  I just had one of those minds that revelled in the well-crafted sentence and the perfectly chosen word. Now, many years after my formal education ended,  I still prefer to write in longhand – you do remember cursive script, don’t you? – and then transcribe onto the computer.

Until recently, once I had finished editing,  this would have been a simple matter of transcribing my scrawl onto the screen in the Arial I prefer to use.  That all changed about three months ago.  That was when I was given a newer keyboard, which is more compact than my previous IBM keyboard.  After years of using the IBM, my fingers were accustomed to the locations of the keys and automatically flew to the next letter in the word I was typing.  But with this newer, more compact keyboard, I find I’m having difficulty in retraining my fingers to move the shorter distance from the home row.  Compounding my problem is that at the moment I have long nails which occasionally catch the key above or beside the one I want.  I can hear you saying “well then, shorten the nails – that’ll solve part of the problem.”  Nice thought but at the moment, it isn’t possible.  In addition to the writing/blogging, I’m a photographer and also do a bit of modelling and have a shoot coming up within the week for which I need the long nails.  The avatar photo of the rose stuck in the top of my boot came from one of those photo sessions.

I know that eventually I will succeed in retraining my fingers, but until I do I ask my readers to keep in mind that if you find any errors it’s just as I said in the title “I can spell, I just can’t type.”

Enjoy your week and  remember to hug an artist – we need love too.


Turn where??

This was freshly pressed last month from Catsworld1

Have we become so convinced GPS technology is so infallible that we’d rather follow instructions from an in-car unit than believe what we can see through the windscreen?  What is it about these units that seems to remove the last vestige of common sense from vehicle operators?

An item in today’s on-line Toronto Star tells the tale of a man in Alaska who had just driven his vehicle (a Subaru, not that the make has any bearing on the story) from a ferry.  Then, when his GPS told him to make a hard right turn, he did so – and drove down a boat ramp into the harbour.  Now granted this man had just moved to Alaska from the lower 48, but even so, I’m certain he’s seen boat ramps, or photos, or videos of boat ramps, so it shouldn’t have been an alien construct.  The vehicle apparently contained most of his possessions, plus two dogs and a cat.  He was rescued as were the dogs.  The cat drowned.

Now, if your GPS told you to make a turn and you suddenly found yourself driving down a concrete ramp toward a body of water which had boats floating in it, don’t you think you might have the sense to do two things – first, HIT THE BRAKES!  And second, doubt the accuracy of the GPS instructions.  But, hey! The GPS says turn here, so turn here it is.  I recall reading, quite some time ago, about a man in England who also slavishly followed the instructions from his GPS.  Because of his apparent conviction the system couldn’t be in error, he drove his rather expensive vehicle (can’t recall exactly, but I believe it was a Rover of some description) down a horse trail, which narrowed the farther he went.  Imagine what tree branches would do to the paint on the sides of a Rover – ouch!  Eventually, when he found himself stranded at the edge of a cliff, he had the sense to use his cell phone and call for help.

A few years ago, my son came to visit me from the west coast.  He’d been raised here in this part of southern Ontario and knew the roads well.  He’d had lunch with his brother and was driving to visit me.  Before he left the restaurant, he programmed my address into the GPS app on his cell phone, more to see what it would tell him since he didn’t need the instructions.  Just as well he knew where he was going.  The GPS would have had him make a turn down a road some two miles east of where he actually should turn.  The GPS got ignored.

Unfortunately these tales of people driving into farmers’ fields or boat ramps or down dead end roads based upon instructions from a GPS unit are far too common.  People, two things: the GPS unit is made by humans.  The software (maps, etc) is written by humans.  Humans are fallible.   And second: Do you not know how to interpret what you see through your windscreen despite what the GPS tells you.  Had this man in Alaska used his sense, his car and possessions wouldn’t be waterlogged and his cat would still be alive.  The GPS is not intended as an alternative to intelligent thought and action on the part of the driver.  In fact it is nothing more than an electronic map.  And unfortunately it isn’t as accurate as a paper map.

Enjoy your week and remember to hug an artist.  If you’re driving, remember that you know more than your GPS does.


Cat’s new home

Earlier today I tried to post another scam warning on my previous site, Catsworld1.  The roboscanner here at WordPress decided it was advertising and suspended my site.  I appealed this decision.  This afternoon they responded to my appeal, told me what the problem had been and that my account had been reinstated. That was at 2:43 this afternoon.  It is now 6:25 and my account still shows as “suspended”.  I’ve cleaned the browser’s cache and everything else.  I even tried logging on with my laptop and a different browser, but it still shows the account as “suspended”.

Rather than put up with this nonsense any longer, I’ve decided to open a new site and abandon Catsworld1.  One reason I’ve done this is the “Bring him to justice” series.  The  Toronto media hasn’t covered the police search for this man, George Flowers, and I’ve been told I’m the only one writing about this.  The man in question is wanted for aggravated sexual assault – he’s been HIV positive since 1996 but never told any of his partners.  I know several people he dated, some of whom have since tested positive, so I have personal interest in seeing him off the streets.  Over the next day or so, I will be reposting this series, using the original dates so you can see the continuity.  I’ll also be posting “Turn where??”, which was Freshly Pressed last month.

Welcome to anewcatsworld.